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Catanduanes scribe to sue board member

VIRAC, Catanduanes --- Broadcast journalist Ramil D. Soliveres is set to file charges against Catanduanes board member Edwin Tanael for maligning him using government funds during the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) recently.

Soliveres said that on July 13, 2020, he posted a blind item on Facebook (FB) about an unnamed SP member after he was informed that he will be invited to the session of the provincial council to explain his news report published on April 19, 2020.

On July 15, Soliveres said he received a phone call from an employee of the SP’s health committee informing him that a hearing was about to begin.

He said he informed the caller that he will not attend and appear before the SP as he had not received any official invitation and he had prior commitment.

On July 20, Soliveres said Catanduanes provincial board member Edwin Tanael delivered a privilege speech accusing him of being a ‘fake news’ media worker.

He said Tanael also distributed to his fellow board members a topless photo of the former, which was taken from his FB account. The latter allegedly compared the former to a male prostitute.

On July 27, Tanael filed a resolution seeking to declare Soliveres persona non-grata on the basis of his non-appearance during the committee hearing and for a July 13 FB post where Soliveres ranted about an unnamed SP member.

Subsequently, earlier this week, the Catanduanes SP declared Soliveres, a member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, persona non-grata.

"I opted not to attend the hearing as I didn't received any official invitation, thus, it should be the DOH to confirm or deny the veracity of my report," Soliveres said.

He said Tanael, a come-backing board member, maligned him using government's fund aside from attacking him and violating his rights.

"This is a clear media attack, a gross violation of my rights not only as being a journalist but as a person. I've been telling them, if they find my report baseless, file a case in court. As they couldn't find any malice on my report as it was based on facts, they're trying to discredit my name by declaring me as persona non grata," Soliveres said.

"Meaning, everytime I come out with a story critical to them, they will extend the declaration. And worse the declaration is three months but they could extend it depending on how I report about SP. This is infuriating. He spent government money to print my topless pictures and distributed it to the members of the board," he said

Tanael, according to Soliveres, also tagged him as drug addict although he admitted that he was once a drug user, but he was a changed man now and a source of inspiration to many in Catanduanes.

"I came out to be an inspiration, that there's so much life beyond drugs. When I decided to quit drugs, i joined the PNP in their drug operations. I am proud of myself that I have survived drugs. In fact, RTC Judge Contreras had been encouraging me to be a speaker to inspire people who used drugs," he said.

"He accused me like a male prostitute. For posting topless picture on my FB account. He spent government money to print my pictures, in full colors, and had them distributed to the members of the board. Those pictures were all taken from home. The truth is, I don't wear shirt at home. But to accused me as prostitute that was completely so foul. I will file charges against him in court," Soliveres said.

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