Trader files libel raps vs Pampanga newsmen

December 22, 2010

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The president of an influential business group in Pampanga province has filed a libel complaint against a freelance journalist and three newspaper officials before the prosecutor’s office on Tuesday.

Renato Romero, president of Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, filed the complaint Tuesday after the alleged publication of “injurious and defamatory” articles against him last December 15-18 on Punto!, a local newspaper in Central Luzon.

Subjects of the complaint were freelance journalist Caesar Lacson and Punto! Central Luzon editor Joey Aguilar, general manager Gener Edona, and marketing manager Joanna Nina Cordero.

The complaint stemmed from a letter to the editor written by Lacson entitled “Romero ululating” and a critical opinion article with the same title, which were both published on Punto!.

The articles were published after Romero questioned the absence of an awardee in the business category of the Most Outstanding Kapampangan Awards (Moka) despite the presence of nominations.

Lacson is a member of Moka’s board of judges, while Romero was among the nominees for the award.

Romero said excerpts from the said article are “neither fair nor true reports made in good faith.”

In his complaint, Romero said his only concern is the non-selection of “a representative from the business sector as one of the winners of Moka… but instead of clarifying the issue as one of the members of the board of judges of Moka, the respondent (Lacson) chose to hurl scurrilous and defamatory invectives.”

The businessman said the article tainted his reputation. Romero is seeking P20 million for damages.

Noel Canlas, counsel for Romero, said his client intends to donate the P20 million to the Philippine Press Institute for its programs on promoting responsible journalism. Part of the money will also be donated to the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary.

“We respect press freedom but we all know that with this freedoms comes responsibility. We believe that our client deserves a chance to clear his name and this case is within the legal process of achieving that,” Canlas said.

Lacson said in a telephone interview that he welcomes the charges.

“Mr. Romero has the right to file libel charges, and I respect his right,” he said. (Ian Ocampo Flora of Sun.Star Pampanga/Sunnex)

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How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

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