PSG has no right to threaten Rappler – Defense chief

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Updated to include Lorenzana's full statement and the response of General Dagoy.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 21) — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana slammed the threats made by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) Chief against a Rappler reporter.

"That remark is uncalled for and really off the mark. Whatever the Rappler's offense, the PSG had no right to harm Rappler's people nor threaten them," the Defense chief said in a text message to CNN Philippines Wednesday.

The Defense Department later sent Lorenzana's "complete statement" on the issue.

"Pasensiyahan niyo na. Bugso lang ng damdamin 'yan sa pressure ng trabaho nila," the statement read.

[Translation: Please bear with them. It's all sudden emotion due to work pressure.]

PSG Commander Brigadier General Louie Dagoy said Rappler reporter Pia Ranada was "rude" to the PSG officer when he informed her she was banned from entering the Palace on Tuesday.

He said Ranada should be thankful the PSG officer did not hurt her.

"Sumusunod lang sa utos 'yan. Buti nga hindi kayo sinaktan. Pasalamat kayo hindi kayo sinaktan sa pambabastos na ginawa ninyo. It's very rude on your part to do that," Dagoy said in an interview with Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson on Tuesday night.

[Translation: He was just following orders. Be thankful he did not hurt you for the rudeness you showed him. You were very rude.]

He said Ranada and an ABS-CBN reporter were rude for shoving their microphones on the PSG officer. But in the videos that emerged, Ranada and the reporter who was carrying a mic were tailing the PSG officer and persistently asking him for an explanation.

Dagoy then issued another warning against reporters, "Next time mangyari ulit sa sundalo 'yan, I will ban you from the whole Malacañang complex."

[Translation: Next time you do that to my soldier, I will ban you from the entire Malacañang complex.]

Rappler denounced Dagoy's threat.

"Dagoy's statement is conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman, coming as it did from a soldier who took his oath to defend civilians, who stands closest to the seat of power, and who serves an organization that has shown, time and again, its respect for and appreciation of civilian institutions such as Rappler," the news agency said.

It demanded that Dagoy should be held accountable.

"We ask General Dagoy to apologize for his outburst or for his superiors to take him to task for threatening to use force outside the battlefield," it said.

Meanwhile, Dagoy said he would not issue an apology to Rappler, saying the whole incident was not shown to the public.

He said, "You see how selective they are in finding fault at me without giving the people the whole picture of the incident. I challenge Rappler that they present the whole video to the public and let them decide who between us made the grievous mistake on what transpired during the incident."

He added, "Me to apologize? In their dreams! Sila ang magapologize sa sundalo ko [They should be the one to apologize to my soldier]."

Online news agency Rappler was barred from covering Malacañang events on Tuesday. The Office of the Executive Secretary said Rappler's accreditation will cease until the Court of Appeals issues a temporary restraining order on the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) ruling on the media outfit's license revocation.

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.