Manila (EFE) denounced as politically motivated.
The Philippine Prosecutor’s Office accused her of not providing Rappler’s necessary tax information for the third and fourth quarters of 2015, as well as tax evasion, charges filed during the tenure of controversial former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose war on drugs was denounced by Ressa. and its medium.
In a statement published this Wednesday, Ressa proclaimed that “today, facts win, truth wins, justice wins.”
“These accusations were a blatant abuse of power, a political siege against journalists who try to hold power accountable,” added the Nobel Prize winner.
Ressa and her Rappler portal were, with their investigations and critical publications, the scourge of Rodrigo Duterte, and the journalist always maintained that the numerous legal cases she is facing are the result of a campaign of political persecution.
Maria Ressa has three cases still pending
The journalist and her portal Rappler still have three cases pending resolution by the Philippine courts.
Ressa is facing a decision by the Philippine Supreme Court on her cyber-defamation case, after a court sentenced her for an article she neither wrote nor edited in 2012 -when the crime was not yet criminalized in the penal code-, and could face to a penalty of up to six years in prison.
In addition, last June, the Securities Market Commission ordered the closure of Rappler for allegedly violating the restrictions imposed in the country on the ownership of media in the hands of foreign entities, the appeal of which is still pending.
Finally, the Philippine Nobel Prize winner and her digital portal still have one last tax evasion case pending before a court in Pasig, in Manila, the city that houses Rappler’s offices.
For their part, the NGOs Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) urged the Philippine authorities to drop the charges that are still pending against the journalist after the news broke.
In a statement, Carlos Conde, a researcher for HRW in the Philippines, applauded Ressa’s acquittal in the tax evasion case, which he called “good news” and a “victory for press freedom in the Philippines.”
AI Philippines director Butch Olano further urged authorities to “do the same with the cyber libel charges and the others still pending against her, so she can continue to do her job.”
Ressa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2021 precisely for her research into the former Philippine president’s controversial war on drugs, as well as for combating fake news and misinformation in the Asian archipelago.
RSF celebrates the acquittal of Maria Ressa
The Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Christophe Deloire, this morning celebrated the acquittal of Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2021 and accused of alleged tax evasion in her country.
“The acquittal of Maria Ressa, editor-in-chief of Rappler and Nobel Peace Prize winner, accused of tax evasion in the Philippines, is evidence that the fight for press freedom is also made up of victories. It is worth rolling up your sleeves », Deloire wrote this Wednesday on his Twitter account.