Veteran lawyer Chel Diokno advised social media users to be careful when posting “blind items” online as these may be considered libelous under Philippine laws.
The former senatorial bet said that this also includes posts with suggestive hints alluding to an individual or when Pinoys do “pagpaparinig.”
Diokno shared that the individual could consider the following factors to check if what they will share could be libelous.
- Will it damage someone else’s reputation? — Has defamatory messages
- Can others read this? — Publicly made or posted in public
- Is the person being referred to in the post obvious? — There’s an identity of the one being defamed
- Do you have an intention to hurt? — Refers to malice
The lawyer also reminded the public that in general, “malice is presumed” in libel and cyber libel cases.
“Kung oo ang sagot mo sa lahat ng tanong na ‘yan, there’s a big chance na libelous ang post mo. At baka makasuhan ka pa ng cyberlibel,” Diokno said in a social media post.
He added that punishment for cyber libel is higher and the individual may suffer a criminal or a civil charge and penalty fees.
“Kaya, siyempre, pag-isipan nating mabuti bago tayo mag-post. Respetuhin natin ang isa’t isa at kung may problema, try natin na mapag-uusapan natin ito ng diretso,” Diokno said.
— Chel Diokno (@ChelDiokno) November 29, 2022
The Revised Penal Code defines libel as the “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.”
Cyber libel carries a similar definition, except the act is “committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future.”