Teacher arrested, faces 'inciting to sedition' charges over FB post

MANILA, Philippines – Be careful what you post on social media because you might end up like this public school teacher in General Santos City who got arrested and is now facing “inciting to sedition” charges after a post she made on Facebook.

Police Major Leo Dofiles, the assistant chief of the Police Regional Office-12’s Anti-Cybercrime Unit (RACU-12), identified the teacher as Juliet Espinosa, 55, a teacher at the Lagao Central Elementary School and a resident of Gensanville Subdivision in Barangay Bula of the said city.

Teacher arrested, faces 'inciting to sedition' charges over FB post
Image credits: General Santos City Police Office Station 6

According to Dofiles, the teacher used the account name “Yet Rodriguez Enosencio” to not just complain about the city mayor but to also urge the people to raid the public gym that’s being used to repack and store relief goods.

“Maraming mamamatay sa gutom if hindi tayo magtutulong-tulong na magreport sa Pangulo na inutil ang ating Mayor.... Panawagan sa walang makain, sugurin 'nyo na nang sabay-sabay ang Lagao Gym. Nakatambak doon ang pagkaing para sa inyo,” the teacher reportedly wrote in her Facebook post.

Alarmed over the post, City Legal Officer Atty. Arman Clarin sought the help of the police.

“Dumating sa office namin si Atty. Arman Clarin and to our assessment pasok siya sa anti-cybercrime mandate namin dahil sa provoking post niya na hinihimok niya ang mga tao na pumunta sa GenSan gym at kunin 'yong mga relief goods doon,” Dofiles said.

“Her posts were very alarming as she incited people to dissent and violate the law.”

Based on their investigation, the posts were still up when the case was reported to them on Friday, 4PM. So, after determining that the teacher had committed a crime, the police decided to arrest the teacher at her home at around 8PM that same night.

The police officer clarified that although they did not have a warrant, they were able to arrest Espinosa because she was considered to have committed a “continuing crime” because the post was still up. When the police arrived at her residence, the teacher admitted that she owns the Facebook account and she was the one who made the posts on the page.

The teacher is now facing two charges: inciting to sedition or violation of Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Son also arrested

One of Espinosa’s adult sons, whose identity was withheld, tried to stop the police from arresting his mother. He will be facing charges for direct assault, obstruction of justice, and disobedience to person in authority.

Because the teacher felt unwell after the incident, she was brought to a medical facility for treatment. She remains under hospital arrest.

Meanwhile, General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera begged for understanding amid the COVID-19 crisis, saying that he and his team are doing their best to repack and bring the goods to the affected residents.

“We are doing our best para makapag repack tayo ng 64,000 relief goods weekly, good for 6 months. I will explain to her kung ano ang ginagawa ng city para matulungan ang ating mga kababayan dito sa GenSan,” Rivera said.

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

1 Comment

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