Woman faces libel over FB post

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Sunday, July 27, 2014


SOCIAL networking sites are widely used for posting messages, photos and videos. But beware of what you post because it might come back and haunt you.

One Facebook user in Cebu may be learning this lesson the hard way after government prosecutors indicted her of libel for posting allegedly malicious statements on her account.

Cebu City Assistant Prosecutor Ricky Jones Macabaya found evidence to indict Anne Grace Nagy for posting messages accusing another woman of conspiring with other people to kill her mother in exchange for money.

Nagy was indicted after she failed to submit her counter-affidavit.

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“In this case, all the elements of the crime of libel are present. The evidence clearly shows the statements posted by Nagy on her Facebook account are defamatory words directed against the complainant,” read Macabaya’s three-page resolution.

The complainant - Leonora Nacua - sued Nagy and Theresa Lacaron for libel before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office. 

Nacua said she saw last Jan. 1 the messages of Nagy on her Facebook alluding to her as one of those who “arranged the plot to kill” the respondents’ mother to extract money from her.

Nagy is the live-in partner of Nacua’s brother.

The post caused the complainant sleepless nights, eventually landing her in the hospital due to high blood pressure, the complaint read.

In the resolution, Prosecutor Macabaya also dismissed the complaint against Lacaron since she is not the author of the allegedly libelous statement posted on Facebook.

In February, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, including online libel.

But only original authors of libelous material are covered by the cybercrime law, and not those who merely received or reacted to it.

Negative comments

Quoting cyber law expert Jose Jesus Disini Jr., the ABS-CBN News website earlier reported that a Facebook user could be charged with libel if he posts negative comments in his account and sends it to at least two people. 

“That’s enough to meet the standard for publication in libel,” ABS-CBN.com reported, quoting Disini, a University of the Philippines law professor.
 
The report, citing the 1958 Supreme Court ruling in People vs. Silvela, said that even an unsealed envelope containing libelous statements constitutes libel.(GMD)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 27, 2014.

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