Beltran’s camp welcomes CHR probe on her ‘illegal’ arrest

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Reporter/CDN Digiital | April 23,2020 - 04:54 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The camp of business owner and filmmaker, Ma. Victoria Beltran, welcomes the investigation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on her “illegal” arrest by the police over the posting of alleged fake news in social media.

Beltran’s legal team led by human rights lawyer, Vincent, Isles, told CDN Digital through Lawyer Amado Virgil Ligutan, that the investigation was a welcome development in support to her case.

Read more: Warrantless arrest of Beltran valid – Ferro

“Ms. Beltran’s team welcomes this development. Lawyers from the FLAG are also on board. Same with other cause-oriented groups. This is a reminder to all that constitutional rights like Freedom of Speech, Right to Counsel, and freedom from Arbitrary Arrests are not surrendered in times like this,” said Beltran’s camp.

“These sacred constitutional rights are NOT obstacles to the government response to the crisis. The government can effectively respond to the crisis without trampling upon human rights. They are not mutually exclusive concepts. The enemy is the virus, not the people,” Beltran’s camp said.

Read more: Police arrest Cebuana entrepreneur accused of posting false information

Jacqueline de Guia, CHR spokesperson,  said on Wednesday that the commission was concerned about the alleged warrantless arrest of Maria Victoria Beltran last April 19, after allegedly spreading ‘fake news’ about the high coronavirus infection rates in the said sitio.

De Guia insisted the consideration of human rights should not be suspended even with the declaration of a public health emergency.

“We stress that human rights cannot be suspended even during public emergencies. Restrictions to freedoms are also bound by the parameters set by human rights law and should never lead to their abrogation,” she noted.

According to De Guia, Beltran — who is now facing cybercrime-related charges for posting on Facebook that there are 9,000 cases in Sitio Zapatera — has clarified that it was a satirical response to the rising cases in the area.

“Beltran was also said to have taken down the post after Cebu Mayor Edgar Labella threatened her with an arrest,” she explained.

Labella initially warned that Beltran’s post was fake and that cybercrime units were tracking her after she made the post.  Hours later, Beltran was arrested.

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

Beltran’s camp already said they would be filing charges against the mayor for violation of the Custodial Investigation Law. Her lawyers were allegedly prohibited to see her when Labella came to the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas to talk to her.

The incident allegedly violates the right of an individual to due process by giving her proper legal counsel./dbs
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TAGS: Beltran, CHR probe, fake news, Investigation

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