Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Justice dept clears Rep. Diaz of harassment

By JOMAR CANLAS, The Manila Times Reporter

The Department of Justice on Monday acquitted Rep. Antonio Diaz of Zambales of sexual harassment and oral-defamation charges filed by starlet Ana Lea Javier.

A member of the popular Viva Hot Babes, Javier accused the lawmaker of molesting her after doing a show in his hometown of Iba, Zambales, on January 20, 2005.

She also claimed that Diaz had "propositioned" her after she got only half of her expected P100,000 talent fee.

"It is rather incredible . . . to do such sexual advances in the presence of many visitors since he [Diaz] himself would be exposed to such risk," the justice department said in its decision.

Given the "hostile atmosphere" between Diaz and Javier’s group, "it is unclear how to sustain the starlet’s allegation that she was sexually harassed," the department added.

The department noted that in separate TV interviews on January 30 and 31, 2005, Javier and her manager Remedios Coady failed to mention any sexual harassment by the congressman.

"While witnesses for the respondent admitted having heard him utter heated words to Coady, they denied having heard him the words ‘prostitute’ and ‘ugly,’" the decision said.

"They may be political allies of the respondent, but this does not give rise to any presumption of bias or ulterior motive," it added.

It was found that Coady had withdrawn her case after Diaz issued a public apology.

As evidence, Diaz presented video clips of the interview where Javier did not say the congressman invited her into his room and offered her P50,000 "provided that she [Javier] would give in to my sexual desire."


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