GUILTY: Rapper’s executive and former writer had their bad day in court

Spread the love

MANILA – Rappler’s Executive Editor and Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa and former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. were found guilty of violating Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act specifically for cyber libel by Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa, Monday, June 15.

They are the first journalists in the country to have been punished under the said law for a libel case filed against them by businessman Wilfredo Kent for writing a story in 2012 claiming that the businessman lent his sports utility vehicle to then Chief Justice Renato Corona.  

During this time, the chief justice was facing impeachment at the senate for non-disclosure of his assets in the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) as required by law, betrayal of public trust, and culpable violation of the constitution. 

The controversial article written by Santos also cited an alleged intelligence report by the National Security Council alluding to the involvement of Keng in human trafficking and drug smuggling. His first version of the article was written before the cybercrime law was passed.  

However, Rappler reposted the same version of the story with some revision due to a typographical error in 2017, or five years after the passage of the law, which was the basis of the libel case of Keng.

If finally convicted, the respondents will face up to six years in prison and payment of thousands for damages and other legal fees to the victim. The respondents may appeal their case to a higher court within a period as allowed by law.

Meanwhile, opposition senators and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the guilty verdict of journalists and called on the Duterte administration to stop weaponizing the law against a critical press.

House committees to hold hearings during break

Spread the love

Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.