A MULTIMEDIA artist and writer who was arrested for allegedly spreading “fake news” about the Covid-19 crisis in Barangay Luz, Cebu City, has posted bail on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
Maria Victoria Beltran was able to post bail amounting to P42,000 at around 2 p.m., her lawyer Vincent Isles said.
Isles added they are looking into the possibility of filing administrative and criminal charges against Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella.
“This is nothing personal against Mayor Labella, but sometimes, we have to assert the rights of our client,” Isles said.
Beltran was arrested by joint operatives of the Regional Intelligence Division 7 and the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit 7 on Sunday, April 19, after posting on her Facebook status a “satirical” statement which said there are now more than 9,000 new coronavirus cases in Sitio Zapatera, Barangay Luz.
“9,000+ new cases (all from Zapatera) of Covid-19 in Cebu City in one day. We are now the epicenter in the whole solar system,” wrote Beltran on her Facebook post.
Beltran’s post was prompted by a pronouncement from Cebu City Health Officer Daisy Villa that they would stop swab testing in Sitio Zapatera since the whole area was now considered Covid-19 infected.
Zapatera has more than 9,000 residents.
Labella then posted a screenshot of Beltran’s FB post on his Facebook page and said he will now let the police authorities handle the case.
The cases filed against Beltran are: violation of the Anti-Cybercrime Act of 2012, punishable by up to six years imprisonment with bail of P36,000; violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, punishable by up to two months of imprisonment with bail of P3,000; and violation of R.A. 11332 or the law on mandatory reporting of certain diseases, punishable by up to six months imprisonment with bail of P3,000.
Isles said they are going to present “a menu of actions” to Beltran so that she could assert her rights.
Among Beltran’s options, Isles said, is to charge the police officers with illegal arrest and violation of domicile. (WBS)