Newsman’s case vs La Trinidad officials over-A A +A
Thursday, August 22, 2013
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- After almost three years, the case filed by journalist Jimmy Laking against the several local officials in this town is finally over.
Both parties settled the case amicably over Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR).
Laking signed an affidavit of desistance, formally signifying he has no interest to pursue the case, while officials have agreed to settle the case.
It was in December 2009 when Laking was declared persona non grata by the local council, barring him from entering the local council since. The council alleged Laking breeched responsible journalism and ethics.
In turn, Laking filed a graft case against the entire legislative branch making history when Judge Danilo Camacho ordered a 90-day suspension on Vice Mayor Romeo Salda, presiding officer of the La Trinidad town council and Councilors Jim Botiwey, Henry Kipas, Arthur Shontogan, Roderick Awingan, Horacio Ramos Jr., Estrella Adeban, Francis Lee, Von Tauli and Robert Namoro.
To date, only Vice Mayor Salda, councilors Awingan, Adeban, Lee, Ramos are still in public service with Botiwey and Namoro now serving their first term as members of the Provincial Board.
Former councilors Shontogan and Tauili lost their bid for re-election for local council in the previous midterm elections.
Shontogan and Ramos were not part of the JDR when they decided to turn state witness in favor of Laking, going against their colleagues.
Under the JDR, both parties are supposed to face the judge in court to try to resolve the matter, if the move failed, the court case will continue.
The JDR process, which requires a judge to become a mediator, is aimed to declog the courts of pending cases and peacefully settle cases.
Lawyer for the legislative body Miller Quintin said lawyers for both parties were not part of the JDR proceedings, leaving both sides to settle on their own.
Lawyer for Laking, Noe Villanueva, confirmed the settlement of the legislative body with the journalist ending the three-year rift.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 23, 2013.