Bicolano journalist arrested for libel now out of jail, under police custody

Photo via Elmer James Bandol's Facebook account

NAGA CITY-- Veteran newsman Elmer James Bandol is now out on temporary liberty after he was arrested for libel charges yesterday (April 15).

He was released at 3:25 pm today, after he was put under police custody.

Members of the Daraga Municipal Police Office arrested the journalist, while he was about to leave his residence in Barangay Poctol, Daraga, Albay, at about 9:20 a.m. Wednesday.

He was later turned over to the Masbate Police.

Bandol is 59, married, and a contributor to various local newspapers in Bicol.

Senior Supt. Marlo S. Meneses, Albay provincial police director, said Bandol’s arrest was based on a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Honesto Villamor of the Regional Trial Court Branch 44, Masbate City, dated July 15, 2012, for a case of libel docketed as C.C. No. 15337 with a recommended bail of Php10,000 for his temporary liberty.

The case was filed by Masbate Electric Cooperative (Maselco) official Dr. Eduardo Margallo and stemmed from the story of Bandol that the cooperative incurred losses of Php 314 million, which Bandol wrote on Dec 14, 2011 in the online medium BicolToday.com.

Aside from this case, Bandol has been slapped several libel cases, all of which have been dismissed by the courts.

The Bicolano journalist's arrest renewed calls for the decriminalization of libel.

In a landmark decision in 2011, the United Nation Human Rights Commission has declared the Philippine laws criminalizing libel  and is "incompatible with Article 19, paragraph three of the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights (ICCPR)" or freedom of expression and has characterized it as "excessive." Ed Casulla, PNA, BICOLSTANDARD.COM Pirming enot. Pirming bago.

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