Cyber libel raps vs Makabayan bloc members junked

Cyber libel raps vs Makabayan bloc members junked
Members of the Makabayan bloc wearing outfits bearing political messages join protests at the University of the Philippines Diliman against President Rodrigo Duterte on the day of his State of the Nation Address on July 26, 2021
Philstar.com, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice has junked a cyber libel complaint filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group against Rep. Arlene Brosas (Gabriela party-list) and former members of the House of Representatives’ Makabayan bloc.

DOJ prosecutors dismissed the complaint filed by the CIDG in San Fernando, Pampanga for lack of merit. The resolution approved by Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento was signed on May 12.

Aside from Brosas, former Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna party-list) and Gabriela Women’s Party leaders and Liza Maza were also named as respondents in the complaint.

In its complaint, the CIDG alleged that Zarate and the leaders of Gabriela Women’s party posted defamatory and libelous statements through the online edition of The Manila Times and Inquirer.net in November 2021.

The respondents accused the Philippine National Police of red-tagging and planting evidence after cops implemented the warrant of arrest against a certain Lourdes Bulan, also known as Simang. The CIDG also claimed it had confiscated tarpaulins of Gabriela and Bayan Muna along with firearms and explosives during the arrest.

State prosecutors stressed that “there was no sufficient allegation that they (respondents) caused the online publication of their statements.”

“This demonstrates the absence of participation in the publication or showing lack of probable cause to indict the respondents for the offense charged,” the resolution read.

In a statement, Zarate welcomed the dismissal of the “utterly baseless” cyber libel case.

“Like other harassment suits filed against us by state agents, this latest case was also dismissed because it is destitute of any merit. Clearly, it is a fatuous act only aimed to harass members of the progressive groups,” he said. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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