The arrest today of blogger Rodel Jayme was appalling and repressive.
NEWS FLASH as of 5:50 PM, May 2, 2019:
As I was writing this, I wanted to look up the YouTube channel of Ang Totoong Narco List and found that it no longer existed. It had been deleted. It was deleted HOURS AFTER THE ARREST OF RODEL JAYME.
So if RODEL JAYME owns the channel, how could he have deleted it while under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation?
Or if indeed he owned the channel, did someone from the National Bureau of Investigation or the government delete it, using Jayme’s computer which the NBI had seized?
Or did YouTube, on its own, delete the channel after receiving a request or order from the Philippine government?
Shouldn’t the YouTube channel be PRESERVED because this is THE EVIDENCE for the crime of cyber libel that was allegedly committed?
Here is the original link to the YouTube channel. It no longer works – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbSJdixACzjGTh34V0eUfnQ/videos
NEWS FLASH as of 8 PM, May 2, 2019:
Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has just told reporters that the NBI has initially filed inciting to sedition charges against Jayme.
An NBI official crowed before the press conference this afternoon: “The uploader was arrested for cyber libel and not Bikoy himself.” [NOTE: Bikoy is the whistleblower featured in the video. The NBI claims that Rodel Jayme is the uploader.]
No less than Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra held a press briefing to confirm Jayme’s arrest.
But as I listened to Guevarra’s briefing, four things became very clear why Jayme’s arrest is wrong:
Neither the NBI nor the the Department of Justice had established that it was Rodel Jayme who had uploaded the videos on the YouTube channel called “Ang Totoong Narco List” –
Rodel Jayme apparently runs the website metrobalita.net. Justice Secretary Guevarra said metrobalita kept posting and posting links of the YouTube videos online.
Justice Guevarra said: “It appears he was the one who started all of these by creating a website. Behind the subsequent uploading of the Bikoy video. So it’s just logical the NBI start with him.”
But when asked by a reporter whether it was Jayme who had indeed uploaded the videos on YouTube and whether the NBI had established that Jayme owned that particular YouTube channel, Justice Guevarra referred the matter to an NBI official who said, “As of now, we are still conducting further validation on that matter. We are not looking solely at metrobalita…”
In other words, neither the NBI and DOJ had established that it was Rodel Jayme who had uploaded the videos.
They weren’t sure, and they had no proof. But they arrested Jayme anyway.
Neither the DOJ nor the NBI had received any complaint of cyber libel in relation to the videos. Instead, the DOJ motu propio (on its own) decided to investigate the videos and the NBI applied for a warrant of arrest.
During the press briefing, both the NBI and the DOJ said they were still mulling what charges to file against Jayme.
I asked a lawyer whether a person can be arrested for cyber libel even if no one had filed a complaint of cyber libel before the DOJ or NBI on the matter.
The lawyer said that “technically, a criminal investigation may commence without a complainant because the offense is against the People.” He said that while it was possible to prosecute a case “even without the participation of the people referred to in the video,” he added that “I’ve never seen the DOJ or NBI take action (in a libel case) without a signed and notarized complaint coming from a victim.” In this case, the DOJ has actually arrested Jayme for cyber libel without any known complainant filing beforehand a cyber libel complaint.
The lawyer also had this word of caution for the DOJ: “But remember that all of the victims of libel in this case are public figures or public officers. This means that under relevant case law, the prosecution must show actual malice or a reckless disregard for the truth.”
Ooops. Does this mean the alleged bank accounts cited in the videos can be the subject of criminal investigation?
Am I alone in thinking it would then seem that the DOJ has now become the personal law office of the First Family, whose members were implicated of drug dealing in the videos?
I wonder what charges Rodel Jayme can in turn file against those who had him arrested, including Justice Guevarra and the NBI officials, plus the judge who had issued the warrant of arrest.
Rodel Jayme was not only arrested. His computer and digital devices were seized by the NBI.
Let me try to explain how Jayme’s rights were violated.
Let’s assume that Jayme does own metrobalita.net or metrobalita.com.
Justice Guevarra said during his presscon:“It appears he was the one who started all of these by creating a website. Behind the subsequent uploading of the Bikoy video. So it’s just logical the NBI start with him.”
First of all, the website and the YouTube channel are two TOTALLY SEPARATE ENTITIES.
There was nothing to indicate in the YouTube channel of “Ang Totoong Narco List” – before it was deleted – that it was also run by the same person who runs metrobalita.net or metrobalita.com.
The YouTube channel had no Google Adsense Publisher’s ID linked to it AND at the same time linked to metrobalita.net or metrobalita.com for the simple reason that the YouTube channel was just created. If I remember right, it was created on March 31 or April 1, 2019.
Justice Guevarra is wrong in saying that the website metrobalita.net or metrobalita.com had been created for the video. The website metrobalita.com was created back in 2017.
Second, there is no logic behind the action of the NBI to start with Jayme, just because he kept sharing and sharing the Bikoy videos.
How do we know that Rodel Jayme did not repost and repost because he felt strongly about the narco videos?
And how will NBI now explain how Jayme was able to delete the YouTube channel while under NBI custody, presumably with all his digital devices seized by NBI, if indeed he owns the channel?
Rodel Jayme’s civil and political rights were violated by his arrest. Namely Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Bill of Rights.
These sections state the following:
BILL OF RIGHTS
Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized .
Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
The Duterte government is beginning to look more and more like the Marcos regime.
And I’m afraid that if Duterte’s senators win, we can all say hello to more repression of our civil liberties.
This is not a middle class thing. Or a media thing.
As our experience with Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law showed us, the poor will bear the brunt of suffering if Duterte’s senators win and as a ‘thank you’ to Duterte, they agree to replace the present Constitution with a Duterte Constitution.
You can watch Justice Guevarra’s presscon below.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.