Complainant on Ressa’s arrest: ‘No one is above the law’
MANILA, Philippines — “No one is above the law.”
This is what Wilfredo Keng, the businessman who filed a complaint against Rappler executive director Maria Ressa, said on Thursday of Ressa’s arrest.
Keng said that he was “deeply grateful” that the Department of Justice indicted Ressa for cyber libel over Rappler’s 2012 article which he said was “clearly defamatory.
The article, titled “CJ using SUVs of controversial businessman,” claimed that then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was then under an impeachment trial, used a car owned by Keng
In that article published on May 29, 2012, Rappler cited “an intelligence report” that claimed that Keng was “under surveillance by the National Security Council for alleged involvement in illegal activities, namely ‘human trafficking and drug smuggling.”
Keng denied the allegation and requested Rappler to take down the article. However, the article remained online and was even updated on February 19 2014.
“Such reckless, premature and inaccurate reporting on official government processes reek of actual malice and cyber bullying and border on the intentional propagation of ‘fake news’,” Keng said in a statement.
“It is thus high time that we remember that the foundation of our independence, democracy and freedom is based on one simple truth: no one is above the law,” he added.
Keng said he was praying that the “dispensation of justice be lawful and swift.”
He added that if left unaccountable, Rappler and Ressa’s “example of impunity will be emulated, replicated, and destroy not just individual lives but our entire country.”
Ressa was arrested on Wednesday after the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 ordered her arrest over a cyberlibel case.
She spent the night at the office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after the Pasay City night court refused to accept bail.
Rappler said, “The filing of the case is preposterous and baseless.” It added, “No less than NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] Cybercrime Division chief Manuel Eduarte closed an investigation in February 2018 after finding no basis to proceed, given that the one-year prescriptive period had lapsed.”
“Eight days later, however, the NBI revived the case, and filed it with the Department of Justice on the basis of a theory they call continuous publication,” the news agency noted. /cbb
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