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QC police sue person who shared viral ‘VIP’ Commonwealth traffic video

MANILA, Philippines – A man accused of uploading the viral video of cops stopping traffic along Commonwealth Avenue – allegedly for Vice President Sara Duterte – is facing a complaint for violating an obscure law on “fake news.”

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) filed a complaint against Janus Munar on October 13, for violating Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and Republic Act No. 7610 in relation to RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, according to his lawyer, Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group.

Article 154 of the RPC covers “unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances.” According to Diokno, this old law is rarely used and, to the recollection of experts, no case has reached the Supreme Court. It is the same law that the Rodrigo Duterte administration used to summon “more than a dozen people” over social media posts critical of his government’s coronavirus response.

In a letter sent to the QCPD on October 12, Diokno emphasized that Munar just shared the video, contrary to the police’s claim that it was him who uploaded it.

“Mr. Munar is not the person who took the video and is not related or affiliated in any way with that person. He does not even know the name or identify of that person,” Diokno said.

Kontra tayo sa fake news at child abuse, pero mukhang diskriminasyon na ito (We’re against fake news and child abuse, but this looks like discrimination),” he later posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Diokno said Munar is yet to receive any subpoena nor a copy of a complaint, and is now concerned that an arrest warrant will be issued “on the mistaken assumption that he has waived his right to participate in the preliminary investigation.”

“He fully intends to participate in the preliminary investigation by submitting a counter-affidavit upon receipt of the subpoena and complaint against him,” the lawyer told City Prosecutor Vimar Barcellano of the QC Prosecutors Office in a letter dated October 25.

QCPD has charged my client Janus Munar not only with violation of Art. 154 (spreading false news) but also with RA 7610 (Child Abuse Law, which contains some non-bailable offenses). Kontra tayo sa