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Butuan court junks libel case vs PDI reporter

/ 08:00 PM June 05, 2012

DAVAO CITY—The libel case filed by former Butuan City Mayor Leonides Daisy Plaza against Inquirer correspondent Franklin Caliguid and former correspondent Tina Cassion in 2006 was junked by a Butuan City judge on Monday.

Executive Judge Augustus Calo, of the Regional Trial Court Branch 5 in Butuan, said there was no malice involved when Caliguid and Cassion published a letter from a reader in the now defunct Caraga Newswatch accusing Plaza of accepting bribe for a road project.

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In his decision, Judge Calo said the publication of the letter, sent by Mario Alviso and published at the defunct paper’s letters to the editor section, was not motivated by ill will and did not constitute libel.

Aside from pressing charges, Plaza denied a permit to operate to the newspaper, which has since folded up. She also had Caliguid and Cassion arrested. The two posted bail of P11,000 each.

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Caliguid described the verdict as a victory for press freedom and said it affirmed the role of media as a watchdog.

He also described Plaza’s filing of a libel suit as pure harassment.

Caliguid said that aside from denying a permit to operate to Caraga Newswatch, Plaza also kept on transferring the libel suit from one judge to another. This, he said, unnecessarily delayed the case that dragged on for years. Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: libel cases, media harassment, News, press freedom, Regions
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