Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Friday, Oct. 8 joined the Makabayan bloc in expressing elation over the awarding of a Nobel Peace prize to journalist Maria Ressa, making her the first Filipina to win the most prestigious international recognition in the world.
So far, only Lagman and Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate have congratulated Ressa from the Lower House. They were joined by former Rep. Teddy Casino, Bayan Muna nominee in the 2022 partylist polls, and former Rep. Nery Colmenares, a candidate for senator.
“Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa’s winning the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for militantly protecting freedom of expression is a singular achievement of a Filipino even as it is another black mark on President Rodrigo Duterte who has been demonizing and derogating press freedom,” said Lagman in a statement.
The Norway-based Nobel Peace prize committee cited Ressa, together with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
“Ressa and Rappler have been ceaselessly reporting on Duterte’s horrific war on drugs and ineffectual governance like his anemic response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Lagman.
He said Duterte had directly or indirectly” prodded the filing of at least seven court charges for cyber libel against Ressa, who has been assailed by the president and his allies for being critical to the government.
.”At Duterte’s behest, directly or indirectly, Ressa is facing at least seven active court cases, one of which is a prosecution for cyber libel for which she has been unwarrantedly convicted together with a former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos, Jr. The conviction is on appeal,” said Lagman.
He added: “It will be recalled that the Reporters Without Borders, also a nominee for the award, named Duterte among the 31 world leaders in the gallery of “Press Freedom Predators”.