Guru editors Ghumie Pinkihan and Brent Martinez file their bail bonds at the Tabuk court. (Courtesy of Kristel Gayle Baruzo)

By Villamor Visaya Jr.

TUGUEGARAO CITY-A court in Tabuk City on Friday (Aug. 27) issued arrest warrants against two editors in Kalinga province in connection with the cyber libel charges filed by Mayor Darwin Estranero.

Guru Press Cordillera editors Brent Martinez and Ghumie Pinkihan were named respondents to the charges that stemmed from what Estranero claimed as “libelous” online articles about the medical supplies bought by the Tabuk government at the onset of the pandemic.

Errol Comafay, counsel for the two editors, said the articles referred to the 105 thermal scanners bought by the Tabuk government that allegedly cost P12,000 each. Martinez and Pinkihan had surrendered to authorities and posted P96,000 bail each, which led to their warrants being immediately recalled.

Their arraignment and pre-trial were set on Sept. 17, Comafay said.

In a phone interview, Estrañero said his reputation was maligned because of the articles, adding that he was not interviewed to give his side on the issue.He claimed that Martinez is a pseudo-journalist for being a consultant of the Kalinga provincial government.

Kristel Gayle Baruzo, Guru Press writer, said that their two editors have been receiving an outpour of support but would still need moral and financial assistance, saying they belong to a “small media outlet.”

She defended Martinez as a “media specialist” for being a consultant not only at the provincial government but also at a bank and other agencies.#