Birds of Prey
I. Background of the Case
On October 30, 1908, a certain newspaper, El Renacimiento, was said to have printed, published and circulated an article which showed the tendency to injure the reputation of Dean C. Worcester who was at that time, an official of the Republic of the Philippines. Martin Ocampo, Teodoro M. Kalaw, Lope K. Santos, Fidel A. Reyes, and Faustino Aguilar were the responsible persons for the said publication. Printed in both Spanish and Tagalog languages in the city of Manila, the article was said to have exposed Worcester to public disgust, disrespect, and ridicule.
II. Elements of Libel Evident in the Case
It is defined as the communication that tends to hurt a person's reputation. The words used can be classified as ‘per quod’ which are indirect, ironic or metaphoric. This article served as an instrument to degrade the personality of the complainant. He (complainant) was exposed to public humiliation.
Even though the writer used symbolisms in the said article, still third persons/ readers could easily identify who was being defamed. For example, in the passage: “Presenting himself on all occasions with the wrinkled brow of the scientist who consumes his life in the mysteries of the laboratory of science, when his whole scientific labor is confine or dissecting insects and importing fish eggs of this country were less nourishing and less savory, so as to make it worth the replacing them with species coming from other climes.” At that time, it is obvious that the complainant, Dean C. Worcester, has supervision and control of the Bureau of Science of the Government of the Philippine Islands and is widely known as a man devoted to the study of science and that he has the capacity and caused the Philippine Islands fish eggs to be imported, for the purpose of stocking the mountain springs.
Malice in fact was present in the case. In an instance given by the court, the...
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