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Leo: I use fiction to drive home my point

/ 06:52 AM February 16, 2013

Newspaper columnist Leo Lastimosa went back to the witness stand of Regional Trial Court branch 14 and was cross-examined in the libel case filed against him by suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

Garcia’s lawyer Lito Astillero quizzed Lastimosa who writes the column Arangkada in The Freeman whether he is a fiction writer or not.

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But the columnist who is also a popular TV and radio broadcaster said he is a columnist who occasionally writes fiction pieces.

“When I was younger, I used to write short stories na Bisaya.”

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Garcia sued Lastimosa for libel for his 2007 column entitled “Si Doleng Kawatan.” The governor felt alluded to that she was the character portrayed in the newspaper column.

Lastimosa said he writes a variety of topics in his column. “Sometimes, I write about a current event, and write about a fictitious character to drive home a point that I would like to discuss in my column.”

In an interview after the hearing, Astillero said that they found inconsistency in the testimonies of Lastimosa since in his previous hearing, he said he is a fiction writer.

“Mi-ingon man gud siya sa una, nga kadto iyang column is a creation of fiction, ‘nya mingon man siya karon na di man diay siya fiction writer. So, there is inconsistency in his testimony,” Astillero said.

(He said in his earlier testimony that his column is a creation of fiction, and now he is saying he is not a fiction writer.)

But Celso Espinosa, Lastimosa’s lawyer said his client was just consistent.

“Kadto na article is not a work of fiction. Wa lang na ma-define kayo what is fiction,” Espinosa said.

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(That article is not a work of fiction. It was not just defined what is fiction.)

Espinosa explained to the media that Lastimosa only created a character out of the knowledge or peculiarities of a person.

The next court hearing is scheduled on April 12 when they present lawyer Democrito Barcenas as Lastimosa’s last witness.

A rebuttal by either parties would depend on the testimony of Barcenas.

The prosecution side has already presented four witnesses which included suspended governor Garcia as the complainant. Other witnesses who took the stand include Pachico Seares, Public and Standards Editor of Sun Star Cebu.

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