The Supreme Court affirmed with finality the conviction and imprisonment of Ilonggo blogger Manuel Mejorada over ‘libelous’ articles against Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
Mejorada will serve imprisonment of two years and four months and one day, as minimum, to four years and two months, as maximum, to be served simultaneously.
The convicted blogger is expected to serve his sentence at the New Bilibid Prison pursuant to Republic Act 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, which charged the Bureau of Corrections with custody and rehabilitation of national inmates or those sentenced by a court to serve a term of imprisonment of more than three years.
The libel case arose from a series or article written by Mejorada accusing Drilon of overpricing the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center, which the court found libelous.
It was also Mejorada who filed a graft case against Drilon before the Ombudsman, which was later dismissed for lack of merit. The Ombdusman even said that contrary to the allegations of overpricing,the government was even able to save a huge amount of money allotted for the ICC’s design.
The Iloilo Convention Center, now a prime convention destination in Western Visayas, is credited for Iloilo’s rise as a premier MICE (Meeting, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) hub in the country.
Drilon thanked the High Court for its decision Pursuant to the rules, the records of the case will be remanded to the Pasay Regional Trial Court, which will subsequently order Mejorada to serve his sentence.
“Acting on petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the Resolution dated 10 June 2019 which denied the petition for review on certiorari, the Court resolves to deny the motion for reconsideration with finality, no substantial argument having been adduced to warrant the reconsideration sought,” according to the resolution issued by the Supreme Court’s Second Division last September 2, 2019.
The High Court, in its earlier ruling, said that “as correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals, the elements of libel were sufficiently established by the prosecution.”
It further said that “it was not necessary to establish that the publication was motivated by any malice since the articles were not privileged communication or fair comments; thus, malice is presumed.”
Mejorada is facing five more libel charges.