MANILA — Malacanang had no hand in the subpoenas issued by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa and two others over cybercrime raps, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Saturday.
“I’d like to clarify again that the Palace had no hand in the issuance of the subpoena by the NBI to Rappler,” Roque told reporters during a press conference in Aklan.
“The subpoena was in connection with the complaint filed by a businessman who demanded that Rappler remove an article, which said that according to intelligence reports, he was engaged in the drug trade,” he explained, adding the news organization did not comply “hence the suit.”
“Wala na naman po kaming kinalaman diyan. Mayroon pong pribadong partido na naghain ng reklamo, natural, didinggin po ‘yung reklamo,” he reiterated.
Ressa, including former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr. and businessman Benjamin Bitanga were ordered to appear before the NBI’s Cybercrime Division on Jan. 22 over a complaint filed by President and CEO of Century Peak Metals Holdings Corporation Wilfredo Keng.
Keng accused the three of violating Republic Act 10175 or the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012” in relation to the article “CJ using SUVs of ‘controversial’ businessmen” that Santos wrote and the news site published on May 29, 2012.
Prior to the subpoena, the SEC revoked the operating license of the digital media company, questioning its corporate deal with foreign investor Omidyar Network.
Following this, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II directed the NBI to investigate the media outfit over possible violation of the Constitution and other laws.