Tuesday 23 October, 2018
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Wag masyadong teknikal: SC orders CA to entertain Erlinda Ilusorio petition against libel indictment

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The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Court of Appeals (CA) to entertain the petition of Erlinda Ilusorio and eight others questioning the validity of their indictment for libel.

In a recent 8-page decision, the SC 2nd Division granted Erlinda’s plea to set aside the CA’s July 17, 2013 resolution that threw out her petition on a technicality.

The petition challenged the Manila Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) January 28, 2010 order denying the motion for the judicial determination of probable cause on the libel charge arising from the publication of the book On the Edge of Heaven.

But, the CA refused to entertain the petition because it failed to specifically state the required prayer for the nullification of the RTC order. The petition only sought an injunction and “for other legal and equitable reliefs.”

The SC, however, said the general prayer “for other legal and equitable reliefs” was already enough to meet the requirement to specifically state the legal remedy sought.

Even if Erlinda failed to categorically seek the nullification of the RTC order, the SC said the CA would still be enabled to “award reliefs supported by the complaint or other pleadings, by the facts admitted at the trial, and by the evidence adduced by the parties.”

The SC stressed that “procedural imperfection should not serve as basis of decisions.”

“To prevent injustice, it is a better policy to dispose of a case on the merits rather than on a technicality, affording every party-litigant the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his or her cause,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta.

The libel case against Erlinda was actually initiated by Sylvia Ilusorio. The feud over the Ilusorio family’s riches has pitted the siblings against each other and clogged the court system with hundreds of suits and countersuits.

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