Ex-Davao City PIO Jefry Tupas files cyberlibel complaint vs Walden Bello


Posted at Mar 07 2022 08:03 PM | Updated as of Mar 07 2022 08:29 PM

Photo courtesy of PTV Davao and Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.
Photo courtesy of PTV Davao and Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA (UPDATE) — Former Davao City public information officer Jefry Tupas filed Monday cyber-libel charges against vice presidential candidate Walden Bello.

In his complaint filed at the Davao City Prosecutor's office, Tupas said Bello issued "utterly false" statements that he was "nabbed" for "snorting P1.5 million worth of drugs on November 6, 2021", supposedly in relation to an anti-drug operation at a beach party in Davao de Oro that day.

Bello, according to the complaint, also supposedly said in an interview on March 1: "Her (Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio) excuse that she did not know she was sheltering a drug dealer is not credible."

Duterte-Carpio is also running for Vice President in the May elections, in tandem with presidential aspirant former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.

Bello's remarks against Tupas were made when he urged Duterte-Carpio to attend debates and clarify some allegations, including those against her city's former information officer.

Tupas said he has "NEVER BEEN 'nabbed' or arrested at any beach party", nor has "ever been charged, much less convicted, of ANY drug-related case."

He also denied having "snorted 1.5 million pesos worth of drugs" and being a drug dealer.

"Mr. Bello's FALSE, DEFAMATORY and MALICIOUS utterances and posts against me which were published in social media have maligned, injured, defamed me and exposed my good reputation to public hatred, contempt, dishonor, discredit, and public ridicule," part of his complaint read. 

Bello said the cyberlibel charges filed against him are a "politically motivated move" with a goal of harassment. 

"The filing of cyberlibel charges by Jefry Tupas is clearly a politically-motivated move. Was Tupas instructed by Sara Duterte to take away attention from her refusal to participate in the Vice Presidential debate? This strategy has one goal in mind: harassment," the university professor said in a statement.

"It aims to inconvenience us in legal bureaucracy while failing to address the concerns we've raised about the mayor's tainted record in Davao," he added.

Bello will address further the complaint filed against him in a press conference on Tuesday, at 2 p.m., his camp said.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Wilkins Villanueva had said that there was no "Jefry Tupas" on the list of the Nov. 6, 2021 operation's targets, after some of those who were apprehended said Tupas was allowed to leave the resort.

Tupas confirmed attending the party but said he left early as he had work the next day. “I was there. I left early with my boyfriend and another friend," he told ABS-CBN News.

Days later, Duterte-Carpio said Tupas had been terminated from his work with the city government after signifying his resignation.

Duterte-Carpio's father, President Rodrigo Duterte, has been waging a massive war against illegal drugs since coming to power in 2016.

— with a report from Chrislen Bulosan; and Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News


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