Dumaguete City Mayor Agustin R. Perdices was slapped with a P.3-million damage suit with the local court here last Tuesday.
Mercedarius Dindo Patrimonio Generoso, a Filipino and Dumaguete resident who writes an opinion for the Negros Chronicle, a 33-year old newspaper in Negros Oriental, filed a civil suit against the Dumaguete mayor for violating his constitutional rights and freedom to write for the press.
Generoso said the suit he filed last Tuesday is the initial salvo of several cases, administrative and criminal, which he is set to file against the mayor with various fora, including the office of the ombudsman.
The suit filed by Mercedarius Dindo P. Generoso is in connection with the earlier civil charges filed by mayor Perdices against an Australian citizen, whom the mayor alleged under oath resides outside the Philippines and is not found in the Philippines.
Yet, to Generoso’s surprise, the summons was mistakenly served upon him and the court directed him to Answer the mayor’s complaint.
The mayor alleged later that this Australian citizen he sued “claimed” to be a Filipino and led or mis-led the provincial government into entering a contract of services with him.
In the contract of services, this Australian citizen, whom the mayor alleged to have “claimed” to be a Filipino, also procured a residence certificate with the Dumaguete City government and came to the Philippines and appeared before, a notary public, Erwin Vergara, documents show.
Then later, Mayor Perdices, in a bizarre twist of his tale, alleged that this Australian citizen and Mercedarius Dindo Patrimonio Generoso, a Filipino, are one and the same person.
Mercedarius Dindo Patrimonio Generoso found the mayor’s sworn allegations ridiculous and contemptuous because he has never been an Australian citizen, and is not the defendant whom the mayor identified under oath in his complaint.
Contrary to the mayor’s allegations, I am not residing outside the Philippines, and I can be found in Dumaguete City, so I cannot be that defendant sued by the mayor, Generoso said.
Instead, it is Mercedarius Dindo Patrimonio Generoso who has been made to answer the mayor’s complaint, not the Australian who according to the mayor, under oath, resides in New South Wales, Australia and is not found in the Philippines.
Because of this harassment acts by the mayor against Generoso as a mediaman, Generoso said he has sued the mayor and is seeking damages for P300,000.00.
He explained that under the civil code, any public official who violates another person’s constitutional rights, such as the right to press freedom, can be held liable for damages.
This is the second suit of such nature filed in Philippine courts of recent recall.
The first was filed by several Manila journalists against First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, which is now pending before a Makati court.
Generoso said he has directed his lawyers to prepare other charges against the mayor before other courts for contempt, and before the office of the ombudsman.
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