Manila Bulletin : Nat’l Press Club protests Comelec’s partnership with Rappler

24 February 2022

By Jel Santos | Manila Bulletin

The National Press Club (NPC) has protested the partnership forged by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and news website Rappler, saying it is “unacceptable to most Filipinos.”

On Thursday, Feb. 24, the poll body inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Rappler in a bid to fight disinformation and promote voter awareness during the election season. Key personalities present during the signing were Rappler CEO and Nobel laureate Maria Ressa, Acting Comelec Chairperson Soccoro B. Inting, and the poll body’s commissioners.

“We are registering our protest because just like most Filipinos and just like you, we too, would want to see and experience a clean, credible honest and transparent election the result of which may well decide the country’s future in the coming years. But your choice of Rappler, certainly, is a step in the wrong direction,” NPC president Paul M. Gutierez said in his letter addressed to Inting.

The NPC president went on by saying that the news organization has “a spotty record when it comes to the dissemination of ‘truthful information’ considering its record of gross bias in its reportage that resulted to its current legal woes.”

It was also raised in the letter that “Rapper’s current legal woes arise first, from its being a foreign-funded media outfit, contrary to what is provided for in our Constitution.”

As such, the NPC president noted that Ressa “has been convicted of criminal libel by a Manila court for biased reporting, a fact that cannot be obscured by the many ‘awards’ given to her by foreign-based media organizations.”

“We can go on and on citing reasons why we object to your MOA with Rappler. But our central message is, the credibility of the coming election that we all aspire for is not enhanced by your choice,” said Gutierez.

“At the end of the day, it is still your judgement call and we do hope that no ‘outsider’ has influenced the COMELEC in arriving at your decision.”

Meanwhile, Rappler and Comelec have no reaction yet on this matter as of press time.