(Metro News) Columnist told to explain side about

August 27, 2010 10:58 am 

MANILA, Aug. 26 – A Quezon City prosecutor on Thursday asked newspaper columnist Alex Magno to respond to the libel charge filed against him by businessman Reghis Romero II after the respondent failed to appear in Thursday’s preliminary investigation of the case at the QC Hall of Justice.

Last July, Romero filed an P 80-million libel suit, or P 20 million each, against columnists Magno (Philippine Star), Jojo Robles (Manila Standard Today), Butch Del Castillo (Business Mirror), and Inquirer reporter Cynthia Balana.

The libel cases were raffled off to different prosecutors of the QC Prosecutors Office.

On Thursday, the case against Magno was scheduled for preliminary investigation but he failed to appear in court.

The complaint stemmed from articles the respondents have written separately alleging R-II Builders stand to get a windfall of billions of pesos in a supposed midnight deal with the outgoing Arroyo administration on the Smokey Mountain Development and Reclamation Project.

In Thursday’s preliminary investigation, Asst. City Prosecutor Nilo Peñaflor said he was giving Magno until the next hearing, set for Sept. 23, 2010, to file his counter-affidavit. (PNA) RMA/JCA

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