Philippines to charge news site Rappler for tax evasion

Elias Hubbard
November 12, 2018

Based on the resolution, the respondents showed "willful attempt to evade or defeat tax and willful failure to supply correct and accurate information" in the company's income tax returns and value added tax in 2015.

The case could be filed later this week, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

"We maintain that this is a clear form of continuing intimidation and harassment against us, and an attempt to silence journalists", it added.

The RHC acted as a middleman in the buying of shares of stock from Rappler, Inc. for the goal of underwriting Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) for resale, the resolution said.

"We are not at all surprised by the decision, considering how the Duterte administration has been treating Rappler for its independent and fearless reporting", the company said in a statement Friday.

The brash-talking Duterte accused Rappler a year ago of being owned by Americans in violation of the Philippine Constitution and that the news outfit was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency.

He denied the charges of tax evasion in connection with Rappler's bond sales in 2015 to two foreign entities. The resolution will have a chilling effect on those who have raised and will raise capital through the issuance of PDRs and is a blow to the development of our already laggard capital markets.

To recall, it was in January when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked Rappler's certificate of incorporation for allegedly violating the constitutional restriction on foreign ownership of mass media.

Lim also stressed that their camp will pursue all legal remedies and that they are certain that they will "prevail in the end".

The president banned a Rappler reporter from covering his official activities, calling its reports "twisted".

Ressa was lauded for her strong take on the drug policy or "war on drugs" undertaken by the Philippines government, led by President Duterte, and has been condemned for encouraging thousands of extrajudicial killings by various worldwide organisations and human rights groups.

The Philippines has had one of the strongest records of press freedom in Asia, but observers say this has changed Mr Duterte's presidency. "I've run out of synonyms for the word ridiculous", Ressa said as she accepted the award Thursday night in Washington. Our problems are fast becoming your problems.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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