Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said the Presidential Security Group (PSG) chief's "threat" against journalists who tried to interview a soldier was "uncalled for."
Presidential Security Group Commander Brig. Gen. Louie Dagoy on Tuesday slammed Rappler correspondent Pia Ranada and ABS-CBN for trying to get answers from PSG member Marc Anthony Cempron who barred Ranada from entering the New Executive Building Compound that houses the media office and press conference rooms in the Palace.
"It was rude on their part to do that. You should have called the proper persons to answer your queries. Pasalamat kayo hindi kayo sinaktan sa pambabastos na ginawa niyo," Dagoy said in a video posted by Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson on her Facebook page.
"Next time na mangyari sa sundalo ko ulit 'yan, I will ban you from the whole Malacañang complex kung ganun din lang ipapakita niyo sa sundalo," Dagoy said.
Lorenzana, however, said the PSG had "no right" to threaten or harm members of the media.
"That remark is uncalled for and really off the mark. Whatever Rappler's offense, the PSG had no right to harm Rappler's people or threaten them," Lorenzana said in a statement.
Ranada was later allowed into the NEB to participate in press briefings, but was still banned from the Palace's main premises where official functions are held.
The order to ban Ranada from entering Malacañang was issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, said Jhopee Avanceña, Malacañang's internal affairs office head.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the policy was connected to the Securities and Exchange Commission's revocation of Rappler's certificate of incorporation for allegedly selling shares to foreign entities.
The Palace ban against Rappler was issued a day after Special Assistant to the President Bong Go attended a Senate probe on the Navy's frigate deal where he slammed the online news website for publishing "fake news."