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Bambee sued for libel over blog entry, says DAR chief

MANILA, Philippines - Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman Sr. on Friday said his son, Nasser Jr., has already filed a libel case against the daughter of Delfin de la Paz over her blog entry about the golf course brawl in Antipolo City last December 26. The DAR chief said his son, who is the mayor of Masiu, Lanao del Sur, filed Thursday the case against Bambina “Bambee" de la Paz. He said his son found the blog entry, which heavily criticized the Pangandamans, libelous. “May na-file nang kaso ng libel kahapon ang anak ko doon sa probinsya (Lano del Sur) against Bambee de la Paz (My son filed a libel case against Bambee de la Paz yesterday in our home province)," Pangandaman told GMANews.TV in a phone interview. Pangandaman said the one-sided accounts of the Valley golf incident in the news and on the Internet that favored the De la Paz family have already tarnished their reputation. He said the allegations hurled against them, especially those contained in Bambee’s blog, were only meant to discredit them. Bambee, 18, posted a detailed account of the melee on her blog Vicissitude, and comments against the Pangandamans flooded in. “Of course we were affected by the incident. Let’s face already happened. But (what they are doing) is a character assassination," Pangandaman said. The libel charge is the latest addition to a string of charges that the Pangandamans took against the De la Paz family in connection with the mauling incident last month. The earlier charges filed were grave threats and physical injuries. For their part, the De la Paz family has also lodged two counts of slight physical injuries and two counts of child abuse against the Pangandamans. GMANews.TV was unable to reach Bambee for comment Friday night. Pangandaman declined to recount to GMANews.TV his side of the story regarding the golf course spat, saying, “I don’t want to be cited for sub judice. I don't want to comment. I just want our lawyers to respond." Several days after the brawl, the Pangandamans and the De la Pazes were called for separate meetings by board members of the Valley Golf to get each camp’s side of the story. During the meeting, golf course officials asked both parties if they could make amends with each other. Pangandaman said: “I am open to reconciliation but we will not initiate it." Pangandaman insisted that they did not instigate the fight. He also denied reports claiming he sent an emissary to settle the matter with the De la Paz family. “I have no representative from my camp who approached the De la Paz family. I did not authorize anyone at wala kaming plan na ganun (and have no plans to do so)," the DAR chief said. He reiterated that his apology was meant, not for the De la Pazes, but for the Valley Golf management and the public, given that he is accountable for any public demeanor that he displays. Asked what his only fault could have been during the incident, Pangandaman said lightly, “My only fault was that I invited my sons to play golf. But it was the holidays. I just wanted to bond with them." - GMANews.TV