Thursday, October 26, 2006

Kuwentong barbero

We just came from my barber, Judel. He has been our barber for more than five years already.
For me and my son, he is the best hair trimmer.
I've had only two main stay barbers all my life.
In Dumaguete City, my barber was Junior Sering, of Piapi. He belongs to a family of barbers, starting with his father. His siblings also earn their living in the barber shop.
When I came to Manila, naturally I had to look for another main stay to regularly trim my hair.
I am used to maintaining only a single barber. For me, a barber's services are personal. I cannot just have a hair cut by just anybody.
Judel may not be the best barber. But he knows very well how to maintain my hair.
Ever since I transferred to Manila, I sport a short hair, almost semi crew cut. It is for practical purposes.
I don't want to keep on combing my hair.
Having short hair means saving a lot of grooming time.
Anyway, Judel my barber charges the barber's rate at only P70. I pay a hundred pesos (US$2) including the tip.
This is quite cheap, compared to the others, specially the gay hair stylists.
I don't go to gay hair cutters because they're sophisticated and ritualistic. I just want a simple hair cut. That is what I am used to.
One thing I like about Judel is that he does not impose, unlike many of those in hair salons who think they know better, without finding out their client's need and preference.
Sadly though, Judel is just waiting for his travel papers.
He married an American citizen who was his province mate in Pampanga. They married here and have sired a child.
So pretty soon he will be off to Nevada where he will join his wife who works in a casino.
Barbers in America are expensive. When I was there, the charge was $10 or P500 per hair cut.
What a differrence.
Aside from hair trimming, Judel also does massage. It would be easier for him to get a life there in America I'm sure.
My son and I soon would have to look for another personal hair caretaker. That wouldn't be so easy.
But that's life.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

SC cites "Grand deception" in cha cha petition

Cha Cha petition junked;
‘Grand deception,’ SC says

By a hairline, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition seeking to revise the 1987 constitution via a people’s initiative.
By a vote of 8-7 majority, the high court ruled that the Commission on Elctions did not commit a grave abuse of discretion when it denied the pleas of “Sigaw ng Bayan,” advocates for charter change via people’s initiative to revise the charter.
The Supreme Court through its writer, Mr. Justice Antonio Carpio, articulated the main reason for dnying the petition of pro-charter change advocates, Sigaw ng Bayan.
In many ways, the Supreme Court ruled the constitutional requirements to conduct such change in the constitution were not complied with.
Such non-compliance is fatal, the Supreme Court said.
The constitutional requirements in order to have a valid peoples’ initiative is spelled out in the 1987 Constitution.

Non-compliance with requirements fatal

There were at least two main instances where the Supreme Court found out that the requirements for a valid petition were not complied with.
First, the text of the propose changes to the constitution was not attached to the signature sheets. Thus there is no evidence that the people, the signatories saw what these proposed changes were.
Second, the Supreme Court ruled that a peoples’ iniaitive can only amend a constitution, not revise it. The high court in its decision categorically declared a wide distinction between a revision and a mere amendment.
Under the constitution, a change in the constitution through a peoples’ initiative can accommodate only amendments.
The Court said: “there is no doubt whatsoever that the Lambino Group’s initiative is a revision and not an amendment. Thus, the present initiative is void and unconstitutional because it violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution limiting the scope of a people’s initiative to “[A]mendments to this Constitution.”

Grand deception

Remarkable in the decision were the frank, brutal and no-holds-barred language employed by the high court through its ponencia, which strongly criticized the petitioners for the “deceptive” tactics employed in undertaking the process of peoples’ initiative.
The Surpeme Court castigated Atty Raul Lambino, the petitioner and his group Sigaw ng Bayan for deceiving 6.3 million Filipinos, even the entire nation for their misrepresentations.
The Supreme Court found that petitioner Atty. Lambino and his group mis-represented by leading the Filipinos to believe that the proposed changes would require the holding in 2007 of elections for the regular Parliament simultaneously with the local elections.
The truth is that “the members of the interim Parliament will decide the expiration of their own term of office,” the high court said. The Supreme Court described the petitioners’ act as a “grand deception”.
That is why it is required that the signature sheets must be accompanied by the actual changes to be proposed, which the proponents failed to do.
The Supreme Court also chided the petitioners for their “less than candid” and belated claims that they “printed and circulated, together with the signature sheets, the petition or amended petition” containing the proposed changes to the constitution.
The Supreme Court did not mince words in chiding the petitioners for their deceptive tactics. The Court said: “An initiative that gathers signatures from the people without first showing to the people the full text of the proposed amendments is most likely a deception, and can operate as a gigantic fraud on the people.”

Some questions for The Equalizers

As I am listing some questions, the vigilantes in Dumaguete City have reportedly vowed they will wipe out all drug pushers in the city.
I am just curious about this style of dispensing justice. I don't know much about its philosophy.
And since these vigilantes have maintained communication links with local officals like the city mayor and reportedly the governor (I heard they're text-mates), I hope The Equalizers will also take time to answer these sincere questions (mainly on their operational aspects) by an ordinary Dumagueteno:

01. How do you choose your targets for extrajudicial killings? What is your basis in choosing your targets?
02. What is the process of selection (of targets) that you follow?
03. Do you target peddlers of all kinds of illegal drugs, or sellers of only a specific type of illegal drugs?
04. Are sellers of shabu your only targets? What about sellers of marijuana? What about sellers of high-end drugs like Ecstasy?
05 Do you also target owners and operators of pharmacies or drug stores illegally selling (under the table, below the counter) regulated drugs like expectorants, Rubitusin, etc?
06. Do you also target sellers of herione or coccaine being marketed to the wealthier breed of drug users?
07. Do you intend to compensate those innocent civilians who are inadvertently hit by your operations, or do you regard them as collateral damage?
08. Why did you choose "drug pushers" as your targets?
09. Do you intend to strike also at perpetrators of other types of crimes like smugglers, currupt government officials, tax evaders, and other white-collar criminals?
10. Which of the different "drug pushers" are your targets, the big-time wholesaler or the petty retailers or resellers? Or do you distinguish?
11.Have you killed any big-time wholesaler of shabu? (If you kill these big-time wholesalers who are the source, you will spare the lives of these petty retailers. It will save you a lot of bullets and other expenses, don't you think?)
12. Who is financing your operations?
13. Are you sure your backers are not rival big-time drug pushers who just want to take over the territory? Or who will just later fill the void that you created?
I hope we can be enlightened with answers to these questions. Vigilantism is something new for many of our people, including myself.
Perhaps if the public is enlightened, they might just support House Speaker Jose De Venecia's campiagn to revise the Constitution, and repeal the due process, and the presumption-of-innocence clauses in our constitution.
Or we might just repeal the entire bill of rights.
Who knows?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Vigilante killings as tourist attraction: Why not?

Vigilante extrajudicial killings in Dumaguete City are unabated.
Local officials seem helpless in purging this lawlessness.
Some Dumaguetenos even welcome this brand of instant justice.
So why not make vigilante extrajudicial killings a tourist attraction for the city?
This should be a highly potential tourist attraction.
I undertand local tourism movers are cracking their heads trying to determine what Dumaguete City can offer, something that is unique.
Imagine, the rest of the civilized world are advocating for respect for human rights and observance of due process.
But here is a city that is experiencing executions of presumed guilty criminals in the streets.
This should be something interesting for the people coming from all corners of the globe.
Local tourism promoters should invite visitors to witness how viginlantism and extrajudicial killings are being done.
Tourism promoters should print posters and sell Dumaguete as a "Land of Vigilante Killings" or the "Vigilante capital of the Philippines".
Local officials apparently are playing a blind eye to this spate of lawlessness, and have offered no solution.
It also seems there is a certain degree of public apathy to this brazen criminality.
So why not make money out of it?
According to reports, vigilantes, identifying themselves as "The Equalizers" are executing supossedly known drug personalities.
They have vowed to wipe out these illegal drug pushers.
The "Equalizers", not the courts, decide who to convict and who to kill.
But what would happen if all drug pushers in the city are exeterminated without the benefit of a trial? Will this spell the end of "vigilante tourism"?
No so.
The vigilantes can be requested to shift their targets to currupt public officials.
Surely, they will not run out of targets.
Seriously, as a Dumageuteno, seeing unstoppable vigilante killings in the city of gentle people, local officials making themselves appear as hopeless, a public that seemingly just shrug their shoulders....
Good Lord.
I just shake my head.

Dumaguete City, the Philippine's newest vigilante capital

Welcome to Dumaguete City, the country's newest capital for vigilante killings.
What used to be a city known for the gentleness of the breeze, and the general demeanor of its residents, is now fast making a mark as the country's next vigilante capital.
Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros Oriental in Central Visayas is the place where I grew up.
It used to be known as a "university town" mainly due to the number of universities and colleges that host thousands of students coming from different places in the Visayas and Mindanao.
There is the more than a hundred year old Silliman University, founded by American missionaries who aspired to spread Christian doctrines of love and peace.
Roman Catholic schools also abound in Dumaguete City like Saint Paul College which is also more than a hundred years old, Dumaguete Cathedral College, Don Bosco and others.
A privately owned school, Foundation University and a state-owned university, the Negros Oriental State University add to the bustling academic environment.
But lately, Dumaguete has lost its tag as a "university town."
It is fast becoming the newest capital for "vigilantism", succeeding the crown then worn by Davao City, and not too long ago, neighboring Cebu City.
Extrajudicial killings now pervade in the city.
There are the vigilantes freely roaming the streets of Dumaguete, and engaging on a killing spree of alleged "menaces" of society, principally the so-called peddlers of illegal drugs.
They call themselves the Equalizers. But as to what exactly they are trying to equalize, nobody knows, and the members do not care to explain.
They decide who are to be exterminated. They act as prosectuor, judge and executioner.
And just like Santa Claus at Christmas time, they're making a list, checking it twice, finding out whose naughty or nice.
But what can be gathered is that those who are killed extrajudicially, supposedly known in the city's drug underworld, are residents of the city's slum areas and not those from posh subdivisions and villages.
In short, the supposedly evil men who are exterminated like pests and condemned as such without the benefit of a trial are not the rich but are---you guessed it--- the poor again.
Apparently, killing the presumably evil men who are poor, andnot the presumably evil men who are rich, is their way to bring equality in society.
According to local news reports, their modus operandi is to straff and riddle their cased targets with bullets leading to their instant deaths, and the 'Equalizers' scamper, riding and then disappearing on motor bikes. These perpetrators usually wear bonnets to prevent people from identifying them.
They have become so bold that they have threatened to wipe out drug criminals in the city.
Amazingly, not a few residents from this supposedly highly educated and civilized community don't seem to bother.
Some even, are giving their stamp of approval. The local officialdom are seen to be projecting a hear-no-evil-see-no-evil attitude.
The attitude in the air seems to be "we'll it's ok, anyway its the presumably evil men who are being exterminated."
"Good riddance. Just don't kill the innocent," some reportedly say.
What is viewed by a multitude in the outside world as uncivilized, barbaric, outlandish, as it denies man's fundamental and cherished human right to due process, is apparently and ironically welcomed by a number of the locals.
It may even just be promoted as a tourism attraction, just as the local leaders there are looking for a unique tourist attaraction for Dumaguete City.
So if you want to experience a bizarre kind of instant justice, come and visit Dumaguete.
It's just an hour's plane ride from Manila.
Stay there for a few days (preferably on weekends), keep tuned to the local t.v. or radio for instant text-message announcements of a killing. Chances are, you may just witness vigilantism at its best.
If you are quick enough to get to the site of an extrajudicial killing, you will find a pool of blood, a lifeless body with several fresh gunshot wounds, and perhaps responding policemen who may arrive at the scene later than you.
With the unabated extrajudicial killings by messianic vigilantes, Dumaguete is "re-inventing" itself.
It's becoming a virtual killing field.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Makati Court sideshows

It has been a while since I have been practicing in different courts of Metro Manila.

I haved observed that it is in the Makati Courts where one can witness a lot of sideshows other than court-related practice.

There are political rallies now and then conducted right in front of the old Gusali ng Katarungan of Makati, where the courts, until very recently, were housed.

Presently, almost all courts are now housed at the new Makati city hall building.
Trivia: Usually, most buildings, out of superstition, do not label their thirteenth floors as such. Many believe 13 is an unlucky number. So the thirteenth floor is usually labeled the "14th" floor. But not at the Makati City Hall. The 13th floor is not denominated "14th" floor but the "33rd" floor. In the thirteenth level are the newly-transfered Metropolitan Trial Court. So, a litigant this morning asked that he be brought to the "33rd" floor because he had a court hearing. There is an elevator button for the "33rd" floor alright. But it takes you to the thirteenth level. Only in Makati.
Once, activists staged a lightning rally to protest the proceedings against Representative Crispin Beltran. His case was was being heard in a Makati sala.

Then I recently witnessed the (human) barricading of the Makati City Hall to prevent the ouster of their beloved Mayor Jejomar Binay, who was placed preventive suspension by Malacanang.

At one time, while attempting to file a pleading at the 12th floor of the Makati city hall where the Regional Trial Courts are housed, Binay's "yellow army", who are tasked mainly to maintain smooth traffic in the Makati streets, were converted into human barricades in front of the main door of the city hall.

It was a Friday and talks were rife that policemen were out to bodily remove Binay from city hall. So Binay's "yellow boys" stood ground, thus preventing people from entering the building.

It was a fiesta mood at city hall. There were singing, dancing on stage to entertain the rallyists guarding city hall.

Free food was flowing to keep the crowd "alive and kicking", in a manner of speaking.

When other non-Makati residents heard that food was being distributed free, they flocked to city hall, without knowing the reason why people were gathered in the first place.
How did I know they were not from Makati? They wore T-shirts that read: "Mahal namin si Mayor Lito Atienza."

DOJ's Gonzales should observe some ethics

It is sad to see how the justice secretary has contributed at lessening, if not eroding the peoples' confidence in the judiciary.
We read in the newspapers the secretary of the Department of Justice letting his mind out--- as usual--- to the media, saying the Supreme Court Chief Justice should shun the socials to avoid the powers that be who have pending cases and/or interests before the high court.
The justice secretary is quite off-tangent because instead of cuationing his principal client---the President---from issuing statements that might place the judiciary in an uncompromising situation, he instead aimed his sights at the highest magistrate in the land, giving him unsavory food for thought.
This is highly improper and unethical for a lawyer who heads one of the government's prime legal departments, the Department of Justice, and who handles the most influential client---the President.
We can understand the President for making those akward statements in the presence of the magistrates, even if, in legal circles, this is something technically contemptible.
The President in her speech said the government is determined to push for charter change.
There is a pending case before the Supreme Court involving proposals for a peoples' initiative to change the constitution.
The President is not a lawyer, thus apparently she might not have fully grasped the implications of her statements on the peoples' perception of our legal system.
The President is the most powerful person in government. Decency should have reigned, and dictated that she restrain hereself from issuing statements about matters pending before the high court.
The President received criticisms for her remarks before the Global Forum on Liberty and Prosperity, a gathering of local and foreign magistrates led by Canadian Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and sponsored by the Philippine Supreme Court.
In a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer Senator Richard Cordon was quoted as saying "It's an attempt to give her view to the Supreme Court... It's not in good taste,''
But what is despicable is the action of the President's legal adviser, the justice secretary.
The justice secretary should have advised or cautioned the President that her actions may be perceived at trying to influence the judiciary. Or worse, such actions may erode the peoples' confidence in the country's legal system.
Lawyers are governed by canons of professional responsibility in the practice of their profession.
The justice secretary may have entangled himself with certain basic ethical precepts.
For instance, under the very first canon it states:
Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.
This is part of the justice secretarys obligation to society, as stated in Canon 1 that "A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.
Moreover, by failing to counsel the President about ethics and propere decorum specially in matters that are sub-judice, the justice secretary is answerable to canon Rule 13.03 - "A lawyer shall not brook or invite interference by another branch or agency of the government in the normal course of judicial proceedings."
The justice secretary is better off counseling her client---not the chief justice---in compliance with the canons of professional responsibility.
It's smacks of arrogance.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

In libel, truth is a defense

The prevailing belief is that truth, in libel is a defense.
It conforms to the biblical assurance that "the truth shall set you free."
If one looks at the common-law based libel statute, its says that every defamatory imputation is presumed malicious, even if it be true, if no good motive or jusitifable intentions is shown.
Thus, the old concept in libel is that truth does not matter in libel. Even if one speaks the truth, if it is defamatory and without good intentions, he can still be punished.
Contrary to the belief of many libel complainants, press freedom is not so much about elicitng the truth than it is to protect the people's right to self expression and self-governance.
Press freedom doctrines recognize that the search for truth can be so diffificult such that the constitutional guarantee on press freedom concerns itself to protect the journalists right to publish.
Errors of fact, meaning untruths, are protected in defamation cases, particuarly those that involve political or public speech.
The United States Supreme Court in New York Times Co. versus Sullivan gave the reason behind this belief: Erroneous statement is inevitable in free debate, and that it must be protected if the freedoms of expression are to have the "breathing space" that they "need . . . to survive.
Neither "factual error" nor "defamatory content" suffices to remove the constitutional shield from criticism of official conduct, said the Supreme Court.
The issue therefore in libel and defamation cases, at least in so far as public defamation is concerned, is a determination as to the existence (or non-existence) of (actual) malice, rather than the truth or falsity of the statement.
Of course, this goes without saying that truth leads to absolution.
In other words, when truth is spoken, even if it is defamatory and malicious, the writer or speaker is excused.
This is what the United States Supreme Court said in Garrison versus Louisiana: If upon a lawful occasion for making a publication, he has published the truth, and no more, there is no sound principle which can make him liable, even if he was actuated by express malice
The Supreme Court here validated what was declared in a very old case decided in a New Hampshire court, in State v. Burnham, 9 N. H. 34, 42-43, 31 Am. Dec. 217, 221 (1837).
Yet this is a bold statement that sends shockwaves to the traditional belief that in order to be insulated from libel, one must not only speak the truth, but must do so with good intentions and justifiable motives.
But the United States Supreme Court in Garrison versus Louisiana said speaking the truth by itself, and nothing more, is a justifying circumstances that excuses one from any liability for libel.
The Surpeme Court said: "It has been said that it is lawful to publish truth from good motives, and for justifiable ends. But this rule is too narrow. If there is a lawful occasion - a legal right to make a publication - and the matter true, the end is justifiable, and that, in such case, must be sufficient."
So as to the question: In libel, is truth a defense?
The answer, is yes.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rosenbloom vs. Metromedia Inc.

The judicial travails in defamation cases took the United States Supreme Court further.
In New York Times versus Sullivan, the actual malice standard was galvanized as the applicable rule in defamation cases involving public officials in relation to their ofifical conduct. In the same year, the U.S. Supreme Court applied the actual malice doctrine in criminal cases in Garrison vs. Louisiana.
In 1967, the actual malice doctrine was held applicable to public figures, and not just public officials in a divided court in Curtis Publishing Co. vs. Butts.
The next case the U.S. Supreme ruled upon was a case involving plainitffs who were neither public officials nor public figures, but private individuals.
There was a seeming trend to provide greater accomodations to press freedom as the Supreme Court introduced a new standard, which is the public interest standard.
In the case of Rosenbloom vs. Metromedia Inc. (1971) the Supreme Court applied the actual malice standard regardless of the status of the plainitff, as long as the matter involved was one of public interest.
This became a highly controversial case, in view of the very wide latitude accorded to the press in defamation cases.
But more significantly, the Rosenbloom case in the United States would be relevant to later defamation cases decided by the Philippine Supreme Court, which I will discuss later.
See below my digest of this important (significant to Philippine defamation laws) case.
Rosenbloom v Metro Media, Inc.
403 U.S. 20
June 7 1971

In 1963, petitioner was a distributor of nudist magazines in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Respondent Metromedia’radio station, which broadcast news reports every half hour, broadcast news stories of petitioner Rosenbloom’s arrest for possession of obscene literature and the police seizure of "obscene books," and stories concerning petitioner's lawsuit against certain officials alleging that the magazines he distributed were not obscene and seeking injunctive relief from police interference with his business. These latter stories did not mention petitioner Rosenbloom’s name, but used the terms "smut literature racket" and "girlie-book peddlers." Following petitioner's acquittal of criminal obscenity charges, he filed this action seeking damages under Pennsylvania's libel law.
Whether the New York Times' knowing-or-reckless-falsity standard applies in a state civil libel action brought not by a "public official" or a "public figure" but by a private individual for a defamatory falsehood uttered in a news broadcast by a radio station about the individual's involvement in an event of public or general interest

The actual malice standard applies.
If a matter is a subject of public or general interest, it cannot suddenly become less so merely because a private individual is involved, or because in some sense the individual did not "voluntarily" choose to become involved.
The public's primary interest is in the event; the public focus is on the conduct of the participant and the content, effect, and significance of the conduct, not the participant's prior anonymity or notoriety. The present case illustrates the point.
The community has a vital interest in the proper enforcement of its criminal laws, particularly in an area such as obscenity where a number of highly important values are potentially in conflict: the public has an interest both in seeing that the criminal law is adequately enforced and in assuring that the law is not used unconstitutionally to suppress free expression. Whether the person involved is a famous large-scale magazine distributor or a "private" businessman running a corner newsstand has no relevance in ascertaining whether the public has an interest in the issue. We honor the commitment to robust debate on public issues, which is embodied in the First Amendment, by extending constitutional protection to all discussion and communication involving matters of public or general concern, without regard to whether the persons involved are famous or anonymous.

Garrison vs. Louisiana

Just as the United States Supreme Court handed down the actual malice standard in New York Times Co. versus L.B. Sullivan in 1964, in that same year, it was confronted with the issue as to whether the actual malice standard should be applied in criminal libel. The New York Times ruling, it is noted, was a civil case for damages.
In Garrison versus Louisiana, decided in November 1964, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the actual malice standard is to be applied in criminal libel.
Here is a little trivia. If you watched the Oliver Stone movie JFK, which starred Kevin Costner, it was Jim Garrison's character performed by Costner.
Jim Garrison was the Louisiana District Attorney who investigated and prosecuted Clay Shaw and others, on the theory that the assasination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy was a high-level conspiracy involving the of the CIA, anti-Fidel Castro Cuban exiles, homosdexuals and ultra-right wing activists.
So Jim Garrison is not a stranger to publicity and high profile cases. He is much better known as the person who spearheaded the only trial of the Kennedy assasination.
In this landmark defamation case, he got entangled with judges in Louisiana whom he strongly criticized for not releasing funds to help him in his anti-vice campaign as district attorney.
The judges sued him for criminal libel.
Garrison was convcited in the lower court. The state Supreme Court sustained the conviction where he was fined $1,000.
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed and rendered unconstitutional the Louisian criminal defamation statute.
Below is a digest I made of this landmark case.

Jim Garrison versus Louisiana
379 U.S. 64 (1964)
Decided on November 23, 1964

Appellant Jim Garrison, whose original name was Earling Carothers Garrison, was the District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana. During a dispute with the eight judges of the Criminal District Court of the Parish, he held a press conference at which he issued a statement disparaging their judicial conduct.

As a result, he was tried without a jury before a judge from another parish and convicted of criminal defamation under the Louisiana Criminal Defamation Statute. The principal charges alleged to be defamatory were his attribution of a large backlog of pending criminal cases to the inefficiency, laziness, and excessive vacations of the judges, and his accusation that, by refusing to authorize disbursements to cover the expenses of undercover investigations of vice in New Orleans, the judges had hampered his efforts to enforce the vice laws. In impugning their motives, he said:
"The judges have now made it eloquently clear where their sympathies lie in regard to aggressive vice investigations by refusing to authorize use of the DA's funds to pay for the cost of closing down the Canal Street clip joints . . . .
. . . . .
". . . This raises interesting questions about the racketeer influences on our eight vacation-minded judges."

A detailed history of his legal squirmishes with Louisiana judges has been recorded.

The Supreme Court of Louisiana affirmed the conviction.


Whether the New York Times actual malice rule also limits state power to impose criminal sanctions for criticism of the official conduct of public officials.

Should truth as a defense be negated on a showing of malice in the sense of ill-will?

Where criticism of public officials is concerned, we see no merit in the argument that criminal libel statutes serve interests distinct from those secured by civil libel laws, and therefore should not be subject to the same limitations.
Where the criticism is of public officials and their conduct of public business, the interest in private reputation is overborne by the larger public interest, secured by the Constitution, in the dissemination of truth.
We held in New York Times that a public official might be allowed the civil remedy only if he establishes that the utterance was false and that it was made with knowledge of its falsity or in reckless disregard of whether it was false or true. The reasons which led us so to hold in New York Times, apply with no less force merely because the remedy is criminal.
The constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression compel application of the same standard to the criminal remedy. Truth may not be the subject of either civil or criminal sanctions where discussion of public affairs is concerned. And since ". . . erroneous statement is inevitable in free debate, and . . . it must be protected if the freedoms of expression are to have the `breathing space' that they `need . . . to survive' . . .," only those false statements made with the high degree of awareness of their probable falsity demanded by New York Times may be the subject of either civil or criminal sanctions.
For speech concerning public affairs is
[379 U.S. 64, 75] more than self-expression; it is the essence of self-government.
Calculated falsehood however is not protected
The use of calculated falsehood, however, would put a different cast on the constitutional question. Although honest utterance, even if inaccurate, may further the fruitful exercise of the right of free speech, it does not follow that the lie, knowingly and deliberately published about a public official, should enjoy a like immunity. At the time the First Amendment was adopted, as today, there were those unscrupulous enough and skillful enough to use the deliberate or reckless falsehood as an effective political tool to unseat the public servant or even topple an administration. That speech is used as a tool for political ends does not automatically bring it under the protective mantle of the Constitution.
The New York Times rule is not rendered inapplicable merely because an official's private reputation, as well as his public reputation, is harmed.
The public-official rule protects the paramount public interest in a free flow of information to the people concerning public officials, their servants. To this end, anything which might touch on an official's fitness for office is relevant. Few personal attributes are more germane to fitness for office than dishonesty, malfeasance, or improper motivation, even though these characteristics may also affect the official's private character.
Applying the principles of the New York Times case, we hold that the Louisiana statute, as authoritatively interpreted by the Supreme Court of Louisiana, incorporates constitutionally invalid standards in the context of criticism of the official conduct of public officials.

The New York times Rule prohibits punishment for truthful criticism
For, contrary to the New York Times rule, which absolutely prohibits punishment of truthful criticism, the statute directs punishment for true statements made with "actual malice,"

Curtis Publishing Co. vs. Butts

In 1967, just barely three years after the United States Supreme Court promulgated the actual doctrine in New York Times Co. vs L.B. Sullivan, and as the shockwaves of this "revolutionary" rule were still sent accross the editorial rooms of newspapers in the United States, the high court was confronted with another press freedom issue.
The question raised was whether the actual malice doctrine should be expanded even to non-public officials, but whose influence and notoriety would equal that of public officials.
Thus in Curtis Publishing Co. versus Butts 388 U.S. 130 (1967), the Supreme Court tackled the issue as to whether the actual malice standard should be applied to public figures, a different class of plainitffs in defemation cases.
The Supreme Court ruled in the affirmative.

Below is a digest of the ruling in Curtis Publishing versus Butts.

Curtis Publishing Co. versus Butts
388 US 130 (1967).

Two different cases with striking similarity in circumstance prompted the court to treat them in a single decision.
The first case involved an article published in Curtis Publishing Company's Saturday Evening Post which accused James Wallace "Wally" Butts Jr., an athletic director of the University of Georgia, of “fixing” a football game between the University of Georgia football team and the that of the University of Alabama.
Butts here was employed by a private corporation and not by the State of Georgia. He had served as a football coach in the University and was well-known figure in the coaching ranks.
The defamatory article stated that Butts “rigged” a football match by revealing the game plan of the Georgia team.

The basis of the story was the testimony of a salesman who was able to overhear the conversation of Butts and another person to whom Butts purportedly “spilled the beans.” To this Wally Butts sued Curtis Publishing and was awarded compensatory and punitive damages. The case reached all the way to the US Supreme Court.
The second case, Associated Press vs. Walker, 389 U.S. 28 (1967) arose out of news dispatch released by the petitioner Associated Press, about a rioting in the University of Mississippi.

The dispatch stated that respondent retired U.S. Army General Edwin A. Walker, who was present during the event, took command of the violent crowd and personally led a charge against authorities. Walker was reported to have encouraged the rioters to use violence. The AP reported that Walker had “assumed command” of rioters at the University of Mississippi and “led a charge of students against federal marshals” when James H. Meredith was admitted to the university in September 1962. Walker alleged those statements to be false.
It was reported that "In the heat of the battle, an Associated Press reporter called the AP’s Atlanta bureau to report a famous man — retired U. S. Army General Edwin Walker — was giving technical advice on tear gas to the rebels. The general, he said, was leading and encouraging the charges at the Old Miss administration building. A bulletin was quickly teletyped. The story was published all over the world.
Walker was a private citizen at the time of the riot and publication. He had a career in the US Army before engaging in political activity. Walker was fairly deemed as a man of some political prominence.
Because of the news dispatch, Walker sued the Associated Press. Walker received a favorable verdict in a Texas state court, prompting the Associated Press to elevate the case all the way to the US Supreme Court.
In the High Court, Curtis and Butts and Associated Press in Walker raised constitutionals claims of the freedom of the press. Both argued that the actual malice doctrine in Sullivan should be extended to them.

Whether or not the actual malice standard is to be applied even to public figures.

Yes. The Actual malice standard is applicable to public figures.
A greater majority of five justices were of the opinion that defamation cases involving public figures as plaintiffs must be measured against the actual malice standard laid down in New York Times v. Sullivan.
In his concurring opinion, Mr. Chief Justice Warren adhered to the standard in the Sullivan, which is actual malice, even to cases involving public figures.
He reasoned out that there is no basis of differentiating between “public figures” and “public officials.” As a matter of fact, he explained, both types of plaintiffs are intimately involved in the resolution of important public questions, or by reason of their fame, shape events in areas of concern to society.
“Public figures” like “public officials,” often play influential role in ordering society. “Public figures” too, like “public officials” have ready access to mass media in order to influence or counter criticism.
On the basis of the pronouncements of the members of the US Supreme Court, it reveals the interpretations of the New York Times v. Sullivan ruling on the First Amendment was meant to apply not only to “public officials,” but also to “public figures.”

Meaning of Public Figure
The United States Supreme Court described public figures thus: Public figures are characterized as those who command a substantial amount of independent public interest.
Both commanded sufficient public interest and had sufficient access to the means of counter-argument to be able to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies of the defamatory statements.
A public figure has been defined as a person who, by his accomplishments, fame, or mode of living, or by adopting a profession or calling which gives the public a legitimates interest in his doings, his affairs, and his character. He is in other words a celebrity. It covers everyone who has arrived
at a position where public attention is focused upon him as a person

New York Times vs L.B. Sullivan

Perhaps, the case of New York Times versus L.B. Sullivan 376 U.S. 254 (1964) revolutionaized the constitutional concept of defamation. At the very least it spark a massive re-thinking on the central role of press freedom guarantees in in teh resolution of defamation cases, particularly those pertaining to public speech.
In a nutshell, the United States Supreme Court in the New York Times decision laid down a standard (rule) in defamation cases involving public officials pertaining to their official conduct.
The standard or rule prohibits public officials from recovering damages for defamatory falsehoods relating to their official conduct unless they (the public official) prove that the statement was made with actual malice, that is, with knowledge of their falsity or with reckless disregard as to whether or not it was false.
Here is adigest I made on the New York Times versus Sullivan case:

376 U.S. 254 (1964)
Argued January 6, 1964. Decided March 9, 1964.

Respondent L. B. Sullivan is one of the three elected Commissioners of the City of Montgomery, Alabama. He testified that he was "Commissioner of Public Affairs and the duties are supervision of the Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Cemetery and Department of Scales."

He brought this civil libel action against the four individual petitioners, who are Negroes and Alabama clergymen, and against petitioner the New York Times Company, a New York corporation which publishes the New York Times, a daily newspaper. Respondent's complaint alleged that he had been libeled by statements in a full-page advertisement that was carried in the New York Times on March 29, 1960, entitled "Heed Their Rising Voices," the advertisement began by stating that "As the whole world knows by now, thousands of Southern Negro students are engaged in widespread non-violent demonstrations in positive affirmation of the right to live in human dignity as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights." It went on to charge that "in their efforts to uphold these guarantees, they are being met by an unprecedented wave of terror by those who would deny and negate that document which the whole world looks upon as setting the pattern for modern freedom. . . ."
Of the 10 paragraphs of text in the advertisement, the third and a portion of the sixth were the basis of respondent's claim of libel. They read as follows:
Third paragraph:
"In Montgomery, Alabama, after students sang `My Country, 'Tis of Thee' on the State Capitol steps, their leaders were expelled from school, and truckloads of police armed with shotguns and tear-gas ringed the Alabama State College Campus. When the entire student body protested to state authorities by refusing to re-register, their dining hall was padlocked in an attempt to starve them into submission."
Sixth paragraph:
"Again and again the Southern violators have answered Dr. King's peaceful protests with intimidation and violence. They have bombed his home almost killing his wife and child. They have assaulted his person. They have arrested him seven times - for `speeding,' `loitering' and similar `offenses.' And now they have charged him with `perjury' - a felony under which they could imprison him for ten years. . . ."
Although neither of these statements mentions respondent by name, he contended that the word "police" in the third paragraph referred to him as the Montgomery Commissioner who supervised the Police Department, so that he was being accused of "ringing" the campus with police. He further claimed that the paragraph would be read as imputing to the police, and hence to him, the padlocking of the dining hall in order to starve the students into submission. As to the sixth paragraph, he contended that since arrests are ordinarily made by the police, the statement "They have arrested [Dr. King] seven times" would be read as referring to him; he further contended that the "They" who did the arresting would be equated with the "They" who committed the other described acts and with the "Southern violators." Thus, he argued, the paragraph would be read as accusing the Montgomery police, and hence him, of answering Dr. King's protests with "intimidation and violence," bombing his home, assaulting his person, and charging him with perjury.
It is uncontroverted that some of the statements contained in the paragraphs were not accurate descriptions of events which occurred in Montgomery.
Although Negro students staged a demonstration on the State Capitol steps, they sang the National Anthem and not "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." Although nine students were expelled by the State Board of Education, this was not for leading the demonstration at the Capitol, but for demanding service at a lunch counter in the Montgomery County Courthouse on another day. Not the entire student body, but most of it, had protested the expulsion, not by refusing to register, but by boycotting classes on a single day; virtually all the students did register for the ensuing semester. The campus dining hall was not padlocked on any occasion, and the only students who may have been barred from eating there were the few who had neither signed a preregistration application nor requested temporary meal tickets. Although the police were deployed near the campus in large numbers on three occasions, they did not at any time "ring" the campus, and they were not called to the campus in connection with the demonstration on the State Capitol steps, as the third paragraph implied. Dr. King had not been arrested seven times, but only four; and although he claimed to have been assaulted some years earlier in connection with his arrest for loitering outside a courtroom, one of the officers who made the arrest denied that there was such an assault.

What is the rule on liability for defamatory falsehoods upon public officials relating to their official conduct

The U.S. Supreme Court, through ponencia Mr. Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., ruled that the constitutional guarantees require a rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with "actual malice" - that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
Thus we consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.
Erroneous statement is inevitable in free debate, and that it must be protected if the freedoms of expression are to have the "breathing space" that they "need . . . to survive.
A rule compelling the critic of official conduct to guarantee the truth of all his factual assertions - and to do so on pain of libel judgments virtually unlimited in amount - leads to a comparable "self-censorship." Allowance of the defense of truth, with the burden of proving it on the defendant, does not mean that only false speech will be deterred.

Petitioners were not actuated by actual malice

As to the Times, we conclude that the facts do not support a finding of actual malice. The statement by the Times' Secretary that, apart from the padlocking allegation, he thought the advertisement was "substantially correct," affords no constitutional warrant for the Alabama Supreme Court's conclusion that it was a "cavalier ignoring of the falsity of the advertisement [from which] the jury could not have but been impressed with the bad faith of The Times, and its maliciousness inferable therefrom." The statement does not indicate malice at the time of the publication; even if the advertisement was not "substantially correct" - although respondent's own proofs tend to show that it was - that opinion was at least a reasonable one, and there was no evidence to impeach the witness' good faith in holding it.
Finally, there is evidence that the Times published the advertisement without checking its accuracy against the news stories in the Times' own files. The mere presence of the stories in the files does not, of course, establish that the Times "knew" the advertisement was false, since the state of mind required for actual malice would have to be brought home to the persons in the Times' organization having responsibility for the publication of the advertisement.
There was testimony that the persons handling the advertisement saw nothing in it that would render it unacceptable under the Times' policy of rejecting advertisements containing "attacks of a personal character"; their failure to reject it on this ground was not unreasonable. We think
The evidence against the Times supports at most a finding of negligence in failing to discover the misstatements, and is constitutionally insufficient to show the recklessness that is required for a finding of actual malice.

Sullivan was not mentioned; the ad couldn’t have referred to him

We also think the evidence was constitutionally defective in another respect: it was incapable of supporting the jury's finding that the allegedly libelous statements were made "of and concerning" respondent.
There was no reference to respondent in the advertisement, either by name or official position.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dealing with delayed flights

Habits are contagious. I hope this is not true with Cebu Pacific, the airline that I have become accustomed to flying. It should not rival its main competitor in terms of the number of delayed flights.
There is the other airline that has the unsavory trait of not following its schedule of departures. I hope Cebu Pacific is not following the example.
I am here in Cebu waiting for a flight back to Manila after a hearing in the Regional Trial Court this morning. My scheduled flight is 1630 hours (4:30 p.m.) on flight No. 5J 568.

It is delayed for more than two hours since its new schedule of departure is at 1900 hours (7:00 p.m.). I have been here at the airport since 2 o‘clock. I guess I will be stuck here for nearly five hours.

By the way, my flight this morning from Manila to Cebu was also delayed. It has been a double whammy in a single day.
I am putting quality in my idle time by preparing a pleading which I will file when I get back to Manila.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sim Lim

People will tell you that Singapore is a fine city because any violation there is slapped with fines.
But to me, Singapore is the Mecca of electronic gadgets because the prices of electronic items in Singapore are scandalously cheap.
And when you are in Singapore, the center of electronic shops are Sim Lim. There are two "Sim Lims" in Singapore, lest you be confused, like I was.
There is the Sim Lim Square and Sim Lim Towers. These are two electronic havens situated near each other. Take the Bugis MRT station, ask around, and Sim Lim Square is nearby.
The difference in prices of electronic shops between Singapore and your own place is dramatic.
For a digital camera, you will get one in Singapore that is around P10,000 (around S$300) cheaper than in Manila.
I came over to Sim Lim to buy a memory card for my digital camera. I ended up buying a fresh, new model.
It was near-hypnosis.
I wanted to buy just an upgrade for the memory card for my digital Olympus which I had bought in Manila more than two years ago.
I had a 128 mb and I wanted to upgrade it to 1 gig. Upgrading the memory card would allow my camera to shoot more pictures.
Unfortunately, the Olympus dealer at Sim Lim told me that the new crop memory card no longer supports my old, outdated digital camera. (Yet my camera was only two years old!)
There are no more memory cards that would allow an upgrade to my Olympus.
Eventually, I was convinced into buying the upgraded digital camera, rather than an upgraded memory card.
I bought the new camera because the price was obscenely low. It didn't provide a chance for me to say no.
It was only S$560 or roughly P17,000. While the older one I bought in Manila two years before was priced at almost P30,000. Who could say "no" to that?
I was thinking that the same Olympus model that I had just bought at Sim Lim would cost P10,000 more in the Philippines.
True enough, I went to a camera shop in Manila upon my return and the same model cost P28,000.
In Singapore, Sim Lim is a must-visit for electronic gadgets.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Luge

Something's new and cooking at Sentosa Island.
Its the Luge and the Skyride.
Sentosa Island is singapore's prime tourist destination. It is an island south of Singapore where literally bus loads of tourists flock each day. There are many sites to see.
But the newest attaction is the Luge. By paying S$5, one can ride and drive a one a scooter-type (sitting position) and roll down the slopes of the island for more than five minutes.
In going back up, one takes the skyride. So both rides complement each other.
Their marketing prop is: "Once is never enough!" You really want to ride over and over again.
Sentosa island is the venue of hte underwater world, and cable car, and the rotating platform that allows visitors to get a bird's eye-view of Sinagpore.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Singapore hostels are an eye opener

We dropped by a hostel for backpackers along Dunlop Street, just near the mecca for electronic items, Sim Lim Towers.
It was certainly an eye opener to learn how hostels for backpackers are being operated.
These hostels at Dunlop Street that we visited were the Innn Crowd and Fragrance Hostel which are located just near each other.
The rates are very affordable, it is indeed for visitors on the budget.
The rooms are dorm-style, with six double deck beds per room. The common showers and toilets are in cubicles.
Breakfast is free. Internet computers are free also.
Since it is a place to stay for those on a shoe string budget, aircondition is turned on from 5 p.m. to 11 a.m. the following day. It is expected that visitors go out and tour the city at daytime.
Hostels are distinct from what we know as pensionne houses in that hostels have that distinct personal touch.
The hosts take care of the personal concerns of ttheir visitors.
They also prepare some simple tours, give directions, offer lockers in case visitors want a secure place for their valuables.
At the Inn-Crowd, cost of the dorm fore ach person is S$18 or roughly equivalent to P550 per day.
Visit the Inn Crown on their very informative website at

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Orchard Road

Orchard Road is one of Singapore's main throughfares.
It is a busy street where you find a strip of shopping arcades, stalls and department stores.
We came over at rush time, around 4 p.m. and many of Singapore's executive workforce stroll along along the wide sidewalks and fill the malls.
There is an MRT station at Orchard so it is very accessible, not to mantion the different buses that pass by to drop and pick up passengers.
True, Singapore is a place many come to shop.
Be ready with the cash though, as the items at Orchard are not cheap.
The signature stalls abound in this main strip.
At Wisma Atria, the shops are those you find in malls in Manila. But I was told the Singaqpore branches have a lot more available items.
If you visit Singapore, Orchard Road is a place one shouldn't miss, if only to witness the vibrance of the shopping spirit of the place.

Ice Kachang

We savored Singapore's version of our halo-halo.
If the Philippines has the halo-halo, Singapore has their Ice Kachang.
It comes in many varieties or flavors, but with basic ingredients.
Ice Kachang is made up of finely crushed ice with different kinds of fruits, more or less the same kind which are placed in our halo-halo.
It also has syrup and milk.
The fruits are placed first on the bowl before it is covered with a mountain of crushed ice. The colored syrup then is poured on the several portions of the slopes of ice.
The last is the mango topping poured at the top of the heap of ice which slides down to the foot of the mountain of ice.
You can order a variety of toppings like mango topping or corn toppings, among others.
The ice kachang with mango topping, which is poured after all the ingredients are in place already, was most delicious.
Ice kachang costs S$2.20 or a little less than Php70. The cost rises a little depending on the toppings chosen.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hazy Malaysia

Its a little after midnight here at the Sunny Spring condo, so its actually Tuesday already. We came from Kuala Lumpur and it was all hazy, due to the fire coming from Indonesia. Here was how we travelled to "Malysia truly Asia" from Singapore.
We booked a bus at the Lavender MRT station which is also the starting point of the bus journey.
Ticket for a bus seat costs S$28 or roughly P840. This is not the cheapest nor the most expensive, but this was the price we got from the Lavender station.
It was a five hour trip from the Lavender Station in Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.,
By the way, Singapore, roughly the size of Siquijor island, is just south of Malaysia.
Both nations are connected by a bridge. So one can travel from Singapore to Malaysia, and vice versa via bus.
From Lavender Station, passengers get off in Singapore to have their passports stampped by Singapore immigration. Then we alighted back to the bus until we reach Johar Bahru (Malays call it "J.B."). We alighted from the bus again to have our passports stamped (entry) to Malaysia.
Then it is relatively comfortable bus ride all the way to Kuala Lumpur.
The significant structure that identifies Kuala Lulmpur is the Petronas twin towers which used to be the tallest buildings in the world. It is also famous because it was the location of the movie "Entrapment" which starred Cathrine Zeta Jones and ex-James Bond Sean Connery.
We only had a few hours in Kuala Lumpur as we decided to head back to Singapore on the same day.
We took the 12:30 p.m. bus at the Puduraya bus station.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Paya Lebar

We are staying here at our cousin Ella and Marnie's condo unit at Guillemard Road, at Lorong and Geylang.
The nearest MRT station in our place as the Paya Lebar station. But we need to first take the bus to go to the MRT.
We just came from church for the 10:30 mass. Yesterday, we went to the Singapore Zoo.
We took almost a hundreds digital pictures. But it was all erased.
I wonder what illness our Olympus camera is suffering from.
Amnesia I suppose.
Then we went to Clark Quay where Ella and Marnie treated us for dinner. We ate at that restaurant beside the Singapore river that offers chilli Sri Lankan king crabs as their main specialty.
Then we breezed into Chinatown where our friend John Lee tried to trace his roots. China town offers many souvenir items to be brought back home.
We also looked for Chinese dress for Joshua for his upcoming United Nations activities in his school.
Today, Sunday we plan to visit Sentosa island and perhaps proceed to Kuala Lumpur.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wee hours in Singapore

Its 2:30 a.m. Saturday. We just arrived from the Changi airport, after a three hour flight from Manila. I am trying to avail of the wireless fidelity facility Marnie, my cousin Ella's boyfriend, so I can continue blogging and do some internet-related work. John Lee's laptop isn't connecting to the web, and he suspects it has got something to do with his subscription with pldt We Roam.
I'll blog about the Lion City later.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cebu Pacific Air on line booking

Cebu Pacific's on line booking at allows a passenger to purchase ticket much earlier than the flight date at cheaper prices.
Cebu Pacific's advice is to book as early as possible, as the rates are cheaper, compared to buying tickets on or shortly before the flight date.
The gimmick seems to be, the earlier you book, the cheaper the price.
But this is not correct at all times.
In my case, I booked a flight from Manila to Cebu many months before the scheduled trip.
I was happy because when I booked it, it was cheapest at P568 excluding the surcharges.
The total price for the one-way, Manila-Cebu ticket cost me P1,800.
However, just two months before the flight date, Cebu Pacific introduced a promo where the lowest price, excluding the surcharge was at P199.
Including the other charges, the total cost of the ticket for the same date was only at P1,197.
I could have saved P600 had I bought the ticket two months before the flight date.
Thus, even if I had booked and bought a ticket on-line many months earlier, it didn't necessarily mean I bought it at the cheapest price.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

In libel malice is presumed generally

Our libel law seems weird.
By reading the criminal libel law, it would seem that truth has got nothing to do with libel.
The law says: Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown.
It would seem that even if you speak the truth, your defamatory statement is presumed malicious.
Why is a defamatory imputation presumed malicious?
The reason is that our law is very protective of one's private reputation.
Honor is a man's prized possession, it is said. The law needs to protect it.
If one person defames, or speaks ill of another, like calling another a robber, killer, womanizer, etc., it is presumed malicious.
The reason according to our Supreme Court, is because of the constitutional guarantee that presumes a person innocent until proven otherwise.
Every person is presumed to be innocent.
Therefore, if one accuses another of being a thief, it should be presumed malicious because the person accused of being a thief is still innocent, until and unless he is really convicted in court of being a thief.
Until that happens, a person is innocent and therefore, no one can go around accusing him of being a thief.
If an accuser does that, he must be the one to prove, not only the truth (that the person he defames is a thief), but also his good intentions of making the accusation.
But this rule, that every defamatory imputaiton is presumed malicious-- does not apply to the press and some ranking government men in specific situations.
The law itself makes this exception. The press therefore has this legal privilege.
The rule does not apply if the press makes a fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks of government proceedings, or official acts of public officials. This is called "privileged communication."
The rule also does not apply if a journalist or any person will make a fair comment on matters of public interest, like those comments affect the state of affairs of government. This is called the doctrine of fair comment.
The rule also does not apply in any private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal moral or social duty.
This third exception, does not concern journalists because the communication involved is private.
An example of the third privilege is when a company supervisor makes an inter-office memorandum that reports an employee of committing anomalies in the company.
These privileges are called "privileged communication"
The communication is privileged because it is outside the general rule that every defamatory imputation is presumed malicious.