BUSINESSMAN Wilfredo Keng yesterday called on Rappler’s Maria Ressa to stop claiming that the government was behind her arrest for cyber-libel.
“I maintain: this is a private criminal action against Rappler, Ressa and other named individuals concerning their untrue, unfair and malicious imputation of grave crimes against me,” Keng said in a statement.
“It is my personal fight to vindicate my name against the acts of an unethical and irresponsible few,” he stressed.
Ressa and former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr. were indicted before the Manila regional trial court Branch 46 for violating Section 4(c)(4) of Republic Act 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
The case stemmed from the complaint of Keng regarding the May 29, 2012, online article written by Santos titled “CJ Using SUVs of Controversial Businessman”.
The article said that then chief justice Renato Corona was using a 2011 Chevrolet Subarban van that was found to be registered to Keng whom Santos described as “shady” and involved in human trafficking and drug smuggling, among others.
Even after the case has already reached the court, Keng lamented that Ressa has branded it as part of government efforts to curtail press freedom.
“In what may be an ingenious attempt to divert attention away from this singular legal issue, Rappler and Ressa intentionally and wrongfully lump my case together with all other cases that have been filed against them,” he stated.
“Much worse, they further demean my efforts to seek just and equitable judicial relief as ‘preposterous and baseless’, as a possible ‘attempt to intimidate’, as ‘black propaganda’, and (and this is what makes me cry ‘foul!’) as ‘lies’,” Keng added.