MANILA - Broadcaster Erwin Tulfo filed Monday a P12 million libel suit against the Philippine Daily Inquirer for publishing a story linking him to alleged media payoffs in 2009.
In his complaint affidavit, Tulfo filed a case against PDI editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, managing editor Jose Ma. Nolasco, news editor Artemio Engracia and news reporter Nancy Carvajal.
Tulfo's libel complaint stemmed from the alleged libelous and malicious article in PDI dated March 19, 2014, headlined "Payoffs to media bared."
The report quoted former National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) officials Rhodora Mendoza and Vic Cacal as saying that TV5 news anchor Erwin Tulfo and Radio DzBB broadcaster Melo del Prado received payoffs in the form of "advertising expenses" from the government agency in 2009.
Mendoza and Cacal said Tulfo received a check for P245,535 on March 10, 2009 drawn from a NABCOR account at United Coconut Planters’ Bank (UCPB), Tektite Branch PSE Center, Ortigas, Pasig City.
On the other hand, Del Prado, Carmelo del Prado Magdurulang in real life, received three checks totaling P245,535 on April 27, May 14, and July 6 in 2009, also drawn from the same UCPB account.
The checks were part of documents submitted by Mendoza and Cacal to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Cacal said apart from the vouchers justifying the processing of the payment, no other documents were provided to justify the expenses.
Tulfo said the article placed him in a bad light for being one of the alleged beneficiaries on the diversion of congressional allocations engaged in ghost projects of bogus foundations.
He said what he received was legitimate payment for advertising slots when he was still a radio commentator of RMN radio.
Lawyer Nelson Borja added that those payments were subject to taxes signed by Mendoza.
Tulfo said that he is willing to face any Senate inquiry or justice department investigation.