MANILA – Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte slammed former vice presidential rival Walden Bello on Tuesday for accusing her of having a hand in his arrest over a libel case.
In a statement, Duterte said Bello should stop obsessing over her, considering she has long remained silent despite the latter’s offensive attacks during the campaign period.
“Mr. Bello should focus on salvaging what remains of his dignity and self-respect, I am asking him to stop obsessing over me — and stop blaming me for his fall from grace,” she said.
The vice president also said Bello’s claim that the arrest was a political attack is imaginary.
“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,” she said.
In an ambush interview, Bello said he is not guilty of the charges imposed against him.
“I say that I am innocent of the charges of libel that have been filed by the camp of Vice President Sara Duterte. It is pure political persecution,” he said.
Former presidential candidate, Leody de Guzman, added that the arrest was a form of “political repression.”
On Monday, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) arrested Bello for a cyber libel case filed by former Davao City Information Officer Jefry Tupas.
The complaint included Bello’s alleged Facebook post where he “claimed” that “Tupas and her friends were snorting PHP1.5-million worth of drugs” last year, as well as VP Sara’s supposed statement that she was unaware of “sheltering a drug dealer.”
The Davao City Prosecutor's Office issued the arrest warrant for two counts of violations of Republic Act 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. (PNA)