The Maria Ressa Case

June 19, 2020

 

The decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati thru its presiding Judge Reinalda Estacio Montesa convicting Maria Ressa of Rappler and the latter’s news reporter Reinaldo Santos, Jr. came as a surprise to many print and media practitioner.sand a disturbing note to advocates of press freedom and information. From what we gathered on reports of tv, print and broadcast media the decision was rendered on the basis of the prosecution’s evidence showing that accused Maria Ressa violated the Cyber Space Law and the Libel law under the Revised Penal Code. It would appear from reports that Maria Ressa filed a demurrer to evidence, thus by so doing waived her right to present her on evidence. From legal stand point, this move by the defense is fatal, although the court could have conducted a reverse trial where the accused could have shown that the prosecution’s evidence is weak and not sufficient to stand conviction of the accused. It is unfortunate, however, that accused Ressa did not avail of this procedure. Any way, all is not lost as Ressa may still appeal the decision of the Regional Trial Court to the Court of Appeals or direct to the Supreme Court, if the issue is purely legal and there are no questions of facts by way of Petition for Certiorari. In the meantime, she may file her bail bond to prevent her detention while the case is pending appeal. The Maria Ressa case has caught both local and global attention, if we are to judge from reports of concern by the media such as the National Press Club and other global media organizations. 


TRIVIA:


Belated birthday greetings to our friend and popular broadcast media practitioner Jo Osabal who celebrated his birthday anniversary last June 16, 2020. May you have many more birthdays to come in the next 40 years of your life, Jo! More power and congrats.


Greetings also to my good friend Jojo Amador who is a constant reader of this column. Jojo belongs to the prominent Amador family of Milaor.


Greetings also to my original CFC household group Raffy and Malyn Dagooc, Boyot and Nor Gerobin and Joe and Nor Bolo. The GCQ has kept us from meeting together for sometime. 


Thru this column may I express in my own behalf and that of my spouse Minda to the family of Danding Cojuangco who reportedly passed away at age 85. Danding is the founder of the Nationalists People’s coalition which is the political party I belonged during the height of my political career. His son Danding Jr. is presently a member of the present Congress.


QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:


“THE LIGHT OF FAITH MAKES US SEE WHAT WE BELIEVE.”
                                                             ST. THOMAS AQUINAS


FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE:


HEAR MY CRY, O GOD, LISTEN TO MY PRAYER.”
                                                             PSALM 61:3

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