9/7/2018 G.R. No. 124491 1/4 Today is Friday, September 07, 2018 Custom Search Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 124491 June 1, 1999 ROQUE VICARIO Y MENDEZ, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. BELLOSILLO, J.: ROQUE VICARIO Y MENDEZ was charged with libel by the Provincial Prosecutor of Catarman, Northern Samar, with Judge Proceso Sidro of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Mondragon San Roque, Northern Samar, as complaining witness. According to the Information, the crime was committed when Vicario allegedly distributed and circulated in the vicinity of the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital in Catarman photocopies of page 7 of the 20 March 1992 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer which contained the following article 1 — SAMAR JUDGE WHO POCKETED BOND CHARGED WITH GRAFT OMBUDSMAN Conrado Vasquez yesterday filed with the Sandiganbayan graft charges against a Northern Samar judge who pocketed the P1,000.00 cash bond posted by a respondent in one of several cases pending in his sala. Charged was Judge Proceso Sidro of the Northern Samar municipal circuit trial court in Mondragon. Investigation showed that Sidro failed to deposit the cash bond with his clerk-of-court, and refused to return the money even after the accused who filed the bond was already acquitted in the case. Private complainant Sidro alleged that petitioner's act greatly prejudiced his reputation as a member of the bench and caused him great distress. Petitioner Vicario on the other hand disclaimed responsibility for the distribution of the alleged libelous article, at the same time asserting that the libel suit against him was ill-motivated for he had filed a criminal charge for graft and corruption against Judge Sidro before the Ombudsman and an administrative complaint for dishonesty with the Supreme Court, both due to the latter's unjustified refusal and failure to return petitioner's cash bond of P1,000.00. After trial, the court a quo found petitioner Vicario guilty of libel and sentenced him to pay a fine of P200.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. 2 The trial court justified its decision by declaring that while no evidence was presented to show that Vicario distributed copies of the news article to several persons, at least he gave one photocopy to prosecution witness Amador Montes which amounted to publication, and that this act was tainted with malice as it stemmed from Vicario's hatred, as evident from the manner his testimony was delivered, towards complaining witness Sidro. 3 On 28 February 1996 respondent Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court. 4 Hence, this petition for review on certiorari predicated on the following propositions 5 — First . The news item in question is a privileged matter and since it was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a nationally circulated newspaper, without any intervention of petitioner, his act of giving a
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 4 pages?
- Fall '16
- Dimphna Dulay
- Appellate court, Judge Proceso Sidro