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'Baseless kasi': DOJ ibinasura cyber libel vs Makabayan bloc members

James Relativo - Philstar.com
'Baseless kasi': DOJ ibinasura cyber libel vs Makabayan bloc members
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 — Ibinasura ng Department of Justice ang reklamong cyber libel ng Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group laban sa ilang kasalukuyan at dating kinatawan ng progresibong Makabayan bloc sa Kamara.

Kaugnay ito ng reklamo ng CIDG laban sa "defamatory" at "libelous" statements nina noo'y Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate at ilang lider ng Gabriela Women's Party sa online edition ng Manila Times at Inquirer.net noong ika-17 ng Nobyembre 2021.

"[The instant complaint]... for two (2) counts of Libel punishable under Section 4 (c) paragraph 4 of Republic Act No. 10175 otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit."

Pinaratangan ng red-tagging at pagtatanim ng ebidensya ang pulis sa pahayag.

"In their online post, respondents accused the [PNP] of red-tagging and planting evidence after a team of CIDG operatives successfully implemented the Warrant of Arrest dated 10 December 2015 issued by Judge Isaac de Alban of RTC Ilagan City, Isabela, Branch 16, against a certain Lourder Bulan a.k.a. 'Simang' for two (2) counts of murder docketed as Criminal Case No. 7168 and 7170," ayon sa resolusyong pinetsahan ng ika-12 ng Mayo.

Maliban kina Zarate, idiniin din sa reklamo sina Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, dating Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan at dating Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza.

Nirepresenta naman ni Police Major Jonathan Mostoles ang CIDG, na nagsasabing hindi totoo ang paratang ng mga progresibo at sinabi lang daw ito para sirain ang reputasyon ng PNP sa publiko.

Gayunpaman, sinabi ng DOJ na "wala silang makitang batayan" para i-indict ang respondents sa paglabag ng Section 4 (c) paragraph (4) ng Republic Act 10175.

"To reiterate, the persons liable for the offense are (1) author of the libelous post, which includes the person who shall publish, exhibit or cause the publication of the libelous post; (2) the person who created the libelous post; and (3) editor or business manager, in case the libelous post is contained in a book, pamplet, newspaper, magazine or serial publication," sabi ng DOJ.

"It bears stressing that Rep. Zarate, Rep. Brosas, Ms. Ilagan and Ms. Maza are neither the author nor the person who created such post. Respondents likewise did not publish, exhibit or cause the publication of the articles in news question."

Wala rin daw nakasaad sa reklamo na respondent ang editor o business manager ng Manila Times Online o Inquirer.net. Lumalabas din daw na in-interview sina Zarate tungkol sa insidente at hindi sila ang direktang dahilan kung bakit nagkaroon ng ng online publication.

Kanila ring idiniin na naiiba ang libel at cyber libel sa iba pang criminal offenses dahil sa "indispensability" ng publication. Kung wala ito, walang paglabag.

Mga progresibo nagalak, harassment lang daw

Winelcome naman ni Zarate, na tumatayong executive vice president ng Bayan Muna, ang pagbasura ng reklamo na siyang tinatawag niyang "harassment suit."

"We laud our state prosecutors for junking the utterly baseless cyberlibel case filed by the PNP-CIDG represented by Major Jonathan Mostoles in 2021," sabi niya sa isang pahayag kanina.

"Like the 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."

Sa panahaon ng matinding krisis, hinihikayat nina Zarate ang mga pulis na gamitin ang kanilang oras at rekurso sa paghabol sa mga sindikato at kartel, gaya na lang ng mga nagpapataas ng presyo ng asukal, asin, bigas, langis at kuryente.

Maari rin daw na habulin na lang ang mga tiwaling opisyal ng gobyerno, druglords atbp. sindikatong tumitira sa mga mahihirap.

"Sinasayang nila ang oras at pera ng mamamayan sa ginagawa nilang pagsasasampa ng mga trumped-up  and frivolous cases laban sa mga opposition at kritiko ng pamahalaan," panapos niya.

BAYAN MUNA

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND DETECTION GROUP

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

GABRIELA

MAKABAYAN BLOC

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE

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