Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday expressed confidence that Inquirer.net would remove the articles online that linked him to the alleged rape of the late actress Pepsi Paloma.
"They will. Because it's fake news, it's original fake news," Sotto told reporters.
Sotto has written a letter to the news website asking that it take down three articles about the senator's alleged involvement in the move to whitewash the alleged rape case.
The articles were written by the news site's US-based columnist Rodel Rodis.
The National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) has condemned Sotto for his "brazen attempt to suppress freedom of the press and of expression."
"While we can understand the senator's discomfiture with these articles, we feel he is overstepping his bounds by zeroing in on the Inquirer.net articles," the NUJP said.
Sotto said that the NUJP had inadequate knowledge about the issue.
"Hindi nila alam ang story, kausapin nila Inquirer," Sotto said.
"Ibig mo bang sabihin kapag sinabi kong 'yung mga taong naninira, binabayaran, freedom of the press din 'yun? Hindi. Original fake news," he added./amp-ad">>
In an interview on CNN Philippines, Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel expressed support for Sotto.
"Yes, ako I understand, sometimes it's really unfair. One feature of internet is permanence, once published online it's permanent," Pimentel said.
"There must be a way for someone who is affected by an opinion especially available in a popular website like the Inquirer," he added.
"This person should be allowed to request deletion of the said articles painting him in a negative light," Pimentel said.
Rodis has posted on his Facebook account Sotto's letter asking that two articles he wrote on the senator's supposed involvement in the rape case be removed from the site.
Rodis said that it would set "a dangerous precedent" if Inquirer.net granted Sotto's request.
In a statement, Inquirer.net said Sotto had the right to make the request, "citing particularly his claims that the articles contain unverified facts and baseless allegations."
"In relation to Senator Sotto’s request, Inquirer.net has not made any decision. This is also the reason why we’ve asked Mr. Rodis to comment on the request," Inquirer.net publisher and editor in chief Abel Ulanday said.
"He has replied to us by email which we received (June 16, 2018). But his act of posting this request on social media is his own decision. Inquirer.net has nothing to do with it," he added.
—Anna Felicia Bajo/NB, GMA News
This news has been published by title Sotto Sees Inquirer.net Taking Down Stories Linking Him To Pepsi Paloma ���rape���
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