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Monday, November 17, 2008

Libel Case Vs Wesleyan U Prof Dropped

Prof. Corazon Gonzales seeks reinstatement in school owned by the United Methodist Church

CABANATUAN CITY--Prof. Corazon Gonzales has urged the bishops of the United Methodist Church to reinstate her to her former post at the Wesleyan University Philippines here after the Cabanatuan City Prosecutor's Office dismissed the libel complaint filed against her by WUP president Guillermo Maglaya.
Gonzales was also ordered reinstated by the Department of Labor and Employment after finding there was no basis for the cancellation of the registration of the labor union that she leads.
The professor made the appeal to the UMC as the church prepares to hold its General Conference at the Central United Methodist Church at T. M. Kalaw Street, Manila.
In her plea, Gonzales stressed that the dismissals of the cases filed against her by Maglaya conclusively proves that she had done nothing to warrant her ouster from the post that she held at the WUP for more than two decades.
Former UMC person-in-mission Reynaldo C. Lopez also appealed to the three UMC bishops to restore Gonzales to her post last May 7, 2008 in a "Request for Prayer" that he issued and questioned why Bishop Solito K. Tuquero "had been blind, deaf and mute on this important justice issue in his Episcopal area.
"Bishop Solito K. Tuquero must hear the cries and groaning of the people under the rule of an Evil Pharaoh at Wesleyan University," Lopez added.
The same message became the basis the filing of another libel complaint by Maglaya against Lopez.
In dismissing the libel charge leveled against her Maglaya, assistant city prosecutor Francisco Macaraig said in his resolution that the Maglaya complained failed miserably to prove that all four requirements for libel case are present to warrant the prosecution of Gonzales.
Maglaya's beef centered on the alleged scurrilous document that made the rounds of WUP which charged the university president with condoning overpriced contracts, securing honoraria from the WUP hospital, securing loans and transferring university accounts to a bank in which a relative is a manager and for terrorizing the faculty and staff.
While the prosecutor agreed that some of the allegations were, indeed, scurrilous, the fact remains that the same were contained in a document that arose in the light of an existing labor dispute and the controversy attending the dismissal of Gonzales.
Macaraig said that for the libel case to be pursued, four elements must be satisfied: Imputation or contemptuous act or condition; existence of malice, in law and in fact; publication of the imputation, and; identity of the person defamed.
"While it can be admitted that no less than three of the above elements may have been present in the premises relative to the present complaint, however, there is one important element that is, to our unbiased mind, is surely lacking. This is none other than the fact that there is publication of the libelous imputation," he added.
Macaraig stressed that nowhere in the complaint was it proven that Gonzales caused the publication of the document,which was sealed when it was sent to Maglaya for him to read.
"There is no considered act of publication even if a certain Joel Piring, an employee or staff of the Office of the President of WUP, was able to open a sealed envelope and thereupon read the contents of the same... the said event is to be considered partly coincidental. Whoever is the author of the said poison letter must be the same person who mailed the same poison letter," he added.
The intention of the sender was simply for Maglaya to read the contents and stressed that the objective was for him to read the letter "and not for anybody else."
"In the absence of corroborating testimonies of other independent witnesses who would grreatly help in establishing that, indeed, the author of the letter is the herein respondent, we cannot, therefore, accept hook, line and sinker, so to speak, the lone testimony of Rein Natividad (who was told to reproduce copies of the same)," Macaraig added.
He noted that even if Gonzales and Maglaya were at loggerheads, still there was no proof that she authored the letter. Worse, it was incredible for her to entrust the reproduction of poison letter to Natividad, a janitor, who was not even a member of the union.
The dismissal of the complaint was made by Macaraig last June while the junking of the complaint for the cancellation of the registration of the WUP union was signed by Nathaniel Lacambra of the DoLE-Region 3 in San Fernando City, Pampanga, last July 4.
In spite of the dismissals of these two complaints, Maglaya has not budged an inch to reinstate Gonzales, in spite of the order of the DoLE.
The WUP community, comprised of university officials, faculty, staff, students and even their parents have signed a petition urging Maglaya to reinstate Gonzales but the more than 50 pages of signatures have not compelled him to do as what the DoLE had directed him to do.

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