Ogie Diaz files counter affidavit against Bea Alonzo's cyber libel case

MANILA, Philippines – Showbiz columnist and talent manager Ogie Diaz filed a counter affidavit in response to the cyber libel case filed against him by Kapuso star Bea Alonzo in May.

Ogie Diaz files counter affidavit against Bea Alonzo's cyber libel case
Photo courtesy: Ogie Diaz, Nelson Canlas (Facebook)

Ogie was seen at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC RTC) on Tuesday, June 18, to submit his counter affidavit against the actress's complaint, accompanied by his legal counsel and co-hosts from the entertainment vlog "Ogie Diaz Showbiz Update."

It can be recalled that on May 2, Bea went to the Quezon City Prosecutors Office to file three separate criminal cases for cyber libel against Ogie, his colleagues, as well as Cristy Fermin and her associates.

In the May 6 episode of his vlog, Ogie mentioned that although he is not angry with Bea, he feels the need to defend himself.

“Ito, ha, sa totoo lang. Buksan n’yo man ang puso ko, hindi po ako galit kay Bea Alonzo. Kasi ako naniniwala ako, karapatan niya ‘yan,” he said.

He added, “Kung feeling niya e nasaktan natin siya, karapatan niya ‘yon. In the same way na syempre kailangan din naming idepensa ‘yong aming sarili at ipaglaban kung ano ‘yong para sa amin ay fairness sa amin.”

“Wala akong naramdamang galit. Kasi hindi naman ho ‘yan ngayon lang nangyayari ‘yong ganyan sa amin lalo na sa aming propesyon."

Ogie's camp, through his legal counsel Atty. Regie Tongol, issued an official statement.

Posted by Ogie Diaz on Monday, June 17, 2024

The lawyer explained the "two counts" or the two complaints from Bea's camp against Ogie. He stated that the root of Bea's complaint was the episode on November 19, 2022, regarding Ogie's comments on the reactions and comments of netizens about the Philippine adaptation of "Start-Up PH" aired on GMA Network. Additionally, there was an episode on February 12, 2024, where the hosts discussed the claim that Bea only gets roles that have already been turned down by Kapuso Primetime Queen Marian Rivera.

"Today, my clients filed their separate Counter-Affidavits before Investigating Prosecutor Edward Seijo. Along with the filing of a Counter-Affidavit, our client Mama Loi also filed a counter-charge for perjury with damages against Ms. Alonzo since the Complaint-Affidavit made it appear she made defamatory utterances even though she has not said anything at all. In our seventy-page (70) Counter-Affidavit, we called out the Complainant by not clearly stating in her sixteen-page (16) Complaint-Affidavit the specific individuals who uttered the specific defamatory statements making it appear it was all Mr. Diaz who made them,” it can be read.

"Ms. Alonzo’s two counts of Cyberlibel even included the November 19, 2022 episode in the “Ogie Diaz Showbiz Update” YouTube channel. Meaning, it was filed way beyond the one-year prescriptive period for cyberlibel. As to this count, we are very confident that the charge against our clients would be dismissed.”

"They even failed to show clear and convincing proof of 'actual malice' whether in the form of 'reckless disregard for the truth' or ill-motive which is a legal requirement and standard if the Complainant is a public figure. The opinions expressed by Mr. Diaz’s co-hosts on the November 19, 2022 episode were merely based on a common truthful observation of the netizens of the performance of her show, 'Startup PH' as pointed out in their several comments online."

"As to the second count which refers to episode February 12, 2024, the utterances there by Mr. Diaz’s co-hosts are not defamatory because being offered a role that was turned down by Marian Rivera-Dantes or any other actresses is not unusual given that Mrs. Rivera-Dantes is the undisputed queen of GMA. We proved that it is a common practice in both the local and foreign showbiz industry."

"By being an actress, the complainant in effect gave the public a legitimate interest in her life and in her work. Therefore, the subject posts and utterances by Mr. Diaz’s co-hosts are within the realm of fair comment on her work as one of the actresses in the Philippines contrary to their claim in the media that it was about her personal life. Under our laws 'fair commentaries on matters of public interest are privileged and constitute a valid defense in an action for libel or slander' because democracy would be meaningless without free discussion of public affairs, even at the cost of a few bruised egos."

The lawyer also stated that the damages being demanded by Bea's camp, amounting to ₱30,000,000, seem excessive. He mentioned that bloggers, writers, journalists, and his clients should not be intimidated by such cases. They are also prepared to file counter charges against the actress.

"Other bloggers, writers, journalists and our clients should not be cowered by the filing of cases just to suppress the freedom of expression and of the press by public figures who are too onion-skinned. Our clients will fight this case with courage because they have no malicious intent and the thirty million pesos (P30,0000,000.00) damages being asked by Ms. Bea Alonzo in her complaint is not only unjustified and unreasonable but is also exorbitant."

"We are also ready to file other counter charges against Ms. Alonzo for malicious prosecution and damages for this suppression of our client’s freedom of the press and expression in due time.”

Meanwhile, Bea's camp has not yet issued any response, reaction, or statement regarding the issue.

— Noel Ed Richards, The Summit Express

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