DoJ dismisses cyber-libel case vs lawmakers 


GOVERNMENT prosecutors have dismissed a cyber-libel complaint against several congressmen who had accused police of planting evidence and labeling some people communists. 

The Department of Justice (DoJ) junked the complaint against Party-list Reps. Arlene D. Brosas and former Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate, according to a copy of a six-page resolution sent to reporters on Tuesday. 

Also cleared were Gabriela Spokesperson Luzviminda Calolot-Ilaga and former Party-list Rep. Liza L. Maza. 

Prosecutors dismissed for lack of merit the complaint filed by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG). 

The complaint stemmed from statements made by the lawmakers published in 2015 on several news websites accusing law enforcers of red-tagging and planting evidence during a police operation that year. 

Prosecutors said the lawmakers could not be held liable for cyber-libel since they were not the authors or creators of the allegedly libelous posts and were only being interviewed for their comments on the police operation. 

“This demonstrates the absence of participation in the publication or showing lack of probable cause to indict the respondents for the offense charged,” state prosecutors Bryan Jacinto S. Cacha and Moises Y. Acayan said in the order. 

The PNP-CIDG claimed the officials’ statements were false and were meant to damage police reputation. 

Mr. Zarate said the lawsuit was just another form of harassment against government critics. “The police are wasting taxpayers’ money in filing trumped-up and frivolous cases against the opposition and those critical of the government,” he said in a statement in mixed English and Filipino. 

Last month, the Justice department charged 16 members of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) of financing the activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA). 

The country’s Anti-Terrorism Council has labeled the communist party a terrorist group. 

In June, Solicitor General and former Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said the country’s communist task force should file complaints rather than label people as communists. — J.V.D. Ordoñez