Maria Ressa now in US for Harvard program, to visit parents in Florida

FILIPINO AMERICAN journalist MARIA RESSA in a file photo.

MANILA — Rappler CEO Maria Ressa is now in the United States to attend a month-long Harvard University program and visit her parents in Florida.
This after the Court of Appeals allowed her to attend the Harvard University program and visit her parents.
The CA Eighth Division, which hears Ressa’s appeal to her cyber libel conviction, allowed her to travel to Boston from Oct. 31 to Dec. 2 to attend a 30-day program.
In between, she will be visiting her parents in Florida during Thanksgiving on Nov. 25.
Ressa posted a P500,000-bond on court’s order and  submitted an updated itinerary.

The CA issued the resolution on Oct. 18, days after Ressa’s historic recognition as the first Nobel laureate from the Philippines, sharing the award with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, for her “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.”

In a 14-page resolution, CA Associate Justice Geraldine Fiel-Macaraig said Ressa was able to prove the necessity and urgency of her travel, citing the invitation letter from the Center for Public Leadership and Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

The invitation letter from Harvard said the program requires her physical presence for 30 days.

The CA also considered humanitarian grounds in allowing her to visit her parents whom she had not seen for two years.

“Certainly, one’s legitimate intention to be reunited with her/his parents cannot be doubted,” it said.

In December last year, the same court blocked Ressa’s bid to visit her ailing mother who was due for an operation, saying she failed to prove the necessity and urgency of her travel.

Fiel-Macaraig said then that the medical abstract of Ressa’s mother, who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, lacks indication that Ressa was urgently needed in the US.

She also faulted Ressa for not immediately disclosing her mother’s medical condition and for supposedly concealing previous incidental travels.