The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revoked the registration of online organization Rappler for violation of the Anti-Dummy Law.
In a news article on its own website, Rappler said it was “a blow to press freedom in the Philippines.”
The SEC said Rappler violated constitutional restrictions on ownership and control of mass media entities because of funds coming from Omidyar Network by eBay founder and entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar.
“The En Banc finds Rappler, Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corporation, a Mass Media Entity and its alter ego, liable for violating the constitutional and statutory Foreign Equity Restriction in Mass Media, enforceable through laws and rules within the mandate of the commission,” the SEC en banc said in its decision dated January 11 but published on its website Monday, January 15.
The SEC voided then the Omidyar Philippine Depositary Receipt (PDR) and revoked Rappler’s Certificate of Incorporation.
Rappler has consistently insisted that a PDR is “a financial instrument that does not give the owner voting rights in the board or a say in the management or day-to-day operations of the company.”
“Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) do not indicate ownership. This means our foreign investors, Omidyar Network and North Base Media, do not own Rappler… They invest, but they don’t own. Rappler remains 100-percent Filipino-owned,” it said, referring to its statement issued in July 2016,” it added.
It accused Malacañang of “targeting” it for a long time, saying the SEC investigation “was ordered by the Office of the Solicitor General, which wrote the agency on December 14, 2016, to investigate Rappler over its PDRs.”
For its part, Malacañang said it respects the SEC’s decision that Rappler “contravenes the strict requirements of the law that the ownership and the management of mass media entities must be wholly-owned by Filipinos.”
It also said Rappler “may wish to exhaust all available legal remedies until the decision becomes final.”