SC upholds conviction vs blogger who accused Drilon of corruption
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the libel conviction against an Ilonggo blogger over his social media posts accusing Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon of corrupt activities.
In a resolution dated June 10, SC’s Second Division upheld the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) finding blogger Manuel Mejorada guilty of four counts of libel.
The appellate court’s decision affirmed with modification the earlier decision of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) sentencing Mejorada with imprisonment of two years and four months and one day, at the minimum, to four years and two months, at the maximum, for each count.
The sentence was to be served simultaneously.
According to SC, the prosecution was successful in establishing the elements of libel in Mejorada’s remarks.
“As correctly ruled by the CA, the elements of libel were sufficiently established by the prosecution,” the high court’s resolution reads.
“It was not necessary to establish that the publication was motivated by any malice since the articles were not privileged communication or fair comments; thus, malice is presumed,” it added.
SC also explained that Mejorada failed to “present any proof that the statements were based on established and documented facts,” thus, negating his claims that the comments were made in good faith.
“The Court did not remove the discretion of the trial courts to impose imprisonment if, under the circumstances, a fine was insufficient to meet the demands of substantial justice or would depreciate the seriousness of the offense,” the ruling further states.
Drilon, meanwhile, welcomed SC’s decision.
“We welcome the High Court’s decision. I have nothing else to leave behind except my reputation, so I am grateful for this favorable decision,” Drilon said. /kga
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