ABS-CBN’s Karen Davila on Maria Ressa’s conviction: “What a sad day for democracy!”

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ABS-CBN journalist Karen Davila couldn’t hide her disappointment over the decision of the Manila Regional Trial Court 46 against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr.

In a series of tweets, Davila expressed her sadness to the decision of the court to convict Ressa of cyber libel.

The cyber libel charges were filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng against Ressa and Santos for the article they wrote in 2012 and modified in 2014.

“What a sad day for democracy. #IStandWithMariaRessa,” Davila said.

“The verdict opens the floodgates for senseless cyber libel cases against journalists. Instead, it encourages underground faceless trolling even more. #mariaressa #IStandWithMariaRessa #DefendPressFeedom,” she added.

ABS-CBN, the network of Davila was forced the shutdown by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) a few months ago because of their franchise issues.

Aside from Davila, opposition senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros also expressed their support to the online news website.

“Under the current political atmosphere of repression and authoritarianism, it would have been a surprise if  @mariaressa and Reynaldo were acquitted. The silencing of critics and the attacks on the media has been going on for three years now,” Pangilinan said.

“And unless we stand up, speak out, and vigorously oppose the tyranny in our midst, their conviction will not be the last,” he added.

“Today’s conviction sends a chilling message to all: kung kritiko ka, pwede kang ipasara at pwede kang patahimikin. I urge everyone to speak out. Dumarami tayo. We are complicit if we are silent. Takot sila, kaya nila tayo pinapatahimik,” Hontiveros said.

Meanwhile, Malacanang insisted that the Duterte administration supported press freedom.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, President Rodrigo Duterte never filed a libel case against anyone, evidence that the chief executive supported free speech.

“She’s (Ressa) barking at the wrong tree. The president supported Alexander Adonis when he went to the UN Human Rights Committee. What evidence does she need to understand that one of the staunchest supporters of freedom of expression and freedom of the press is the president who, in his entire career, never filed a libel case against anyone,” Roque said.

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