Prosecutors deny motion to reconsider P100-M defamation lawsuit against media company

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/July 30) – Prosecutors have again dismissed a former lawmaker’s decision to pursue a 100 million peso defamation lawsuit she filed against a media company here and some of its employees .

The city attorney’s office, in a resolution dated July 27, denied a motion for reconsideration filed by former South Cotabato Rep. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles, citing a provision of the 2017 Revised Attorney’s Handbook, Volume 1 “requests for reconsideration must be checked”.

Bañas-Nograles’ motion has not been verified.

The fierce rivals for mayor of GenSan – business leader Elmer V Catulpos and South Cotabato Rep. Shirlyn Nograles – are cordial during the candidates’ forum hosted by the General Santos City Academy during the campaign for the elections from May 9, 2022. Mayoral candidate Lorelie Pacquiao, sister-in-law of senator and presidential candidate Emmanuel Pacquiao, is conspicuously absent. Lorelie won the race for mayor. Photo courtesy of Genesis Fernandez

In filing the motion for reconsideration on July 21, the former lawmaker attacked the prosecutor’s office’s earlier resolution on June 29, dismissing the libel and cyberdefamation lawsuit she had filed against radio presenters Abner Francisco ug Carlo Dugaduga, station manager Ruel Domantay of Brigada News FM Gensan and the Brigada Mass Media Corporation, represented by its President and CEO Elmer Catulpos.

Catulpos and Banas-Nograles were among five candidates for mayor of General Santos City in the May 9 elections. Lorelie Pacquiao was elected mayor.

The second resolution denying plaintiff’s motion was signed by Assistant City Attorneys Kayugenn Mato Kuda Jr., Gilbert B. Bandiola, and Richard Dale V. Escolano, and approved by the City Attorney. Clemencia E. Dinopol-Catalonia.

The case stems from a comment on the March 30, 2022 episode of Brigada News FM Gensan’s popular morning show “Tira Brigada”, when the two presenters addressed an issue over the presence of “payola” in some local government projects.

In her complaint, the former congresswoman quoted Dugaduga as saying on the radio show, “Unya, ah notorious man ni si ah, Bañas nga mangayo ug payola gikan sa kontraktor. Ipadayun gihapon na kung siya’y ma mayor puhon.ipadayon gihapon na.o, unya kay ang iyang bana moapil man pud ug pangayo, moapil pud bisag dili congressman.

Prosecutors dismissed the complaints in a resolution dated June 29, saying “not all elements of the crimes of defamation or cyber-libel are present in this case.”

Denying the allegations against them, the respondents argued that “they were charged separately, which violates their right to dual criminality; the content of a compact disc submitted by the plaintiff was obtained without a judicial warrant and the moral damages claimed were not supported by evidence.

The respondents further argued that “for an imputation to be defamatory, it must have four elements: it must be defamatory, it must be malicious, it must be publicly given, and the victim must be identifiable.”

All these elements are not present in the file, note the respondents. “Absent any of these elements, a defamation case will not succeed,” they pointed out.

The former MP filed the case with the prosecutor’s office on June 10, a month after the May 9 elections. (Rommel Rebollido / MindaNews)

Comments are closed.