The Philippine Reporter
Ontario Superior Court Justice sentenced Balita publisher Tess Cusipag on Monday June 12 with 21 days of imprisonment for “the offence of criminal contempt of court” in relation to her defiance of a court order. A Superior Court had previously ordered Cusipag and Balita “to stop repeating their false allegations” about Senator Tobias Enverga, Jr.
The court was jampacked as the supporters of both defendant Cusipag and plaintiff Sen. Enverga came in droves.
Tess Cusipag, widow of the late Ruben Cusipag, the founding publisher and editor of Balita, was quiet all throughout the proceedings, head bowed as if wanting to hide her face. There was one time, however, when she stood up to express her disagreement while presiding Judge Frederick L. Myers was reading the 9-point basis of the sentence against her.
Sen. Enverga was not present during the sentencing but his wife Rosemer Enverga including other known leaders and political figures in the Filipino community were present to give Enverga full support.
“For the offence of criminal contempt of court, I sentence you Teresita Cusipag, also known as Tess Cusipag, to a term of 21 days in provincial reformatory to commence immediately,” said Judge Frederick L. Myers of Ontario Superior Court.
Cusipag’s supporters, including fellow respondent Romy Marquez, were visibly shocked at the verdict. Cusipag appeared in total disbelief upon hearing the conviction. Atty. J. Chow, Cusipag’s legal counsel, took a chance of asking reconsideration and was chided almost instantly. Myers said “No” which sent Cusipag and her supporters to tears. Marquez kept his silence and seemed to be making an effort to ready himself and his camera to document the whole proceeding.
Rosemer Enverga, wife of Sen. Enverga, and her supporters immediately stood up and left the court room without saying a word but all in smiles apparently satisfied with how justice worked in their favor.
Cusipag’s supporters stayed in the courtroom and prayed over their friend, reading the prayer from Psalm 23.
Cusipag’s legal counsel Atty. J. Chow, then approached her but Cusipag said “All those things that are being said today, it came as a surprise to me. All of them. All of them are a surprise. I didn’t even know. I didn’t know all those things, Mr. Chow. That one about Mr. Winkler that wanted us to apologize I never got those, I never got anything. I was so left in the dark at all. Never. I didn’t do anything.” Her lawyer, shaking his head, left the court room.
As the two court police officers waited for Ms. Cusipag, her supporters started taking her car keys, her hand bag and gave her hugs and assurances that everything would soon be over.