NBI arrests Rappler’s Maria Ressa for cyber libel

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DAVAO CITY (February 13)—  Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested Rappler Inc. publisher Maria Ressa inside the news agency’s office in Pasig City, for cyber libel at around 5:00 in the afternoon today.

The NBI conducted the arrest following the warrant issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 Presiding Judge Rainelda H. Estacio-Montessa Tuesday, February 12, for violation of Sec. 4 (C)(4) of Rep. Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

The NBI effected the warrant against Ressa and Rappler writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. .stemmed from the complaint of businessman Wilfredo Keng, who was the subject of Rappler’s article titled “CJ using SUVs of a controversial businessman” published in 2012.

Ressa and Santos are being charged under the provision on content-related offenses which includes libel committed through a computer system or similar means. 

Right after the arrest, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters “This is simply procedural. Ms. Ressa may post bail anytime, even before the warrant is served.”

Ressa said, she was shocked by the sudden arrest “It’s a shock, but we are going,” she told reporters.

The NBI agents according to Ressa, treated her professionally “They told me that ‘Ma’am, trabaho lang po ito.’

Aside form the cyber libel, Ressa is also facing five cases of tax evasion before the Court of Tax Appeals and the Pasig City Regional Trial Court.

Despite these, Ressa vowed she will not be silenced, “We are not intimidated. No amount of legal cases, black propaganda, and lies can silence Filipino journalists who continue to hold the line.”

This developed, as the court refused to accept the bail of Ressa, which would mean, she will spend the night at the NBI.

The refusal is contrary to Guevarra’s earlier claim that Ressa can post bail anytime.-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph

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