Maria Ressa is an American, ashamed to be branded as a Filipino - Tiglao

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao / composite photo from Politiko (ctto)

Rigoberto "Bobi" D. Tiglao, former Filipino diplomat and columnist claims that Rappler CEO Maria Ressa did not disclose intentionally that she uses US passports that identify her nationality.

“She has been deliberately, yet cleverly, hiding this fact.” Tiglao said

The columnist also alleged that Ressa is ashamed to be branded as a Filipino that she and her foreign friends tried to obscure that she is actually a US citizen.

“Ressa considers herself an American, and has been ashamed to claim to be identified as a Filipino when traveling abroad. Except once when she tried out her new Philippine passport issued under the dual citizenship law in 2004, Ressa has always used her US passports, four so far since the first was issued in the 1970s (US passports have 10-year validity),” Tiglao said

“She used her US passports in all of her 350 arrivals and departures in the Philippines in the past 14 years.” he said

“With such frequency of travel, leaving the country almost every month, either Ressa has a secret job as international correspondent, spy – or so homesick of America she visits it so often. (I wonder if she charged her trips to Rappler.)” he added

The Manila Times columnist said that “No wonder Ressa is so bold in spreading lies against Duterte. “ – because Ressa is a US citizen, behind her back is “the most powerful nation on earth.”

Tiglao said that entities which gave Ressa with so much praises being a courageous fighter of press freedom struggled to hide her true identity.

“For example, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced that its 2018 “International Press Freedom Awards go to a Vietnamese blogger, Venezuelan reporter, Ukrainian broadcaster, a Sudanese freelancer, a Cameroonian radio correspondent, and a Tibetan documentary filmmaker.”” Tiglao noted

Tiglao said Ressa has also received help to obscure her nationality from her Filipino colleagues.

“The Columbia University functionary, Sheila Coronel, who lobbied for Ressa’s award, and who prides herself on being a top-notch investigative journalist, portrayed Ressa as a Filipina, that she “was born in the Philippines, migrated with her family to the US, and then returned to Manila in the 1980s.” She omitted to mention what would have been a significant information: That she assumed American citizenship in the 1970s and never gave it up,” he said.

“What’s happened to our country? Why do we allow an American to run a company in an industry totally reserved for Filipinos? Why do we allow this American to tell lies to the world that press freedom is under attack in this country, and that only she and her Rappler are bold enough to oppose a dictator?” Tiglao added

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