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Lawyer Kapunan indicted for slander over remarks vs UST law dean.

Lawyer Kapunan indicted for slander over remarks vs UST law dean !-- -- ( - May 29, 2019 - 6:36pm MANILA, Philippines The Department of Justice has indicted lawyer Lorna Kapunan for slander over her remarks against University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina.

Divina is also managing partner of Divina Law. In two separate resolutions, the DOJ indicted Kapunan for slander over her statements on the fatal hazing case against Aegis Juris Fraternity members and Patricia Bautista's disbarment case against Divina.

Patricia is the estranged wife of former Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista. The DOJ did not indict Kapunan on libel, but instead recommended filing slander charge against her.

State prosecutors pointed out that Kapunan was not the one who first published, exhibited or caused the exhibition of the alleged defamatory remarks through media. "Absent the element of publication, there could be no crime for libel or cyber libel," the resolution explained.

"[S]lander is libel committed by oral (spoken) means, instead of in writing. The term oral defamation or slander as now understood, has been defined as the speaking of base and defamatory words which tend to prejudice another in this reputation, office, trade, business or means of livelihood," it added.

Grave oral defamation

According to the DOJ, there was basis to charge Kapunan for the crime of grave oral defamation for the statements she made during her interview with ANC's "Early Edition" in September 2017 "considering the presence of all is elements." "Based on her interview, respondent [Kapunan] imputed that complainant [Divina] and his law office made humongous payments to then [Commission on Elections] Chairman Andres Bautista to sway him to act in their supposed client's favour," the DOJ said.

"The statements made by [Kapunan] during said interview were imputations of a crime which were made orally, publicly and maliciously and were all directed to the complainants," it added. The DOJ also said it found basis to charge Kapunan for her remarks in an October 2017 interview with ANC, as "it would appear that respondent imputed the commission or violation of the Anti-Hazing Law against the complainant by being the recruiter of Horacio Castillo and assuring the latter that there would be no physical activity or hazing.

" "The respondent also insinuated that complainant was obstructing the apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenders when he allegedly coddled the members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity members who participated during the hazing rites of Horacio Castillo when they went to the Dean's house," it added. Castillo was declared dead after incurring injuries from hazing rites of Aegis Juris Fraternity.

Divina is an alumnus of the fraternity. He, however, repeatedly claimed that he took a leave of absence from the fraternity when he assumed the deanship.

READ:UST law dean sets P120-M libel raps Ian Nicolas Cigaral with Kristine Joy Patag

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:May 29, 2019
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