Bzzzzz: Magpale, subpoenaed by Sandiganbayan, testifies on Balili; full speed ahead on P1.3B building

CEBU. Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale and the Balili property. (SunStar File)

PEOPLE are talking about...

* THE RASH OF MEASLES or "tipdas" in Cebuano-Bisaya in Manila and North Capital Region, rising four-fold of cases in 2018 from those of 2017, even as the House committee on health recommended that charges of technical malversation and grave misconduct be filed against former President Noynoy Aquino, ex-budget secretary Florencio Abad and ex-health secretary Janette Garin over the P3.5-billion purchase of Dengvaxia vaccines in 2015.

Mum on testimony

Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale testified before the Sandiganbayan, in obedience to subpoena from the anti-graft court, on the purchase of the Balili property.

She spent three days in Manila last week of January for her testimony and cross-examination. What did her testimony and cross-examination disclose to the anti-graft court? She wouldn't tell in her interview with dyCM's Jason Monteclar, pleading the sub-judice rule. The rule generally does not apply to reports of a witness's testimony in court (such as a news story on a court trial), only to comments about the pending court issue that tends to influence the judges. But Jason did not press.

Most likely the questions in the "cross" included Magpale's running against Representative Gwen Garcia in the governor's race, to sow some doubt about her motive. Magpale didn't talk about that too.

Libel law not suspended

Some people are asking if the Revised Penal Code and the anti-cybercrime law on libel are not in force during the election season.

What they hear occasionally on radio or read in social media nowadays are defamatory, bordering if not plunging into libel.

Consider this audio recording played in a radio program that says, "J***s (first name of candidate) kawatan, kawatan, kawatan, kawatan; kurap, kurap, kurap, kurap, kurap..." The word "kawatan" and "kurap" (or is it "kurakot"?) repeated so many times the listener cannot count or will lose count.

In another radio program, the commentator describes candidates with all the vile names he can muster, naming or specifying the person he describes, not bothering to hide the identity of the person he assaults.

Those who know there are laws that punish the tarnishing of reputation ask if those laws are suspended or take a holiday during the campaign.

Of course, libel laws are in force and effect until they are repealed. The offending radio commentators are probably just confident the persons they attack won't sue (at least until after the election period) or will fail to prove the slander and malice.

Radio station disclaimer

Managers and owners of radio stations know that the voice-over disclaimer ("The views expressed in the program are not those of the radio station, management or personnel") won't exempt them from criminal and/or civil liability.

Like the radio commentators, management takes the risk, hoping its people and the company won't be included in the lawsuit.

As to proving the utterances, a litigant does not have to secure audio recording from the radio station or the government agency NTC. He just needs to have it recorded by a technician who will testify to the recording in court. As easy as just pushing buttons.

Junjun Davide: full speed ahead

It's go, full speed ahead, as far as Cebu Governor Junjun Davide is concerned. Nothing can stop the P1.3-billion Provincial Resource Center building project. The notice of award was reportedly issued to WT Construction Inc. and the contract signed and notice to proceed given by Governor Junjun.

After WTCI signs the notice of award, it puts up the performance bond within 10 days.

The first visible indicator to the public will be the heavy equipment and workers moving into the Capitol compound to tear down the Bureau of Agriculture (Baex) building.

That, even without the formal authority of the Provincial Board for the governor to enter into the contract.

And apparently without the clearance from the National Historical Institute Commission (NHIC) -- assuming it has not been issued yet, or Capitol would've announced it already.


Tell us about it.



SunStar website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the SunStar management and its affiliates. SunStar reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules:

Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!