Case Digest of People vs Perfecto | Defamation | Legal Concepts

People vs Perfecto G.R. No. L-18463 FACTS: In the case of People vs. Perfecto ([1922], 43 Phil.

, 887) the accused was charged with having published an article reflecting on the Philippine Senate and its members in violation of Article 256 of the Penal Code. In this Court, Mr. Perfecto was acquitted by unanimous vote, with three members of the court holding that Article 256 was abrogated completely by the change from Spanish to American sovereignty over the Philippines and with six members holding that the Libel Law had the effect of repealing so much of Article 256 as relates to written defamation, abuse, or insult, and that under the information and the facts, the defendant was neither guilty of a violation of Article 256 of the Penal Code nor of the Libel Law. In the course of the main opinion in the Perfecto case is found this significant sentence: “Act No. 292 of the Philippine Commission, the Treason and Sedition Law, may also have affected Article 256, but as to this point, it is not necessary to make a pronouncement.” ISSUES: Whether or not Mr. Perfecto violated Article 256 of the Penal Code. On the subject of whether or not Article 256 of the Penal Code, under which the information was presented, is in force. HELD:
The view of the Chief Justice is that the accused should be acquitted for the reason that the facts alleged in the information do not constitute a violation of article 256 of the Penal Code. Three members of the court believe that article 256 was abrogated completely by the change from Spanish to American sovereignty over the Philippines and is inconsistent with democratic principles of government.

Act No." — that is. 292 Treason and Sedition Law defendant Gregorio Perfecto was found guilty in the municipal court and again in the Court of First Instance of Manila. tending to blacken the memory of one who is dead or to impeach the honesty. the trial judge. or reputation. said: In view of the foregoing considerations. Sedition = conduct or speech inciting rebellion against the authority of a state or monarch Violation of Art 256 Penal Code Libel Law Violation of Act No. contempt. On the subject of whether or not article 256 of the Penal Code. thereby possibly exposing them to public hatred. During the course of the trial in the Court of First Instance. which is exactly libel . printing. as set up in the Philippines . deed. provided that the offensive minister or person. after the prosecution had rested. 277. Section 1 defines libel as a "malicious defamation. . or insult any Minister of the Crown or other person in authority. . while engaged in the performance of official duties. are hereby repealed." Section 13 provides that "All laws and parts of laws now in force. shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor. or insult. the defendant is neither guilty of a violation of article 256 of the Penal Code.Treason = the crime of betraying one’s country. or the offensive writing be not addressed to him. virtue. article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code was enacted by the Government of Spain to protect Spanish officials who were the representatives of the King. or insult of any Minister of the Crown of the Monarchy of Spain (for there could not be a Minister of the Crown in the United States of America). or the like. It reads as follows: "Any person who. A majority of the court are of the opinion that the Philippine Libel Law. abuse. . by word. nor of the Libel Law The view of the Chief Justice is that the accused should be acquitted for the reason that the facts alleged in the information do not constitute a violation of article 256 of the Penal Code. under which the information was presented. . Three members of the court believe that article 256 was abrogated completely by the change from Spanish to American sovereignty over the Philippines and is inconsistent with democratic principles of government." The facts here are that the editor of a newspaper published an article. especially by attempting to kill or overthrow the sovereign or government. . According to our view. and to pay the costs of both instances ) that article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code is no longer in force. and that under the information and the facts. comes article 256. or publish the alleged or natural deffects of one who is alive. or writing. expressed either in writing. or ridicule. naturally in writing. abuse. the court finds the defendant guilty as charged in the information and under article 256 of their Penal Code sentences him to suffer two months and one day ofarresto mayor and the accessory penalties prescribed by law. With the change of sovereignty. contempt or ridicule. the defense moved for the dismissal of the case. or other person in authority in the Monarchy of Spain. is in force. now being weighed in the balance. abuse. shall defame. or reputation of members of the Philippine Senate. has had the effect of repealing so much of article 256 of the Penal Code as relates to written defamation. a new government. so far as the same may be in conflict herewith. or by reason of such performance. Harvey. and a new theory of government. and thereby expose him to public hatred. the Honorable George R. or public theatrical exhibitions. the defamation. or by signs or pictures. which may have had the tendency to impeach the honesty. virtue.

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