By MANUEL L. MORATÓ
Who started it all?
I received two subpoenas for Libel, one from the Office of the City Prosecutor, Quezon City whose complainant is Jose L. Morato, docket no. XV-03-INQ-19C-01896; and one Cyberlibel from Maria Josefina “Joy” Belmonte Alimurung against me, Joel Amongo, Antonio F. Lagdameo, Jr., Atty. Victor P. Rodriguez, Mina G. Satorre, Tess Z. Sorsogon, Lito B. Tugadi, Jesus R. Galang, Eralyn C. Prado, Virginia Romano and Ruben C. Banares – all media persons.
The first subpoena from Jose L. Morato against me was sent by registered mail last March 18, 2019 and I just received it last April 5, 2019; while the subpoena of Maria Josefina “Joy” Belmonte Alimurung was also sent by registered mail last March 5, 2019 and was received by my office on April 5, 2019, the same day and time.
One took a little less than 20 days and the one of Mrs. Alimurung I received exactly one month after mailing. Why? Is this a strategy of Mrs. Joy Belmonte whose real married name is Alimurung? Kasi po, ang hearing noong March 12 and 26, 2019, pareho ko pong hindi napuntahan kasi April 5, 2019 ko natanggap ang notice na may WHEREFORE po ang Assistant City Prosecutor na “Wherefore Fail not at your Peril,” whatever that means. As I said, I received the subpoena last April 5 or a month later; three days ago. It was registered mail to me on March 5 and I received it last April 5; or a month after. Does this mean na talo na kaming lahat, lalo na ako for not attending the hearing last March 12 and 26? I just received the notice of the hearings last Friday, April 5, at noontime when the hearings were scheduled at 9:00 A.M. How then could I be there when I received the notice from the Assistant City Prosecutor at exactly a month later, April 5. Is this part of the “dirty tricks department”? I don’t know what is libelous on both cases. Baka ma-technical ako dahil sa kasalanan nila.
On the “libel” of Jose L. Morato, I just explained what he had done to the estate property of my mother here at 99 Scout Gandia St., Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City, which he and his partners demolished the ancestral home of my parents, built in the 1950s, which violated Republic Act 10066 that prohibits the demolition of structures 50 years old and above without going to court. My parents’ ancestral home was 70 years old at the time it was demolished; and its historical in the sense that my father, Tomas B. Morato, was the First Mayor of Quezon City, once the Capital City of the Philippines which later was reverted back to the City of Manila after the 2nd World War.
Republic Act 10066 is a good law for it prohibits the demolition of historical and heritage sites without going through the court. And the good and the sensible thing of this law is the fact that the Court is able to subpoena or call on all the heirs if they agree or not. In our case, Jose L. Morato, (the youngest of six children and his partners in business in putting up highrise building here in Quezon City which is prohibited to do so in residential areas where my parents’ ancestral home once stood); and never got the permission of the Court kasi malakas daw sa courts ang mga partners niya. All of them violated Republic Act 10066.
They claim that the Quezon City Council approved no less than three 21-storey condo/hotels in a residential area, here in our area, one of which is the ancestral home of my parents. It was demolished surreptitiously without the knowledge of five other siblings. We are six children in the family and the rest of us were not even told. Had it gone to court as required by Republic Act 10066 signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, this issue would have not happened to us; and there would be no cases in court. And we could have saved our parents’ ancestral home inside our family compound.
If I had written in my columns about this problem, its more of defending myself and informing the public (especially the neighborhood) that I am not involved in the demolition of my parents’ ancestral home for the residents in the neighborhood were thinking that I was part of the dastardly act. Am I not entitled to explain and defend my honor? After serving in government for 17 years as Chairman of MTRCB and PCSO where I helped all the poor and the needy, nationwide, they know me as not that kind of a person to dishonor my parents. I did not dishonor the poor and the needy, neither am I capable of dishonoring the memories of my beloved parents. That was the only thing I want the public to know.
And I repeat, my lawyers have turned over to me the falsified documents used in this case. Another fact clearly established is the fact Jose L. Morato sold the 3 lots where my parents ancestral home once stood which belong to the six children and were all sold to Speaker Sonny Belmonte, his three sons and vice mayor daughter who approved in the City Council the construction of the 21-storey condo/hotel in a residential area where my parents’ ancestral home once stood.
When the trial proper was to start last January 21, 2019, the party of Jose L. Morato and company decided for Judge Rafael Hipolito of RTC 215 to inhibit from the case. It can only mean, that their documents are either falsified, fake and farthest from the truth.
I am entitled to self-defense. That is what all this mess is all about. Alin ba ang mas masakit? ‘Yong pag-explain ko sa column ko o yung makita ko sa paggiba ng bahay ng magulang namin at malalim na butas na hinukay nila? Do I deserve to be libeled for that? I just informed the public for them to be careful so this dastardly act may never be repeated.
Do these people who filed libel charges against me did nothing wrong to me and my 3 sisters? Think again. This is not political, just because Mrs. Alimurung is a candidate for mayor of Quezon City? Who did wrong first? Kayo! Paaapi na lang ba kami because you are suddenly powerful now? May karapatan kaming mag-esplika sa makakapal ang mukha at manhid.
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