The Caloocan City prosecutor recommended the dismissal of the criminal complaints filed against Chairman and CEO lawyer Felipe L. Gozon, news anchor Mike Enriquez and Imbestigador segment producer John Cabaluna of broadcast company GMA Network, Inc. (GMA) that stemmed from an Imbestigador episode aired on January 29, 2011.
In a five-page resolution issued by Investigating Prosecutor Albert Cansino of the Office of the City Prosecutor of Caloocan, Cansino said that the complaints should be dismissed due to lack of sufficient evidence and substance.
GMA respondents were accused of kidnapping, libel, physical injury, frustrated homicide, robbery, obstruction of justice, illegal arrest, abuse of authority, trespassing, fraud, perjury, and estafa by complainant Daniel Orijuela, who was entrapped during the raid at his office by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) due to his alleged illegal medical practices. The entrapment was subsequently aired over the said GMA primetime investigative program.
In November 2010, Orijuela allegedly offered to treat Francisco Elmaga, Sr., a patient diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer with the use of his "antibody treatment" machine. The machine would kill pain and improve body condition, but did not guarantee cure. Orijuela negotiated the two-month use of the treatment machine, inclusive of food supplements, for P100,000.
Elmaga, Sr.'s family agreed to use the machine, but had no available money to immediately pay for the machine's use. After a halted use in November, Francisco Elmaga Jr. owned up to paying the reduced price of P50,000, and the elder Elmaga availed again of the machine in December 31, 2010. The use, however, was cut on January 12, 2011 when the younger Elmaga failed to pay the negotiated amount.
On January 28, 2011, Orijuela became subject of an NBI entrapment operation, and was later detained in the NBI raid office. The incident was broadcast over Imbestigador on GMA Channel 7.
Atty. Gozon, among the respondents in the multiple charges filed by Orijuela, argued in his counter-affidavit that Imbestigador did not commit libel because what aired was a fair and true report of Orijuela's conduct and activities, which are matters of public concern. He said that Orijuela's detention was a result of valid and lawful arrest due to his illegal practice of medicine.
He also said that the prosecutor's office has no jurisdiction over violations of the rules and ethics of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), and that the claim of obstruction of justice against them was a mere concoction.
Meanwhile, Imbestigador host and news anchor Mike Enriquez said that he had justifiable motives and good intent in reading the report on Orijuela's acts. He also said that what aired was straight, fair, and true reporting of verified facts, and that Orijuela himself did not contest the veracity of the segment.
Imbestigador segment producer John Cabaluna said that he did not deprive Orijuela of his liberty, nor did he defraud and inflict violence against his person. He reasoned that there was no libel because the show made a thorough investigation of Orijuela's activities prior to airing.
City Prosecutor Cansino said that there was insufficient evidence for libel because Orijuela failed to present a witness who has seen or heard the alleged defamatory statements against his person. He said that "the communication of libelous matter to the person defamed does not amount to publication, for that cannot injure his reputation."
He said that the GMA respondents correctly pointed out that the prosecutor's office has no jurisdiction over the alleged violations of the MTRCB rules.
Cansino also said that due to the practice of illegal medicine, Orijuela may be lawfully arrested even without warrant under Rule 115 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure because the respondent-NBI agents arrested him upon the belief that he was actually committing the crime of illegal practice of medicine at the time of his arrest, and they have in their favor the presumption of regularly performing their official duties. Likewise, he said that seizure and confiscation of things from Orijuela's office does not equal robbery, but was a matter of standard pursuant to his arrest.
The rest of Orijuela's complaints were recommended for dismissal due to insufficient evidence. (GMA Network)