Philippines, Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa acquitted of tax evasion charges

Her lawyer: “A victory not only for Maria… but a victory for the Philippines”

Philippine Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa has been acquitted of tax evasion, according to her news site Rappler. Ressa and Rappler are now acquitted of all five tax-related charges filed during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, CNN writes.

“This is truly a victory not only for Maria … but a victory for the Philippines,” Ressa’s lawyer, Francis Lim, told the Nobel laureate’s supporters outside the regional court in Pasig City. “This acquittal, together with the previous one, will send a very strong message to the international business community.”

Maria Ressa is the CEO and co-founder of Rappler and a former CNN journalist. “This is a victory not only for Rappler but for everyone who has believed that a free and responsible press empowers communities and strengthens democracy,” the news site said in a statement. “We share with our colleagues who have been besieged by relentless online attacks, unjust arrests and detentions, and labels that have caused physical harm – we read on the site – We share with Filipinos who do business for the social good but who, like us, have suffered at the hands of oppressive governments.”