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Rappler: Tax case clear harassment, has no legal basis

On Friday, November 9, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Rappler Holdings Corporation for tax evasion and failure to file tax returns.

We are not at all surprised by the decision, considering how the Duterte administration has been treating Rappler for its independent and fearless reporting. (READ: The Rappler story: Journalism with an impact)

We maintain that this is a clear form of continuing intimidation and harassment against us, and an attempt to silence journalists.

Our lawyers went to the DOJ shortly past 10 am on Friday to check on the status of the complaint.

They were told by the docket office of the department's National Prosecution Service that no resolution had been forwarded to them.

Yet, the DOJ statement on Friday said the resolution was signed as early as October 2, 2018.

"Let me reiterate that Rappler Holdings has not evaded the payment of any tax obligations in relation to its sale of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to two foreign entities in 2015," said Rappler's legal counsel Francis Lim, a securities law expert.

"Clearly, this case has no legal leg to stand on because it presumes – wrongly – that Rappler is a dealer in securities that profited from a sale," Lim added. 

"The resolution will have a chilling effect on those who have raised and will raise capital through the issuance of PDRs and is a blow to the development of our already laggard capital markets. We will pursue all legal remedies and we are optimistic that we will prevail in the end." – Rappler.com