Militants slam arrest for ‘libelous’ Facebook post

Posted at 10/21/12 12:55 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Youth group Anakbayan lambasted the arrest of an anti-mining activist in Cagayan province last Thursday over an allegedly libelous statement on Facebook amid the halted Cybercrime Prevention Law.

“With opponents of large-scale, destructive mining resorting to the Internet as a means of informing the public and gathering more support, the Cybercrime Law will be used to stomp out such tactics,” Anakbayan's Vencer Crisostomo said.

He is referring to the arrest of Gonzaga Alliance for Environmental Protection and Preservation president Esperlita Garcia, who posted an account about a cancelled anti-mining rally last year due to alleged harassment from Cagayan Mayor Carlito Penetecostes Jr.

“What really bothers me is how the prosecutors and the judge determined that I should be arrested when I know that the law that supposedly punishes online libel was passed only this year and was even (restrained) by the Supreme Court,” Garcia told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Crisostomo added: “This is a preview of what to expect once the TRO lapses: the Cybercrime Law will be unleashed by the Aquino regime against its countless critics and opponents.”

The TRO or temporary restraining order will lapse on February 6 next year.

Crisostomo also expressed concern that the law will be part of a “grand plan to hijack” the coming elections.

“Noynoy knows that his regime is growing in unpopularity with every minute and that his senatoriables and party-lists will be dumped by the people in 2013 as a ‘no-confidence vote.’ He wants to deny them the Internet as a means of campaigning against him and his bets,” Crisostomo claimed.