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PNG court drops cyber libel case vs Filipino bishop

PNG court drops cyber libel case vs Filipino bishop

By Roy Lagarde

January 14, 2020

Manila, Philippines

A Papua New Guinea court has dismissed a defamation case against a Filipino bishop for exposing alleged police abuses in the country’s southeast.

After three months of legal proceedings, the court dropped the cyber libel case against Bishop Rolando Santos of Alotau-Sideia last Dec. 23 for lack of evidence.

“My accusers were not able to produce any evidence against me, and so the magistrate threw out the case,” Santos said.

The Alotau Police Task Force sued the bishop for cyber libel for reporting an “abuse of authority” incident involving some authorities.

The case stemmed from the prelate’s statement, accusing the police of burning several houses on predawn of Sept. 1, 2019.

In his Facebook post, he alleged that the cops were drunk when they burned the houses, including that of the diocese’s education ministry head, Gregory Nimagale.

Bishop Santos and Nimagale were arrested on Sept. 4 but later released on bail.

Nimagale, however, will still have to face the court for allegedly “spreading false information”.

The bishop also appealed for continued prayers for the families who lost their homes in Lavora and New Kitava compounds “because of burning done by the police”.

“They are still living in makeshift houses, and we hope and pray that their cry for justice will be heard and just compensation be given them,” he said.