By Genalyn Kabiling
Journalist Maria Ressa is a sore loser following her conviction for cyber libel by a Manila court, according to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
Roque insisted that Ressa’s conviction had nothing to do with freedom of expression and of the press, saying she was made accountable for violating the cyber libel law.
“Maria Ressa is a sore loser. Mali ang kaniyang depensa, mali ang ginawa niya bilang isang peryodista at siya ngayon ay nasabihan na ikaw talaga ay lumabag sa batas, sinisisi po niya at ina-attempt niyang sirain ang ating mga institution. Hindi po ako papayag diyan (Maria Ressa is a sore loser. Her defense is wrong. As a journalist, she made a mistake and now that she is told that she violated the law, she blames and attempts to discredit the institutions. I will not agree to that),” he said over DZRH last Thursday.
Ressa, chief executive officer of Rappler, is facing up to six years in prison after she was found guilty of cyber libel by a Manila court. A former Rappler writer was also given the same conviction. They are allowed to post bail pending an appeal.
The cyber libel case stemmed from a complaint filed by a businessman against a supposed defamatory Rappler story. Ressa, speaking to the press after the verdict, said her case was a cautionary tale for the local media. She urged Filipinos not to be afraid but instead protect their rights.
Roque argued that the conviction of Ressa was a case of “bad journalism” and “bad lawyering.”
She said Ressa’s camp not only failed to do fact-checking in the story but also did not show evidence to prove there was no malice in publishing the article.
“Ang conviction po ni Maria Ressa, wala po itong kinalaman sa freedom of expression, this is about bad journalism. Hindi po sila nag-fact checking; and bad lawyering dahil hindi po nila prinuwebahan na wala silang malice (The conviction of Maria Ressa has nothing to do with freedom of expression. This is about bad journalism. They did not conduct fact-checking. It is also due to bad lawyering because they did not prove there was no malice),” he said.