A day after Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson requested from PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar that the online news organization Rappler “be reclassified” from the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) to social media, which her office handles, she again wrote Andanar to ask for information on the MPC, including rules governing it, if any, and documents regarding its registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Philstar.com earlier reported that Rappler has been accredited with MPC since 2013.
“Kung walang tinatago, ‘wag mabahala. Nagtatanong lang po (If there’s nothing to hide, there’s no need to worry. Just asking some questions),” Uson wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday night, accompanying a facsimile of her letter to Andanar.
She requested the following from the PCOO Secretary:
1. Copies of any department or office orders relating to the status of the Malacañang Press Corps and any and all rights and privileges exercised by its members;
2. Any laws, executive orders, or administrative orders, directly or indirectly pertaining to the right or rights of the MPC to cover the president; and
3. Copies of the Securities and Exchange Commission documents on the MPC’s registration.
MPC issued a statement saying that the press corps is an “independent organization of journalists,” according to the Philstar.com report.
“The MPC and its affairs, governed by by-laws in accordance with the constitutional provision on press freedom, is not in any way under the control and supervision of the Presidential Communications Operations Office or any government agency,” reads the statement.
MPC added that it “deplores any attempt to curtail press freedom and will continue to ensure a strong free press, keep public informed and the government in check.”
Uson responded on her Facebook page, saying: “Reclassify lang, ‘curtail press freedom’ na kaagad? OA naman. Pero kayo noong ina-accredit na ang bloggers na papasok sa Malacañang dami niyo gustong restrictions. So ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag para sa inyo lang (Why equate ‘reclassify’ with ‘curtail press freedom’ automatically? What an overreaction. But during the accreditation of bloggers to be allowed into Malacañang, you wanted to many restrictions. So is the freedom of the press for you only)?”
Hours earlier, she tucked in a pan on a shared Facebook post, seeming to deride the Philippine Daily Inquirer using the term “basura” (trash). Detail from a screen capture of that Facebook post shared by Uson below: