A Bureau of Internal Revenue executive assistant filed over the weekend libel and cyber libel complaints before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office against Manila Times columnist Ramon Tulfo.
BIR Executive Assistant III Adonis M. Samson said he was tagged by Tulfo in his newspaper columns and social media postings as the man talking to another BIR executive in Massachusetts in a bid to portray the agency and its head as “corrupt.”
Saying he has never set foot in the United States, Samson said in his complaint that Tulfo went on a “character assassination spree.”
“[Tulfo] succeeded in maliciously maligning me, ruining my reputation, defaming me, attacking my private character, and causing me and my family mental anguish, sleepless nights, and unimaginable and continued emotional and psychological stress, with the seven separate pieces he authored, five of which were published on the Manila Times and the Manila Times Online.”
Tulfo’s Aug. 6 column was based on the hazy outline of a man and a woman in a dialog. The columnist claimed the woman in the video is a certain Angeles. He identified the man as Samson, adding that the two “sometime in August 2017 were taking up short courses at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the US.”
“Yes, it seems that the woman and the man had just had terrific sex when that conversation was recorded – apparently by the woman herself,” Tulfo said in a separate social media post.
“Not only did respondent Tulfo claimed that I am a corrupt government employee under Commissioner Caesar Dulay but also that I am in an illicit intimate relationship with an otherwise reputable woman…To go as low as insinuating illicit affairs and sexual activities is plain sensationalism, without any basis, utter disregard for truth, and replete with malice,” Samson said.
“Contrary to his claim that I, along with Ms. Angeles, was at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the US where said video was recorded sometime in 2017, the fact is, I have never, in my life, set foot in the US,” the BIR personnel added.
Samson attached photocopies of his passports in his complaint.
“With half a century of journalistic experience, respondent Tulfo cannot claim ignorance of established journalistic practice of vetting nor lack of access to technology which are readily available and could have provided like expert testing and analysis of any recording, including this video recording,” Samson said.
“Aside from his bare assertion of a certain BIR source or sources, which is no longer certain because of his flip-flopping reference to a BIR source / BIR sources, there isn’t any statement on how he was able to ascertain my alleged identity,” he added.
Also named co-respondents in the cases were Manila Times president Dante Ang II, publisher emeritus Rene Q. Bas, and editors Lynett O. Luna, Blanca C. Mercado, Nerilyn A. Tenorio, and Leena C. Chua.
Last month, Dulay also filed libel and cyber libel raps against Tulfo for three “undoubtedly false and defamatory” columns.