Prosecutor recommends filing of cyber libel cases vs Mejorada

The City Prosecutor’s Office has recommended the filing of five counts of cyber libel charges against former provincial administrator Manuel Mojorada.

Prosecutor II Ma. Nazelle A. Biliran-Infante found probable cause in the complaint filed by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr.

In his complaint, Defensor cited five libelous Facebook posts made by Mejorada last year – specifically on September 26, October 1, November 15, and November 20.

Mejorada, in his Facebook post on Sept. 26, accused Defensor of “using millions and millions of pesos in DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) funds to buy votes in the May 2013 elections.”

He said that governor was mad at him for his so-called exposes “because his bubble armor disguising him as clean and honest was pricked and burst.”

In another post on October 1, Mejorada repeated his accusation against Defensor on the DAP funds asserting that the governor “misused and misappropriated” them during the 2013 elections.

Mejorada, in the same post, further wrote that Defensor refuses to address the DAP issue “by turning a deaf ear… hoping that his supposed clean image will allow his son to survive the election day.”

In a separate post on October 1, Mejorada wrote that Defensor had been caught red-handed to have misappropriated public funds to buy votes in 2013 but, he added, the governor refused to admit and to apologize to the people.

On November 15, Mejorada accused the governor of violating the ban on the disbursement of public funds during the campaign period by paying the contractor of the Dumangas-Balabag Provincial Road on April 30, 2013.

“Defensor’s dirty politics continues to be unmasked. This guy plays with disregard for the law and rules and regulations. He is also a dishonorable man,” he wrote.

Five days later (Nov. 20), Mejorada again posted on Facebook saying that he received word from a friend that “old man” Defensor has now become “the laughingstock in the cafeteria of the Iloilo Capitol!”

“I guess that’ what Defensor gets for pretending to be clean and honest when in truth, he is corrupt to the core,” he added.

The prosecutor, in a five-page resolution, said Mejorada “imputed upon the private complainant (Defensor) the possession of a vice or defect, or any act or omission, status or circumstances which tends to dishonor or discredit the private complainant.”

According to Infante, “although Mejorada argued that his posts fall under the purview of fair commentaries and as such can be considered as qualified privilege communication as his posts were only made to make awareness to the public about Defensor’s act which he did not controvert, still, it can be shown that Mejorada’s imputation of an act or omission in his Facebook posts against Defensor is defamation against the latter’s character and reputation sufficient cause of embarrassment and social humiliation.”

“The statement made affects one’s sensibilities as there was evident imputation of a crime when Mejorada commented that Defensor has ‘misused and misappropriated government funds to buy votes’, ‘worst among the corrupt’ and called ‘a dishonorable man’,” she said.

“On the issue at hand, it cannot be entirely considered as a factual report of Defensor’s commission of a crime in the the first place, it was Mejorada himselfwho initiated or filed the criminal and admimistrative charges against Defensor likewise his commentaries include the labelling of Defensor as to have committed a crime, thus showing malice and ill motive on his part,’ infante further said.IMT

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