A blogger allegedly behind “The Bol-anon Chronicle” website and Facebook page who deceptively used the font and design of the Chronicle’s decades-old masthead in his publication to gain credibility was arrested by police in Tagbilaran City on Thursday morning over cyber libel complaints filed by Dauis Mayor Miriam Sumaylo.
Tagbilaran City police chief Lt. Col. Oscar Boyles said that operatives of the Tagbilaran City Police Station (TCPS) and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) collared Romulo Rowenlo Bayron, 42, who is facing a P33.5-million cyber libel suit, in front of the Ramiro Community Hospital in Barangay Poblacion II at past 11 a.m.
Bayron was arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant issued by Judge Jorge Cabalit, presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 48 in Tagbilaran City.
According to Chief Master Sgt. Julieto Odvina, chief of the TCPS warrant section, they received the arrest warrant on Tuesday night and attempted to serve it on Bayron at his residence in Barangay Cogon on Wednesday, but the suspect was not at the house.
A police team which conducted monitoring operations tracked Bayron a day after, leading to his apprehension.
“Diha miy team na gipasubay namo unya gipa monitor then among gi-confirm mao tong nasigpatan namo diha kilid ra sa kalsada,” said Odvina.
Bayron who is now detained at the TCPS lock-up facility denied the allegations hurled against him. It was the first time that Bayron faced the authorities after he skipped his case’s preliminary hearing at the Bohol Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Tagbilaran in October.
He was also a no-show when he was directed to appear before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) field office in Tagbilaran where Sumaylo initially lodged her complaint.
The cases against Bayron stemmed from his online publication of three articles accusing Sumaylo of being involved in the illegal drug trade and using her wealth to bribe mayors with a trip to Hong Kong and P50,000 to gain their votes during the election for president of the League of Municipalities (LMP) – Bohol Chapter.
The identity of Bayron who allegedly published the articles anonymously was unraveled by a team of cybercrime forensic investigators, who were hired by Sumaylo, and the NBI.
Meanwhile, Bayron is reportedly set to post bail.
“Ingon iyang asawa na ga process na kuno og pyansa. So kung naay mo abot na release order, among e-release ni siya,” Odvina said.
The RTC 48 set the bail at P144,000, or P48,000 for each of the three cyber libel counts, for his temporary liberty. (R. Tutas)