Balitaan

ROOTCROP: Anatomy of the Libel Case against Outcrop

In Outcrop’s 50th year, we chronicle the dates and details of what was once again an assault to campus press freedom.

 

Here is the chronology of the libel case issue that the Outcrop is currently facing:

  1. August 23, 2011- A letter addressed to the current Outcrop Editor-in-chief, Jesusa Paquibot, was sent by a professor of the university. The letter was was also sent to the following: Chancellor Priscilla S. Macansantos; Dean Purificacion G. Delima; Professor Ruth M. Tindaan; Professor Victoria R. Costina; Professor Jimmy B. Fong; SC Chairperson, Brill Deg-ay Daupan and previous editor-in-chief John Levi Masuli. The letter expressed that the July 2011 Yupiang Yupi article violated the constitution of the student publication and was a personal attack to the professor.
  2. On September 8, 2011, the Editorial Board (EB) gave a reply to the Professor. Copies of the letter were also sent to the same people who were furnished with the professor’s letter. The EB expressed apology for any emotional distress that the lampoon article might have caused her. The EB also clarified that lampoon article was not meant to attack her personally and that the Outcrop, as a student publication, is with the professor in pursuit of responsible journalism. The Outcrop did not receive any response, thereafter.
  3. November 11, 2011- Upon arriving at her boarding house, Jesusa L. Paquibot was given a subpoena which required her to submit a counter-affidavit in defense of the complain that the professor filed at the City Prosecutor’s Office on August 25, 2011.
  4. November 25, 2011- With the assistance of Attorney Jose Molintas, the legal representative of Outcrop, Jesusa Paquibot filed the counter-affidavit wherein the letter from the professor and the letter of apology from the Outcrop, in response to this, were attached. 
  5. November 29, 2011- The City Prosecutor’s Office filed a resolution stating that the article was not libelous due to the lack of the element of specificity. The article, indeed, never defames anyone. Its nature is not in opposition of persons, but rather in the acts of persons. It does not identify anyone and definitely should not be a venue for any personal attack.
  6. On December 19, 2011- A motion for reconsideration was passed to the prosecutor’s office from the complainant’s side. The case was then considered libelous after a student and a professor from the CAC officially declared that they recognized the fictional character in the said Yupiang Yupi article to be professor. The Outcrop was not able to respond to this, however, given that it was Christmas break when most of the staffers came back to their homes.
  7. January 1, 2011, Jesusa Paquibot, upon arrival from her hometown, received a letter from the Municipal Trial Court stating that it “find(s) sufficient evidence to charge and prosecute the respondent for the crime of Libel”. The resolution was signed on November 24, 2011. After, the motion for reconsideration dated December 19, 2011 was also received by Paquibot.
  8. It contained the reason for the decision of the case to reconsider the dismissal of the cases; Some individuals identified the fictive character to be the professor. Thus, the prosecuting office deemed that Paquibot, “with deliberate, and malicious intent and evil motive of impeaching the character, integrity, virtue and reputation of the complainant and to subject her character and reputation to public contempt” committed the crime of libel.

 

The resolution, however, stated that the respondent (Paquibot) failed to submit a counter-affidavit, which is contrary to the account dated November 25, 2011.

 

On January 18, 2011, the filing of the warrant of arrest to detain Paquibot was made official in accordance to the Resolution of the Regional Trial Court after the motion for reconsideration was approved.

 

Yesterday, the Outcrop, with other organizations and individuals came to the Justice Hall to post a temporary bail to prevent the arrest of Outcrop’s current EIC. A total of Five Thousand Six Hundred was donated from groups, organizations, students, and individuals who are in support to the campaign against Campus Press Repressions and Violations to the Democratic Rights of student-journalists.

 

We are also taking this chance to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who extended help and will continue to be with the publication in its struggles.

 

 

DEFEND CAMPUS PRESS FREEDOM!

UPHOLD OUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS!

 

 

*The “Rootcrop” was originally the rebel issue of the Outcrop. Published during the Martial Law days, the Rootcrop, was part of the mosquito press, among a few others which continued to expose the dictatorship of the Marcos Regime and the consequences of tyranny.

During the 80’s the Rootcrop was accessed by the UP Baguio students via the library. Copies of which were inserted in some of the books at the library and was successfully circulated through this.

Most libel cases filed against Outcrop also dates back to this time, when Campus Press Freedom was largely violated by the government in its attempts to control the Filipino people, even if it meant repressive acts and countless human rights violations.

 

From UP Baguio Outcrop Facebook Page

About KALasag (Opisyal na Papel Pampahayag ng Kolehiyo ng Arte at Literatura, Unibersidad ng Pilipinas)

KALasag, ang Opisyal na Papel Pampahayagan ng Kolehiyo ng Arte at Literatura, Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. Ito ang magsisilbing pahayagan ng mga pananaw, usapin at paninindigan ng mga estudyante hinggil sa mga mahahalagang isyu. Ito rin ay magiging daan tungo sa pagbuo ng identidad ng kolehiyo at paghahanap ng lugar nito sa pamantasan at lipunan.

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