Panelo tells Ressa to be ‘woman enough’, face her complaint: Don’t weaponize free speech vs Duterte
Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo is urging Rappler CEO Maria Ressa to be “woman enough” to face her libel case and stop “weaponizing” free speech against President Rodrigo Duterte.
Panelo apparently has had enough of Ressa’s drama queen antics to highlight her protests about getting arrested after office hours (which forced her to stay overnight in the National Bureau of Investigation). Panelo said Ressa should blame her lawyer, JJ Disini, for being ill-prepared.
“You have to be woman enough to face the complaint against you. Stop blaming the government, in the same way that the case filed against you relative to tax evasion – that has nothing to do with your work as a journalist,” said Panelo in a briefing.
“If we will follow your (Ressa) logic, then journalists, commentators, reporters can no longer be sued because there will always be the accusation, the allegation, the perception that the government is trying to curtail their freedom of expression – that cannot be done,” he added.
Panelo was ot amused by Ressa’s efforts to style herself as the savior of press freedom in the country by abusing her clout to get press colleagues here and abroad to back up her cause.
“Now you say ‘there is an abuse of power.’ Excuse me Maria, abuse of power? You are the one abusing your power as a journalist. You’re marshaling your colleagues to support you on the basis of a misplaced and baseless cause. What is the cause? The cause is you’re saying that the government is instilling fear because of the case filed against you. There is no connection whatsoever, so you are the one using your power as a journalist,” said Panelo.