Nueva Ecija broadcaster convicted of libel

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A tele-radio broadcaster in Nueva Ecija has been convicted of two counts of libel by the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan Branch 29.

In a decision promulgated on Jan. 23, the court found Philip Piccio guilty for his defamatory broadcasts against Nueva Ecija 3rd District Rep. Rosanna Vergara aired over Channel TV 48 in March 2013.

Channel TV 48 is owned by the provincial government of Nueva Ecija.

When the criminal information was filed against Piccio in August 2013, Vergara was a private citizen and an officer of the Cabanatuan Electric Corp. and First Cabanatuan Ventures Corp.

“Piccio’s broadcast against Vergara is defamatory as it imputes upon her a crime, defect or circumstance that cause her dishonor, discredit and contempt,” the court said. “The broadcast was made with reckless disregard as to whether it was true or false.”

Private prosecutor Dean J.V. Bautista said the conviction was a vindication of Vergara’s assertion of Piccio’s criminal behavior and proof that the courts and the justice system would never allow such crimes to go unpunished.

In view of a recent circular issued by the Supreme Court imposing fines for libel cases, Piccio will not serve jail time.

“But since libel is a crime involving moral turpitude, the conviction will disqualify Piccio from seeking any public office,” Bautista said. “Piccio can also suffer subsidiary imprisonment if he fails to satisfy the fine imposed on him.”

Piccio sought the dismissal of the libel cases several times, but was denied by the court. He asked for a leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence in February 2021, which was also dismissed for lack of merit.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with