QC Court Orders Arrest of Emmanuel “Willy” Ramasola for Cyberlibel

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – A social media influencer and businessman who is known for posting malicious statements online is facing arrest anew for cyberlibel charges.

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 90 in Quezon City has issued a warrant of arrest against Emmanuel Bongcac Ramasola, also known as Willy Ramasola, who is based in Makati City.

Prior to the arrest order of Quezon City RTC, a court in Tagbilaran City, Bohol had ordered the arrest of Ramasola early in December 2023 for 16 counts of cyberlibel cases. He was released from jail after posting P160,000 bail for his temporary liberty.

Ramasola has been accused of violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA 10175) under Articles 353 and 355 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) in relation to Section 4 (c) (4) of RA 10175, which penalizes the 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 cyberlibel cases were filed by Bohol First District Rep. Edgar M. Chatto, on top of other cyberlibel cases filed by former Bohol Governor Art Yap and former Bohol Board Member Ae Damalerio.

The warrant of arrest, signed by RTC Judge Maria Zoraida Zabat Tuazon on December 22, 2023, copy of which has been circulating online, commands any officer of the law to arrest Ramasola, who is said to be found in or at 1403 Herrera Tower Rufino Corner Valero Streets, Salcedo Village, Southern, National Capital Region or elsewhere, and bring him forthwith before the court to be dealt with according to law.

The bail for the release of Ramasola is fixed at Php144,000.00 for three counts of cyberlibel, which may be furnished by him or a bondsman in the form of corporate surety, property bond, cash deposit, or recognizance, to guarantee his appearance before the court as required under the conditions specified in Section 2 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court.

The arresting officers are required to use at least one body-worn camera and one alternative recording device, or a minimum of two devices, or such number as may be necessary to capture and record the relevant incidents in the execution of the warrant, pursuant to the Rules on the Use of Body-Worn Cameras in the Execution of Warrants (A.M. No. 21-06-08-SC) issued by the Supreme Court and which became effective on August 1, 2021.

According to various online news reports, Ramasola is a political propagandist on Facebook who has been posting unfounded accusations against various private individuals and public officials in Bohol.

Ramasola has been issued with several warrants of arrest for cyberlibel in recent months by different courts in Tagbilaran City and Quezon City.

He is also facing a P20-million libel suit filed by Atharra Primeland Development Corp., a real estate company that he accused of scamming condo buyers.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA 10175) is a law that aims to address legal issues concerning online interactions and the internet in the Philippines.

It provides for the prevention, investigation, and imposition of penalties for cybercrimes such as illegal access, data interference, system interference, cyber-squatting, computer-related forgery, fraud, identity theft, cybersex, child pornography, and libel.

The penalties for cyberlibel under Philippine law can be severe. Conviction may lead to imprisonment of prision mayor (six years and one day to twelve years) or a fine, or both. The amount of the fine depends on the circumstances of the case, but it can range from Php200,000 to Php1,000,000 or even higher.

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