Payment Of Debt

Payment is one of the ways to extinguish a debt. According to Article 1233 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines, “[a] debt shall not be understood to have been paid unless the thing or service in which the
obligation consists has been completely delivered or rendered, as the case may be.” Thus, stated simply,
a borrower, in case of monetary obligation, can only say that his debt has been paid if he has already
paid in full the amount that he has borrowed from the lender, and this includes the interest therein.

To better understand “payment”, take note of the following:

Who – it should be clear who pays who. The borrower and the lender are the original parties in
a loan contract, so it should be the BORROWER who will pay the LENDER. However, there may
be instances when a third person comes into the picture to either help the BORROWER in paying
the debt, or receive payment on behalf of the LENDER. In either case, these third parties should
be agreed upon by the parties – it should be included in the terms of the parties’ agreement.

What and How – it should be understood what the BORROWER will pay the LENDER with. For
instance, the parties agree that the loan of the borrower in the amount of P100,000.00 will be
paid by him with groceries amounting to One Hundred Thousand. If this is the case, it is only
when the borrower is able to give the lender one hundred thousand worth of groceries that his
debt is extinguished, unless the parties later on agree to modify the terms of payment.

Where – Payment shall be made in the place agreed upon by the parties. If there is no
agreement, then the payment shall be made in the domicile of the borrower.

For better protection of their rights, both the borrower and lender should understand the concept of
payment. If there are still some confusion regarding “payment”, lawyers should be ready to assist the

What Is Libel?

A crime against honor, Libel is committed when the offender publicly and maliciously accuses another of a crime, or a vice or defect, whether it is real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance. The accusation should be directed at a person, whether living or dead, and it must cause the dishonor, discredit or disrespect of such person. Libel may be in writing or printed media, otherwise, the crime committed is oral defamation.

If the offensive accusation of the offender tends to induce other persons to think that the victim is guilty of the offenses accused of, or tends to impeach his honesty, virtue of reputation, or tends to make the victim open to public mockery, then the words uttered by the offender makes him liable for libel. What the offender really means is not important anymore, what matters is how the public understands what he has said.

Every accusation, if it tends to defame another, is presumed to be malicious even if it is true. However, such presumption may still be rebutted. If in case the accusation is true, he may present proof of truth when the act or omission charged is a crime, or when the offended party is a government employee. In this case, the proof of truth must be positive and it must be direct evidence upon which a definite finding may be made by the court. Other defenses which an offender may raise are: 1) the accusation was made with good intention and 2) that there really is a justifiable motive for making it.

Guidelines when several persons are defamed

If the defamation is made on different occasions or by independent acts, there are as many crimes of libel as there are persons directly addressed with such statements.

For example, if Sarah maliciously wrote an article on different occasions she and let her neighbors read that Marie is an adulterer; one time was during Sarah’s birthday and another a month after that, then Sarah is liable for two counts of libel.

However, if the defamation is made in a single occasion, and the libel is addressed to several persons, there will only be one count of libel unless each of the victims can be identified in the same libel. If the offended parties in the libel were distinctly identified, even though the libel was made in a single occasion, there will be as many libels as there are persons dishonored.

For instance, in an article where the offender maliciously accused the “doctors of ABC Hospital” as unprofessional, then the offender may only be liable for only one libel because these particular doctors regarded as unprofessional are not specifically identified. However, if the article states that “all the doctors of ABC Hospital – the chief surgeon, Dr. A, and Dr. B are unprofessional”, then there will be three counts of libel because each doctor dishonored is identifiable. In order that one malicious accusation may be considered as having dishonored more than one person, all of those persons must be identified.

However, it should be noted that in libel, the victim need not be expressly identified. It is sufficient that there is a possibility that he could be identified because implications and suggestions may also be a basis for prosecution of libel.