The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment is indignant over the Duterte regime’s unrelenting political persecution against Maria Ressa and Rappler. The Duterte regime wants to silence its critics. Its attacks against Ressa and Rappler are a part of its aggressive assault against freedom of the press in the country.

Rappler has been a platform for environmental advocates who are pushing for the protection of the environment and natural resources. 
In 2017, Department of Justice (DOJ) singled out and charged Maria Ressa and Rappler with tax evasion case. It also charged Rappler and Ressa with a libel case filed by Mr. Wilfredo Keng which was already dismissed in 2017 by NBI but was revived as a Cyberlibel case by Duterte’s DOJ Secretary in February 2018.

Mr. Keng is a big businessman who has many interests to protect and promote. He is the chairman of Century Peak Metals Holdings Corporation (CPMHC) which has six subsidiaries in mining and mining-related business. In 2016, it reported to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has been losing tens of millions of pesos since 2015. Its mining operation in Mindanao should also be closed in May 2017.

In July 2018 Century Peak Corporation acquired a reclamation contract from the provincial government of Cavite. This will allow the reclamation of 1,332 hectares of foreshore areas of the bay. Century Peak will be entitled to 90 percent of the total net usable land of the reclaimed area while the government will obtain the 10 percent of the net usable area.

If the media will become scared to report the truth, to report human rights abuses, corruption, environmental destruction, and resource plunder under the Duterte government, Keng, Century Peak, and their ilk will benefit. Mark our words in stone, this is political persecution. The crackdown against Rappler and against freedom of the press will pave the way eventually for corrupt-laden and environmentally-destructive projects.

The people have no choice. We must fight the tyrant in Malacañang.

15 Feb 2019