Criminal Law Book 2 – Title Thirteen
CRIMES AGAINST HONOR
A. ELEMENTS OF LIBEL DEFAMATION: (353)
- That there must be an imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstances.
- That the imputation must be made publicly.
- That it must be malicious.
- That the imputation must be directed at a natural or juridical person, or one who is dead.
- That the imputation must tend to cause the dishonor, discredit or contempt of the person defamed.
- Libel is a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or a vice or defect, real or imaginary or any act, commission, condition, status or circumstances tending to cause the dishonor, discredit or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead
- Kinds of malice: (a) malice in law; (b) malice in fact
- Malice is presumed to exist in injurious publications
- Publication is the communication of the defamatory matter to some third person/s
- Person libeled must be identified. But the publication need not refer by name to the libeled party. If not named it must be shown that the description of the person referred to in the defamatory publication was sufficiently clear so that at least a 3rd person would have identified the plaintiff.
- There are as many crimes as there are persons defamed.
- To presume publication there must be a reasonable probability that the alleged a libelous matter was thereby exposed to be read or seen by 3rd persons.
Criterion to determine whether statements are defamatory
1) words are calculated to induce the hearers to suppose and understand that the person against who they are uttered were guilty of certain offenses, or are sufficient to impeach their honesty, virtue or reputation, or to hole the person up to public ridicule(US v O’Connel)
2 )construed not only as to the expression used but also with respect to the whole scope and apparent object of the writer.(P v Encarnacion)
|-false accusation need not be made under oath|
-false accusation is made under oath
Newsweek v IAC
Newsweek portrayed the island province of Negros Occidental as a place dominated by big landowners. Plaintiffs are associations of sugarcane planters. HELD: Dismissed. To maintain a libel suit, the specific victim must be identifiable. Defamatory remarks directed at a group of persons are not actionable unless the statements are all-embracing or sufficiently specific for victim to be identifiable. An action for libel allegedly directed against a group of sugar planters cannot be done by resort to filing a class suit as each victim has his specific reputation to protect. In this case, each of the plaintiffs has a separate and distinct reputation in the community.
A. REQUIREMENT OF PUBLICITY: (354)
Kinds of privileged communication
- Absolutely privileged – not actionable even if the actor has acted in bad faith
- Qualifiedly privileged – those which although containing defamatory imputations could not be actionable unless made with malice or bad faith
Every defamatory imputation is presumed malicious even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown
- private communication in performance of legal, moral or social duty
- that the person who made the communication had a legal, moral or social duty to make the communication or at least he had an interest to be upheld
- that the communication is addressed to an officer or a board, or superior, having some interest or duty on the matter
- that the statements in the communication are made in good faith without malice in fact
- fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments and remarks
- that the publication of a report of an official proceeding is a fair and true report of a judicial, legislative, or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of a statement, report, or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by a public officer
- that it is made in good faith
- that it is made without any comments or remarks
Santos v CA
HELD: No malice, he simply furnished the readers with the info that a complaint has been filed against the brokerage firm and reproduced the pleading verbatim with no embellishments.
B. LIBEL BY MEANS OF WRITING OR SIMILAR MEANS: (355)
Note: Enumerates the means by which libel may be committed: writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio phonograph, painting, theatrical or cinematographic exhibitions or any similar means
C. THREATENING TO PUBLISH LIBEL AND OFFER TO PREVENT SUCH PUBLICATION FOR A COMPENSATION: (356)
Note: Clearly, just a case of blackmail-any unlawful extortion of money by threats of accusation and exposure
-possible in light threats Art 283 and in threat to publish Art 356.
D. ELEMENTS OF PROHIBITED PUBLICATION OF ACTS REFERRED TO IN THE COURSE OF OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS: (357)
- That the offender is a reporter, editor or manager of a newspaper, daily or magazine.
- That he publishes facts connected with the private life of another.
- That such facts are offensive to the honor, virtue and reputation of said person.
Even though made in connection with or under the pretext that it is necessary in the narration of any judicial or administrative proceedings wherein such facts have been mentioned.
Lacsa v IAC
Lacsa found that Marquez was not a proprietary member of PCA thus not qualified to be president. He wrote to the BOD and to Marquez. He caused to publish the second letter. HELD: Letter is not privileged communication. To be classified as such it must be free from malice. Granting that the letter was privileged communication, written out of a duty of an officer towards the members, such character was lost when it was published.
E. ELEMENTS OF ORAL DEFAMATION/SLANDER: (358)
- action of a serious and insulting nature (Grave slander)
- light insult or defamation – not serious in nature (simple slander)
Factors that determine gravity of the offense:
a) expressions used
b) personal relations of the accused and the offended party
c) circumstances surrounding the case
Words uttered in the heat of anger constitute light oral defamation (P v Doronilla)
If the utterances were made publicly and were heard by many people and the accused at the same time levelled his finger at the complainant, oral defamation is committed (P v Salleque)
F. ELEMENTS OF SLANDER BY DEED: (359)
- That the offender performs any act not included in any other crime against honor.
- That such act is performed in the presence of other person or persons.
- That such act casts dishonor, discredit or contempt upon the offended party.
a. Seriousness depends on the social standing of offended party, the circumstances surrounding the act, the occasion, etc.
b. The acts of slapping and boxing the woman, a teacher, in the presence of many people has put her to dishonor, contempt and ridicule. (P v Costa)
P v Motita
Accused held a mirror between the legs of complainant to reflect her private parts. The crowd laughed. Guilty of slander by deed.
a. Unjust Vexation-irritation or annoyance/anything that annoys or irritates without justification.
b. Slander by Deed-irritation or annoyance + attendant publicity and dishonor or contempt.
c. Acts of lasciviousness-irritation or annoyance + any of 3 circumstance provided in Art335 of RPC on rape
i. use of force or intimidation
ii.deprivation of reason or rendering the offended unconscious
offended party under 12 yrs of age+lewd designs
PERSONS RESPONSIBLE FOR LIBEL (360)
1) Who are liable
a. person who publishes, exhibits or causes the publication or exhibition of any defamation in writing or similar means(par.1)
b. author or editor of a book or pamphlet
c. editor or business manager of a daily newspaper magazine or serial publication(par.2)
d. 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 (US v Ortiz)
2) Venue of criminal and civil action for damages in cases of written defamation:
a. where the libelous article is printed and 1st published OR
b. where any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense
3) Where one of the offended parties is a public officer:
a. if his office is in the City of Manila
– RTC of Manila OR
– city/province where the article is printed and 1st published
– RTC of the city/province where he held office at the time of offense OR
– where the article is 1st published
4) Where one of the offended parties is a private individual:
– RTC of province/city where he actually resides at the time of the crime
– where article was printed or 1st published
Note: Offended party must file complaint for defamation imputing a crime which cannot be prosecuted de oficio (e.g. adultery, concubinage, rape, seduction, abduction, and acts of lasciviousness)
Soriano v IAC
The Philippines follows the multiple publication rule which means that every time the same written matter is communicated, such communication is considered a distinct and separate publication of libel.
PROOF OF THE TRUTH (361)
a. the act or omission imputed constitutes a crime regardless of whether the offended party is a private individual or a public officer
b. the offended party is a government employee, even if the act or omission imputed does not constitute a crime provided it is related to the discharge of his official duties
Requisites for Acquittal:
a. it appears that the matter charged as libelous is TRUE (for situations 1 and 2 above)
b. it was published with good motives and for a justifiable end (for situation 1 only)
Notes: The proof of the truth of the accusation cannot be made to rest upon mere hearsay, rumors, or suspicion. It must rest upon positive direct evidence, upon which a definite finding may be made by the court (US v Sotto)
LIBELOUS REMARKS (362)
Libelous remarks or comments on privileged matters (under Art. 354) if made with malice in fact will not exempt the author and editor.
*This article is a limitation to the defense of privileged communication.
ELEMENTS OF INCRIMINATING INNOCENT PERSON: (363)
- That the offender performs an act.
- That by such act he directly incriminates or imputes to an innocent person the commission of a crime.
- That such act does not constitute perjury.
a. making a statement which is
i. defamatory or
ii. perjurious (if made under oath and is false)
b. planting evidence
Note: article is limited to planting evidence and the like
INTRIGUING AGAINST HONOR (364)
-by any person who shall make any intrigue which has for its principal purpose to blemish the honor or reputation of another person
a. Intriguing against honor refers to any scheme or plot designed to blemish the reputation of another or of such trickery or secret plot.
b. Committed by saying to others an unattributable thing, if said to the person himself it is slander.
RA4200 The Anti-WireTapping Act
1) any person, not authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word
a) taps any wire of cable OR
b) uses any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or walkie talkie or tape recorder
2) any person, whether or not a participant in the above-mentioned acts:
a) knowingly possesses any tape record, wire record, disc record, or any other such record or copies thereof of any communication or spoken word
b) replays the same for any other person
c)communicates the contents thereof, whether complete or partial, to any other person
a. Peace officer is exempt if acts done under lawful order of the court. You can only use the recording for the case for which it was validly requested.
b. Information obtained in violation of the Act is inadmissible in evidence in any hearing or investigation.
c. Gaanan v IAC
An extension phone is not one of those prohibited under RA 4200. There must be either a physical interruption through the wiretap or the deliberate installation of a device or arrangement in order to overhear, intercept or record the spoken words. The extension phone was not installed for such purpose.
ELEMENTS OF RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE: (365)
- That the offender does or fails to do an act.
- That the doing of or the failure to do that act is voluntary.
- That it be without malice.
- That material damage results.
- That there is inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the offender, taking into consideration
- his employment or occupation
- degree of intelligence, physical condition, and
- other circumstances regarding persons, time and place.
ELEMENTS OF SIMPLE IMPRUDENCE: (365)
- That there is lack of precaution on the part of the offender.
- That the damage impending to be caused in not immediate or the danger is not clearly manifest.
1) Art.64 on mitigating and aggravating circumstances not applicable.
2) Failure to lend on the spot assistance to victim of his negligence:penalty next higher in degree.
3) Abandoning usually punishable under Art 275, if charged under Art365 is only qualifying and if not alleged cannot even be an aggravating circumstance.
4) Contributory negligence—not a defense, only mitigating
Last clear chance doctrine –
The contributory negligence of the injured party will no t defeat the action if it be shown that the accused might, by the exercise of reasonable care and prudence, have avoided the consequences of the negligence of the injured party
An automobile driver, who, by the negligence of another, is suddenly placed in an emergency and compelled to act instantly to avoid a collision or injury is not guilty of negligence if he makes a choice which a person of ordinary prudence placed in such a position might make even though he did not make the wisest choice.
P v Cano
Negligence is a quasi-offense. What is punished is not the effect of the negligence but the recklessness of the accused.
P v Carillo
13 yr old girl dies 3 days after surgery due to an overdose of Nubain which triggered a heart attack that caused brain damage. HELD: Guilty of simple negligence resulting to homicide. Carillo was the anesthesiologist, he and his co-accused failed to monitor and provide close patient care, to inform the parents of the child’s true condition, to prove that they exercised necessary and appropriate degree of care and diligence to prevent the condition.
Buearano v CA
Conviction of the accused in the charge of slight and less serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence constitutes double jeopardy to the charge of the crime of damage to property through reckless imprudence.
Criminal Law Book 2 Reviewer
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001