MANILA - The Court of Appeals has denied Rappler CEO and journalist Maria Ressa's plea to be allowed to travel to the United States to receive an award and attend the screening of a documentary about her.
In a decision released Aug. 18, the CA's Special Fourteenth Division said Ressa "failed to show the necessity and urgency of her intended travel to the USA from August 23, 2020 to September 19, 2020."
Ressa sought permission to travel from the CA since she had elevated her cyber libel conviction appeal there.
In her motion, she said she intended to attend various events in the US for the theatrical release of the documentary "A Thousand Cuts" from Aug. 1 to 31.
She was also supposed to receive an award from the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Aug. 24.
The Office of the Solicitor General, however, opposed Ressa's motion to travel, arguing that though she was previously allowed to leave, "her conviction warrants stricter restriction against her privilege to travel abroad."
The OSG also highlighted that Ressa's public statements allegedly indicate her "lack of respect for the Philippine judicial system."
The OSG said Ressa failed to prove the necessity of her physical appearance in said events, adding that she can attend through video conferencing.
Ressa and former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. were found guilty of cyber libel by a Manila court last June 15 over a 2012 article that linked a businessman to alleged illegal activities.
They remain out on bail they previously posted.
On July 24, the Manila court denied their appeal.
Ressa claims all cases against her and Rappler are meant to intimidate journalists in the country, threatening press freedom and democracy. Government officials refute the allegation.
- with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News