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Libel Laws of the Philippines

Libel Laws of the Philippines

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Published by: Welvin Asid on Nov 21, 2011
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LibeI Laws of the PhiIippines

Under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, libel is defined as a 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 discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to
blacken the memory of one who is dead. Thus, the elements of libel are: (a) imputation of a discreditable act or
condition to another; (b) publication of the imputation; (c) identity of the person defamed; and, (d) existence of
malice. [Daez v. Court of AppeaIs, G.R. No. 47971, 31 October 1990, 191 SCRA 61, 67]
Ìn libel cases, the question is not what the writer of an alleged libel means, but what the words used by him
mean. Jurisprudence has laid down a test to determine the defamatory character of words used in the following
manner, viz:
"Words calculated to induce suspicion are sometimes more effective to destroy reputation than false charges
directly made. Ìronical and metaphorical language is a favored vehicle for slander. A charge is sufficient if the
words are calculated to induce the hearers to suppose and understand that the person or persons against
whom they were uttered were guilty of certain offenses, or are sufficient to impeach their honesty, virtue, or
reputation, or to hold the person or persons up to public ridicule. . . . ¨ [Lacsa v. Intermediate AppeIIate
Court, 161 SCRA 427 (1988) citing U.S. v. O'ConneII, 37 PhiI. 767 (1918)]
An allegation is considered defamatory if it ascribes to a person the commission of a crime, the possession of
a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstances which tends to
dishonor or discredit or put him in contempt, or which tends to blacken the memory of one who is dead.
There is publication if the material is communicated to a third person. Ìt is not required that the person defamed
has read or heard about the libelous remark. What is material is that a third person has read or heard the
libelous statement, for "a man's reputation is the estimate in which others hold him in, not the good opinion
which he has of himself.¨ [AIonzo v. Court of AppeaIs, 241 SCRA 51 (1995)]
On the other hand, to satisfy the element of identifiability, it must be shown that at least a third person or a
stranger was able to identify him as the object of the defamatory statement. Ìn the case of Corpus vs.
Cuaderno, Sr. (16 SCRA 807) the Supreme Court ruled that "in order to maintain a libel suit, it is essential that
the victim be identifiable (PeopIe vs. Monton, L-16772, November 30, 1962), although it is not necessary that
he be named (19 A.L.R. 116).¨ Ìn an earlier case, the high court also declared that¨ . defamatory matter
which does not reveal the identity of the person upon whom the imputation is cast, affords no ground of action
unless it be shown that the readers of the libel could have identified the personality of the individual
defamed.¨ (KunkIe vs. CabIenews-American and Lyons 42 PhiI. 760).
This principle has been recognized to be of vital importance, especially where a group or class of persons, as
in the case at bar, claim to have been defamed, for it is evident that the larger the collectivity, the more difficult
it is for the individual member to prove that the defamatory remarks apply to him. (Cf. 70 ALR 2d. 1384).
The law also presumes that malice is present in every defamatory imputation. Thus, Article 354 of the Revised
Penal Code provides that:
"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:
. 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.¨
Paragraph 2 aforequoted refers to a qualifiedly privileged communication, the character of which is a matter of
defense that may be lost by positive proof of express malice on the part of the accused. Once it is established
that the article is of a privileged character, the onus of proving actual malice rests on the plaintiff who must
then convince the court that the offender was prompted by malice or ill will. When this is accomplished the
defense of privilege becomes unavailing. [Santos v. Court of AppeaIs, No. L-45031, 21 October 1991, 203
SCRA 110, 114]
Prescinding from this provision, when the imputation is defamatory, as in this case, the prosecution need not
prove malice on the part of the defendant (malice in fact), for the law already presumes that the defendant's
imputation is malicious (malice in law). The burden is on the side of the defendant to show good intention and
justifiable motive in order to overcome the legal inference of malice.
Ìn order to constitute malice, ill will must be personal. So if the ill will is engendered by one's sense of justice or
other legitimate or plausible motive, such feeling negatives actual malice.[Aquino, Ramon C., The Revised
PenaI Code, VoI. III, Bk. II, 1997 Ed., citing PeopIe v. de Ios Reyes, Jr., 47 OG 3569]
Ìt is established doctrine that the malice that attends the dissemination of the article alleged to be libelous must
attend the distribution itself. Ìt cannot be merely a resentment against a person, manifested unconnectedly
several months earlier or one displayed at a much later date.
Under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, libel may be committed by means of writing, printing,
lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any
similar means.
Any person who shall publish, exhibit, or cause the publication or exhibition of any defamation in writing or
bysimilar 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.
Ìn 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.
Ìn such cases if the defendant proves the truth of the imputation made by him, he shall be acquitted.
Ìt is important to remember that any of the imputations covered by Article 353 is defamatory and, under the
general rule laid down in Article 354, 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. There is malice when the author of the
imputation is prompted by personal ill-will or spite and speaks not in response to duty but merely to injure the
reputation of the person who claims to have been defamed. Truth then is not a defense, unless it is shown that
the matter charged as libelous was made with good motives and for justifiable ends.

The NationaI Security Act of 1947

(Pub. L. No. 235, 80 Cong., 6 Stat. 495, 50 U.S.C. ch.5) was signed by United States President Harry S.
Trumanon July 26, 947, and realigned and reorganized the U.S. Armed Forces, foreign policy,
and Ìntelligence Community apparatus in the aftermath of World War ÌÌ. The majority of the provisions of the
Act took effect on September 8, 947, the day after the Senate confirmed James Forrestal as the
first Secretary of Defense. His power was extremely limited and it was difficult for him to exercise the authority
to make his office effective. This was later changed in the amendment to the act in 949, creating what was to
be the Department of Defense.

The Act merged the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military
Establishment, headed by the Secretary of Defense. Ìt was also responsible for the creation of a Department of
the Air Force separate from the existing Army Air Forces. Ìnitially, each of the three service secretaries
maintained quasi-cabinet status, but the act was amended on August 0, 949, to assure their subordination to
the Secretary of Defense. At the same time, the NME was renamed as the Department of Defense. The
purpose was to unify the Army, Navy, and what was soon to become the Air Force into a federated structure.

Aside from the military reorganization, the act established the National Security Council, a central place of
coordination for national security policy in theexecutive branch, and the Central Ìntelligence Agency, the U.S.'s
first peacetime intelligence agency. The function of the council was to advise the president on domestic,
foreign, and military policies so that they may cooperate more tightly and efficiently. Departments in the
government were encouraged to voice their opinions to the council in order to make a more sound decision.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff was officially established under Title ÌÌ, Section 2 of the original National Security
Act of 947 before Sections 209÷24 of Title ÌÌ were repealed by the law enacting Title 0
and Title
United States Code (Act of August 0, 956, 70A Stat. 676) to replace them.
The act and its changes, along with the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, were major components of the
Truman administration's Cold War strategy.
The bill signing took place aboard Truman's VC-54C presidential aircraft Sacred Cow, the first aircraft used for
the role of Air Force One.

Raymundo, Princess Gem L. Tth 10:30-12:00

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