BIR exec assistant sues Ramon Tulfo for libel, cyber libel
MANILA, Philippines — An executive assistant at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Adonis M. Samson, has filed at the Quezon City Prosecutors Office a libel and cyber libel complaints against Manila Times columnist Ramon Tulfo over his newspaper article and social media post alleging corruption within the agency.
In August, Tulfo shared a video of an enraged man and a woman having a conversation after allegedly not receiving any portion of the ill-gotten money in the agency.
The columnist identified the people in the conversation as Samson and BIR Assistant Commissioner Teresita Angeles.
“Tila abot langit ang panggagalaiti nila dahil sa wala silang nakuha na kahit isang kusing man lang sa kurakot ng kanilang ahensya,” Tulfo said in a Facebook post.
But Samson denied this in his complaint, saying that he had never been to the United States in response to Tulfo’s claims that the conversation happened while the two BIR officials were taking up short courses at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Further, Samson said the columnist went on a “character assassination spree.”
“Contrary to his claim that I, along with Ms. Angeles, was at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the US where said video was recorded sometime in 2017, the fact is, I have never, in my life, set foot in the US,” Samson said.
“In response to the falsities peddled by respondent Tulfo, I have attached my photocopies of my Philippine Passport EB7874527 (15 April 2013 to 14 April 2018) and P4579300A (2 October 2017 to 1 October 2022) (Annexes “Q” and “R”, respectively) none of which indicate a trip to the United States,” he added in his complaint.
Samson then chided the veteran journalist, saying: “With half a century of journalistic experience, respondent Tulfo cannot claim ignorance of established journalistic practice of vetting nor lack of access to technology which are readily available and could have provided like expert testing and analysis of any recording, including this video recording.”
“Aside from his bare assertion of a certain BIR source or sources, which is no longer certain because of his flip-flopping reference to a BIR source / BIR sources, there isn’t any statement on how he was able to ascertain my alleged identity,” Samson said.
Other respondents in the complaint include Manila Times president and CEO Dante F.M. Ang II, publisher emeritus Rene Q. Bas, and editors Lynett O. Luna, Blanca C. Mercado, Nerilyn A. Tenorio, and Leena C. Chua.
In another Facebook post on Aug. 4, two days before the release of the video, Tulfo said that a lawyer friend of his advised him of possible dangers of releasing it, especially concerning the anti-wiretapping law.
“I am willing to face the consequences arising from that video recording. I am trying to help President Digong [Rodrigo Duterte] clean up his Augean stable. And in doing so, I’m willing to go to prison,” Tulfo said.
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