BY JESSIE L. CASALDA, Mindanao Daily Mirror
A lawyer advocating Mindanao independence has filed libel and coercion charges against Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and newspaper editor-in-chief Roger Balanza for calling him ‘crazy’ over his idea of establishing an independent state for Christians and Cebuano-speaking places.
Lawyer Eli Pamatong filed the charges against Duterte and Roger Balanza before the City Prosecution Office (CPO) yesterday morning.
The case stemmed from a statement Duterte made in his television program Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa, Pinobre Edition, from which Balanza sourced his news article published in his weekly paper The Durian Post.
Pamatong was also incensed at the paper’s caricature that he said made it appear he was ‘crazy.’
Pamatong had earlier announced his advocacy of establishing an independent Mindanao, to be called as Mindonesia and to be composed by Cebuano-speaking areas like Cebu, Palawan, and several areas in Mindanao which do not belong to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
But Duterte in his program said Pamatong’s idea of making a state for the sake of religion was foolish.
“A state should never be created for the sake of religion,” he said.
Duterte said while it is true that Mindanaoans have always been left out in terms of development, Pamatong’s approach is wrong.
“His idea creates animosity and divisiveness between Christians and Muslims,” he said.
Aside from the libel and coercion charges, Pamatong is also set to file charges against Duterte before the Office of the Ombudsman and before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
Balanza, the blogmaster behind top-rated Mindanao newsblog DURIANBURGDAVAO, in a television interview, said Pamatong “should learn to accept criticism.”