Beltran’s camp to fight back; promises counter charges vs Labella

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Reporter/CDN Digital | April 21,2020 - 02:36 PM

Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) has promised its support for Cebuana entrepreneur and artist Ma. Victoria ‘Bambi’ Beltran (right). | File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The camp of businesswoman and filmmaker Ma. Victoria Beltran, who was arrested for allegedly posting fake news on social media, has promised to fight back.

Beltran’s team of lawyers told CDN Digital through Lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan that they will be filing countercharges against Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella for violation of the Custodial Investigation Law.

Ligutan said that on April 19, 2020 or a day after Beltran’s arrest, Lawyer Benjamin Militar went to see their client at the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) but was refused entry.

Read: Police arrest Cebuana entrepreneur accused of posting false information

Militar was told to wait because Mayor Labella was still inside the camp.

Ligutan said that the mayor came to see Beltran even before she could speak with her lawyers.

“Lawyers should supposedly not be stopped to meet [with] their client [who is] under custody. Attorney Militar was told to wait because Mayor Labella was inside,” said Beltran’s camp.

The incident allegedly violates the right of an individual to due process by giving her proper legal counsel.

Labella is yet to comment on these allegations.

Read: Civic groups call for Bambi Beltran’s immediate release

Meanwhile, Beltran’s legal team led by human rights lawyer Vincent Isles and joined by other high profile lawyers including Amando Ligutan, Benjamin Militar, and Abraham Acosta, is getting bigger by the day.

She has recently gained the support of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), a nationwide organization of human rights lawyers in the Philippines led by Lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno.

FLAG has condemned the “illegal” warrantless arrest of Beltran, who claimed to have merely posted a satire over the information initially released by the Department of Health (DOH).

“The charges against Miss Beltran, moreover, ignore the obvious. Ms. Beltran’s post is not fake news but satire… FLAG, therefore, calls upon the PNP to follow the process for securing warrants of arrest from the courts, instead of taking law into their own hands by arresting citizens without warrants for their posts on social media and other platforms,” said the FLAG statement. / dcb

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TAGS: Bambi Beltran, Chel Diokno, counter charges, COVID-19, FLAG, Labella

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