What Is Oral Defamation?

reputationThe crime is oral defamation if the libelous remarks were not printed. Oral defamation is the malicious act of spreading untrue statements about someone, with the intention to harm.  Like in libel, the victim need not hear the slander. It is sufficient that the slanderous remarks be made publicly, or that there other persons who have heard such remarks.

One very good example is the plain act of gossiping. It may be considered as oral defamation if insulting and offensive facts are made against the victim; however, if there is no such imputation, then there is only a cause of action for a civil case of intriguing against honor.

Oral defamation may be slight, or grave. In the latter case, the remarks should be of a serious and insulting nature. The gravity of the oral defamation can be determined by several factors, such as: expressions used, the personal relations of the accused and the offended party, the circumstances surrounding the case, social standing and the position of the offended party. By taking into consideration, all or some of these circumstances, the court can determine whether the oral defamation is only slight or if it is grave.

Example of Grave oral Defamation

On March 30, 1993, the Supreme Court decided the case of Amelia Lorbis vs. People of the Philippines, GR. No. 104189. In this case, Amelia shouted, within hearing distance of several persons this statement to the victim: “You are a cheat, a dishonest teacher, you are dead hungry, an old person with gray hair, dull, dirty, I will have you salvage(d) by Dodong Amora.” She was convicted of grave oral defamation, but she claimed that she should only be held liable for slight oral defamation.

Taking into consideration special circumstances, the Supreme Court ruled that Amelia is liable for grave oral defamation. The victim was 61 years old and he has been a public school teacher for 32 years. These circumstances have qualified the offense into grave oral defamation, and it cannot be reduced to simple oral defamation by the claim that the slanderous words were said in the heat of anger.

Self-defense in oral defamation may only be invoked if his reply is made in good faith, without malice, is not necessarily defamatory to his assailant and is necessary for his explanation or defense.

What Are The Other Forms Of Swindling?

Pretending to be the Owner of any Real Property

Any person who pretends to be the owner of any real property and conveys, sells, encumbers or mortgages the same shall be liable for swindling.

In this situation, the offender must be a person who represents himself to be the owner of an immovable property, then he performs acts of ownership over the property, such as selling, mortgaging, leasing or encumbering the property. The acts performed shall be injurious to the real owner of the property.

The immovable property should be real and existing, otherwise the offense committed is already estafa by deceit.

Selling a Real Property when It is Already encumbered, Although the Encumbrance is not Recorded

If a real property is already encumbered, or is already subject to certain obligations, and it was still sold by any person who represents that the same is still free from any encumbrance, and because of the misrepresentation and sale of property, anyone was damaged, then there is swindling.

For example, Jose owns a house that is already mortgaged as a security to his loan to a bank. Jose needed money so he sold the house to Mario, and Jose did not tell Mario that the house is mortgaged. The act of Jose of representing that the house is free from encumbrance and his subsequent act of selling the same may cause damage to either the bank or Mario. If damage occurs, then Jose should be liable for swindling.

In this case, what should be sold is a real property, because if it is a personal property, then it is an offense under another provision of law.

Wrongful taking of personal property from a lawful possessor

In this kind of swindling, the owner of the personal property is the offender. Although he owns the property, he cannot outright take it from the lawful possessor without any valid reason, especially if the taking will result to damage to the possessor or to any other third person.

To illustrate, Mary owns a car and she let Susan lease it for a year. Within one year, Susan is the lawful possessor of the car and Mary cannot wrongfully take the car from Susan within such period because to do so may cause damage to any third person or to Susan.

Of course, wrongful taking of the property should not be with violence or intimidation, because if it was then the crime committed was robbery, or in Mary’s case carnapping.

Executing a Fictitious Contract

If anyone makes a fictitious contract and as a result anyone is injured or damaged by it, then the person who executed the fictitious contract shall be liable for swindling.

Accepting any Compensation for Services not Actually Rendered

“No one shall be enriched at the expense of another” – thus, as a result, no one should receive anything when he knows for a fact that he is not supposed to receive it. For example, Kris cannot receive a salary for a work which she has not performed because that would be unfair to her employer. If she accepts, and lies about her work, then she may be liable for swindling.

Selling of Real Property when the Same is Mortgaged or Encumbered as a Guarantee for the Fulfillment of His Obligation as Surety

In this situation, the offender is a surety of a bond given in a criminal or civil action who used his real property to guarantee the fulfillment of his obligation. If he sells, mortgages or encumbers the real property without the express authority from court, or it was made before the cancellation of his bond, or before he is relieved from the obligation he has contracted, then he shall be liable for swindling.