Motorist makes good on libel threat: For those who just ‘post and post’
THE MAN who was wrongly accused on social media as the motorist who killed a bicycle rider in Manila last month filed an online libel complaint against Top Gear Philippines, saying he wanted to teach the people behind the motoring website a lesson.
Nestor Punzalan lodged the complaint at the cybercrime division of the National Bureau of Investigation on Friday against Top Gear Philippines editor in chief Vernon Sarne, and editorial board members Dinzo Tabamo, Tracy Carpena, Jeffrey Reyes and Adelbert Christopher de Jesus.
Punzalan was erroneously tagged by Top Gear as the owner of the red Hyundai Eon car, whose driver engaged biker Mark Vincent Garalde in a fistfight before shooting him dead with a pistol on the night of July 25 in Quiapo.
The road-rage killing was caught on a closed-circuit television camera. The car driver later turned out to be Vhon Martin Tanto, an Army reservist also from Quiapo, who surrendered to the police in Masbate province five days later.
Sarne issued an public apology on July 27 for posting on Top Gear’s Facebook page a link to Punzalan’s social media account. Top Gear also posted a photo of Punzalan’s car, which was also a Hyundai Eon model similar to the car used by Tanto.
Punzalan announced his intention to sue Top Gear when he earlier surfaced at the NBI to clear his name, after the posts earned him a slew of curses and death threats.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Punzalan said he wanted to teach a lesson to those who “post and post without any investigation,” and also called on Sarne to resign as editor in chief. “My appeal to him is, I hope he faces the [complaint] we filed today and that they be responsible in posting.”
DJ Jimenez, Punzalan’s lawyer, said “we are appealing to the NBI, if they think there is a case, to endorse this to the Department of Justice.”
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