De Lima re Ressa's conviction : a ‘weaponization’ of law against critics of Duterte admin

De Lima re Ressa's conviction : a ‘weaponization’ of law against critics of Duterte admin

Detained senator Leila De Lima slams the conviction of Rappler’s CEO and founder Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos, Jr. for cyber libel.
According to the detained senator, the conviction rendered against Ressa and Santos with respect to the 2012 cyber libel case filed by private citizen and businessman Wilfredo Keng “is but another demonstration of the Duterte government’s ‘weaponization’ of law against those who dare speak truth to power.”
“They will not stop at going after critics and human rights defenders. To them, journalists too must be silenced,” she said.
Maria Ressa and Detained Senator Leila De Lima
(photo credit to owner)

The Manila RTC branch 36 under Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa rendered  the two defendant’s up to six-year imprisonment and were also ordered to pay fines totaling to P400,000.

Keng filed a cyber libel complaint in connection with a 2012 Rappler article which reported his alleged involvement in illegal activities as a businessman.
Based from the decision Ressa’s Rappler claimed that the story written by Santos was based on an intelligence report and published months prior to the enactment and implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
The Keng camp claimed the malicious story against them was republished sometime in 2014.
De Lima compared Ressa and Santos’ conviction to her 3 year detention on charges involving illegal trade – which she calls President Duterte’s intent to silence all those who are critical to his policies.
“Jailing me for over three years now is only one of the thousand sinister ways they are causing fear in the hearts of Filipinos who fight for what is just and right,” she added.

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Report from Politiko

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