Robie de Guzman
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Friday called as “unacceptable” the public apology issued by the news website Inquirer.net over its report on the plea for executive clemency by the family of convicted rapist-murderer, former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez.
The Inquirer.net earlier apologized for reporting on its social media platform that Panelo wrote a letter to Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) executive director Reynaldo Bayang, recommending executive clemency for Sanchez at the request of the latter’s daughter.
Sanchez was Panelo’s former client in the rape-murder case of Eileen Sarmenta and murder of Allan Gomez.
Panelo denied making an intervention for the Sanchez family’s plea, and the Inquirer.net said it posted the latter’s “clarification upon receipt of his statement on the matter.”
“The updated reports stated that he merely referred the request of Sanchez’s family to Bayang,” the online publication said.
But Panelo rejected it, saying the apology “prefaced it with an alleged clarification from me of what I meant in referring the letter of the daughter of Sanchez.”
“I was not clarifying rather I was telling the Inquirer.net that it maliciously gave a wrong meaning and adverse imputation of the performance of an act which I never did, therefore, besmirching my character and reputation in the process,” he said.
“I educated it on the meaning of referral as against recommendation and endorsement as against indorsement, and thereafter demanded a public apology from it,” he added.
Panelo earlier said he will press libel charges against Inquirer.net and Rappler if the two sites fail to issue a public apology and rectify their reports, which according to him were “reeking with malice” and are “libelous in nature.”
Rappler earlier said in a statement Panelo’s threat to file libel complaints was merely a diversionary tactic.