Ruling on cyber libel case vs Rappler's Ressa out on June 15
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa inside the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila on Thursday, February 14, 2019.
The STAR/Kriszjohn Rosales
Ruling on cyber libel case vs Rappler's Ressa out on June 15
Kristine Joy Patag ( - June 1, 2020 - 5:37pm

MANILA, Philippines — A Manila court is set to issue its ruling on the government’s cyber libel case against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa on June 15.

Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 Presiding Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa set the promulgation on the morning of June 15, after more than two months of delay.

The ruling was originally set to be promulgated on April 3, but was postponed as courts drastically reduced operations to restrict movement and minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The original date of promulgation means the presiding judge would issue the ruling eight months since the trial started in July 2019.

Ressa's co-accused in the case is Reynaldo Santos, a former Rappler researcher.

The case

The case emanated from a complaint filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng assailing an article the online news site first published in May 2012 or four months before the cybercrime law was instituted.

But the Department of Justice cited the “multiple publication rule”—noting that the story was updated on Feb. 19, 2014—and indicted Rappler, Ressa and Santos on cyber libel charges.

Ressa and Santos, however, argued that there was no substantial change made in the article when it was updated in 2014, but the court said that their argument is “evidentiary in nature which the defense should prove during trial.”

Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation served the warrant of arrest on Ressa at the Rappler office on February 13, 2019.

Her camp tried to post bail at a night court, but failed to do so. Ressa spent a night in NBI detention and posted a bail bond of P100,000 before the Manila court the following day.

Ressa and Rappler are embroiled in a string of legal suits, which includes tax evasion charges.

In October 2019, the Pasig Regional Trial Court ordered a re-investigation into charges of violations of the Securities and Regulations Code against Rappler’s board. The court also suspended proceedings on Anti-Dummy charges filed against them.

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