The NBI summonses were the latest in Rappler's woes this week. Street View

NBI: Rappler may still be liable for pre-Cybercrime Law article
Kristine Joy Patag ( - January 19, 2018 - 4:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation on Friday said that online news site Rappler can still be held liable for an article posted that was posted before the enactment of the Cybercrime Law.

"Even if it was posted in 2012, but still can be seen at the time the complaint was filed or the time of the effectivity of the Cybercrime Law (it is still covered)," Manuel Eduarte, NBI Cybercrime Division head agent, said.

"Our presumption is, as investigation is concerned, they still violated the Cybercrime Law. Except, maybe, if they had taken it down when the law took effect, then they would not have violated any law," Eduarte said in English and Filipino.

The NBI has summoned Ressa, former reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr. and  businessman Benjamin Bintanga as it probes a complaint filed by Wilfredo Keng.

READ: International groups voice concern over Rappler closure order

The article subject of the complaint was posted on May 2012. The Cybercrime Law was signed in September 2012.

Laws are not retroactive.

Eduarte also clarified that the investigation on the alleged anti-crime violation of the media outfit stemmed from a complaint filed in October 2017. He stressed that the subpoena the agency issued is dated January 10, which was days before Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II directed the NBI to probe possible criminal liabilities of Rappler.

"The timing is not within our control," Eduarte also said.

The NBI summonses were the latest in Rappler's woes this week.

On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered the cancellation of Rappler's corporate registration after the commission found violations of the constitutional prohibition against foreign ownership of local media.

Rappler has denied its foreign investors have ownership or control of the company and has vowed to fight the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.

President Rodrigo Duterte has insisted he had nothing to do with the SEC ruling, which was based on an investigation requested by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Duterte has continued to criticize Rappler and other media organizations for their supposed "unfair" coverage of his administration.

READ: Rights groups on Rappler closure: Don't shoot the messenger




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