The anticipated personal appearance of the alleged online tormentor of Dauis Mayor Marietta T. Sumaylo did not materialize during the scheduled preliminary hearing of the P33.5 million online libel complaint at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor last Friday.
Romulo Rowenlo Bayron a.k.a.Rowenlo Bayron, the alleged ghostwriter hiding under the name of ‘kagwang’ behind a series of articles posted in the Bol-anon Chronicle blog filed a motion for extension to file his counter-affidavit.
Sumaylo filed a complaint for the crime of Online Libel on three counts as defined and penalized under sections 4 (c) (4) and 6 of Republic Act 10175 known as the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
A total of P33.5 million in moral, exemplary and legal services was demanded by Sumaylo mainly for the public good and to deter others from following such bad examples set by Bayron, according to the complaint.
Citing the lack of counsel to assist him in preparing his answer to Sumaylo’s “unfounded accusations.” Bayron requested for an additional period of 15 days from October 18, 2019, to November 2, 2019, to submit his counter-affidavit.
Bayron was also a no-show at the NBI Office on September 16, 2019, but Atty. Roque A. Amante, Jr. who introduced himself as Bayron’s lawyer was present. A certain Jeraldine Maputol signed the NBI subpoena as “wife” of Bayron according to a copy of the document obtained by the Chronicle.
Bayron signed his motion for an extension stating his address at 160 Lino Chatto Drive, Tagbilaran City with a copy furnished to Atty. Rennan Augustus T. Oliva, provincial Director, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) – Bohol District Office.
The absence of Bayron did not deter Public Prosecutor Nilda P. Villatima from putting forward clarificatory questions to Sumaylo and her witnesses.
According to Sumaylo’s counsel, Lord “Popot” R. Marapao IV the complaint was deemed submitted for resolution after Bayron’s motion was denied for failing to state the date of receipt of the subpoena from the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.
Sumaylo emotionally recalled how the articles posted online deeply affected her family to the extent that she transferred her children to schools in Manila.
Overcoming hurt, embarrassment, helplessness and public humiliation, Sumaylo took matters into her hands and sought the assistance of cybercrime forensic investigators and the National Bureau of Investigation.
Sumaylo identified Bayron as the alleged writer of several articles in the Bol-anon Chronicle that portrayed her as deeply involved in illegal drugs and a bribe-giver.
The articles appeared on Facebook as the Bol-anon Chronicle, a copy-cat version of the Bohol Chronicle aping the bold Gothic print masthead of the 65-year-old weekly newspaper to lure naive readers.
An obscure November 22, 2014 blog posted at 6:58 AM under the name of Rowenlo Bayron with a message “Hello Everyone!! Thanks for visiting my site!! –Aaliyah– led to the unmasking of Bayron as the publisher/blogger/developer of The Bol-anon Chronicle, according to cybercrime investigators.
Three articles headlined in The Bol-anon Chronicle – “Sumaylo Bribes Bohol Mayors?”, “Kwarta O Kahon? Money Prevails,” and “Dauis Mayor Dragged Into The Drug Problem Leading To The Elections,” were allegedly written by Bayron, according to Sumaylo.
These articles came out on August 11, 18 and 21, 2019, before and after the August 16, 2019 election for president of the League of Municipalities – Bohol Chapter which Sumaylo handily won against San Miguel Mayor Atty. Virgilio Mendez, a former NBI Director.
Just as it mysteriously appeared on Facebook months before the May 2019 elections, The Bol-anon Chronicle also mysteriously disappeared from Facebook two days after Sumaylo sought the assistance of the NBI-BDO which issued a subpoena to Bayron on September 13, 2019. (Chito M. Visarra)