Broadcast journalist Alfonso Tomas “Atom” Araullo has filed a P2 million defamation lawsuit against former anti-insurgency task force spokesperson Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celiz for their “defamatory statements” about his alleged ties to communist groups.
In a civil lawsuit filed in the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on Monday, September 11, Araullo, supported by his legal representatives headed by attorneys Tony La Viña and Rico Domingo, underscored how the slanderous statements uttered by Badoy and Celiz on national TV and social media had significantly harmed his reputation and career.
“Mr. Araullo, as a seasoned journalist, television anchor, documentary filmmaker, and co-founder of an independent media organization, has built a credible reputation centered around integrity and truth-telling. These baseless and malicious attacks not only tarnished his reputation and professional credibility but also endangered his personal safety and that of his mother,” La Viña said
La Viña disclosed that Araullo is seeking P2,070,000 in nominal, moral, and exemplary damages, in addition to pursuing fair attorney’s fees and the expenses associated with the legal process.
In a statement, Araullo emphasized that taking this legal step is essential to protect his rights and maintain the truth in the face of misleading narratives.
“It is my considered belief that the nature of their remarks goes far beyond the boundaries of fair criticism, and are designed to discredit, intimidate, and foment public animosity towards both me and my family. It also seems to be part of a broader pattern to harass and undermine members of the media whose reporting does not fit their agenda,” he said.
While he refrained from pursuing a criminal case against the accused, Araullo underscored the importance of addressing malicious disinformation.
“I initially chose to ignore their attacks owing to their apparent absurdity. But because I’ve seen how treacherous, persuasive, and harmful disinformation can be, especially when left unchecked, I have resolved to push back. I am doing this for the safety and well-being of my family, but I also hope it contributes in a modest way to protecting press freedom in general,” he said.
“Malicious perpetrators of disinformation must be stopped and held accountable. This is a unique challenge of our time, especially for journalists who are duty-bound to uphold the truth,” he stressed.
Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celiz, who host the show “Laban Kasama ng Bayan” on Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).