The criminal charges were first filed in November 2008 by Ella Valencerina as a private individual. She is a public relations official with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). In her complaint, Valencerina alleges that Lazaro, without consent, recorded a conversation they had and then aired segments on the news program "Probe." The episode, broadcast on November 12, was about public school teachers' complaints that the GSIS had unfairly reduced their retirement benefits.
In e-mail correspondence with CPJ, Lazaro denied the allegations. She told CPJ, "I had informed her that the conversation was being recorded. She did not object and the conversation lasted for close to seven minutes. We have the tape of that conversation."
Lazaro posted 12,500 pesos bail ($260) in early May after a
trial court in
"The charges of wiretapping made against Cecilia Lazaro by
Ella Valencerina are spurious. Taping phone conversations with the
interviewer's knowledge is a way journalists ensure accuracy in their
reporting. Clearly, the law was not written to keep them from doing their jobs,"
Republic Act 4200 declares it unlawful "for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word" to "record such communication or spoken word," and "to replay the same for any other person or persons; or to communicate the contents thereof, either verbally or in writing, or to furnish transcriptions thereof, whether complete or partial, to any other person."
have become highly politicized in the