By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

PHOTO: The Filipino Times

Broadcaster Ben Tulfo has been indicted for three counts of cyber libel following a complaint filed by an Iloilo-based lawyer before the Iloilo City Prosecutor’s Office (ICPO). 

Citing provisions of Republic Act 10175 or the Anti-Cybercrime Prevention Act, the ICPO in a 15-page resolution dated May 30, noted that the television host in his 'Bitag' public affairs program “cast doubt on the character” and exposed the complainant Atty. Kazper Vic Bermejo to public ridicule.

“[The] public comments of the viewers of the ‘Bitag’ episodes called complainant immoral, bastos, kiss-ass, sleeping with the client, kadiri, among others. The witnesses of the complainant also narrated how demeaning the statements of respondents against complainant appeared to them,” according to the resolution penned by Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Adri Anne T. Montes-Española and approved by City Prosecutor Peter Baliao.

The resolution cited Tulfo’s “derogatory remarks and baseless aspersions” against the Ilonggo lawyer, dismissing his claim of his statements as “true and fair”. 

In its “Bitag” episode aired on August last year, Tulfo slewed Bermejo by describing him as“marami pang kakaining bigas,” and “may gatas pa sa bibig”.

Tulfo’s online castigation comes after Bermego handled a complaint for grave threats filed against the father of a woman that the former is representing. Tulfo is assisting a resident of Concepcion town in Iloilo.

Though he is not a lawyer but an “investigative journalist” as he claimed, Tulfo accused Bermejo and his client for violating the legal procedures by directly leading the issue before a court instead of having it settled first at the barangay level. 

Contrary to Tulfo’s claim, the ICPO in its resolution clarified Bermejo has not circumvented the legal procedures by directly filing a complaint before the court.