Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. have just been convicted guilty of cyber libel. The verdict was handed down by the Manila Regional Trial Court around 9:08 a.m. today, June 15, 2020.
In a report by Rappler, cyber libel is punishable by jail time of 6 months and 1 day to up to 7 years. A conviction is appealable, first to the Court of Appeals, then the Supreme Court, and only until there is a final affirmation will jail time start for a bailable offense like cyber libel.
It all began when the lawsuit was filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng in October 2017 over a 2012 investigative report written by Reynaldo Santos Jr. It mentioned Keng's ties with then Chief Justice Renato Corona. The article also claimed the businessman's alleged involvement in illegal activities and mentioned Chief Justice Renato Corona using SUVs of 'controversial' businessmen. Santos is also named in the suit.
What are your thoughts about the verdict? Stay tuned for more updates on the lawsuit.