A former town mayor and his son have filed a libel complaint against a popular radio personality in the province whose commentaries on alleged treasure hunting expedition have allegedly exposed the complainants “to shame, public ridicule, public contempt and public hatred.”
Radio broadcaster Nestor Daarol, widely known for his hard-hitting commentaries, is slapped with charges for online libel for his alleged “malicious” commentaries on the reported “treasure hunting” at the centuries-old Alburquerque town church.
In a supplemental complaint affidavit filed at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor on Tuesday, former Alburquerque mayor Efren Tungol and his son, incumbent Mayor Elpren Charles Tungol, accused Daarol of airing “hurtful commentaries against [them]” while maliciously accusing them of authorizing an illegal digging and treasure hunting at the Sta. Monica Parish Church in his radio program “Silab sa UdtongTutok” aired over Station dyRD.
Daarol, who was contacted by The Bohol Tribune yesterday, said that he has not received any court document containing a libel suit filed against him.
Pressed to comment on the complaint, Daarol said the charge could be an attempt to suppress press freedom and freedom of expression on matters of public interest.
It may be recalled that the Tungols filed on September 28, 2016 an online libel complaint against a reporter and two editors of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) for publishing a story linking them to the rumored “gold-digging” at the Alburquerque church complex.
The supplemental complaint filed by the Tungols impleaded Daarol for the crime of libel as punished under paragraph (c)(4), Section 4 of Republic Act 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, in relation to Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code.
The original complaint charged Edgar Allan Sembrano, a contributor of PDI, and his two editors, Thelma San Juan and Abelardo Ulanday, in connection with an article published through inquirer.net entitled, “Bohol church cries foul over US treasure hunting in Alburquerque town.”
The said PDI article accused the Tungols of “contracting and authorizing an American engineering firm which have dug 1,000 kilograms of gold bullions” which was allegedly discovered by a “village idiot at the church complex.”
In their supplemental complaint, the Tungols said that on September 19, 2016, as Daarol read the PDI article on his radio program, he made libelous remarks against them.
The Tungols said in their supplemental complaint that Daarol’s commentaries “were calculated to instill in the minds of the listeners that [they] are behind an illegal digging and treasure hunting at the town church.
“Daarol’s commentaries against us [were] purposely done to malign, dishonor, discredit, insult and assassinate our character and good reputation.”
According to the complainants, Daarol repeated his “attacks” against them during the September 20 and 27 broadcasts of Silab which further put “[them] to shame, public ridicule, public contempt and public hatred.”
The broadcasts were allegedly monitored by the Tungols and their relatives through the internet, via the online audio streaming of www.dyrdam.com, the website of Station dyRD.
The Tungols claimed that many of their relatives in the United States and Canada were able to hear the webcast of Daarol and even accessed the “archived recordings” of said webcasts on www.dyrdam.com, which became their basis in including Daarol in the online libel complaint.
Under the Cybercrime Prevention Law (RA 10175), the crime of libel is punished when the offending party uses the internet or a computer system as medium in making public libelous remarks or publishing malicious articles.
In their supplemental complaint, the Tungols said that Daarol never even attempted to contact them to get their side, “Daarol never bothered to check the facts and verify it with reliable sources.”
“Daarol clearly wanted to agitate his listeners and apparently wanting to raise a public outcry through the said broadcast by saying that bullions of gold, weighing 1,000 kilograms, had been found by the US-firm that we contracted,” the complainants said adding that Daarol’s commentaries were “clearly calculated to induce the listeners to believe and presume that we are the masterminds of the greatest gold loot and that we “desecrate the church.”