CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — A radio commentator who is facing a libel case has clarified Tuesday (Dec. 3) that he and a colleague surrendered to the Gingoog City Police station and was not arrested by law enforcers.
Jonas Bustamante, 46, announcer for the Gingoog-based 98.9 FM Beat Radio, said that he and station manager Eduardo Bacasnot, 48, went to the police station at 9:15 in the morning on Monday (Dec. 2) to turn themselves in.
“We were not arrested. We went there on our own. We waited for hours before we could be entertained,” Bustamante said in a phone interview, in reference in the police report pertaining to them as “arrested persons.”
As police officers have other clients to attend to, he said their turn came at around 11:00 a.m.
He said Lt. Col. Ariel Pontillas, the station commander, read to them the warrant of arrest, as they posed for a photo opportunity.
They were later advised by another policeman to go to the court to post bail.
“We were told to go to court and we did. We went without any police escort,” he said, adding that they were also not placed in handcuffs when they were at the police station.
Both Bustamante and Bacasnot were charged with four counts of libel after former Misamis Oriental 1st District Rep. Peter Unabia, now the Gingoog vice mayor, accused Bustamante of smearing his person by alleging that the public official was involved in illegal drugs.
But Bustamante said that what he discussed on air was on Unabia’s certificate of candidacy, as he questioned politician’s residency.
The issue was raised during the height of the campaign period in the run-up to the May elections this year.
After waiting for close to two hours at the police station, Bustamante said they proceeded to the Regional Trial Court-10 Branch 27 to post bail.
He said they were supposed to pay P120,000 each for the four counts of libel, but added that presiding Judge Giovanni Alfred Navarro granted their petition to reduce bail and were made to pay only P30,000 each.
Bustamante said he hopes that the police will rectify the report that they were arrested. (davaotoday.com)