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Libel, under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, is a public and malicious imputation of a crime, a vice or defect, or any act which tends to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person. 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.

Exempted in the case are:

Libel is committed by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means.

Any person who shall publish or exhibit any defamation in writing shall also be held responsible . The author, editor, or business manager shall be responsible for the defamation contained therein. Libelous remarks or comments, if made with malice, shall not exempt the author, editor nor managing editor of a newspaper from criminal liability.

The criminal and civil action for damages shall be fined simultaneously or separately with the court where the article was first published. The provincial or city fiscal, the municipal court of the city, or the capital of the province shall conduct the preliminary investigation of the criminal action for written defamation.

Violators will be punished by prision correccional (imprisonment of six months and one day to six years) or a fine ranging from PHP 200 to PHP 6,000, or both. A person who threatens to publish or offers to present a libelous publication for a compensation will be punished by arresto mayor (imprisonment of one month and one day to six months) or a fine from PHP 200 to PHP 2,000 or both. Any reporter, editor or manager of a newspaper or magazine who publishes facts on the private life of another which is offensive to the honor, virtue and reputation of the said person shall be punished by arresto mayor (imprisonment of one month and one day to six months) or a fine from PHP 20 to PHP 2,000 or both.

If the accused presents the truth as evidence to the court, and it appears to be true and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, he will be acquitted.

Related terms and concepts are:

  • Defamation – any written (libel) or spoken (slander) statements that can injure a person's character or reputation
  • Slander – oral defamation

See also




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