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DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Former Davao City information officer Jefry Tupas on Monday, March 7, sought P10 million in damages from vice presidential bet Walden Bello as she filed a cyber libel complaint against the former Akbayan party-list congressman.
In her complaint before the Davao City prosecutor’s office, Tupas said Bello falsely accused her on social media of being a drug addict and dealer.
“I have never been nabbed or arrested at any beach party nor have I ever been charged, much less convicted of any drug-related case. I have certainly never snorted 1.5 million pesos worth of drugs. I am not and I have never been a drug dealer,” read part of Tupas’ complaint.
Tupas got entangled in controversy for attending a beach party in Mabini, Davao de Oro that was raided by narcotics agents on November 6, 2021.
The raid was staged supposedly an hour after Tupas and her companions had already left the party. Several of those arrested, however, alleged that law enforcers let her go after she allegedly disclosed who she was.
The controversy cost Tupas her city hall job. Duterte said Tupas was fired for “being involved in a raid” just as she signified her intention to resign on November 7.
Tupas said she was hurt when Bello criticized Duterte for skipping a recent vice presidential debate and posted on his Facebook wall: “Sara with a drug dealer? If Davao City is so ‘multi-awarded,’ why is it that… Mayor Duterte’s Press Information Officer Jefry Tupas was nabbed at a beach party where he and her friends were snorting P1.5 million worth of drugs on November 6, 2021? That she did not know she was sheltering a drug dealer is not credible.”
“Mr. Bello’s false, defamatory, and malicious utterances and posts against me which were published in social media have maligned, injured, and defamed me and exposed my good reputation to public hatred, contempt, discredit, and public ridicule,” she said.
Bello, for his part, called Tupas’ cyber libel complaint “clearly a politically-motivated move.”
He posted on Facebook: “Was Tupas instructed by Sara Duterte to take away attention from her refusal to participate in the Vice Presidential debate? This strategy has one goal in mind: harassment. It aims to inconvenience us in legal bureaucracy while failing to address the concerns we’ve raised about the mayor’s tainted record in Davao.”
Bello said he would address the charges in a news conference at 2 pm on Tuesday, March 8. – Rappler.com