MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – Never mind that she is a U.S. citizen. Rappler CEO and Nobel Peace Prize awardee Maria Ressa is reportedly filing for political asylum in the United States. She left Manila on November 2.
Sources tell The Adobo Chronicles that seeking political asylum is Ressa’s way of escaping a possible jail term if the courts confirm her previous lower court conviction for cyber libel filed by a private individual. Her conviction is under appeal.
Ressa could also escape possible conviction for tax evasion charges she is facing.
Since Rodrigo Duterte assumed the Presidency, Ressa and her online outfit have been very critical of the government, bloating numbers of extra-judicial killings in connection with the drug war. She has also accused the government of weaponizing the law to curtail her press freedom. In addition, she has maintained that social media has ambushed the journalists’ role in reporting the news. She has said many times that it was time ”to take back the Internet.”
We asked our sources what was the turning point in Ressa’s decision to seek asylum, and they said that it was the fact that her own countrymen think she does not deserve the Nobel prize. An online petition that gathered close to 150,000 signatures before it was taken down by change.org, is asking that she be stripped of the Nobel prize. A second petition has gathered over 30,000 signatures as of press time.
A random street survey we conducted shows that majority of Filipinos support her seeking political asylum in the U.S. ”Good riddance,” said many.