Bashers, beware: Candidates urged to press charges over libelous social posts

THE Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) 7 reminded candidates and their supporters to avoid cyber bullying in the run-up to the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections next Monday, May 14.

Chief Insp. Leo Dofiles, chief of the ACG 7, encouraged candidates who have been bashed on social media to visit their office if they are willing to press libel charges against the bashers.

“If someone will complain to us about posts like that, we will evaluate if it falls under libel and we will file a case because there’s a complainant,” Dofiles said.

The ACG-7 chief explained that libel has four elements: a defamatory statement, malice, publication and the fact that its subject is identifiable. Under the Cyber Crime Prevention Act, online libel is punishable by up to eight years in prison, a tougher penalty for libel committed in print or on broadcast media.

“Think before you post. Your conduct in the ordinary and traditional campaign should, at the same time, be your conduct in social media. If it’s not okay offline, definitely it’s also not okay online,” Dofiles said.

Below the belt

A candidate in one of the mountain barangays in Cebu City lamented the negative propaganda against them in social media and asked that it should be stopped, during the recent signing of a peace covenant.

“Election or not, a person’s rights should be respected. Just because they’re candidates running in the elections, does that mean that you’re allowed to post statements against them that are below the below the belt?” Dofiles said.

The official campaign period started last Friday for the thousands of candidates in Region 7 and will end on May 12.

Aside from bashing on social media, candidates also slammed vote-buying for the elections during numerous peace covenants.

The Commission on Elections has also reminded candidates that all campaign expenses, including those for social media campaigns for May 14, should be declared when they submit their required report on contributions and election spending. (JOB)


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