MALACAÑANG yesterday said that the issuance of an arrest warrant against online news site Rappler’s chief executive officer Maria Ressa for alleged tax evasion is not politically motivated.
“How can they be prosecuted? It’s a question of tax evasion, you violate tax laws then you will be prosecuted,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“If you have a justifiable reason for so doing or have… evidence to show that it’s not true, then you will be acquitted,” he added.
President Duterte, in his public speeches, has often criticized Rappler and had called it a “fake news outlet.”
“We have repeatedly said that we have never and we’ll never interfere with the function of the judiciary,” Panelo said.
“If the judiciary finds probable cause for an information filed, then we have to respect the law on the matter,” he added.
Panelo also said Ressa is “entitled to the presumption of innocence” and can avail herself of legal remedies, which include posting bail for her temporary liberty.