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Today, September 12, the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 157 acquitted Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC) and its president Maria Ressa of the fifth tax evasion charge filed by the former administration of Rodrigo Duterte.
This is a victory not just for Rappler but for everyone who has kept the faith that a free and responsible press empowers communities and strengthens democracy.
We share this with our colleagues in the industry who have been besieged by relentless online attacks, unjust arrests and detentions, and red-tagging that have resulted in physical harm.
We share this with Filipinos doing business for social good but who, like us, have suffered at the hands of oppressive governments.
The ruling came eight months after the Court of Tax Appeals also dismissed four other tax cases filed against Rappler by the Duterte-era Bureau of Internal Revenue and Department of Justice.
All the dismissed tax cases were based on the false and flimsy premise that, when Rappler issued Philippine Depositary Receipts in 2015, it was not raising capital but earning a taxable profit, which it supposedly willfully did not declare.
We are pleased that the court saw through that.
Let’s continue to #HoldTheLine together. – Rappler.com
As we celebrate the triumph of facts over politics, we want to thank you, our readers, for holding the line with us through the years. If you want to stay updated with Rappler’s other cases and be part of a community that supports press freedom, we invite you to join Rappler+, our membership program, here.