Blog Lecture No. 25: Flavors and the venue for Libel

Class is resumed!

A simple question from La Vida Lawyer triggered this next blog.

I. Flavors of libel

Libel comes in five flavors:

A. Libel by writing
B. Blackmail
C. Prohibited publications in course of official proceedings
D. Slander
E. Slander by deed

Let’s go into the second flavor immediately since I think the first one already pretty clear.

Blackmail has a technical definition under our penal laws, it is either:

1. Threatening another to publish a libel concerning the victim or the parents, spouse, child, or other members of the family

2. Offering to prevent the publication of such libel for a compensation or money consideration.

Prohibited Publications

Any reporter, editor or manager or a newspaper, daily or magazine, who shall publish facts connected with the private life of another and offensive to the honor, virtue and reputation of said person, even though said publication be 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.

Slander

It is libel commited by oral (spoken) means, instead of in writing. This should not concern the blogger, unless he/she has a pesky neighbor while writing his/her blog…

Slander by Deed

It is libel committed by actions than words. The most common examples are slapping someone or spitting on his/her face in public.

II. Venue for libel

Ok. So you found out that you can sue someone for libel. Where do you file the case?

Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code states:

“The criminal and civil action for damages in cases of written defamations as provided for in this chapter, shall be filed simultaneously or separately with the court of first instance [replace with Regional Trial Court where applicable] of the province or city where any of the accused or any of the offended parties resides at the time of the commission of the offense: Provided, however, That where the libel is published, circulated, displayed, or exhibited in a province or city wherein neither the offender nor the offended party resides the civil and criminal actions may be brought in the court of first instance thereof: Provided, further, That the civil action shall be filed in the same court where the criminal action is filed and vice versa: Provided, furthermore, That the court where the criminal action or civil action for damages is first filed, shall acquire jurisdiction to the exclusion of other courts: And provided, finally, That this amendment shall not apply to cases of written defamations, the civil and/or criminal actions to which, have been filed in court at the time of the effectivity of this law.”

Hence, you have the following places to file when you were offended by a libelous publication:

1. Where you reside
2. Where the writer resides
3. Where the libelous writing was published.

How about a blog?

Well a blog is technically a publication.

But where is it published?

That’s a good question. I suggest for those who will file a libel case not to dwell in this so you would not get a headache.

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