Dioscoro B. Lazaro of Republic Daily

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal - The Freeman

Shortly after World War II (1947) Dioscoro B. Lazaro published a newspaper named "Republic Daily". It was a newspaper published in Cebu City with general circulation in the province of Cebu and other parts of the Philippines. Lazaro was its publisher and business manager.

It held office at the Republic Building on the corner of Colon and D. Jakosalem Streets, Cebu City. The workers of the newspaper among others were Ignacio Pogoy, linotypist, Ildefonso Guisadio, "minervista" (at that time the printing machine was made under the brand Minerva, thus operators were called as such), Filemon Perez, typesetter and Germel Papica, proofreader.

Lazaro was made defendant of a complaint filed by Atty. Miguel Cuenco, who became a lawyer on November 16, 1926 (the brother of Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco), the younger Cuenco also served for many years as member of the Philippine Legislature as Representative of the old 5th Congressional District of Cebu. The case was filed on November 15, 1958.

The cause of action for damages was an article printed in Issue No. 182, Volume X of "Republic Daily" on August 3, 1958. The news article said that Rep. Cuenco (referring to Atty. Miguel) was sued for fraud of illegal collections of the Bisaya Land Transporation Company Inc. of which the former was a director and vice president.

The co-defendants of publisher Lazaro were Dr. Manuel Cuenco (son of Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco), Jose P. Velez, Jesus P. Velez, Federico A. Reyes, and Atty. Nicolas Jumapao.

In the Court of First Instance, Branch 3 of Cebu City the case against the co-defendants of Lazaro was dismissed. Lazaro was ordered to pay Atty. Miguel Cuenco the amount of two thousand pesos for publishing the news article.

Atty. Miguel Cuenco not contended with the decision appealed the case directly to the Supreme Court.  The acting Clerk of Court of the Court of First Instance of Cebu forwarded the record of the case on September 14, 1968.

Lazaro's co-defendants, Dr. Manuel Cuenco and Jesus P. Velez were substituted as they already died and this was noted by the Court on October 16, 1974.

Lazaro aside from being publisher of "The Republic Daily" was also a director of the Bisaya Land Transportation Co. Inc. Lazaro's co-defendant, Atty. Nicholas Jumapao (his hometown was Liloan, Cebu and became a lawyer on May 16, 1950) was a special assistant and trusted lieutenant of Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco in the law office and who was also general manager of Bisaya Land Transportation Co. Inc.

The decision of the Court of First Instance that heard the case was made on August 12, 1967. The issue of the case was simply to determine whether the news articles and headlines in question were libelous? Were the articles privileged and Atty. Miguel Cuenco entitled to damages?

The Supreme Court on March 31, 1976 (almost two decades after the filing of the libel case) said the news article was a reproduction of the complaint filed by Bisaya Land Transporation Co. Inc. against Atty. Miguel Cuenco, and the article was made without remarks or comments and considered it a privilege. It was a fair and true report of a complaint filed in court. The decision of the Court of First Instance ordering Lazaro to pay the amount of two thousand pesos to Atty. Miguel Cuenco was reversed and cleared of any liability.

Atty. Antonio V. Cuenco, the son of Dr. Manuel Cuenco, who at that time of the filing of the complaint was not yet a lawyer (Antonio  became a lawyer on January 27, 1961), represented his father and Jose P. Velez when the case reached the Supreme Court.

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