NPC doubts Duterte barred Rappler reporter from Malacañang

MANILA — The National Press Club (NPC) has expressed doubt that it was President Rodrigo R. Duterte who ordered to bar Rappler reporter Pia Ranada from covering the Malacañang beat.

“It is doubtful that it was President Duterte who ordered that Ms. Ranada be barred from covering the Palace beat,” NPC said in a press statement.

The NPC issued this statement after Rappler released a report which stated that according to Malacañang’s Internal House Affairs Office (IHAO) head Jhopee Avanceña, it was Duterte who ordered Ranada and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa from entering the Palace.

It also slammed “some over-eager Palace mandarins” for coming up with a decision to bar Ranada describing it as “uncalled for.”

“Despite the National Press Club’s (NPC) differences with online media outfit ‘Rappler’ and its supporters in the media industry after it was found to be in violation of our Constitution, the decision by some over-eager Palace mandarins against Ms. Pia Ranada is nevertheless uncalled for,” the NPC said.

The NPC said that barring Ranada was in fact “a disservice to their principal, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, and his administration.”

Culture of entitlement

Meanwhile, the NPC said that reporters, for their part, should also avoid having a “culture of entitlement.”

“Journalists, like public officials they often criticized, should not be onion-skinned nor be possessed with the culture of entitlement. We sometimes deserve the treatment we get by the way we comport ourselves. Tit for tat,” the NPC said.

The NPC, meanwhile, welcomed the effort exerted by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assuring Ranada that she may still cover the Palace pending Rappler’s appeal to stop the implementation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decision to shut them down.

It downplayed how Ranada was briefly barred from entering the Palace noting that it was “a simple case of misunderstanding.”

The SEC ordered the closure of Rappler last month claiming it violated the Constitution’s restriction on foreign ownership of local media.

“The personal effort exerted by Presidential Spokesperson, Atty Harry Roque, and the assurance that he gave early today, before members of the Malacanang Press Corps (MPC) that include Ms. Ranada, is the right step to put a closure in what appears to be a simple case of misunderstanding– but which some quarters now appear hellbent in blowing out of proportion,” the NPC said.

Although Roque said that Ranada was allowed to cover Malacañang, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, however, said that Rappler should settle its ownership issue at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) first before its reporters are allowed to cover Malacañang.

Ayusin muna nila ang kanilang (They should fix their) personality as a corporation local corporation otherwise they cannot (cover),” Medialdea told reporters in an interview.

On Monday, Rappler released a statement in response to the accusation of Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go that it was peddling fake news.

Rappler earlier released a report on Go’s alleged intervention on the PHP18-billion Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP) of the Philippine Navy.

Medialdea said that because the SEC decided to revoke Rappler’s license, it also meant that Ranada has immediately lost her accreditation.