PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte denies that the arrest of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa is an attack on media, according to the report of GMA’s Joseph Morong.
“Aysusmaryosep. Far from it,” Duterte said, after he was told that international organizations blame his administration for the arrest.
He also said he did not know that Ressa was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents on Wednesday for cyber libel.
Duterte also said that he does not know William Keng, the complainant in the cyber libel case against Ressa and a researcher.
Keng filed the complaint against Ressa and Reynald Santos for running the story, “CJ using SUVs of ‘controversial’ businessmen” that supposedly linked him to human trafficking as well as drug smuggling in May 2012.
“Hindi ko kilala yang si Keng, frankly. I do not know him and what prompted him to file a case,” Duterte said.
He also said he could not give an opinion on the case because he has yet to read the allegations against Ressa.
Journalists and media watchdog groups have called Ressa’s arrest on Wednesday an act of harassment and a demonstration of the Duterte administration’s “intolerance of criticism.” Ressa has been released on bail.
Ressa was arrested with the warrant issued by Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 on Tuesday but served the following day at the Rappler headquarters in Pasig City.
Rappler said efforts had been made so that Ressa could post bail before a Pasay night court, but the judge refused to accept the bail despite having the power to do so under Rule 114, Section 17 of the rules of the court.
She appeared before Judge Maria Teresa Abadilla of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 45 Thursday morning and posted a P100,000 bail. She was released minutes after posting bail.