[Philippines] Inquirer.net pressured to remove columnist’s opinion pieces

Originally published on the CMFR website on 2 July 2018.

 

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – Inquirer.net is being pressured into removing from the site two articles written and submitted by its US-based columnist Rodel Rodis four years ago. As of press time, however, none of his columns had been taken down.

In a statement on 23 June 2018, the management of the website said an inquiry is underway on Rodis’ articles titled “The rape of Pepsi Paloma” and “Was Pepsi Paloma murdered?” Both were published in March 2014. The articles implicate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III in the alleged cover-up of the rape of the late 1980s actress Delia Duenas Smith who was known by the show business name Pepsi Paloma. Sotto made the request a few days after he was elected Senate President by his fellow senators.

Sotto filed a request dated 29 May 2018 to take down the articles from the website. He said Rodis’ allegations were not true, and that his articles were libelous despite their having been published four years ago. The senator called the articles “original fake news.”

“Management has asked Rodis to substantiate his allegations in his two articles,” an earlier  16 June 2018 Inquirer.net statement said. The online news site said that Sotto has the right to make such a request. Abelardo Ulanday, publisher and editor in chief, said other people and organizations had filed similar requests on which they had acted upon “judiciously.”

Also on June 15, Rodis shared a copy of Sotto’s request on his Facebook account, saying that Inquirer.net’s granting Sotto’s request would set a “dangerous precedent.”

 

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