Malacañang insists Maria Ressa is the one abusing her power as journalist
Marje Pelayo • February 15, 2019 • 1514
MANILA, Philippines — It its about abusing one’s power, Malacañang insists that it is Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa who is abusing her power as a journalist.
“Now you say there is an abuse of power, excuse me Maria, abuse of power? You are the one abusing your power as a journalist,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
“You’re martialing your colleagues to support you, on the basis of a misplaced and baseless cause. What is the cause? You’re saying that the government is instilling fear because of the case filed against you. There is no connection whatsoever,” he added.
The Palace said the charge against Ressa was constitutional and it was the Court who found probable cause to serve the arrest warrant.
Panelo stressed that the Duterte administration has nothing to do with the case.
The Palace official advised Ressa to stop blaming the government for her fate but blame it on her lawyer instead.
Meanwhile, Panelo called on Ressa’s supporters locally and abroad to educate themselves first on the exact truth behind the embattled journalist’s arrest.
“The support obviously is coming from those who had been either ignorant of the facts or misinformed of the facts,” he concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang defends President Rodrigo Duterte against critics alleging the Chief Executive of curtailing press freedom with the conviction of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said the President has never charged a journalist in court and that the existing Cyberlibel Act that convicted Maria Ressa was enacted not under his term but under the term of former President Benigno Aquino III.
“Hindi po administrasyon ni President Rodrigo Duterte ang nagsulong ng Cyberlibel Act (kundi ang) administrasyon po ni President Noynoy Aquino [It was not the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte that pushed for the Cyberlibel Act but it was the administration of President Noynoy Aquino],” Roque noted.
Despite criticisms, the Palace said it is acknowledging the court’s decision on Ressa’s case and so it urges the public to do the same.
Afterall, Roque said, Ressa and her co-accused, former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr., may still appeal the case in the higher courts.
Ressa and Santos were allowed to post bail for the case and were given 15 days to appeal the verdict.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the court ruling calling the arraignment a ‘dark day’ not only for the independent media in the Philippines but to all Filipino people.
This is a dark day not only for independent Philippine media but for all Filipinos,” the group said.
“The verdict basically kills freedom of speech and of the press,” it added.
But the group of journalists said the verdict will never be a reason for them to stop their fight for press freedom.
“But we will not be cowed. We will continue to stand our ground against all attempts to suppress our freedoms,” the NUJP said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
“As I earlier said in the press briefing this morning, those articles are reeking with malice and it’s libelous in nature because it tends to impute an act to discredit me in public and to tarnish my honor,” he said.
“In view of this, I’m filing a libel case against net Inquirer and Rappler for publishing these malicious articles,” he added.
Panelo also said they are already drafting the said complaints.
In a statement, Rappler said the complaint is merely a diversionary tactic.
Rappler also calls on Panelo to answer the questions about his possible conflicts of interest.—AAC
MANILA, Philippines – International human rights lawyers Amal Clooney and Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC will join Rappler CEO Maria Ressa’s legal team.
In a statement, Clooney expressed confidence in Maria Ressa as a ‘courageous’ journalist “who is being persecuted for reporting the news and standing up to human rights abuses.”
Ressa is currently facing several criminal cases including tax evasion and cyberlibel.
Together with her team, Clooney promised to protect the rights of journalists in the country with their handling of Ressa’s charges.
“We will pursue all available legal remedies to vindicate her rights and defend press freedom and the rule of law in the Philippines,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ressa said she is ‘delighted’ by Clooney and her team’s willingness to help in her case.
“I have been targeted and attacked simply for being an independent journalist,” Ressa said in a statement.
“I am delighted that Amal Clooney and her team will be representing me at the international level to challenge the violations of my rights and those of the media organization I represent,” the embattled journalist added.
Clooney and Gallagher, both specializing in international law and human rights, are members of the Doughty Street Chambers law firm. – with details from Mai Bermudez
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.