By Joey A. Gabieta
The Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:41:00 06/12/2009
TACLOBAN CITY – A regional trial court in Biliran has ordered the arrest of Biliran Representative Glenn Chong on a libel complaint filed by his political rival, but immediately posted bail in Manila.
Chong, who is serving his first term in the province’s lone congressional district, posted bail at the sala of Presiding Judge Antonio Rosales of RTC Branch 52 in Manila on Wednesday afternoon after arriving from Malaysia.
Judge Bienvenido Montalla set a P10,000 bail for each of four counts of libel.
Montalla issued the arrest order on June 4 based on a resolution made by Romeo Senson, acting Biliran prosecutor, on the libel complaint filed by Biliran Governor Rogelio Espina.
Chong described the charges as “political harassment.”
“[But] I will face it like a true leader. I am a brave man. I [will] defend my honor and reputation,” he said on Wednesday night in a phone interview.
In his May 13 resolution, Senson found Espina’s complaint valid as the elements of libel were present – imputation of a discreditable act, its publication, the identity of the person defamed and malice.
According to Senson, Chong, in a radio program, accused Espina of having masterminded the ambush on his father Charles on June 7 on P. Inocentes Street, Barangay (village) P.I. Garcia, Naval, Biliran.
The attack resulted in the deaths of Alberto Parilla and Antonio Barcelo, who were identified as among the security escorts of Representative Chong.
“[The] respondent likewise imputed against the complainant’s family, specifically his brother and father, several crimes. These utterances in themselves are defamatory and tend to dishonor, malign and discredit the complainant and his family’s name, honor and reputation,” Senson said.
The alleged libelous statements were made by the congressman in his interviews on June 8, 9, 10 and 11 last year over Radyo ng Bayan.
On four occasions, Chong accused Espina, his father Gerardo and brother Rodolfo of being involved for the ambush.
Espina, who is on his third and final term as governor, is rumored to be running for the lone congressional seat next year.