DOJ OKs inciting to sedition charge vs teacher who offered bounty for Duterte's slay
This file photo shows the profile page of social media site Twitter. A teacher's tweet offering reward for anyone who can kill President Rodrigo Duterte landed him inciting to sedition charge.
DOJ OKs inciting to sedition charge vs teacher who offered bounty for Duterte's slay
( - May 15, 2020 - 10:49am

MANILA, Philippines (Update 1, 1:38 p.m.) — The Department of Justice approved the warrantless arrest of public school teacher Ronnel Mas, who offered bounty for President Rodrigo Duterte’s killing.

A charge of Inciting to Sedition in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act will be filed before a Zambales court early next week, Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento told reporters.

“Inquested. No more preliminary investigation,” he added.

This means that the warrantless arrest of the teacher who posted a tweet that he is offering P50 million reward to anyone who can killed Duterte was ruled valid.

“There are other factors. Leave it at that,” the prosecutor general said in a mix of English and Filipino. He did not expound further.

The Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that a warrantless arrest may only be done if the person has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; if a crime has just been committed; or if the person is an escaped prisoner.

It remains unclear how the inquest prosecutor ruled the warrantless arrest against Mas as valid, this would not be the first time that the Department of Justice upheld such arrest over a cybercrime charge.

RELATED: Inside the inciting to sedition charge vs 'sharer' of 'Bikoy' videos

Continued detention

NBI agents arrested Mas early this week and he may likely spend this weekend in detention.

Although Malcontento said that the teacher may post bail even before the inquest resolution, Mas will continue to be detained at the NBI while waiting for the trial, Malcontento said.

The prosecutor general said that as of late afternoon of Thursday, the public school teacher has yet to post bail.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete told reporters in a message that the bail for Mas’ case is set at P72,000.

“Under the Rules of Court, an accused may still petition the court to lower the bail,” Perete, also DOJ’s spokesperson, added.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers earlier slammed the arrest of Mas, citing the improbability of his bounty offer due to the economic state of teachers.

ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said: “Teachers’ dire economic state is no secret to the people, especially to the government. 25-year old Teacher Ronnel obviously does not have 50 million to pay as bounty hence his post clearly does not pose any serious threat to the President.” — Kristine Joy Patag

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