While I do think that libel laws in the Philippines can be very excessive yet one can’t deny this one — libel must still remain criminally liable in certain cases. While I don’t agree with the libel clause of the cybercrime law where it says that people can be sued for SIMPLY sharing, commenting and posting. While there shouldn’t be room for onion-skinned people, I think certain libel cases need to be relaxed but there are some cases of libel that should still remain as a criminal offense.
Why I’m writing this is because of the current incident with CRappler and what it did to Filipino-Chinese businessman Wilfredo Keng. Was this a very act of antagonism because CRappler didn’t like said person? The problem wouldn’t lay so much on CRappler badmouthing him but the damage that it caused. I believe that libel should just be ignored unless it has caused severe dishonor, discredit or contempt towards a natural person, or to malign the memory of the dead with a malicious lie. The very act wasn’t just a mere insult — it already placed his life in danger. If the public just ignored it for years then I don’t think Keng should sue. Apparently it did considering the popularity that CRappler had for many years until its true colors resurfaced after the Noynoy Aquino Administration.
When I do think courts should accept libel cases or even jail those guilty of it? It has to be when there’s really damage proven. If someone was just a silly naysayer and nobody believed said person then that person can be left to rant until he or she grows tired of it. But what I’m talking about is collecting damages caused by libel — especially if it’s done by big time media websites or those who are paid to ruin someone. These damages should be defined such as said libel had caused danger to one’s life or deprived one of livelihood. Need I mention that if the person guilty of cyberlibel is guilty of cyberbullying (such as calling his or her peers to gang up on someone) then the more that could be used against said person. If no damage occurred then the the law shouldn’t allow people to sue for puny reasons. Reserve suing someone for libel only when damage happens.
Please remember that suing is meant to collect damages not to prevent them. If there was no damage then it’s best to drop the case as it will only incur expense. But if said libel actually harmed one’s business or threatened one’s life (but there must be proof too) then it should no longer be considered as simple libel. Instead, it should be filed as libel that involves harassment and bullying.