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Bishop posts bail; court sets arraignment on June 17

May 14, 2008 1:42pm
MANILA, Philippines - A Manila court on Wednesday set the arraignment on the libel case filed against Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz at 8:30 a.m. on June 17, radio dzBB reported.

Radio dzBB's Teresa Tavares said the arraignment was scheduled after Archbishop Cruz posted a P10,000 bail.

Cruz, accompanied by lawyer Estelito Mendoza, went to the sala of Judge Antonio Rosales of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 52 Wednesday afternoon.

The report said Cruz expressed confidence that the charges filed against him by the lady marketing employees of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) will be dismissed.

The case stemmed from an article written by Cruz which saw print on several broadsheets on June 28, 2004. In the article, Cruz allegedly said the complainants acted as "pitiful GROs" (guest relations officers) during the birthday party of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo in 2004.

Last month, the Department of Justice filed libel charges against Cruz for "falsely and maliciously imputed to them (Pagcor employees) acts that have caused dishonor to, and besmirched their reputation as women when he described them in the said article."

The criminal information filed before the Manila RTC was signed by Second Assistant Prosecutor Jessica Junsay-Ong.

Archbishop Cruz earlier said he did not mean to offend the girls but was even trying to defend them. The archbishop said he was not against the women but with the way they were treated by Pagcor.

The prelate also said he sees the hands of MalacaƱang behind the filing of libel charges against him, saying that a Manila prosecutor had already junked the complaint filed by a group of lady marketing assistants of Pagcor.

The complainants filed a motion for reconsideration before the DOJ which, in a resolution, approved the filing of libel charges against Cruz.

Cruz is a known anti-gambling crusader and a vocal critic of the Arroyo administration. - GMANews.TV
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