Ressa arrest shows how Duterte admin ‘twists law’ to silence critics – Hontiveros
MANILA, Philippines – The arrest of Rappler chief executive Maria Ressa showed how President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration “twists the law” to silence its critics.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros made this assertion as she lambasted Duterte’s “display of authoritarian tendencies” and “distaste for free and principled press.”
“By sending award-winning Rappler CEO and TIME Person of the Year Maria Ressa to jail, President Rodrigo Duterte once more twists the law in an attempt to silence voices of truth and dissent,” Hontiveros said in a statement on Thursday.
“It is the latest display of Duterte’s authoritarian tendencies, and much like other would-be dictators, his distaste for the free and principled press,” she added.
Hontiveros further said Ressa’s arrest was a manifestation of Duterte’s penchant to “selective justice,” underscoring his administration’s “unwilingness” to implement the arrest warrant against Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos as well as its “inability” to bring to justice drug lord Peter Lim.
“There is no question that Ressa’s arrest is meant to intimidate members of the media – especially those engaged in reportage critical of the administration – into submission,” Hontiveros noted.
She condemned the Duterte administration’s efforts to “erode” the country’s democratic institutions, standing with Ressa and Rappler in their “fight against the administration’s latest assault on the freedom of the press.”
“We must speak out and decry this outrageous act of oppression and authoritarianism,” Hontiveros said.
“We must hold the line and help protect the cause of the free press and its role of speaking truth to power, making our leaders accountable and safeguarding our democracy,” she added.
Government agents arrested Ressa Wednesday afternoon at Rappler’s office in Pasig City by virtue of a warrant issued by Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 due to a cyberlibel case.
She spent the night at the headquarters of the National Bureau of Investigation on Taft Avenue, Manila after a Pasay City night court refused to accept her bail.
Earlier Thursday, the Rappler CEO posted bail amounting to P100,000 before Manila RTC Branch 46 for her temporary freedom.
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