DOJ junks appeal of Maria Ressa, Rappler over tax evasion charges

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 16) —  The Department of Justice (DOJ) has denied the appeal of Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC) and its president Maria Ressa over the tax evasion charges filed against them last November.

In a resolution dated November 29, 2018 and released January 15, 2019, the department said it has denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Ressa and the company in relation to the five counts of tax fraud charges.

"After judiciously going over the evidence anew together with the issues raised in the motions, we have found no sustainable ground to reverse, set aside, or modify the assailed resolution," the document read.

"We are, however, standing by our conviction that in so far as the subject securities and the related transactional activities are concerned, movant RHC (Rappler Holdings Corporation) is deemed to have dealer status within the contemplation of the Tax Code," it further noted.

The DOJ in November accused the president of RHC, parent firm of news website Rappler, for failure to file income and value-added tax returns in violation of Sections 254 and 255 of the Tax Code.

Four of these tax cases were filed before the Court of Tax Appeals on November 26 and 28, while a fifth one was separately filed at the Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 265 also in November.

Ressa had posted bail of ₱264,000.

In March, the Bureau of Internal Revenue filed a ₱133.8-million tax evasion case against the company.