After initiating the leakage of an unauthorized confidential Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) document, Rappler's CEO Maria Ressa may face criminal and civil charges against the US and the Philippines according to former Presidential Assistant on Economic Affairs under Ramos administration, Mr. Jose Alejandrino.
The said document contains the telephone conversation between US President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
The conversation revolves around Trump's revelation of him sending two nuclear subs to Korea chichi caused the media to pillory Trump.
"She (referring to Ressa) could be charged under the US Espionage Act, like Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks. That Act was designed to punish acts of interference in foreign relatons as well as acts of espionage that interfere with operations or success of the US armed forces or promote success of its enemies," claimed Alejandrino.
This is reinforced by the statement given by a former US Homeland Security offices now with the Heritage Foundation claiming that "If indicted by the US Attorney-General her (Ressa's) chances of being convicted are high. The US does not take this kind of offense lightly."
Alejandrino also cited that such "conviction is punishable by death or by imprisoment for not more than 30 years or both."
On the other hand, Alejandrino claimed that the Department of Foreign Affairs personnel who leaked the said confidential document to Ressa is not absolved from the offense and is hereby expected to face certain liabilities.
"Under Memorandum Circular No. 78 dated August 14, 1964 governing the security of classified material in Philippine government offices, Sec. IV, Art. 17 defines a confidential matter as information prejudicial to the interest or prestige of the nation or of great advantage to a foreign nation."
"Sec. XII, Art. 57 states that any violation of regulations in that Circular makes the public officer liable administratively without prejudice to any criminal prosecution if the violation constitutes an offense under the Revised Penal Code or any other penal law. Same with the unauthorized publication of classified material by the parties concerned," cited Alejandrino.
Alejandrino, who was a former General Manager at Manila Chronicle, concluded his post citing a very crucial Republic Act which reinforces Ressa's probable criminal offense committed against RA 10173 known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012.
"In the Philippines, RA10173 known as the Data Privacy of 2012 protects all forms of information that are personal, private, or privileged. Under its Sec. 32, any unauthorized disclosure without the consent of the data subject shall be subject to imprisonment ranging from one to three years and a fine of not less than 500,000 pesos but not more than one million."
Source: Jose Alejandrino