Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa and members of the company's 2016 board have been charged in court for alleged violation of the Anti-Dummy Law.
In the information filed before the Pasig Regional Trial Court on Tuesday, Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Randy Esteban accused Ressa and six others of allowing Omidyar Network Fund, a foreign corporation, to intervene in Rappler operations by issuing Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR) to the investment firm in 2015.
Board members Manuel Ayala, Nico Jose Nolledo, Glenda Gloria, James Bitanga, Felicia Atienza, and James Velasquez have each posted bail of P90,000. Ressa is out of the country.
They have also been reportedly charged for violation of the Securities Regulation Code, but the case has yet to be assigned to another judge.
These charges are the latest in a string of criminal cases the government has pursued against Ressa and Rappler, a news site that has published pieces critical of the Duterte administration.
Ressa, a veteran journalist, has also been accused of committing cyber libel and of evading taxes in separate court cases that she has repeatedly called acts of harassment.
The anti-dummy case is related to a Securities and Exchange Commission order revoking Rappler's incorporation papers on allegations it violated a constitutional restriction on foreign ownership of mass media by issuing PDRs to Omidyar.
Rappler claims it is entirely owned by Filipinos.
The Court of Appeals has denied Rappler's petition assailing the SEC revocation order, but remanded the case back to the SEC for review after Omidyar donated its shares to Rappler's managers. —NB, GMA News