Conflict of interest! Winnie Monsod axed as Inquirer columnist over Rappler board membership

Former socioeconomic planning secretary Winnie Monsod has been axed as a columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer because she’s serving as a board member of Rappler.

Monsod on Saturday (June 17) said her weekly column, “Get Real,” will be discontinued by the Inquirer on July 1.

Quoting the email sent to her by Inquirer associate publisher Juliet Labog Javellana, Monsod said she was fired for “conflict of interest” as Rappler is a “direct competitor” of the newspaper.

Monsod, however, found Javellana’s reasoning puzzling because her ties to Rappler has been public knowledge since she joined its board in 2018.

She said she considers her ties to Rappler as an “honor” because it “has been under siege by the Duterte administration.”

Monsod said she also does not have any financial interest in Rappler, except for a single stock so she could qualify as a board member.

“I saw Rappler as a comrade in arms to PDI and not a competitor. I assumed PDI management felt the same, since at no time from 2018 to the present did PDI management take issue with my involvement with, or advocacy of, Rappler’s cause,” she said.

The former Cabinet Secretary also took offense at the manner by which she was terminated.

“Why the suddent volte-face by PDI? And why, after more than 20 years of working together, does PDI not think that I rate a face-to-face discussion or a Zoom chat or a telephone chat, instead of an impersonal email?” she asked.

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