MANILA - (UPDATE) The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday she would defend "to the hilt" the regulator's decision to revoke the incorporation papers of news website Rappler.
The SEC said Rappler violated foreign ownership restrictions on mass media. The website management said Omidyar Network and North Base Media "do not own" the company, even if they hold Philippine Depositary Receipts.
"Having issued the decision after much deliberation and pursuant to law and due process, I will certainly defend it to the hilt,' SEC Chairperson Teresita Herbosa told ANC.
Herbosa's statement was read by ANC anchor Karen Davila on Headstart.
Media groups, including the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines have expressed alarm over the SEC's move on Rappler, which had published articles critical of the government.
Malacanang has denied involvement in the SEC's move.
Depositary receipts held by Omidyar stated that its holder “must have prior approval” on changes in Rappler’s articles of incorporation or by-laws, said SEC spokesman Armand Pan.
“Those are operational policies of the corporation, which means the PDR owners exercise rights of ownership,” Pan told ANC’s Market Edge with Cathy Yang.
“The mere giving of the right to participate in these management acts are enough. They need not be exercised,” he said.
Pan said the SEC scrutinized Rappler’s ownership due to an “initial formal request” from the Solicitor General. He denied the move was politically-motivated.