According to a report by TV Patrol, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has issued a warrant of arrest on Monday, February 18, against ABS-CBN Chairman Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III, ABS-CBN news journalists Annie Eugenio, Dondi Garcia, Lynda Jumilla, Maria Progena Estonillo Reyes, Jose Ramon Olives, Jesus Maderazo, and former ABS-CBN employees Beth Frondoso, Erwin Tulfo, Luis Alejandro, Jose Magsaysay Jr., Alfonso Marquez, and Luchi Cruz-Valdes who is now TV5’s News Chief.
The arrest warrant was for the two counts of libel filed by GMA-7 in 2004 against the above-mentioned party after reporting in their primetime newscast that the Kapuso Network used the videos of their news coverage without permission and for using the words “nagnanakaw ng aming eksklusibong kuha” and other defamatory terms.
On July 22, 2004, ABS-CBN aired a breaking news featuring the arrival of OFW Angelo dela Cruz in Manila after being abducted by Iraqi militants. The same coverage videos also aired on GMA Flash Report on the same day prompting the Kapamilya network to report the incident as “copyright infringement.” The Kapuso network, however, claimed that the videos were syndicated from Reuters so there was no copyright violation committed.
GMA-7 deemed the report defamatory to the network that’s why they filed a libel case against the whole team behind ABS-CBN News including ABS-CBN chairman Gabby Lopez III.
TV Patrol aired ABS-CBN’s official statement regarding this matter as released by the station’s Head of Corporate Communications, Bong R. Osorio:
The respondents to the libel case have voluntarily surrendered to the court and posted bail in accordance with law. They nevertheless firmly maintain that the libel charge has no basis in fact and law.
In truth, it was the complainant who used ABS-CBN footage without its authority and consent and was thus charged by ABS-CBN with copyright infringement.
It is unfortunate that the respondents are being pilloried as criminals, when in fact, it was ABS-CBN whose rights were violated. They are confident that this libel suit will eventually be dismissed.
The respondents will avail themselves of all legal remedies to question the findings of probable cause for the arrest warrants issued by the RTC of Quezon City.
Screencaps from TV Patrol