CA decision denies appeal of Maria Ressa, former Rappler researcher

Maria Ressa during today’s hearing in Manila (Photo by Rein Tarinay / Bulatlat)


MANILA – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) is alarmed over the new cases of press freedom violations, with the Court of Appeals denying the cyber libel conviction appeal of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, and former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr., as the most recent.

“We are not taking all these sitting down. As we always say, an attack on one is an attack on all,” the NUJP said.

The cyber libel charge stemmed from an article involving businessman Wilfredo Keng’s link to former chief of justice Renato Corona in 2012, before the passing of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The article, however, was updated in 2014 to correct a typographical error.

The ruling, penned by Associate Justices Roberto Quiroz, Ramon Bato, and Germano Francisco Legaspi, reaffirmed the Manila court decision and imposed a longer sentence. Both journalists may now face up to six years and an additional eight months of prison sentence.

Rappler, in a statement, said they will bring the decision before the Supreme Court, adding that they remain hopeful that the high court will “take a second look” at the constitutionality of cyber libel, as well as its continued criminalization and the 12-year prescription period.

“The decision weakens the ability of journalists to hold power to account,” said Rappler.

Aside from the cyber libel raps, Rappler also faces a possible shutdown after the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) decided to uphold their decision to revoke the certificates of incorporation of Rappler Inc., as well as Rappler Holdings Corporation.

Read via our mirror site: Media groups assail SEC shutdown order against Rappler

There are also tax evasion charges filed against Ressa.

Apart from Rappler, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) blocked access to two media outfits’ websites, one of which is Bulatlat, for alleged terror links. Last Friday, the Alipato Media Center, which publishes Bulatlat, asked a Quezon City court to nullify the blocking order.

“This is not just about Maria Ressa, Rey Santos Jr., or Rappler. What is ultimately at stake is our democracy whose strength rests on a media that is not threatened by the state nor intimidated by forces out to silence critical voices,” Rappler said. (JJE) (

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