CA junks OSG’s appeal, allows Maria Ressa to attend Harvard program in US
MANILA, Philippines — Nobel Peace Prize awardee and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa left for the United States on Sunday following the Court of Appeals’ decision granting her request to attend a program at Harvard University in Boston, and at the same time, visit her parents in Florida.
In its resolution, the Court of Appeals 8th division, which is hearing the appeal on her cyber libel conviction, allowed Ressa to travel from Oct. 31, 2021, to Dec. 2, 2021, only for the purpose she mentioned.
The appeals court required Ressa to post a P500,000 travel cash bond and submit her updated itinerary including her intended visit to her parents in Florida.
Upon her return, the court also required Ressa to report to the court in writing within 24 hours from arrival.
The Office of the Solicitor General tried to block Ressa’s travel bid, saying there is no “absolute necessity and urgency” for her to travel to the US. The OSG added that the fact that Ressa has been criticizing her cyber libel conviction and the fact that she has dual citizenship makes her a flight risk.
But the Court of Appeals, in denying the bid of the OSG said the arguments it has raised in its motion for reconsideration are a mere reiteration of their comments “which we have exhaustively passed upon.”
The appeals court said the OSG’s claim that Ressa’s dual citizenship and alleged lack of respect for the country’s judicial system makes her a flight risk is speculative.
“The Office of the Solicitor General failed to present compelling reasons to warrant a reconsideration of the Oct. 18, 2021 resolution,” the appeals court said.
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