Rappler to face anti-dummy charge

The Pasig City prosecutor’s office has concluded its preliminary investigation on Philippine online news platform Rappler regarding its alleged violation of the country’s anti-dummy law.

In 2018, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) submitted a complaint to the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Rappler for its alleged violation of the Commonwealth Act 108 otherwise known as the Anti-Dummy Law.

The law stated that foreigners are prohibited from intervening in the management, operation, administration, or control of any nationalized activity. Filipinos who were proved to violate this law is deemed to commit a criminal act punishable with five to 15 years of imprisonment.

A nationalized activity covered the ownership of a media network to which Rappler and Rappler Holdings Corporation were accused of violating. The said online platform reportedly received a donation from Omidyar Network and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Under the provision of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, a media company – newspaper, television, radio etc. must be 100 percent controlled and operated by Filipino citizens.

Other details of the case were not disseminated among the media as they reasoned out that doing so would preempt the decision of the investigating prosecutor on whether to dismiss or file the complaint in court.

SEC revokes Rappler registration

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked the registration of the said media company as it canceled all articles of incorporation of Rappler and RHC for “existing for no other purpose than to effect a deceptive scheme to circumvent the Constitution.”

According to the foreign equity restriction in the Constitution, the Presidential Decree and the Securities Regulation Code clearly stated that media platforms must be owned and managed by Filipinos.

“The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations or associations wholly owned and managed by such citizens,” the code stated as reported by The Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The Rappler camp filed a motion for reconsideration but was later on dismissed by the Court of Appeals. Appeals Court Associate Justice Rafael Antonio Santos rejected the plea of the media network to reverse the ruling of SEC.

“After careful scrutiny of the instant motion, this Court finds that it presents no compelling reason to justify the reconsideration of this Court’s decision dated 26 July 2018. The arguments raised by petitioners are essentially the same as those that have already been discussed and were exhaustively passed upon in this Court’s decision,” Santos wrote.

“In summary, a motion for reconsideration grounded on arguments already submitted to the court and found to be without merit may be denied summarily, as it would be a useless ritual for this Court to reiterate itself. Here, petitioners did not raise any new matter of issue in its motion. Accordingly, this Court finds no cogent justification to reconsider its decision dated 26 July 2018,” he added.  

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