Warrantless arrest of teacher over tweet threatening Duterte invalid, but sedition charges recommended

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THE Department of Justice (DoJ) said that the warrantless arrest of a teacher who offered a P50-million bounty for anyone who kills President Rodrigo R. Duterte was invalid. However, the Justice department recommended the filing of charges against teacher Ronnel Mas for inciting to sedition.

The DoJ’s Inquest Resolution, signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Jeanette M. Dacpano on May 13, said that the arrest of Mr. Mas earlier this week “does not fall within the ambit of warrantless arrest contemplated by law.” The resolution added that the arresting officer did not know Mr. Mas had committed a crime at the time of the arrest.

Warrantless arrests can only be valid if the offense was committed and the arresting officer has probable cause to believe and personal knowledge and facts that Mr. Mas committed the action.

But due to the nature of Mr. Mas’ social media post., which stated that he would give a P50-million reward to whoever will kill Mr. Duterte, the DoJ said that this “clearly suggests violent means to topple the Duterte administration.”

The DoJ said it recommended the filing of charges against Mr. Mas for violating Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to his violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The arrest of Mr. Mas sparked an outcry in social media, with many calling this an attack on his right to freedom of speech, especially since the President himself has repeatedly ordered the police to kill alleged criminals without any judicial process, particularly drug pushers and drug users. — Gillian M. Cortez