Did Alex commit slander by deed?

Social media superstar Alex Gonzaga trended anew on Twitter when she smeared icing on the face of a waiter during her advance birthday celebration in Makati City on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023.

In the viral video, the unidentified waiter carried the birthday cake as Alex blew out the candle on it. Then Alex smeared icing on the face of the waiter while her husband Mikee Morada stood behind her.

Many netizens slammed the behavior of Alex. Others believed that popular vlogger was just playing another prank during the party. [1]

Legally speaking, the act committed by Alex Gonzaga upon the person of the waiter may be considered a Crime against the Honor of said waiter. The waiter may file a criminal complaint against her for the crime of Slander by deed.

WHAT IS SLANDER BY DEED?

Slander by deed is a crime against honor, which is committed by performing any act, which casts dishonor, discredit, or contempt upon another person. The elements are (1) that the offender performs any act not included in any other crime against honor, (2) that such act is performed in the presence of other person or persons, and (3) that such act casts dishonor, discredit or contempt upon the offended party. Whether a certain slanderous act constitutes slander by deed of a serious nature or not, depends on the social standing of the offended party, the circumstances under which the act was committed, the occasion, etc. It is libel committed by actions rather than words.

Here, when Alex Gonzaga jokingly smeared the icing on the forehead of the waiter in front of his friends and family, her act cast dishonor against the waiter. The waiter was ridiculed and subjected to contemptuous and dismissive behavior by Alex Gonzaga.

The penalty for slander by deed is provided under Article 359 of the Revised Penal Code,[2] to wit:

Art. 359. Slander by deed. – The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000) to One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000) shall be imposed upon any person who shall perform any act not included and punished in this title, which shall cast dishonor, discredit, or contempt upon another person. If said act is not of a serious nature, the penalty shall be arresto menor or a fine not exceeding Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000).

[1] Requintina, R. (2023, January 16). PRANK OR NOT? Alex Gonzaga smears icing on waiter’s face. https://mb.com.ph/2023/01/16/prank-or-not-alex-gonzaga-smears-icing-on-waiters-face/

[2] Article 359, Revised Penal Code.

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