MANILA, Philippines — THE National Press Club has condemned Friday, 18 October 2019, the libel cases filed by Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member, Sandra Cam, against several members of the press last Monday, October 14, with more cases reportedly to follow.
“As an anti-gambling whistleblower during the Macapagal-Arroyo administration whose ‘crusade’ was mainly sustained by the media at the time, it behooves the Club to learn that Ms. Cam has vent her ire against the press which merely reported on the result of a press conference by the family of a murder victim,” NPC president Rolly Gonzalo in his statement.
“We note that it was the family members who named Ms. Cam as the principal suspect in the incident. The media present did not ‘pull’ her name out of thin air.”
Gonzalo was referring to the October 10, 2019, press conference in Manila called by the family of slain Batuan, Masbate, municipal vice mayor, Charlie Yuson III, wherein his wife, Mrs. Lalaine Yuson, directly accused Cam of being behind her husband’s murder.
Yuson was gunned down a day before by armed suspects in Sampaloc, Manila, that also resulted to the wounding of his two companions.
The suspects were apprehended by the Manila Police District (MPD) hours after the incident in a police dragnet but were inexplicably released later by the Prosecutor’s Office “for further investigation.”
“If Ms. Cam wants to ‘redeem’ herself and her honour over what she believed was a false accusation, she should have sued instead the Yuson family and not the members of the press,” Gonzalo said, further noting that Cam’s statement belying the Yuson family’s accusation was also included in the news stories filed by those who covered the press conference.
For his part, NPC Vice President and Press Freedom Committee chair, Paul M. Gutierrez, also cautioned Cam from filing libel cases against more members of the press amidst reports that she is planning to sue at least a dozen more media practitioners aside from those she already sued.
Presently, they include the reporter, photographer and officials from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Abante, and Police Files Tonight.
“If the intention of Ms. Cam is to divert the issue by venting her ire against the media, she would not succeed.
“It would also be good to remind Ms. Cam that had it not been for the media’s wide coverage of her expose during the ‘Jueteng Gate’ scandal, she would just be another disgraced ‘bagman’ and ‘conduit’ of gambling lords,” Gutierrez said.
“In this case, ‘shooting the messenger’ won’t work because the media would not be intimidated by such cheap form of intimidation,” Gutierrez said. (BCuaresma/IAmigo/CNS)