Maria Ressa Out on Bail, Again

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa was released at mid-day on February 14 after posting $1911,21 bail, which freed her from Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigations custody.

She was arrested on February 13 on cyber libel charges.

Ressa has remained defiant throughout the ordeal.

On her release from the Manila regional trial court she said, “It’s about abuse of power and the weaponization of the law. This is not just about me, not just about Rappler,” according to Washington Post.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has been a harsh critic of Rapplers reporting on his deadly war on drugs.

Rappler has also been involved in court battles with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after it revoked Rappler’s registration citing violations of foreign ownership.

JJ Disini, her lawyer, had tried unsuccessfully on February 13 to secure bail which would have kept her out of detention for the night.

Ressa is still out on bail for tax evasion charges brought against her in November 2018.

Image: Rappler

Ressa’s arrest has received widespread condemnation with many expressing concern about the charges seemingly a politically motivated attempt to silence Rappler.

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression David Kaye said on Twitter Maria Ressa is an advocate and friend to the free press everywhere.

“The fact that she is spending the night in jail is simply intolerable,” Kaye added.

The charge of cyber libel relates to a story published seven years ago by Reynaldo Santos Jr that alleged close ties between businessman Wilfredo Keng and a judge in the country’s top court.

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