Maria Ressa’s arrogance and sense of entitlement is ruining the Philippines’ reputation

The concept behind the term accountability is not something some people find easy to understand. Taking accountability for one’s action seems so hard to do especially for people in denial they were in the wrong. There are some people who simply do not have the ability for introspection and blame others when they get in trouble. After all, it is easy to shift the blame to others when your reputation or career is on the line. Take the case of Rappler’s Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa. It seems Ressa would go as far as bring the entire house down with her just to escape responsibility for failing to ensure her company complied with the rules under the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In insisting that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had a hand in the SEC revoking Rappler’’s license to operate, Ressa is putting a lot of things at risk not only to herself, but to the entire country. Ressa has been very emotional since SEC ruled against her favour. She hasn’t been thinking straight. This is evident in the words that come out of her mouth. We all know that she has a beef with Duterte, but she doesn’t seem to realise that accusing Duterte of influencing the SEC decision is tantamount to saying that its members are corrupt. That’s not going to help her cause. She’s not going to earn her the brownie points she needs to help her through this case. In fact, it will make the SEC commissioners feel glad they revoked Rappler’s license.

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Ressa is not familiar with the Golden Rule, that the less you say, the less trouble you get yourself into. Or she just needs to learn not to say too much. She keeps digging her own grave. I don’t know what media company will hire her again after she made a mess of Rappler.

Ressa epitomises the worst kind of Filipino – arrogant and with a strong sense of self-entitlement.  She thinks she is above the law. She’s like a child throwing a tantrum. She cannot accept that she violated the law on constitutional and statutory Foreign Equity Restrictions on mass media. It’s not like she’s dumb and stupid enough not to understand what the law means. A lot of ordinary people can understand what it is about. She’s just refusing to admit she is in the wrong even at the expense of causing division in Philippine society.

During her initial press conference, Ressa gave her own explanation about Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs). She said their foreign investors were similar to people who bet on a horse. She insisted that they do not have control over management of Rappler. But Rappler’s own contract with its investors betrayed Ressa. The PDRs Rappler offered to their investor Omidyar Network prohibit shareholders from changing its articles of incorporation or bylaws, or raising money to pay taxes, without two-thirds of PDR holders’ approval. They essentially have control over how Rappler is being run, which is against the Constitution.

Ressa’s arguments have many inconsistencies. One of her position is insisting the SEC did not give them time to correct their mistake. But she was insisting earlier that they did nothing wrong – that it was Duterte who ordered the SEC to revoke Rappler’s licence. So which one is it? I believe the real issue is she just refuses to believe her company violated the law. She may have gotten away with it in the last couple of years or so, but obviously SEC gave them closer scrutiny and found the company was in violation of the law.

Ressa and her supporters now find it odd that SEC is enforcing the law. Considering they insist Duterte follow the rule of law, it is hypocritical of them to ask they be exempted from the law. They are promoting impunity. That is the legacy of the BS Aquino government

We can only hope that in the coming days, Ressa will finally come to her senses. There are signs some members of the media are starting to realise that SEC was correct in revoking Rappler’s licence. Soon they will also realise that Ressa’s claim Duterte is curtailing freedom of speech is bullshit.

28 Replies to “Maria Ressa’s arrogance and sense of entitlement is ruining the Philippines’ reputation”

  1. Quick question: What’s stopping SEC from dissolving Rappler? The proof for the illegal PDR is there. They, Rappler, violated constitutional law.

    It’s simple.

  2. It goes down to the question, if one wants to criticize government or stand for “media freedom,” do you have to be a business? Why cry foul if you’re not allowed to make your “advocacy” a business because you messed up on some rules? Can’t you go on with this without being a business? Or are you missing your Starbucks allowance? So the “sense of entitlement” term fits here.

    1. That goes back to the whole point of social media when regarded as a tool for political discourse and political activism.

      Anyone with an opinion can express and publish it on social media — which means the exercise of free speech is, in principle, unencumbered by one’s personal circumstances or business affiliations. In fact, ideally, social media is best left to individual expressions of opinion and points of view. The very thing that is plaguing the legitimacy of social media as a platform for public expression is that some of these individuals have orgsanised themselves into blocs of users that subscribe to a presscribed line of thinking.

      That’s more a function of how human society works and has nothing to do with new technologies which, at best, merely speeds up this human relations dynamic.

  3. Violating Philippine laws , has consequences. You may go in jail; fined,or worse: your business could be closed, like

    Why not Maria Reesa, file a case against SEC in Court ? If the Court allows her to go on operating. So be it. If the decision of the Court , is to close her business. So, be it.

    Not blaming Pres. Duterte, or any person that can be blamed.
    Or, Not going on the streets, with fellow YellowTards, shouting : “Press Freedom”.

  4. When Ressa said in her statement with “We will follow the law if the government follows the law”, then yes, it’s a sense of entitlement.

  5. Abortion is not allowed in the Philippines.

    a) Those Filipinas who can afford it, will go to the nearest (foreign) country to have an abortion,
    b) Other Filipinas who cant afford to go abroad will go under the radar (underground) and have an abortion still
    c) and then you have the losers who cant go either way and are doomed to have an unwanted, unplanned baby.

    Are members of a) and b) ‘above the law”?; are they breaking the law or are they searching for a solution? Maybe its time to change a few laws; are members of c) law-abiding citizen (because they cant go either way)?

    Back to Rappler
    Who cares that Rappler is in the hands of foreigners? Volvo Cars is in the hands of Chinese. Do I care? No. And if/when the Chinese make a mess of future Volvo cars , current Volvo drivers will jump to and buy another brand. Thats how simple life is.

    1. @Robert Haighton

      Because that is the law of the land, even if it is antiquated. If all will not follow any law in which they think is outdated, then the possible outcome is chaos as each person have a different opinion.

      With reference to your example, if they are not a victim of rape in which an unwanted pregnancy is one of the outcome, then IMHO it is their fault to begin with.

      With rappler’s case, I think there are some loop holes and gray areas in which they could have used but failed to utilize. Thus they have no one to blame but themselves.

      1. Tokwa,
        changing laws starts when people start to break those laws. Not bec they want to break that law (and become a ‘criminal’ instantly); they do it because it is – for them – a logical step (see the abortion analogy).

        All I read here is: “they broke the law, so they should and must hang”.
        That is too simple and too primitive. If we dont look at the laws, then nothing will change.

        Back to Rappler:
        Yes, it seems that Ressa (or the Rappler’s legal department) did something which was not according to the PH law (or constitution). So yes, bring her/him to a court of law, get the evidence and punish/sentence her. But dont shut down Rappler. Punish those who are guilty.

        at the same time, take a closer look at the law. When was it written, what was the idea behind it and does it still serve that purpose (in this internet era). Here I clearly see an analogy with the bible. When was it written and does it still work today?

        Final last famous words:
        I am NOT a Rappler shareholder nor a Rappler stakeholder. But to take a whole complete company down for something probably 1/one person did, is really absurd.

        1. @Robert Haighton

          How is breaking the law logical? Kindly provide an article/study, thank you.

          And as I have said before, if they are not a victim of rape in which an unwanted pregnancy is one of the outcome, then IMHO it is their fault to begin with.

          They broke the law thus they need to pay the consequences, unfortunately shutting them down can be one of the consequences. And as they say, ignorance of law excuses no one.

          It is the prerogative of SEC and they still have the option to take it up to court.

          I agree that the law is already ancient and it doesn’t help that most politicians/famous personalities in the Philippines don’t want to change it, but breaking the law won’t solve anything either.

          They are a company, a CEO will usually be responsible for the survival of the company.

          And IMHO it is not just one person’s mistake, as many people (board of directors/managers, legal, etc.) will usually be involved in the decision making. Unless they are a family owned business.

        2. When I am unwanted, unplanned pregnant, it is indeed my own stupid mistake (if it wasnt rape). But even then I have got 2 choices: To keep the baby or to get rid of it. Now, the Philippines (the PH laws) doesnt give me – legal – solutions, so I have to get them myself. So, I will go abroad and have an abortion there.

          I even think that having an abortion abroad can never be considered as breaking a PH law bec it doesnt happen on PH soil.

          As long as people (politicians and the ordinary people in the street) refuse to take a deeper look at existing laws, the Philippines will NEVER become a 1st world country and it will never progress. And because YOU are so obsessed by all the existing laws, you will never contribute to a better Philippines. That is fine with me but then pls stop making accusations to former administrations.

        3. @Robert Haighton

          They currently have two options in the Philippines, take care of the baby or have him/her for adoption after giving birth.

          IMHO technically you are correct, but we need a lawyer to confirm this.

          How can you expect people to follow the new law if they cannot even follow the old ones?

          The Philippines will also not progress to a 1st world country if its citizen doesn’t follow its law.

          How can you say that I’m not contributing to the Philippines because I want to follow the law?

          And what accusation did I make? Kindly expound, thank you.

      2. Tokwa,
        In all my comments about Ressa/Rappler, I never used the ‘freedom of press’ or the “freedom of speech” argument. Why? Because that is not at stake here. (unless of course that/if ……)
        The Philipines has laws and yes the ones who break that law must be brought to a court of law. But its too simple to NOT look at all the laws at the same time.

        So what would be my verdict in this case (the Ressa/Rappler case)?
        Fine her (a financial/monetary penalty).

        1. Tokwa,
          What I dont understand is why a government decides/determines for a company (Rappler) where it gets its money from. A company can erect ‘walls” to protect itself from hostile takeovers.

          How high must the penalty be? I dont know. USD$ 1m? Does that satisfy you?
          And then what? We continue business as usual bec the laws have been changed in the mean time.

        2. @Robert Haighton

          Then IMHO it is pointless as they could keep breaking the law as long as they pay the fine. And what makes you sure that the law will be changed?

      3. Tokwa,
        one last thing:

        You killed another human being. I am sure by doing that, you broke a law. So you broke a law and we can determine that you were the one who did the killing.

        So must we now take your entire family (your mom, dad and all your brothers and sisters) in front of a court of law and punish them all, or only you?

        1. As long as the law exists we should follow it, doing otherwise means breaking the law, breaking the law has punishments, the law is clear no media entity should have a hint of tiniest foreign ownership (thats how a simple man like me take it), break it and there are pre determined consequences, such as closure order?

        2. Yami,
          That is what I said and claimed always. But there is a BUT. Laws can be outdated, rather stupid and antiquated. So a media outlet – like Rappler – can not be in foreign hands but San Miguel can be. What is the difference? And do I care? (No). The reader – so it says – must be protected? From what? The moment I dont like Rappler anymore is the day I will start reading a different newspaper. So do I – the reader – need to be protected? No.

          Hence, ergo, the law is stupid.

          So what must happen here?
          Ressa will be punished and the law must be changed at the same time.

        3. Why do you want an entire company to be closed for something only one person did? Do you say that bec you dont like Rappler?

          So you killed a person and lets punish your ENTIRE family. Yes lets do that.

        4. I dont know how many people (employees) work for Rappler but with all my faculties, I cant imagine all are accomplices. So shutting/closing down Rappler as a business is absurd.

          Now lets pretend that I – as PH employee of Rappler – know about all the foreign investors then why should I care? For me its a job. Only if I have enough choices/options to work with another newspaper (or news outlet) I may leave (or not apply at all at Rappler). Now what if other newspapers have no vacancies/job openings?
          I am sure that ‘simple’ employees have no clue about the foreign investors.

        5. @Robert Haighton

          They could always look for another job, it is the same for a company that is restructuring/resizing, a bankrupt company, a contractual employee, etc. You must be flexible enough to be able to work at other markets, as the market won’t adjust for you.

          If you want job security then work for the government, as the likelihood of the government closing shop is near zero. But if you don’t have a position, then the pay will likely be too low. You cannot always have everything you want.

  6. Man/Woman is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.

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