Celebrity doctors face raps over 'libelous' letter

COSMETIC surgeons Manny and Pie Calayan are facing a libel case in court for allegedly maligning the reputation of their former clinic manager in July last year.

Prosecutor Maria Alice Lim-Ingles found evidence to charge the “celebrity doctors” with libel, under Article 353 in relation to Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code.

“Indeed, freedom of speech is respected, and even protected, in this jurisdiction. But the protective mantle of the law ceases when the rights of other people are already transgressed,” reads Ingles’ resolution.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by May Anne Karen Calayan, who accused the couple doctors of besmirching her reputation in a letter sent to businessman Michel Lhuillier.

May Anne, president of the board of Calayan Medical Group, Inc., said the couple told Lhullier that her clinics are not connected or affiliated with the respondents’ clinic—the Calayan Surgicentre.

The Calayan Medical Group have clinics in Cebu at the Oakridge Business Park on A.S. Fortuna St. in Mandaue City.

In their letter to Lhuillier, Manny and Pie told the businessman not to be “misled” by the Calayan Medical Group.

The couple alleged that the complainant’s clinic is using their name and their company’s name to get clients.

Replying to the charges, Manny and Pie said that they hired the complainant as their clinic’s operations manager.

When they filed for trademark application with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the couple said they discovered that a similar registration for the Calayan Medical Group was filed with the agency.

The couple said they learned that the complainant launched their clinic in Mandaue City last June 8, 2015.

This prompted the couple to file a complaint for unfair competition, copyright infringement, damages and injunction against the complainant before the IPO.

The doctors said there was no malice meant when they informed Lhuillier about the Calayan Medical Group. They said that the libel complaint filed against them was mere harassment.

In the resolution, Prosecutor Ingles said that elements of defamatory imputations exist in the couple’s letter to Lhuillier.

The charges that the complainant has been “misleading” and “deceiving” the public by “falsely representing” their clinic to get more clients are defamatory in nature, the prosecutor said.

“From the tenor of the respondents’ message, it appears that they wanted to besmirch the good name of the complainant’s group, and to cast doubt on her integrity,” Ingles’ resolution added. (GMD)
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