Subjects of Castro’s libel complaint directed to answer
Michael Vencynth H. Braga (The Freeman) - June 23, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Mandaue City Prosecutor’s Office has directed six people, including three journalists, to answer the libel complaint filed against them by Prosecutor Mary Ann Castro.

The directive was made through a subpoena issued to the respondents for them to file counter-affidavit.

The complaint stemmed from an article published by Cebu Daily News, which reported the declaration of the “nullity of marriage” between Castro and her  husband, Leodegreco “Greco” Sanchez, hinging on a resolution of a Muslim community leader in Cebu, Ustadz Najeeb Razul.

Copies of the resolution were distributed by Greco’s sister, Board Member Grecilda “Gigi” Sanchez to the media.

According to Razul, the couple never showed interest like any other Muslim community members and performed any Sallah (prayer) and program, thus, their marriage is only a “personal game.”

Castro claimed, however, that the report had put her in social humiliation, with the respondents allegedly conniving in putting her to public ridicule and contempt.

She contended that Razul cannot declare nullity of marriage since the authority to do so lies with the court, particularly the Shari’a court, since their marriage was solemnized in Muslim rites.

Impleaded in the complaint were the Sanchezes, Cebu Daily News editor-in-chief Edralyn Benedicto, reporters Ador Vincent Mayol and Victor Anthony Silva and Margarette Managaytay, a University of San Jose-Recoletos masscom intern.

Castro said Greco is also liable for claiming publicly that she is only after his properties co-owned by Gigi.

The complaint was first filed before the Office of the Talisay City Prosecutor last April 18. It was raffled to the Mandaue City Prosecutor’s Office after the respondents sought for inhibition of prosecutors in Talisay City, where Castro was also working.

Libel is a crime against honor and is punishable under the Revised Penal Code. It is committed by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, “or any similar means.”

In order for an act to be libelous, it must be defamatory, made publicly, malicious, and that the person defamed must be identifiable.

Explaining the existence of malice on the part of CDN, Castro said it is obvious since Lactopafi owned by the Sanchez family is an advertiser of the newspaper.

The Talisay City Prosecutor’s Office recently dismissed the first libel complaint filed by Castro against Gigi Sanchez for lack of basis. (FREEMAN)

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