Gwen’s critic indicted for cyber libel

Gwen’s critic indicted for cyber libel
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DR. ROWENA Burden, who previously declared her candidacy for Cebu governor in 2025, was indicted for three counts of cyber libel for her alleged “malicious” statements against Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

In an 18-page resolution dated Oct. 11, 2023, approved by Provincial Prosecutor Ludivico Cutaran, Prosecutor Reina Carmel Rivas recommended the filing of the three information for cyberlibel under Section 4(C)(4) of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 against Burden.

Rivas set the bail at P48,000 for each count.

Finding probable cause leads to an indictment; however, being indicted does not mean one is already charged in court.

Actual charges occur when prosecutors file information in court.

The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor’s recommendation for filing the three counts of cyberlibel charges was in relation to Burden’s statement posted on Facebook on (a.) Sept. 1, 2023, at 6:07 p.m.; (b.) Sept. 4, 2023, at 12:31 a.m.; and on (c.) Sept. 5, 2023, at 2:16 p.m.

“Oh, yeah, we will continue discussing the PATHETIC sexual proclivities of Manang Gwen Narcisa PUBLICLY here on Facebook and on campaign stages all over the province till the last campaign day in 2025 if she runs,” reads one of Burden’s remarks on Garcia last Sept. 1.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach Burden, through her official Facebook page, for comment but to no avail.


The National Bureau of Investigation-Central Visayas Regional Office (NBI-CEVRO) represented by lawyer Patricio Bernales Jr., filed five criminal complaints against Burden.

Twelve posts made on May 17, May 19, July 13, and Sept. 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 were used to support the cyber libel allegations.

Three of the five complaints were “resolved” and were identified by the prosecutor as defamatory and libelous, while the two other complaints were “absorbed” as they showed “malicious intent” that will support the first three complaints.

In the resolution, the prosecutor said Burden did not deny the accusations, where she replied that her posts were criticisms of Garcia’s alleged abuse of power and function as a public official, particularly referring to the latter’s Covid-19 policy in mid-2020.

However, the prosecutors said Burden’s online attacks against Garcia’s official function and duty do not constitute malice against the complainant; however, her comments against the governor’s private life “is no longer acting in furtherance to her freedom of speech,” which the prosecutor argued that Burden’s statements presumed malice.

“It is neither (the) respondent’s right nor duty to tackle topics that are purely private under the guise of fair commentaries on matters of public interest. People, who may be drawn to gossip, may be interested in knowing, but it is not the kind of public interest that the general public ought to know,” Rivas said in the resolution.


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