[Statement] Maria Ressa’s arrest, Duterte’s way to sweep truth defenders out of his way -TFDP

Maria Ressa’s arrest, Duterte’s way to sweep truth defenders out of his way

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) calls the arrest of Maria Ressa by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) an outright government persecution and harassment of human rights defenders. It is part of a grand design to resurrect a dictatorship by silencing critics and suppressing truth.

Amid the proliferation of fake information and distortion of human rights, independent media will always be a thorn in the side of a President whose plan is to sweep truth defenders out of his way.

It was a clear harassment because Maria Ressa was charged with cyber libel under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10175 because of an alleged libelous Rappler article which was published several months before the said law was enacted on September 12, 2012.

Maria Ressa, Rappler and all those defending truth and human rights among the media, opposition and human rights defenders have earned the ire of Duterte because they expose TRUTH, and it is the main obstacle against his brand of leadership that relies mostly on lies and deception.

We strongly believe and assert that a free press is vital for a strong democracy. A determined and independent media will always be critical to sustaining the rule of law in the country. A free press is important for people to be informed and to participate in a democracy.

Historically, media and journalists were among the institutions and individuals victimized by dictators like the late Ferdinand Marcos when he declared martial law in 1972. Maria Ressa’s arrest is a reminder for us to reflect on one of the reasons why we commemorate the February 25 people power. In 1986, the Filipino people rose as one and loudly declared: Tama Na! Sobra Na! Palitan Na!

At EDSA we declared our abomination for all the violations, the lies, the thievery of a dictatorship.

It is time again to raise our voices against the rising tide of tyranny: Tama Na! Sobra Na! Lumaban na!

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