adonis v republic of the philippines n.
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Adonis v . Republic of the Philippines. A synopsis. Article 19, section 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

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Article 19, section 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

“The exercise of rights are xxx subject to restrictions xx 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 xxx”


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 libel


General Comment 34 which states: “defamation laws must be crafted with care to ensure that they do not stifle xxx 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 xxx to avoid excessively punitive measures and penalties. State parties should consider the decriminalization of defamation

  • 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 xxx, 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 xxx.”

RajsoomerLallah, 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.”