12 July 2013
Dr. Dante A. Ang
Chairtman Emeritus, The Manila Times
2/F Sitio Grande Building
409 A. Soriano Avenue, Intramuros
Manila 1020 Philippines
Dear Dr. Ang:
Our client, Mr. Marlo dela Cruz, referred to us for appropriate legal action the matter of your article dated July 8, 2013 “The $30-million extort try: Fact or fiction?” which was published in your newspaper “The Manila Times” and also in the internet via the link http://www.manilatimes.net/enginex/the-30-million-extort-try-fact-or-fiction/17207/.
Initially, we would have advised the client to just let it pass without responding so as not to catch any more media attention. However, after a more thorough study of the article, the personalities mentioned therein, and the serious accusation or imputation for bribery and extortion which, if properly substantiated should lead to criminal prosecution, we find it imperative to write this letter. We would like to emphasize that this letter is intended not only to ferret out the truth but also to protect the interest of our client whose silence may be misinterpreted as acquiescence or admission to an otherwise false and malicious publication that constitute a direct attack against his name, honor and reputation.
You promised the article with a view that “depending the innocent is a matter of public duty. Media practitioners are bound by ethical standards of checking, cross-checking, verifying interviewing the persons mentioned in a story, before it is published or aired.xxx”
Unfortunately, you never gave your client the benefit of checking, verifying or interviewing him before you published the article. Specifically, the article mentions the name of “Marlo dela Cruz” at least seven times for having joined or participated in meetings with the Czech Ambassador, two Inekon officials, MRT General Manager Al Vitangcol, Manolo Maralit and Wilson de Vera leading to the alleged $30 million extort try. But the more serious accusation was done when you said that “Dela Cruz lowered the extortion demand to $2.5 million,” an imputation so serious a charge which if substantiated should warrant criminal prosecution for extortion.
If only you made the proper cross-checking or verification, you would have easily discovered that “Mr. Marlo dela Cruz” was never present in any of those meetings nor did he have any participation whatsoever in the alleged extortion try. Besides, Mr. dela Cruz had no knowledge or interest whatsoever in the alleged MRT project where the Inekon group had made any offer.
In view of the foregoing, we would like to request that you make the necessary clarification, duly published, that our client, “Mr. Marlo de la Cruz” had no participation whatsoever in the alleged $30 million extort try, otherwise we will be constrained to file appropriate charges including libel and damages within 10 days from receipt of this letter.
Ernesto V. Perez
Counsel for Mr. de la Cruz
Unit 403 Maga Centre, San Antonio St., Paseo de Magallanes, 1232 Makati City, Philippines
Telefax Nos. 853-0224/853-0225/853-8567; email address: firstname.lastname@example.org