THE lawyer of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa welcomed the withdrawal of a second cyber libel case against his client even as she was "prepared to face and rebut the charge."
"The order of Judge Soriano to dismiss the case is a welcome development. It was based on the private complainant's voluntary withdrawal," said Ressa's counsel Theodore Te in a Viber message to The Manila Times when sought for a reaction.
Ressa had linked businessman Wilfredo Keng to the death of former Manila Councilor Chika Go.
In a statement read by Keng's lawyer Ryan Cruz during the Pandesal Forum on Thursday, he said that his client was no longer interested to pursue the civil aspect of the case.
Keng's counsel also requested the court to withdraw the criminal aspect as he will no longer stand as a primary witness to establish the elements of the crime.
Te said "without the complainant's cooperation, the prosecutor cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."
Keng said he wished to maintain his privacy as a regular citizen, as he continues to conduct his business.
With his close association with the Duterte administration after he filed cyber libel cases against Rappler and Ressa, Cruz said that Keng was not comfortable being tagged as a "tool of the government".
"To be portrayed as being a tool of the government is not something that anybody would want to have on his name ... It's not really fair for Mr. Keng to be portrayed as such," said Cruz.
Ressa and former Rappler staffer Reynaldo Santos Jr. were convicted by the Manila Regional Trial Court for cyber libel in June 2020 for an article on the news site linking Keng to the late chief justice Renato Corona.
Keng was reported to have lent Corona his SUVs during his impeachment trial.
Keng claimed that Rappler did not get his side of the controversy.