Court of Tax Appeals upholds Maria Ressa acquittal
MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Tax Appeals has upheld its acquittal of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa and her Rappler Holdings Corp. of tax evasion charges, finding “no compelling reason” to reverse its earlier decision.
In an 11-page resolution on May 18, the tax appeals court denied the prosecution’s motion for reconsideration.
The court maintained that its acquittal of Ressa and Rappler adhered to the “finality-of-acquittal doctrine” which prescribes that an acquittal can no longer be reconsidered.
The court said this would be in violation of the 1987 Constitution, which, under Article III, states that: “No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense.”
According to the resolution penned by Associate Justice Catherine Manahan, one of the essential elements of the crimes charged against Rappler was its alleged willful failure to pay taxes in 2015, “as a dealer in securities that derived trading income from the purchase and sale of securities as evidenced by the [Philippine Deposit receipts, or PDRs].”