Lawmaker files libel complaints against 4 radio journalists
ILIGAN CITY, Lanao del Norte, Philippines — A Misamis Occidental legislator filed libel charges against four journalists in Ozamiz City for allegedly uttering malicious statements, over the radio, to harm his reputation.
Representative Loreto Leo Ocampos, a former three-term governor, claimed that the profane remarks over radio against him were instigated by people harmed by a probe on alleged mishandling of city government funds.
In complaints filed September 2 with the Ozamiz office of the National Prosecution Service, Ocampos accused broadcasters Cosme Majestrado, Racquel Villanueva and Oscar Visitacion for casting him in a bad light in various broadcast episodes of radio DxOC from June to August 2011.
For failing to regulate the broadcasters’ constant issuing of “blasphemous statements” against him, Ocampos included Remegio Bonostro, DxOC station manager, in the libel charges.
Both Bonostro and Majestrado face six counts of libel arising from allegedly malicious comments about Ocampos on June 1, July 7, August 9, August 15, August 17, and August 22.
Ocampos claimed to have digital records of the proceedings of the broadcast programs on these dates to prove his claim.
Villanueva faces two counts of libel for joining Majestrado’s tirades against Ocampos on August 17 and 22, while Visitacion faces one count for pitching an allegedly malicious phoned-in comment on August 22.
Majestrado is the anchor of a morning news and public affairs program. Since August, Villanueva has joined him.
The allegedly malicious words uttered over radio mostly painted Ocampos as a corrupt public official while several alluded to his supposed tendency to have Majestrado, Villanueva and Visitacion killed for their comments.
Apart from filing libel charges, Ocampos also wrote Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) executive director Rey Hulog asking that Bonostro, Majestrado, Villanueva and DxOC consultant Delia Rosal be sanctioned for alleged unbecoming conduct.
In his letter, Ocampos observed that the tirades against him by Majestrado began when the results of a Commission on Audit (COA) special investigation came out showing possible anomalies in select financial transactions of the Ozamiz City local government involving large sums of money.
Ocampos requested the conduct of the special audit investigation December last year.
“It is very obvious that the unseen hands … behind Mr. Majestrado and Ms Villanueva, in connivance with Mr. Bonostro and Ms Rosal, are those greatly affected by the COA audit results,” read Ocampos’ letter to Hulog.
Ocampos claimed that Rosal, a retired DxOC station manager, has been serving as a consultant to Ozamiz City Mayor Nova Princess Echavez. Rosal chairs the KBP chapter in Misamis Occidental.
Accoriding to Ocampos, Majestrado does not even have a KBP accreditation, which is supposed to certify that a journalist has the competence to practice ethical broadcast journalism.
Ocampos said Rosal remained “unmindful and adamant to (enforce) the specific applicable provisions of the KBP Broadcast Code.”
Ocampos also assailed Bonostro for allowing Majestrado “to go on with his contemptuous tirades despite knowledge of the use of vulgar and profane language.”
But Ocampos told Hulog he “intentionally omitted” Rosal from the libel charges in deference to her being a “sister mason.”
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