Cebu News

7 Lapu-Lapu captains arrested, post bail over cybercrime

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Seven barangay captains of Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu sued by Mayor Junard Chan for cybercrime were placed under arrest officially after they turned themselves over to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

They were released after posting bail of P36,000 each.

The seven are Eduardo Cuizon of Bankal, Eleonor Fontanoza of Gun-ob, Regina Ybanez of Looc, Triponia Abayan of Tungasan, Joselito Tibon of Subabasbas, Reynaldo Tampus of Canjulao, and Rosalino Abing of Maribago.

In a press release, the PNP-CIDG Cebu City Field Office said the barangay captains surrendered to the office early morning on May 16, 2022 after Judge Anna Marie Militante of the Regional Trial Court issued a warrant for their arrest.

Chan filed a complaint against the seven for grave oral defamation in relation to Section 6 of the Cyber Crime Act of 2012 for “willfully and deliberately attacking the mayor’s reputation by making defamatory utterances, maliciously and with evident ill-will” during a press conference when they sued Chan over the alleged questionable purchase of more than P47 million worth of food items and non-food relief items from a supplier identified as a furniture exporter.

The barangay captains chose not to issue a statement as of this writing. Chan, on the other hand, said the arrest should serve as a lesson to the captains.

“Ang atong mensahe nila nga unta leksiyon na ni nila nga dili sila magpataka og sulti… og mo-file man gani ta, kanang klaro noh? Dili kay pagtomo-tomo lang o magbuhat-buhat og mga estorya nga dili maayo sa imong isig ka tawo,” Chan said.

He said his lawyers are looking into other aspects of the case to see if there is a need for other charges.

The press conference during which the captains made the statements against Chan was streamed on Facebook through the Team Deretso page. Chan’s camp argues that the page is public and accessible by anyone, which makes the barangay captains liable for violating the cybercrime law.

“When asked whether or not there was any recommendation from COA, respondent Cuizon lied through his teeth and answered, adunay lacking nga documents sa transaction, adunay comment ang COA nga wa nila ma-comply and requirements sa procurement,” Chan’s affidavit reads.

Chan said all transactions he entered into passed COA’s scrutiny, making them all legal and above board.

COA did not issue disallowances and suspensions on all of Chan’s transactions in 2020 and 2021.

Last March 4, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-7 awarded Chan for “Good Financial Housekeeping in 2021”as Lapu-Lapu City “spent and audited its public funds by delivering basic services that are responsive to people’s needs with absolute transparency.”

Chan said the city would not have been given the award had it violated COA rules.- JMO (FREEMAN)



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