Electronic libel bill filed in Senate

Posted at 02/14/11 5:01 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A bill has been filed in the Senate pushing to penalize those who try to defame others through the use of electronic media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Senate Bill 2668, filed by Senator Manny Villar, moves to amend Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code by including libel committed through “electronic media such as but not limited to the Internet.”

He said laws are silent on libel through electronic media.

His explanatory note reads: “The tremendous potential of the Internet has proved to be unimaginable for the Philippines. It has bridged information gaps and has opened infinite possibilities to people located even in the remotest areas in the country.”

He stressed this has introduced the so-called electronic libel or e-libel.

Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code provides that anyone found guilty of libel could face imprisonment of up to 6 years.

The Supreme Court, under the leadership of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, earlier directed courts to instead impose a monetary fine on the guilty rather than the often imposed imprisonment.