Teacher arrested for alleged libel
Mae Clydyl L. Avila (The Freeman) - July 2, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — A 42-year-old teacher and pastor was arrested by personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Visayas after a company filed charges against him for libel.

Levi Cortez allegedly “maligned the goodwill” of Pinoycare, a company owned by Cebu City Councilor Niña Mabatid, and was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge James Stewart Ramon Himalaloan of Regional Trial Court Branch 7.

Based on the copy of the warrant obtained by reporters, Cortez’ bail was set at P30,000.

Police Master Sergeant William Selibio, the arresting officer, told reporters that Cortez was located through his address at Barangay Bakilid, Mandaue City. They found out he was teaching in the Bakilid Elementary School as a Grade 4 teacher and immediately coordinated with the principal for his arrest.

At around 11:45 a.m. yesterday, Cortez was accosted during his lunch break in front of his colleagues and brought to the CIDG-7 headquarters.

“We implemented the warrant of arrest on Levi Cortez, and we coordinated with his principal in Bakilid Elementary School and turned him over for a crime of libel. Ang complainant according to him was city councilor Niña Mabatid,” he said.

Cortez, in a separate interview, said he did not publicly shame Pinoycare, contrary to the claims of the company that he shamed it in a media interview last August 15, 2018 when he sought the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Cortez said he already paid P83,000 to Pinoycare to process his application to work in Canada. However, he was turned down twice for reportedly failing his International English Language Testing System (IELTS), an English examination required for those seeking employment abroad.

However, he claimed that when checking he found out that he had actually passed. After that, he allegedly demanded a refund from the company, but instead he was accused of damaging the company, he said.

“Nang-apply ko sa Pinoycare, pero niingon hagbong ko, kaduha ko ni-take pero pag-check nako sa website pasar man. Gihatagan ko lain option makalarga daw ko pero una giingon di ko kalarga pero kalarga na pud. Libog ko sa storya maong niingon ko pa-refund na lang ko. Nahibong ko ngano kasuhan ko pero ako na lang dawaton,” he said.

Cortez said his employers in the Bakilid Elementary School will help him post bail.

When asked if he had any message to Mabatid, he said he wants to settle the score with her.

“Kung motuo ka sa Diyos, ikaw naglingkod na man ka as konsehal...nangita kos katarong pero unsaon man naabot na man ta diri atoa na lang ni dawaton... aresto g’yud ni diretso. Akong panawagan ni Niña, mag-areglo g’yud ta kay di mahimo nga imo kliyente imo giunay, kliyente baya ko nimo,” he said.

Cortez also serves as pastor of a Christian community in Danao City. (FREEMAN)

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