Court finally dismisses libel cases vs. Sunday PUNCH

By July 19, 2021Top Stories

THE Sunday PUNCH redeemed is journalistic record as a responsible community newspaper when the libel complaints filed by City State Savings Bank, Inc. against eight of its staff seven year ago were dismissed by Branch 167 of the Regional Trial Court in Pasig City as gleaned from its order dated February 5, 2021.

This was contained in a Certification of Finality signed by Anthony Glenn Advincula, OIC/Legal Researcher of the Pasig RTC who certified that the order dated February 5, 2021 rendered in Criminal Case No. R-PSG-153819-20 CR “has already become final and executory, no appeal having filed on said Order nor has it been amended, supplemented or modified.

Charged for libel in that case were Ermin Garcia Jr. (Editor-Publisher), Marifi Jara, (Associate Editor), Jun Velasco (Associate Editor), Jesus Garcia Jr. (Sports Reporter), Johanne Macob (Reporter), Julia Ann Arrogante (Online Administrator), Jocelyn de la Cruz  (Production Head) and Virgilio Biagtan (Editorial Cartoonist). Velasco died while the case was still pending.

In an earlier Order, the court took note that the accused prayed for the quashing of the complaint and information filed on the ground that they did not comply with the rules of venue of libel cases.

The court said the information filed also failed to alleged that the subject articles were printed and was published in Pasig City as required by law.

Hence the court has no jurisdiction over the offense charge.

The libel case was dismissed earlier by Judge Rolando Mislang but the complainant appealed the dismissal of the case before the Court of Appeals and reversed the decision. A subsequent appeal before the Supreme Court was filed.

The latest decision came before the Supreme Court decided on the appeal of The PUNCH to reverse the Court of Appeals decision.

The PUNCH, which dubbed the case as a harassment suit, was represented by the Center Law Office, pro bono, headed by Atty. Harry Roque, Atty. Joel Ruiz Butuyan, Atty. Romel Bagares and Atty. Zhamai Garcia. (Leonardo Micua) 

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