G.R. No. L-17663 May 30, 1962
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. ISAURO SANTIAGO, Defendant-Appellee.
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellant.
CONCEPCION, J.:chanrobles virtual law library
The information herein alleges that defendant Isauro Santiago has committed the crime of "libel" as follows:
Defendant moved to quash this information upon the ground that the crime charged therein is, not libel, but oral defamation, which has already prescribed, it having been allegedly committed on October 5, 1959, or more than six (6) months prior to the filing of the information on August 11, 1960. The Court of First Instance of Manila granted this motion and, accordingly, quashed the information, with costs de oficio. Hence, this appeal by the prosecution.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The only issue in this case is whether the crime charged in the information is oral defamation, under Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code, or libel, under Article 355, in relation to Article 353, of the same Code. Said provisions read:
The prosecution maintains that "the medium of an amplifier system", thru which the defamatory statements imputed to the accused were allegedly made, falls within the purview of the terms "writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means", appearing in said Article 355, in the sense, at least, that in "amplifier system" is a means "similar" to "radio".chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
This pretense is untenable. To begin with, as correctly stated in defendant's brief, "radio as a means of publication is "the transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves without conducting wires intervening between transmitter and receiver" (Library of Universal Knowledge)" (see, also, 18 Encyclopedia Britanica, p. 285), "while transmission of words by means of an amplifier system", such as the one mentioned in the information, "is not thru "electromagnetic waves" and is with the use of "conducting wires" intervening between the transmitter . . . and the receiver . . . .chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Secondly, even the word "radio" used in said Article 355, should be considered in relation to the terms with which it is associated - "writing, printing, lithography, engraving . . . phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition or cinematographical exhibition" - all of which have a common characteristic, namely, their permanent nature as a means of publication, and this explains the graver penalty for libel than that prescribed for oral defamation. Thus, it has been held that slanderous statements forming part of a manuscript read by a speaker over the radio constitute libel (Sorensen vs. Wood, 243 N.W. 82, 82 A.L.R. 1109; Nules vs. Wasner, 20 P. [2d] 487, 104 A.L.R. 877), whereas the rules governing such offense were declared inapplicable to extemporaneous remarks of scurrilous nature, made ad libitum in the course of a radio broadcast by a person hired to read a prepared text, but not appearing thereon (Summit Hotel Co. vs. National Broadcasting Co., PA-124 A.L.R. 963).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
IN SHORT, the facts alleged in the information constitute the crime of oral defamation punished in Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code, which prescribed six (6) months after its commission, or on April 5, 1960 (Articles 90 and 91, Revised Penal Code), over four (4) months before the filing of said information, in view of which the order appealed from is affirmed, without special pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.
Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes and Dizon, JJ., concur.
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