Columnist Ramon Tulfo has posted bail for the libel and cyber libel complaints filed against him by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
A Nov. 8 order signed by Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 12 Judge Renato Enciso said Tulfo posted a cash bond of PHP60,000 for his temporary liberty.
In the same order, Enciso ordered the recall of the warrant of arrest issued against Tulfo, and scheduled his arraignment to Nov. 26 at 8:30 a.m.
Medialdea earlier filed charges against Tulfo over a series of columns published in The Manila Times that he said denigrated his name.
These columns included the July 20 column “There goes Cayetano as House Speaker, also Medialdea,” where Tulfo accused the executive secretary of issuing a memorandum “apparently without the President’s knowledge” and which ordered all government agencies and government-owned and -controlled corporations to support the controversial Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) Foundation; and a July 25 column where Tulfo accused Medialdea of sitting for an entire year on an appeal made by one Felicito Mejorada for the claim of PHP272.02 million in government reward money.
Mejorada had said he gave the tip that enabled authorities to foil a smuggling operation in Mariveles, Bataan in 1997.
In the July 25 column, Tulfo also accused Medialdea of being behind one Vianney D. Garol when she supposedly asked for PHP72 million from Mejorada for the release of the reward.
Medialdea has denied issuing the memorandum favoring Phisgoc, and noted that Mejorada’s appeal had been acted upon in only three months.
He has also denied knowing Garol who, based on records, was a project development officer II under the Office of External Affairs-Davao on Aug. 1, 2005.
Garol, however, was no longer employed there since December 31, 2005.
Tulfo faces other libel and cyber libel charges from other government officials, including Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay and former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.
Dulay had cried foul over Tulfo’s Manila Times columns where he was accused of having “skeletons in the closet at the graft-ridden agency,” where he was allegedly pictured as an “insatiable greedy extortionist, a cheat and a corrupt official in (President) Digong’s government,” and where he was accused of having a hand in the supposed “compromised” payment of PHP65 million instead of the “huge delinquent tax amounting to PHP8.7 billion” of the Del Monte company.
Aguirre, on the other hand, slammed Tulfo for his “malicious, libelous and defamatory” columns and Facebook posts against the former justice secretary in April, June, and July.
The columns, according to Aguirre, branded him as a protector of a human trafficking syndicate at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, “imputed” he received money from the supposed syndicate, among others.