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MODULE 5 Proof of knowledge of and participation in the publication is not

V. ESSENTIAL LEGAL CONCEPTS required, if the accused has been specifically identified as “author,
STARE DECISIS editor, or proprietor” or “printer/publisher” of the publication.
Fermin v. People Petitioner was not only the “publisher,” but also the “president” and
G.R. No. 157643 28 March 2008 “chairperson.” Petitioner’s criminal guilt should be affirmed,
Nachura, J. whether
FACTS: or not she had actual knowledge and participation.
On complaint of spouses Annabelle Rama Gutierrez and Eduardo The elements of libel were present.
Gutierrez, 2 criminal informations for libel were filed against 1) Evident imputation of the crime of malversation (converting
Cristinelli money for personal use), of vices or defects for being
Salazar Fermin and Bogs C. Tugas before the Regional Trial Court fugitives from the law (evading prosecution in America) and
of Quezon City. of being a wastrel
Fermin was charged being the publisher of “Gossip Tabloid” while 2) Attribution made publicly. Gossip Tabloid had a nationwide
Tugas was editor-in-chief. circulation.
The June 14, 1995 headline and lead story of the tabloid says that it 3) The victims were identified and identifiable.
is improbable for Annabelle Rama to go to the US should it be true 4) The article reeks of malice, as it tends to cause the dishonor,
that she is evading her conviction in an estafa case here in the discredit, or contempt of the complainants.
Philippines for she and husband Eddie Gutierrez have more 5) Malice in law - the article was malicious in itself; the
problems/cases to confront there. This was said to be due to their, imputations were false.
especially Annabelle's, using fellow Filipinos’ money, failure to 6) Malice in fact - there was motive to talk ill against
remit complainants during the electoral campaign as Fermin is a
proceeds to the manufacturing company of the cookware they were close friend of Eddie's opponent in the Congressional race.
selling and not being on good terms with the latter. While complainants are considered public figures for being
The Court of Appeals acquitted Tugas on account of nonparticipation personalities in the entertainment business, media people do not
but Fermin's conviction was affirmed. have the unbridled license to malign their honor and dignity by
Fermin's motion for reconsideration was denied hence, this petition. indiscriminately airing fabricated and malicious comments, whether
She argues that she had no knowledge and participation in the in broadcast media or in print, about their personal lives.
publication of the article, that the article is not libelous and is Note: CA erred in acquitting Tugas, he being the editor-in-chief. But
covered the SC cannot reinstate the ruling of the trial court convicting Bogs
by the freedom of the press. Tugas because with his acquittal by the CA as that would run afoul
Whether or not Cristy Fermin is guilty of libel. (YES) of his constitutional right against double jeopardy.
HELD/RATIO: