Rappler’s Maria Ressa posts bail, avoids arrest

Rappler said it was harassment and intimidation of the Duterte administration’s critics in the media.

MANILA – Maria Ressa, president of Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC), evaded arrest by posting bail Monday at a Pasig City Regional Trial Court after being charged with tax evasion.

Judge DaniloBuemio 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. Bail was set at P60,000.

Ressa underwent booking process at the Pasig RTC but did not get her mug shots taken since she had already brought several photographs.

The Department of Justice earlier filed 5 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 facedseveral 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.

Asked if the tax charges were a response to critical coverage, she answered: “I think it is a way of sending a signal that we have to be careful. That’s part of what they want to do.”

“But the more they do things like this, these ridiculous things, the more we’re going to continue to do investigative reporting. We’re just gonna say it doesn’t work,” she said.