Amalia Muhlach aka Amalia Fuentes vs. Bianca Gonzales & Annabelle Rama on internet libel

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Amalia Muhlach aka Amalia Fuentes vs. Bianca Gonzales & Annabelle Rama on internet libel

This case was dismissed on preliminary investigation stage on both substantive and jurisdictional grounds. It is effective only as to the parties. Upon petition of the losing party, it may be reviewed by the DOJ Secretary – if  any such petition is filed.  A fiscal’s resolution is not jurisprudence or case law; it is one prosecutor’s action on a pending complaint; you could say it is his/her legal opinion.

     So… on  jurisdictional grounds, the fiscal said (as reported by “there is no such thing as Internet libel under RPC [Revised Penal Code]. Article 355 of the RPC is very specific that libel can only be committed by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition or any similar means. In 1932, when RPC became a law, there was no computer yet, much less modes of communication via the Internet. They were only introduced recently.” “Legislature therefore could not have intended to include Internet communications as a means of committing libel when it codified the criminal statutes in 1932. Although lately a Cybercrime Law was enacted, the acts attributed to Bianca and Annabelle as allegedly constituting the crime of libel took place before the enactment of the said law.”

    On substantive grounds, the fiscal said: “(I)t (the article ) was a fair and true report of Bianca’s interview of (S)he (Annabelle Rama) was just recounting past event/s in her and husband’s Eddie’s life during the interview. If ever, she revealed events in their life that involved Amalia, that was but part of the narration.”

    What is my opinion?

 Here’s a snippet, it’s not the entire opinion. In certain  instances, fiscals have given due course to complaints based on internet libel and have filed criminal cases upon them. Some prosecutors have entertained them, some have not.

     Such that you have one case in the Supreme Court on venue, on where not  to file a complaint of internet libel; the venue of where the article was “printed and first published”, if in cyberspace, cannot  be construed to mean where the offended party first viewed or accessed it (complainant’s argument) because this would allow the complainant to harass the respondent. (It leads to a ridiculous situation where the offended party could say, oh I opened my laptop in Batanes on a business trip and that’s where I saw the blog site so I will file my case there).

     So… that’s the state of Philippine jurisprudence on the matter. It however shows that the Supreme Court never shirked from construing antiquated  provisions of the Revised Penal Code  in a commonsensical fashion and in the context of prevailing technological realities.

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Pls visit my blog at, i post there daily; i'm not on Facebook/ Twitter or any social network site. Asst submitted this to VP for Acad last week upon request for faculty highlights/ bullet points for the University site: “TOWNS Awardee for Law (The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service) 2004-2007. "Marie Claire Magazine launch issue voted and listed as Top 25 Women Who Changed Our Lives (“Top 25 Women Who Rock”, Oct. 21, 2005). "Philippine Graphic Magazine voted and listed as the Top 25 Young Leaders for 2004, anniversary issue. "Award, 16th Anniversary, Ombudsman’s Office: 'selfless service, dedication, tireless efforts in assisting the Office of the Ombudsman for in the prosecution of the plunder case against former President Joseph Estrada'. "Citation for excellent public service, Special Prosecutor, Ombudsman’s Office for her work in the plunder case People vs. Estrada, Oct. 17, 2007 upon successful termination of the case. "Tribute, Philippine Collegian 2001 as 'private prosecutor, for integrity held above price, for service freely given, for truth steadfastly pursued, for embracing the ideals of the Philippine Collegian beyond the confines of the University.' "Award, St. Scholastica Student Council July 6, 2001 'for her undying patriotism, love and service to all her Filipino countrymen.' "Tribute, Konggreso ng Mamamayang Pilipino (KOMPIL) (Congress of Filipino Citizens) for helping in the fight against corruption in the highest offices of the land and for upholding justice, 2002. "1996 Award of Merit from U.P. Diliman: 'In recognition of her dedicated and exemplary services as U.P. Diliman Chief Legal Officer ...pioneering efforts, outstanding leadership, team-building skills, administrative competence...' "Visiting Forces Agreement case, delivered the oral arguments in the Supreme Court for main petitioner, Bayan, in Bayan et al vs. Executive Secretary. "Her case Posadas, Torres-Yu, & Lambino vs. Dizon (NBI), et al, on attempted invalid warrantless arrests on-campus, is now included in criminal law and criminal procedure textbooks, syllabus, and lectures in MCLE"

Posted on December 2, 2012, in Criminal law, media law, Rules of Court, The News Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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