Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. announces, during a press conference at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan, Davao City on January 4, 2018, that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has decided to terminate the services of Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Administrator Marcial Quirico Amaro III upon verifying complaints that the administrator has made excessive trips overseas. Amaro’s termination from the service is part of the President’s commitment to eliminate graft and corruption in government. Joey Dalumpines/Presidential Photo

Palace: Rappler still allowed to cover Malacañang press briefings
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - February 20, 2018 - 3:21pm
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Tuesday said online news media outfit Rappler is still allowed to cover Palace press briefings.
 
Roque explained that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Monday clarified that Rappler and its reporter Pia Ranada are allowed to cover Malacañang until the news organization's appeal is resolved by the Courts of Appeals.
 
He was referring to the plea of the online news media outfit questioning the Securities and Exchange Commission’s revocation of its certificate of incorporation.

The presidential spokesman, however, noted that if the ruling is sustained, Rappler would have to move to the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, the media group of foreign reporters.
 
"Because the decision of the SEC is that you (Rappler) are foreign controlled but while the appeal is pending, you're welcome to cover Malacañang unless of course there's disorderly behavior," Roque said.
 
Roque made the clarification after Ranada was briefly barred from entering Malacañan. Early Tuesday, the Presidential Security Group prohibited Ranada from entering the New Executive Building, where the press briefing room and the working area of the Malacañang Press Corps are located. She was later on allowed to enter the NEB but was barred from entering the Palace, where presidential media events are held.
 
 
The PSG said a higher official in its "operations" issued the order but they did not identify who it was. Only Ranada is covered by the directive.
 
Roque clarified that he is not aware of the directive to the security group because he is not connected with it. He said the prevention order is probably within their discretion. 
 
Ranada asked Roque if Malacañang would bar all media outfits that report news unsavory to the Duterte administration. The presidential spokesman responded that "it wasn't about unsavory reports, but fake news."
 
Roque cited that Ranada is "editorializing news reports when she should be sticking to the facts." The barring of Ranada's entry happened a day after the Senate hearing on the multibillion Navy frigate deal on Monday. 
 
Ranada wrote a story on Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go’s opening statement where the latter said he is being castigated for endorsing a complaint to the Department of National Defense, which, he added, was the proper agency to handle it. Go criticized the report claiming that it was fake news.
 
Despite the incident, Roque said there is no move to curtail press freedom. He said accreditation to the Palace is only for security purposes but any reporter could cover because briefings are being aired live.
 
“The (press) accreditation is not a license to practice your profession. Anyone can report about Malacañang. There is absolutely no infringement of press freedom,” he said.

Duterte issued order?

A Palace official meanwhile said that the order to bar them from entering Malacañan came from President Rodrigo Duterte, Rappler reported.
 
According to the online news organization, Jhopee Avanceña, the head of Malacañang's Internal House Affairs Office, told Ranada in a text message Tuesday that he made the order not to allow her entry to the PSG as instructed by the president on Monday night.
 
Avanceña said Duterte did not detail how long the ban would last.

HARRY ROQUE MALACANANG PALACE RAPPLER
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