Bell-Kenz files cyber libel raps vs Leachon

Mark Ernest Villeza - The Philippine Star
Bell-Kenz files cyber libel raps vs Leachon
Representatives from Bell-Kenz Pharmaceutical, led by their corporate secretary Joseph Vincent Go, file cyber libel charges against Dr. Tony Leachon before the cybercrime division of the National Bureau of Investigation in Quezon City yesterday.
Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Health reform advocate Tony Leachon is facing cyber libel charges filed yesterday by Bell-Kenz Pharma Inc.

The pharmaceutical firm has been accused of giving rebates of up to P2 million, luxury cars, travel and other perks to doctors who prescribe Bell-Kenz medicines.

Leachon allegedly violated the anti-cybercrime law with his “malicious, reckless and baseless accusations against Bell-Kenz,” said Bell-Kenz spokesperson Dezery Perlez.

“If our criminal case proceeds, we will then pursue an administrative case for the cancellation of his medical license,” said Bell-Kenz legal counsel Alex Avisado Jr.

Civil action might follow as the firm’s doctors have also been subjected to public ridicule, Avisado added.

The criminal complaint against Leachon was filed at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters in Quezon City.

Perlez recalled Leachon’s claims that “Bell-Kenz and its doctors are involved in unethical practices, the company is said to be engaged in multi-level marketing or a pyramid scheme and he also claims that the company and its doctors overprescribe to its patients in exchange for luxury cars and watches.”

Leachon’s source could be a former Bell-Kenz staff member, Avisado noted.

Avisado also questioned the motives behind Leachon’s claims, hinting at possible biases due to his alleged past association with a major pharmaceutical company, which the legal counsel did not name.

The NBI vowed to investigate malicious posts against Bell-Kenz and work toward taking them down, Perlez said.

“These posts are damaging not only to the company but to the entire medical profession,” she added.

“Our reputation, integrity and name have been damaged,” said Bell-Kenz corporate secretary and legal counsel Joseph Vincent Go.

In a statement yesterday, Leachon said Bell-Kenz’s legal action is a tactic “to divert attention from the Senate inquiry and to intimidate critics, thereby undermining the significant issues being examined by lawmakers.”

“My comments on social media did not specifically name Bell-Kenz until they were publicly identified in a Senate inquiry led by Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Raffy Tulfo, JV Ejercito and Bong Go,” he explained.

The issue has been referred to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee chaired by Sen. Pia Cayetano for further investigation.

“Nothing I stated has been shown to be false; instead, it aligns with the whistleblower’s revelations that were later substantiated by senatorial investigations,” Leachon noted. — Mayen Jaymalin

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