'Anti-mining leader's arrest not due to cybercrime law'

Posted at 10/22/12 5:35 PM

Lacierda to Anakbayan: Check your facts

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang clarified on Monday that the arrest of an anti-mining group leader in Cagayan was not in any way connected to the Cybercrime Prevention Law.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters they verified the report with the National Bureau of Investigation which says that the arrest of Esperlita Garcia, president of the Gonzaga Alliance for Environmental Protection and Preservation, was because of her allegedly libelous post on Facebook.

Lacierda said the case stemmed from a libel case filed by Mayor Carlito Penetecostes Jr. of Gonzaga, Cagayan. "As to why it was able to pass and the judge was able to issue a warrant of arrest in spite of a Supreme Court decision and the issue of publication when it comes to libel online, that's something that the courts and also the fiscal would have to answer to. But this was not a case filed under the [new law]," said Lacierda.

Militant group Anakbayan earlier lambasted the arrest, saying this was done amid the controversies surroudning the anti-cybercrime law. The SC earlier issued a temporary restraining order that will lapse on February 6.

Lacierda appealed to Anakbayan not to ride on the issue, and not to be ignorant of the issues. "You're entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to your facts.”

He said the facts of the case indicate it is one of libel, and not on cyber crime. “In fact, if you notice, the bail posted was P10,000. The penalty for online libel is prision mayor, which is higher than the penalty imposed under the Revised Penal Code. Obviously, this is a case filed under Article 355, the Revised Penal Code,” he said.

He assured Anakbayan that there is available redress for the arrested person by means of a motion for reconsideration, a motion for judicial determination of probable cause before the judge or a motion for review before the Department of Justice.