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Back to prosecutor’s office: Pasig court suspends proceedings vs. Rappler

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A Pasig City court has suspended the proceedings over the charges against journalist Maria Ressa and her fellow executives of online news website Rappler concerning the Philippine Depository Receipts (DPR) issued to Omidyar Network Fund.

Pasig Presiding Judge Elma Rafallo-Lingan granted the motion of Ressa and her co-respondents suspend the proceedings and remand the case back to the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office to resolve their motion for reconsideration.

The respondents are facing before the court charges of violating the Securities and Regulations Code (SRC) which was filed by the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office which found probable cause to indict them.

However, the magistrate agreed with the respondents that the city prosecutor should have resolved first their motion for reconsideration before filing the case in court.

“Verily the undue haste in the transmittal of the records of the case to the Court for the filing of Information against the accused violates the accused’s rights to due process, guaranteed under the Constitution,” ruled Lingan.

“When the accused were deprived of this right, there is a denial of the right to a full preliminary investigation preparatory to the filing of the Information,” she added.

In the same ruling, the judge also granted the motion of the respondents to consolidate the case with the charge of violating the anti-dummy law since it concerns the same issue.

The proceedings in the anti-dummy law case has also been suspended until the prosecutor’s office resolved the motion for reconsideration of the SRC violation case.

Aside from Ressa, also charged with her are Rappler executives Manuel Ayala, Nico Jose Nolledo, Glenda Gloria, James Bitangca, Felicia Atienza, and James Velasquez.

The charges alleged that defendants allowed Omidyar Network Fund, a foreign corporation, to intervene in Rappler operations by issuing Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR) in 2015.

The Anti-Dummy Law prohibits foreigners from intervening in the management, operation, administration or control of any nationalized activity.

Under the law, the media in the country should be 100 percent Filipino owned.

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