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Cyberlibel case vs Rappler may be dismissed

MANILA, Philippines — A Manila court has allowed Rappler and its executive editor Maria Ressa to file a motion to dismiss the cyberlibel case lodged against the online news site by businessman Wilfredo Keng.

In an order dated Oct. 8, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa granted Ressa’s motion and that of Rappler and its former employee Reynaldo Santos Jr., to file a demurrer to evidence — a motion to dismiss the case based on insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution.

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The one-page order also gave the accused 10 days from Tuesday to file the plea, while the prosecution was also given 10 days to respond.

Should the court grant the demurrer, the cyberlibel case will be junked.

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In his Rappler story, Santos said that Keng had lent his sport utility vehicle to impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona. He also alleged that Keng was under government surveillance.

Although the article was published in 2012, the complaint was only lodged in 2017, way beyond the one-year prescriptive period of ordinary libel under the Revised Penal Code.

But the justice department extended the prescriptive period to 12 years after publication.

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TAGS: cyberlibel, Maria Ressa, Rappler, Reynaldo Santos Jr., Wilfredo Keng
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