Benguet vlogger fined for online harassment
BAGUIO CITY, Benguet, Philippines — The Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of La Trinidad town in Benguet fined a vlogger a total of P150,000 after he pleaded guilty of violating the Safe Spaces Act (Republic Act No. 11313).
In a ruling dated Feb. 2, MTC Judge Mylene May Adobe-Cabuag meted the fine after vlogger Renan Padawi changed his original plea of “not guilty” and admitted that he committed “gender-based online sexual harassment” against Mia Magdalena Fokno, 45.
Padawi, 39, a resident of Itogon town, pleaded not guilty during the arraignment on Oct. 26, 2022, but changed his plea to guilty when he was rearraigned on Feb. 1.
“When queried, the accused informed the court that he fully understands the nature and consequences of his entering a plea of ‘guilty’ to the crime charged in the information,” the MTC ruling stated.
Padawi could have been sentenced to six months to six years in jail but was instead ordered to pay a fine of P100,000 and another P50,000 as a civil liability to Fokno because it was his first offense.
Cabuag also ordered the return of the P30,000 bail that Padawi posted after his arrest on Sept. 8, 2022.
Padawi, who uses the name “Jackfloyd Sawyer,” has around 16,000 followers on Facebook where he posts videos and status messages about his day-to-day life and personal opinions.
But in August last year, Padawi attacked Fokno after she asked on her social media account about the whereabouts of President Marcos when a magnitude-7 earthquake shook Luzon on July 27, 2022. The next day, he posted a video hurling insults and sexist remarks at Fokno while arguing that the President was not responsible for the earthquake.
Fokno, in an online interview on Friday, said she pursued the case, despite being urged to withdraw the case supposedly because it was a “trivial matter,” not just for herself but for all women who have been attacked online but remained silent. “I had to see this through for all victims of sexual harassment, online or otherwise,” she said.
Fokno, a resident of La Trinidad, is the school administrator of Cordillera Quest, a training center accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
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