Local News: ‘Libel cases vs. Cadagat, Gelangre dismissed’
City Prosecutors Armando Abanado, Assistant City Prosecutor Therese Blanche Bolunia and Prosecuting and Associate Prosecution Attorney Jane Dee Maderazo of theBacolod City Prosecutor’s Office, have dismissed the libel complaints filed by contractor, Bernabe Gilbor against journalists and broadcasters Edgar Cadagat and Jeffrey Gelangre in their resolutions penned on various dates this year, 2012.
Complainant had alleged that quoted statements aired in their radio program "Tungkaron Ta Ini" on separate dates are supposedly malicious imputations and not supported by documentary evidences. Hence, they were all fabricated and concocted denunciations of his persons. In their response, respondents Cadagat and Gelangre supplied their own documentary evidences and claimed that there is nothing libelous in challenging various procurement agencies to cleanse construction industry of undesirable and unethical contractors.
But on her part, Maderazo said that before ruling on the merit of the case, she finds that she cannot proceed for the evidence on hand are insufficient. There are, she said, two respondents in the case and it was not clear what are the things spoken by each one of them for they were only quoted by the complainant in a paragraph form. There are various presumptions that could be raised in this case whether they have spoken together simultaneously or that only one of them could have said all the alleged libelous lines and the other was merely listening. The complaint is insufficient in form and in substance. It is vague and is impossible to determine which of the two respondents exactly uttered a particular statement.
In this light, said Maderazo, the case is dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.
For her part, Assistant City Prosecutor Therese Blanche Bolunia, ruled in her own decision that although complainant Bernabe Gilbor submitted a transcript of the alleged libelous statements, it was not sufficient in form and substance. It was not known for what date was the statements said. It was not clear who made the statements, hence could not be attributed to either one of the respondents.
Bolunia also dismissed several of the libel cases for insufficiency of evidence.
City Prosecutor Armando Abonado attested to the fact of dismissal by signing the recommendations of both prosecutors.
In all, Gilbor filed 28 libel complaints against both broadcast journalists which, Cadagat and Gelangre said, were all intended as harassment. Majority of the complaints have been dismissed while Gilbor filed another libel complaint against them which both belittled as merely harassment because in their study of the Bidding and Awarding process in the various areas, province, city and region, there have been irregularities they have uncovered.
It is these irregularities which DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson is tackling.
The irregularities include manipulations done by contractors themselves though the method of bidding less than the favored contractor and which is maneuvered by a principal man and concurred in by the rest, and which is called the "areglo system", "diving" or bidding to the lowest level in order to get the projects but then sell it to other contractors, set up contracting companies by member of one family and sell bids won and not doing public works job properly.
Both Cadagat and Gelangre said, they assiduously conducted investigations of the system which confirmed Singson’s statements repeated many times that through collusions, the government is defrauded of as much as 30-40 percent of the budget allocated for public works project.
They also praised Singson for trying his best to eliminate practices which both they had been crusading against. This had been a practice done for many, many years. If highways and roadways shows cracks early on, it is possible that the contractors have cheated on the budget allocations, both said.
There are still many practices resorted to by various personalities in the construction industry, with the collusion of government engineers and public elected and appointive officials which they have now investigated and determined.
This was a crusade they mounted and which they earned libel complaints for and which are but intended to silence them.
Both journalists praised the City Prosecutors Office for not succumbing to whatever form of blandishments or threats in their acquittal of the two journalists. Cadagat and Gelangre said they will relay to DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima, the good work of the Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office insofar as their cases are concerned.
Cadagat said many libel cases have been filed against him, but these were all dismissed. As much as 30 libel complaints were lodged against him.
He has no malice at all in criticizing irregularities as it is his job and that he engages either in alternative or interpretative reportage which leads to awareness and enlightenment on the part of the public.*