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For all of its doggedness flagging the mistakes of other news organizations, Rappler can’t even be bothered to fact check its own articles until someone raises a howl.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementer of the government’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, has threatened legal action against Rappler over its erroneous report on the purchase of P20-billion worth of personal protective equipment (PPEs).

In a statement, Galvez called out Rappler for reporting that only three million PPE sets will be bought for P20 billion when the accurate figure was 11 million.

It was Rappler’s report that the Philippine Daily Inquirer used as basis for its May 13 editorial, which placed the PPEs’ cost per unit at P6,667.

“I am disappointed because the above-mentioned articles they published are malicious and an inaccurate portrayal of my original statement. Not only was I misquoted, but the said articles also cast a cloud of doubt not only on the integrity of the National Task Force against COVID-19 but on government as a whole,” Galvez said.

Rappler’s May 9 article quoted Galvez as saying, “The procurement for another three million PPE sets worth PhP 20 billion is ongoing and this will cover June to August. We are stockpiling on PPE sets because this COVID-19 might last until 2021.”

Galvez clarified that the three million PPEs he was referring to the interview quoted by Rappler only referred to the first tranche of PPEs stockpiled by the government for June to August this year.

“I would like to call on Rappler and the Philippine Daily Inquirer to review the transcript of my May 9 interview to set the record straight and put things in their proper context. In fact, I am planning to take legal action against these media outlets if these issues are not clarified,” Galvez said.

Rappler passed the buck to a state-run media entity as it sought to downplay the impact of its erroneous report.

In a statement, the media entity said the wrong quote on Galvez was “based on the rough transcript and notes from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Distribution Group channel on the same day.”

Rappler said it didn’t mean to misquote Galvez on purpose but noted that PIA also used the same quote for a May 12 story that has since been taken down.

“We apologize for what happened, and wish to assure General Galvez of good faith in our coverage of any issue and person. Responsible reporting, including acknowledging errors or lapses, continues to be a guiding principle in our daily coverage,” it said.

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