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Prosecutor elevates Nickel Asia’s libel case against NGO

Nickel Asia Corp. said Tuesday the Taguig City Prosecutor Office recommended the filing of charges against a non-government organization for spreading malicious information against affiliate Hinatuan Mining Corp.

Nickel Asia said in a statement Taguig prosecutor Archimedes Manabat found probable cause to indict officers of Philippines Misereor Partnership Inc. for cybercrime libel.

PMPI is a network of people’s organizations, non-governmental organizations, church/faith-based groups and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany.

Nickel Asia said the Taguig prosecutor found libelous the respondents’ statement posted on its website on June 20, 2015 claiming that HMC’s barge destroyed three small fishing boats on their way into the port of Manicani Island in Guian, Eastern Samar.

Nickel Asia said PMPI alleged that Skipton Manila, a large barge containing several heavy equipment and machinery for mining operations, was sent by HMC despite a suspension order from the Environment Department.

Nickel Asia said residents in Manicani Island executed a joint-affidavit attesting that there was no truth that the barge rammed the pump boats and no nickel ores were transported by the barge. 

“Apart from local residents, the incident was also witnessed by Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Maritime Police, Philippine National Police, national and local media, Mines and Geosciences Bureau and DENR personnel,” Nickel Asia said.

HMC, in its complaint-affidavit, also denied PMPI’s allegations saying that these imputations damaged the reputation of the company “done with malice and with reckless disregard for the truth and with no good intention or justifiable motive.”

Four members of PMPI secretariat named by HMC as respondents to a libel case filed for bail after the Taguig prosecutor elevated the case, recommending indictment.

Faith-based institutions, sectoral organizations showed their support to PMPI national coordinator Yoly Esguerra and three other key personnel.

Topics: Nickel Asia Corp. , libel case , non-government organization , NGO , Hinatuan Mining Corp.
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