THIS pertains to the false, derogatory, malicious imputations against me, the Office of the President and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in Ramon Tulfo’s opinion article titled, “Appointments for sale,” published in The Manila Times newspaper, as well as its website at https://www.manilatimes.net/ on Sept. 3, 2019.
Mr. Tulfo published the contents of an alleged anti-graft complaint against me with the Office of the Ombudsman.
It is quite appalling that in his efforts to get back at the Executive Secretary for filing a string of libel cases against him, he drags innocent people, taking pleasure at recklessly maligning their names, like what he did to me in that article.
I categorically deny his false and reckless accusation that I am “Medialdea’s bagman,” or that I was given money after dropping the name of Executive Secretary Medialdea.
I was also completely surprised by his article alleging that an anti-graft complaint was filed against me in the Office of the Ombudsman, as I have never been summoned by the said office or any other government investigating body to respond to any “anti-graft” case.
He quoted the contents of a supposed complaint filed by one Teodulo C. del Rosario of Lot 19 Block 27, Mount Bulusan Street, Dolores, Taytay, Rizal.
That Mr. del Rosario does not even know me is evident in the fact that he referred to one Astra G.P. Naik, which is a name he plucked from Facebook.
I first came across the supposed complaint making the rounds of the Internet early this year.
Upon reading this supposed complaint circulating online, I immediately filed a complaint with the cybercrime division of the National Bureau of Investigation against this engineer Teodulo C. del Rosario and his cohorts for libel, under the Cybercrime Prevention Act, in relation to the Revised Penal Code, last April 16, 2019, a copy of which is hereto attached for your reference. (See the affidavit-complaint on our website, www.manilatimes.net)
Apparently, Mr. Tulfo picked this bogus complaint against me as his way of retaliating against the Executive Secretary.
I met Mr. del Rosario when he was introduced to me in a public event sometime in July 2016 in Makati City. He might have obtained my former Globe number 0917-5953-638, which was assigned to me when I was still working in the Senate in that event, but I never transacted in any manner nor have I ever instructed Mr. del Rosario to send money totaling P110,000 via Smart Padala in exchange for having him appointed as Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) general manager.
Those cellphone numbers (0993-5530-759 and 0948-2054-596) he mentioned are numbers I do not know anything about, nor have I used them.
There were alleged dates when money was supposedly sent through ‘Smart Padala,’ but which dates were when I was in Australia.
As a journalist, Mr. Tulfo has failed to observe the basic tenet of seeking the other side first in the spirit of fairness.
Had he contacted me, I would have relayed to him the fact that after these people circulated this supposed complaint in the Internet — that I allegedly received money in exchange for a government appointment — these same people tried to thereafter arrange a meeting with me.
Why would a person like Mr. del Rosario, after having been supposedly duped into giving money in exchange for a bogus government appointment, seek to have dinner with the person who supposedly duped him?
These people make elaborate accusations against a government worker like me, hoping that I will shell out money for them to stop circulating their false accusations.
I flatly rejected their attempts [to arrange] a meeting as I suspect their ploy to be part of an extortion scheme.
Instead, I went to the NBI to file a complaint.
Mr. Tulfo’s spat with the Executive Secretary is public knowledge. The Executive Secretary has filed libel cases against him.
To get back at Executive Secretary Medialdea, Mr. Tulfo dragged me into the fray by recklessly making false accusations against me, which has besmirched my reputation, cast aspersions on my person. May I emphasize that I am not “very close” to Executive Secretary Medialdea, as a matter of fact, not even close. Therefore I cannot be his “bagman.”
With that said, I demand the publication of this letter in The Manila Times, as well as a public retraction of and apology for the false and reckless accusation against me from both the group of Manila Times officers aforementioned and Mr. Ramon Tulfo. Otherwise, I will be constrained to seek legal action to redress my grievances.
Undersecretary Astravel Pimentel-Naik
Commission on Filipinos Overseas