Appeals court upholds denial of Ressa motion to go to US for talks, award
In this file photo taken on Feb. 13, 2019, Rappler CEO and high-profile journalist Maria Ressa stayed overnight at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila after the bureau's agents arrested her for a cyberlibel charge. She posted bail the following day.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

Appeals court upholds denial of Ressa motion to go to US for talks, award

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - August 26, 2020 - 6:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals has upheld its ruling denying Rappler CEO Maria Ressa’s motion to leave the country for a series of events in the United States.

CA’s Special 14th Division junked Ressa’s Very Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, urging the court to allow her to leave for the US on late August while her appeal remains pending.

Ressa appealed for the reversal of the appeals court’s earlier ruling that threw out her motion as it held that her trip to the US is unnecessary. The court said that Ressa, in her appeal, argued that there is no specific law to restrict her constitutional right to travel. She also said that her intended travel is relevant to the exercise of her profession as a journalist. 

In its latest resolution, the CA division said: “Ressa still failed to prove that her intended travel to the United States of America and her physical presence in the events are necessary and urgent.”

The court also reiterated that she may participate in the events through videoconferencing.

“Wherefore, Maria A. Ressa’s Very Urgent Motion for Reconsideration is denied,” the resolution dated August 20 but made public only on Wednesday read.

Associate Justice Geraldine Fiel-Macaraig wrote the CA ruling, with concurrences from Associate Justices Danton Bueser and Carlito Calpatura.

Ressa, who was found guilty of cyber libel in June, sought the CA’s nod to be allowed to leave for the US on August 23 and return on September 19 for a series of events related to the release of and panel discussions on the “A Thousand Cuts” documentary.

She also said she is set to be conferred with the “2020 International Press Freedom Award” from the US National Press Club.

Ressa and former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos’ appeal on the Manila court’s guilty verdict had reached the CA after the local court stood firm on its ruling.

The Office of the Solicitor General, representing People of the Philippines in the pending appeal, blocked Ressa’s motion to travel saying that Ressa’s public statements indicates her “lack of respect for the Philippine judicial system” and makes her a flight risk.

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