Bello – who has committed his life to the fight for democracy, liberty, and the rights of all to a dignified life – was arrested at his home on Aug 8, 2022 and sent to Quezon City Police Station on charges of “cyber libel” related to a Facebook post published during the March national elections that he contested as a candidate for the vice presidency.
The charges against Bello have been filed by Vice President Sara Duterte’s former information officer, Jefry Tupas, who was fired from office for attending a party raided by police for drugs. Tupas now accuses Bello of “cyber libel” for referring to her as a “drug dealer” in connection with the incident. This charge carries a potential prison sentence of over six years.
We are clear that the charges against Bello are an act of political persecution. Libel law is weaponised to silence a man who has been one of the administration’s biggest critics. We have seen these scare tactics used by repressive governments across the globe in desperate attempts to silence dissent and critique. We will not be silent as these tactics are deployed in the Philippines.
Walden Bello’s arrest is a violation of his fundamental rights, an affront to the institutions of Philippine democracy, and a threat to free expression everywhere.
If the administration of Bongbong Marcos hoped that this act of political persecution could be kept quiet they were wrong. We are watching. And we will continue to raise our voice to defend Walden Bello’s freedom.
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