BAGUIO CITY – A member of the local legislative body formally filed slander and cyber libel charges before the city prosecutor’s office against Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong after having allegedly issued unsavory remarks against her during the regular flag raising ceremony held at the city hall grounds.
In her complaint affidavit, Councilor Maria Mylen Victoria Yaranon claimed that the alleged malicious imputation of Magalong against her person were also published through his post on his facebook page on July 4, 2022, thus, he is liable for the aforesaid charges.
Further, because of the illegal acts of the mayor, she suffered moral damages, anxiety, depression and sleepless nights which can be compensated in the amount of P500,000.
Yaranon also had to contract the services of a lawyer, where she suffered the amount of P150,000 by way of attorney’s fees plus P3,000 per appearance.
Records showed that on July 4, 2022, during the regular flag raising ceremony held at the city hall grounds, Mayor Magalong, with the alleged intention to malign, destroy/or injure Yaranon’s reputation, made some alleged unsavory statements “I prepared a message for today’s event, but, I just would like to address a particular issue that was raised over the social media and that is the use of the BIBAK. Anyway ito naman ay nilabas sa social media, in short nasa publiko na, Mabuti na rin na i-address natin para malaman natin kung anong katotohanan nito. Kasi it was intentionally twisted, yung katotohanan nito, the facts and figures and the truth were twisted to suit a particular person, no, alam niyo nung for the past three years, I just kept silent maski na bumanat, I kept silent, even during elections, I just kept silent because I signed a covenant in front the people of Baguio. Three conventnat ang nakalagay doon, walang maninira, walang gagawa ng trolls, walang gagawa ng kasinungalingan. But I would just like to set the records straight. Yung development ng ating Gov. Pack Road which includes part of the area that was previously occupied by BIBAK, this a result of a masterplan, pinag-aralan nito ng ating very dynamic na City Planning and Development officials composed of transformed employees of CPDO. The planning and including very young employees and job orders, pinag-aralan nila ito and this was presented to the city council and this was a result of a series of, series of, series, series of consultations on how to better use it to improve, to improve the image of that area, because this is a part of our grand plan, master plan, to create a better Baguio. Unfortunately, it was twisted again, ang aga pa lang natin, wala pa tayong isang linggo, bago pa lang namomolitika na tayo. Nakakalungkot, nakakalungkot, and invoking the name of the former vice president about Angat Buhay, nasaan ba ang prinsipyo natin? Kung nung election ay namangka tayo sa dalawang ilog, dalawang Partido na magkaaway, namamangka tayo, tapos papalabasin natin na naninira tayo. Alam niyo these people at the city planning, they came up with that master plan, there was never a master plan by the way, there was never a master plan for the City of Baguio for several decades, it was only now because we have very dynamic people at the city planning, and together working closely with the other departments. At yung mga tao na ‘yan, hindi, maski marami silang kinukunsultang ibang tao, hindi sila nagpapabayad, wala, wala silang dinemand na porsyento dito. Nakakalungkot lang, na noong pinaplano ninyo, Miss Yaranon, yang market nay an, why is it na yung mga group ng architects na kinuha mo, no, they were demanding ten percent of the total cost. Kung P1 billion pala yung market nay an, ten percent is P100 million, for P2 billion eh P2 million, eh lumalabas na P4 billion, ibig sabihin bibigyan natin sila ng P400 million pero hindi tayo umiimik, why is it na hindi kayo umiimik? Bakit tumatahimik lang kayo? Itong nangyayaring substandard na ginawa ni Department of Public Highways, why is it na hindi kayo umiimik, when in fact, nandyan na lahat yung problema natin sa substandard at defective na projects, bakit hindi kayo umiimik? So I wish, I wish Miss Yaranon, it’s about time that, please, let us work together towards a better Baguio. Sana naman huwag ninyo inaatake lang agad kami tayo, these are things that we need to work on to create a better Baguio. Tama na ang pamomolitika natin because it will not do good for the city. Now that you are doing, you know, you are taking a video and hopefully there will be a case that will be filed against me. That’s fine with me, I am willing to do it. I am willing to face any charges that you will be filing. Ang sa akin lang dito ay to promote good governance and to create a better Baguio for each and everyone, because the people deserve good government, the people deserve a better Baguio. I hope I was able to inspire some of you. And Again, to our members of the city council, I wish you all the best, we’re always here to work closely with you, to be very transparent with you, to promote accountability and rest assured that you can always approach us anytime, you need help from us, you need assistance from us and again, even, even during, even during night time, we are always open, we are open 24/7, puwede ninyo kaming i-approach. So, by the way, I received a message, sabi sa akin, mayor watch your back, maraming galit sayo because of your campaign against corruption. Nakakalungkot isipin, so I just would like to warn those, planning to do something drastic, make sure, just make sure that I won’t be able to get up, make sure na huwag niyo ring saktan ang aking pamilya because all hell will break loose, believe me, all hell will break loose!”
Yaranon pointed out that as clearly shown above, she was the main subject of Magalong’s statement during the said flag raising ceremony.
On the mayor’s speech, she explained that she was accused of intentionally twisting facts and figures and of namomolitika, namamangka sa dalawang ilog and she was also accused of doing nothing when the architects that I called to help in the planning of the rehabilitation of the city public market are allegedly asking for 10 percent of the total amount of the project.
“Magalong clearly attacked and discredited my reputation not only as a public official but also as a person. He insinuated that I am a person of no principle and a public official that is not doing anything on matters of public interest,” Yaranon stressed.
Moreover, she disclosed that the mayor attacked her reputation based on her facebook post where she accused her of namomolitika and discrediting or naninira.
However, careful reading of her facebook post that she only posted her opinion and appreciation on the former vice President Robredo’s Angat Buhay Program. Nothing on the said post that she discredited a person or she engaged in pamomolitika.
She never mentioned the name of Magalong in the said post. Her post was never directed to any person, office or any agency.
Yaranon stipulated that Magalong accused her of things that were not related to her facebook post. He accused her of namamangka sa dalawang ilog that she supported two adversarial political parties during the 2022 elections. In his statement, Magalong insinuated that she and no principle and that after she supported two political parties, she then resorted to discrediting or naninira.
The councilor asserted that Magalong’s remarks were not true as she only wore one color during the 2022 elections and that is pink. The wild allegation of Magalong has no basis and it is clear that he made the said accusations to discredit her reputation.
According to her, the mayor also dragged her name on the rehabilitation of the public market. He claimed that the architects that she called to help for the rehabilitation plan were demanding 10 percent of the total amount of the project, and that she was not doing anything on the said issue.
Yaranon was also accused of not doing anything on the substandard projects of the public works department but the same allegations are not true.
She explained that there is no 10 percent that the architects are demanding. The members of the technical working group that was formed for the public market rehabilitation can attest to that. The TWG is composed of representatives from the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) as the secretariat, the chairman of the committee on market, representative from the City Engineering Office, City Planning office, City Environment and Parks Management office, the licensing division, the market office, several non-government organizations, stakeholders, vendors from the different cooperatives and the academe. Majority of the TWG members are under the direct control of Mayor Magalong and according to them, as can be seen in the news, they are not aware of the 10 percent that the architects are allegedly demanding. In fact, the architects who helped in the rehabilitation plan of the market did not receive any amount.
Clearly, Yaranon emphasized that Magalong made all his accusations against her person without any basis and he made it all up to discredit her reputation as a public official and as a person.
Not contented ion humiliating and attacking her in public during his speech on July 4, 2022 right in front of city hall officials and employees, Magalong then posted an open letter to her on his facebook page, Benjamin Magalong-public servant where he said that her earlier post mentioned caused misinformation and disinformation, and that her post was a lie. And that she insinuated that she was a liar and that she was engaging in namedropping.