By Genalyn Kabiling
Law enforcement authorities should also investigate alleged threats against Vice President Leni Robredo, not just President Duterte, on social media, according to a Palace official.
In the wake of recent police arrests of people dangling bounties for the President’s head, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said law enforcers may arrest a suspect without a warrant if they have personal knowledge the person committed the crime.
“Kung nakita po iyan ng mga alagad ng batas may obligasyon din sila na imbestigahan iyong mga taong gumagawa nito (If law enforcers see them, they have an obligation to investigate the people behind these threats),” he said in a recent radio interview when asked if authorities will also probe the online threats to the lives of Robredo and her children.
Two persons were arrested last week on separate occasions after allegedly offering rewards to anyone who can kill the President.
A public school teacher was apprehended without a warrant by law enforcement agents in Zambales last week after he supposedly posted a tweet offering P50 million for killing the President. Government prosecutors ruled the warrantless arrest was deemed defective but was supposedly “cured” by the suspect’s admission to the media.
A construction worker was also nabbed in Aklan last week for allegedly making a P100-million bounty for the same kill mission against the President.
Roque maintained that under the rules of court, a warrantless arrest is considered valid when the arresting officer has witnessed or has personal knowledge of the facts or circumstances that the persons to be arrested violated the law.
Apart from the hot pursuit rule, the two other grounds of warrantless arrest are when the suspect is caught in the act of committing the crime and when the person is an escaped prisoner.
“Nakasaad po sa ating rules of court na mayroon tayong warrantless arrest at isa po doon ay kung ang isang alagad ng batas ay naging witness mismo sa paggawa ng isang krimen. So, mayroon din naman po tayong tinatawag na cyber libel at saka libel (We have warrantless arrests under our rules of court. One of the grounds is when the law enforcer witnessed the commission of the crime. We have laws on cyber libel and libel),” he said.
“So katungkulan din nila na kapag narinig iyang ganiyan, nakita nila iyang ganiyan pag-post eh arestuhin dahil mayroon silang personal knowledge ng isang krimen na nangyari at sampahan ng kaso sa piskalya para ma-determine kung dapat ngang madala sa hukuman itong kaso (It’s their job that if they hear or see the posts, they may arrest the person provided they have personal knowledge of the crime committed and file the case before the fiscal to determine if this will be brought to court),” he said.
The President, however, remained unfazed by such threats since he doubts the person’s capability to offer such huge reward, according to Roque.
“Hindi naman po niya sineseryoso iyong mga ganiyan dahil sino ba naman ang may kakayahan na magbigay ng 50 million (The President does not take these threats seriously because who can really offer P50 million as reward),” he said.
Nonetheless, Roque said they would let the law enforcement agencies perform their job.
“Hindi po natin masisisi ang mga alagad ng batas na gawin ang kanilang katungkulan. Kasi kapag sinasabi mong patayin ang Presidente at mayroon kang pabuya, iyan po ay incitement to sedition at iyan din po ay grave threat at at the same time punishable ng cybercrime law (We cannot blame the law enforcers to do their job. Because if you offer a reward to kill the President’s that’s incitement to sedition, grave threat and at the same time punishment under the cybercrime law),” he said.