Rappler’s Maria Ressa pleads not guilty to tax evasion charges

Marje Pelayo   •   April 3, 2019   •   1986

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa | Image grabbed from a Reuters video

REUTERS – Rappler CEO Maria Ressa pleaded not guilty on Wednesday (April 3) to tax evasion charges.

Ressa maintained that the tax dodging case, as well as the other cases filed against her and online news platform Rappler, were “politically motivated”.

“I still say that these cases are all politically motivated. Where in the world do you come home on a Friday, get arrested, post bail and on a Monday, get another arrest warrant and post bail again. I’ve been arrested twice in a little over a month and a week or so, right?” Ressa told reporters.

“It’s clear but we will fight every single one, and hope for the integrity of the men and women who will handle these cases, and that they go as well as today,” she added.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) in October indicted Ressa, and online news platform Rappler, for attempting to evade taxes by not reporting gains of almost $3 million in the company’s 2015 tax returns.

Ressa was served an arrest warrant over a libel case live on television in February and spent a night in detention before she was released.

She was arrested again last Friday (March 29) on charges she had violated foreign ownership rules. She was later freed by the court after she posted bail.

“It’s very serious for me. Each charge, there are four different charges, and each charge could carry a prison penalty from two to 10 years, so altogether 40 years, so it’s real, it’s very real, it’s the first arraignment of 11 investigations and cases against Rappler,” the embattled journalist said.

Social media influencers na hindi nagbabayad ng buwis, tinutukoy na — BIR

Robie de Guzman   •   August 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Sinimulan na ng Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) ang proseso sa pagtukoy sa social media influencers na maaaring kasuhan dahil sa hindi pagbabayad ng buwis.

Ayon kay Atty. Marisa Cabreros, ang deputy commissioner for legal group ng BIR, bahagi ito ng mandato ng ahensiya na habulin at papanagutin ang mga tax evader.

Ani Cabreros, ang sinumang kumikita sa pamamagitan ng alinmang social media platforms ay obligadong magpa-rehistro at ideklara ang kanilang kinikita sa BIR.

Sakop nito ang mga gumagawa ng online content o nag-eendorso ng mga produkto gaya halimbawa ng mga vlogger o Youtubers.

“Basta lahat po ng ating mga nasa online ang means of kita, kumikita sila binabayaran sila sa kahit anong klase ng serbisyo na ginagawa online… Lahat po ng taxpayers, indibidwal at korporasyon na tumatanggap ng income, in-cash or in-kind na ginagamit ang media site or any other platform at any activity perform on those sites and platform basta kumikita sila,” ani Cabreros.

“Because of it sila po ang tinutukoy natin na kailangang magrehistro, yun nga lang po ang mga famous as example are our Youtubers, yung nag-live streaming sa Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, Reddit, Snapshot and all other platforms po,” dagdag pa niya.

Pero paglilinaw ng BIR, hindi lahat ng social media influencers ay pagbabayarin ng buwis.

Aniya, ang small time social media influencers na may annual net income ng hindi hihigit sa P250,000 ay exempted sa pagbabayad ng tax alinsunod sa Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law.

Kaya wala umano silang dapat na ipag-alala at sa halip ay kinakailangan lamang na magparehistro at ideklara ang kanilang negosyo.

“Kaya yung sinasabi ng iba na maliit lang kami wala naman kaming gaanong kinikita pa, wala po silang dapat ikatakot,” ani Cabreros.

Babala ng BIR, maaaring maharap sa kaso ang sinumang social media influencer na hindi magdedeklara ng kanilang kita o kaya ay hindi nagbabayad ng tamang buwis.

Maaari din silang kasuhan sa hindi pagpapa-rehistro, hindi mag-iisyu ng resibo at tax fraud.

Posibleng makulong ng hindi bababa sa anim na taon at pagmultahin ng hanggang P10 miylyon ang sinomang hindi magbabayad ng tamang buwis. RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Marvin Calas)

Malacanang reminds critics: Cyberlibel Act passed under Aquino Administration

Marje Pelayo   •   June 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines –  Malacañang defends President Rodrigo Duterte against critics alleging the Chief Executive of curtailing press freedom with the conviction of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said the President has never charged a journalist in court and that the existing Cyberlibel Act that convicted Maria Ressa was enacted not under his term but under the term of former President Benigno Aquino III. 

“Hindi po administrasyon ni President Rodrigo Duterte ang nagsulong ng Cyberlibel Act (kundi ang) administrasyon po ni President Noynoy Aquino [It was not the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte that pushed for the Cyberlibel Act but it was the administration of President Noynoy Aquino],” Roque noted.

Despite criticisms, the Palace said it is acknowledging the court’s decision on Ressa’s case and so it urges the public to do the same. 

Afterall, Roque said, Ressa and her co-accused, former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr., may still appeal the case in the higher courts.

READ: Court convicts Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, ex-researcher writer for cyberlibel

Ressa and Santos were allowed to post bail for the case and were given 15 days to appeal the verdict.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the court ruling calling the arraignment a ‘dark day’ not only for the independent media in the Philippines but to all Filipino people.

This is a dark day not only for independent Philippine media but for all Filipinos,” the group said.

“The verdict basically kills freedom of speech and of the press,” it added.

But the group of journalists said the verdict will never be a reason for them to stop their fight for press freedom.

“But we will not be cowed. We will continue to stand our ground against all attempts to suppress our freedoms,” the NUJP said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Panelo to file libel charges against INQUIRER.net, Rappler

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 3, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has announced he will file libel charges against online publications INQUIRER.net and Rappler.

This is due to their “malicious” reports about Panelo’s referral letter on former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez’s executive clemency plea.

According to Panelo, the same media outlets reported that he “recommended” the release of the former mayor. He clarified that he only “referred” it to the Bureau of Pardons and Parole (BPP).

READ: BPP: Panelo referred Sanchez’s clemency application

He is referring to Rappler’s article, “Panelo endorsed Sanchez’s letter for executive clemency.” INQUIRER.net also posted a tweet on the same issue.

“As I earlier said in the press briefing this morning, those articles are reeking with malice and it’s libelous in nature because it tends to impute an act to discredit me in public and to tarnish my honor,” he said.

“In view of this, I’m filing a libel case against net Inquirer and Rappler for publishing these malicious articles,” he added.

Panelo also said they are already drafting the said complaints.

In a statement, Rappler said the complaint is merely a diversionary tactic.

Rappler also calls on Panelo to answer the questions about his possible conflicts of interest.—AAC

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.