Ressa, two others Rappler personalities, summoned by NBI over Cybercrime raps and criminal charges

Manila, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has summoned Rappler’s chief executive officer, Maria Ressa and two others in line with a cybercrime case filed by a Filipino-Chinese businessman in 2012.

Ressa and former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr. and Benjamin Bitanga, a businessman were invited to appear before the Office of the Cybercrime Division at the NBI on January 22.

Bitanga owns Dolphin Fire, a company which reportedly a major shareholder of Rappler Holding Corp.

The mentioned individuals were summoned to shed light on the complaint filed by Wilfredo Keng over violation of the Cybercrime Law because of the article “CJ using SUVs of 'controversial' businessmen" that Rappler’s reporter, Santos, wrote. Rappler published the said article on May 29, 2012.

Rappler reported that late Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was then under impeachment trial, had been using a black SUV, with plates allegedly belongs to Keng.

Also, the said website reported that Keng was supposedly involved in human trafficking and smuggling.

The NBI is also set to probe about possible criminal charges against Rappler’s executive for possibly violating the constitutional prohibition on foreign ownership of mass media companies.

Earlier, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked the operating license of the online or digital media company, questioning its corporate deal with its foreign investor, the Omidyar Network.

NBI Director Dante Gierran was directed through Department Order (DO) No. 17, issued by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to conduct an investigation and case build up over Rappler’s possible violation of the Constitution and of Cybercrime Law. 

Aguirre said that the investigation is within the mandate of the department. 

"When the Constitution or any law has been violated by Rappler, necessarily the DOJ will be involved in its investigation, otherwise the DOJ will be remiss in its duties. We acted after receiving an official communication from the SEC which included a copy of their decision on the Rappler case," he added.

According to Aguirre, DOJ launched the investigation after receiving the communication from SEC which includes a copy of its decision about Rappler’s license.

He added that Rappler should instead welcome the probe as it would give a chance to them to prove their innocence.

Source: PNA

Post a Comment