Nalzaro: Osmeña’s legal harassment continues

Bobby Nalzaro

ASIDE from the first four libel cases, two under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and another two in violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10175, Ramon Miguel Osmeña recently filed another four cyber libel cases against me. In fact, before I wrote this column yesterday afternoon, I just came from the City Prosecutor’s Office where I submitted my counter-affidavit.

In his complaints, Miguel, son of ‘has-been’ mayor Tomas Osmeña, claimed that I maligned him in my series of columns in Sun.Star Cebu when I linked him to the illegal butane canister business. He also claimed that his reputation was damaged when I commented in my column about his conflict with the original owner of Rico’s Lechon, which was ordered closed during the incumbency of his father. Osmeña and Rico’s Lechon were erstwhile business partners. For me, his allegations were all rehash, a repetition of the same allegations contained in his earlier libel cases filed against me last year.

Nothing is new in his allegations. Miguel is just rehashing and reviving some old issues just to have some basis to continually legally harassment me. He even touched on his mental capability, trying to make it appear that I am making fun of him and thrown personal issues against him. I never questioned his psychological immaturity. He is just making stories to gain public sympathy.

Miguel is the administrator of the social media account of his father. With his keyboard warriors, he is good at commenting and attacking the political opponents and critics of his father. But if somebody criticizes him, he is onion-skinned.

Maayo lang manaway pero kung mabaslan, masuko ug mangiha dayon.

The two cases in violation of Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code are pending before the sala of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 5 Presiding Judge Ricky Jones Macabaya. I posted bail when the court issued a warrant of arrest against me a month ago. I filed a petition for review before the Department of Justice and it is still pending. While the other two cyber libel cases are pending before the sala of RTC Branch 11 Presiding Judge Ramon Daomilas. I filed a motion to quash the information, citing double jeopardy.

The simultaneous filing of libel cases based on the Revised Penal Code and Cyber Libel Law is an ongoing legal debate. In fact, some legal luminaries questioned it before the Supreme Court as it is being used by complainants to legally harass respondents, especially if the “libelous” item or the questioned articles are coming from the same publication. My columns in Sun.Star are also published on its online edition. The complainant should choose only one libel case, either under RPC or the Cyber Libel Law, which carries a heavier and higher penalty.

Again, I filed a motion for inhibition against the entire Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office on the ground that the chief of office was a recommendee of Osmeña when he was still the mayor. Although Tomas is no longer the mayor, but he still holds some influence at the City Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutors are receiving monthly allowance from the City Government. The chief prosecutor has yet to decide on my motion. I don’t know what’s taking her too long to decide on my request.

Prior to this, Tomas also filed libel cases against me, but the Department of Justice dismissed the case. Not only that, RTC Presiding Judge Gilbert Moises dismissed the case based on merit. However, Tomas did not humbly accept his defeat. He wanted to re-instate the case by filing a certiorari before the Court of Appeals. If this is not harassment, I don’t know what this is? The father and son are determined to send me to jail. But I still have faith in our justice system and the truth will set me free.