An Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge on Thursday has opined that the threatening post of a Zambales public school teacher against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was “despicable and provocative” and “tends to undermine lawful authorities and disturb the peace and order of the community”.
However, RTC Branch 72 Judge Richard Paradeza, in a 15-page decision on June 24, said operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) inadvertently “committed some lapses along the way detrimental to the constitutional rights of the accused”, ruling that the warrantless arrest against Ronnel Mas is invalid.
Mas had filed a motion to quash against the charges filed against him after he was arrested for posting on Twitter the threat against Duterte.
“A court does not acquire jurisdiction over the person of one who is illegally arrested and who question his/her unlawful arrest before arraignment,” Padareza said in granting Mas’ motion to quash.
Paradeza earlier ordered the NBI office in Manila to release Mas after he posted a PHP72,000-bond for his provisional release.
In a seven-page inquest resolution dated May 13, Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento and Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon approved the recommendation of Assistant State Prosecutor Jeanette Dacpano that the charges be filed before the courts.
They said Mas’ Twitter post, which read “the words I will give 50 million reward kung sino makakapatay kay (to whoever can kill) Duterte. #NotoABSCBNShutDown,” suggests violent means to topple the Duterte administration.
Prosecutors said the law alleged to have been violated punishes those who shall write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels against the government or any of its duly constituted authorities or which suggest or incite rebellions, conspiracies, which tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community.
They noted that Mas himself admitted to the media that he indeed personally posted the provocative message on social media.
Citing precedents, prosecutors said the confession did not form part of the custodial investigation and was not given to police officers but to a media man in an apparent attempt to elicit sympathy. (PNA)