MANILA (UPDATE) - The Supreme Court (SC) reinstated the ruling of a Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court (RTC) that dismissed the libel case filed by singer-actress Sharon Cuneta against the editor and associate editor of tabloid newspaper, Bandera.
In a 19-page decision by the 3rd Division penned by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta released to the media on Thursday, the high court reversed the Court of Appeals (CA) in giving the green light for the lower court to push through with the trial of Lito Bautista and Jimmy Alcantara.
The high court ruled that the actress “took a procedural misstep, and the view she is advancing is erroneous” because it should have been the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), not her, who should have appealed the lower court's decision. The high court said the petition before the appellate court should have been dismissed on this basis alone.
“[I]n criminal cases, the acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the case against him can only be appealed by the Solicitor-General, acting on behalf of the State…The capability of the private complainant to question such dismissal or acquittal is limited only to the civil aspect of the case.
“Respondent [Cuneta] lacked the personality or legal standing to question the trial court’s order because it is only the OSG who can bring actions on behalf of the State in criminal proceedings, before the Supreme Court and CA," the decision read.
The high court pointed out that the petition filed before the appellate court questioned the criminal aspect of the RTC order, not its civil aspect.
Cuneta sued Bautista, Alcantara and writer Pete Ampoloquio for an article written by Ampoloquio for Bandera in 2001. Cuneta alleged that the article maligned her reputation by claiming that she had treated a supporter of her husband, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, badly.