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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Libel, perjury raps vs Claudine junked

THE Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office yesterday dismissed the charges of libel and perjury filed against actress Claudine Barretto-Santiago due to lack of merit and insufficiency of evidence.

In a 4-page resolution, Assistant City Prosecutor Joselito Bacolor explained that after evaluating the arguments and evidence of both parties, he is inclined to rule in favor of the actress since the evidence presented by the complainant are insufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed.

“It is basic nay elementary that mere allegation is not evidence. We likewise highly doubt the intention of the complainant in filing the instant case. As admitted, the instant complaint was merely filed in the nature of a countercharge, thus merely providing leverage against the case filed by respondent for qualified theft,” Bacolor said.

The cases stemmed from the complaints of Nancy Jiji Cruz, former personal assistant of Santiago, who claimed that the actress was the one responsible for the publication of a libelous article entitled “Bahay ni Claudine Ninakawan,” published on Dec. 28, 2007 issue of the “Pilipino Ngayon,” wherein she was accused of stealing the cash and personal belongings of the actress.

The complainant averred that the allegations against her in the newspaper were libelous, malicious and utterly false as she denied having stolen money and other personal belongings of the actress during the 2007 holiday season.

The complainant, however, admitted that she filed the complaint for libel and perjury in the nature of a countercharge against the respondent who filed a complaint for qualified theft against her.

But in her counter-affidavit, Santiago vehemently denied the allegations against her, saying that the allegations in the complaint are false, malicious, misleading and frivolous and was just filed to gain leverage in the case of qualified theft.

The actress further stressed that she was not the one who caused or authored the publication of said article.

Santiago added that she filed the case of qualified theft against Cruz with the highest degree of good faith in accordance with her belief and conviction as to its truth.

The qualified theft case against Cruz is now pending before the sala of QC Regional Trial Court Branch 100 Presiding Judge Marie Christine Jacob. A warrant of arrest has been issued against Cruz.

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