Businessman demands ₱50M in damages in cyber libel case vs. Rappler

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — A businessman who sued Rappler for cyber liber is demanding ₱50 million in damages.

Wilfredo Keng in his September 18 affidavit asked for ₱25 million in moral damages and another ₱25 million in exemplary damages. ‪This is in connection with the October 2017 case he filed over an online article about his supposed ties with then Chief Justice Renato Corona.

He said the amount could not even compensate the injury inflicted by the online news site on his reputation.

Keng said he and his family have been publicly ridiculed and judged because of Rappler's malicious imputations.

He said he just wants to send a message to the media that they cannot “simply destroy a person’s reputation and character” through irresponsible reporting — without consequences.

He said does not intend to keep the money, and that he will donate it to charity.

Rappler’s lawyers said no monetary damages were listed in the information, but the Manila court overruled their objection.

‪The libel suit cited the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which was enacted four months after the contested article was published. ‬Rappler CEO Maria Ressa was arrested early this year on the basis that the article was updated and published again in February 2014. Ressa is now out on bail. ‬

READ: Rappler CEO calls arrest 'abuse of power'

This is just one of the cases Rappler is facing as part of the government's supposed attempts to silence critical media. Malacañang has repeatedly denied going after Rappler even as it has banned its journalists from covering Palace events and official affairs of President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: OSG: No right to press freedom violated in Rappler coverage ban