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Libel cases filed by INC vs former ministers junked

The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office junked the five libel cases filed by powerful religious group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) against two of its former ministers and another ex-INC member due to insufficiency of evidence.

In a 12-page joint resolution, Assistant City Prosecutor Manuel Luis Felipe dismissed the libel cases against Isaias Samson Jr., former INC minister and ex-editor-in-chief of Pasugo, INC publication; Eliodoro Yuson Jr. and Rodel Rosal, former INC minister and member, respectively.

Also exonerated from the libel cases were Marc Jason Cayabyab, Abel Ulanday and John Nery, reporter, publisher and editor-in-chief, respectively, of Inquirer.net online news.

In the resolution, Felipe said that three elements of libel – persons defamed were identifiable, the defamatory remarks were made public and the remarks were defamatory – were present in the complaints filed, but the other element – malice – was not present.

“The subject TV/radio interviews and news articles are clearly defamatory. There is no question that the subject interviews and news articles were made by respondents Samson, Yuson and Rosal and complainant Santos was identified by name in the TV interview and news articles. But the weakness in the complainant’s cases lies in the second element -which is malice. The burden is on the side of the respondent to show good intention and justifiable motive in order to overcome the legal inference of malice,” Felipe said in his resolution.