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Palace on Maria Ressa arrest: ‘No one is above the law’

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 12:17 AM February 14, 2019
Salvador Panelo

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — “No one is above the law,” Malacañang said Wednesday after the National Bureau of Investigation arrested Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa over a cyberlibel case.

According to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the Duterte administration “has always respected the judiciary on how it handles cases pending before its courts,” adding that the President would “refrain from interfering in its own present affairs.”

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“Ms. Ressa being a media practitioner and a high ranking officer of a media outfit critical of the President’s programs and policies has nothing to do with the present circumstances she is currently in,” Panelo said in a statement.

“Freedom of expression, as critics of this Administration erroneously suggest, is absolutely unrelated with Ms. Ressa’s probable violation of the country’s laws,” he added. “Ressa should, in fact, welcome this as an opportunity to defend herself and be heard before the court of law.”

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Ressa will spend the night at the NBI headquarters in Manila after a Pasay City night court refused to accept bail for her cyberlibel case.

She was arrested after Branch 46 of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday, Feb. 12. But NBI agents only served the warrant at the Rappler office in Pasig City on Wednesday afternoon.

READ: Maria Ressa spends night at NBI

“We are a country of laws and every citizen must adhere to the rule of law. No one is above the law, not even high profile self-anointed crusading journalists,” Panelo said. “Whatever the outcome is, it must be respected by everyone for such is the law. This is how the rule of law work.” /atm

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TAGS: cyberlibel case, Maria Ressa, Rappler, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo
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