In a report by GMANews.TV, former DSWD (now DOH) Secretary Esperanza Cabral, through the National Bureau of Investigation, has filed a libel suit against a blogger named “Ella,” who exposed some irregularities and alleged hoarding activities of the DSWD, at the height of the Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng relief efforts. On the one hand, some people believe that Cabral is right to sue Ella, if only because the practice of “exposing” irregularities and the expression of dissent and disagreement can sometimes be irresponsible. On the other hand, some people believe that the suit can set a precedent for the Government to muzzle the Internet.
Libel, as we all know, could – and should – be proven with one very important element: malice.
Malice is the exact opposite of one of the precepts that keep society orderly, harmonious, and civil: “do no harm.” Malice, at least in my view, is one of two things: 1) it is the deliberate intention to cause harm, and 2) it is to go about one’s gains recklessly such that harm is caused. A lot of criminality revolves around malice: causing harm, whether intentional or out of spite and recklessness, is to live in dishonor and not to give everyone his or her own due. That’s how dangerous malice is, and one reason why libel is difficult to prove.