October 16, 2006 · Posted in: Media
MALAYA columnist and senior reporter Ellen Tordesillas and former senator Francisco Tatad posted P10,500 in bail today after a Manila court ordered their arrest in connection with a libel case filed by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo against the paper’s publisher Amado Macasaet and other staffers.
The two were ordered reinstated by Judge Panfilo Silvino Jr. of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 26 as respondents in the case Arroyo filed in June 2004 against Malaya publisher Amado Macasaet and other staffers for publishing Tatad’s statements that the First Gentleman cheated in the 2004 elections to help his wife, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Malaya ran the articles in May.
Tatad and Tordesillas had been dropped from the original list of respondents.
Tordesillas maintains that there is no merit in the libel cases filed by Arroyo as Tatad’s statements did not contain malice. She says that libel cases “are part of the business,” echoing a column by Macasaet.
Two weeks ago, Arroyo filed two more cases of libel against Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo and the newspaper’s editors. Arroyo also filed additional libel cases against Tulfo’s brother Erwin.
Local and international journalists have condemned the flurry of libel cases as a “wanton disregard for press freedom.” More than 600 Filipino journalists have signed the petition of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, which also calls for the decriminalization of libel.
Arroyo has filed libel charges against 43 Filipino journalists.