Negros Occidental gov sues mayor for libel
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. has sued for libel Pulupundan Mayor Magdaleno Peña and sought P7 million in damages for claiming in a local newspaper article that he is having delusions and dementia.
In a complaint filed before the prosecutor’s office in Escalante City, Negros Occidental, Marañon claimed that Peña was using the local media to impute a vice or defect to discredit him.
Peña is a relative and chief campaigner of Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez Jr., who is challenging the reelection bid of Marañon.
Marañon cited an article in the March 21 issue of a local daily that quoted Peña as saying that the “guv (Marañon) is 80 years old and delusions and dementia are indications of Alzheimer’s.”
Peña denied that he committed libel and was confident that the case would be dismissed due to the governor’s failure to include the publisher of the newspaper in the case.
He also vowed to file a plunder complaint against the governor for the purchase of overpriced sheep, an allegation denied by Marañon.
According to the governor, he kept his cool in the past but has had enough after he was accused of being incompetent due to old age, which he said was not true.
His colleagues in the local government could attest to his mental capacity, Marañon added.
Marañon stressed that his success as a businessman and a public official depended largely on his reputation for integrity, competence and intellectual acumen.
But he said that Peña has subjected his reputation to public ridicule, causing him to lose face among his peers.
Attached in his complaint was the affidavit of Marcelo Briones, a Cadiz City resident.
He said he was shocked when he read the news reporters published in the February 15 and March 21 issues of Visayan Daily Star on the digitally-manipulated photo of the governor beside a kangaroo and saying the governor had delusions and dementia.