Manila exec to file cyber libel raps vs foundation

January 23, 2020

MANILA Secretary to the Mayor Bernie Ang has directed  his legal team to file a cyber libel case against a member of a local foundation and a couple of journalists for their alleged ‘malicious imputations’ and for maligning him.

Ang’s filing of such case follows the move of the World Medical Relief Inc. (WMRI), a 67-year old charity organization based in Michigan, USA, which has also filed the same case against William J. Lima, a former member of the Board of Trustee of WMR-Philippine National Business and Coordination Center Foundation Inc. (PNBCCFI).  The organization, in a statement, said it will also be filing a similar complaint in the United States.

The complaints filed by the WMRI and yet to be filed by Ang, stemmed from one article which allegedly discredited the honor of WMRI’s philanthropic mission in the Philippines and Ang’s too.

WMRI President and Chief Executive Officer George Samson particularly belied allegations that the WMRI has been dumping medical wastes into the Philippines or to other parts of the world, and forgiving medicines without the necessary permits from the US regulatory offices.

Samson said that with the supposed purpose of coordinating WMRI’s passion to help the country, Lima together with David Lee Zarate, Ang and two others, organized and registered a non- stock, non-profit corporation under the name of WMR-Philippine National Business and Coordination Center Foundation Inc (WMR-PNBCCFI), and became a member of its board of trustees.

Zarate, WMR’s representative in the Philippines as its National Coordinator and designated Ambassador of Health, said in a statement that subsequently, on May 24, 2018, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was entered into between WMR, represented by Samson as president/CEO and World Medical Relief-Philippines National Business Coordination Center Foundation, Inc. (WMR-PNBCCFI), represented by Lima, as member of its Board of Trustees and himself.

When the MOA did not work out, Zarate said Lima sought the intercession of Ang who, out of his natural character as a peacemaker, suggested that and prevailed upon for Zarate make a refund, for the sake of good relationship with Lima.

As such, Zarate said it is utterly unfair for Lima to involve Ang in the case, since he was not a party in any of the transactions they (Zarate and Lima) ever had.

‘The only involvement of Ang was to intercede at Lima’s request for a refund. ..  instead of showing gratitude, Lima unfairly imputed wrongdoing to the former councilor,’ Zarate added.

‘It is for this reason, that the publication which appeared in the January 12, 2020 edition of Mindanao Mirror, which says that the NBI will be filing before the Department of Justice, a multi-million estafa case against Ang and two others is outright malicious and nothing but a false imputation of a crime, which has no other purpose but to dishonour, discredit and tarnish the reputation of Ang.  It is a clear case of cyber libel,’ Zarate said.

Ang, for his part, said the  WMRI, for years now, had extended countless medical assistance and donated medical equipment and supplies, including those given to Baguyan Community Hospital in Agusan del Sur (40-ft container medical equipment and supplies worth $ 402, 690); St. Claire Hospital, Quezon Bukidnon, three 40-ft container amounting $987, 521; Ricardo Limso Memorial Hospital, Davao City, a 40-ft container with estimated appraisal of $ 429, 440; Digos Doctors Hospital, Davao Del Sur; Municipalities of La Paz and San Luis, Agusan Del Sur, three 40ft containers and two Ford E-350 Diesel Ambulances worth $1.3 million; Provincial Government of Camarines Sur and PRO 11 PNP General Hospital, Davao City which received three 40-ft containers worth $ 1.3 million.

Ang said WMRI had received citations and commendations from various local government units including Angeles City, Cebu City, Toledo City, Municipality of Janiuay in Iloilo, Municipality of Itogon in Benguet, and City of Mati, Davao Oriental. The WMRFI was also given a “4-Star Rating” by Charity Navigator, a premier evaluator for charities.

Samson, in a statement, said that ‘WMR may be a charitable organization but it cannot take sitting down an assault against its reputation and integrity.’

‘It has to defend its name against false, malicious and defamatory accusations, lest they might pass for the truth. As an initial step, WMR filed a case for Cyber Libel against William Lima and others, in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Angeles City. Our legal group, here in Michigan, is contemplating the filing of a similar case in the United States,’ it added.