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Rappler CEO arraignment deferred to next month

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By Ria Fernandez 

The arraignment of Rappler Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Maria Ressa for cyber-libel charge at the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 46 scheduled on Tuesday morning was deferred to next month.

Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa attends to her arraignment on Tuesday, April 16, 2018, at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46. Ressa and her co-accused, former Rappler researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr, pleaded not guilty to one count of cyber libel before Judge Montesa.(Photo by ali vicoy)

Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa attends to her arraignment on Tuesday, April 16, 2018, at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46. Ressa and her co-accused, former Rappler researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr, pleaded not guilty to one count of cyber libel before Judge Montesa. (Ali Vicoy / MANILA BULLETIN)

This came after the veteran journalist’s camp moved to file a motion for reconsideration (MR) on the Court’s denial of their prayer to dismiss the case for lack of basis last April 12.

Lawyer Theodore Te, the defense lead counsel, said Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa gave them 10 days or until Apr. 26 to appeal the recent decision.

Eventually, the arraignment was reset to May 17.

“We will just pass comments, basically [on] the three grounds which the Judge cited in her order which is the [case falls within the] prescription [period], that there is an offense, and the [corporate liability of Rappler],” he said.

“[W]e will [also] raise new arguments,” he added.

With the new development in her legal battle, Ressa said that they are hoping and praying for “judicial independence.”

“I think what is important to keep in mind is that this case is not just about Rappler. It is about anyone who posts on the web; who posts Facebook posts; anyone, any journalist who writes anything online. That’s why it’s incredibly important to look at it,” she said.

Ressa’s cyber-libel case stemmed from a Rappler story on businessman Wilfredo Keng lending a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) to the late Chief Justice Renato Corona published in May 2012 and edited on February 2014.

To date, Ressa said that Rappler is facing 11 cases filed by the government in 14 months while she has posted bail eight times and arrested twice in five weeks.

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