Adonis v. Republic of the Philippines

A synopsis
Article 19, section 3 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
“The exercise of rights are x x x subject to
restrictions x x but these shall be provided by
law and are necessary: (a) for respect for the
rights of others; (b) protection of national
security, or of pubic order x x x”
Adonis argued that criminal libel is not a
reasonable restriction because under the
Revised Penal Code, truth is not a complete
defense. He also argued that the penalty is
not proportional to the aim which the law
professes possess – the protection of the
privacy of private individuals -- since there is
an alternative sanction in the form of civil
General Comment 34 which states: “defamation laws must
be crafted with care to ensure that they do not stifle x x x
freedom of expression. All such laws should include such
defenses such as defense of truth and they should not be
applied with regard to those forms of expression that are
not, of their nature, subject to verification. At least with
regard to comments about pubic figures, considerations
should be given to avoiding penalizing or otherwise
rendering unlawful untrue statements that have been
published in error but without malice. In any event, a
public interest in the subject matter of the criticism should
be recognized as a defense. Care should be taken x x x to
avoid excessively punitive measures and penalties. State
parties should consider the decriminalization of
Committee ordered the Philippine
Government to provide Adonis with “an
effective remedy including adequate
compensation for the time served in prison.”
UN body declared that the Philippines is “also
under an obligation to take steps to prevent
similar violations in the future, including by
reviewing the relevant libel legislation.”
Prof. Salvioli declared: “In the case at hand x
x x, the Committee has missed a clear
opportunity expressly and unambiguously to
indicate to the State party that it must change
its criminal law on defamation to make it
compatible with the Covenant x x x.”
Rajsoomer Lallah, moreover, echoed the
dissent of Prof. Salvioli and proposed that the
dispositive portion should have read: “The
State Party is also under an obligation to take
steps to prevent similar violations occurring
in the future, including reviewing in
pursuance of Article 2 paragraph 2, the
relevant legislation.”