Libel rap against Nalzaro to get a full-blown trial

By Ador Vincent S. Mayol |April 15,2015 - 12:28 AM

The libel complaint  filed by former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña against columnist-broadcaster  Bobby Nalzaro will get a full-blown court trial.

Prosecutor Jesus Rodrigo Taga-an recommended elevating the  libel charges against Nalzaro to  the Regional Trial Court last Monday.

In his resolution, Taga-an said Nalzaro’s use of the word “fabricated” in his Sun.Star column maligned  the former mayor when Nalzaro wrote that he fabricated charges against Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas in order to sabotage the administration of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Osmena earlier filed 38 counts in an administrative complaint against Cuevas before the Department of Finance over alleged lapses in handling financial transactions of Cebu City based on  findings in  the 2012 and 2013 audit reports of the Commission on Audit (COA).

Discreditable

The prosecutor said Osmeña showed proof that the administrative cases he filed against Cuevas were not fabricated and were all based on COA findings.

“Hence, it is false to say that complainant fabricated charges against Diwa Cuevas,” the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor said the word “fabricated” was clearly defamatory and that Nalzaro insinuated that Osmeña had lied.

“When a person is said to ‘fabricate’ stories, he is guilty of lying or is deemed a liar or a peddler of falsehood. Certainly, to lie is a discreditable act and being a liar is a discreditable condition,” he said.

The prosecutor  dismissed for “lack of probable cause” another complaint against Nalzaro for alleged violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Petition

The prosecutor said it was not Nalzaro who posted his column on the website of Sun.Star Cebu and that its online edition contains  other materials that saw print in the newspaper.

Sought for comment yesterday, Nalzaro said he is ready to face the libel case.

He and  his lawyers will first ask the prosecutor to to reconsider his ruling. If that fails, he will  file a petition for review with  the Department of Justice.

“Well, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It’s one of the hazards of the profession. But it’s not the end of the fight yet. There’s still a very long way to go,” said Nalzaro in a text message to Cebu Daily News.

Review

Osmeña, meanwhile,  was elated over the development.

“I’m happy. Maybe, Nalzaro now has one foot inside BBRC (Cebu City Jail). At least, I’m beginning to prove that Nalzaro is a liar. He can attack me any time. That’s all right as long as he will end up in jail,” the former mayor said.

Taga-an, who is based in Lapu-Lapu City, was assigned to handle the case by Regional State Proesecutor Fernando Gubalane and no longer requires  review or approval by Cebu City Prosecutor Ma. Luisa Ratilla.

A panel of three prosecutors in Cebu City was earlier evaluating the cases filed against Nalzaro  but he asked that two inhibit and withdraw to erase any doubt of bias —  Prosecutors Gandhi Truya and Ma. Theresa Casiño.

When both declined to inhibit from the case,  Nalzaro sought the intervention of  the  Regional State Prosecutor who  designated Taga-an.

 

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