Radio commentator Adonis was sentenced on January 31, 2008, to four and a half years in prison on a criminal defamation complaint lodged by a congressman in Davao del Norte province, according to local media and press freedom groups.
The complaint, originally filed in October 2001 by Davao First District Representative Prospero Nograles, related to an alleged tryst involving the congressman. Nograles said the report was untrue.
News reports said Adonis was unable to afford legal representation or attend court proceedings because of the distance from his home. The verdict was announced in his absence, and the period in which Adonis could lodge an appeal lapsed. Adonis, 43, has a wife and two daughters.
Adonis was granted parole in February 2008, according to news reports. But the woman with whom Nograles was alleged to be involved filed an independent libel charge against the commentator. Guards at the Davao Penal Colony where the journalist was being held refused to release him, although news reports said he had posted bail in the second case. Local journalists protested and his lawyer filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court on grounds of unlawful detention. But Adonis remained in prison at the time of CPJ’s December 1 census.