IT ALL started with that Zambales teacher posting on Twitter a P50-million bounty on the President’s head.
What could have been readily dismissed as patently illusional, laughed off even as pure hallucination – given the dire economic straits veritably all Filipino teachers are mired in, where a paltry P500 is sweated blood for – the NBI took all–too grimly – arresting the teacher, and not without some sadistic glee – the teacher on all fours like a swine wailing remorseful apologies, on cam.
The human rights goody two-shoes have not had time to raise a whimper when came in succession the arrest of two netizens who allegedly even raised the ante on Duterte’s head.
“I will double your P50 million to P100 million for anyone who could kill Duterte. I’m now here in Boracay.” The Facebook post of a construction worker obviously referencing the Zambales teacher’s Twitter post.
Again, laughably preposterous as it could only be – a daily wage earner having P100 million to give away! –it took a composite team of policemen in Malay, Aklan, operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit to effect the arrest of the peon in his boarding house in Boracay.
In Cebu, an unemployed college graduate, was nabbed in Cordova town hours after she allegedly posted on her Facebook account a P75-million reward for a similar extermination job on the President.
Once more, manifestly ludicrous – an out-of-work lady proffering P75 million – still, the police took it hook, sinker, line, all the way to the rod.
And despite her vigorous denial – that she could not be the one who made the post, claiming her social media account was hacked – police are reportedly determined to file a case against her.
It was not putting up a price for the head of the President that caused the arrest of a man from Agusan del Norte. It was his Facebook post that called Duterte a head case.
“Alam na pattern, mosalida si Go konuhay siya mohangyo sa buang nga Pangulo, Digong gago. Buang si Digong.” Roughly translating to: “We know the pattern, [Senator Christopher] Go would put up a show asking the crazy President, Digong stupid. Digong is crazy.” So, the man supposedly posted.
The Caraga police said he will face charges for violation of libel provisions of Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, as defined by Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code.
Comes to lecture the police Christian Monsod, a framer of the 1987 Constitution.
“The arrests were unconstitutional. No warrant of arrest. No complaint. No basis for warrantless arrest,” Monsod said in a text message to the Inquirer.
Emphasizing: “Whether libelous or not is for a court to decide, not the police.”
Only the judge
Why, even our own GM, former IBP-Pampanga president Gener Endona posited:
“A complaint for libel has to be filed, preliminary investigation to be conducted and if there is probable cause, only the judge can order the arrest of the accused. Policemen cannot arrogate unto themselves whether or not a crime of libel was committed.”
Duterte bête noire Chel Diokno, chair of the Free Legal Assistance Group, further articulated: “The limited authority given to the police to arrest without warrant is only for crimes that occur in their presence or for hot pursuit.”
And on point: “Crimes like libel (especially in cases where no complaint is filed) were never meant to be the subject of warrantless arrests. Only judges are equipped with the knowledge and impartiality to decide if a person should be jailed for libel.”
Odd, Diokno said – as countless others too wondered on FB – that citizens could be arrested for allegedly cursing the President when he, Duterte, shows no compunction in cursing senators, presidents, bishops, the Pope, the Church, even God Himself.
As one wag put it: “Ang lahat ay hindi puwedeng murahin si Duterte. Ang lahat ay puedeng murahin ni Duterte.”
So, the web is swept with cries of “selective justice”pointing to Vice President Leni Robredo’s lion share of bashing, including those calls for her passing, starting Day One at the OVP.
So, has there been even but one of these bashers –easily identifiable with names, faces, even domicile inthe social media – ever invited by the police even for routine questioning?
Foot-in-mouth perhaps, the NBI said Thursday they will also go after people who have threatened the Veep.
Her spox though riposting: “VP Leni is focused on working to help our fellow Filipinos struggling to cope with the hardships brought about by Covid-19 and the ECQ. We would rather spend our time and energy helping, rather than paying any attention to mean posts on social media.”
And rubbing it in: “She’s endured this many times in the last four years, and she has never let it distract her from the real work that needs to be done. And this holds true even more during this time of crisis.”
Indeed, it was the VP that was sporadically targeted with death threats in the social media for the longest time, never the President. Only now that Duterte is it, and seemingly calculated at that.
I don’t know if it’s just me, or have you too noticed some sort of role reversal in those…for want of a phrase, kill-kill-kill ejaculations in the web?
Cry conspiracy theory now! It cuts both ways among the ‘tards in the political divide, anyways.
Call me paranoid. But I sense some insidious method in the seeming madness of this all. And, terrifyingly, it’s more than a case of wagging the dog.
This Martial Law survivor, senior now as he is, is not yet that demented to have forgotten the 1972 bogus ambush of Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile that midwifed the birth of the Marcos dictatorship.
And we all know who has kept the disgraced Ferdinand highest in his pantheon of idols.
I see the signs, not the least prognosticator though I am.