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IX Retroactive Effect of Penal Laws Yu Oh vs. CA (G.r. No.

125297, June 6,2003) FACTS: Petitioner purchased pieces of jewelry from Solid Gold International Traders, Inc., a company engaged in jewelry trading. Due to her failure to pay the purchase price, Solid Gold filed civil cases against her for specific performance before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig. On September 17, 1990, petitioner and Solid Gold, through its general manager Joaquin Novales III, entered into a compromise agreement to settle said civil cases.The compromise agreement, as approved by the trial court, provided that petitioner shall issue a total of ninety-nine post-dated checks in the amount of P50,000.00 each, dated every 15th and 30th of the month starting October 1, 1990 and the balance of over P1 million to be paid in lump sum on November 16, 1994 which is also the due date of the 99 th and last postdated check. Petitioner issued ten checks at P50,000.00 each, for a total of P500,000.00, drawn against her account at the Equitable Banking Corporation (EBC), Grace Park, Caloocan City Branch. Novales then deposited each of the ten checks on their respective due dates with the Far East Bank and Trust Company (FEBTC). However, said checks were dishonored by EBC for the reason Account Closed. Dishonor slips were issued for each check that was returned to Novales. On October 5, 1992, Novales filed ten separate Information, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 9226243 to 92-36252 before the RTC of Quezon City charging petitioner with violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22, otherwise known as the Bouncing Checks Law. Upon arraignment, accused pleaded not guilty. Trial then ensued. On December 22, 1993, the RTC rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused GUILTY of ten counts of violation of BP 22 and hereby sentences her to a penalty of one year imprisonment for each count, or a total of ten years, to be served in accordance with the limitation prescribed in par. 4, Article 70 of the Revised Penal Code and to indemnify complainant the amount of the checks in their totality, or in the amount of P500,000.00. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals alleging that: the RTC has no jurisdiction over the offense charged in the ten information; it overlooked the fact that no notice of dishonor had been given to the appellant as drawer of the dishonored checks; it failed to consider that the reason of closed account for the dishonor of the ten checks in these cases is not the statutory cause to warrant prosecution, much more a conviction, under B.P. Blg. 22; it failed to consider that there is only one act which caused the offense, if any, and not ten separate cases; and it disregarded the definition of what a check is under Sec. 185 of the Negotiable Instruments Law. Finding the appeal to be without merit, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court with costs against appellant.

Hence, herein petition. ISSUE: WON the appellate court erred in not granting retroactive effect to Republic Act. No. 7691 in view of Art. 22 of the Revised Penal Code. RULING: R.A. No. 7691, which expands the jurisdiction of the inferior courts to cover the offenses involved in these cases, is a substantive law and not a penal law as nowhere in its provisions does it define a crime neither does it provide a penalty of any kind. Consequently, Art. 22 of the RPC finds no application to the case at bar; jurisdiction is determined by the law in force at the time of the filing of the complaint, and once acquired, jurisdiction is not affected by subsequent legislative enactments placing jurisdiction in another tribunal; in this case, the RTC was vested with jurisdiction to try petitioners cases when the same were filed in October 1992; at that time, R.A. No. 7691 was not yet effective. In so far as the retroactive effect of R.A. No. 7691 is concerned, that same is limited only to pending civil cases that have not reached pre-trial stage as provided for in Section 7 thereof ART. 22. Retroactive effect of penal laws. Penal laws shall have a retroactive effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual criminal, as this term is defined in Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code, although at the time of the publication of such laws a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving sentence. Consequently, R.A. No. 7691 is not a penal law, and therefore, Art. 22 of the RPC does not apply in the present case.

Palana vs. People (G.r. No. 149995, September 28, 2007) FACTS: On August 19, 1991, petitioner was charged with violation of B.P. Blg. 22 in an Information which reads as follows: That on or about September 1987, in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, ISIDRO PABLITO M. PALANA did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and knowingly make or draw and issue to Alex B. Carlos to apply on account or for the value the check in the amount of P590,000.00. Private complainant Alex B. Carlos testified that sometime in September 1987, petitioner and his wife borrowed money from him in the amount of P590,000.00. To secure the payment of the loan, petitioner issued a postdated check for the same amount in favor of the complainant. However, when the check was presented for payment, it was dishonored by the bank for insufficiency of funds. Subsequent demand notwithstanding, petitioner failed to make good the said dishonored check.

Petitioner alleged that the amounts given to him by private complainant was an investment by the latter who was his business partner. He argued that the subject check was not issued in September 1987 to guarantee the payment of a loan since his checking account was opened only on December 1, 1987. He claimed that private complainant cajoled him to issue a check in his favor allegedly to be shown to a textile supplier who would provide the partnership with the necessary raw materials. Petitioner alleged that when the check was issued sometime in February 1988, complainant knew that the same was not funded. After trial on the merits, the Regional Trial Court rendered on September 23, 1997 a Decision finding petitioner guilty as charged. Petitioner appealed but it was dismissed by the Court of Appeals which affirmed the trial courts decision in toto. Hence, the instant petition raising the following issues: ISSUE/S: WON petitioner was guilty of violation of B.P. Blg. 22. WON the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over the case. RULING: On the first issue, after a careful review of the records, this Court sustains petitioners conviction for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. The elements of the offense penalized under B.P. Blg. 22 are as follows: (1) the accused makes, draws, or issues any check to apply on account or for value; (2) the accused knows at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment; and (3) the check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment. Each element of the offense was duly proven by the prosecution. Petitioner admitted that at the time he issued the subject check, he knew that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for payment of such check. Consequently, when the check was presented for payment, it was dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds. Thereafter, he received demand letters to pay the amount of the check from private complainant but he did not comply with it. The issue as to whether the amount of the subject check represents the amount of the money loaned by private complainant to petitioner or as an investment in the alleged partnership is a factual question involving the credibility of witnesses. Where the issue is one of credibility, the appellate court will not generally disturb the findings of the lower court considering that it is in a better position to settle that issue since it had the advantage of hearing the witnesses and observing their conduct during the trial, which circumstances carry great weight in assessing their credibility. In the present case, we see no reason to reverse the finding of the trial court as affirmed by the Court of Appeals that the amount of the subject check was a loan and not an investment. On the second issue, petitioners argument that it is the Metropolitan Trial Court and not the Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the case pursuant to R.A. 7691 is without merit. It is hornbook doctrine that jurisdiction to try a criminal action is determined by the law in force at the time of the institution of the action and not during the arraignment of the accused. The Information charging petitioner with violation of B.P. Blg. 22 was filed on August 19, 1991.

At that time, the governing law determinative of jurisdiction is B.P. Blg. 129 which provides Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment of not exceeding four years and two months, or a fine of not more than four thousand pesos, or both such fine and imprisonment, regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind, nature, value or amount thereof: Provided, however, that in offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction where the imposable fine does not exceed twenty thousand pesos. Violation of B.P. Blg. 22 is punishable with imprisonment of not less than 30 days but not more than one year or by a fine of not less than but not more than double the amount of the check which fine shall in no case exceed P200,000.00, or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court. In the present case, the fine imposable is P200,000.00 hence, the Regional Trial Court properly acquired jurisdiction over the case. The Metropolitan Trial Court could not acquire jurisdiction over the criminal action because its jurisdiction is only for offenses punishable with a fine of not more than P4,000.00. Indeed, R.A. No. 7691 contains retroactive provisions. However, these only apply to civil cases that have not yet reached the pre-trial stage. Neither from an express proviso nor by implication can it be construed that R.A. No. 7691 has retroactive application to criminal cases pending or decided by the Regional Trial Courts prior to its effectivity. People vs. Walpan Ladjaalm (G.r. No. 135149-51) FACTS: Walpan Ladjaalam y Mihajil, also known as Warpan, appeals before us the September 17, 1998 Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Zamboanga City (Branch 16), which found him guilty of three out of the four charges lodged against him. Filed against appellant were four Informations, all signed by Assistant Regional State Prosecutor Ricardo G. Cabaron and dated September 25, 1997. The first Information was for maintaining a den for the use of regulated drugs. It reads as follows: That on or about September 24, 1997, in the City of Zamboanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, Walpan Ladjaalam being then the owner of a residential house located at Rio Hondo, this City, conspiring and confederating together, mutually aiding and assisting his co-accused wife Nur-in Ladjaalam and Ahmad Sailabbi y Hajaraini, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, maintain said house as a den, where regulated drug was used in any form. The second Information charged appellant with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. We quote it below: That on or about September 24, 1997, in the City of Zamboanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together, mutually aiding and assisting with one another, without any justifiable reason or purpose other than to

use it in the commission of crime, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have in their possession and under their custody and control, the following weapons, to wit: one (1) M14 rifle with SN 1555225 with magazines and seven (7) rounds of live ammunition; two (2) magazines with twenty (20) and twenty[-one] (21) rounds of live [ammunition]; one (1) homemade caliber .38 revolver with five (5) live ammunition; one (1) M-79 (single) rifle with pouch and with five (5) empty shell[s]; one (1) home made caliber .38 with SN-311092 with five live ammunition and one empty shell of [a] cal. 38 x x x Smith and Wesson; two (2) .38 Caliber paltik revolver with Serial Number 311092 and one defaced M79 grenade launcher paltik, without first having obtained the necessary license and or permit therefor from authorities concerned, in flagrant violation of the aforementioned law. The third Information, for multiple attempted murder with direct assault, was worded thus: That on or about September 24, 1997, in the City of Zamboanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused being then armed with M-14 Armalite Rifles, M-16 Armalite Rifles and other assorted firearms and explosives, conspiring and confederating together, mutually aiding and assisting one another and with intent to kill, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously try and attempt to kill SPO1 WILLIAM B. JONES, JR., PO3 ENRIQUE C. RIVERA[,] SPO1 AMADO A. MIRASOL, JR., and SPO1 RICARDO J. LACASTESANTOS, in the following manner, to wit: by then and there firing their M-14 Armalite Rifles, M-16 Armalite Rifles and other assorted firearms and explosives, aimed and directed at the fatal parts of the bodies of the abovenamed police officers, well known to the accused as members of the Philippine National Police, Zamboanga City Police Office, and as such, agents of a person in authority, who at the time of the attack were engaged in the performance of their duties, that is, on the occasion when said officers were about to serve the Search Warrant legally issued by the Regional Trial Court, this City, to the person of the accused thus commencing the commission of crime of multiple murder directly by overt acts, and if the accused did not accomplish their unlawful purpose, that is, to kill the above-named Police Officers, it was not by reason of their own voluntary desistance but rather because of the fact that all the abovenamed police officers were able to seek cover during the firing and were not hit by the bullets and explosives fired by the accused and also by the fact said police officers were able to wrestle with two (2) of the accused namely: Walpan Ladjaalam y Mihajil a.k.a. Warpan and Ahmad Sailabbi y Hajairani, who were subdued and subsequently placed under arrest; whereas accused PO2 Nurhakim T. Hadjula was able to make good his escape and has remained at-large. In the fourth Information, appellant was charged with illegal possession of drugs. On December 21, 1997, the cases against Nur-in Ladjaalam and Ahmad Sailabbi y Hajaraini were dismissed upon motion of the Office of the City Prosecutor, which had conducted a reinvestigation of the cases as ordered by the lower court. The accused were consequently released from jail. The trial court convicted appellant of three crimes: (1) maintenance of a drug den, (2) direct assault with attempted homicide, and (3) illegal possession of firearms. Hence, this appeal: ISSUE/S:
1.) WON appellant is guilty of maintenance of a drug den. 2.) WON appellant is guilty of direct assault with multiple attempted homicide

3.) WON appellant is guilty of illegal possession of firearms

RULING: 1.) Maintenance of a Drug Den We agree with the trial court that appellant was guilty of maintenance of a drug den, an offense for which he was correctly sentenced to reclusion perpetua. His guilt was clearly established by the testimony of Prosecution Witness Rino Bartolome Locson, who himself had used the extension house of appellant as a drug den on several occasions, including the time of the raid. The formers testimony was corroborated by all the raiding police officers who testified before the court. That appellant did not deny ownership of the house and its extension lent credence to the prosecutions story. 2.) Direct Assault with Multiple Attempted Homicide The trial court was also correct in convicting appellant of direct assault with multiple counts of attempted homicide. It found that [t]he act of the accused [of] firing an M14 rifle [at] the policemen[,] who were about to enter his house to serve a search warrant x x x constituted such complex crime. We note that direct assault with the use of a weapon carries the penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, while attempted homicide carries the penalty of prision correccional. Hence, for the present complex crime, the penalty for direct assault, which constitutes the most serious crime, should be imposed and applied in its maximum period. 2.) Illegal Possession of Firearms Republic Act No. 8294 penalizes simple illegal possession of firearms, provided that the person arrested committed no other crime. Furthermore, if the person is held liable for murder or homicide, illegal possession of firearms is an aggravating circumstance, but not a separate offense. Hence, where an accused was convicted of direct assault with multiple attempted homicide for firing an unlicensed M-14 rifle at several policemen who were about to serve a search warrant, he cannot be held guilty of the separate offense of illegal possession of firearms. Neither can such unlawful act be considered to have aggravated the direct assault. If an unlicensed firearm is used in the commission of any crime, there can be no separate offense of simple illegal possession of firearms. Hence, if the other crime is murder or homicide, illegal possession of firearms becomes merely an aggravating circumstance, not a separate offense. Since direct assault with multiple attempted homicide was committed in this case, appellant can no longer be held liable for illegal possession of firearms. Moreover, penal laws are construed liberally in favor of the accused. In this case, the plain meaning of RA 8294s simple language is most favorable to herein appellant. Verily, no other interpretation is justified, for the language of the new law demonstrates the legislative intent to favor the accused. Accordingly, appellant cannot be convicted of two separate offenses of illegal possession of firearms and direct assault with attempted homicide. Moreover, since the crime committed was direct assault and not homicide or murder, illegal possession of firearms cannot be deemed an aggravating circumstance.

People vs. Almazan (G.r. No. 133442, March 23, 2004) FACTS: The appellant was charged with murder in an Information, the accusatory portion of which reads as follows: That on or about the 14th day of May 1989, at around 9:00 oclock in the morning, at Barangay Calaba, in the municipality of Bangued, province of Abra, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, and while armed with a firearm (unrecovered), did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot one LORETO APOLINAR several times, hitting him on the head and other parts of his body, which caused his death shortly thereafter, to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the victim. The trial court convicted the appellant as charged but sentenced him to an indeterminate penalty. ISSUE: WON a mitigating or an aggravating circumstance was attendant to the crime. RULING: There is no mitigating or aggravating circumstance attendant to the crime We agree with the trial court and the CA that under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, the appellant is guilty of murder qualified by treachery. The crime was committed before the effectivity of Republic Act No. 7659; hence, the crime was punishable by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. Further, under Republic Act No. 8294 amending Presidential Decree No. 1866, the use of an unlicensed firearm to commit homicide or murder is a special aggravating circumstance in the commission of the crime. The Information merely alleged that the appellant used a firearm to kill the victim. It did not allege that the same was unlicensed. Neither was it proved by the prosecution that the appellant had no license to possess the firearm. The appellants lack of license to possess the firearm is an essential element of the circumstance. Unless it is alleged in the Information and proved by the prosecution, the use by the appellant of an unlicensed firearm to commit murder is not aggravating. Besides, the crime was committed before the effectivity of the Revised Rules of Court and Rep. Act No. 8294. Hence, the aggravating circumstance should not be appreciated against the appellant. There being no mitigating or aggravating circumstance attendant to the crime, the medium period of the penalty imposed by the law for the crime, namely, reclusion perpetua, shall be imposed on the appellant. In this case, the CA correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua. On the civil liability of the appellant, he should be ordered to pay exemplary damages to the heirs of the victim conformably to current jurisprudence.

Title XIII

Crimes Against Honor

Noel Villanueva vs. People of the Philippines and Yolanda Castro (G.r. No. 160351, April 10, 2006) FACTS: The accused Villanueva (a municipal councilor) went to the Vice-Mayors office (herein private complainant) for the application for monetized leave. As found by the court of appeals, the petitioners application was not immediately acted upon by the petitioner for no reason. This inaction on the part of the petitioner resulted to a barrage of insults from Villanueva. The petitioner uttered the following "Ibuatdaka ken, inabudakakengawang, e baling masukulnaku." (I will lift you from there and I will throw you out of the window and I dont care if I will go to jail), "Magmaliniska, enaka man malinis, garapalka." "Balamumansanaskangmalutu, pero king kilubularanka, tiktakkarinat" (You are pretending to be clean and honest yet you are not clean and honest, you are corrupt. You are like red apple, you are worm infested inside and extremely dirty). Villanueva also made a dirty finger to the private respondent. These circumstances prompted Castro to file a criminal case of grave oral defamation and slander by deed against Villanueva. The MCTC ruled in favor of private respondent, RTC and CA also ruled in favor of the PR, with some modifications as to the penalty. ISSUE: WON Villanueva is guilty of grave oral defamation and slander by deed RULING: As to the grave oral defamation;It is our considered view that the slander committed by petitioner can be characterized as slight slander following the doctrine that uttering defamatory words in the heat of anger, with some provocation on the part of the offended party, constitutes only a light felony.31 In fact, to be denied approval of monetization of leave without valid justification, but as an offshoot of a political dissension may have been vexing for petitioner and may have been perceived by him as provocation that triggered him to blow his top and utter those disparaging words. In hindsight, to be denied monetization of leave credits must have stirred upon the petitioner a feeling akin to begging for money that he was legally entitled to. This oppressive conduct on the part of complainant must have scarred petitioners self-esteem, too, to appear as begging for money. But again, this is not an excuse to resort to intemperate language no matter how such embarrassment must have wreaked havoc on his ego. As to the slander by deed; Pointing a dirty finger ordinarily connotes the phrase "Fuck You," which is similar to the expression "Puta" or "Putang Ina mo," in local parlance. Such expression was not held to be libelous in Reyes v. People,38where the Court said that: "This is a common enough expression in the dialect that is often employed, not really to slander but rather to express anger or displeasure. It is seldom, if ever, taken in its literal sense by the hearer, that is, as a reflection on the virtues of a mother." Following Reyes, and in light of the fact that there was a perceived provocation coming from complainant, petitioners act of pointing a dirty finger at complainant constitutes simple slander by deed, it appearing from the factual milieu of the case that the act complained of was employed by petitioner "to express anger or displeasure" at complainant for procrastinating the approval of his leave monetization.

While it may have cast dishonor, discredit or contempt upon complainant, said act is not of a serious nature. Petitioner is guilty of slight oral defamation and simple slander by deed.

Jose Alemania Buatis, Jr. vs. People of the Philippines and Atty. Jose J. Pieraz (G.r. No. 142509, March 24, 2006 FACTS: Petitioner Buatis sent a reply to the private respondent. Said letter contains remarks addressing the previously sent letter made by the PR to be lousy, senile, inutile and carabao English. It was also contained in the complimentary clause In Satans name. Reacting to the insulting words used by Buatis, Jr., particularly: "Satan, senile, stupid, [E]nglishcarabao," Atty. Pieraz filed a complaint for libel against accused-appellant. Subject letter and its contents came to the knowledge not only of his wife but of his children as well and they all chided him telling him: "Ginagawakalanggagodito." The defense forwarded by accused-appellant Buatis, Jr. was denial. According to him, it was at the behest of the president of the organization "NagkakaisangSamahan Ng MgaTagaManggahan" or NASATAMA, and of a member, TeresitaQuingco, that he had dictated to one of his secretaries, a comment to the letter of private-complainant in the second week of August 1995. Petitioner interposed an additional defense that it was a privileged communication and cannot be considered libelous. RTC and CA ruled against the petitioner, convicting him of the crime of libel. ISSUE: WON the petitioner committed the crime of libel RULING: Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code 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. For an imputation to be libelous, the following requisites must concur: (a) it must be defamatory; (b) it must be malicious; (c) it must be given publicity; and (d) the victim must be identifiable. The last two elements have been duly established by the prosecution. There is publication in this case. In libel, publication means making the defamatory matter, after it is written, known to someone other than the person against whom it has been written. Petitioners subject letter-reply itself states that the same was copy furnished to all concerned. Also, petitioner had dictated the letter to his secretary. It is enough that the author of the libel complained of has communicated it to a third person. Furthermore, the letter, when found in the mailbox, was open, not contained in an envelope thus, open to public.The victim of the libelous letter was identifiable as the subject letter-reply was addressed to respondent himself. The words used in the letter dated August 18, 1995 sent by petitioner to respondent is defamatory. In using words such as "lousy", "inutile", "carabao English", "stupidity", and "satan", the

letter, as it was written, casts aspersion on the character, integrity and reputation of respondent as a lawyer which exposed him to ridicule. No evidence aliunde need be adduced to prove it. As the CA said, these very words of petitioner have caused respondent to public ridicule as even his own family have told him: "Ginagawakalanggagodito." Any of the imputations covered by Article 353 is defamatory; and, under the general rule laid down in Article 354, 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. Thus, when the imputation is defamatory, the prosecution need not prove malice on the part of petitioner (malice in fact), for the law already presumes that petitioners imputation is malicious (malice in law).A reading of petitioners subject letter-reply showed that he malevolently castigated respondent for writing such a demand letter to Mrs. Quingco. There was nothing in the said letter which showed petitioners good intention and justifiable motive for writing the same in order to overcome the legal inference of malice. Dolores Magno vs. People of the Philippines (G.r. No. 133896, January 27, 2006) FACTS: Petitioner Dolores Magno and Cerelito T. Alejandro have been neighbors at Pucay Village, Marcos Highway, Baguio City.The Alejandros, however, can access the highway only by traversing the Magnos property. Thru the years, the Magnos had allowed the Alejandros the use of this passage way until Dolores closed the same sometime in 1991, purportedly in retaliation to certain unsavory allegations made by Cerelito against the Magnos and because of the deteriorating relationship between the two families.Cerelito, while at the upper portion of his house, saw Dolores write on the wall at the back of her garage the following words "HuagBurahinBawalDumaanDitoang Maniac at MagnanakawngAsokatuladni Cere Lito O. Cedring."Feeling that he was the "Cere", "Lito" or "Cedring" being alluded to, Cerelito reported the matter to the local police and filed an affidavit-complaint with the Fiscals Office. Subsequently, or on March 9, 1991, at around 4:00 p.m., Rodelito, Cerelitos 16year old son, while on his way to buy bread at a nearby store, saw Dolores writing something on her garage's extension wall with the use of a paint brush and red paint. In full, the writing reads: "HUAG BURAHIN BAWAL DUMAAN ANG SUSPETSOSA BASTOS AT MAKAPAL NA MUKHA DITO LALO NA SA MANIAC AT MAGNANAKAW NG ASO KATULAD NI CERELITO." After reading what was thus written, Rodelito proceeded with his errand and, upon reaching home, related what he saw to his father.Again, feeling that he was the maniac and dog thief being referred to, Cerelito lost no time in filing a complaint. Dolores sent a letter to Cerelito, receive by the latters wife, contained therein is an allegedly defamatory statement "IF YOUR HUSBAND CAN'T SHOW ANY PROOF OF HIS MAKATING DILA THEN COMPLY & IF YOUR HUSBAND CAN'T UNDERSTAND THIS SIMPLE ENGLISH DAHIL MANGMANG, DAYUKDOK NGA GALING SA ISANG KAHIG ISANG TUKANG PAMILYA AT WALANG PINAG-ARALAN, ILLITERATE, MAL EDUCADO KAYA BASTOS EH HUAG NA NIYA KAMING IDAMAY SA KANIYANG KATANGAHAN NA ALAM NA TRABAHO E HUMAWAK NG GRASA SA SAUDI. KAYA IYONG PAMBABASTOS MO AT PAGDUDUMI NIYA SA PANGALAN NAMIN AT HIGIT PA SIYANG MARUMI AT PUTANG INA RIN NIYA. GALING SIYA SA PUKI NG BABOY AT HINDI PUKI NG TAO, HUAG IKUMPARA ANG PINANGALINGAN NAMIN. SIYA ANG MAGNANAKAW AT MANDARAYA. MALINAW NA IBIDENSIYA IYAN KINALALAGYAN NG HAGDAN NINYO, DI BA LAMPAS KAYO SA LOTE

NINYO. PINALAKAD NINYO ANG MOJON PARA LUMAKI ANG LOTE NINYO. BAGO KAYO MAGSALITA MAMBINTANG NG KAPITBAHAY NINYO, TIGNAN NINYO MUNA ANG SARILI NINYO. MAS MUKHA PANG MAGNANAKAW ANG ASAWA MO PARA MALINAW ISSUE: WON the sending of a letter to the wife of the defamed person constitutes publication. RULING: YES, To be liable for libel under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code, the following elements must be shown to exist: (a) the allegation of a discreditable act or condition concerning another; (b) publication of the charge; (c) identity of the person defamed; and (d) existence of malice.Writing to a person other than the person defamed is sufficient to constitute publication, for the person to whom the letter is addressed is a third person in relation to its writer and the person defamed therein.32 Fe, the wife, is, in context, a third person to whom the publication was made. The Court cannot give credence to Dolores allegation that she is not the author of the unsigned libelous letter. It cannot be overstressed that she herself handed the unsigned letter to Evelyn Arcartado with specific instructions to give the same to Fe Alejandro. Likewise, the contents of the letters are basically reiteration/elaborations of Dolores previous writing on the wall and her letter to the BCP SubStation commander.In all, we find all the elements of libel to have been sufficiently established.

Filipinas Broadcasting Network, Inc. vs. Ago Medical and Educational Center-Bicol Christian College of Medicine (G.r. No. 141994, January 17, 2005) FACTS: Expose is a radio documentary program hosted by Carmelo Mel Rima ("Rima") and Hermogenes Jun Alegre ("Alegre"). owned by Filipinas Broadcasting Network, Inc. ("FBNI"). "Expos" is heard over Legazpi City, the Albay municipalities and other Bicol areas. Rima and Alegre exposed various alleged complaints from students, teachers and parents against Ago Medical and Educational Center-Bicol Christian College of Medicine ("AMEC") and its administrators. Claiming that the broadcasts were defamatory, AMEC and Angelita Ago ("Ago"), as Dean of AMECs College of Medicine, filed a complaint for damages7 against FBNI, Rima and Alegre on 27 February 1990. The alleged defamatory remarks are as follows if you have children taking medical course at AMECBCCM, advise them to pass all subjects because if they fail in any subject they will repeat their year level, taking up all subjects including those they have passed already, Earlier AMEC students in Physical Therapy had complained that the course is not recognized by DECS, Students are required to take and pay for the subject even if the subject does not have an instructor - such greed for money on the part of AMECs administration, , the administrators of AMEC-BCCM, AMEC Science High School

and the AMEC-Institute of Mass Communication in their effort to minimize expenses in terms of salary are absorbing or continues to accept "rejects". ISSUE: WON the broadcasts made by petitioners are libelous. RULING: A libel is a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act or 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. There is no question that the broadcasts were made public and imputed to AMEC defects or circumstances tending to cause it dishonor, discredit and contempt. Rima and Alegres remarks such as "greed for money on the part of AMECs administrators"; "AMEC is a dumping ground, garbage of xxx moral and physical misfits"; and AMEC students who graduate "will be liabilities rather than assets" of the society are libelous per se. Taken as a whole, the broadcasts suggest that AMEC is a money-making institution where physically and morally unfit teachers abound. Every defamatory imputation is presumed malicious. Rima and Alegre failed to show adequately their good intention and justifiable motive in airing the supposed gripes of the students. As hosts of a documentary or public affairs program, Rima and Alegre should have presented the public issues "free from inaccurate and misleading information." Hearing the students alleged complaints a month before the expose they had sufficient time to verify their sources and information. However, Rima and Alegre hardly made a thorough investigation of the students alleged gripes. Neither did they inquire about nor confirm the purported irregularities in AMEC from the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Alegre testified that he merely went to AMEC to verify his report from an alleged AMEC official who refused to disclose any information. Alegre simply relied on the words of the students "because they were many and not because there is proof that what they are saying is true." This plainly shows Rima and Alegres reckless disregard of whether their report was true or not. Had the comments been an expression of opinion based on established facts, it is immaterial that the opinion happens to be mistaken, as long as it might reasonably be inferred from the facts. However, the comments of Rima and Alegre were not backed up by facts. Therefore, the broadcasts are not privileged and remain libelous per se.

Judge Martin A. Ocampo vs. Sun-star Publishing, Inc. (G.r. No. 133575, December 15, 2000) FACTS: Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking toset aside the April 20, 1998 Decision[1 of the Regional Trial Courtof Cebu City, Branch 57, which dismissed petitioners Complaint for Libel. Petitioner is the presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court of CebuCity, Branch 7. He filed a

Complaint[2for Libel on account of twoarticles which appeared in the August 28, 1997 and August 30,1997 issues of Sun-Star Daily, a provincial newspaper publishedand circulated by respondent in Cebu.The August 28, 1997 article, which appeared on pages two (2)and twenty two (22) of the aforesaid newspaper, reads in full as follows; BRANCH 7 Judge Martin Ocampo of the Regional Trial Court(RTC) faces graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for the Visayas.Ocampo, in an interview yesterday, down-played thefiling of the case saying it is natural for the losing party to hate the judge. He considers the case as pure harassment.4.Instead, Tan said, Judge Ocampo adjudged counsel Tagra guilty of direct contempt on May 9, 1997 for filing a motion for reconsideration to the order granting the relief. Judge Ocampo, in a letter to Sun-Star Daily, complained that thenews report was libelous and damaging to his reputation. He saidthe paper should have known better that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction to investigate the case, only the Supreme Court.7.Sun-Star Daily delayed publication for one day to get the judgescomment. He was quoted in the report as describing the case aspure harassment and part of the professional hazards of a judge. ISSUE: WON on the basis of the facts admitted in the pleadingsand Respondents affidavits submitted to the Court a quo, petitioner is entitled to a judgment for civil libel as a matter of law consideringthat only a preponderance of evidence is required to proveRespondents liability RULING: While the law presumes every defamatory imputation to bemalicious, there are exceptions to this general rule, set forth in Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code. Requirement of publicity; Every defamatoryimputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true,if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it isshown, except in the following cases:1. A private communication made by any person toanother in the performance of any legal, moral or socialduty;2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without anycomments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered in saidproceedings, or of any other act performed by publicofficers in the exercise of their functions. First, the articles complained of are fair and true reports of a judicial/administrative proceeding, which is not confidential innature. They quote directly from the affidavit-complaint filed beforethe Ombudsman. Indeed, a perusal of the first article would readilyshow that it merely reported the filing of graft charges againstpetitioner before the Office of the Ombudsman for the Visayas. Inso reporting, the article quoted from the affidavit-complaint filed bythe complainant lawyer, Elias Tan, and narrated the antecedentfacts leading to the filing of the graft charges. On the other hand,the second article presented petitioners own reactions against thegraft charges filed against him; with explanatory statements fromOffice of the Ombudsman Director Virginia Santiago refutingpetitioners claims that the said office had no jurisdiction over graftcharges against judges for alleged violations of judicial canons.Second, there were no comments or remarks made by the reporter of private respondent in both instances. The articles were purereports of the graft charges filed against petitioner.Third, they were both fair reports. The fairness and balanceexercised by private respondent is evident in the fact that petitioner was given a chance to air his side on the graft charges filed againsthim. In fact, before the first article was published, privaterespondents reporter took pains to interview petitioner on thematter; and his reactions were equally published in both articles.Finally, the reports were also true accounts of a newsworthy event,the

filing of graft charges against a local judge. It cannot be deniedthat petitioner did face graft raps at the Ombudsman as thecomplaint filed against him was for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act . Neither can the narration inthe articles be denied as these were merely culled from the subject affidavit-complaint. Petitioner cannot insist that the case against him is confidential innature because it has already been ruled that complaints are publicrecords which may be published as such unless the Court directsotherwise in the interest of morality or decency. Neither should the case of In Re: Abistado, relied upon by petitioner, be applied to the instant case since, unlike In Re: Abistadowhere theproceedings were on charges of malpractice against a lawyer whichare confidential in nature, the charge filed before the Ombudsmanagainst petitioner is not administrative in nature, such as to fallunder the confidentiality rule of the Rules of Court, but criminal innature, being a graft charge under Republic Act No. 3019. Unlikethe proceedings in this Court, which expressly mandates that itsdisciplinary proceedings for lawyers and judges are confidential innature, the Office of the Ombudsman has no such confidentialityrule.4.While the administrative nature of proceedings before us allows theprotection of the personal and professional reputation of our colleagues in the profession of law and justice against baselesscharges of disgruntled, vindictive and irresponsible clients andlitigants, the criminal nature of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt PracticesAct does not allow the same protection to our brethren in the judiciary, who are placed on the same level, without distinction, asother government employees. Violations of this law partake of aninfinitely more serious nature, touching as it does on what has beenperceived to be an endemic social cancer eroding our system of government. It cannot be denied that this is a matter in which the public has a legitimate interest and as such, media must be free toreport thereon.

Victor C. Agustin vs. Hon. Fernando VilPamintuan and Anthony de Leon (G.r. No. 164938, August 22, 2005) FACTS: The Office of the City Prosecutor of Baguio City filed four separate Informations charging the petitioner, a Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist, with libel. The said accused, with deliberate intent and malicious intent and evil motive of attacking, injuring and impeaching the character, honesty, integrity, virtue and reputation of one Anthony De Leon, did then and there defame the complainant Anthony De Leon by branding and imputing upon him the following defamatory and libelous statements, to wit: "The trysting place between the President Marcos and Hollywood actress Dovie Beams is not the subject of a high level tax evasion investigation ordered by no less than the new BIR Commissioner, DakilaFonacier. That bungalow on Northwestern Street had hastily changed hands in the last two years, and had supposedly been sold to, first Anthony De Leon, the acting general manager of the exclusive Baguio Country Club, who in turn disposed of it to an unwitting Chinoy couple. According to preliminary BIR findings, the transfer to Mr. De Leon is already spurious since the cook De Leon had been missing and had gone TNT in New York more than eight years ago. The spurious sale to the male De Leon who is not related to the cook, was necessary to make it appear that it had been an intra-family transfer.

Second, the Baguio Country Club manager made it appear that he and his family had been using the house himself, but the BIR had now gotten a certification from the Greenhills homeowners association that the said bungalow has all these years been rented to third parties, the last of which was an ADB executive. The most damaging of the findings was the supposed transfer price of the bungalow between the De Leons and how much the bungalow was later palmed off to the Chinese-Filipino couple. We will leave those details for the BIR Commissioner to announce himself, that, if he could overcome the tremendous and well-oiled lobbying efforts by De Leons principals. Tip: One of the principals is a lawyer and self-proclaimed best friend of Lenny Dragon Lady de Jesus." The aforesaid defamatory, malicious and libelous words and statements have been read by the personnel of the Baguio Country Club, by the residents of the City of Baguio, and by the public in the other parts of the country, and that those libelous and defamatory words and statements aforementioned are untrue, false and malicious tending to impeach the character, integrity, virtue and reputation of the said Anthony De Leon as Acting General Manager of the Baguio Country Club, thus, placing and causing said Anthony De Leon to public hatred, contempt, dishonor, discredit and ridicule which acts are serious and insulting in nature, to the damage and prejudice of the said Anthony De Leon. Agustin pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Agustin then filed a Motion to Quash the Informations, on the sole ground that the court had no jurisdiction over the offenses charged. He pointed out that the said Informations did not contain any allegation that the offended party, Anthony de Leon, was actually residing in Baguio City, or that the alleged libelous articles were printed and first published in a newspaper of general circulation in Baguio City. Private complainant De Leon, through counsel, opposed the motion, alleging that he was a bona fide resident of the Baguio Country Club located at the Country Club Road, Baguio City; he was also the acting general manager of the club at the time the alleged libelous article was published. He alleged that he was of good standing and reputation in the community, and that the word "community" meant Baguio City, where he was residing. Moreover, Agustin was estopped from assailing the courts lack of jurisdiction since he was arraigned before he filed his motion to quash the Information. The motion to quash was denied, holding "it was reasonable to infer therefrom that the private complainant was actually a resident of Baguio City at the time the alleged libelous articles were published." Agustin filed a motion for reconsideration insisting that it did not necessarily mean that the latter was actually residing in Baguio City, as it was also possible that he was actually residing in a place nearby, but to no avail. The CA rendered a decision dismissing the petition. It disagreed with Agustin, and held that while the Informations filed by the prosecution did not contain allegations that the complainant was actually a resident of Baguio City at the time the alleged libelous articles were printed and first

published, and that the alleged libelous articles were printed and first published in Baguio City, such defects were merely of form and not of substance. Thus, there is no need to quash the Informations, as they may merely be amended pursuant to Section 14, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. The petitioner maintains that in the absence of any allegations in the Informations that the private respondent was actually residing in Baguio City, or that the alleged libelous articles were printed and first published in Baguio City as mandated by Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code, the trial court had no jurisdiction over the offenses charged. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) maintains that the failure of the Informations to allege that the private respondent is a resident of Baguio City (where the Informations were filed) is not a jurisdictional defect. It asserts that the averment in the Informations that the crimes charged were committed within the jurisdiction of the trial court in Baguio City, taken in conjunction with the other allegations therein, are sufficient to vest jurisdiction over the subject cases in the RTC of Baguio City. ISSUE: WON the RTC of Baguio City has jurisdiction over the offenses charged in the four Informations on the premise that the Informations are defective. RULING: The petition is meritorious. Venue in criminal cases is an essential element of jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a court over the criminal case is determined by the allegations in the complaint or Information, and the offense must have been committed or any one of its essential ingredients took place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code provides ART. 360. Persons responsible. Any person who shall publish, exhibit, or cause the publication or exhibition of any defamation in writing or by similar means, shall be responsible for the same. The author or editor of a book or pamphlet, or the editor or business manager of a daily newspaper, magazine or serial publication, shall be responsible for the defamations contained therein to the same extent as if he were the author thereof. The criminal and civil action for damages in cases of written defamations as provided for in this chapter, shall be filed simultaneously or separately with the Court of First Instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published or where any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense; Provided, however, That where one of the offended parties is a public officer whose office is in the City of Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila or of the city or province where the libelous article is printed and first published, and in case such public officer does not hold office in the City of Manila, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance or the province or

city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense or where the libelous article is printed and first published and in case one of the offended parties is a private individual, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense or where the libelous matter is printed and first published: Provided, further, That the civil action shall be filed in the same court where the criminal action is filed and vice versa: Provided, furthermore, That the court where the criminal action or civil action for damages is first filed, shall acquire jurisdiction to the exclusion of other courts: And provided, finally, That this amendment shall not apply to cases of written defamations, the civil and/or criminal actions to which have been filed in court at the time of the effectivity of this law. Preliminary investigation of criminal actions for written defamations as provided for in the chapter shall be conducted by the provincial or city fiscal of the province or city, or by the municipal court of the city or capital of the province where such actions may be instituted in accordance with the provisions of this article. No criminal action for defamation which consists in the imputation of a crime which cannot be prosecuted de oficioshall be brought except at the instance of and upon complaint expressly filed by the offended party. Thus, the rules on venue in Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code are as follows: 1. Whether the offended party is a public official or a private person, the criminal action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published. 2. If the offended party is a private individual, the criminal action may also be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province where he actually resided at the time of the commission of the offense. 3. If the offended party is a public officer whose office is in Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila. 4. If the offended party is a public officer holding office outside of Manila, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense. Experience has shown that under the old rule, the offended party could harass the accused in a libel case by laying the venue of the criminal action in remote or distant places.To obviate controversies as to the venue of the criminal action from written defamation, the complaint or Information should contain allegations as to whether the offended party was a public officer or a private individual at the time the offense was committed, and where he was actually residing at that time; whenever possible, the place where the written defamation was printed and first published should likewise be alleged. In this case, the Informations did not allege that the offended party was actually residing in Baguio City at the time of the commission of the offenses, or that the alleged libelous articles were printed and first published in Baguio City. It cannot even be inferred from the allegation "the offended party was the Acting General Manager of the Baguio Country Club and of good standing and reputation in the community" that the private respondent (complainant) was actually residing in Baguio City.

The residence of a person is his personal, actual or physical habitation or his actual residence or place of abode provided he resides therein with continuity and consistency; no particular length of time of residence is required. However, the residence must be more than temporary. The term residence involves the idea of something beyond a transient stay in the place; and to be a resident, one must abide in a place where he had a house therein. To create a residence in a particular place, two fundamental elements are essential: The actual bodily presence in the place, combined with a freely exercised intention of remaining there permanently or for an indefinite time. While it is possible that as the Acting General Manager of the Baguio Country Club, the petitioner may have been actually residing in Baguio City, the Informations did not state that he was actually residing therein when the alleged crimes were committed. It is entirely possible that the private complainant may have been actually residing in another place. One who transacts business in a place and spends considerable time thereat does not render such person a resident therein. Where one may have or own a business does not of itself constitute residence within the meaning of the statute. Pursuit of business in a place is not conclusive of residence there for purposes of venue. We do not agree with the ruling of the CA that the defects in the Informations are merely formal. Indeed, the absence of any allegations in the Informations that the offended party was actually residing in Baguio City, where the crimes charged were allegedly committed, is a substantial defect. Indeed, the amendments of the Informations to vest jurisdiction upon the court cannot be allowed. IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED.

Ogie Diaz vs. People of the Philippines (G.r. No. 159787) FACTS: On October 16, 1992, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila filed an Information for libel against Manny Pichel and Ogie Diaz (OgieFrias in real life), petitioner. It reads: That on or about December 28, 1991, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused being then the Managing Editor and writer, respectively of Bandera, a newspaper of general circulation, conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping each other, with the malicious purpose of impeaching the integrity, honor and reputation of one FLORINDA BAGAY, and with the evident intent of exposing her to public interest, hatred, contempt, and ridicule, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously write and publish, or cause to be written and published in the movie section of said newspaper an article which reads in part as follows: Ilangbesesnanakaladkadangpangalanngisang Miss S sabuhayni Philip Henson anglalakingmahiligmakipagsexsaasawa. Nasulatnasaibang tabloid nalimangbesesdiumanongginalawni Philip angbabaingkine-claim nanabuntisakoni Philip. Dahilsapahayagna yon ay nagpaliwanang at nagbigay pa ngdetalyesi Philip. Nagpainterbyusiyasailang piling reporters. At muli, babanggitinlangnaminangkanyangmgapahayagtungkolsapagkakasangkotniyasabuhayni Miss S. Inaminni Philip nalimangbesesniyangginalawsi Miss S. Perohindikopinasokang akin saanoniyadahilsiyarinang may ayaw.

Ang sabi niya kasi sa akin, isa siyang malinis na babae at hindi siya basta-basta nagpapaganuon. So ang ginawa namin, ipit method. Yung ipitin niya iyong akin sa dalawa niyang hita kunwari sa ano niya nakapasok habang nagpa-pump ako. Siya pa ngaangnagturosa akin ngibatibangposisyon, e yung helicopter at sakaanggalingniyangbumlow job. Sanaynasanaysiya. Kahititanongnyo pa kay Ray Ravelo.Nagalaw din siyani Rey, pahayagni Philip at kami mismoangnakariningngmgalinyangiyonsaisa naming pag-uusapsaJaloux Disco. In which words and phrases, which were used by many people, the said accused meant and intended to convey as in fact, they meant and conveyed false and malicious imputations that the said FlorindaBagay is a sexual pervert and possesses lascivious and immoral habits, the accused well knowing that said imputations are devoid of truth and without foundation in fact whatsoever, highly libelous and offensive to the good name, character, and reputation of the said FlorindaBagay. Upon arraignment, Ogie Diaz and his co-accused Pichel, assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty. FlorindaBagay, testified that she is a graduate of medical secretarial course. She tried her luck in the movies under the guidance of her godmother, Mila Parawan, a writer covering the entertainment industry. Florinda adopted and used Patricia Santillan as her screen name. During her brief stint in the movies, she met Philip Henson, an aspiring bit player. A whirlwind romance between them followed and they started living together. On March 9, 1991, she gave birth to a girl she named Maria Briana Bagay. By that time, her relationship with Philip Henson ended. Florinda claimed she was the Miss S alluded to in petitioners column Pakurot considering that her screen name is Patricia Santillan. One Nonette Lim called her attention to the article and she felt embarrassed. Mila Parawan showed her the item. Her family and neighbors also read it. As a result, she was forced to stop her studies as a medical technology student at the United Doctors Medical Center. Florinda further testified that at the time the article came out, she and Philip were no longer living together. Mila Parawan also took the witness stand and corroborated Florindas testimony. She further testified that after Philip and Florinda parted ways, her former press relations officer, who used the nom de plume IskoPeta, wrote an item entitled Ibinulgarnaminangbabaenginanakanni Philip Henson which appeared in the December 2, 1991 issue of ArtistaMagazine. Philip believed that Florinda released their story to the press. He then caused the publication of the libelous article against her. Mila Parawan added that Florinda came from a well respected family in their community. Thus, she could not have done the acts being imputed to her. On cross-examination, Mila Parawan stated she was certain the Miss S referred to in the article is Florinda because petitioner and Pichel, her good friends, told her that Miss S is her alaga (ward). Pichel testified that he had been a journalist covering show business for the past 21 years. He denied having met or known the complaining witness. He also denied being the editor of Bandera. He was only its lay-out artist, a part time job. Petitioner Ogie Diaz admitted that while he wrote the column Pakurot where the alleged libelous statements appeared, however, he did not know the complaining witness or Miss S. The source of his article was Philip Henson.

The defense also presented as witness two movie journalists Ernie Pecho and Mario Bautista. Both had more than 50 years covering the entertainment industry. Pecho testified that he has never heard the screen name Patricia Santillan; that reading the article in question would not give the reader any idea that Miss S is Patricia Santillan; and that in the movie world, the letter S refers to shabu, not to a person. Bautista, for his part, stated that he has never heard of any actress or starlet named Patricia Santillan. After reading the article, it never came to his mind that Miss S is one Patricia Santillan. Douglas Quijano, a long-time line producer and talent manager, testified that in his many years of managing movie and TV stars, he could not recall an actress named Miss S. He has never heard of Patricia Santillan. The trial court rendered its judgment convicting petitioner and Pichel of the crime of libel, defined in Article 353 and penalized under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code. On appeal, the Court of Appeals, in its Decision, sustained the conviction of petitioner but acquitted Pichel. Petitioner timely filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied by the appellate court in its Resolution dated August 29, 2003. ISSUE: WON the subject article is libelous. RULING: Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides: ART. 353. Definition of libel. A libel is 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. This provision should be read in relation with Article 355 of the same Code which states: ART. 355. Libel by means of writings or similar means. A libel committed by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means, shall be punished by prisioncorreccional in its minimum and medium periods or a fine ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party. Thus, for an imputation to be libelous, the following requisites must be present: (a) it must be defamatory; (b) it must be malicious; (c) it must be given publicity; and (d) the victim must be identifiable. Absent one of these elements, a case for libel will not prosper. We find the first element present. In determining whether a statement is defamatory, the words used are to be construed in their entirety and should be taken in their plain, natural, and ordinary meaning as they would naturally be understood by the persons reading them, unless it appears that they were used and understood in another sense. In the instant case, the article in question details the sexual activities of a certain Miss S and one Philip Henson who had a romantic liaison. In their ordinary sense, the words used cast aspersion upon the character, integrity, and reputation of Miss S. The words convey

that Miss S is a sexual libertine with unusually wanton proclivities in the bedroom. In a society such as ours, where modesty is still highly prized among young ladies, the behavior attributed to Miss S by the article in question had besmirched both her character and reputation. As to the element of malice, we find that since on its face the article is defamatory, there is a presumption that the offender acted with malice. In Article 354 of the same Code, 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. There is malice when the author of the imputation is prompted by personal ill-will or spite and speaks not in response to duty but merely to injure the reputation of the person who claims to have been defamed. We agree with the Court of Appeals that there was neither good reason nor motive why the subject article was written except to embarrass Miss S and injure her reputation. On the element of publication, there can be no question that the article appeared in the December 28, 1991 issue of Bandera, a local tabloid. The last element of libel is that the victim is identified or identifiable from the contents of the libelous article. In order to maintain a libel suit, it is essential that the victim be identifiable, although it is not necessary that the person be named. It is enough if by intrinsic reference the allusion is apparent or if the publication contains matters of description or reference to facts and circumstances from which others reading the article may know the person alluded to, or if the latter is pointed out by extraneous circumstances so that those knowing such person could and did understand that he was the person referred to. Kunkle v. Cablenews-American and Lyons laid the rule that this requirement is complied with where a third person recognized or could identify the party vilified in the article. The libelous article, while referring to Miss S, does not give a sufficient description or other indications which identify Miss S. In short, the article fails to show that Miss S and FlorindaBagayare one and the same person. Although the article is libelous, we find that FlorindaBagay could not have been the person defamed therein. In UyTioco v. Yang Shu Wen, we held that where the requirement for an identified or identifiable victim has not been complied with, the case for libel must be dismissed. WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The challenged Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 22545 is REVERSED. Petitioner Ogie Diaz is ACQUITTED of the crime of libel. The bail on appeal posted for his temporary liberty is ordered CANCELLED.

Vicente Foz, Jr. and Danny G. Fajardo vs. People of the Philippines (G.r. No. 167764, October 9, 2009) FACTS:

Petitioners Vicente Foz, Jr. and Danny G. Fajardo were charged with the crime of libel committed, the relevant portion of the Information for libel filed in this case which for convenience the Court quotes: That on or about the 5th day of July, 1994 in the City of Iloilo, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this court, both the accused as columnist and Editor-Publisher, respectively, of Panay News, a daily publication with a considerable circulation in the City of Iloilo and throughout the region, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously with malicious intent of impeaching the virtue, honesty, integrity and reputation of Dr. Edgar Portigo, a physician and medical practitioner in Iloilo City, and with the malicious intent of injuring and exposing said Dr. Edgar Portigo to public hatred, contempt and ridicule, write and publish in the regular issue of said daily publication on July 5, 1994, a certain article entitled "MEET DR. PORTIGO, COMPANY PHYSICIAN," quoted verbatim hereunder, to wit: MEET DR. PORTIGO, COMPANY PHYSICIAN PHYSICIANS (sic) are duly sworn to help to do all their best to promote the health of their patients. Especially if they are employed by a company to serve its employees. However, the opposite appears to be happening in the Local San Miguel Corporation office, SMC employees are fuming mad about their company physician, Dr.Portigo, because the latter is not doing well in his sworn obligation in looking after the health problems of employees, reports reaching Aim.. Fire say. One patient, LitaPayunan, wife of employee WilfredoPayunan, told her sad story that on September 19 when she felt ill and had to go to Dr.Portigo for consultation. The doctor put her under observation, taking seven months to conclude that she had rectum myoma and must undergo an operation.Subsequently, the family sought the services of a Dr.Celis and a Dr. de los Reyes at Doctor's Hospital. Incidentally, where Dr.Portigo also maintains a clinic.Dr.Portigo got angry, sources said, after knowing that the family chose a surgeon (Dr.Celis) on their own without his nod as he had one to recommend. Lita was operated by Dr. de los Reyes last March and was released from the hospital two weeks after. Later, however, she again complained of difficulty in urinating and defecating, thus, she was readmitted to the hospital. The second operation, done by Dr.Portigo'srecommendee, was devastating to the family and the patient herself who woke to find out her anus and vagina closed and a hole with a catheter punched on her right side. This was followed by a bad news that she had cancer. Dr.Portigo recommended another operation, this time to bore another hole on the left side of Lita. But a Dr. Rivera to whom he made the referral frankly turned it down because it would only be a waste of money since the disease was already on the terminal state. The company and the family spent some P150,000.00 to pay for the wrong diagnosis of the company physician.

My sympathy for Lita and her family. May the good Lord, Healer of all healers, be on your side, May the Healer of all healers likewise touch the conscience of physicians to remind them that their profession is no license for self-enrichment at the expense of the poor. But, sad to say, Lita passed away, July 2, 1994. Lita is not alone. Society is replete with similar experience where physicians treat their patients for profits. Where physicians prefer to act like agents of multinational corporations prescribing expensive drugs seen if there are equivalent drugs sold at the counter for much lower price. Wherein said Dr.Portigo was portrayed as wanting in high sense of professional integrity, trust and responsibility expected of him as a physician, which imputation and insinuation as both accused knew were entirely false and malicious and without foundation in fact and therefore highly libelous, offensive and derogatory to the good name, character and reputation of the said Dr. Edgar Portigo. Petitioners pleaded not guilty to the crime charged in the Information. Trial thereafter ensued. The RTC rendered its Decision finding petitioners guilty as chargedGUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT for the crime of Libel defined in Article 353 and punishable under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code. Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied. CA affirmed in totothe RTC decision. ISSUE: WON the RTC of Iloilo City, Branch 23, had jurisdiction over the offense of libel as charged in the Information dated October 17, 1994. RULING: The Court finds merit in the petition. Venue in criminal cases is an essential element of jurisdiction. The Court held in Macasaet v. People that: It is a fundamental rule that for jurisdiction to be acquired by courts in criminal cases the offense should have been committed or any one of its essential ingredients took place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Territorial jurisdiction in criminal cases is the territory where the court has jurisdiction to take cognizance or to try the offense allegedly committed therein by the accused. Thus, it cannot take jurisdiction over a person charged with an offense allegedly committed outside of that limited territory. Furthermore, the jurisdiction of a court over the criminal case is determined by the allegations in the complaint or information. And once it is so shown, the court may validly take cognizance of the case. However, if the evidence adduced during the trial show that the offense was committed somewhere else, the court should dismiss the action for want of jurisdiction. (Emphasis supplied.) Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 4363, provides the specific rules as to the venue in cases of written defamation, to wit:

Article 360. Persons responsible.Any person who shall publish, exhibit or cause the publication or exhibition of any defamation in writing or by similar means, shall be responsible for the same. The author or editor of a book or pamphlet, or the editor or business manager of a daily newspaper, magazine or serial publication, shall be responsible for the defamations contained therein to the same extent as if he were the author thereof. The criminal action and civil action for damages in cases of written defamations, as provided for in this chapter shall be filed simultaneously or separately with the court of first instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published or where any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense: Provided, however, That where one of the offended parties is a public officer whose office is in the City of Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila or of the city or province where the libelous article is printed and first published, and in case such public officer does not hold office in the City of Manila, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense or where the libelous article is printed and first published and in case one of the offended parties is a private individual, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense or where the libelous matter is printed and first published x xx. (Emphasis supplied.) In Agbayani v. Sayo, the rules on venue in Article 360 were restated as follows: 1. Whether the offended party is a public official or a private person, the criminal action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published. 2. If the offended party is a private individual, the criminal action may also be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province where he actually resided at the time of the commission of the offense. 3. If the offended party is a public officer whose office is in Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila. 4. If the offended party is a public officer holding office outside of Manila, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense. Applying the foregoing law to this case, since Dr.Portigo is a private individual at the time of the publication of the alleged libelous article, the venue of the libel case may be in the province or city where the libelous article was printed and first published, or in the province where Dr.Portigo actually resided at the time of the commission of the offense. The allegations in the Information that "Panay News, a daily publication with a considerable circulation in the City of Iloilo and throughout the region" only showed that Iloilo was the place where

Panay News was in considerable circulation but did not establish that the said publication was printed and first published in Iloilo City. In Agustin v. Pamintuan, which also involved a libel case filed by a private individual, the Acting General Manager of the Baguio Country Club, with the RTC of Baguio City where the Information therein alleged that the libelous article was "published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Baguio and the entire Philippines," the Court did not consider the Information sufficient to show that Baguio City was the venue of the printing and first publication of the alleged libelous article. Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code as amended provides that a private individual may also file the libel case in the RTC of the province where he actually resided at the time of the commission of the offense. The Information filed against petitioners failed to allege the residence of Dr.Portigo. While the Information alleges that "Dr. Edgar Portigo is a physician and medical practitioner in Iloilo City," such allegation did not clearly and positively indicate that he was actually residing in Iloilo City at the time of the commission of the offense. It is possible that Dr.Portigo was actually residing in another place. Again, in Agustin v. Pamintuan, where the Information for libel alleged that the "offended party was the Acting General Manager of the Baguio Country Club and of good standing and reputation in the community," the Court did not find such allegation sufficient to establish that the offended party was actually residing in Baguio City. The Court explained its ruling in this wise: The residence of a person is his personal, actual or physical habitation or his actual residence or place of abode provided he resides therein with continuity and consistency; no particular length of time of residence is required. However, the residence must be more than temporary. The term residence involves the idea of something beyond a transient stay in the place; and to be a resident, one must abide in a place where he had a house therein. To create a residence in a particular place, two fundamental elements are essential: The actual bodily presence in the place, combined with a freely exercised intention of remaining there permanently or for an indefinite time. While it is possible that as the Acting General Manager of the Baguio Country Club, the petitioner may have been actually residing in Baguio City, the Informations did not state that he was actually residing therein when the alleged crimes were committed. It is entirely possible that the private complainant may have been actually residing in another place. One who transacts business in a place and spends considerable time thereat does not render such person a resident therein. Where one may have or own a business does not of itself constitute residence within the meaning of the statute. Pursuit of business in a place is not conclusive of residence there for purposes of venue. Settled is the rule that jurisdiction of a court over a criminal case is determined by the allegations of the complaint or information, and the offense must have been committed or any one of its essential ingredients took place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Considering that the Information failed to allege the venue requirements for a libel case under Article 360, the Court finds that the RTC of Iloilo City had no jurisdiction to hear this case. Thus, its decision convicting petitioners of the crime of libel should be set aside for want of jurisdiction without prejudice to its filing with the court of competent jurisdiction. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated November 24, 2004 and the Resolution dated April 8, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 22522 are SET ASIDE on

the ground of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 23, Iloilo City. Criminal Case No. 44527 is DISMISSED without prejudice.

Wonina M. Bonifacio et. al. vs. RTC of Makati, Branch 148, and Jessie John P. Gimenez (G.r. No. 184800, May 5, 2010) FACTS: Private respondent Jessie John P. Gimenez (Gimenez) filed, on behalf of the Yuchengco Family ("in particular," former Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco and Helen Y. Dee (Helen) and of the Malayan Insurance Co., Inc. (Malayan), a criminal complaint for thirteen (13) counts of libel under Article 355 in relation to Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) against Philip Piccio, et.al, who are officers of Parents Enabling Parents Coalition, Inc. (PEPCI), John Joseph Gutierrez, et.al, who are trustees of PEPCI, TrennieMonsod, a member of PEPCI (collectively, the accused), and a certain John Doe, the administrator of the website www.pepcoalition.com. PEPCI appears to have been formed by a large group of disgruntled planholders of Pacific Plans, Inc. (PPI) - a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Pacific Life Assurance Corporation, also owned by the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC) - who had previously purchased traditional pre-need educational plans but were unable to collect thereon or avail of the benefits thereunder after PPI, due to liquidity concerns, filed for corporate rehabilitation with prayer for suspension of payments before the Makati RTC. Decrying PPIs refusal/inability to honor its obligations under the educational pre-need plans, PEPCI sought to provide a forum by which the planholders could seek redress for their pecuniary loss under their policies by maintaining a website on the internet under the address of www.pepcoalition.com. Gimenez alleged that PEPCI also owned, controlled and moderated on the internet a blogspotunder the website address www.pacificnoplan.blogspot.com, as well as a yahoo e-group r at no2pep2010@yahoogroups.com. These websites are easily accessible to the public or by anyone logged on to the internet. Gimenez further alleged that upon accessing the above-stated websites in Makati on various dates from August 25 to October 2, 2005, he "was appalled to read numerous articles [numbering 13], maliciously and recklessly caused to be published by [the accused] containing highly derogatory statements and false accusations, relentlessly attacking the Yuchengco Family, YGC, and particularly, Malayan." He cited an article which was posted/published on www.pepcoalition.com on August 25, 2005 which stated: TalagangnaisahannanamantayongmgaYuchengcos. Nangyarinaangmgakinatatakutankongpagbagsakng negotiation because it was done prematurely since we had not file any criminal aspect of our case. What is worse is that Yuchengcos benefited much from the nego. x xx . That is the fact natalaganghindidapatpagtiwalaanangmgaYuchengcos. LETS MOVE TO THE BATTLEFIELD. FILE THE CRIMINAL CASES IN COURT, BSP AND AMLC AND WHEREVER. Pumuntatayongmulisasenado, congreso, RCBC Plaza, and other venues to air our grievances and call for boycott ng YGC. Let us start within ourselves. Alisinnatinangmga investments and deposits natinsalahatng YGC and I mean lahat and again

convince friends to do the same. Yung mgananonoodlang noon ay dapatmakisalinatalagangayon specially those who joined only after knowing that there was a negotiation for amicable settlements. FOR SURE MAY TACTICS PA SILANG NAKABASTA SA ATIN. LET US BE READY FOR IT BECAUSE THEY HAD SUCCESSFULLY LULL US AND THE NEXT TIME THEY WILL TRY TO KILL US NA. x xx (emphasis in the original) City Prosecutors Office, finding probable cause to indict the accused, filed thirteen (13) separate Informations charging them with libel. A copy of the full text of the foregoing article as published/posted in www.pepcoalition.com is attached as Annex "F" of the complaint. That the keyword and password to be used in order to post and publish the above defamatory article are known to the accused as trustees holding legal title to the above-cited website and that the accused are the ones responsible for the posting and publication of the defamatory articles that the article in question was posted and published with the object of the discrediting and ridiculing the complainant before the public. The Justice Secretary opined that the crime of "internet libel" was non-existent, hence, the accused could not be charged with libel under Article 353 of the RPC. Petitioners, as co-accused, filed a Motion to Quash on the grounds that it failed to vest jurisdiction on the Makati RTC; the acts complained of in the Information are not punishable by law since internet libel is not covered by Article 353 of the RPC; and the Information is fatally defective for failure to designate the offense charged and the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense of libel. Citing Macasaet v. People, petitioners maintained that the Information failed to allege a particular place within the trial courts jurisdiction where the subject article was printed and first published or that the offended parties resided in Makati at the time the alleged defamatory material was printed and first published. The public respondent, albeit finding that probable cause existed, quashed the Information, citing Agustin v. Pamintuan. It found that the Information lacked any allegations that the offended parties were actually residing in Makati at the time of the commission of the offense as in fact they listed their address in the complaint-affidavit at Yuchengco Tower in Binondo, Manila; or that the alleged libelous article was printed and first published in Makati. The prosecution moved to reconsider the quashal of the Information, insisting that the Information sufficiently conferred jurisdiction on the public respondent. It cited Banal III v. Panganiban which held that the Information need not allege verbatim that the libelous publication was "printed and first published" in the appropriate venue. And it pointed out that Malayan has an office in Makati of which Helen is a resident. Moreover, the prosecution alleged that even assuming that the Information was deficient, it merely needed a formal amendment. Petitioners opposed the prosecutions motion for reconsideration. The public respondent granted the prosecutions motion for reconsideration and accordingly ordered the public prosecutor to "amend the Information to cure the defect of want of venue."

The prosecution thereupon moved to admit the Amended Information. That on or about the 25th day of August 2005 in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being then the trustees of Parents Enabling Parents Coalition and as such trustees they hold the legal title to the website www.pepcoalition.com which is of general circulation, and publication to the public conspiring, confederating together with John Does, whose true names, identities and present whereabouts are still unknown and all of them mutually helping and aiding one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously and publicly and maliciously with intention of attacking the honesty, virtue, honor and integrity, character and reputation of complainant Malayan Insurance Co. Inc., Yuchengco Family particularly Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco and Helen Dee and for further purpose exposing the complainant to public hatred and contempt published an article imputing a vice or defect to the complainant and caused to be composed, posted and published in the said website www.pepcoalition.com, a website accessible in Makati City, an injurious and defamatory article, which was first published and accessed by the private complainant in Makati City, as follows: x xxx (emphasis and underscoring in the original; italics supplied) Petitioners moved to quash the Amended Information which, they alleged, still failed to vest jurisdiction upon the public respondent because it failed to allege that the libelous articles were "printed and first published" by the accused in Makati; and the prosecution erroneously laid the venue of the case in the place where the offended party accessed the internet-published article. The public respondent, applying Banal III, found the Amended Information to be sufficient in form. ISSUE/S: WON petitioners violated the rule on hierarchy of court. WON grave abuse of discretion attended the public respondents admission of the Amended Information. RULING: The established policy of strict observance of the judicial hierarchy of courts, as a rule, requires that recourse must first be made to the lower-ranked court exercising concurrent jurisdiction with a higher court. A regard for judicial hierarchy clearly indicates that petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level courts should be filed in the RTC and those against the latter should be filed in the Court of Appeals. The rule is not iron-clad, however, as it admits of certain exceptions. Thus, a strict application of the rule is unnecessary when cases brought before the appellate courts do not involve factual but purely legal questions. In the present case, the substantive issue calls for the Courts exercise of its discretionary authority, by way of exception, in order to abbreviate the review process as petitioners raise a pure question of law involving jurisdiction in criminal complaints for libel under Article 360 of the RPC whether the Amended Information is sufficient to sustain a charge for written defamation in light of the requirements under Article 360 of the RPC, as amended by Republic Act (RA) No. 4363, reading: Art. 360. Persons responsible.Any person who shall publish, exhibit or cause the publication or exhibition of any defamation in writing or by similar means, shall be responsible for the same.

The author or editor of a book or pamphlet, or the editor or business manager of a daily newspaper, magazine or serial publication, shall be responsible for the defamations contained therein to the same extent as if he were the author thereof. The criminal action and civil action for damages in cases of written defamations, as provided for in this chapter shall be filed simultaneously or separately with the Court of First Instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published or where any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense: Provided, however, That where one of the offended parties is a public officer whose office is in the City of Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila or of the city or province where the libelous article is printed and first published, and in case such public officer does not hold office in the City of Manila, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense or where the libelous article is printed and first published and in case one of the offended parties is a private individual, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense or where the libelous matter is printed and first published x xx. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) Venue is jurisdictional in criminal actions such that the place where the crime was committed determines not only the venue of the action but constitutes an essential element of jurisdiction. 33 This principle acquires even greater import in libel cases, given that Article 360, as amended, specifically provides for the possible venues for the institution of the criminal and civil aspects of such cases. In Macasaet case and Agbayani case, it becomes clear that the venue of libel cases where the complainant is a private individual is limited to only either of two places, namely: 1) where the complainant actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense; or 2) where the alleged defamatory article was printed and first published. The Amended Information in the present case opted to lay the venue by availing of the second. Thus, it stated that the offending article "was first published and accessed by the private complainant in Makati City." In other words, it considered the phrase to be equivalent to the requisite allegation of printing and first publication. The insufficiency of the allegations in the Amended Information to vest jurisdiction in Makati becomes pronounced upon an examination of the rationale for the amendment to Article 360 by RA No. 4363. Chavez v. Court of Appeals explained the nature of these changes: Agbayani supplies a comprehensive restatement of the rules of venue in actions for criminal libel, following the amendment by Rep. Act No. 4363 of the Revised Penal Code: "Article 360 in its original form provided that the venue of the criminal and civil actions for written defamations is the province wherein the libel was published, displayed or exhibited, regardless of the place where the same was written, printed or composed. Article 360 originally did not specify the public officers and the courts that may conduct the preliminary investigation of complaints for libel. Before article 360 was amended, the rule was that a criminal action for libel may be instituted in any jurisdiction where the libelous article was published or circulated, irrespective of where it was written or printed (People v. Borja, 43 Phil. 618). Under that rule, the criminal action is transitory and the injured party has a choice of venue. Experience had shown that under that old rule the offended party could harass the accused in a libel case by laying the venue of the criminal action in a remote or distant place.

Thus, in connection with an article published in the Daily Mirror and the Philippine Free Press, PioPedrosa, Manuel V. Villareal and Joaquin Roces were charged with libel in the justice of the peace court of San Fabian, Pangasinan (Amansec v. De Guzman, 93 Phil. 933). To forestall such harassment, Republic Act No. 4363 was enacted. It lays down specific rules as to the venue of the criminal action so as to prevent the offended party in written defamation cases from inconveniencing the accused by means of out-of-town libel suits, meaning complaints filed in remote municipal courts (Explanatory Note for the bill which became Republic Act No. 4363, Congressional Record of May 20, 1965, pp. 424-5; Time, Inc. v. Reyes, L-28882, May 31, 1971, 39 SCRA 303, 311). x xxx (emphasis and underscoring supplied) Clearly, the evil sought to be prevented by the amendment to Article 360 was the indiscriminate or arbitrary laying of the venue in libel cases in distant, isolated or far-flung areas, meant to accomplish nothing more than harass or intimidate an accused. The disparity or unevenness of the situation becomes even more acute where the offended party is a person of sufficient means or possesses influence, and is motivated by spite or the need for revenge. If the circumstances as to where the libel was printed and first published are used by the offended party as basis for the venue in the criminal action, the Information must allege with particularity where the defamatory article was printed and first published, as evidenced or supported by, for instance, the address of their editorial or business offices in the case of newspapers, magazines or serial publications. This pre-condition becomes necessary in order to forestall any inclination to harass. The same measure cannot be reasonably expected when it pertains to defamatory material appearing on a website on the internet as there would be no way of determining the situs of its printing and first publication. To credit Gimenezs premise of equating his first access to the defamatory article on petitioners website in Makati with "printing and first publication" would spawn the very ills that the amendment to Article 360 of the RPC sought to discourage and prevent. It hardly requires much imagination to see the chaos that would ensue in situations where the websites author or writer, a blogger or anyone who posts messages therein could be sued for libel anywhere in the Philippines that the private complainant may have allegedly accessed the offending website. For the Court to hold that the Amended Information sufficiently vested jurisdiction in the courts of Makati simply because the defamatory article was accessed therein would open the floodgates to the libel suit being filed in all other locations where the pepcoalition website is likewise accessed or capable of being accessed. Respecting the contention that the venue requirements imposed by Article 360, as amended, are unduly oppressive, the Courts pronouncements in Chavez are instructive: For us to grant the present petition, it would be necessary to abandon the Agbayani rule providing that a private person must file the complaint for libel either in the place of printing and first publication, or at the complainants place of residence. We would also have to abandon the subsequent cases that reiterate this rule in Agbayani, such as Soriano, Agustin, and Macasaet. There is no convincing reason to resort to such a radical action. These limitations imposed on libel actions filed by private persons are hardly onerous, especially as they still allow such persons to file the civil or criminal complaint in their respective places of residence, in which situation there is no need to embark on a quest to determine with precision where the libelous matter was printed and first published. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)

IN FINE, the public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioners motion to quash the Amended Information. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED.

David B. Campanao, Jr. vs. Jose Antonio A. Andatuin (G.r. No. 172142, October 17, 2007) FACTS: On complaint for Estafa by Seishin International Corporation, represented by its president-herein petitioner David B. Campanano, Jr.,an Information for violation of Batas PambansaBlg. 22 was filed against respondent. After trial, respondent was convicted of Estafa. Respondents appeal before the Court of Appeals, and eventually with this Court, was dismissed and the decision became final and executory on October 24, 2003. Later claiming that the complaint of Seishin International Corporation against him was "false, unfounded and malicious" in light of newly discovered (by respondent) evidence, respondent filed a complaint for Incriminating Against Innocent Persons, punishable under Article 363 of the Revised Penal Code against petitioner and a certain YasunobuHirota. The pertinent portions of respondents complaintaffidavit read: I, JOSE ANTONIO A. DATUIN, of legal age, Filipino, married, with residence and postal address at No. 1 Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, under oath, depose and state: 2. I was charged by Seishin International Corporation, represented by its President, Mr. David Campanano, Jr. with the crime of Estafa before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Pasig City, by virtue of a criminal information filed against me by said prosecution office with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City. x xx 5. In a decision dated May 3, 1999, the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 71, rendered a Decision convicting me (accused-complainant) of estafa x xx; 13. Meanwhile, sometime in July 15, 2003, I had my office rented, vacated the same, and had all of my things, including my attach case, all my records, and other personal belongings, transferred and brought to my house; that while I was sorting and classifying all my things, including the records, as well as those in the attach case, I found the CASH VOUCHER evidencing my cash payment of the two (2) roadrollers, Sakai brand, which I purchased from Mr.YasonobuHirota, representing Seishin International Corporation, in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand (P200,000.00) Pesos. The cash voucher was dated June 28, 1993, and it was signed by me and Mr.Hirota. A copy of the said cash voucher is hereto attached as ANNEX "H" hereof;

14. In light of this newly discovered evidence, the complaint of Seishin International Corporation[,] represented by Mr. David Campanano, Jr.[,] and the testimony of the latter in support of the complaint are false, unfounded and malicious because they imputed to me a crime of Estafa which in the first place I did not commit, as evidenced by the fact that the subject two (2) units of roadrollers, Sakai brand, subject of the criminal complaint before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Pasig City by the corporation through Mr.Campanano, and the information filed in court, had been purchased by me in cash from the said corporation and had already been paid on June 28, 1993. While I testified also in court, my testimony arose from my having forgotten that I have already fully paid for the said two units of roadrollers, especially that I could not find the necessary document consisting of the cash voucher in support of my defense. I could not say that I have fully paid for the said units of roadrollers because at that time I was not in possession of any evidence or document to support my claim. 15. In filing the complaint for Estafa fully knowing that it was baseless and without factual or legal basis, Messrs.Campanano, Jr. and Mr.Hirota should be criminally liable for the crime of Incriminating Innocent Persons punishable under Article 363 of the Revised Penal Code. x x x8 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Office of the City Prosecutor dismissed respondents complaint for incriminating innocent person in this wise: It appearing that the case of estafa was filed in Pasig City, and the testimony given by respondent David Campaano, Jr. was also made in Pasig City, this office has nojurisdiction on the aboveentitled complainant. Granting en arguendo that this office has jurisdiction over this case, the undersigned investigating prosecutor finds no basis to indict the respondents of the crime imputed to them for it is an established fact that the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City finds merit in the estafa case filed by Seishin International Corporation, represented by its president, herein respondent David Campaano, Jr. In fact, the petition for review, including the supplemental motion for reconsideration filed by the herein complainant to [sic] the Honorable Supreme Court was denied for lack of merit and with an order of Entry of Final Judgment. As to the discovery of the alleged new evidence, the cash voucher, dated June 28, 1993[,] it is not this office that should determine the materiality or immateriality of it. By petition for review, respondent elevated the case to the DOJ which dismissed the petition outright by Resolution of August 20, 2004, holding that "[it] found no such error committed by the prosecutor that would justify the reversal of the assailed resolution which is in accord with the law and evidence on the matter." Respondents motion for reconsideration was likewise denied by DOJ Resolution The Court of Appeals, however, set aside the resolutions of the DOJ by Decision of December 9, 2005, the fallo of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the petition is given due course, and the assailed Resolutions of the Department of Justice are hereby SET ASIDE. The case is directed to be remanded to the City Prosecutors Office of Quezon City for further investigation. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) ISSUE: WON petitioner is guilty of incriminating innocent persons as defined under Article 363 of the RPC. RULING: The complaint-affidavit for incriminating innocent person filed by respondent with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City on August 28, 2003 does not allege that the crime charged or any of its essential ingredients was committed in Quezon City. The only reference to Quezon City in the complaint-affidavit is that it is where respondent resides.Respondents complaint-affidavit was thus properly dismissed by the City Prosecutor of Quezon City for lack of jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals conclusion-basis of its reversal of the DOJ Resolutions that since petitioners November 20, 2003 Counter-Affidavit to respondents complaint for incriminating innocent person was executed in Quezon City, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City had acquired jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigation of the case is thus erroneous. In any event, the allegations in the complaint-affidavit do not make out a clear probable cause of incriminating innocent person under Article 363 of the Revised Penal Code. Article 363 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes "[a]ny person who, by any act not constituting perjury, shall directly incriminate or impute to an innocent person the commission of a crime." The crime known as incriminating innocent person has the following elements: (1) the offender performs an act; (2) by such act he directly incriminates or imputes to an innocent person the commission of a crime; and (3) such act does not constitute perjury. The pertinent portion of respondents complaint-affidavit reads: 14. In light of this newly discovered evidence, the complaint of Seishin International Corporation[,] represented by Mr. David Campanano, Jr.[,] and the testimony of the latter in support of the complaint are false, unfounded and malicious because they imputed to me a crime of Estafa which in the first place I did not commit, as evidenced by the fact that the subject two (2) units of roadrollers, Sakai brand, subject of the criminal complaint before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Pasig City by the corporation through Mr.Campanano, and the information filed in court, had been purchased by me in cash from the said corporation and had already been paid on June 28, 1993. Article 363 does not, however, contemplate the idea of malicious prosecution someone prosecuting or instigating a criminal charge in court. It refers "to the acts of PLANTING evidence and the like, which do not in themselves constitute false prosecution but tend directly to cause false prosecutions." Apropos is the following ruling of this Court in Ventura v. Bernabe: Appellants do not pretend, neither have they alleged in their complaint that appellee has planted evidence against them.At the most, what appellee is alleged to have done is that he had filed the criminal

complaint above-quoted against appellant Joaquina Ventura without justifiable cause or motive and had caused the same to be prosecuted, with him (appellee) testifying falsely as witness for the prosecution. These acts do not constitute incriminatory machination, particularly, because Article 363 of the Revised Penal Code punishing said crime expressly excludes perjury as a means of committing the same. Evidently, petitioner may not, under respondents complaint-affidavit, be charged with the crime of incriminating innocent person under Article 363. Parenthetically, respondents conviction bars even the filing of a criminal case for false testimony against petitioner. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Court of Appeals Decision of December 9, 2005 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The complaint of respondent for Incriminating Innocent Person filed against petitioner DAVID B. CAMPANANO, JR. is DISMISSED.