The National Bureau of Investigation suffered another debacle in sending to jail a public school teacher who offered a P50-million reward on Twitter for anyone who could kill President Duterte.
This after the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Olongapo City junked anew the charges filed against Ronnel Mas for lack of probable cause.
This was third time the NBI – an attached agency of the Department of Justice – lost its case against Mas, who was charged with inciting to sedition and violation of Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials).
The NBI filed a motion for reconsideration to the resolution of the prosecutor’s office dated February 16, 2021.
In that resolution, the prosecutor’s office junked the cases filed by the complainant NBI for lack of probable cause.
” Indeed, such seditious remarks must not go unpunished. The NBI must be commended in its efforts to contribute in the peace and stability of in our country. However, the rules on evidence in establishing probable cause must be upheld.. the complainant is not without a recourse, as it can simply re-file this case with the sufficient documents and evidence to establish probable cause, ” the latest resolution reads in part.
The prosecutor’s office noted that complainant NBI failed to establish that Mas was the owner of the Twitter account where the controversial tweet came.
After realizing the insufficiency of evidence, the prosecutor’s office added that the NBI submitted a video of Mas’ extra-judicial confession. But it noted that the one who took the video (Ronald Allan Sison), and subsequently converted it to CD format, did not authenticated it.
” It is a common knowledge that digital evidence may even be altered or edited. Hence, the complainant must submit the same and authenticate, validate, and affirm that it is copied from the original source and has not been altered, edited or tampered,” it said.
NBI agents arrested Mas for posting on Twitter a P50-million bounty for President Duterte’s death.
“I will give P50 million reward kung sino makakapatay kay Duterte,” Mas wrote.
While it admitted that Mas’ arrest was not proper, the DOJ still indicted him for inciting to sedition. It stressed that the teacher’s extra-judicial admission before media cured the defect in his arrest.
“It is undeniable that the arrest of Ronnel Mas by the NBI operatives does not fall within the ambit of warrantless arrest contemplated by law,” the DOJ said.
” But the defect of Mas’ warrantless arrest was ultimately cured when Mas extra judicially admitted to the media that he indeed personally posted the provocative text on his Twitter account,” it added.
Hope they accept defeat.
Thus said the counsel of Mas shortly after the prosecutor’s office dismissed the cases for lack of probable cause.
“I hope they accept defeat and they should already stop harassing Teacher Ronnel. The officers concerned should be reminded that President Duterte’s Term is about to end, but their administrative and criminal accountabilities for their illegal actions remain.”
“I urge then to observe the rule of law and to move on. They should allow a simple person like Teacher Ronnel to continue living his life in peace,” Atty. Dino de Leon said in a message to reporters.