Pasay court finds blogger guilty of cyber libel for 'lapdog' claims vs Sotto | Inquirer News
we should be more responsible to whatever we publish, says former Senate president

Pasay court finds blogger guilty of cyber libel for ‘lapdog’ claims vs Sotto

/ 07:44 PM July 14, 2023

A Pasay City court has convicted a blogger of cyber libel for the publication of an article labeling former Senate president Vicente Sotto III as a “Malacañang lapdog.”

This photo taken in November 2017, shows Vicente “Tito” Sotto III at the Pasay Prosecutor’s Office where he filed cyber libel charge vs Silent No More blog administrator, Cocoy Dayao. (File photo by DEXTER CABALZA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — A Pasay City court has convicted a blogger of cyber libel for the publication of an article labeling former Senate president Vicente Sotto III as a “Malacañang lapdog.”

According to the decision from the Regional Trial Court Branch 111 in Pasay City dated April 17 and released to the media on Friday, blogger Edward Angelo “Cocoy” Dayao was convicted for violating Section 4 (c)4 of Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.


He will serve a prison sentence ranging from a minimum of two years and five months, to a maximum of four years and five months.  No civil liability was awarded.


In the court’s decision, Dayao contested that he is not a blogger, adding that his job was merely to set-up websites for his clients, which included the Silent No More website that published the piece cited as libelous.

According to the accused, the reason why the virtual private network (VPN) and advertisement revenues from Google can be traced to him is because he was the one who created it for a client.

Dayao claimed that he was only hired by a certain Maria Joy Latore to create the Silent No More website.  After being done with it, he said he transferred its ownership to another person.

However, the court sided with the prosecution, as they presented the investigator’s findings that upon using an open-source tool to gather information about encrypted websites like that of Silent No More, the search revealed that 24 domains use the same Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate.

Aside from Silent No More, the is the only website among the 24 sites with similar SSL Certificates, and it can also be traced to Dayao.

“Historical data taken from all of the foregoing websites bearing the same SSL Certificate […] shows negative result for author identifiers, except website, which shows the registrant’s name Edward Angelo Dayao,” the court said.


Furthermore, the court cited that reverse search of the Google AdSense ID of the Silent No More website yielded four more websites using the same credentials — — where Dayao is editor-in-chief and managing editor.

All these provide the belief that Dayao is not just a website creator, but a manager or publisher of the website involved.  And under cyber libel, publishers would also be penalized for libelous content shown or published on their websites.

It could be remembered that Sotto filed the charge against Dayao after the Silent No More aired an article that ridiculed Sotto for supposedly not going against President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Sotto said that Dayao described him and the six other senators as “Malacañang lapdogs” as they refuse to sign a resolution condemning the drug-related killings of minors in a September 2017 blog post.

READ: Sotto sues blogger for cyber-libel over ‘Malacañang lapdogs’ tag vs senators 

READ: Blogger Cocoy Dayao indicted for libel 

In 2019, almost two years after filing the cyber libel case, Sotto said Dayao sent feelers to explain his side to the then-Senator.  According to the former Senate president, he will listen to Dayao if he will pinpoint who is behind the blogpost.

READ: Blogger sued for libel seeks chance to explain to Sotto 

In a short statement, Sotto said that the case should be a reminder to people to be more responsible in what they post online.

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“I welcome the court decision. May this be a reminder to all of us that we should be more responsible to whatever we publish online,” he noted.

TAGS: blogger, convicted, court, Pasay, RTC

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