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Rappler CEO faces NBI probe on cyber libel complaint

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018


MANILA, Philippines — Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa appeared at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cybercrime Division, Monday, on a cyber libel complaint.

Ressa said that while they were given the opportunity to answer the complaint, she still sees another motive for it.

She thinks that the timing is suspicious because the probe was set after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked their license.

“Obviously, I still see this as a continuing pattern to harass and/or to shut down Rappler. I still see it as part of a concerted effort that will have an impact on press freedom in the country,” said Ressa.

She assured that Rappler is ready to face all complaints and cases which may be filed against them.

“We appeal to government authorities to do the right thing, to follow the rule of law, to give us due process. We have nothing to hide. We’ll completely submit ourselves as I did today,” said the CEO.

The cyber libel complaint was filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng last December over an article Rappler published in May 2012.

Said article was about then Chief Justice Renato Corona using Keng’s SUVs but also contain the businessman’s alleged involvement in human trafficking and drug smuggling.

While the article was written before the enactment of the Anti-Cybercrime Law, it was updated by Rappler in 2014 hence, the complainant argued that it could be qualified as a cyber libel.

But IT expert and Rappler counsel Atty. JJ Disini sees a defect in the complaint.

“The publication precedes or happened even before the law was in existence and therefore it causes into question whether or not it could apply in this case,” said the legal counsel.

He pointed out that it would be a big problem if this is affirmed since it would mean authors and publishers of decade-old articles could still be charged with cyber-libel, as long as these articles are accessible on the internet.

“If that constitutes libel today, then no one is safe. Anyone that has a libelous article that continues to be accessible today may be charged with libel and moving forward it affects everyone, not just media outlets, but also even bloggers, people who published some libel maybe ten years ago if somehow it finds its way online,” said the lawyer.

The NBI Cybercrime Division Chief said that they will study the law’s provision on this very carefully.

Rappler was given 10 days to submit their answer to the complaint.

As soon as they complied with the submission of their affidavit, we will immediately evaluate the case and submit a recommendation,” said Eduarte. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

 

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Amal Clooney attends press freedom conference

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney speaking at Freedom of Media Conference, London, England, United Kingdom | Courtesy: Reuters

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney said on Wednesday (July 10) that nations including Australia, Britain and the U.S. set an example for other world leaders in their handling of media freedom cases.

Clooney was speaking in London at a conference for media freedom attended by delegations from more than 100 countries.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland joined Clooney on stage at the event which was hosted by Britain with the Canadian government.

During her speech, Clooney spoke of assaults on media freedom including Australian police raiding the offices of the national broadcaster in June over allegations it had published classified material.

Clooney also noted the ongoing case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the arrest of two Northern Ireland journalists in the U.K. The pair were arrested over the alleged theft of documents used in a documentary; however British police have since dropped their case.

The conference aimed to defend media freedom from restrictive practices by governments, encourage participants to develop plans to legislate for a free press, help improve journalists’ safety and counter disinformation. (REUTERS)

(Production: Soraya Ali)

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NBI files syndicated estafa against Kapa founder, officials

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will file syndicated estafa and violation of Securities Regulation Code against the founder of Kapa-Community Ministry International (Kapa) and its officials.

The NBI will file eight counts of syndicated estafa and five counts of violation of the securities code against the following: Joel Apolinario, KAPA founder and president, Nonita Urbano, Junnie Apolinario, Nelio Nino, Maria Pella Sevilla, Jouelyn Del Castillo, Cristobal Barabad, Joji Jusay, Reyna Apolinario, Modie Dagala, Marnilyn Maturan, Ricky Taer, and Margie Danao.

Based on the previous investigation of the NBI, the said organization is conducting activities that can be considered as “investment scam.”

According to an anonymous complainant, he gave half a million of his retirement fund to invest in Kapa Ministry last May 24.

Being a senior citizen, he wants to retrieve his money to pay for his medical bills.

“Sana bigyan ako ng pagkakataon na ibalik nila iyong pera na pinaghirapan ko ng maraming taon. Ngayon wala na talaga akong pera may sakit ako, senior citizen ako. Wala na akong pambiling gamot, maintenance ngayon (I hope to have an opportunity to get my money back which I worked hard for for years. I have no more money left, I am sick and a senior citizen. I don’t have money to buy for my medicine),” he said.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will look into the filed complaint to see if it has enough basis to be brought to the court.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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SEC orders ALMAMICO, ALAMCCO to stop Ponzi-like investment scheme

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday ordered Alabel Maasim Mining (ALMAMICO) Corp., Alabel-Maasim Credit Cooperative (ALAMCCO) to stop soliciting money through the Ponzi scheme and without the necessary license.

The SEC said a cease and desist order was issued by the Commission En Banc on June 4, directing ALMAMICO and ALAMCCO to stop engaging in offering and selling to the public securities in the form of investment contracts without the necessary license from the agency.

The said entities operate largely in Sarangani, General Santos and Koronadal Cities, enticing members to invest their money in exchange for a 35 percent monthly return which is supposedly compounded when investors lock in their investments for a year.

According to the SEC, the scheme satisfies the elements of an investment contract, including the placement of money, the money invested is placed in a common enterprise, expectation of profits, and the generation of expected profits from the entrepreneurial and managerial efforts of others.

“ALMAMICO and ALAMCCO were also found to have engaged in public offering of securities when they indiscriminately or randomly promoted their investment schemes through videos posted online,” the agency said in a news release.

The SEC said that under Section 8.1 of Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code, “securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the Commission.”

The commission also noted that aside from operating without license, the investment scheme of ALMAMICO and ALAMCCO also resembles a Ponzi scheme, which is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new members.

The SEC has ordered the group’s officials and partners to stop promoting the scheme, and immediately delete the promotional videos from the internet.

Those who have invested in the said companies are also advised to contact the SEC offices in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City.

President Rodrigo Duterte had previously ordered agencies to launch a crackdown on companies that offer ‘too good to be true’ investment schemes.

Last May, hundreds of ALAMCCO members gathered in Sarangani to protest against the government crackdown, insisting that their investment scheme is not a scam.

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