Cebu broadcaster posts bail for libel

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – A Cebu tri-media personality has surrendered to the local police after a court issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with a libel case filed by a former Cebu City mayor. Cebu  is approximately 1,100 kilometers south of Metro Manila.

Broadcaster and columnist Pablito “Bobby” Nalzaro  posted last 10 June 2015  Php 10,000 bail in the libel complaint filed by former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña. Sun.Star reported that Osmeña filed the libel case after “the broadcaster…accused him of fabricating charges when he filed multiple administrative complaints against Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas before the Civil Service Commission.”

The court issued a release order after Nalzaro posted bail. Nalzaro and his lawyers also submitted a motion to defer his arraignment.

Nalzaro is also an anchor of GMA Network’s 24 Oras Central Visayas and the chief operating officer of dySS Super Radyo.

According to a GMA News Online report, the case is only one of the 28 libel cases filed by Osmeña against the journalist. Twenty-seven others have been dismissed.

In 2014, Cebu’s provincial legal officer and head of the province’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) also threatened to file a libel complaint against Nalzaro for “attacking” him and his family in his news program and column.

Libel is still a criminal offense in the Philippines despite calls for its decriminalization. In October 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Committee urged the Philippine government to review its libel law, which it described as “excessive.” CMFR and journalists’ groups have been urging the decriminalization of libel for nearly two decades.