Let’s see where this case will lead to as Bernardo Zamora filed a complaint against his neighbor, Jose Farrugia, for violating Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act. The Cebu City prosecutor’s office already issued Farrugia (and his parents) a subpoena based on Zamora’s complaint. The issue started when Farrugia posted a video on YouTube with the title “Crazy, Violent and Insane Neighbor Harassing our Family.” The title obviously refereed to Bernardo Zamora.
Farrugia further explained the issue in the video description:
Cebu City, Philippines – On a regular basis, my Mom gets verbally harassed for the past 4 months by our next door neighbor, Bernardo Zamora, who happens to be our relative. He waits for her at the corner at lunch and dinner whenever my Mom comes home from work. He would continually shout her asking her to “transfer our drainage” as it smells. We have tried settling this at several mediation meetings at the Barangay (town) level, however, nothing came out of it.
With the continued harassment that my Mom receives, we have learned to ignore him and his “speeches”. This in return has angered him even more. Since the incident began back in April of this year, I have experienced three intentional flat tires and over three dozen stones landing on our roof in the middle of the night. Since then we have installed 6 security cameras around our house. We have listed him down as a primary suspect. Who else will be doing this when we are all at peace with the surrounding neighbors except for him.
Today, September 21, 2012, I decided to escort my Mom past his house at around lunch time as he was waiting for her for the nth time. I brought my Canon S100, which was recently repaired, to record his actions and words for our legal case against him. This wasn’t the first time I confronted him with a camera. It’s the third time. He somehow gets agitated and frustrated whenever he sees a camera recording his violent actions and harassing statements. He knows that whatever he’s saying or doing isn’t of the norm.
Going back to the incident today, he again started expressing about our “smelly” canal (it’s maintained and cleaned on a weekly basis unlike his) towards my mother. I had enough with him so I told him to shut up. I even asked him politely with the word “please”. He approached me in a threatening minor and started swaying his arms towards me. He hit my camera with great force and thus dropping it on the ground (you can see it in the last second of the recorded video). This later developed into a heated argument with him, my Mom and Dad.
He was later dragged inside his house by his two maids. He completely lost control and mind.
We have called the police after the incident. However, it took them a whole 30 minutes to arrive. By that time he “escaped” and drove off. We later filed a police report at the Mobolo Police Station, Cebu City.
What do you think? Does he have the right to hit me and my camera? What laws has he broken? Can he be arrested? Can I get a temporary restraining order? Your thoughts and comments are most appreciated.
The question remains whether or not the complaint filed will ever prosper! As of now, there is a TRO against the Cybercrime Law that was issued by the Supreme Court.
TV5 legal analyst Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, commented on the case via Interaksyon:
“The TRO did not merely enjoin the enforcement of particular selected provisions but it stopped the enforcement of the law in its totality as a whole” by, among others, “the ‘Secretary of Justice,’ ‘the Department of Justice,’ and ‘all agencies and instrumentalities of government and all persons acting under their instructions, orders, and directions,” including prosecutors, he stressed.
Sta. Maria authored one of the 15 petitions filed against the Cybercrime Law. The lawyer said because of the TRO, “no preliminary investigation can proceed alleging libel under the Cybercrime Law. The persons required to enforce it are restrained from enforcing it and this would include the filing of cases or even the investigation of cases under the Cybercrime Law.”
“It would appear therefore the issuance of a subpoena and even the commencement of a preliminary injunction are improper and in violation of the TRO,” he added. He also pointed out that there are still no implementing rules and regulations on how the Cybercrime Law should be implemented.
Another question that lingers is whether or not the posting of the video plus its content is “cyber-libelous.” Does it look “cyber-libelous” to you?