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.