After Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa was found guilty of the cyber libel case against her, businessman Wilfredo Keng claimed that he was finally vindicated.
However, the damage done by Rappler’s false accusations still resound to Keng despite the verdict of Manila Regional Trial Court which was promulgated on Monday, June 15.
The businessman said that he decided to seek justice for himself because he believed that he has done nothing to deserve the false accusations against him, even if it’s going against the powerful media entity, Rappler and its CEO, Maria Ressa, who was one of the Top 100 Most Influential Women in the World in Time Magazine.
Keng revealed that he tried to talk with Rappler before filing a case, saying “I begged and pleaded Rappler to take it down after showing them government clearances but they refused, so I had no choice.”
He also mentioned in his press statement that he hopes the case will bolster the Filipino’s respect for the Philippine media and that the false publications will not remain unchecked in the years to come.
“Ressa portrays herself as an alleged defender of press freedom and as a purported target of the Philippine Government, but this in no way exempts her from respecting and following Philippine laws,” he said, adding that Ressa had a bigger responsibility to tell the truth and follow the law since she was a public figure.
He was also firm in his statement that he has never been investigated or convicted of anything against the law, whether in the Philippines or overseas. Keng said that Ressa has never argued about this, but has simply attempted to hide behind the fact that the previous case has passed beyond the years.
Keng was one of the influential persons included before in Rappler’s article about former chief justice Renato Corona who allegedly used his vehicle and was involved in drugs and human trafficking.
The businessman was also speculated to be connected with the government since Keng submitted the case only in 2017, even if Rappler’s article was released in 2012 before the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was implemented. However, Keng insisted that the government has no involvement regarding the case.
“This case is NOT a case of the government. I am a private citizen and this is a private suit. I filed my complaint prior to and independently of any case the Philippine Government may have filed against Ressa. Unlike Ressa, who attended hearings but who refused to take the witness stand, I testified in open court because I believe that I am telling the truth. I went through all stages of the legal process with no shortcuts or exemptions,” he said.