Bicolano tycoon sues Bikoy, Facebook, YouTube for cyber libel
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Bicolano tycoon Elizaldy Co, one of those mentioned in the "Ang Totoong Narco List" viral video series, filed cyber libel cases against Peter Joemel Advincula and social media giants Facebook and YouTube.
Go is seeking a total of P1.1 billion in damages, saying the videos had tainted his reputation.
Co told media on Thursday, May 23, about the cyber libel suits following Advincula's statement that the allegations he had made in the virial videos were all lies.
The viral video made the rounds online during the election campaign period. The video series accused people close to President Rodrigo Duterte of accepting millions of pesos in drug money. Co and their luxury resort Misibis Bay were also mentioned in that video.
The narrator in the video, hooded and silhouetted, was named "Bikoy."
Advincula made his first public appearance identifying himself as "Bikoy" on May 6, holding a press briefing and applying for legal help at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) main office in Pasig.
Speaking in the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame Thursday, Advincula said his statement in the IBP was all "made up."
“The truth is finally out. By his own admission, ‘Bikoy’ said everything in the viral video series that implicates me, Misibis Bay Resort and other personalities in the illegal drug trade are pure fabrications. While my family and I are happy that this episode is finally over, our fight to clear our tarnished name and reputation continues,” Co said in a press statement here.
Co said he also sued Facebook and YouTube because they allowed their online platforms to be used in spreading false and malicious information.
He said his lawyers repeatedly sent written requests for Facebook and YouTube to take down the offending videos, but these were ignored.
“Like ‘Bikoy,’ Facebook and YouTube must be held accountable. Our legal system shouldn’t allow them to be part of a systematic campaign to destroy people and simply get away with it,” he said.
Co and Misibis Bay resort management filed on May 14, two separate cyber libel complaints before the Legazpi City prosecutor's office.
Aside from Advincula, the first charge sheet included as respondent Facebook Philippines, represented by country director John Rubio, and other unidentified individuals responsible for producing the video.
The second complaint named Advincula and Google Philippines as owner of YouTube where the videos were also circulated. Google's country manager Kenneth Lingan was included in the complaint.
The complaints asked for civil damages amounting to P550 million each, or a total of P1.1 billion.
The complaint stressed that the "false, malicious and libelous accusations in the video" that went viral on Facebook and YouTube affected not only his good reputation in the business field but also the operations of the popular resort destination in Albay.
"I and other officers of the Complainant Corporation received several phone calls and/or messages from our business partners, suppliers, creditors, clients and some concerned individuals, inquiring about the veracity of the statements in the said video," Co said in his complaint-affidavit.
Co revealed that "some banking and financial institutions with which we have significant financial dealings even raised questions on my credit worthiness." – Rappler.com