The City Prosecutor’s Office of Dipolog City has dismissed the criminal complaint filed by Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar against two anchor-commentators of Emedia Production Network Inc., a locally-owned broadcast television and radio network.
In a three-page decision dated October 30, city prosecutor Herminia Enero found no probable cause against Rey Bayoging, president and chief executive officer, and senior anchor Gilbert Climaco for violations of Sec. 6 paragraph F of Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.
The provision penalizes any individual for “creating, perpetrating, or spreading false information regarding the Covid-19 crisis on social media and other platforms, such information having no valid or beneficial effect on the population, and are clearly geared to promote chaos, panic, anarchy, fear, or confusion…”.
In her complaint, Salazar alleged on May 14, 16, and 18, the respondents maligned her in their radio program by suggesting that she allowed a rice supplier to engage in overpricing, to the detriment of the public.
The rice had been intended for distribution to residents affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis.
The mayor claimed the respondents’ commentaries on the subject portrayed her in the public eyes as “corrupt and an opportunist.”
However, the prosecutor noted that the complainant, as a public official, was subject to “criticisms and public commentaries.”
“It has been jurisprudentially submitted that public officials are vulnerable to public scrutiny and the same is valid and not necessarily actionable. And the same doctrine, criticisms must deal with such things as shall impart public attention or call for public comment,” Enero said in her decision.
Enero pointed out that the respondents were merely commenting on “an official act of the complainant using public funds” and therefore, subject to public scrutiny.
SOURCE: PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY