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CHAPTER IV – RIGHT TO PRIVACY Notably, there are also those who would want, like vandals, to wreak or cause

havoc to the computer systems and networks of indispensable or highly useful

DISINI vs SECRETARY OF JUSTICE institutions as well as to the laptop or computer programs and memories of
GR No. 203335, February 11, 2014 innocent individuals. They accomplish this by sending electronic viruses or virtual
dynamites that destroy those computer systems, networks, programs, and
These consolidated petitions seek to declare several provisions of Republic Act memories. The government certainly has the duty and the right to prevent these
(R.A.) 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, unconstitutional and void. tomfooleries from happening and punish their perpetrators, hence the Cybercrime
Prevention Act.
The cybercrime law aims to regulate access to and use of the cyberspace. Using his But petitioners claim that the means adopted by the cybercrime law for regulating
laptop or computer, a person can connect to the internet, a system that links him to undesirable cyberspace activities violate certain of their constitutional rights. The
other computers and enable him, among other things, to: government of course asserts that the law merely seeks to reasonably put order
1. Access virtual libraries and encyclopedias for all kinds of information into cyberspace activities, punish wrongdoings, and prevent hurtful attacks on the
that he needs for research, study, amusement, upliftment, or pure system.
2. Post billboard-like notices or messages, including pictures and videos, Pending hearing and adjudication of the issues presented in these cases, on
for the general public or for special audiences like associates, classmates, February 5, 2013 the Court extended the original 120-day temporary restraining
or friends and read postings from them; order (TRO) that it earlier issued on October 9, 2012, enjoining respondent
3. Advertise and promote goods or services and make purchases and government agencies from implementing the cybercrime law until further orders.
4. Inquire and do business with institutional entities like government ISSUES
agencies, banks, stock exchanges, trade houses, credit card companies, Petitioners challenge the constitutionality of the following provisions of the
public utilities, hospitals, and schools; and cybercrime law that regard certain acts as crimes and impose penalties for their
5. Communicate in writing or by voice with any person through his e-mail commission as well as provisions that would enable the government to track down
address or telephone. and penalize violators. These provisions are:
a. Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access;
This is cyberspace, a system that accommodates millions and billions of b. Section 4(a)(3) on Data Interference;
simultaneous and ongoing individual accesses to and uses of the internet. The c. Section 4(a)(6) on Cyber-squatting;
cyberspace is a boon to the need of the current generation for greater information d. Section 4(b)(3) on Identity Theft;
and facility of communication. But all is not well with the system since it could not e. Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex;
filter out a number of persons of ill will who would want to use cyberspace f. Section 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography;
technology for mischiefs and crimes. One of them can, for instance, avail himself of g. Section 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial Communications;
the system to unjustly ruin the reputation of another or bully the latter by posting h. Section 4(c)(4) on Libel;
defamatory statements against him that people can read. i. Section 5 on Aiding or Abetting and Attempt in the Commission of
And because linking with the internet opens up a user to communications from j. Section 6 on the Penalty of One Degree Higher;
others, the ill-motivated can use the cyberspace for committing theft by hacking k. Section 7 on the Prosecution under both the Revised Penal Code (RPC)
into or surreptitiously accessing his bank account or credit card or defrauding him and R.A. 10175;
through false representations. The wicked can use the cyberspace, too, for illicit l. Section 8 on Penalties;
trafficking in sex or for exposing to pornography guileless children who have access m. Section 12 on Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data;
to the internet. For this reason, the government has a legitimate right to regulate n. Section 13 on Preservation of Computer Data;
the use of cyberspace and contain and punish wrongdoings. o. Section 14 on Disclosure of Computer Data;
p. Section 15 on Search, Seizure and Examination of Computer Data;
q. Section 17 on Destruction of Computer Data;
r. Section 19 on Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data; said to be making a "spam." The term referred to a Monty Python’s Flying Circus
s. Section 20 on Obstruction of Justice; scene in which actors would keep saying "Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam" when
t. Section 24 on Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC); reading options from a menu.35
u. Section 26(a) on CICC’s Powers and Functions. The Government, represented by the Solicitor General, points out that unsolicited
Some petitioners also raise the constitutionality of related Articles 353, 354, 361, commercial communications or spams are a nuisance that wastes the storage and
and 362 of the RPC on the crime of libel. network capacities of internet service providers, reduces the efficiency of
commerce and technology, and interferes with the owner’s peaceful enjoyment of
RULING his property. Transmitting spams amounts to trespass to one’s privacy since the
Section 4 of the Cybercrime Law person sending out spams enters the recipient’s domain without prior permission.
Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses.– The following acts constitute the offense of The OSG contends that commercial speech enjoys less protection in law.
cybercrime punishable under this Act:
But, firstly, the government presents no basis for holding that unsolicited electronic
(c) Content-related Offenses: ads reduce the "efficiency of computers." Secondly, people, before the arrival of the
age of computers, have already been receiving such unsolicited ads by mail. These
(1) Cybersex.– The willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly have never been outlawed as nuisance since people might have interest in such ads.
or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the What matters is that the recipient has the option of not opening or reading these
aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration. mail ads. That is true with spams. Their recipients always have the option to delete
or not to read them.
(2) Child Pornography. — The unlawful or prohibited acts defined and punishable by
Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed To prohibit the transmission of unsolicited ads would deny a person the right to
through a computer system: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be (1) read his emails, even unsolicited commercial ads addressed to him. Commercial
one degree higher than that provided for in Republic Act No. 9775. speech is a separate category of speech which is not accorded the same level of
protection as that given to other constitutionally guaranteed forms of expression
(3) Unsolicited Commercial Communications. – The transmission of commercial but is nonetheless entitled to protection.36 The State cannot rob him of this right
electronic communication with the use of computer system which seeks to advertise, without violating the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.
sell, or offer for sale products and services are prohibited unless: Unsolicited advertisements are legitimate forms of expression.
(i) There is prior affirmative consent from the recipient; or
(ii) The primary intent of the communication is for service and/or Section 12 of the Cybercrime Law
administrative announcements from the sender to its existing users, Sec. 12. Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data. — Law enforcement authorities, with
subscribers or customers; or due cause, shall be authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means
(iii) The following conditions are present: traffic data in real-time associated with specified communications transmitted by
(aa) The commercial electronic communication contains a simple, means of a computer system.
valid, and reliable way for the recipient to reject receipt of further
commercial electronic messages (opt-out) from the same source; Traffic data refer only to the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date,
(bb) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely size, duration, or type of underlying service, but not content, nor identities.
disguise the source of the electronic message; and All other data to be collected or seized or disclosed will require a court warrant.
(cc) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely Service providers are required to cooperate and assist law enforcement authorities
include misleading information in any part of the message in order in the collection or recording of the above-stated information.
to induce the recipients to read the message.
The court warrant required under this section shall only be issued or granted upon
The above penalizes the transmission of unsolicited commercial communications, written application and the examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant
also known as "spam." The term "spam" surfaced in early internet chat rooms and and the witnesses he may produce and the showing: (1) that there are reasonable
interactive fantasy games. One who repeats the same sentence or comment was grounds to believe that any of the crimes enumerated hereinabove has been
committed, or is being committed, or is about to be committed; (2) that there are simply moving the physical location of their computers or laptops from day to day.
reasonable grounds to believe that evidence that will be obtained is essential to the In this digital age, the wicked can commit cybercrimes from virtually anywhere:
conviction of any person for, or to the solution of, or to the prevention of, any such from internet cafés, from kindred places that provide free internet services, and
crimes; and (3) that there are no other means readily available for obtaining such from unregistered mobile internet connectors. Criminals using cellphones under
evidence. pre-paid arrangements and with unregistered SIM cards do not have listed
addresses and can neither be located nor identified. There are many ways the cyber
Petitioners assail the grant to law enforcement agencies of the power to collect or criminals can quickly erase their tracks. Those who peddle child pornography could
record traffic data in real time as tending to curtail civil liberties or provide use relays of computers to mislead law enforcement authorities regarding their
opportunities for official abuse. They claim that data showing where digital places of operations. Evidently, it is only real-time traffic data collection or
messages come from, what kind they are, and where they are destined need not be recording and a subsequent recourse to court-issued search and seizure warrant
incriminating to their senders or recipients before they are to be protected. that can succeed in ferreting them out.
Petitioners invoke the right of every individual to privacy and to be protected from
government snooping into the messages or information that they send to one Petitioners of course point out that the provisions of Section 12 are too broad and
another. do not provide ample safeguards against crossing legal boundaries and invading the
people’s right to privacy. The concern is understandable. Indeed, the Court
The first question is whether or not Section 12 has a proper governmental purpose recognizes in Morfe v. Mutuc88 that certain constitutional guarantees work together
since a law may require the disclosure of matters normally considered private but to create zones of privacy wherein governmental powers may not intrude, and that
then only upon showing that such requirement has a rational relation to the there exists an independent constitutional right of privacy. Such right to be left
purpose of the law,79 that there is a compelling State interest behind the law, and alone has been regarded as the beginning of all freedoms. 89
that the provision itself is narrowly drawn.80 In assessing regulations affecting
privacy rights, courts should balance the legitimate concerns of the State against But that right is not unqualified. In Whalen v. Roe,90 the United States Supreme
constitutional guarantees.81 Court classified privacy into two categories: decisional privacy and informational
privacy. Decisional privacy involves the right to independence in making certain
Undoubtedly, the State has a compelling interest in enacting the cybercrime law for important decisions, while informational privacy refers to the interest in avoiding
there is a need to put order to the tremendous activities in cyberspace for public disclosure of personal matters. It is the latter right—the right to informational
good.82 To do this, it is within the realm of reason that the government should be privacy—that those who oppose government collection or recording of traffic data
able to monitor traffic data to enhance its ability to combat all sorts of cybercrimes. in real-time seek to protect.

Chapter IV of the cybercrime law, of which the collection or recording of traffic data Informational privacy has two aspects: the right not to have private information
is a part, aims to provide law enforcement authorities with the power they need for disclosed, and the right to live freely without surveillance and intrusion. 91 In
spotting, preventing, and investigating crimes committed in cyberspace. Crime- determining whether or not a matter is entitled to the right to privacy, this Court
fighting is a state business. Indeed, as Chief Justice Sereno points out, the Budapest has laid down a two-fold test. The first is a subjective test, where one claiming the
Convention on Cybercrimes requires signatory countries to adopt legislative right must have an actual or legitimate expectation of privacy over a certain matter.
measures to empower state authorities to collect or record "traffic data, in real The second is an objective test, where his or her expectation of privacy must be one
time, associated with specified communications."83 And this is precisely what society is prepared to accept as objectively reasonable.92
Section 12 does. It empowers law enforcement agencies in this country to collect or
record such data. Since the validity of the cybercrime law is being challenged, not in relation to its
application to a particular person or group, petitioners’ challenge to Section 12
But is not evidence of yesterday’s traffic data, like the scene of the crime after it has applies to all information and communications technology (ICT) users, meaning the
been committed, adequate for fighting cybercrimes and, therefore, real-time data is large segment of the population who use all sorts of electronic devices to
superfluous for that purpose? Evidently, it is not. Those who commit the crimes of communicate with one another. Consequently, the expectation of privacy is to be
accessing a computer system without right,84 transmitting viruses,85 lasciviously measured from the general public’s point of view. Without reasonable expectation
exhibiting sexual organs or sexual activity for favor or consideration;86 and of privacy, the right to it would have no basis in fact.
producing child pornography87 could easily evade detection and prosecution by
As the Solicitor General points out, an ordinary ICT user who courses his providers to whom they must submit certain traffic data that are needed for a
communication through a service provider, must of necessity disclose to the latter, successful cyberspace communication. The conveyance of this data takes them out
a third person, the traffic data needed for connecting him to the recipient ICT user. of the private sphere, making the expectation to privacy in regard to them an
For example, an ICT user who writes a text message intended for another ICT user expectation that society is not prepared to recognize as reasonable.
must furnish his service provider with his cellphone number and the cellphone
number of his recipient, accompanying the message sent. It is this information that The Court, however, agrees with Justices Carpio and Brion that when seemingly
creates the traffic data. Transmitting communications is akin to putting a letter in random bits of traffic data are gathered in bulk, pooled together, and analyzed,
an envelope properly addressed, sealing it closed, and sending it through the postal they reveal patterns of activities which can then be used to create profiles of the
service. Those who post letters have no expectations that no one will read the persons under surveillance. With enough traffic data, analysts may be able to
information appearing outside the envelope. determine a person’s close associations, religious views, political affiliations, even
sexual preferences. Such information is likely beyond what the public may expect to
Computer data—messages of all kinds—travel across the internet in packets and in be disclosed, and clearly falls within matters protected by the right to privacy. But
a way that may be likened to parcels of letters or things that are sent through the has the procedure that Section 12 of the law provides been drawn narrowly enough
posts. When data is sent from any one source, the content is broken up into packets to protect individual rights?
and around each of these packets is a wrapper or header. This header contains the
traffic data: information that tells computers where the packet originated, what Section 12 empowers law enforcement authorities, "with due cause," to collect or
kind of data is in the packet (SMS, voice call, video, internet chat messages, email, record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time. Petitioners point
online browsing data, etc.), where the packet is going, and how the packet fits out that the phrase "due cause" has no precedent in law or jurisprudence and that
together with other packets.93 The difference is that traffic data sent through the whether there is due cause or not is left to the discretion of the police. Replying to
internet at times across the ocean do not disclose the actual names and addresses this, the Solicitor General asserts that Congress is not required to define the
(residential or office) of the sender and the recipient, only their coded internet meaning of every word it uses in drafting the law.
protocol (IP) addresses. The packets travel from one computer system to another
where their contents are pieced back together. Indeed, courts are able to save vague provisions of law through statutory
construction. But the cybercrime law, dealing with a novel situation, fails to hint at
Section 12 does not permit law enforcement authorities to look into the contents of the meaning it intends for the phrase "due cause." The Solicitor General suggests
the messages and uncover the identities of the sender and the recipient. that "due cause" should mean "just reason or motive" and "adherence to a lawful
procedure." But the Court cannot draw this meaning since Section 12 does not even
For example, when one calls to speak to another through his cellphone, the service bother to relate the collection of data to the probable commission of a particular
provider’s communication’s system will put his voice message into packets and crime. It just says, "with due cause," thus justifying a general gathering of data. It is
send them to the other person’s cellphone where they are refitted together and akin to the use of a general search warrant that the Constitution prohibits.
heard. The latter’s spoken reply is sent to the caller in the same way. To be
connected by the service provider, the sender reveals his cellphone number to the Due cause is also not descriptive of the purpose for which data collection will be
service provider when he puts his call through. He also reveals the cellphone used. Will the law enforcement agencies use the traffic data to identify the
number to the person he calls. The other ways of communicating electronically perpetrator of a cyber attack? Or will it be used to build up a case against an
follow the same basic pattern. identified suspect? Can the data be used to prevent cybercrimes from happening?
In Smith v. Maryland,94 cited by the Solicitor General, the United States Supreme The authority that Section 12 gives law enforcement agencies is too sweeping and
Court reasoned that telephone users in the ‘70s must realize that they necessarily lacks restraint. While it says that traffic data collection should not disclose identities
convey phone numbers to the telephone company in order to complete a call. That or content data, such restraint is but an illusion. Admittedly, nothing can prevent
Court ruled that even if there is an expectation that phone numbers one dials law enforcement agencies holding these data in their hands from looking into the
should remain private, such expectation is not one that society is prepared to identity of their sender or receiver and what the data contains. This will
recognize as reasonable. unnecessarily expose the citizenry to leaked information or, worse, to extortion
from certain bad elements in these agencies.
In much the same way, ICT users must know that they cannot communicate or
exchange data with one another over cyberspace except through some service
Section 12, of course, limits the collection of traffic data to those "associated with Sec. 19. Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data.— When a computer data
specified communications." But this supposed limitation is no limitation at all since, is prima facie found to be in violation of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ shall issue
evidently, it is the law enforcement agencies that would specify the target an order to restrict or block access to such computer data.
communications. The power is virtually limitless, enabling law enforcement
authorities to engage in "fishing expedition," choosing whatever specified Petitioners contest Section 19 in that it stifles freedom of expression and violates
communication they want. This evidently threatens the right of individuals to the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Solicitor General
privacy. concedes that this provision may be unconstitutional. But since laws enjoy a
presumption of constitutionality, the Court must satisfy itself that Section 19 indeed
The Solicitor General points out that Section 12 needs to authorize collection of violates the freedom and right mentioned.
traffic data "in real time" because it is not possible to get a court warrant that
would authorize the search of what is akin to a "moving vehicle." But warrantless Computer data may refer to entire programs or lines of code, including malware, as
search is associated with a police officer’s determination of probable cause that a well as files that contain texts, images, audio, or video recordings. Without having
crime has been committed, that there is no opportunity for getting a warrant, and to go into a lengthy discussion of property rights in the digital space, it is
that unless the search is immediately carried out, the thing to be searched stands to indisputable that computer data, produced or created by their writers or authors
be removed. These preconditions are not provided in Section 12. may constitute personal property. Consequently, they are protected from
unreasonable searches and seizures, whether while stored in their personal
The Solicitor General is honest enough to admit that Section 12 provides minimal computers or in the service provider’s systems.
protection to internet users and that the procedure envisioned by the law could be
better served by providing for more robust safeguards. His bare assurance that law Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that the right to be secure in
enforcement authorities will not abuse the provisions of Section 12 is of course not one’s papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever
enough. The grant of the power to track cyberspace communications in real time nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable. Further, it states that no search
and determine their sources and destinations must be narrowly drawn to preclude warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the
abuses. judge. Here, the Government, in effect, seizes and places the computer data under
its control and disposition without a warrant. The Department of Justice order
Petitioners also ask that the Court strike down Section 12 for being violative of the cannot substitute for judicial search warrant.
void-for-vagueness doctrine and the overbreadth doctrine. These doctrines
however, have been consistently held by this Court to apply only to free speech The content of the computer data can also constitute speech. In such a case,
cases. But Section 12 on its own neither regulates nor punishes any type of speech. Section 19 operates as a restriction on the freedom of expression over cyberspace.
Therefore, such analysis is unnecessary. Certainly not all forms of speech are protected. Legislature may, within
constitutional bounds, declare certain kinds of expression as illegal. But for an
This Court is mindful that advances in technology allow the government and executive officer to seize content alleged to be unprotected without any judicial
kindred institutions to monitor individuals and place them under surveillance in warrant, it is not enough for him to be of the opinion that such content violates
ways that have previously been impractical or even impossible. "All the forces of a some law, for to do so would make him judge, jury, and executioner all rolled into
technological age x x x operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate one.
intrusions into it. In modern terms, the capacity to maintain and support this
enclave of private life marks the difference between a democratic and a totalitarian Not only does Section 19 preclude any judicial intervention, but it also disregards
society." The Court must ensure that laws seeking to take advantage of these jurisprudential guidelines established to determine the validity of restrictions on
technologies be written with specificity and definiteness as to ensure respect for speech. Restraints on free speech are generally evaluated on one of or a
the rights that the Constitution guarantees. combination of three tests: the dangerous tendency doctrine, the balancing of
interest test, and the clear and present danger rule. Section 19, however, merely
requires that the data to be blocked be found prima facie in violation of any
Section 19 of the Cybercrime Law provision of the cybercrime law. Taking Section 6 into consideration, this can
Section 19 empowers the Department of Justice to restrict or block access to actually be made to apply in relation to any penal provision. It does not take into
computer data: consideration any of the three tests mentioned above.
n. Section 24 that establishes a Cybercrime Investigation and
The Court is therefore compelled to strike down Section 19 for being violative of the Coordinating Center (CICC);
constitutional guarantees to freedom of expression and against unreasonable o. Section 26(a) that defines the CICC’s Powers and Functions; and
searches and seizures. p. Articles 353, 354, 361, and 362 of the Revised Penal Code that
penalizes libel.
1. VOID for being UNCONSTITUTIONAL: Further, the Court DECLARES:
a. Section 4(c)(3) of Republic Act 10175 that penalizes posting of 1. Section 4(c)(4) that penalizes online libel as VALID and CONSTITUTIONAL
unsolicited commercial communications; with respect to the original author of the post; but VOID and
b. Section 12 that authorizes the collection or recording of traffic UNCONSTITUTIONAL with respect to others who simply receive the post
data in real-time; and and react to it; and
c. Section 19 of the same Act that authorizes the Department of 2. Section 5 that penalizes aiding or abetting and attempt in the
Justice to restrict or block access to suspected Computer Data. commission of cybercrimes as VA L I D and CONSTITUTIONAL only in
2. VALID and CONSTITUTIONAL: relation to Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access, Section 4(a)(2) on Illegal
a. Section 4(a)(1) that penalizes accessing a computer system Interception, Section 4(a)(3) on Data Interference, Section 4(a)(4) on
without right; System
b. Section 4(a)(3) that penalizes data interference, including
transmission of viruses; Interference, Section 4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices, Section 4(a)(6) on Cyber-
c. Section 4(a)(6) that penalizes cyber-squatting or acquiring squatting, Section 4(b)(1) on Computer-related Forgery, Section 4(b)(2) on
domain name over the internet in bad faith to the prejudice of Computer-related Fraud, Section 4(b)(3) on Computer-related Identity Theft, and
others; Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex; but VOID and UNCONSTITUTIONAL with respect to
d. Section 4(b)(3) that penalizes identity theft or the use or misuse Sections 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography, 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial
of identifying information belonging to another; Communications, and 4(c)(4) on online Libel.
e. Section 4(c)(1) that penalizes cybersex or the lascivious
exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity for favor or Lastly, the Court RESOLVES to LEAVE THE DETERMINATION of the correct
consideration; application of Section 7 that authorizes prosecution of the offender under both the
f. Section 4(c)(2) that penalizes the production of child Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 10175 to actual cases, WITH THE EXCEPTION
pornography; of the crimes of:
g. Section 6 that imposes penalties one degree higher when 1. Online libel as to which, charging the offender under both Section 4(c)(4)
crimes defined under the Revised Penal Code are committed with of Republic Act 10175 and Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code
the use of information and communications technologies; constitutes a violation of the proscription against double jeopardy; as well
h. Section 8 that prescribes the penalties for cybercrimes; as
i. Section 13 that permits law enforcement authorities to require 2. Child pornography committed online as to which, charging the offender
service providers to preserve traffic data and subscriber under both Section 4(c)(2) of Republic Act 10175 and Republic Act 9775 or
information as well as specified content data for six months; the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 also constitutes a violation of the
j. Section 14 that authorizes the disclosure of computer data same proscription, and, in respect to these, is VOID and
under a court-issued warrant; UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
k. Section 15 that authorizes the search, seizure, and examination
of computer data under a court-issued warrant;
l. Section 17 that authorizes the destruction of previously
preserved computer data after the expiration of the prescribed
holding periods;
m. Section 20 that penalizes obstruction of justice in relation to
cybercrime investigations;
GR No. 127685, July 23, 1998
The petition at bar is a commendable effort on the part of Senator Blas F. Ople to REFERENCE SYSTEM MAY BE SOURCED FROM THE BUDGETS OF THE CONCERNED
prevent the shrinking of the right to privacy, which the revered Mr. Justice Brandeis AGENCIES;
considered as "the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by
civilized men."[1] Petitioner Ople prays that we invalidate Administrative Order No. D. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] PROTECTS AN INDIVIDUAL'S INTEREST IN PRIVACY.
308 entitled "Adoption of a National Computerized Identification Reference
System" on two important constitutional grounds, viz: one, it is a usurpation of the HELD: Yes. The right to privacy as such is accorded recognition independently of its
power of Congress to legislate, and two, it impermissibly intrudes on our citizenry's identification with liberty; in itself, it is fully deserving of constitutional protection.
protected zone of privacy. We grant the petition for the rights sought to be
vindicated by the petitioner need stronger barriers against further erosion. The right of privacy is guaranteed in several provisions of the Constitution:

A.O. No. 308 was published in four newspapers of general circulation on January 22, "Sections 3 (1), 1, 2, 6, 8 and 17 of the Bill of Rights
1997 and January 23, 1997. On January 24, 1997, petitioner filed the instant "Sec. 3. The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable
petition against respondents, then Executive Secretary Ruben Torres and the heads except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires
of the government agencies, who as members of the Inter-Agency Coordinating otherwise as prescribed by law."
Committee, are charged with the implementation of A.O. No. 308. On April 8, 1997, "Sec. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process
we issued a temporary restraining order enjoining its implementation. of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws."
"Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
Petitioner contends: effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any
purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue
"A. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
REFERENCE SYSTEM REQUIRES A LEGISLATIVE ACT. THE ISSUANCE OF A.O. NO. 308 examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IS, THEREFORE, AN may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons
CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. "Sec. 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed
by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the
B. THE APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY THE PRESIDENT FOR THE right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety,
IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO. 308 IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF or public health, as may be provided by law."
THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT OF CONGRESS TO APPROPRIATE PUBLIC FUNDS FOR "Sec. 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private
EXPENDITURE. sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law
shall not be abridged."
FOR A SYSTEM WHICH WILL VIOLATE THE BILL OF RIGHTS ENSHRINED IN THE "Sec. 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself."
CONSTITUTION." The right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, hence, it
is the burden of government to show that A.O. No. 308 is justified by some
Respondents counter-argue: compelling state interest and that it is narrowly drawn. A.O. No. 308 is predicated
on two considerations: (1) the need to provide our citizens and foreigners with the
A. THE INSTANT PETITION IS NOT A JUSTICIABLE CASE AS WOULD WARRANT A facility to conveniently transact business with basic service and social security
JUDICIAL REVIEW; providers and other government instrumentalities and (2) the need to reduce, if not
totally eradicate, fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations by persons
B. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] WAS ISSUED WITHIN THE EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE seeking basic services. It is debatable whether these interests are compelling
requires otherwise as provide by law. (Sec.3, Par.1, Art.III, 1987 Constitution) Any
But what is not arguable is the broadness, the vagueness, the overbreadth of A.O. violation of this provision renders the evidence obtained inadmissible for any
No. 308 which if implemented will put our people's right to privacy in clear and purpose in any proceeding. (Sec.3, Par.2, Art.III,1987 Constitution)
present danger. The possibilities of abuse and misuse of the PRN, biometrics and
computer technology are accentuated when we consider that the individual lacks A person, by contracting marriage does not shed his/her integrity or his right to
control over what can be read or placed on his ID, much less verify the correctness privacy as an individual and the constitutional protection is ever available to him or
of the data encoded. They threaten the very abuses that the Bill of Rights seeks to to her. The law ensures absolute freedom of communication between the spouses
prevent. by making it privileged. Neither husband nor wife may testify for or against the
other without consent of the affected spouse while the marriage subsists. (Sec.22,
The petition is granted and declared the Administrative Order No. 308 entitled Rule130, Rules of Court). Neither maybe examined without the consent of the other
"Adoption of a National Computerized Identification Reference System" null and as to any communication received in confidence by one from the other during the
void for being unconstitutional. marriage, save for specified exceptions. (Sec.24, Rule 130, Rules of Court) PETITION

GR No. 107383, February 20, 1996 KMU vs ERMITA

FACTS: 487 SCRA 623 – Political Law – Control Power of the President

Petitioner, Cecilia Zulueta is married to private respondent, Dr. Alfredo Martin. That This case is consolidated with Consolidated with Bayan Muna vs Ermita
petitioner accused her husband of infidelity. In 2005, Executive Order No. 420 was passed. This law sought to harmonize and
streamline the country’s id system. Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bayan Muna, and other
That on March 26, 1982, petitioner went to the clinic of private respondent, who is
concerned groups sought to enjoin the Director-General from implementing the EO
a doctor of medicine, without the consent of the latter. That on the same date
because they allege that the said EO is unconstitutional for it infringes upon the
mentioned, petitioner opened the drawers and cabinet of her husband and took
right to privacy of the people and that the same is a usurpation of legislative power
157 documents and papers consisting of private correspondence between Dr.
by the president.
Martin and his alleged paramours. The documents found by petitioner were seized
for use as evidence in a case for legal separation filed by Zulueta. Dr. Martin ISSUE: Whether or not the said EO is unconstitutional.
brought this action below for recovery of the documents and papers and for
HELD: No. Section 1 of EO 420 directs these government entities to “adopt a unified
damages against petitioner. The RTC, decided in favor of private respondent,
multi-purpose ID system.” Thus, all government entities that issue IDs as part of
declaring him the capital/exclusive owner of properties described and ordering
their functions under existing laws are required to adopt a uniform data collection
petitioner to return the properties to Dr. Martin and pay him nominal and moral
and format for their IDs.
damages and attorney’s fees, and cost of the suit. Furthermore, petitioner and her
attorneys and representatives were enjoined from using or submitting/admitting as Section 1 of EO 420 enumerates the purposes of the uniform data collection and
evidence the documents and papers in question. On appeal, the Court of Appeals format. The President may by executive or administrative order direct the
affirmed the decision made by the Regional Trial Court. Hence, this petition. government entities under the Executive department to adopt a uniform ID data
collection and format. Sec 17, Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the
ISSUE: W/N the documents and papers in question are admissible in evidence. “President shall have control of all executive departments, bureaus and
HELD: NO. The Supreme Court held that the documents and papers in question are offices.” The same Section also mandates the President to “ensure that the laws be
inadmissible in evidence. The constitutional injunction declaring the privacy of faithfully executed.” Certainly, under this constitutional power of control the
communication and correspondence [to be] inviolable (Sec.3, Par.1, Art.III, 1987 President can direct all government entities, in the exercise of their functions under
Constitution) is no less applicable simply because it is the wife (who thinks herself existing laws, to adopt a uniform ID data collection and ID format to achieve
aggrieved by her husband’s infidelity) who is the party against whom the savings, efficiency, reliability, compatibility, and convenience to the public.
constitutional provision is to be enforced. The only exception to the provision in the
constitution is if there is a lawful order [from a] court or when public safety or order
The President’s constitutional power of control is self-executing and does not need official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used
any implementing legislation. Of course, the President’s power of control is limited as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such
to the Executive branch of government and does not extend to the Judiciary or to limitations as may be provided by law.
the independent constitutional commissions. Thus, EO 420 does not apply to the
These twin provisions of the Constitution seek to promote transparency in policy-
Judiciary, or to the COMELEC which under existing laws is also authorized to issue
making and in the operations of the government, as well as provide the people
voter’s ID cards. This only shows that EO 420 does not establish a national ID
sufficient information to enable them to exercise effectively their constitutional
system because legislation is needed to establish a single ID system that is
rights. Armed with the right information, citizens can participate in public
compulsory for all branches of government.
discussions leading to the formulation of government policies and their effective
504 SCRA 704 – Political Law – Inquiry in aid of legislation – public officers
On February 20, 2006, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago introduced Senate Res.
No. 455 “directing an inquiry in aid of legislation on the anomalous losses incurred
by the Philippines Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC), Philippine
Communications Satellite Corporation (PHILCOMSAT), and PHILCOMSAT Holdings
Corporation (PHC) due to the alleged improprieties in their operations by their
respective Board of Directors.” Pursuant to this, on May 8, 2006, Senator Richard
Gordon, wrote Chairman Camilo Sabio of the PCGG inviting him to be one of the
resource persons in the public meeting jointly conducted by the Committee on
Government Corporations and Public Enterprises and Committee on Public Services.
Chairman Sabio declined the invitation because of prior commitment. At the same
time, he invoked Section 4(b) of E.O. No. 1 “No member or staff of the Commission
shall be required to testify or produce evidence in any judicial, legislative or
administrative proceeding concerning matters within its official cognizance.”
Apparently, the purpose is to ensure PCGG’s unhampered performance of its task.
Gordon’s Subpoenae Ad Testificandum was repeatedly ignored by Sabio hence he
threatened Sabio to be cited with contempt.
ISSUE: Whether or not Section 4 of EO No. 1 is constitutional.
HELD: No. It can be said that the Congress’ power of inquiry has gained more solid
existence and expansive construal. The Court’s high regard to such power is
rendered more evident in Senate v. Ermita, where it categorically ruled that “the
power of inquiry is broad enough to cover officials of the executive branch.” Verily,
the Court reinforced the doctrine in Arnault that “the operation of government,
being a legitimate subject for legislation, is a proper subject for investigation”
and that “the power of inquiry is co-extensive with the power to legislate”. Subject
to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a
policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.
Article III, Section 7
The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be
recognized. Access to official records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to