Archbishop Oscar Cruz has been charged with libel

Manila, May. 13, 2008 ( - A longstanding dispute between a Filipino archbishop and the country's government leaders came to a head on May 13 when a Manila court issued a warrant for the prelate's arrest.

Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen Dagupan, a persistent critic of government corruption, has been charged with libel. The complaint was filed by a group of government employees who say that the archbishop defamed them when he said that they had acted as "guest-relations officers" at a party for Josť Miguel Arroyo, the husband of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In April, Archbishop Cruz said that he would not be deterred by the threat of a libel charge. Government leaders are trying to silence public criticism, he said, adding that they are "irritated because I tell the truth."

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