Mayor Osmeña’s son files libel charges against broadcaster-columnist
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The son of outgoing Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and Councilor Margarita Osmeña filed charges of libel against broadcaster-columnist, Pablito “Bobby” Nalzaro over alleged malicious statements against him on the broadcaster’s columns.
Ramon Miguel Osmeña, more commonly known as Miguel, filed the libel charges against Nalzaro at the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor on January 15 and it was successfully lodged with the approval of the City Prosecutor Liceria Lofranco-Rabillas.
In a text message to CDN Digital, Nalzaro said that he would be filing for a motion for reconsideration on the decision of the City Prosecutor.
“If not considered. I will file a petition fore review to the DOJ (Department of Justice),” Nalzaro said in a text message.
In the complaint, Miguel said that Nalzaro allegedly maligned him on two of Nalzaro’s columns published in one of Cebu’s daily newspapers dating September 5 and 12, 2018.
In the column entitled “Projecting a Poor Image,” dated September 5, 2018, Nalzaro stated that Miguel was “reportedly” a stakeholder of an “illegal” butane cannister-refilling business allegedly owned by an ally of Mayor Osmeña.
“His son, Miguel, is reportedly a stakeholder of the business,” wrote Nalzaro.
Nalzaro also wrote, “Yet he (Mayor Osmeña) is protecting an illegal business his son owned,” still referring to Miguel.
In another article entitled “Mikakak Man Diay” dated September 12, 2018, Nalzaro once again insinuated Miguel’s involvement to the illegal business.
Nalzaro wrote, “..the manufacturer of those illegal butane products where your son, Miguel, is part owner?”
In his defense to the fiscal, Nalzaro said his statements were privileged as Miguel was a public figure as a son of a mayor and a great grandson of a former Philippine President.
He produced an article entitled “Elen Adarna, Cebu mayor’s son trade barbs over being ‘spoled brats'” which was published in the online website of a broadcasting company to support his claims that Miguel was indeed a public figure.
However, the City Prosecutor ruled that Miguel was not a public figure because he relatively did not reach a degree of reputation by constantly appearing to the public similar to those in the entertainment, sports, or political scene.
Furthermore, the City Prosecutor said that even if Miguel was considered a public figure, Nalzaro failed to present enough evidence to support his “imputation of complainant’s involvement in a crime.”
“In the absence of proof, the same may be considered false. A false imputation of complicity or involvement in a crime of violating Presidential Decree 1865 is enough to impair the standing of any person so much so as to expose that or any person to public contempt and ridicule,” ruled the City Prosecutor.
The two counts of libel for each of the columns will move to court following the recommendations of the City Prosecutor.
“Four counts for libel will soon be filed in court against Mister Nalzaro. The case against him is airtight. We will prosecute the cases to the fullest extent we can. This is a reminder to journalists that accountability and responsibilty go hand in hand with their freedom of expression.” said Amando Virgil Ligutan of SALiGAL Law, the legal counsel of the complainant. /dbs
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