Bloody libel! Janet Lim Napoles versus Maria Ressa’s ‘social news network’

gossipFunny how just a short time ago, CEO Maria Ressa was crying bloody libel over Katrina Stuart-Santiago’s article Going to the dogs — an article about the manner with which Ressa’s self-described “social news network” startup precipitated (and possibly encouraged) a broader “ganging up” on the University of Santo Tomas over a perceived favour it granted to former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Indeed, truly ironic is the piece of advise Ressa dished out to Stuart-Santiago in this tweet

@radikalchick Ask for an intvw – before making libelous charges based on assumptions alone. Wouldn’t publish without it.

That was back in early 2012 as the bloodsport that was to become the Corona Impeacment “Trial” was kicking off. Fast forward to today and we find the embattled “social news network” stammering for a hipster response to a reported announcement from Janet Lim Napoles’s lawyers that their client will be slapping a barrage of lawsuits against Rappler reporter Natashya Gutierrez and the

“Mag fa-file sila based on hearsay tapos sasabihin nila na ‘cannot be contacted’ hindi naman totoo yun. That is libel (they filed hearsay stories and would say the offended party cannot be contacted that is not true. That is libel),” [Lorna] Kapunan [legal counsel of Napoles] said.

Ouch! Perhaps Ressa should have addressed her sound elderly piece of “journalistic” advise — Ask for an interview before making libelous charges — to Ms Gutierrez and the Inquirer editor instead.

Fat chance. is the Philippines’ self-anointed national institute of citizen journalism — a “social news network” in the words coined by the self-described “thought leaders” who preside over its army of “online journalists”. Its flagship initiative is a road show dubbed the “Social Media for Social Change Chat Series” (a series of events sponsored by big corporations like SMART Communiocations) where top Rappler “online journalists” tour the country to speak about the dawn of wondrous social change made possible by the advent of “social media” activism which Rappler, presumably, is in the forefront of. This operating model makes one wonder though where one draws the line between creating news and merely “reporting” it.

But underneath this veneer of contrived coolness is a disturbing rot. Ressa has long tolerated sloppy and sub-ethical reporting amongst her cadre of “online journalists”. At the height of the Corona impeachment “trial” in February of 2012, Rappler “reporters” Carmela Fonbuena and Magtanggol de la Cruz revealed in a Rappler article the private bank details of then Chief Justice Renato Corona (both the bank balance and the account number, no less), a clear violation of Philippine Bank Secrecy law that Ressa declines to address to this day.

Other supposed beacons of “journalistic integrity” are not above using dirty tactics to smear people with hearsay information. Renowned “journalist” Raissa Robles uses a particularly lazy method of gathering information to buttress her “investigative reporting”. Using a method she refers to as “crowdsourcing”, she put in her contribution to the Rappler crew’s efforts to try Corona by media and proceeded to “expose” his alleged United States property portfolio. According to Robles, she was given “leads” by a mob of readers and commentators who follow and participate in the “discussion” on the comment threads of her blog — a self-styled “Plaza Miranda” of Filipino “netizens”.

The truth is out there, and there are systematic ways to get to it. Unfortunately for many Filipino “journalists”, seeking the truth within the framework of the law is not a democratic exercise where the most popular theory wins. But that is likely, yet again, to be a lesson for another day given the track record of mainstream Philippine media when it comes to learning how to do things properly.


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68 Comments on "Bloody libel! Janet Lim Napoles versus Maria Ressa’s ‘social news network’"

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Pastor Ernie
Jeane Lim Napoles is an exceptional first class Christian who is being victimized by a smear campaign ran by envious people who only want to pull her down. Jeane is a shining example of what living the life according to the teachings Christ can bring. We have prayed, many times at Starbucks, that God protect her from all these misguided Pinoys who have no understanding of the teachings of Christ. Our prayers are being answered and the truth is finally coming out. Jeane has done nothing wrong and we should all be very impressed on how she has handled herself… Read more »
Pastor Ernie
Domo, Why the ad hominen? I am here to clear Jeane’s name because I believe a great injustice is being done to her. If you disagree with my position or if you are one of those who hate Jeane’s lifestyle because you are just jealous you cannot afford the things that God, in all his grace and wisdom, has bestowed upon her, then please explain your position. If you are one of those who believe in conspiracy theories that her family stole their wealth, then please provide EVIDENCE. Remember, one word: LIBEL. In the end, the truth will prevail. God… Read more »
Kairos Phil
How Janet Napoles got away BY ARIES RUFO POSTED ON 08/07/2013 2:10 PM | UPDATED 08/07/2013 5:54 PM MANILA, Philippines – Janet “Jenny” Napoles learned the tricks of the trade in the military, where she hobnobbed with generals. She started small 15 years ago, cutting a deal with the Philippine Marines for the P3.8-million purchase of 500 Kevlar helmets that the Sandiganbayan later found out to be dubious. The court in 2010 punished military officers and civilians who signed the contract. But Napoles, who encashed the checks from the Marines, got away with it. In 1998, using her military connections,… Read more »

I was told Napoles was cleared for the Kevlar Helmets thing.

And all the hullaballoo described here on ‘journalism’… is one reason I wrote this (you can still see it in the upper right).

Bida kapamilya

Take note that the bank detail was given by the prosecution and Rappler is just doing its job, its to give the people information and the truth.

LORNA KAPUNAN (Napoles’ lawyer) will suffer the same fate as Cuevas (Corona’s lawyer) for defending a winless case.

Pastor Ernie
Bida, Wanna bet? I bet you that not a single Napoles family member will be found guilty of ANY crime in a COURT OF LAW! Why? Because this is the truth. God protects Christians and as a good Christian, I must stand up to conspiracy theorists like yourself who ruin the reputation of good Christians based on “reporting” of amateur bloggers. Just because you read something in a blog doesn’t mean its true. Remember Bambee dela Paz? That was quite embarrassing for 99% of the Pinoy bloggers who got it wrong. I suggest that you go to Starbucks and pray… Read more »
fretzl bermudez

for sure this pastor guy or gay or something is one of napoles crony. hehehehehe. spill the bean pastor. how much of our hard earn money did u received personally and your organization.

all evidence points out to her and her family. come on pastor spill the beans.

SO NOW, the accussed is going to slap a libel suit on the as of the people who have brought to light the fact that P10Billion are un-explained and going through the hands of the accused. IF THEY ARE NOT GUILTY WHY ARE THEY SO OFFENDED? they will use the stolen funds to buy the best legal defense possible. THEY ARE TRULY DESPICABLE. Its dirty-ing just thinking about these sleazy-ass shit bags. The Filipino politician and its cadre, none more despicable. Whatever happened to the rat bag CJ? never did testify did he? Never gave any of the un-explained CA$H… Read more »

na si pastor na paso sa kape sa storbax


Nakakatuwa naman! Me first class christian pa nalalaman?! Alam ko sa Bible pantay pantay lahat, walang levelling sa society at faith.


[…] What BenignO said over the whole affair bears repeating here and essentially, what it says to me is that the so-called free Filipino press should not ARROGATE upon themselves the role of a court of law. […]


With the boom of social media, anybody who is everybody is a “journalist.” Frankly, it’s an insult to the craft of news reporting and to the people who really have what it takes to do it.

I’m not directly talking about Rappler though. Maybe, it’s more applicable to bloggers and so called “writers.”


You just converted me back to your Flock, pastor E.

You seem to be ‘blessing’ so many berts here.

Indeed, God bless the whole napoles family and all the good senators & congressmen – esp the One.


Has anyone read this already? This is about the relationship of the recent bombings and the country the pork barrel scam.