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DOJ Denies ABS-CBN’s Motion to Dismiss the Filing of a Criminal Complaint for Libel Against Its Executives and Talents (UPDATED)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently ordered the City Prosecutor of Quezon City to file libel charges against ABS-CBN for malicious imputations aired over its broadcast platforms in relation to the alleged “stolen” footage by broadcast giant GMA Network.


The case is in relation to the alleged unauthorized airing of Iraqi captive Angelo Dela Cruz’s arrival footage taken at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport over GMA’s newscast in July 2004.

ABS-CBN claimed over its newscasts that GMA “stole” and aired its live feed, which was actually taken from the Reuters Television Service (Reuters), where GMA had a video subscription contract.

Among those implicated in the crime of libel are ABS-CBN executives and talents, namely, Erwin Tulfo, Beth Frondoso, Lynda Jumilla, Ma. Progena Estonilo Reyes, Annie Eugenio, Dondi Garcia, Eugenio Lopez III, Luis Alejandro, Jose Ramon Olives, Jesus Maderazo, Luisita Cruz-Valdez, Jose Magsaysay, Jr., and Alfonso Marquez.

In her four-page resolution promulgated on December 14, 2011, DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima said, “The malicious imputation was evident from the use of the words ‘magnanakaw ng aming eksklusibong kuha,’ ‘pamimirata ng footage,’ ‘pagnanakaw ay isang malaking krimen,’ and ‘pagnanakaw ng video’ uttered by [ABS-CBN respondents].” These were aimed at casting discredit or dishonor to GMA on live nationwide broadcast.

Further, De Lima said that GMA proved that all the elements of libel, namely, defamatory imputation, malice, publication, and identifiability of the person defamed were present in the utterances and statements made in the ABS-CBN news reports about GMA’s use of Dela Cruz’s arrival footage.

GMA earlier petitioned with the Supreme Court its P100-million civil damages case for libel lodged against ABS-CBN for the aforementioned defamatory statements.

On November 9, 2010, the Court of Appeals released a Decision that junked ABS-CBN’s motion to file copyright infringement charges against GMA on grounds that the airing of Dela Cruz’s homecoming [by GMA] was done in good faith and cannot be regarded as infringement of copyrights.

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN’s Corporate Communications Department sent a text message to Starmometer in response to the above press release by GMA-7.

Here is the official statement of ABS-CBN:

“We disagree with the ruling and we shall appeal it to the Court of Appeals.”

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