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May 30, 1962 Whether or not Manila Times had acted maliciously
in publishing the aforementioned articles.
Plaintiff Lumen Policarpio seeks to recover damages Held:
from Manila Times by reason of the publication in the Yes. Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be
Saturday and the Daily Mirror of two articles which malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and
are claimed to be per se defamatory, libelous and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in
false and jeopardize her integrity and good name. the following cases:
These articles were about the charges against her 1. A private communication made by any
which caused her to be separated from her service as person to another in the performance of any
the executive secretary of the local UNESCO legal, moral or social duty; and
National Commission. Plainitff maintains that the 2. A fair and true report, made in good faith,
effect of these false statements was to give the without any comments or remarks, of any
general impression that she was guilty or at least judicial legislative or other official
probably guilty of the crimes of malversation of proceedings which are not of confidential
public funds and estafa. Likewise, she asserted that nature, or of any statement, report or
there are other inaccuracies in the news item. 1 speech delivered in said proceedings, or of

1 "PALACE OPENS INVESTIGATION OF RAPS Alba did not act immediately on the petition. He said he was
AGAINST POLICARPIO holding a hearing on the petition on August 15.
Alba Probes Administrative Phase of
Fraud Charges Against Unesco Woman During this morning's investigation three witness appeared.
Official; Fiscal Sets Prelim Quiz The first witness was Atty. Antonio Lopez of the PCAC who
Of Criminal Suit on Aug. 22. brought with him 18 sheets of stencil which were allegedly
used by Miss Policarpio for her personal use. These sheets
The administrative phase of two-pronged investigation Miss were admitted as temporary exhibits.
Lumen Policarpio, head of the Unesco national commission
here, opened in Malacañan before Col. Crisanto V. Alba. The second witness was Federico Vergara of the Unesco
who said that he received four of the 18 sheets, but he could
The judicial inquiry of charges filed by Herminia D. Reyes, not identify which of the sheets he had received.
also the complainant in the Malacañan case before the
Presidential Complaints and Action Commission, will be The third witness was Francisco Manalo who certified on the
conducted by Fiscal Manases G. Reyes on Aug. 22 at 2 p.m. charge of oppression in office against Miss Policarpio.

Miss Policarpio stands accused by Reyes of having The other charge of Miss Reyes corresponded to supposed
malversed public property and of having fraudulently sought reimbursements sought by Miss Policarpio for a trip to
reimbursement of supposed official expenses. Quezon Province and to Pangasinan. On the first, Miss
Reyes' complaint alleged the Unesco official had asked for
Colonel Alba, at the start of his investigation at the refund of expenses for use of her car when, Miss Reyes
Malacañan Park, clarified that neither he nor the PCAC had claimed she had actually made the trip aboard an army plane.
initiated the criminal action before the city fiscal's office.
The complaint before the fiscal was started by an Miss Reyes also said Miss Policarpio was absent from the
information she naming Herminia D. Reyes as complainant Bayambang conference for which she also sought allegedly
and citing other persons as witnesses. Fiscal Reyes set refund of expenses.
preliminary investigation of these charges for Aug. 22.
The complainant had previously been ordered relieved of her
Miss Reyes, technical assistant of the Unesco, stated at the Unesco post by Miss Policarpio and had later sued at the
Palace inquiry that during 1955 Miss Policarpio allegedly Palace and before the Court for payment of her salary.
used several sheets of government stencils for her private
and personal use, such as for French lessons, contracts of
sale of pianos and for invitations of the League of Women The title of the article of August 11, 1956 — "WOMAN
Voters of which she (Miss Policarpio) is an officer. The OFFICIAL SUED" — was given prominence with a 6-
Unesco commission here functions under the Office of the column (about 11 inches) banner headline of one-inch types.
President. Admittedly, its sub-title — "PCAC RAPS L. POLICARPIO
PIO ON FRAUD" — printed in bold one-centimeter types,
is not true. Similarly, the statement in the first paragraph of
The charge was filed with the PCAC, and the PCAC the article, to the effect that plaintiff "was charged with
endorsed it to Colonel Alba for investigation. malversation and estafa in complaints filed with the city
fiscal's office by the Presidential Complaint and Action
Miss Policarpio this morning was not represented by an Commission" — otherwise known as PCAC — is untrue, the
lawyer. Federico Diaz, lawyer representing complainant complaints for said offenses having been filed by Miss
Miss Reyes, petitioned for the suspension of Miss Reyes. Neither is it true that said "criminal action was
Policarpio, executive secretary of the Unesco. initiated as a result of current administrative, investigation",
as stated in the second paragraph of the same article.
any other act performed by public officers in 7. In both issues photos of a Fidel Cruz were
the exercise of other functions. published but both photos were of a
different person of the same name à Fidel G.
In the case at bar, aside from containing information Cruz former mayor, business man,
derogatory to the plaintiff, the article presented her contractor from Santa Maria, Bulacan.
in a worse predicament than that in which she, in fact, 8. January 27, 1957 à published statements
was. In other words, said article was not a fair and correcting their misprint and explained that
true report of the proceedings there in alluded to. confusion and error happened due to the
What is more, its sub-title – “PCAC RAPS L. rush to meet the Jan 13th issue’s deadline
POLICARPIO ON FRAUD” – is a comment or remark, 9. Cruz sued herein petitioners for libel in CFI
besides being false. Accordingly, the defamatory Manila. Cruz won and was awarded P11,000
imputations contained in said article are “presumed in damages (5k actual, 5k moral, 1k
to be malicious”. attorney’s fees)
10. CA affirmed CFI decision hence this case
Lopez publisher and owner of Manila Chronicle and
Gatbonton (Editor) v. Court of Appeals and Cruz Issue:
(1970) 1. WON petitioners should be held liable for
Ponente: Fernando, J. their error in printing the wrong Fidel Cruz’s
photo in relation to the “hoax of the year”?
Facts: 2. WON such error is sufficient ground for an
1. January 1956 – Front-page story on the action for libel to prosper?
Manila Chronicle à Fidel Cruz, sanitary
inspector assigned to the Babuyan Islands, Held:
sent distress signals to US Airforce planes Yes they are liable but damages awarded to Cruz is
which forwarded such message to Manila reduced to P1,000.00
2. An American Army plane dropped Ratio:
emergency sustenance kits on the beach of 1. Mistake is no excuse to absolve publishers
the island which contained, among other because libel is harmful on its face by the
things, a two way radio set. Using the radio fact that it exposes the injured party to more
set Cruz reported to the authorities in than trivial ridicule, whether it is fact or
Manila that the locals were living in terror opinion is irrelevant.
due to a series of killings committed on the 2. Citing Lu Chu Sing v. Lu Tiong Gui à libel is
island since Christmas of 1955. "malicious defamation, expressed either in
3. Philippine defense forces (scout rangers) writing, printing, or by signs or pictures, or
were immediately deployed to the babuyan the like, ..., tending to blacken the memory
claro. They were led by Major Wilfredo of one who is dead or to impeach the
Encarnacion who discovered that Cruz only honesty, virtue, or reputation, or publish the
fabricated the story about the killings to get alleged or natural defects of one who is
attention. Cruz merely wanted alive, and thereby "pose him to public
transportation home to Manila. hatred, contempt, or ridicule,"
4. Major Encarnacion branded the fiasco as a 3. Citing standard treatise of Newell on
“hoax” à the same word to be used by the Slander and Libel à "Publication of a
newspapers who covered the same. person's photograph in connection with an
5. January 13, 1956 - This Week Magazine of article libelous of a third person, is a libel on
the Manila Chronicle, edited by Gatbonton the person whose picture is published,
devoted a pictorial article to it. It claimed where the acts set out in the article are
that despite the story of Cruz being a hoax it imputed to such person."
brought to light the misery of the people 4. In this case à 3rd person was Cruz à his
living in that place, with almost everybody picture being published beside the article
sick, only 2 individuals able to read and write imputes him as the purveyor of the hoax of
and food and clothing being scarce the year
6. January 29, 1956 - This Week Magazineà in 5. Libel cannot be used to curtail press
the "January News Quiz" made reference to freedom however it also cannot claim any
Cruz as “a health inspector who suddenly talismanic immunity form constitutional
felt "lonely" in his isolated post, cooked up a limitations
story about a murderer running loose on the 6. State interest in press freedom à citing
island of Calayan so that he could be ferried Justice Malcolm: Full discussion of public
back to civilization.” à Called it “Hoax of the affairs is necessary for the maintenance of
year” good governance… “Public officials must
not be too thin-skinned with reference to
comments on official acts”…”of course 4. Evidence failed to show gult of defendants beyond
criticism does not authorize defamation. reasonable doubt.
Nevertheless, as an individual is less than 5. Erred in making defendants prove that the libelous
the state, so must expected criticism be statements were true.
born for the common good.” 6. Error in sustaining the prosecution’s objection to
7. So long as it was done in good faith, the the introduction in evidence by the accused of the
press should have the legal right to have and affidavits upon which the petition forming the basis
express their opinions on legal questions. To of the libelous charge was based.
deny them that right would be to infringe 7. Erred in refusing to permit the defendants to retire
upon freedom of the press. the objection in advertently interposed by their
8. “Last word on the subject” à Citing counsel to the admission in evidence of the
Quisumbing v. Lopez: Press should be given expediente administrativo out of which the
leeway and tolerance as to enable them to accusation in this case arose.
courageously and effectively perform their
important role in our democracy Issue:
9. Freedom of the press ranks high in the Whether or not the defendants and appellants are
hierarchy of legal values guilty of a libel of Roman Punsalan, justice of the
10. TEST of LIABLITY à must prove there was peace in Pampanga.
actual malice in publishing the story/photo!
(Note: but this was not done in this case) Held: Yes. Defendants acquitted.
11. Citing Concepcion, CJ. à Correction of error
in publishing does not wipe out the Ratio:
responsibility arising from the publication of Freedom of speech was nonexistent in the country
the original article before 1900. There were small efforts at reform made
by the La Solidaridad. The Malolos Constitution, on
Correction = Mitigating circumstance not a justifying the other hand, guaranteed freedom of speech.
circumstance! During the U.S. period, President McKinley himself
laid down the tenet Magna Charta of Philippine
U.S. v Bustos G.R. No. L-12592 March 8, 1918 Liberty when he wrote, “that no law shall be passed
J. Malcolm abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of
the rights of the people to peaceably assemble and
Facts: petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
In 1915, 34 Pampanga residents signed a petition to This was in the Philippine Bill.
the Executive Secretary regarding charges against In the Amrican cases it was held, there were
Roman Punsalan, the justice of the peace of references to “public opinion should be the constant
Macabebe. They wanted to oust him from his office. source of liberty and democracy.” It also said “the
Specific allegations against him included bribery guaranties of a free speech and a free press include
charges, involuntary servitude, and theft. the right to criticize judicial conduct. The
The justice denied the charges. In the CFI, not all the administration of the law is a matter of vital public
charges were proved. But, the judge still found him concern. Whether the law is wisely or badly enforced
guilty. is, therefore, a fit subject for proper comment. If the
Punsalan filed charges alleging that he was the victim people cannot criticize a justice of the peace or a
of prosecution and one Jaime, an auxiliary justice, judge the same as any other public officer, public
instigated the charges against him for personal opinion will be effectively muzzled. Attempted
reasons. He was acquitted. terrorization of public opinion on the part of the
The complainants filed an appeal to the Governor judiciary would be tyranny of the basest sort.”
General but it wasn’t acted upon. “It is a duty which everyone owes to society or to the
Criminal action was instituted aganst the residents State to assist in the investigation of any alleged
by Punsalan. misconduct. It is further the duty of all who know of
The CFI found almost all of the 34 defendants guilty any official dereliction on the part of a magistrate or
and sentenced them to pay 10 pesos or suffer the wrongful act of any public officer to bring the
imprisonment in case of insolvency. facts to the notice of those whose duty it is to inquire
The defendants filed a motion for a retrial to retire into and punish them.”
the objection made by Punsalan. The trial court The right to assemble and petition is the necessary
denied the motion. All except 2 of the defendants consequence of republican institutions and the
appealed. Making assignments of error. complement of the part of free speech. Assembly
1. The court erred in overruling motion for retrial. means a right on the part of citizens to meet
2. Error in not holding that the libelous statement peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs.
was not privileged Petition means that any person or group of persons
3. Error in not acquitting defendants can apply, without fear of penalty, to the appropriate
branch or office of the government for a redress of manner of commenting on the conduct of the justice
grievances. The persons assembling and petitioning of the peace was proper.
must, of course, assume responsibility for the
charges made. G.R. No. 126466 January 14, 1999
Public policy has demanded protection for public
opinion. The doctrine of privilege has been the result ARTURO BORJAL a.k.a. ART BORJAL and
of this. Privilged communications may in some MAXIMO SOLIVEN, petitioners,
instances afford an immunity to the slanderer. Public vs.
policy is the “unfettered administration of justice.” COURT OF APPEALS and FRANCISCO
Privilege is either absolute or qualified. Qualified WENCESLAO, respondents.
privilege is prima facie which may be lost by proof of
malice. This is apparent in complaints made in good Facts:
faith against a public official’s conduct having a duty 1. A civil action for damages based on
in the matter. Even if the statements were found to
libel was filed before the court
be false, the protection of privilege may cover the
against Borjal and Soliven for
individual given that it was in good faith. There must
writing and publishing articles that
be a sense of duty and not a self-seeking motive.
are allegedly derogatory and
A communication made bona fide upon any subject-
matter in which the party communicating has an offensive against Francisco
interest, or in reference to which has a duty, is Wenceslao, attacking among
privileged, if made to a person having a others the solicitation letters he
corresponding interest or duty, although it contained send to support a conference to be
criminatory matter which without this privilege launch concerning resolving
would be slanderous and actionable. matters on transportation crisis
In the usual case malice can be presumed from that is tainted with anomalous
defamatory words. Privilege destroys that activities.
presumption. The onus of proving malice then lies on
the plaintiff. The plaintiff must bring home to the 2. Wenceslao however was never
defendant the existence of malice as the true motive named in any of the articles nor was
of his conduct. Falsehood and the absence of the conference he was organizing.
probable cause will amount to proof of malice. The lower court ordered petitioners
It is true that the particular words set out in the to indemnify the private
information, if said of a private person, might well be respondent for damages which was
considered libelous per se. The charges might also affirmed by the Court of Appeals. A
under certain conceivable conditions convict one of a
petition for review was filed before
libel of a government official. As a general rule words
the SC contending that private
imputing to a judge or a justice of the peace
respondent was not sufficiently
dishonesty or corruption or incapacity or misconduct
identified to be the subject of the
touching him in his office are actionable. But as
suggested in the beginning we do not have present a published articles.
simple case of direct and vicious accusations
published in the press, but of charges predicated on
affidavits made to the proper official and thus Whether or not there are sufficient grounds
qualifiedly privileged. Express malice has not been to constitute guilt of petitioners for libel?
proved by the prosecution. Further, although the
charges are probably not true as to the justice of the Ruling of the Case:
peace, they were believed to be true by the 1. In order to maintain a libel suit, it is essential
petitioners. Good faith surrounded their action.
that the victim be identifiable although it is
Probable cause for them to think that malfeasance or
not necessary that he be named. It is also
misfeasance in office existed is apparent. The ends
not sufficient that the offended party
and the motives of these citizens— to secure the
recognized himself as the person attacked
removal from office of a person thought to be venal
— were justifiable. In no way did they abuse the or defamed, but it must be shown that at
privilege. These respectable citizens did not eagerly least a third person could identify him as the
seize on a frivolous matter but on instances which not object of the libelous publication. These
only seemed to them of a grave character, but which requisites have not been complied with in
were sufficient in an investigation by a judge of first the case at bar. The element of
instance to convince him of their seriousness. No identifiability was not met since it was
undue publicity was given to the petition. The Wenceslaso who revealed he was the
organizer of said conference and had he not Olmedo. After the meeting, petitioner and his
done so the public would not have known. companions were interviewed by reporters of the
newspaper Ang Tinig ng Masa. The article was
2. The concept of privileged communications published containing such statements from the
is implicit in the freedom of the press and petitioner imputing that Olmedo, through
that privileged communications must be connivance with NHA officials, was able to obtain
protective of public opinion. Fair title to several lots in the area and that he was
commentaries on matters of public interest involved in illegal activities such as attempted
are privileged and constitute a valid defense murder, gambling and stealing. Olmeda filed a
in an action for libel or slander. complaint for libel.
The doctrine of fair comment Issue: Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of libel
means that while in general every
discreditable imputation publicly Held: Elements of libel under Art. 353 of RPC: (a)
made is deemed false, because allegation of a discreditable act or condition
every man is presumed innocent concerning another; (b) publication of the charge; (c)
until his guilt is judicially proved, identity of the person defamed; and (d) existence of
and every false imputation is
deemed malicious, nevertheless,
when the discreditable imputation An allegation is defamatory if it ascribes to a person
is directed against a public person the commission of a crime, the possession of a vice or
in his public capacity, it is not defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission,
necessarily actionable. In order
condition, status or circumstance which tends to
that such discreditable imputation
dishonor or discredit or put him in contempt, or
to a public official may be
which tends to blacken the memory of one who is
actionable, it must either be a false
allegation of fact or a comment dead.
based on a false supposition. If the
There is publication if the material is communicated
comment is an expression of
to a third person – it is not required that the person
opinion, based on established
defamed has read or heard about the libelous
facts, then it is immaterial that the
opinion happens to be mistaken, as remark. In determining the meaning of any
long as it might reasonably be publication alleged to be libelous the words shall be
inferred from the facts. taken in their ordinary sense.

3. The questioned article dealt with matters of To satisfy the element of identifiability, it must be
public interest as the declared objective of shown that at least a third person or stranger was
the conference, the composition of its able to identify the defamed person as an object of
members and participants, and the manner the defamatory statement.
by which it was intended to be funded no
doubt lend to its activities as being Under Art. 361 of RPC, if the defamatory statement
genuinely imbued with public interest. is made against a public official with respect to the
Respondent is also deemed to be a public discharge of his official duties and functions and the
figure and even otherwise is involved in a truth of the allegation is shown, the accused will be
public issue. The court held that freedom of entitled to an acquittal even though he does not
expression is constitutionally guaranteed prove the imputation was published with good
and protected with the reminder among motives and for justifiable ends. Even if the
media members to practice highest ethical defamatory statement is false, no liability can attach
standards in the exercise thereof. if it relates to official conduct, unless the public
official concerned proves that the statement was
VASQUEZ VS CA GR No. 118971 September 15, made with actual malice – that is with knowledge is
1999 false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false
or not. In this case, petitioner was able to prove his
Facts: allegation of land grabbing based on a letter of NHA
Inspector General, and the memoranda of the NHA
Sometime in April 1986, petitioner and some 37
general manager. With regard to those charge of
families from Tondo Foreshore Area went to see then
involvement in illegal activities there are in fact
NHA general Manager Lito Atienza regarding their
charges filed, the truth of which were not in issue.
complaint against their barangay Chairman, Jaime
G.R. No. 128959
September 30, 2005 SUPREME COURT:
CIRIACO BOY GUINGUING “To this end, the publication of the advertisement
VS. by petitioner and LIM cannot be deemed by this
COURT OF APPEALS Court to have been done with actual malice. Aside
from the fact that the information contained in the
FACTS: said publication was true, the intention to let the
1. On Oct. 13, 1991 Lim published a paid public know the character of their radio
advertisement at the SUNDAY POST, a commentator can be at best subsumed under the
weekly publication in Visayas and mantle of having been done with good motives and
Mindanao, edited and published by for justifiable ends. The advertisement in question
petitioner GUINGUING, containing pictures falls squarely within the bounds of constitutionally
of arrests made and records of criminal protected expression under ART.3 Sec. 4 of the 1987
cases filed against CISER TORRALBA. Constitution.
2. CISER TORRALBA is a radio broadcast Being a radio commentator on issues of
journalist of DYLA and DYFX based in Cebu corruption by public officials, irregularities in
city. government, deems the complainant TORRALBA, as
3. TORRALBA filed a complaint against LIM a public figure. By entering this line of work,
and GUINGUING asserting that the paid complainant in effect, gave the public a legitimate
advertisement was libelous and sought for interest in his life. He likewise gave them a stake in
damages against LIM and the petitioner. finding out if he himself had the integrity and the
4. LIM claimed that TORRALBA made character to have the right to criticize others of their
defamatory attacks against him and his conduct.”
family over his radio programs, so he opted
for paid advertisement to answer his MALICE:
attacks. “When the offender, in performing an act or in
5. After the trial, the lower court concluded incurring an omission, has the intention to do an
that the publication in question was indeed injury to the person, property or right of another,
libelous. such offender acts with malice. If the act or omission
6. In the appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed is punished by the RPC, the offender is liable for
the RTCʼ s decision and modified the penalty intentional felony.” (Reyes p.37)
7. Petitioner sought for the reversal of the
decision by the CA with the Supreme Court, ART. 3 SEC. 4 1987 CONSTITUTION STATES:
contending that as a publisher and a “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of
member of the press, the decision of the speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of
lower courts of the complaint against him the people to peaceably assemble and petition the
constitutes an infringement of his government for redress of grievances.”
constitutional right to freedom of speech
and of the press. SOLIVEN v. MAKASIAR
8. In the re-examination of the evidences and
contentions of the petitioner, it has been In these consolidated cases, three principal issues
established that the pieces of information in were raised: (1) whether or not petitioners were
said publication/advertisement were indeed denied due process when informations for libel were
actually true. filed against them although the finding of the
existence of a prima faciecase was still under review
ISSUE: by the Secretary of Justice and, subsequently, by the
President; (2) whether or not the constitutional rights
Whether or not the publication of the advertisement
of Beltran were violated when respondent RTC judge
paid for by Lim and published by Guingguing is
issued a warrant for his arrest without personally
examining the complainant and the witnesses, if any,
to determine probable cause; and (3) whether or not
RULING: the President of the Philippines, under the
1. The assailed resolution of the Court of Constitution, may initiate criminal proceedings
Appeals dated July 29, 1996 and October 3, against the petitioners through the filing of a
1996 respectively are reversed and set aside. complaint-affidavit.
Petitioner is ACQUITTED of the charge of
libel. Subsequent events have rendered the first issue
2. Actual malice is not proven in the moot and academic. On March 30, 1988, the
publication of the advertisement Secretary of Justice denied petitioners' motion for
3. TORRALBA is a public figure. reconsideration and upheld the resolution of the
Undersecretary of Justice sustaining the City Fiscal's for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the judge is not
finding of a prima facie case against petitioners. A required to personally examine the complainant and
second motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner his witnesses. Following established doctrine and
Beltran was denied by the Secretary of Justice on procedure, he shall: (1) personally evaluate the report
April 7, 1988. On appeal, the President, through the and the supporting documents submitted by the
Executive Secretary, affirmed the resolution of the fiscal regarding the existence of probable cause and,
Secretary of Justice on May 2, 1988. The motion for on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (2) if
reconsideration was denied by the Executive on the basis thereof he finds no probable cause, he
Secretary on May 16, 1988. With these may disregard the fiscal's report and require the
developments, petitioners' contention that they submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to
have been denied the administrative remedies aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the existence
available under the law has lost factual support. of probable cause.

It may also be added that with respect to petitioner Sound policy dictates this procedure, otherwise
Beltran, the allegation of denial of due process of law judges would be unduly laden with the preliminary
in the preliminary investigation is negated by the fact examination and investigation of criminal complaints
that instead of submitting his counter- affidavits, he instead of concentrating on hearing and deciding
filed a "Motion to Declare Proceedings Closed," in cases filed before their courts.
effect waiving his right to refute the complaint by
filing counter-affidavits. Due process of law does not On June 30, 1987, the Supreme Court unanimously
require that the respondent in a criminal case actually adopted Circular No. 12, setting down guidelines for
file his counter-affidavits before the preliminary the issuance of warrants of arrest. The procedure
investigation is deemed completed. All that is therein provided is reiterated and clarified in this
required is that the respondent be given the resolution.
opportunity to submit counter-affidavits if he is so
minded. It has not been shown that respondent judge has
deviated from the prescribed procedure. Thus, with
The second issue, raised by petitioner Beltran, calls regard to the issuance of the warrants of arrest, a
for an interpretation of the constitutional provision finding of grave abuse of discretion amounting to
on the issuance of warrants of arrest. The pertinent lack or excess of jurisdiction cannot be sustained.
provision reads:
Anent the third issue, petitioner Beltran argues that
Art. III, Sec. 2. The right of the "the reasons which necessitate presidential
people to be secure in their immunity from suit impose a correlative disability to
persons, houses, papers and effects file suit." He contends that if criminal proceedings
against unreasonable searches and ensue by virtue of the President's filing of her
seizures of whatever nature and for complaint-affidavit, she may subsequently have to
any purpose shall be inviolable, and be a witness for the prosecution, bringing her under
no search warrant or warrant of the trial court's jurisdiction. This, continues Beltran,
arrest shall issue except upon would in an indirect way defeat her privilege of
probable cause to be determined immunity from suit, as by testifying on the witness
personally by the judge after stand, she would be exposing herself to possible
examination nder oath or contempt of court or perjury.
affirmation of the complainant and
the witnesses he may produce, and The rationale for the grant to the President of the
particularly describing the place to privilege of immunity from suit is to assure the
be searched and the persons or exercise of Presidential duties and functions free
things to be seized. from any hindrance or distraction, considering that
being the Chief Executive of the Government is a job
The addition of the word "personally" after the word that, aside from requiring all of the office holder's
"determined" and the deletion of the grant of time, also demands undivided attention.
authority by the 1973 Constitution to issue warrants
to "other responsible officers as may be authorized But this privilege of immunity from suit, pertains to
by law," has apparently convinced petitioner Beltran the President by virtue of the office and may be
that the Constitution now requires the judge to invoked only by the holder of the office; not by any
personally examine the complainant and his other person in the President's behalf. Thus, an
witnesses in his determination of probable cause for accused in a criminal case in which the President is
the issuance of warrants of arrest. This is not an complainant cannot raise the presidential privilege as
accurate interpretation. a defense to prevent the case from proceeding
against such accused.
What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive
and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to Moreover, there is nothing in our laws that would
satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause. In prevent the President from waiving the privilege.
satisfying himself of the existence of probable cause
Thus, if so minded the President may shed the was no "clear and present danger." The subject
protection afforded by the privilege and submit to matter of the movie does not relate to the private life
the court's jurisdiction. The choice of whether to of Ponce Enrile. The intrusion is no more than
exercise the privilege or to waive it is solely the necessary to keep the film a truthful historical
President's prerogative. It is a decision that cannot be account. He is, after all, a public figure. The line of
assumed and imposed by any other person. equilibrium in the specific context of the instant case
between freedom of speech and of expression and
As regards the contention of petitioner Beltran that the right of privacy may be marked out in terms of a
he could not be held liable for libel because of the
requirement that the proposed motion picture must
privileged character or the publication, the Court
be fairly truthful and historical in its presentation of
reiterates that it is not a trier of facts and that such a
defense is best left to the trial court to appreciate facts. There must be no showing of a reckless
after receiving the evidence of the parties. disregard of truth.Notes: Ayer sought to produce a
movie on the 4-day revolution. Enrile, who had
As to petitioner Beltran's claim that to allow the libel previously been asked for the use of his character in
case to proceed would produce a "chilling effect" on the movie and had refused the offer, sued to enjoin
press freedom, the Court finds no basis at this stage the filming because he did not want any mention of
to rule on the point. his and his family's name. The SC lifted the injunction
issued by the lower court on the ground that it
The petitions fail to establish that public amounted to prior restraint, which is no better if
respondents, through their separate acts, gravely imposed by the courts than if imposed by
abused their discretion as to amount to lack of administrative bodies or by ecclesiatical officials.In
jurisdiction. Hence, the writs of certiorari and Ayer, the reference to Enrile is unavoidable because
prohibition prayed for cannot issue. his name is part of history and this cannot be changed
or altered; thus his name can be used so long as only
WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion his public life is dwelled only. But in Lagunzad,
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction on the part although Moises Padilla was also a public figure, the
of the public respondents, the Court Resolved to
movie dealth with both the public and private lives of
DISMISS the petitions in G. R. Nos. 82585, 82827 and
Moises Padilla.
83979. The Order to maintain the status
quo contained in the Resolution of the Court en CRISTINELLI S. FERMIN vs. PEOPLE OF THE
banc dated April 7, 1988 and reiterated in the PHILIPPINES
Resolution dated April 26, 1988 is LIFTED.
[G.R. No. 157643; March 28, 2008] Constitutional
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Law| Freedom of the Press|Freedom of Expression|
Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes,
Griño-Aquino Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur. FACTS:

Spouses Annabelle Rama and Eduardo (Eddie)

Ayer Production PTY Ltd. V Capulong (1988)
Gutierrez, filed a libel suit against Cristinelli S. Fermin
FACTS: and Bogs C. Tugas. Fermin as a publisher and Tugas
as an Editor-in-Chief of Gossip Tabloid printed and
Pivate respondent Juan Ponce Enrile filed an action in circulated an article that depicts Rama as a fugitive
the RTC of Makati to enjoin the petitioners from from justice and a swindler.
producing the movie "The Four Day Revolution," a
documentary of the EDSA Revolution in 1986 on the RTC rendered a decision finding Fermin and Tugas
ground that it violated his right to privacy. Petitioners guilty of Libel. On appeal, Tugas was acquitted on
contended that the movie would not involve his account of non-participation in the publication
private life not that of his family. But the trial court article. Fermin submits that being similarly situated
issued a writ of preliminary injunction and ordered with Tugas, she is also entitled to an acquittal, as a
petitioners to desist from making the movie making publisher she did not participated nor consented to
reference whatsoever to Ponce Enrile. This, this the preparation and publication of the libelous
action for certiorari. article. Fermin raised that the said article is not
libelous and is protected by the mantle of freedom of
HELD: Freedom of speech and expression includes the press.
freedom to produce motion pictures and to exhibit
them. What is involved is a prior restraint by the ISSUE:
Judge upon the exercise of speech and of expression
Whether the questioned article is protected by the
by petitioners. Because of the preferred character of
mantle of the Freedom of the Press and is within the
speech and of expression, a weighty presumption of
realm of fair and honest comment.
invalidity vitiates measures of prior restraint. The
Judge should have stayed his hand considering that
the movie was yet uncompleted and therefore there
HELD: Issue:

Petitioner cannot take refuge in the constitutional Whether or not the article published by petitioners
guarantee of freedom of speech and of the press. fall under the crime of libel.
Although a wide latitude is given to critical
utterances made against public officials in the
performance of their official duties, or against public No. The elements of the crime of libel are the
figures on matters of public interest, such criticism following: (a) it must be defamatory; (b) it must be
does not automatically fall within the ambit of malicious; (c) it must be given publicity; and (d) the
constitutionally protected speech. If the utterances victim must be identifiable.
are false, malicious or unrelated to a public officer’s
performance of his duties or irrelevant to matters of In the case at bar, the first element is present. In
public interest involving public figures, the same may determining whether a statement is defamatory, the
give rise to criminal and civil liability. While words used are to be constructed in their entirely and
complainants are considered public figures for being should be taken in their plain, natural, and ordinary
personalities in the entertainment business, media meaning as they would naturally be understood in
people, including gossip and intrigue writers and another sense. In the instant case, the article in
commentators such as petitioner, do not have the question details the sexual activities of a certain
unbridled license to malign their honor and dignity by “Miss S” and one “Philip Henson” who had a romantic
indiscriminately airing fabricated and malicious liaison. In their ordinary sense, the words used cast
comments, whether in broadcast media or in print, aspersion upon the character, integrity, and
about their personal lives. reputation of “Miss S.”

Freedom of expression is man’s birthright – As to the element of malice, since on its face the
constitutionally protected and guaranteed, and that article is defamatory, there is a presumption that the
it has become the singular role of the press to act as offender acted with malice. In Article 354 of the same
its “defensor fidei” in a democratic society. But it is Code, every defamatory imputation is presumed to
also worth keeping in mind that the press is the be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention
servant, not the master, of the citizenry, and its and justifiable motive for making it is shown. There
freedom does not carry with it an unrestricted was neither good reason nor motive why the subject
hunting license to prey on the ordinary citizen. article was written except to embarrass “Miss S” and
injure her reputation.
In view of the foregoing disquisitions, the conviction
of petitioner for libel is upheld. On the element of publication, there can be no
question that the article appeared in the December
Diaz vs. People, G.R. No. 159787, May 25, 2007 28, 1991 issue of Bandera, a local tabloid.
(1st Division), J. Sandoval Gutierrez The last element of libel is that the victim be
identifiable, although it is not necessary that the
person be named. It is enough if by intrinsic reference
Manny Pichel and Ogie Diaz, managing editor and the allusion is apparent or if the publication contains
writer, respectively for Bandera, were accused of matters of description or reference to facts and
conspiring and confederating together and mutually circumstances from which others reading the article
helping each other, with the malicious purpose of may know the person alluded to, or if the latter is
impeaching the integrity, honor and reputation of pointed out by extraneous circumstance so that
one Florinda Bagay. The accused were alleged to those knowing such person could and did understand
have feloniously written and published an article that he was the person referred to.
about the sexual activities of certain “Miss S” and
The libelous article, while referring to “Miss S,” does
Philip Henson, in which through the words and
not give a sufficient description or other indications
phrases used in the article meant and conveyed false
which identify “Miss S.” In short, the article fails to
and malicious imputations that this “Miss S” is a
show that “Miss S” and Florinda Bagay are one and
sexual pervert and possesses lascivious and immoral
the same person.
habits. Florinda Bagay, who happened to use
“Patricia Santillan” as her screen name, claims that Although the article is libelous, Florinda Bagay could
she was this “Miss S” being referred to in the said not have been the person defamed therein. In Uy
article. Tioco v. Yang Shu Wen, where the requirement for an
identified or identifiable victim has not been
complied with, the case for libel must be dismissed.
The RTC convicted the Diaz and Pichel of the crime
Judgment reversed and Petitioner acquitted.
of libel. The Court of Appeals sustained the
conviction of Diaz but acquitted Pichel.
Disini, et al. v. The Secretary of Justice, et al., G.R. must show that he has a justifiable reason for the
No. 203335, 11 February 2014 defamatory statement even if it was in fact true.

Constitutional law; Unsolicited commercial In Re Emil P. Jurado | 243 SCRA 299 (1995)
communications, also known as “spam” is entitled to
protection under freedom of expression. To prohibit
the transmission of unsolicited ads would deny a Emiliano P. Jurado, a lawyer and a journalist who
person the right to read his emails, even unsolicited writes in a newspaper of general circulation (Manila
commercial ads addressed to him. Commercial Standard) wrote about alleged improprieties and
speech is a separate category of speech which is not irregularities in the judiciary over several months
accorded the same level of protection as that given (from about October 1992 to March 1993). Other
to other constitutionally guaranteed forms of journalists had also been making reports or
expression but is nonetheless entitled to protection. comments on the same subject. At the same time,
The State cannot rob him of this right without anonymous communications were being extensively
violating the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of circulated, by hand and through the mail, about
expression. Unsolicited advertisements are alleged venality and corruption in the courts.
legitimate forms of expression.
What was particularly given attention by the
FACTS: Supreme Court was his column entitled “Who will
judge the Justices?” referring to a report that six
Petitioners lament that libel provisions of the penal
justices, their spouses and children and
code and, in effect, the libel provisions of the
grandchildren (a total of 36 persons) spent a vacation
cybercrime law carry with them the requirement of
in Hong Kong, and that luxurious hotel
“presumed malice” even when the latest
accommodations and all their other expenses were
jurisprudence already replaces it with the higher
paid by a public utility firm and that the trip was
standard of “actual malice” as a basis for conviction.
arranged by the travel agency patronized by this
Petitioners argue that inferring “presumed malice”
public utility firm.
from the accused’s defamatory statement by virtue
of Article 354 of the penal code infringes on his This column was made amidst rumors that a
constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression. Supreme Court decision favorable to the public utility
firm appears to have been authored by a lawyer of
the public utility firm. The seed of the proceeding at
Whether or not Section 4(c)(4) of the Cybercrime bar was sown by the decision promulgated by this
Prevention Act on cyberlibel affected the Court on August 27, 1992, in the so-called
requirement of “actual malice” as opposed to “controversial case” of “Philippine Long Distance
“presumed malice” as basis for conviction of libel. Telephone Company v. Eastern Telephone
Philippines, Inc. (ETPI),” G.R. No, 94374. In that
decision the Court was sharply divided; the vote was
The prosecution bears the burden of proving the 9 to 4, in favor of the petitioner PLDT. Mr. Justice
presence of actual malice in instances where such Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., wrote the opinion for the
element is required to establish guilt. The defense of majority.
absence of actual malice, even when the statement
The Chief Justice issued an administrative order
turns out to be false, is available where the offended
creating an ad hoc committee to investigate the said
party is a public official or a public figure, as in the
reports of corruption in the judiciary. A letter affidavit
cases of Vasquez (a barangay official) and Borjal (the
was also received from the public utility, denying the
Executive Director, First National Conference on
allegations in Jurado's column. The Supreme Court
Land Transportation). Since the penal code and
then issued a resolution ordering that the matter
implicitly, the cybercrime law, mainly target libel
dealt with in the letter and affidavit of the public
against private persons, the Court recognizes that
utility company be docketed and acted upon as an
these laws imply a stricter standard of “malice” to
official Court proceeding for the determination of
convict the author of a defamatory statement where
whether or not the allegations made by Jurado are
the offended party is a public figure. Society’s
interest and the maintenance of good government
demand a full discussion of public affairs. ISSUE #1:

But, where the offended party is a private individual, WON Jurado can invoke the principles of press
the prosecution need not prove the presence of freedom to justify the published writings.
malice. The law explicitly presumes its existence
(malice in law) from the defamatory character of the
assailed statement. For his defense, the accused NO. Although honest utterances, even if inaccurate,
may further the fruitful exercise of the right of free
speech, it does not follow that the lie, knowingly and ISSUE #2:
deliberately published about a public official, should
WON the court has the power to cite him for
enjoy a like immunity. The knowingly false statement
and the false statement made with reckless disregard
of the truth, do not enjoy constitutional protection. HELD:
The Civil Code, in its Article 19 lays down the norm for YES. The Supreme Court has inherent power to
the proper exercise of any right, constitutional or punish for contempt, to control in the furtherance of
otherwise, viz.: “ARTICLE 19. Every person must, in justice the conduct of ministerial officers of the Court
the exercise of his rights and in the performance of including lawyers and all other persons connected in
his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and any manner with a case before the Court. The power
observe honesty and good faith.” The provision is to punish for contempt is "necessary for its own
reflective of the universally accepted precept of protection against improper interference with the
“abuse of rights,” “one of the most dominant due administration of justice." Contempt is
principles which must be deemed always implied in punishable, even if committed without relation to a
any system of law.” pending case.
Requirement to exercise bona fide care in Jurado would also claim that the Court has no
ascertaining the truth of the statements when administrative supervision over him as a member of
publishing statements which are clearly defamatory the press or over his work as a journalist, and asks
to identifiable judges or other public officials. Judges, why he is being singled out, and, by being required to
by becoming such, are rightly regarded as voluntarily submit to a separate administrative proceeding,
subjecting themselves to norms of conduct which treated differently than his other colleagues in media
embody more stringent standards of honesty, who were only asked to explain their reports and
integrity, and competence than are commonly comments about wrongdoing in the judiciary to the
required from private persons. Nevertheless, persons Ad Hoc Committee.
who seek or accept appointment to the Judiciary
cannot reasonably be regarded as having forfeited The answer is that upon all that has so far been said,
any right to private honor and reputation. For to so the Court may hold anyone to answer for utterances
rule will be to discourage all save those who feel no offensive to its dignity, honor or reputation which
need to maintain their self-respect from becoming tend to put it in disrepute, obstruct the
judges. administration of justice, or interfere with the
disposition of its business or the performance of its
The public interest involved in freedom of speech and functions in an orderly manner. Jurado has not been
the individual interest of judges (and for that matter, singled out. What has happened is that there have
all other public officials) in the maintenance of been brought before the Court, formally and in due
private honor and reputation need to be course, sworn statements branding his reports as lies
accommodated one to the other. And the point of and thus imposing upon him the alternatives of
adjustment or accommodation between these two substantiating those reports or assuming
legitimate interests is precisely found in the norm, responsibility for their publication.
which requires those, who, invoking freedom of
speech, publish statements which are clearly Jurado would have the Court clarify in what capacity
defamatory to identifiable judges or other public — whether a journalist, or as a member of the bar —
officials to exercise bona fide care in ascertaining the he has been cited in these proceeding. Thereby he
truth of the statements they publish. The norm does resurrects the issue he once raised in a similar earlier
not require that a journalist guarantee the truth of proceeding: that he is being called to account as a
what he says or publishes. But the norm does prohibit lawyer for his statements as a
the reckless disregard of private reputation by
This is not the case at all. Upon the doctrines and
publishing or circulating defamatory statements
principles already inquired into and cited, he is open
without any bona fide effort to ascertain the truth
to sanctions as journalist who has misused and
abused press freedom to put the judiciary in clear and
Note: In this case, Jurado failed to reliably confirmed present to the danger of disrepute and of public
that raw intelligence or reports he received obdium and opprobrium, detriment and prejudice of
surrounding the corruption in the Judiciary. the administration of justice. That he is at the same
Moreover, some of his reports were completely time a member of the bar has nothing to do with the
untrue because he did not bother to make any further setting in of those sanctions, although it may
verification. aggravate liability.

Jurado’s actuations, in the context in which they were

done, demonstrate gross irresponsibility, and
indifference to factual accuracy and the injury that he
might cause to the name and reputation of those of
whom he wrote.
They constitute contempt of court, directly tending
WON there was a grave abuse of discretion by
as they do to degrade or abase the administration of
respondent Board in classifying Kapit sa Patalim
justice and the judges engaged in that function. By
“For Adults Only” without deletion or cut. – YES.
doing them, he has placed himself beyond the circle
of reputable, decent and responsible journalists who xxx There was an abuse of discretion. Nonetheless,
live by their Code or the “Golden Rule” and who strive there are not enough votes to maintain that such an
at all times to maintain the prestige and nobility of abuse can be considered grave.
their calling.
“The adult classification given the film
GONZALES v. KALAW KATIGBAK serves as a warning to theater operators and viewers
that some contents of Kapit are not fit for the young.
SUMMARY. The Board of Review for Motion Pictures
Some of the scenes in the picture were taken in a
and Television (BRMPT) gave Lino Brocka’s film a
theater-club and a good portion of the film shots
“For Adults Only” classification with certain changes
concentrated on some women erotically dancing
and deletions in the film. The petitioners claimed that
naked, or at least nearly naked, on the theater stage.
the classification was without basis. In its answer,
Another scene on that stage depicted the women
respondent Board stated that petitioner company
kissing and caressing as lesbians. And toward the end
has an option to have the film reclassified to For-
of the picture, there exists scenes of excessive
General- Patronage if it would agree to remove the
violence attending the battle between a group of
obscene scenes; however, petitioners refused the
robbers and the police. The vulnerable and imitative
“For Adults Only” classification and instead filed this
in the young audience will misunderstand these
suit for certiorari. The issue raised was whether or not
there was a grave abuse of discretion by respondent
Board in classifying Kapit sa Patalim “For Adults DECISION.
Only” without deletion or cut; which the Court ruled
in the affirmative. Nonetheless, there are not enough Petition DISMISSED on the ground that there are not
votes to maintain that such an abuse can be enough votes for a ruling that there was a grave
considered grave, so the petition was dismissed. abuse of discretion in the classification of Kapit sa
Patalim as “For Adults Only.”
DOCTRINE. “All ideas having even the slightest
redeeming social importance--unorthodox ideas,
controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing
climate of opinion--have the full protection of the
guaranties, unless excludable because they encroach [178 SCRA 362; G.R. NO.80806; 5 OCT 1989]
upon the limited area of more important interests. But
implicit in the history of the First Amendment is the Facts:
rejection of obscenity as utterly without redeeming On December 1 and 3, 1983, pursuing an Anti-Smut
social importance.” (Roth test). Campaign initiated by the Mayor of the City of
FACTS. Manila, Ramon D. Bagatsing, elements of the Special
Anti-Narcotics Group, Auxilliary Services Bureau,
 In a resolution of a sub-committee of respondent Western Police District, INP of the Metropolitan
Board, a permit to exhibit Lino Brocka’s film Kapit Police Force of Manila, seized and confiscated from
sa Patalim under the classification “For Adults dealers, distributors, newsstand owners and peddlers
Only,” with certain changes and deletions along Manila sidewalks, magazines, publications and
enumerated was granted. other reading materials believed to be obscene,
 A motion for reconsideration was filed by pornographic and indecent and later burned the
petitioners stating that the classification of the film
seized materials in public at the University belt along
“For Adults Only” was without legal and factual
C.M. Recto Avenue, Manila, in the presence of Mayor
Bagatsing and several officers and members of
 On November 12, 1984, respondent Board
released its decision: “xxx the Board, after a review various student organizations.
of the resolution of the sub-committee and an Among the publications seized, and later burned,
examination of the film, Resolves to affirm in toto
was "Pinoy Playboy" magazines published and co-
the ruling of the subcommittee. Considering,
edited by plaintiff Leo Pita.
however, certain vital deficiencies in the
application, the Board further Resolves to direct Plaintiff filed a case for injunction with prayer for
the Chairman of the Board to Withheld the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction against
issuance of the Permit to exhibit until these
Mayor Bagatsing and Narcisco Cabrera, as
deficiencies are supplied.” Hence this petition.
superintendent of Western Police District of the City
of Manila, seeking to enjoin said defendants and their 2. The judge must determine whether or not the
agents from confiscating plaintiff’s magazines or same are indeed obscene. The question is to be
from preventing the sale or circulation thereof resolved on a case-to-case basis and on the judge’s
claiming that the magazine is a decent, artistic and sound discretion;
educational magazine which is not per se obscene,
and that the publication is protected by the SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and
of the press. Plaintiff also filed an Urgent Motion for
issuance of a temporary restraining order against Aglipay v. Ruiz GR 45459, 13 March 1937 (64 Phil
indiscriminate seizure, confiscation and burning of 201) First Division, Laurel (p): 5 concur.
plaintiff's "Pinoy Playboy" Magazines, pending
hearing on the petition for preliminary injunction.
The Court granted the temporary restraining order. In May 1936, the Director of Posts announced in the
The case was set for trial upon the lapse of the TRO. dailies of Manila that he would order the issuance of
RTC ruled that the seizure was valid. This was postage stamps commemorating the celebration in
affirmed by the CA. the City of Manila of the 33rd International
Eucharistic Congress, organized by the Roman
Catholic Church. The petitioner, Mons. Gregorio
Whether or Not the seizure violative of the freedom Aglipay, Supreme Head of the Philippine
of expression of the petitioner. Independent Church, in the fulfillment of what he
considers to be a civic duty, requested Vicente Sotto,
Esq., member of the Philippine Bar, to denounce the
Freedom of the press is not without restraint as the matter to the President of the Philippines. In spite of
state has the right to protect society from the protest of the petitioner’s attorney, the Director
pornographic literature that is offensive to public of Posts publicly announced having sent to the
morals, as indeed we have laws punishing the author, United States the designs of the postage for printing.
publishers and sellers of obscene publications. The said stamps were actually issued and sold though
However, It is easier said than done to say, that if the the greater part thereof remained unsold. The
pictures here in question were used not exactly for further sale of the stamps was sought to be
art's sake but rather for commercial purposes, the prevented by the petitioner.
pictures are not entitled to any constitutional
protection. Using the Kottinger rule: the test of
obscenity is "whether the tendency of the matter Whether the issuance of the postage stamps was in
charged as obscene, is to deprave or corrupt those violation of the Constitution.
whose minds are open to such immoral influences
and into whose hands a publication or other article Held:
charged as being obscene may fall." Another is Religious freedom as a constitutional mandate is not
whether it shocks the ordinary andcommon sense of inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is
men as an indecency. Ultimately "whether a picture not a denial of its influence in human affairs. Religion
is obscene or indecent must depend upon the as a profession of faith to an active power that binds
circumstances of the case and that the question is to and elevates man to his Creator is recognized. And,
be decided by the "judgment of the aggregate sense in so far as it instills into the minds the purest
of the community reached by it." The government principles of morality, its influence is deeply felt and
authorities in the instant case have not shown the highly appreciated. When the Filipino people, in the
required proof to justify a ban and to warrant preamble of their Constitution, implored “the aid of
confiscation of the literature First of all, they were not Divine Providence, in order to establish a
possessed of a lawful court order: (1) finding the said government that shall embody their ideals, conserve
materials to be pornography, and (2) authorizing and develop the patrimony of the nation, promote
them to carry out a search and seizure, by way of the general welfare, and secure to themselves and
asearch warrant. The court provides that the their posterity the blessings of independence under a
authorities must apply for the issuance of a search regime of justice, liberty and democracy,” they
warrant from a judge, if in their opinion an obscenity thereby manifested their intense religious nature and
seizure is in order and that; placed unfaltering reliance upon Him who guides the
destinies of men and nations. The elevating influence
1. The authorities must convince the court that the
of religion in human society is recognized here as
materials sought to be seized are obscene and pose a
elsewhere. Act 4052 contemplates no religious
clear and present danger of an evil substantive
enough to warrant State interference and action; purpose in view. What it gives the Director of Posts is
the discretionary power to determine when the
issuance of special postage stamps would be
“advantageous to the Government.” Of course, the Church, contends that Sec. 8 Article IV1 and Sec 18(2)
phrase “advantageous to the Government” does not Article VIII) 2 of the constitution was violated.
authorize the violation of the Constitution; i.e. to
appropriate, use or apply of public money or property
for the use, benefit or support of a particular sect or Whether or Not any freedom of religion clause in the
church. In the case at bar, the issuance of the postage Constitution violated.
stamps was not inspired by any sectarian feeling to
favor a particular church or religious denominations. Held:
The stamps were not issued and sold for the benefit
No. As said by the Court this case is a petty quarrel
of the Roman Catholic Church, nor were money
over the custody of the image. The image was
derived from the sale of the stamps given to that
purchased in connection with the celebration of the
church. The purpose of the issuing of the stamps was
barrio fiesta and not for the purpose of favoring any
to take advantage of an event considered of
religion nor interfering with religious matters or
international importance to give publicity to the
beliefs of the barrio residents. Any activity intended
Philippines and its people and attract more tourists to
to facilitate the worship of the patron saint(such as
the country. Thus, instead of showing a Catholic
the acquisition) is not illegal. Practically, the image
chalice, the stamp contained a map of the
was placed in a layman’s custody so that it could
Philippines, the location of the City of Manila, and an
easily be made available to any family desiring to
inscription that reads “Seat XXXIII International
borrow the image in connection with prayers and
Eucharistic Congress, Feb. 3-7, 1937.” The Supreme
novena. It was the council’s funds that were used to
Court denied the petition for a writ of prohibition,
buy the image, therefore it is their property. Right of
without pronouncement as to costs.
the determination of custody is their right, and even
Garces Vs. Estenzo , 104 SCRA 510 [G.R. L-53487], if they decided to give it to the Church, there is no
May 25, 1981 violation of the Constitution, since private funds were
used. Not every government activity which involves
Facts: the expenditure of public funds and which has some
religious tint is violative of the constitutional
Two resolutions of the Barangay Council of Valencia,
provisions regarding separation of church and state,
Ormoc City were passed:
freedom of worship and banning the use of public
a. Resolution No. 5- Reviving the traditional socio- money or property.
religious celebration every fifth of April. This
G.R. No. L-9637 April 30, 1957 AMERICAN BIBLE
provided for the acquisition of the image of San
Vicente Ferrer and the construction of a waiting shed.
Funds for the said projects will be obtained through Facts:
the selling of tickets and cash donations.
In the course of its ministry, plaintiff's Philippine
b. Resolution No. 6- The chairman or hermano mayor agency has been distributing and selling bibles and/or
of the fiesta would be the caretaker of the image of gospel portions thereof throughout the Philippines
San Vicente Ferrer and that the image would remain and translating the same into several Philippine
in his residence for one year and until the election of dialects. The acting City Treasurer of the City of
his successor. The image would be made available to Manila required plaintiff to obtain the necessary
the Catholic Church during the celebration of the Mayor's permit and municipal license fees, together
saint’s feast day. with compromise covering the period from the 4th
quarter of 1945 to the 2nd quarter of 1953. Plaintiff
These resolutions have been ratified by 272 voters,
paid to the defendant under protest the said permit
and said projects were implemented. The image was
and license fees and question the legality of the
temporarily placed in the altar of the Catholic Church
ordinances under which the said fees were being
of the barangay. However, after a mass, Father
Sergio Marilao Osmeña refused to return the image
to the barangay council, as it was the church’s Issue:
property since church funds were used in its
acquisition. Whether the municipal ordinances violate the
freedom of religious profession and worship.
Resolution No. 10 was passed for the authorization of
hiring a lawyer for the replevin case against the priest Held:
for the recovery of the image. Resolution No. 12
The constitutional guaranty of the free exercise and
appointed Brgy. Captain Veloso as a representative
enjoyment of religious profession and worship carries
to the case. The priest, in his answer assailed the
with it the right to disseminate religious information.
constitutionality of the said resolutions. The priest
Any restraints of such right can only be justified like
with Andres Garces, a member of the Aglipayan
other restraints of freedom of expression on the
grounds that there is a clear and present danger of 3. The lower court (RTC) declared DO 8 invalid and
any substantive evil which the State has the right to contrary to the Bill of Rights.
We have here something quite different, for
Whether or not DO 8 is valid or constitutional
example, from a tax on the income of one who
engages in religious activities or a tax on property HELD:
used or employed in connection with activities. It is
one thing to impose a tax on the income or property DO 8 is valid. Saluting the flag is not a religious ritual
of a preacher. It is quite another to exact a tax from and it is for the courts to determine, not a religious
him for the privilege of delivering a sermon. The group, whether or not a certain practice is one.
power to tax the exercise of a privilege is the power
1. The court held that the flag is not an image but a
to control or suppress its enjoyment.
symbol of the Republic of the Philippines, an emblem
It may be true that in the case at bar the price asked of national sovereignty, of national unity and
for the bibles and other religious pamphlets was in cohesion and of freedom and liberty which it and the
some instances a little bit higher than the actual cost Constitution guarantee and protect. Considering the
of the same but this cannot mean that appellant was complete separation of church and state in our
engaged in the business or occupation of selling said system of government, the flag is utterly devoid of
"merchandise" for profit. For this reason We believe any religious significance. Saluting the flag
that the provisions of City of Manila Ordinance No. consequently does not involve any religious
2529, as amended, cannot be applied to appellant, ceremony.
for in doing so it would impair its free exercise and
After all, the determination of whether a certain
enjoyment of its religious profession and worship as
ritual is or is not a religious ceremony must rest with
well as its rights of dissemination of religious beliefs.
the courts. It cannot be left to a religious group or
It seems clear, therefore, that Ordinance No. 3000 sect, much less to a follower of said group or sect;
cannot be considered unconstitutional, even if otherwise, there would be confusion and
applied to plaintiff Society. But as Ordinance No. misunderstanding for there might be as many
2529 of the City of Manila, as amended, is not interpretations and meanings to be given to a certain
applicable to plaintiff-appellant and defendant- ritual or ceremony as there are religious groups or
appellee is powerless to license or tax the business of sects or followers.
plaintiff Society involved herein for, as stated before,
2. The freedom of religious belief guaranteed by the
it would impair plaintiff's right to the free exercise
Constitution does not and cannot mean exemption
and enjoyment of its religious profession and
form or non-compliance with reasonable and non-
worship, as well as its rights of dissemination of
discriminatory laws, rules and regulations
religious beliefs, We find that Ordinance No. 3000, as
promulgated by competent authority. In enforcing
amended is also inapplicable to said business, trade
the flag salute on the petitioners, there was
or occupation of the plaintiff.
absolutely no compulsion involved, and for their
Gerona, et. al v SEC. OF EDUCATION, 106 Phil 2 failure or refusal to obey school regulations about the
Aug. 12, 1959 flag salute they were not being persecuted. Neither
were they being criminally prosecuted under threat
FACTS: of penal sacntion. If they chose not to obey the flag
salute regulation, they merely lost the benefits of
1. Petitioners belong to the Jehova’s Witness whose
public education being maintained at the expense of
children were expelled from their schools when they
their fellow citizens, nothing more. According to a
refused to salute, sing the anthem, recite the pledge
popular expression, they could take it or leave it.
during the conduct of flag ceremony. DO No. 8 issued
Having elected not to comply with the regulations
by DECS pursuant to RA 1265 which called for the
about the flag salute, they forfeited their right to
manner of conduct during a flag ceremony. The
attend public schools.
petitioners wrote the Secretary of Education on their
plight and requested to reinstate their children. This 3. The Filipino flag is not an image that requires
was denied. religious veneration; rather it is symbol of the
Republic of the Philippines, of sovereignty, an
2. As a result, the petitioners filed for a writ of
emblem of freedom, liberty and national unity; that
preliminary injunction against the Secretary and
the flag salute is not a religious ceremony but an act
Director of Public Schools to restrain them from
and profession of love and allegiance and pledge of
implementing said DO No. 8.
loyalty to the fatherland which the flag stands for;
that by authority of the legislature, the Secretary of
Education was duly authorized to promulgate
Department Order No. 8, series of 1955; that the
requirement of observance of the flag ceremony or The sole justification for a prior restraint or limitation
salute provided for in said Department Order No. 8, on the exercise of religious freedom is the existence
does not violate the Constitutional provision about of a grave and present danger of a character both
freedom of religion and exercise of religion; that grave and imminent, of a serious evil to public safety,
compliance with the non-discriminatory and public morals, public health or any other legitimate
reasonable rules and regulations and school public interest, that the State has a right (and duty) to
prevent." Absent such a threat to public safety, the
discipline, including observance of the flag ceremony
expulsion of the petitioners from the schools is not
is a prerequisite to attendance in public schools; and
justified. (Teehankee)
that for failure and refusal to participate in the flag
ceremony, petitioners were properly excluded and
The petitioners further contend that while they do
dismissed from the public school they were not take part in the compulsory flag ceremony, they
attending. do not engage in "external acts" or behavior that
would offend their countrymen who believe in
EBRALINAG v. THE DIVISION SUPERINTENDENT OF expressing their love of country through the
SCHOOLS OF CEBU, G.R. No. 95770 March 1, 1993 observance of the flag ceremony. They quietly stand
at attention during the flag ceremony to show their
AMOLO et al vs. THE DIVISION SUPERINTENDENT OF respect for the right of those who choose to
SCHOOLS OF CEBU and ANTONIO A. SANGUTAN participate in the solemn proceedings. Since they do
not engage in disruptive behavior, there is no warrant
G.R. No. 95887 March 1, 1993 ; GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.: for their expulsion.

Facts: The Court is not persuaded that by exempting the

Jehovah's Witnesses from saluting the flag, singing
The petitioners in both (consolidated) cases were the national anthem and reciting the patriotic pledge,
expelled from their classes by the public school this religious group which admittedly comprises a
authorities in Cebu for refusing to salute the flag, sing "small portion of the school population" will shake up
the national anthem and recite the patriotic pledge as our part of the globe and suddenly produce a nation
required by Republic Act No. 1265 (An Act making flag "untaught and uninculcated in and unimbued with
ceremony compulsory in all educational institutions) reverence for the flag, patriotism, love of country and
of July 11, 1955 , and by Department Order No. 8 admiration for national heroes" . What the
(Rules and Regulations for Conducting the Flag petitioners seek only is exemption from the flag
Ceremony in All Educational Institutions) dated July ceremony, not exclusion from the public schools
21, 1955 of the Department of Education, Culture and where they may study the Constitution, the
Sports (DECS) making the flag ceremony compulsory democratic way of life and form of government, and
in all educational institutions. learn not only the arts, sciences, Philippine history
and culture but also receive training for a vocation of
profession and be taught the virtues of "patriotism,
Jehovah's Witnesses admitted that they taught their
respect for human rights, appreciation for national
children not to salute the flag, sing the national
heroes, the rights and duties of citizenship, and moral
anthem, and recite the patriotic pledge for they
and spiritual values (Sec. 3[2], Art. XIV, 1987
believe that those are "acts of worship" or "religious
Constitution) as part of the curricula. Expelling or
devotion" which they "cannot conscientiously give to
banning the petitioners from Philippine schools will
anyone or anything except God". They consider the
bring about the very situation that this Court had
flag as an image or idol representing the State. They
feared in Gerona. Forcing a small religious group,
think the action of the local authorities in compelling
through the iron hand of the law, to participate in a
the flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional
ceremony that violates their religious beliefs, will
limitations on the State's power and invades the
hardly be conducive to love of country or respect for
sphere of the intellect and spirit which the
dully constituted authorities.
Constitution protect against official control..
Also, the expulsion of members of Jehovah's
Witnesses from the schools where they are enrolled
violates their right as Philippine citizens, under the
Whether or not school children who are members or 1987 Constitution, to "protect and promote the right
a religious sect may be expelled from school for of all citizens to quality education . . . and to make
disobedience of R.A. No. 1265 and Department Order such education accessible to all (Sec. 1, Art. XIV).
No. 8


No. Religious freedom is a fundamental right which is

entitled to the highest priority and the amplest
protection among human rights, for it involves the
relationship of man to his Creator
IGLESIA NI CRISTO (INC.), petitioner, vs. THE Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration to RTC
Petitioner prayed (a) for the deletion of the second
paragraph of the dispositive portion of the Decision:
MENDEZ, respondents. Petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo, however, is
directed to refrain from offending and attacking
1. Iglesia ni Cristo has a television program.
other existing religions in showing Ang Iglesia ni
The program presents and propagates its religious
Cristo program and (b) for the Board to be
beliefs, doctrines and practices often times in
perpetually enjoined from requiring petitioner to
comparative studies with other religions.Sometime
submit for review the tapes of its program.
in 1992, petitioner submitted to the respondent
Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television 4. Respondent The respondent Board opposed
the VTR tapes of its TV program which the Board the motion. The trial court granted petitioners
classified as X or not for public viewing on the ground Motion for Reconsideration.
that they offend and constitute an attack against
other religions which is expressly prohibited by law. Respondent Board appeal to Court of Appeals

Petitioner to Office of the President: CA reversed the trial court. It ruled that:

Petitioner appealed to the Office of the President the (1) the respondent board has jurisdiction and power
classification of its TV Series. It succeeded in its to review the TV program Ang Iglesia ni Cristo, and
appeal. Office of the President reversed the decision
(2) the respondent Board did not act with grave
of the respondent Board.
abuse of discretion when it denied permit for the
Petitioner to RTC exhibition on TV of the three series of Ang Iglesia
ni Cristo on the ground that the materials
Petitioner also filed against the respondent Board constitute an attack against another religion. It also
Civil Case with the RTC. Petitioner alleged that the found the series indecent, contrary to law and
respondent Board acted without jurisdiction or with contrary to good customs.
grave abuse of discretion in requiring petitioner to
submit the VTR tapes of its TV program and in x- Issues before the SC:
rating them.
The Board invoked its power under P.D. No. 1986 in CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED AS A FORM OF
relation to Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. RELIGIOUS EXERCISE AND EXPRESSION.
2. On January 4, 1993, the trial court held a II. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE
hearing on petitioners’ prayer for a writ of COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING
preliminary injunction. The parties orally argued and THAT BEING AN EXERCISE OF RELIGIOUS
then marked their documentary evidence. After FREEDOM, THE ANG IGLESIA NI CRISTO PROGRAM
evaluating the evidence of the parties, the trial court IS SUBJECT TO THE POLICE POWER OF THE STATE
issued a writ of preliminary injunction on petitioners ONLY IN THE EXTREME CASE THAT IT POSES A
bond of P10,000.00. CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER.
3. The trial court set the pre-trial of the case III. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE
and the parties submitted their pre-trial briefs. The COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT
pre-trial briefs show that the parties evidence is THE MTRCB IS VESTED WITH THE POWER TO
basically the evidence they submitted in the hearing CENSOR RELIGIOUS PROGRAMS.
of the issue of preliminary injunction. The trial of the
case was set and reset several times as the parties IV. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE
tried to reach an amicable accord. Their efforts failed COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT
and the records show that after submission of THE ANG IGLESIA NI CRISTO, A PURELY RELIGIOUS
memoranda, the trial court rendered a Judgment, PROGRAM IS INDECENT AND CONTRARY TO LAW
ordering respondent Board to grant petitioner Iglesia AND GOOD CUSTOMS.
ni Cristo the necessary permit for all the series of Ang
The basic issues can be reduced into two:
Iglesia ni Cristo program. Petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo,
however, is directed to refrain from offending and (1) Whether the respondent Board has the
attacking other existing religions in showing Ang power to review petitioners TV program Ang Iglesia
Iglesia ni Cristo program. ni Cristo
YES, respondent Board has the power to review intersecting umbras and penumbras of the right to
petitioner’s TV program. religious profession and worship.

(2) Assuming it has the power, whether it To quote the summation of Mr. Justice Isagani Cruz,
gravely abused its discretion when it prohibited the our well-known constitutionalist
airing of petitioners religious program, series Nos.
Religious Profession and Worship
115, 119 and 121, for the reason that they constitute
an attack against other religions and that they are The right to religious profession and worship has a
indecent, contrary to law and good customs. two-fold aspect, viz., freedom to believe and
freedom to act on ones beliefs. The first is absolute as
YES, respondent Board gravely abuse its discretion
long as the belief is confined within the realm of
when it prohibited the airing of petitioner’s religious
thought. The second is subject to regulation where
the belief is translated into external acts that affect
Ruling: the public welfare.

Answer to Issue 1: P.D. 1986 gives the Board the (1) Freedom to Believe
power to screen, review and examine all television
The individual is free to believe (or disbelieve) as he
programs.—The law gives the Board the power to
pleases concerning the hereafter. He may indulge his
screen, review and examine all “television programs.
own theories about life and death; worship any god
” By the clear terms of the law, the Board has the
he chooses, or none at all; embrace or reject any
power to “approve, delete x x x and/or prohibit the x
religion; acknowledge the divinity of God or of any
x x exhibition and/or television broadcast of x x x
being that appeals to his reverence; recognize or
television programs x x x.” The law also directs the
deny the immortality of his soul in fact, cherish any
Board to apply “contemporary Filipino cultural values
religious conviction as he and he alone sees fit.
as standard” to determine those which are
However absurd his beliefs may be to others, even if
objectionable for being “immoral, indecent, contrary
they be hostile and heretical to the majority, he has
to law and/or good customs, injurious to the prestige
full freedom to believe as he pleases. He may not be
of the Republic of the Philippines and its people, or
required to prove his beliefs. He may not be punished
with a dangerous tendency to encourage the
for his inability to do so. Religion, after all, is a matter
commission of violence or of a wrong or crime.”
of faith. Men may believe what they cannot prove.
Contention # 1 by INC to SC: Everyone has a right to his beliefs and he may not be
called to account because he cannot prove what he
The term television program should not include
religious programs like its program Ang Iglesia ni
Cristo. It will contravene Section 5, Article III of the (2) Freedom to Act on Ones Beliefs
Constitution which guarantees that no law shall be
But where the individual externalizes his beliefs in
made respecting an establishment of religion, or
acts or omissions that affect the public, his freedom
prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free
to do so becomes subject to the authority of the
exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and
State. As great as this liberty may be, religious
worship, without discrimination or preference, shall
freedom, like all the other rights guaranteed in the
forever be allowed.
Constitution, can be enjoyed only with a proper
SC to Contention # 1 regard for the rights of others. It is error to think that
the mere invocation of religious freedom will
Freedom of religion is designed to protect the
stalemate the State and render it impotent in
broadest possible liberty of conscience, to allow each
protecting the general welfare. The inherent police
man to believe as his conscience directs, to profess
power can be exercised to prevent religious practices
his beliefs and to live as he believes he ought to live,
inimical to society. And this is true even if such
consistent with the liberty of others and with the
practices are pursued out of sincere religious
common good.—We reject petitioner’s submission
conviction and not merely for the purpose of evading
which need not set us adrift in a constitutional
the reasonable requirements or prohibitions of the
voyage towards an uncharted sea. Freedom of
religion has been accorded a preferred status by the
framers of our fundamental laws, past and present. The exercise of religious freedom can be regulated by
We have affirmed this preferred status well aware the State when it will bring about the clear and
that it is “designed to protect the broadest possible present danger of some substantial evil which the
liberty of conscience, to allow each man to believe as State is duty bound to prevent --We thus reject
his conscience directs, to profess his beliefs, and to petitioners postulate that its religious program is per
live as he believes he ought to live, consistent with se beyond review by the respondent Board. Its public
the liberty of others and with the common good.” We broadcast on TV of its religious program brings it out
have also laboriously defined in our jurisprudence the of the bosom of internal belief. Television is a
medium that reaches even the eyes and ears of followers, especially the fanatics, the establishment
children. The Court iterates the rule that the exercise clause of freedom of religion prohibits the State from
of religious freedom can be regulated by the State leaning towards any religion. Vis-a-vis religious
when it will bring about the clear and present danger differences, the State enjoys no banquet of options.
of some substantive evil which the State is duty Neutrality alone is its fixed and immovable stance. In
bound to prevent, i.e., serious detriment to the more fine, respondent board cannot squelch the speech of
overriding interest of public health, public morals, or petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks
public welfare. other religions, even if said religion happens to be the
most numerous church in our country. In a State
Contention # 2 by INC to SC
where there ought to be no difference between the
CA gravely erred when it affirmed the ruling appearance and the reality of freedom of religion, the
of the respondent Board x-rating its TV Program remedy against bad theology is better theology. The
Series. The records show that the respondent Board bedrock of freedom of religion is freedom of thought
disallowed the program series for attacking other and it is best served by encouraging the marketplace
religions. The respondent appellate court agreed and of dueling ideas. When the luxury of time permits, the
even held that the said attacks are indecent, contrary marketplace of ideas demands that speech should be
to law and good customs. met by more speech for it is the spark of opposite
speech, the heat of colliding ideas that can fan the
SC to Contention #2 embers of truth.
We reverse the ruling of the appellate court. Third. The ground “attack against another religion”
was merely added by the respondent Board in its
First. Any act that restrains speech is hobbled by the
Rules— The respondents cannot also rely on the
presumption of invalidity and should be greeted with
ground attacks against another religion in x-rating
furrowed brows.—Deeply ensconced in our
the religious program of petitioner. Even a side
fundamental law is its hostility against all prior
glance at Section 3 of PD 1986 will reveal that it is not
restraints on speech, including religious speech.
among the grounds to justify an order prohibiting the
Hence, any act that restrains speech is hobbled by
broadcast of petitioners television program. The
the presumption of invalidity and should be greeted
ground attack against another religion was merely
with furrowed brows. It is the burden of the
added by the respondent Board in its Rules. This rule
respondent Board to overthrow this presumption. If
is void for it runs smack against the hoary doctrine
it fails to discharge this burden, its act of censorship
that administrative rules and regulations cannot
will be struck down. It failed in the case at bar.
expand the letter and spirit of the law they seek to
Second. Ruling of respondent court clearly enforce.
suppresses petitioner’s freedom of speech and
It is opined that the respondent board can still utilize
interferes with its right to free exercise of religion.—
attack against any religion as a ground allegedly x x x
The evidence shows that the respondent Board x-
because Section 3 (c) of PD 1986 prohibits the
rated petitioners TV series for “attacking” other
showing of motion pictures, television programs and
religions, especially the Catholic church. An
publicity materials which are contrary to law and
examination of the evidence, especially Exhibits “A,”
Article 201 (2) (b) (3) of the Revised Penal Code
“A-1,” “B,” “C,” and “D” will show that the so-called
punishes anyone who exhibits shows which offend
“attacks” are mere criticisms of some of the deeply
any race or religion. We respectfully disagree for it is
held dogmas and tenets of other religions. The
plain that the word attack is not synonymous with
videotapes were not viewed by the respondent court
the word offend. Moreover, Article 201 (2) (b) (3) of
as they were not presented as evidence. Yet they
the Revised Penal Code should be invoked to justify
were considered by the respondent court as
the subsequent punishment of a show which offends
indecent, contrary to law and good customs, hence,
any religion. It cannot be utilized to justify prior
can be prohibited from public viewing under Section
censorship of speech. It must be emphasized that
3(c) of PD 1986. This ruling clearly suppresses
E.O. 876, the law prior to PD 1986, included attack
petitioner’s freedom of speech and interferes with its
against any religion as a ground for censorship. The
right to free exercise of religion.
ground was not, however, carried over by PD 1986.
The respondent Board may disagree with the Its deletion is a decree to disuse it. There can be no
criticisms of other religions by petitioner but that other intent. Indeed, even the Executive Department
gives it no excuse to interdict such criticisms, espouses this view. Thus, in an Opinion dated
however, unclean they may be. Under our November 28, 1985 then Minister of Justice, now
constitutional scheme, it is not the task of the State President of the Senate, Neptali Gonzales explained:
to favor any religion by protecting it against an attack xxx
by another religion. Religious dogmas and beliefs are
However, the question whether the BRMPT (now
often at war and to preserve peace among their
MTRCB) may preview and censor the subject
television program of INC should be viewed in the G.R. No. L-34854 November 20, 1978
light of the provision of Section 3, paragraph (c) of PD FORTUNATO R. PAMIL, petitioner-appellant, vs.
1986, which is substantially the same as the provision HONORABLE VICTORINO C. TELERON, as Judge
of Section 3, paragraph (c) of E.O. No. 876-A, which of the Court of First Instance of Bohol, Branch III,
prescribes the standards of censorship, to wit: and REV. FR. MARGARITO R. GONZAGA,
immoral, indecent, contrary to law and/or good respondents-appellees.
customs, injurious to the prestige of the Republic of
the Philippines or its people or with dangerous
tendency to encourage the commission of violence, Father Margarito R. Gonzaga, was, in 1971, elected to
or of a wrong as determined by the Board, applying the position of municipal mayor of Alburquerque,
contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard. As Bohol. Therefore, he was duly proclaimed. A suit for
stated, the intention of the Board to subject the INCs quo warranto was then filed by petitioner, himself an
television program to previewing and censorship is aspirant for the office, for his disqualification based
prompted by the fact that its religious program on this Administrative Code provision: "In no case
makes mention of beliefs and practices of other shall there be elected or appointed to a municipal
religion. On the face of the law itself, there can office ecclesiastics, soldiers in active service, persons
conceivably be no basis for censorship of said receiving salaries or compensation from provincial or
program by the Board as much as the alleged reason national funds, or contractors for public works of the
cited by the Board does not appear to be within the municipality." The suit did not prosper, respondent
contemplation of the standards of censorship set by Judge sustaining the right of Father Gonzaga to the
law. (Italics supplied) office of municipal mayor. He ruled that such
statutory ineligibility was impliedly repealed by the
Fourth. In x-rating the TV program of the petitioner,
Election Code of 1971. The matter was then elevated
the respondents failed to apply the clear and present
to this Tribunal by petitioner. It is his contention that
danger rule. In American Bible Society v. City of
there was no such implied repeal, that it is still in full
Manila,[22] this Court held: The constitutional
force and effect. Thus was the specific question
guaranty of free exercise and enjoyment of religious
profession and worship carries with it the right to
disseminate religious information. Any restraint of ISSUE:
such right can be justified like other restraints on
freedom of expression on the ground that there is a WON the disqualification of the respondent based on
clear and present danger of any substantive evil Administrative Code provision Constitutional
which the State has the right to prevent.
Prior restraint on speech, including religious speech,
The challenged Administrative Code provision,
cannot be justified by hypothetical fears but only by
certainly insofar as it declares ineligible ecclesiastics
the showing of a substantive and imminent evil which
to any elective or appointive office, is, on its face,
has taken the life of a reality already on ground.—
inconsistent with the religious freedom guaranteed
The records show that the decision of the respondent
by the Constitution. To so exclude them is to impose
Board, affirmed by the respondent appellate court, is
a religious test. Here being an ecclesiastic and
completely bereft of findings of facts to justify the
therefore professing a religious faith suffices to
conclusion that the subject video tapes constitute
disqualify for a public office. There is thus an
impermissible attacks against another religion. There
incompatibility between the Administrative Code
is no showing whatsoever of the type of harm the
provision relied upon by petitioner and an express
tapes will bring about especially the gravity and
constitutional mandate.
imminence of the threatened harm. Prior restraint on
speech, including religious speech, cannot be
justified by hypothetical fears but only by the
showing of a substantive and imminent evil which
has taken the life of a reality already on ground.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision of the respondent

Court of Appeals dated March 24, 1995 is affirmed
insofar as it sustained the jurisdiction of the
respondent MTRCB to review petitioners TV
program entitled Ang Iglesia ni Cristo, and is reversed
and set aside insofar as it sustained the action of the
respondent MTRCB x-rating petitioners TV Program
Series Nos. 115, 119, and 121. No costs.