Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Markk Perete on Tuesday (June 16) said the the cyberlibel conviction Rappler executive editor Maria Ressa and its former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. is not the first in the country.
Perete said the DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime (DOJ-OOC) showed that there are already 13 cyberlibel convictions based on the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
“Per OOC records, there are 13 cyber libel convictions, three of which involve journalists,” said Perete who heads the OOC.
“The exercise of a freedom should and must be used with due regard to the freedom of others. As Nelson Mandela said ‘for to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to lkive in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others’,” read the 37-page decision of Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa.
Last Monday (June 15), a Manila court found Ressa and Santos guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and sentenced the two to imprisonment ranging from six months and one day up to six years.
Each of them were slapped with P200,000 fine as moral damages and P200,000 as exemplary damages.
The case stemmed from the complaint of Keng against the May 29, 2012 article published by Rappler and written by Santos titled “CJ Using SUVs of Controversial Businessman”.
The article reported that then Chief Justice Renato Corona was found using a 2011 Chevrolet Subarban which was found registered to Keng. At that time Corona was facing an impeachment trial.
The article described the businessman as “shady” and has been involved in crimes including drugs and murder.