Bohol Congressman Slams Fake News Spreaders

Bohol First District Rep. Edgar M. Chatto has denounced his critics on Wednesday, calling them “blockers” who spread fake news and malign him and his family’s reputation.

Chatto made the remarks during an episode of Newsmakers ug Uban Pa, a DYTR radio program hosted by Ardy Araneta-Batoy, the managing editor of the Bohol Tribune.

The lawmaker said he welcomed constructive criticism that could improve governance and address issues.

“They are positive in a way that they can help or enhance the quality of work or service,” he said in Cebuano.

However, he said he had no patience for the “blockers” who were negative-minded and aimed to tarnish his name and other target personalities.

“We can’t do anything about them, even if we pray the rosary many times,” he said.

He said these people felt happy when others encountered misfortune, a phenomenon known as schadenfreude.

He said he refused to waste time on them, as they would not change their minds.

Chatto also defended his record on infrastructure projects, saying that some of these projects took time to be completed, especially when funding was scarce. He cited the example of the Panglao Island connector bridge, which was still unfinished due to funding issues in the national government.

The Boholano said the problem was discussed in the recent Regional Development Council meeting in Bohol in December 2023. He said the main bridge was supposed to be funded by China, but the funding was stalled due to the dispute between China and the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.

The national government was looking for alternative sources of funding and was determined to complete the project, Chatto noted.

He assured the Boholanos that the bridge would benefit the province, especially with the opening of the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, which took 30 years to be completed.

He expressed his surprise that his critics did not mention the airport project, which was a major achievement for Bohol.

“They are blockers from the beginning, they don’t talk about how long it took for the Panglao airport to be built,” he said.

He added that he was the main target of the blockers, who had no interest in helping in development or promoting good governance, merely criticizing others to advance their own interests.

He said he had done nothing to harm the blockers or Bohol, and challenged them to file corruption cases against him if they had any evidence. He said he was proud that no corruption case had been filed against him so far.

Chatto also confirmed that he had filed cyberlibel charges against one of his most vocal critics, Emmanuel “Willy” Ramasola, a Boholano businessman based in Makati City.

At least 21 counts of cyberlibel cases against Ramasola were filed before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office in July 2023.

He said he had not yet received information from the prosecutor’s office, but he had heard reports that Ramasola had been indicted for three out of the 21 counts of cyberlibel.

According to the former governor of Bohol, he would exercise his rights on the 18 dismissed counts of cyberlibel against Ramasola.

He said he was elated that the prosecutor would file three counts of cyberlibel against Ramasola, who had allegedly posted malicious and false accusations against him on social media, noting the move was not meant to silence critics, but to teach them about the limits of freedom of expression and the respect for human rights.

According to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, cyberlibel is a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead, and committed through a computer system or any other similar means.

The penalties for cyberlibel under Philippine law can be severe. Conviction may lead to imprisonment of six to 12 years or a fine, or both. The amount of the fine depends on the circumstances of the case, but it can range from 200,000 to 1 million pesos or even higher.

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