Rappler CEO faces NBI probe on cyber libel complaint

admin   •   January 22, 2018   •   4422


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

 

DOJ orders NBI to probe alleged ‘hospital pass for sale’ at Bilibid

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the purported “hospital pass for sale” to inmates of the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), the latest in a series of alleged anomalies in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in recent weeks.

In the Department Order No. 479 dated Sept. 9, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the NBI to look into and conduct case build-up on the alleged illegal practice of transferring inmates to the NBP hospital in exchange for money.

“The NBI, through Director Dante A. Gierran, is hereby directed and granted authority to conduct an investigation and case build-up on the alleged illegal practice of transferring Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) to the New Bilibid Prison Hospital monetary consideration,” Guevarra said in his order.

“If evidence warrants, to file the appropriate charges against persons found responsible therefor,” he added.

Guevarra cited the provisions of Republic Act No. 10867 or the National Bureau of Investigation Reorganization and Modernization Act which authorizes the Secretary of Justice to direct the NBI to undertake the investigation of any crime in the interest of the service and interest of the public.

The DOJ also directed the NBI to submit reports on the process of the investigation and case build-up.

The “hospital pass for sale” was revealed after witnesses said that moneyed inmates could get hospital referrals and other prison benefits from BuCor officials on the basis of tampered medical record that would make it appear that they need to be transferred to less congested facilities for health reasons.

The issue came on the heels of alleged sale of good conduct credits to convicts using the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, which hounded the BuCor since news on convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez’s possible release for good behavior broke out.

BuCor data revealed that around 1,914 convicts of heinous crimes have been released since the law’s enactment in 2013.

The issue led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as BuCor chief by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Around 27 BuCor personnel were also ordered suspended without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman for gross misconduct and gross neglect of duty over the release of convicts.  

Raps filed against American woman caught hiding a baby inside her bag at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 5, 2019

Jennifer Erin Talbot

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed human trafficking and kidnapping with serious illegal detention charges against an American woman who was caught hiding a six-day old baby boy inside her bag at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The NBI filed the complaints against the woman, identified as Jennifer Erin Talbot, 43 who is now under its custody following her arrest on Wednesday morning.

Talbot was apprehended after she was reported by an airline personnel to be carrying an infant in her sling bag, without proper travel documents, when she was about to board a flight to the United States.

Talbot did not declare the baby when she passed thru the immigration counter at the airport.

The NBI said that upon investigation, Talbot failed to present travel clearance for the baby boy from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) nor a written consent from the infant’s parents.

The baby boy was born on August 29 in a hospital in Davao City to a mother who allegedly executed a notarized affidavit of consent and support to the infant’s travel to the US, but was not signed, according to the bureau.

The NBI said Talbot was charged for violation of the Section 4(k) in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act as amended by RA 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012; Section 10 (a) of RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code (Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention).

Talbot was presented for inquest proceedings before the office of the prosecutor of Pasay City.

The parents of the baby, identified as Maricris Cempron Dulap and an unnamed father, also face charges for child abuse. Both remain at large.

The baby has been placed under the care of the DSWD.

Panelo to file libel charges against INQUIRER.net, Rappler

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 3, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has announced he will file libel charges against online publications INQUIRER.net and Rappler.

This is due to their “malicious” reports about Panelo’s referral letter on former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez’s executive clemency plea.

According to Panelo, the same media outlets reported that he “recommended” the release of the former mayor. He clarified that he only “referred” it to the Bureau of Pardons and Parole (BPP).

READ: BPP: Panelo referred Sanchez’s clemency application

He is referring to Rappler’s article, “Panelo endorsed Sanchez’s letter for executive clemency.” INQUIRER.net also posted a tweet on the same issue.

“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

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