By TR Emeritus
A Filipino site, ManilaSpeak.com, recently interviewed their “foreign law expert”, Attorney Joyce Domingo Dapat, with regard to the arrest of Edz Ello in Singapore [Link].
ManilaSpeak is said to be “an aggregator of great minds” [Link]. The site aims to bring together the “most dynamic” Filipino opinion-makers.
“ManilaSpeak was borne out of a desire to give readers intellectual, well-researched opinion. We hope to influence movers and shakers – from leaders of the nation to leaders in lifestyle – in our own humble way,” the site says.
ManilaSpeak wrote, “A Filipino registered nurse, Edz Ello, who is working in Singapore is now facing a unique kind of case. He was arrested due to an alleged Facebook post that maligned Singaporeans. He is now being charged with sedition and lying by the police and was laid off from work by the Tan Tock Seng Hospital.”
In the interview, the Attorney, Ms Dapat, said that what Tan Tock Seng Hospital “did to” Mr Ello may be considered unjust because “there should be a proper charge with evidence related to his work, not merely a comment on Singapore as a whole”.
“If no one saw him type the post, then how can they be sure that his account was indeed not hacked? This is a professional we are talking about. How come his spelling in the post is atrocious? Something does not connect,” she said.
Subsequently, the Singapore police spent some time doing digital forensic analysis of the computing devices Mr Ello used as well as examining server logs (‘FT investigation delay due to ‘digital forensic analysis’‘).
But Ms Dapat rebutted, “They still cannot prove that he was the one who typed the post. Also the tone of the post resembles Singaporean speech and spelling.” Ms Dapat seems to imply that it was a Singaporean behind those posts instead.
The following is the seditious post allegedly made by Mr Ello:
Ms Dapat said that the hospital’s move to lay off Edz Ello is unjust given that nothing has been proven yet.
“I guess they did it because of fear that their reputation will suffer. A similar case occurred when another person posted disparaging remarks against the prime minister. There was no due process, he was similarly just removed from work,” she said.
Ms Dapat felt that it was wrong to impound Mr Ello’s passport.
“This is a violation of the right to travel if the person has not yet been convicted and is not in the black list. This is a basic violation of human rights,” she said.
With regard to the $10,000 bail set for Mr Ello’s case, Ms Dapat said, “The biggest mistake of Mr. Ello was that he lied to the police. But then again, maybe he was scared. He is still young. Imagine you’re in a different country then suddenly somebody is arresting you. Of course, you would be afraid. So the bail was doubled. SGD5,000 for sedition and SGD5,000 for lying.”
Ms Dapat thinks it would be difficult for Singapore to prove sedition.
“Also cybercrime is so hard to prove. Also, all those who saw the post but did not report it may also be called conspirators. What’s important in the proving sedition is proving intent to wreak havoc in Singapore,” she said.
Finally, Ms Dapat seems to think that Filipinos are “diligent” and “speak better English”. She also thinks that Filipino is one of the 4 major races in Singapore.
She said, “According to our kababayans, Singaporeans really look at Filipinos as their competition given that we are diligent and speak better English. You really have to be careful about what you say. Also you have to consider that there are an average of 4 different cultures in that country: Indians, Malaysians, Chinese, and Filipinos. You have to be careful not to offend anyone with your remarks.”
In any case, Ms Dapat might wish to know that Edz Ello has confessed that he made the 3 offending posts. As TTSH said on 9 January 2015: