Rodrigo Duterte admits to smoking dope (but says it was a joke)

Maria Ressa CEO of the news portal Rappler shows documents after posting bail at the Pasig Regional Trial Court in metropolitan Manila Dec. 3 2018

Philippine leader jokes he used marijuana at summit meeting

The journalist who leads a news site that has battled Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte turned herself in on Monday to face what she termed a "manufactured" tax fraud case that carries the threat of a decade behind bars.

She faces a maximum of 10 years in jail under Philippine tax law.

On Sunday evening, Ressa landed in Manila to fears that she could be arrested at the airport. It was issued when she returned to the Philippines after travelling to receive awards for the work Ms. Ressa has done with Rappler, including the 2018 Knight International Journalism award and this year's prestigious Press Freedom award.

He, however, said Ressa may be acquitted if she can prove that the charges filed against her are baseless.

Ressa earlier revealed that an arrest warrant has been issued against her in connection with the tax evasion complaint filed by the government.

Duterte had already banned a Rappler reporter from his news briefings after the government's corporate watchdog found that the organization violated a constitutional prohibition on foreign ownership when it received money from an worldwide investment firm. "We stand in solidarity with Maria and are behind her 100 per cent as she fights these latest charges".

Philippine leader jokes he used marijuana at summit meeting
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"I've long run out of synonyms for the word 'ridiculous.' The basis of this case is that Rappler is classified as a dealer in securities". "We're not used to it, but maybe I have come to get used to it in a way", she added.

Forget the laws on human rights.

Many netizens were infuriated by Duterte's joke, accusing him of hypocrisy, as he has repeatedly denounced drug use and launched a "war on drugs" in the country, which has claimed lives of thousands of people involved in drug production and distribution.

Those killed have included children and innocents, as well as ordinary drug users and criminals executed extrajudicially.

"Official" government statistics say 4500 people have been killed as a result of the drug war, while human rights groups say the number is closer to 12000 - and counting.

Ahead of his inauguration, Duterte defended the notoriously high fatality rate for journalists working in the Philippines as sometimes justified and accused the media of being corrupt. "So obviously, wala na agad logic, nagpapatawa talaga siya (there really is no logic, he really wants to make us laugh)", said Panelo, who is concurrent Chief Presidential Legal Counsel.

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