Thursday, June 21, 2007

Referral to NUJP

I have referred the defamation case filed by Mayor Agustin Perdices to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). I expect to meet with Joe Torres and the officers of the NUJP at the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 143. There will be a hearing tomorrow on the civil case filed by journalists against First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. Here is the press alert I submitted to NUJP:

Unprecedented defamation
suit seeking attachment filed

Dumaguete City - - - An unprecedented defamation suit which peculiarly sought for a preliminary attachment was filed by a city mayor against an Australian columnist of a 33-year old local newspaper The Negros Chronicle.

What is unprecedented is that upon filing a civil case of defamation against a newsman, the mayor of Dumaguete City, who is the plaintiff, applied with the court for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment.

An application for a writ of attachment means that the plaintiff is asking the court to hold or “attach” the property of the journalist at the during the pendency of the case, thus restricting the journalist’s property rights.

Under the rules of court, a preliminary attachment is a remedy where the court will hold the property of the defendant in order to ensure the satisfaction of any judgment that may be rendered in the case.

The impact of this case is that aside from threats of imprisonment through criminal libel, journalists also face threats of economic and property deprivation while they face defamation suits filed by public officials.

Dumaguete mayor Agustin Perdices Friday June 1, 2007 filed a damage suit against an Australian citizen allegedly residing in Australia whom the mayor claimed is a CHRONICLE columnist stating among others that as public servant he was maligned by the foreigner .

In a 6-page complaint with prayer for a writ of preliminary attachment, filed thru counsel Bejar Moncada Nuique Catacutan Law Offices, Perdices claimed his rights were violated and would seek redress under Articles l9, 20, 21 and 33 of the New Civil Code.

He is seeking monetary damages worth P300,000.

Perdices as plaintiff, under oath and under pain of perjury, identified the defendant as one Dindo P. Generoso, “of legal age married, an Australian citizen, and a resident of 2/31 Kensinton Road, Summer Hill 2130, New South Wales, Australia...”

In the same complaint, Perdices has asked the court to issue a writ of preliminary attachment against the Australian citizen whom Perdices alleged owns a real property in Dumaguete city.

As to how a foreigner can now own real property in the Philippines, Perdices did not explain in his complaint.

Perdices claims that he suffered mental anguish , social humiliation, and besmirched reputation when Generoso (the Australian citizen referred into the complaint) in his column, claimed that mayoralty bet Arturo Umbac, (Perdices’ rival in the last mayoral elections), “was robbed of the road to victory and imputed the involvement of plaintiff (Perdices) in such act without making a diligent and deliberate inquiry on the matter….”

Later, last June 12, 2007, the plaintiff himself withdrew his own application for attachment.

A copy of the complaint of mayor Perdices is posted at ( Jay I. Dejaresco) -30-

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