Police intel operative sues Bombo anchor for libel

In his complaint, Police Officer 2 Marc Anthony Cortez  of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) alleged that the “foul comments” against him by Dudes Arcenas, anchorperson of the ‘Bombohanay sa Udto,’  a noontime public affairs program of Bombo Radyo in Koronadal City,  South Cotabato, aired on December 20,  destroyed his person and credibility as a police officer.

“My name, my profession, dignity, and the image of the office has been continuously lambasted on air and in public.  My official duties and functions were even maliciously criticized and imputations were hurled by (Arcenas),” Cortez said in his sworn affidavit.

Cortez said Arcenas started airing those ‘baseless’ comments six days after he arrested Marlon Javero de Juan, a pharmacy owner in Tacurong City, for estafa.

Cortez said among the comments Arcenas made on air were allegations that de Juan was arrested illegally. Arcenas also said the arresting officers were not wearing proper uniform; that the one who served the warrant was a civilian agent; that de Juan was not accorded due respect, that he was arrested against his knowledge, and that his car keys were forcibly taken from him.

“All these allegations made by Arcenas from Dec 20 to 23 during his noontime program were baseless and unfounded,” said Cortez.

Cortez included in the complain for libel de Juan and his wife, Mary June.

“It was this couple who fed wrong information to the anchorperson as regards their case,” Cortez said.

On December 14, Cortez and two other CIDG operatives from Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat,  arrested de Juan in his pharmacy in Tacurong City.  They brought the suspect in their office at the CIDG Isulan where he was asked personal information and made to identify markings in his body.  

“It was de Juan who took off his undershirt so we could see the identifying marks in one corner of his back.  That is an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) on our part.  We didn’t violate his rights as a person,” explained Cortez.

After the arrest, however, the de Juan couple filed administrative charges against Cortez for alleged abuse of authority.
“How can that be?   I just did my job.  I didn’t inflict any harm against them,” Cortez said.

Cortez filed the complaint for libel at the office of  the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Prosecutor in Isulan town.

CIDG 12 Regional Director Edwin Diocos ordered Cortez relieved from his post so as not to influence the proceedings of the administrative case. Diocos sent him to the regional police headquarters in General Santos City.

“We don’t want Cortez to be a threat to the complainants while the case is ongoing, and  we don’t want him to influence the investigation,” said Diocos in an interview over DXND. 

MindaNews tried to reach Arcenas but as of press time, he has yet to return calls and text messages. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)