Judge denies Rappler motion to dismiss cyberlibel case
The cyberlibel case against Rappler news site CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa and former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. will push through.
This after the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46 dismissed for lack of merit Rappler’s motion to quash the case filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng.
Rappler had filed a demurrer to evidence, a motion to dismiss the case based on insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution. If granted, the case will be junked.
But in a 12-page order dated Nov. 15, Manila RTC Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa ruled that “the evidence presented by the prosecution is sufficient to sustain the indictment of violation of Section 4 (C) (4) [cyberlibel] of Republic Act No. 10175, and that the accused appear to be the perpetrators thereof.”
While Rappler argued that there was no proof that Ressa and Santos were involved in the “alleged republishing of the story,” the court contended that their participation on the republication of the story “cannot be denied.”
In his Rappler story titled “CJ using SUVs of controversial businessman,” Santos wrote that Keng had lent his sport utility vehicle (SUV) to the impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona. Santos also alleged that Keng was under government surveillance.
Although the article was published in 2012, the complaint was filed in 2017, way beyond the one-year prescriptive period of ordinary libel under the Revised Penal Code.
Last February, the justice department approved the filing of the cyberlibel case, saying that while the story was published on May 29, 2012, or about four months before the cybercrime law took effect, the article was updated in February 2014.
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