No persecution of Rappler, Palace says
Malacanang denied on Monday that Rappler Holdings Corporation and its president Maria Ressa are being persecuted.
This was after Ressa posted bail of P60,000 at Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 265 for alleged violation of the Tax Code.
"Oh, definitely not. How can they be persecuted? It’s a question of tax evasion. You violate tax laws, and then you will be prosecuted. If you have a justifiable reason for so doing or you will introduce evidence to show that it’s not true, then you will be acquitted," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press briefing.
Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel, said that everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, "and that includes everybody including Ms. Ressa."
He did not see any negative reaction from the public on the order to arrest Ressa if she failed to post bail.
"The stand of Malaca?ang is always: you violate the law and you will have to account for it," Panelo said.
He also said President Rodrigo Duterte was not behind the filing of charges against Rappler, which has been critical of the administration.
"He (Duterte) has too many obligations to fulfill. As we said, we can hardly cope up with this man. He’s always working. We are amazed at how industrious he is," he said.
Since February this year, Rappler reporters have been banned from covering Malacanang and Duterte. Celerina Monte/DMS