Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan yesterday filed three counts of cyber libel cases against five councilors for claiming that the digital tablets procured by the city government were substandard and the distribution process was delayed.
The mayor sued councilors Christopher E. Malonzo, Ma. Milagros S. Mercado, Alexander V. Mangasar, Ricardo J. Bagus, and Marylou N. San Buenaventura, who were seen in a series of videos uploaded online making such claims.
“If my opponents in politics aim to malign only me, then I would have dismissed this as a small irritant. But when they start maligning and maliciously insulting the projects initiated by the city government to help in the education of the youth of Caloocan, then I cannot let that pass,” Malapitan said.
The councilors, he said, were seen in one of the uploaded videos laughing at the procurement project.
“Our program to distribute digital tablets passed through rigorous bidding. We made sure everything was in order,” the mayor added.
The Department of Education approved the specifications of the digital tablets procured by the city government.
Malapitan’s lawyer, Rico Quicho, said the councilors had every opportunity to ascertain the truth or falsity of their allegations yet they chose to air their complaint on social media.
“The head of the bids and awards committee has unequivocally expressed that the program underwent a rigorous qualification and bidding process pursuant to Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act. The DepEd itself approved the specifications of the digital tablets,” Quicho said.
“From our vantage point, given that all the prequalification and bidding documents are in order and no less than the DepEd endorsed the specifications of the digital tablets, this seem to be merely political theatrics, insensitive at that, played to gain some mileage for the 2022 elections,” he added.