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Poll exec out on bail for online libel rap

/ 06:35 AM September 08, 2017

ZAMBOANGA CITY—A top election official in Western Mindanao region posted bail after he was arrested on Saturday for an online libel complaint filed by a former mayor of Dipolog City.

The Dipolog City police arrested Wilfredo Jay Balisado, Commission on Elections
(Comelec) regional director for Western Mindanao, after former Dipolog Mayor Evelyn Uy sued him for violating provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

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Judge Reynaldo Daway of the Regional Trial Court Branch 90 in Quezon City issued the arrest warrant, setting a P24,000 bail for Balisado’s temporary liberty.

The case stemmed from Balisado’s Facebook posts in January, in which he criticized an unidentified politician for allegedly hiring gunmen to harass him.

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He said the most serious incident happened on Jan. 25, 2013 when gunmen fired at his house in Barangay Biasong in Dipolog, damaging his two vehicles. No one, however, was hurt in that attack.

“I dismissed that incident as an isolated case,” he said. “I was acting (Comelec) director in the Davao region in January 2013, so honestly, I didn’t know the reason why I was targeted,” Balisado told the Inquirer.

In December last year, he said a man surrendered to the police and confessed he was among the gunmen who fired at the poll official’s house.

Balisado did not disclose the identity of the gunman, who executed an affidavit identifying a city official as the mastermind in the shooting incident.

Balisado said he was angry upon learning that an official, who he described as “a person voted by the people,” was involved in the attack.

“So, I posted my reactions on my Facebook page between the second and third weeks of January 2017,” he said. Balisado said he did not name the official on his posts.

“Those posts were monitored and used against me,” he said. “I never mentioned any name but they were hurt by the posts,” he said.

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Uy later sued him for online libel in Quezon City.

Balisado said he was not handcuffed when policemen “invited” him to come with them to the local police station on Saturday. “I posted bail on the same day,” he said. —JULIE ALIPALA

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TAGS: Dipolog City, online libel, posted bail, the Cybercrime Prevention Act
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