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Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines
Sepmber 11, 2011 issue

PERSONA NON GRATA RESOLUTION Preliminary investigation on Monton libel raps set on 15


The wheels are starting to turn on the libel case filed by former City General Services Officer Mark Leo Monton against Taloto Barangay Captain Faro Cabalit and 13 others over the controversial resolution passed by the Taloto barangay council. Last Aug. 31, Deputy City Prosecutor Romeo Chatto sent subpoenas to the parties in the case arising from the resolution passed by the Taloto barangay council which declared Monton persona non grata. Aside from Cabalit, included in the complaint filed as NPS case no. VII-14-INV-114-00288 before the City Prosecution Office on Aug. 25 are Taloto barangay councilors Eugenio Zamora, Nemesion Escobilla, Florencio Manlupig, Galicano Refulle, Juanita Bayog and Susano Soliva. Also named respondents in the libel case are Peter Dejaresco and Zoilo Dejaresco III, publisher and editor-in-chief respectively of the Bohol Chronicle and radio commentators Chito Visarra, Jeremias Pabe and Nestor Daarol of Station DyRD. The preliminary investigation is set at 2:30 pm on Sept. 15 at the City Prosecutor’s Office at the Hall of Justice.

Chatto issued the subpoena by virtue of his authority as investigating prosecutor on the case. In his complaint subscribed and sworn to before Assistant City Prosecutor Nerferteri Salise-Cristobal, Monton said that last Aug. 5, his attention was called by a personnel from the Office of the City Mayor informing him that they just received a resolution passed by the Sangguniang Barangay of Taloto which in effect declared him as persona non grata for alleged “Conduct Unbecoming of a Public Official and for Grave Abuse of Authority”. Early the next day, Monton said that while he was at his residence in Lindaville Subd., Phase 2, he felt further embarrassed when a friend informed him that he heard from the news broadcast over Station DyRD that he was declared persona non grata.   “I was bothered because I was not even given a chance to explain my side and was instead summarily declared as persona non grata for conduct unbecoming of a public official and for grave abuse of authority, which alleged acts I did not commit,” Monton said.

The complainant said he is trying to figure out why this happened because he could not think of any reason why the Taloto barangay council would do this to him since he could not recall of any prejudicial or inimical act that he committed against any resident of Taloto. To make the matters worse, Monton said the Bohol Chronicle “with clear intent to discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt” published a news item relating to the barangay resolution on Aug. 7. “Just like the Sangguniang Barangay of Taloto, the writer of the news and the editors of Bohol Chronicle did not even bother to get my side,” he added. Monton said that assuming without admitting that such publication of the disputed news item was engendered by one’s sense of justice or other legitimate or plausible motive, the manner by which they have personally attacked and have singled him out in the resolution and in the published article “and imputing alleged wrongdoings tending to discredit my person amounts to a personal ill will constituting malice against me “.

The complainant said all these have caused him great damage and prejudice which he shall prove in the proper forum. In the questioned resolution, the Taloto barangay council said Monton is using his office to serve his own personal ends and purposes, and contrary to the tenets of his office is “openly waging a sinister and malefic campaign to obstruct and deprive Barangay Taloto of basic goods and services needed by the barangay”. Among other things, the resolution also accused Monton of causing “the sudden removal from the payroll of casual employees assigned in different department (sic)” in the city government.

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