De Lima calls closure order on Rappler ‘Duterte’s vengeful imprint’

FILE PHOTO: Senator Leila de Lima, a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, has been in detention since February 2017 on drug charges she repeatedly denied and branded as fabricated. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Former Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday slammed the closure order against online news organization Rappler, saying that it has the “vengeful imprint” of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The maliciously timed order to shut down Rappler has Duterte’s vengeful imprint,” De Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, said in a dispatch from Camp Crame where she is currently detained.

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“It’s no secret, but recently he also openly admitted that the shutdown of ABS-CBN was his vicious idea,” she added.

“So, what is this, saving his last ‘kill-kill-kill’ bullet on press freedom before he finally exits and joins the ranks of markedly corrupt, despotic, politically and economically disruptive, and most crooked politicians in the annals of Philippine history?” she further said.

De Lima said the shutdown order against Rappler “solidified the Duterte legacy of oppression against critics and media organizations, especially those who are independent and fearless.”

“These six years under Duterte have been a total disaster to post-EDSA Philippine democracy, and the havoc continues until the very last day,” she said. “What a way to mark the end of this vindictive and repressive regime!”

On the day before Duterte stepped down from Malacañang, the Securities and Exchange Commission affirmed its decision to revoke the certificates of Rappler Inc. and its holding company, Rappler Holdings Corporation.

The order came days after the National Telecommunications Commission decided to block websites tagged as alleged affiliates or supporters of terrorist groups.

Malacañang said, “Rappler may avail [itself] of remedies accorded to it by law.”