Spox. Roque: Pres. Duterte Never Filed Libel Case Against Any Journalist

Spox. Roque: Pres. Duterte Never Filed Libel Case Against Any Journalist


Save The Children Philippines Launches “E-Regalo Sa Mga Bata”

For every Php 10,000 raised through E-Regalo sa mga Bata, Save the Children will provide learning kits and life-saving essentials to 20 children.

DOTr Sec. Tugade Urges Drivers Of PUV To Participate In Gov’t’s Service Contract Program

Sa ilalim ng Service Contracting Program ng LTFRB, maaaring makatanggap ng karagdagang kita ang mga drayber na lubos na naapektuhan ang pangkabuhayan dahil sa COVID-19 pandemic.

In New Education Normal, Volunteers Help Fill Crucial Learning Gaps

“I volunteered because I didn’t want these kids to waste their time learning nothing,” says Emy Tarnate, one of the hundreds of volunteers helping children survive an education system altered by a global health crisis.

ECHO, OXFAM, World Vision, And ADRA Partner To Support Goni-Displaced Families In Bicol

World Vision, along with several of its partners, vows to provide immediate aid to the most affected communities in the hard-hit areas of the Bicol region.

Saying President Rodrigo Roa Duterte values press freedom, Malacañang on Monday said the decision of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) to convict Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and former researcher-writer Rey Santos Jr. of cyber libel should be respected.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said despite Ressa and Santos’ guilty verdict, Duterte never filed a libel complaint against journalists publishing critical reports about him.

“Ni minsan hindi po siya naghain na kahit anong kaso ng libel laban sa kahit kaninong nabu-buwisit siyang mga peryodista. Naniniwala po siya sa malayang pag-iisip at pananalita at ang paninindigan niya, ang taong gobyerno hindi dapat onion-skinned (Not once did he file a libel complaint against any journalist who got on his nerves. He believes in free thinking, free speech, and he believes that government officials should not be onion-skinned),” he said in a virtual presser.

Roque said Duterte once supported Davao-based broadcaster Alexander Adonis who was convicted of libel and imprisoned in 2007 for reading on air a tabloid article about then House Speaker Prospero Nograles’ alleged extramarital encounter.

“Matapos pong nakulong si Adonis, patuloy pong nagbigay ng suporta ang Presidente kay Alexander Adonis at nagbigay din po siya ng material support (After Adonis was jailed, the President continued to give him support),” he said.

The former Bombo Radyo broadcaster previously questioned the compatibility of libel with freedom of expression before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). Roque then served as his lawyer.

The UNCHR eventually ruled that Adonis’ rights were violated and that defamation laws should not “stifle freedom of expression”.

Roque also dismissed as “without basis” Ressa’s claim that her conviction is a “cautionary tale” meant to strike fear, stressing that supporting Adonis was enough proof that Duterte supported the right to free expression and free press.

“Wala pong basehan iyan (That has no basis), she is barking at the wrong tree. Sinuportahan po ni Presidente si Alexander Adonis noong siya ay nagpunta sa UN Human Rights Committee. Ano pa po ang kinakailangang ebidensiya na isa sa pinakamalakas na supporter ng freedom of expression at freedom of the press ay ang Presidente (The President supported Alexander Adonis when we went to the UNCHR. What other evidence do you need to prove that the President is the biggest supporter of freedom of expression and freedom of the press)?” he said.

He emphasized that the complainant, businessman Wilfred Keng, is a private individual which means that there is a presumption that the report published in Rappler is malicious.

“Dahil private po ang complainant (Because the complainant is a private individual), the court gave it credence and applied the presumption that any malicious imputation is in fact malicious,” he said.

Roque also pointed out that it was during the administration of former President Benigno “Nonoy” Aquino III when cyber libel was pushed.

“Hindi po Presidente ang nasa likod sa panunupil diumano ng kalayaan nang malayang pananalita at pamamahayag. Iyan po ay desisyon ng ating Korte Suprema sa panahon pa ni Presidente Noynoy Aquino (The President is not behind efforts to curtail free speech and free press. That is the decision of the Supreme Court during the term of President Noynoy Aquino),” he said.

Manila RTC Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa sentenced Ressa and Santos to imprisonment ranging from six months and one day to six years.

Ressa and Santos were ordered to pay Keng PHP400,000 in moral and exemplary damages.

In 2017, Keng filed cyber libel charges against the two for naming him in a 2012 report as having lent his sports utility vehicle for the use of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was then facing impeachment.

“Mayroon pa naman pong pagkakataon si Maria Ressa na umapila; habang siya po ay umaapila, hindi naman po siya makukulong (Maria Ressa still has a chance to appeal; while appealing her case, she will not be jailed),” Roque said. “We wish her the best.” (PNA)

Central Luzon Reports 80% Covid-19 Recoveries

At least 80.75 percent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 in Central Luzon has recovered.

ECHO, OXFAM, World Vision, And ADRA Partner To Support Goni-Displaced Families In Bicol

World Vision, along with several of its partners, vows to provide immediate aid to the most affected communities in the hard-hit areas of the Bicol region.

RCEF-Seed Program Continues To Help Typhoon-Affected Farmers

More than 100,000 rice farmers from Region 2 and CAR who were affected by the onslaught of the successive typhoons will benefit from the RCEF-Seed Program of the Department of Agriculture.

Taguig Activates ‘Teaching Hubs’ In City-Run University

Each of Taguig City’s “teaching hub” is equipped with studio equipment as well as a technical team available to assist faculty members conducting live online classes.

3,500 Villagers Targeted For Mass Covid-19 Testing In Cagayan

Priority targets include families with active cases, flood victims, front-liners, health workers and responders.

PLDT-Smart To Install 2 More Fiber Landing Stations In 2021

PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart is set to ramp up its broadband and data services by adding two more fiber cable landing stations in the country next year.

PH’s 1st Solar-Powered Bike Pit Stop Opens In San Juan

The country's first solar-powered bike pit stop and repair station in San Juan City is now officially open to the public!

PH Covid-19 Recoveries Rise By 196 To 386,792

With 196 additional recoveries, the total number of recovered cases from COVID-19 is now at 386,792.

Twitter Launches Its New Story-Like Feature Called ‘Fleets’

Have you tried Twitter’s newest feature?

NTF Vows To Aid Davao City In Addressing Covid-19 Surge

The national government assured the city government of Davao that it will help strengthen its COVID-19 programs followign the spike of COVID-19 cases in the area.