Ronnel Mas and his controversial tweet

An Olongapo Regional Trial Court junked the controversial sedition charge filed against public school teacher Ronnel Mas who offered, through a tweet, a P50 million reward for President Rodrigo Duterte’s killing.

Olongapo RTC Judge Richard Paradeza granted Mas’ motion to quash — where the accused raised the illegality of his arrest—and immediately released an order of dismissal regarding the sedition charge against the public school teacher. 

Mas tweeted on May 5: “I will give P50 million reward kung sino makakapatay kay Duterte.”

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents illegally arrested Mas on a “hot pursuit” operation on May 11, but Assistant State Prosecutor Jeanette Dacpano ruled that it “does not fall within the ambit of warrantless arrest contemplated by the law.”

“Inciting to sedition is not a continuous crime for which the offender may be arrested without a warrant duly issued by the proper authority,” the prosecutor explained. But Dacpano further stated that this baseless warrantless arrest was “immaculately cured” by Mas’ forced confession to members of the media.

The court junked the confession and said that it is not valid and admissible as evidence when it is acquired in violation of rights of persons under custodial investigation. This involves having an “independent and competent counsel… during investigation.”

“Even if the confession is gospel truth, if it was made without the assistance of counsel, it is inadmissible in evidence regardless of the absence of coercion or even if it had been voluntarily given,” Paradeza further explained.

“Considering that accused Mas had timely raised objection to the legality of his arrest before arraignment, and with the findings of this court that accused Mas was indeed unlawfully arrested, this court failed to acquire jurisdiction over his person,” the court concluded.  (RJ Espartinez)