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Prosecutors okay libel case against developer’s FB critics

THE City Prosecutor’s Office has approved the filing of a libel case against a lawyer and a woman over their Facebook posts about a real estate developer behind the Primavera Residences here.

In an eight-page resolution on Aug. 22, 2018, a copy of which this paper secured on Tuesday, the prosecution office approved the filing of one count of libel against Marie Cristy Lugtu and two counts of libel against lawyer Gael Paderanga, both Primavera condominium residents in Upper Carmen, this city.

The resolution was signed by prosecutors Charisse Galarrita-Bito-on, Ruby Teleron-Malanog and Rhandy Ilisan.

Prosecutors recommended an P18-thousand bailbond for Lugtu and P36 thousand for Paderanga.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Clara Marie Asuncion Elizaga, a representative sa Italpinas Development Corp, for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. She alleged that Lugtu and Paderanga separately posted libelous statements on Facebook in September 2017.

In her complaint, she alleged that Lugtu launched a smear campaign against the developer after she (Lugtu) was disqualified from seeking a seat in condominium corporation. As for Paderanga, the complainant stated that he became vocal when three members of the board started asking for financial reports, including ledgers, cash vouchers and receipts, for the year 2016.

Elizaga alleged that it was made to appear in the Facebook posts that the Italpinas Development Corp. had the worst condominium project.

In her defense, Lugtu said anyone could have authored the Facebook posts while Paderanga maintained that there was no libel in his social media posts, including the use of the word “swindler,” as alleged by Elizaga.

Prosecutors however stated that there was “probable cause,” hence, the resolution to file the case against Lugtu and Paderanga. (Nitz Arancon)


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