Libel suit vs Sun.Star, Mirror editors revived

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Friday, January 3, 2014


THE libel complaint filed by Lapanday Food Corp. (LFC) against the editors-in-chief of two local newspapers and a union leader was re-opened and raffled off to a Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch in Davao City Thursday.

This after Prosecutor Panfilo Lovitos approved the motion for reconsideration filed by LPC legal counsel Leilani Yangyang-Espejo on March 6 last year.

Prosecutor Gaye Cañete-Magdagasang, in a resolution dated January 31 last year, dropped the complaint against Sun.Star Davao editor-in-chief Stella Estremera, Mindanao Daily Mirror editor-in-chief Marietta Siongco, and Lapanday Box and Plastic Plant Workers Union-Association of Democratic Labor Organizations-Kilusang Mayo Uno president Romelito Pablo, even as she cited that the Lapanday management referred to in the published articles was indeed the offended party.

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Also read: Libel case vs 2 editors-in-chief dismissed

But Lovitos affirmed the appeal of Espejo stating that LFC was able to elaborate and substantiate the missing element of libel, which was the prime reason why the case was dismissed by Magdagasang.

Lovitos, in a resolution dated November 21, said: "And it can be readily observed, the alleged defamatory statement allegedly was made by Romelito Pablo after the failed negotiation with Lapanday management. Considering that LFC is a conglomerate entity and principal of Lapanday Box and Plastic Plant as being stated in the newspaper article of Mindanao Daily Mirror and the website of Sun.Star Davao, then it can be reasonably inferred that the LFC was the one being referred to as Lapanday management that has been depicted in the newspaper article as murderer of labor leaders."

The LFC denied allegation on the killing of labor leaders back in the 80's. Despite this denial, Espejo reiterated in the motion for reconsideration dated March 6 that the offended party cited in the published stories were clearly identified.

The case is currently being reviewed by RTC Branch 11 Judge Virginia Europa.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 04, 2014.

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