Two women arrested after classmate files cyber libel charges

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | November 06,2019 - 06:11 PM

The Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit in Central Visayas (RACU-7) arrested Maria (not her real name) for allegedly defaming a classmate in an online group chat. | CDND PHOTO / Delta Letigio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Be careful who you gossip about online or you might be arrested like these two women after a cyber libel case was filed by their former classmate against them.

Operatives of the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit in Central Visayas (RACU-7) nabbed the women in Lapu-Lapu City on Tuesday evening, November 5, 2019, after allegedly defaming their fellow alumna of Pusok Elementary School in an online group chat.

A warrant of arrest was released by Judge Ramos Daomilas, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 9 in Cebu City on October 8, 2019, for the two suspects to be apprehended and to face the charges in court.

Police Lieutenant Honesto Lazo, Jr., deputy chief of RACU-7, said the two suspects allegedly defamed the complainant in a group chat, which started with four members but grew to have 10 participating individuals before the the complainant learned about the conversation.

Lazo said the complainant was not part of the group chat which deprived her of of the chance to defend herself in the conversation.

Maria (not her real name), 55, said she did not defame the complainant.

She said it was the complainant who started the conflict.

Maria said the group chat was created for their batchmates at Pusok Elementary School so they can connect and organize events including the class homecoming.

The group did not expect the conflict to reach the court because the conversation transpired last year, specifically on November 12, 2018.

“Gamay raman unta to. Murag naa ray nakaingon og ‘Mura man man pud na siyag kinsa, murag dili sad na siya mangutang.’ Wala man gud namo siya gidaot, normal raman na nga mangutang ug nabayran naman to niya,” said Maria.

(It was only a small matter. Someone said, ‘Who is she? As if she does not borrow money from other people.’  We did not defame her. It is normal to borrow money and she already paid what she owe.)

Maria and her friends were not expecting the complainant to push through with the case.

Maria said they are planning to post bail after they talk to their lawyers.

She, however, denied defaming the complainant although she admitted that she may have said harsh words about the complainant in the group chat.

Maria said she deactivated her social media accounts after she learned that a case was filed against her.

Lazo warned the public to be careful about what they post on social media as Republic Act Number 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 could see Internet users sentenced to up to 12 years in prison for posting defamatory comments on Facebook or Twitter.

READ: In the Know: The cybercrime law

This is the second time that the RACU-7 nabbed cyber libel suspects this week.

On Monday night, November 4, 2019, RACU-7 also arrested Mary Grace Catapan, 31, and Jhallyn Gequillo Varga, 35, who allegedly defamed the wife of a judge in a group chat.

Both suspects, who are from Bogo City, posted bail amounting to P36,000 each. / celr

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TAGS: anti-cybercrime law, cyber libel, gossip girls, Lapu-Lapu City, Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit in Central Visayas (RACU-7)

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