Duterte is a strong supporter of press freedom: Palace

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President Rodrigo Duterte strongly supports the freedom of the press, says his spokesperson Harry Roque, pointing out one incident where the president supported a journalist sued for libel.

Roque recalled how Duterte gave “material support” to Davao-based radio broadcaster Alexander Adonis when he was arrested over a libel complaint filed by then Davao congressman Prospero Nograles.

According to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Adonis was convicted to four and a half years in prison in 2008 over a complaint that Nograles filed in 2001.

Adonis does not have the means to defend himself in court and was tried in absentia. He was released in 2008 but had already spent nearly two years behind bars.

This defense from Roque came after Rappler chief executive Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. were convicted of cyber libel.

The court sentenced Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr to the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging from six months and one day of prision correccional as minimum to six years of prision correccional as maximum.

They were also ordered to pay private complainant Wilfredo Keng to pay jointly P200,000 for moral damages and P200,000 for exemplary damages.

Ressa is expected to appeal the verdict.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.