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In a brazen attack on free speech, Walden Bello, a globally renowned academic, activist, and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the "Alternative Nobel"), has been arrested for "cyberlibel" charges filed by a senior staffer of the Vice President of the Philippines, Sara Duterte.
Walden, who is now out on bail, was put in jail and now potentially faces imprisonment and hefty fines. This fundraiser is to help cover his legal expenses for what is expected to be a protracted legal battle against a state-supported entity.
Walden Bello was a candidate in the 2022 Vice Presidential elections who publicly called out irregularities in Sara's record as mayor of Davao City. This includes the presence of her Media and PR Division Chief at a party which was raided for illegal drug use.
The cyberlibel case against Walden follows a string of bureaucratic harassment by elements close to the Vice President, including the Davao City council declaring Walden a "persona non grata," and Sara Duterte's party dangerously branding him a "narco-politician."
Aside from Walden, the contentious Cybercrime Prevention Act has been weaponized against other critics -- including Nobel laureate and journalist Maria Ressa. United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Irene Khan, has decried the criminal libel law, saying it "has no place in a democratic country and should be repealed."
Walden Bello, once dubbed by Naomi Klein as "the world's leading no-nonsense revolutionary," is the Co-Chairperson of the Bangkok-based research and advocacy institute Focus on the Global South. He has penned 25 books, including Counterrevolution: The Global Rise of the Far Right, Paper Dragons: China and the Next Crash and Food Wars.
A staunch advocate for free speech, Walden has vowed to fight the charges and shine a spotlight on the chilling effect of criminal libel laws.
- Walden Bello
- Leomar Doctolero
Update on the Arraignment of Walden Bello for his Libel and Cyberlibel CasesUpdate posted by Walden Bello at 11:11 am
The arraignment of Dr. Walden Bello took place today at RTC Branch 10 in Davao. Our counsel refused to enter a plea owing to our position that the Informations are invalid, forcing Judge Retrina Fuentes to enter a not guilty plea for Walden. In deference to the judge's strong recommendation,
Update on Walden's CaseUpdate posted by Walden Bello at 01:06 am
After studying the petition to quash the case filed by the defense, Judge Retrina Fuentes of Regional Trial Court 10 has ruled against it. This means that the arraignment of defendant Walden Bello will take place at RTC 10 in Davao on January 26.Commenting on the judge’s decision, Lead Counsel. . . . .