PCCI head in Marikina to sue city official, newspapers for libel

MANILA, Philippines—The head of the local business group who was among those charged by the Marikina City government for reportedly failing to pay around P14 million for the operation of a Christmas bazaar in 2012, is also filing charges—this time, against the head of a government unit and media organizations that reportedly maligned him.

In an interview in Marikina on Tuesday, Eduardo Francisco, who heads the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Marikina Chapter, said he has instructed his lawyer to file libel charges  this week against Paul Sison, the head of the City Public Information Office, whom he said leaked “libelous information” to media “with the intention of destroying his reputation.”

“The PIO is using the social media…If you look at the PIO website, even before the stories were published in the papers, (there was already a story there),” he said.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried to reach Sison for comment, but he has not responded to calls and messages so far.

Francisco added the same charges would be filed against Manila Bulletin and Remate, among several others, that reportedly did not “even bother to get his side” despite the fact that he was mentioned in their stories as one of the respondents to the civil case Mayor Del de Guzman on Saturday had ordered to be filed.

The P14-million suit, which was filed against PCCI key officials including Francisco on Monday, stems from the group’s reported failure to fully pay the local government P22 million, which represents the “contract price” agreed upon by both parties for the PCCI’s operation of a Christmas bazaar near the city hall in December.

Of the P22 million specified in the memorandum of agreement signed by both parties in October 2012, the PCCI has paid P7.2 million so far.

In the group’s defense, Francisco argued that it did not owe the local government any more money as he said the P16.2 million it had reportedly incurred as “losses” from the local government’s “failure to comply with its deliverables” under the MOA should be deducted from the total contract price.

He said the group had in fact paid the government “in excess.”

A check of the stories published online on June 2 showed reporters quoting De Guzman as saying that PCCI, “specifically” Francisco and PCCI executive director Leonardo Clarino, “would be held accountable for making a travesty of the public-private partnership intended by the project.”

“The fact that (those media organizations) didn’t get my side, it destroyed my integrity, my reputation as a businessman,” Francisco said.

He said the media organizations should have given him “the benefit” of answering the allegations, and not merely ran the “libelous information” that was leaked to them.

He said he has always been available to reporters trying to get the side of the PCCI local chapter on issues.]

He said the libel charges would be filed at the Marikina Regional Trial Court.

Source: PCCI head in Marikina to sue city official, newspapers for libel


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