Agri Sec files cyber libel charge vs. Baguio journalist over Fb post

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol stated "I am very transparent and I am willing to submit to any investigating body all of my bank accounts and copies of ITR before I entered government to prove that I never gained P21-M in six months, much more from the Bird Flu crisis."-Photo: Manny Piñol FB page

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary  Emmanuel Piñol filed cyber libel against Frank Cimatu, a  newsman from Baguio City over his facebook post.

Piñol felt slighted with Cimatu’s post on September 24 reads “Agri sec got rish by P21-M in 6months. Bird flu pa more”,  as it implies “something” to his reputation as public servant.

Cimatu’s post emanates from the report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism that Piñol’s  assets as declared in his Statement of  Assets and Liabilities (SALN)  which he filed in December 2016, reflected a difference of P21-M compared to the last SALN I filed in 2009 as a government official.

The PCIJ report said the agriculture chief’s net worth rose by a “fantastic P21,956,632.23,” from P3,643,000 in 2009 to P25,599,632.23″ in December 2016.

The FB post of journalist Frank Cimatu.

Hours after Cimatu published his post,  Piñol, who was out of the country, on FB ordered his lawyer Israelito Torreon to prepare the case against Cimatu.

Claiming transparency being a public servant, Piñol on September 24 posted “I am very transparent and I am willing to submit to any investigating body all of my bank accounts and copies of ITR before I entered government to prove that I never gained P21-M in six months, much more from the Bird Flu crisis.”

In the same post, he added “If there is one thing I treasure as a public servant, it is an untarnished record as a public official. I may not be perfect but certainly, I am not a crook.”

He then vowed to get back at Cimatu “Cimatu will not get out of this malicious insult unscathed.”

Last Wednesday, September 27, Piñol filed Cyber Libel against Cimatu before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.

In rebutting Cimatu’s post, Piñol added “Cimatu failed to take into account that, while there was really no P21-M in cash or properties acquired during the first six months that I was with government, the SALN in question was filed. in December 2016 while the Bird Flu outbreak occurred in August this year.”

Newsline.ph tried to get the reaction of Cimatu, but he refused to issue statement as he has yet to receive the complaint filed by Piñol.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph