Why Rappler’s apology to Mar Roxas raises more questions than it answers

A few days ago, news outfit Rappler ran a story which highlighted how Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Mar Roxas responded to questions about the ongoing laglag-bala scheme in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA):

Former interior secretary and now Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer for 2016 Manuel Roxas II defended the Aquino administration over the laglag-bala (bullet-planting) controversy at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, saying the passengers have to take responsibility when they get caught with bullets.

When asked who has to take responsibility over discoveries of bullets in luggage at the airport, Roxas said, “Kung nagpasok ka ng contraband sa airport, paano naging problema ng gobyerno ’yun?” (If you enter the airport with contraband, then how does that become the government’s problem?)

[NB: Emphasis by author]

Apparently, there was some sort of commotion in which Rappler was perceived as taking Mar Roxas’ comments out of context. The reaction to it was also strong enough that Rappler issued a public apology.


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All well and good, case closed, right?

Unfortunately, for Rappler, their apology raises a lot more questions than it does answers.

There are certain comments on social media which contend that Mar Roxas was not taken out of context; rather, he just gave a really bad answer to an otherwise straightforward question. And even if one contends “taken out of context”, Mar should have known the context of the question: that the bullets are seemingly more often than not planted, allegedly by airport personnel, and not brought in by the passengers themselves.

Perhaps because Mar, and the Aquino administration he is associated with, are in what is perceived to be blame-deflect and hugas-kamay (wash hands, of accountability) mode, they see things in a way that is not aligned with how the public sees them.

Certain people are asking, what is the logic with which Rappler came to a conclusion that it must apologize to Mar Roxas?

Other comments on social media noted that Rappler apologized to Mar Roxas, but it has not apologized to other news subjects that it has cast, either unwittingly or willfully, doesn’t really matter, in a bad light to its readers. Examples include Grace Poe, Miriam Santiago, and oh yes, impeached former chief justice Renato Corona.

So comes another question: why apologize to Mar Roxas, and not to the other news subjects on whom there was “erroneous reporting”, or reporting made that cast them in an undesirable light?

Here’s yet another question, one that is probably very uncomfortable for a lot of people:

What sort of pressure was applied on Rappler that made them apologize?

One of Rappler’s reporters, Natashya Gutierrez, posted on Twitter a reaction of sorts towards some of the public’s reaction to Rappler’s “apology”:

One can never please the public. When a news outlet apologizes because it honors accountability, public says it was paid to make correction.

It takes a lot of courage to admit mistakes, no? Even personally. Few media outlets display that humility. Public should encourage it.

In reality, correction was made because we listen to the crowd, respect readers & accountability. But after apology, public cries foul. Hmm.

The underlying issue here is consistency. People are questioning Rappler’s apology because this is one of the rare times (maybe even the first) that they’ve apologized for “erroneous reporting” which they’ve done more than once. And yet for those other times, like outing the details of Renato Corona’s bank accounts for example, they’ve said nothing.

When consistency is questionable, then it is only logical that an entity’s integrity and ethical orientation be questioned as well. Seemingly selective, so to speak.


Rappler is not the only media outfit in the Philippines that has stumbled on this. ABS-CBN still has not apologized to this day to Vice President Jejomar Binay for the errors in their reporting of the forum in the University of the Philippines Los Banos. The Philippine Daily Inquirer never apologized to Demetrio Vicente himself in public for the unflattering job they did with their pictures of him during the Corona impeachment trial.

I guess it is an unspoken reality, here in the Philippines, that if you and the media outfit that reports on you have different political colors, you should not expect an apology if they paint you with the wrong one.

If it’s all about honoring accountability, then we must ask: accountability to whom, exactly? And what kind? Is it the kind that reminds you to not bite the hand that feeds you?

Let me just say, in conclusion, that journalism here in the Philippines already has a bad reputation. Such issues and questionable actions on the media’s part will play no part in improving it.

11 Replies to “Why Rappler’s apology to Mar Roxas raises more questions than it answers”

    1. Mar Roxas and the rapplers are only making political advertisment. pretending that media is the wrong one,not Mr palengke

  1. Rappler, ABS-CBN , and other Media Outlets are the Propaganda Machines of Aquino, Roxas and the Liberal Party. Much like, during the time of Germany’s Nazi Fuhrer Adolf Hitler. Joseff Goebbels handled the Nazi Propaganda Machine, for the German peoples’ consumption. There were: massive lies, mass disinformation, cover ups, news sanitation, etc…as ordered by Hitler.

    Roxas must apologize, for the statement he said. He is putting blame on the victims of the bullet scam/extorion. Who in his right mind, will put bullets in their luggage. Knowing that their luggages will be scanned and checked by security personnel. And, there are no guns…bullets are nothing without guns tof ire them.

    Mar Roxas is dull and stupid. He may had graduated in an American College. However, I bet, he was at the bottom of his class.

    1. You’re completely mistaken. ABS-CBN could never be the media outlet of Aquino, Roxas, et al, because Aquino himself criticized ABS-CBN at their own anniversary where he was a guest. You don’t know what you’re saying, comparing the situation to a Joseff Goebbels propaganda machine. Clearly you’re a millenial, self-absorbed and in need of attention. If not, then you’ve got self-esteem issues which need validation by bringing people down even if you have to publish unfounded lies online where the perceived anonymity suits you. Your shallow understanding befits you, seeing only what you want to see in Roxas’ statements, having eyes but unseeing. Why don’t you view the original interview first before opening your big mouth, stevie wonder. He didn’t blame anyone. He responded to a reporter’s question as to who is responsible, and Mar said that if one brings in prohibited items, it’s govt’s job to follow the rule of law. Equally he said that anyone, even in uniform, who abuses this law for extortion purposes must be held accountable. Dull and stupid? You must be mirroring yourself, youngster. If Mar is indeed dull and stupid, and he envisioned the massively successful BPO industry which helped prop us up vs the china stock market meltdown, brought in 18.75 Billion dollars last year, employs over a million pinoys and counting, I’d really want to see him on his good days on OUR side. We havent even talked about generic meds, the employment service act and tax exemption for minimum wage earners. You should research first to avoid embarrassing yourself. Thousands of people bring bullets with them, in and out of the country, as souvenirs, amulets and keepsakes. What Mar meant is that there’s a law that seeks to protect society from people with ill-intent but there are also laws that protect society from ANYBODY, including govt officials,who abuse these laws to extort and victimize members of society. You should avoid shooting from the hip next time. RESEARCH.

      1. @el aguila

        Mar Roxas cannot even manage the Yolanda relief efforts. The Yolanda fund is now missing.
        He called the Mamapasano SAF Police massacre: “misencounter”. He approves the BBL Law…Now, he is blaming the victims of the bullet planting scam/extortion.

        Aquino and ABS CBN can play political zarzuela, especially in times of election. I was not born yesterday…Previous behaviors of the network, and other media outlets, promoting the agendas of Aquino, speak for themselves.
        I repeat again, their tactics are the same as :Nazi Germany’s propagandist: Josseff Goebbels.

        I don’t need any explanation about myself. I just tell the truth. The truth, speaks for themselves; the truth defend themselves….our readers have minds of them own. Most of the GRP Bloggers, have minds of their own…they can smell a YellowTard or an Aquino propagandist, a mile away…

      2. Research (noun)

        1. the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

        2. investigate systematically.

        Troll harder next time, you stupid YellowTard minion dumbass.

      3. “…he envisioned the massively successful BPO industry…”

        Did he really? Some claim it was GMAs brainchild and Roxas only helped put it into reality.

    2. 95Hayden007Toro999.99@
      Mar Roxas is one of the mastermind in extortion in NAIA,He really badly need money not from his pocket for political campaign. I don’t understand this inutil how can he win with that attitude to poor unless comelec already choose the next president. Rapplers action is a scam to fool us that they made a stupid mistake. If The getrealphil apologized ,that is the real mistery, Rappler’s apology is only a stage to make Mar is right and the victims are wrong

  2. Here we go again. It’s funny why trolls work hard at defending their dumbass idols.

    I don’t believe attacking anyone in the comments section is going to your idols look anymore delectable. Hehehe.

    People are only writing to critique, point out areas where massive improvements are needed, and basically just trying to discuss ways by which Failipinos can possibly improve.

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