A lawyer for radio host and columnist Jobert Sucaldito has criticized Erik Santos after the singer filed a libel suit against his client over alleged derogatory remarks made online.
Santos, in his complaint filed before a Quezon City court on Thursday, claimed Sucaldito on Facebook accused him of being gay and engaging in lewd acts, causing him "mental anguish, serious anxiety, and sleepless nights."
In a statement sent to Pep, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio called Santos' attempt to "silence" Sucaldito through the lawsuit as "appalling and alarming." He also pointed out to Santos that being called "gay" is not an insult.
"'Gay' is no longer a pejorative term in these enlightened times, but merely a statement of sexual preference. By saying that ''gay'' is an insult, Erik Santos insults all the gay people not only in this country but all over the world," Topacio said.
Topacio made no mention of Santos' other complaint, in particular when he said he felt his reputation was smeared when Sucaldito revealed details about the alleged lewd acts he did on a masseur.
Topacio also did not refer to the other lawsuit Sucaldito is facing, one filed by Erickson Raymundo, the head of Cornerstone Entertainment, the talent agency that handles the career of Santos.
Raymundo alleged that Sucaldito defamed the name of his company when the radio host accused them of engaging in questionable schemes that rob other artists of projects.
Together, the complaints against Sucaldito totaled to 43 counts of cyber libel, 12 counts of grave threats, two counts of libel, and one count of slander. Santos and Raymundo are collectively seeking P24 million in damages.
According to Sucaldito, he will be filing a counter affidavit against Santos and Raymundo.
Below is Topacio's full statemet:
“The attempts of the camp of singer Erik Santos in silencing our client, Jobert Sucaldito -- a legitimate and established entertainment journalist of long standing -- first by lobbying for DZMM to suspend him, and thereafter by filing criminal charges and publicizing the same, are both appalling and alarming.
"But what is even more unnerving is the insistence of Mr. Santos that calling him "gay" is an imputation of a vice or defect. Unless he has been hiding under a rock for the past decade or so, Mr. Santos, being in the entertainment industry, should know better.
"'Gay' is no longer a pejorative term in these enlightened times, but merely a statement of sexual preference. By saying that "gay" is an insult, Erik Santos insults all the gay people not only in this country but all over the world. It is an unacceptable throwback to intolerant times and a million steps backwards for LGBT rights.
"Having made it a substantial part of his career to court publicity, Mr. Santos and his managers should not be heard to complain that some of that publicity is unfavorable. There is truth to the saying that if one cannot stand the heat, he should get out of the kitchen. And verily, Mr. Santos cannot try to extinguish the fire because he will come out half-cooked.
Jobert Sucaldito was only practicing his profession as he has been doing for most of his adult life. We will resist with the full force of the law every attempt to curtail his rights and prerogatives as a journalist and as citizen of the Philippines."