CA maintains Rappler not fully Filipino owned

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2019 11:20 AM | Updated as of Mar 11 2019 05:02 PM

MANILA (2ND UPDATE) - The Court of Appeals is standing by its earlier ruling that news website Rappler is not fully Filipino-owned.

In a ruling dated March 5, the appellate court denied Rappler's plea to reverse a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) order that revoked its business articles of incorporation for alleged violation of ownership restrictions.

"The grant of control to a foreign entity over a mass media entity, regardless of the actual exercise of such foreign control, is already considered a violation," the court said in its ruling.

The SEC in January 2018 revoked Rappler's registration for violating the constitutional requirement for mass media to be 100-percent Filipino owned because it allowed Omidyar Network to hold Philippine Depositary receipts (PDRs).

In denying Rappler's appeal, the appellate court said the news website failed to raise any new argument.

"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," the court said in its decision.

The court also reiterated its order to the SEC to evaluate the "legal effect" of Omidyar Network's donation of all its PDRs to Rappler staff.

"It is incumbent upon the SEC to evaluate the terms and conditions of said alleged supervening donation and its legal effect, particularly, whether the same has the effect of mitigating, if not curing, the violation it found petitioners to have committed," the court said.

In a statement, Rappler expressed trust that the rule of law would be observed.

"We expect the SEC to now review its order and we continue to trust that the rule of law will be followed under a democratic government," it said.

Rappler has repeatedly maintained that it is "completely Filipino-owned."

"Rappler is – on paper and in reality – a completely Fiipino-owned company," the news website had previously said.