BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Posted 4:17 p.m., September 2, 2008
PASAY CITY — Members of the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) condemned the issuance of a warrant of arrest for Ferdinand R. Gaite, Courage’s national president, due to the libel case filed against him by Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager Winston F. Garcia.
They said the case is purely political harassment aimed to silence critics of Garcia, who, they said, has mishandled the surety company’s funds and is “conniving with the Macapagal-Arroyo administration in looting members’ money entrusted to the GSIS.”
The case is in the sala of Judge Jesus Mupas of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court, Branch 112.
Gaite posted bail at around 11:30 a.m. today through his counsel, Amylyn Sato.
Garcia had charged Gaite with libel on the basis of an open letter published in two national dailies, namely The Manila Times and Today (now Manila Standard Today), in 2004. The said case was dismissed by the lower court and the decision was upheld by the Court of Appeals that same year.
However, on Dec. 16, 2006, State Prosecutor Rolando G. Ramirez recommended that one clibel must be filed against Gaite because of the malicious intent of the said open letter. Asst. State Prosecutor Richard Anthony D. Fadullon and Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuño concurred with the recommendation.
In Pasay City today, Courage members who staged a picket to support Gaite and condemn Garcia’s “harassment” of him were harassed by police.
About 10 policemen armed with .45 caliber pistols, led by S/Supt. Mariano Valerio, chief of Pasay City police, threatened to disperse the crowd, saying that he had already checked with the RTC regarding the pending warrant of arrest against Gaite and found that there was none.
After negotiations, the police officers permitted the demonstrators to push through with their program until lunchtime. (Bulatlat.com)