Trader files P1B cyber libel suit vs FB, Youtube, Bikoy

May 23, 2019

BUSINESSMAN Elizaldy Co and his posh Misibis Bay Resort have filed a P1-billion cyber libel suit against social media giants Facebook and Youtube, and Peter Advincula alias “Bikoy,” over the viral “Ang Totoong Narco List” video that implicated them in illegal drug trade.

While they were vindicated after being cleared by Advincula, Co and the resort management still filed two separate complaints before the Legazpi City prosecutor’s office seeking the criminal indictment of respondents for cyber libel under Section 4 of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, in relation to libel under Articles 353, 354 and 356 of the Revised Penal Code.

“The truth is finally out. By his own admission, Bikoy said everything in the viral video series that implicated me, Misibis Bay resort and other personalities in the illegal drug trade are pure fabrication,” Co stressed in an interview.

“While my family and I are happy that this episode is finally over, out fight to clear our tarnished name and reputation continues,” Co added.

Apart from Advincula, the first charge sheet also included as respondent Facebook Philippines, represented by country director John Rubio, and other unidentified individuals responsible for the malicious video.

The complaint sought civil damages from the respondents amounting to P150 million in moral damages and P100 million in exemplary damages as well as payment of 10% for attorney’s fee for each of the two complainants, or a total of P550 million.

The second complaint, on the other hand, named Advincula, Google Philippines as owner of Youtube where the videos circulated, through its country manager Kenneth Lingan, and other unidentified persons as respondents.

Co and Misibis Resort Management likewise demanded the same amount of damages of P500 million and P50 million in attorney’s fee from the second set of respondents, for a total civil damage claims of at least P1.1 billion.

The complainants 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 lamented in the complaint-affidavit.

“Evidently, my good name, business reputation and social standing, as well as the good name, business reputation and good will of Misibis Bay Resort, as well as its owner, Complainant Corporation, Misibis Resort and Hotel Management Inc., which were painstakingly built through the years, were gravely tarnished, irreparably tainted and/or unduly smeared as a result of the publication of the subject video,” he pointed out.

The complainants revealed that “some banking and financial institutions with which we have significant financial dealings have raised questions on my credit worthiness.”

“In particular, one bank, upon learning about the video, immediately suspended the processing of my pending application for a significant amount of loan,” Co bared.

The complainants said they asked both Facebook and Youtube to take down the video last April 26, but both social media giants have ignored the request and the video has remained online. .