ACT: Arrest of teacher who threatened Duterte online 'an attack on free speech'


Posted at May 13 2020 01:19 PM | Updated as of May 13 2020 01:31 PM

MANILA - The arrest of a teacher who allegedly threatened President Rodrigo Duterte online is "an attack on free speech," the Alliance of Concerned Teachers said Tuesday. 

The public school teacher, in a private Twitter account, allegedly offered P50 million to anyone who would kill Duterte. 

The "dire economic state" of teachers is no secret and the suspect "obviously does not have 50 million to pay as bounty hence his post clearly does not pose any serious threat to the President," Secretary General Raymond Basilio said in a statement. 

The suspect was once recognized as the third most outstanding teacher in Zambales province and the third educator arrested for criticizing the government during the coronavirus crisis, said ACT. 

The group said some officials and administration supporters made "more violent and disturbing posts" against critics and did not face "the same aggressive response from law enforcers." 

"It is therefore clear that this is not a matter of implementing the law down to the last letter, but a selective imposition depending on the powers-that-be's prerogatives," Basilio said. 

"It is an issue of repression and punitive actions against dissenters and sentiments that may be seen as 'anti-government.' This is an attack on free speech, on democracy. This is an attempt to sow fear among the people, to dissuade them to speak up about their situation and convictions," he added. 
The teacher, who has apologized to Duterte, will face possible imprisonment and a P200,000 fine for cybercrime charges.