PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday raised the foreign ownership issue against Rappler, claiming the online news outlet was not fully owned by Filipinos as required by the 1987 Constitution.
And he recounted the effects of irresponsible mining when he shifted the topic during his second State of the Nation Address.
“I can look at your corporate earnings, corporate identity even in the newspapers. If you are a newspaper, you are supposed to be 100-percent Filipino but if you start to pierce its identity, it is fully owned by Americans,” Duterte said.
“It is just matter of piercing…ABS, Rappler is that you? Have your tried to pierce your identity?… Rappler try to pierce the identity and you will end up American ownership.”
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa denied Duterte’s allegation, saying the media outlet criticized by Duterte’s supporters for alleged critical reportage of the President was 100-percent Filipino-owned.
But Duterte praised ABS-CBN for its documentary on the pros and cons of mining. “For once ABS-CBN behaved correctly. Look at [broadcaster] Ted Failon. I salute him for coming up with it,” Duterte said, but added ABS-CBN was also critical of his administration and its policies.
Duterte claimed that social news site Rappler was “fully owned” by Americans and that the company was violating the 1987 Constitution.
“Rappler, try to pierce the identity and you will end up [with] American ownership,” said Duterte some 30 minutes into his speech on Monday.
“If you are a newspaper you’re supposed to be 100-percent Filipino and yet when you start to pierce their identity, it is fully owned by Americans…ABS or Rappler, is that you?” said Duterte in a mix of English and Filipino.
Early this month he threatened to expose Inquirer’s majority owners, the Prieto-Rufino families. Two weeks later, on July 17, the Prietos sold their stake to business tycoon Ramon Ang, a close associate of the President.
In targeting Rappler, he cited Article 16, Section 11 of the Constitution.
But Rappler rejected this claim on foreign ownership.