Lawyer hits back at UN Rapporteur after asking gov’t to drop Ressa’s case: Your opinion is irrelevant! - The Daily Sentry

Lawyer hits back at UN Rapporteur after asking gov’t to drop Ressa’s case: Your opinion is irrelevant!

Composite photo of David Kaye and Nick Nañgit from Committee to Protect Journalists and Facebook
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and the company itself is currently facing tax evasion case filed by the government. As such, Ressa blatantly attacks the Duterte administration accusing the latter of suppressing press freedom in the country.

In her speech in New York, she described the country being put under a ruthless dictator.

David Kaye’s Plea 

David Kaye of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression expressed his worry for Maria Ressa’s safety in the country. Even called out the government to drop the case against the journalist and her company.

Senseless And Void 

Nick Nañgit of NCN Law firm gave his two cents on the intervention of David Kaye to Ressa’s case. He insists that Kaye should be lectured of the rudiments of international law. He says David has no right to interfere or the least, give out an opinion regarding the matter. Nick clarifies the exclusivity of the case where the issue lies on the limitation between Ressa and the Republic of the Philippines.

Case To Case Basis 

Secondly, the UN rapporteur poses misinformation together with the mainstream media, linking Ressa’s misfortune to a make-believe threat to press freedom. The obvious fact that Ressa is still able to speak out and freely degrade the administration in all sort of speaking engagement is a vivid clear indication that press freedom still exists. If not, she is probably silenced by now.

Due Process Is Given To Ressa 

Nick denies the fact that Ressa is being deprived of due process when she was given all the necessary legal remedies. The particular claims on depriving her of due process by the Security and Exchange Commission is indeed a lie. The Court of Appeals cleared that though the SEC may not have strictly followed its rules and procedures, still, Ressa was given a chance to express her side and arguments.

Lastly, the lawyer points out that every country has its rules of court to follow and that Kaye’s empty words are irrelevant in the Philippines.

Read the complete Facebook post of Nick Nañgit below:


This UN special rapporteur #DavidKaye needs lecturing on the rudiments of international law.
Maria Ressa, photo from ABS-CBN News
1st. He has no right to interfere with, much less express an opinion on, a matter of state law. Ressa's case involves taxation, and only the Republic of the Philippines, as an independent state, has the right to exercise this inherent state power. Who is he for the Philippines to listen to? Is he above Philippine state law? What negative consequences he is imagining will be of his own making!

2nd. He propounds a misinformation trend, along with some mainstream media, whether local or foreign, ill-informed or uninformed, that is meant to veer away from the tax issue by forcibly linking Ressa's case to an unfounded threat to press freedom. The fact that Ressa can still talk on air, making false accusations or twisting facts, is an obvious indication that the Philippine press is free. Otherwise, the full force of government will have already inprisoned or gagged her by now, without access to any legal assistance.

3rd. Like other accused persons, Ressa has to undergo the same process of litigation, and is NOT an exception. Legal remedies are available to her, and she has not been deprived of these. In fact, her claim to have been denied due process by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") is a blatant lie. The Court of Appeals merely says that the SEC may not have followed strictly its rules of procedure, but still she has been given the opportunity to answer the administrative charges raised against her and Rappler. Any administrative agency is not strictly bound by its rules. So long as she has not been denied due process, her rights are respected. "Due process" means notice and hearing. She has been given these, and is even able to make an appeal. By coercing or even merely suggesting that her case be dismissed, without going through the legal process like others similarly situated, he, a mere foreigner, is insulting the Filipinos in whom sovereignty resides.

4th. Our country has its own rules of court that must be followed. To whom this rapporteur addresses his concern is totally vague. Which branch of government is he talking to? If it is the Legislature, is there a tax treaty or convention that gives him that right? If it is the Executive, will he assume the liability for any tax nonfeasance? If it is the Judiciary, does he have a "court standing" or is he the "proper party in interest" to this tax case? Obviously, he just rolls over like an empty kettle on a cobblestoned street.

Photo from RFE/RL…/