Facebook user charged for libel

September 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

vickibeloAtty. Argee Guevarra was charged with libel by Dr. Vicki Belo, remember of the Hayden Kho sex tapes fame? Argee reportedly wrote disparaging remarks against Dr. Belo over Facebook, a popular social networking site.

The suit, filed by no less than the General Manager of the Belo Medical Group (which, by the way this medical group is involved in at least three boltched surgeries, one of which is their butt operation to one of their clients, Ms. Josie Norcio) says that Argee committed libel last August 3, 2009.

Libel, if Ms. Agnes Ballesteros and the Belo Group’s battery of lawyers do not know, is an act committed when a person intentionally attributed or imputed a crime against another which caused serious damage to image and reputation. While I’m reading the complaint, I found nothing libelous there. Argee was simply reacting to a (1) rally staged by some Belo Medical Group victims and (2) sharing information that some of his relatives got bad service from the Group. (Read the complaint over at pinoybuzz.blogspot.com).

Now, when Argee postulated that maybe the “payola” machinery of the Belo Group worked when no TV coverage or print article appeared after the rally, is it still libelous? No. It was a view shared to many. Argee did not categorically state that there was indeed payola given by the Belo Group to journalists who covered the rally.

Anyway, if Argee was merely stating facts which already happened, what is so libelous about that? Besides, how can you charge libel against a Facebook user when there is no law in the Revised Penal Code (RPC) nor special laws prohibiting somebody from commenting negatively against anybody over at Facebook, an online social networking site? If there is no single provision in the RPC penalizing or criminalizing Facebook remarks, then, where’s libel?

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