Fiscal inhibits from tabloids' case
- Mylen P. Manto () - December 30, 2011 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Acting City Prosecutor Ferdinand Collantes voluntarily inhibited himself from further handling the criminal complaint filed by the Cebu City Anti-Indecency Board (CCAIB) against two tabloids in Cebu.

This came after the CCAIB, represented by its chairperson, Dr. Lucelle Mercado, questioned the findings of Collantes and asked for his inhibition. Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane said their office received the records of the case last Friday.

He added that Collantes’ inhibition was based on the grounds cited by the CCAIB.

“Out of delicadeza, Collantes inhibited,” he said.

Gubalane likewise said he already issued a memorandum directing Assistant Prosecutor Nelia Sistoso to act as city prosecutor to resolve the motion for reconsideration filed by the CCAIB.

Furthermore, Gubalane denied CCAIB’s plea to have a panel of prosecutors resolve their motion for reconsideration.

“I deny their request for a panel of prosecutors. Personally, I don’t see any reason. In fact the case is simple, the issue is not complicated,” he said. He added that Sistoso will probably resolve CCAIB’s motion within 10 to 15 days.

Prosecutor Aida Sanchez, deputy member of the CCAIB, welcomes the inhibition of Collantes.

However, she said if Sistoso will affirm the decision of Collantes finding no indecency, they will cross the bridge when they get there.

“Unsa man gani, ato irecommend sa DepEd nga atong himuon og libro ang article published by the tabloids kay kini short stories man then they claimed nga naay values nga makuha (If ever, we will recommend for the DepEd to make a book on the articles publish by the tabloids because these are short stories and they claimed there are values we can get from it.),” Sanchez said.

She added that the denial of their request for a panel of prosecutors was Gubalane’s prerogative.

Sanchez however hoped that Sistoso can appreciate the complaint.

Sanchez added that she already told CCAIB’s chairperson not to stop the drive of filing complaints if they will read indecent publications from the two tabloids.

Meanwhile, Gubalane said resolving cases doesn’t involve gender. “Whatever the complaint it is, gender doesn’t matter as prosecutors will resolve the complaint based on the facts and the merits of the case,” he said.

Earlier, Sanchez said they wanted a female prosecutor to resolve their complaint filed against the two tabloids.

Collantes, in his resolution, dismissed the complaint filed by CCAIB for insufficiency of evidence. He added the publications were not pornographic, indecent or obscene materials that violated the city ordinance. Collantes cleared BANAT News publisher Juanito Jabat, President Miguel Belmonte and writer Cindy Jones as well as Superbalita editor-in-chief Michelle So, publisher Julius Neri Jr. and writer Fred Monternel from charges for insufficient evidence.

However, CCAIB filed a motion for reconsideration stating that Collantes erred when he found that the theme of the publications does not appear indecent.

 “Thus, taking into account the seven-part series of these publications and regardless of the use of the figure of speech and words with double meanings in describing the intimate parts of a person’s body, complainant-movants strongly believe that the printed words did not allow any other conclusion but the actual sexual act itself,” reads the motion for reconsideration.  (FREEMAN)

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