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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Court favors GMA Network’s motion to pursue case vs ABS-CBN

THE Quezon City Regional Trial Court granted the motion for reconsideration filed by GMA Network in a civil case for damages arising from libel against ABS-CBN.

The case is in connection with the coverage of the arrival of Iraq hostage Angelo dela Cruz in 2004.

The civil case, filed on November 10, 2005, stemmed from the news reports aired on July 22 and 23, 2004 by ABS-CBN which called GMA Network “magnanakaw” after GMA Network aired a footage from Reuters on the arrival of Dela Cruz, which belonged to ABS-CBN.

GMA had earlier filed on July 27, 2004 a criminal case for libel against officials and reporters of ABS-CBN for the same news reports.

Judge Ofelia Marquez previously dismissed the civil case for damages because according to her, it was filed beyond the prescriptive period of one year from the time the news reports were aired.

GMA Network said in its motion for reconsideration that since the criminal action was filed on July 27, 2004, the civil action arising from the crime charged has not prescribed since under the rules when the criminal action is filed, the civil action arising from the crime charged is deemed impliedly filed with the criminal action.

In her order granting GMA’s motion for reconsideration, Judge Marquez said that GMA had not in its previous submissions mentioned the institution of the criminal case for libel and so there was no way the Court could determine that the criminal case was filed within the one year prescriptive period.

“Be that as it may,” Judge Marquez said, “it appearing that the criminal case for libel was filed on July 27, 2004 …. the Court is convinced that the present action for damages, which is deemed impliedly instituted when the criminal case was filed, has not yet prescribed.”

In the same order, Judge Marquez also suspended the proceedings in the civil case pending the final judgment in the criminal case. [source of news]

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