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Maria Ressa, Rappler formally accused by the Philippines of tax evasion charges

Rappler said five cases were formally filed against Ressa and Rappler Holdings in two courts, just a few weeks after…

Rappler said five cases were formally filed against Ressa and Rappler Holdings in two courts, just a few weeks after the Ministry of Justice announced that there had been a probable reason to accuse the couple.

Philippines officials say some of the charges derive from Rappler and Ressa fail to declare about $ 3 million in 2015 on returns from an investment from Omidyar Network, a fund founded by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar.

Ressa, an award-winning journalist who previously served as CNN office manager and Rappler’s lawyers, retains the fees associated with the site’s critical coverage of Duterte.

“I have long terminated synonyms for the word” ridiculous. “The reason for this is that Rappler is classified as a retailer in securities. I’m definitely not a stockbroker,” Ressa told CNN on Thursday after the news broke.

Francis Lim, Rappler’s Legal Adviser, said that Rappler had

“This is a clear form of continued threat and harassment against us, and an attempt to silence journalists,” Rappler says in a statement after the government announced its likely cause of the discovery early November.

Rappler has been a consistent tower in the side of the Duterte administration, documenting its so-called “war on drugs“, a widespread demolition that has been convicted to encourage police and vigilantes to commit extrajudicial killings.

“In many ways, the government’s attacks against Rappler made it very clear to us exactly who we are, what our identity is and for ra young reporters who are on the ground, how clear and necessary our mission is today “Ressa said.

Ressa has also been a vocal advocate to combat the spread of wrong information online. She has been a frequent critic of Facebook and how social networks have influenced political discourse in the Philippines.

This is not the first time Rappler has been in the crossroads of Philippine authorities. In January, the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) temporarily suspended Rappler’s registration on the grounds that it had violated the country’s constitution against foreign ownership.

“The final goals for all these cases are political harassment,” told Ressa CNN earlier this month. “They want to scare us and stop the stories we do.”

CNN’s Hilary Whiteman and James Griffiths contributed to this report.

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