Remember the viral CCTV footage of an ex-Army reservist shooting a cyclist over a road altercation in Quiapo, Manila on July 25? Top Gear Philippines initially associated the killer to Nestor Punzalan. However, further investigation proved that the suspect is Vhon Tanto.
The mistake is attributed to a wrong plate number of the red Hyudai Eon figured in the road rage incident. Vernon Sarne, editor-in-chief of Top Gear Philippines, took full responsibility for posting Punzalan’s Facebook profile and his car’s photo.
Punzalan has since been the subject of online threats and cyber bullying. He immediately seeked assistance from the National Bureau of Investigation to clear his name. Unfortunately, the damage has been done.
While Sarne already apologized for his honest mistake, Punzalan decided to settle the issue in court. The latter personally filed an online libel complaint before NBI last August 12.
Along with Sarne, Dinzo Tabamo (online associate editor), Tracy Carpena (online managing editor), Jeffrey Reyes (publisher) and Adelbert Christopher De Jesus (digital publisher) are also included in the complaint.
“All of the above elements (for online libel) are present (such as) imputation of a discreditable act or condition to me by respondents when they they linked my personal Facebook page without any valid basis and even before the authorities are able to conclude their investigation as the person involved in video of a gruesome murder they earlier posted when the truth and in fact, I nor my Hyundai Eon are not in any manner or measure involved and even if assuming my motor vehicle was involved, no official report linked my person to the incident,” the complaint read.