Anatomy of an Internet Libel Case (Part II)

As noted in Part I of this series, the basic facts of the complaints are discussed here, in Part II.

There were actually two complaints for libel – one for each of the two main respondents – before the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office. The complaints are based on Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code, which defines libel as a 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.

The complaints stemmed from certain comments made by two individuals in the internet forum According to the complainant, the messages posted are libelous because they tend to cause dishonor, discredit and contempt against the complainant, particularly in the following manner: (a) the message inculcate in the minds of the readers that the complainant mismanaged the company he is handling, which is highly prejudicial to the interest of the company; (b) one of the messages imputed that the complainant is the source of all “kasamaang nangyayari even from the original company” and that “siya ang reason why we left the company”, which, in effect, tries to destroy the good image and reputation of the company; (c) one of the messages even implicated the complainant’s family for being “WALANG KWENTA”; and (d) the use of the words “TARANTADO” and “GAGO” against the complainant are malicious imputations.

RP Nuclei Solutions, Inc. was impleaded as a co-respondent because it is allegedly the “owner” of the internet forum The complainant subsequently acknowledged that RP Nuclei Solutions, as a juridical entity, may not properly be charged with libel. The complainant, however, impleaded Abe Olandres in place of RP Nuclei Solutions.

(This is the second of six parts. Click to read Parts I, III, IV, V or VI)

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