Maria Ressa’s arraignment for cyber-libel set
Following the denial of their motion to quash, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and the online news outfit’s former writer Reynaldo Santos, Jr. will be arraigned tomorrow (Tuesday) for cyber-libel before the Manila regional trial court.
Arraignment will start 8:30 a.m. at Branch 46 under Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa.
Earlier, Montesa denied Ressa’s motion to quash for lack of merit.
Records showed that businessman Wilfredo Keng sued Rappler
over a May 2012 article that he supposedly allowed former chief justice Renato Corona to use his SUV, and his alleged involvement in human trafficking and drug smuggling.
Citing the multiple publication rule, government prosecutors indicted Rappler, Ressa, and Santos because the article, though it was published in 2012, was republished on February 2014, hence punishable under the cyberlibel law.
Ressa contested the Department of Justice’s resolution, saying in her motion to quash that the law did not took effect until April 2014 when the SC decision upholding the law’s validity became final, and the restraining order was lifted.
But the Manila RTC in a nine-page order stressed the TRO just suspended the “implementation and enforcement of RA 10175, so that crimes committed during the said period cannot be prosecuted” but it did not suspend its effectivity.