MANILA (UPDATE) - Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea filed Tuesday a series of libel complaints against Manila’s special envoy to Beijing Ramon Tulfo over the latter’s corruption allegations against the government administrator.
Medialdea confirmed that he filed 2 counts of libel and 2 counts of cyber-libel against Tulfo at the Office of the City Prosecutor in Manila over 2 column pieces published at The Manila Times.
Lawyer Elvis Balayan, counsel for Medialdea said the complaints stem from Tulfo’s July 20 column piece “There goes Cayetano as House speaker; also Medialdea,” and July 23 piece titled “You will have your karma, Bingbong Medialdea.”
On June 17, Medialdea also filed a libel complaint against Tulfo over the broadcaster’s May 28 column piece, which alleged that Medialdea has an “unholy” alliance with Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board member Sandra Cam.
In his new complaint, Medialdea claimed that Tulfo is "clearly on a sinister mission," alleging that the special envoy wrote the column pieces with "reckless disregard" on whether the issues discussed are true or not.
"Tulfo's unfounded, baseless and malicious allegations gravely injured my reputation, diminished the esteem, confidence, and respect of the public for me and my Office, and incited derogatory opinions about me and the Office I hold," Medialdea said in his complaint.
The July 20 column of Tulfo alleged that the executive secretary issued a memorandum circular to "support a private entity", or the Philippine Southeast Asian Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) which used to be headed by House Speaker Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano despite its supposed "questionable multi-million-peso program."
In his follow-up column published on July 23, Tulfo meanwhile accused Medialdea of "using the power of your office to harass journalists who are doing their job of exposing the ills of society and government."
Medialdea denied the allegations in both articles as “false and baseless” and demanded P80 million in moral damages and P60 million in exemplary damages.
“I take my duties as the Executive Secretary of the Republic of the Philippines very seriously. I am not remiss in the performance of my duties,” Medialdea said in his complaint.
Medialdea on Tuesday said he would leave the handling of his libel complaints against Tulfo to his lawyer.
“I have decided to keep away from my cases vs R. Tulfo as I have so many other things to attend to. Sayang naman ang binabayad sa akin ng gobyerno kung pagaaksayahan ko siya ng panahon,” he said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.
(The people’s money is wasted on me if I devote time to Mr. Tulfo.)
Tulfo last week said he has documents to back his allegations in his column piece. He said his article is "fair commentary," adding that Medialdea should not 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.)
Balayan said Medialdea would file more libel complaints against Tulfo in the coming days over 2 more column pieces.
These are Tulfo’s July 25 column piece titled “Self-purgation should start with the Cabinet,” where he accused the executive secretary of withholding a cash reward for a government informant; and the August 1 piece titled “What’s so special about Bingbong compared with Wanda?” where he accuses Medialdea of making inconsistent claims.
Tulfo said he would welcome more libel complaints from Medialdea.
Malacañang has refused to take sides in the feud between Medialdea and Tulfo, saying it is a “personal” matter between the 2 officials.