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NBI: Libel raps vs Rappler has no basis

MANILA – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday said the cyber libel complaint against news website Rappler has no basis.

The complaint stemmed from a Rappler story in 2012 that linked complainant and businessman Wilfredo Keng to human trafficking and drug smuggling. Keng only filed the case last month. 

The 1-year prescription had already lapsed when Keng filed the case, the NBI Legal Service division said. 

The office added that the continuous publication of an article cannot be considered as a continuing offense as the original posting is deemed as a single offense. 

Rappler head Maria Ressa had said that the libel complaint was part of “a concerted effort to turn journalism into a crime,” along with the revocation of her firm’s certificate of incorporation. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission revoked Rappler’s incorporation papers in January for alleged violation of foreign ownership restrictions in the Constitution. 

Rappler has questioned the SEC order before the Court of Appeals. Pending the court ruling, Malacañang has barred the site’s reporter Pia Ranada from covering Palace events.

–With a report from Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News 

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