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Office of the President ordered to answer Rappler’s plea vs ban on Palace coverage

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has ordered the Office of the President and other government agencies to answer the petition filed by Rappler last April questioning the ban on one of its reporters from covering President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The Court resolved to require the respondents to comment on the petition within 10 days from notice,” said the resolution.

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In its petition, Rappler said the ban is in violation of the constitutional guarantees of press freedom, free speech, due process and equal protection.

“The ban is based on personal determination that Rappler or its journalists are ‘liars’ or peddlers of ‘fake news.’ This so-called power which has no basis in law, effectively creates another layer of governmental regulation on the press, that is for a member of the press to continue as such, he/she/it should not be branded by the government branch as ‘fake news,’” read the petition.

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Among the petitioners are Rappler reporters and officers namely Pia Ranada, Mara Cepeda, Raymon Dullana, Frank Cimatu, Mauricio Victa, Camille Elemia, Ralf Rivas and Baltazar Lagsa.

Respondents, on the other hand, are the Office of the President, Office of the Executive Secretary, the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Media Accreditation Regulatory Office and the Presidential Security Group. They have 10 days upon receipt of the resolution to submit their comment.

The high court also allowed 41 reporters, columnists and anchors from various media organizations to intervene in the case. They were also given the same period of 10 days to comment.

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