Internet Libel

Rey Tamayo, Jr.

Kamakailan ay naging usap-usapan sa social media (facebook) ang salitang “internet libel” matapos na arestuhin at makulong ng tatlong araw ang isang makatang taga-Angono na si Danilo Diaz. Ayon mismo kay Diaz, nag-ugat ang kasong internet libel laban sa kaniya dahil umano sa mga kritikal niyang mga tula at komento na ayon sa nagdemanda ay mapanirang puri.

 
Ang warrant of arrest ay ini-issue ni Tarlac City Branch Presiding Judge Maria Flor A. Ortiz noong February 28, 2017. Nagkakahalaga naman ng P12,000 ang piyansa na ipinataw kay Diaz para sa kaniyang pansamantalang paglaya habang umuusad ang kaso sa korte.

 
Hindi ko kilalang personal si ginoong Diaz ngunit nakasama ko na rin siya sa ilang mga aklat-antolohiya ng mga tula tulad ng “Ipuipo sa Piging” na nailathala noong 2010.

 
Bilang isang responsableng mamamayan, dapat alam ng bawa’t isa sa atin at itinuturo rin sa atin ang ating mga karapatan at kalayaan na itinatadhana ng Saligang Batas upang hindi tayo maabuso at hindi rin makapang-abuso.

 
Sa kasalukuyan, ginagarantiyahan ng Saligang Batas (1987 Philippine Constitution) ang Bill of Rights kung saan nakapaloob na may karapatan ang bawat isa sa atin na tamasahin ang malayang pamamahayag at ekspresyon —

 
(Article 3 Section 4) No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

 
Ngunit kung minsan ang kalayaang ito ay humihigit sa kaniyang limitasyon. Inaabuso ng iba ang karapatang ito na maaaring makapagdulot na masira ang reputasyon sa publiko ng isang indibidwal, grupo, kompanya o maging ang isang institusyon.

 
Kaya’t may mga batas rin na ginawa ang ating mga mambabatas upang maprotektahan naman ang integridad at puri ng bawat indibidwal.

 
Sa Article 353 ng Revised Penal Code malinaw ang probisyon ng batas na ipagtanggol ang kaniyang sarili laban sa mga malisyoso, maling paratang at mapanirang puri akusasyon; ito ang libel.

 
A libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.
Masasabing matibay ang kasong libelo kung nakapaloob ang apat (4 )na elemento nito:

Defamatory

Malicious

Given publicity

Victim must be identifiable

 

Naisabatas din ang Republic Act No. 10175 o mas kilala sa tawag na Cybercrime Prevention Act at Republic Act no. 8792, o mas kilala naman sa tawag na Electronic Commerce Act na nilikha upang protekhanan din ang bawat indibidwal sa modernong panahon ng internet.

 
Ilan lamang ito sa mga batas na magiging giya natin upang maging responsable tayo sa ating mga nararapat sabihin, sulatin at ang pagpopost sa mga social media upang hindi tayo maakusahan ng libelo.

 
Mahalagang antabayanan ang kaso ni ginoong Diaz dahil ito marahil ang unang kasong internet libel laban sa isang makata na ang isang dahilan ay ang mga gawa niyang tula.

 

Kaya’t maging maingat, mapanuri, mapagmatyag sa ating mga ipinopost at maging sa ating pagkokomento sa social media.

Prosecutor dismisses libel case

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – A prosecutor dismissed a libel complaint against a columnist and staff member of a regional newspaper in San Fernando City, Pampanga. San Fernando, Pampanga is approximately 67 kilometers north of Manila.
On 16 June 2011, Asst. City Prosecutor Nereo Dela Cruz issued a seven-page resolution recommending the dismissal for lack of merit of the libel complaint filed by Renato Romero against Punto! Central Luzon’s columnist Caesar Lacson, editor Joey Aguilar, general manager Gener Endona, marketing manager Joanna Nina Cordero and publisher LLL Trimedia Coordinators. Dela Cruz added that the complainant failed to present “the necessary evidence to secure conviction.”
The prosecutor said Lacson’s commentary is “part of his right to reply” and “can be considered as part of the freedom of expression of its author” as the columnist was only replying to the “statements of (Romero) to the statements of complainant (in a Sun.Star Pampanga report) titled, ‘Sector: Why no biz awardee in MOKA?’”.
Romero, president of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce, filed the libel complaint, claiming that Punto! Central Luzon and Lacson, “with the sole intention of attacking his virtue as a person,” published on 1 December 2010 an article on the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce’s concern over the results of the search for the Most Outstanding Kampampangan Award (MOKA) 2010. The 01 December 2010 column criticized Romero for seeking clarifications from the MOKA committee on why the 2010 winner was not a member of the business sector.
Lacson claimed in his counter-affidavit that his commentary constituted fair comment. “The article ‘Romero Ululating’ is actually a rejoinder to the banner headline story ‘Sector: Why no biz awardee in MOKA?’ in the 14 December 2010 issue of Sun.Star Pampanga,” Lacson said. “As it constituted personal opinion in reaction to a publicized issue, I deemed it likewise merited a space in my ‘Zona Libre’ column in the December 17-18, 2010 issue of Punto!,” Lacson said.

Libel has been used by politicians and powerful personalities to silence journalists. Libel is a criminal offense in the Philippines.