A 20-year-old woman living in Barangay Calumpang, General Santos City was recently arrested for writing a libelous Facebook post.
The woman, identified as Ellen Jane Amado, reportedly wrote a post maligning a 16-year-old girl whom she had a fight with. Although she later removed the girl's name, so many people had already seen it. Moreover, it could also be found in Amado's edit history.
Police Chief Inspector Leo Dofiles, head of Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 12's Anti-Cybercrime Group, told ABS-CBN News, "Kasi in-edit n'ya, tinanggal n'ya yung pangalan. [Pero] nakita na 'yun ng mga relatives [at] kaibigan ng complainant. Nagpunta sila dito sa office at nag-file ng complaint (She edited her post; she removed the name. However, the relatives and friends of the complainant had already seen the post. They came here to the police station and filed the complaint)."
Dofiles added that libel is the most common offense under Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act. In 2016, there were 494 online libel cases filed.
Dofiles explained, "[So many people write social media posts] without [realizing] na yung ginagawa nila is nakaka-infringe na rin nung rights ng ibang tao. Kasi ang iniisip lang nila is, 'Karapatan ko 'yan magsalita. Freedom of expression ko. Freedom of speech ko. We know you have that freedom. However, when your freedom is nakakaapak na rin ng freedom ng ibang tao, may karapatan din yung inaapakan mo na mag-file din ng kaso laban sa 'yo (So many people write social media posts without realizing that what they're doing infringes on the rights of others. They think, 'I have the right to speak. I have freedom of expression. I have freedom of speech.' We know that you have that freedom. However, when your freedom violates the freedom of others, then the person who is violated has the right to file a case against you)."
ABS-CBN News asked Amado for her comment but she refused to make a statement. She is currently under the custody of the PNP Region 12's Anti-Cybercrime Group.