Inquirer defers publishing columnist's stories pending probe after Sotto takedown request

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2018 05:17 PM | Updated as of Aug 02 2018 11:45 PM

Inquirer columnist Rodel Rodis and Senate President Vicente Sotto III. Composite/ From Rodis' Facebook page and ABS-CBN News File

MANILA - News website Inquirer.net said Saturday it would "defer" publishing pieces written by US-based columnist Rodel Rodis as it investigates his articles linking Senate President Vicente Sotto III to the rape and death of '80s star Pepsi Paloma.

In a statement, the site's management said a probe is underway on the articles titled “The rape of Pepsi Paloma” and “Was Pepsi Paloma murdered?” both written by Rodis and published in March 2014.

"Management has asked Rodis to substantiate his allegations in his two articles," it said.

The statement comes after Rodis bared copies of Sotto's letter asking the website, the online platform of leading broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer, to take down his articles linking the lawmaker to the rape and death of Paloma.

Sotto explained that the articles had a "malicious imputation of a crime" against him.

"These kinds of unverified articles have been negatively affecting my reputation for the longest time," Sotto said in his letter.

Inquirer.net confirmed that Sotto did make such a request.

Rodis, in a Facebook post last week, argued that if Inquirer heeds Sotto's request, it would set a dangerous precedent.

"If the Inquirer agrees to his requests, a dangerous precedent will be set. Sotto is cyberbullying the Inquirer," he said.