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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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Prosecutor dismisses
Hinigaran libel case

The Negros Occidental provincial prosecutor has dismissed the complaint for falsification and libel against a barangay councilman of Hinigaran, filed by a former town councilor for lack of probable cause.

Walter Uychocde accused Vergara, a councilman of Brgy. 3 in Hinigaran town of falsifying an order of arrest issued by the Sandiganbayan by inserting, adding, incorporating and writing his name in the order of arrest issued dated March 4, 2013, although he was not actually included in the original copy.

The complainant admitted that he, former Hinigaran Mayor Caroll Guanco, Hussein Lumauag, Jose Ferdinand Gabrido, Randy Mohametano, Lluri Mudanza, Roque Selda and Jonas Gotera, were charged before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019.

Uychocde, however, said that the order of arrest did not include his name, but only the names of Lumawag and Gabrido.

He alleged that Vergara furnished a copy of the “tampered” order of arrest to the Visayan DAILY STAR.

Vergara denied the charges against him.

While he actually had personally handwritten the name as well as the position and designation of the complainant on a copy of the Order of Arrest, Vergara said the copy was only for his own personal consumption.

Vergara insisted that the original and genuine order of arrest never came to his possession. For this reason, he added, he could not have falsified any “genuine” document.

Associate Provincial Prosecutor Albert Arles, in a six-page decision, said he finds no sufficient ground to indict Vergara of the crime of falsification and libel.

Arles noted that the name of Uychocde and his position as member of PBAC, intra-chairman and SB member as it appeared on the alleged “falsified” order of arrest was only handwritten, and was not electronically printed.

“Since the handwritten insertion on the alleged falsified document is readily identifiable and visible to the naked eye, it is the undersigned's well considered view that there could have been no intention on the part of the respondent to falsify or actually mislead anyone or the public,” he added.

Arles also noted that the news item published at the Visayan DAILY STAR and aired by the respondent through radio, does not show anything libelous.*GPB




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