Rappler’s 2012 article on Wilfredo Keng libelous - Former Chief Justice Panganiban

Rappler’s 2012 article on Wilfredo Keng libelous - Former Chief Justice Panganiban

This is a big blow to the image Maria Ressa is trying to portray in her so called fight for “press freedom.”
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban in his published article for Philippine Daily Inquirer dated June 21, has found Rappler’s 2012 article linking businessman and private citizen Wilfredo Keng to illegal activities such in human trafficking and drug smuggling libelous.

The former Chief Justice supports the decision of Regional Trial Court of Manila Branch 36 Judge Rainelda Estacio Montesa in convicting Rapplers chief executive officer (CEO) and founder Maria Ressa and its former reporter Reynaldo Santos, Jr.

Former CJ Artemio Panganiban and Maria Ressa
(photo credit to owner)

The former chief magistrate said Rappler’s 2012 article, which was republished in 2014, “publicly imputed despicable crimes” to Keng.
“The prosecution proved that Keng was never charged with, much less convicted of, the crimes imputed to him. But was the imputation ‘malicious’? Answer: When the offended party is not a public officer or a public figure, MALICE IS PRESUMED BY THE LAW; it need not be proven by the prosecution,” he explained.

Further he explains that it was the responsibility of Rappler ad Ressa to prove that there is lack of malice in the article, which they failed to do.
“’Lamentably, the defense miserably failed in this regard,’” he said, quoting from Montesa’s decision.
“In sum, I think the article is indeed libelous,” Panganiban added.
The former Chief Justice further explains that Ressa could dtill be acquitted if the case reaches the level of the Supreme Court.

“[T]he accused can still be acquitted based on prescription if they appeal and the Supreme Court sidesteps John Austin’s strict syllogism and embraces Roscoe Pound’s more liberal sociological school of jurisprudence that regards law merely as a brick — an important one — in the building of a just and humane society,” Panganiban said.

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