Enrile scratches head why Ressa is making big fuss over Rappler’s libel case: 'If you committed libel, why would you immune of the charge?'

Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa / compiled photo from InterAksyon and Rappler

Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile seems puzzled about why Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, the self-appointed defender of the Philippine press, is making a big fuss about the libel case filed against her, Politiko reported.

The 95-year old Enrile, who is a lawyer, said in a statement that in his decades of experience in handling various legal cases including libel, members of the media were  willing to go to court to defend their side.

“I have handled many libel cases. I used to handle Manila Bulletin, Manila Times and Mirror, Philippine Herald, all the Roces publications. Many of the newspapermen at that time were my clients. We used to defend them in libel cases,” Enrile said.

“There was never any instance where people will say, I am persecuted because I am a member of the press’. Reporters and editors and publishers at that time were ready to go to court,” he added.

The Filipino-American Ressa earlier called on the government for her arrest over the cyber libel case filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng, saying it was an attack of press freedom.

Enrile does not agree the Ressa's stance saying, “If she committed libel against anybody, why should she be immune from charge? If you commit libel several times, those are several behavioral acts subject to sanctions,” 

“Everything is possible under speculation, but if there is evidence, she is entitled to present the counter-evidence,” he added.

Recently, the Court of Appeals (CA) has denied the motion for partial reconsideration filed by Rappler and upheld its earlier findings that the company’s foreign investment amounted to prohibited foreign control of a media company.

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