MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday bared that he would soon expose the truth about Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa being a “fraud.”
In a taped public address aired on state-run PTV-4 early Wednesday, Duterte said he is now preparing documents that would prove that Ressa is a trickster.
“Ressa is a fraud. Maniwala kayo (Believe me). Give us time. (It’s) too early for you to enjoy ‘yung mga award-award mo (your awards). You are a fraud actually,” he said.
The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 on June 15 convicted Ressa and former Rappler researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. of cyber libel and sentenced them to a jail term ranging from six months and one day to six years.
The court ruling against Ressa and Santos was based on the 2017 cyber libel complaint lodged by businessman Wilfredo Keng.
Keng was named by Rappler as the owner of a sports utility vehicle used by the late chief justice Renato Corona who at that time was facing an impeachment case.
Duterte said he could not stomach reading articles published by the online site.
Taking a jab at Ressa, he said “some folders” he obtained in the past years show evidence that the embattled Rappler chief is a fraud.
“I have some folders in me given all throughout the years. You will have a dose of your own medicine one of these days,” Duterte said. “We are just compiling at this stage. And someday in bold letters, we will show your incongruity. You are a fraud.”
Critics have claimed that Ressa’s conviction is an affront to press freedom.
Malacañang has repeatedly said Duterte is not behind Ressa’s conviction as the President continues to value the freedom of the press and freedom of speech in the Philippines.
On June 16, Ressa claimed that the Palace statement that Duterte values press freedom was “misleading at best, a lie at worst.”
Duterte, alluding to Ressa, said the Rappler chief would be judged the way she judged his administration.
“You judge us the way… Then one of these days, we will also judge you in the same way and with more ferocity. And it will come. It will come,” he said.
The PNA sought a reaction from Ressa through her official Twitter account but she has yet to reply as of posting time. (PNA)