Gov. Espino files complaint for libel versus MECO chair

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — A few days after being proclaimed winner of the election for congressman in the Fifth District of Pangasnan, outgoing Gov. Amado Espino Jr. filed a criminal complaint for libel against Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman Amadeo R. Perez Jr. before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office here.

Espino filed his three-page libel complaint on May 16 against Perez, a former mayor and congressman. This was received by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Nicolas Reintar Jr.

Such complaint was only made public by Espino on Friday.

In his complaint, Espino stated that Perez uttered libelous and malicious statements against him (Espino) as an incumbent governor of Pangasinan and a candidate for congressman of 5th District, through a recorded audio clip being repeatedly aired over Dagupan City-based DWPR radio station “since October 2015 up to present”.

“As I read the transcript and validate the same with the recorded broadcast, respondent’s utterances in reference to me are intended to induce the listening public to suppose and understand that I am a corrupt, immoral, deceiving and dishonest public official, unworthy of the trust that the Pangasinan electorates bestowed on me overwhelmingly in the past 3 elections as governor of the province,” Espino stated in his complaint.

Perez, a former Congressman and mayor of Urdaneta City, is a close political ally of former Rep. Mark Cojuangco who ran for governor but lost by a wide margin to Liga ng mga Barangay Provincial President Amado ‘Pogi’ Espino III, the son and namesake of the governor.

Gov. Espino also defeated Congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco, the wife of Mark, also by a wide margin in her reelection bid in the 5th District.

MECO Chairman Perez is also being asked by Governor Espino to pay moral damages in the amount of Php 1 million.

“The deception perpetrated by the respondent (Perez) in infusing to the mind of the public that herein private complainant committed the malicious imputations amounts to a violation of the latter’s rights, in a blatant, gross, wanton and malevolent manner that corrective measures should be imposed, to serve as unforgettable lesson not to commit the same misdeeds in the future, but more importantly, to serve as a deterrent to those who are so minded to emulate the respondent.

Thus, the complainant, in vindication and recognition of his violated rights, should be awarded nominal and exemplary damages in the amount of P1-Million,” stated further in the complaint-affidavit.

Espino served as congressman in the 2nd District in 2001 prior to his election as provincial governor of Pangasinan in 2007 completing his three terms up to June 30 this year. PNA/