Public told not to threaten Duterte
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said it would be up to authorities to handle the cases of the arrested suspects.
STAR/ KJ Rosales, file
Public told not to threaten Duterte
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Security Group (PSG) yesterday warned the public against issuing threats against President Duterte or anyone through social media after two persons were nabbed for offering rewards to anyone who would kill the Chief Executive.

“I would just like to convey to the people not to be involved in any way of threatening the President or anybody, especially with the use of social media,” PSG chief Col. Jesus Durante III said.

“Anybody could be held liable if he threatens to harm or kill a person. What more if the one (who) is threatened is the President of the Republic?” he added.

Last Monday, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested a teacher from Zambales who tweeted that he is ready to give P50 million to anyone who would kill the President.

Ronnel Mas, 25, a teacher at the Taltal National High School in Zambales, has apologized for his post but will still face charges of inciting to sedition and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials.

The following day, policemen arrested in Aklan 40-year-old construction worker Ronald Quiboyen, who offered a P100-million reward to anyone who would kill Duterte.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said it would be up to authorities to handle the cases of the arrested suspects.

In his Facebook post, Quiboyen said, “yong 50 milyon nyo doblihin ko gawin kung 100 milyon kung sino makapatay kay Duterte andito ako ngayon sa Boracay.”

Lt. Col. Gervacio Balmaceda, director of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 6, said Quiboyen’s post was discovered by police cybercrime operatives last May 12.

Police also arrested yesterday Catherine Ceron in Cordova, Cebu for posting an offer of P75 million for anyone who will kill Duterte.

Ceron is facing charges for inciting to sedition and violating Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Double standard

Following backlash on social media over the alleged double standard in law enforcement when government agents arrested two netizens for threatening to kill President Duterte, the NBI yesterday denied any wrongdoing and also ordered an investigation into threats against Vice President Leni Robredo that have been posted on social media.

NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin yesterday denied there was double standard when the NBI arrested Mas.

“There is no double standard here. Once the NBI has workable leads, then we will start investigating all violations,” Lavin said, adding that he found nothing wrong with the admission video of the suspect without a lawyer, since Mas was accompanied by his parents.

“The NBI has the mandate to protect the highest officials of the land – President, Vice President, Chief Justice, Senate President, Speaker – so any threats against them we have the mandate to investigate,” Lavin said.

As ordered by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Lavin said the NBI will also investigate the alleged quarantine protocol violations of the National Capital Region Police Office that gave a mañanita or an early morning birthday bash for its chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas.

Photos posted on Facebook by the NCRPO’s public information office showed that there were violations of social distancing, although the police officers were wearing face masks during the party.

Mass gatherings are not allowed under enhanced community quarantine.

Supreme Court justice Marvic Leonen, on his personal Twitter account, said it was “insensitive” to hold the mañanita party during a pandemic., pointing out that the high court celebrated the retirement ceremony of a magistrate over video conferencing.

Human rights group Karapatan yesterday slammed the alleged unlawful arrest of Mas.

“The Duterte administration is prioritizing the alarming crackdown on free expression and dissent through social media critic-tracing and mass arrests such as the unlawful arrest of teacher Ronnel Mas over a hyperbolic tweet,” Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said in a press statement.

Palabay said the Duterte administration is hell-bent on crushing all forms of dissent “instead of adequately responding to people’s needs for broader public health measures such as mass testing and contact-tracing as well as food and employment aid” amid the coronavirus disease pandemic.

Police also arrested on Tuesday a man who made a threatening post in social media to bomb an ECQ checkpoint in Bulacan.

Col. Lawrence Cajipe, Bulacan police director, identified the suspect as Abram Jacob Vivar who tried to pass a checkpoint in Barangay Lawa, Meycauayan City but was disallowed because he had no quarantine pass.

It was also discovered that he was the same person who posted a comment on Facebook that he will bomb the quarantine checkpoint by using liquefied petroleum gas.

Meanwhile, a netizen claimed the other day that agents of the PSG and NBI arrived in Macabebe, Pampanga and searched for his niece who allegedly sought the help of the Abu Sayyaf to kill President Duterte.

In his Facebook account, one Josef Leroi Garcia, who claimed to be a resident of Quezon City and consultant at the office of Sen. Leila de LIma, said: “My niece who is no longer a Philippine citizen has been attacked by DDS (diehard Duterte supporters) trolls for her post against Duterte and is now being hunted by the PSG and NBI, have swooped down on our small town of Macabebe, Pampanga to harass our relatives and her FB friends, 20 of them to be exact.”

He was apparently referring to a Facebook post made by one Carmela Buan Laxina who asked the outlawed Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf to help in the killing of Duterte.

Garcia, in his Facebook post, said Laxina is no longer a Philippine citizen. Her Facebook account indicated she is in Australia. - Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Elizabeth Marcelo, Emmanuel Tupas, Jennifer Rendon, Ding Cervantes, Ramon Efren Lazaro

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