Ecija mayor, prov’l administrator in cyber-libel battle

August 02, 2020

PEÑARANDA, Nueva Ecija -- A legal battle looms between a neophyte mayor and the Nueva Ecija provincial administrator after both filed separate criminal charges against each other for alleged violation of Republic Act  10175 or the Cyber-Crime Prevention Act of 2012.

First to file the cyber-libel case was Joselito Ramos, 49, the town’s former vice mayor-turned-municipal mayor.

Named respondent in the case was provincial administrator attorney Alejandro Abesamis, a resident of this town.

Mayor Ramos filed the case on July 7 before the Provincial Prosecutor's Office.

The mayor's complaint stemmed from comments made by the respondent-lawyer on Facebook pertaining to violations of safety protocols during the Enhanced Community Quarantine in the town.  

The “FB war” between the two started when four sisters arrived from Japan amid the ECQ and went straight to their house to undergo home quarantine.

In his complaint, Ramos said he posted on FB on April 23 his disgust over an unnamed government official who allegedly facilitated the entry of the sisters for violating the town’s ECQ protocols and for lack of concern for the people’s safety amid the pandemic.

“Mga kababayan ko, san ka nakakita ng ganyan asa gobyerno din naman sya... hirap na hirap na tayong lahat sa coronavirus tapos magpapasok pa dito ng mga galing sa ibang bansa na hindi mo pinapaalam... pinalusot mo sa check point at kasama kapa, anong klase ka...Ano pinapakita mo na matigas ka?! Na matalino ka?! na di ka sumusunod sa ipinaguutos ng gobyerno dahil sa malakas ka?!...”Ramos posted on his FB account.

The mayor’s  post allegedly triggered an FB comment from the respondent-lawyer which read: “...Bastos talaga ang pagkatao mo. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang dahilan kung bakit ka nagkakaganyan. Kung kayamanan ba kaya feeling mo hari ka, o kawalan ba ng pinag-aralan at kung nakapag-aral man ay walang natutuhan kahit sa simpleng good manners and right conduct... baka may kinalaman na ‘yan sa pagpapalaki sa iyo.”

Ramos said these statements directed against him by Abesamis were  defamatory.    

Abesamis said he also filed a similar cyber-libel case against Ramos before the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office last week.

Abesamis said the case filed against him by the mayor was believed triggered by “plain and pure politics.”

Ramos was a former vice mayor when he ran and won as mayor, defeating a younger brother of  Abesamis in the 2019 local polls.

He served as vice mayor during the incumbency of another Abesamis sibling, former three-termer mayor attorney Ferdinand “Blueboy” Abesamis,  from 2016 to 2019.