VERA FILES FACT SHEET: ‘Supercharged’ Philippine journalists

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos recently said his government will “remain committed to ensuring transparency and good governance, freedom of expression and of the press, and the protection of media practitioners and their rights in the practice of their profession.”

Speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Kapisanan ng Mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas on April 27, Marcos noted that the Philippines ranked 147th in the World Press Freedom Index in 2022. He vowed to “improve the present condition” of the media.  

Reporters Without Borders, a France-based international non-profit organization, wrote that the Philippine media are “extremely vibrant despite the government’s targeted attacks and constant harassment, since 2016, of journalists and media outlets that are too critical.”

On this year’s commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, VERA Files Fact Check  compiled the lawsuits filed against more than 90 Filipino journalists from 2007 to 2022. Out of 45 cases, 32 were filed by past and incumbent government officials. Thirty-four (about 75%) are complaints involving cyber libel punishable under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, and 10 are libel under the Revised Penal Code. 

View this table: 

Made with Flourish

Editor’s note: The table in this article was updated to correct the case details of Rosalio ‘Tommy’ Abile. The complaint against him was filed by the unnamed wife of retired commodore Nicanor Hernandez. Tehani Hernandez is his daughter, who was also sued.

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RTVMalacañang, 50th Anniversary of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, April 27, 2023

Reporters Without Borders, Philippines | RSF, accessed May 3, 2023

Leo Lastimosa

Sherwin De Vera

Gemi Formaran, Johnny Glorioso, and Rico Catampungan

Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr.

Franklin “Frank” Cimatu

Eric Rodinas and  Larry Baja Subillaga Jr.

Eleno “Jun” Gellica Bacus, Jr

Siegfred “Jigs” Padua

Pablito “Bobby Nalzaro” Galeza Nalzaro 

Paul Farol

Manuel Morato, Joel Amongo…

Mon Tulfo, Dante Ang II…

Kimberlie Quitasol and Khim Abalos

Gie Herrera

Brent Martinez and Ghumie Pinkihan

Gie Herrera and Lina Villaflor

Mario Batuigas and Amor Virata

Virgilio Avila Jr., Mia Concordia…

Rommel Ibasco Fenix, Virgilio Avila Jr….

Joanna Rose Aglibot

Junior “Jundigz” Digamon 

Edito Mapayo and Leonardo Hijara

Jimmy Bañares

Jojo Perez

Lady Ann Salem

Carlo Katigbak, Lynda Jumilla… 

Waldy Carbonell

Maria Ressa and Rambo Talabong

Mon Tulfo

Ben Tulfo

Rosalio ‘Tommy’ Abile

Carlo Asturias

Ramil Bangues

Eleno “Jun” Gelica Bacus…

Edgardo “Gary” Libunao

Arnold Bustamante

Lee Ann Ducusin… 

Abner Francisco

Orly Navarro 

Joel Balolong, Tito Tamayo and Dennis Mojares

Hermogenes “Jun” Alegre

Salvador “Jun” Capulot Jr.

MacArthur Amora

Frenchie Mae Cumpio

Margarita Valle 

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)