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Philippines’ Nobel laureate Ressa accuses Duterte aide of ‘malicious’ posts


The Philippines’ Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa filed a complaint on Tuesday against a top member of President Rodrigo Duterte’s media team over alleged “malicious and defamatory” posts on Facebook.

Philippine journalist Maria Ressa (2nd R), is escorted by police after an arrest warrant was served, shortly after arriving at the international airport in Manila on 29 March 2019. Ressa, a prominent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, was arrested on a fraud charge, a colleague said on Ressa, a prominent critic of Duterte. Picture: AFP

MANILA – The Philippines’ Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa filed a complaint on Tuesday against a top member of President Rodrigo Duterte’s media team over alleged “malicious and defamatory” posts on Facebook.

Ressa has been a vocal critic of Duterte and the deadly drug war he launched in 2016, triggering what media advocates say is a grinding series of criminal charges, probes and online attacks against her and Rappler – the news site she co-founded.

In the complaint filed to the office of the country’s ombudsman, Ressa alleged Lorraine Badoy had called her a “sociopath” and “rotten soul”.

Ressa, 58, said the undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office also accused her of being the “mouthpiece of enemies of the state”, in an apparent reference to communist rebels.

She also disparaged Ressa’s Nobel Peace Prize as the “Nobel Piss Prize”.

Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov were awarded the prize in October for their efforts to “safeguard freedom of expression”.

The Facebook posts were “malicious and defamatory remarks which transgress boundaries of professional decorum and protocol,” Ressa said in a statement, citing the complaint.

“Her attacks have also emboldened others to join in their vicious attacks against me.”

Badoy did not respond to AFP’s request for comment.

She could be sacked or fined the equivalent of six months’ pay if found guilty of breaching the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Ressa is fighting at least seven court cases, including an appeal against a conviction in a cyber libel case, for which she is on bail and faces up to six years in prison.





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