Walden Bello arrested for cyberlibel

·2 min read
Former vice presidential candidate Walden Bello (right) seen with his former Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) running mate Ka Leody de Guzman. (Photo: Partido Lakas ng Masa)
Former vice presidential candidate Walden Bello (right) seen with his former Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) running mate Ka Leody de Guzman. (Photo: Partido Lakas ng Masa)

Former vice presidential candidate and staunch Marcos-Duterte critic Walden Bello was arrested for two counts of cyberlibel on Monday (August 8).

The arrest warrant was signed on the same day by Judge Retrina Espe Fuentes of the Davao City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10. Bello had been indicted by the Davao City Prosecutor last month, and was denied motion for reconsideration.

Last March, Sara Duterte’s former information officer Jefry Tupas filed a cyberlibel suit against Bello after the latter accused the former of being a drug user. Tupas seeks P10 million in damages for Bello’s remarks.

Bello has to pay a total of P96,000 for bail (P48,000 per count of cyber libel). He was not able to make the cut for paying bail yesterday, forcing him to spend the night at Camp Karingal in Quezon City. He plans on settling the amount Tuesday, according to the media officer of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM).

Former senatorial candidate Atty. Luke Espiritu called on the public to condemn the libel case against Bello, saying that it was “obviously ‘politically-motivated’ by the camp of Sara Duterte.”

Maliwanag na ang intensyon dito ay upang maglinaw si Sara Duterte at singilin siya sa kanyang tahasang pagtanggi na makalahok sa debate kung saan maaari niyang saguting ang mga isyu,” Espiritu said.

(It is clear that [Walden Bello’s] intention here was for Sara Duterte to clarify things and hold her accountable for her refusal to attend debates wherein she could answer different issues.)

Si Walden ay nagkokomentaryo lamang sa lumabas na report na si Tupas ay isa sa mga nadakip ng PDEA [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency] sa isang raid sa Davao de Oro noong Nobyembre 2021 subalit pinakawalan din ng kapulisan,” he said.

(Walden was merely making a commentary on the report that Tupas was one of those caught by PDEA is a Davao de Oro raid last November 2021 but was released by the police.)

He added, “Ang insidenteng ito ay nagbungsod sa tanong na sa kabila ng pinapangalandakan ng ama ni Sara Duterte na siya ay galit sa droga, bakit nasasangkot sa isyung droga ang mismong malapit kay Meyor Sara Duterte at bakit nangyayari ito sa mismong balwarte ng mga Duterte?

(This incident raised questions since Sara Duterte’s father [Rodrigo Duterte] is against drugs, how comes those close to Mayor Sara Duterte are involved in drug issues, and why is this happening in the bulwark of the Dutertes?)

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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