Comment of Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II on the statement of Rappler that the DOJ probe is a fishing expedition aimed at killing Press Freedom

18 January 2018

The statement of Rappler is clearly unfounded and most unfair to the good men and women of the NBI and of the DOJ as a whole.

DO No. 017 which granted to the NBI the authority to conduct investigation and case build up over possible violation of the constitution and laws by Rappler, was never intended to interfere nor violate press freedom.

We want to emphasize that your DOJ respects freedom of the press.  However, to borrow the words of the National Press Club, responsible journalism means compliance with the law.

Under Executive Order (EO) 292, the DOJ is the government's principal law agency. Resultantly, the DOJ serves as the government's prosecution arm and administers the government's criminal justice system by investigating crimes, prosecuting offenders and overseeing the correctional system.

When the Constitution or any law has been violated by Rappler, necessarily the DOJ will be involved in its investigation, otherwise the DOJ will be remiss in its duties.

We acted after receiving an official communication from the SEC which included a copy of their decision on the Rappler case.

Rappler should welcome this investigation so that it will have the chance to prove the innocence it claims to have. We call on Rappler to actively participate in the investigation of the NBI.

Your DOJ is only after the truth, we owe the Filipino people that much.

Rappler’s active participation in the NBI’s investigation will greatly help in bringing out the truth.

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