Guv skips mediation on libel suit-A A +A
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
CEBU Gov. Gwen Gar-cia didn’t show up yesterday at the mediation the court organized for the libel suit she filed against broadcaster Leo Lastimosa in 2007. Instead, Garcia sent Capitol lawyer Lito Astillero.
Lastimosa, for his part, appeared without his counsel Celso Espinosa.
The mediation talks were held at the Philippine Mediation Center on the second floor of the Palace of Justice.
Although no deal was reached, Lastimosa said the fact that the next mediation has been
set on Feb. 4 implies the outcome is “something positive.”
Lastimosa said it is basic for a media practitioner to get both sides of the issue, whenever possible. He promised he will be more accessible to the governor, whenever she wants to comment on an issue.
But he admitted there were times he hesitated getting the governor’s side because he doesn’t want to call Garcia so early in the morning. (Lastimosa’s radio program starts at 6 a.m.)
Court mediator Alvin Redido reminded Lasti-mosa that establishing a strong
communication with public officials can help a media practitioner provide a balanced report.
Astillero, who also heads the Capitol committee on discipline and investigation, said the governor couldn’t attend the mediation because she had another event at the Cebu International Convention Center.
Lastimosa said he hopes to talk with the governor when they sit down for the next mediation on Feb. 4.
Garcia sued Lastimosa for libel in connection with the publication of his column, “Si Doling Kawatan,” in The Freeman on June 29, 2007.
Garcia, in her complaint, believed the piece was about her and Doling was a play on her first name.
The column talked about a fish vendor who suddenly got rich, using unexplained sources of wealth. It did not name Garcia. Lastimosa described Doling as “unreasonable, ill-tempered and foul-mouthed.”
Lastimosa’s lawyer Espinosa had admitted his client was critical of the governor’s administration, “but not malicious.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 26, 2011.