De Lima chides gov’t’s ‘veiled threat’ to use military force vs media

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has chided Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s threat of using military force to shut down media following Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruling revoking Rappler’s registration.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, said Roque’s statement only shows the Duterte administration’s aggressive efforts to silence dissent and the free press.

“Roque’s tongue-in-cheek statement that Rappler should be thankful Duterte did not use the military to shut it down reflects the hubris that possesses the Malacañang spokesperson nowadays,” she said in a Dispatch from Crame No. 255.

“It is likewise a veiled threat that Malacañang has no second thoughts about employing draconian methods to deal with public dissent and the free press,” she added.

In a resolution dated Jan. 11, SEC has revoked the certificate of incorporation of news online outlet Rappler as it accused the media organization of violating the Foreign Equity Restriction of the Philippine Constitution.

Rappler, however, maintained it remains 100-percent Filipino-owned, explaining that their foreign investors, Omidyar Network and North Base Media, do not own the news outfit.

In addressing the controversy, Roque boasted that Duterte would have sent the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to padlock Rappler if the latter really wanted to close down the media organization.

“Roque is actually proud that his boss is capable of using the military to shut down newspapers, and he thinks the media should be grateful that inspite of this capability, Duterte is so kind enough not to do so,” De Lima said.

The Senator from Bicol warned Roque to not be “overly boastful” about Duterte’ ability to use the AFP for his administration’s “dirty jobs” because the military is not indebted to opportunists.

“When the time comes, the military is also not bound to be so kind to soft-bellied opportunists who treat the AFP as if it was their very own personal attack dog, especially when his only experience in battle is outscreaming opposing counsels,” she said.

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