Court allows Davao’s Alex Adonis to post bail

The Davao regional trial court on Monday allowed jailed broadcaster Alexander Adonis to post bail on a second libel case filed against him.

Judge George Omelio of RTC Branch 17 set Adonis’ bail at P5,000, according  to the NUJP Davao chapter.

Adonis was convicted to four and a half years in jail on a libel case filed by House Speaker Prospero Nograles for a series of commentaries in which he identified the congressman as the man who allegedly ran naked from a Manila hotel after he was caught by his paramour’s husband.

Although Adonis was granted a discharge on parole in February, he was not released from the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) because the woman mentioned in the story filed her own libel case against him, citing the same circumstances as Nograles’ suit.

The NUJP Davao chapter is now processing Adonis’ release papers and is hoping to fetch him from the  Dapecol by Monday afternoon.

Adonis, through his counsel Harry Roque, has joined the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the NUJP in filing a case before the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights challenging the criminality of the country’s libel law.

The criminal nature of libel as an offense violates the Philippines‘ treaty obligations to promote freedom of expression, the case filed by Roque argues.

The UN case was filed after Congress failed to pass a bill decriminalizing libel.

Roque has also filed a motion before Davao RTC Branch 17, where Adonis was convicted, to reopen the case filed by Nograles to invoke a Supreme Court circular calling on all judges to impose fines rather than mete out jail terms to newsmen convicted for libel.

(IFJ-NUJP Media Safety Office)

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