In 2000 Dr. Romy Quijano published a story about pesticide poisonings near a banana plantation in the Philippines. He was sued by the plantation company Ladeco, the case was now dismissed. An international campaign had supported Quijano and his daughter (see:

December 17, 2007 THE INQUIRER (Philippines)

Pesticide Poisonings: Davao court dismisses case vs prof, daughter

DAVAO CITY -- THE 7-YEAR-OLD legal battle of Filipino environmental protection advocate and poison expert Dr. Romeo Quijano and his daughter, journalist Ilang-Ilang, against agricultural giant Lapanday Agricultural and Development Corp. (Ladeco) was finally ended by a court decision that trashed the P5.5 million worth of civil damages slapped against them by the company.

Judge Renato Fuentes of the regional trial court branch 11, in a decision dated Dec. 10, said the evidence laid down by the Ladeco against the Quijanos were not convincing enough to pin them down.

In his decision, Fuentes said: "In the final analysis, the evidence of the company did not apparently show convincing proof ... the subject publication devoid of criminal prosecution for libel as already established, do not prove in a separate civil action filed, any malicious intent of defendants against the corporation, to produce an action for damages."

Ladeco filed a civil case against the Quijanos in 2002 following the dismissal of the libel case it also filed against them, with the publishers, editors and authors of the now defunct Philippine Post, for an article that exposed the alleged ill effects of the banana company's operation on the lives of the people in a small village in Digos, Davao del Sur, called Kamukhaan in 2000.

But while the decision appeared favorable to the Quijanos, the judge denied their petition for moral damages and instead ordered the company to pay P50,000 to cover the defendants' lawyer's fees.

The Quijanos said they spent more than P300,000 in legal costs. At the height of the trial, Quijano, who had to travel from Manila to Davao, branded the case as a form of corporate harassment against him and his daughter. With the recent development, Quijano expressed both relief and disgust over what he said was a "patently malicious suit allowed to prosper and linger for several years."

Ladeco is owned by the Lorenzo family, including former Department of Agriculture secretary Cito Lorenzo, a close ally of President Macapagal-Arroyo.
Jeffrey M. Tupas, Mindanao Bureau