Mayor sues councilor for libel

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Mayor sues councilor for libel

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A criminal complaint for defamation spawned by an alleged derogatory post on social media was filed by Jagna Mayor Fortunato Abrenilla against municipal councilor Anthony “Tonton” Aniscal before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.

The complaint for libel was filed by Abrenilla more than a month after the May 9, 2016 elections after a post allegedly appeared in the Facebook account of Aniscal stating “A lazy and drunkard mayor have been re-elected. I pity my hometown . .”.

Abrenilla claimed that Aniscal posted the statement on his Facebook account on May 10, 2016, a day after the election was over therefore such statements cannot be considered part of the election exercise.

However, Aniscal in an interview with the Bohol Chronicle said “the issue behind the case falls under the election season which according to the Comelec covers the period January 8, 2016 to June 10, 2016”.

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Aniscal argued that “whatever is said and done during those times fall within the election season. He should have known that being a lawyer”.

Aniscal further clarified that “everything was part of the elections. The mayor should realize that”.

“I was criticizing him not as the head of a family but as a town mayor”, stressed Aniscal.

Abrenilla, who is now on his third and last term as mayor of Jagna won over Joseph Ranola while Aniscal took the 6th spot among 18 candidates who vied for 8 slots in the Sangguniang Bayan of Jagna. Aniscal ran under the party of Ranola.

According to Abrenilla’s affidavit, the “malicious” posted statement of Aniscal portraying him as a “lazy and drunkard mayor” had caused him and his family dishonor, discredit or contempt before the bar of public opinion.

The statement “lazy and drunkard mayor” is a product of pure malice on the part of Aniscal and is bereft of any factual basis with the sole intention to put him and my family in disrepute, dishonor and discredit, according to Abrenilla.

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A witness, Cecil Galve who read a “screen shot” of the statement taken from the Facebook account of Aniscal, executed an affidavit claiming that the posted statement was motivated by Aniscal’s despair over the loss of his mayoralty candidate Ranola.

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The criminal complaint was filed on June 22, 2016 for Libel under RA 10175 known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. (Chito M. Visarra)

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