GUIMBA, Nueva Ecija –– The officials and staff of a radio station here deplored on Thursday what they feared was deliberate delay in delivery of subpoenas for criminal charges filed against them by a ranking town official.
Gie Herrera, station manager of Radyo Natin Guimba (RNG), said they were not able to attend the preliminary hearings set on July 4 and 31 by the Nueva Ecija Prosecutor’s Office in Cabanatuan City in connection with the alleged cyber libel and violation of Bayanihan to Heal As One Act filed against them by Mayor Jose Dizon of this town due to the failure of the local police to deliver the subpoenas to them.
Herrera noted that the prosecutor’s office mailed the subpoenas to Lt. Col. Kevin Bulayungan on July 1 and were received by one Pay Augusto Roca of at the station on July 7.
Herrera though got their copies only after she made inquiries on Aug. 11.
“Posibleng effect niyan ay technical, kapag hindi ka sumipot ng two hearings, hindi ka makapagbibigay ng counter-affidavit,” Herrera said, adding that might result to elevating the charges to the court.
“At ang pinakamasama warrant of arrest na ang kasunod,” she added even as she branded the charges as “merely harassment.”
Bulayungan, meanwhile, is a respondent in a grave coercion case filed by two senior citizens who belong to the Liga ng mga Manggagawang Bukid from Barangay Manacsac here.
Dizon filed the cyber libel complaint against Herrera and her staff over a news report on the Covid-19 fund spending that generated reactions and comments against the local government.
The news report supposedly tackled purported LGU shortcomings in extending support to residents affected by the pandemic.
Dizon, in his complaint quoted portion of the report as saying “ngunit sa halip na pag-usapan at aprubahan, pending muna ito at binubusisi ang mga naunang pondo na inaprubahan ng SB.”
“Habang ang aprubadong supplemental budget na P16million na para sana sa second wave ay hindi pa nagagalaw at isasantabi muna,” read another portion of the story assailed by the mayor.
Dizon described the news report as “inaccurate, false and misleading.”
He also questioned the station’s alleged role in the distribution of relief goods by the Liga ng mga Manggagawang Bukid to its members.
RNG said the filing of both cases was without bases, and considered the mayor’s action as plain harassment.