The fate of the salesman who called President Duterte as crazy and stupid in social media lies on the hands of government prosecutors, Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
This was the answer of the justice chief when asked to comment on the arrest of Reynaldo Orcullo, 41, from Nasipit town.
Orcullo posted alleged libelous statements, prompting his arrest for violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10175).
“The DotJ inquest prosecutor will determine not only the existence of probable cause but also the validity of the warrantless arrest,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra pointed this out in the wake of criticisms made by Free Legal Assistance Group chairman and human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno that the Philippine National Police (PNP) can’t make warrantless arrests of persons accused of cyber libel.
The PNP-PRO 13 said the arrest was made after Orcullo posted on his Facebook page the statement: “ALAM NA PATTERN, MOSALIDA SI GO KONUHAY SIYA MOHANGYO SA BUANG NGA PANGULO, DIGONG GAGO. BUANG SI DIGONG. (“We know the pattern. Sen. Christopher Go will try to make a scripted request to crazy President Duterte. Duterte is stupid. Digong is crazy).”
Orcullo was presented for inquest for violating Section 4 of RA 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Diokno on the other hand, said in a statement that the PNP’s authority to conduct warrantless arrests is limited “only for crimes that occur in their presence or for hot pursuit.”
He explained that crimes like libel (specially those where no complaint is filed) were never meant to be the subject of warrantless arrests.
Diokno said only judges are equipped with the knowledge and impartiality to decide if a person should be jailed for libel.