CDO city council freezes reporter’s admin case vs village official

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/30 July) —The blue ribbon committee of the city council has postponed “indefinitely” the administrative case filed by a reporter against a village official.

Nef Abdul Malik Luczon, former GMA12 local anchor filed the complaint against Barangay Tuburan Councilman Ray Obsioma Yañez.

He alleged that on Feb. 1, Yañez threatened and harassed him and cameramen Michael Tolang and Michael Cabulay when they sought comments from villagers and barangay officials on a barge being used for mining in Cagayan River.

Yañez is a known ally of City Mayor Vicente Emano.

Asked for the reasons of the postponement, committee chair Councilor Alvin Calingin said “many documents” were still lacking.

“As soon as all the documents are complete, we will have a marathon hearing on Yañez’ pending (administrative) case. The committee staff may have just been overwhelmed by the presence of media that time. You know how it is,” Calingin said in an interview last Tuesday.

However, during the supposed first hearing of the administrative case in the afternoon of June 22, this year, a senior staff member who refused to give her name told reporters “the hearing is cancelled because Councilor Calingin is attending a hearing in court.”

Earlier, the City Prosecutor’s Office had dismissed for the second time Luczon’s complaint for grave threats against Yañez “lack of merit.

The resolution dated May 21 was signed by Prosecutor II Julieta Buhat-Piloton, Prosecutor III Macaurog Maunting and City Prosecutor Fidel Macauyag.

Luczon said he received the resolution only last week.

“…This Office finds no cogent reason to alter, amend, modify or abandon the assailed Resolution,” it added.

“Nevertheless, granting that respondent indeed made such utterance, this Office stands by its finding that there is no sufficient ground to warrant the filing of the complaint in court,” it said.

In an interview today, Luczon said he was upset with the City Prosecutor’s decision to drop his case even if he had submitted the video clip of the incident and a sworn statement of an eyewitness.

“Unsa diay gyud ang definition sa hustisya diri sa (What really then is the definition of justice here in) Cagayan de Oro,” he asked.

The same prosecutors first dismissed Luczon’s complaint on April 2. In a three-page resolution, they posited that “…the incident occurred in a public place and in the presence of other persons hence ordinary human experience dictates that no one would dare commit a crime such as slapping someone with a burak at the risk of being readily implicated because of the presence of possible witnesses.”

In an online interview Sunday, lawyer Jose Edgardo Uy said Luczon could still elevate the grave threats complaint to the Department of Justice.

“There have been cases where dismissals by local prosecutors were reversed by the DOJ. Please note it is the dismissal that (should) be elevated, not the case itself. If reversed, the Prosecutor’s Office will be directed to file the information (criminal case) in court,” said Uy.

Luczon said he would really appreciate if there are lawyers who can represent him since he has resigned from GMA12 effective July 25.

“I have no budget now for legal expenses. That’s my present worry. That’s why I would really be thankful if a lawyer could help me,” he said. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)