Davao broadcaster jailed for libel is depressed, thinks of suicide

Nov. 06, 2007

By Germelina Lacorte

DAVAO CITY—Gravely ill and losing much weight after spending six
months inside the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) prison, the Davao
broadcaster jailed for libel is now thinking of ending his life.

Gladys Adonis, the wife of jailed Davao Alexander “Lex” Adonis, said
her husband has been admitted to the prison hospital in early October.
She said Adonis, an anchorman of Bombo Radio-Davao sentenced to four
and a half years in prison early this year, had been feeling utterly
“abandoned and depressed,” and is thinking of ending his life.

She said Adonis felt “very depressed” after he learned that he missed
the scheduled interview for his parole twice because the information
never reached him on the actual date. “He told me everybody has
abandoned him,” said Adonis’ wife. “The information only was up to the
prison gate and it never reached him,” she said. “He only learned
about it, later, and it was already too late.”

She said Adonis has lost much weight and is only weighing 40 kilos
now. “Payat na kaayo siya (he’s already very thin),” Adonis’ wife
said. “He said he wanted to end his life.”

Silenced. Lex Adonis inside the Ma-a city jail in October. (davaotoday.com photo)

“He has lost much weight and has been hospitalized,” Adonis’ wife
said. “He has been sent to the prison hospital early this week for
treatment after having been found positive for rashes in his lungs.”
She said the doctor said her husband could have gotten the illness
inside the jail, where the poor living condition could have brought
his defenses down.

Adonis was convicted of four and a half years in prison for libel
after he reported on an affair of a powerful politician who, according
to Court records, was reportedly caught running naked inside a Manila
hotel after his paramour’s husband caught them inside a hotel room.

Adonis conviction had revived the debate on whether libel should be
decriminalized in the country, where powerful politicians increasingly
turn to it as a tool to suppress press freedom, according to the
statement from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

International media groups, including the New York-based Committee for
the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ), the IFEX, the Paris-based Reporters Beyond Borders,
the Bangkok-based Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) had earlier
condemned his conviction and pressed for the decriminalization of

“We don’t understand why he was treated like a criminal,” said Adonis’
mother, Nelly Adonis, “He did not kill nor rape a person,” she said.
“He just happened to anger someone who is close to the President.”
(Germelina Lacorte/davaotoday.com)

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