Manila court grants Ressa, former Rappler reporter’s motion to challenge evidence in cyber libel case

Published October 8, 2019, 1:26 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Erma Edera

A Manila court granted on Tuesday the motion filed by Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa and a former to dismiss the cyber libel case against them on the basis of insufficient evidence.

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa is detained inside the conference room of the Cybercrime Division in NBI after failing to post bail late Wednesday. (JUN RYAN ARAÑAS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa is detained inside the conference room of the Cybercrime Division in NBI after failing to post bail late Wednesday. (JUN RYAN ARAÑAS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 granted Rappler’s motion for leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence.  A demurrer to evidence, when granted by the court, would result in the dismissal of the case halfway through the trial and eventual acquittal of the accused based on insufficiency of prosecution evidence.

“The only ground really is that they haven’t proven their case, that’s the only ground,” Rappler’s lawyer, former Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te, told reporters.

On the other hand, Rappler, Ressa and former reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr. were given 10 days to file their demurrer to evidence, while the prosecution was directed to give its comment within another 10 days.

After the parties submit their pleadings, the court will deem it submitted for resolution.

If the demurrer of Rappler is denied, they will start presenting their evidence on December 6.

The case stemmed from the complaint of Keng regarding the May 29, 2012 Rappler article written by former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr. titled “CJ Using SUVs of Controversial Businessman”.

The article wrote that then Chief Justice Renato Corona was using a 2011 Chevrolet Subarban which was found registered to Keng whom Santos described as “shady” and involved in human trafficking and drug smuggling.

 
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