G.R. No. L-63559 : May 30 1986
Topic: Class suit
- Private respondents filed a Complaint for damages for 1M. The criminal complaint for libel was filed separately against Newsweek.
- Private respondents, incorporated associations of sugarcane planters in Negros Occidental filed a case in their own behalf and/or as a class suit in behalf of all sugarcane planters in the province against Newsweek Inc. and two of their non-resident correspondents/reporters, Fred Bruning and Barry Came.
- The complaint alleged that petitioner committed libel against them by the publication of the article “An Island of Fear” in their magazine.
- The article supposedly portrayed the island as a place dominated by big landowners or sugarcane planters who exploited the impoverished sugarcane laborers and brutalized and killed them with impunity.
- They claim that the article showed a malicious use of falsehood, slanted presentation and misrepresentation of facts, putting them in a bad light
- They are comprised of 8,500 (number is complied with)
- Newsweek, is a foreign corporation who publishes weekly magazine, filed a Motion to Dismiss for libel.
- CFI Bacolod denied Newsweek’s Motion to Dismiss for libel libel.
- IAC affirmed CFI’s denial of Newsweek’s Motion to Dismiss for libel libel.
- WON IAC erred in affirming CFI’s denial of Newsweek’s Motion to Dismiss for libel libel?
- WON the case is a class suit?
- YES. IAC erred in affirming CFI’s denial of Newsweek’s Motion to Dismiss for libel.
- Private respondent’s Complaint for libel against Newsweek is dismissed.
- NO. The case not a class suit.
- They do not have common or general interest in the subject matter (each other’s reputation)).
- It is not a case where one or more may sure for the benefit of all. Or where the representation of class interest affected by the decree is indispensable to make each member an actual party.
- In this case, the plaintiffs, have separate and distinct reputation in the community. They do not have a common or general interest in the controversy.
- The disputed portion of the article that thet claim to be libelous never singled out plaintiff SOLA as a sugar planter. The report merely stated that the vicime has been arrested by members of special polic unit brought into the area by SOLA, the mayor of Kabankalan.
- The report, referring as it does to an official act performed by an elective public official, is within the realm or privilege ans is proteted by the constitutional guarantees of free speech and press.