Mangudadatu files defamation case vs ‘scheming whistleblower’ PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 May 2015 08:39

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu on Friday filed a defamation case against someone he calls a “scheming whistleblower” who accused him of maligning state prosecutors handling the “Maguindanao Massacre” case.

The case against Jerramy Joson was filed at the Regional Trial Court Branch 15 in Cotabato City by Mangudadatu’s counsel, Israelito Torreon.

The legal suit, endorsed to the court by Torreon at 1:45 p.m. Friday, was logged as Civil Case No. SL-84.

Mangudadatu had also lodged a separate libel complaint, in criminal nature, against Joson, docketed as NPS Docket No. XIV-05-INV-15E-01669, at the Maguindanao Prosecutor’s Office in Cotabato City.

Mangudadatu pleaded for a P10 million payment for damages caused by Joson’s stories spread recently via different media outfits purporting that she was enlisted by the governor to malign certain officials of the Department of Justice by announcing they received bribes from the Ampatuans based on a confidential record of cash payments obtained from someone close to the massacre suspects.

Joson had told media that she acquired the supposedly hidden notebook from a lawyer close to the Ampatuans. She said the notebook contained the names of DOJ personnel receiving monthly allowances from the massacre suspects.

Torreon said it is the right of Mangudadatu to seek redress through the judiciary.

Torreon said there is no truth to the imputations by Joson that Mangudadatu influenced her to peddle stories about what seemed to be “a fictitious notebook.”

“That notebook cannot even be admitted in court as evidence for whatever judicial proceeding,” Torreon said.

In a statement Friday, Mangudadatu said he would not embark on anything that could malign people in the DOJ and destroy the image of the department owing to his absolute trust and confidence on prosecutors handling the Maguindanao massacre case.

“I have absolutely very strong trust too on the people in the court handling the massacre case,” Mangudadatu said.

Mangudadatu lost a wife, Genalyn, and several relatives in the now infamous Nov. 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre, which left 58 people dead, more than half of them journalists.

Leaders of the Ampatuan clan are now being prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the election-related atrocity, which shook the nation to its core.

Mangudadatu, in his emailed statement, said there are powerful people initiating a smear campaign against him via social media and through malicious emails to certain members of the media in Mindanao and in Metro Manila.

He said among the recent attacks on his family were allegations they have amassed ill-gotten wealth while he is at the helm of the Maguindanao provincial leadership.

“I have never attempted to hide whatever I own such as lands, houses, farms and other belongings because I earned these belongings through hard work. These are all stated in my obligatory SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth) as a public official,” said Mangudadatu, now in his second term as governor.

Mangudadatu said he is seeking a third term during next year’s local elections.

“These efforts to put me down are doubtlessly politically motivated,” he said

Former North Cotabato Gov. Emmanuel Piñol, a close friend of the governor, said he has personal knowledge on  how wealthy the Mangudadatu clan is even before a member became chief executive of Maguindanao following the fall of the Ampatuans as a result of the alleged involvement of their leaders in the Maguindanao massacre.

Piñol said the Mangudadatu family has been involved since the 1990s in tilapia production in Lake Buluan in the second district of Maguindanao, which is considered part and parcel of the ancestral lands of the governor’s family.

Piñol said the tilapia business of the Mangudadatu clan earn a net income of more than P100 million yearly.

“They also have vast swaths of lands planted to different crops and oil palm trees,” Piñol said.