Pimentel offers legal advice to media orgs sued by Cusi, Uy
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Koko Pimentel said Wednesday he is offering legal advice to journalists and media outfits sued for libel and cyber libel by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Davao businessman Dennis Uy over their reports on the controversial Malampaya deal.
“Yes. Legal advice only since I cannot appear before courts and quasi-judicial offices (except in cases involving myself). We need to offer help in whatever form whenever media freedoms are being attacked,” Pimentel said in a text message to INQUIRER.net when asked to confirm if he is offering legal advice to the said media personalities.
Before Pimentel, the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) also said it is offering legal assistance to “targeted” journalists and media organizations. The lawyers’ group said it views with “grave concern” the “series of suits” filed against the media outlets.
“We call on our other colleagues in the legal profession to also take this opportunity to assist our beleaguered journalists,” the PBA earlier said in its statement.
Cusi and Uy earlier filed a separate libel and cyber libel complaints against several media outfits for reporting “libelous and false statements” on their involvement in the controversial Malampaya deal. Cusi asked that the respondents pay P200 million in damages for damaging his “reputation and good standing in government.”
Media groups, including the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines, said the complaints are “clear harassment suits meant to intimidate and chill the press” and acts of “assault to press freedom.”
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