No crime of internet libel under Revised Penal Code

Former Department of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez ruling dated 20 June 2009 said that there is no crime of internet libel under the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

According to the Resolution, Article 355 of the RPC specifically provides for the manner when libel can be committed which is by writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition or any similar means. When the RPC was enacted in 1932, the legislature did not intend to include internet communication as a means of committing libel because there was no computer or internet at that time. Thus, as ruled by the Supreme Court, the language of a penal statute cannot be enlarged beyond the ordinary meaning of its terms in order to carry into effect the general purpose for which it was enacted. Considering that posting of messages in the internet is not similarly situated with the items enumerated in Article 355 of the RPC, it cannot be considered as a criminal offense under the principle of ejusdem generis. Hence, the respondents in the case were not held liable for libel for there is no law that defines and punishes libel in the internet unlike newspapers, television and radio communications.

See attached scanned copy of the Resolution dated 20 June 2009 issued by former Department of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez

Philip Piccio Resolution Dated 20 June 2009