Radio anchor acquitted of libel

CMFR/Philippines – A court in San Jose town, Occidental Mindoro province, acquitted a radio anchor of a libel charge on 2 June 2014.

San Jose is about 400 kilometers south of Metro Manila.

Branch 46 of the San Jose Regional Trial Court acquitted radio anchor Alex del Valle of one count of libel filed against him on 3 July 2009 by former San Jose mayor Jose Villarosa.

The complaint arose from Del Valle’s reading on the air an allegation that Villarosa was a suspect in the 2009 murder of del Valle’s co-anchor, lawyer Crispin Perez.

In October 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Committee declared that the criminal sanction for libel in the Philippines is “excessive” and in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which the Philippines is a signatory. CMFR and some journalists’ groups have been urging its decriminalization for nearly two decades.

Attorney Meneleo Jose Luna represented del Valle pro bono, through the assistance of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) Inc.

FFFJ is composed of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), the Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD), the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), and CMFR, which serves as its secretariat.