Iglesia Ni Cristo v. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Liezl De Ocampo, et al. Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench File No. CI19-01-19079____________________
Iglesia Ni Cristo (“INC”) provides the following update on its defamation suit against Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“CBC”), CBC’s employees, Lowell II Robosa Menorca, Rolando Dizon, and Liezl De Ocampo.
INC’s defamation suit arises from the CBC’s November 2018 broadcast of an investigative news program which purported to report on the workings and activities of INC. The program formed part of CBC’s public affairs series, “The Fifth Estate,” and was subsequently rebroadcast on the CBC website.
The program featured interviews with the former INC members: Lowell II Robosa Menorca, Rolando Dizon, and Liezl De Ocampo.
Winnipeg lawyer Jay Prober, who represents the church, said that CBC rejected the offer of interviews with INC senior officials to air their side. A CBC news editor was also quoted, “they don’t intend to make an apology or retraction.”
INC took action and filed a lawsuit in February 2019 against CBC’s employees and the Fifth Estate participants in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba. INC has claimed that its character and reputation have been severely injured by The Fifth Estate program’s defamatory content in the suit.
On September 23, 2020, INC brought a motion for Judgment against Liezl De Ocampo. The Honourable Madam Justice Grammond of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba heard that Motion on December 11, 2020.
On February 1, 2021, Madam Justice Grammond released her written decision on this motion, finding that:
- “De Ocampo made a series of comments to the CBC defendants that would tend to lower the plaintiffs’ [INC’s] reputation in the eyes of right-thinking members of society.”
- “Since De Ocampo has not raised any defense to the claim…defamation has been established against her.“
- The assessment of the quantum of damages to be awarded against Ms. De Ocampo ought to be deferred to trial, where “oral evidence will be presented in a detailed and comprehensive manner that will enable the trial judge to assess damages appropriately.”
INC now intends to move its defamation suit forward to trial, including against CBC, with examinations for discovery (depositions) later this year.
For more information regarding this story, please contact INC’s legal counsel Jay Prober at firstname.lastname@example.org