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LIBEL

Libel is one of the crimes against honor. It is a defamation. For there to be


defamation the following elements must be present: an imputation of a crime, or of a
vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act omission, status or cicumstance; the
imputation must be made publicly which means that the defamatory matter is
communicated to some third person or persons
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; the publication must be malicious; the
imputation must be directed to a natural or juridical person, or one who is dead; the
imputation must tend to cause the dishonor, discredit or contempt of the person
defamed.


In libel, the meaning of the writer is immaterial. It is not the intention of the writer
or spea!er or the understanding of the plaintiff or of any hearer or reader by which the
actionable "uality of the words is to be determined, but the meaning that the words in
fact conveyed on the minds of persons of reasonable understanding, discretion and
candor, ta!ing into consideration the surrounding circumstances which were !nown to
the hearer or reader. #he alleged defamatory statement should be construed not only as
to the e$pression used but also with respect to the whole scope and apparent object of
the writer or spea!er.
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&nder 'rticle %(( of the )evised *enal +ode libel is committed by means of
writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical
e$hibition, cinematographic e$hibition, or any similar means. #he same article also
prescribes its penalty which is prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods
or a fine ranging from ,, to -,,,, pesos, or both, in addition to the civil action which
may be brought by the offended party.
.
#he criminal and civil action for damages in
cases of written defamations may be filed simultaneously or separately with the court of
first instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first
published or where any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the
commission of the offense.
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#he /upreme +ourt in 'dministrative +ircular 0o. ,,12,1 laid down a rule of
preference for the imposition of a fine only rather than imprisonment for the crime of
libel; which states that:
1. It does not remove imprisonment as an alternative penalty for the crime libel
under 'rticle %(( of the )evised *enal +ode.
. #he 3udges concerned may, in the e$ercise of sound discretion, and ta!ing into
consideration the peculiar circumstances of each case, determine whether the
imposition of a fine alone would best serve the interests of justice or whether
forbearing to impose imprisonment would depreciate the seriousness of the
offense, wor! violence on the social order, or otherwise be contrary to the
imperative of justice;
%. /hould only a fine be imposed and the accused be unable to pay the fine, there
is no legal obstacle to the application of the Revised Penal Code provision on
subsidiary imprisonment.
#he persons responsible for libel are those who publishes, e$hibits or causes the
publication or e$hibition of any defamation in writing or by similar means;
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the author or
editor of a boo! or pamphlet;
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the editor or business manager of a daily newspaper,
maga5ine or serial publication;
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the owner of the printing plant which publishes a
libelous article with his consent and all other persons who in any way participate in or
have connection with its publication.
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1 People vs. Atencio, CA-G.R. Nos. 11351-R to 11353-R, December 14, 1954
2 Lis !. Re"es, The Revised Penal Code Book Two #$e%on Cit", P&ilippines, 2''() 9(2
3 People vs. *nc+rn+cion, C.A., 4( ,.G. 1(1-
4 Article 355, Revise. Pen+l Co.e
5 Article 3/', p+r. 3 Revise. Pen+l Co.e
/ Article 3/', p+r. 1 Revise. Pen+l Co.e
- Article 3/', p+r. 2 Revise. Pen+l Co.e
( Article 3/', p+r. 2 Revise. Pen+l Co.e
9 0.1. vs. ,rti%, ( P&il. -52