BULACAN POLITICS SIZZLES: Malolos mayor to file $100,000 damage suit against US-based ‘Gawad Amerika Awards’

Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad sign the seven-page complaint against US-based ‘Gawad Amerika Awards’ before filing at the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan while his legal counsel Atty. Jolette Fajardo looks on. Photo by RR Eleogo

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — Mayor Christian D. Natividad announced Friday (Nov. 9) the filing of US$100,000 or P5.2-Million damage suit against the US-based ‘Gawad Amerika Awards’ and Joey Sarmiento, Philippine’ director for operations, for declaring as ‘Null and Void’ an award that he personally received from 17th Annual Gawad Amerika Awards Night 2018 last August 18, 2018, at Celebrity Centre International, Hollywood, California.

Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad read the seven-page complaint against the US-based ‘Gawad Amerika Awards’ and Joey Sarmiento, Philippine’ director for operations during the press conference on Friday. Photo by RR Eleogo

In a jam-packed press conference attended by almost all mediamen covering Bulacan, Mayor Natividad, lambasted the Philippine director of the US-based award-giving body.

“As a lawyer, I need to defend my name, integrity and public track record from the malicious insinuation that I received a fake or bogus award,” Natividad said.

Natividad added he did not solicit the award but was voluntarily given to him by GAA chairman Alfredo Yumul thru a letter-invitation dated June 27, 2018, that he was chosen as an awardee as ‘Most Outstanding Mayor of the Philippines for 2018’.

“I am a victim here of a demolition job or shame campaign which is apparently politically-motivated. On October 18, a day after I filed my COC as governor of Bulacan and a standard bearer of PDP-Laban , I received a letter from Sarmiento, who is reputedly an ‘inaanak’ (godson) of a high rank politician in the province informing me that the GAA ‘certificate of recognition’ (sic) was null and void,” Natividad said.

Early this week, Mayor Natividad or “Agila ng Bulacan” was subjected to ridicule and bashing in social media trolls as dishonest for receiving a fake award. At least five (5) accounts have been circulating among Bulacan social groups spreading smear and black propaganda against Natividad.

Atty. Jolette Fajardo, the mayor’s legal counsel, said: “The unilateral declaration of the award as ‘null and void’ by the Philippine director of GAA deprived his client’s of basic due process considering there was no complaint or objection raised when Natividad received the award in the US.”

“The respondents abused its rights and is liable for damages for inviting Natividad to go to the United States to received an award, only to rescind the award without any due process,” Atty. Fajardo added.

Attached to the seven-page complaint of Natividad before the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, docketed as Civil Case No. 495-M-2018, are: invitation-letter from Gawad Amerika; ‘Authority to Travel’ issued by the governor of Bulacan; photos and videos taken during the event in Hollywood Center, USA; copy of the award; including a photo and video clips of co-awardee Lhars Santiago of GMA7 taken during the awards’ night.

Mayor Natividad is asking the Bulacan RTC to “order Gawad Amerika and Joey Sarmiento to pay damages in the amount of US$100,000 (P5.291-M); plus actual damages (expenses in the US) totaling P300,000; and P100,000 in attorney’s fees.

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Emmanuel "Manny" Dineros Balbin, an editor-in-chief of RONDA Balita, Lingguhang Pahayagan ng Masang Intelihente, and RONDA Balita Online News was a former seminarian of Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in Notre Dame University Seminary in Cotabato City. Graduated Philosophy as major course, Political Science as minor, at the University of Santo Tomas, Legaspi City but landed and became a journalist. A former Journal Group of Publication (People's Journal, Peoples Tonight, Taliba & Women's Journal) staffer for 17 years. Before he was simultaneously contributed news articles to 3 local newspaper in Bulacan (NewsCore, MetroNews & NewsWatcher). A former Journal Group Bulacan correspondent, Kabayan provincial reporter, 2010 Bulacan election correspondent by Rappler and presently, a stringer of Philippine News Agency (PNA) Bulacan.


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