Manila media groups respond to jailed Davao broadcasters plea

Dec. 15, 2007

The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) and Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag (Afima), has responded to a distress call from a jailed Davao-based broadcaster and vowed to support the latter hurdle his legal woes.

Although already convicted, both NPC and Afima leaders said they are willing to provide legal and other forms of assistance to former broadcaster Alexander Lex Adonis, who was convicted of libel due to his failure to secure a lawyer.

In January, a court in Davao sentenced Adonis, 43, to five years and six months in jail after he absconded his right to present his side on the case filed against him by then House majority leader Prospero Nograles in 2001 in relation to the Burlesque King scandal involving the lawmaker.

Although I did not rape, kill or commit any crime, Ive been languishing in jail for six months now because I only performed my duty to report to the people matters involving public issues and public officials like Rep. Nograles. I appeal to you that as you go to court to fight for the right of media persons to report the truth, please bring with you my case because I have about four years more to spend in jail, Adonis said in a letter to his colleagues in the media.

NPC Vice President Benny Antiporda said he had already alerted Afima members in Davao to determine how Manila-based journalists could help Adonis. Antiporda is also president of Afima, an organization known for extending legal and financial assistance to troubled journalists around the country.

NPC committee on press freedom chairman Joel Sy Egco, for his part, said he will bring up the matter with the NPC Board where he sits as one of the directors. But Egco already assured that the NPC will definitely act on the request of Adonis.

Meanwhile, NPC Legal Counsel Berteni Causing said he had reached out with the family and friends of Adonis and discussed the areas where the NPC could come in.

I had already talked with the wife of Adonis and made some arrangements. However, we cannot discuss the details of the discussions yet as it may jeopardize the plan. We will do everything to help him, Causing said.

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