Jobert Sucaldito pleads guilty in Erik Santos libel case; applies for probation

by Rachelle Siazon
Nov 16, 2019
After plea-bargaining in legal battle with Erik Santos (right), radio host/entertainment columnist/talent manager Jobert Sucaldito (left) asks court to allow him to come under probation instead of serving his sentence in jail.
PHOTO/S: Jobert Sucaldito Facebook / @eriksantos Instagram

Umamin nang guilty sa salang libel si Jobert Sucaldito.

Bunga ito ng akusasyon sa radio host, entertainment columnist, at talent manager ng paninirang-puri sa Kapamilya singer na si Erik Santos at sa talent manager nitong si Erickson Raymundo.

March 30, 2017 nang magsampa ng patung-patong na reklamo si Erik dahil sa sunud-sunod na mga birada ni Jobert sa pagkatao at propesyon ni Erik, na sa tingin ng Kapamilya singer ay malisyoso na.

Noong October 12, 2017 pormal na kinasuhan si Jobert ng 37 counts of cyber libel, alinsunod sa imbestigasyon ng Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.

Ngayong November 15, 2019, nakatanggap ang PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) ng impormasyong nag-plead si Jobert ng “guilty to the lesser offense of libel.”

Base sa dokumento, noon pang January 16, 2019 lumabas ang hatol ng Quezon City Regional Trial Court kay Jobert.

Ang parusa: "6 months and 1 day" hanggang "2 years, 4 months, and 1 day" na pagkakakulong at multang nagkakahalaga ng "PHP200" kada bilang ng libel charge.

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JOBERT PLEADS GUILTY TO ORDINARY LIBEL INSTEAD OF CYBER LIBEL

Nguni't base sa court documents, makikitang "nag-plea bargain" si Jobert at tumawad sa korte na babaan ang kanyang sentensiya.

Ano ang plea bargain?

Ayon sa University of the Philippines Criminal Law professor na si Atty. Sandra Coronel, ang plea bargain ay isang kasunduan sa pagitan ng akusado at prosecutor na siyang kumakatawan sa "People of The Philippines" sa isang paglilitis.

Boluntaryong umaaming guilty ang akusado sa isang mas mababang offense upang bumaba ang parusa sa kanya ng korte.

Kapalit ito ng mabilis na pagbaba ng hatol na pagkakakulong, upang makaiwas ang gobyerno sa "delay and expense" na karaniwang nangyayari sa matagalang paglilitis ng isang kaso.

Paliwanag ni Atty. Coronel, "This agreement needs to be approved by the judge, and once approved, the judge will immediately promulgate a judgement of conviction, and sentence the accused to the penalty imposable for the lower offense."

Sa kaso ni Jobert, lumalabas na umamin itong guilty siya sa salang 37 counts of ordinary libel sa halip na 37 counts of cyber libel.

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Paliwanag ni Atty. Colonel, bawat bilang ng cyber libel ay may parusang "prison mayor in minimum" o pinakamababang pagkakakulong sa loob ng "6 years and 1 day up to 8 years."

Kada bilang ng cyber libel ay posible ring patawan ng parusang "prison mayor in medium period" o pagkakakulong sa loob ng "8 years and 1 day to 10 years."

Mas mababa ang parusa ng ordinary libel sa cyber libel—o paninira sa reputasyon ng isang tao sa Internet.

Ang ordinary libel ay may karampatang parusang "prison correctional in minimum" o pagkakakulong sa loob ng "6 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4 months."

Posible ring ipataw ang "prison correctional in medium period" o parusang pagkakulong sa loob ng "2 years, 4 months, and 1 day up to 4 years and 2 months."

Dagdag pa rito ang multang nagkakahalaga ng PHP200 hanggang PHP600 kada bilang ng ordinary libel.

Paliwanag din ni Atty. Colonel: "Because of the plea-bargain, the People of The Philippines did not have to present evidence any more and avoided having to wait out a long trial process, in exchange for the guilty plea, for which the lesser penalty was imposed by the court: prison correctional minimum (6 months and 1 day) to prison correctional medium (2 years, 4 months, and 1 day) plus fine of PHP200 per count."

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JOBERT APPLIES FOR PROBATION

Dahil napababa mula cyber libel papuntang ordinary libel ang pagkakasala ni Jobert, hiniling ng beteranong entertainment personality na ipasailalim siya sa probation sa halip na makulong.

Isinumite nito sa Quezon City Regional Trial Court ang dokumento na may titulong "APPLICATION FOR PROBATION," na may petsang January 17, 2019.

Pirmado ito ng kanyang legal counsel na sina Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Joselito Lomangaya, at Jun Matthew Guerrero.

Saad sa isang bahagi ng Application For Probation ni Jobert (itals provided):

“Accused-applicant, on plea-bargaining in this case, pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of Libel under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, hence, upon a Judgment dated 16 January 2019, was sentenced to suffer the penalty of six (6) months and (1) day of prision correccional minimum to two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of prision correccional medium, and to pay the fine of Two Hundred Pesos (P200.00) for each count."

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Sabi pa rito, pasok si Jobert sa mga kuwalipikasyon bilang accused-applicant sa ilalim ng Probation Law, alinsunod sa Presidential Decree No. 968.

Una, depensa ng mga abugado ni Jobert, ang libel ay hindi raw maituturing na “offense against national security.”

Sabi pa nila, wala raw history si Jobert ng anumang krimen kunsaan naparusahan ito ng pagpapakulong ng mahigit sa anim na buwan o naparusahang magmulta ng mahigit PHP1,000.

Wala rin daw history si Jobert ng pagkakasailalim sa probation, alinsunod sa PD 968.

Ayon sa kanyang Application for Probation: “Accused-applicant is not in need of correctional treatment that can be provided most effectively by his commitment to an institution and there is no undue risk that during the period of probation he will commit another crime, nor will probation depreciate the seriousness of the offense committed.”

Dagdag pa sa Application ni Jobert: “WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that the execution of the sentence on Accused be suspended and, after due proceedings under the Probation Law, that the Accused be placed on probation for such period and upon such terms and conditions as It may deem best."

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COURT INVESTIGATES IF JOBERT IS QUALIFIED FOR PROBATION

Sumagot ang korte sa Application for Probation ni Jobert.

Noong January 28, 2019, iniutos ng Quezon City Regional Trial Court na imbestigahan ng Board of Probation and Parole kung karapat-dapat pagbigyan ang hiling ni Jobert na babaan ang kanyang sentensiya.

Ito ay matapos magharap sa korte noong araw na iyon ang “defense counsel” at “public prosecutor” kaugnay ng kasong isinampa nina Erik at Erickson laban kay Jobert.

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Sabi sa bahagi ng desisyong pirmado ni Acting Presiding Judge
Maria Luisa Lesle Gonzales-Betic:

“Accordingly, without objection from the prosecution, the Board of Probation and Parole is directed to conduct an investigation of the accused and to submit the corresponding report/recommendation on the matter within sixty (60) days from receipt hereof.

“In this regard, the Branch Clerk of Court is directed to furnish the Board of Probation and Parole a certified true copy of the information and the Judgment dated January 16, 2019.”

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WHAT DOES PROBATION ENTAIL?

Sa pagsasaliksik ng PEP.ph sa lawphil.net, ang PROBATION SYSTEM ng PD 968 ay naglalayong makapagbigay ng mas makataong “correctional system” para sa "offenders" na nagsisisi at nagnanais magbagong-buhay.

Dagdag na paliwanag ng legal expert na si Atty. Coronel, ang "probation" ay isang paraan kung saan pinapayagan ng korteng bunuin ng akusado ang sentensiya habang nananatili sa komunidad na kinabibilingan nito sa halip na mabilanggo.

Kapalit nito ay ang regular na pag-report sa isang probation officer, hindi pag-commit ng panibagong offense, at compliance ng akusado sa iba pang mga kondisyong ipapataw ng korte.

Ang period of probation ay karaniwang kasing-tagal ng sentensiyang pagkakakulong na iginawad ng korte.

Subali't maaari ring magrekomenda ang probation officer ng ibang period of probation basta't hindi ito lalampas sa anim na taon.

Ayon pa kay Atty. Coronel: "Once the probation officer reports to the court that all the probation conditions were satisfactorily complied with, the court will consider the sentence as having been served.

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"Should the probation officer, however, determine that the accused violated any of the conditions for probation, he can ask the court for the revocation of the probation, and the accused will be required to serve his sentence in prison."

Isang beses lamang maaaring apply-an ang probation, at hindi mapahihintulutan ito kung dati nang may record ng probation ang akusado.

Dagdag-paliwanag ni Atty. Colonel, isa sa mahalagang qualification ng probation ay iginagawad ito "sa mga akusadong nasentensiyahan ng hindi lalampas sa anim na taong pagkakakulong."

Ito marahil ang dahilan kung bakit nag-plea bargain ng ordinary libel si Jobert.

Kung cyber libel ang ihahatol sa kanya ng korte ay mas mahabang pagkakakulong ang magiging sentensiya at "hindi na siya magiging kuwalipikado para sa probation."

ONGOING BACKGROUND CHECK ON JOBERT

Napag-alaman ng PEP.ph na hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay nasa proseso pa rin ng imbestigasyon ang Application For Probation ni Jobert.

Ayon sa ilang court insiders, noong isang linggo ay dalawang katrabaho ni Jobert sa show business ang ininterbyu ng probation officer mula sa Board of Probation and Parole.

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Isa rito ay si Boy Abunda, host ng ABS-CBN late-night talk show na Tonight With Boy Abunda, na dati nang may working relationship kay Jobert. Ang isa pa ay si Ahwel Paz, co-anchor ni Jobert sa DZMM Teleradyo show na Mismo.

Bahagi raw ito ng background check kay Jobert upang masiguro ng Board of Probation and Parole na karapat-dapat itong payagang mag-serve ng parusa nito sa pamamagitan ng probation.

Bukas ang PEP.ph sa anumang pahayag ng mga personalidad na nabanggit sa artikulong ito.

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After plea-bargaining in legal battle with Erik Santos (right), radio host/entertainment columnist/talent manager Jobert Sucaldito (left) asks court to allow him to come under probation instead of serving his sentence in jail.
PHOTO/S: Jobert Sucaldito Facebook / @eriksantos Instagram
  • This article was created by . Edits have been made by the PEP.ph editors.
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