City prosecutor dismisses libel, oral defamation charges against Osmeña
The Cebu City Prosecutor has dismissed the five libel and two oral defamation charges filed by former Cebu City mayor Michael Rama against Mayor Tomas Osmeña on the grounds that there are no probable cause present in the case.
Rama cited Osmeña’s Facebook posts as libelous, implying the former as a drug coddler or protector.
However, the presiding prosecutor Naruzen Delfin-Lorete concluded Osmeña’s online remarks as “his opinions based on true events unfolding in the society, and were also sighted by the prying eyes of the media”.
“Freedom of expression is a fundamental right. A person who opines about the conduct of another based on his own perception does not mean that it was said in reckless disregard of the truth but rather as an exercise of his right,” the 5-page document wrote.
In addition, Delfin-Lorete reasoned out that every action of a public official must be under public scrutiny.
The decision also cited that “a public official chooses to serve the people. He should embrace the fact that being such his acts are always interesting to the public eye.”
Sought for comment, Osmeña said “Rama thinks he’s such a good lawyer. So, I told him: He wants to sue me again for libel? Go ahead. Sue me. That’s not important. The important [thing] is that the people know. All the drug problems came out during his 6 years as a mayor, and we have the right to question why is that.”
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