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Editor charged with libel in Philippines for publishing ad

A newspaper editor in Cagayan de Oro City has been charged with criminal libel for publishing allegedly libelous advertisements in 2012. He posted bail on 25 February 2014 before receiving an arrest warrant the next day.

Cagayan de Oro City is some 1,400 kilometers south of Manila.

Mindanao Gold Star Daily editor in chief Herbie Gomez told CMFR contending factions in a lending company placed the ads sometime in September 2012, after which one faction filed a libel case against the other, implicating Gomez and the newspaper.

Gomez said the editorial staff does not edit the content of advertisements published in the newspaper.

He added that he had already got wind of the impending arrest warrant against him, so he posted a P10,000 (about USD200) bail before it was issued.

A report from Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro, said the city prosecutor had endorsed the case to the court on 28 February 2013.

City prosecutor Fidel Macauyag told the paper they found probable cause that libel had been committed in the advertisements, according to the Sun.Star report.

Libel in the Philippines is a criminal offense. A person found guilty in court can be imprisoned for up to six years, fined, or both.

In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council described the Philippine libel law as "excessive," antiquated and in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which the Philippines is a signatory State.

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