Candidate for mayor DEFAMES opponent by writing OPEN LETTER to President; Guilty

Unfounded and malicious statements made by one against another in the course of an election campaign, or by reason of differences in political views are not per se constitutionally protected speech. Our laws on defamation provide for sanctions against unjustified and malicious injury to a person’s reputation and honor. Although wider latitude is given to defamatory utterances against public officials in connection with or relevant to their performance of official duties, or against public figures in relation to matters of public interest involving them, such defamatory utterances do not automatically fall within the ambit of constitutionally protected speech. If the utterances are false, malicious or unrelated to a public officer’s performance of his duties, the same may give rise to criminal and civil liability. (Brillante vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 118757 and 121571, 19 October 2004, 440 SCRA 541)