Philippine Libel Law, Explained
Update: According to a 2009 ruling by the DOJ, there is no such thing as libel online, under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines.
Abogadamo.com features an in-depth article on Libel Laws in the Philippines. The entire Brian Gorrell issue made libel locally relevant in the technological sense, because it made people realize that libel can apply even to so-called “new media” platforms like blogging.
Citing various court decisions, abogadamo.com lists the elements of libel in the Philippines:
- Imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another
- Publication of the imputation
- Identity of the person defamed
- Existence of malice
The website also lists down a possible defense against libel:
In every criminal prosecution for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the court and if it appears that the matter charged as libelous is true, and, moreover, that it was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the defendants shall be acquitted.
But, there is also an exception:
…every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true; if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown.
Is it possible then to formulate a standard phrase to establish “good motives and… justifiable ends”? Could such a tool protect bloggers and writers from baseless libel suits? Or worse, could it allow bloggers to defame targets maliciously with impunity?
But most importantly, have the Philippine courts been consistent in interpreting and applying libel laws in the Philippines?
Disclaimer: This article represents Technogra.ph’s opinion on Libel Laws in the Philippines, and should in no way be considered legal advice. If you have any legal questions concerning publishing, or any other issue for that matter, you should seek the advice of a licensed Philippine lawyer.
This entry was posted on Saturday, April 26th, 2008 at 9:00 am and is filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.