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Monday, January 22, 2018

Maria Ressa’s arrogance and sense of entitlement is ruining the Philippines’ reputation

The concept behind the term accountability is not something some people find easy to understand. Taking accountability for one’s action seems so hard to do especially for people in denial they were in the wrong. There are some people who simply do not have the ability for introspection and blame others when they get in trouble. After all, it is easy to shift the blame to others when your reputation or career is on the line. Take the case of Rappler’s Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa. It seems Ressa would go as far as bring the entire house down with her just to escape responsibility for failing to ensure her company complied with the rules under the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In insisting that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had a hand in the SEC revoking Rappler’’s license to operate, Ressa is putting a lot of things at risk not only to herself, but to the entire country. Ressa has been very emotional since SEC ruled against her favour. She hasn’t been thinking straight. This is evident in the words that come out of her mouth. We all know that she has a beef with Duterte, but she doesn’t seem to realise that accusing Duterte of influencing the SEC decision is tantamount to saying that its members are corrupt. That’s not going to help her cause. She’s not going to earn her the brownie points she needs to help her through this case. In fact, it will make the SEC commissioners feel glad they revoked Rappler’s license.
Ressa is not familiar with the Golden Rule, that the less you say, the less trouble you get yourself into. Or she just needs to learn not to say too much. She keeps digging her own grave. I don’t know what media company will hire her again after she made a mess of Rappler.
Ressa epitomises the worst kind of Filipino – arrogant and with a strong sense of self-entitlement.  She thinks she is above the law. She’s like a child throwing a tantrum. She cannot accept that she violated the law on constitutional and statutory Foreign Equity Restrictions on mass media. It’s not like she’s dumb and stupid enough not to understand what the law means. A lot of ordinary people can understand what it is about. She’s just refusing to admit she is in the wrong even at the expense of causing division in Philippine society.
During her initial press conference, Ressa gave her own explanation about Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs). She said their foreign investors were similar to people who bet on a horse. She insisted that they do not have control over management of Rappler. But Rappler’s own contract with its investors betrayed Ressa. The PDRs Rappler offered to their investor Omidyar Network prohibit shareholders from changing its articles of incorporation or bylaws, or raising money to pay taxes, without two-thirds of PDR holders’ approval. They essentially have control over how Rappler is being run, which is against the Constitution.
Ressa’s arguments have many inconsistencies. One of her position is insisting the SEC did not give them time to correct their mistake. But she was insisting earlier that they did nothing wrong – that it was Duterte who ordered the SEC to revoke Rappler’s licence. So which one is it? I believe the real issue is she just refuses to believe her company violated the law. She may have gotten away with it in the last couple of years or so, but obviously SEC gave them closer scrutiny and found the company was in violation of the law.
Ressa and her supporters now find it odd that SEC is enforcing the law. Considering they insist Duterte follow the rule of law, it is hypocritical of them to ask they be exempted from the law. They are promoting impunity. That is the legacy of the BS Aquino government
We can only hope that in the coming days, Ressa will finally come to her senses. There are signs some members of the media are starting to realise that SEC was correct in revoking Rappler’s licence. Soon they will also realise that Ressa’s claim Duterte is curtailing freedom of speech is bullshit.

About Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.



What’s the real deal with Omidyar? Mareng Winnie wants Rappler to clarify foreign ownership

Even former socioeconomic planning secretary Winnie Monsod believes the online multimedia site Rappler has some explaining to do regarding its foreign investors.

In her January 20 column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Monsod said the Securities and Exchange Commission may have gone after Rappler because the Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) it issued were problematic compared to what other media networks offered foreign investors.

PDRs are financial instruments that allow foreign investors to put money in a Filipino company without having control over it.

“The investors in ABS-CBN and GMA-7 are passive investors, but the SEC thinks the investors in Rappler are more than passive because they have powers that the PDR holders of ABS-CBN and GMA-7 do not have. That is what Rappler has to clarify to the SEC,” Monsod said.

“Rappler, please dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s,” she added.

SEC revoked Rappler’s articles of incorporation because it violated the foreign ownership restrictions in the Constitution for media companies.

The regulator found particularly problematic the provision in the PDRs held by Omidyar Network, which stated that the fund created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar must have “prior approval” when it comes to changes in the website’s by-laws or articles of incorporation.

Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa has decried the ruling as an attack on press freedom and vowed to fight it all the way to the Supreme Court.


Unfair to accuse SEC as ‘Duterte lackeys’ for closing down Rappler – Randy David

UP Professor Randy David thinks press freedom advocates should not be too quick in dismissing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a rubber stamp pad for carrying out President Rodrigo Duterte’s wish to strike back at web-only news site Rappler.

“Unless it can be shown that the SEC commissioners rushed their judgment on this case, ignored due process, and demonstrated manifest bias against Rappler throughout the proceedings, I think it is counterproductive and unfair to accuse them of being Duterte lackeys,” said David in his column in the Inquirer.

“Having known some of them in their private capacities, I can say that, in terms of values and political inclinations, they have probably more in common with the journalists at Rappler than with Mr. Duterte’s solicitor general or justice secretary,” he added.

Last week, the SEC ordered the closure of Rappler after it was found to have “acted with deceit in a scheme to justify the grant of control and also financial returns, to foreign investors when they sold the Omidyar Network Philippine Depositary Receipts.”

The SEC order was approved by Chairperson Teresita Herbosa and concurred by Commissioners Antonieta Ibe Ephyro Luis Amatong, and Emilio Aquino. Commissioner Blas James Viterbo, a chief of staff of former senator Mar Roxas, did not sign the ruling. Except for Aquino, all SEC commissioners were appointed during the Aquino administration.

While it was no secret that Duterte wanted Rappler probed for having American investors, David said Rappler should explain the “side agreement” it entered into with its Philippine Depository Rights investors, specifically, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The side deal required Rappler to get two-thirds vote of the PDR holders for any changes in the charter and bylaws of the web-based news organization.

“Some think that the commissioners should have assigned a greater weight to protecting press freedom than to exacting strict compliance with the nationality provisions on ownership and control of media corporations. But that’s probably more a function of the Supreme Court, to which Rappler may appeal, than of the quasijudicial SEC,” said David who noted that Omidyar was willing to drop the side agreement which led to Rappler’s violation of the 100 percent Filipino ownership requirement for media.




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