THE trial of Rappler — a news website critical of President Rodrigo R. Duterte — and its executive director for cyber-libel will proceed on Dec. 6 after a Manila court denied a plea to dismiss the case.

Judge Rainelda H. Estacio-Montesa has set the presentation of evidence by defense lawyers for Dec. 6, according to a copy of a 12-page order issued by the court.

The judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to indict Rappler, Executive Director Maria A. Ressa and former researcher Reynaldo Santos, Jr. over an article published in 2012 and supposedly republished two years later.

“A close examination of the records of the case bares that the prosecution sufficiently proved that Rappler, Inc. was utilized as a platform for the republication of the subject article,” the court said.

“The assertion made by all the accused is a matter of defense which is best passed upon after a full-blown trial on the merits,” it added.

Ms. Ressa declined to comment. Her lawyer also did not reply to a mobile-phone message seeking a comment.

The Justice department in February indicted Ms. Ressa for cyber-libel based on a complaint by a businessman over an article published in 2012, months before the cyber-crime law was passed. The journalist has said the allegations were unfounded.

A month later, she got arrested again for allegedly violating the ban on foreign ownership in media.

Local and international media watchdogs and human rights groups have condemned her arrest. New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Mr. Duterte’s government “to cease and desist this campaign of intimidation aimed at silencing Rappler.”

Ms. Ressa, a former CNN investigative reporter, earlier said Philippine authorities have managed to “twerk” the cases against her and Rappler.

Rappler, which Mr. Duterte has called a “fake news outlet,” is also appealing last year’s order by the Securities and Exchange Commission to close its operations for violating foreign-equity restrictions in mass media. Ms. Ressa, is also facing tax evasion cases.

In its ruling, the Manila court rejected Ms. Ressa and Mr. Santos’ claim that they had no hand in the republication of the article. It said the name of Mr. Santos appeared as the author of the article, while Ms. Ressa is the chief executive officer and executive editor of Rappler.

“Being the author of the subject article and the editor of the corporation which published the same, the participation of both accused Santos, Jr. and Ressa on the republication of the subject article cannot be denied,” it said.

The court also said the accused should prove during the trial their claim that the article had not been republished.

A United States law firm earlier offered free lobby services to Ms. Ressa, to build awareness and concern about her criminal cases in the Philippines.

Lobbying disclosure reports showed that Ms. Ressa, who is out on bail for a cyber-libel case, was using Covington & Burling partners Peter Lichtenbaum and Kurt Wimmer to act as her lobbyists in the US.

The Filipino journalist earlier said her criminal cases should matter to the US because there is a “global erosion of freedom that is guaranteed in any democracy around the world.” — Vann Marlo M. Villegas