Maria Ressa (C), the CEO and editor of online portal Rappler, speaks during a protest on press freedom along with fellow journalists in Manila on January 19, 2018. Philippine journalists took to the streets on January 19 in support of a news website facing state-enforced closure, accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of trampling on press freedom. AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe

Rappler CEO Ressa appears before NBI for cybercrime probe
Kristine Joy Patag ( - January 22, 2018 - 12:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Rappler CEO Maria Ressa on Monday went to the National Bureau of Investigation after being summoned over an alleged violation of the cybercrime law in a 2012 article.

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

The article that the complaint is based on was posted on May 2012.

Manuel Eduarte, NBI Cybercrime Division head agent, earlier said that the subpoenas were sent to give Ressa a chance to explain Rappler's side.

Ressa told reporters that she had yet to receive a copy of the complaint and what NBI agents will ask. She however said that Rappler "has nothing to hide."

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

On January 15, 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.

Eduarte, however, clarified that the cybercrime case is separate from the NBI-led investigation on other criminal liabilities of Rappler. He said has no hold over the "timing" of the subpoena issuance revealed—made public days after the SEC ruling was released—as the investigation on the complaint started in 2017.

READ: NBI: Rappler may still be liable for pre-Cybercrime Law article

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: Filipino journalists rally to defend press freedom


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