516 Phil. 72
If your husband can't show any proof of his makating dila then comply & if your husband can't understand this simple English dahil mangmang, dayukdok na galing sa isang kahig isang tukang pamilya at walang pinagaralan, illiterate, mal educado kaya bastos eh huag na niya kaming idamay sa kaniyang katangahan na alam na trabaho eh humawak ng grasa sa Saudi. Kaya iyong pambabastos mo at pagdudumi niya sa pangalan naming at higit pa siyang marumi at putang ina rin niya. Galing siya sa p... ng baboy at hindi sa p... ng tao. Huag niyang ikumpara ang pinangalingan niya sa pinangalingan namin. Siya ang magnanakaw at mandaraya. Malinaw na ibidensiya iyan kinalagyan ng hagdan ninyo, di ba lampas kayo sa lote ninyo. Pinalakad ninyo ang mojon para lumaki ang lote ninyo. Bago kayo magsalita mambintang ng kapitbahay ninyo, tignan ninyo muna ang sarili ninyo. Mas mukha pang magnanakaw ang asawa mo para malinaw.The second letter is a photo-copy of the first, but with the following addendum written in ink at the back page thereof which reads:
Ang tibay mo rin naman Mrs. Alejandro, makapal pa ang mukha mo at ikaw pa ang magpapablotter sa akin para pagtakpan mo ang maniac mong asawa. Kailan mo masasabi na pumasok sa bakuran mo para mamirhuesyo sa inyo. Tanga.The third letter, a photo-copy of Dolores' signed letter dated March 15, 1991, supra, to the Sub-Station 5 Commander of the BCP purportedly in reply to the statement given by Fe Alejandro to the police station on March 3, 1991, reads in part as follows:
The Sub Station CommanderIt is upon the foregoing factual backdrop that Dolores was charged with libel under four (4) separate informations filed with the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, docketed as Criminal Cases No. 8803-R, 8804-R, 8805-R and 8806-R and raffled to Branch 6 of the court.
Marcos Highway, B.C.
Dear sir:xxx xxx xxx
Allow me then to explain to you . . . why I call Mr. Alejandro a maniac. Pumasok siya sa lote ko sa garahe na naging shelter (temporary) namin ng pamilya ko pagkatapos ng lindol (3 weeks after) ng hatinggabi-lasing na lasing nakapaa, bukas ang zipper ng pantaloon nakayapak na walang sapin sa paa. Tulog na kami. We were awakened by the constant barking of my dogs. I have 3 native dogs but 1 was slaughtered by Mr. Cerelito Alejandro .... He is even a dog-napper. My Manang Louie can relate the incident since we were out of the country x x x. I don't trust him as my kapitbahay na bantay salakay. In simple tagalog magnanakaw ng aso para may malamon dahil takaw na takaw at walang maibili.
That on or about the 9th day of March, 1991, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, the above-named accused [Dolores Magno], with deliberate and malicious intent and evil motive of impeaching the reputation, virtue and integrity of CER[E]LITO T. ALEJANDRO, . . ., and with malicious intent of exposing the said Cerelito Alejandro to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, discredit and dishonor, without any justifiable motive, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously and criminally paint with brush in bold letters at the wall of the extension of her garage, the following defamatory words: "'HUAG BURAHIN BAWAL DUMAAN ANG SUSPETSOSA BASTOS AT MAKAPAL ANG MUKHA DITO LALO NA SA MANIAC AT MAGNANAKAW NG ASO KATULAD NI CERELITO", which aforesaid defamatory, malicious and libelous statements have been read by the public, when in truth and in fact said accused well knew that the allegations are false, untrue and malicious, thereby causing dishonor, discredit, ridicule or contempt against the said Cerelito Alejandro, to his damage and prejudice.On the other hand, the information in Criminal Case No. 8806-R reads:
That on or about the 15th day of March, 1991, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with deliberate and malicious intent and evil motive of impeaching the reputation, virtue and integrity of CERELITO T. ALEJANDRO, a person of good standing in the community, and with malicious intent of exposing the said Cerelito Alejandro to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, discredit and dishonor, without any justifiable motive, did then and there willfully and criminally prepare and write a letter in yellow pad paper addressed to herein complainant and his wife, Fe Alejandro, in an unsealed envelope, the following statements:Upon arraignment, Dolores, as accused, entered a plea of "Not Guilty" to each of the offenses charged in the four informations aforecited. Following a joint trial, the trial court rendered judgment on September 23, 1993, finding her guilty of libel in both Criminal Cases Nos. 8804-R and 8806-R and sentencing her to suffer imprisonment and ordering her to indemnify the offended party a certain sum as moral damages. In Criminal Cases Nos. 8803-R and 8805-R, however, she was acquitted. The decretal portion of the trial court's decision reads, as follows:"IF YOUR HUSBAND CAN'T SHOW ANY PROOF OF HIS MAKATING DILA THEN COMPLY & IF YOUR HUSBAND CAN'T UNDERSTAND THIS SIMPLE ENGLISH DAHIL MANGMANG, DAYUKDOK NGA GALING SA ISANG KAHIG ISANG TUKANG PAMILYA AT WALANG PINAG-ARALAN, ILLITERATE, MAL EDUCADO KAYA BASTOS EH HUAG NA NIYA KAMING IDAMAY SA KANIYANG KATANGAHAN NA ALAM NA TRABAHO E HUMAWAK NG GRASA SA SAUDI. KAYA IYONG PAMBABASTOS MO AT PAGDUDUMI NIYA SA PANGALAN NAMIN AT HIGIT PA SIYANG MARUMI AT PUTANG INA RIN NIYA. GALING SIYA SA PUKI NG BABOY AT HINDI PUKI NG TAO, HUAG IKUMPARA ANG PINANGALINGAN NAMIN. SIYA ANG MAGNANAKAW AT MANDARAYA. MALINAW NA IBIDENSIYA IYAN KINALALAGYAN NG HAGDAN NINYO, DI BA LAMPAS KAYO SA LOTE NINYO. PINALAKAD NINYO ANG MOJON PARA LUMAKI ANG LOTE NINYO. BAGO KAYO MAGSALITA MAMBINTANG NG KAPITBAHAY NINYO, TIGNAN NINYO MUNA ANG SARILI NINYO. MAS MUKHA PANG MAGNANAKAW ANG ASAWA MO PARA MALINAWwhich aforesaid defamatory, malicious and libelous words and statements have been read by the public, when in truth and in fact said accused well knew that the allegations are false, untrue and malicious, thereby causing dishonor, discredit, ridicule or contempt against the said Cerelito T. Alejandro, to his damage and prejudice.
WHEREFORE, Judgment is rendered as follows:Dissatisfied, Dolores went on appeal to the CA. In its Decision dated March 12, 1998, the appellate court affirmed in toto the judgment of conviction of the RTC. It likewise denied Dolores' motion for reconsideration in its Resolution dated May 20, 1998 for lack of merit.
- In Criminal Case No. 8803-R, the Court Finds that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt and hereby Acquits Dolores Magno of the offense of Libel as charged. Costs de oficio.
The bond of the accused in Criminal Case No. 8803-R is cancelled and discharged.
- In Criminal Case No. 8804-R, the Court Finds accused
Dolores Magno Guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Libel as charged and hereby sentences her to an imprisonment ranging from 3 months and 11 days of Arresto Mayor as Minimum to 1 year 8 months and 21 days of Prision Correccional as Maximum; to indemnify the offended party Cerelito Alejandro the sum of P5,000.00 as Moral Damages and the costs of suit.
- In Criminal Case No. 8805-R, the Court Finds that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt and hereby Acquits Dolores Magno of the offense of Libel as charged. Costs de oficio.
The bond of accused Dolores Magno in Criminal Case No. 8805-R is cancelled and discharged.
- . In Criminal Case No. 8806-R, the Court Finds accused Dolores Magno Guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Libel as charged and hereby sentences her to an imprisonment ranging from 3 months and 11 days of Arresto Mayor as Minimum to 1 year 8 months and 21 days of Prision Correccional as Maximum; to indemnify the offended party Cerelito Alejandro the sum of P5,000.00 as Moral Damages and the costs of suit.SO ORDERED.
Anent the first argument, it is not at all improbable for Rodelito to proceed to buy bread first before telling his father of the incident. The fact that he did not immediately go home and tell his father what he witnessed but instead proceeded first to the store is not an unusual behavior for this Court to speculate or doubt witness' credibility. As the records show, such maligning of Cerelito's person in public was not the first time for the [petitioner] had priorly (sic) made insulting writings on her garage wall. Thus, this second incident witnessed by Rodelito was no longer a surprise for him which could have immediately prompt (sic) him to report it to his father. (Word in bracket added.)Of little moment, too, is the minor variance in the respective testimonies of Rodelito and Cerelito on whether or not Cerelito was at his house in the eventful afternoon of March 9, 1991. Given Rodelito's positive assertion of what and who he saw at that time, the exact whereabouts of Cerelito hardly assumes any decisive significance. At any rate, there is no irreconcilable inconsistency between the testimonies of Rodelito and Cerelito. Cerelito testified that at the time Dolores was making the writings on the wall, he was at the upper portion of their house, for which reason, Rodelito probably was not able to see him when he went out to buy bread. But lest it be overlooked, the cited inconsistency between the testimonies of father and son are not of such materiality to overturn the positive identification of Dolores as the author of the writing on the wall in question. In fact, we have previously held that minor discrepancies or inconsistencies in the declarations or testimonies of witnesses do not affect, but even enhance their credibility for they remove any suspicion that the testimonies were contrived or rehearsed. What is important is that the testimonies agree on essential facts and substantially corroborated a consistent and coherent whole. What the CA said in this regard commends itself for concurrence:
Anent the second and third arguments where [petitioner] faults Rodelito's testimony as suffering from material inconsistencies, the same, if any, merely refers to minor points which do not detract from the credibility of his testimony. What is relevant is the fact that Rodelito saw the [petitioner] write the insulting writings and that he afterwards informed his father about it. Well-settled is the rule that inconsistencies and contradictions which are minor, trivial and inconsequential cannot impair, and on the contrary, serve to strengthen the credibility of the witness. (Word in bracket added)This brings us to Dolores' conviction in Criminal Case No. 8806-R where she insists on the absence of the element of publication so vital in the prosecution for libel. To be liable for libel under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code, the following elements must be shown to exist: (a) the allegation of a discreditable act or condition concerning another; (b) publication of the charge; (c) identity of the person defamed; and (d) existence of malice.
Inasmuch, therefore, as Cerelito voluntarily disclosed the contents of Dolores' libelous letter to Evelyn, the act of publication cannot be ascribed to Dolores insofar as Evelyn is concerned. However, it could not be said that there was no publication with respect to Cerelito's wife, Fe. While the letter in question was addressed to "Mr. Cerelito & Fe Alejandro," the invectives contained therein were directed against Cerelito only, as shown below:
Direct Examination: FISCAL CENTENO: Did you read the contents of the letter? A Yes, sir. I read it after my brother had read it. Q And what did you find out? A Damaging words.  CROSS EXAMINATION BY ATTY. AGRANZAMENDEZ Q On March 15, 1991 at 12:20 P.M., as you said, you were called by Mrs. Magno, is that correct? A. Yes, sir. Q And she handed an envelope, is that correct. A. Yes, sir. Q And she told you to give this envelope to your sister-in-law? A Yes, sir. Q And because her instruction to you was to give the envelope to your sister-in-law, you did not open the envelope yourself, correct? A No, I did not, sir. Q But when you got to your house, your sister-in-law was not there, is that correct? A. Yes, sir. Q And that is the reason why you gave it instead to your brother, correct? A. Yes, sir. Q Between the time that Mrs. Magno gave you that envelope up to the time you gave it to your brother, you yourself did not open it, correct. A. Yes, sir.  RE-DIRECT EXAMINATION BY FISCAL CENTENO Q So, madame witness, all in all how many documents were read by Cerelito Alejandro when you handed this envelope, Exhibit "F"? A He read all the letters. COURT: (To witness) Q How about you? A I also read all the letters. Q Are you saying that after your brother read those letters you read them also? A. Yes, sir Q Your brother handed them to you? A I asked permission from him and he said, yes. Q Does he always allow you to read his private letters? A This is the only letter which he allowed me to read. 
Mr. Cerelito & Fe AlejandroWriting to a person other than the person defamed is sufficient to constitute publication, for the person to whom the letter is addressed is a third person in relation to its writer and the person defamed therein. Fe, the wife, is, in context, a third person to whom the publication was made.
xxx xxx xxx
Reason: In retaliation and stupidity of Mr. Cerelito Alejandro accusing us of being corrupt & magnanakaw in the Bu. Of Forestry I am going to sue in due time for Oral Defamation & other moral damages, stealing my dog para lamunin nang asawa mo.
If your husband can't show any proof of this makating dila then comply & if your husband can't understand this simple English dahil mangmang, dayukdok na galing sa isang kahig isang tukang pamilya at walang pinagaralan, illiterate, mal educado kaya bastos eh huag na niya kaming idamay sa kaniyang katangahan na alam na trabaho eh humawak ng grasa sa Saudi. Kaya iyong pambabastos mo at pagdudumi niya sa pangalan naming at higit pa siyang marumi at putang ina rin niya. Galing siya sa puki ng baboy at hindi sa puki ng tao. Huag niyang ikumpara ang pinangalingan niya sa pinangalingan namin. Siya ang magnanakaw at mandaraya. Malinaw na ibidensiya iyan kinalagyan ng hagdan ninyo, di ba lampas kayo sa lote ninyo. Pinalakad ninyo ang mojon para lumaki ang lote ninyo. Bago kayo magsalita mambintang ng kapitbahay ninyo, tignan ninyo muna ang sarili ninyo. Mas mukha pang magnanakaw ang asawa mo para malinaw.
Anent the second assigned error, [petitioner] contends authorship of the unsigned letters was not proven. This contention is bereft of merit. As keenly observed by the Solicitor General, said letters were positively identified as written by [petitioner] by reference to the contents thereof which are reiterations of her previous writings on the walls of her garage and her letter to the police. Moreover, the testimony of Evelyn that said unsealed envelope came from the [petitioner] remain unrebutted. Therefore, it appears that there would be no other conclusion except that [petitioner] was the author of the subject letter. (Words in bracket added.)In all, we find all the elements of libel to have been sufficiently established. Accordingly, the ascription of reversible errors on the part of the CA and the trial court in adjudging Dolores guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of libel cannot be sustained.