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Ressa vows to hold government accountable for violating her rights.

Ressa vows to hold government accountable for violating her rights !-- -- Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - February 15, 2019 - 11:01am MANILA, Philippines Calling out the Duterte government for "weaponization of the law" to intimidate and harass, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa stressed that no one is above the law.

On Wednesday evening, National Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Ressa for a cyberlibel charge. A night court judge denied the bail of Ressa despite having the power to do so under the Rules of Court, forcing her to stay overnight at the NBI headquarters in Manila.

"I'm not asking for special treatment. What I want is my right as a Filipino.

You have violated my right and I will hold the government accountable for that," Ressa told ANC's "Headstart" Friday morning. The Rappler CEO also pointed out that she was not the editor of the article in question.

The Department of Justice based the cyberlibel case on a complaint of businessman Wilfredo Keng. She clarified that as CEO of the company, she overlooks at strategic decisions editorially but does not get involved in editing articles.

"For the details of the story, you can go to any of our senior editors because they will certainly stand behind it," she said. Ressa also stressed that Rappler will not take down an article that has been verified.

"When we vetted a story, we will not take it down because there are more than enough powerful people who try to make you take it down, who try to intimidate and harass you to take stories down they don't like. That's not our job," Ressa said.

JJ Disini, Ressa's legal counsel, reiterated that the article being complained about is not covered bythe Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The article in question was published in May 2012 and the cybercrime law was signed in September 2012. "You cannot apply a criminal statutre retroactively. That is unconstitutional," Disini told "Headstart.

" Ressa's lawyer said he thinks the claim of the DOJ that the article was republished in 2014 is false asthe update was only made to correct typographical errors and did not affect the supposedly libelous part of the story. "In other words, libel is a malicious imputation.

Imputation was made in 2012 the fact that let's say typographical error was fixed in 2014 it doesn't mean that the libel was republished," Disini said. Disini also noted that the DOJ appears to have a new interpretation of the law by claiming that the Revised Penal Code does not apply on this case.

Under the Revised Penal Code, libel must be filed within one year from publication, meaning the case should have been filed in 2015 as the latest update of the article was in 2014. The DOJ, however, insisted that the Cybercrime Prevention Act should cover this case, which has a prescriptive period of 12 years. With this interpretation, Disini said articles of bloggers or even Facebook posts made as early as 2012 would now be open to prosecution until 2024. "We believe now the criminal liability attached to these kinds of acts have now been expanded by the Department of Justice from something that expires in one year to something now that expires to 12 years," Disini said.

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Feb 15, 2019
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