SC: TV host and columnist Cristy Fermin guilty of libel

Supreme Court on Thursday found television host and columnist Cristy Fermin guilty of libel and ordered her to pay a total of P.5 million in damages and P6,000 in fines in lieu of a prison sentence of three months to one year.

In a 24-page decision of the highest court, Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura upheld the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Quezon City Regional Trial Court that earlier found Fermin guilty of libel.

Fermin sued for libel by talent manager Annabelle Rama for an article that appeared in the publication Gossip Tabloid on June 14, 1995.

Fermin denies that she wrote the article, saying a team of reporters did coverage on that story. Fermin, however, was the publisher of the tabloid.

In an interview with abs-cbnNEWS.com, Fermin said she will file a motion for reconsideration. She declined to answer whether or not she will opt to pay the amount in damages ordered by the high court.

“Yes I will file a motion for reconsideration. Everything is okay now it’s just the formality and the legality,” she said.

Time heals
Fermin gave a statement in reaction to the verdict on her program aired over radio dzMM on Thursday, April 3, 2008. In gist, Fermin said that she considers whatever court proceedings are ongoing as simply legalities and formalities.

According to Fermin, she feels that time has done a lot in healing any misunderstandings and hurts between her and the complainants in the case, Annabelle Rama and husband Eddie Gutierrez.

Fermin pointed out that during occasions when she would meet Annabelle Rama, the latter would treat her in a civil manner. The columnist said that she is even able to kiss Rama on the cheek as a greeting when they meet.

Fermin also mentioned that Eddie Gutierrez even hugged her tightly on one occasion. According to Fermin, the healing of her relations with the Gutierrez family is more important than the outcome of the libel case.

Fermin said that she is very fond of Ruffa Gutierrez, the daughter of Rama. Fermin and Ruffa are co-hosts in ABS-CBN’s “The Buzz”.

Statement
Fermin’s full statement, given in Filipino, is as follows:

“Iyon pong kasong isinampa ni Tita Anabelle Rama at Eddie Gutierrez sa inyong lingkod noon pang 1995, labing tatlong taon na po ang nakakalipas ay lumabas na po ang desisyon kanina.

“Ang desisyon nga po ay danyos na tig-P500,000 ang bawat complainant at P6,000 fine sa halip na kulong so wala po itong kulong.

“Ako naman sabi ko nga sa araw-araw na ginawa ng Diyos sa bawat pagbubukas ng umaga maaring lumabas ang desisyon.

“Walang kaso sa akin iyon sapagkat alam ko naman na may nakasampang kaso sa Supreme Court.

“Pero sa akin sana po ay maintindihan niyo pormalidad na lang po ito sapagkat ang aming puso ay pinalambot na ng panahon sa loob ng 13 taon, kasabay nito ay pag-alis ni Gabby Concepcion, kasabay ng scam, 13 years na po napakahabang panahon na iyon.

“At kapag pumupunta po lagi kong sinasabi ang studio ng The Buzz, ang booth ng dzMM at ano mang lugar na pinagta-trabahuan ko ay parang tahanan ang aking turing. Kapag may pumasok na kaibigan o kahit hindi kaibigan, kahit hindi kaibigan ay binibigyan namin ng respeto.

“Si Ruffa Gutierrez po ay kasama namin ni kuya Boy at Phem sa The Buzz so pumupunta po doon ang kanyang inang si Tita Annabelle at ang kanyang ama si Tito Eddie.

“Mayroon pong pagkakataon na medyo hindi pa po kami kumportable ni Tita Annabelle na makita ako lalo siya pero alam mo naman ako hindi nilalaga ang puso ko para lumambot lagi namang ganoon at kung nasaktan ko man sila natural lang na sila ay umaray.

“Sa mga pagkakataong nagkikita kami ni Tita Anabelle ay nagbibigay respeto ako hindi po niya binibigay ang kanyang pisngi pero hindi niya inaalis kapag humahalik ako.

“At one time po ng kasagsagan ng issue at birthday ni Ruffa Gonzales lumapit ako, ‘Tito Eddie magandang hapon’ po niyakap niya ako ng mahigpit.

“Sabi ko nga sa diaryo natin noon doon pa lang sa hipgit ng yakap sa akin noong ni Tito Eddie parang wala ng hangin sa pagitan namin siguro lahat noon ay napaalis na pormalidad na lamang ito ika nga legalidad na lamang ito ang mahalaga ay natapos, may MR na matatawag, pwede ka pang mag-motion for reconsideration pero para sa akin ang mahalaga ay ang damdamin naming lahat dahil kung galit pa sa akin si Tita Annabelle aalisin niya ang pisngi niya kapag humahalik ako at si Tito Eddie noong nagmagandang hapon ako dapat hindi siya yumakap sa akin pero ramdam ko.

“At ako mula 1995 hanggang ngayon ay hindi ko pinersonal ang kanilang mga anak, hindi ko binibira lalo na si Ruffa mahal na mahal ko at napakabait na bata at lahat ng laban ng bata ay kasama niya ako. Iyon po iyon.”

REYMA BUAN-DEVEZA
abs-cbnNEWS.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: