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Caloocan prosecutor dismisses criminal complaints against GMA Network personalities

July 20, 2012 7:17pm

The criminal complaints against three GMA Network personalities over an Imbestigador episode that aired on January 29, 2011 was dismissed by the Caloocan City Prosecutor due to insufficiency of evidence.
GMA Network chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon, news anchor Mike Enrique, and Imbestigador Segment Producer John Cabaluna were accused of kidnapping, libel, physical injury, frustrated homicide, robbery, obstruction of justice, illegal arrest, abuse of authority, trespassing, fraud, perjury, and estafa by Daniel Orijuela, who was caught in the illegal practice of medicine during an entrapment operation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Orijuela was caught selling an "antibody treatment" machine to Francisco Elmaga Sr., who had stage IV prostate cancer. Orijuela claimed that the machine would kill pain and improve body condition, but did not guarantee cure. He negotiated the two-month use of the machine, inclusive of food supplements, for P100,000, and later renegotiated for P50,000.
The raid was subsequently aired on Imbestigador.
In his defense, Gozon, a lawyer,  argued that Imbestigador did not commit libel because what aired was a fair and true report of Orijuela’s conduct and activities, which are matters of public concern. He said Orijuela’s detention was a result of valid and lawful arrest.
Imbestigador host and news anchor Mike Enriquez said that he had justifiable motives and good intent in reading the report, that what aired was straight, fair, and true reporting of verified facts, and that Orijuela himself did not contest the veracity of the segment.
Segment Producer John Cabaluna said there was no libel because the show made a thorough investigation of Orijuela’s activities prior to airing.
In a five-page resolution, Caloocan City Prosecutor Albert Cansino said there was insufficient evidence for libel because Orijuela failed to present a witness who saw or heard the alleged defamatory statements against his person. He said “the communication of libelous matter to the person defamed does not amount to publication, for that cannot injure his reputation.”
Cansino also said that the prosecutor’s office had no jurisdiction over alleged violations of the rules of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
Cansino said that because Orijuela was caught in the act of illegal practice of medicine, he could be lawfully arrested even without warrant under Rule 115 of the Rules of Court.
Likewise, he said that seizure and confiscation of things from Orijuela’s office was not robbery, but was a matter of standard pursuant to his arrest. — AE/VS, GMA News
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