Broadcaster asks for dismissal of libel raps

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


HARD-HITTING commentator Joene Cahilog, also known as Rex Santos, had asked the Office of the City Prosecutor to dismiss the libel complaint filed against him by anchor commentator Florence Baesa.

Baesa, station manager of dyMD FM, filed a P2-million libel charge against Santos, a blocktimer of dyGB FM.

But Santos, in his four-page counter affidavit, described the charges as malicious and without basis.

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“I vehemently deny the accusations against me that I committed the crime of libel as alleged in the Judicial Affidavit of complainant Florence Felice Baesa,” he said, adding that the statements he made during his program on April 12 were based on facts.

He said he was just reminding the complainant and her co-anchor, Cornelio Pepino, also known as Rex Santos, of their failure to observe ethical standards set forth by the 2007 Broadcast Code of the Philippines.

He insisted that his commentaries were made in good faith and without malice, and were intended to remind the complainant to refrain from encroaching the rights of others and for them to strictly observe the ethical standards laid down by the Broadcast Code of the Philippines.

Santos also described the complainant as a public figure when she claimed for damages because she has been working in the mass media for more than 30 years as the station manager of dyMD FM.

“Complainant Florence Felice Baesa must bear in mind that I am also a media practitioner who is likewise included under the protective mantle of privileged communication, in which my commentaries should not be subjected to microscopic examination to discover grounds of malice or falsity,” Santos said.

He also believed that the concept of privileged communication is implicit in the constitutionally protected freedom of speech and of the press.

Santos said the complainant instituted a libel charge to prevent him from exercising a constitutionally enshrined press freedom.

“As a result, I suffered mental anguish, sleepless nights, wounded feelings and besmirched reputation,” said Santos.

He also claimed for moral damages in the amount of P500,000, excluding attorney’s fees and exemplary damages.

Baesa refused to comment but told Sun.Star that the libel charges she filed before the City Prosecutor’s Office against Santos is up for resolution. (VLC)

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