Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Philippines 6 August 2003

Newspaper editor arrested after President Gloria Arroyo’s lawyer accuses her of libel

(JPEG) Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) today wrote to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo condemning the arrest of Daily Tribune editor Ninez Cacho-Olivares on 4 August after her opposition newspaper reported corruption allegations implicating the president’s personal lawyer and other associates of the president.

"Your lawyer has every right to file suit against a newspaper if he considers he has been libelled, but it is quite improper to arrest a journalist or editor for reporting corruption allegations," Reporters Without Borders wrote, urging the president to intervene personally to ensure that Cacho-Olivares is released as soon as possible.

(JPEG) Cacho-Olivares was arrested at her home in Parañaque City following the issue of 19 arrest warrants in response to complaints accusing her of criminal defamation filed by President Arroyo’s personal lawyer, Arthur "Pancho" Villaraza. Her lawyers obtained an order for her release on bail on two of the complaints, but the police still had 17 other arrest orders.

After being detained, Cacho-Olivares said she was the victim of "political persecution." Her lawyer said she had been arrested "to prevent her continuing to criticise the Arroyo government."

President Arroyo’s husband Jose Miguel was not named, but several allusions suggested that he was also implicated in the scandal. The newspaper based its allegations on recordings of conversations between Villaraza and executives with a German company involved in the construction of a new terminal of the Manila international airport. Villaraza was reported to have demanded 20 million US dollars for "background services".

The is the first time a newspaper editor has been arrested since democracy was restored in 1986. The Daily Tribune is a national daily launched in 1999. The editor and her newspaper support former President Joseph Estrada, who is currently in prison.

In this country
22 May - Philippines
A journalist on army target list, another shot, possibly by soldier
6 March - Philippines
Second journalist in a week narrowly escapes murder attempt
23 February - Philippines
Radio journalist gunned down on Mindanao island
5 January - Philippines
Radio show host comes under fire near his home
3 December - Philippines
Second Radyo Natin presenter gunned down in less than a month

in the annual report
Philippines - Annual report 2008
Philippines - Annual report 2007
Philippines - Annual report 2006

4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised