Nalzaro indicted for cyberlibel
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - September 25, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office has indicted veteran journalist Pablito “Bobby” Nalzaro for two counts of cyberlibel and is required to pay P80,000 bail for his temporary liberty.

Prosecutor 1 Russell Busico, in a resolution dated December 16, 2019, has found probable cause and recommended filing two counts of cyberlibel against Nalzaro before the Regional Trial Court.

Nalzaro said he will post bail today to avoid arrest.

The indictment came as local journalists celebrate the 28th Cebu Press Freedom Week.

The charges stemmed from the complaint filed by Ramon Miguel Osmeña, son of former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, over his alleged libelous columns in SunStar that were also posted online on October 10, 2018 and October 14, 2018.

A separate libel case was also filed against Nalzaro for the print version wherein he is currently out on bail.

Miguel said Nalzaro maligned him in public by implicating him in the illegal butane refilling business.

In his October 10, 2018 column entitled “Where is the mayor?”,  Nalzaro commented on the alleged involvement of the complainant in the butane refilling business.

Nalzaro denied his comments were libelous and insisted that those remarks were based on information from reliable sources who could confirm the complainant’s involvement.

The veteran tri-media personality said he was merely making a remark concerning a public incident.

As for his October 14, 2018 column entitled “#libelpamore”, Nalzaro said that he made those remarks on a matter of public concern and interest.

Nalzaro invoked the Borjal versus Court of Appeals wherein the court ruled that “fair commentaries on matters of public interest are privilege and constitute a valid defense in an action for libel or slander.”

The investigating prosecutor said that Nalzaro’s defenses “are justifying circumstances that are best threshed out and invoked in a full-blown trial on the merits.”

The resolution states that the task of the prosecutor’s office is only to determine the existence of probable cause.

“…there is no doubt that a libel is committed and that the respondent by making the publication intends to malign the complainant’s reputation, dignity and honor and subject the complainant to public ridicule,” the resolution reads. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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