Rappler execs post ₱90,000 bail for violation of Anti-Dummy Law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 27) — Former and incumbent executives of embattled media agency Rappler posted a ₱90,000 bail on Wednesday after being charged before a local court for supposed violation of Commonwealth Act 108 or the Anti-Dummy Law.

Prosecutor Randy Esteban, in an order signed March 20 and released Wednesday, said Rappler's executives were being charged for allowing a foreign company to intervene in the management and operation of Rappler Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corp. in violation of the Anti-Dummy Law. Only Filipino citizens can own media entities in the country.

The Pasig Regional Trial Court named Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, and other former and incumbent board members Manuel Ayala, Nico Nolledo, Glenda Gloria, James Bitanga, Felicia Atienza and James Velasquez as the accused.

Ressa, however, was not able to post bail as she is currently out of the country.

Arraignment for the case is scheduled on April 10.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier revoked Rappler's certificate of incorporation, or its license to do business. The SEC said Rappler violated constitutional limitations on ownership and control of mass media entities because of funds coming from its foreign investor Omidyar Network.

Owned by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, the Omidyar Network has since donated its $1.5-million (around ₱78 million) investment to Rappler's 14 Filipino managers in a bid to resolve foreign ownership issues.

Rappler has maintained that its foreign investors have no control over the media outfit's operations. It has decried the legal challenges as harassment and a clampdown on the free press.

Ressa is out on a ₱100,000 bail after being arrested for a cyber libel case involving a story published on its online news platform May 2012, months before the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was passed. The news agency's chief earlier posted bail for her tax evasion charges.

CNN Philippines' Anjo Alimario, Eimor Santos, and Alyssa Rola contributed to this report.