Libel case arraignment vs. Nalzaro deferred pending DOJ appeal ruling
The arraignment of columnist-broadcaster Pablito “Bobby” Nalzaro on a charge of libel was reset to Aug. 17.
Judge Generosa Labra of the Regional Trial Court Branch 23 said she will suspend the arraignment and related proceedings for 60 days while the case is being reviewed by by the Department of Justice.
Nalzaro’s lawyer Joan Baron earlier filed a petition with the DOJ on June 4 to contest the move of the Cebu city prosecutor to elevate the case to court for a full trial.
Sought for comment on the court’s recent order, Nalzaro said, “All I can say is thank you.”
Former Cebu city mayor Tomas Osmeña earlier filed a libel complaint against Nalzaro for writing in his Sun.Star column that Osmeña fabricated charges against
Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas in an attempt to sabotage the administration of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
The former mayor earlier filed administrative complaints against Cuevas before the Department of Finance for alleged lapses in handling financial transactions of Cebu City.
The Cebu city prosecutor’s office said Nalzaro’s use of the word “fabricated” in his column was libelous and placed Osmeña in a bad light.
Osmeña was able to show proof that the administrative cases he filed against Cuevas were based on findings of the Commission on Audit in 2012 and 2013.
Arraignment is the stage where an accused person formally answers the charge filed against him with a plea of guilty or not guilty.
The court trial follows after that.
Section 11, Rule 166 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure allows the suspension of the arraignment while a petition for review is pending before the DOJ or the Office of the President, provided that it will not exceed 60 days from the filing of the petition for review.
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