QC mayor sues rival for cyberlibel | Inquirer News

QC mayor sues rival for cyberlibel

/ 05:38 AM March 04, 2022

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte

MANILA, Philippines — Reelectionist Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has sued one of her opponents, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, for cyberlibel on “more than a hundred” counts over accusatory social media posts traced to pages allegedly linked to the lawmaker.

The city’s public affairs office on Thursday said Belmonte, accompanied by city legal officer Niño Casimiro, filed complaints against Defensor last week, a few days before the start of the official campaign season for local candidates.


Aside from Defensor, also named as respondents were May-i Guia Padilla, Carmelo Paulo Bayarcal, and Oliver Macatangay, who Belmonte said were “established” to be the “host” of a single social media group composed of several Facebook pages.


Those pages were identified as Batang QC, Kurapsyon QC, Taga Quezon City Ako, Quezon City Gladiators, DDS ng Quezon City, and Lente ng Kyusi.

According to Belmonte, her complaint filed before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office stemmed from two posts, one of which claimed that she “organized” a so-called “Baklas army” that was allegedly behind the removal of Defensor’s campaign posters from various locations in the city.

In that post, Belmonte said, she was described as “mapanghati (divisive), mapanira (slanderous), kasuka-suka (sickening), and kapit-tuko sa kapangyarihan (desperately clinging to power).”

‘Legal lines were crossed’

In another post cited in the complaint, Belmonte said, Defensor claimed that a Quezon City Hall employee was preparing to file a plunder case against her at the Office of the Ombudsman over the city government’s allegedly “overpriced ayuda (aid)” package, even though fact-checking organizations and the Commission on Audit itself had found no irregularities.

“I don’t usually look at Facebook pages, especially if I know that they would be of no use or benefit,” Belmonte said in a statement. “In truth, as soon as [Defensor] decided to run for mayor, we already knew that he would engage in the kind of behavior he is now displaying.”

According to Belmonte, she was informed by a concerned citizen that Defensor’s posts were “already libelous.”


“When I finally read them, I confirmed that these were no longer acceptable or tolerable, and [that] legal lines were crossed,” she said.

Reacting to Belmonte’s legal action, Defensor dismissed the complaint as “silly and futile,” insisting that as a public official, she “should not be onion-skinned or overly sensitive when it comes to public criticism.”

“The mayor is just wasting the resources of the prosecutor’s office which has real and pressing cases to deal with,” the party list representative said.

In response, Belmonte said she was aware that a public official should welcome “valid criticism in all forms” and that she was an advocate of free speech.

“On the other hand, how can I protect the rights of [city residents] if I allow myself to be subjected to these malicious attacks? I have to stand for my own rights if I am to stand for the rights of our people,” she said.


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Joy Belmonte files cyber libel raps vs Mike Defensor
Defensor says Belmonte’s cyberlibel raps vs. him is futile

TAGS: cyberlibel, Joy Belmonte, Mike Defensor, Politics, Quezon City

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