- Senate President Vicente Sotto III demanded Inquirer.net to take down articles that linked him to Pepsi Paloma’s rape and death case.
- This also caused an uproar among netizens and news sites call this a violation of freedom of press.
- Inquirer.net has yet to take down the said articles which were titled “The rape of Pepsi Paloma” and “Was Pepsi Paloma murdered?“
A news article about Pepsi Paloma’s rape and death case became viral. However, Senate President Vicente Sotto III asked Inquirer.net to take it down. This caused an uproar among netizens who shared and disseminated the article even more.
In an interview with Rappler, Tito expressed how fake the news was.
In the said interview, Tito answered whether he would charge libel against Inquirer.net if they refuse to remove the articles.
“They will [take it down]… because it’s fake news. It’s [the] original fake news… Just wait for them (Inquirer.net) to issue a statement [on] whether they will take down that fake news or not.”
On May 29, 2018, Tito wrote a letter to Inquirer Interactive president Paolo Prieto. In the said letter, Tito expressed his dismay and demanded them to take down the articles.
Tito also asked them to take down another article which stated that he used his political influence to dictate the court decision on the rape case. The said articles were titled “The rape of Pepsi Paloma” and “Was Pepsi Paloma murdered?” United States-based columnist Rodel Rodis also wrote both articles.
Many expressed that Tito’s request on taking down the articles violate the freedom of the press. This led Tito to argue that these are just people who were paid to destroy him.
“Ibig mo bang sabihin kapag sinabi kong ‘yung mga taong naninira, binabayaran, freedom of the press din ‘yun? Hindi. Original fake news.”
Tito also denied The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)’s claims of his requests as a “brazen attempt to suppress freedom of the press and of expression.”
“Di nila alam ang story. Kausapin nila Inquirer… Huwag ‘nyo nang palakihin, pinalalaki ‘nyo.”
This isn’t the first time that Tito asked a news site to take down an article. In February 2016, Tito threatened to sue Rappler and columnist Sylvia Claudio if they don’t take down an article. The said article was only a January 2016 opinion piece titled “‘Magnanakaw’ sa Senado.” However, Rappler never took down the said article.