PB calls for lighter penalty on libel
Michael Vencynth H. Braga/ATO (The Freeman) - August 5, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Board is calling on the House of Representatives Committee on Revision of Laws to consider sponsoring a measure that would seek to decriminalize libel or provide a more lenient penalty for it.

The legislative body made the request through a resolution addressed to Pangasinan sixth district Representative Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, who chairs the committee.

Under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, libel is defined 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.”

A punishment of imprisonment of six months and one day to six years is imposed upon the person guilty of committing libel by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means.

But the body opined that such law is “excessive” and subject to abuse. It noted the same sentiment shared by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which pointed out that the law is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights wherein the Philippines is a signatory.

“Such provision has resonated through the courts allegedly as a measure taken by some individuals to harass or merely to shun critics who are getting a little close to the truth,” read part of the resolution sponsored by Board Member Arleigh Sitoy.

“Such law is also used by some to silence journalists which contributed to the detriment of one’s freedom of speech, expression or of the press as guaranteed by our 1987 Philippine Constitution,” it added.

Some senators had signified their support to decriminalize libel in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on constitutionality of the online libel provision of the Cybercrime Law last year, including senators Grace Poe, Juan Edgardo Angara, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, and Francis “Chiz” Escudero.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III filed last year a bill to decriminalize libel “by means of writing or similar means”. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC BOARD MEMBER ARLEIGH SITOY CEBU PROVINCIAL BOARD CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS CYBERCRIME LAW GRACE POE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT JUAN EDGARDO ANGARA PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION REPRESENTATIVE MARLYN PRIMICIAS-AGABAS
Philstar
  • Latest
Latest
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with