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Defenses against Libel

The truth
Lack of element
Private communication (Qualified Privileged Communication and
Absolutely Privileged Communication)
1. The proof of truth is admissible in a charge for Libel:
When the act or omission imputed constitutes a crime regardless
of whether the offended party is a private individual or a public
When the offended party is a government employee, even if the
imputation does not constitute a crime, provided it is related to
the discharge of his official duties.
2. Lack of element

Malice; and
If one of them is not present, there is no libel.

3. Absolute privileged communication

A communication is an absolute privileged communication when it is
not actionable even if its author has acted in bad faith. Under this
doctrine, whatever damaging words published or broadcast cannot be
used to convict the accused criminally or to adjudge against a
defendant damage awards in a civil case.
Privileged speech of a senator or a member of the house of
(2nd sentence of sec. 11 Art VI No member shall be questioned
nor be held liable
in any other place for any speech or debate in the
congress or in any committee

A complaint or a petition or some other kinds of a pleading or a

motion filed in courts or quasi-judicial bodies or statements made
in the course of judicial proceeding.
(It is absolutely privileged regardless of defamatory tenor and of
the presence of malice if the same are relevant, pertinent or
material to the cause in hand or subject inquiry. In view of this, a
judge, lawyer or witness does not incur the risk of being found
in a criminal prosecution or an action for the recovery of
Qualified privileged communication
A private communication made by any person to another in the
performance of any legal, moral or social duty.
A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments
or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official
proceedings which are not of confidential in nature, or of any
statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings or of
any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their
4. Prescription
Under Article 1147 of the Civil Code of the Philippines specifically
declares that libel suits, criminal or civil, can be filed only within
one year. Beyond that period, it can no longer be acted upon.
This is also supported by Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code
that states the same time frame within which a criminal
complaint for libel may be filed.