Early Monday, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa was found guilty of cyber libel over a 2012 article of Wilfredo Keng, a businessman, with his alleged illegal activities.
It was February last year when Ressa was detained overnight regarding the complaint. She told the media that she was “prepared for the worst” outcome of the case together with Rappler’s former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr., who was also guilty of the case.
According to Ressa’s attorney, Atty Ted Te, “The court handed down the decision and the judgement is conviction for Maria and Reynaldo. The sentence is 6 months and 1 day to six years of imprisonment.”
He also added that their side is looking for motion for reconsideration or appeal.
“We are now looking at motion for reconsideration or appeal but no decision yet. 15 days from today to make [a] decision.” said Te.
On the other hand, Ressa says that this is not about the Rappler anymore. This is about the rights of every Filipino and the press freedom that will be lost.
“I appeal to you, the journalists in the room, the Filipinos listening, to protect your rights. We are meant to be a cautionary tale. We are meant to make you afraid. Protect your rights. We shouldn’t be momentarily giving up for rights.” she said during the press conference held today.
“Hindi lang po ito tungkol sa amin, tungkol po ito sa inyo. Press freedom is the foundation of every other right of the Filipino citizen. If we can’t hold power to account, we can’t do anything.” she added.
A portion of the said court decision states that Ressa’s position as Executive Editor is a tactic used to avoid liability as editor-in-chief under Art. 360 of the Revised Penal Code.
Attorney Te said that the judge may only have focused on the part where there was an accusation of damage to reputation but not so much on the issue of republication.
According to him, “Definitely, we don’t agree with the decision. The nuances that were brought up in our memorandum, in our motion to quash, all of those need to be considered.”
Source: ABS CBN News