Sara tells Bello: Don’t obsess over me

Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio denied the accusations of former vice presidential candidate and activist Walden Bello that her camp was behind his arrest Monday in connection with a cyber libel case filed by a former Davao City information officer.

Duterte-Carpio said that she had never filed a libel case in her life because her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte, had told her not to listen to attacks hurdled against their family — a piece of advice her father gave to her when she was a child.

“Criticisms do not deserve even a backward glance because the accomplishments of Davao City under my leadership are already set in stone,” said the former Davao City mayor.

Duterte-Carpio stressed that despite Bello’s offensive against her, she never shared the spotlight with him as she was focused on drilling her education platform in all the rallies she could muster.

“Arrested late afternoon Monday on silly charge of cyberlibel posted by the camp of Sarah Duterte. These people are mistaken if they think they can silence me and suppress my exercise of free speech,” Bello wrote on his Twitter.

Bello is facing two counts of violation of RA 10175 or the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012 filed by former Davao City chief information officer Jefry Tupas.

Bello called Tupas a “drug dealer” in an online press conference. Tupas was sacked by Duterte-Carpio in November 2021 after being tagged in a drug operation.

“Instead of deflecting blame, playing the victim of an imaginary case of political persecution, and dragging me into his legal woes, I suggest that Mr. Bello be reminded of the fact that a civilized and democratic society does not respect hubris. The right to freedom of speech and expression does not protect anyone from defiling the name and reputation of others,” Duterte-Carpio said.

Duterte underscored how Bello’s “silly” remark speaks volumes about his character. She argued that it was apparent derision and insult to the Prosecutors and the time and effort they put in to uphold the rule of law.

“Mr. Bello — supposedly a respected international educator and a human rights activist — took it so low and displayed a disgraceful version of himself, making him the perfect poster boy of someone we hope our children will not become when they grow up,” said Duterte-Carpio.

Moreover, Duterte-Carpio asked Bello to stop obsessing over her and blaming her for his fall from grace and instead focus on salvaging what little dignity and self-respect he still has.

She likewise said that she expected Bello to know that Filipinos have a distaste for those who commit crimes with impunity.

Around 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Bello was taken into custody at his home in Quezon City on an arrest warrant dated 8 August 2022 issued by Branch 10 Judge Espe Fuentes of the Davao City Regional Trial Court.

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