The Philippines: Ressa pleads not guilty to tax code violation case

  • Embattled veteran journalist Maria Ressa returned to court on 22 Jul 20, a month after she was found guilty over cyber libel. This time, it was for a tax violation case.
  • Ressa stood before Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 157 for arraignment in a tax code violation case. She pleaded not guilty.
  • In Nov 18, the Department of Justice found probable cause to charge Ressa for allegedly failing to supply correct information in its Value Added Tax return for the second quarter tax year of 2015.
  • Ressa, CEO of the online news site, was accused of violating Section 255 of the Tax Code. Ressa slammed the string of cases filed against her and her media company as harrassment and an attack against press freedom.
  • Malacañang has maintained that the Palace had nothing to do with the cases against Rappler and Ressa.
  • It has also denied that Rappler’s legal issues have anything to do with press freedom despite statements and warnings from journalists’ and civil society groups that the cases are an attempt to silence critical reporting of the Duterte administration.

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