Rappler’s Ressa goes free on bail

December 03, 2018
Maria Ressa

RAPPLER’S Maria Ressa yesterday posted bail for her temporary liberty after she was ordered arrested for tax evasion involving sales of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to two foreign entities in 2015.

Ressa, president of Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC), paid a bond of P60,000 at the Pasig City Regional Trial Court.

Judge Danilo Buemio of Pasig RTC Branch 265 earlier issued a warrant for Ressa’s arrest for violation of Section 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

The Department of Justice had filed five separate tax evasion cases against Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC) and Ressa before the Court of Tax Appeals and the Pasig City Regional Trial Court.

RHC is the holding company of Rappler Inc., owner of news website Rappler, which has  faced several legal challenges, including government’s revocation of its license to operate in January, and a cyber libel complaint.

According to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the RHC allegedly earned roughly P162.5 million from the sales of PDRs but failed to declare it in its tax return.

“Now is certainly not the time to be afraid,” Ressa said at the Pasig court.

“We need to hold government to account, and part of the reason I’m here is precisely that,” she said. “I’m not a criminal but I’ve been fingerprinted like a criminal. We feel that we did not get due process,” Ressa told reporters.

RHC is the holding company of Rappler Inc., owner of news website Rappler, which has faced several legal challenges, including government’s revocation of its license to operate in January, and a cyber libel complaint.

Ressa has maintained that the cases had no basis, saying her company was paying the right taxes unless the government reclassified it into a stock brokerage agency.

With Arlene Rivera