REFER TO: ATTY. ARMANDO MARCELO
VP NOLI’S LEGAL COUNSEL
AMPGP LAW OFFICE
KABAYAN’S DETRACTORS IN HIDING
30 July 2005
Detractors of Vice President Noli de Castro who emerged at
the height of the campaign period for the May 10, 2004 elections
reportedly in hiding, away from the libel charges that the Vice
President filed against them.
A certain Andrew M. Gonzales, who claimed to be the National
Director of the "Bagong Lahing Pilipino Development Foundation Inc.",
came out with public statements accusing then Senator and Vice
Presidential candidate Noli de Castro of extortion. Gonzales alleged
that while de Castro was still the anchor of his weekly public affairs
and investigative news program "Magandang Gabi Bayan" (MGB), he gave
their organization "bad press" in one of MGB’s feature stories after
they refused de Castro’s alleged attempt to extort P3.5 million from
them. Gonzales’ story came out in various news publications during de
Castro’s campaign for the Vice Presidency.
MGB was de Castro’s banner program when he was still a
broadcaster. As the anchor of MGB, de Castro endeared himself to the
Filipino audience as their "Kabayan".
After publicly and categorically denying these accusations,
de Castro filed a libel case against Gonzales. While the case had been
filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City by the City
Prosecutor’s Office as early as May 5 of last year, Gonzales has yet to
appear before the court and face the charges leveled against him. This
was a complete turnaround from his stance during the preliminary
investigation of the case during the height of the campaign, when he
showed an apparent readiness to face de Castro’s suit. A warrant had
been issued for the arrest of Gonzales, but he has eluded arrest for
lack of information as to his whereabouts.
Another of de Castro’s detractor’s, Rafael T. Engle, has
also been charged with libel before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay
City. Engle also publicly accused De Castro of trying to extort P2
million from him, supposedly in exchange for a favorable feature on an
MGB story on the disappearance of Engle’s wife. De Castro also denied
Engle’s accusations, which saw print in major news dailies.
As with Gonzales, Engle came out with his accusations
against de Castro during the campaign period for the May 2004
elections. Also like Gonzales, a warrant of arrest had also been issued
against Engle after he failed to appear in a recent hearing of his
The lead lawyer of de Castro in these libel cases, Atty.
Armando M. Marcelo of the Andres Marcelo Padernal Guerrero and Paras
Law Offices, seeks the public’s assistance for any information on the
whereabouts of Gonzales & Engle, who have outstanding warrants of
arrest issued against them. "People cannot just be allowed to smear
someone else’s reputation and run away from the consequences of such
illegal actions. To clear the Vice President’s name and reputation is
the end desired in these libel cases," Atty. Marcelo said.