Duterte: Rappler owned by Americans

Image from DOTr's Facebook account
  • Duterte lashed out at online news site in second State of the Nation Address
  • He said Rappler owned by Americans, invited people to investigate papers
  • Rappler chief denied accusation, challenged him to vet his information

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at an online news publication he and his supporters have accused of bias against him; saying the company is actually owned by Americans.

“I can look at your corporate earnings, your sister company, I can pierce the corporate identity. You know when you’re a newspaper you are supposed to be 100 percent Filipino and yet when you start to pierce their identity, it is fully owned by Americans. Rappler, is that you?” he said.

Under the Constitution, “the ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens.”

Duterte also invited people to corroborate his claim; saying it will inevitably lead them to the same conclusion.

“Rappler. Try to pierce the identity and you’ll end up with American ownership,” he said.

For her part, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa denied Duterte’s claim and issued her own challenge to vet his information.

“President Duterte, you are wrong. Rappler.com is 100% Filipino-owned. Any leader should vet his information,” she tweeted.

Rappler has faced similar accusations from the president’s supporters in the past who said they are owned by foreign entities Omidyar Network and North Base Media.

However, the publication said while the two groups have commercial and economic interests in Rappler by virtue of Philippine Depositary Receipts, they do not have any voting rights or any control of the company’s day-to-day operations and management.

According to Rappler, other publications like ABS-CBN and GMA-7 also use PDRs to allow foreign companies to invest in them.