Cyberlibel, Nograles, and delaying the way of progress Duterte is fighting for

Cyberlibel, Nograles, and delaying the way of progress Duterte is fighting for

Having a Facebook account doesn’t give its owner a license to use it that will damage other people’s lives and reputation. More so for someone who claims to be a public servant. A post, comment or tweet with cursing or defaming someone on Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites or internet is a ′′ cyberlibel ′′ crime. The post, comment or twit is an electronic evidence that is accepted in court as libel evidence and it can now be used against the person.

This is the so-called Cyberlibel punished in Section 4 (c) (4) of the ′′ Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 ′′ or Republic Act No. 10175 and it says that cyber libel is based on the Revised Penal Code, Article 353. This is a public and malicious accusation of a crime, vice or defect or an action or non action of a person, condition, status or circumstances in which it is disown or, humiliation and contempt of a person or corporation through the internet and computer.

PBA (Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta) Partylist representative Jericho Nograles whose constituents are supposed to be athletes but hardly does anything for them. He has now styled himself as the new “Mr. Expose” copying the title of late great former Senate President Ernesto Maceda. However, his so called “Exposes” are either outright lies paid for by vested interests or sheer laziness in doing fact checking and research. 

The list of the lies or lazy research of Cong. Jericho Nograles is long but two classic examples come to mind. The issue of the travel permits of former CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan and most recently his ongoing baseless accusations against the Philippines’ only globally awarded airline operator Megawide Corporation..

It started with a post on January 18, 2018 of the personal Facebook of Congressman Jericho Nograles where he accuses the former CHED Chair of “”Did #CHED Chairperson Licuanan usurp the power of President Rody Duterte by approving her own travel authority contrary to EO 459 (series of 2005)?” He bolsters the accusation by attaching several CHED internal authority to travel signed by CHED Licuanan. 

This is quickly refuted as an outright lie by CHED Chairperson Licuanan herself and CHED International Affairs Staff Director Atty. Lily Freida Milla who attaches copies of all the approvals from Malacanang and answers this reply on the CHED website: 

“It appears that what Rep. Nograles shared on his Facebook account as basis for his accusations is the internal Authority to Travel Abroad, which is routinely used to process the funds and is an attachment for securing Malacañang approval,” the Chairperson added.CHED International Affairs Staff Director Atty. Lily Frieda Milla clarifies that, “all official travels of the Chairperson are covered by appropriate travel authorities from the Executive Secretary and signed by Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra.”

So-called “Mr. Expose’s” smoking gun is an internal authority to travel abroad. She had all the necessary travel authorities. He could have easily confirmed with the office of the Executive Secretary first, instead of falsely accusing and defaming the former CHED chairperson. Cong. Nograles is lucky she did not pursue a cyber libel suit as she would have easily secured a conviction.

For more recent events, Mr. “New Expose” has been attacking a project that no less than the president wants completed which is the rehabilitation of the International airport of the capital city Manila, NAIA.

Cong. Nograles has been using his new stature in life to falsely accuse and besmirch the reputation of one of the if not only qualified and globally recognized company in the Philippines with the technical expertise and proven track record in building and operating an award winning international airport.

Megawide not only built (ahead of schedule) and successfully operates the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA); it is also about to inaugurate the Clark International Airport which will probably be as beautiful or even more so than its bemedelled sister the MCIA. Yet, these projects are a small part of the 1,000 more projects it has either completed or is currently working on and the Partylist list representative has the gal to accuse them that they are not qualified for renovation project of the Manila’s international airport. At least Megawide has proven track record to complete and operate world class projects. What has Cong. Nograles done for this country? How can he craft proper laws? He is not even a lawyer. No wonder his research is haphazard or deficient. 

The Nograles family, although distant relatives, were the primary arch rivals of Duterte in Davao––consistently losing. Maybe by blocking, possibly one of Duterte’s crowing legacy projects, he can take revenge against his families mortal enemy. Yet, he should know that his attempts will be in vain and although there maybe a slight delay the project is bound to push through. While Megawide, as a company, may not be as forgiving as CHED Licuanan with Nograles’ lies and file a cyber libel suit which they will most certainly win.

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