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.


  1. WON IAC erred in affirming CFI’s denial of Newsweek’s Motion to Dismiss for libel libel?
  2. WON the case is a class suit?


  1. 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.
  2. 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.