Ressa’s Nobel Prize should be every Filipino’s pride
I have the highest respect for F. Sionil Jose as one of our country’s foremost fiction writers, but I don’t understand his “beef” about the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa, as mentioned in your Oct. 10, 2021 issue.
That he hasn’t read anything “memorable” written by Ressa is irrelevant and beside the point. The award was given to Ressa and Dmitry Muratov as representatives of all journalists who stand up for freedom of expression; the award is not for literature.
I’m sure that Jose is well aware that Ressa and Rappler have been publishing articles and reports highly critical of the Duterte administration, which have earned the ire of President Duterte and triggered the filing of multiple cases, including tax evasion (Ressa is out on bail pending appeal from a conviction of cyberlibel). Ressa is bravely fighting the persecution of Mr. Duterte in defense of freedom of speech. (Our firm, ACCRALAW, is the counsel of Ressa and Rappler in these cases). If Mr. Duterte has so far not “nailed” Ressa like former chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Sen. Leila De Lima, it’s not for lack of trying. Who knows, Mr. Duterte might yet get to “nail” her, which to Jose is the sure sign that the President has “serious regard” for Ressa (as if this matters in considering the award).
While it may be true that the real test for journalists was made during the Marcos dictatorship when he imposed censorship and closed media outlets, this fact will not detract from the merits of the Nobel Peace Prize to Ressa, which is widely acclaimed as well-deserved.
Every Filipino, no matter what misgivings or “beef” he might have, should be proud of the Nobel Peace Prize given to Ressa.
Rogelio A. Vinluan, lawyer, ACCRALAW
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