Philippines Defamation: Laws and Standards

picture of Manila to accompany information about Philippines defamation laws

Philippines Defamation: Definition

Under Article 353 of the Philippines Revised Penal Code, libel is defined as “a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance tending to cause dishonor, discredit or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.”

As is in the in nearly every other country, in the Philippines, slander is spoken defamation and libel is written defamation.

Philippines Criminal Defamation

Article 358 of the Philippines Revised Penal Code allows for criminal defamation, which means people found guilt of the offense can find themselves behind bars.

Depending on the circumstances, plaintiffs can file both civil and criminal defamation charges over the same event.

Defenses for Defamation in the Philippines

Similar to most democracies around the world, truth is a viable defense for slander and libel under Philippines defamation laws. “Fair reporting” also qualifies.

Similar to the United States, intent plays a role in Philippines slander and libel lawsuits. Plaintiffs who can prove that their respective defendants  purposefully published or broadcast false information, have a better shot at winning.

Miscellaneous List Of Things That Affects Philippines Defamation Standards

  • Freedom of expression is codified under Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
  • Philippines courts cannot charge non-resident defendants with criminal defamation.
  • Corporations cannot be charged with criminal defamation.
  • The statute of limitations for libel is 1 year, and six months for slander.