GSIS VP sues journalists, execs for alleged wiretapping

A Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) vice president filed three separate suits against Probe host Che-che Lazaro and 18 other ABS-CBN personnel, including its president Charo Santos-Concio last Monday for alleged violations of the anti-wiretapping law.
According to news reports, the complaints of GSIS VP Ella Valencerina were based on an airing of a phone conversation she had with Lazaro last November 11 on the controversial premium-based policy of the GSIS.
Valencerina claimed Lazaro taped the said conversation without her consent and Probe aired it last November 12 over ABS-CBN and replayed over the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).
Estrella Elamparo, GSIS chief legal counsel, said the Probe episode clearly violated the law as it was not an interview but a private phone conversation.
Valencerina cited Section 1 of the Anti-wiretapping Law: “It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication.”
The penalty for illegal wiretapping is six years’ imprisonment.
ABS-CBN officials said they have not received a copy of the complaint filed by the GSIS, but they would look into its merits and publicly disclose what they find.
Earlier this month, GSIS president Winston Garcia also filed libel suits against seven journalists after they tackled the sale of GSIS shares in Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) that allegedly involved a P3-billion commission for Garcia or another person who brokered the deal.

The libel cases, filed on Nov. 10 with the Pasay prosecutor’s office, were against Philippine Star opinion editor Ramon Lim and columnist Federico Pascual Jr., Business Mirror opinion editor Lynn Ressureccion and columnists Raul Valino and Lito Gagni, Manila Times editor in chief Rene Bas and columnist Dan Mariano, and Antonio Tinio, president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, who Garcia said was the source of information of the newspaper columnists. #

IFJ-NUJP Media Safety Office

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