DOJ: Teacherâs arrest invalid
Ronnel Mas talks to members of media following his arrest on May 11. Photo courtesy of the National Bureau of Investigation-Dagupan office.
DOJ: Teacher’s arrest invalid
Robertzon Ramirez, Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2020 - 12:00am

‘But defect cured by media confession’

MANILA, Philippines — Public school teacher Ronnel Mas could have been absolved of charges if he did not admit the crime to members of media when the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested him for allegedly offering P50 million to anyone who could kill President Duterte, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Public school teacher Ronnel Mas could have been absolved of charges if he did not admit the crime to members of media when the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested him for allegedly offering P50 million to anyone who could kill President Duterte, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In a seven-page resolution, the DOJ said yesterday it found probable cause to file charges of inciting to sedition in relation to the anti-cybercrime law against Mas.

The DOJ deferred the investigation and resolution of the charge of violating the code of conduct and ethical standards for public employees against Mas, instead referring the case to the Civil Service Commission.

Mas’ arrest by NBI operatives in Sta. Cruz, Zambales “does not fall within the ambit of warrantless arrest contemplated by the law” citing Rule 113(b) of the revised rules of criminal procedure for it to become valid, the DOJ said.

A warrantless arrest is valid when the crime has just been committed and the arresting officer has probable cause to believe, based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances, that the person to be arrested has committed it, according to the DOJ.

Mas was arrested six days after making the controversial tweet on May 5, the DOJ stressed, adding that the arresting officers had no idea that Mas committed the crime.

“Be that as it may, the defect of Mas’s warrantless arrest was ultimately cured when Mas extrajudicially admitted to the media that he indeed personally posted the provocative text in his Twitter account @RonPrince_,” the DOJ said.

In his interviews, Mas said he was just trying to make fun of Duterte’s offer of a P50 million reward for whoever discovers a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 and to get people’s attention.

“Sobrang mali po yung ginawa ko. Humihingi ako ng tawad sa ating Pangulo (What I did was so wrong. I am asking for forgiveness from our President),” the DOJ resolution quoted him as saying.

Mas, who teaches social studies at the Taltal National High School, was in tears and apologetic as he was being taken to Manila after his arrest.

DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday warned that “inducing others to kill or cause physical harm to someone, whether the latter be the president of the republic or an ordinary citizen, will give rise to criminal liability.”

He urged netizens to become responsible social media users, saying, “Let’s think before we tweet.”

Guevarra said Mas’ apology does not extinguish his criminal liability.

The NBI, on the other hand, said yesterday Mas will not be released in the absence of a court order since there was an extrajudicial confession.

Mas’ lawyer, Dino de Leon of the Free Legal Assistance Group, rushed to the NBI headquarters at around 3 p.m. yesterday to facilitate his client’s release but failed.

“This is the first time my client had a legal presentation. The arrest was already deemed invalid by no less than the DOJ, and that was the only thing that has to be determined here,” De Leon told The STAR.

He said the NBI has no legal personality to continue detaining his client.

“Since the arrest was invalid, it followed that the subsequent detention of my client was a fruit of a poisonous tree,” De Leon said.

RONNEL MAS
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with