Nalzaro seeks to reverse 2 counts libel indictment
CEBU, Philippines — Veteran journalist Pablito “Bobby” Nalzaro is asking the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office to reconsider his indictment for libel, claiming that the alleged defamatory articles against complainant Miguel Osmeña are considered privilege communication.
Prosecutor Russel Busico earlier found probable cause to hold Nalzaro for trial for two counts of libel because of his newspaper columns published in September 2018 implicating Miguel, son of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, in the illegal butane refilling business.
In his columns entitled “Projecting a Pro-poor Image” and Mikakak man diay,” Nalzaro imputed that Miguel is involved in the proliferation of illegally-refilled butane canisters. In finding probable cause against Nalzaro, the investigating prosecutor said the respondent failed to negate the allegations against him.
Miguel alleged that Nalzaro ruined his reputation as private individual by ascribing to him an alleged illegal activity. But Nalzaro said the alleged libelous articles are considered privileged communications.
As such, Nalzaro said it is exempted from the general principle that any defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious even if it is true in the absence of good intention and justifiable motive.
Nalzaro said Miguel, being the son of the mayor, is considered a public figure. As proof his altercation with actress Ellen Adarna made rounds in the national news and on social media.
The veteran journalist cited the Supreme Court ruling in the case of businessman Elizalde S. Co vs. Ludolfo P. Munoz, Jr. In the said case, the high tribunal ruled that Co is considered a public figure even if he was a private citizen.
Nalzaro said the complainant also failed to prove malice in his articles.
“Complainant failed to prove malice in fact or actual malice. The generalized statement that respondent is a fierce critic of his father, the city mayor, is not the actual malice contemplated by law,” Nalzaro’s motion reads. — FPL (FREEMAN)