Rufino-Prieto family to leave Inquirer after 25 years: Na-pressure ba?
Five months after President Rodrigo Duterte kicked off an expletive-filled, single-minded crusade against the owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Prieto-Rufino family has announced plans to fully divest from the news media it controlled for the last 25 years.
In a statement released after a general meeting with the staff, Inquirer Group of Companies Chair Marixi Rufino Prieto confirmed that she has reignited talks with “longstanding friend and business partner Ramon S. Ang” for the sale of her family’s majority interest in her media empire.
Ang is the president and COO of San Miguel Corp.
Prieto did not touch on the incessant public attacks on her family by Duterte in her one page statement.
Instead, Prieto called the divestment a “strategic business decision that it believes will maximize growth opportunities for the Inquirer Group.”
Prieto expressed confidence that Ang would uphold the Inquirer’s “pursuit of the highest standards of journalism” and that his investments and business expertise would unlock added value to the media outfit.
Prieto said that Ang had expressed interest in owning part of the Inquirer in 2014.
She said discussions were “restarted” early this year after the family completed the annual review of the group’s business interests and plans.
Duterte started his attack on the Rufino-Prieto family in March this year by cursing the Inquirer owners for being “corrupt” and “biased” in its reports against his administration, starting from its expose on Sen Antonio Trillanes’ expose of his secret bank accounts to its full-blown coverage of the rising body count in his brutal drug war.
Duterte exposed the Rufino-Prieto family’s alleged sweetheart deal with the Bureau of Internal Revenue regarding the Dunkin’ Donuts tax settlement (the Prieto’s Golden Donuts own the local franchise) and their refusal to vacate the Mile Long property after the lease contract with the government on the property expired way back in 2003.