President Duterte says he will expose Maria Ressa as ‘a fraud’; says he is receiving folders of ‘info’ about the Rappler CEO

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said that he would expose Rappler CEO and his critic Maria Ressa as “a fraud”, as he revealed that he is receiving “folders of information” about her.

Duterte was delivering a message to the media and its reportage on corruption in the government’s response to COVID-19 when he named Ressa, who was recently convicted of cyber libel, a court decision that drew criticisms supposedly for being an affront to press freedom.

“General Galvez, General Lorenzana, General Ano, they have served the country and they are still serving the country. Why would they destroy their name?” Duterte said.

“‘Yung madudumi ang isip, pag sabi na may price difference eh tingnan mo muna yung history,” he added.

“If you judge us the way… then one of these days we will also judge you in the same way and with more ferocity. And it will come… tayong mga politko, it will come just be careful,” Duterte said.

Duterte said he had been receiving “folders of information” about Ressa.

“You will have a dose of your own medicine one of these days. I am not threatening you. Go ahead and expose anything about corruption,” Duterte said.

“Ressa is a fraud. Give us time. It’s too early for you to enjoy yung mga award, award mo. You are a fraud. We are just compiling. Some day in bold letters, we will show your incongruity. You are a fraud,” he added.

Last month, Ressa said that presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s claim that President Duterte supports press freedom is misleading and a lie.

Ressa said there were “patterns” in Duterte’s actions that showed otherwise including the series of his criticism and alleged attack against Rappler.

Ressa and former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. were convicted for cyber libel charges by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46.

They remain free after being granted post-conviction bail.

In 2019, government prosecutors indicted them over a Rappler article in 2012 that cites an “intelligence report” alleging that businessman Wilfredo Keng, the complainant, is linked to human trafficking and drug smuggling.

Keng denied all allegations and filed a libel case after he said Rappler had failed to publish his side.

She also said that her conviction of cyber libel is  “pivotal moment”  for democracy and a free press. /Stacy Ang

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