Singer Eva delos Santos charged with libel
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - May 23, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office has indicted a Cebuana singer for allegedly calling the chief executive officer of Pinoy Care Visa Center, Inc. (PCVCI) and Barangay captain of Mabolo Prisca Niña Mabatid demeaning labels.

Mabatid, who is a councilor-elect of Cebu City north, sued Eva delos Santos for a violation of Republic Act 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act before the Prosecutor’s Office.

“In this case, all the foregoing elements of libel are present. The imputations made by respondent made in the WhatsApp chat conversation on 6 April 2018 and sometime thereafter referring complainant as crazy CEO, bitch, her head is screwed up…are clearly defamatory in nature,” Prosecutor II Misty Leah Escolar-Hupp ruled.

Mabatid, in her complaint, alleged Delos Santos and her husband used to work as speakers of PCVCI for Dubai and other Middle Eastern countries.

Later, she allegedly learned that Delos Santos “bad-mouthed and spread malicious things” about her in her communication with Rosby Seleem.

Delos Santos, in her counter-affidavit, stated that she and her husband were illegally dismissed by PCVCI. The labor arbiter favored them in their ruling.

She alleged that in retaliation, Mabatid filed a damage suit against her and her husband which is pending before a Cebu City court.

Delos Santos questioned the execution and authenticity of the affidavit of Seleem who is said to be residing in the Middle East. Also, she alleged the screenshot copies of the chat conversation were inadmissible as evidence pursuant to the electronic evidence rule.

In addition, she said that there was no publication because what transpired between herself and Seleem was a private conversation.

Escolar-Hupp ruled in favor of Mabatid.  She said Delos Santos’ claimed that her chat conversation with Seleem was a private communication is a possible defense against the element of malice.

Also, the admissibility of the offered evidence is best to be addressed by the court.

“Respondent’s objection as to the lack of proper authentication of the screenshot copies of the subject chat conversation does not negate the presence of probable cause. The question on the admissibility of offered evidence is a matter that is best resolved by the court after a full-blown trial,” stated the resolution.

Delos Santos filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied for lack of merit.  —  MBG (FREEMAN)

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