Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa submitted her counter-affidavit to the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the preliminary hearing on Tuesday.
Edd Gumban
Rappler execs want libel raps dropped
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - April 26, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Executives and staff of online news outfit Rappler yesterday sought the dismissal of the cyber libel charges filed against them by the National Bureau of Investigation and businessman Wilfredo Keng. 

Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa submitted her counter-affidavit to the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

Former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr., who wrote the article against Keng, appeared at the hearing and submitted his answer.

Rappler directors James Bitanga, Manuel Ayala, Nico Jose Nolledo, Glenda Gloria, Felicia Atienza, Dan Alber de Padua and Jose Maria Hofilena also sought the dismissal of the complaint for lack of probable cause.

The complaint stemmed from an article titled “CJ using SUVs of controversial businessmen,” which Rappler published on May 29, 2012.

The news website reported that the late chief justice Renato Corona, who was then facing an impeachment trial, had been using a black sport utility vehicle whose license plate was allegedly issued to Keng.

Ressa argued that she could not be held liable for libel since Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act  was not yet in effect when the story was published.

The law was approved on Sept. 12, 2012 and took effect 15 days later.

Ressa also argued that the complaint could no longer be pursued because the prescription period of one year for the filing of a libel case under the Revised Penal Code had lapsed.

The DOJ set the next hearing on May 18.

Ressa and Bitanga are facing separate charges of tax evasion before the DOJ.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue accused them of non-payment of around P133.8 million in taxes.

CYBER LIBEL MARIA RESSA RAPPLER
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