Cebu News

Radioman faces libel over ‘drug lord’ tag

Gregg M. Rubio - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The president of the Korean Association of Cebu and husband of Cordova Mayor Mary Therese “Teche” Sitoy-Cho has filed nine counts of libel against broadcaster Rey Cortes for accusing him of being a “drug lord” over radio station DYRC.

Bong Hwan Cho, also known as Charlie Cho, also included in his complaint DYRC assistant manager Ramil Paican, who handles the management of the radio station while the manager is based in Manila.

Cho claimed that he was accused by Cortes of being “responsible for the spread and/or distribution and/or proliferation of illegal drugs, shabu, in Cordova, Cebu.”

“That I vehemently deny the accusation considering my status as President of the Korean Association of Cebu and as law-abiding citizen and as consultant to the National Unification Advisory Council,” said Cho in his affidavit.

Cho was assisted by his lawyer and father-in-law, Vice Mayor Adelino Sitoy.

He filed the first four counts on July 12 covering the July 5 to 8 broadcast of Cortes while the other five counts covering the July 11 to 15 broadcast was filed on July 19 before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.

Cortes welcomed the filing of the complaints so that he can answer it in the proper forum. He confirmed having received a copy of the first four counts of the complaint Monday and none yet for the other five counts.

Cortes said there were rumors during the election period about the alleged involvement of Cho in the illegal drug trade in Cordova, prompting him to reopen the issue now that the latter is the town’s “first gentleman.”

“Ato gipangutana unsa may kalabutan aning atong first gentleman sa Cordova, wa ba kahay posibilidad nga siyay nagprotehir niining maong mga drug pushers ug illegal drug trade kay minus man kayo ang operation sa polis. Angay ba gyud na ikasuko, nangutana ra man ta isip magbubuhis, mismo taga Cordova nipadangat sa ilang pagduda, kita isip tulay sa mga tawo, ato gipadangat ang maong isyu,” Cortes said.

In his affidavit, Cordova police chief Inspector Fermin Donque Jr. said the town police in coordination with the mayor and vice mayor are active in implementing the directive for Operation “Tokhang” resulting in the surrender of 359 individuals involved in illegal drug activities and the arrest of four drug pushers following the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“That also contrary to the allegations in the broadcast, Mr. Hwan Cho (also known as Charlie Cho) is not reported to have any linkages to any illegal drugs activity in Cordova,” Donque said.

Samuel Sumagang, president of the town’s Association of Barangay Councils, also executed affidavit saying the accusation of Cortes virtually calling Cho as drug lord is unfair, unfounded and ill-motivated.

Sumagang said he has not heard of any mention of the name of Cho in any barangay on any illegal drugs activity.

A certain Tito Ilagan of Tipolo, Mandue City and Cris Abilay of Busay, Cebu City also executed affidavits having heard the commentary of Cortes.

Councilor Teodorico Casquejo Jr. in his affidavit said that sometime in June, he received a text message from Cortes requesting him to ask from spouses Cho for P5,000 per month to support his radio program starting July.

Casquejo said the request was turned down saying the couple could not afford to give such amount to Cortes.

“That the next time I know was that Mr. Cortes was already attacking Mr. Charlie Cho in his radio program at station DYRC,” Casquejo added. (FREEMAN)

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