Pangandaman files libel raps vs De la Paz over blog

The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 10 2009 03:20 AM | Updated as of Jan 10 2009 11:20 AM

A son of Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman has charged with libel before the Lanao del Sur Prosecutor’s Office the 18-year-old antagonist in the squabble over a mauling incident at an Antipolo golf club.

Lawyer Ted Pastrana said the case was filed in Lanao del Sur because his client, Nasser Pangandaman, 27, is a resident and mayor of Masiu town in that province, where his reputation is at stake.

“Besides, Mayor Pangandaman is not known in Metro Manila despite the fact that he’s a son of a Cabinet secretary,” he said.

Pastrana said Marie Dhel “Bambee” de la Paz, 18, was sued for libel for the defamatory and malicious articles which she had written in her blog in the Internet.

The blog’s contents had triggered angry responses against the Pangandamans from bloggers nationwide, he added.

Mayor Pangandaman is not seeking any compensation from Bambee because the case is criminal in nature, Pastrana said.

However, Raymond Fortun, counsel for the De la Paz family, belittled the filing of the libel suit against Bambee.

“It’s not a big deal,” he said.

“It’s not an unexpected move by the Pangandamans because they have been threatening to file such case two days after the mauling incident.”

Fortun said being public officials, the Pangandamans are vulnerable to criticism.

After weighing the evidence, the court would eventually dismiss the libel charges, he added.

However, Pastrana said if the De la Pazes are sincere in settling the case, they should shut down Bambee’s blog as a sign of goodwill.

After shutting down Bambee’s blog, the two camps could start negotiation for an amicable settlement, he added.

On the other hand, Fortun said negotiations are going on for an amicable settlement, with three prominent personalities from the administration talking with his client.

“We deferred the filing of criminal cases before the (Office of the) Ombudsman because I advised my client to concentrate first on the ongoing negotiation for an amicable settlement,” he said.

“Anyway, what’s the use of filing additional charges when we have to dismiss them later when both camps arrive at an agreement.”

Last Monday, Bambee’s father Delfin and her brother Bino Lorenzo, 14, filed two counts of slight physical injuries and three counts of child abuse charges against Mayor Pangandaman and his brother Muhammed Hussein before the Antipolo Prosecutor’s Office.

Two hours later, the Pangandaman brothers appeared at the same prosecutor’s office to file physical injuries charges against the De la Pazes.

They also filed grave coercion and light threats charges against Delfin, Bino, Bambee, and Bruce who arrived in the Valley Golf and Country Club in Antipolo armed with a baseball bat and Mrs. Maridel de la Paz who was armed with a bladed weapon.

Fortun deferred Wednesday the filing before the Ombudsman of additional charges against the Pangandamans to pave the way for an out- of-court settlement.

The squabble between the Pangandamans and De la Pazes occurred at the Valley Golf and Country Club in Antipolo last Dec. 26.           – Non Alquitran