Kesa sa media ngumawa! Ex-CJ Panganiban: Ressa could’ve been cleared of cyber libel if she testified

Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa could’ve been acquitted of cyber libel if she testified, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban said.

In his Philippine Daily Inquirer column Sunday (June 28), Panganiban said Ressa and former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos could’ve taken the stand to bolster their argument that there was no malice in the website’s article linking businessman Wilfredo Keng to human trafficking and drug smuggling.

“[Ressa and Santos] should have taken the witness stand to magnify Keng’s status as a public figure and to prove their lack of actual malice. Sadly for them, they did not. Thus, the judge convicted them,” Panganiban said.

Quoting excerpts from Judge Rainelda Montesa’s decision, Panganiban said there was both actual and presumed malice in the publication of Rappler’s article on Keng because there was no verification of the allegations against Keng.

He said Rappler also “adamantly refused ‘despite numerous follow-ups…’ to publish Keng’s side ‘on the ground that there [was] more urgent news at the time’ even if it claimed to extol “accuracy, truth telling, fairness and balance.”

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