MANILA � Businessman Wilfredo Keng, the complainant in the cyber libel complaint against Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa, said he is determining other charges which he can file against the journalist and the online news website.
I will continue this criminal case against Rappler and Ressa, and am currently exploring all other cases that can be filed against them. In doing so, I know that I face a hard fight and a formidable opponent. I know that I am going up against an extraordinary and powerful accused, supported by politicians, foreign organizations and international outfit, Keng said in a statement Friday.
Despite the possibility that he may lose, Keng said he remains unfazed by the respondents' machinery which can influence the outcome of the case.
Nevertheless, I will persevere and do the right thing, because even against such overwhelming odds, I believe that justice and truth will win. The law will reign supreme, Keng said.
The businessman also clarified that the case is a personal fight to clear his name from untrue, unfair and malicious imputation of grave crimes.
I further denounce any attempt to condescend against my exercise of my constitutional right to personally and directly seek redress for damage I sustained as a result of intentional and injurious words. I am a Filipino citizen, and it is my right to pursue this legal battle. I will not be swayed, he added.
Keng also chided the accused for invoking press freedom to make it appear that his efforts to seek just and equitable judicial relief are preposterous and baseless, a possible attempt to intimidate and black propaganda.
He also clarified that the Philippine government has nothing to do with his case, noting that it his personal move as a private citizen who only wants to seek legal action against defamatory words.
My case does not tackle state suppression of policy criticism or of free expression of sentiment. That being said, its filing and progression do not impinge in any way on freedom of speech and of the press, freedoms which I fully believe in and support. It is in fact aligned through a common objective of truth, its resolution revolving around the answer to one simple question: Did Rappler, Ressa and Reynaldo Santos, Jr. lie about me?" he said.
Meanwhile, he also called on the government to uphold laws on cybercrime and to ensure faithful observance of the rule of law.
Should they see fit to repeal, amend or change our laws, we can only hope that they legislate and enforce a system that will never allow malicious and cunning impunity in the propagation of lies, especially by individuals and entities equipped on all fronts to sustain such lies for countless generations. If, contrary to our trust, our representatives permit or tolerate clear libel, then I hope that what I and my family are suffering through does not happen to them; for then, I wonder, what will they do? Keng said.
Claim of junked complaint 'misleading'
Keng also slammed the journalist and the online news website for trying to 'mislead' the public over their claim that the cyber libel complaint he filed against them was already dismissed.
They attempt to mislead the public by releasing 'news' that my complaint against them was purportedly 'dismissed' by the National Bureau of Investigation, knowing absolutely well that it is the National Bureau of Investigation itself which filed the complaint for cyber libel against Rappler, Ressa, (Rappler writer Reynaldo) Santos and other named individuals before the Department of Justice, Keng said in an earlier statement.
"Rappler's inaccurate, nay reckless, reports and statements continue to be quoted by other news outfits, thereby perpetuating the clearly incorrect version of the said story," he added.
Reports carried by several news sites said the NBI's legal and evaluation service, as declared by NBI Cybercrime Division chief Manuel Antonio Eduarte, dismissed the case in February 2018.
However, in March 2018, the NBI revived the complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) and recommended indicting Ressa and eight others on cyber libel charges.
Keng also vowed to pursue a legal battle against the online publication "to the very end".
"While I am aware that this vindication is but the start of what may be a long and arduous process, I am committed to see this legal battle to the very end," he said.
He also questioned their motives in dragging his name into the controversy which involved the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.
"Rappler, Ressa and Santos continue to hold themselves high above any accountability to provide credible and justifiable reason for why they continue to harass an ordinary private citizen and businessman despite having absolutely no basis for their claims. What is their motive?" Keng said.
Keng's complaint filed in October 2017 stemmed from the article titled "CJ using SUVs of 'controversial' businessmen'" as the owner of a sports utility vehicle used by the ousted top magistrate.
Upon seeing the story, Keng said he tried "to formally and informally communicate with Rappler in order to have the said article taken down."
"Rappler, likewise through formal and informal channels, repeatedly promised me that they will take down the subject article, but never did. The libelous attacks remain posted on their website until now," he said, adding the article has also "destroyed" his reputation and "endangered" his life. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency