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In LIBEL, Truth is Not a Defense
Any of the imputations covered by Article 353 is defamatory and, under the general rule laid down in Article 354, 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. There is malice when the author of the imputation is prompted by personal ill-will or spite and speaks not in response to duty but merely to injure the reputation of the person who claims to have been defamed. Truth then is not a defense, unless it is shown that the matter charged as libelous was made with good motives and for justifiable ends. Article 361 of the Revised Penal Code provides, in part, as follows:
Art. 361. Proof of truth. — In every criminal prosecution for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the court and if it appears that the matter charged as libelous is true, and, moreover, that it was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the defendant shall be acquitted.
However, malice is not presumed and must, therefore, be proved, under the following exceptions provided for in Article 354, viz.:
1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral or social duty; and 2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks; of any judicial legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions.