Press Release
September 18, 2008

Senate readies consolidated libel bill for plenary debates

The Senate is poised to begin plenary debates a consolidated measure seeking to decriminalize libel and abolishing stiff fines and imprisonment on libel cases, Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon announced today.

Gordon said the Senate committees on constitutional amendments, revisions of codes and laws which he chairs, and on public information and mass media chaired by Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. are now on their penultimate stage of conducting joint public hearings on the proposed measure.

"We are now readying a consolidated version of the measure, and after one more public hearing, we shall report it out for plenary debates. We shall call on resource persons from the industry as well as from the academe early next week," he said.

Among those invited to attend the next hearing are Publishers Association of the Philippines President Juan Dayang, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Presiudent Butch Canoy, National Press Club President Benny Antiporda, and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Chairman Jose Torres Jr.

On the part of the academe, former Supreme Court Justice Vicente Mendoza, UP College of Law Dean Salvado Carlota, and Ateneo Human Rights Center Executive Director Carlos Medina are also invited to attend.

Also invited are Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) President Alexandria Prieto Romualdez, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism Board of Director Malou Mangahas, Manila Bulletin Editor in Chief Cris Icban Jr., and Manila Overseas Press Club Chairman Tony Lopez.

According to Gordon, without prejudice to their libel cases, he is also seeking the invaluable inputs coming from PDI publisher Isagani Yambot and its editor in chief Letty Magsanoc, as well as Remate columnist Erwin Tulfo and Carlo Publishing House president Philip Pichay.

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