Cebuano netizen arrested and imprisoned by police for simply reposting DOH-7 press statement in Facebook

Here in Cebu. The presence of military and police forces across the city doesn’t help ease the nerves of many people. Though they may be as effective in keeping people indoors. But as you know, there are still a lot of people complaining about not receiving their share of the food supplies currently being distributed for each household in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the imposition of the ”Enhanced Community Quarantine”.

Public morale appears to be seemingly low as many were still left hungry due to dwindling food supplies and penniless since their livelihood were abruptly affected by the pandemic.

I think the military and police would have been well utilized in ensuring the smooth distribution of goods and of course, make sure that each household gets a fair share of the government relief supplies. Otherwise, the whole idea of an enhanced community-wide quarantine would simply be a huge cage with most people locked up in it; whilst mercilessly starved out by their government.

One example would have been the poorer neighborhood of Sitio Zapatera, Brgy Luz. Home to about 800 households with as many as 9,000 people living in very close proximity with houses standing wall to wall and people going back and forth in tight alleys between corners of wooden shack side-to-side. So in a worst-case scenario – should there be one of the people there who’d get infected by the carnivorous then it would only be a matter of time before everyone is infected.

As much as everyone wants to stay at home – but of course people needs to go about their business such as tending to their children or buying food-stuff from their local sari-sari store.

Poverty truly is a disadvantage in times like this. Because the idea of ”Stay at home” may not be as easy for people who barely have walls made of thin plywood and or cardboard and who’s house frail structure sits inches beside their neighbors.

True enough, the virus found its way in Sitio Zapatera and has since infected 24 individuals as of April 17, 2020. The alarming number continues to increase at every swab-tests which prompted local health officials to declare the entire area ”infected”.

The term seems pretty vague and unambiguous to the point where the local newspaper Freeman published an article aptly labeling it as :

Which is in direct connection to City Health Officer Daisy Villa statement?

“The whole area is already considered as infected. Na-contact trace naman nato. Based sa atong nakuha, dunay positive cases sa duha ka tumoy (sa sitio)”

Now, notice the first sentence which explicitly mentions the word ”infected”. Its not even a strong presumption rather it is being factually considered ”infected”. By all means — the City Health Officer herself has made strong recommendations to the government to seal off and impose strict lockdown procedures for the entire sitio.

The same exact statements and information were published all throughout local newspapers and agencies. In both their websites and social-media pages. So it is expected that the people were all made aware of these exact statements prompting them to publish posts in their respective social-media pages.

Unfortunately, one Facebook user re-posted this on social-media and then added a funny anecdote at the end.

However, this didn’t sit well with the local mayor Mayor. Edgar Labella who then posted on his official page and threatened to arrest Miss Beltran for simply echoing the statement of his very own city health official?

True enough, just several hours after the post had gone viral in social-media. A special team of government units was tasked to hunt her down and arrest her. So you see? The government is actually expending resources just to hunt down someone who made a post based of course from their own press release.

This is absolutely absurd and only the dumbest politician in the world would have done such a brazen act of oppression to his people.


This is a rotten move by the incumbent Mayor Edgar Labella and his actions has grossly violated constitutional rights of Miss Beltran. I am no lawyer and have no expertise in legal processes, but its beyond common-sense that Labella’s own actions will surely have long-term implications in his career as a politician.

Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

If Labella wants to set this straight – then why not issue a clarificatory press-release to quell public confusion and ensure that people won’t be merely repeating statements if it were haft meant or even less untrue.

It is vital the Cebu City officials are more transparent and honest in its dealings with the people rather than sanction them because of their own misdeeds and organizational conundrum.

For what it’s worth – Labella should sanction relevant officials who made this misleading statement instead of erring netizens like Miss Beltran, who simply posted her personal take out from the city healths office press release.

Spreading fake news is wrong – but the government is not one to spare.

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