Court defers arraignment of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa over cyber libel case

Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa is pictured inside the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila, Philippines, February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

A Manila Court on Tuesday deferred the arraignment of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa following her cyber libel case filed by a local businessman.

The court proceeding was reset due to Ressa’s motion for reconsideration seeking to reverse a Manila court’s denial of her plea to junk the case. According to Joseph Banguis, lawyer of private complainant Wilfredo Keng, the arraignment was deferred to May 17.

Upon arriving before the scheduled arraignment, Ressa said she was surprised that the court denied their appeal to junk the case.

“Really shocked that in one stroke they would turn one year into 12 years for a prescription. That’s huge. I guess this is a good test case (for cyber libel). They can prove whether judicial independence exists,” she said in a chance interview with the media.

The case stemmed from a 2012 article on news site Rappler, which claimed that Keng’s luxury vehicle was used by former Chief Justice Renato Corona during the impeachment proceedings against him. The report also said Keng had been under surveillance by the National Security Council for alleged involvement in human trafficking and drug smuggling, which his camp denied.




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