Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 20) – Vice-presidential candidate Walden Bello submitted his counter-affidavit on Wednesday in the £10million cyber-libel case brought against him by former Davao City chief information officer Jefry Tupas.
Bello filed the document with the Davao City Attorney’s Office, where he was declared persona non grata.
The former lawmaker argued the case against him was “baseless” and that he believed Tupas was being used by Davao Mayor Sara Duterte – one of his rivals in the running for vice president – to “harass” him politically after calling her several times. for skipping the pre-election debates.
“It was politically motivated, and it’s really something that was ordered by superiors than Ms. Tupas,” Bello said.
“There is actually no truth to the cyberlibel charge, and we believe it is primarily for the purpose of harassment,” he added.
Bello was accompanied by his lead attorney and senatorial bet Atty. Luke Espiritu, who clarified that no counter-charges will be filed by them.
Tupas filed the cyberlibel lawsuit on March 7 after he was called a “drug dealer” by Bello during an online press conference.
The information officer served under Mayor Duterte’s city government, before being fired in November 2021 for her involvement in a party where illegal drugs were seized by police.
In her complaint, she stressed that she had never been arrested, “let alone convicted” for any drug-related matter.
Last month, the Davao City Council declared Bello persona non grata in the area for its “malicious” allegations, including calling the city a “drug trafficking center of the South”.
Bello said he was not bothered by this movement of what he calls “the local elites of Davao”, adding that his engagement with the locals had “revealed an immense dissatisfaction with the corruption and hypocrisy of the city dynasty”.
Davao-based correspondent Pearl Gajunera contributed to this report.