Pelayo files libel raps vs plunder accusers

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


QUEZON CITY -- Former Candaba mayor Jerry Pelayo filed libel and damages suits against 15 people who allegedly accused him of plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman, which was published in a national newspapers.

Named respondents in the complaints filed before the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office are Arnold Canimo, Rufino Soliman, Francisco San Pedro, Edgardo De Guzman, Dionisio Guevarra, Rodolfo Manalili, Florencio Catacutan, Jessie Laurente, Romeo Balatbat, Gaudencio Lacanilao, Danilo Bartolome, Dionisio Pelayo, Bernardo Santiago, Freddie Pelayo and Sacarias Laurente.

Pelayo said the news stories could not have been published without the indispensable participation of the respondents who were cited as the source of what was reported in newspapers and even national television.

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The complaint said the respondents supplied to the writers and reporters of the said news stories "false, baseless and malicious information" against Pelayo.

The news stories alleged that Pelayo committed corruption and plunder through "ghost" projects worth P128 million during his incumbency as mayor of Candaba. Thus, he added that his person, name and reputation were publicly maligned, embarrassed and humiliated.

Pelayo, who served for three consecutive terms as mayor of Candaba, said the respondents' public and widely publicized accusation that he has plundered P128 million in government funds through "ghost projects" is false, baseless and unsubstantiated.

"It is motivated by sheer malice intended to tarnish my person, honor and reputation and thus doom my chances of ever returning successfully to the political arena in Candaba in particular and in Pampanga in general," Pelayo said.

As of press time, Pelayo said he has not received any subpoena or summons or any other formal communication from the Ombudsman concerning the complaint for plunder allegedly filed by the said respondents.

Pelayo also claimed that contrary to the “facts” and false information peddled publicly by the respondents, a turnover of the funds, properties and other assets of the municipality was made towards the end of his term as mayor on June 30, 2013 to the incoming mayor of Candaba without incident.

“The Commission on Audit had also gone over my accounts as Mayor of Candaba for the nine years that I had served in said capacity, and had not reported any anomaly, irregularity or anything unsavory with regard to the public funds under my control or coursed through my office. I also have a Clearance from the Ombudsman,” Pelayo said.

Pelayo said as a result of the public imputation made against him of the crime of plunder and of corruption as a public official, he and his family have suffered embarrassment, public embarrassment and humiliation which he believes, entitle him to moral damages.

"I am likewise entitled to exemplary damages so that other people similarly disposed as respondents would be deterred from causing the publication of false, malicious and defamatory matter against innocent, unsuspecting persons," he added. (Contributed by Joel P. Mapiles)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 30, 2014.

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