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FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND ASSEMBLY AND 354 of the Revised Penal Code but held that the

PETITION THE GOVERNMENT, AND TO FORM privilege was lost because of proof of actual malice.
Freedom from Subsequent Punishment
Whether or not the questioned report of the
ALONZO VS. CA, G.R. No. 110088, February 1, 1995 petitioner to Dr. Tamesis is libelous.



 Dra. Merle A. Alonzo was the Field Operations Officer WHAT IS LIBEL?
of the Philippine Medical Care Commission. Alonzo
Libel is defined in Article 353 of the Revised Penal
was directed to conduct inspections of Medicare-
Code as follows:
accredited clinics and hospitals.
 Among the Medicare-accredited clinics inspected by Art. 333. Definition of libel. — A libel is a public
Alonzo were owned and managed by complainant and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or
Dra. Angeles Velasco married to Judge Dan Velasco defect, real or imaginary, or any act or omission,
of the MTC-Hagonoy, Davao del Sur. condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the
 After the inspection, Alonzo submitted her report on her dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical
findings to Dr. Jesus Tamesis, PMCC Vice-Chairman. person or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.
She reported that the two of the clinics owned and
managed by Dra. Angeles Fe Velasco are not For an imputation then to be libelous, the following
accompanied by the standard SIR and almost all of requisites must concur:
the charts with IVF and parenterals were not noted in
(a) it must be defamatory;
the nurses' progress notes as either inserted,
(b) it must be malicious;
refused, deferred or consumed. The last portion of
(c) it must be given publicity; and
the report read "In all, this particular clinic should be
(d) the victim must be identifiable.
closely monitored because, aside from the above
However, malice is not presumed and must,
mentioned violations, the husband is a judge and it
therefore, be proved, under the following exceptions
gives them a certain amount of "untouchability". In
provided for in Article 354,:
fact, they make court suits their pasttime."
 Complainant Dra. Angeles Velasco received summons 1. A private communication made by any
from the PMCC, together with attached complaint person to another in the performance of any legal,
and annexes, which included the report. moral or social duty; and
 She went to see her husband, Judge Dan Velasco and
showed him the report. Finding that the last portions 2. A fair and true report, made in good faith,
of the report to be libelous, they then filed a without any comments or remarks; of any judicial
complaint for libel against the petitioner. legislative or other official proceedings which are not of
 The trial court found defamatory the statement in the confidential nature, or of any statement, report or
last paragraph which "conveys the meaning that speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other
Judge Velasco abuses his powers and authority as a act performed by public officers in the exercise of their
judge thus enabling him and his wife to violate the functions.
law with impunity and even 'make court suits their DOCTRINE:
pasttime.'" Regarding the requirement of publication,
it held that there was sufficient publication of the The privileged character of these
petitioner's subject report when she sent it to Dr. communications is not absolute, but merely
Tamesis. qualified since they could still be shown to be
 The petitioner's claim that her report was necessary as malicious by proof of actual malice or malice in
she was required to submit the same after inspection fact.
and that "her intention was to convey the possible
The rule is settled that a communication
consequences she may suffer due to the said
made by a public officer in the discharge of his
investigation as well as any difficulties the
official duties to another or to a body of officers
Commissioner may encounter in pursuing legal
having a duty to perform with respect to the subject
action against the erring clinics and its owners" was
matter of the communication does not amount to a
rejected by the trial court because "there is evidence
publication within the meaning of the law on
on record that she begrudged and bore the
complainant's ill-will for not extending to her a loan of
P1,500.00 and for refusing to bear the vacation HELD: The report falls within the first paragraph of
expenses of her children at the Davao Insular Hotel, Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code. Consequently,
the most expensive hostelry in Davao City." the presumption of malice or malice in law was negated
 Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial by the privileged character of the report. The
courts decision and conceded that the subject report prosecution in this case was unable to prove malice in
of the petitioner was a "qualified privileged fact. There was also no publication when a third
communication" under the first paragraph of Article person, read the complaint against Dr. Velasco and the
report of the petitioner attached thereto.