July 15, 2024

Press Freedom


Philippines October 25, 2006

H.E.Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
MalacaƱang Palace
Republic of the Philippines
Fax: (011.63.2) 735-6152

Your Excellency:

We were dismayed to hear that four members of the Asian Star Journal and Asia Star Balita , including the editor and publisher, were arrested earlier this month for reporting on alleged government corruption.

Erineo Maliksi, governor of Cavite province, charged the four journalists with criminal defamation and had them arrested in Barangay Santa Fe on October 2 nd based on their articles exposing corruption in a government rice purchase. The staffers include Ed Lara Cuvinar, the editor, Rudy Apolo, the publisher, and his two children Reynaldo Apolo and Michelle Apolo. Their release is still pending.

These arrests fly in the face of your country’s long history of press freedom, and highlight a disturbing trend of criminal defamation reports filed against journalists in the Philippines . Your own husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, has filed 43 complaints over the past five years, according to the National Union of the Journalists of the Philippines. Other government officials have followed his lead and used criminal-libel law tool to crack down on journalists who dare to point out corruption in local government.

Your Excellency, we urge you to do everything in your power to persuade Governor Maliksi to rethink his charge of criminal defamation and release the journalists associated with Asian Star Journal and Asia Star Balita . It would be a visible statement of your concern for the right of free expression, and it would go a long way toward the restoration of the Philippines sadly deteriorated reputation for a vigorous free press.

Thank you for your attention.

Respectfully yours,
Kristina Shevory
Kevin McDermott
Freedom of the Press Committee


Willy Gaa

Philippine Ambassador to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines

1600 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington , DC 20036

Fax: (202) 467-9417

Ambassador Lauro L. Baja, Jr.

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines

to the United Nations

556 Fifth Avenue

New York , NY 10036

Fax: (212) 840-8602

Kristie A. Kenney

U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines

Embassy of the United States of America

1201 Roxas Boulevard



Fax: (011.63.2) 522-4361

The Editor

Manila Times

E-mail: Newsboy1@manilatimes.net