cyber libel in the Philippines

Cebu artist Bambi Beltran charged with cyber libel again

Ryan Macasero

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Cebu artist Bambi Beltran charged with cyber libel again

Lorraine Ecarma/Rappler

A private individual files a complaint over Cebu artist Bambi Beltran's comment on a now-deleted Facebook post in 2019

Central Visayas police booked Cebu artist Bambi Beltran over a cyber libel charge at around 9 am on Wednesday, August 12.

Beltran appeared before the anti-cybercrime unit of the Police Regional Office-7 in Camp Arcadio Maxilom to post P10,000 bail.

She said she knew of an entry in the police blotter in August 2019, where a certain April Dequito, who is from Cebu City, complained about her comment on a now-deleted Facebook post of another user. However, she was unaware that a complaint was actually filed. She didn’t receive any subpoena, but was only served a warrant of arrest on Tuesday afternoon.

Beltran is accused with 4 others, including actress Chai Fonacier.

Rappler reached out to Dequito and the Central Visayas police’s cybercrime unit for comment but has not received a response as of this posting.

What happened before?

On Monday, August 10, police officers showed up at Kukuks Nest at Kamputhaw, Cebu City, to look for Beltran. The artist owns the café.

Beltran, who also lives in the compound of her restaurant-cafe, was at her corporate office elsewhere at the time, and her staff informed the officers to return the next day.

On Tuesday, officers showed Beltran her warrant of arrest at around 2:30 pm at Kukuks Nest.

Beltran was with her legal counsel Benjamin Militar when police officers arrived.

According to Militar, police officers did not know who the complainant was when they showed the accused the warrant of arrest.

“Why were we never informed about it?” Militar told Rappler in Cebuano. “Part of due process is that we should’ve been given a chance to file a counter affidavit. That’s part of due process. It’s clear there’s no basis for the charge.”

Instead of arresting Beltran, the police instructed her to report to the cybercrime unit the next day to have her mugshots taken and post bail.

Why is this unusual?

According to Beltran’s camp, the warrant of arrest had been issued before the party was notified about the complaint.

Normally, accused are subpoena’d to appear during the preliminary investigation of complaints.

According to Militar, they did not know who the complainant was until they posted bail on Wednesday morning.

This is the second time Beltran had been charged with online libel this year. The first was in April, over a sarcastic Facebook post she made in relation to the coronavirus “contamination” of Sitio Zapatera in Cebu City. (READ: Cebu film writer arrested over Facebook post about coronavirus in Sitio Zapatera)

She was previously charged with violating Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Law; Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One law; and Republic Act 1132, or the violation of mandatory reporting of certain diseases. –

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Nobuhiko Matsunaka


Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at