Tag Archives: Maria Ressa

[From the web] Congratulations, Maria and Rappler. You have made the country proud | LnM

#HumanRights #PressFreedom

Congratulations, Maria and Rappler. You have made the country proud

Laban ng Masa joins the country in celebrating Maria Ressa’s being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Russian journalist Dimitry Muratov. Maria and the news and opinion outlet she headed up, Rappler, have been in the forefront of the defense of freedom of the press. For continuing to expose the crimes of the Duterte regime, Ressa and Rappler were subjected to legal persecution and attempts at political annihilation and economic asphyxiation by the administration.

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[Statement] Defend Our Rights and Freedoms! Hold the Line! -TFDP

Defend Our Rights and Freedoms! Hold the Line!

It was a sad day last June 15, 2020, as we witnessed a legal setback that focused on the perils of being practitioners, believers, and defenders of a free press. A court found Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos, Jr. guilty of cyber-libel. Pending an appeal, they remain free on post-conviction bail.

Indeed, these are the worst of times – the rise of populist and authoritarian leaders, the ever-constricting space for democratic discussions and debate, and a global pandemic with no end in sight.

We cannot isolate this latest debacle from the systematic and widespread attacks by this administration on our fundamental rights and freedoms.

Absent martial law, it has used cunningly the law as a weapon to topple down its perceived enemies, remove them from office, detain and hold a senator incommunicado, shut down a media giant and now, convict journalists of cyber-libel.

It has resorted to name-calling, red-tagging, public shaming, and the like to attack human rights defenders, social activists, and all those critical of government policy. It has divided our nation between those who assert a free and democratic society and those who wish a throwback to the dark days of dictatorship.

Are we drifting to the age of kings who demand absolute loyalty and blind obedience from its subjects? Are we prepared to surrender our free speech, free press, right to organize, and right to life, for another round of tyranny?

Read complete statement @tfdp.net

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[Statement] KAISA KA stands up for Freedom of Expression and of the Press and the Rule of Law and Justice as significant pillars of Freedom and Democracy

KAISA KA stands up for Freedom of Expression and of the Press and the Rule of Law and Justice as significant pillars of Freedom and Democracy.

KAISA KA stands up for Ressa, a woman, a journalist, a staunch critic of DU30 administration.

KAISA KA condemns the conviction of Ressa for alleged commission of cyberlaw when the alleged “acts” took place long before the passage of the law for cyber law. The conviction is meant to clip and silence those who fight against the tyrannical, authoritarian, and misogynist administration.

Rule of law is fundamental fairness that binds freedom and democracy. The judicious application of the real essence of the rule of law is imperative considering this impacts our cherished freedoms of expression and of the press and to our treasured rights to information, due process, accountability of public officials, and a transparent, empowering government.

This administration has already owned the executive branch; coopted the legislative. And now the judiciary… a mockery of justice

Freedom of the press and speech stand for freedom of the people. It is the people’s stoutest weapon.

Our constitution and all organic laws of all free states provide that “no law shall be passed, abridging the freedom of the press and that no person shall be punished except for an abuse of that freedom.

KAISA KA believes that it is in the best interest of a civilized society to have a full and free discussion of government affairs and have the free liberty to comment upon the administration of government and guard against repressive measures. We cannot and should not speak in a whisper or with bated breath.

KAISA KA believes that it is our duty to bring to the bar of public opinion the conduct of government officials whose exercise of authority is conferred by the people. It is not only our right. It is our duty.

KAISA KA is one with every woman, every citizen, activist, human rights defender, every freedom-loving people in protest of this attack to our freedom and democracy.
Together, we will not be silenced and cowed.

We say NO to all forms of violence and tyranny.
Break the culture of silence, violence and impunity.

Atty. Virginia Lacsa Suarez
Chairperson-KaisaKa
SecGen-KILUSAN

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[Video] #HoldTheLine -iDEFEND and PAHRA

#HoldTheLine

Online discussion about the implications on press freedom, freedom of expression, and human rights of the verdict against Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr.

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[Statement] A punishment for those who dare to tell the truth -LILAK

A punishment for those who dare to tell the truth
– LILAK Statement on Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos’ Cyber Libel Conviction

LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) condemns the conviction of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher and writer Reynaldo Santos for cyber libel. The case made against Ressa and Santos is an obvious weaponization of the law to silence dissent and sow fear in the free press. The conviction is a punishment for those who dare to tell the truth.

Civil society organizations and indigenous peoples work closely with the media in shedding light on human rights violations perpetrated by corporations and the government. Media has been our partner in seeking justice. Rappler has helped us spread stories from indigenous communities to a wider audience.

Ressa and Santos’ conviction, the shutdown of ABS-CBN, and the railroading of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 are orchestrated attacks on dissenters and human rights defenders. These assaults benefit from the pandemic, a crisis the government continues to ignore while it strengthens the pillars of its dictatorship.

Indigenous peoples have long fought for the protection of natural resources and our environment from extractive industries such as mining. Wilfredo Keng is CEO of Century Peak Metals Holdings Corp (CPM), one of the mining companies recommended for suspension by former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez for environmental violations. However, in 2017, CPC passed DENR’s mining audit under current Sec. Roy Cimatu. Reports also show that Keng has significant ties with the Duterte administration. His daughter, Patricia Keng, was appointed member of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) by Duterte in 2019.

It is not the first time that the Duterte administration has favored Chinese corporations over indigenous peoples. It has not been a year since he announced that he will use his “extraordinary powers” as president to pursue China-backed Kaliwa Dam, one of his ‘Build Build Build’ projects which will displace thousands of indigenous peoples and destroy hectares of ancestral lands.

The country is enveloped in fear as the space for dissent narrows and darkens. Indigenous women leaders who defend their rights on the ground carry an even greater fear. If politicians such as Leila de Lima and journalists such as Maria Ressa are imprisoned from speaking up, how will they, who live in far-flung communities with no access to technology and whose names are not known, survive this tyrannical government?

In 2019, the Philippines has been named the most dangerous place for land rights defenders. Indigenous leaders were among those killed.

For indigenous women, fear is overwhelming. Yet there is no choice for them but to carry on.

LILAK, an organization of feminists and women human rights activists and a member of In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), stands in solidarity with Rappler, journalists, and the free press. In a time when our voices are repressed, we must find in ourselves the courage to speak and lend our voices to others. We must hold the line – to press freedom, to right to speak against injustice, to live without fear, and to fight a dictator.

#HoldTheLine #IStandWithMariaRessa #DefendPressFreedom #ScrapTerrorBill #ResistDictatorship

Illustration by Shar Balagtas

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[Statement] FMA denounces guilty verdict on Rappler’s Maria Ressa and Rey Santos Jr.

FMA denounces guilty verdict on Rappler’s Maria Ressa and Rey Santos Jr.

Today, 15 June 2020, the Manila Regional Trial Court handed down a guilty verdict on the cyber libel case against online media organization Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa and former reporter Reynaldo Santos, Jr. The verdict is a result of a case that is widely regarded to be the ultimate test of the Philippines’ controversial cybercrime law and is proof of its potential to be be used for impunity, censorship, and to chill press freedom, even now that free speech, expression, and freedom of the press are all the more fundamental in light of a global pandemic. The guilty verdict clearly confirms that all laws – not just the cybercrime law – may be weaponized to silence dissent and prosecute the administration’s loudest critics.

The Foundation for Media Alternatives joins Rappler and the rest of the media community in denouncing this decision and reiterates its stance that press freedom and free speech are fundamental to civil liberty. Press freedom has repeatedly been affirmed by the Supreme Court in a long line of cases, and has referred to it as a “preferred right that stands on a higher level than substantive freedom or other liabilities.” As it is, the guilty verdict already violates this basic Constitutional principle and is found wanting on this preference for such fundamental freedom.

The case is just one among many others filed against Maria Ressa and Rappler within the last two years. It forms part of a well-documented pattern of attacks by this administration and its allies against all journalists and media workers, consisting of various threats, harassment, closure orders, and extrajudicial killings. With the imminent passage of the Anti-Terror Bill, the list of speech “crimes” that can be used against critics of the administration grows even further: adding “inciting to terrorism” to readily-abused crimes such as “inciting to sedition” and evidently, online libel.

Yet even without the Anti-Terror Bill, the administration has enjoyed a wide latitude of discretion to impose its own brand of “terror,” no less than through its imperative to bypass due process and kill “suspected” criminals, such as Kian Delos Santos or Winston Ragos. It has normalized a culture of military and police impunity, and, through Rappler’s case and many others, asserted the dominance of the rule of men – or one man – over the rule of law.

This dangerous precedent (among others already set by the administration) puts not just media practitioners in danger of being charged with libel, but practically anyone who publishes anything online. The Court itself highlighted this in its decision by acknowledging that mere netizens “can be held accountable for any defamatory posts or comments in the internet.”

As FMA and many media groups have repeatedly emphasized, the cyber libel provision is an unnecessary and draconian measure that must be deleted from the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, even as libel itself should be decriminalized in the first place. Be that as it may, the Supreme Court itself has outlined a rule of preference for fines instead of imprisonment – as imposed on Ressa and Santos – a rule of preference not at all considered in the latter’s conviction.

Our previous calls highlighting the potential for abuse of these laws are not unfounded, as proven by the deplorable outcome of this case.

We, therefore, call on:

  • Civil society to come together and stand with media groups in defending press freedom;
  • The Philippine Congress to heed calls for the review and amendment of the cybercrime law and for the decriminalization of libel;
  • The government to uphold and protect the constitutional right of every Filipino to free speech; and
  • The Filipino people to remain steadfast in upholding our Constitutional rights and to continue to #HoldTheLine.

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[Press Release] Rappler Verdict a Blow to Media Freedom, Manila Court Convicts Duterte Critic Maria Ressa for Libel -HRW

Philippines: Rappler Verdict a Blow to Media Freedom
Manila Court Convicts Duterte Critic Maria Ressa for Libel

(Manila, June 15, 2020) – The conviction of a prominent journalist for criminal libel is a devastating blow to media freedom in the Philippines, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 15, 2020, a Manila court issued a guilty verdict for Maria Ressa, the founder and executive editor of the news website Rappler, and a Rappler researcher, Reynaldo Santos Jr.

The verdict stemmed from one of several cases that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte instigated to stifle Rappler’s critical reporting on the government, particularly its murderous “war on drugs,” which has killed tens of thousands of people since July 2016. In addition to this case, Ressa and her colleagues face seven other cases in various courts for which she has been arrested, detained and posted bail.

“The verdict against Maria Ressa highlights the ability of the Philippines’ abusive leader to manipulate the laws to go after critical, well-respected media voices whatever the ultimate cost to the country,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Rappler case will reverberate not just in the Philippines, but in many countries that long considered the country a robust environment for media freedom.”

In May 2012, Rappler published an article accusing then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona of impropriety for using an SUV owned by a businessman. The article predated the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which includes the crime of libel. In February 2014, Rappler corrected a typo in the story, changing “evation” to “evasion,” thus technically updating the story on the website.

The businessman, Wilfredo Keng, used this “re-publication” as a legal basis to claim the story was covered by the Cybercrime Prevent Act and filed a criminal libel case against Rappler in October 2017. Duterte’s Justice Department rushed to support the prosecution’s assertion that updating the story constituted “continuous publication,” and recommended that charges be filed against Ressa and Santos. In February 2019, the court issued arrest warrants against them.

The Duterte administration in this and other cases have demonstrated their determination to intimidate and shut down the Rappler website. Ressa and other Rappler journalists suffered a withering online campaign using what Ressa called the “weaponization of the Internet” against critical media and citizens. Duterte banned Rappler’s reporters from covering the presidential palace.

The campaign against Rappler is widely seen as retaliation for the website’s reporting on Duterte’s “war on drugs,” which has included in-depth reporting on extrajudicial killings committed by police and police-linked “death squads.” Human Rights Watch’s own reports have corroborated Rappler’s findings. In May the government shut down ABS-CBN, the country’s largest broadcast network, which had also been critical of the Duterte administration.

The campaign against Rappler occurs in the context of worsening media freedom and freedom of expression in the Philippines. Journalists from other media groups have suffered intimidation and attacks online and offline. Recently, the government began targeting social media users who posted comments critical of the government, mainly on Facebook. The government has investigated dozens of social media users and arrested several for violating the country’s “fake news” regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The government should reverse this alarming affront to justice and quash the convictions of Rappler’s Ressa and Santos,” Robertson said. “The prosecution was not just an attack on these individual journalists but also a frontal assault on freedom of the press that is critical to protect and preserve Philippines democracy.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Philippines, please visit: https://www.hrw.org/asia/philippines

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[Statement] Sad day for Press Freedom — Nagkaisa

Sad day for Press Freedom — Nagkaisa

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition is enraged and gravely concerned with the conviction of administration critic Maria Ressa and his former news staff Reynaldo Santos for Cyber libel.

The article subject of the charges not only involved a private individual allegedly defamed but matters of public concerns. Matters involving one of the richest businessmen in the country, a high member of the highest court and some criminal shenanigans — which data were obtained from the intelligence community.

To expose them is not only the right of a journalist but also the right of the public to receive and evaluate.

The decision failed to consider that criminal law has no retroactive effect. The law on anti-cyber libel was not yet enacted at the time the subject article was published in 2012. The publication was a few months before the effectivity of Cyber-libel law. Thus, no one can be convicted of cybercrime when there is yet no law punishing it at the time of publication.

The prosecutors’ contention that a supposedly “republished” version of the story in February 2014 is covered by the law is doubtful and unconvincing to hold on. The defense had a credible witness who rebutted the theory of “republication”. As part of the editorial team, she categorically pointed to the fact that the change made to the story in 2014 was merely a clerical or “spelling correction.” On this ground alone, as there is reason to doubt, the defendants should have been acquitted.

Also, the decision of RTC Branch 46 of Manila is hard to fathom that it did not consider this context. More reprehensible is that its verdict goes against clearly established rules on the prescription of crimes under the Revised Penal Code and the Supreme Court, where it is clear that libel cases should be brought to the court one (1) year after its commission. Rappler’s case was filed 5 years after it was originally published, and 3 years after it was “republished”.

This decision has a chilling effect on the exercise of freedom of expression — particularly so with the impending adoption of a constitutionally infirmed anti-terror law.

This decision can be perceived as just one of the multitude of examples of how laws are being weaponized to go after perceived political opponents. It is worth reiterating that the Philippines is one of the few countries with criminal libel laws, and that the United Nations already pushed for its decriminalization as it described it as “excessive”.

And to think that the Anti-Terrorism Act has not yet been enacted into law. We can easily imagine how the said legislation would trample and disparage our rights.

Press Statement
June 15, 2020
Ref: Atty Sonny Matula
Nagkaisa Chair

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[From the web] Madonna’s New Music Video Features Philippine Journalist Maria Ressa, Global Protesters -ESQUIRE

Madonna has released “I Rise,” a new music video that pays tribute to the resilience of people around the world who struggle against tragedy and persecution, including Filipino journalist Maria Ressa.

Footage of the Rappler founder and chief executive officer is shown at the 1:31 mark of the music video. In the clip, Ressa is seen speaking to journalists after she was arrested for cybercrime. The video then cuts to a footage showing protesting Filipinos with placards that say, “Defend press freedom!”

Apart from Ressa, it also features people whose “protests” figured prominently on the world stage. The lyrics opens with part of a speech of Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of a shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the U.S.“They say us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works,” says Gonzalez. “We call B.S.” responds Madonna.

Read more @www.esquiremag.ph

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[In the news] Rappler’s Ressa: ‘Oust-Duterte plot’ is admin’s way to manipulate public -INQUIRER.net

“It’s bad when the government lies through its paid PR to manipulate its people.”

Rappler’s Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa said this after Malacañang affirmed the matrix that linked journalists and media organizations to a destabilization plot against Presidente Rodrigo Duterte and his administration.

Earlier, Malacañang revealed that the “Oust-Duterte” matrix published in the Manila Times was the same information that the Palace was supposed to reveal on Monday.

Ressa, however, denied the allegation, saying it has been years since she exchanged e-mails with Ellen Tordesillas of Vera Files, who was also tagged in the alleged ouster plot.

Read more click the link below

Rappler’s Ressa: ‘Oust-Duterte plot’ is admin’s way to manipulate public

Support #KarapatDapat na Agenda campaign! Click the video to know more.

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[statement] Resist the Silence: Stand with Rappler and the independent Philippine press -NUJP

[On Maria Ressa’s arrest] Resist the Silence: Stand with Rappler and the independent Philippine press
March 29, 2019

Rappler has clearly become the whipping boy of the Duterte administration as it seeks to silence or intimidate the independent and critical press.

Apparently not content with the barrage of lawsuits already filed against the news outfit, its CEO Maria Ressa, and other officers and staff, one of the original cases, the still-contested revocation of license by the Securities and Exchange Commission, has actually given birth to new charges of allegedly violating the anti-dummy law. This brings the number of cases filed against Rappler to 11.

With all these, it is hard to shake the suspicion that the filing of this latest case was timed to make sure Maria would be welcomed home by an arresting team as soon as she stepped off her flight from abroad.

But this intolerant and vindictive government’s ham-fisted efforts to humiliate Rappler and its officers and personnel have succeeded only in humiliating itself in the eyes of the world and everyone who values freedom and democracy.

Let us all stand by Rappler and the community of independent Filipino journalists in resisting this administration’s attempts to muzzle us and, in doing so, silence our people’s voices and deprive them of the information they need to decide on their personal and collective futures.

NAATIONAL DIRECTORATE
Hotline: +639175155991

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[In the news] Manila court imposes P500,000 travel bond for Rappler’s Maria Ressa -RAPPLER.com

Manila court imposes P500,000 travel bond for Rappler’s Maria Ressa

The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) initially imposed a P500,000 ($9,480) travel bond on Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa over her cyber libel charge before the court.

Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa on Thursday morning, March 14, granted Ressa’s motion to travel overseas in March and April but subject to a half a million bond. (READ: Timeline: Rappler’s cyber libel case)

After an urgent motion filed Thursday afternoon asking to reduce the bond for being excessive, Branch 46 brought it down to P100,000 per travel or P300,000 overall (about $6,000).

“The bond has been reduced to 100k per travel. We’re just waiting now for the receipt and the order to 100k per travel,” said Ressa’s counsel, human rights lawyer Ted Te.

Te had asked the bond to be reduced to an amount between P50,000 to P100,000.

Travel bonds are discretionary upon the court.

Read more @www.rappler.com

 

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[Statement] BALAOD Statement on the Arrest of Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa

BALAOD Statement on the Arrest of Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa

BALAOD Mindanaw, Inc. denounces the unjust arrest of Maria Ressa, Chief Executive Officer of Rappler, by the National Bureau of Investigation at its headquarters last 13th of February 2019 pursuant to the alleged violation of Sec. 4(C)(4) of Republic Act No. 10175 otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Section 22, Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that no ex post facto law shall be enacted. One definition of an ex post facto law refers to such law making an action done before the passing of the law and which was innocent when done criminal, and punishes such action. Nullum crimen nulla poena sine lege. It is a well-founded principle in criminal law that there can be no crime when there is no law that defines and punishes it. Furthermore, lex prospicit, non respicit. The law looks forward not backward.

The arrest was founded on charges filed by the Department of Justice last May 2012 over a published article pertaining to the alleged illegal drugs and human trafficking cases of a certain businessman Wilfredo Keng. However, the specific act complained of was clearly done prior to the passage of the Cybercrime Prevention Act in September 2012. Therefore, there can be no crime committed at the time because there was no law prohibiting the act.

Lastly, Section 7, Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution recognizes the right of the people to information on matters of public concern. Consequently, this right includes the recognition of press freedom as an important and vital factor in a democratic country. The issuance of the warrant of arrest is a pronounced wonder as to how the court acquired jurisdiction over the matter when there was no violation of the law in the first place. However, the insistence of Ressa’s arrest created doubt as to whether or not the arrest was motivated for political reasons considering that the issue stemmed from the publication of the media conveying to the public certain information relating to graft and corrupt practices in the country.

We, BALAOD Mindanaw, call on the public to #DefendPressFreedom!

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[Statement] The Alternative Law Groups condemns the unjust arrest of journalist Maria Ressa

Statement of the Alternative Law Groups on the unjust arrest of journalist Maria Ressa

The Alternative Law Groups condemns the unjust arrest of journalist Maria Ressa early Wednesday evening, February 13.

Ressa, CEO and executive director of Rappler, was arrested by officers from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at the Rappler headquarters in Pasig City.

The arrest was in connection with a cyber libel case filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) over an investigative report published in May 2012, or months before the cybercrime law was enacted. The story in question linked businessman Wilfredo Keng to illegal activities such as human trafficking and drug smuggling and his supposed unethical lending of a sport-utility vehicle to former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

It is a basic principle in criminal law that there is no crime if there is no law punishing it.
The 1987 Philippine Constitution prohibits ex post facto law, therefore, an act which was
not a crime when committed cannot be penalized by a succeeding law. When the
article subject of the DOJ case was published online, there was no cyberlaw in the
Philippines criminalizing such act.

Ressa spent the night in the custody of the NBI after Pasay Metropolitan Trial Court Executive Judge Allan Ariola refused to accept the bail despite having the power to do so under Rule 114 Section 17 of the rules of the court.

Bail is a matter of right. It is a constitutionally guaranteed right. It is only in certain
instances when this right should be denied of, such as when there is conviction, for an
offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. The case of Ressa does not fall under the exceptions.

It must be noted that Ressa is not yet convicted of cyber libel. Moreover, cyber libel is not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment. Therefore, by logical conclusion, Ressa is entitled to bail as a matter of right.

This is the sixth time Ressa has posted bail for one charge in about two months. The insistence of the Duterte administration to arrest Ressa amounts to nothing short of curtailing the freedom of speech and the press. This despicable move may result to a chilling effect among critics who continue to point out wrongdoings in the government.

A free press is an indispensable part of democracy. An independent and critical media serve as the public’s watchdog of a corrupt and crooked government. They hold those in power accountable and empower the public through the pursuit of truthful information.

We call on the public and civil society to join the resistance against any type of efforts in silencing the press!

#DefendPressFreedom

———–

The Alternative Law Groups (ALG) is a coalition of legal resource non-governmental organizations that adhere to the principles and values of alternative or developmental law.

These organizations have distinct programs for developmental legal assistance that is primarily concerned with the pursuit of public interest, respect for human rights and promotion of social justice.

Ateneo Human Rights Center
BALAOD Mindanaw
Environmental Legal Assistance Center, Inc. – ELAC
EnGendeRights
ERDA Foundation, Inc.
KAISAHAN
Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center
PANLIPI (TANGGAPANG PANLIGAL NG KATUTUBONG PILIPINO)
Philippine Earth Justice Center, Inc.
Process Foundation Panay,inc
Rainbow Rights Philippines
SALIGAN
Tanggol Kalikasan Inc.
Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau – WLB

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[Statement] Pahayag ng Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) sa Pagkaka Aresto kay Maria Ressa ng Rappler

Pahayag ng Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) sa Pagkaka Aresto kay Maria Ressa ng Rappler

Malinaw na ang pag aresto sa isang mamahayag dahil sa paggampan ng kanyang tungkulin ay gawain ng isang Duwag at Diktador. Si Maria Ressa ng Rappler ay inaresto sa kasong Cyberlibel na hindi pa naisasabatas noong nangyari ang sinasabing insidente. Maliwanag pa sa araw na pinilit ang kaso sa tangkang siya at ang kanyang mga kasamahan ay patahimikin.

Bago mangyari ang mga ito, ang Rappler ay kritikal at tuloy-tuloy na nag-ulat patungkol sa madugo at brutal na kampanyang “war on drugs” ng gobyernong Duterte, na sa kasalukuyan ay umaabot na sa daang libong naging biktima ng extra-judicial killing (EJK), illegal na pag-aresto, tortyur at ibang uri ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Dahil dito, noong 2016, ang Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ay kinuwestyon at hiningi ang mga dokumento ng Rappler upang patunayan na mga Pilipino ang mga nagmamayari nito, salungat sa pahayag ni Duterte na mga dayuhan. Ang kanilang license to operate ay pansamantalang binawi. Hindi pa nakuntento, di pinayagang makapag cover sa Palasyo ng Malacanan ang kanilang mga mamahayag. Inanunsyo din ng gobyerno na iimbestigahan ang Rappler sa kadahilanang hindi pagbayad ng $2.5m na buwis.

Maliban sa Rappler, nauna nang tinarget ni Duterte ang Philippine Daily Inquirer na pangunahing naglabas ng “Kill List”, na layuning idokumento ang mga pangalan ng mga biktima ng EJK. Hindi rin nakaligtas ang ABS-CBN, na binantaang hindi papayagang muling mag renew ng kanilang prangkisa.

Si Duterte ay determinadong kontrolin ang mga balita at itago ang kototohanan – ang patuloy na EJKs, ang korupsyon sa gobyerno at ang pagnanasa niyang maging diktador.

Ang Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) ay muling naninindigan na ang karapatan sa malayang pagpapahayag ay isa sa mga karapatang pantaong nakasaad sa Article 19 ng Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Ito rin ay ginagarantiya ng ating Saligang Batas, Article III Section 4. Ito ay ilan lang sa mga pamantayang dapat irespeto, pangalagaan at isakatuparan bilang obligasyon ng ating pamahalaan. Subalit imbes na ito ay protektahan, lantarang ang paglabag dito ng gobyernong Duterte.

Hindi lamang pag-aresto kay Ressa at iba pang mga kritiko ang nagaganap. Bagkus patuloy pa rin ang mga pananakot, pagbabanta at pagpatay sa mga lider komunidad at tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao. Ito ay bahagi ng isang disenyo ng gobyernong Duterte na maikubli ang katotohanan, at ipagpatuloy kabuktutan ng rehimeng ito.

Hindi akma sa panahong ito ang pananahimik. Bagkus, patuloy na ipahayag ang wasto, manindigan sa katotohanan at ilantad ang mga kasinungalingan upang hindi manaig ang karahasan at kasamaan.

Kung di tayo kikibo, sino ang kikibo? Kung hindi tayo kikilos, sino ang kikilos?
Lumaban, Huwag Matakot!

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[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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[Statement] Kaisa Ka stands up for Maria Ressa and a Free Press

Kaisa Ka stands up for Maria Ressa and a Free Press

Kaisa Ka stands up for freedom of expression and of the press. Kaisa Ka stands for Maria Ressa, a woman, a journalist, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration.

Kaisa Ka condemns the arrest of Ressa for the alleged commission of cyber libel when the alleged “acts” took place long before the passage of the Cybercrime Law.

The illegal arrest is meant to clip and render mute those who fight against the tyrannical, authoritarian and misogynist Duterte administration. This administration has already owned the Executive branch; coopted the judiciary with its selective application of the law, and has set it sights on media.

Freedom of the press and speech stand for freedom of the people, It is its stoutest weapon. Our Constitution, and all organic laws of all free states provide that “no law shall be passed, abridging the freedom of the press and that no person shall be punished except for an abuse of that freedom”.

Kaisa Ka believes in the best interest of a civilized society to have a full and free discussion of government affairs and have the liberty to comment upon the administration of government and guard against repressive measures. This can only be possible if the press is free to report and inform the public and are not sycophants of those in the halls of power.

We cannot and should not speak in whisper or exist with baited breath from fear of reprisal or censure. Kaisa Ka believes that it is our duty to bring to the bar of public opinion, the conduct of government officials whose exercise of authority is conferred by the people. It is not only our right. It is our duty.

Kaisa Ka is one with every woman, every citizen, activist and human rights defender in protest of this attack to our freedom. Together, we will not be silenced and cowed. We say no to ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE AND TYRANNY.

Break the culture of silence, violence and impunity! Free Maria Ressa!

Reference: Atty. Virginia Suarez, Chairperson –KAISA KA (0908 8159923)

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[From the web] Politically Motivated Arrest of Philippine Journalist Criminal Libel Case is Latest Attack on Maria Ressa, Rappler -HRW

Politically Motivated Arrest of Philippine Journalist
Criminal Libel Case is Latest Attack on Maria Ressa, Rappler

On Wednesday, Philippine National Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Maria Ressa, the founding editor of news website Rappler, in the latest assault on media freedom by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. The arrest follows a libel case filed against Ressa under the cybercrimes law for a story the website published in 2012.

Rappler called the arrest “baseless” and vowed to “continue to do our jobs as journalists.” Rappler’s award-winning and critical coverage of the administration of Duterte, particularly its murderous “war on drugs,” has again put it in the crosshairs of the government.

The arrest was just the latest in a string of politically motivated cases filed against Ressa and Rappler. Last year, the Department of Justice brought five cases of alleged tax evasion against Ressa. She posted bail after arrest warrants were issued. Earlier, the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked the website’s registration, alleging that foreigners had illegally invested in the company, a charge Rappler denied.

The cases against Ressa and Rappler appear designed not only to intimidate the website, but to eventually shut it down.

The administration, its social media trolls, and government propagandists have launched repeated attacks against Rappler and its staffers, at one point banning one of its reporters, Pia Ranada, from covering the presidential premises.

Ressa’s persecution is part of a broader campaign by the Duterte administration to harass and silence critics not only in the media, but in the legislature, the judiciary, civil society, and the Roman Catholic Church. Senator Leila de Lima, a former Justice Secretary, chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights, and a fierce Duterte critic, was arrested almost two years ago on fabricated charges.

The Duterte administration’s attacks on such a globally prominent news outlet demand a global response. Governments concerned about the thousands killed in the “drug war” and the media’s ability to report on this and other abuses need to publicly demand Ressa’s release and the dropping of all charges.

For more HRW reporting on Maria Ressa and Rappler, visit: www.hrw.org

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[Statement] Huwag Palupig sa Pang-uusig ng Tirano, Kailangan ng Isang Demokratikong Bayan ang Malayang Pamamahayag -KILUSAN

Huwag Palupig sa Pang-uusig ng Tirano, Kailangan ng Isang Demokratikong Bayan ang Malayang Pamamahayag

Mariing kinokondena ng Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KILUSAN) ang pagsampa ng kaso laban sa mamamahayag na si Maria Ressa ng cyber libel at pagkaka-aresto dito. Si Ressa ang tumatayong CEO ng media outfit na Rappler. Atake ito sa malayang pamamahayag at ang isang malayang media ay isa sa mga haligi ng isang malaya at demokratikong lipunan.

Gayung pansamantalang pinalaya sapagkat nakapag-piyansa, walang duda na ito ay pagsupil sa mga kritiko, sa loob man sila ng gubyerno katulad ng sinapit ni Senator Leila De Lima at dating Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno o sa labas man tulad ng ginagawa sa Rappler at iba pang media outlets. Ayon na rin kay Ressa 6 na beses na syang nagpiyansa sa loob ng dalawang buwan—resulta ng sunod-sunod na pagsasampa ng kaso sa kanya.

Tulad ng isang hari, na hindi dapat kinokontra, ganoon na lamang ang gigil ng administrasyon sa mga kritiko sa polisiya at palakad nito.

Tingnan na lamang natin kung paano pagbawalang mangampanya ang mga empleyado ng gubyerno, habang di umano saklaw sa limitasyong ito si Presidente Duterte. Kailangan umano nya na ‘magpasalamat” kaya’t may minamanok ito at tuwirang ineendorso! Hindi ito nasasaklawan ng batas, sapagkat animo’y sya ang batas na syang dapat nasusunod.

Kritikal sa isang tirano na kontrolado ang impormasyong nakararating sa publiko. Hindi sapat na may mga troll armies na syang nagpapalaganap ng “fake news” sa internet. Kailangan ng gubyernong Duterte ang isang supil at masunuring media. At sapagkat hindi kabagang ng administrasyon, ehemplo ang sinasapit ng Rappler at ni Maria Ressa para sa ibang mga media –magdalawang-isip muna bago suwagin ang Malakanyang!

Kung may busal na sa bibig ang dapat malayang makakapagpahayag at hindi makairal na ang proseso ng batas, anung klaseng desisyon ang mabubuo sa hanay ng mamamayan?

Kritikal laluna ngayong eleksyon na magkaroon ng akses tayong mamamayan sa totoo at obhetibong impormasyon upang makapagbuo ng matalinong desisyon. Pinatunayan na ng nakaraang eleksyon 2016 na malaki ang naging papel ng mga media outfits tulad ng Rappler para dito, lalo sa larangan ng social media.Dito takot ang isang tirano – matalino at kritikal na mamamayan na syang nagtatanong at may paninindigan.

Demokrasya ang nakasalang sa tiranyang bumabalot sa ating bayan. Huwag pagapi sa pag-uusig ng tiranya. Huwag tayong manahimik sa gitna ng nagaganap sa ating bayan. Lalong kailangang magbuklod-buklod ang lahat ng demokrata upang itaguyod ang natitira pang demokratikong espasyo at nakatindig pang mga demokratikong institusyon.

Ipaglaban ang Karapatan ng Mamamayan sa Malayang Pamamahayag at isang Malayang Midya.

Ipagtanggol ang Demokrasya, Biguin ang Tiranya!

Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya [KILUSAN]
Tel: (632) 7173262
Email: natlsect@kpdpilipinas.org
Web: http://www.kpdpilipinas.org
Twitter: @kilusanph
FB Page: @kilusanph

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[Statement] Human Rights Online Philippines reaction on the arrest of Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa

Human Rights Online Philippines reaction on the arrest of Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa

The Human Rights Online Philippines (HRonlinePH) today called on the government authorities to immediately release Maria Ressa who have been arrested yesterday, 13 February in connection with a cyber libel cased filed by the Department of Justice.

Maria Ressa was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents and detained at the Pasay court. The arrest warrant was issued on 12 February by Presiding Judge Rainelda Estacio Montesa of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46.

HRonlinePH stress that the arrest of Maria Ressa shows the fragility of the government rather than strength. The arrest clearly shows systematic efforts by the government to quell press freedom. The arrest has fostered a climate fear in which journalists and human rights defenders who are critical of the government do not if, or when, they will face arrest or other forms of harassment.

We called on the government authorities to observe the rule of law by dropping the trump up charge against Maria Ressa and release her immediately from detention.

Free Maria Ressa now!

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