ABSUWELTO ang dating Pangulo ng National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) sa dalawang bilang ng kasong Libel na inihain ng isang police officer noong 2015.
Kasamang inabsuwelto ni Jerry Yap, kolumnista at publisher ng HATAW D’yaryo ng Bayan; sina Gloria Galuno, managing editor; at Edwin Alcala, circulation manager.
Sa ikalawang kaso ng Libel, kapwa absuwelto rin sina Yap at Becky Rodriguez.
Ang dalawang kaso ng libel ay inihain ni S/Insp. Rosalino Ibay, Jr., batay umano sa kolum na Bulabugin ni Yap sa HATAW at X-Files, na umano’y sumira sa kanyang reputasyon.
Ang reklamo ni Ibay noong 30 Marso 2015 ay pinaboran ng Manila Prosecutor’s Office at iniakyat ang dalawang kaso ng Libel na naitalaga sa sala ni Judge Noli Diaz ng Branch 39 Regional Trial Court (RTC) Manila.
Agad naglabas ng warrant of arrest si Diaz noong 30 Marso 2015.
Noong 5 Abril 2015, Easter Sunday o Pasko ng Pagkabuhay, ‘sinalubong’ si Yap sa Ninoy Aquino International Airport ng mga pulis mula sa Manila Police District (MPD) sa pangunguna ng isang S/Insp. Salvador Tangdol para arestohin sa bisa ng nasabing arrest warrant.
Dahil araw ng Linggo, hindi agad nakapagpiyansa si Yap ngunit kinahapunan ay tumaas ang kanyang blood pressure kaya humiling na ilipat siya sa ospital.
Kinabukasan pa nakapaghain ng piyansa ang mga akusado para sa kanilang pansamantalang kalayaan.
Sa kautusan na inilabas ng sala ni Judge Marivic T. Balisi – Umali na inabsuwelto sina Yap at mga kasama, inilinaw niya:
There is nothing malicious or defamatory in the statement that the drug pusher was arrested when Officer Ibay was assigned to PCP Don Bosco. Accused Yap, to prove the veracity of his statement of the arrest of the notorious drug pusher presented the following in Court, the incident report relative to the subject suspect; the mug shots of the suspect, and the memorandum of the incident.
There is nothing in the article that destroyed the reputation or dishonored or besmirched the reputation of Officer Ibay. There is a reason to believe that the Officer entertained the thought that he was to be blamed for the release of the notorious drug pusher. That however, is not what the article put across.
The Court has reason to believe that Officer Ibay was so blinded by his animosity towards accused Yap and the tabloids because of the previous write-ups for or against him that he did not anymore bother to carefully read the subject articles…
Words which are merely insulting are not actionable as libel or slander per se, and mere words of general abuse however opprobrious, ill-natured, or vexatious, whether written or spoken, do not constitute a basis for an action for defamation.
Officer Ibay is a public official. He is young and has a bright future as a police officer ahead of him. As a public officer now and then he will be criticized and praised for every action he takes. He could even be hailed to court for his action or decisions. Indeed, he cannot please everybody.
“A public officer must not be too thin-skinned with reference to comment upon his official acts. Only thus can the intelligence and the dignity of the individual be exalted. The public officer may suffer under a hostile and unjust accusation; the wound can be assuaged with the balm of a clear conscience.”
PREMISES CONSIDERED, in Criminal Case No. 15-313953 accused JERRY S. YAP, GLORIA GALUNO, EDWIN ALCALA are ACQUITTED of the charge.
In Criminal Case No. 15-313954 accused JERRY S. YAP, BECKY RODRIGUEZ are ACQUITTED of the charge.
June 8, 2020, City of Manila Philippines.