Manila court junks motion to quash cyber libel charge vs Rappler’s Ressa, Santos; arraignment to proceed on Tuesday, April 16

(Eagle News)–A Manila court has junked  the motion to quash the cyber libel charge filed against  chief executive officer Maria Ressa and a former Rappler reporter.

In junking the motion to quash of Ressa and Reynaldo Santos, Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa ruled the Department of Justice was able to “sufficiently establish” the elements of cyber libel in the Rappler article on businessman Wilfredo Keng which was published in 2012 and edited in 2014.

The DOJ had argued the act was still covered by cyber libel, as the prescriptive period of the crime was 12 years, based on Act No. 3326.

The judge also junked Ressa’s and Santos’ argument they could not be prosecuted because the cyber libel law was the subject of a temporary restraining order at that time.

“So while crimes committed during the said period cannot be prosecuted during the effectivity of the TRO, they may be prosecuted after the lifting of the same just like what is done in this case,” the judge said.

Ressa’s and Santos’ arraignment are slated on April 16, at 8:30 a.m.