Two years after being accused of molesting a Filipina, the U.S. lawyer became a wanted man in the PHL
By Rhony Laigo
Last week, we here at Balita presented compelling evidence that may have disputed the pseudo investigative reportersâ€™ claim in their new newspaper â€“Â which they call their new baby â€“ that showed that there was an incident that allegedly took place on July 15, 2006 involving a U.S. lawyer, Atty. Joel Bander, for reportedly molesting a Filipina client. The Filipina claimed the incident took place in a Manila when she came to the office of Atty. Joel Bander to help her secure a U.S. visa.
Though graphic in nature, the photocopy of the criminal information we published last week described how Atty. Joel Bander allegedly committed â€œActs of Lasciviousnessâ€ against the person of one Cristina San Jose Y Aler at the Imperial Bayfront Tower, where Bander allegedly was entertaining clients. The same criminal information was the basis for the Peopleâ€™s Tonight story and its reporter, Allan Bergonia, when he wrote that Bander was slapped with the criminal case for committing â€œacts of lasciviousnessâ€ and â€œunjust vexation.â€ A photocopy of the same Peopleâ€™s Tonight story of Mr. Bergonia was also published in our midweek edition, which can be read in its entirety in our websiteÂ balita.com.
The main reason for presenting the documents in our previous issue was to dispel the claims of the pseudo investigative reporters, who weÂ will refer here as dogs so we can all identify them as being staffmembers of their newspaper which bears part of the same name. Two weeks earlier, these dogs published a story claiming that this author based his letter to the commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines on a â€œPeopleâ€™s Tonight storyâ€ that they said was later â€œretracted by Peopleâ€™s Tonight.â€ According to the dogs, Peopleâ€™s Tonight deemed it â€œuntrue and without basisâ€ and that the complainant was â€œfictitious.â€ Even the subhead of their article said that this author â€œwas unawareâ€ that the complaint â€œwas filed by (a) fictitious accuser.â€
Perhaps, the dogs didnâ€™t know that such criminal information did exist that stated that a certain Cristina San Jose swore before a prosecutor when she filed the complaint back in July 2006.
Therein lies the problem of the dogs. The real Peopleâ€™s Tonight story stated that Bander was facing criminal charges based on a true incident report and a true complaint filed before a Manila Prosecutorâ€™s Office, specifically at the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 27, as written by Bergonia.
The dogs claimed in their so-called investigative reporting that the same newspaper, Peopleâ€™s Tonight, published the same incident, but the dogs stated that Peopleâ€™s Tonight published it as being filed in Taguig, Branch 78. However, as we presented here last week, and as posted on our website, the story of Mr. Bergonia didnâ€™t make any mention of Taguig, nor Branch 78. Bergonia also wrote that the complaint was filed at the Manila Prosecutorâ€™s Office.
At this juncture, Balita poses this challenge to the dogs â€“ who may have been FED not with â€œdog foodâ€ by their master/owner but maybe RAT POISON (but since theyâ€™re animals they ate them anyway not even thinking that they didnâ€™t have the actual documents with them)Â â€“ to produce their own copy of Peopleâ€™s Tonight that stated otherwise.
Be that as it may, as we have promised last week, we are presenting here another document that may eventually kill whatever credibility these pseudo investigative reporters have (if they had any) for being careless, unprofessional and unworthy of their claim to be the dogs of the community.
As you can see, the warrant of arrest issued against Atty. Joel Bander on July 10, 2008 was based on the same July 2006 incident. Although the dogs reported that Bander attended the initial hearings against him, there were no succeeding appearances made on his behalf or by him in person that warranted his arrest, the Manila prosecutorâ€™s office told Balita.
According to the court, Mr. Bander could no longer be located and that his attorneys could no longer make representations on his behalf. The warrant of arrest was signed by Judge Joel A. Licuanan of Branch 27, Manila, Metropolitan Trial Court.
In 2011, Bander appeared before the same judge, or five years after the 2006 alleged molestation incident and a year after erstwhile BID Commissioner Marcelo Libanan issued a watchlist order on Bander in 2010.
Libanan reportedly found out that Bander made trips to the Philippines at least five times in 2009 but never faced the courts nor inquired about his case, when he knew for a fact that a criminal case was filed against him. He apparently never even informed his lawyers that heâ€™s been to the Philippines several times.
But whatâ€™s funny was that the dogs also wrote about the dismissal of the case â€“ a stark evidence that there was indeed a case and has been pending since 2006. For these dogs to infer that Peopleâ€™s Tonight â€“ the most popular afternoon daily tabloid in the Philippines â€“ retracted its own story because it was â€œuntrueâ€ and â€œwithout basisâ€ was ill-advised and laughable to say the least. And did we mention that the warrant of arrest was issued in 2008 or two years after the case was filed in a criminal court?
(Next week, we will publish parts of articles that will portray the character of Atty. Joel Bander and why several Filipinos filed a complaint against him at the California State Bar.)