Sharon Cuneta and Kiko Pangilinan File Cyber Libel Complaint Against Cristy Fermin

Sharon Cuneta and her husband Kiko Pangilinan filed a cyber libel complaint against showbiz columnist Cristy Fermin at the Makati City Prosecutor's Office. Fermin is accused of making malicious statements about the couple's personal and family affairs between 2023 and January 2024.

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Sharon Cuneta and Kiko Pangilinan File Cyber Libel Complaint Against Cristy Fermin

Sharon Cuneta and Kiko Pangilinan File Cyber Libel Complaint Against Cristy Fermin

On Friday, May 10, 2024, Sharon Cuneta and her husband, former senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, filed a cyber libel complaint against showbiz columnist Cristy Fermin at the Makati City Prosecutor's Office. The couple alleges that Fermin made malicious statements about their personal and family affairs between 2023 and January 2024, causing them deep distress and affecting their children.

Why this matters: This case highlights the ongoing struggle to balance celebrities' right to privacy with the nature of showbiz journalism and commentary, and its outcome may set important precedents for defining the boundaries of acceptable speech and reportage in the Philippines. The resolution of this complaint could have significant implications for the entertainment industry and beyond, influencing how public figures are treated in the media and online.

Cuneta expressed her hurt and frustration, stating, "Inalagaan ko 'yung pangalan ko ng 46 years. Maganda ang palaki sa'kin ng magulang ko. At higit sa lahat, sabi nung tatlong anak ko, mabuti akong ina. Sonapaka sakit sa'kin. My children have suffered. Sama ng loob nila." The couple's legal counsel, BSR Law, emphasized that as public figures, Cuneta and Pangilinan possess the same rights to privacy as ordinary individuals and have the right to be protected against defamatory statements.

This is not the first time Fermin has faced legal action for her statements. Just a week prior, on May 2, actress Bea Alonzo also filed a cyber libel complaint against Fermin for allegedly broadcasting baseless and harmful information about her sourced from an anonymous critic. Alonzo's complaint also covered the continued defamation by Fermin and her co-host Ogie Diaz across various media formats.

Fermin acknowledged the mounting legal challenges on her show "Cristy FerMinute" on May 10, saying, "Talagang tumataas ang mga libel, ng mga demandahan. From Sarah Lahbati, to Bea Alonzo, Sharon Cuneta na ang kasunod. Sino pa kaya ang susunod, si Julia Roberts na? Basta naiintindihan nating kung saan sila nagmumula. Wala pa po ako masasabi. Wala pa kaming impormasyon na tinatanggap, basta naiintindihan natin ito. Kasama po 'yan sa trabaho natin bilang mamamahayag." While Fermin expressed understanding of the complaints, she asserted that such challenges come with her role as a journalist and showbiz commentator.

The cyber libel complaint filed by Sharon Cuneta and Kiko Pangilinan against Cristy Fermin underscores the ongoing tension between celebrities' right to privacy and the nature of showbiz journalism and commentary. As the case progresses, it may set important precedents for defining the boundaries of acceptable speech and reportage when it comes to public figures and their personal lives in the Philippines. The legal counsel for Cuneta and Pangilinan expressed confidence in the prompt resolution of the complaint by the prosecutor's office.