Lessee sues state-owned firm execs for libel-A A +A
Thursday, June 21, 2012
BASES Development and Conversion Authority (BCDA) officials have been charged with a P100 million libel case by Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo).
BCDA’s president and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano Casanova was charged along with Board chairman Felicito Payumo and directors Zorayda Amelia Alonzo, Teresita Desierto, Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia, Ferdinand Golez, Elmar Gomez and Maximo Sangil before the Office of the City Prosecutor.
Manuel Ubarra, CJHDevCo vice president for Litigation, with legal counsel Frank Chavez filed the libel case for allegedly maliciously and falsely imputing against CJHDevCo and its officers crimes, acts and omissions causing dishonor to the company and their officers.
Casanova is also facing a perjury case likewise filed by CJHDevCo before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila for claiming CJHDevCo officers committed estafa in the alleged “double sale” of a log home inside the camp.
Nominal respondents were members of the media led by Felipe Olarte, Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) vice president for Advertising, and Raul Marcelo and Corrie Narisma, editor and assistant editor, respectively, of the same paper’s Business Section.
Both Chavez and Ubarra said BCDA had maliciously caused false statements published in PDI.
Ubarra said, “The words used by the respondents clearly indicate that it was their intention to make the readers of the subject articles believe that CJHDevCo and its officers committed, are committing and continue to commit, questionable business practices amounting to fraud and swindling.”
He added that “a perusal of the actual and true facts reveals that not only did respondents use malicious words to libel CJHDevCo and its officers, respondents lied about the facts as well, thus showing their malice and bad faith.”
The BCDA in a statement said, “the filing of the libel complaint by CJHDevco against the BCDA Board of Directors as an act of harassment that is obviously intended to derail the BCDA’s efforts in holding CJHDevco accountable for its acts and omissions.”
The BCDA tagged the case as “malicious and baseless, not to mention a mere smokescreen to cover up the real issue.”
The statement continued, “the filing of both the perjury and libel complaints, however, will not deter BCDA from performing its duty to uphold and protect the rights and interests of the Government and the Filipino people.”
If tried and convicted of the charges all the respondents could face imprisonment and will be fined in addition to a claim for damages by CJHDevCo.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 22, 2012.