From left Mila Magno, Consul Gen. Rosalita Prospero and Oswald Magno in a Dr. Raul Sunico concert last year.(Photo: The Philippine Reporter)

Toronto, Ontario

Lawyers seek summary judgment against Balita

By Ted Alcuitas

An Ontario Superior Court Justice has heard the libel case against Balita Media Inc., Teresita Cusipag and Romeo Marquez on January 22 and 25, reports The Philippine Reporter.

Oswald Magno sued Balita, Cusipag and Marquez four and a half years ago according to The Reporter.

Magno’s motion was heard in the sala of Justice Jane Ferguson.

Lawyers Michael Alexander and David A. Potts asked the judge to render a decision based on the available evidence without going to a trial.

Roy Respicio represented the defendants.

According to The Reporter, Magno’s defamation case against the defendants is in relation to 35 articles that allegedly contained defamatory statements that were disseminated via email and published in Balita, in print and online and in social media.

Defense lawyer Respicio put up a defense of “truth, fair comment and responsible communication.” He presented a chronology of e-mails between Magno and Cusipag which he said had started it all.

A motion for Summary Judgment is normally granted when the judge finds that there are no issues requiring a trial.

Earlier in the hearing, Respicio requested the judge to allow Marquez’s affidavit as evidence. However, the judge refused because it was past the deadline, says The Reporter.

The Magno case comes on the heels of the recent loss of Balita in a libel case filed against them by the late Senator Tobias Enverga, Jr.

In the Enverga case, Balita was slapped with over $400,000 in damages, one the largest award in Canadian history.

The paper is still facing a  $2.5 million libel case filed against them by KOL Foundation in 2013.