Award-wining investigative journalist Bobi Tiglao has a simple explanation why the United States Embassy issued a “veiled” warning against the Duterte administration not to fuck up the arrest of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa: the self-appointed guardian of Philippine press freedom is an American.
“No wonder Ressa has no qualms about lying to the world that the Philippine president is a dictator and is attacking the press. She just isn’t a Filipino, in the deeper meaning of the term,” said Tiglao.
“No wonder Ressa is so bold in spreading lies against Duterte. Behind her to defend her is the most powerful nation on earth. If ever Ressa is convicted of the crimes she is charged of and ordered jailed, she could just flee to the US,” he added.
In his Manila Time column, the former Cabinet Secretary says Ressa has “deliberately and cleverly” hidden her American citizenship since she and her family swore allegiance to the Star and Stripes during their migration in 1973.
Tiglao claimed that Ressa only acquired dual citizenship in 2004 (when she was appointed head of ABS-CBN’s news division, a post she held until 2010) mainly for “convenience, for her to own property in the country.”
Tiglao said Ressa’s American citizenship was the reason why the US Embassy in the Philippines posted a tweet shortly after Ressa was arrested in February 13 for a libel case filed by a businessman.
“We hope the charge against journalist and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa will be resolved quickly in accordance with relevant Philippine law and international standards of due process,” the US Embassy said.
We hope the charge against journalist and Rappler CEO Maria
Ressa will be resolved quickly in accordance with relevant Philippine
law and international standards of due process. pic.twitter.com/v0pkP6FTKt
U.S. Embassy in the Philippines (@USEmbassyPH) February
Tiglao said:”The statement was not due to US concerns over a purported attack on the press, as Rappler implied. It was simply because Ressa is a US citizen, and US embassies are required to publicly express concern over a high-profile citizen being arrested and charged in local courts.”
“If Ressa had to spend more than a day in detention, we would have seen a US embassy officer visit her to check on her situation, as is standard operating procedure for American embassies,” he added.