Inquirer takes down Pepsi Paloma articles after Sen. Tito Sotto’s request

  • takes down stories relating to the death and rape case of the late actress Pepsi Paloma.
  • National Union of Journalists of the Philippines reacts to the online news site’s decision.

News site takes down articles regarding the controversial case of actress Pepsi Paloma upon the request of Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

Last July 4, the articles with headlines “The Rape of Pepsi Paloma”, “Was Pepsi Paloma murdered?”, and “Tito Sotto denies whitewashing Pepsi Paloma rape case”, can no longer be accessed and readers will now be redirected to the statement that the pieces are “currently under review”.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has released a full statement regarding the news site’s decision to take down the articles.

In NUJP’s Facebook page, they stated that they are “saddened” that it will be one of the darkest days of Philippine journalism as the online arm of the newspaper caved into the demands of the senator.

[STATEMENT] NUJP on’s take down of Pepsi Paloma articles

Today, July 4, 2018, readers trying to access articles of the on the rape of actress Pepsi Paloma will be redirected to a statement of the management of the online news organization.

It says: “The articles on the Pepsi Paloma case are currently under review and are unavailable at the moment.”

We are saddened that today will forever be remembered as one of the darkest days in the annals of Philippine journalism.

It is the day when the online arm of the newspaper long regarded as one of the beacons of press freedom in the country caved in to the demands of Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

They also stated that “ disowned its own editorial policies”  and also proved that its vision is not equal to the vision of the newspaper’s founders who defied the Marcos dictatorship just to let people know the truth.

It is the day when disowned its own editorial policies and standards – and its writers – by willingly taking down stories it had posted as far as four years ago that harp on Sotto’s alleged role in the cover up of the rape of Pepsi Paloma.

It is the day the online news portal, one of the pioneers of the digital age of Philippine journalism, proved it was not equal to the vision of the founders of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, who, together with other freedom-loving journalists, defied the Marcos dictatorship to fulfill their profession’s creed – to serve the people’s right to know without fear or favor.

NUJP also expressed their confusion upon the takedown of the articles that were published four years ago. The union said that this has been one of the “worst attacks since the Marcos regime”  

The news outfit’s attempt at explanation makes no sense. Why take down, even temporarily, articles the outfit itself vetted and uploaded four years ago?

Moreso, it had already earlier announced that the articles were to be reviewed and even declared it would hold off posting materials from the author, Rodel Rodis.

At a time when freedom of the press and of expression has come under the worst attacks since the Marcos regime, this humiliating self-censorship betrays not only the spirit in which the Inquirer was founded, it betrays a profession whose practitioners have fended and continue to fight off all attempts to muzzle it even if it has cost our ranks 184 lives since 1986.

Therefore, for NUJP, it is indeed a day of mourning. And said that they hope that the freedom-loving Filipino journalists would resist all attempts that will prevent them from failing to serve the people’s right to know.

This is a day of mourning, yes.

And yet, it is also a day of affirmation. Let us, the community of independent and freedom-loving Filipino journalists, resolve to strengthen our ranks even more and resist all attempts to prevent us from fulfilling our duty to serve the people’s right to know and be their watchdog against government’s abuses.

In a letter last May 29, Sotto sent a letter to Inquirer President Paolo Prieto asking to take down the said articles because of the “malicious imputation of a crime” against him.

Written by J M

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