Former Vice Presidential Bet Arrested for Libel 

Photo Source: Leomar Doctolero

MANILA, Philippines — Former Vice Presidential (VP) candidate Walden Bello was detained on Monday for libel and cyber libel by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD).

Bello was brought to the QC Police Station 8 in P. Tuazon at about 4 PM after the police served him a warrant of arrest from his home in Quezon City. He will then be transferred to Camp Caringal.

Leomar Doctolero, a member of Bello’s staff, revealed that it had to do with the ₱10-million lawsuit against the ex-VP aspirant brought by former Davao City Chief Information Officer Jefry Tupas.

Tupas complained to the Davao Office of the City Prosecutor in March after Bello called her a “drug dealer” in an online press conference on the latter’s Facebook page.

Tupas served as the city’s chief information officer while Vice President Sara Duterte was the Davao Mayor. He was also earlier fired by Duterte in November 2021 after being involved in a drug operation.

According to Bello’s team, they were already prepared for the arrest warrant due to the indictment brought by the Davao Prosecutor.

Bello also submitted his counter-affidavit against the case in April, citing that it is “baseless” and is a political move by Duterte. He insists that his arrest is” pure political persecution” and that the “law is weaponized against dissent.”

While detained, Bello claimed that his case had something to do with VP Sara and the challenges he asked the official during the 2022 elections.

“I think that this arose from the fact that I was challenging her to appear in the national debate. Instead of appearing in the debate in order to answer many questions about her performance in the office, the staff of Sara Duterte instead filed a cyber libel against me.”

Former VP Candidate Walden Belo

Meanwhile, Bello’s running mate and former presidential candidate Leody de Guzman requested that the arrest be considered null and void and that lawmakers should decriminalize libel.

“Hindi kailanman magiging makatwiran ang kasong cyberlibel laban kay Walden Bello dahil malinaw na ang motibasyon sa likuran nito ay pampulitikang panunupil.”

Labor Leader Ka Leody de Guzman

(The cyber libel case against Walden Bello will never be justified because it is clear that the motivation behind it is political repression.)

“Panunupil laban sa kritiko, pati na rin sa lahat ng kritikal sa kanilang administrasyon,” he added.

(Repression against the critic and all those who are critical of their administration.)

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