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BIR files tax evasion case vs Rappler

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2018

FILE IMAGE: Rappler’s Maria Ressa

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has filed a tax evasion complaint against the online news site Rappler.

The BIR said Rappler failed to pay taxes worth P133-million in 2015 including income and value added tax.

The agency is running after the Rappler’s president and CEO, Maria Ressa and its treasurer, James Bitanga.

Also included in the complaint is certified public accountant Noel Baladiang for signing and certifying the financial statements of Rappler even when, according to BIR, the online news site clearly failed to declare its real income.

Meanwhile, Malacañang described the million-peso tax evasion case against Rappler Holdings Corporation as a mere law enforcement.

“It’s just implementation of the law. If there is really tax evasion, violators should be held liable. If I were the one who received the 1.5 million dollars, I should have paid taxes,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. — UNTV News & Rescue

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Time ‘Person of Year’ goes to journalists, including imprisoned Reuters pair

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

Time Magazine covers featuring journalist | REUTERS

Time magazine on Tuesday (December 11) named a group of journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and a pair of Reuters journalists imprisoned by Myanmar’s government, as its “Person of the Year,” in a cover story headlined “The Guardians and the War on Truth.”

The honor went to a series of journalists including Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who the government of Myanmar convicted on Sept. 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act in a case seen as a test of democratic freedoms in Myanmar.

Also honored was Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi was killed two months ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul when he went there to collect documents for his forthcoming marriage.

The 95-year-old magazine also honored Maria Ressa, the founder of the Philippine news site Rappler that has been a frequent critic of that nation’s President Rodrigo Duterte, and the staff of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, where a gunman shot and killed five people in June.

Time said it chose to honor journalism at time when the practice critical democracy is under threat both from governments and technological advances. Its annual distinction is intended to recognize the person, group, thing or idea that had the greatest influence on world events that year.

“For taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out, the Guardians – Jamal Khashoggi, the Capital Gazette, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo – are Time’s Person of the Year 2018,” Time editor-in-chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal said in a statement.

Ressa and her site were charged with tax evasion by the Philippines’ justice department in November.

The four groups were highlighted on four separate covers of the magazine, one of which features the wives of the imprisoned Reuters reporters embracing one another as they hold photos of their husbands. — Reuters

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Court orders arrest of Rappler’s Maria Ressa

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Rappler’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and executive editor Maria Ressa


PASIG CITY, Philippines – The Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 265 released on Monday (December 3) the order of arrest against Rappler’s chief executive officer (CEO) and executive editor, Maria Ressa, for charges of multiple tax evasion.

The order, which was signed on Thursday (November 29), states that Ressa may post for bail of P60,000 for her temporary release.

Ressa, meanwhile, stands up to her battle against the government.

“I’ll face these charges in court, I have no doubt we will win in the long term. I call on the men and women in the Philippine judiciary, in the Court of Tax Appeals…We’re doing nothing but good journalism,” the embattled journalist said.

Ressa and the online news website Rappler have been criticized by Malacañang time and again for publishing articles critical to the Duterte administration. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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Rappler answers P133 million tax evasion case

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, May 7th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Rappler CEO Maria Ressa

MANILA, Philippines – Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa on Monday, May 7, filed her counter-affidavit with the Department of Justice in response to the P133 million tax evasion complaint of the Bureau of the Internal Revenue (BIR).

Rappler’s legal counsel said the complaint is baseless.

There was no tax evasion. There was no intent to avoid tax. Everything was disclosed, not just to financial statements, to the SEC,” Rappler’s legal counsel Atty. Eric Recalde said.

He explained that what the company did was just a fund-raiser when it issued the Philippine depository receipts (PDRS) and sold them to two foreign investors.

“Definitely, there is no way the company could be considered to be a dealer in securities which is essentially the basis why the BIR treated the transaction to be a buy and sale of security allegedly subject to taxes,” Recalde said.

Ressa appealed to BIR to investigate first before filing a case. She argued that the complaint is intended to harass and intimidate them.

“By filing the charges before any investigation, they violated my constitutional rights. They asked for our books three days before they filed the charges,” she said.

 The DOJ will resume the preliminary investigation on may 21 to receive BIR’s reply. – Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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