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Reyes 2001 Book II Outline - Title Thirteen Kiddy and Mondy

Title Thirteen
CRIMES AGAINST HONOR

What are the crimes against honor?


1. Libel by means of writings or similar means
2. Threatening to publish and offer to prevent such publication for a compensation
3. Prohibited publication of acts referred to in the course of official proceedings
4. Slander
5. Slander by deed
6. Incriminating innocent person
7. Intriguing against honor

Chapter One
LIBEL

Section One - Definition, forms, and punishment of the crime

Art. 353. Definition of libel. — A libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect,
real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor,
discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.

Defamation is the proper term for libel as used in Article 353


• Libel is a defamation committed by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio,
phonograph, painting or theatrical or cinematographic exhibition or any similar means.

• Oral defamation is slander.

No distinction between calumny, insult and libel


• The RPC punishes all kinds of attack against honor and reputation, thereby eliminating the distinction
between calumny, insult and libel.

Seditious libel is punished, not in this Chapter but in Article 142


• A person who, feigning suicide, writes a supposed suicide note calling the government as one of the
crooks and dishonest persons infested with Nazis and Fascists commits seditious libel.

Reasons why defamation is punished


• The enjoyment of private reputation is as much a constitutional right as the possession of life, liberty and
property. The society recognizes the value of such reputation and imposes upon him who attacks it, by
slanderous words or libelous publication, the liability to make full compensation for the damages done.

Elements of defamation
1. That there must be an imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission,
condition, status, or circumstance.

2. That the imputation must be made publicly.

3. That it must be malicious.

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4. That the imputation must be directed at a natural or juridical person, or one who is dead.

5. That the imputation must tend to cause the dishonor, discredit or contempt of the person defamed.

There must be defamatory imputation. The imputation may cover:


1. Crime allegedly committed by the offended party;

2. Vice or defect, real or imaginary, of the offended party; or

3. Any act, omission, condition, status or, or circumstance relating to the offended party.

Test of defamatory character of the words used


• A charge is sufficient if the words are calculated to induce the hearers to suppose and understand that the
person against whom they were uttered was guilty of certain offenses, or are sufficient to impeach his
honesty, virtue or reputation or to hold him up to public ridicule.

The meaning of the writer is immaterial


• It is not the intention of the writer or speaker, or the understanding of the plaintiff or of any hearer or
reader by which the actionable quality of the words is to be determined, but the meaning that the words in
fact conveyed on the minds of persons or reasonable understanding, discretion and candor, taking into
consideration the surrounding circumstances which were known to the hearer or reader.

• The alleged libelous article must be construed as a whole. The article must be construed in its entirety
including the headline. Whether it is libelous depends on upon the scope, spirit and motive of the
publication taken in its entirety.

• Praise undeserved is slander in disguise. (Jimenez v. Reyes)

• Publication, even if intended for humor, may be libelous when the language used passed from the bounds
of playful jest and intensive criticism into the region of scurrilous calumniation and intemperate
personalities.

Imputation of criminal act


• An article which portrays the offended party as a swindler who, prior to his election as municipal
president, collected money from several inhabitants of the town through fraud and deceit and constructed
a house worth P40,000 with the money so collected, imputes the commission of the crime of estafa to the
offended party.

• Branding somebody as having murdered his brother-in-law, enriching himself at the expense of others
who trusted him, calling one a bigamist and becoming rich overnight through questionable transactions
and influence peddling, winning in an election through mass fraud and rampant vote-buying because of
the influence of the brother-in-law are obviously libelous and slanderous for they are malicious
imputations of criminal acts tending to cause dishonor, discredit and contempt of the complainant.

Imputation of a crime may be implied from the acts and statements of the accused
• While it is true that "A" did not call "B" a thief, the implication of her acts and statements are clearly to
that effect. She confronted the complainant regarding the loss of her money, telling "B" that she was the
only one who approached her table and that as soon as the complainant left, the money had disappeared.
All these statements were made in a loud voice in the presence of many persons subjecting offended party
to embarrassment and ridicule before other bank employees. These acts likewise unravel the existence of
malice in fact.

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Imputation of criminal intention not libelous
• Such imputation is not libelous because intent to commit a crime is a violation of the law. This is more so,
when it is a mere assertion or expression of opinion as to what will be the future conduct of another.

An expression of opinion by one affected by the act of another and based on actual fact is not libelous
• But in order to escape criminal responsibility for libel or slander, it is not enough for the party who writes
a defamatory communication to another to say that he expresses therein no more than his opinion or
belief. The communication must be made in the performance of a "legal, moral or social duty."

Imputation of a vice or act


• When a person, in an article, imputes upon the persons mentioned therein, lascivious and immoral habits,
that article if of a libelous nature as it tends to discredit the persons libeled in the minds of those reading
the said article.

Imputation of an act and omission


• An article signed by the accused and published in the Philippine Herald says that the offended party used
to borrow money without intention to pay; that he had ordered the fixing of his teeth without paying the
fees for the services; etc. contains and imputation of an act and omission which is defamatory. (People v.
Tolentino)

Imputation of condition, status or circumstance


• Calling a persona bastard or leper within the hearing of other persons is defamatory, because there is an
imputation of a condition or status which tends to cause dishonor or contempt of the offended party.

• The accused was declared guilty of the crime of libel for writing and publishing an article containing the
words, "coward, vile, soul, dirtsucker, savage, hog who always looks toward the ground" which refer to
the offended party.

• To say that a person is a "mangkukulam" is to impute to her a vice, condition, or status that is
dishonorable and contemptible since it accuses her of having employed the black art.

• The attribution to her of the death of three persons is an imputation of a crime.

Meaning of publication
• Communication of the defamatory matter to some third person/s.
Publication of the defamatory imputation
• Delivering the articles to the typesetter is sufficient publication. (US v. Crame)

• Sending to the wife, a letter defamatory of her husband, is sufficient publication. (US v. Ubana)

NOTE: The person defamed is the husband and the wife is the third person to whom the publication is made.

• Sending a letter in a sealed envelope through a messenger is NOT publication. (Lopez v. Delgado)

• Writing a letter to another person other than the person defamed is sufficient to constitute publication, for
the person to whom the letter is addressed is a third person in relation to its writer and the person defamed
therein.

There is publication of defamatory letter not shown to be sealed when sent to the addressee

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• If sending a letter "not shown to be sealed" is publication, sending of an "unsealed letter" should a fortiori
be held to be publication.

There is no crime if the defamatory imputation is not published


• Merely composing a libel is not actionable unless it be published.

• The communication of the libelous matter to the person defamed alone does not amount to publication,
for that cannot injure his reputation.

• NOTE: A man's reputation is the estimate in which others hold him; not the good opinion which he has of
himself.

There must be malice


• The malice or ill-will must be proved - malice in fact; or may be taken for granted in view of the
grossness of the imputation - malice in law.

Malice in Fact Malice in Law


Malice in fact may be shown by proof of Malice in law is presumed from a
ill-will, hatred or purpose to injure. defamatory imputation. Proof of malice is
not required because it is presumed to exist
Example: from the defamatory imputation.
Express malice or malice in fact was
actuated by a desire to impeach the
reputation, integrity and honesty of
Secretary Perez as a government official
and to force him to resign because of the
alleged misfeasance and malfeasance in
office.
Where malice in fact is present, justifiable In malice in law, even if the publication is
motives can not exist, and the imputations injurious, the presumption of malice disappears
become actionable. upon proof of good intention and justifiable
motive

• Where the communication is privileged, malice is not presumed from the defamatory words. The
presumption of malice does not arise in the two cases of privileged communication mentioned in Nos. 1
and 2 of Article 354. The prosecution must prove malice, whenever the defamatory imputation appears in
a privileged communication.

There is no libel in interchange of captions of pictures made by mistake, because malice is absent
• The group picture of 6 well-dressed men including the plaintiff appeared in a 3-column photo published
in The Manila Times carrying a caption on the arrest by Customs authorities of 6 persons for alleged
"illegal salvaging" of sunken bombs and other missiles. The pictures and captions were interchanged with
the picture of the arrested persons. The error was discovered only after copies of the first edition had
already been printed and shipped to defendant's agents. Correction was however immediately made in the
subsequent copies of the issue of the same date.
• Held: The interchange was all an honest mistake and there was neither intent nor malice on the part of the
defendants to ridicule or put the plaintiff in public contempt. (Solidum v. Roces)

• BUT in Lopez v. CA where the photograph of the person who was given the appellation of "Hoax of the
Year" and the photograph of plaintiff in the Civil Case for damages were inadvertently switched, the
publisher and editor of This Week Magazine was held liable for damages.

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• Dissenting: There is need to prove that the publication was made with actual malice - that is, with
knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.

Identification of the offended party is required in the fourth element


• It is not sufficient that the offended party recognized himself as the person attacked or defamed, it must
be shown that at least a third person could identify him as the object of the libelous publication.

• When the obnoxious writing does not mention the libeled party by name, the prosecution is permitted to
prove by evidence that the vague imputation refers to the complainant.

• It is essential that the victim be identifiable, although it is not necessary that he be named.

• Where the article is impersonal on its face and interpretation of its language does not single out
individuals, the 4 th essential requirement of the offense of libel does not exist.

Illustration
• An article in the Cablenews-American described a Chinese Society, whose aim was to induce a boycott
by the Chinese of Japanese goods, as having offered P10,000 in a secret meeting for the life of the
Chinese consul-general. The two plaintiffs were the president and treasurer of a Chinese society. They
claimed that they were libeled by the writer of the article.

• Held: Defamatory imputations directed at a class or group of persons in general language are not
actionable by individuals composing the class or group unless the statements are sweeping. And it is very
probable that even then, no action would lie where the body is composed of so large a number of persons
that there is room for persons connected with the body to pursue an upright and law-abiding course.

But the publication need not refer by name to the offended party. It is sufficient if it is shown that the offended
party is the person meant or alluded to therein.

Defamatory remarks directed at a group of persons is not actionable unless the statements are all-embracing for
the victim to be identifiable

Libel published in different parts may be taken together to establish the identification of the offended party
• The first publication mentions no name. The second publication consists of a cartoon in which the person
referred to in the first publication are caricatured by name and to each one of them is attached one of the
defamatory words or phrases.

• Held: The two publication were considered together to establish the identity of the offended party.

Innuendo
• It is a clause in the indictment or other pleading containing an averment which is explanatory of some
preceding word or statement.

• It is the office of an innuendo to define the defamatory meaning which plaintiff set on the words, to show
how they came to have that meaning, and also to show how they relate to the plaintiff.

Purpose must be to injure the reputation of the offended party, to discredit or dishonor the persons allegedly
libeled.
• Thus, if the chief of police in good faith filed a complaint against "X" for illegal possession of
paraphernalia for falsification, and after trial, "X" was acquitted, the chief of police is not liable for libel.

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This is because the imputation of a crime was merely an incident in the making of the complaint intended
to cause the punishment of a violation of the law.

The imputation must tend to cause dishonor, discredit or contempt by the offended party
1. dishonor

2. discredit

3. contempt of a natural or juridical person OR

4. to blacken the memory of one who is dead

Meaning
1. Dishonor - disgrace, shame or ignominy

2. Discredit - loss of credit or reputation; disesteem

3. Contempt - state of being despised

If the utterance is made but once against a family of lawyers, designated by their common surname, not separately
mentioned, there is only one offense
• Cory was accused of the crime of grave oral defamation for having allegedly uttered the words to this
effect: "You, Merrera lawyers, are stealers *** shameless *** impolite."

• Held: The utterance of the defamatory statement complained of should be regarded as only one offense
and made the subject of only one information, the utterance having been made but once and referring
apparently to a family of lawyers designated by their common surnames but not separately mentioned.

Decision in People v. Del Rosario controlling


• "libelous publication affecting more than one person constitutes one crime or more."

• There are as many offenses are there were persons defamed.

• Where the alleged slanderous utterances were committed on the same date and at the same place but
against two different person, the situation has given rise to two separate and individual causes for
prosecution, with respect to each of the persons defamed.

Art. 354. Requirement for publicity. — Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it
be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following cases:

1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral
or social duty; and

2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial,
legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement,
report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in
the exercise of their functions.

Malice in law is presumed from every defamatory imputation


• When the imputation is defamatory, the prosecution of the plaintiff need not prove malice on the part of
the defendant. The law presumes that the defendant's imputation is malicious.

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• Even if the imputation is true, the presumption of malice still exists, if no good intention and justifiable
motive for making it is shown.

The presumption of malice is rebutted if:


1. the defamatory imputation is true, in case the law allows proof of the truth of the imputation

2. it is published with good intention and

3. there is justifiable motive for making it

Illustration
• If "A" tells "B" that "C" is a thief and the fact is that "C" is really a thief because he was previously
convicted of theft, can it be presumed that the imputation made by "A" is malicious?

• Yes, because Article 354 says that "every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious even if it be
true"

Malice is not presumed in the following:


1. A private communication by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral or social duty.

2. A fair and true report, made in good faith without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or
other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech
delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their
functions.
• They are the so-called privileged communication

• The prosecution must prove malice in fact to convict the accused on a charge of libel
involving privileged communication.

Two kinds of privileged communication: 1) absolute and 2) conditional or qualified

Absolute Conditional or Qualified


Not actionable, even if its author has acted in Although containing defamatory imputations,
bad faith. would not be actionable unless made with
Example: malice or bad faith.
1. made by members of Congress in the
discharge of their functions as such;
2. official communications made by a
public officer in the performance of his
duties;
3. allegations or statements made by the
parties or their counsel in their
pleadings or motions during the
hearing of judicial proceedings as well
as answers given by witnesses in reply
to questions propounded to them in the
course of said proceedings, provided
that the allegations or statements are
relevant to the issue.
Class of absolutely privileged communications Lost by proof of malice.
is narrow and is practically limited to
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legislative and judicial proceedings and other
acts of state including communications made in
the discharge of a duty under express authority
of law, by or to heads of executive departments
of the sate and matters involving military
affairs.
Purpose: Members of the legislature, judges of
courts, jurors, lawyers and witnesses may
speak their minds freely and exercise their
respective functions without incurring the risk
of criminal prosecution.

Paragraph No. 1, Article 354

Private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral or social duty
• This exception is predicated upon the fact that it is the duty and right of a citizen to make a complaint of
any misconduct on the part of the public officials to those charged with the supervision over them, even
though the charges contained therein are not substantiated upon investigation, unless it appears that the
charges were made maliciously and without any reasonable ground for believing them to be true.

Accusation aired in public meeting not a private communication

The communication need not be in private document as it may also be in a public document, like an affidavit.
• NOTE: The privileged communication covers also complaints against individuals who are not public
officers, like priests.

Requisites of privileged communication under Paragraph No. 1 of Article 354


1. That the person who made the communication had a legal, moral or social duty to make the
communication, or, at least he had an interest to be upheld;

2. That the communication is addressed to an officer or a board, or superior, having some interest or duty in
the matter;

3. That the statements in the communication are made in good faith without malice (in fact).

Private communication in the performance of a legal duty


• Legal duty presupposes a provision of law conferring upon the accused the duty to communicate. If there
is no provision of law to that effect, the accused has no duty to make the report or communication to
another. The report or communication is not privileged.

• A communication sent by an official to his immediate superior in the performance of a legal duty, as an
explanation of a matter contained in an indorsement sent to him by his superior officer, although
employed in a language somewhat harsh and uncalled for, is excusable in the interest of public policy.
Such constitutes privileged communication.

• The written objection filed by an administratrix, being pertinent or relevant, is a privileged


communication.

Private communication in the performance of a moral duty


• The existence of a moral duty depends upon the relationship between the giver and receiver of the
communication and whether said communication is voluntarily given or not.

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• Example: When the accused admitted that he had not been connected with Caltex in any capacity and that
the libelous letter was voluntarily written by him and not in answer to any inquiry, the accused had no
conceivable interest in the subject matter of the communication, which was the pilferage of kerosene from
Caltex.

Private communication in the performance of a social duty


• The complaint against a teacher addressed to the principal, notwithstanding the fact that, for unknown
reasons, it never reached the hands of said principal, does not lose its character of a privileged
communication as far as complainant is concerned. (People v. Fabia)

• The existence of social duty depends upon the relationship between the sender and the recipient of the
communication. If the communication was made by a person having no social duty to perform, it is not
privileged.

The communication must be addressed to an officer or superior having some interest or duty in the matter
• Defendant instead of communicating the matter to Councilo Clapano who was not his superior nor the
party to whom the information should be given, could have made the revelation himself either in open
session or by taking the necessary steps to have the matter investigated. As a co-member of the City
Council, defendant owes no legal or moral duty to Clapano.

Applying to the wrong person due to honest mistake does not take the case out of the privilege

Unnecessary publicity destroys good faith


• When a copy of a privileged communication is sent to a newspaper publication, the privilege is destroyed
by the conduct of the accused.

Reason for the doctrine of privilege communication


• Recognition of the fact that the right of the individual to enjoy the immunity from the publication of
untruthful charges derogatory to his character is not absolute and must at times yield to the superior
necessity of subjecting to investigation the conduct of persons charged with wrongdoing.

• To permit private persons having, or in good faith, believing themselves to have knowledge of such
wrongdoing, to perform the legal, moral or social duty, without restraining them by the fear that an error
may subject them to punishment for defamation.

The privileged character simply does away with the presumption of malice
• The fact that a communication is privilege does not mean that it is not actionable; the privileged character
simply does away with the presumption of malice, which the plaintiff has to prove in such a case.

The rule is that a communication loses its privileged character and is actionable on proof of actual malice

That the statement is a privileged communication is a matter of defense and must be established by the accused.
• Exception: When in the information itself it appears that the communication alleged to be libelous is
contained in an appropriate pleading in a court proceeding, the privilege becomes at once apparent and
defendant need not wait until the trial and produce evidence before he can raise the question of privilege.

Defense of privileged communication under paragraph No. 1 of Article 354 will be rejected if it is shown by the
prosecution that
1. the defendant acted with malice in fact, OR

2. there is no reasonable ground for believing the charge to be true

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Malice in fact - how proved
• May be shown by extrinsic evidence eg. that the defendant bore a grudge against the offended party or
that there was rivalry or ill-feeling between them or that the defendant had the intention to injure the
reputation of the offended party as shown by the words used and the circumstances attending the
publication of the defamatory imputation.

No reasonable ground for believing the charge to be true


• Defendant admitted that he had personally made no investigation with reference to the truth of many of
the statements made in the communication to the Secretary of Justice.

But probable cause for belief in the truth of the matter charged is sufficient
• Even when the statements are found to false, if there is probable cause for belief in their truthfulness and
the charge is made in good faith, the mantle of privilege may still cover the mistake of the individual. But
the statement must be under an honest sense of duty: a self-seeking motive is destructive.

Paragraph No. 2, Article 354

Fair and true report of official proceedings


• The official proceedings refer to the proceedings of the 3 Departments of the Government: 1) Judicial, 2)
Legislative and 3) Executive

• Requirements:
a. That it is a fair and true report of a judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which are
not confidential nature, or of a statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of
any other act performed by a public officer in the exercise of his functions;

b. That it is made in good faith; and

c. That it is without any comments or remarks

• If all these conditions are present the person who makes the report of the official proceedings is not guilty
of libel, even if the report contains defamatory and injurious matters affecting another person.

The report must be fair and true


• When a publisher publishes a fair and true report of a proceeding he is only narrating what had taken
place. The presumption of malice is overcome by the privilege.

• The report of the complaint is not fair and true when, contrary to the complaint, the report stated that the
complaint charged the plaintiff with removing the money from the vaults or with making wrong entry of
the amounts in the books of the company.

A report with comments or remarks is not privileged


• The accused published in a newspaper in an article which in part stated, "the people will know because to
his dying day Ganzon will not live down this incident where while the nation mourned the death of
Magsaysay, he, Ganzon, rejoiced in the same way that buzzards and cayotes rejoice over the same thing."

• Held: Even if the report of the jubilation of the complainant was true, the accused should have stopped at
reciting the facts only. He should not have made any comments or remarks.

Judicial proceedings
1. True report of judicial proceedings is privileged. Malice must be shown by the prosecution, as it is the
very gist of the offense involving the publication of a true report of a judicial proceeding.
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2. Allegations and averments in pleadings are absolutely privileged only insofar as they are relevant or
pertinent to the issue.

• Example: Where the defendant who instituted an action for the recovery of professional fees, alleged
in his complaint that the offended party frequently evaded his obligations and that his creditors were
disgusted because they could not collect what was due them, it was held that the allegations were
impertinent and unnecessary.

3. An action for libel on a defamatory matter uttered in the course of a judicial proceeding might be
instituted even if the defamatory matter had not yet been stricken out of the record. An action for libel
accrues from the date of publication.

• Fair and true report of the complaint filed in court without remarks or comments even before an
answer is filed or a decision promulgated should be covered by the privilege.

• Reason: Pleadings have become part of public record open to the public to scrutinize; Pleadings are
presumed to contain allegations and assertions lawful and legal in nature, appropriate to the
disposition of issue ventilated before the courts for the proper administration of justice and, therefore,
of general public concern; and Pleadings are presumed to contain allegations in good faith.

4. Parties, counsels, and witnesses are exempted from liability in libel or slander for words otherwise
defamatory published in the course of judicial proceedings, provided the statement are pertinent or
relevant to the case.

• Reason: Protection given to individuals in the interest of an efficient administration of justice may not
be abused as a cloak from beneath which private malice may be gratified.

The communication must be pertinent and material to the subject matter


• The statement uttered by an attorney while cross-examining an adverse witness in an administrative case:
"I doubt how did you become a doctor." Is NOT libelous or vexatious considering that the adverse
witness who was a doctor would not answer the question as to who prepared the document presented to
her, and repeatedly evaded the question by saying that she did not understand the word "malice."
• To be privileged, the communication must be pertinent and material to the subject matter in which the
author claims an interest to uphold. It does not protect any unnecessary defamation. The party making the
communication must not go farther than his interests or duties require.

Defaming client through his lawyer


• Where the accused, to whom a claim is presented by an attorney in behalf of the latter's client, sends to
the attorney a libelous communication concerning the client, there is sufficient publication.

Legislative proceedings
• Includes proceedings of the committees of the Congress of the Philippines.
• A reporter can publish the records of those proceedings, provided he does not give any comment or
remark thereon, and provided further that they are not of confidential nature.

Other official proceedings


• These proceedings refer to the official proceedings by other public officers in the exercise of their
functions.

Only matters "which are not of confidential nature" may be published

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• When the court, in any special case has forbidden the publication of certain records in the interest of
morality or decency, the same should not be published.
• Example: Proceedings for disbarment of attorneys are private, except the final order of the court which
may be public.

What public record may be published


• The privilege has been strictly limited to cases in which the right of access is secured by law, and in
which the purpose and object of the law is to give publicity to the contents of the record or document in
the interest, or for the publication, of the public generally.
• If the contents of the record or document, involved in any judicial legislative or other official proceedings,
are of confidential nature, they should not be published. Hence, the publication of confidential record
containing libelous matter is not privileged.

Remarks and comments on the conduct or acts of public officers


• Defamatory remarks and comments on the conduct and acts of public officers which are related to the
discharge of their official duties will not constitute libel if the defendant proves the truth of the
imputation.
• But any attack upon the private character of the public officer on matters which are not related to the
discharge of their official functions may constitute libel.
• A matter of public interest is a common property; hence, anybody may express an opinion on it.
• It is a defense to an action for libel or slander that the words complained of are fair comment on a matter
of public interest.
• In defamation, where the acts imputed concern the private life of an individual, criminal intent is
presumed to arise from the publication of defamatory matters because no one has a right to invade
another's privacy; but where the imputation is based upon a matter of public interest, the presumption of
criminal intent does not arise from the mere publication of defamatory matter.
• If it is shown that the imputation is either false allegation of fact or the expression of an opinion based
upon mere conjecture, malicious intent is established. In order that a discreditable imputation to a public
official may be actionable, it must be either a false allegation of fact or a comment based upon false
supposition. If the comment is an expression of an opinion, based upon proven facts, then it is no matter
that the opinion happens to be mistaken so long as it might be reasonably inferred from the facts.
Comment may be fair, although wrong. So that the discreditable imputation may not be actionable, the
fact upon which the comment is reasonably based should be actual fact and not mere supposition.

Fair comments on qualifications of a candidate


• Public acts of public mean may lawfully be made the subjects of comment and criticism. If made in good
faith, such criticism is privileged.
• The mental, moral and physical fitness of candidates for public office may be the object of comment and
criticism. But if it appears that it was actuated by actual or express malice, and is defamatory in its nature,
the comment or criticism constitutes a criminal libel.

Criticism and defamation distinguished


• Criticism deals only with such things as shall invite public attention or call for public comment. It does
not follow a public man into his private life nor pry into his domestic concerns.
• They may attack and seek to destroy, by fair means or foul, the whole fabric of his statesmanship, but the
law does not permit them to attack the man himself.
• If the criticism follows a public officer into his private life which has no connection with the performance
of his public duties, and falsely charges him with evil motives, clearly designed to destroy his reputation
or besmirch his name, there is defamation.

The policy of a public official may be attacked rightly or wrongly

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• The policy of a public official may be attacked, rightly or wrongly, with every argument which ability can
find or ingenuity invent. On the other hand, a public officer must not be too thin-skinned with reference to
comment upon his official acts.

Statements made in self defense or in mutual controversy are often privileged


• In an honest endeavor to vindicate himself and his own interests, a person is often privileged to make
statements which would otherwise be regarded as defamatory. Thus, if one's good name is assailed in the
newspaper, he may reply defending himself and if his reply is made in good faith without malice and is
not unnecessarily defamatory of his assailant, it is privileged.
• But the publication of a libel by the plaintiff (or offended party) is no legal justification of another libel by
the defendant. (Pellicena v. Gonzales)

The person libeled is justified to hit back with another libel


• The offended party previously caused to be published in the Manila Chronicle an article entitled
"Doubtful Citizenship," in which it was made to appear that the accused, in his petition for naturalization,
obtained a decision based on questionable proofs. After the publication of said article, the accused
published a libelous statement to the effect that the offended party instigated investigations in different
government agencies against the accused. The statement was intended to counteract the impression left in
the mind of the public by that article entitled "Doubtful Citizenship"
• Held: Self-defense is man's inborn right. He may hit back with another libel which, if adequate, will be
justified. (People v. Chua Hiong)

But retaliation or vindictiveness cannot be a basis of self-defense in defamation


• "A" after alighting from a rig, went in front of the home of "B," "C," and "D," the three defendants, and
in the heat of anger, shouted at them the following words: "You pimp, women of ill repute, thieves,
paramours of my husband." To which "B" answered back, saying: "You are a woman of the street, you
smell bad, and your money was stolen from the PCAU." The other defendant "C" retorted: "You are
shameless, blackmailer, murderer." And the third defendant "D" replied: "You have a thick face, you are
not legally married, you are the paramour of Father Baluyut."
• Held: Not because a person has called another a shameless, good-for-nothing animal, that the person
insulted would have the right to return the insult by calling him murderer, criminal gangster, prostitute,
etc. under the mantle of self-defense.
• To repel the attack, the defendant may make an explanation of the imputation, and it is only where, if by
explaining, he must of necessity have to use scurrilous and slanderous remarks, that he may legally be
allowed to do so without placing himself under criminal prosecution.
• RULE: The defamatory statements made by the accused must be a fair answer to the libel made by the
supposed offended party and must be related to the imputation made. The answer should NOT be
unnecessarily libelous.

Publishing that a restaurant had attempted to sell a putrid fowl to its patrons is not an actionable wrong, such was
a matter which the public had the undeniable right to know.

Republic Act No. 4200


THE ANTI-WIRE TAPPING ACT
(June 19, 1965)

Acts penalized

SECTION 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private
communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to
secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly

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known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or however
otherwise described:

It shall also be unlawful for any person, be he a participant or not in the act or acts penalized in the next
preceding sentence, to knowingly possess any tape record, wire record, disc record, or any other such
record, or copies thereof, of any communication or spoken word secured either before or after the effective
date of this Act in the manner prohibited by this law; or 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: Provided, That the use of such record or any
copies thereof as evidence in any civil, criminal investigation or trial of offenses mentioned in Section 3
hereof, shall not be covered by this prohibition.

Penalty

SECTION 2. Any person who wilfully or knowingly does or who shall aid, permit, or cause to be done any
of the acts declared to be unlawful in the preceding section or who violates the provisions of the following
section or of any order issued thereunder, or aids, permits, or causes such violation shall, upon conviction
thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than six months or more than six years and with the
accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification from public office if the offender be a public
official at the time of the commission of the offense, and, if the offender is an alien he shall be subject to
deportation proceedings.

Performance of prohibited act upon court order

SECTION 3. Nothing contained in this Act, however, shall render it unlawful or punishable for any peace
officer, who is authorized by a written order of the Court, to execute any of the acts declared to be unlawful
in the two preceding sections in cases involving the crimes of treason, espionage, provoking war and
disloyalty in case of war, piracy, mutiny in the high seas, rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit
rebellion, inciting to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, inciting to sedition, kidnapping as
defined by the Revised Penal Code, and violations of Commonwealth Act No. 616, punishing espionage and
other offenses against national security: Provided, That such written order shall only be issued or granted
upon written application and the examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses
he may produce and a showing: (1) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of the crimes
enumerated hereinabove has been committed or is being committed or is about to be committed: Provided,
however, That in cases involving the offenses of rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion,
inciting to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, and inciting to sedition, such authority shall
be granted only upon prior proof that a rebellion or acts of sedition, as the case may be, have actually been
or are being committed; (2) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that evidence will be obtained
essential to the conviction of any person for, or to the solution of, or to the prevention of, any such crimes;
and (3) that there are no other means readily available for obtaining such evidence.

The order granted or issued shall specify: (1) the identity of the person or persons whose communications,
conversations, discussions, or spoken words are to be overheard, intercepted, or recorded and, in the case
of telegraphic or telephonic communications, the telegraph line or the telephone number involved and its
location; (2) the identity of the peace officer authorized to overhear, intercept, or record the
communications, conversations, discussions, or spoken words; (3) the offense or offenses committed or
sought to be prevented; and (4) the period of the authorization. The authorization shall be effective for the
period specified in the order which shall not exceed sixty (60) days from the date of issuance of the order,
unless extended or renewed by the court upon being satisfied that such extension or renewal is in the public
interest.

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All recordings made under court authorization shall, within forty-eight hours after the expiration of the
period fixed in the order, be deposited with the court in a sealed envelope or sealed package, and shall be
accompanied by an affidavit of the peace officer granted such authority stating the number of recordings
made, the dates and times covered by each recording, the number of tapes, discs, or records included in the
deposit, and certifying that no duplicates or copies of the whole or any part thereof have been made, or if
made, that all such duplicates or copies are included in the envelope or package deposited with the court.
The envelope or package so deposited shall not be opened, or the recordings replayed, or used in evidence,
or their contents revealed, except upon order of the court, which shall not be granted except upon motion,
with due notice and opportunity to be heard to the person or persons whose conversation or
communications have been recorded.

The court referred to in this section shall be understood to mean the Court of First Instance within whose
territorial jurisdiction the acts for which authority is applied for are to be executed.

Inadmissibility of evidence

SECTION 4. Any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or
meaning of the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained obtained or secured by any
person in violation of the preceding sections of this Act shall not be admissible in evidence in any judicial,
quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation.

The phrase "any other device or arrangement" in R.A. 4200 does not cover an extension line
• The law refers to a "tap" of a wire or cable or the use of a "device or arrangement" for the purpose of
secretly overhearing, intercepting or recording the communication. There must be either a physical
interruption through a wire tap or the deliberate installation of a device or arrangement in order to
overhear, intercept or record the spoken word.
• An extension phone cannot be placed in the same category as a dictaphone, dictagraph, or the other
devices enumerated in Section 1 of R.A. No. 4200 as the use thereof cannot be considered as "tapping"
the wire or cable of a telephone line.

Framers of R.A. No. 4200 were more concerned with penalizing the act of recording a telephone conversation
than merely listening thereto.

Art. 355. Libel means by writings or similar means. — A libel committed by means of writing, printing,
lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or
any similar means, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or a fine
ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the civil action which may be brought by the
offended party.

A libel may be committed by means of:


1. Writing;
2. Printing;
3. Lithography
4. Engraving;
5. Radio
6. Phonograph;
7. Painting;
8. Theatrical exhibition;
9. Cinematographic exhibition;
10. Or any similar means

Defamation through amplifier is not libel, but oral defamation

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• The word "radio" used in Article 355, should be considered in relation to the terms with which it is
associated - writing, printing, engraving, phonograph, etc. - all of which have a common characteristic,
namely, their permanent nature as a means of publication, and this explains the graver penalty for libel
that that prescribed for oral defamation.

But defamation made in the television program is libel


• While the medium of television is not expressly mentioned among the means specified in the law, it easily
qualifies under the general provision "or any similar means."

Article 355 provides for the penalty for libel


• Articles 353 and 354 merely define defamation and privileged communication, Article 355 prescribes the
penalty for libel.
• The court is given the discretion to impose the penalty of imprisonment or fine or both for the crime of
libel.

"In addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party"
• A civil action for damages may be filed simultaneously or separately with the criminal action.
Threats and libel committed on the same occasion and contained in the same letter

*** They must not be stubborn about Mr. Luciano Sta. Catalinas fooling the people.***
*** And if there is nobody who will care among the authorities in the government in this respect of my being
belittled and the belittling of others and if Sta, Catalina will not pay what I paid and others paid for the donation,
you can be sure that I will do, life for life; against those people who have been fooling with our barrio and to the
authorities in the government, I hope they will not withhold all what I said in this respect."

• The said letter is more threatening than libelous, and the intent to threaten is the principal aim and object
of the letter. The libelous remarks contained are merely preparatory remarks culminating in the final
threat.
• The libelous remarks express the heat of passion which engulfs the writer of the letter, which heat of
passion in the latter part of the letter culminates into a threat.
• The offense committed is clearly and principally that of threats and that the statements derogatory to a
person named do not constitute an independent crime of libel. It is considered as part of the more
important offense of threats.

Art. 356. Threatening to publish and offer to present such publication for a compensation. — The penalty of
arresto mayor or a fine from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who threatens
another to publish a libel concerning him or the parents, spouse, child, or other members of the family of
the latter or upon anyone who shall offer to prevent the publication of such libel for a compensation or
money consideration.

Acts punished under Article 356


1. By threatening another to publish a libel concerning him, or his parents, spouse, child or other members
of his family.
2. By offering to prevent the publication of such libel for compensation, or money consideration.

Illustration
• The accused threatened to publish in a weekly periodical, certain letters, amorous in nature, written by a
married woman and addressed by her to a man, not her husband, unless she paid P4,000 to them.
• This is blackmail.

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Blackmail, defined
• Any unlawful extortion of money by threats of accusation or exposure; hush money.

In what felonies is blackmail possible?


1. Light threats
2. Threatening to publish, or offering to prevent the publication of, a libel for compensation

Art. 357. Prohibited publication of acts referred to in the course of official proceedings. — The penalty of
arresto mayor or a fine of from 20 to 2,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any reporter, editor or
manager or a newspaper, daily or magazine, who shall publish facts connected with the private life of
another and offensive to the honor, virtue and reputation of said person, even though said publication be
made in connection with or under the pretext that it is necessary in the narration of any judicial or
administrative proceedings wherein such facts have been mentioned.

Elements
1. That the offender is a reporter, editor or manager of a newspaper daily or magazine
2. That he publishes facts connected with the private life of another
3. That such facts are offensive to honor, virtue and reputation of said person

Prohibition applies even if the facts are made in connection with or under the pretext that it is necessary in the
narration of any judicial or administrative proceedings wherein such facts have been mentioned.

Extent of the application of the "Gag Law"


• Newspaper reports on cases pertaining to adultery, divorce, issues about the legitimacy of children, etc.
will necessarily be barred from the publication.
• This article requires two things to constitute a violation of this prohibition:
1. That the article published contains facts connected with the private life of an individual; and
2. That such facts are offensive to the honor, virtue and reputation of said person.
• These two requisites must concur. If one of them is not present, there is no violation of Article 357.
Illustration of the meaning of the provision
• A suit for alimony refers to the private life of a person, but it is not offensive to the honor of such person.
• A news item contains the testimony of a prosecuting witness regarding the commission of, say theft or
homicide by complainant. It is offensive to the honor, virtue and reputation of the accused, but it is not
connected with his private life.

Example of violation of Article 357


• "A" uttered defamatory remarks calling a priest a savage, a carabao, that he had a concubine and that he
collected alms for himself, not for the town. While the case was pending trial, the local weekly edited by
the accused published the complaint verbatim including the defamatory expression.
• Held: The matter contained in the complaint filed by the priest against "A" is libelous per se and affects
the private life of the offended party. Had the offended party been a person holding a public office and the
acts imputed had relation to the discharge of his official duties, the situation would be different.

Source of news report may be revealed


• Without prejudice to his liability under the civil and criminal laws, the publisher, editor, columnist or duly
accredited reporter of any paper, magazine or periodical of general circulation cannot be compelled to
reveal the source of any news report or information appearing in said publication which was related in
confidence to such publisher, editor or reporter unless the court or a House or committee of Congress
finds that such revelation is demanded by the security of the State. (Republic Act No. 1477)

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The phrase "interest of the State" in Republic Act NO. 53 is changed to "security of the State" in Republic Act
No. 1477

Art. 358. Slander. — Oral defamation shall be punished by arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision
correccional in its minimum period if it is of a serious and insulting nature; otherwise the penalty shall be
arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos.

What is slander?
• Slander is oral defamation.
2 kinds of oral defamation
1. Simple slander
2. Grave slander, when it is of a serious and insulting nature

Factors that determine the gravity of oral defamation


1. Upon the expressions used
2. The personal relations of the accused and the offended party
3. The circumstances surrounding the case
4. The social standing and position of the offended party

• That the complainant was a respectable young lady, a public school teacher to whom her students were to
look up to for exemplariness of character; the unpleasant remarks were said in the presence of students
and co-teachers of the complainant, the more the court is convinced that the crime committed by the
accused is grave.

Illustration of grave slander


• Committed by a woman of violent temper, who hurled at the complainant, a respectable married lady with
young daughters, offensive and scurrilous epithets, including words imputing unchastity to the mother
and tending to injure the character of the daughters.

Illustration of simple slander


• An accusation that the offended party has been living successively with several men uttered before
several persons, when intended to correct an improper conduct of the offended party.
• Calling a person a gangster.
• Uttering defamatory words in the heat of anger, with some provocation on the part of the offended party.
• Defamation uttered in political meetings, considering that it was committed on the eve of the elections
when everyone was excited and when feelings were running high.

The words "puta" does not impute the complainant is a prostitute


• The words Agustin, putang ina mo" is a common expression in the dialect that is often employed not
really to slander but rather to express anger or displeasure. It is seldom, if ever, taken in its literal sense by
the hearer, that is, as a reflection on the virtue of the mother.

The slander need not be heard by the offended party because a man's reputation is the estimate in which others
hold him, not the good opinion in which he has of himself.

Art. 359. Slander by deed. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional
in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 1,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who
shall perform any act not included and punished in this title, which shall cast dishonor, discredit or
contempt upon another person. If said act is not of a serious nature, the penalty shall be arresto menor or a

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fine not exceeding 200 pesos.

What is slander by deed?


• Crime against honor which is committed by performing any act which casts dishonor, discredit or
contempt upon another person.

Elements
1. That the offender performs any act not included in any other crime against honor.
2. That such act is performed in the presence of other person/s.
3. That such act casts dishonor, discredit or contempt upon the offended party.

Slander by deed is of two kinds:


1. Simple slander by deed
2. Grave slander by deed, that is, which is of serious nature
• Whether a certain slanderous act constitutes slander by deed of serious nature or not, depends on the
social standing of the offended party, the circumstances under which the act was committed, the occasion,
etc.

Slander by deed refers to performance of an act, not use of words


• This crime involved an act while libel or slander involves words written or uttered.
Slapping the face of another is slander by deed if the intention of the accused is to cause shame or humiliation

Fighting the offended party with intention to insult him and bring his opponent into contempt in the eyes of the
public is slander by deed.

Determination of seriousness of slander by deed


• There is no fixed standard in determining whether a slander is serious or not; hence, the courts have
sufficient discretion to determine the same, basing the finding on the attendant circumstances and matters
relevant thereto.
• Appellant saw the complainant making motions of spitting, the former was so insulted and spat on the
face of the complainant. The accused acted in the heat of passion and without thinking of the highly
offensive character of what she would do. If the spitting was deliberately done, it would constitute a crime
of grave slander by deed. In this case, appellant is liable of the crime of slight slander by deed.

Slander by deed and acts of lasciviousness, distinguished


• Kissing a girl in public and touching her breasts without lewd designs, committed by a rejected suitor to
cast dishonor on the girl was held to be slander by deed and not acts of lasciviousness.

Slander by deed and maltreatment, distinguished


• The nature and effects of the maltreatment determine the crime committed. If the offended party suffered
from shame or humiliation caused by the maltreatment, it is slander by deed.
• Example: The act of holding a school teacher by the hair and shaking him violently in the presence of
school children and other teachers because he had stopped a boy who had been pursuing another is
slander by deed because 1) of the public office held by the offended party and 2) the nature and effects of
the maltreatment inflicted upon him.

Unjust vexation, slander by deed and acts of lasciviousness, distinguished


• Common in all three is irritation or annoyance.
• Without any other concurring factor, the offense would be merely unjust vexation because it is equated
with anything that annoys or irritates another without justification.

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• If in addition to annoyance or irritation there was attendant publicity and dishonor or contempt, the
offense would be slander by deed.
• If in addition to annoyance or irritation, there was present any of the circumstances provided in Article
355 on rape, the crime would be acts of lasciviousness.

Slander by deed; when offended party's complaint not necessary


• Where no imputation of any of the crimes mentioned in Article 344 is made, the complaint by the
offended party is not necessary.
• The imputation of a vice or defect which does not constitute a crime at all is not within the exception.
Moral damages awarded do not determine the jurisdiction of the court
• The claim for moral damages is only an incident to a criminal case. If awarded by the court, it is not a
penalty for the commission of a crime, nor a fine that is provided by law as a penalty for the offense
which should determine the jurisdiction of the court.

Section Two - General Provisions

Art. 360. Persons responsible. — Any person who shall publish, exhibit, or cause the publication or
exhibition of any defamation in writing or by similar means, shall be responsible for the same.

The author or editor of a book or pamphlet, or the editor or business manager of a daily newspaper,
magazine or serial publication, shall be responsible for the defamations contained therein to the same
extent as if he were the author thereof.

The criminal and civil action for damages in cases of written defamations as provided for in this chapter,
shall be filed simultaneously or separately with the court of first instance of the province or city where the
libelous article is printed and first published or where any of the offended parties actually resides at the
time of the commission of the offense: Provided, however, That where one of the offended parties is a public
officer whose office is in the City of Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action shall be
filed in the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila, or of the city or province where the libelous article
is printed and first published, and in case such public officer does not hold office in the City of Manila, the
action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of
the commission of the offense or where the libelous article is printed and first published and in case one of
the offended parties is a private individual, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the
province or city where he actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense or where the libelous
matter is printed and first published: Provided, further, That the civil action shall be filed in the same court
where the criminal action is filed and vice versa: Provided, furthermore, That the court where the criminal
action or civil action for damages is first filed, shall acquire jurisdiction to the exclusion of other courts:
And, provided, finally, That this amendment shall not apply to cases of written defamations, the civil
and/or criminal actions which have been filed in court at the time of the effectivity of this law.

Preliminary investigation of criminal action for written defamations as provided for in the chapter shall be
conducted by the provincial or city fiscal of the province or city, or by the municipal court of the city or
capital of the province where such action may be instituted in accordance with the provisions of this article.

No criminal action for defamation which consists in the imputation of a crime which cannot be prosecuted
de oficio shall be brought except at the instance of and upon complaint expressly filed by the offended
party. (As amended by R.A. 1289, approved June 15, 1955, R.A. 4363, approved June 19, 1965).

The persons responsible are

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1. The person who publishes, exhibits or causes the publication or exhibition of any defamation in writing or
similar means
2. The author or editor of a book or pamphlet
3. The editor or business manager of a daily newspaper magazine or serial publication
4. The owner of the printing plant which publishes a libelous article with his consent and all other persons
who in any way participate in or have connection with its publication.

The person who publishes libelous letter written by the offended party is liable
• "A" sent a love letter to "B" containing intimate expressions of sentiment. To a third person the contents
of said letter would be ridiculous. "B" after breaking up with "A" published the latter.
• B is liable for libel. The prime requisite of the crime of libel is not necessarily the composing of the
article but the publishing of it.

Liability of the editor is the same as that of the author

Municipal court of a municipality cannot conduct preliminary investigation of criminal action for written
defamations
• Preliminary investigation of criminal actions for written defamations shall be conducted by the provincial
or city fiscal of the province or city or by the municipality (now city) court of the city or capital of the
province where the action may be instituted.

Venue of criminal and civil actions for damages in cases of written defamation
• The criminal and civil actions for damages in case of written defamations shall be filed simultaneously or
separately with the CFI of the province or city -
1. Where the libelous article is printed and first published OR
2. Where any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense.

Where one of the offended parties is a public officer


• Where one of the offended parties is a public officer whose office is in the City of Manila at the time of
the commission of the offense, the action shall be filed in the CFI of the City of Manila or of the city or
province where the libelous article is printed and first published.
• In case such public officer does not hold office in the City of Manila, the action shall be filed in the CFI
of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense or where the
libelous article is printed and first published.

In case one of the offended parties is a private individual, the action shall be filed in the CFI of the province or
city where he actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense or where the libelous matter is printed
and first published.
• The limitation of the choices of venue was intended to minimize or limit the fling of out-of-town libel
suits to protect an alleged offender from "hardships, inconveniences and harassments" and to protect "the
interest of the public service" where one of the offended parties is a public officer.
• The intent of the law is clear: a libeled public official must sue in the court of the locality where he holds
office, in order that the prosecution of the action should interfere as little as possible with the discharge of
his official duties and labors. The only alternative allowed him by law is to prosecute those responsible
for the libel in the place where the offending articles was printed and first published.

Civil and criminal actions must be filed in the same court

Exclusive jurisdiction of the court


• The court where the criminal action or civil action for damages is first filed shall acquire jurisdiction to
the exclusion of other courts.

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Offended party must file complaint for defamation imputing a crime which cannot be prosecuted de oficio
• The fourth paragraph of Article 360 of the RPC requiring the complaint in an action for defamation
imputing a private offense to be expressly filed by the offended party, applies not only to written but also
to oral defamation. Consequently, a complaint for oral defamation imputing rape does not confer
jurisdiction on the lower court where it was not expressly filed by the offended party but by a
Constabulary Officer.
• The crimes which may not be prosecuted ex oficio
1. adultery
2. concubinage
3. seduction
4. abduction
5. acts of lasciviousness
• Example: The fiscal filed an information, charging the accused with "telling some people in the
neighborhood that Bravo was a paramour of one Sangalang, a man not her husband. Bravo did not
subscribe to a complaint.
• Held: Since the accused imputed to Bravo the commission of adultery, a crime which cannot be
prosecuted de oficio, the information filed by the fiscal cannot confer jurisdiction upon the court.

Libel imputing a vice or defect, not being an imputation of a crime, is always prosecuted upon information signed
and filed by the fiscal
• The imputation of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or
circumstance, tending to cause the dishonor, discredit or contempt of the offended party, does not involve
a crime in the imputation. It may be prosecuted de oficio.
• And since only a crime may be or may not be prosecuted de oficio, the imputation of a vice or defect, any
act or omission, condition, status, or circumstance is not covered by the last paragraph of Article 360.

Damages in defamation
• Actual damages need not be proved, at least where the publication is libelous per se.
• Reason: By its nature, libel causes dishonor, discredit, disrepute and injury to the reputation of the
offended party as its natural and probable consequence.

An action for exemplary damages in libel may be awarded if the action is based on quasi-delict
• For liability in damages to arise from an alleged libelous publication without offending press freedom,
there is need to prove that the publication was made with actual malice - with knowledge of its falsity or
with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.

An absolutely privileged communication is one for which, by reason of the occasion on which it is made, no
remedy is provided for the damages in a civil action for slander or libel.

Illustration of damages recoverable in defamation


• The defendant, who was convicted of libel, was sentenced to pay, in addition to a fine of P500, the
offended party, by way of damages, P1,000.
• Held: The damages awarded to the complainant are compensatory for the injury inflicted by the wrongful
act of defamation recoverable under Article 104 of the RPC which provides that the civil liability arising
from the commission of a felony includes reparation of the damages caused and indemnification for
consequential damages.
• A libeled person may recover from the libeler, damages for injury to his feelings and reputation, in
addition to the actual pecuniary damages sustained by him.

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Art. 361. Proof of the truth. — In every criminal prosecution for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to
the court and if it appears that the matter charged as libelous is true, and, moreover, that it was published
with good motives and for justifiable ends, the defendants shall be acquitted.

Proof of the truth of an imputation of an act or omission not constituting a crime shall not be admitted,
unless the imputation shall have been made against Government employees with respect to facts related to
the discharge of their official duties.

In such cases if the defendant proves the truth of the imputation made by him, he shall be acquitted.

When proof of truth is admissible

Proof of truth is admissible in any of the following:


1. When the act or omission imputed constitutes a crime regardless of whether the offended party is a
private individual or a public officer
2. When the offended party is a Government employee, even if the act or omission imputed does not
constitute a crime, provided, it is related to the discharge of his official duties.

Example of No. 2
• "A" stated in the presence of some people that "B," a government official was in the habit of drinking
intoxicating liquor during office hours and that he was always in a boisterous condition. In case "B"
should file a complaint against "A" for defamation, the latter can prove the truth of the charge.
• Both public interest and the good of the service demand that a drunkard be barred from the service.
• But when the imputation involved the private life of a government employee which is not related to the
discharge of his official duties, the offender can not prove the truth thereof.

"In such cases if the defendant proves the truth of the imputation made by him, he shall be acquitted"
• The 3 rd paragraph of Article 361 must have reference to the 2 cases referred to in the 2 nd paragraph where
proof of the truth may be admitted, namely: 1) if the act or omission imputed constitutes a crime; and 2)
of the imputation not constituting a crime is made against a Government employees with respect to facts
related to the discharge of their duties.
• The question may arise whether or not it is necessary to show that the accused who proved the truth of the
imputation published it with good motives and for justifiable ends in order that he may be acquitted.
• It is believed that since the accused did the public service, proof of his good motives and justifiable ends
is not necessary.

Proof of truth
• The proof of truth of the accusation cannot be made to rest upon mere hearsay, rumors or suspicion.
• It may rest upon positive, direct evidence upon which a definite finding may be made by the Court.
• But probable cause for belief in the truth of the statement is sufficient.
When evidence of the truth of imputation not admissible
Illustration
• "A" stated before several persons that "B", a private individual, is a drunkard or is suffering from
contagious disease. In case "A" is prosecuted for defamation, he will not be allowed to prove the truth
that "B" was really a drunkard or suffering from some communicable disease.
• Defamatory remarks against government employees with respect to facts related to the discharge of their
official duties will not constitute libel if defendant proves the truth pf the imputation.

Three requisites of defense in defamation

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• Proof of the truth is not enough, it is also required that the matter charged as libelous was published with
good motives and for justifiable ends.
1. It if appears that the matter charged as libelous is true
- The proof of the truth in defamation is limited only 1) to act or omission constituting a
crime and 2) to act or omission of a public officer which, although not constituting a
crime, is related to the discharge of duties.
2. It was published with good motives
- Whether or not good motives exist is a question to be determined by the court by taking
into consideration not only the intention of the author of the defamatory matter but all
other circumstances of each particular case.
3. And for justifiable means
- The goodness of the intention is not always sufficient by itself to justify the publication
of an injurious fact; thus, the goodness of the end is not a sufficient motive to warrant the
employment of illicit means to obtain it.

"With good intention and justifiable motives"


- "A", a nurse, was treating a patient suffering from gonorrhea. She believed that the patient had been
contaminated by her husband. When the husband came to the house, "A" said "This is the result of your
foolishness, you contaminated your wife." This remark was made upstairs within the hearing of several
persons.
- Held: The statement concerning the cause of the sickness of the patient was done in private and only as a
precautionary measure to prevent further contamination. Even if it was overheard by other persons, it was
not motivated by malice on the part of "A." There was no showing that she was inspired by any feeling of
spite or ill-will towards the complainant.
- An imputation that a person has contagious disease might, inder ordinary circumstances, be defamatory,
but loses such character when made with good intention and justifiable motive.

Good motives and justifiable ends constitute a defense insofar as they negative malice. There is no liable if there
is no malice.

Retraction may mitigate the damages


• In order to have the desired effect, the retraction should contain an admission of the falsity of the libelous
publication and evince a desire to repair the wrong occasioned thereby.

That the publication of the article was an honest mistake is not a complete defense but serves only to mitigate
damages where the article is libelous per se.

Art. 362. Libelous remarks. — Libelous remarks or comments connected with the matter privileged under
the provisions of Article 354, if made with malice, shall not exempt the author thereof nor the editor or
managing editor of a newspaper from criminal liability.

Libelous remarks or comments on matters privileged, if made with malice in fact, do not exempt the author and
editor.

Liability of newspaper reporter for distorting facts connected with official proceedings
• The reporter of a newspaper publication, in publishing what passes in a court of justice, must publish the
whole case, and not merely state the conclusion which he himself draws from the evidence.

• The author or the editor of a publication who distorts, mutilates or discolors the official proceedings
reported by him, or add comments thereon to cast aspersion on the character of the parties concerned, is
guilty of libel, notwithstanding the fact that the defamatory matter is published in connection with a
privileged matter.
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Chapter Two
INCRIMINATORY MACHINATIONS

What are the felonies under incriminatory machination?


1. Incriminating innocent person

2. Intriguing against honor

Art. 363. Incriminating innocent person. — Any person who, by any act not constituting perjury, shall
directly incriminate or impute to an innocent person the commission of a crime, shall be punished by
arresto menor.

Elements
1. That the offender performs an act

2. That by such act he directly incriminates or imputes to an innocent person the commission of a crime

3. That such act does not constitute perjury

This article is limited to "planting" evidence and the like which do not in themselves constitute false prosecution
but tend directly to cause false prosecution.
• "A" taking advantage of the fact that "B" was in the toilet while his (B's) coat was hanging on the back of
the chair, placed a small bottled of opium in the pocket of the coat. Then "A" called a policeman and told
the latter that "B" had a bottle of opium in his pocket.
• NOTE: "A" performed an act by putting in "B's" pocket a bottle of opium, This is called "planting
evidence."

False accusation is defamatory or perjury under the RPC


• Under the RPC, one who false accuses another of a crime may be held liable wither for libel or perjury,
depending upon the manner or form in which the act is committed.

Incriminating an innocent person distinguished from perjury by false accusation

Incriminating an Innocent Person Perjury by False Accusation


Committed by performing an act by which the The gravamen of the offense is the imputation
offender directly incriminates or imputes to an itself, falsely made, before an officer.
innocent person the commission of a crime.
Limited to the act of planting evidence and the The giving of false statement under oath or the
like, in order to incriminate an innocent person. making of a false affidavit, imputing to a
person the commission of a crime.

Incriminatory machinations distinguished from defamation

Incriminatory Machination Defamation


The offender does not avail himself of written The imputation made by the offender must be
or spoken words in besmirching the victim's public and malicious, and, besides, must be
reputation, as would be in the case of calculated to cause the dishonor, discredit or
defamation. contempt of the aggrieved party.

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There is a complex crime of incriminating an innocent person through unlawful arrest, by which the two offenses
form a complex crime, which is only one crime.

Art. 364. Intriguing against honor. — The penalty of arresto menor or fine not exceeding 200 pesos shall be
imposed for any intrigue which has for its principal purpose to blemish the honor or reputation of a
person.

How is intriguing against honor committed?

• Committed by a person who shall make any intrigue which has for its principal purpose to blemish the
honor or reputation of another person.

Intriguing against honor is any scheme or plot by means consist of some trickery.
• It is akin to slander by deed, in that the offender does not avail directly of written or spoken words,
pictures or caricatures to ridicule his victim but of some ingenious, crafty and secret plot, producing the
same effect.

Incriminating an innocent person distinguished from intriguing against honor

Incriminating an Innocent Person Intriguing Against Honor


The offender performs an act by which he The offender resorts to an intrigue for the
directly incriminates or imputes to an innocent purpose of blemishing the honor or reputation
person the commission of a crime. of another person.

Intriguing against honor distinguished from defamation


Intriguing against Honor Defamation
May be committed by means of some trickery Public and malicious imputation of a crime, or
and secret plot. of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any
act, omission, condition, status, or
circumstance tending to cause the dishonor,
discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical
person, or to blacken the memory of one who is
dead.

Intriguing against dishonor distinguished from slander


Intriguing against Dishonor Slander
Where the source or the author of the Where the source of the information can be
derogatory information cannot be determined pinpointed and definitely determined, and the
and the defendant borrows the same and, person passes the same to another for the
without subscribing to the truth thereof, passes purpose of causing dishonor to complainant's
it to others, the defendant's act is one of reputation.
intriguing against honor.

Crimes Against Honor


Libel (2002)
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A. A was nominated Secretary of a Department in the Executive Branch of the
government. His nomination was thereafter submitted to the Commission on
Appointments for confirmation. While the Commission was considering the nomination,
a group of concerned citizens caused to be published in the newspapers a full-page
statement objecting to A's appointment They alleged that A was a drug dependent, that he
had several mistresses, and that he was corrupt, having accepted bribes or favors from
parties transacting business in his previous office, and therefore he was unfit for the
position to which he had been nominated. As a result of the publication, the nomination
was not confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. The official sued the concerned
citizens and the newspapers for libel and damages on account of his non-confirmation.
How will you decide the case? (3%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
I will acquit the concerned citizens and the newspapers involved, from the crime of libel,
because obviously they made the denunciation out of a moral or social duty and thus
there is absence of malice.
Since A was a candidate for a very important public position of a Department Secretary,
his moral, mental and physical fitness for the public trust in such position becomes a
public concern as the interest of the public is at stake. It is pursuant to such concern that
the denunciation was made; hence, bereft of malice.
B. If defamatory imputations are made not by publication in the newspapers but by
broadcast over the radio, do they constitute libel? Why? (2%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Yes, because libel may be committed by radio broadcast Article 355 of the Revised Penal
Code punishes libel committed by means, among others, of radio broadcast, inasmuch as
the broadcast made by radio is public and may be defamatory.
Libel (2003)
During a seminar workshop attended by government employees from the Bureau of
Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, A, the speaker, in the course of his lecture,
lamented the fact that a great majority of those serving in said agencies were utterly
dishonest and corrupt. The following morning, the whole group of employees in the two
bureaus who attended the seminar, as complainants, filed a criminal complaint against A
for uttering what the group claimed to be defamatory statements of the lecturer. In court,
A filed a motion to quash the information, reciting fully the above facts, on the ground
that no crime were committed. If you were the judge, how would you resolve the motion?
8%
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
I would grant the motion to quash on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute
an offense, since there is no definite person or persons dishonored. The crime of libel or
slander, is a crime against honor such that the person or persons dishonored must be
identifiable even by innuendoes: otherwise the crime against honor is not committed.
Moreover, A was not making a malicious imputation, but merely stating an opinion; he
was delivering a lecture with no malice at all during a seminar workshop. Malice being
inherently absent in the utterance, the statement is not actionable as defamatory.
Libel (2005)
In an interview aired on television, Cindee uttered defamatory statements against Erika, a
successful and reputable businesswoman. What crime or crimes did Cindee commit?
Explain. (3%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Cindee committed libel for uttering defamatory remarks tending to cause dishonor or
discredit to Erika. Libel can be committed in television programs or broadcasts, though it
was not specifically mentioned in the article since it was not yet in existence then, but is
included as "any similar means." Defamatory statements aired on television is similar to
radio, theatrical exhibition or cinematographic exhibition, which are among the modes
for the commission of libel. (Arts. 353 and 355, RPC)
Slander (1988)
For some time, bad blood had existed between the two families of Maria Razon and
Judge Gadioma who were neighbors. First, there was a boundary dispute between them
which was still pending in court. Maria's mother also filed an administrative complaint
against the judge which was however dismissed. The Razons also felt intimidated by the
position and alleged influence of their neighbor. Fanning fire to the situation was the
practice of the Gadiomas of throwing garbage and animal excrement into the Razon's
premises. In an explosion of anger, Maria called Judge Gadioma "land grabber",
"shameless", and "hypocrite." What crime was committed by Maria, if any? Explain
briefly.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Maria committed the crime of slander or slight defamation only because she was under
the influence of anger. When Maria called Judge Gadioma a hypocrite and land grabber
she imputed to him the commission of crimes.
Slander (1996)
Pia, a bold actress living on top floor of a plush condominium in Makati City sunbathed
naked at its penthouse every Sunday morning. She was unaware that the business
executives holding office at the adjoining tall buildings reported to office every Sunday
morning and, with the use of powerful binoculars, kept on gazing at her while she
sunbathed. Eventually, her sunbathing became the talk of the town. 1) What crime, if any,
did Pia commit? Explain, 2) What crime, if any, did the business executives commit?
Explain.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
1) Pia did not commit a crime, The felony closest to making Pia criminally liable is
Grave Scandal, but then such act is not to be considered as highly scandalous and
offensive against decency and good customs. In the first place, it was not done in a public
place and within public knowledge or view. As a matter of fact it was discovered by the
executives accidentally and they have to use binoculars to have public and full view of
Pia sunbathing in the nude.
2) The business executives did not commit any crime. Their acts could not be acts of
lasciviousness [as there was no overt lustful act), or slander, as the eventual talk of the
town, resulting from her sunbathing, is not directly imputed to the business executives,
and besides such topic is not intended to defame or put Pia to ridicule.
Slander by Deed vs. Maltreatment (1994 )
Distinguish slander by deed from maltreatment.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
SLANDER BY DEED is a crime committed when a person publicly subjects another to
an act intended or calculated to cast dishonor, discredit or contempt upon the latter.
Absent the intent to cast dishonor, discredit, contempt, or insult to the offended party, the
crime is only MALTREATMENT under Art, 266. par. 3, where, by deed, an offender ill-
treats another without causing injury.
Slander vs. Criminal Conversation (2004)
Distinguish clearly but briefly between oral defamation and criminal conversation.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Oral defamation, known as SLANDER, is a malicious imputation of any act, omission,
condition or circumstance against a person, done orally in public, tending to cause
dishonor, discredit, contempt, embarassment or ridicule to the latter. This is a crime
against honor penalized in Art. 358 of the Revised Penal Code.
CRIMINAL CONVERSATION. The term is used in making a polite reference to sexual
intercourse as in certain crimes, like rape, seduction and adultery. It has no definite
concept as a crime.