By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2017 Journal GlobaLinks)
CHICAGO (JGL) – Filipino Canadian Senator Tobias C. Enverga Jr. has asked the Superior Court in Toronto, Canada to put Tess Cusipag,
publisher-editor of fortnightly Balita (news), behind bars for allegedly failing to abide by the court order for her “by among other things, publishing prohibited statements of and concerning Senator Enverga” in connection with a defamation lawsuit.
Aside from Ms. Cusipag, others named in the lawsuit were Balita Newspaper, Balita Media, Inc., publisher of Balita Newspaper, Romeo P. Marquez (a.k.a. Romy Marquez) and Carlos Padilla, president of the Kalayaan Cultural Community Center (KCCC), a non-for-profit organization incorporated in 1997.
Ms. Cusipag, widow of the late pre-martial law Philippine journalist Ruben Cusipag, who immigrated to Canada after getting out of martial law prisons, will know her fate on March 8, 2017 at 10 a.m. at 393 University Avenue in Toronto if Superior Court of Justice Judge Sidney Lederman would grant Enverga’s motion to cite her and her co-defendants for contempt of court if she would not “comply with the terms of the Permanent Injunction Order.”
Enverga, the first Philippine-born immigrant in Canada to be appointed senator in Canada, won a large libel judgment last July from Judge Lederman, who ordered Ms. Cusipag and four others to pay Enverga $150,000 in general and aggravate damages, $100,000 in punitive damages and $90,000 towards legal costs “plus judgment interests.”
Balita reported the claim by Consolacion "Mama Ching" Quejas, former president and founding member of KCCC, claimed that Mr. Enverga had “no intention to pay the $6,000” that Enverga allegedly collected for KCCC.
Padilla, Quejas’ predecessor, echoed the same complaint in an article he had written for Balita. Balita had tried to get the comment of Mr. Enverga on the article before publication of Padilla’s article but Enverga ignored Balita’s request for comment.
SENATOR TOBIAS C. ENVERGA, JR.
Quejas and Padilla died before they could authenticate their allegations in court. Quejas died on July 21, 2015 while Padilla died on Dec. 21, 2014.
Enverga took advantage of their deaths and filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the court.
Although, Padilla had already died, Enverga still included Padilla's name in the motion for contempt Enverga filed on Feb. 13, 2017.
Enverga filed defamation suit against Media Defendants Balita, Balita Media, Inc. Cusipag, Marquez and Padilla on April 25, 2014 based among “other things, (on) a false, malicious and defamatory article that was published in the Feb. 1-15, 2014 print edition of Balita” written by Romy P. Marquez entitled, “A biological liar?”
Enverga said the words he complained of “as being false and defamatory include:
“In 2001, Padilla went to Peel Regional Police in Mississauga and filed a complaint alleging some “chicanery against another KCCC Director;
“In October 2013, ‘Padilla got the police officer to corroborate the fact that he had indeed reported to the Fraud Department what he believed to be a fundraising scam;’
“I recall Mr. Padilla accusing a community director of skimming fundraising money for his own purpose;
“Mama Ching [Quejas], current president of KCCC, emailed him saying Tobias Enverga had promised to deliver $6,000 in 2000 to KCCC..;
“Another controversy is the status of his Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation (PCCF), which is questionable as he said his minions continue to assert what Canada Revenue Agency indicates, i.e. that is not a registered charity!
“In addition to the aforesaid Article, Cusipag posted on her Facebook page, a republication of an email sent from Carlos Padilla to Cusipag.”
ASKS COURT FOR BALITA TO PRINT ORDERS & ENDORSEMENTS
Cusipag said in a July 31, 2016 email message to friends because Padilla was named in the lawsuit, Padilla suffered stroke and eventually died, adding, “So, Enverga made the move, filed a motion to pin it on Balita and Cusipag without trial.
TESS CUSIPAG, PUBLISHER-EDITOR, BALITA
“I thought he (Enverga) would stop right there because of Carlos death, but we were caught unprepared. We found another credible witness Willie Cantos, another former president of KCCC but was not allowed by the court (to testify) because” the examination for discovery was over. “And that Balita and me were given Permanent Injunction Order not to talk about the $6,000 KCC AND THEIR PCCF NOT BEING A CHARITABLE FOUNDATION at all.”
In his motion, Enverga urged the court to order the defendants to comply with the following:
1. Order defendants to be “collectively” cited for contempt of court based on the order of Judge Lederman granted July 13, 2016 and be made a permanent injunction order;
2. Order media defendants to comply with the terms of the Permanent Injunction Order;
3. Balita Media must publish “an order and endorsement of the court on the within motion on the first page of Balita newspaper above fold in 11 points and bolded font in the first print edition of Balita newspaper;”
4. Balita Media must publish “within seven days of the release of the home page of the online edition in 11-point and bolded font and remain there for a period of ninety days;”
5. Order defendants to pay the Crown $25,000;
6. Tess Cusipag be personally and as an officer and director of Balita Media be imprisoned if she fails to comply the term of the order of the court;
7. Pay costs of the motion on a substantial indemnity basis to be fixed and payable within 30 days of the date of the order; and
8. Other reliefs, which the court, may deem just.
CUSIPAG DENIES SENDING EMAILS TO CANADIAN SENATORS
In citing Media Defendants for contempt of court, Enverga claimed in his motion that Balita Media defendants “flagrantly, intentionally and repeatedly breached the clear and unequivocal terms of the Permanent Injunction Order by among other things publishing prohibited statements of and concerning Senator Enverga.”
Enverga also accused Cusipag of sending “prohibited statements of and concerning Senator Enverga” to media outlets, including this reporter of the Journal GlobaLinks, and Enverga’s colleagues in the Canadian Senate, namely, Pakistan-Canadian Sen. Salma Ataullahjan, Vietnamese-Canadian Senator Thanh Hai Ngo and Speaker of the Senate of Canada (George Furey) to educate them why defendants lost in the libel case to their fellow Senator Enverga.
Among the headings Cusipag allegedly used in her email messages were: “July 31, 2016 “Just For Enlightenment;” “The Oct. 6, 2016, “The truth, the two witnesses were both dead and Cantos testimony came late but Enverga pinned it on me. But the truth is the truth.
“Please help me disseminate the truth out there. I have Permanent Injunction Order. I am asking all our contacts all over the world for the truth to come out. TOBIAS ENVERGA, THE SENATOR is going away with it.”
And The Nov. 18, 2016, “Knowing we told the truth can cause anybody to break down when he is lying to his teeth. The body of the email contained an article of Romeo P. Marquez entitled, “DEFAMATION LAWSUIT Tobias Enverga Breaks down in Toronto Courtroom Drama,” which Enverga said “mocks the relief’ he felt in the court room.
Cusipag denied sending the emails to the Canadian senators, saying she will have her hacked email account investigated.
The defendants are appealing the judgment in “respect of the quantum of damages awarded only” and leave to appeal the costs judgment. The hearing is set for April 6, 2017.
Enverga brought a motion for summary judgment against the defendants on May 25, 2016 before Judge Lederman, instead of opting for a jury trial.
“SENATOR FOR LIFE”
Enverga, a native of Lucena City in the Philippines, was appointed to the Senate by former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2012 at the age of 53. He can hold on to the position on good behavior until the age of 75 or until 2034. A senator, who attends 69 days of session every year, has an annual salary of $138,700.