Nalzaro, Osmeña cordial in court
In court yesterday, broadcaster-columnist Pablito “Bobby” Nalzaro was surprised to get a polite response this time from former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña who has sued him for libel.
On entering the courtroom, Nalzaro, dressed in his signature all-white pants, shirt and shoes, approached Osmeña who was seated on a second-row bench.
“Hi mayor. Good morning,” said Nalzaro, who offered his hand.
Osmeña reached out and shook it.
In their last meeting, Osmeña had ignored the broadcaster’s offered hand altogether.
But the civil gesture wasn’t enough to lead to any settlement of the case yesterday.
The two ended up sitting beside each other on a bench but didn’t converse.
When the judge asked their lawyers if there was room to settle the criminal case out of court, Nalzaro said he was
For Osmeña, it was “no way”.
Nalzaro was supposed to be arraigned yesterday, the stage just before the trial proper where an accused is
formally read the charge against him and asked by the court how he would plead.
At the request of Nalzaro’s lawyers, the court moved the arraignment to Sept. 7, hoping that, by then, the
Department of Justice would rule on their motion to dismiss the case.
When Judge Generosa Labra of the Regional Trial Court Branch 23 saw Nalzaro and Osmeña shake hands and sit next to
each other, she called the lawyers of both camps o a huddle.
“When the judge saw what happened, she told us that there may be a possibility that this case will be amicably
settled among ourselves,” Joan Baron told reporters after the proceedings. Nalzaro was open to an amicable
“Why not? But it should be done without any conditions. I’m confident that, without any biases, I’ll get a
favorable ruling from the court,” he said.
But Osmeña doesn’t want to drop the case.
“He (Osmeña) just wants to defend himself (against Nalzaro’s insinuation that came out in the newspaper). We all
know the roots of this case,” Osmeña’s lawyer Kirk Bryan Repollo told reporters
Nalzaro’s lawyers pleaded to the court to wait for the resolution of the DOJ on their petition for review.
“If we proceed with the arraignment and trial, what if Justice Secretary Leila De Lima reverses my client’s
indictment? The court and the prosecution would be in a quandary,” Baron said.
Repollo said Nalzaro’s camp just wanted to delay the proceedings.
The broadcast journalist who is out on bail has repeatedly criticized Osmena in his Sun.Star columns as a “has-
been” politician after Osmeña filed libel charges agaist him. The original case stems from columns where Nalzaro
wrote that Osmena had fabricated charges against Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas in an attempt to sabotage the
administration of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
The Cebu city prosecutor’s office filed the case in court , saying the columns put Osmeña in a bad light and were
Osmena earlier filed 38 counts in an administrative complaint against Cuevas before the Department of Finance over
alleged lapses in handling Cebu City’s financial transactions based on the 2012 and 2013 audit reports of the
Commission on Audit (COA).
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