Acquittal of Maria A. Ressa and Rappler Holdings Corporation before the Court of Tax Appeals

Photo by Glenda M. Gloria, Vice-President of RHC

As reported in the news, Nobel Laureate Maria A. Ressa and Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC) were acquitted on all four counts of criminal charges filed against them in the Court of Tax Appeals in a Decision that was promulgated on 18 January 2023. ACCRALAW represents Ms. Ressa and RHC.

In an 81-page Decision, the Court of Tax Appeals First Division unanimously found that RHC did not act as a dealer in securities and did not earn any trading income from its issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to its foreign investors. This Decision clarified that the issuance by a holding company of PDRs does not give rise to a taxable event to pay income tax and value added tax because such is a capital raising and not a revenue generating transaction and does not involve the sale of the underlying securities.

Photo by Princess Rexille V. Liboon

The criminal tax cases were primarily handled by the Firm’s Partners Eric R. Recalde and Jacqueline Ann A. Tan. Senior Legal Counsel Atty. Francisco Ed. Lim also acted as adviser.

Mr. Recalde is the Head of ACCRALAW’s Tax Department and he also a member of its Corporate and Special Projects Department. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. He ranked 11th in the September 1996 CPA Licensure Examinations. He also ranked 3rd in the 2002 Philippine Bar Examinations. Mr. Recalde was a recommended lawyer for the practice area of Tax by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific for 2020, 2021, 2022 and cited in 2023.

Ms. Tan is the Monitor of ACCRALAW’s Tax Department. She is an experienced litigation lawyer and well regarded for her specialized Tax Litigation practice. She regularly appears before the trial courts, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Court of Tax Appeals. Ms. Tan was cited by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific Rankings for the practice area of Tax in 2022 and in 2023.

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