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Rappler CEO Ressa posts bail for anti-Dummy Law charges

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, March 29th, 2019

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa

MANILA, Philippines – Rappler news site Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Maria Ressa has been released after posting a P90,000 bail before the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 265 on Friday (March 29).

Ressa was arrested earlier upon arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from San Francisco, California in relation with her alleged violation of the Anti-Dummy Law and the Securities Regulations Code (SRC).

Pasig RTC Judge Acerey Pacheco issued the warrant for Ressa’s arrest.

READ:  Rappler CEO Maria Ressa arrested at NAIA

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against Rappler news site over the issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR) to foreign company, Omidyar Network, which has investments in Rappler’s operations.

Such is a violation of the 1987 Constitution, according to the complaint, as media entities in the Philippines must be 100 percent Filipino-owned. This brought up the allegation that Rappler was being controller by foreign entities.

Rappler has maintained that the allegations are not true even after the Court of Appeals ruled that the news website was not fully-owned by Filipinos.

This is the seventh time that Ressa has been arrested and the 11th case filed against Rappler.

The veteran journalist said her arrest, along with five members of Rappler’s 2016 board, sends a “bad signal” to the world, especially the business sector.

READ: Ressa, six other Rappler Execs face charges anew over anti-dummy law violation

“Apparently, the Philippine government with arresting just me, the fact that they also included upstanding, successful, tech entrepreneurs and businessmen, this is a bad signal to send to the rest of the world,” she told reporters outside the Pasig RTC shortly after she was released.

Malacañang, meanwhile, told Ressa to stop complaining about arrests, insisting that the legal cases against her are not attacks on press freedom.

“She cannot be complaining that this is again a violation of press freedom. Press freedom has nothing to do with the charges against Ms. Ressa,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said at a Palace press briefing.

“She’s charged of a crime and there is a determination of probable cause, hence, a warrant of arrest has been issued,” he added.

Panelo also pointed out that the issuance of warrant of arrest against Ressa proves that the government was observing due process in all the cases filed against Rappler.

He said that Ressa should instead focus on her cases and quit using press freedom as an excuse to attack the government.

“She should concentrate on defending herself in court. She cannot be always using the freedom of the press as an excuse to attack the administration,” the Palace official said. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Palace denies hand in filing of sedition raps vs Robredo, opposition

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday denied involvement in the filing of sedition charges against Vice President Leni Robredo and other known opposition figures over the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo insisted that the Palace had nothing to do with the complaint, when asked if the move is part of the Duterte administration’s “crackdown” against the opposition group.

“We have nothing to do with this case. None at all,” Panelo said in a statement.

The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Thursday filed the complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with videos, where a certain Bikoy linked members of the Duterte family to the narcotics trade.

Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be the hooded figure “Bikoy” in the videos, was named in the complaint as a witness and respondent.

Aside from Robredo, other named respondents in the complaint were former Senators Bam Aquino, Antonio Trillanes IV, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima and members of the Otso Diretso senatorial slate.

Cyber libel, estafa, and obstruction of justice charges were also filed by the police against a total of 38 respondents.

The opposition Liberal Party has branded the charges as “harassment” and “persecution”, while de Lima belittled the case, calling it “pure hogwash.”

“Pure hogwash ‘yung mga kaso na naman yan. Basura yun,” she said in an ambush interview before the hearing of the charges filed against her at Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205.

Panelo, meanwhile, called on administration critics to let the justice system work to determine the truth about the issue. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Malacañang says Duterte’s 4th SONA will be ‘short’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Courtesy : PCOO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to deliver a ‘short’ speech for his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President’s speech will not be lengthy this year, probably because of the pre-SONA forums held by his administration in the run-up to the event.

“By the way, he (Duterte) said that, because I asked him about the SONA this morning. He said, ‘Oh, it will be short,’” Panelo told reporters in a Palace press briefing.

The president, in numerous times, has been observed to give lengthy speeches that would sometimes extend for hours.

When asked how short will be Duterte’s speech, Panelo replied with “Di naman sinabi, basta ang exact words niya, ‘short lang’. You count from the two hours, one, two, three, maging tatlo.”

Duterte’s first SONA in 2016 lasted for more than one hour and 30 minutes, his second SONA lasted for two hours while his last year’s SONA lasted for 48 minutes.

READ: Duterte to explain Chinese fishing in PH waters at 4th SONA

Panelo did not provide any detail on the topics that Duterte might discuss in his speech but the President earlier said he would use SONA to ‘educate’ the public on the constitutionality of his decision to allow Chinese fishermen to trawl in the Philippine waters.

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Palace: Term extension bid for elected officials up to Congress

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

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The decision on whether to amend the Constitution to provide for longer terms of elected officials, as proposed by House speaker bet Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, is up to lawmakers, Malacañang said on Thursday.

“The decision would always lie on the members of Congress because they are the ones passing the bill. I will not preempt the wisdom of the members of Congress on this matter,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters at a Palace press briefing.

Cayetano, during a gathering of lawmakers on Wednesday, proposed to extend the term limits for elected officials, insisting it would be more “practical” and “productive” for the Lower House.  

Panelo also suggested to congressmen to consult the public about the proposal.

“I think they should conduct a survey on the sentiments of the people, whether or not they agree on that proposal. And I’m sure since that has been floated, there will be opinions being expressed by many sectors,” he said.

At present, a congressman has a three-year term and may serve for no more than three consecutive terms.

A senator has a six-year team with one re-election. (with details from Grace Casin)

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