Annabelle Rama claims Richard's libel case was "snatched" from Makati to DOJ

"Nagtataka lang ako, bakit hindi pa pinabayaan ng DOJ na doon mag-imbestiga sa Makati Fiscal's Office? Bakit hindi tinapos ang kaso doon? Bakit dinukot ang kaso ni Richard at hindi ni-raffle sa DOJ ang kaso?" says Annabelle Rama about the dismissal of her son Richard Gutierrez's libel case against PEP by the Department of Justice.


Showbiz Centralbecame a family affair yesterday, July 12, with the presence of talent manager Annabelle Rama and her twins, Richard and Raymond Gutierrez. The three talked about their reaction and disappointment over the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to junk the libel suit filed by Richard versus PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) due to "lack of probable cause."

Raymond, who is one of the hosts of the showbiz talk show, defended his brother in his statement. Richard was interviewed live by co-host Pia Guanio about his reaction. (Click here to read related story.)

Annabelle Rama was the guest in the "Intriga Crossfire" segment where the questions were all related to the dismissal of Richard's libel suit.

At the start of the interview, Annabelle admitted that the Bisaya in her comes out whenever she feels that her children or her talents are being affected or hurt.

"Ang babata pa nila para ma-involve sa ganitong klaseng intriga," she explained. "As a mother, nandito ako na dumedepensa sa kanila... Mahirap talaga maging nanay din. Biruin mo, anim 'yan, 'day."

Pia then commented that Annabelle had put so much effort in bringing up her kids the way she wanted them to be. But still, doesn't she feel that she should ease up a little knowing that her kids can fend for themselves?

Annabelle thought for a moment, then answered, "Alam ko naman. Alam ko naman lahat sila ganoon—palaban. 'Yan ang itinuturo ko sa kanila, maliit pa sila, na huwag sila paapi. Kailangan lumaban sila."

Raymond was next to ask his mother. First, he laughed and greeted his mom, "Hi, Ma, it's my turn." Then, on a serious note, he asked, "Going back to the case of PEP, alam ko na marami nang nasabi at marami nang nasulat ang camp natin at ang camp ni Ms. Jo-Ann [Maglipon, editor-in-chief of PEP]. Out of everything, for you, ano sa tingin mo ang positive na nangyari...out of all of this?"

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"Alam mo, 'Mond," started Annabelle, "na positive nakikita ko, ang Zorro ni Richard is still number one."

As cheers from the studio crowd—mostly fans of Richard—erupted, Annabelle thanked everyone who supports her son, adding, "Yung mga award-award na 'yan, hindi ko naintindihan. Ang award galing sa anak ko, ang pinapasalamatan ko lahat ng taong bayan na sumusuporta."

FROM MAKATI TO DOJ. Before the next question could be heard, Annabelle asked for some time to explain herself, something that she said that was not aired on TV. What she was about to say was related to the transfer of the case from the Makati Prosecutor's Office to the DOJ.

"Yung kaso ni Richard, na-file sa Makati, okay? First hearing nila, sumipot si Jo-Ann at nagbigay ng sagot nila sa demanda ni Richard. Pangalawang hearing, dumating ang lawyer ko at tumawag sa akin at wala daw kaso ni Richard, may dumukot daw.

"Noong sinabi ng lawyer ko 'yon—lawyer ni Richard si Atty. [Angelica] Santiago—sabi ko, 'Mag-iimbestiga ako, Attorney. Bakit nawala ang kaso diyan ni Richard.' Nag-imbestiga ako ngayon kung sino ang dumukot, napunta na pala sa DOJ ang kaso. Nagtataka lang ako, bakit hindi pa pinabayaan ng DOJ na doon mag-imbestiga sa Makati Fiscal's Office? Bakit hindi tinapos ang kaso doon? Bakit dinukot ang kaso ni Richard at hindi ni-raffle sa DOJ ang kaso?

"Ang humawak ng kaso, si Prosecutor [Mary Jane] Sytat. Inimbistiga ko din kung sino siya. Yun pala siya, bata siya ni [former] Secretary [Raul] Gonzales. Tao siya ni Secretary Gonzales. Ang ginawa ko, pumunta ako ng DOJ. Nakikiusap ako kay Sec. Gonzales. Sabi ko, 'Secretary, bakit napunta dito kaso ni Richard? Finile namin sa Makati ang kaso niya at bakit napunta sa DOJ? Sino ang dumukot doon?'" Annabelle narrated.

According to Richard's mother, Secretary Gonzales informed her that even though the hearing would take place at the DOJ, the Makati court would still be involved. "Ang gusto lang daw nila, ang mag-ano lang daw ng kaso, e mga taga-DOJ. Sabi ko naman, 'Secretary Gonzales, fair naman ang laban dapat.' Kasi, nadukot na 'yan, parang iba na nasa isip ko na."

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Annabelle then switched chords by giving her thoughts about PEP's legal counsel, Atty. Sandra Olaso-Coronel.

"Itong lawyer ng PEP," she said, "kung ano pinagsasasabi niya. Ako, hindi ako college graduate, high school graduate, pero ang utak ko umaandar. Alam ko yung decision ng DOJ hindi dapat ganun mangyari. Kung yung si Sytat, kung nag-aral siya sa kaso ni Richard, binabasa niya gabi-gabi yun, e hindi ma-dismiss ang kaso."

Then, with conviction, she declared: "Ang kaso ni Richard, sure winner 'yan, e. Mayroon kaming witness, mayroon kaming ebidensiya at umamin ang PEP! Nagkamali sila!

"Itong naman si Jo-Ann Maglipon, ang masasabi ko lang sa kanya... Ang hingi ko lang naman sa kanya, simple lang, 'Ayaw mo mademanda, isa lang hingin ko sa iyo, Jo-Ann—i-retract mo ang sinabi ng writer na hindi totoong may nangyari. Hindi totoong may nangyaring incident.' Bakit hindi niya magawa yun?

"Siguro, duda lang ako, yung sumulat, siya [Jo-Ann] din yun, tapos nag-imbento lang siya ng pangalan. Kunyari yung pangalan ng reporter, pero siya yun. Bakit hindi maamin-amin na nagkamali sila? Ano problema nila? Sabi ko nga, sana pinabayaan na lang sa Makati na sa fiscal's office mag-imbestiga doon sa kaso ni Richard. Kaso dinukot, 'day.

"Sabi ng lawyer nila, masaya daw sila. Okay, masaya kayo. Unang laban pa lang ito, e, hindi naman ito matatapos pa, e. Mayroon tayong petition for review, mayroon tayong Court of Appeals, mayroon tayong Supreme Court. Tutulungan ko si Richard, ipaglalaban ko itong kasong ito, kasi nakakaawa ang bata. Ang hindi niya ginawang kasalanan, ginawang kasalanan. Doon pa sa Internet nilagay. Kaya ako, galit na galit talaga."

REACTION TO DOJ'S COMMENT. After Annabelle's lengthy share of thoughts and theories, SC host Mo Twister asked her reaction concerning the DOJ's comment that Richard should not be "onion-skinned" or sensitive. (Click here to read related story.)

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"Siyempre, masakit sa akin yun," Annabelle said. "Parang binabalewala at sinusulat nila, e, below the belt. Ang sulat naman, imbentong sulat at imbentong istorya. Kaya nga nakakagulat, e. Nakagawa sila ng imbentong istoryang ganyan.

"Itong prosecutor, dapat siya, dapat hindi napapadala sa sulsol. Bata pa ang Sytat na yun. Sayang. Mahaba pa lalakbayin niya, pero sa ginawa niya, baka hindi na siya makarating ng Court of Appeals or Supreme Court dahil nagpasulsol siya.

"Kunyari na lang," she added, switching again to PEP's lawyer. "Sabi kasi ng lawyer ng PEP, huwag magalit si Richard, ganyan-ganyan. Kunyari na lang, sabihin ko na kaya nanalo sila kasi nagbayad siya o nilakad niya tapos sasabihin ko, sorry? Matutuwa ba siya? Kasi pag imbento, mahirap imbento mo. Dapat magsasabi ka ng totoo. At ang prosecutor, dapat pag-aralan niya kaso ni Richard.

"Para sa akin, mas magaling pa ako sa lawyer ng PEP. Hindi ako lawyer, pero mas magaling pa ako sa kanya. Wala siyang utak!"

What is their legal counsel doing right now for the case to progress?

"Sa Wednesday ng hapon [July 15], magpa-file kami ng petition for review doon sa DOJ," she said. "Hindi ko nilalahat ang DOJ, kasi magagaling ang mga taga-DOJ. Magaling ang mga prosecutors diyan, unless, magpapasulsol. Ibang usapan na 'yan, 'day."

How about her advice to Richard?

"Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Tibayan mo ang sarili mo at ang puso mo. Ngayon mo malalaman kung sino totoo mong kaibigan. Kasi lahat ng 'yan, kinakalabit ka lang ng Diyos para malaman kung sino totoo mong kaibigan.' Sabi ko lang kay Richard, prayers. Pag magdasal ka every minute, every day, hindi ka pababayaan sa Itaas. Ako, alam ko vindicated si Richard sa kasong ito kasi kakampi ko ang Diyos. Alam niya nagsasabi kami ng totoo. Hindi kami mga sinungaling, 'day."

John "Sweet" Lapus asked, in all of Annabelle's efforts to help her kids and her talents, does she feel that she in the end gets the brunt of her talent's adversaries? Did she, at one time, feel tired or even feel like giving up?

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"Ay, hindi," said Annabelle. "Ang Bisaya, palaban. Hindi umuurong ng away. Hindi kami sumusuko at talagang lumalaban ako. Hindi ako napapagod at hindi ako sumusuko. Ipaglalaban ko ang tama. Sabi ko nga, hanggang Supreme Court aabot kami. Dalawang kaso lang naman binabantayan ko, e—kaso ko at kaso ni Richard. Mamaya kasi nilalakad na, kaya talagang hindi ako natutulog sa kakabantay."


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