MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Radio DzBB broadcaster Melo del Prado on Tuesday filed a libel complaint against staff members of the Philippine Daily Inquirer over a report claiming he received a payoff.
An Inquirer report earlier 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.
Del Prado filed the complaint against the following people:
Raul Pangalangan, publisher
Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, editor-in-chief
Jose Ma. Nolasco, managing editor
Abelardo Ulanday, associate editor of Inqirer.net
Artemio Engrcia Jr., news editor
Nancy Carvajal, reporter
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, for its part, refused to comment on the libel complaint for now.
"We have not formally received a copy of the complaint as of this time and as such, we are unable to comment on this matter," the Inquirer said.
Mendoza and Cacal were also named respondents in the libel suit that del Prado filed at the Quezon City Hall of Justice.
Mendoza and Cacal earlier 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 allegedly 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.
The payoffs were allegedly sourced from pork barrel funds coursed through NABCOR, an agency under the Department of Agriculture (DA).
In a subsequent interview, however, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed that Tulfo and del Prado were not named in the sworn statements submitted to the Office of Ombudsman by Mendoza and Cacal.
Tulfo has already filed a P12 million libel suit against PDI. GMA Network, which runs Radio dzBB, has also cleared del Prado of the allegations. – with a report from Johnson Manabat, dzMM