CEBU CITY, Philippines – Well-known Cebu artist Maria Victoria “Bambi” Beltran was arrested again on Friday, May 26.
According to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Cebu Provincial Field Unit, Beltran was arrested on grounds of alleged unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances, in relation to cybercrime.
The arrest warrant was issued by Presiding Judge Merlo Bagano of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 14 in Cebu City, who set bail at ₱36,000.
She was released on bail on Saturday, May 27.
This is the third time Beltran was detained by Cebu police since 2020, and the third time she had to post bail.
Beltran is being held at the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Central Visayas office.
Rappler was able to speak to Beltran at the PNP office. She said she was arrested around 4 pm on Friday and was herself, unaware, of what the complaint was about.
She was first arrested for a Facebook post criticizing Cebu City’s coronavirus policy in April 2020 on a cyber libel charge that was later dismissed by a Cebu City court in September that same year. (READ: Court dismisses cases against Cebu artist Bambi Beltran)
The second time she was booked over a separate cyber libel complaint in August 2020 for a different Facebook comment.
Beltran is known for her Visayan films and poetry.
Beltran was the only artist among 17 awardees, mostly journalists, named Deutsche Welle (DW) Freedom of Speech Award laureate in 2020. The award “represent all journalists worldwide who have disappeared or been arrested or threatened because of their reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic,” DW said then. – Rappler.com
John Sitchon is an Aries Rufo Journalism Fellow.
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