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Blogger faces libel charge for item on relief goods

By Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:50:00 01/21/2010

Filed Under: Crime, blogs

MANILA, Philippines--A blogger who wrote about relief goods stored in a warehouse that allegedly did not reach victims of Tropical Storm ?Ondoy? last year has been charged with libel for the malicious accusations on her website.

In a referral letter to the Quezon City prosecutors office, the National Bureau of Investigation filed the libel complaint against the blogger upon the request of then Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral, the new health secretary.

The NBI identified the female blogger, who claimed to be a book author using the aliases ?Jade Ceres Dolor,? ?Jade Ceres Violet Dolor,? and ?Ella Rose delos Santos.?

Cabral asked the NBI last year to investigate the identity of the blogger after reading a blog entry entitled ?Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo (What good is help that comes if it is too late),? posted on ?Blog ni Ella? on Oct. 21, 2009.

The former social welfare secretary claimed the blog entry contained ?malicious imputations against her, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and its employees.?

?The article alluded that she and the DSWD employees are corrupt, having diverted donated goods for personal gain at the expense of the typhoon victims and downright incompetent,? the NBI said in its referral.

The blog contained uploaded photos of imported blankets and mats donated by foreign agencies stored in the warehouse. The blogger said they were not included in the relief bags she and fellow volunteers were asked to pack. The NBI learned that one of the volunteers who helped in the repacking was ?Ella delos Santos.?

Delos Santos was subpoenaed by the NBI to give her side of the story and to take a polygraph test, but the NBI said the woman did not appear on the scheduled dates. It also checked with the hosting company of the domain name www.ellaganda.com and found out that the hosting contract with ?Ella Rose delos Santos? or ?Ellaganda? has been terminated since December 2008.

Another check with the publishing company which allegedly published the blogger?s book revealed that Ella and Jade ?are one and the same person,? based on the way the assistant editor e-mailed the blogger.

Cabral earlier claimed the items were not rotting as the blogger alleged. The NBI noted that the blogger never visited the warehouses, and that it was another person who took the pictures that were uploaded in the blog.

?If Dolor is sincere in bringing out the alleged corruption concerning the distribution of relief goods, she should have requested an investigation from the Office of the Ombudsman or any law enforcement agency,? the NBI said.



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