'Bato' says Nobel body wrong in honoring Maria Ressa

Published October 11, 2021, 2:25 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Monday said he finds it “wrong” to award veteran journalist Maria Ressa with a Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of press freedom.

Dela Rosa, a presidential candidate and ally of President Duterte, argued that no curtailing of press freedom happened in the country and freedom of expression and of the press is still very much present under the present administration.

“If the basis for awarding her is that she fought for press freedom, then mali ang awarding body niyan. Mali (then the awarding body was wrong. It’s wrong),” Dela Rosa said in a virtual press briefing.

“Hindi ako agree dahil meron naman tayong press freedom. Mayroong press freedom dito sa atin. Mayroon bang taga-media na kinulong dahil sa kanyang pagbabalita? Wala naman (I don’t agree with it because we have press freedom here. Has there been any media practitioner who has been jailed because of reporting? There’s none),” he added.

Ressa, he pointed out was convicted due to a case filed against her by a private individual.

“It’s not the government who filed the case against her. For me, personally, na ako’y tinatanong niyo, mali ‘yung binigay na award (if you ask me, the award was erroneous),” he pointed out.

“I don’t know about the motivation sa pagbigay ng (when they gave the) award. Pero personally tingin ko mali (I personally think its wrong),” he said.

Over the weekend, some senators praised Ressa for winning the prestigious award as they view the Nobel Peace Prize of solidifying her place “not only as one of the country’s journalism icons, but also all over the world.”