SC orders gov’t to answer Rappler’s petition vs coverage ban

(Eagle News)–The Supreme Court has ordered the government to answer Rappler’s petition challenging the Palace’s ban on the outfit’s coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In its July 30 resolution, the High Court also allowed two groups — one led by director Bart Guingona and another composed of 41 journalists–to intervene in the case.

The SC specifically gave the Office of the President, the Office of the Executive Secretary, the Presidential Communications Operations Office, the Media Accreditation Registration Office and the Presidential Security Group within 10 days from notice to comment on Rappler’s petition that seeks a petition for certiorari and prohibition on the coverage ban.

Pending resolution of the main case, Rappler also prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order, and/or status quo ante order, and/or writ of preliminary injunction, but failed to secure the same.

Rappler also sought for a special raffle of the petition.

“The justices’ decision to let other journalists join our petition shows the coverage ban affects not just Rappler but other media organizations and practitioners as well,” Rappler said in a statement.

Rappler also expressed hope the case would be set for oral arguments so it could  see how “sincere” Malacanañg is “in respecting freedom of the press.”

Earlier, the Palace defended the ban on Rappler, saying the Securities and Exchange Commission had already revoked its  articles of incorporation.

This was after the SEC ruled the news outfit had violated the constitutional provision that limits the ownership of mass media to Filipinos when it issued Philippine Depository Receipts to foreign entity Omidyar Network.

Rappler appealed the SEC order, but the Court of Appeals upheld the SEC order.

The CA, however, also ordered the SEC to study the effect of Omidyar Network’s subsequent donation of the PDRs to Rappler’s staff.

“It is incumbent upon the SEC to evaluate the terms and conditions of said alleged supervening donation and its legal effect, particularly, whether the same has the effect of mitigating, if not curing the violation it found petitioners to have committed,” the CA had said.