NBI to investigate Rappler for possible violation of Constitution

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 17) — The Justice Secretary has ordered an investigation on whether online news agency Rappler violated the Constitution and other laws.

Under Department Order No. 17 dated January 17, Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate Rappler.

"And if evidence warrants, to file appropriate cases against those liable," stated the order, which was to take effect immediately.

NBI Director Dante Gierran was likewise ordered to submit to Aguirre a report pertaining to activities of the NBI in implementing the order.

Rappler under fire

Rappler's license to operate was revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, saying the company was liable for violating SEC rules by engaging in a fraudulent transaction and circumventing constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership.

READ: SEC cancels Rappler's license to do business

According to SEC, Rappler "intentionally created an elaborate scheme" to justify the receipt of over a $1 million from a foreign investor, Omidyar Network (ON). ON is an investment company owned by eBay auction site founder Pierre Omidyar.

Maria Ressa, Rappler's CEO, said they would challenge the SEC's decision.

Speaking to CNN Philippines Tuesday, Ressa said she was "prepared for the worst" and to take the battle all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

READ: Rappler CEO: I'm ready to face arrest

CNN Philippines multi-platform writer Regine Cabato contributed to this report.