Ex-CJ Panganiban says Ressa’s shabby treatment during arrest has zero impact on libel case
Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban said the controversy surrounding the arrest of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa has no bearing on the cyber libel case filed against the against the web-only news site which is part of the media cartel of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Panganiban said Ressa’s complaints against her arresting officers who served the warrant at the Rappler office on February 13 would be addressed in administrative separate case.
In a report on Ressa’s arrest, Rappler said: “Efforts were made for Ressa to post bail tonight (February 13) at the Pasay night court. Unfortunately, the judge refused to accept the bail despite having the power to do so under Rule 114 section 17 of the rules of court.”
Since the warrant was served after office hours, Ressa was forced to stay overnight (she claimed to have slept on a chair) at the National Bureau of Investigation before she could file her P100,000 bail. But Panganiban said the circumstances of her arrest were irrelevant to the libel case.
“That the warrant of arrest was served after office hours, leading to her inability to post bail and to her vexatious overnight detention, is deplorable but will not, unfortunately for her, have much legal effect on her alleged culpability for cyber libel,” said Panganiban.
“But it can be a cause for administrative sanctions against the offending public officials. Already, the National Bureau of Investigation is looking into the liability of its agents,” he added.