Philippines: AFD International regards the judicial decision to indict the news website CEO for tax evasion a censorship and politically motivated act.

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Maria Ressa the CEO of Rappler news website has been summoned for multiple tax misconducts and tax evasion. Ms Ressa has been very active in covering the ugly truth of President Detutre’s war on drugs. We believe that the government is using the court to silence free journalism from reporting on his ruthless policy of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects..

Ms Ressa Is facing up to ten years if found guilty by the regional court In the suburbs of the capital Manila.
Since the removal of top and first woman judge Maria Lourdes Sereno from her position in the Supreme Court, It became apparent that the head of the executive branch, has declared a war on any voice from the judiciary that disapprove of his decisions. Judge Sereno was labelled “enemy” by the president for ruling against his decisions to extend his martial law to the south of the country and other controversial decisions.
AFD International is very worried about the interference of President Duterte with the judicial system of the country, which essentially undermines the rule of law and democracy in a country which is still grappling with many human rights Issues.

AFD International will continue to follow closely the case of Ms Ressa and reminds the Philippine authorities to act in best interest of its citizens through a robust and rigorous system of checks and balances and respect of freedom of speech and free press.

AFD International
Asia & the Pacific
26/12/2018

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