By Aaron Dioquino
The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 93 has acquitted two GMA news program executives of the copyright infringement complaint filed against them by ABS-CBN Corporation.
The court acquitted news operations head Grace Dela Peña and program manager John Oliver Manalastas citing “the failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.” The decision was signed by Presiding Judge Arthur O. Malabaguio on Sept 29, 2021.
The case stemmed from the “alleged unauthorized and illegal use and broadcast of ABS-CBN’s footage of the arrival of Angelo Dela Cruz at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)” in 2004.
Dela Cruz was an overseas Filipino worker who was kidnapped in Iraq.
In their defense, the accused executives said that the footage they used came from a valid subscription agreement with two foreign news agencies — Reuters and CNN.
They also said that “there was no advisory or notice of embargo given to GMA Network, Inc.” and that “the absence of volition, voluntariness and knowledge on the part of the accused in the alleged act of infringement warrants their acquittal from the crime charged.”