Photo for illustrative purposes only.


Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, Rappler cleared of tax evasion charges

Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa and Rappler Holdings Corp. were acquitted of tax evasion charges on Wednesday.

The Court of Tax Appeals found that prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ressa and Rappler dodged tax payments on four occasions after raising funds through partnerships with two foreign investors.

Rappler hailed the decision as a “triumph of facts over politics.”

“Today, facts win, truth wins, justice wins,” Ressa said after the verdict was announced.

“This acquittal, even if took a long time, is not just for Rappler. It is for every Filipino who has ever been unjustly accused,” she added.

The tax charges against Ressa and Rappler stemmed from a separate charge by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018 alleging that the news website violated a constitutional provision prohibiting foreign ownership and control of Philippine media companies by receiving funds from foreign investors Omidyar Network and North Base Media via financial papers known as Philippine Depositary Receipts.

The commission ordered Rappler’s closure based on the allegation, which Rappler refuted and appealed, claiming that it is a news organization owned and run by Filipinos. BKM/ Expat Media

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