Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Manila Journalist jailed for libel

I just heard from the news about a Manila newspaper journalist jailed after having been convicted of libel by a regional trial court judge.
The judge who convicted him is Judge Silvino T. Pampilo Jr.
This is somewhat unusual, for many reasons.
First, He was supposed to be convicted only of a jail term of six months to two years. This is probationable. So why was he sent to jail?
If he appealed, he can be free while his case is on appeal. So why was he immediately sent to jail? The only way he could go to jail is for him to let his conviction become final and executory, by not filing a motion for reconsideration or filing an appeal, or not applying for probation.
But it is really unusual for a journalist to be sent to jail after conviction in the RTC.
Most usually appeal the case.
By the way, the private complainant was PAGCOR Chair Ephraim Genuino, according to ABS-CBN news.
Genuino is touted to be "one of the boys" of the First Gentleman.
The First Gentleman himself is filing a string of libel cases, which are now pending in the Mnaila Regional Trial Court.
In the libel case against the Malaya publisher Jake Macasaet, filed by the First Gentleman, it is also under the sala of Judge Pampilo.
By the way, there are some newsmen who say nobody is ever convicted of libel by the Supreme Court.
That is not accurate.
There are cases involving journalists, broadcasters who are held liable for libel by the Supreme Court.

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