MANILA, Philippines – Rappler chief executive officer (CEO) Maria Ressa and former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. are found guilty in a court in Manila on Monday. in connection with the cyberlibel complaint filed by an entrepreneur.
The decision was dropped by Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46. April 3 could have been ruled out but was delayed by the closing of the courts due to community quarantine anti coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The trial ended in just eight months – the fastest libel trial after a long time. It can still be appealed to the Supreme Court.
The complaint began with a 2017 cyberlibel complaint by businessman Wilfredo Keng, after he allegedly cited Santos’ article on “human trafficking” and “drug smuggling.” That’s even in May 2012 when the article was written.
In most cases, you can wait up to one year after the article is published. However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) says the prescriptive period of cybercrime law is up to 12 years.
Keng demanded P50 million in damages.
It was February 13, 2019 when Ressa was arrested, but on July 23 of the same year the case began to go to trial. Ressa and Santos first filed P100,000 bail.