Maria Ressa’s accuser: ‘I am not being used by Philippine gov’t’
MANILA, Philippines — “I am in no way being used by the Philippine Government.”
This was what Wilfredo Keng, the businessman who filed a complaint against Rappler chief executive Maria Ressa, said on Friday amid the uproar on Ressa’s arrest over a cyberlibel charge.
Keng also noted that his complaint against Ressa did not tackle “state suppression of policy criticism or of free expression of sentiment.”
Last Wednesday, Ressa was arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in relation to a cyberlibel case.
The case stemmed from Keng’s complaint on a 2012 Rappler article, titled “CJ using SUVs of controversial businessman,” which claimed that then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was at that time under an impeachment trial, used a car owned by Keng.
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 remove the article. The article, however, remained online and was even updated on February 19, 2014.
The businessman stressed that his case against Ressa case did not “impinge” on the freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
“Its filing and progression do not impinge in any way on freedom of speech and of the press, freedoms which I fully believe in and support,” Keng said in a statement.
Keng added that he will continue his criminal case against Rappler and Ressa, noting that it would face a “difficult fight” against the news agency.
“I will continue this criminal case against Rappler and Ressa, and am currently exploring all other cases that can be filed against them. In doing so, I know that I face a hard fight and a formidable opponent,” Keng said.
“Nevertheless, I will persevere and do the right thing, because even against such overwhelming odds, I believe that justice and truth will win. The law will reign supreme,” he added.
On Wednesday, Rappler slammed the cyberlibel case, saying it was “preposterous and baseless.”
“The filing of the case is preposterous and baseless,” Rappler said. “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.” /je
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