Rappler’s Ressa to file motion to quash cyberlibel case
MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa will ask the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) to dismiss the cyberlibel case filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ) .
“What we will do is we will file a separate motion to question the information that was filed,” Ressa’s lawyer JJ Disini told reporters at the Manila RTC Branch 46 on Thursday.
“We intend to file it within the week so tomorrow is our target.”
Under the Rules of Court, a motion to quash is filed in court to dismiss an information or charge sheet at any time before an accused enters a plea.
Ressa was subject of an arrest warrant for cyberlibel in relation to a complaint filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng.
Disini said that they will attack the “merits of information” in the indictment of DOJ on the cyberlibel case filed against Ressa.
“What we will attack in the motion to quash are the merits of the information and the charge filed by the DOJ. The manner in which the arrest warrant is unfortunate but Maria has already posted bail, there was an order for release. I think we will leave that alone,” he said.
Ressa’s libel case stemmed from Keng’s complaint against a 2012 Rappler article, titled, “CJ using SUVs of controversial businessman,” which claimed that then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was then the subject of an impeachment trial, used a vehicle owned by Keng.
Keng denied the accusation and requested Rappler to take down the article.
The article, however, remained accessible online and was updated on February 19, 2014.
DOJ then said in its resolution: “The publication complained of imputes to complainant Keng the commission of crimes. It is clearly defamatory.”
Disini, however warned that DOJ’s indictment against Rappler increases “criminal liability” for self-expression in the internet.
“That basically increases the criminal liability not only of private individuals engaged in the self expression on the internet but also in traditional media and media publishing their work on their internet,” he pointed out. / gsg
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