THE MALACAÑANG Press Corps (MPC) on Monday expressed concern over the Office of the President’s (OPS) rejection of the accreditation application of one of its members.
In a statement, MPC said the OPS should clearly state the alleged violations committed by the MPC member as well as the circumstances that led to the denial of her accreditation.
“Journalists covering Malacañang need clear cut rules on what is deemed as unacceptable behavior,” it said. “This will ensure that future decisions related to access to the Palace and the President will be reasonable and not arbitrary.”
The accreditation application, which is one of the requirements to cover presidential events, was rejected due to the “conduct unbecoming” supposedly exhibited by the journalist, Press Secretary Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles said in an August 9 letter to the managing editor of the news outlet where the journalist works.
“[Her] negative actions and attitude towards the officials of the Office of the Press Secretary may influence others. Her name calling of several officials is a blatant show of disrespect to authorities,” the press chief said.
Ms. Cruz-Angeles said “screenshots” of the reporter’s messages to the MPC were proof of the journalist’s violations. Later in the day, Ms. Cruz-Angeles told a Senate session that the journalist had used a homophobic slur against OPS members after complaining about media relations processes imposed by Malacañang. She did not elaborate.
“We urge the OPS to communicate properly to the MPC the grounds for the denial of accreditation of any of its members,” MPC said.
Ms. Novenario will remain a member of the MPC despite the ban. “We continue to exhaust measures to address the issue, taking into account the need to balance the role of journalists to report independently and to ensure proper decorum in the performance of such a duty.”
Danila A. Arao, a journalism professor at the University of the Philippines, said the OPS should clarify what constitutes misbehavior for the denial of an accreditation request.
“The source of the alleged screenshots should be clear, as well as how the OPS is able to verify the authenticity of such screenshots,” Mr. Arao added. “In other words, there is no due process as regards to her case.”
“We should not allow the normalization of lack of due process in the Marcos administration.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Cruz-Angeles has tested positive for coronavirus.
“Yesterday, I underwent an RT-PCR swab test and the result came out this morning: I am positive for COVID-19,” she said in a video streamed live on Facebook on Monday.
Ms. Cruz-Angeles said she had not yet exhibited symptoms. She said she would continue to work while isolated at home.
The Palace official did not disclose whether she had any close contacts.
“The President is fine,” Ms. Cruz-Angeles said when asked by reporters if she had any contact with the President, who tested positive for the virus last month.
The Palace official urged Filipinos to receive COVID-19 vaccines and avail of booster shots. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza