Arnis grandmaster arrested for libel
CEBU, Philippines — After giving up his legal profession two years ago to protest against alleged widespread corruption in the judiciary and the prosecution service, the 82-year-old Arnis grandmaster is again making a statement of protest–this time by giving up his liberty.
Former lawyer Dionisio Cañete, chairman emeritus of the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF), was arrested yesterday by a joint team of police operatives in his house at Santo Niño Village, Barangay Banilad, Mandaue City for two counts of cyber libel.
The police served Cañete the arrest warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 12 Judge Ramon Daomilas Jr. on November 22, 2019.
The case stemmed from the case filed by three government prosecutors he accused of corruption in his post on Facebook.
“I posted on my Facebook about the corruption of the fiscals, City Prosecutor’s Office, unya tulo sila ka prosecutor nikiha,” Cañete told reporters.
Although the charges against him are bailable, Cañete refused to pay the P60,000 bail recommended by the court for his temporary liberty.
“Barugan gyud ni nako. I don’t care even if I lose my license, If lose my liberty,” Cañete said.
“Dili ko ganahan mopyansa because I want to go to jail, I want to dramatize,” he added.
Cañete earlier petitioned the Supreme Court to strip him of the title “attorney.”
He claimed that the title brought him shame because of alleged widespread corruption perpetrated by his brothers in the profession.
He told the high tribunal that he could no longer tolerate what he described as “unspeakable injustices” that had been committed in courts and the prosecution service because of corruption.
On January 31, 2017, the Supreme Court granted his petition and stripped him of his title attorney which he had for 56 years.
His departure from the legal profession and his continued protest until now was triggered by his extreme disappointment after nine of the 10 cases he filed at the prosecutor’s office from 2014 to 2016 were “maliciously dismissed.”
Cañete said he appealed the dismissal before the Regional State Prosecutor and three of the nine dismissed cases were overturned. However, the records of these cases were allegedly missing at the prosecutor’s office and could not be found. FPL (FREEMAN)