Maria Ressa arrested for cyber libel

Rappler’s CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa was arrested on Wednesday, February 13, for a cyber libel case in relation to a 2012 article “linking a businessman to illegal drugs and human trafficking.”

Officials from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrived at Rappler’s headquarters, as per Rappler’s article, to serve the warrant of arrest issued by Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 Presiding Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa against Ressa.

As of writing, NBI Director Ferdinand Lavin, PIO Nick Suarez and Secretary of Justice Menardo Guevarra have not given any comments on the arrest.

Ressa’s arrest was due to a complaint by businessman Wilfredo D. Keng, who was mentioned in a Rappler article published in May 2012 as the owner of the SUV that Corona had used during the impeachment trial.

Keng’s complain, however, did not stem from the mention of his ownership of the vehicle. Rather, he said that he was identified in the article as someone who is allegedly linked to illegal drugs and human trafficking.

The Department of Justice then filed cyber libel charges against Ressa and former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr.

She must wait until Thursday, February 14, to post her bail as courts are already closed during her arrest.

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