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2 CamNorte journalists nabbed for cyber libel

DAET, Camarines Norte --- Camarines Norte journalists Virgilio “Bagwis” Avila Jr., and Mia Concordia were arrested and detained Tuesday, November 10, for several counts of cyber libel filed against them by Camarines Norte Gov. Edgar Tallado.

The arrested Camarines Norte journalists Virgilio “Bagwis” Avila Jr., and Mia Concordia

Avila, a broadcaster of 98.5 OK-FM Daet and Concordia, a news anchor of Dateline Camarines Norte, were subsequently released on bail after six hours in detention.

First to be arrested was Avila, who was served a warrant by local police headed by SSgt. Jesus Tugorez. Concordia was arrested when she visited Avila in jail.

Hearing of his colleagues’ arrest, Deo Trinidad in turned surrendered himself to the Regional Trial Court Branch 40, and posted a cash bond amounting to 20,000 pesos.

The warrant of arrest, issued by Judge Ivan Dizon of the Regional Trial Court Branch 40, said each of the three face four counts of cyber libel, with bail set at 80,000 pesos for each count.

However, the charges against Trinidad and Concordia were reduced to one count. Avila remains accused of four counts.

The cyber libel cases stemmed from posts the journalists made separately on their personal Facebook accounts criticizing the local government’s alleged negligence in its coronavirus disease (Covid-19) response as well as corruption.

Avila also faces a separate libel case filed against him and four other journalists, including Rommel Ibasco Fenix, who was arrested last Sept. 15, while hosting his local radio program. Their charges were filed by provincial board members Romeo Marmol and Rodolfo Gache.

Avila claims that, like Fenix, libel cases filed against him earlier over his radio program have been resurfacing lately. (NUJP)

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