Manila court resets Maria Ressa’s arraignment

The Manila regional trial court on Friday reset the arraignment of Rappler’s Maria Ressa for cyber libel as it required the Department of Justice to comment on the controversial journalist’s recently-filed motion to quash.

In an order, Branch 46 gave the prosecution 10 days upon receipt to reply to the motion to quash filed by Ressa.

Recently, the Free Legal Assistance Group filed the motion seeking the dismissal of cyber libel complaint filed against her.

FLAG stressed Ressa and the outfit’s former writer Reynaldo Santos cannot be sued for a non-existing offense when the story was initially posted.

The story, which was posted on May 2012, claimed that Filipino-Chinese businessman Wilfredo Keng allowed then chief justice Renato Corona to use his sports utility vehicle.

Also, the Rappler report implicated Keng to dubious activities like drugs and human smuggling.

Keng filed the cyber libel complaint against Ressa, saying the libelous article was re-posted on February 2014.

The DOJ explained that an updated version of the story posted on February 19, 2014 was covered by Republic Act (RA) 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

But in its motion, FLAG argued that Ressa and Santos still cannot be prosecuted because technically, the Cybercrime Prevention Act was non-existent on February 2014 since its implementation was restrained by the Supreme Court.

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