RESSA A CONVICTED FELON FOR CYBER LIBEL
By ROGER M. BALANZA
Rappler founder Maria Ressa on Tuesday, October 12, stood firm on her claim the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte was behind the cyberlibel crime filed against her even as she thanked Malacanang for congratulating her for winning the Nobel Peace Prize 2021 for journalism.
Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov won the 2021 Nobel prize for braving the “wrath of their respective governments to expose corruption and misrule.”
“I suppose thank you and then what I didn’t appreciate is almost hand in hand it came with a hit,” Ressa said of the Malacañang statement congratulating her for her award.
However, Ressa spiced up the thank you with a sour note relating to the cyberlibel rap filed against her..
“Hand in hand with that (congratulation) was this reminder, which is a lie… that the cyberlibel complaint is filed by an individual and what the government repeatedly refuses to say is that it takes a government to actually file a criminal case, ” she said.
“So this is the government’s case, it’s the Department of Justice’s, it is their decision. So they should really own it. So thanks, but not thanks, ” Ressa said.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday said in a virtual press briefing,that the Palace is congratulating Ressa but slammed the journalist for her claim about government being behind the libel case.
The criminal liability of Maria Ressa remains pending in our courts and we leave it to our courts,” Roque said. Ressa is on bail from a libel rap filed by a businessman.
Roque said Ressa still has to clear her name before the Philippine court.
“In fact, she’s a convicted felon for cyber libel in the Philippines and faces other cases in the Philippines and that’s for the court to decide,” he said.
Ressa is the first Filipino recipient of the prestigious citation. She was also the first woman to receive this year’s Nobel Prize award.
Roque congratulated Ressa, noting that the award is “a victory for a Filipina.”
Roque said press freedom in the Philippines is alive “and the proof is the Nobel prize award given to Maria Ressa.”