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SEC decision on Rappler closure not restricting press freedom

On Wednesday, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. claimed that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision to uphold its closure of Rappler Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corp. did not amount to suppression of press freedom or an effort to restrict free speech (RHC).

The order from SEC should be viewed as a legitimate legal judgment made by the government’s regulatory authority to preserve the Constitutional clause intended to protect the Filipino people, according to Revilla, who chairs the Senate committee on public information and mass media.

Revilla said in a statement that the decision’s merits were based on Rappler, Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corporation’s violations as business entities, not in any manner on the publication’s status as a member of the press.

As the national government’s regulatory body tasked with overseeing the corporate sector, capital market participants, securities and investment instruments market, and the protection of the investing public, Revilla noted that the SEC’s order should be respected as it is simply carrying out its mandate.

“Imposing sanctions for violations of laws like PD 1018 (Limiting the Ownership and Management of Mass Media to Citizens of the Philippines), the Anti-Dummy Act, and the Foreign Investments Act is within the statutory mission of SEC,” Revilla continued.

Tuesday, the SEC upheld its earlier judgment to revoke Rappler, Inc. and RHC’s certificates of incorporation for breaking the Constitution’s prohibition on foreign ownership of media companies.

The Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs) issued to American firm Omidyar Network (ON) by Rappler and RHC are deemed invalid by the decision, which was signed by SEC Chair Emilio B. Aquino and four other SEC commissioners. This is because they violated, among other things, Section 71.2 of the Securities Regulation Code.

Rappler’s CEO and founder, Maria Ressa, announced that they would appeal the ruling.

“There are currently available legal options that go all the way to the supreme court of the nation. Since this is not instantly executable without court sanction, it is business as normal for us “In a statement, Ressa added.

The Office of the Solicitor General wrote to the SEC in December 2016 asking for permission to look into Rappler’s PDRs.

The SEC investigated the arrangement between Rappler and the ON PDRs in response to the request.

Rappler Inc. and RHC were found to be in violation of the constitutional and statutory Foreign Equity Restrictions in Mass Media, which are enforceable through laws and regulations within the framework of the Constitution, according to the SEC in its decision to revoke Rappler’s registration in January 2018.

In a 72-page judgment dated July 26, 2018, the Court of Appeals rejected Rappler’s attempt to appeal the SEC verdict.

Martin Andanar, the acting communications secretary and spokesperson for the president, advised Rappler to use the legal options at their disposal in a press release.

“Let the legal process unfold naturally, and let the Securities and Exchange Commission carry out its duties. Rappler may use the legal remedies that are available to it, according to Andanar. (

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