Most common folks may easily get mixed up between slander and libel. Some may even use the terms interchangeably but the truth of the matter is, yes, they are different crimes that come with different punishments under the Philippine law.
A quick glance at an article by Atty. Marlon P. Valderama at E-Lawyers Online gives us an insight about what slander really is.
According to Atty. Valderama, Slander or Oral Defamation is different while Slander by Deed is entirely another matter.
As he shared, Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code tells us that slander is a punishable crime. The law reads:
“ART. 358. Slander. – Oral defamation shall be punished by arresto mayor (1 month and 1 day to 6 months) in its maximum period to pricion correctional (6 months and 1 day to 6 years) in its minimum period if it is of a serious and insulting nature; otherwise, the penalty shall be arresto menor (1 day to 30 days) or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos.”
The lawyer also pointed out that there are two types of Slander namely Simple Slander and Grave Slander. As the terms imply, Simple Slander is considered a light felony while Grave Slander has higher penalties.
Atty. Valderama quoted the Supreme Court case Villanueva v. People [521 Phil. 191 (2006)]., which specified “oral defamation or slander is the speaking of base and defamatory words which tend to prejudice another in his reputation, office, trade, business or means of livelihood. It is grave slander when it is of a serious and insulting nature.”
Slander by Deed, on the other hand, is when one person physically assaults another, such as in the case of slapping him or her on the face – which is also considered a crime.
Article 359 of the Revised Penal Code tells us: “Slander by deed – The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 1,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall perform any act not included and punished in this title, which shall cast dishonor, discredit or contempt upon another person. If said act is not of a serious nature, the penalty shall be arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos.”
Watch also the video on What is the valid grounds for Slander or Oral defamation:
video credit: YouTube/PTV