Transcript

A Thousand Cuts

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MARIA RESSA:

Morning!

Rappler Headquarters

MARIA RESSA:

You want to be somewhere within reaching distance because I will come to you for propaganda. Yeah.

Pia, you’re my first strike.

PIA RANADA:

What will you ask me? [Laughs]

MARIA RESSA:

I’m assuming I’m going to ask you what it was like to get banned from the palace.

PIA RANADA:

OK.

MARIA RESSA:

Rambo, you, of course, numbers. Drug war, what’s changed, right? Because it’s on two fronts, right? You have the people think that’s the main accomplishment, so what did they really accomplish?

RAMBO TALABONG:

  1. Breaking it down.

MARIA RESSA:

Yes.

RAMBO TALABONG:

MALE CAMERA OPERATOR:

Five.

MARIA RESSA:

Hello and welcome. I’m Maria Ressa. We are at the 2018 State of the Nation address. Use the hashtag SONA2018. The Rappler team is there.

MALE ANNOUNCER:

Rodrigo Roa Duterte, president of the Republic of the Philippines.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Let me begin by putting it bluntly. The illegal drugs war will not be sidelined. Instead it will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as the day it began. Your concern is human rights. Mine is human lives.

MARIA RESSA:

Wow. Wow.

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

Award-winning Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, the founder of the independent news site Rappler, vocal critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

Maria Ressa, a high-profile journalist in the Philippines. She was named Time magazine Person of the Year in 2018.

FEMALE SPEAKER:

Maria Ressa carries the torch of press freedom in a country held in thrall by a populist president.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Rappler, since you are a fake news outlet, then your articles are rife with innuendos and pregnant with falsity. Tell me where is our lies, and I’ll tell you where are yours.

Manila, Philippines

MARIA RESSA:

Fantastic.

It’s like, let me focus you first on what's happening in the entire information ecosystem. It’s dark and light. Let me use that now, right? They’re trying to actively form alternative news. And they’ve succeeded. Trending News Portal was a really good distribution. Mocha is a really good distribution. That’s why all of a sudden our society is so polarized, because that’s what they’re doing. This group just amplifies, pounds, but they never share any of the traditional news sites. And then the traditional news sites are so blind that they don’t even see they’re getting killed here, right? This is fascinating. It’s a snapshot of our information ecosystem today.

MOCHA USON:

I never planned to be in politics. When I supported then-Mayor Duterte, it was just voluntary.

Mocha Uson

Assistant Secretary

Presidential Communications Operations Office

MOCHA USON:

We need an iron hand in dealing with criminals.

The reach of the Mocha Uson blog, 50 million people.

[Speaking Filipino] The Mocha Uson blog contributed a lot to the Duterte campaign.

[Speaking English] I entered the government helping with the information dissemination of different government agencies for social media. For a dancer like me, for an entertainer like me to be appointed in Malacañang, that’s really something big.

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

Duterte on Mocha Uson: "I'm paying her a debt of gratitude"

Malacañang Presidential Complex

 

MOCHA USON:

[Speaking Filipino] Hello, Duterte Die Hard Supporters. We are live here in our Social Media Office. Let’s look at what we’re giving away today. I found this in my car. This is what we’re giving away. Hold this. [Speaking English] And last but not the least. [Speaking Filipino] We have this collector’s item, a coffee table book. Duterte: Journey to the Presidency. How the social media president of the ordinary Filipino came to be.

MALE COMPUTER TECH:

1,164 shares.

MOCHA USON:

[Speaking Filipino] How many views?

MALE COMPUTER TECH:

233,860.

BATO DELA ROSA:

I take this as a God-given mission to become President Duterte’s right-hand man in his fight against drugs, criminality and corruption.

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

He’s the first chief implementer of the government’s war on drugs. After his retirement, he was chosen to clean up the corrections bureau, also plagued with illegal drug problems—

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

Murder in Manila

It's a war, a war on drugs

 

New Bilibid

Maximum Security Prison

Bato dela Rosa

Director General

Bureau of Corrections

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] Listen up. Listen up. Everyone sit down. Are you still using? Your teeth are all rotten. You, too. So much meth. Son of a b---. Look at you, your jaw is receding. And you. Your teeth are all gone. That’s meth. You, your gums are all gone. Go ahead. Keep on using meth. Keep using. Let’s see where you’ll end up. I’m gonna ask you—can you still change, those of you who use and sell meth?

But if you don’t want to change, that’s up to you. I have my ways of making you stop. [Speaking English] Trust me! I have my own way of stopping you from doing your illegal acts. Trust me. Believe you me, I can stop you. [Speaking Filipino] That’s man-to-man talk. [Speaking English] That’s a gentleman’s agreement.

MALE PRISONERS:

Yes, sir!

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] Gentleman’s agreement. Watch out if I hear that you’re still using. No one here should be involved in drugs.

MALE PRISONERS:

Yes!

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] That’s man-to-man talk.

MALE PRISONERS:

Yes, sir!

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] That’s not gay talk.

MALE PRISONERS:

Yes, sir!

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] You better make sure. OK, thank you.

2015

The Rise of Duterte

MARIA RESSA:

We’re sitting now with Davao Mayor Rudy Duterte. Thank you for joining us.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

[Speaking Filipino] Thank you for your time.

MARIA RESSA:

Can you please, you are the man of the hour. People wanted to know whether you’re running for president, vice president? Yes, no? Where are you?

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

I told you to avoid me. I’m telling the Filipino people, not me, it’s going to be bloody.

MARIA RESSA:

So no qualms about killing killers.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Yes, of course, I must admit I have killed. They—three months early on, I killed what—three people?

PATRICIA EVANGELISTA:

The level of poverty on the ground is phenomenal.

Patricia Evangelista

Investigative Reporter

Rappler

PATRICIA EVANGELISTA

They’ve had other presidents and other governments, and their lives have not gotten better.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

[Speaking Filipino] This motherf------ government is not for the people.

PATRICIA EVANGELISTA:

Duterte comes in, he offers not just change; he offers revenge. "Whoever did this to you, I will stop it."

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

[Speaking Filipino] If you don’t kill me now, four months from now I’ll roast you like a pig.

PIA RANADA:

I’ve covered Duterte for a long time.

Pia Ranada

Malacañang Palace Beat

Rappler

PIA RANADA:

I covered Duterte when he was still a mayor who nobody really—who everybody thought was just a wild card.

[Speaking Filipino] Mayor, what’s your favorite breakfast?

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Usually salted fish and eggs, sunny side up.

PIA RANADA:

He had a reputation of being an iron-fisted mayor. He had a lot of nicknames; people were calling him Duterte Harry or the Dirty Harry of Mindanao.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Just because you’re a journalist you think you’re exempted from assassination. Your premise is that just because you're a journalist you cannot be killed. It’s all wrong.

PIA RANADA:

He may have been a politician, but he was an outsider politician, a small-time politician. So his messaging was being someone cut out from political elite circles in Manila. "I’m an outsider, and I’m here to change everything."

MALE RALLY ANNOUNCER:

Let’s hear it for the Mocha Girls!

May 2016

 

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

I, Rodrigo Roa Duterte—

PATRICIA EVANGELISTA:

President Duterte, right after his inauguration, stood on a platform and said, "If you’re into drugs, sometime in the next few years you will make a mistake and I will kill you." It took three hours. The first body was found a few blocks away from where he spoke.

MARIA RESSA:

Please, sir.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

The longest time.

MARIA RESSA:

A year! Actually that’s what I’m going to start off with, and I’ll just say that a year ago, this is what we—we talked then, and you’ve done everything you said.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

In hindsight, did you really believe that I had a good chance of making it?

MARIA RESSA:

All of our surveys showed it. We had—I’ll show you all the—

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Rappler said we were going to win.

MARIA RESSA:

We knew by February.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

By what standard did you gather that?

MARIA RESSA:

Social media.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

It’s a powerful thing.

MARIA RESSA:

By February we knew.

In 2016, Rappler fought two levels of impunity. The first was the drug war. The war on drugs became a war on the poor. We had one team that would go out every night. They would come home with at least eight dead bodies a night.

The narrative of the government is that they fought back. These are extrajudicial killings or murders.

Bato dela Rosa

Chief of the Philippine National Police

 

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] If what we’re doing is wrong, you can criticize us to high heavens. And we would accept any wrong we've done. But I know deep in your heart, you know you benefit from the war on drugs.

MALE REPORTER:

Thank you, sir. Thank you.

MARIA RESSA:

Impunity in the drug war was a continuing series. We put faces and names to the people being killed. We demanded the government be held accountable.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

This is blasphemy!

MARIA RESSA:

Anyone on Facebook who questioned the people who were being killed—

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Shame on you Rappler writers! Why were you even born Filipino!

MARIA RESSA:

—was automatically bashed.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

This is when too much press freedom becomes a privilege.

MARIA RESSA:

We began to gather data. We began to look at the accounts attacking all of media. We stumbled onto something. Disinformation networks. When you see the network that spreads it, you can follow other networks and then you can see its growth. Mid-September I started writing. First, the weaponization of the internet. The second piece was how Facebook algorithms impact democracy. As soon as we released it, we got pounded.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Go get f---ed @mariaressa / Do the world a favor, commit suicide please.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Ressa is so burned she may end up cremated. Maria Ressa, you just made the lives of your lawyers more difficult you stupid prick.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Maria, you are a waste of sperm! Your mother should have swallowed you! Get a real job you doggy dirty p---- c--- mother f-----!

 

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Maria Ressa f--- you

 

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Maria Ressa is a thief by not paying her proper taxes that belongs to the Filipino people. She’s a psychopath. A pathological liar. She’s not even a true blooded Filipino. She earns her living here as a fake news purveyor.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

@mariaressa you f------ b----! You have done nothing to our country but paint a bad name all over the world. You c---!

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Multi awarded stupid moron b----.

 

MARIA RESSA:

I was getting an average of 90 hate messages per hour. Mocha Uson blog—

MOCHA USON SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

I heard from an inside source that Rappler is allegedly funded by the CIA. How true?

MARIA RESSA:

—she attacked Rappler, said, "Oh, Rappler’s CIA." Followed by another blogger, Thinking Pinoy, who seeded the idea that we’re foreign-controlled.

THINKING PINOY SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

#InvestigateRappler

THINKING PINOY:

Rappler is misrepresenting itself—

MOCHA USON:

[Speaking Filipino] Yes, they are foreign-based, this Rappler. They’re not a Filipino-owned company.

MARIA RESSA:

It was the second State of the Nation address. It comes out of President Duterte’s own mouth.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Rappler, try to pierce the identity and you will end up American ownership. You’re supposed to be 100% Filipino.

MARIA RESSA:

Of course we were covering it live. I automatically tweeted, "Mr. President, you’re wrong." I was told later on that offended him.

MARIA RESSA SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

President Duterte, you are wrong. Rappler is 100% Filipino owned. Any leader should vet his information.

MARIA RESSA:

What do you do when the president lies? Then it’s repeated a million times.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

The dignity of your company is as dry as your wrinkled lips! Rappler, burn!

MARIA RESSA:

So people have no idea what the truth is. This set the stage. A week after the president did that, we got our first subpoena.

THE GUARDIAN HEADLINE:

Philippines revokes license of leading news website Rappler

MARIA RESSA:

January 2018, the government tried to close Rappler.

CNN HEADLINE:

Philippines revokes license of Rappler, news site critical of Duterte administration

MARIA RESSA:

Tried to revoke our license to operate.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HEADLINE:

Philippines: Attempts to shut down media outlet a blatant attack on free press

MARIA RESSA:

In a little more than a year we faced 11 cases.

PIA RANADA:

Sir, earlier in your speech you said that the issue on the SEC ruling against Rappler is not an issue of press freedom. But at the same time during your speech, you were giving comments about the media and about Rappler and Inquirer—

Pia Ranada

Malacañang Palace Beat

Rappler

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

You’re overstepping.

MOCHA USON BLOG HEADLINE:

Pia Ranada shamed by Duterte!

PIA RANADA:

So what does that mean, sir? You say that this is not an attack on media, but you also have attacks on media in your own speech.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Let me give you an example. Your inquisitive mind goes beyond its normal proportions. Watch out. One of these days, I’ll file a plunder case. When I file a plunder case you will go to jail without bail.

MARIA RESSA:

Because the end goal is to actually make you doubt the facts.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Can't wait to see you in jail @mariaressa they do everything! @rapplerdotcome they’re so perfect!

2019

Mid-Term Elections

Three Years Into Duterte's Term

 

CROWD [chanting]:

Mocha! Mocha! Mocha! Mocha! Mocha! Mocha! Mocha! Mocha! Mocha!

FEMALE REPORTER:

They accuse you of fake news. As a congressman, how will you fight that?

MOCHA USON:

[Speaking Filipino] I don’t provide news. When I make mistakes on Facebook, those are honest mistakes.

MALE REPORTER:

Good morning. We’re joined today by former Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Bato dela Rosa, who’s now, of course, the Bureau of Corrections chief also. Now, as soon as you file your COC, you’ll be deemed resigned from the Bureau of Corrections. Now, what made you decide to actually run for senator?

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] I’ve been wanting to do it. At the same time, I was instructed by President Duterte not to run for governor, run for the Senate instead.

MALE REPORTER:

But other people also see it as the way of the president to put loyal lieutenants in the Senate. That’s why supposedly he wants you there. The ones who are loyal to the president to protect his interests, not just his agenda of governance.

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] Yes, I will kill for the president. Anybody who’d like to bring down the president, I’ll be there to stop you. I would kill for the president.

MOCHA USON:

[Speaking Filipino] I don’t have any machinery. I depend on social media for those who believe. That’s why we are livestreaming today. Hello, Diehard Duterte Supporters, here we are.

1 Day After Campaigning Begins

3 Months Before Elections

MALE SPEAKER:

[Speaking Filipino] What’s your name?

MALE CAMERAMAN:

Your boss is already talking to us, no need for that.

MALE NEWSREADER:

A prominent critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been arrested. Maria Ressa is CEO—

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

—her cyber libel case was served past 5 p.m. inside Rappler’s office in Pasig City.

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

Press freedom advocates say the government's charges against her are retaliation for her critical reporting of authorities in the Philippines.

MARIA RESSA:

Can we cross? We’ll go. We’ll go to NBI now. We’ll go to the NBI. Can you guys come? It's a shock.

CNN HEADLINE:

Maria Ressa’s arrest spells more trouble for press freedom in increasingly illiberal Asia

UN FOUNDATION SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

A free press matters. Independent journalism matters.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR TWITTER POST:

You know a government is desperate when they arrest a journalist. President Duterte: Free @mariaressa now.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT TWITTER POST:

The arrest of journalist @mariaressa by the Philippine government is outrageous and must be condemned by all democratic nations. I’m proud to call her a friend and to stand with her in defending the principles of a free press.

MARIA RESSA:

They’re running the clock. What do they think they can do by keeping me overnight?

FEMALE LAWYER:

Can you go to the National Bureau of Investigation team and ask why they’re not talking to us?

MARIA RESSA:

We have until 9:00 to be able to post bail. Without the right documents we cannot post bail. Stumbling blocks to prevent—it's a night in prison. It’s a night here. Apparently the delay is on purpose.

CROWD:

Free Maria Ressa!

MALE VOICE:

Defend press freedom!

CROWD:

Free Maria Ressa!

MALE VOICE:

Defend press freedom!

CROWD:

Free Maria Ressa!

MALE VOICE:

Defend press freedom!

CROWD:

Free Maria Ressa!

MALE VOICE:

Defend press freedom!

MARIA RESSA:

My stay last night at the NBI really made me think about what this is all about, right. And for me it’s about two things: abuse of power and weaponization of the law. This isn’t just about me and it’s not just about Rappler. I’ll be very transparent. Because I have done nothing—sorry.

This case, the cyber libel case, the National Bureau of Investigation's own lawyers threw it out. But they reversed their position, and the Department of Justice and the government prosecutors now are taking this. The story which supposedly violated the cyber libel laws, published seven years ago—four months before the actual law we supposedly violated had even been enacted. They’re applying a law retroactively.

MALE REPORTER:

International journalist organizations are saying this is an attack on the media.

PIA RANADA:

Blaming the administration for it.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

[Speaking Filipino] Oh, for God’s sake.

PIA RANADA:

Your policy on critical media.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

[Speaking Filipino] You are the critical ones. If you end up dead it’s your fault. [Speaking English] It means nothing to me.

Rambo Talabong

Police Beat

Rappler

 

RAMBO TALABONG:

When the war on drugs started, a lot of people were dying. The government wasn’t quick enough to show how many people were dying, how many people were gunned down in police operations, how many people were gunned down by vigilante-style killers. So there’s this counting by the government: 4,500 gunned down within police operations. And human rights advocates estimate the killings to be around 20,000, including the killings which were at least inspired by the war on drugs of President Duterte.

Tonight we are following a team of policemen conducting a simultaneous anticrime and law enforcement operations to seize people who are violating city ordinances, following the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to go after [speaking Filipino] loiterers. [Speaking English] We will see how they execute the order of the president.

[Speaking Filipino] There’s nobody here. This is a public space, isn’t it?

Can we do a quick interview, sir? I’ll get down. Is this area clear of drugs?

MAN ON STREET:

[Speaking Filipino] No, it’s not.

RAMBO TALABONG:

[Speaking Filipino] I mean has the district been declared drug-free?

MAN ON STREET:

[Speaking Filipino] Yes, they all know it’s clean here.

RAMBO TALABONG:

Congratulations, sir.

MAN ON STREET:

[Speaking Filipino] Thanks to the help of Sir. We’ve been able to keep things clean. Sir Vic. Without him, we wouldn’t be as safe.

RAMBO TALABONG:

[Speaking Filipino] The CCTV is nice. Are you the one who had it installed?

MALE POLICE OFFICER:

[Speaking Filipino] No, it’s part of the neighborhood initiative.

MARIA RESSA:

Otso Diretso candidate, the sole woman in our lineup of nine candidates, Samira Gutoc coming in. Otso Diretso candidate.

SAMIRA GUTOC:

The important thing is a woman who stands without fear, without threat to her life. That she is willing to run alongside giants and along honorable men.

Otso Diretso Opposition Party

Campaign Event

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

Otso Diretso begins tough challenge of campaigning as underdogs

SAMIRA GUTOC:

It’s a trial for our country. It’s a trial for our democracy. There needs to be genuine opposition. The excuse that people say is that we’re tired, we want results.

Samira Gutoc

Senatorial Candidate

Otso Diretso

 

SAMIRA GUTOC:

We want people who really fight drugs. We want people to look at safe streets. I understand that. Of course, everyone wants that. But you cannot kill the young. You cannot kill youths. You cannot kill a man for the sake of cleaning up the streets.

We cannot be judge and executioner at one time.

Bato's Campaign Caravan

Visayas Region

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] I want to share my advocacy with you. This is my fight against illegal drugs. Please support our war against illegal drugs. That’s all. Do you want me to sing?

[Sings] What would I do without your smart mouth, drawing me in, and you kicking me out. Got my head spinning, no kidding, I can’t pin you down. What’s going in that beautiful mind, I’m on your magical mystery ride—

[Speaking Filipino] This is my personal advocacy to stop the advance of illegal drugs. I need your support. No future president will ever be as fierce as the president we have now. I fear for our children's future.

FEMALE SUPPORTER:

I love you, Bato!

PATRICIA EVANGELISTA:

We were in a place called Cessna. There’s a murder.

Patricia Evangelista

Investigative Reporter

Rappler

PATRICIA EVANGELISTA:

So one body on the ground, sprawled. His eyes were open. He was dead. And they were shooting, everyone was shooting. And the brother showed up and they were screaming, because he was dead. And the—we were all crowded, and I remember someone from Playboy magazine asking someone to translate. So I said, "F--- you." I didn’t mean "f--- you" to the guy, but the brothers really were saying "f--- you." And I remember that. I don’t know why I remember that.

But two seconds after that, we hear a wailing from the other side of the alley, and I’m not sure they were words. The mother had discovered her son was dead. And in the narrowest alley that I had ever seen there was a woman who was crawling along the wall of the shanties, hanging onto grills, trying to pull herself to her son, because her legs wouldn’t work. She was trembling and she was screaming. And on top of all the screaming, there were journalists, who were also screaming. "Is your son an addict?" "How do you feel?" "What’s his name?" "What’s your name?" All of that. It was one of my first days. And I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I was supposed to step in. If I was supposed to—I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. So I just recorded. And then the mother, who was still screaming, heard the questions, and being Filipino, answered them. At a wail. "No, my son is good. No, he's a good boy. He’s a good boy. He’s a good boy."

I can’t forget the scream. The story was called "Execution at Cessna."

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

The Drug War

Execution at Cessna

MOCHA USON:

[Speaking Filipino] Isn’t Duterte the president? [Speaking English] Shouldn’t we submit to his authority? We respect the government, we respect the president. [Speaking Filipino] As ma’am Maria Ressa said—she’s saying that all of us who are on this Mocha Uson blog are paid trolls, fake accounts or what they call BOTS. They are accusing us of spreading—this makes me laugh—pro-Duterte propaganda. Wow! Is it propaganda to be nationalistic? And you’re a troll if you’re patriotic.

MARIA RESSA TWITTER POST:

The accounts deployed also seemed to get marching orders to troll/convince @madeleine @camanpour @cafreeland and others they were wrong.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

No need. Your cohorts can be manipulated by your twisted evil tongue. You are worst that a s--- talker, for you are a devil who masks as a heavenly creature.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

The paranoia of @mariaressa is ramping up. We are not f------ trolls and we have every goddamn right to oppose your warped form of journalism. You can fool some of them but not all of us who are appalled by your falsehoods and distortions. You will go down hard, you hear?

MALE FACEBOOK LIVE HOST:

Hi, guys. So we’re now here at Rappler office to prove to Ms. Ressa that we are not trolls. That we are here to express our outrage—

MALE SPEAKER:

—and fight for our country, because they are destroying our country. And we’re not going to sit here and let them do it.

MALE FACEBOOK LIVE HOST:

[Speaking Filipino] So here we are. [Speaking English] And this is what we’re going to say to Ms. Ressa and to the people at Rappler.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Just bomb the Rappler office so the problem is solved.

MALE SPEAKER:

Is that your boss? She has no business destroying the country. She’s American. You take your orders from an American. How can you live with yourselves?

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Should we attack the Rappler office now?

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Have Ressa raped, if there are any takers.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Behead her.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Calling all DDS warriors, bloggers and supporters to proceed to Rappler office to conduct daily protest rallies, demonstration and tactical strike against all foreign agents/journalist of Rappler.

MARIA RESSA:

This is why, because that account posted and then it was amplified by what’s his name, by Mocha.

Everything can be turned upside down. I just let Facebook know.

Maria's New Security Detail

MARIA RESSA:

Just this morning they said come to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Yeah, yeah, for a physical protest at our office! The worst thing, of course, is the government amplified their call. Well, we don’t even know whether we can trust the police to protect us.

Our security will now be ramped up one, two, six times. I also am going to deal with that. And I want you guys to be very aware of your surroundings—we’ve always been like that anyway—and please report immediately if there is anything that you see that is strange.

They wanted to come to prove they weren’t trolls, but then their very action is actually proving they’re trolls, and then that is what incited all the comments. So that’s the liability that we think they have. Because those threats would never have happened if they never did the Facebook Live outside our office.

MALE RAPPLER EMPLOYEE:

I see. Taking the devil’s advocate position, though—

MARIA RESSA:

Please.

MALE RAPPLER EMPLOYEE:

—they will argue that they're just exercising their right to free speech and they don’t have any hold over their DDS supporters.

MARIA RESSA:

But they have hold over their timeline. They could have deleted it. They could have told their people, "Hey, that’s not good, you shouldn’t say things like that." Or "Hey, that’s illegal." The fact that they didn’t, and in fact even encouraged it. Facebook took it down because this is inciting to hate and inciting to violence. That’s policy they violated.

MALE FACEBOOK LIVE HOST:

We’d like to continue with our live—our live Facebook.

MALE SPEAKER:

You know who this is for, right?

MALE FACEBOOK LIVE HOST:

Who is it for? [Laughs] All right! Another—

FEMALE RAPPLER EMPLOYEE:

Losers.

FEMALE SPEAKER:

Hello! F--- you, Ressa. [Laughs]

MALE FACEBOOK LIVE HOST:

Are you a troll?

FEMALE SPEAKER:

No, I’m not a troll. You look like a tree troll, though, b----.

MALE FACEBOOK LIVE HOST:

[Laughs] Yeah, tell her. Tell her. We are at the devil’s lair, people. OK, we’ll continue later.

FEMALE RAPPLER EMPLOYEE:

That’s it.

MARIA RESSA:

Is any of it being shared? Where’s Mocha?

FEMALE RAPPLER EMPLOYEE:

Mocha wasn’t there.

MARIA RESSA:

OK.

FEMALE RAPPLER EMPLOYEE:

But she amplified the call to—

MARIA RESSA:

Go here.

FEMALE RAPPLER EMPLOYEE:

Yeah.

MARIA RESSA:

But the timing of it, why now? Elections.

Mocha Meet and Greet

Manila

MALE EVENT MC:

[Speaking Filipino] If you can give some of your followers to Mocha she’ll have over a million. She has 5 million followers—5 million! So we can do it easily. As long as we can convert everyone, right?

MOCHA USON:

When I dropped out from med school, my parents were really hurt. [Speaking Filipino] They didn’t believe being an entertainer was a profession. So for many years my father and I were estranged. That was until one night. He called me on the phone and we talked. Right before I went to bed, he sent a text and said, [speaking English] "I love you, no matter what." [Speaking Filipino] I was surprised. We had closure. [Speaking English] Finally has accepted the path that I chose. So I went to bed very happy. The next day, we got a call: He’s dead. Shot six times. He was assassinated [speaking Filipino] by two people on a motorcycle. [Speaking English] Because he was a judge and he was handling a mayoral electoral protest. So it was political. [Speaking Filipino] What President Duterte said is true. [Speaking English] There are criminals pretending to be politicians. [Speaking Filipino] So that’s who killed my father.

2016

MARIA RESSA:

Violence. And you say this, violence—

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Violence is my strength.

MARIA RESSA:

Is it necessary to lead?

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

There is a need because there is a war. And with that kind of problem in my hands now—I tell you, Maria, until I see the last pusher out of the street, until the last drug lord is killed, this campaign will continue to the very last day of my term.

MARIA RESSA:

Is it important that people be afraid of you?

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Yes.

MARIA RESSA:

Fear? But Mr. President, as president, you now also defend the constitution.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Yes.

MARIA RESSA:

And so this again, this is a contradiction from our last interview. You break the law, you threaten to break the law. You said you had killed, a year ago. You told me that. And yet you now have the task of keeping the rule of law, and you said you would do that also. How do you—

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Because the rule of law, there must be fear.

MARIA RESSA:

Thank you for having me!

MALE JUDGE:

We are so honored! It’s about time.

De La Salle University

Manila

 

MARIA RESSA:

No! And thank you for the statement. I saw you got trolled.

MALE JUDGE:

Right away! [Laughs]

MARIA RESSA:

You got trolled! [Laughs]

MALE JUDGE 2:

And we had a bomb threat yesterday. So that’s a good sign. [Laughter]

Vice President Leni Robredo

Opposition Party

 

LENI ROBREDO:

At a time when our basic rights are constantly being threatened, human lives are being disregarded and our freedoms are under attack, Maria Ressa’s resilience has become revolutionary. In our moments of doubt, allow us to draw strength and courage from you.

MARIA RESSA:

Gosh. My arrest doesn’t hurt me because it only makes me more resolute, because I see firsthand how the law is bent to the point that it is broken. What we’re seeing is death by a thousand cuts of our democracy. And it is done. Then think about the bleeding, right? Little cuts, little cuts to the body politic, to the body of Philippine democracy. And when you have enough of these cuts you are so weakened that you will die. We at Rappler—I've said this; it's been a year now since I’ve said this—we will not duck, we will not hide. We will hold the line. Join us.

PDP-Laban Rally

Cebu City

 

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] I have a battle. I run because I am fighting for something. It’s not for food. It’s not for medicine. It’s not for infrastructure. I’m fighting for the lives of the Filipino youth whose futures are damaged because of illegal drugs. If you don’t clap you’re an addict.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

[Speaking Filipino] It’s true that I have Barrett’s esophagus. It’s because of my drinking. And you tell me that I am sick? Lend me your wife then. [Laughter] Let her speak up. There’s no problem down here. Mine is like this. But now after two hours—it’s more limp now.

Now I can afford to buy all kinds of food. The problem is I’m not used to it. So I still look for dried fish. The smell of dried fish is like the scent of a woman’s—[Laughter] It smells the same as a woman.

Otso Diretso Rally

Cavite City

SAMIRA GUTOC:

[Speaking Filipino] So many of our youth have died in vain. The drug war is killing our youth. But they didn't get rid of the vulgarity. The vulgarity comes directly from the mouths of the men. The authorities themselves are vulgar. You killed the youth with your drug war, but the vulgarity continues. What kind of government do we have?

[Speaking English] The trolls, they hate me because I attack the president. It's the president; he's talking about his penis. I mean, isn’t that something to be mindful about? It’s appalling. It’s appalling to have this kind of language. So you cannot have this six-year presidency or administration hijack all the values that we fought for, that we cherish. It cannot.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

What do you know about Bong Go intervening?

PIA RANADA:

Sir, as far as we’re concerned, we have already addressed the issue of fairness on that article. Can you just answer, please, the question?

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

[Speaking Filipino] I don’t understand you. Please step over here. Look at your article. Are you happy doing that to your fellow men every day? [Speaking English] Just because you have the power of what? Press freedom? You are a Filipino who was allowed to abuse our country. And you are an active participant of that. [Speaking Filipino] That’s the problem. [Speaking English] In the name of the holy grail of press freedom. [Speaking Filipino] And your boss—what’s her problem? You’re all crazy. You reporters, [speaking English] you will be allowed to criticize us, but you’ll go to jail for your crime.

Four Days Later

 

MALE SECURITY GUARD:

[Speaking Filipino] Stop taking a video please.

PIA RANADA:

[Speaking Filipino] What were your instructions?

MALE SECURITY GUARD:

[Speaking Filipino] That you’re not allowed to come in.

PIA RANADA:

[Speaking Filipino] Just me?

MALE SECURITY GUARD:

Yes, ma’am.

PIA RANADA:

[Speaking Filipino] Just Pia Ranada of Rappler? Here’s my ID.

[Speaking English] Duterte banned me from Malacañang because he was annoyed by our reporting. It hurts. That’s really been demoralizing. I mean, I’m a reporter; I want access.

MARIA RESSA:

So why should you care about what happens in the Philippines? For one, we spend the most time on the internet. More than 10 hours a day. We spend the most time on social media globally. And as we found out, lies laced with anger and hate spread fastest.

When you only look at content, it’s a whack-a-mole game. I want to figure out what the lie is, then look at the network that spreads the lies. That’s the nervous system. We started looking at one account that was attacking "all journalists are corrupt." One account that had 25 followers, they were all following each other. We fact checked every single item. These were all fake accounts. We began to count and found that 26 fake accounts can influence up to 3 million other accounts. Three million. I think the first attacks—this word "presstitutes." You can even track this word. Mocha Uson starts to popularize "presstitutes." Thinking Pinoy picks it up. Then it’s repeated a million times to make you distrust institutions, to shift the way you think. In May 2017, we did a story on the transcript of Trump’s call with President Duterte.

 

THINKING PINOY SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Rappler just made the Philippines a legitimate target of North Korean nuclear missiles.

MARIA RESSA:

"Rappler just made the Philippines a legitimate target of North Korean nuclear missiles." It’s laughable, but people believe it. It jumped to "I can smell an arrest and possible closure of Rappler.com." Then from there we go to sexualized attacks.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

I can smell an arrest and possible closure of Rappler.com.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Maybe Maria Ressa’s dream is to become the ultimate pornstar in the gangbang scene. She is so desperate to get laid.

MARIA RESSA:

Fueled with misogyny. Women are a favorite easy target.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST:

Me to the RP Government: Make sure Maria Ressa gets publicly raped to death when Martial law expands to Luzon. It would bring joy in my heart.

MARIA RESSA:

Hashtag ArrestMariaRessa. It didn’t trend, and that’s probably why it took them another two years to actually arrest me. That was the end goal.

FEMALE COURT BAILIFF:

Court is now in session.

MARIA RESSA:

Should we go that way?

I know many of you received press releases that this is a private citizen. Please understand that it is the Department of Justice that is actually going against us. This is the Philippine government. It's the Philippine government that is filing this. The Department of Justice prosecutors are there. This is your tax pesos at work. Thank you.

FEMALE HOST:

She is running for AA-Kasosyo. [Speaking Filipino] The voice of the ordinary Filipino. [Speaking English] Are you ready? Let’s all welcome Mocha Uson!

MOCHA USON:

[Speaking Filipino] Good afternoon, everyone. Good afternoon. I would like to greet our good-looking and beautiful captains. It seems like you are all sleepy? I’ll start here on the right. Can I hear you? What about here in the middle? Can we hear you next? I think I know you, captain, you’re always watching the Mocha Girls. How many here support President Duterte? Can we hear it for Duterte? Duterte!

[Speaking English] I really messed up because I didn’t have a message. I have my message, but I wasn’t able to focus on the message. I was just there to entertain! [Laughs] So I’ve learned my lesson.

MARIA RESSA:

OK, you guys keep eating! I'm taking you out, Dad. [Laughs]

I think we should just try to find a weekend and do a beach.

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

I miss the beach.

MARIA RESSA:

Hold on, let me look at my calendar. There’s a human rights awards thing.

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

Oh, just another award.

Michelle Aventajado

Maria's Sister

MARIA RESSA:

And then FCC. And then I go to New York. And then I’m in New York until the 24th, and I come home on the 25th—Saturday night, though, at like 11:00 at night. We could do—oh, no, I can’t. Because after Saturday night, then I have Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in Manila. Then I leave at like 11:30 at night on Thursday for Glasgow.

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

This is impossible. [Laughs]

MARIA RESSA:

Unless we do Saturday—unless we do Sunday-Monday. We can do Sunday-Monday. Sunday the 26th to 27th. Then I’m in Geneva on the 3rd.

Am I happy to be leaving? It’s just a nonstop marathon. I’m upset. One court put a half a million peso bond on top. Now I’m almost up at 3 million pesos that the government has asked for me to be free. Because if I didn’t do that, I’d lose my constitutional right to travel.

Hugpong Ng Pagbabago Rally (HNP)

Mandaue, Cebu

 

MALE RALLY HOST:

Mayor Inday Sara Duterte!

Sara Duterte

Mayor of Davao

Daughter of the President

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

Duterte, Sara, Paolo mark big spikes in wealth, cash while in public office

PIA RANADA:

Mayor, PCIJ reports that your wealth increased sixfold from 2007 to 2017, and they’re asking for an explanation.

SARA DUTERTE:

[Speaking Filipino] I have no obligation to explain to PCIJ about my husband and my income.

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

Duterte slams PCIJ for investigating family’s wealth

It's none of your business

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

Otso Diretso bets’ promise: We won’t steal public funds if elected

Samira Gutoc

Otso Diretso Campaign Stop

 

Washington, D.C.

 

FEMALE EVENT ANNOUNCER:

Maria Ressa, executive editor and CEO of Rappler, with Matt Thompson, the editor-in-chief of the Center for Investigative Reporting.

MATT THOMPSON:

Good morning. I can tell you that countless editors across the country are asking the question "What would Maria Ressa do?"

MARIA RESSA:

That’s scary. [Laughter]

MATT THOMPSON:

You’ve gotten to see a democracy slide into an increasing authoritarian present. What lessons do you have from that experience, from witnessing that, that we should really be attentive to, sitting here in Washington, D.C.?

MARIA RESSA:

I think first is what happens in America happens to the rest of the world. I mean, in order to solve this, you have to act. And I’ll tell you two reasons. Just earlier this month I spent time with the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, Christopher Wylie. The whistleblower said they tested the tactics of how to manipulate you in our countries and in other countries in the global south, and the reason why he said that was because we don’t have strong governments. They can get away with impunity, and then if it worked in our countries, then they would—his word was "port" it over to you. So the first step is, I think we have to realize that something horrific has already happened and that we are at this existential moment where if nothing significant is done—journalism is only the first part. Journalism and democracy as we know it is dead.

We’re your dystopian future. I think the last part I forgot to say is "data is plutonium." We go back to nuclear war. That’s the only thing.

This was where we went to elementary school, [inaudible], and Walnut Street.

Toms River

New Jersey

MARIA RESSA:

I never really knew where home was. My parents were both Filipinos. My real father died when I was a year old. My mom went to the States, so I guess like an overseas Filipino worker. My stepfather, my dad now, they came back and got us.

My family left when I was 10. My primary language is Tagalog. So when I landed in New Jersey I had to learn how to speak English. You try to leave behind being brown. You try to understand what you’re walking into. And the best way I could deal with that was you work really, really hard, 150%. It’s proving that I belong. You have to prove you deserve it.

Manila

6 Weeks Before Elections

MARIA RESSA:

What can you say, right? What can you say? [Laughs] Well, I would like to post bail. I’ve been served a warrant. The warrant that’s been served to me is—

MALE NEWSREADER:

A prominent Philippines journalist, Maria Ressa, has been arrested on fraud charges. Last month Ms. Ressa, the executive editor of a news website, Rappler, was arrested over an alleged internet libel case.

MALE NEWSREADER:

—prosecutors filed the latest charges against her while Ressa was on a trip in the U.S. Media watchdogs say the charges against Ressa were aimed at intimidating those who challenged Duterte’s rule and his war on drugs.

MALE POLICE OFFICER:

Right now she’s undergoing booking and then after this she’s going to court.

FEMALE LAWYER:

So there are two charges: one for anti-dummy, one for securities and regulation code. So this warrant is for the anti-dummy, issued yesterday.

MARIA RESSA:

The seventh time I’ve posted bail. The second time I’ve been arrested. It's obviously clear I am not a travel risk, right? Because I came home, even after the new charges were laid out and the arrest warrant was issued. This is not the Philippines I knew. This is not the Philippines I voluntarily chose as my home country. And it’s shocking that after a 14-hour flight, you’re—and I have done no crime, I’m certainly not a flight risk—that I’m greeted by police who will take me.

Did I say too much? Oh, my God! [Laughs]

MALE SECURITY GUARD:

[Speaking Filipino] You just got here, and there’s so much happening.

MARIA RESSA:

Joseph. We have to be extra careful now.

The People Power revolt happened. Not a shot was fired, and a government was changed. As a kid just coming out of school and feeling the exuberance of that, I wanted to come back to the Philippines. This country was actively creating what the future was going to look like. We were building institutions. I felt 20 years later the Philippines was going to be an amazing country. I worked at CNN; I ran the Manila bureau for almost a decade, and in 1995 I opened the Jakarta bureau. I was there until 2005. We had covered every single country in Southeast Asia as they transitioned from authoritarian one-man rule to democracy. That was incredible. I decided I would make the Philippines my home.

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

A bad year to be in the opposition

 

John Molo

Lawyer

 

JOHN MOLO:

You would expect a government to use subtle means to stifle dissent. You do not expect a government to outright say, "I am banning you," and then start implementing it. You’re actually standing in the line of fire, is what we call it. We always say that the line of fire is a place of honor. And that’s what you’re doing right now for your profession, especially under these circumstances. This is not one of those simple cases. If I have a problem already finding lawyers to take it on, then you know how different your case is. They want you to hide. So this is actually the reverse of what they want. They want to be able to say, "This is only about Pia, this brat who keeps on pestering the president with hard questions." They can’t say that now because apparently it’s not just about Pia.

Supreme Court

Manila

PIA RANADA:

[Speaking Filipino] We had so much to say. This is a big production.

[Speaking English] We are journalists. Physical presence in a newsworthy event is integral to our work. Asking officials questions face-to-face is integral to our work. Malacañang's ban prevents us from doing our jobs. Press freedom, free speech, due process and equal protection are guaranteed by the Constitution. We're asking the Supreme Court to affirm these fundamental rights.

PDP-Laban Rally

Bukidnon

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

[Speaking Filipino] But those from Manila, particularly Rappler. Here in the Philippines there is no investigative journalism. Don’t believe the PCIJ. It’s all about money. A few days from now I’ll reveal why it’s about money for them. Without it, how will they survive? Rappler is—don’t tell me that all they do is write. Or that their salary is enough for them to live on. They accept clients to attack—attack collect, defend collect. They attack to get paid. So don’t believe that they are clean, those sons of b------.

New York City

3 Weeks Before Elections

MARIA RESSA:

This is just insane. The palace is now coming out with a press release saying that—confirming their "Oust Duterte" coup plot. I mean, how could you believe it?

MALE REPORTER:

Who briefed you about the matrix?

MALE PRESS SECRETARY:

[Speaking Filipino] It was the president.

MALE REPORTER:

So the president told you—

MALE PRESS SECRETARY:

[Speaking Filipino] The president said, "I’m going to send you something—it’s a matrix." I said, "What’s that?" He said, "An ouster plot against me."

MALE REPORTER:

[Speaking Filipino] Did you ask him how it worked?

MALE PRESS SECRETARY:

[Speaking Filipino] No. He said to tell the media that it came from me. They can ask me about it. Three arrows pointing to the companies and organizations.

FEMALE REPORTER:

[Speaking Filipino] There is no authority explaining this from the intelligence community, from the cyber division of the NBI?

MALE PRESS SECRETARY:

No.

FEMALE REPORTER:

[Speaking Filipino] You want us to believe a mere piece of paper?

MALE PRESS SECRETARY:

[Speaking Filipino] It’s from the president, you have to believe it. [Laughter]

And then Rappler, who are the members there? It was named there. PCIJ is also there. The National Union of People’s Lawyers.

MARIA RESSA:

They’re laying the groundwork for a nonbailable charge. It’s like—it’s fantasy.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Oh, I’m going to show you the gown. Maria, come here. I’ll show you. Can you see it? So this is a nice material.

Mary Jane Ballinger

Maria's Sister

MARIA RESSA:

Oh, I’m not going to wear that.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Maria, try it first! It’s a gown! My gosh, come on, look—

MARIA RESSA:

No, no, no!

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Look! Oh, my God, it’s going to be so beautiful.

MARIA RESSA:

No, number one. Number two, it’s also long.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

It’s OK, you can pick it up. Let me see what you—let me see—

MARIA RESSA:

There’s not enough time to have it fixed anyway.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

You don’t get it fixed, that’s the thing. They just flow.

MARIA RESSA:

What?

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Seriously. Let me see what you got. I think you should try it on. You think she should try it on? I think you should try it on.

MARIA RESSA:

I’ll trip on it. [Laughs] Can you imagine!

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Maria, when you have it on—

MARIA RESSA:

What'll happen? And then?

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

—when you have it on and you’re walking, you lift it.

MARIA RESSA:

[Laughs] And then you trip on it.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

And then—no, when you lift it, then you can walk with your loafers up the—wherever you're going.

MARIA RESSA:

[Laughs] No.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Yes.

MARIA RESSA:

No. Look—

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Maria, why don’t you try first? You don’t even know. It’s so beautiful. You have a great shape for it.

MARIA RESSA:

You can wear it.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

No. I’m not—this is a small.

MARIA RESSA:

I’ll be cold. I’ll be cold, because I want a jacket.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

It's 75 degrees tomorrow.

MARIA RESSA:

It’s not 75 degrees tomorrow.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Yes, it is.

MARIA RESSA:

And this does itch my neck. Because I—

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Let me see what you’re wearing.

MARIA RESSA:

Here.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Then I guess we have to go to Rent the Runway now.

MARIA RESSA:

I told you I brought two.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

I’ve seen you in that!

MARIA RESSA:

I know you’ve seen this, but I haven’t worn it since—a long time ago. A decade ago. It works!

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Do you even want to see, or do you care?

MARIA RESSA:

I don’t want shoes.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Because the shoe makes the outfit.

MARIA RESSA:

These shoes are OK!

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Check this out.

MARIA RESSA:

Hmm—no. Mary Jane, I can’t wear heels.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

You can wear heels.

MARIA RESSA:

You can wear heels.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

That would be awesome. Look at it.

MARIA RESSA:

No, thanks!

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

That way when you—Maria Ressa.

MARIA RESSA:

And then what? [Laughs]

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

[Laughs] That's why this is shorter. This is like a flat.

MARIA RESSA:

No, no, no, no, no. I don’t wear things like that.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Maria, this would be so nice with that.

MARIA RESSA:

I’ve never worn things like that. You know I’ve never worn things like that.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Go out of the box.

MARIA RESSA:

No, thanks.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

We’re in our 50s now.

MARIA RESSA:

No, thanks.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

We’re no longer safe. [Laughter]

MARIA RESSA:

She and I were born in the Philippines, but we made different choices, starting with the place we call home. For Mary Jane, home is here, in New York. I choose my home in Manila, the Philippines. For better or for worse. I hope not. [Laughs] It’s ironic that even though our choices are different, our two nations now have the same type of leaders. Macho, populist, sexist at best, misogynistic at worst. They both use anger and fear to divide and conquer. They’ve created a politics of hate. We need to put hope and love, but I’m going to sound so schmaltzy. It’s not with hate, but with hope and love we hold the line. Is that too much?

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

No!

MARIA RESSA:

Is it corny?

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Maria, it has to be yours. It’s you. You’re corny then. [Laughs]

MARIA RESSA:

Shut up you face. Let’s go, let’s go.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

What’d you say? Check my face?

MARIA RESSA:

I said shut up you face.

We stupidly believe goodness wins over evil. [Laughs] May the Force be with you.

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Are you going to say that? Are you really going to say that?

MARIA RESSA:

No!

MARY JANE BALLINGER:

Oh, my God.

FEMALE EVENT ORGANIZER:

So Maria Ressa.

MALE PHOTOGRAPHER:

Maria, right here.

FEMALE EVENT MC:

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome journalist and Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa.

MARIA RESSA:

What an incredible room full of people. I mean, the energy from the Mother of Dragons to Nancy Pelosi. It is the—I don’t know what to do with it. It’s a completely chaotic time where technology has helped make facts disputable, eroded truth and crippled trust.

TrialWatch Launch

Clooney Foundation for Justice

AMAL CLOONEY:

At the moment it’s incredibly easy for governments to get away with this kind of behavior. That's why they’re using trials, because it gives them a way to silence dissent and yet have a veil of legitimacy. One of the things I take away from today, having heard from people who were behind bars speak out, is apathy is the enemy, and we need people to be angry and to care, and if you go to trailwatch.org, you will see a "Get Involved" button. And that doesn’t mean send money; it actually means tell us about trials that you’re worried about. It means volunteer to be a monitor. So please help us make this a success.

GEORGE CLOONEY:

I would also say, just my takeaway from today, we had all these panels, and we were with President Nasheed, who spent time in jail for telling the truth, and Mohamed Fahmy, who also spent time in jail for telling the truth, and Jason Rezaian spent time in jail for telling the truth. Maria is—where is she?

Oh, there. Maria Ressa is going back to the Philippines. She’s been arrested twice in the last five weeks. The rest of you are out. Maria's about to risk going back, and she’s going back because she believes that shining a light on crime, shining a light in general, is the best and most important thing, and she won’t be afraid. I’m afraid for her. And all of us here are so proud of your ability to shine a light. And we’re all going to do everything we can to make sure it stays loud for you.

MARIA RESSA:

[Laughs] OK. Thank you again.

AMAL CLOONEY:

And reach out anytime.

MARIA RESSA:

I’ll do it through David. Is that OK?

AMAL CLOONEY:

Yes! No, he should give you my direct email address. I'll give it to you.

MARIA RESSA:

Yeah, sure. Let me—how about on here? Can you write it on there? Thank you.

FEMALE SPEAKER:

I’m going to get going.

MARIA RESSA:

Yes, thank you.

I’ll write you and I'll answer the questions you asked.

AMAL CLOONEY:

Do, and look, whichever way is most helpful to you.

MARIA RESSA:

Yeah, thank you. Thanks so much.

Too many things happening.

Have you heard about this? This happened this week. So the palace released a matrix of coup plotters, and it includes my organization as well as other independent news groups. And me.

And now the Philippine National Police say they will investigate the journalists on that list. Do I have more support outside than inside the Philippines? I think we have a lot of support in the Philippines. But I think anyone who stands up has a lot to lose. Our country needs the mission of journalism even more today than at any other time.

BATO DELA ROSA:

It’s a big irony on my part to be a religious person and at the same time waging the war on drugs that resulted to deaths of thousands. The antigovernment forces, you can never satisfy them. Everything that the government does is wrong for them. So I don’t care about them. I care about the ordinary people who have been suffering from this drug menace. These ordinary people say, sir, it’s OK, thank you for what you’re doing. Our streets now are safer. Our communities are a lot safer. We can just let our children walk going to the school without being molested by the drug personalities, by the drug addicts, by the drug pushers.

RAMBO TALABONG:

What I saw out on the streets never really escaped me. It never really left me. I still remember vividly how bodies are left in the street and how families are traumatized. And the trauma of the family isn’t just theirs. They also—it also to some extent gets passed on to me. And I remember how they feel, the feeling of losing someone so brutally. It affected me, and sometimes it also appears in my dreams.

PATRICIA EVANGELISTA:

I’m terrified daily, because I’m so close to the ground.

Patricia Evangelista

Investigative Reporter

Rappler

 

PATRICIA EVANGELISTA:

The concern isn't getting hit from above. It’s getting hit from below. It’s not that the person will name me, but that a story I did wrong, or a person I shouldn’t have named would die because of what I did. And half of me is the journalist who wants the story. And the other half is I do not want to be party to anything like this. It sort of leaks into every part of your life, the paranoia.

[Cries] Sorry. See, Maria says a lot she doesn’t scare easily. I do.

MARIA RESSA:

I can't not go back. I mean, that sounds really—it’s easy to say it, but I actually did think about this. There's—I have to return, and part of it is also regardless of what happens, then chronicling what does happen.

Thank you.

That’s good. No—none! We’re OK! We’re good! [Laughs] That’s where they picked up before.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER:

Ladies and gentlemen, let us welcome Miss Pia Ranada.

PIA RANADA:

It’s quite challenging to be a journalist now. We feel like we’re criminals for being journalists. OK, next. But we’re fighting it. Other Rappler reporters and I went to the Supreme Court and we filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to lift the ban. This is our first offensive against the government, because previously, we’ve always just been at the receiving end of these legal cases. And I’m just so proud of my company, that despite all of our attacks, all of the legal cases against us, they still—[cries] sorry—they still muster the resources and the willpower to file a case on our behalf. And you don’t have a boss like that every day. It takes a certain kind of boss to stand up against a greater power when they’re already themselves on the receiving end of so many attacks. So thank you, Maria and the rest of Rappler for standing up for us. We’re just praying—thank you.

RODRIGO DUTERTE:

[Speaking Filipino] When I became president, [speaking English] I said do not do drugs because I will kill you. [Speaking Filipino] I have three more years. I am really going to finish you off. You’ll see. [Speaking English] You know it’s not an easy job being president. You have to contend with this son of a b----, and with the b---- in media.

FEMALE SPEAKER:

My question is, the victims are the 27,000 victims of EJK, the marginalized Filipinos, the drug runners and of course the media. But how about the rest of us? Do we feel victims? I myself, I don’t feel like a victim. In fact, my retirement pay went up. In fact, we feel safe. What are you going to do about making us feel also victims? We don’t buy drugs.

MARIA RESSA:

I’ll quote to you one of the most famous Holocaust poems of all time. "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."

This was a poem by Martin Niemoller. and the Inquirer pushed it down to one sentence for today: "First they came for the journalists. We don’t know what happened after that."

AMAL CLOONEY:

I have been appointed as counsel for another award-winning journalist, Maria Ressa. Ms. Ressa was one of four journalists named as Time magazine’s Person of the Year, for what Time called "great risks in pursuit for greater truth." The government’s response has been to arrest her and initiate a series of civil and criminal cases that expose her to a maximum sentence of 63 years in prison.

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

Colleen was asking if we’ve had to make adjustments based on what’s happening with you and your safety and are we safe? She actually asked, "Are you guys safe?" And I think that your friends didn’t even realize how—how dangerous it is for you.

MARIA RESSA:

It’s relative.

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

It's relative. And funny that you should say it that way, because I did tell her you dismiss—

MARIA RESSA:

I’m not dismissing it. It’s just done. We dealt with it, we know what can happen and I’m OK with it. And we just—

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

Well, even that resignation, that—I know you don’t want to worry Mom and Dad or the siblings or—

MARIA RESSA:

Because no one else really needs to know, right? And so long—

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

That your life is in danger?

MARIA RESSA:

All we need to know is just, we’re doing our work. That's—it’s not that it’s in anyone's—anyone says, right? We're not different from anyone else. Except a little bit more. [Laughs]

This year at the TrialWatch, Jason Rezaian, who was in prison for 500-something days, and then Mohamed Fahmy was in Egypt, and he was in prison for nearly 348 days. And so that was the first time where I really had to figure out, OK, I have it—am I OK with this? If this happens, can I deal with it? It took me a little bit, but I can deal with it. And so we keep going, and—argh, I forgot this!

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

Bummer.

MARIA RESSA:

Shucks. How could I forget it?

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

It’s a very real possibility of you—

MARIA RESSA:

Your actions—what I do will determine how real it is. I mean, intent is always there. And I think part of what will give us a better defense is if we’re not afraid, because the first factor is to make you afraid. And you shouldn’t be afraid. And if I’m not afraid, I’ll be a much better—I’ll actually prepare better for the worst case if I’m not afraid. And the only way to not be afraid is to understand the worst-case scenario and embrace it.

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

I mean, you’re prepared to go to jail? Are you prepared to—

MARIA RESSA:

The point is that it will never get there.

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

I don’t want to see you becoming a martyr in all of this.

MARIA RESSA:

This is a stupid conversation. I don’t like this.

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

I think you’re talking about reality.

MARIA RESSA:

But I’ve already done this. I’ve dealt with it already.

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

Not with me.

MARIA RESSA:

I know. But you don’t need to deal with it. And you shouldn’t deal with it.

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

Well, that’s not fair.

MARIA RESSA:

No. Why are you crying?

MICHELLE AVENTAJADO:

Because I’m scared for you.

MARIA RESSA:

But you shouldn’t. We’re OK. We’re ready.

Senatorial Debate

Manila

FEMALE DEBATE HOST:

We will be asking Gen. Bato dela Rosa, where are we on the war on drugs? Can you give us your assessment?

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] We’re still far from our dream of having a drug-free Philippines. Far from it. But if you compare it with previous administrations, a lot has happened.

FLORIN HILBAY:

The problem of drugs has worsened. [Speaking Filipino] After all the killings, after the theory on killing, the problem is even worse today. [Speaking English] Your war on drugs has failed.

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] Can I respond?

FEMALE DEBATE HOST:

[Speaking Filipino] We’re trying to move forward. [Speaking English] Sir, 30 seconds. A reminder to the audience, please behave. Please show respect to all the candidates. Thank you very much.

CHEL DIOKNO:

[Speaking Filipino] The big problem is they’re targeting only the small pushers. They are targeting only the poor. Where are the drug lords? That’s my question.

FEMALE DEBATE HOST:

[Speaking Filipino] Gen. Bato, a rebuttal?

BATO DELA ROSA:

If you wage a war on drugs, you cannot be selective in the implementation of justice. [Speaking Filipino] When you say war on drugs, you deal with everybody. Everybody should be annihilated.

FEMALE DEBATE HOST:

Sir, very calmly. Let us— [laughs]

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] But how can I be calm? There’s eight of them and only one of me. Where would we be if President Duterte had not launched a war on drugs? Maybe the youth would be zombies by now, wandering the streets, crazy people.

FEMALE DEBATE HOST:

Time’s up, sir. Thank you, Gen. Bato.

BATO DELA ROSA:

[Speaking Filipino] We will become a narco state.

SAMIRA GUTOC:

It’s not the PNP’s job to kill people; it is to protect the people. There is an overstretch of power when journalists are arrested. There is an overstretch of power when local governments are afraid to host the Otso Diretso in their locations. There is an overstretch of power when we do not question his rape jokes and statements against women.

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

Duterte: Not sorry for rape remark, that’s how I speak

SAMIRA GUTOC:

Silence. Silence of the public means there is an overstretch of too much power by our executive, the president.

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

Not just a joke: The social cost of Duterte’s rape remarks

MARIA RESSA:

We are in the last few days, and I asked Jodez how she was doing. Do you know what she said? Here, she has to tell you. I said, "Jodez, how are you?"

JODEZ:

I’m enjoying the last days of democracy. [Laughter]

MARIA RESSA:

[Speaking Filipino] And how do I answer that? [Laughs] [Speaking English] "I am enjoying the last days of democracy." All right. We still think there is hope, do we not? [Laughter] Look. Promise, it could be surprising!

4 a.m. Election Day

MARIA RESSA:

We have 61.8 million registered voters. They’re going to the polls for 12 hours to choose more than 18,000 elected positions. Right up top, 12 members of the Senate, 12 senators are going in.

The Senate hopeful Bato dela Rosa has actually voted. This is Pia’s photo of him voting.

MALE REPORTER:

There’s also this, I don’t know, a fragmented opposition, for instance, because Otso Diretso—

MARIA RESSA:

In Davao, the Duterte children set to sweep local elections. That doesn’t seem like too much of a surprise, right?

RAMBO TALABONG:

—vote buying as well as obstruction of justice. These are questions that we are going to ask the candidate.

MARIA RESSA:

And he is set to consolidate his power.

PIA RANADA:

That is why the Senate race is so important, because then we'll see if we can actually balance what the president is doing.

MARIA RESSA:

The Senate is a last standing independent body in terms of voting for what President Duterte wants.

Wait, guys, I have a hearing tomorrow. Arraignment.

Samira Gutoc failed in her bid for a Senate seat.

MARIA RESSA:

And the headline, "Opposition bets fail to get in the Magic 12."

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

Opposition bets fail to get in Magic 12

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

12 new senators proclaimed, boosting Duterte’s power

RAPPLER HEADLINE:

Last time opposition didn’t win any legislative seat was 80 years ago

Beto dela Rosa won his seat with over 19 million votes.

Mocha Uson lost her electoral race.

Mocha was appointed to another government post by Duterte.

MARIA RESSA:

President Duterte is president. The institution has morphed. The man hasn’t changed. The legislature, the executive, the judiciary, the checks and balances—well, they’re bending to the man. So there we go.

7 Months Later

Christmas 2019

 

MARIA RESSA:

2019 was a difficult year, right? I never had any doubt that Rappler had my back. And I hope you guys all know, I think our nation has our back. You can’t fight monsters by becoming monsters. I’m quoting Bono. And what prevents us from becoming monsters is one word. It starts with L.

CROWD:

Love!

MARIA RESSA:

I love you guys!

June 15, 2020

FEMALE REPORTER:

I’m here at the Manila Regional Trial Court, where a branch court has just convicted Maria Ressa over cyber libel charges.

Maria was found guilty of cyber libel.

FEMALE REPORTER:

Sentenced up to six years imprisonment.

She is appealing the verdict.

MARIA RESSA:

We are meant to be a cautionary tale. We are meant to make you afraid. Right? So I appeal again. Don’t be afraid.

Maria has seven more cases pending.

MARIA RESSA:

Because if you don’t use your rights, you will lose them.

54m
4009_Taliban Takeover
Taliban Takeover
The Taliban take over Afghanistan, and the threat of ISIS and Al Qaeda intensifies.
October 12, 2021