Philippine Daily Inquirer - - LETTERS -

With re­gard to the news, “Speaker drawn to Siargao land-buy­ing spree” (5/13/18), Speaker Pan­ta­leon Al­varez has cat­e­gor­i­cally stated that he did not ac­quire prop­er­ties in Siargao is­land in 2017.

He pur­chased some prop­er­ties in Siargao when he was out of pub­lic ser­vice years back, hop­ing that th­ese would ap­pre­ci­ate in value over time.

The As­ses­sor’s Of­fice records show­ing him buy­ing at least four prop­er­ties in Siargao in 2017 could have been due to the on­go­ing “gen­eral re­vi­sion” at the said of­fice, thus the er­ror. He also has sev­eral friends who were buy­ing prop­er­ties in Siargao and this could have been mis­taken by many as his.

The Speaker laments how he was used by some prop­erty bro­kers in Siargao as part of their mar­ket­ing strat­egy to bloat their prices and en­tice buy­ers by claim­ing that the ad­ja­cent prop­erty is his.

The In­quirer should have done rig­or­ous factcheck­ing to val­i­date the in­for­ma­tion be­fore pub­lish­ing the story.

Those ac­cus­ing the Speaker of any wrong­do­ing in this par­tic­u­lar case are free to file the ap­pro­pri­ate charges in court for him to re­spond ac­cord­ingly. If they have no ev­i­dence at all, then they should re­frain from ped­dling ma­li­cious in­nu­endo and out­right char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion through me­dia.

DAR­REN M. DE JE­SUS, head ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant, Of­fice of the Speaker

———— It is clear in the story, quot­ing from his in­ter­view with Ms Funny Pearl Ga­junera, that Speaker Al­varez de­nied he bought the prop­er­ties in 2017. It is also clear that we tried to get his side but he did not pick up our calls nor re­ply to our text mes­sages. I had as­signed Frin­ston Lim to also con­tact his chief of staff, Ed­win Jubahib, but Frin­ston did not get any re­sponse ei­ther.

The ar­ti­cle only pointed out the facts and that in­cluded the Speaker's in­ter­est in Siargao, as he him­self ad­mit­ted hav­ing sev­eral prop­er­ties there.

As to “rig­or­ous fact-check­ing,” lawyer Dar­ren de Je­sus should reread the story. He might have missed the part where Speaker Al­varez spoke of the prop­er­ties and when he ac­quired them. His line about the er­rors at the As­ses­sor’s Of­fice is also in the story.

AL­LAN NAWAL, as­sis­tant bureau chief, In­quirer Min­danao

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