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Palace zings Ressa’s press freedom cover

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Malacañang Palace on Saturday slammed Rappler chief Maria Ressa for invoking press freedom as her license in her continued attack against the government.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Ressa cannot forever use freedom of the press as an excuse, especially if her violations have nothing to do with her job as journalist.

Ressa was arrested Friday shortly after she arrived in Manila for allegedly violating the Anti-Dummy Law, in connection with the real ownership of her company.

She was released hours later after posting P90,000 bail at the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 265.

She then claimed that freedom of the press is under siege in the country, noting that government critics like her are being subjected to harassment and intimidation.

“She cannot forever hide behind the freedom of the press every time she commits what probably is a transgression of law as determined by the investigating prosecutor and the judge handling her case,” Panelo said.

Panelo added Ressa wants a special treatment owing to her being a journalist and uses her profession to shield her from accountability of a wrongdoing that she could be guilty of.

Ressa had decried her arrest as harassment and travesty of justice, but Panelo blasted the Rappler chief and stressed that she should instead focus on her case.

“Instead of fomenting disrespect to the duly-constituted authorities and using her journalistic talent to spread her twisted and pretentious advocacy, she should focus on her defense and be truthful on her present situation,” Panelo said.

He added the Executive department respects the independence of the Judiciary, including how to handles cases pending before its courts.

A warrant of arrest was issued against Ressa after the court found probable cause in connection with the Philippine depositary receipts Rappler issued to Omidyar Network Fund, LLC in 2015, a year before the assumption into office of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

With Elmer N. Manuel

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