Last Tuesday, in a surprising move, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) withdrew its application for a temporary restraining order against defendant Philippine League for Democratic Telecommunications Inc. (PLDTI) and Gerardo Kaimo, owner of the Internet website PLDT.com.
Counsel for Mr. Kaimo and co-defendant PLDTI would not comment on the shift, but sources familiar with the case believe that the move undercuts what they see as PLDT's original strategy, which was to claim that the website was causing such damage to PLDT as to require the immediate shutdown of pldt.com.
"They had the papers served late on a Friday afternoon [Sept. 24], and were requesting an 8:30 a.m. hearing the next Monday morning, claiming that there was some element of urgency in stopping the website immediately. Now, they've dropped the pretense of urgency," said an observer of this apparent landmark case.
In fact, if last Tuesday's proceedings were any indication, PLDT could be in for a protracted struggle, as counsel for the defendants proceeded to clash with PLDT over the presentation of evidence in its application for injunction, by their first witness, Horacio Lavides, PLDT assistant vice-president for corporate communications/public relations.
Attorneys Teddy Cruz and Susan Santos, counsel for Kaimo, and Rod Domingo, counsel for PLDTI, all objected to a question by PLDT counsel Atty. Carlos Lopez, posed to Lavides, regarding the damage alleged to have been caused to PLDT by the presence of PLDT.com on the Internet, as they challenged the qualifications of Lavides who was not presented as an expert witness to comment on the alleged damage caused to the company. Presiding Judge Reynaldo Daway of Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QCRTC) sustained the objection.
"PLDT's counsel characterized Lavides as a 'media expert', based on his experience with the company in media relations and corporate communications. Opposing counsel countered by questioning the very idea of a 'media expert'. If PLDT can't define 'media expert' to everyone's satisfaction, and then establish Lavides as a 'media expert', whatever Lavides says about damages is merely hearsay," commented lawyers Teddy Cruz and Rod Domingo.
The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 19, at 2 p.m. in Branch 90 of the QCRTC.
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