Palace says Ressa can't avail of probation if she appeals her verdict
Malacañang said on Tuesday that Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa could not avail of the probation allowed by law if she appeals the guilty verdict against her in the cyber libel case.
In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also warned that in case Ressa's appeal fails, she could already be arrested and detained.
"Although she could not be put to jail following her sentence, she could not avail probation if she appeals. And when she appeals and the decision of the court won't change, she will be arrested," he said.
Ressa and her supporters have accused President Rodrigo Duterte of being behind the case against her and her colleague and the case filed against them was allegedly curtailment of the freedom of the press.
"We wish to remind Ms. Ressa and her supporters that she transgressed the law when she maligned the reputation of a private individual. As the Rappler CEO herself said, 'If you don’t use your rights, you will lose them'," he said in a statement.
"The private individual who Ms. Ressa besmirched simply exercised his right against abusive persons who wield power and influence, including journalists like Maria Ressa. In law as what we say, one’s freedom ends where someone else’s rights begins. Thus, I advise Ms. Ressa to just face the complaint/decision head-on," Roque added.
Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa found Ressa and Rappler former researcher-write Reynaldo delos Santos Jr. guilty for violating Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, particularly the cyber libel, filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng in relation to a 2012 article, which Rappler re-posted five years after reportedly due to typographical error. Celerina Monte/DMS