Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte filed two (2) cases, Libel and Cyber Case, against former Chairman of Movie and Television Regulatory Commission Board (MTRCB) and former Chairman of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Mr. Manuel “Manoling” Morato regarding and article headline of a tabloid SAKSI: “JOY BELMONTE, SWAK SA GRAFT.” It was written by Mr. Joel Amongo and published by Mr. Manuel “Manoling” Morato on February 15, 2019. The case was lodged at the City Prosecutor of Quezon City.
Included in the complaints as respondents of the case are: Mr. Joel Amongo, former Cogressman Antonio Lagdameo, Jr., Victor Rodriguez, Mina Sotorre, Tess Sorsogon, Lito Tugade, Jesus Galang, Evelyn Prado, Virginia Romano and Ruben Banares. These people are involved in the publication of said tabloid.
The libel case filed by Vice Mayor Belmonte against Morato stemmed from a resolution passed by the City Council, an allegation that she gave ” Special Permit” to give way for its construction of a 21-storey residential and condotel building at 99 Gandia St., Bgy. Sacred Heart, Kamuning, Quezon City. The approval of the resolution was in favor of her 3 siblings.
Ms. Belmonte criticized the actuation of Mr. Morato over the issue merely as a “forum shopping” considering that this was already dismissed twice by the Department of Justice and City Prosecutor for lack of probable cause, that is why this case did not proceed to Ombudsman.
Furthermore, she pointed out that as Vice-Mayor she could not have passed a resolution considering that she is a Presiding Officer and her role is only to administer the Council Session. At that time when the resolution was approved by the City Council she was not present. That’s why the resolution does not bear her signature.
The permit structure was applied by Sta. Lucia Realty with joint venture with JLM Trading, Inc. under the name Jose Morato, the younger brother of Manoling Morato.
Ms. Belmonte filed this case against Mr. Morato in order to clear her name and reputation being an elected officials and as being a victim of FAKE NEWS. She emphasized that she respects the freedom of the press for as long as it does not go beyond the limits of journalism. ” The truth shall always prevail, no matter what,” she said. The legal council of the Vice-Mayor are:. Atty. Ariel Inton, Atty. Edmund Calo, Atty. Rolando Sibal and Atty. Nino Casimiro.
At the same date, Mr. Joel Amongo the author of the subject article in a tabloid SAKSI, filed a libel suit against Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte for posting on the social media particularly on Facebook, branding his article as FAKE NEWS and worst accused him as”ALAGAD NG BAYARAN AT KASINUNGALINGAN”. ( Written by: Adela G. Ida )