THE legal tussle between the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and veteran columnist and newspaperman, Ramon Tulfo, continues with assistant commissioner Teresita Angeles suing the latter and the Manila Times for, among others, 6 counts of “cyber forgery.”
In a 36-page complaint filed last September 6 before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office (QCPO), Angeles also slapped Tulfo and Times executives with 5 counts of “incriminatory machination,” 6 counts of cyber libel and, 5 counts of libel.
The BIR executive is seeking P20 million in damages from the accused to be “donated” to a convent in Tagaytay City, a further P20 million in “exemplary” damages plus the cost of litigation. Angeles also asked that an “HDO” (hold departure order) be issued against the columnist, claiming Tulfo is a “flight risk.”
The cases stemmed from the series of columns by Tulfo in the Manila Times beginning last August 6, based on a video recording of a conversation between two unidentified persons about the alleged shenanigans at the BIR involving two big tax cases handled by the agency.
Tulfo claimed the personalities in the video were Angeles and Adonis ‘Don’ Samson, executive assistant to BIR commissioner, Caesar Dulay. He averred the conversation took place sometime in August 2017 when both BIR officials were enrolled for a short course at a university in the United States.
In a separate complaint for libel and cyber libel filed by Samson also last week at the QCPO, he pointed out that he has never been to the United States all his life. Samson, for his part, is seeking a total of P2.1 million in damages.
BIR chief Dulay was the first BIR official to sue Tulfo and the Manila Times over the scandal generated by Tulfo’s columns and postings in social media.
Angeles and Samson maintained that the video, which was the basis of Tulfo’s searing articles against them and Dulay, was a “manufactured video recording” and that the conversation mentioned by Tulfo also never happened. These, Angeles averred, has opened the columnist to the charge of “cyber forgery.”
“Even Respondent Tulfo admits that the ‘Manufactured Video Recording’ does not show the identities of the persons speaking therein but just based his conclusion that Don Samson and I were those alluded to therein merely on his ‘sources’ at the BIR,” Angeles noted.
Also named co-respondents in the cases are: Times president and CEO Dante F.M. Ang II, publisher emeritus Rene Q. Bas, and editors Lynett O. Luna, Blanca C. Mercado, Nerilyn A. Tenorio, and Leena C. Chua.
Aside from the BIR officials, Tulfo is also facing libel suits filed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.
Last year, Tulfo and executives of the Philippine Daily Inquirer was briefly detained by the Makati Police after a libel complaint filed by the religious group Iglesia Ni Cristo prospered to a full-blown trial.