“We have asked the NBI agents concerned to explain the incident to the DOJ. We should be receiving such explanation by Monday. If warranted, we shall take the appropriate disciplinary action,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday.
“We have asked the NBI agents concerned to explain the incident to the DOJ. We should be receiving such explanation by Monday. If warranted, we shall take the appropriate disciplinary action,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday.
File
NBI told to explain threat to Rappler staff
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) accused of threatening a Rappler staff for video recording the arrest of Maria Ressa have until Monday to submit their explanation to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“We have asked the NBI agents concerned to explain the incident to the DOJ. We should be receiving such explanation by Monday. If warranted, we shall take the appropriate disciplinary action,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday.

He said he does not yet have the names of the agents or how many were involved in the late afternoon arrest of Ressa last Feb.13 at the Rappler office in Pasig.

“We addressed the directive to the NBI director,” the DOJ chief added, referring to Dante Gierran.

Rappler reporter Aika Rey had alleged being ordered by an NBI agent to stop taking video of the arrest or uploading a recording of the incident on social media or she would be next to be arrested.

The NBI men brandished an arrest warrant issued by a Manila court in connection with the cyberlibel case filed by Filipino-Chinese businessman Wilfredo Keng against Ressa, Rappler’s CEO.

Meanwhile, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said Ressa’s arrest was a form of threat against press freedom and the truth.

“This is a threat against the press, the curtailment of the truth and this is not right. If we do not speak out (against this) people might think that it is OK because no one is complaining,” Pabillo said.

He added the outrage expressed by international press organizations, influential personalities and some universities in Metro Manila was an expected offshoot of the controversial arrest.

 “We all know that today’s government uses the law to silence people,” he said.

Pro-administration senator Aquilino Pimentel III downplayed the ruckus caused by Ressa’s arrest, saying the incident should not be politicized.

“There was an actual article that offended someone. So what’s the remedy of the aggrieved accused I think of being a criminal? He filed cyber-libel, this is a normal course of event,” Pimentel said over dwIZ.

“Let’s remove politics here. It’s very politicized. The long and short of it is, a Rappler article came out and somebody got hurt. When he read it he got hurt because he was accused of being involved in a crime. So this is a case of libel, since the posting was online,” Pimentel said.

Former senator Jinggoy Estrada, another administration ally, called the Rappler story “irresponsible journalism” and full of bias.

“Where is fair reporting? If you’re an ally of the administration, they will always fabricate issues against you,” Estrada said. “We need press freedom, but reporting should be fair and responsible,” he added. – With Cecille Suerte-Felipe

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE MARIA RESSA NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
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