Malacañang to look into Rappler contract with DepEd


MANILA — Malacanang on Thursday said it would look into the news report claiming Rappler has existing exclusive contract with Department of Education (DepEd) to cover Palarong Pambansa, the country’s premier school-based multi-sports event.

“Thank you for the information. Yes, we will look into that,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a radio interview.

Roque was reacting to a report that Rappler also signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with DepEd on June 28, 2016 for the promotion and development of the department’s campus journalism programs.

Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked the certificate of incorporation of Rappler Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corp. for allegedly violating the foreign ownership restriction on mass media companies.

In its Jan. 11, 2018 decision, the SEC said Rappler, being the mass media entity, has violated the Constitution when it sold Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs) to US-based Omidyar Network Fund LLC.

“For me, the issue of Rappler is very clear that this is fund raising, this is about money. According to SEC, fund raising is against our Constitution,” Roque explained.

“If you are journalists, critics of the government and uphold the Constitution and laws of the country, then you should first follow the Constitution and laws,” he added.

Roque said the government would also investigate if DepEd, during the term of former Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, had conducted bidding before awarding the exclusive contract to Rappler to cover the annual Palarong Pambansa.

“They should have conducted bidding. In (RA) 9184, the Government Procurement Act, it is not only project, but services should undergo bidding,” he said.