2 journalists in Camarines Norte jailed for 6 hours over cyber libel case – NUJP
MANILA, Philippines — Two journalists in Camarines Norte were jailed for six hours on Tuesday over a cyber libel case filed against them by Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo Tallado, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said.
In a Facebook post, NUJP identified the journalists as Virgilio “Bagwis” Avila Jr., a broadcaster at local radio station 98.5 OK-FM Daet, and Mia Concordia, a news anchor at local media Dateline Camarines Norte.
NUJP said Avila was the first to be detained after police served an arrest warrant issued by Judge Ivan Dizon of the Regional Trial Court Branch 40 for the cyber libel case. He was detained at the Daet police custodial facility.
Meanwhile, Concordia was visiting his colleague, Avila, when she was jailed over the cyberlibel complaints.
[Alert] Journalists in Camarines Norte arrested over cyber libel rapsCamarines Norte journalists Virgilio “Bagwis”…
Deo Trinidad, another journalist in the cyber libel complaint, was not detained after he surrendered himself to the Regional Trial Court Branch 40 and posted bail of P20,000.
The three journalists faced four counts of cyber libel with bail set for P80,000, NUJP said.
But the court ruled that cyber libel charges against Trinidad and Concordia were reduced to one count. Avila still faces four counts.
In a separate message to INQUIRER.net, Concordia said she posted P20,000 bail for one count of cyber libel.
Concordia explained that their bail was reduced after their three other cyber libel cases were dismissed by the court.
In another message, Avila said he paid P320,000 bail for each count of cyber libel.
He also lamented that the judge issued an arrest warrant despite their pending petition at the Department of Justice.
“I have four counts of cyber libel cases filed by Tallado with recommended bail of P320,000. The judge issued the arrest order despite the fact my lawyer filed a petition for review before DOJ [Department of Justice] Manila. Prior to this, I was arrested together with five other journalists for a revived cases of libel which were filed by politicians allied with Tallado,” he said.
NUJP said the cases stemmed from the journalists’ social media posts on their personal Facebook accounts that criticized the provincial government’s reported negligence in its pandemic response.
Worth the risk
Concordia remained strong despite her detention. She said it would be embarrassing for a media practitioner to refuse to report the real-time updates in their province.
“Ngayon, ano naman kung nakulong kami? It is the risk we take sa pag talakay ng mga isyu sa lalawigan. Mas nakakahiya naman yong media ka pero [hindi] mo matalakay ang isyu at totoong nangyayari sa CN [Camarines Norte] dahil barker ka ng isang politiko di ba?” Concordia said in another Facebook post.
[So what if we were detained? It is a risk that we take to tackle the issues in the province. It is more embarrassing if you are in media but can’t tackle an issue and discuss the true events in the province.]
Oh… Ito ha para malinaw, yes nakulong kami for several hour on cyberlibel case filed by ginoong Tallado. Actually 4…
This arrest comes after a journalist in Villasis, Pangasinan was shot dead.
INQUIRER.net sought reactions and reports from police as well as Tallado, but they have not replied as of this writing.
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