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Filipino admits posting seditious comments

SINGAPORE — The Philippine national who made disparaging remarks about Singaporeans on Facebook earlier this year has been convicted under the Sedition Act for promoting feelings of ill-will and hostility.

Ello Ed Mundsel Bello, 28, who made “xenophobic, derogatory and inflammatory” remarks about Singaporeans has been convicted on one count under the Sedition Act, and on two counts of providing false information to police. Photo: Calvin Oh/Channel NewsAsia

Ello Ed Mundsel Bello, 28, who made “xenophobic, derogatory and inflammatory” remarks about Singaporeans has been convicted on one count under the Sedition Act, and on two counts of providing false information to police. Photo: Calvin Oh/Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE — The Philippine national who made disparaging remarks about Singaporeans on Facebook earlier this year has been convicted under the Sedition Act for promoting feelings of ill-will and hostility.

Ello Ed Mundsel Bello, 28, was also found guilty of two counts of providing false information to police. He pleaded guilty to the three charges today (Aug 26). Two more charges — one under the Sedition Act and one for lying to police — will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

In court today, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohubalan said Bello’s comments were “xenophobic, derogatory and inflammatory” in nature, further aggravated by the fact that his comments were published to “an enormous audience”. Bello, he added, displayed a total lack of remorse for his actions.

Investigations revealed that Bello had regularly commented on reports and articles relating to Singapore, often in a “vile, derogatory and offensive” nature, and on sensitive issues such as race and nationality.

In the Facebook post in question, Bello called Singaporeans “loosers (sic) in their own country”. “We take their jobs, their future, their women, and soon, we will evict all SG loosers out of their own country”, Bello added, saying that Singapore would be the “new Filipino state”.

He also stated that he would be “praying that disastors (sic) strike Singapore and more Singaporeans will die”. He will “celebrate” if this happens, he said, ending his post with the declaration: “REMEMBER PINOY BETTER AND STRONGER THAN STINKAPOREANS.”

Bello did this while employed as a nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which subsequently dismissed him after discovering through their own investigations that Bello had made three other online posts in the same vein last year.

Bello’s comments came under the spotlight when they were posted on The Kaki News Network and went viral, becoming the subject of several police reports made against Bello.

Bello then deleted his posts, and lodged a report with police, stating that he was “shocked and furious that these comments had been attributed to him”. He told police on three occasions that he did not make the offending comments on Facebook, and that his account had been accessed without his permission. He only admitted to his lies in his fourth statement to police, when “he found he could not keep up the lie”, Bello’s lawyer Mark Goh said.

Mr Goh told the court that as Bello had not touched upon the “delicate golden threads” of race and religion that bind Singaporean society, he should be granted a lower sentence of six weeks, as opposed to the prosecution’s submission of 20 weeks’ jail.

DPP Kumaresan however argued that comments of this nature are “detrimental to society” and “cannot be trivialised or underestimated”, especially in a cosmopolitan society like Singapore.

Bello will be sentenced on Sept 16. For promoting feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore, Bello could be fined up to S$5,000, jailed up to three years, or punished with both.

For giving false information to police, Bello could be jailed up to one year, fined up to S$5,000, or punished with both. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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