Businessman asks court to throw out Rama’s 2010 libel caseCebu Daily News
Businessman James Philip Tionko asked the court to dismiss a 2010 election-releated libel case filed against him by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
He said it was “legally defective” and “a mere showcase for media mileage”.
Tionko said the lawsuit should include the names of the journalists who wrote about the disputed remarks since he had nothing to do with printing them.
His lawyer Edgard Gica said the complaint was “short of names of persons responsible for the alleged malicious or libelous statements.”
The articles appeared in April 22, 2010 articles of Sun.Star Cebu and CebuDaily News.
Rama’s lawyer Manuel Legaspi said the news reports written about Tiongko’s remarks made during the 2010 campaign were considered “privileged communication” and protected as part of press freedom.
Legaspi said the pleading should be dismissed for being “improper”.
In April 2010, Rama filed the libel complaint against Tiongko, an opposition candidate for city councilor, for his statements accusing Rama of coddling Crisostomo “Tata Negro” Llaguno, whom police said was a suspected drug pusher.
Llaguna, a candidate for city councilor, was shot dead while campaigning in barangay Lorega in the 2010 election.
Rama said Tiongko’s statements which appeared in newspaper articles had caused his family “dishonor and contempt.”
Tiongko, however, said the accusations did not come from him.
He pointed to Tomas Osmeña, who was later elected Cebu City congressman, as the one who had labled Rama a “drug lord protector”.
The prosecutor’s office elevated the case to the Regional Trial Court. Tiongko posted bail of P10,000 for his temporary liberty. Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter