Libel means by writings or similar means.


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.

The means by which libel may be committed are writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical or cinematographic exhibitions, or any similar means.

Use of amplifier slander, not libel.

Television program libel.

Penalty is in addition to civil liability

Libel may be absorbed in crime of threats if intent to threaten is principal aim and object.

If defamatory remarks are made in the heat of passion which culminated in a threat, the derogatory statements will not constitute an independent crime of libel but a part of the more serious crime of threats.

In a libel case filed in August 2006 against RP Nuclear Solutions and blogger Abe Olandres, the Pasig City Prosecutor dismissed the charges against them because they have no participation in the creation nor authority to modify the content of the site being hosted where the allegedly libelous remarks were posted.
The prosecutor however ordered the filing of cases against two other respondents who never denied authorship of the posted comments.

It remains debatable when the moment of publication occurs with respect to statements made over the Internet.
One view holds that there is publication once the statement is uploaded or posted on a website.

The other view maintains that publication occurs only when another person gains access or reads the statement on the site.

Bar Exam Question (2002)

Libel (2002)

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? 

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? 

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.

Bar Exam Question (2003)

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? 

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.

Bar Exam Question (2005)

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. 

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)