Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana reacted to the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte’s head of security guards, who told Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson that Rapper reporter Pia Ranada should be thankful that she was not hurt after she “bullied” one officer with questions.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Lorenzana: Presidential guards have no right to harm, threaten Rappler personnel
Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) - February 21, 2018 - 2:19pm

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Wednesday that the Presidential Security Group had no right to harm or threaten the personnel of news outfit Rappler after its reporter questioned the grounds for her ban from the presidential palace. 

The defense secretary was reacting to the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte’s head of security guards, Brig. Gen. Lope Dagoy, who told Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson that Rappler reporter Pia Ranada should be thankful that she was not hurt after she “bullied” one officer with questions.

Ranada was asking repeatedly asking Corporal Marc Anthony Cempron about the grounds for denying her entry to the New Executive Building at Malacañang.

“Don’t treat him that way. He was just following orders. You should be thankful he did not hurt you for the disrespect you committed,” Dagoy told Uson.

Duterte’s chief presidential guard added that Ranada should have communicated with the Presidential Communications Operations Office and not bombarded his man with queries. 

However, the comment from Duterte’s chief security guard did not sit well with Lorenzana.

“That remark is uncalled for and really off the mark,” Lorenzana said. “Whatever Rappler’s offense the PSG had no right to harm Rappler’s people nor threaten them.”

Duterte banned Rappler and Ranada, its palace reporter, from covering his official events after he lost trust in the news outlet known for its tough coverage of his almost-two-year-old presidency. 

The president’s spokesman Harry Roque said that Rappler could not cover Duterte’s engagement but could still write stories on his presidency through live television and internet feed.

However, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a seemingly contradictory explanation for the president’s decision, citing Rappler’s legal woes that put its status in doubt as the reason for its denial of access to Duterte.

Medialdea said that Duterte was just following the SEC’s order and did not want to bar the news site from events. 

Roque, meanwhile, said in a radio interview on Wednesday morning that the ban was because Duterte got “irritated” with Ranada and Rappler for their reporting of stories they labeled as “fake.”

Before this, the news site was given a shutdown order by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the government’s corporate regulatory agency, for supposedly encroaching on a constitutional prohibition on foreign ownership of media companies.

Just weeks ago, the president personally defended his aide, Christopher “Bong” Go, in a testy exchange with Rappler’s presidential reporter after the news outfit ran a story that said that his assistant dipped his hand into a multibillion Navy frigate deal.

The president labeled the story, which Rappler said was based on documents from reliable sources, was “trash.”

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