4 counts of libel vs. Bobby

THE Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office has found probable cause to file four counts of libel against SunStar columnist Pablito “Bobby” Nalzaro over two of his columns in 2018 that involved Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s son, Miguel.

Prosecutor Russell Busico found probable cause to prosecute Nalzaro for the four counts of libel, and recommended the filing of information in court in violation of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code.

Nalzaro’s legal counsel Joan Baron said they will file a motion for reconsideration on Busico’s January 2019 resolution, which they received on Monday, May 20, 2019.

Ramon Miguel Osmeña, in his complaint against Nalzaro, presented two columns which were published in SunStar Cebu on Sept. 5 and Sept. 12, 2018 as malicious and libelous.

Nalzaro mentioned Miguel as the business partner of a butane refilling business earlier busted by Cebu City Police in both columns.

Busico found basis for libel in Nalzaro’s Sept. 5, 2018 column in the following sentences:

| “His son, Miguel, is also reportedly a stakeholder of the business.”

| “Yet he is protecting an illegal business because his son in involved.”

In Nalzaro’s Sept. 12, 2018 column, Busico found this phrase libelous: “the manufacturer of those illegal butane products where your son, Miguel, is a part owner?”

Busico said all the elements of libel are present in the two columns.

Nalzaro, in answer to the complaint, argued that the articles are privileged, but Busico found otherwise, arguing that defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious even if it is true in the absence of good intention and justifiable motive.

Nalzaro argued further that Miguel is a public figure, in view of Miguel’s altercation with actress Ellen Adarna, in relation to an online post over the “spoiled brats” post of Mayor Osmeña.

Busico said that Miguel cannot be considered a public figure based on this definition; rather, he is a private individual.

The prosecutor said the online altercation was between the mayor and Adarna, not Miguel.


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