Rappler chief Ressa pleads not guilty to tax cases

Rappler chief Ressa pleads not guilty to tax cases
Philippine journalist Maria Ressa (C) is surrounded by the press as she is escorted by a National Bureau Investigation (NBI) agent (L) at the NBI headquarters after her arrest in Manila on February 13, 2019. Ressa, who has repeatedly clashed with President Rodrigo Duterte, was arrested in her Manila office on February 13 in what rights advocates called an act of "persecution".
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Rappler CEO and veteran journalist Maria Ressa on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to the government’s tax evasion charges against her.

The STAR reported that Ressa, who is also Rappler Holdings Corp. CEO, pleaded not guilty to the four tax-related cases lodged before the Court of Tax Appeals. RHC is the holding company of Rappler Inc., the owner of the news website.

This was Ressa’s first arraignment in the seven active cases against her and the 11 against Rappler.

The government alleges that RHC failed to supply correct information in its value-added tax Returns and income tax returns for the third and fourth quarter of 2015.

It also alleged that the company attempted to evade payment of taxes in 2015 for the sale of Philippine Depositary Recepts to NBM Rappler LP and Omidyar Network Fund LLC.

Rappler and Ressa are also facing a string of legal suits before other local courts such as a cyberlibel charge, anti-dummy law violation and violation of Securities and Regulations Code violation.

The high-profile journalist asserted that the cases against her and her company are political persecution over their coverage of the Duterte government, but the Palace has repeatedly distanced itself from the cases against them. — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from The STAR/Elizabeth Marcelo




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