Libel Case Against Newspaper in La Union

The Provincial Prosecutors Office is set to refer the complaint for libel filed by a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) against three mediamen and one John Doe to the Regional State Prosecutor in San Fernando City, La Union.

This was after OIC Provincial Prosecutor Noel Bince inhibited himself from hearing the complaint filed by his own elder brother, sixth district SP Member Alfonso Bince Jr. against Mortz Ortigoza, columnist; Yolly Sotelo, publisher; Brando Cortez, editor; and one John Doe, the alleged financier, of the weekly Northern Watch.

Bince also ordered all prosecutors in Pangasinan under him to also inhibit from hearing the libel complaint filed by his brother to prevent suspicion of biases by them.

The complaint stemmed from Ortigoza’s column item in which he alleged that provincial board members are receiving P40,000 monthly from jueteng, quoting another Provincial Board Member Danilo Uy.

Uy denied he ever talked to Ortigoza on this matter when asked by his colleague during a session of the SP.

The other SP members believed also maligned by the column item did not file any legal action but allowed Bince anyway to file the complaint on his own first, knowing his caliber as a litigation lawyer.

Bince clarified that the complaint he filed against the paper’s staff could not be construed as affront against the whole media establishment he was only redressing his grievances guaranteed under the constitution.

He said he too was a journalist for a long time and knows Sotelo too well but despite his friendship to her, he has to include her in the complaint because that is what the law provides –that in a libel case, the publisher of the paper should be included.

Bince flatly denied Ortigoza’s assertion that he was receiving P40,000 monthly payola from jueteng, adding that the column item had besmirched his reputation and put him under ridicule by his family friends and colleagues.

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