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July 27, 2010

Is there such a thing as libel by intenet?

A lawyer who post slanderous attacks in his Facebook account against the cosmetic surgeon Dr. Vicki Belo and the Belo clinic, was charged with libel by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal.

Is there such a thing as libel by intenet?

Argee Guevarra accused the Belo clinic to have committed errors on the cosmetic surgery performed on the buttocks of a certain Josephine Norcio. While media reports pointed to Guevarra as Norcio’s legal counsel, no complaint has been formally communicated to Dr. Belo or the Belo clinic.

In a resolution issued by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Maria Ronatay in Taytay, Rizal, the crime of libel under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code was committed by Guevarra, who is “probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial.”

Guevarra is legally responsible for libel because he has “maliciously imputed defects, omissions and illegal acts on the part of the Belo clinic in published statements over his Facebook account, which is one of the most popular internet social networking sites in the world.”

The resolution stated Guevarra made his entries against Belo available to all his friends or network in Facebok, which has satisfied the elements of publicity in the crime of libel.

In his counter-affidavit, Guevarra claimed there is no such thing as internet libel because the enumeration under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code does not include the internet as a means of publication.

However, the court decided otherwise and said the internet has become a means of communication and may be considered publication, which can be used as evidence in the crime of libel against its author.

Considering the elements of libel, the identity of the person defamed was clear, referring to Dr. Belo. Malice was also presumed in the posts made by Guevarra to discredit Dr. Belo and ultimately bring down the Belo clinic.

This post was quoted from a post in website.


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