The Philippines’ Court of Tax Appeals today acquitted Nobel laureate Maria Ressa and Rappler, the news company she co-founded, of four charges of tax evasion.
The previous government of former president Rodrigo Duterte brought a raft of politically motivated court cases against Ms Ressa, her colleagues and Rappler in an effort to silence their critical reporting.
The court found that Ms Ressa and RHC, Rappler’s holding company, had not evaded tax payments when it raised capital from foreign investors in a process that involved the issuance to two financial instruments commonly used by Philippine businesses, including other media companies.
The acquittal ends more than four years of legal proceedings after the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission issued a closure order against Rappler based on the Duterte government’s charges over foreign ownership.
With the rejection of the four tax cases, only three active court cases remain against Rappler and Ms Ressa.