Malabon mayor sues, orders arrest of teen boy, woman over ‘libelous’ leaflets
A 17-YEAR-OLD boy and a 55-year-old woman were detained at the Malabon City social welfare shelter and police headquarters, respectively, after Mayor Antolin Oreta III filed a libel complaint against them for distributing leaflets denouncing last week’s killing of two village officials identified with Oreta’s election rival.
Prosecutor Rodrigo Dante Yambot on Friday found probable cause to indict Corazon Aringay, 55, a house helper from Brgy San Agustin, Malabon, and the teenager for libel, the Inquirer learned from the Malabon police.
SPO4 Ferdinand Espiritu said Aringay and the teenager were arrested Wednesday morning after they were seen distributing leaflets linking Oreta to the March 23 ambush that killed Barangay Concepcion councilor Daniel Villaluna and San Agustin councilor Bienvenido Reyes and earlier attacks on other local officials allied with Rep. Josephine Lacson-Noel.
The congresswoman, who is challenging Oreta for the mayoralty in the May 9 elections, has condemned the attacks as politically motivated.
Bong Padua, the city’s public information office chief, said “it saddens Mayor Oreta that he has to file charges. It’s a pity because they (respondents) are just being used but the mayor has to do it to protect his name. He is being maligned. The mayor is filing the case so that others will not be used for political ends.”
Quoting the mayor’s legal adviser, Voltaire dela Cruz, Padua said the leaflets were enough evidence to support Oreta’s libel complaint.
The leaflets, which were purportedly produced by a group called Malabon Movement for Social Progress, cited the deadly March 23 attacks on Villaluna and Reyes, as well as the shootings that wounded Barangay Tonsuya chair Policarpio Obas and his aide Ando Tan in February 2015, former Barangay Tugatog chair Sheridan Abad in July 2015, and Barangay Acacia chair Torre Trinidad in March this year.
Senior Supt. Severino Abad Jr., chief of the Malabon police, said his men were tracking down the other people who produced the leaflets.
Padua said, “When Mayor Oreta’s partymate, (city councilor) Merlin “Tiger” Manalac, was murdered (in January), he did not make a scene like what Noel is doing now; he waited for the police. But this time, (Noel’s camp) is making up an issue against the mayor.”
Reached by the Inquirer Friday, Noel maintained she had nothing to do with the leaflets and that it was “insensitive” to accuse her of using the councilors’ deaths just to advance her candidacy.