Guevarra: No violation of press freedom in Maria Ressa arrest

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Justice Sectetary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday said that Maria Ressa’s arrest for cyber-libel was not a violation of press freedom.

Guevarra issued the statement in response to claims that Ressa’s arrest last Wednesday night was meant to harass and intimidate Rappler and those not seeing eye-to-eye with President Duterte.

“The cases against Rappler and Ms. Ressa have nothing to do with press freedom. Anyone who breaks the law shall be prosecuted,” he stressed.

“The DOJ will not file charges for the purpose of harassing journalists. Not under my watch,” Guevarra continued.

Also, Guevarra said Ressa was not denied due process as she was given a chance to refute the cyber-libel charges during preliminary investigation.

“I assure her constitutional and legal rights will be respected, and I trust that the court will give her a fair trial, based solely on the facts and the law, and not on arguments ad hominem and emotional rhetoric,” he said.

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