Ngayong araw ay inilabas ni Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio Montesa ang kanyang hatol na guilty sa kasong cyber-libel laban kay Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa at sa dati nitong empleyado na si Reynaldo Santos, Jr..
Inatasan ng korte ang dalawang akusado na bayaran ng danyos na P200,000 ang negosyante na si Wilfredo Keng para sa moral damages at karagdagang P200,000 para sa exemplary damages.
Dahil sa nangyari, bumoladas si Ressa at sinabing panggigipit daw ito sa malayang pamamahayag.
“I appeal to you, the journalists in this room, the Filipinos who are listening, to protect your rights. We are meant to be a cautionary tale. We are meant to make you afraid, right? So, I appeal again, don’t be afraid… Sa mga Pilipinong nanonood po, hindi lang po ito tungkol sa Rappler, hindi lang po ito tungkol sa amin, tungkol po ito sa inyo, because freedom of the press is the foundation of every singe right you have as a Filipino citizen,” patutsada ni Ressa.
Naglabas naman ng pahayag si Mr. Keng para kontrahin ang mga kinukuda ni Ressa.
“This case is NOT a case of the government. I am a private citizen and this is a private suit. I filed my complaint prior to and independently of any case the Philippine Government may have filed against Ressa… This is not a fight against the press freedon, an institution I deeply respect and uphold. For years, I have suffered from Rappler’s false accusations against me, which false accusations have no place in a responsible and free press… My filing AND winning this case assures Filipinos that published falsehoods will not remain unchallenged and unchecked in this jurisdiction but will instead be dealt with by law, strengthening the people’s respect for the Philippine Media in the years to come,” resbak ni Mr. Keng.