THE Cebu City Council yesterday authorized Mayor Tomas Osmeña to file a libel or an oral defamation complaint against businessman Jonathan Guardo.
It came two weeks after Guardo alleged that barangay tanods, whom he said were acting upon the orders of City Hall, tried to stop his distribution of relief goods for Barangay Calamba fire victims last Jan. 9.
The mayor bristled over the allegation, saying that while he is used to being insulted by his political opponent, what Guardo said was an affront against the City Government.
He had the City Attorney’s Office prepare the complaint, which would be filed before the mayor leaves for the US on Jan. 23 for his follow-up checkup.
“Pilde ang pikon. I hope kung tua na ko sa prisohan iya kong du-awon. Hadlok man jud siya nako, iya na lang ko ipapriso. But I hope he will visit me, for old times’ sake,” Guardo said when told of the city council’s action.
“But I hope Tomas won’t bring two doctors with him when he visits us, like what he does in his pulong-pulong. Naay kuyog doktor just in case,” he added.
Guardo has made Osmeña’s health an issue in the May 10 elections, when they will clash for the south district representative seat.
Guardo even challenged the mayor to have his US doctors issue a certification that he is fit to run for public office after undergoing chemotherapy for his urinary bladder cancer last year.
Osmeña told a news conference yesterday morning that an authority from the city council is needed for the filing of the complaint.
Through a resolution authored by City Councilor Augustus Pe Jr., the council gave an authority during its regular session in the afternoon.
Attached to the resolution were photocopies of newspaper clippings of the allegation published in Sun.Star Cebu last Jan. 10 and 11.
Only Sun.Star and The Freeman reported Guardo’s allegation.
After complaining that the Cebu City Government removed his basketball boards and deprived him of venues for his barangay sports programs, Guardo again cried foul
last Jan. 9.
He complained about an alleged attempt to prevent him from distributing relief goods to Calamba’s fire victims.
Barangay Captain Victor Quijano Jr., however, denied any attempt to distribute assistance, and said Guardo was just miffed that he decided to support the administration.
Guardo had said that early that morning, his political leader, former Calamba barangay councilor Cora Lim informed him that barangay tanods warned her against continuing with the distribution scheduled at 10 a.m.
The tanods, he had said, told Lim they were sent to warn her that those who accept the goods will endanger the jobs of their relatives who work for the barangay.
The tanods, Guardo claimed, were instructed by Barangay Captain Quijano under orders from City Hall.
Sun.Star sent a text message to the mayor that time for his side but it went unanswered.
In an interview the next day, when he first revealed his intent on filing a libel complaint, the mayor said he was in the mountain the whole day last Jan. 9 and there was no cellular phone signal.
Yesterday, he said that in filing a complaint, he is giving Guardo a chance to prove his allegation.