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Police scalawag loses bid for P5M damages over Imbestigador’s extortion exposé: CA

CA junks scalawag cop’s bid for P5M damages over Imbestigador’s extortion exposé

The Court of Appeals (CA) has denied the petition of a policeman seeking P5.1 million in damages from GMA Network, Inc., over the airing by program “Imbestigador” of a sting in which he was arrested for extortion in 2008.

In a recent 25-page decision, the CA Special 13th Division affirmed the March 21, 2019 ruling of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 91 that dismissed the complaint of Police Chief Inspector (PCI) Arwen Nacional.
Cleared of civil liability alongside the network were “Imbestigador” host Mike Enriquez, executive producer Junie Castillo III and producer Jayson Santos.

Nacional was apprehended by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives in Makati City on August 29, 2008, after “Imbestigador” brought the complaint of several women suspected of having a pot session.

He and eight other policemen allegedly demanded P150,000 from the families of the suspects in exchange for their release.

Because the trial court denied Nacional’s plea for a temporary restraining order (TRO), GMA aired the “Imbestigador” episode on September 6, 2008.

The CA held that the “Imbestigador” episode was “not libelous since it falls within the coverage of qualifiedly privileged communications for being a fair and true report, made in good faith, of the circumstances leading to the entrapment of plaintiff-appellant, a public officer, and for being commentaries on matters of public interest.”

It stressed that Nacional’s status as a public officer meant the episode dealt with matters about which the public has the right to be informed.

“The airing of the subject Imbestigador episode was made in the exercise of the freedom of the press with the ultimate goal of exposing the alleged corruption and vilified acts committed by public officials,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Rafael Antonio Santos.

Nacional felt alluded to by Enriquez’s remark: “Mga Kapuso, buti pa ang buwaya oras na makakain, busog na, pero ang buwaya in uniform, walang pagka wala ang gutom, ang solusyon entrapment na.”

However, the CA said this would not show that the episode was made with actual malice. It said the statement was “a fair remark directed to the corrupt officials in the government and made no reference to plaintiff-appellant or imputed to him any defamatory allegation.”

The court stressed that for an imputation against a public officer may be actionable, “it must either be a false allegation of fact or a comment based on a false supposition.” This Nacional failed to prove.

Police scalawag loses bid for P5M damages over Imbestigador’s extortion exposé: CA Police scalawag loses bid for P5M damages over Imbestigador’s extortion exposé: CA Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 1:24:00 AM Rating: 5

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