Maria Ressa asks DOJ to dismiss cyber-libel complaint | Inquirer News

Maria Ressa asks DOJ to dismiss cyber-libel complaint

/ 06:52 PM April 24, 2018
Maria Ressa —JOAN BONDOC

Maria Ressa —JOAN BONDOC

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa on Tuesday asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the cyber-libel complaint filed against them by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and businessman Wilfredo Keng.

“The cases against Rappler are political in nature… All I have done is my job as a journalist. Hopefully, we will have these nuisance cases and harassment suits dropped,” Ressa told reporters.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ressa, accompanied by her lawyer, appeared before Senior State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog, who was handling the cyber-libel complaint.

She maintained that all the cases against Rappler had no legal basis, pointing out that the legal team of the NBI had initially recommended the dismissal of Keng’s complaint.

FEATURED STORIES

The case stemmed from an article posted in 2012 saying that then Chief Justice Renato Corona used vehicles owned by the businessman. The same article was reposted in 2014.

“I worry about the state of journalism,” Ressa said. “We’ve seen this rising use of cheap armies on social media to stifle freedom of the press and voices that are deemed critical.”

“Reporting what someone said is not being critical. Holding the government to account is not being critical. It’s called ‘doing our jobs,’” she added.

Ressa and several others are also facing a complaint for tax evasion before the DOJ.

A separate preliminary investigation was conducted also on Tuesday.

Assistant State Prosecutor Zenamar Machacon-Caparros said Ressa and Rappler Holdings Corp. (RHC) treasurer James C. Bitanga were represented by their lawyers and sought for an extension to submit the counter affidavit because have not yet received the complaint filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Based on the BIR complaint filed last March 8, RHC purchased common shares from Rappler, Inc. worth P19,245,975. Then, it issued and sold Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to two foreign firms worth P181,658,758.

ADVERTISEMENT

The BIR alleged that the company is liable for non-payment of P133,841,305 — broken down into P91,320,481 in income tax and P42,520,824 in VAT — for the year 2015.

BIR said RHC used the same common shares it purchased from Rappler as the underlying share of the PDRs for profit and transmitted economic rights to the PDR holders.

The agency explained that RHC is subject to income tax and VAT, being a dealer in securities. However, the annual ITR and VAT returns for 2015, according to the BIR, does not reflect any IT and VAT from the PDR transaction. /je

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: CEO, cyber libel complaint, DoJ, Journalist, Maria Ressa, NBI, Rappler
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.