Monday, October 16, 2006

Libel As A Weapon of Mass Harassment

I got a text message today from our good friend and fellow blogger ELLEN TORDESILLAS, about her inclusion in the list of journalists being targeted by the First Gentleman Mike Arroyo with libel charges that some think are a form of pure harassment, though on a noticeably larger and more organized scale.

Via ArayManila, and the National Union of Journalists (NUJP) below is a list of journalists who have been SUED for LIBEL by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, in a still ongoing legal "carpet bombing" that PDI Editorial Consultant Amando Doronila last week called A Craven Hatchet Job:
"In filing the cases, Mike Arroyo is clearly acting as proxy for his wife, doing a craven hatchet job on her behalf. In the light of this development, the Philippine press should realize that the President has cranked up the conflict to the point where no prisoners are taken, and that this is an issue that goes beyond who wins or losses the cases in the courts of justice."
Many of the the people on the list have deposed at least two Presidents in their long and effective careers (Marcos and Estrada), but the message this time around seems to be that the Media won't be allowed to do to "Jose Pidal" what the very same helped them do to "Jose Velarde."

By wielding the Libel Law as a "weapon of mass harassment" however, the First Gent has challenged the old adage of never picking a fight with those who buy ink by the barrel. In the end, I think Mike Arroyo will be sorry he picked this fight. For these folks all know -- or at least the ones who've survived libel charges many times before -- that the best defense against a libel charge is the truth itself. Therefore, all Mike Arroyo has done is to give all these fine folks a solid opportunity to air once more, if not prove outright, the charges of corruption, dishonesty and criminal acts that have been alleged by them against him. And whatever other truths he may be hiding from public view.
Publishers, Editors and Journalists Sued By Mike Arroyo for Libel:
Newsbreak (”More Properties”, Dec. 8, 2005 issue)
1. Marites Vitug (editor-in-chief)
2. Glenda Gloria (associate editor)
3. Ricky Carandang (business editor)
4. R. E. Otico (editorial consultant)
5. Jose Dalisay Jr. (editorial consultant)
6. Booma Cruz (contributing editor)
Newsbreak (”Will she now change?”, June 7, 2004 issue)
7. Concepcion Paez (contributing writer)
Malaya (”Poe’s Camp says Mike is Chief Cheating Operator”, May 19, 2004)
8. JP Lopez (reporter)
9. Regina Bengco (reporter)
10. Amado Macasaet (editor-in-chief)
11. Enrique Romualdez (editor)
12. Joy de los Reyes (editor)
13. Ma. Teresa Molina (editor)
14. Minnie Advincula (editor)
15. Ellen Tordesillas (editor)
Malaya (”First Couple’s idea of charity,” July 9, 2004, Business Insight column by Macasaet)
Amado Macasaet (publisher)
16. Rosario Galang (business editor)
Philippine Daily Inquirer (14 counts, Tulfo’s column “On Target” that appeared on Jan. 14, 17 and 26; March 9 and 23; May 23, June 17 and August 3, 2006)
17. Ramon Tulfo (columnist)
18. Isagani Yambot (publisher)
19. Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc (editor-in-chief)
20. Jose Ma. Nolasco (editor)
21. Abelardo Ulanday (editor)
22. Rosario Garcellano (editor)
23. Artemio Engracia Jr. (editor)
24. Jorge Aruta (editor)
25. Pergentino Bandayrel Jr. (editor)
26. Juan Sarmiento (editor)
Bandera (six counts, Tulfo’s column “On Target” that appeared on Jan. 26, May 23 and 27, June 6,8 and 17)
27. Eileen Mangubat (publisher)
28. Beting Laygo Dolor (editor-in-chief)
29. Jimmy Alcantara (associate editor)
30. Raymond Rivera (circulation manager)
Tribune (stories where Tatad was quoted as saying Arroyo was his wife’s “chief cheater”, May 14, 16, 17 and 18, 2004)
31. Ninez Cacho-Olivares (editor-in-chief)
32. Romulo Mariñas (editor)
33. Gina Capili-Inciong (editor)
34. Jake Martin (editor)
35. Marvin Estigoy (editor)
36. Gerry Baldo (reporter)
37. Sherwin Olaes (reporter)
38. Lito Tugadi circulation manager
39. Jing Santos (subscription manager)
(For accusing Mike Arroyo of influencing RPN-9 network to axe “Isumbong Mo , Tulfo Brothers during a press conference in QC on August 2)
(Ramon Tulfo)
40. Erwin Tulfo
41. Raffy Tulfo (”How to Solve A Problem like Mike Arroyo”, July 5, 2004, High Ground column)
42. William Esposo

Gee, just think what all these people and all their friends are probably doing with all their spare time now. I doubt they will be cowed. Nor should we.


43. Lito Banayo (columnist of Malaya for his piece, El Esposo Gordo.)


diliman72grad said...

Neal Cruz says (in today's Inquirer column) that the Philippine law on libel as currently written is unconstitutional. Neal Cruz is probably just blowing hot air as he often-enough does. NOnetheless, some of these accused better elevate the court-case to the Supreme Court. An unconstitutional law does not even have to be repealed; an unconstitutional law is automatically non-enforceable.

ellen said...

Thanks, Dean for your support.

Please add to your list, Lito Banayo, columnist of Malaya who has been charged withe libel for his article "El Esposo Gordo" in the Daily Tribune in 2004.

The number of journalists that Mike Arroyo has filed libel suits against is 43.

libel case defendant a.k.a blooded-pen said...

I was really devastated of the current "trend" of the libel cases that aroused in the country. I have deeply suffered the pain of playing dumb and deaf in the society (especially to writers and writer-to-be just like me) who seemed to be the prey in this "media-dilemma". I have so much dreams and hopes for our motherland, but how can i make myself as an instrument to these "dreams" if there's too much pressure pressing around from the people who have fame, power and money to grab "us" down? Where did our freedom of expression goes? It is but too heavy to carry the responsibility of telling and portraying the truth! I have dearly trusted my pen to do its tasks to unfold what are rightfully to be exposed,but what left to me now is but the fear of losing my right to participate freely in the society as the poor writers and media men are bombarded with libel cases threatening the Filipinos to play dumb and deaf again... We are currently in the modern days enjoying the freedom our forefathers and unseen heroes had fought long before. Do i sense a drastic transition in the society when it comes to press freedom? Is this what we gained after our national heroes dearly fought the injustices of the so called "mga dayuhan"? . . . I hope not. Gising mga Pilipino! Let your blooded-pen do its tasks!