Rappler’s Maria Ressa: Guilty verdict also a blow to every citizen
MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Regional Trial Court’s guilty verdict against Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr. is a blow not only to Rappler but to every citizen.
“I think it’s a blow to us…Hindi lang ito tungkol sa Rappler, tungkol ito sa inyo. Freedom of the press is the foundation of every single right you have as a Filipino citizen. If we can’t hold power to account, we can’t do anything. If we can’t do our jobs, then your rights will be lost,” Ressa said at a press conference.
(I think it is a blow to us. This is not just about Rappler but about you.)
She admitted that the Manila court’s ruling finding her and former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos guilty of cyber libel was “devastating,” but it would not stop them from continuing the fight in upholding constitutional rights.
“We are meant to be a cautionary tale. We are meant to make you afraid. But don’t be afraid because if you don’t use your rights, you will lose them,” she said.
The Manila Regional Trial Court has meted the penalty of up to six years imprisonment plus payment of P200,000 exemplary and another P200,000 for moral damages.
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