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FOfi,: Libel u*der Art. 355 of the
R*.uise{t F*nal Cade
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Hr. Hanuel "Bry* Meimada
-
f,{4. 2. l*.asoy St., Blk l l, Vill* San Lsrenzo Sutrdiv'isicn,
llo-ila,City
GFEEI'S65-.
By virtue cf tfte authrrity vested in me by law,
please
be infrrrmed that a
Fr*lin':inxry lnvestittation in the ahtve-entitled *xs* is
=rh*duled
at the Graund Fls*r,
Roanr 1i]4, H*li sf Justice. F.B Hanison St., Fasay City, on October t. S & t5, 1*t4 at
?:${} F.*#., e*d as a respondent. you are required io appeer sn the said rlate and
sub*rit
y*ur
Counter-Affidavit on the aboue-entitterl cases. Attsched to this Sui:poena
are copies ef the Camplaint Affidavii.
WlTf{ES$ &{Y HAI{Ir {5tr dav of $eptember 3fi14
EERs*ABE AUGUSTUS C. SSLIS
Froserutar V
{lffic*r-in-charge
rrllHrl"s.E"firrrr*t
n- --
E}V.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE
NATIONAL PROSECUTION SERVICE
OFFICE OF THE CITY PROSECUTOR
Pasay City
FRANKLIN M. DRILON,
Complainant,
-versus- NPS-
For: Libel under Article 355
of the Revised Penal Code
MANUEL'BOY" MEIORADA,
Ilespondent.
COMPLAINT-AFFIDAVIT
I, FRANKLIN M. DRILON, of legal age, married, with office
address at Rm. 606,Senate of the Philippines, GSIS Bldg., Pasay City,
after having been duly sworn in accordance with law, and with the
assistance of counsel, hereby depose and state that:
1. I am a lawyer and an incumbent member and currently
the President of the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines. I have
served as a Senator for more than fifteen (15) years, specifically from
the years of 1995 to 2007 and from 2010 to the present. I have also
served as Senate President in 2000, then from 2001 to 2006 and from
2013 to the present.
2. Prior to being elected as a Senator, I was appointed to
different posts under the Executive Branch, namely: as Secretary of
Labor from 1987 to 1990; as Secretary of
Justice
from 1990 to 1991,; as
Executive Secretary of former President Corazon Aquino from 1991
to1992; and as Secretary of
Justice
from 1992to1995.
3. Throughout my career as a public servant, I served with
the highest degree of responsibility, integrity,loyalty, and efficiency.
Furthermore, I have continuously endeavored to keep my person and
honor unsullied
4. Mr. Manuel Mejorada ("Mr. Mejorada") was my
consultant and served as one of my media relations officer in the
Province of Iloilo from L September 2010 to 31 December 2010 and
again from 1,January 2011. to 30
June
2011.
5. As a consultant, he enjoyed my trust and confidence. It
was by reason of this trust that I even recommended him to various
posts in the government. In particular, I recommended his
appointment as Regional Director of the Technical Education and
Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Airport Manager of the
New Iloilo Airport. Unfortunately, despite my recommendation, he
did not get appointed to either post.
6. Flowever, he betrayed my trust by using my social media
accounts to attack political personalities in the Province of Iloilo.
Because of this, I lost confidence in him and I decided not to renew
his consultancy contract in
]uly
2011.
7. It was after this non-renewal of his consultancy contract
that Mr. Mejorada began the publication of several libelous
statements against me through different internet media. In
particular, Mr. Mejorada used his Facebookl account and Wordpress2
blog entitled "Mejorada's Point of View" to publish libelous articles
against me.
8. On 30 September 2013, Mr. Mejorada published another
blog entry on Wordpress called
"Putting Safety on the Line
-
the
Iloilo Convention Center." h'r this entry, Mr. Mejorada claimed that I
had chosen an architectural firm to prepare the design of the Iloilo
Convention Center without complying with the bidding requirement
under the Government Procurement Reform Act.
9. Mr. Mejorada also posted pictures on Facebook on 14
January
2014. The pictures depicted the earth-filling project in the
Iloilo Circumferential Road in Ungka, Pavia. He then described the
picture as
"Drilon's version of the Macapagal Boulevard ----grossly
overpriced."
10. On 15
]anuary
201,4, Mr. Mejorada published a blog entry
regarding the alleged Parola Terminal Ferry project. Branding it as
1
Facebook is an online social networking site.
2
Wordnress is a wehsife which allows the rrser to mainfain an onqoins chronicle of
"The
great ferry terminal robbery attempt " he claimed that I had
insisted for the project to push through even if it violated several
laws and was "overflowing with corruption."
11. On29
|anuary
2014, Mr. Mejorada posted an entry in his
blog entitled
"Drilon's Midas Touch" where he stated that I am
responsible for the overpricing of the contract for the construction of
the Art Convention Center at the Iloilo Business Park of Mega World.
12. As can be observed from the enumerated social media
postings, Mr. Mejorada has made numerous publications that clearly
constitute libel under the Revised Penal Code ("RPC").
13. In particular and without prejudice to my right to
prosecute Mr. Mejorada for his other libelous statements, I am
charging Mr. Mejorada with libel for publishing the following
malicious statements against me:
The Libelous Statements in
Mejorada's Wordpress blog
entitled "Mejorada's
Point ,f
Vietp" dated 30 September 201-3.
'1,4.
As stated earlier, on 30 September 2013, Mr. Mejorada
posted a blog entitled "Putting Safety on the Line the Iloilo
Convention Center" (the "Subject Wordpress Articl""), *here Mr.
Mejorada made it appear that I was involved in irregularities in the
procurement process of the Iloilo Convention Center -
"That's the reason the Tourism Infrastrucfure and
Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) published an
invitation for expressions of interest for the architectural
and engineering designs of the Iloilo Convention Center
last May 2013.
A copy of the printout of Mr. Mejorada's Wordpress Post entitled "Putting Safety on the
Line
-
the Iloilo Convention Center" dated 30 September 2013 is attached hereto as
Annex 'tC" and made an integral part
hereof. Available at
15.
TIEZA had every right to initiate the procurement
process. It was providing the funds for the project. It was
the procuring entity.
However, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon
had already engaged a well-known architectural firm to
do the
job. As early as November last year, Drilon had
already announced that the firm of W. V. Coscolluela
and Associates prepared the designs."
The complete Wordpress blog entry states
-
"Cafl a famous architectural firm be engaged to do the
design of a huge government in{rastructure project
without undergoing the procurement process prescribed
by Republic Act No. 9184 and its Revised Implementing
Rules and Regulations?
Apparently not.
That's the reason the Tourism Infrastructure and
Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) published an
invitation for expressions of interest for the architectural
and engineering designs of the Iloilo Convention Center
last May 2413.
TIEZA had every right to initiate the procurement
process. It was providing the funds for the project. It was
the procuring entity.
However, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon had
already engaged a well-known architectural firm to do
the job. As early as November last year, Drilon had
already announced that the firm of W. V. Coscolluela and
Associates prepared the designs.
The TIEZA posted the invitation to submit expressions of
interest on its website. However, somebody must have
informed Drilon and called TIEZA he's got somebody to
do the job.
Today (Sept.30), I called up the BAC of TIEZA and I was
told the contract, which had an approved budget for the
contract, was cancelled. The BAC secretariat didn't know
+l^^ *^^-^^
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And so now the DPWH is in the final stage of a
negotiated procurement to work out a deal with one of
the short-listed suppliers. It's being made on the
architectural and engineering designs of a company that
didn't undergo the bidding process.
To add to the mystery, the DPWH Region VI just only
recently conducted a public bidding for geo-technical
investigations and soil boring to determine the stability of
the area where the Iloilo Convention Center will be put
up.
When I revealed this over the weekend, I received
information from architects and engineers that this is
anomalous. It only goes to show that the structural design
analysis for the plans and specifications was done
without a geo-technical investigation being done first.
The safety of the engineering desigo especially that the
superstructure will handle a heavy load of people, could
not be guaranteed under the circumstances.
Will DPWH sacrifice safety
just to meet the deadline for
the APEC Ministers Summit in October 2015?"
1,6. Libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a
crime, or of a vice or defec! real or imaginary, or any act, omissiory
conditiory status or circumstance tending to discredit or cause the
dishonor or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken
the memory of one who is dead. The elements of libel are: (u)
imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another; (b)
publication of the imputation; (c) identity of the person defamed;
and, (d) existence of malice.a
17. The elements of Libel, in this instance, are evident as
follows:
Mn Mejorada maliciously
imputed and ascribed upon me the
commission of discreditable acts
through the subject Wordpress
Article.
Mr. Mejorada posted his
statements in the WordPress
website and made them ztieutable
to the public.
22. The element of publication under the crime of Libel is
satisfied when the materials are communicated to a third person.T
23. The statements posted on Wordpress are likened to a
publication. The subject Wordpress Article was available to the
public. It can be viewed by any internet user who visits Mr.
Mejorada's Wordpress page.
24. That posting such statements online constitutes
publication was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Disini u. Secretary
of
lustice,s
where the Court ruled,
"...online defamation constitutes
'similar means' for committing libel."e As such, the Supreme Court
hetd that online libel is a criminally punishable act and the original
author is liable for posting the libelous article online.
Mn Mejorada cleailY identified
me as the person subiect of the
subj e ct W or dpr es s Article.
25. Identification, in order to satisfy one of the constitutive
elements of libel, must refer to an ascertained or ascertainable person,
and that person must be the one defamed.lo
26. In this case, I was clearly identified by Mr. Mejorada in
his libelous statements which indicated my narne as either
"Senate
President Franklin Drilon" or "Dtilort."
27. Clearly, the subject Wordpress Article reveals that the
person Mr. Mejorada intended to defame was no other than me.
Vasquez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 778971,15 September 7999,314 SCRA 460.
G.R. No. 203335,18 February 2014.
'thid
Mr. Mejorada's act
subiect Wordpress
clearly malicious.
of posting the
Article laas
28. Malice in law is a presumption of law found in Article
354 of the Revised Penal Code, which states that
"every defamatory
imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good
intlntion and
fustifiable
motive for making it is shown" . Oll the other
hand, malice in
fact
is a positive desire and intention to annoy and
injure.11
29. In determining
actual malice, with respect to public
officials, our Supreme Court has adopted the test laid down in the
leading case of New York Times Co. a. Sulliaan that is
-
whether or not
the defamatory statement was said with knowledge that
!!
was false
or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.12 In order
to establish that there was
"reckless disregatd,"
there must be
sufficient evidence to permit the conclusion that the defendant
in fact
entertained
serious doubts as to the truth of his defamatory
statement.
Saying the statements
with such doubt shows
reckless
disregard
for tuth or falsity and demonstrates
actual malice'13
30. Malice connotes
ill-will or spite and speaks
not in
response to duty but merely to injure the reputation of the person
defamed, and implies an intention to do ulterior and unjustifiable
harm.la It is present when it is shown that the author of the libelous
remarks made such remarks with knowledge that it was false or with
reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity thereof.ls
31.. In this case, Mr. Meiorada knows that the imputations
he
made against me through the subject Wordpress Article were false,
or, at tf," very least, he published his libelous statements with
reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity thereof.
11
12
13
14
Yuchengco v. The Manila Chronicle Publishing Corporation, G.R. No. 184315, 25
November 2009,605 SCRA 684.
Flor v. People, G.R. No. 139987,31 March 2OO5,454SCRA 440 citing New York Times Co. a.
Sulliaan, ZZO US 254, 11, L ed. 2d 686; See also Yuchengco v. The Manila Chronicle
publishing
Corporation, G.R. No. 184315,25 November 2009,605 scRA 684,715.
lbid., clttngSt. Amanta. Thompson, 390 US 727,20LF,d2262.
yuchengco
v. Manila Chronicle Publishing,Inc., G.R. No. 184315,25 November 2009,605
SCRA 684.
32. Mr. Mejorada used to assist me in a consultancy basis
when I was the Chairman of the Committee on Finance.l6 As such, Mr.
Mejorada himself is aware that under the law, I have neither duty nor
authority to intervene in the procurement process for government
construction projects. Having worked with me, Mr. Mejorada could
have at least ascertained the truth or falsity of his libelous statements
by hearing my side.
33. Moreover, existing
jurisprudence provides that actual
malice may be proved if the defendant had an intention to injure the
reputation of the offended party as shown by the words used and the
circumstances attending the publication of the defamatory
statement.lT Alternatively, actual malice may be proved by extrinsic
evidence that at the time of publication of the defamatory statement:
(a) the defendant bore a grudge against the offended party, or (b)
there was rivalry or ill-feeling between them.
34. As mentioned, Mr. Mejorada used to enjoy my trust and
confidence as I made him my consultant and even recommended him
for appointment in various government posts. Our working
relationship ended, however, when he betrayed my trust by using
my social media account to attack political personalities in the
Province of Iloilo.
35. Since then, Mr. Mejorada has been holding a grudge
against me, vilifying not only my person at every opportunity but also
impugning the good undertakings I have initiated for the betterment
of the Province of Iloilo. This is manifest in Mr. Mejorada's barrage of
Facebook Posts and Wordpress Articles containing libelous statements
against me after I chose not to renew his consultancy contract.
36. Thus, it is wholly unwarranted, baseless, and downright
malicious on the part of Mr. Mejorada to say, in the subject
Wordpress Article, that I intervened in the procurement process for
an important government project in Iloilo.
37. A11 told, all the elements of Libel to charge Mr. Mejorada
with committing the crime under Article 355 of the Revised Penal
Code are present in this case.
't6
See copies of the Contracts of Service between Senator Franklin M. Drilon and Manuel P.
Mejorada which are attached hereto as Annexes " A" arrd "B" attd made integral parts
hereof.
77
REyES, Lurs B., REVTsED PrNal Copr Boor II 1006 (18rH ED. 2012), citrng People a. Hogan,
37.1. First, Mr. Mejorada maliciously imputed and ascribed
upon me the commission of discreditable acts amounting
to crimes punishable under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act and the Government Procurement Reform
Law through the subject Wordpress Article.
37.2. Second, Mr. Mejorada posted his statements in the
Wordpress website, and made them available and
accessible, viewable to the public.
37.3. Third, Mr. Mejorada clearly identified me as the person
subject of the subject Wordpress Article; and
37.4. Fourth, Mr. Mejorada's act of posting the subject
Wordpress Article was clearly 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.
38. All the elements being present, there is valid cause to
hold Mr. Mejorada liable for the crime of Libel under Article 355 in
relation to Article 353 of the RPC.
39. I am executing this Complaint-Affidavit to attest to the
truth of the foregoing facts, and to facilitate the filing of the
appropriate criminal actions, specifically for Libel under Article 355 in
relation to Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code against Mr.
Mejorada.
40. For purposes of this proceeding, Mr. Manuel "Boy"
Mejorada may be served subpoenas, notices, orders, resolutions, and
other processes of this Honorable Office at No. 2, Kasoy St., Block LL,
Villa San Lorenzo Subdivision, Iloilo City.
IN WITNESS HEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
l1!h
dav of [u
qutt
2014 in the City of
P0sotl .
,-*0--______r_____
SUBSCRIBED AND SWQRN to before me this
l',t&auy
a
$*l
2014in the city of {%
(tit
EL${rIA
*. rV#u,TAcAsrPtT
Asrittart
CftY Presccutrt
ADMINISTERING OFFICER
CERTIFICATION
I hereby certify that I have personally examined the affiant and
I am satisfied that he voluntarily executed and understood the
contents of his Complaint-Affidavit.
rL mrTA **,ffi*u rTA
-c
A slr I T
Assistrnt tfty Presccutrr
ADMINISTERING OFFICER
IN M. DRILON