Surviving a Libel Case
While of you may have already heard about the libel case against me was dismissed last month, I wasn’t able to properly announce it here in my blog. We were waiting for a possible motion for reconsideration to elapse before bringing it out into the public. Here’s a short summary of the entire event:
Back in August 2006, we got a demand letter from a law firm. This firm represents a certain Joel Aquino (JEA) who runs a company called WebCom. Apparently, one of our web hosting resellers has a client that runs the forum greedyolddumbass.com. In that forum, several ex-employees of WebCom were making libelous comments against JEA and his family. They wanted us as the webhost to prevent and desist the posting of such comments in the forum.
Within a week, I sent out a reply to their firm that we are only a web hosting company and have no knowledge of this issue. Besides, the website/forum have already moved out of our servers and we no longer have any control of it in any manner as the hosting provider. Thinking that it was all that and the issue has been clear, we forgot about it.
September came and we got a subpoena from the Pasig RTC identifying my company and members of the forum for alleged libel. I think we got close to half a dozen subpoenas in the span of 4 or 5 weeks. When we submitted our counter-affidavit, I also filed a perjury case against the complainant for misrepresenting us as administrators or operators of the forum when it was clear in our earlier communication that we are just the hosting provider. All three cases were then consolidated (2 libel cases and 1 for perjury).
Then, came months and month of clarifications, appearances at the fiscal’s office and a lot of waiting.
Now that it’s all over and the case against me was dismissed (they found probable cause to charge the other two respondents of libel), I can only take a good deep breath and put this behind me. I’d like to thank all those who helped me thru this — the guys at BlogHerald esp. to J Angelo who set up a legal fund, the people at NUJP for offering help, other lawyers who heard of my case and sent in their offer of support, my readers and fellow bloggers. My thanks goes to fellow blogger Atty. Fred Pamaos and his partners at the JLP Law Offices for getting me thru this. Hat tip to all the journalists who gave moral support and “welcomed me to the club“.