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In Philippines, Senate president sues journalist for libel

The Senate President in the Philippines has filed a libel complaint in the Pasay City Prosecutor's Office against a journalist in Iloilo City. The journalist allegedly committed libel in posting a blog entry implicating the senator in a corruption issue, according to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). Iloilo City is approximately 600 km south of Pasay City, Metro Manila.

Journalist Manuel "Boy" Mejorada posted a blog entry on September 30, 2013 titled "Putting Safety on the Line – the Iloilo Convention Center". In it, Mejorada said that Senate President Franklin Drilon must have helped the architectural firm, WV Coscolluela and Associates, bypass the government's procurement process in building the Iloilo Convention Center.

Mejorada further wrote that "other architects and engineers" found it anomalous that the designs for the convention center were already prepared before "geo-technical investigations and soil boring to determine the stability of the area" were done first by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). "Will DPWH sacrifice safety just to meet the deadline for the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Ministers Summit in October 2015?" Mejorada asked.

In his complaint-affidavit on August 27 this year, Senator Drilon said Mejorada's blog entry was malicious. "Mr Mejorada having held the position as one of my consultants when I was the Chairman of the Committee of Finance knows that I as a Senator, I have no participation in the procurement process for local government projects. Moreover, there is evidence to show that Mr. Mejorada held a grudge against me, as I decided to no longer engage him as a consultant after he irresponsibly used my official social media accounts to attack political personalities in the province of Iloilo."

On September 15, The Pasay City Prosecutor's Office subpoenaed Mejorada, requiring him to appear before the Office on October 1, 8 and 15 and to submit his counter-affidavit.

Date posted: October 8, 2014 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 3