You are on page 1of 1

Jimenez v.

Cabangbang GR L-15905, August 3, 1966

FACTS ( Jimenez v. Cabangbang)

1. This is an ordinary civil action, originally instituted in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, for the recovery, by
plaintiffs Nicanor T. Jimenez, Carlos J. Albert and Jose L. Lukban, of several sums of money, by way of
damages for the publication of an allegedly libelous letter of defendant Bartolome Cabangbang.
2. On November 14, 1958, defendant Cabangbang published an open letter to the President in several
newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines. The publication talked about the alleged operational
plans of then Secretary of National Defense, Jesus Vargas, by propagandizing and glamorizing him in such a
way as to “be prepared to become a candidate for President in 1961”
3. Cabangbang’s letter mentioned the names of Nicanor Jimenez and his comrades as subordinates to the
“planners” behind the alleged operation.
4. Petitioner sued Cabangbang for the crime of libel and sought financial compensation for the damages caused
by the letter. The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the letter was a privileged
form of communication and that it was not libelous.

ISSUES/ RATIO ARTICLES/ LAWS INVOLVED

Whether the contested publication could be classified as


a privileged form of communication under the
provisions of Sec. 15, Article 6 of the 1987 Constitution

HELD

No.
Under the provisions of Sec. 11, Article VI of the Constitution, which states “No Member shall be questioned nor
be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof.” This only
refers to the utterances made by Congress members in the performance of their official duties, such as delivering
speeches, making statements, or casting votes in the Congressional hall while it is in session. It could also refer to
the introduction of bills in Congress, whether it is in session or not, and other acts performed by Congress
members in their official capacity, whether in session or not, or whether inside or outside the premises of one’s
office.
In the case at bar, the Court ruled that Cabangbang’s letter cannot be classified as a privileged form of
communication because it was published during a time when the congress was not in session. Moreover, the
defendant was not performing his official duty as either a member of Congress when he intended the letter to be
published. Therefore, the open letter was not privileged. Because of these reasons, the letter cannot be classified as
a privileged form of communication
Thus, SC affirms the trial court’s decision that the letter is not privileged and that the letter is false and with intent
to impeach plaintiffs’ reputation and to expose them to public hatred, contempt, dishonor and ridicule, and alienate
them.,