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Andanar tells Rappler: Covering Malacanang events is a privilege not a right

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Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, in a radio interview, urged Rappler to also settle its ownership case to be permitted to cover Malacañang events.

“Talagang kailangan lang ay i-solve ng Rappler iyong kanilang issue with the Securities and Exchange Commission at doon sa Court of Appeals. Once they solve it, that they can reverse the decision… the CA reversed the decision then by all means they can cover,” Andanar said.

Andanar said covering President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Malacañang “is actually privilege, it’s not a right.”

“It will depend on the President kung papayagan ka (if you will be allowed), even inside the Palace and outside,” he added.

Duterte earlier accused Rappler of being sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.

Last January, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked Rappler’s certification of incorporation for allegedly violating the constitutional restriction on foreign ownership of mass media.

Last Thursday, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Thursday filed a tax evasion complaint against Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC) and its officers.

The BIR alleged that Rappler and its president Maria Ressa and treasurer James Bitanga made “willful attempt to evade or defeat tax” and had a “deliberate failure to supply correct and accurate information” in their annual income tax and value-added tax (VAT) returns for 2015.

BIR said that the aggregate tax liability of RHC amounted to P133.84 million.

Ressa described the complaint as “ludicrous,” and urged the BIR to “check its own records.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said: “Well, ano pong reaksiyon natin diyan kung hindi ang batas pinapatupad . Kung mayroon talagang hindi nabayarang buwis dapat managot.”(PNA)

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