Wednesday, September 26, 2007

FG forgives journalists, drops libel suit

First Gentleman MikeArroyo claims that because of his miracle-of-the-heart experience, he has forgiven the journslists who caused him anguish, and has decided to drop the libel suits he has filed.
Many say the real reason is that the First Gentlemans physical condition does not allow him to stand the rigors of court trials.
He could just drop dead.
Here is a dispatch I got from the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP):

Court grants FG's motion to dismiss libel suit vs Newsbreak editors

A Manila court on Tuesday granted the motion of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo asking it to dismiss the libel case he filed against six members of the editorial staff of news magazine Newsbreak.
In his decision, Judge Jansen Rodriguez of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 6 said Mr. Arroyo's petition "cannot be ignored.
In the absence of his testimony, the prosecution for libel will fail."Mr. Arroyo earlier sued Marites DaƱguilan Vitug, Glenda Gloria, Ricky Carandang, R.E. Otico, Jose Dalisay Jr. and Booma Cruz over a 2004 article about his alleged real estate holdings in the United States.
They had objected to the first gentleman's motion to dismiss, saying that forgiveness should is not the ground for the dismissal of the case.
The respondents had maintained they have not committed libel.
The respondents argued that the filing of the libel case (one of several filed by Mr. Arroyo) had "brought to the fore questions which have wide ranging effects on the freedom of the press ... and even the definition of libel as it applies to the Philippine setting. It has caused fear in the hearts of many journalists."
After Mr. Arroyo's recovery from a near-fatal heart attack in April, he decided to withdraw the libel cases he had filed against Newsbreak and all other publications or a total of 46 journalists.
Mr. Arroyo holds the record of suing the most number of journalists.
In a motion to dismiss the libel case against Newsbreak, he argued: "Because I have been generously given a second lease on life, I have decided to forgive everyone who has caused me pain. Because of this, I am no longer interested in pursuing the case."

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