The Office of the City Prosecutor of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, has dismissed a complaint for libel filed against GMA News Online editor-in-chief Howie Severino, and GMA News Research Head Florian Balmes for insufficiency of evidence.
The decision to dismiss the libel complaint was contained in a press statement released by GMA7 and emailed to the Inquirer.
The statement said the complaint was filed by Dr. Idol Bondoc of the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital (OMPH) on September 25, 2011 against Severino, Balmes, and his colleague, Dr. Rosinico Fabor, after Fabor posted allegedly defamatory remarks on the comments section of a GMA News Online website article on a decision by the Ombudsman on a previous administrative case involving Bondoc.
Bondoc claimed that GMA News Online served as a vehicle for Fabor to destroy his reputation as a medical professional, and that he was not given equal opportunity to air his side of the story.
In the Resolution dated November 13, 2012, Calapan City Deputy Prosecutor Gabriel C. Alberto noted that the comments made by the readers of GMA News Online were not edited or subjected to prior approval before posting.
Alberto added that considering that neither Severino nor Balmes had the power to edit or approve comments on the website, and considering further that sufficient guidelines on proper posting of comments were available on the website, it was determined that they should not be held liable for any reactions sent by its readers.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prosecutor Alberto found probable cause to charge Dr. Fabor with libel and recommended the filing of the corresponding information in court.