Panelo to Ressa: 'You are the one abusing your power as a journalist'

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and Palace Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Manila, Philippines - MALACA√ĎANG on Friday said that Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa should stop blaming the government for her overnight detention at the National Bureau of Investigation.

Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo in a media briefing said that Ressa should instead blame her “incompetent” lawyers.

Panelo also said that Ressa should “woman up” and face the charges against her.

“Stop blaming anyone for the unpreparedness of your lawyers. There is absolutely nothing to do with the freedom of expression. Now you say there’s an abuse of power. Excuse me, Maria, abuse of power? You are the one abusing your power as a journalist,” the spokesman said

He reiterated that the government was merely following the rule of law.

“She says that there has been irregularity in the filing of the case, as well as she’s harassed. Let me tell you, Maria, that the case filed against you was in accordance with the law. This is not a case of freedom of expression as you claimed. It is a case of one man…asserting his right under the law for a perceived violation of his right,” Panelo said.

Ressa was arrested by NBI agents at the Rappler office in Pasig City, rooted from a revived complaint by businessman Wifredo Keng, over what he called as a “malicious” story written by one of Rappler’s researchers and posted on May 29, 2012.

Keng reportedly asked Rappler to take the article down but was instead updated in 2014 due to minor errors.

Ressa maintained that her arrest was part of the administration’s continuing harassment of Rappler over its critical reporting. She was granted temporary liberty after posting a P100,000 bail.

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