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In his Answer to a complaint, Atty. Jose (counsel for the defendant) stated that Atty. Agrada (counsel for the plaintiff) is “bobo, inutile, good for nothing, stupid, and a menace to clients.”
Can Atty. Jose be held criminally liable for libel? (1%)
(A) No, because an Answer to a complaint is a court pleading where communications made are privileged; the writer cannot be held liable for libel.
(B) Yes, because the statement casts aspersion on the character,integrity and reputation of Atty. Agrada as a lawyer and exposed him to public ridicule.
(C) Yes, although a court pleading is a privileged communication, malicious statements that are irrelevant and impertinent to the issue in the pleading may be libelous.
(D) Yes, there was a malicious intent to ridicule Atty. Agrada as a lawyer.
(E) No, because the statement is in a pleading, but Atty. Jose can be charged administratively for misconduct before the Supreme Court.