Maria Ressa’s cyberlibel case verdict out on June 15

The promulgation of judgment on the cyberlibel case filed by a businessman against Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa has been set for June 15, 2020.

Manila regional trial court Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa of Branch 46 in a notice, set the promulgation at 8:30am.

Also, the court reminded that only counsels and parties will be allowed inside the courtroom in line with the safery protocols on COVID-19.

In his complaint, businessman Wilfredo Keng sued Ressa and former writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. for cyberlibel over a May 2012 article that he supposedly allowed former chief justice Renato Corona to use his SUV, and he was allegedly involved in human trafficking and drug smuggling.

Citing the multiple publication rule, government prosecutors indicted 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 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.

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