June 18, 2024 Vinia Vivar 161 views

Naghain na ng counter-affidavit si Ogie Diaz bilang sagot sa cyber libel na isinampa sa kanya ni Bea Alonzo noong nakaraang buwan.

Humarap kahapon si Ogie sa investigating prosecutor na si Edward Seijo kasama ang abogadong si Atty. Regie Tongol at ang dalawang co-hosts sa online show na sina Loi Villarama (Mama Loi) at Wrena Lualhati.

Sa panayam ni MJ Felipe ng ABS-CBN, ibinahagi ni Atty. Tongol ang ilan sa mga nakasaad sa isinumite nilang sworn statements.

“Prescribed na ‘yung posting na nilagay nila sa complaint affidavit nila. November 2022 pa, one year lang kasi ang prescriptive period ng cyber libel,” pahayag ng abogado.

“Ang pangalawa naming sinabi doon na wala namang sinabi ‘yung client namin na si Ogie Diaz at ‘yung mga co-hosts, o kung may sinabi man ‘yung mga co-hosts niya, ito ay nakapaloob pa rin sa fair comment doctrine na pinuprotektahan ng ating Korte Suprema about matters of public interest katulad na lang ng buhay at trabahong ginagawa ng complainant,” dagdag pa ng abogado.

Bukod dito ay nag-file rin sila ng “affirmative defense on improper venue.”

“We filed an affirmative defense of improper venue. Alam naman natin na since 2022, sinabi na ni Bea na she’s a legal resident ng Spain.

“Kaya naman kung sasabihin niya na siya’y legal resident na ng Spain, then hindi na siya sa Quezon City actually nagre-reside,” ani Tongol.

Dahil dito ay nag-file ng counter-charge si Mama Loi laban kay Bea ng kasong perjury.

“Dahil sinabi niya ‘yun, nag-file din si Loi Villarama ng counter charge na perjury, kasi obvious na obivous na nagsisinungaling siya sa kanyang complaint affidavit na sinabi niya na dito siya naka-reside sa Quezon City,” paliwanag ng legal counsel ni Ogie and company.

Inaasahang maghahain ang kampo ni Bea ng reply-affidavit sa loob ng dalawang linggo.

Narito naman ang official statement ng kampo ni Ogie na ipinost ni Atty. Tongol sa Facebook:

“Today, my clients filed their separate Counter-Affidavits before Investigating Prosecutor Edward Seijo. Along with the filing of a Counter-Affidavit, our client Mama Loi also filed a counter-charge for perjury with damages against Ms. Alonzo since the Complaint-Affidavit made it appear she made defamatory utterances even though she has not said anything at all.

“In our seventy-page (70) Counter-Affidavit, we called out the Complainant by not clearly stating in her sixteen-page (16) Complaint-Affidavit the specific individuals who uttered the specific defamatory statements making it appear it was all Mr. Diaz who made them.

“They even failed to show clear and convincing proof of ‘actual malice’ whether in the form of ‘reckless disregard for the truth’ or ill-motive which is a legal requirement and standard if the Complainant is a public figure.

“The opinions expressed by Mr. Diaz’s co-hosts on the November 19, 2022 episode were merely based on a common truthful observation of the netizens of the performance of her show, ‘Startup PH’ as pointed out in their several comments online.

“As to the second count which refers to episode February 12, 2024, the utterances there by Mr. Diaz’s co-hosts are not defamatory because being offered a role that was turned down by Marian Rivera-Dantes or any other actresses is not unusual given that Mrs. Rivera-Dantes is the undisputed queen of GMA. We proved that it is a common practice in both the local and foreign showbiz industry.

“By being an actress, complainant in effect gave the public a legitimate interest in her life and in her work. Therefore, the subject posts and utterances by Mr. Diaz’s co-hosts are within the realm of fair comment on her work as one of the actresses in the Philippines contrary to their claim in the media that it was about her personal life.

“Under our laws ‘fair commentaries on matters of public interest are privileged and constitute a valid defense in an action for libel or slander’ because democracy would be meaningless without free discussion of public affairs, even at the cost of a few bruised egos.

“Other bloggers, writers, journalists and our clients should not be cowered by the filing of cases just to suppress the freedom of expression and of the press by public figures who are too onion-skinned.

“Our clients will fight this case with courage because they have no malicious intent and the thirty million pesos (P30,000,000.00) damages being asked by Ms. Bea Alonzo in her complaint is not only unjustified and unreasonable but is also exorbitant.

“We are also ready to file other counter charges against Ms. Alonzo for malicious prosecution and damages for this suppression of our client’s freedom of the press and expression in due time.”