Cebu

Cebu governor files 20 cyber libel complaints against physician

John Sitchon

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Cebu governor files 20 cyber libel complaints against physician

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia eats lechon to show that Cebu lechon is safe to eat, during a consultative meeting on the guidelines and protocols on ASF response at the Cebu Provincial Capitol in Cebu City on March 21, 2023. The meeting was attended by all in Cebu Province Mayors, representatives from tri-cities, DOH, DA, DILG and other government line agencies.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

The doctor, Rowena Burden, who has been a vocal critic of Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, responds by lodging complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman in Cebu City

CEBU, Philippines – Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia has filed nearly two dozen complaints for cyber libel against a physician due to her online tirades against the provincial chief executive.

Cebu-based physician Rowena Burden confirmed to Rappler on Monday, October 9, that 20 complaints for cyber libel have been filed against her by Garcia before the local prosecution office.

In response, Dr. Burden also lodged complaints for abuse of power, corruption, and violation of the code of conduct and ethics for public officials against the governor before the Office of the Ombudsman in Cebu City on Monday, October 9.

“I’ve been open about these cases since the beginning and in addressing the concerns for the common good,” Burden said.

Since the start of the pandemic lockdown, Burden has been a staunch critic of Garcia’s policies, especially the governor’s promotion of “tuob” or steam inhalation as a way to fight COVID-19 symptoms.

Burden admitted to using her Facebook account to criticize the governor several times for her alleged abuse of authority and misuse of power against her constituents.

Lawyer Inocencia Dela Cerna said the complaints were based on Burden’s social media posts accusing Garcia of using her power to intimidate critics.

The physician also alleged that Garcia had “inappropriate” relationships with an unnamed actor and a public official in FB posts that went viral.

Dela Cerna told Rappler on Saturday, October 7, that Burden’s online tirades against Garcia since 2020 culminated in the 20 cyber libel complaints against the physician.

On the same day, Burden parted ways with Dela Cerna as her legal counsel due to a lack of funds resulting from her humanitarian work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Burden said she will be applying for public legal defense.

Rappler has reached out to the Office of the Governor for a comment on the issue. According to her staff, Garcia will not be providing a statement on the matter. – Rappler.com

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