MANILA - (2nd UPDATE) Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has filed a libel complaint against Manila’s special envoy to Beijing, Ramon Tulfo over the latter’s supposed “malicious” article in The Manila Times.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told ABS-CBN News Friday that Medialdea filed the complaint at the Office of the City Prosecutor in Manila about 3 weeks ago.
The complaint stems from Tulfo’s May 28 column piece, titled “The law of karma and Trillanes” which alleged that Medialdea has an “unholy” alliance with Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board member Sandra Cam.
Medialdea, in his complaint, explained that he and Cam only know each other by name and face.
“Clearly, it appears that it is beyond him to write about the truth and deliberately chose to malign my name and reputation,” he said.
Medialdea, in a phone interview also noted that he will file another libel case against Tulfo over another column piece, published July 25.
In the “Self-purgation should start with the Cabinet” article, Tulfo accused the executive secretary of withholding a cash reward for a government informant.
The executive secretary, however, refuted Tulfo’s allegations, saying the supposed cash reward had been denied by the Department of Finance but the informant appealed the denial and it is this appeal that had been lodged before his office on July 3, 2019.
A day after Tulfo’s column piece was published, Medialdea, in a July 26 statement he sent to The Manila Times for publication, warned people to be "circumspect" in dealing with the ambassador.
"I cannot overemphasize the importance of discernment and to take things coming from Tulfo with a grain, if not a kilo, of salt," Medialdea said in his statement.
Sought for comment, Tulfo said the libel complaint against him is a form of harassment and noted that he has documents to support his allegations.
“Parang harassment iyan eh, kasi parang pagpipigil iyan sa karapatan ko bilang isang mamamahayag,” he said Friday.
(That’s like harassment. That’s one way of restraining my rights as a media practitioner.)
Insisting that his article is a “fair commentary,” Tulfo said Medialdea shouldn’t be too sensitive on issues.
“Si Ginoong Medialdea ay isang government official. Dapat siya ay hindi onion-skinned o balat sibuyas,” he said.
(Mr. Medialdea is a government official and he shouldn’t be onion-skinned.)
Tulfo added that he would welcome more libel complaints from Medialdea.
-with a report from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News