Trillanes on Maria Ressa’s cyber libel conviction: “We’re few steps away from Martial Law”

Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said that what happened to Rappler CEO Maria Ressa might be a sign that the Philippines would be put under martial law again under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

In a tweet, Trillanes said that the conviction of the cyber libel of the Manila Regional Trial Court 46 against Ressa and a former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. is an attack on the “freedom of the press” and “democracy”.

Trillanes urged the people to speak before it’s too late.

“More than the obvious attack against the freedom of the press, Maria Ressa’s conviction for cyber libel is an attack against our democracy itself. We are now but a few steps away from Martial Law,” Trillanes, a known critic of the Duterte administration said.

“Panahon na para magsalita at magsama-sama bago pa mawala nang tuluyan ang ating kalayaan,” he added.

In October 2017, businessman Wilfredo Keng filed cyber libel charges against Ressa and Santos Jr. for the article they wrote about the former on May 29, 2012.

According to ABS-CBN’s Mike Navallo article, the decision of the court might be different if the news company didn’t edit their 2012 article in 2014 to correct a typo.

Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act was signed into law was only signed on September 12, 2012.

Ressa was sentenced by six months and one day to up to six years in jail and asked to pay P200,000 in moral damages and P200,000 in exemplary damages to Keng.

The court also said that Ressa’s Rappler has no liability.

“There is no curtailment of the right to freedom of speech and of the press,” the judge Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa who handed down the ruling said.

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