THE POLITICAL cauldron in the interior municipality of Carmen is heating up and likely to scald innocent bystanders.
The filing of a Libel case before the Office of the Provincial Prosecution caps the protracted exchange of verbal hostilities on air between the camps of Mayor Manuel “Boy” Molina and that of Conchita “Cheche” Toribio De Los Reyes.
Veteran broadcast practitioner Rosendo Guingguing told this writer that he received a subpoena signed by 3rd Asst. Provincial Prosecutor Tito O. Apura directing him to submit his counter-affidavit and affidavits of his witnesses.
He said the preliminary hearing is set on March 16, 2010 in the afternoon.
The other respondents include Arlene Painagan Palgan, a resident of Poblacion; Obet de la Torre, resident of barangay Villafuerte, Carmen; Poly Ocsin of Dagohoy, Bohol and Medes Mejos, a resident of Bicao, Carmen.
Guingguing, de la Torre, Ocsin and Mejos are all radio announcers of Carmen-based 103.9 DYDL-FM owned by lawyer Dionisio Balite of the BIT International College chains of schools.
Palgan is a close relative of complainant Lakas Party Conchita “Che” Toribio de los Reyes and wife of incumbent councilor Dindo Palgan who is allied with Molina of the Nacionalista Party.
In an interview, Guingguing said that he would face this case and expressed confidence the case would ultimately be dismissed for lack of substance to stand trial in court.
De los Reyes said in her complaint that “Right after I filed my candidacy for mayor, many residents of Carmen told me that Arlene Painagan Palgan is very angry with me because I allied with her mortal enemy Pedro Budiongan” who is her running-mate.
In a separate sworn statement, a certain Bernie C. Garma of Bicao, Carmen, accused the radio announcers-respondents of the program “Tin-aw Nga Kasayuran” over DYDL of “black propaganda” for discussing repeatedly the alleged crimes committed by De los Reyes. This made De los Reyes a laughing stock and people are “making negative comments” her.
The repetition of alleged crimes of De los Reyes was heard by Garma from January 22, 2010 to January 13, 2010.
Budiongan also executed a sworn statement in support of De Los Reyes.
Palgan told the TIMES yesterday afternoon that the Libel suit is baseless and plain harassment and intended only to silence those who want to present the truth to the Carmenanons.
She said that all her utterances were not malicious. Neither were they intended to cause dishonor or discredit the complainant.
Palgan expressed confidence that the case will be dismissed because she has the necessary recordings that can prove total absence of malice.
She also stressed that her discussions with Guingguing were all based on documents and records of actual cases like the disqualification and estafa cases against Cheche Toribio-De Los Reyes and therefore, privileged communications.
As a law student, I know that truth is the best defense in Libel, Palgan concluded. (with reports from RVO)