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Ressa to appeal court’s dismissal of her motion to quash charges

05:38 AM April 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The lawyer of Rappler executive editor and CEO Maria Ressa on Tuesday said they would appeal anew to have the cyberlibel charges filed against her quashed, after a Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) upheld state prosecutors’ argument that the prescriptive period for cyberlibel was 12 years.

Theodore Te said they would contest the April 12 decision of Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa of RTC Branch 46 denying Ressa’s motion to dismiss the charges.

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Montesa allowed Ressa and her coaccused, former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos, 10 days to appeal after deferring their arraignment to May 17.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Ressa and Santos over a Rappler report in 2012 that said businessman Wilfredo Keng lent his sports utility vehicle to impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Human rights groups have said the case against Ressa is a serious attack on press freedom.

Prescriptive period

Speaking to reporters, Ressa said it was “shocking” that the court upheld the DOJ theory on the prescriptive period of the cyberlibel law.

Ressa’s lawyers had argued that, under the 2012 Cybercrime Prevention Act, a cyberlibel complaint could not be filed one year after the publication of an offending report.

The report was posted in 2012 but was updated in 2014.

Keng filed the complaint in 2017.

Ressa cited a 2014 Supreme Court ruling that said cyberlibel was not a new crime, but one already punishable under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code.

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But Montesa ruled that cyberlibel was a special crime that had its own prescriptive period under Republic Act No. 3326. —Krixia Subingsubing

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TAGS: cyberlibel case, Maria Ressa, Rainelda Estacio-Montesa, Rappler, Theodore Te
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