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G.R. No.

L-20569 October 29, 1923 finding the defendant guilty of the offense charged and or indecent writing, paper, book, or other matter, and
sentencing him to pay a fine of P50 with subsidiary that the information charges the defendant, among other
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE imprisonment in case of insolvency, and the costs. things, with having wilfully and feloniously kept for
ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, sale, distribution, or exhibition, obscene and indecent
vs. The five errors assigned by defendant-appellant in this pictures.
J. J. KOTTINGER, defendant-appellant. court divide themselves into two general issues. The
first point sustained by counsel for the appellant is in The phrase in the law "or other matter", was apparently
Fisher, Dewitt, Perkins and Brady for appellant. nature a technical objection, growing out of the added as a sort of "catch-all." While limited to that
Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellee. defendant's demurrer. The second point, in reality the which is of the same kind as its antecedent, it is
decesive issue, is as suggested in the beginning of the intended to cover kindred subjects. The rule of ejusdem
decision. We will take upon the assignments of errors as generis invoked by counsel is by no means a rule of
MALCOLM, J.: thus classified in order. universal application and should be made to carry out,
not to defeat, the legislative intent. Even if the phrase
The question to be here decided is whether or not Act No. 277 is the Philippine Libel Law. But included "or other matter" be cobstrued to mean "or other matter
pictures portraying the inhabitants of the country in therein is a section, No. 12, making obscene or indecent of like kind," pictures and postcards are not so far
native dress and as they appear and can be seen in the publications misdemeanors. Said section 12 which, it is unrelated to writings, papers, and books, as not to be
regions in which they live, are absence or indecent. contended by the Government, has here been violated, covered by the general words (Commonwealth vs.
Surprising as it may seem, the question is one of first and which, appellant argues, does not apply to the Dejardin [1878], 126 Mass., 46; 30 Am. Rep., 652;
impression not alone in the Philippine Islands, but in the information and the facts, reads as follow: Brown vs. Corbin [1889], 40 Minn., 508).
United States, Great Britain, and elsewhere. This will
explain why a case which otherwise would be heard and Any person who writes, composes, stereotypes, prints, The line of argumentation is more refined that practical.
voted in Division has been submitted to the court in publishes, sells, or keeps for sale, distributes, or exhibits Once conceded that section 12 of Act No. 277 does not
banc for decision. any obscene or indecent writing, paper, book, or other cover the present case, there yet remain for application
matter, or who designs, copies, draws, engraves, paints, article 571, No. 2, of the penal code, and section 730 of
On November 24, 1922, detective Juan Tolentino raided or otherwise prepares any obscene picture or print, or the Revised Ordinances of the City of Manila. The
the premises known as Camera Supply Co. at 110 who moulds, cuts, casts, or otherwise makes any section of the Revised Ordinances cited is most specific
Escolta, Manila. He found and confiscated the post- obscene or indecent figure, or who writes, composes, or when it provides in part that no person shall "exhibit,
cards which subsequently were used as evidence against prints any notice or advertisement of any such writing, circulate, distribute, sell, offer or expose for sale, or
J. J. Kottinger, the manager of the company. paper, book, print, or figure shall be guilty of a give or deliver to another, or cause the same to be done,
misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not exceeding any lewd, indecent, or absence book, picture, pamphlet,
Out of these facts arose the criminal prosecution of J. J. one thousand dollars or by imprisonment not exceeding card, print, paper, writing, mould, cast, figure, or any
Kottinger in the Court of First Instance of Manila. The one year, or both. other thing."
information filed in court charged him with having kept
for sale in the store of the Camera Supply Co., obscene Counsel has gone to the trouble to make a careful While admittedly the information is lacking in precision
and indecedent pictures, in violation of section 12 of analysis of section 12 of the Libel Law which is and while the content of section 12 of the Libel Law is
Act No. 277. To this information, the defendant intended to bear out his thesis, first, that section 12 does not as inclusive as it might be, we yet conclude that the
interposed a demurrer based upon the ground that the not prohibit the taking, selling, and publishing of information is not fatally defective, and that said section
facts alleged therein did not constitute an offense and alleged obscene and indecent pictures and prints, and 12 covers the alleged facts.
were not contrary to law; but trial court overruled the second, that the information in this case charges no
demurrer and the defendant duly excepted thereto. offense prohibited by section 12. Recall, however, that We come now to decide the main issue. We repeat that
Following the presentation of evidence by the the law provides punishment, among other things, for our own researches have confirmed the statement of
Government and the defense, judgment was rendered any person who keeps for sale or exhibits any absence counsel that no one parrallel case be found. We must
perforce reason from the general to the specific and charged as being obscene may fall. Another test of The statute does not undertake to define the meaning of
from universal principle to actual fact. obscenity is that which shocks the ordinary and the terms "obscene," etc., further than may be implied
common sense of men as an indecency, (29 Cyc., 1315; by the succeeding phrase, "or other publication of an
The pictures which it is argued offend against the law 8 R. C. L., 312.) indecent character." On the well-organized canon of
on account of being obscene and indecent, disclose six construction these words are presumed to have been
different postures of non-Christian inhabitants of the The Philippine statute does not attempt to define employed by the law-maker in their ordinary
Philippines. Exhibit A carries the legend "Philippines, obscene or indecent pictures, writings, papers, or books. acceptation and use.
Bontoc Woman." Exhibit A-1 is a picture of five young But the words "obscene or indecent" are themselves
boys and carries the legend "Greetings from the descriptive. They are words in common used and every As they cannot be said to have acquired any technical
Philippines." Exhibit A-2 has the legend "Ifugao Belle, person of average intelligence understand their significance as applied to some particular matter,
Philippines. Greetings from the Philippines." Exhibit A- meaning. Indeed, beyond the evidence furnished by the calling, or profession, but are terms of popular use, the
3 has the legend "Igorot Girl, Rice Field Costume." pictures themselves, there is but little scope for proof court might perhaps with propriety leave their import to
Exhibit A-4 has the legend "Kalinga Girls, Philippines. bearing on the issue of obscenity or indecency. Whether the presumed intelligence of the jury. A standard
Exhibit A-5 has the legend "Moros Philippines." a picture is obscene or indecent must depend upon the dictionary says that "obscene" mean "offensive to
circumstances of the case. (People vs. Muller [1884], 96 chastity and decency; expressing or presenting to the
The prosecution produced no evidence proving the N. Y., 408; 48 Am. Rep., 635.) mind or view something which delicacy, purity, and
postcards obscene and indecent because it thought the decency forbid to be exposed." This mere dictionary
post-cards themselves the best evidence of that fact. The Considerable light can be thrown on the subject by definition may be extended or amplified by the courts in
fiscal admitted in open court "that those pictures turning to the Federal Laws prohibiting the use of the actual practice, preserving, however, its essential
represented the natives (non-Christians) in their native mails for obscene matter and prohibiting the though, and having always due regard to the popular
dress." The defendant, on the other hand, attempted to importation into the Philippine Islands of articles, etc., and proper sense in which the legislature employed the
show that the pictures as true to life. Dr. H. Otley of obscene or indecent character. (U. S. Rev. Stat., art. term. Chief Justice Cockburn, in Rex vs. Hicklin (L. R.
Beyer, Professor in the University of the Philippines, 3893; 36 stat. at L., 135; 7 Fed. Stat. Ann., 1194, sec. 3 Q. B., 360), said: "The test of obscenity is this: Where
corroborated by other witnesses, testified from his 3[b].) the tendency of the matter charged as obscene is to
studies in various parts of the Islands, such as the deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to
Mountain Province, Abra, Palawan, and Mindanao and "Obscene," as used in the Federal Statutes making it a such immoral influences, and into whose hands a
Sulu, that none of the pictures represented poses which criminal offense to place in the mails any obscene, publication of this sort may fall;" and where "it who
he had not observed on various occasions, and that the lewd, or lascivious publication, according to the united suggest to the minds of the young of either sex, or even
costumes worn by the people in the pictures are the true States Supreme Court and lesser Federal courts, to persons of more advanced years, thoughts of the most
costumes regularly worn by them. Are such pictures signifies that form of immorality which has relation to impure and libidinous character." So, also, it has been
obscene or indecent? sexual impurity, and has the same meaning as is given held that a book is obscene which is offensive to
at common law in prosecutions for obscene libel. decency or chastity, which is immodest, which is
The word "obscene" ands the term "obscenity" may be (Swearingen vs. U. S. [1896], 161 U. S., 446; U. S. vs. indelicate, impure, causing lewd thoughts of an immoral
defined as meaning something offensive to chastify, Males [1892], 51 Fed., 41; 6 Words and Phrases, 4888, tendency." U. S. vs. Bennet, 16 Blatchf., 338. Judge
decency, or delicacy. "Indeceny" is an act against 4889.) Thayer, in U. S. vs. Clarke, 38 Fed. Rep., 732,
behavior and a just delicacy. The test ordinarily observed:
followed by the courts in determining whether a The case of United States vs. Harmon ([189], 45 Fed.,
particular publication or other thing is obscene within 414), grew out of an indictment for despositing an "The word "obscene" ordinarily means something
the meaning of the statutes, is whether the tendency of obscene publication in a United States post-office in which is offensive to chastity; something that is foul or
the matter charged as obscene, is to deprave or corrupt violator of the Postal Law. Judge Philips said: filthy, and for that reason is offensive to pure-minded
those whose minds are open to such immoral influences persons. That is the meaning of the word in the
and into whose hands a publication or other article
concrete; but when used, as in the statute, to describe perform the office for them in protection of the social fully appreciate the sentiments of colleagues who take a
the character of a book, pamphlet, or paper, it means compact and the body politic. different view of the case. We would be the last to
containing immodest and indecent matter, the reading offend the sensibilities of the Filipino people and the
whereof would have a tendency to deprave and corrupt As above intimated, the Federal statue prohibits the sanction anything which would hold them up to ridicule
the minds of those into whose hands the publication importation or shipment into the Philippine Islands of in the eyes of mankind. But we emphasize that we are
might fall whose minds are open to such immoral the following: "Articles, books, pamphlets, printed not deciding a question in political theory or in social
influences." matter, manuscripts, typewritten matter, paintings, ethics. We are dealing with a legal question predicated
illustrations, figures or objects of obscene or indecent on a legal fact, and on this question and fact, we reach
Laws of this character are made for society in the character or subversive of public order." There are, the conclusion that there has not been proved a violation
aggregate, and not in particular. So, while there may be however, in the record, copies of reputable magazines of section 12 of the Libel Law. When other cases
individuals and societies of men and women of peculiar which circulate freely thruout the United States and predicated on other states of facts are brought to our
motions are idiosyncrasies, whose moral sense would other countries, and which are admitted into Philippines attention, we will decide them as they arise.
neither be depraved nor offended by the publication without question, containing illustrations identical in
now under consideration, yet the exceptional sensibility, nature to those forming the basis of the prosecution at We seem to recall the statement of counsel that the
or want of sensibility, of such cannot be allowed as a bar. Publications of the Philippine Government have proprietor of the photographic concern whom he
standard by which its obscenity or indecency is to be also been offered in evidence such as Barton's "Ifugao represents would on his own initiative place suitable
tested. Rather is the test, what is the judgment of the Law," the "Philippine Journal of Science" for October, and explicit inscriptions on the pictures so that no one
aggregate sense of the community reached by it? What 1906, and the Reports of the Philippine Commission for may be misled as to them. Indeed, he might even go
is its probable, reasonable effect on the sense of 1903, 1912, and 1913, in which are found illustrations further and out of consideration for the natural
decency, purity, and chastity of society, extending to the either exactly the same or nearly akin to those which are sensibilities of his customers, withdraw from sale
family, made up of men and women, young boys and now impugned. certain pictures which can be pointed out to him.
girls, — the family, which is the common nursery of
mankind, the foundation rock upon which the state It appears therefore that a national standard has been set We hold that pictures portraying the inhabitants of the
reposes? up by the Congress of the United States. Tested by that country in native dress and as they appear and can be
standard, it would be extremely doubtful if the pictures seen in the regions in which they live, are not obscene
. . . To the pure all things are pure, is too poetical for the here challenged would be held obscene or indecent by or indecent within the meaning of the Libel Law.
actualities of practical life. There is in the popular any state of Federal court. It would be particularly Disagreeing therefore with the appellant on his
conception and heart such a thing as modesty. It was unwise to sanction a different type of censorship in the technical argument but agreeing with him on his main
born in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve ate of Philippines that in the United States, or for that matter contention, it becomes our duty to order the dismissal of
the fruit of the tree of knowledge they passed from the in the rest of the world. the information. 1awph!l.net
condition of perfectibility which some people nowadays
aspire to, and, their eyes being opened, they discerned The pictures in question merely depict persons as they Judgment is reversed, the information is dismissed, and
that there was both good and evil; "and they knew that actually live, without attempted presentation of persons the defendant-appellant is acquitted with all costs de
they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, in unusual postures or dress. The aggregate judgment of oficio. So ordered.
and made themselves aprons." From that day to this the Philippine community, the moral sense of all the
civilized man has carried with him the sense of shame, people in the Philippines, would not be shocked by Johnson, Street, Avanceña, Villamor and Johns, JJ.,
— the feeling that there were some things on which the photographs of this type. We are convicted that the concur.
eye — the mind — should not look; and where men and post-card pictures in this case cannot be characterized
women become so depraved by the use, or so insensate as offensive to chastity, or foul, or filthy. Mr. Chief Justice Manuel Araullo was present at the
from perverted education, that they will not evil their time this case was voted and then voted with Mr. Justice
eyes, nor hold their tongues, the government should We readily understand the laudable motives which Romualdez. (Sgd.) E. FINLEY JOHNSON.
moved the Government to initiate this prosecution. We
EN BANC MONTEMAYOR, J.: six months and one day of prision correccional and not
more than one year, one month and eleven days of
[G.R. No. L-7295. June 28, 1957.] In the Court of First Instance of Manila, Marina Padan, prision correccional, to pay a fine of P500, with
Jose Fajardo y Garcia, Cosme Espinosa, and Ernesto subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, not to
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff- Reyes were charged with a violation of Article 201 of exceed one-third of the principal penalty, and to pay the
Appellee, v. MARINA PADAN Y ALOVA, COSME the Revised Penal Code, said to have been committed as proportionate costs. Jose Fajardo was sentenced to not
ESPINOSA, ERNESTO REYES and JOSE follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library less than one year, one month and ten days of prision
FAJARDO, Defendants. MARINA PADAN Y ALOVA correccional and not more than one year eight months
and JOSE FAJARDO, Defendants-Appellants. That on or about the 13th day of September, 1953, in and twenty days, also of prision correccional, to pay a
the city of Manila, Philippines, the said accused fine of P1,000, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
Augusto Revilla for appellant Jose Fajardo. conspiring and confederating together and mutually insolvency, not to exceed one-third of the principal
helping one another, did then and there willfully, penalty and to pay the proportionate costs. The army
W.M. Bayhon for appellant Marina Padan y Alova. unlawfully and feloniously exhibit or cause to be steel bed, the army woolen blanket, the pillow, the
exhibited inside a building at the corner of Camba Ext. ladies’ panties, and the men’s underwear, described in
Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor Jose P. and Morga Ext., Tondo, this City, immoral scenes and Exhibit C, were declared confiscated.
Alejandro for Appellee. acts, to wit: the said accused Jose Fajador y Garcia,
being then the manager and Ernesto Reyes y Yabut, as The four accused appealed in the decision, the appeal
SYLLABUS ticket collector and or exhibitor, willfully, unlawfully having been sent to us. Appellants Espinosa and Reyes
and feloniously hired their co-accused Marina Palan y failed to file their briefs within the period prescribed by
1. CRIMINAL LAW; OFFENSE AGAINST MORALS Alova and Cosme Espinosa y Abordo to act as law and their appeal was dismissed by resolution of this
AND DECENCY; CLAIM OF ART. — The Supreme performers or exhibitionists to perform and in fact Court of November 25, 1955, and the decision as to
Court has had occasion to consider offenses like the performed sexual intercourse in the presence of many them became final and executory on January 7, 1956, as
exhibition of still or moving pictures of women in the spectators, thereby exhibiting or performing highly appears from the entry of judgment.
nude, which it condemned for obscenity and offensive immoral and indecent acts or shows thereat."cralaw
to morals. In those cases, one might yet claim that there virtua1aw library Because of her plea of guilty in the lower court,
was involved the element of art; that connoisseurs of the appellant Marina in her appeal does not question her
same, and painters and sculptors might find inspiration Upon arraignment, all pleaded not guilty. Later, conviction; she merely urges the reduction of the
in the showing of pictures in the nude, or the human however, Marina Padan, with the assistance of her penalty by eliminating the prison sentence. We do not
body exhibited in sheer nakedness as models in counsel de parte and counsel de oficio, asked for feel warranted in interfering with the exercise of
tableaux vivants. But an actual exhibition of the sexual permission to withdraw her former plea of not guilty, discretion in this matter, made by the lower court
act, preceded by acts of lasciviousness, can have no which was granted, and upon rearraignment, she presided by Judge Magno S. Gatmaitan. According to
redeeming features. In it, there is no room for art. One pleaded guilty to the charge. In a decision dated his decision of October 12, 1953, in imposing the
can see nothing in it but clear and unmitigated October 12, 1953, Marina Padan was found guilty as sentence, he already considered Marina’s plea of
obscenity, indecency and an offense to public morals, charged and sentenced to six months and one day of leniency, and so despite the recommendation of the
inspiring and causing as it does, nothing but lust and prision correccional and a fine of P200, with subsidiary fiscal that she be fined P600.00 in addition to the prison
lewdness, and exerting a corrupting influence especially imprisonment in case of insolvency, not to exceed one- sentence of six months and one day, his honor reduced
on the youth of the land. Considering the seriousness of third of the principal penalty, with the accessory the fine to only P200.
the crime, the relatively severe penalty imposed by the penalties prescribed by the law, and to pay the
trial court is proper. proportionate costs. After trial of the three remaining We believe that the penalty imposed fits the crime,
accused, they were all found guilty; Cosme Espinosa considering its seriousness. As far as we know, this is
D E C I S I O N and Ernesto Reyes were sentenced each to not less than the first time that the courts in this jurisdiction, at least
this Tribunal, have been called upon to take cognizance such evidence, and we are satisfied that they fully 106 in number, were crowded inside that small
of an offense against morals and decency of this kind. support the findings of the trial court. Such facts may be building, the show started. Fajardo evidently to arouse
We have had occasion to consider offenses like the briefly stated as follows: At the corner of Morga more interest among the customers, asked them to select
exhibition of still or moving pictures of women in the Extension and Camba Extension, Tondo, Manila, was a among two girls present who was to be one of the
nude, which we have condemned for obscenity and as one story building which judging from the picture principal actors. By pointing to or holding his hand over
offensive to morals. In those cases, one might yet claim exhibited is nothing but a shed, with a floor space of the head of each of the two women one after the other,
that there was involved the element of art; that eight by fifteen meters which was mainly used for and judging by the shouts of approval emitted by the
connoisseurs of the same, and painters and sculptors playing ping-pong. A ping-pong table must have been spectators, he decided that defendant Marina Padan was
might find inspiration in the showing of pictures in the placed in the center and on two sides were built benches the subject of popular approval, and he selected her.
nude, or the human body exhibited in sheer nakedness, in tiers, so that the spectators seated on them could look After her selection, the other woman named Concha,
as models in tableaux vivants. But an actual exhibition down and see the game. On September 13, 1953, left. Without much ado, Fajardo selected Cosme
of the sexual act, preceded by acts of lasciviousness, however, the building was used for a different purpose. Espinosa to be Marina’s partner. Thereafter, Cosme and
can have no redeeming feature. In it, there is no room It was to be the scene of what was said to be an Marina proceeded to disrobe while standing around the
for art. One can see nothing in it but clear and exhibition of human "fighting fish", the actual act of bed. When completely naked, they turned around to
unmitigated obscenity, indecency, and an offense to coitus of copulation. It must have been advertised by exhibit their bodies to the spectators. Then they
public morals, inspiring and causing as it does, nothing word of mouth; tickets therefor were sold at P3 each, indulged in lascivious acts, consisting of petting,
but lust and lewdness, and exerting a corrupting and the show was supposed to begin at 8:00 o’clock in kissing, and touching the private parts of each other.
influence specially on the youth of the land. We repeat the evening. About that time of the night, there was When sufficiently aroused, they lay on the bed and
that because of all this, the penalty imposed by the trial already a crowd around the building, but the people proceeded to consummate the act of coitus in three
court on Marina, despite her plea of guilty, is neither were not admitted into it until about an hour later, and different positions which we deem unnecessary to
excessive nor unreasonable. the show did not begin until about 9:15. The Manila describe. The four or five witnesses who testified for
Police Department must have gotten wind of the affair; the Government when asked about their reaction to
Going to the appeal of Jose Fajardo y Garcia, while he it bought tickets and provided several of its members what they saw, frankly admitted that they were excited
does not deny the fact of the commission of the offense who later attended the show, but in plain clothes, and beyond description. Then the police who were among
charged, he insists that he was not the manager or the after the show conducted a raid and made arrests. At the the spectators and who were previously provided with a
person incharge of the show or proceedings on the night trial, said policemen testified as to what actually took search warrant made the raid, arrested the four
of September 13, 1953; that his participation, if he place inside the building. About two civilians who defendants herein, and took pictures of Marina and
participated at all, was to play the role of an innocent attended the affair gave testimony as to what they saw. Cosme still naked and of the army bed, which pictures
bystander, but that because of his popularity in the were presented as exhibits during the trial.
neighborhood, being popularly known as a "siga-siga" The customers not provided with tickets actually paid
character, he was requested by the spectators to select P3 at the entrance to defendant Ernesto Reyes. He also From all this, there can be no doubt that Jose Fajardo y
the man and the woman to engage or indulge in the collected tickets. In all, there were about ninety paying Garcia contrary to what he claims, was the person in
actual act of coitus before the spectators; that after customers, while about sixteen were allowed to enter charge of the show. Besides, as found by the trial court
making the selection, he did not even care to witness the free, presumably friends of the management. Jose and as shown by some of the tickets collected from the
act but left the scene and returned to it only when he Fajardo y Garcia was clearly the manager of the show. spectators, submitted as exhibits, said tickets while
heard a commotion produced by the raid conducted by He was at the door to see to it that the customers either bearing on one side printed matter regarding an
the police. were provided with tickets or paid P3.00 entrance fee. excursion to Balara to be held on August 30, 1953, from
He even asked them from whom they had bought the 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., sponsored by a certain club, on
The evidence on his active participation and that he was tickets. He ordered that an army steel bed be placed at the other side appears the following typewritten form,
the manager and one in charge of the show is however the center of the floor, covered with an army blanket reading:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
ample, even conclusive. We have carefully examined and provided with a pillow. Once the spectators, about
"P3.00 Admit one

PLEASURE SHOW

Place: P. Morga Ext. and Camba Ext.

Time: 8:00 o’clock sharp",

and superimposed on the same is the rubber stamped


name "Pepe Fajardo," which defendant Fajardo admits
to be his name. Considering all the above
circumstances, we agree with the trial court that Jose
Fajardo is the most guilty of the four, for he was the one
who conducted the show and presumably derived the
most profit or gain from the same.

As regards the penalty imposed by the trial court on


appellant Fajardo, we agree with the Solicitor General
that the same is correct, except the minimum thereof
which is beyond the legal range, and which should be
reduced from one year, one month, and ten days of
prision correccional to only six months of arresto
mayor.

With the modification above-mentioned, the decision


appealed from by Marina Padan and Jose Fajardo are
hereby affirmed, with costs against both.

Paras, C.J., Padilla, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo,


Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Endencia and
Felix, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-19518 November 28, 1964 Respectfully returned to the Division Superintendent of contribution of P20.00 which she intended to be only
Schools, Camp Keithley, Lanao, with the explanation to for the dental-medical drive, when she knew well that
TRINIDAD A. DEAÑO, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants, the alleged confusion in the dental-medical reports of the drive included the Boy Scout Rally of the district.
vs. the district. It seems, the basic communication has been "In view of the above, Dr. Deaño is a carping critic, a
DIOGENES GODINEZ, defendant-appellee. written thru the deliberate misinformation of Dr. T. fault finder and suspects every teacher or school official
Deaño the School dentist. If such be the case, she to be potential grafters and swindlers of the medical-
Manuel Deaño for plaintiffs-appellants. twisted the facts to satisfy her ulterior motives. dental funds. ... The lady dentist will not be welcomed
Casimiro P. Cabigon for defendant-appellee. Immediately upon her arrival in the district, Dr. Deaño in Lumbatan district next school year. ... She did more
was informed of the present set-up in the district. The harm than good to the teeth of the patients she treated."
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.: teachers contribute twenty pesos (P20.) each by
installments to cover all the voluntary drives. Among The utterances or statements above referred to, if
This is an action for damages brought by Trinidad A. untrue, are indeed derogatory to the personal dignity
other things, it includes the dental-medical drive and the
Deaño, assisted by her husband Manuel Deaño against and professional standing of the plaintiff as a high
support to Boy Scout Rally, district, provincial and
defendant Diogenes Godinez before the Court of First official in the government service as they in fact
Mindanao meets. Despite that information, she required
Instance of Lanao del Norte based on a communication disturbed her peace of mind to the extent that they
the teachers in the field to sign the blank form she was
sent by the latter as district supervisor to his immediate caused her mental anguish, wounded her feelings and
bringing with her not filled, then later on put the amount
superior, the Division Superintendent of Schools. made her suffer moral shock and social humiliation for
of P20.00. It then tended to show that the teachers
Trinidad claims that with malice aforethought and in which she now asks for damages in retribution. But
contributed P20.00 each solely for the dental-medical
disregard of proper decorum and accepted defendant claims that he made those statements in
drive. Teachers in Lumbatan district can be asked
administrative practices, defendant wrote the aforesaid pursuance of a legal duty or in the exercise of his
individually to support the contention of the
communication making therein statements which are functions as a public official and as such they are
undersigned. In view of the above, Dr. Deaño is a
contrary to morals, good customs or public policy, and justifiable under the doctrine of privileged
carping critic, a fault finder and suspects every teacher
to existing rules and regulations, thereby causing communication. In this sense, defendant contends, they
or school official to be potential grafters and swindlers
irreparable damage to her personal dignity and cannot be the basis of an action for damages.
of the medical-dental funds. If the Division
professional standing, for which reason she asks that
Superintendent of Schools after the above explanation
she be paid P30,000.00 as moral damages, P10,000.00 The question that now arises is: Does the letter in which
still entertains doubts of the funds, the undersigned
as exemplary damages, and P10,000.00 attorney's fees the alleged defamatory statements appear partake of the
welcomes a probe to clear his besmirched reputation.
for bringing the present action. nature of a privileged communication?
But, the lady dentist must be ready to answer
complaints of teachers and pupils against her services
Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint on the Reading the complaint one may gather that the letter
while she was in Lumbatan District. In this connection,
ground that the letter complained of is a privileged alleged to be defamatory is embodied in an indorsement
the undersigned wishes to make record that the lady
communication and the action has already prescribed. sent by defendant to the Division Superintendent of
dentist will not be welcomed in Lumbatan district next
The motion was upheld, and the court a quo dismissed Schools, his immediate superior, by way of an
school year. If she will be sent back, the undersigned
the complaint. Hence this appeal. explanation of an alleged confusion concerning a
and his teachers will not lift a finger in the collection of
dental-medical funds. She did more harm than good to dental-medical report submitted relative to the fund
In paragraph 3 of the complaint, it is alleged that on or drive then being undertaken for certain public purpose.
about March 20, 1956, defendant, as a responsible the teeth of the patients she treated.
Apparently, the explanation was given as a comment on
public school official, wrote a letter to the Division a communication referred to the defendant in his
The highlights of the letter may be boiled down as
Superintendent of Schools, his immediate superior official capacity as district supervisor. And in his
follows: Dr. Trinidad A. Deaño plaintiff herein, as the
officer, the contents of which we quote for ready indorsement defendant stated certain facts which came
school dentist of Lanao, required the teachers in the
reference: to his information regarding the dental-medical drive
field to sign blank forms indicating therein a
then undertaken by the plaintiff, but that the language
he used was such that it somewhat hurt the feeling and Public policy is the foundation of the doctrine of
pride of plaintiff as a public school official. privileged communications. It is based upon the
Nevertheless, we find that the communication is recognition of the fact that the right of the individual to
privileged in nature and as such comes within the enjoy immunity from the publication of untruthful
purview of Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code, charges derogatory to his character is not absolute and
which we quote: must at times yield to the superior necessity of
subjecting to investigation the conduct of persons
ART. 354. Requirement for publicity. — Every charged with wrong-doing. In order to accomplish this
defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, purpose and to permit private persons having, or in
even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable good faith believing themselves to have, knowledge to
motive for making it is shown, except in the following such wrongdoing, to perform the legal, moral, social
cases: duty resulting from such knowledge or belief, without
restraining them by the fear that an error, no matter how
1. A private communication made by any person to innocently or honestly made, may subject them to
another in the performance of any legal, moral or social punishment for defamation, the doctrine of qualified
duty; and privilege has been evolved. (U.S. v. Cañete, et al., 38
Phil. 235)
2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without
any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or The letter sent by defendant being a privileged
other official proceedings which are not of confidential communication, it is presumed that it was sent without
nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered malice.1 It being a communication sent in the discharge
in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by of a legal duty, the writer is not liable for damages.
public officers in the exercise of their functions.
It will be noted that all of the defendant's
Indeed, the communication now denounced by plaintiff communications were of a public nature and addressed
as defamatory is one sent by defendant to his immediate to his superior officers, and that his investigation was
superior in the performance of a legal duty, or in the made in the line of his duty. There is no evidence that
nature of a report submitted in the exercise of an official defendant was actuated by any malicious motive ... .
function. He sent it as in explanation of a matter
contained in an indorsement sent to him by his superior In the instant case, the alleged libel is based upon the
officer. It is a report submitted in obedience to a lawful official letters of the defendant to his superior officers,
duty, though in doing so defendant employed a which were written in the discharge of his official
language somewhat harsh and uncalled for. But such is duties, and for which he is not liable in an action for
excusable in the interest of public policy. As it has been damages. (Gilmer v. Hilliard 43 Phil. 180.)
aptly said, "The doctrine of privileged communication
rests upon public policy, which looks to the free and WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is affirmed. No
unfettered administration of justice, though, as an costs.
incidental result, it may in some instances afford an
immunity to the evil-disposed and malignant slanderer."
(Abbott v. National Bank of Commerce of Tacoma 175
U.S., 409, 411). The Philosophy behind this privilege is
well expressed thus:
G.R. No. L-20387 January 31, 1968 In this declaratory relief proceeding, the periodical As earlier noted, both the protection of due process and
submission "within the month of January of every other the assurance of the privacy of the individual as may be
JESUS P. MORFE, plaintiff-appellee, year thereafter" of such sworn statement of assets and inferred from the prohibition against unreasonable
vs. liabilities after an officer or employee had once bared search and seizure and self-incrimination were relied
AMELITO R. MUTUC, as Executive Secretary, ET his financial condition upon assumption of office was upon. There was also the allegation that the above
AL., defendants-appellants. challenged for being violative of due process as an requirement amounts to "an insult to the personal
oppressive exercise of police power and as an unlawful integrity and official dignity" of public officials,
Jesus P. Morfe for and his own behalf as plaintiff- invasion of the constitutional right to privacy, implicit premised as it is "on the unwarranted and derogatory
appellee. in the ban against unreasonable search and seizure assumption" that they are "corrupt at heart" and unless
Office of the Solicitor General for defendants- construed together with the prohibition against self- thus restrained by this periodical submission of the
appellants. incrimination. The lower court in the decision appealed statements of "their financial condition, income, and
from sustained plaintiff, then as well as now, a judge of expenses, they cannot be trusted to desist from
FERNANDO, J.: repute of a court of first instance. For it, such committing the corrupt practices defined. . . ." 7 It was
requirement of periodical submission of such sworn further asserted that there was no need for such a
Congress in 1960 enacted the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
statement of assets and liabilities exceeds the provision as "the income tax law and the tax census law
Practices Act 1 to deter public officials and employees
permissible limit of the police power and is thus also require statements which can serve to determine
from committing acts of dishonesty and improve the
offensive to the due process clause. whether an officer or employee in this Republic has
tone of morality in public service. It was declared to be
enriched himself out of proportion to his reported
the state policy "in line with the principle that a public We do not view the matter thus and accordingly reverse income." 8
office is a public trust, to repress certain acts of public the lower court.
officers and private persons alike which constitute graft Then on February 14, 1962, came an Answer of the
or corrupt practices or which may lead thereto." 2 Nor 1. The reversal could be predicated on the absence of then Executive Secretary and the then Secretary of
was it the first statute of its kind to deal with such a evidence to rebut the presumption of validity. For in Justice as defendants, where after practically admitting
grave problem in the public service that unfortunately this action for declaratory relief filed with the Court of the facts alleged, they denied the erroneous conclusion
has afflicted the Philippines in the post-war era. An First Instance of Pangasinan on January 31, 1962, of law and as one of the special affirmative defenses set
earlier statute decrees the forfeiture in favor of the State plaintiff, after asserting his belief "that it was a forth: "1. That when a government official, like
of any property found to have been unlawfully acquired reasonable requirement for employment that a public plaintiff, accepts a public position, he is deemed to have
by any public officer or employee. 3 officer make of record his assets and liabilities upon voluntarily assumed the obligation to give information
assumption of office and thereby make it possible about his personal affair, not only at the time of his
One of the specific provisions of the Anti-Graft and thereafter to determine whether, after assuming his assumption of office but during the time he continues to
Corrupt Practices Act of 1960 is that every public position in the public service, he accumulated assets discharge public trust. The private life of an employee
officer, either within thirty (30) days after its approval grossly disproportionate to his reported incomes, the cannot be segregated from his public life. . . ." 9 The
or after his assumption of office "and within the month herein plaintiff [having] filed within the period of time answer likewise denied that there was a violation of his
of January of every other year thereafter", as well as fixed in the aforesaid Administrative Order No. 334 the constitutional rights against self-incrimination as well
upon the termination of his position, shall prepare and prescribed sworn statement of financial condition, as unreasonable search and seizure and maintained that
file with the head of the office to which he belongs, "a assets, income and liabilities, . . ." 5 maintained that the "the provision of law in question cannot be attacked on
true detailed and sworn statement of assets and provision on the "periodical filing of sworn statement of the ground that it impairs plaintiff's normal and
liabilities, including a statement of the amounts and financial condition, assets, income and liabilities after legitimate enjoyment of his life and liberty because said
sources of his income, the amounts of his personal and an officer or employee had once bared his financial provision merely seeks to adopt a reasonable measure
family expenses and the amount of income taxes paid condition, upon assumption of office, is oppressive and of insuring the interest or general welfare in honest and
for the next preceding calendar: . . ." 4 unconstitutional." 6
clean public service and is therefore a legitimate Moreover, in the Resolution denying the Motion for directly or indirectly any gift, present, or other
exercise of the police power." 10 Reconsideration in the above case, we expressly pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another,
affirmed: "This is not to discount the possibility of a from any person for whom the public officer, in any
On February 27, 1962, plaintiff filed a Motion for situation where the nullity of a statute, executive order, manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or will
judgment on the pleadings as in his opinion all his or ordinance may not be readily apparent but the threat secure or obtain, any Government permit or license, in
material allegations were admitted. Then on March 10, to constitutional rights, especially those involving the consideration for the help given or to be given;
1962, an order was issued giving the parties thirty days freedom of the mind, present and ominous." 14 In such accepting or having any member of his family accept
within which to submit memoranda, but with or without an event therefore, "there should not be a rigid employment in a private enterprise which has pending
them, the case was deemed submitted for decision the insistence on the requirement that evidence be official business with him during the pendency thereof
lower court being of the belief that "there is no question presented." Also, in the same Resolution, Professor or within one year after its termination; causing any
of facts, . . . the defendants [having admitted] all the Freund was quoted thus: "In short, when freedom of the undue injury to any party, including the Government, or
material allegations of the complaint." 11 mind is imperiled by law, it is freedom that commands a giving any private party any unwarranted benefits,
momentum of respect; when property is imperiled, it is advantage or preference in the discharge of his official
The decision, now on appeal, came on July 19, 1962, the lawmakers' judgment that commands respect. This administrative or judicial functions through manifest
the lower court declaring "unconstitutional, null and dual standard may not precisely reverse the presumption partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable
void Section 7, Republic Act No. 3019, insofar as it of constitutionality in civil liberties cases, but obviously negligence; neglecting or refusing, after due demand or
required periodical submittal of sworn statements of it does set up a hierarchy of values within the due request, without sufficient justification, to act within a
financial conditions, assets and liabilities of an official process clause. 15 reasonable time on any matter pending before him for
or employee of the government after he had once the purpose of obtaining, directly or indirectly, from
submitted such a sworn statement upon assuming 2. We inquire first whether or not by virtue of the above any person interested in the matter some pecuniary or
office; . . . ." 12 requirement for a periodical submission of sworn material benefit or advantage, or for the purpose of
statement of assets and liabilities, there is an invasion of favoring his own interest or giving undue advantage in
In Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators liberty protected by the due process clause. favor of or discriminating against any other interested
Association v. The Mayor of Manila, 13 it was the party; entering, on behalf of the Government, into any
holding of this Court that in the absence of a factual Under the Anti-Graft Act of 1960, after the statement of contract or transaction manifestly and grossly
foundation, the lower court deciding the matter purely policy, 16 and definition of terms, 17 there is an disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public
"on the pleadings and the stipulation of facts, the enumeration of corrupt practices declared unlawful in officer profited or will profit thereby; having directly or
presumption of validity must prevail." In the present addition to acts or omissions of public officers already indirectly financial or pecuniary interest in any
case likewise there was no factual foundation on which penalized by existing law. They include persuading, business, contract or transaction in connection with
the nullification of this section of the statute could be inducing, or influencing another public officer to which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity
based. Hence as noted the decision of the lower court perform an act constituting a violation of rules and or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by
could be reversed on that ground. regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or any law from having any interests; becoming interested
an offense in connection with the official duties of the directly or indirectly, for personal gain, or having a
A more extended consideration is not inappropriate latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or material interest in any transaction or act requiring the
however, for as likewise made clear in the above influenced to commit such violation or offense; approval of a board, panel or group of which he is a
Ermita-Malate Hotel case: "What cannot be stressed requesting or receiving directly or indirectly any gift, member, and which exercises discretion in such
sufficiently is that if the liberty involved were freedom present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself, or for approval, even if he votes against the same or does not
of the mind or the person, the standard for the validity any other person, in connection with any contract or participate in such action; approving or granting
of governmental acts is much more rigorous and transaction between the government and any other knowingly any license, permit, privilege or benefit in
exacting, but where the liberty curtailed affects at the party, wherein the public officer in his official capacity, favor of any person not qualified for or not legally
most rights of property, the permissible scope of has to intervene under the law; requesting or receiving entitled to such license, permit, privilege or advantage,
regulatory measure is wider."
or of a mere representative or dummy of one who is not were prohibited and penalized. More than that, an effort As currently in use both in Philippine and American
so qualified or entitled and divulging valuable was made, so evident from even a cursory perusal decisions then, police power legislation usually has
information of a confidential character, acquired by his thereof, to avoid evasions and plug loopholes. One such reference to regulatory measures restraining either the
office or by him on account of his official position to feature is the challenged section. Thereby it becomes rights to property or liberty of private individuals. It is
unauthorized persons, or releasing such information in much more difficult by those disposed to take undeniable however that one of its earliest definitions,
advance of its authorized release date. 18 advantage of their positions to commit acts of graft and valid then as well as now, given by Marshall's
corruption. successor, Chief Justice Taney does not limit its scope
After which come the prohibition on private to curtailment of rights whether of liberty or property of
individuals, 19 prohibition on certain relatives, 20 and While in the attainment of such public good, no private individuals. Thus: "But what are the police
prohibition on Members of Congress. 21 Then there is infringement of constitutional rights is permissible, powers of a State? They are nothing more or less than
this requirement of a statement of assets and liabilities, there must be a showing, clear, categorical, and the powers of government inherent in every sovereignty
that portion requiring periodical submission being undeniable, that what the Constitution condemns, the to the extent of its dominions. And whether a State
challenged here. 22 The other sections of the Act deal statute allows. More specifically, since that is the only passes a quarantine law, or a law to punish offenses, or
with dismissal due to unexplained wealth, reference question raised, is that portion of the statute requiring to establish courts of justice, or requiring certain
being made to the previous statute, 23 penalties for periodical submission of assets and liabilities, after an instruments to be recorded, or to regulate commerce
violation, 24 the vesting of original jurisdiction in the officer or employee had previously done so upon within its own limits, in every case it exercises the same
Court of First Instance as the competent court, 25 the assuming office, so infected with infirmity that it cannot power; that is to say, the power of sovereignty, the
prescription of offenses, 26 the prohibition against any be upheld as valid? power to govern men and things within the limits of its
resignation or retirement pending investigation, domain." 40 Text writers like Cooley and Burdick were
criminal or administrative or pending a Or, in traditional terminology, is this requirement a of a similar mind. 41
prosecution, 27suspension and loss of valid exercise of the police power? In the aforesaid
benefits, 28 exception of unsolicited gifts or presents of Ermita-Malate Hotel decision, 33 there is a reaffirmation What is under consideration is a statute enacted under
small or insignificant value as well as recognition of of its nature and scope as embracing the power to the police power of the state to promote morality in
legitimate practice of one's profession or trade or prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, public service necessarily limited in scope to
occupation, 29 the separability clause, 30 and its education, good order, safety, or the general welfare of officialdom. May a public official claiming to be
effectivity. 31 the people. It has been negatively put forth by Justice adversely affected rely on the due process clause to
Malcolm as "that inherent and plenary power in the annul such statute or any portion thereof? The answer
Nothing can be clearer therefore than that the Anti- state which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to the must be in the affirmative. If the police power extends
Graft Act of 1960 like the earlier statute 32 was precisely comfort, safety and welfare of society." 34 to regulatory action affecting persons in public or
aimed at curtailing and minimizing the opportunities for private life, then anyone with an alleged grievance can
official corruption and maintaining a standard of Earlier Philippine cases refer to police power as the invoke the protection of due process which permits
honesty in the public service. It is intended to further power to promote the general welfare and public deprivation of property or liberty as long as such
promote morality in public administration. A public interest; 35 to enact such laws in relation to persons and requirement is observed.
office must indeed be a public trust. Nobody can cavil property as may promote public health, public morals,
at its objective; the goal to be pursued commands the public safety and the general welfare of each While the soundness of the assertion that a public office
assent of all. The conditions then prevailing called for inhabitant; 36 to preserve public order and to prevent is a public trust and as such not amounting to property
norms of such character. The times demanded such a offenses against the state and to establish for the in its usual sense cannot be denied, there can be no
remedial device. intercourse of citizen with citizen those rules of good disputing the proposition that from the standpoint of the
manners and good neighborhood calculated to prevent security of tenure guaranteed by the Constitution the
The statute was framed with that end in view. It is conflict of rights. 37 In his work on due process, mantle of protection afforded by due process could
comprehensive in character, sufficiently detailed and Mott 38 stated that the term police power was first used rightfully be invoked. It was so implicitly held
explicit to make clear to all and sundry what practices by Chief Justice Marshall. 39
in Lacson v. Romero, 42 in line with the then pertinent It was but logical therefore to expect an explicit holding could only be permissible if the due process mandate is
statutory provisions 43 that procedural due process in the of the applicability of due process guaranty to be not disregarded.
form of an investigation at which he must be given a forthcoming. It did in Cammayo v. Viña, 48 where the
fair hearing and an opportunity to defend himself must opinion of Justice Endencia for the Court contained the Since under the constitutional scheme, liberty is the rule
be observed before a civil service officer or employee following unmistakable language: "Evidently, having and restraint the exception, the question raised cannot
may be removed. There was a reaffirmation of the view these facts in view, it cannot be pretended that the just be brushed aside. In a leading Philippine case, Rubi
in even stronger language when this Court through constitutional provision of due process of law for the v. Provincial Board, 51 liberty as guaranteed by the
Justice Tuason in Lacson v. Roque 44 declared that even removal of the petitioner has not been complied with." Constitution was defined by Justice Malcolm to include
without express provision of law, "it is established by "the right to exist and the right to be free from arbitrary
the great weight of authority that the power of removal Then came this restatement of the principle from the personal restraint or servitude. The term cannot be
or suspension for cause can not, except by clear pen of Justice J.B.L. Reyes "We are thus compelled to dwarfed into mere freedom from physical restraint of
statutory authority, be exercised without notice and conclude that the positions formerly held by appellees the person of the citizen, but is deemed to embrace the
hearing." Such is likewise the import of a statement were not primarily confidential in nature so as to make right of man to enjoy the facilities with which he has
from the then Justice, now Chief Justice, Concepcion, their terms of office co-terminal with the confidence been endowed by his Creator, subject only to such
speaking for the Court in Meneses v. Lacson; 45 "At any reposed in them. The inevitable corollary is that restraint as are necessary for the common welfare." In
rate, the reinstatement directed in the decision appealed respondents-appellees, Leon Piñero, et al., were not accordance with this case therefore, the rights of the
from does not bar such appropriate administrative subject to dismissal or removal, except for cause citizens to be free to use his faculties in all lawful ways;
action as the behaviour of petitioners herein may specified by law and within due process. . . ." 49 In a still to live and work where he will; to earn his livelihood by
warrant, upon compliance with the requirements of due later decision, Abaya v. Subido, 50 this Court, through any lawful calling; to pursue any avocation, are all
process." Justice Sanchez, emphasized "that the vitality of the deemed embraced in the concept of liberty. This Court
constitutional principle of due process cannot be in the same case, however, gave the warning that liberty
To the same effect is the holding of this Court allowed to weaken by sanctioning cancellation" of an as understood in democracies, is not license. Implied in
extending the mantle of the security of tenure provision employee's eligibility or "of his dismissal from service the term is restraint by law for the good of the
to employees of government-owned or controlled — without hearing — upon a doubtful assumption that individual and for the greater good, the peace and order
corporations entrusted with governmental functions he has admitted his guilt for an offense against Civil of society and the general well-being. No one can do
when through Justice Padilla in Tabora v. Service rules." Equally emphatic is this observation exactly as he pleases. Every man must renounce
Montelibano, 46 it stressed: "That safeguard, guarantee, from the same case: "A civil service employee should unbridled license. In the words of Mabini as quoted by
or feeling of security that they would hold their office be heard before he is condemned. Jurisprudence has Justice Malcolm, "liberty is freedom to do right and
or employment during good behavior and would not be clung to this rule with such unrelenting grasp that by never wrong; it is ever guided by reason and the upright
dismissed without justifiable cause to be determined in now it would appear trite to make citations thereof." and honorable conscience of the individual."
an investigation, where an opportunity to be heard and
defend themselves in person or by counsel is afforded If as is so clearly and unequivocally held by this Court, The liberty to be safeguarded is, as pointed out by Chief
them, would bring about such a desirable condition." due process may be relied upon by public official to Justice Hughes, liberty in a social
Reference was there made to promoting honesty and protect the security of tenure which in that limited sense organization, 52 implying the absence of arbitrary
efficiency through an assurance of stability in their is analogous to property, could he not likewise avail restraint not immunity from reasonable regulations and
employment relation. It was to be expected then that himself of such constitutional guarantee to strike down prohibitions imposed in the interest of the
through Justice Labrador in Unabia v. City what he considers to be an infringement of his liberty? community. 53 It was Linton's view that "to belong to a
Mayor, 47 this Court could categorically affirm: "As the Both on principle, reason and authority, the answer society is to sacrifice some measure of individual
removal of petitioner was made without investigation must be in the affirmative. Even a public official has liberty, no matter how slight the restraints which the
and without cause, said removal is null and void. . . ." certain rights to freedom the government must respect. society consciously imposes." 54 The above statement
To the extent then, that there is a curtailment thereof, it from Linton however, should be understood in the sense
that liberty, in the interest of public health, public order strivings for justice' and judges the act of officialdom of stated: "Man is one among many, obstinately refusing
or safety, of general welfare, in other words through the whatever branch 'in the light of reason drawn from reduction to unity. His separateness, his isolation, are
proper exercise of the police power, may be regulated. considerations of fairness that reflect [democratic] indefeasible; indeed, they are so fundamental that they
The individual thought, as Justice Cardozo pointed out, traditions of legal and political thought.' It is not a are the basis on which his civic obligations are built. He
has still left a "domain of free activity that cannot be narrow or 'technical conception with fixed content cannot abandon the consequences of his isolation,
touched by government or law at all, whether the unrelated to time, place and circumstances,' decisions which are, broadly speaking, that his experience is
command is specially against him or generally against based on such a clause requiring a 'close and perceptive private, and the will built out of that experience
him and others." 55 inquiry into fundamental principles of our society.' personal to himself. If he surrenders his will to others,
Questions of due process are not to be treated narrowly he surrenders his personality. If his will is set by the
Is this provision for a periodical submission of sworn or pedantically in slavery to form or phrases." 56 will of others, he ceases to be master of himself. I
statement of assets and liabilities after he had filed one cannot believe that a man no longer master of himself is
upon assumption of office beyond the power of It would be to dwell in the realm of abstractions and to in any real sense free." 59
government to impose? Admittedly without the ignore the harsh and compelling realities of public
challenged provision, a public officer would be free service with its ever-present temptation to heed the call Nonetheless, in view of the fact that there is an express
from such a requirement. To the extent then that there is of greed and avarice to condemn as arbitrary and recognition of privacy, specifically that of
a compulsion to act in a certain way, his liberty is oppressive a requirement as that imposed on public communication and correspondence which "shall be
affected. It cannot be denied however that under the officials and employees to file such sworn statement of inviolable except upon lawful order of Court or when
Constitution, such a restriction is allowable as long as assets and liabilities every two years after having done public safety and order" 60may otherwise require, and
due process is observed. so upon assuming office. The due process clause is not implicitly in the search and seizure clause, 61 and the
susceptible to such a reproach. There was therefore no liberty of abode 62 the alleged repugnancy of such
The more crucial question therefore is whether there is unconstitutional exercise of police power. statutory requirement of further periodical submission
an observance of due process. That leads us to an of a sworn statement of assets and liabilities deserves to
inquiry into its significance. "There is no controlling 4. The due process question touching on an alleged be further looked into.
and precise definition of due process. It furnishes deprivation of liberty as thus resolved goes a long way
though a standard to which governmental action should in disposing of the objections raised by plaintiff that the In that respect the question is one of first impression, no
conform in order that deprivation of life, liberty or provision on the periodical submission of a sworn previous decision having been rendered by this Court. It
property, in each appropriate case, be valid. What then statement of assets and liabilities is violative of the is not so in the United States where, in the leading case
is the standard of due process which must exist both as constitutional right to privacy. There is much to be said of Griswold v. Connecticut, 63 Justice Douglas,
a procedural and as substantive requisite to free the for this view of Justice Douglas: "Liberty in the speaking for five members of the Court, stated:
challenged ordinance, or any action for that matter, constitutional sense must mean more than freedom from "Various guarantees create zones of privacy. The right
from the imputation of legal infirmity sufficient to spell unlawful governmental restraint; it must include privacy of association contained in the penumbra of the First
its doom? It is responsiveness to the supremacy of as well, if it is to be a repository of freedom. The right Amendment is one, as we have seen. The Third
reason, obedience to the dictates of justice. Negatively to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all Amendment in its prohibition against the quartering of
put, arbitrariness is ruled out and unfairness avoided. To freedom." 57 As a matter of fact, this right to be let alone soldiers 'in any house' in time of peace without the
satisfy the due process requirement, official action, to is, to quote from Mr. Justice Brandeis "the most consent of the owner is another facet of that privacy.
paraphrase Cardozo, must not outrun the bounds of comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the 'right of
reason and result in sheer oppression. Due process is civilized men." 58 the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,
thus hostile to any official action marred by lack of and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.'
reasonableness. Correctly has it been identified as The concept of liberty would be emasculated if it does The Fifth Amendment in its Self-Incrimination Clause
freedom from arbitrariness. It is the embodiment of the not likewise compel respect for his personality as a enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which
sporting idea of fair play. It exacts fealty 'to those unique individual whose claim to privacy and government may not force him to surrender to his
interference demands respect. As Laski so very aptly
detriment. The Ninth Amendment provides: 'The the difference between a democratic and a totalitarian coupons were properly introduced in evidence, the
enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall society." 66 search and seizure being incidental to an arrest, and
not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by therefore reasonable regardless of petitioner's consent.
the people." After referring to various American Even with due recognition of such a view, it cannot be
Supreme Court decisions, 64 Justice Douglas continued: said that the challenged statutory provision calls for In affirming the conviction the United States Supreme
"These cases bear witness that the right of privacy disclosure of information which infringes on the right of Court, through Justice Douglas emphasized that the
which presses for recognition is a legitimate one." a person to privacy. It cannot be denied that the rational Court was dealing in this case "not with private papers
relationship such a requirement possesses with the or documents, but with gasoline ration coupons which
The Griswold case invalidated a Connecticut statute objective of a valid statute goes very far in precluding never became the private property of the holder but
which made the use of contraceptives a criminal offense assent to an objection of such character. This is not to remained at all times the property of the government
on the ground of its amounting to an unconstitutional say that a public officer, by virtue of a position he and subject to inspection and recall by it." 70 He made it
invasion of the right of privacy of married persons; holds, is bereft of constitutional protection; it is only to clear that the opinion was not to be understood as
rightfully it stressed "a relationship lying within the emphasize that in subjecting him to such a further suggesting "that officers seeking to reclaim government
zone of privacy created by several fundamental compulsory revelation of his assets and liabilities, property may proceed lawlessly and subject to no
constitutional guarantees." 65 It has wider implications including the statement of the amounts and sources of restraints. Nor [does it] suggest that the right to inspect
though. The constitutional right to privacy has come income, the amounts of personal and family expenses, under the regulations subjects a dealer to a general
into its own.1äwphï1.ñët and the amount of income taxes paid for the next search of his papers for the purpose of learning whether
preceding calendar year, there is no unconstitutional he has any coupons subject to inspection and seizure.
So it is likewise in our jurisdiction. The right to privacy intrusion into what otherwise would be a private sphere. The nature of the coupons is important here merely as
as such is accorded recognition independently of its indicating that the officers did not exceed the
identification with liberty; in itself, it is fully deserving 5. Could it be said, however, as plaintiff contends, that permissible limits of persuasion in obtaining them." 71
of constitutional protection. The language of Prof. insofar as the challenged provision requires the
Emerson is particularly apt: "The concept of limited periodical filing of a sworn statement of financial True, there was a strong dissenting opinion by Justice
government has always included the idea that condition, it would be violative of the guarantees Frankfurter in which Justice Murphy joined, critical of
governmental powers stop short of certain intrusions against unreasonable search and seizure and against what it considered "a process of devitalizing
into the personal life of the citizen. This is indeed one self-incrimination? interpretation" which in this particular case gave
of the basic distinctions between absolute and limited approval "to what was done by arresting officers" and
government. Ultimate and pervasive control of the His complaint cited on this point Davis v. United expressing the regret that the Court might be "in danger
individual, in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark of States. 67 In that case, petitioner Davis was convicted of forgetting what the Bill of Rights reflects experience
the absolute state. In contrast, a system of limited under an information charging him with unlawfully with police excesses."
government, safeguards a private sector, which belongs having in his possession a number of gasoline ration
to the individual, firmly distinguishing it from the coupons representing so many gallons of gasoline, an Even this opinion, however, concerned that the
public sector, which the state can control. Protection of offense penalized under a 1940 statute. 68 He was constitutional guarantee against unreasonable search
this private sector — protection, in other words, of the convicted both in the lower court and in the Circuit and seizure "does not give freedom from testimonial
dignity and integrity of the individual — has become Court of Appeals over the objection that there was an compulsion. Subject to familiar qualifications every
increasingly important as modern society has unlawful search which resulted in the seizure of the man is under obligation to give testimony. But that
developed. All the forces of a technological age — coupons and that their use at the trial was in violation of obligation can be exacted only under judicial sanctions
industrialization, urbanization, and organization — Supreme Court decisions. 69 In the District Court, there which are deemed precious to Anglo-American
operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate was a finding that he consented to the search and civilization. Merely because there may be the duty to
intrusion into it. In modern terms, the capacity to seizure. The Circuit Court of Appeals did not disturb make documents available for litigation does not mean
maintain and support this enclave of private life marks that finding although expressed doubt concerning it, that police officers may forcibly or fraudulently obtain
affirming however under the view that such seized them. This protection of the right to be let alone except
under responsible judicial compulsion is precisely what documentary. Neither then could the accused be ordered avail, we are not called upon to decide in this
the Fourth Amendment meant to express and to to write, when what comes from his pen may constitute proceeding." 81
safeguard." 72 evidence of guilt or innocence. 77 Moreover, there can
be no search or seizure of his house, papers or effects 6. Nor could such a provision be nullified on the
It would appear then that a reliance on that case for an for the purpose of locating incriminatory matter. 78 allegation that it constitutes "an insult to the personal
allegation that this statutory provision offends against integrity and official dignity" of public officials. On its
the unreasonable search and seizure clause would be In a declaratory action proceeding then, the objection face, it cannot thus be stigmatized. As to its being
futile and unavailing. This is the more so in the light of based on the guaranty against self-incrimination is far unnecessary, it is well to remember that this Court, in
the latest decision of this Court in Stonehill v. from decisive. It is well to note what Justice Tuason the language of Justice Laurel, "does not pass upon
Diokno, 73 where this Court, through Chief Justice stated: "What the above inhibition seeks to [prevent] is questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of
Concepcion, after stressing that the constitutional compulsory disclosure of incriminating legislation." 82 As expressed by Justice Tuason: "It is
requirements must be strictly complied with, and that it facts." 79 Necessarily then, the protection it affords will not the province of the courts to supervise legislation
would be "a legal heresy of the highest order" to convict have to await, in the language of Justice J. B. L. Reyes, and keep it within the bounds of propriety and common
anybody of a violation of certain statutes without the existence of actual cases, "be they criminal, civil or sense. That is primarily and exclusively a legislative
reference to any of its determinate provisions delimited administrative." 80 Prior to such a stage, there is no concern." 83 There can be no possible objection then to
its scope as "one of the most fundamental rights pressing need to pass upon the validity of the fear the observation of Justice Montemayor: "As long as
guaranteed in our Constitution," safeguarding "the sincerely voiced that there is an infringement of the laws do not violate any Constitutional provision, the
sanctity, of the domicile and the privacy of non-incrimination clause. What was said in an Courts merely interpret and apply them regardless of
communication and correspondence. . . ." Such is American State decision is of relevance. In that case, a whether or not they are wise or salutary." 84 For they,
precisely the evil sought to be remedied by the statutory provision requiring any person operating a according to Justice Labrador, "are not supposed to
constitutional provision above quoted — to outlaw the motor vehicle, who knows that injury has been caused a override legitimate policy and . . . never inquire into the
so-called general warrants. person or property, to stop and give his name, wisdom of the law." 85
residence, and his license number to the injured party or
It thus appears clear that no violation of the guarantee to a police officer was sustained against the contention It is thus settled, to paraphrase Chief Justice
against unreasonable search and seizure has been shown that the information thus exacted may be used as Concepcion in Gonzales v. Commission on
to exist by such requirement of further periodical evidence to establish his connection with the injury and Elections, 86 that only congressional power or
submission of one's financial condition as set forth in therefore compels him to incriminate himself. As was competence, not the wisdom of the action taken may be
the Anti-Graft Act of 1960. stated in the opinion: "If the law which exacts this the basis for declaring a statute invalid. This is as it
information is invalid, because such information, ought to be. The principle of separation of powers has
Nor does the contention of plaintiff gain greater although in itself no evidence of guilt, might possibly in the main wisely allocated the respective authority of
plausibility, much less elicit acceptance, by his lead to a charge of crime against the informant, then all each department and confined its jurisdiction to such a
invocation of the non-incrimination clause. According police regulations which involve identification may be sphere. There would then be intrusion not allowable
to the Constitution: "No person shall be compelled to be questioned on the same ground. We are not aware of under the Constitution if on a matter left to the
a witness against himself." 74 This constitutional any constitutional provision designed to protect a man's discretion of a coordinate branch, the judiciary would
provision gives the accused immunity from any attempt conduct from judicial inquiry or aid him in fleeing from substitute its own. If there be adherence to the rule of
by the prosecution to make easier its task by coercing or justice. But, even if a constitutional right be involved, it law, as there ought to be, the last offender should be
intimidating him to furnish the evidence necessary to is not necessary to invalidate the statute to secure its courts of justice, to which rightly litigants submit their
convict. He may confess, but only if he voluntarily wills protection. If, in this particular case, the constitutional controversy precisely to maintain unimpaired the
it. He may admit certain facts but only if he freely privilege justified the refusal to give the information supremacy of legal norms and prescriptions. The attack
chooses to.75 Or he could remain silent, and the exacted by the statute, that question can be raised in the on the validity of the challenged provision likewise
prosecution is powerless to compel him to talk. 76 Proof defense to the pending prosecution. Whether it would
is not solely testimonial in character. It may be
insofar as there may be objections, even if valid and
cogent on its wisdom cannot be sustained.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court of July


19, 1962 "declaring unconstitutional, null and void
Section 7, Republic Act No. 3019, insofar as it requires
periodical submittal of sworn statements of financial
conditions, assets and liabilities of an official or
employee of the government after he had once
submitted such a sworn statement . . . is reversed."
Without costs.
G.R. No. L-32066 August 6, 1979 The book narrates the events which culminated in the On the same date, October 5, 1961, after some
murder of Moises Padilla sometime between November bargaining as to the amount to be paid, which was
MANUEL LAGUNZAD, petitioner, 11 and November 17, 1951. Padilla was then a P50,000.00 at first, then reduced to
vs. mayoralty candidate of the Nacionalista Party (then the P20,000.00, 7 petitioner and private respondent,
MARIA SOTO VDA. DE GONZALES and THE minority party) for the Municipality of Magallon, represented by her daughters and Atty. Ernesto
COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. Negros Occidental, during the November, 1951 Rodriguez, at the law office of Jalandoni and Jamir,
elections. Governor Rafael Lacson, a member of the executed a "Licensing Agreement" reading as follows:
Diosdado P. Peralta for petitioner. Liberal Party then in power and his men were tried and
convicted for that murder in People vs. Lacson, et LICENSING AGREEMENT
Manuel S. Tonogbanua for private respondent. al. 3 In the book, Moises Padilla is portrayed as "a
martyr in contemporary political history." KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:

Although the emphasis of the movie was on the public This Agreement, made and executed at the City of
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: Manila, Philippines, this 5th day of October, 1961, by
life of Moises Padilla, there were portions which dealt
with his private and family life including the portrayal and between:
Before us is a Petition for Review by certiorari of the
in some scenes, of his mother, Maria Soto Vda. de
Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. MANUEL M. LAGUNZAD, of legal age, married,
Gonzales, private respondent herein, and of one
34703, promulgated on January 13, 1970, affirming the presently engaged in the business of producing motion
"Auring" as his girl friend. 4
Decision of the Court of First Instance of Negros pictures under the style of "MML Productions" with
Occidental, dated June 30, 1964, in Civil Case No. 6414 residence at 76 Central Boulevard, Quezon City and
The movie was scheduled for a premiere showing on
entitled "Maria Soto Vda. de Gonzales vs. Manuel with offices at 301 Cu Unjieng Bldg., Escolta, Manila
October 16, 1961, or at the very latest, before the
Lagunzad," for a Sum of Money and Attachment. and hereinafter referred to as LICENSEE,
November, 1961 elections.
The present controversy stems from a "Licensing — and —
On October 3, 1961, petitioner received a telephone call
Agreement" entered into by and between petitioner
from one Mrs. Nelly Amante, half-sister of Moises
Manuel M. Lagunzad and private respondent Maria MARIA SOTO VDA. DE GONZALES, of legal age,
Padilla, objecting to the filming of the movie and the
Soto Vda. de Gonzales on October 5, 1961, which widow, resident of the Municipality of Moises Padilla,
"exploitation" of his life. Shown the early "rushes" of
contract petitioner claims to be null and void for having Province of Negros Occidental, represented in this Act
the picture, Mrs. Amante and her sister, Mrs. Gavieres,
been entered into by him under duress, intimidation and by her Attorneys-in-fact Atty. Ernesto Rodriguez, Jr. of
objected to many portions thereof notwithstanding
undue influence. legal age and resident of 393F-Buencamino St., San
petitioner's explanation that the movie had been
supervised by Ernesto Rodriguez, Jr., based on his book Miguel, Manila; Maria Nelly G. Amazite, of legal age
The antecedental facts follow: Sometime in August, and resident of 121 South 13, Quezon City; and Dolores
"The Long Dark Night in Negros." On October 5, 1961,
1961, petitioner Manuel Lagunzad, a newspaperman, G, Gavieres, of legal age, and resident of 511 San
Mrs. Amante, for and in behalf of her mother, private
began the production of a movie entitled "The Moises Rafael Street, Quiapo, Manila, also duly authorized and
respondent, demanded in writing for certain changes,
Padilla Story" under the name of his own business hereinafter referred to as LICENSOR,
corrections and deletions in the movie. 5 Petitioner
outfit, the "MML Productions." It was based mainly on
contends that he acceded to the demands because he had
the copyrighted but unpublished book of Atty. Ernesto WITNESSETH:
already invested heavily in the picture to the extent of
Rodriguez, Jr., entitled "The Long Dark Night in
mortgaging his properties, 6 in addition to the fact that
Negros" subtitled "The Moises Padilla Story," 1 the That, the LICENSEE is currently producing a motion
he had to meet the scheduled target date of the premiere
rights to which petitioner had purchased from Atty. picture entitled "The Moises Padilla Story" (hereinafter
showing.
Rodriguez in the amount of P2,000.00. 2 referred to as the PICTURE, for short) based on certain
episodes in the life of Moises Padilla, now deceased:
That the LICENSOR is the legitimate mother and only before Oct. 10, 1961; P10,000.00 on or before Oct. 31, 5) The LICENSOR shall not in any way be liable on
surviving compulsory heir of Moises Padilla, the latter 1961; and P5,000.00 on or before November 30, 1961. any claim from third persons as a result of, or arising
not having married during his lifetime and having died In default of the payment of any of these amounts as from, the manner by which the PICTURE is put
without any descendants, legitimate or illegitimate; they fall due, the others become immediately due and together, nor on any claim arising from the production,
demandable. distribution and exhibition of the PICTURE, and in the
That, in the PICTURE and in all incidents thereof, such event of any such claim being asserted against
as scenarios, advertisements, etc., the LICENSEE has, b) A royalty in such amount corresponding to TWO LICENSOR, the LICENSEE undertakes to hold
without the prior consent and authority of LICENSOR, AND A HALF PER CENTUM (2-½ %) of all gross LICENSOR harmless thereon.
exploited the life story of Moises Padilla for pecuniary income or receipts derived by, and/or for and in behalf
gain and other profit motives, and has, furthermore of, LICENSEE as rentals and or percentage of box 6) This agreement shall be binding upon the parties
encroached upon the privacy of Moises Padilla's office receipts from exhibitors and others for the right to hereto, their representatives, administrators, successors
immediate family, and has in fact, included in the exploit, use, distribute and/or exhibit the picture and assigns.
PICTURE'S cast, persons portraying some of MOISES anywhere here in the Philippines or abroad.
PADILLA's kin, including LICENSOR herself; IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have hereunto
2) The LICENSEE agrees to keep complete, true and set their hands on the date and at the place first above
That, for and in consideration of the foregoing premises accurate books of accounts, contracts and vouchers stated.
and the other covenants and conditions hereunder relating to the exploitation, distribution and exhibition
stated, the LICENSOR hereby grants authority and of the PICTURE, the bookings thereof and the rentals MARIA SOTO VDA. DE GONZALES MANUEL M.
permission to LICENSEE to exploit, use, and develop and gross receipts therefrom, and to give to LICENSOR LAGUNZAD
the life story of Moises Padilla for purposes of and/or her accredited representatives, full access at all Licensor Licensee
producing the PICTURE, and in connection with reasonable times to all of the said books, accounts,
matters incidental to said production, such as records, vouchers and all other papers. By:
advertising and the like, as well as authority and
permission for the use of LICENSOR's name in the 3) The LICENSEE shall furnish LICENSOR monthly (Sgd.) ERNESTO R. RODRIGUEZ, Jr.
PICTURE and have herself portrayed therein, the statements in duplicate, showing in detail the gross (Sgd.) MARIA NELLY G. AMANTE
authority and permission hereby granted, to retroact to receipts accruing from the picture, which monthly (Sgd.) DOLORES G. GAVIERES
the date when LICENSEE first committed any of the statements shall be delivered to the LICENSOR with Attorneys-in-fact
acts herein authorized. reasonable promptness, and upon verification and
approval of said statements by LICENSOR, the SIGNED IN THE PRESENCE OF:
THE CONDITIONS AND OTHER COVENANTS OF LICENSEE shall pay the corresponding royalties due to
LOPE E. ADRIANO ILLEGIBLE
THIS AGREEMENT ARE AS FOLLOWS: the LICENSOR.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
1. For and in consideration of the authority and 4) The authority and permission herein granted is
permission hereby granted by LICENSOR to subject to the condition that LICENSEE shall change,
Petitioner takes the position that he was pressured into
LICENSEE, LICENSEE shall pay LICENSOR, through delete, and/or correct such portions in the PICTURE as
signing the Agreement because of private respondent's
Atty. Lope E. Adriano at the Pelaez and Jalandoni Law the LICENSOR may require, in writing before final
demand, through Mrs. Amante, for payment for the
Office, 6th Floor, Magsaysay Bldg., San Luis, Ermita, printing of the PICTURE, and shall, furthermore, not be
"exploitation" of the life story of Moises Padilla,
Manila, the following: understood as a consent to anything in the picture that
otherwise, she would "call a press conference declaring
is, or tends to be, derogatory to the deceased MOISES
the whole picture as a fake, fraud and a hoax and would
a) The sum of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS PADILLA or to LICENSOR.
denounce the whole thing in the press, radio, television
(P20,000.00), Philippine Currency, payable without
and that they were going to Court to stop the picture." 8
need of further demand, as follows: P5,000.00 on or
On October 10, 1961, petitioner paid private respondent Private respondent duly filed her Answer to II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS
the amount of P5,000.00 but contends that he did so not Counterclaim alleging that the transaction between her FAILURE TO MAKE COMPLETE FINDINGS OF
pursuant to their Agreement but just to placate private and petitioner was entered into freely and voluntarily. FACTS ON ALL ISSUES BEFORE IT;
respondent.9
On June 30, 1964, the trial Court rendered a Decision, III. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
On October 14, 1961, the filming of the movie was and decreed in its dispositive portion: DECLARING THE LICENSING AGREEMENT,
completed. On October 16, 1961, a premiere showing EXHIBIT "A", NULL AND VOID FOR LACK OF,
was held at the Hollywood Theatre, Manila, with the WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering OR FOR HAVING AN ILLEGAL CAUSE OR
Moises Padilla Society as its sponsor. 10 Subsequently, the defendant Manuel Lagunzad to pay the plaintiff the CONSIDERATION OF CONTRACT, PETITIONER
the movie was shown in different theaters all over the sum of P15,000.00 with interest at the rate of 6% per HAVING PREVIOUSLY OBTAINED THE
country. annum from December 22, 1961 up to its complete AUTHORITY AND/OR PERMISSION PURPOSELY
payment; to order the defendant to render an accounting GRANTED TO HIM BY RESPONDENT UNDER
Because petitioner refused to pay any additional of the gross income or proceeds derived from the SAID LICENSING AGREEMENT;
amounts pursuant to the Agreement, on December 22, exhibition, use and/or rental of the motion picture of
1961, private respondent instituted the present suit "The Moises Padilla Story" and to pay the plaintiff 2- IV. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
against him praying for judgment in her favor ordering 1/2% of said gross income; to pay the plaintiff the FINDING THAT THE LICENSING AGREEMENT,
petitioner 1) to pay her the amount of P15,000.00, with amount equivalent to 20% of the amount due the EXHIBIT "A", IS NULL AND VOID; RESPONDENT
legal interest from the filing of the Complaint; 2) to plaintiff under the first cause of action as attorney's NOT HAVING HAD ANY PROPERTY NIGHTS
render an accounting of the proceeds from the picture fees; and to pay the costs. OVER THE INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF MOISES
and to pay the corresponding 2-1/2% royalty therefrom; PADILLA WHO WAS A PUBLIC FIGURE.
3) to pay attorney's fees equivalent to 20% of the On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the latter Court
amounts claimed; and 4) to pay the costs. affirmed the judgment. Reconsideration having been V. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
denied by the Court, petitioner filed the instant Petition FINDING THAT THE LICENSING AGREEMENT,
Traversing the Complaint, petitioner contended in his for Review on Certiorari. EXHIBIT "A", WAS NULL AND VOID,
Answer that the episodes in the life of Moises Padilla PETITIONER'S CONSENT HAVING BEEN
depicted in the movie were matters of public knowledge Initially, or on June 16, 1970, this Court denied the PROCURED BY MEANS OF DURESS,
and occurred at or about the same time that the Petition for lack of merit, but resolved subsequently to INTIMIDATION AND UNDUE INFLUENCE;
deceased became and was a public figure; that private give it due course after petitioner moved for
respondent has no property right over those incidents; reconsideration on the additional argument that the VI. THE COURT OF APPEALS, IN UPHOLDING
that the Licensing Agreement was without valid cause movie production was in exercise of the constitutional THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY OF RESPONDENT AS
or consideration and that he signed the same only right of freedom of expression, and that the Licensing DEFINED IN ART. 26 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE
because private respondent threatened him with cement is a form of restraint on the freedom of speech OVER THE RIGHT OF PETITIONER TO FILM THE
unfounded and harassing action which would have and of the press. PUBLIC LIFE OF A PUBLIC FIGURE, INFRINGED
delayed production; and that he paid private respondent UPON THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF
the amount of P5,000.00 in October, 1961, only because In his Brief, petitioner assigns the following errors to PETITIONER TO FREE SPEECH AND FREE PRESS.
of the coercion and threat employed upon him. By way the appellate Court:
of counterclaim, petitioner demanded that the Licensing We find the assigned errors bereft of merit.
Agreement be declared null and void for being without I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
any valid cause; that private respondent be ordered to EXERCISING JURISDICTION IN THE CASE Petitioner's contention that because an accounting had
return to him the amount of P5,000.00; and that he be BECAUSE THE JUDGMENT APPEALED FROM been ordered, respondent Court of Appeals did not have
paid P50,000.00 by way of moral damages, and WAS INTERLOCUTORY IN NATURE AND jurisdiction over the case as the Decision of the lower
P7,500.00 as attorney's fees. CHARACTER; Court was not yet final and appealable, is untenable.
The doctrine enunciated in Fuentebella vs. said deceased's life and in that of his mother and the disadvantages. In either case, he makes a choice free
Carrascoso 11 relied upon by petitioner, which held that members of his family. As held in Schuyler v. and untramelled and must accordingly abide by it. The
whether or not the action for accounting is the principal Curtis,14 "a privilege may be given the surviving Licensing Agreement has the force of law between the
action or is merely incidental to another, the judgment relatives of a deceased person to protect his memory, contracting parties and since its provisions are not
requiring such accounting cannot be final, has been but the privilege exists for the benefit of the living, to contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or
abandoned in Miranda vs. Court of Appeals 12 which protect their feelings and to prevent a violation of their public policy (Art. 1306, Civil Code), petitioner Should
ruled: own rights in the character and memory of the comply with it in good faith.
deceased."
For the guidance of bench and bar, the Court declares as Lastly, neither do we find merit in petitioner's
abandoned the doctrine of Fuentebella vs. Petitioner's averment that private respondent did not contention that the Licensing Agreement infringes on
Carrascoso and adopts the opposite rule that judgments have any property right over the life of Moises Padilla the constitutional right of freedom of speech and of the
for recovery with accounting are final and appealable since the latter was a public figure, is neither well taken. press, in that, as a citizen and as a newspaperman, he
(without need of awaiting the accounting) and would Being a public figure ipso facto does not automatically had the right to express his thoughts in film on the
become final and executory if not appealed within the destroy in toto a person's right to privacy. The right to public life of Moises Padilla without prior restraint. The
reglementary period. invade a person's privacy to disseminate public right of freedom of expression, indeed, occupies a
information does not extend to a fictional or novelized preferred position in the "hierarchy of civil
In other words, where there is complete adjudication representation of a person, no matter how public a liberties." 18 It is not, however, without limitations. As
and determination of the rights and obligations of the figure he or she may be. 15 In the case at bar, while it is held in Gonzales vs. Commission on Elections, 27
parties, as in the instant case, an order for accounting in true that petitioner exerted efforts to present a true-to- SCRA 835, 858 (1969):
that judgment does not affect its final character, said life story of Moises Padilla, petitioner admits that he
accounting being merely incidental to the judgment. included a little romance in the film because without it, From the language of the specific constitutional
it would be a drab story of torture and brutality. 16 provision, it would appear that the right is not
Petitioner's contention that respondent Court failed to susceptible of any limitation. No law may be passed
make complete findings of fact on all issues raised We also find it difficult to sustain petitioner's posture abridging the freedom of speech and of the press. The
before it is without basis. A careful study of the that his consent to the Licensing Agreement was realities of life in a complex society preclude however,
Decision reveals that respondent Court has substantially procured thru duress, intimidation and undue influence a literal interpretation. Freedom of expression is not an
and sufficiently complied with the injunction that a exerted on him by private respondent and her daughters absolute. It would be too much to insist that at all times
decision must state clearly and distinctly the facts and at a time when he had exhausted his financial resources, and under all circumstances it should remain unfettered
the law on which it is based. The rule remains that the the premiere showing of the picture was imminent, and and unrestrained. There are other societal values that
ultimate test as to the sufficiency of a Court's findings "time was of the essence." As held in Martinez vs. press for recognition.
of fact is "whether they are comprehensive enough and Hongkong & Shanghai Bank, 17 it is necessary to
pertinent to the issues raised to provide a basis for distinguish between real duress and the motive which is The prevailing doctrine is that the clear and present
decision." 13 The judgment sought to be reviewed present when one gives his consent reluctantly. A danger rule is such a limitation. Another criterion for
sufficiently complies with this requirement. contract is valid even though one of the parties entered permissible limitation on freedom of speech and of the
into it against his own wish and desires, or even against press, which includes such vehicles of the mass media
Neither do we agree with petitioner's submission that his better judgment. In legal effect, there is no as radio, television and the movies, is the "balancing-of-
the Licensing Agreement is null and void for lack of, or difference between a contract wherein one of the interests test." 19 The principle i requires a court to take
for having an illegal cause or consideration. While it is contracting parties exchanges one condition for another conscious and detailed consideration of the interplay of
true that petitioner had purchased the rights to the book because he looks for greater profit or gain by reason of interests observable in a given situation or type of
entitled "The Moises Padilla Story," that did not such change, and an agreement wherein one of the situation."20
dispense with the need for prior consent and authority contracting parties agrees to accept the lesser of two
from the deceased heirs to portray publicly episodes in
In the case at bar, the interests observable are the right
to privacy asserted by respondent and the right of -
freedom of expression invoked by petitioner. Taking
into account the interplay of those interests, we hold
that under the particular circumstances presented, and
considering the obligations assumed in the Licensing
Agreement entered into by petitioner, the validity of
such agreement will have to be upheld particularly
because the limits of freedom of expression are reached
when expression touches upon matters of essentially
private concern.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is denied and


the judgment appealed from hereby affirmed. Costs
against petitioner.
G.R. No. L-69500 July 22, 1985 and Television, with Maria Kalaw Katigbak as its classification "is without legal and factual basis and is
Chairman and Brig. Gen. Wilfredo C. Estrada as its exercised as impermissible restraint of artistic
JOSE ANTONIO U. GONZALEZ in behalf of Vice-Chairman, also named respondents. expression. The film is an integral whole and all its
MALAYA FILMS, LINO BROCKA, JOSE F. portions, including those to which the Board now offers
LACABA, and DULCE Q. SAGUISAG, petitioners, In a resolution of a sub-committee of respondent Board belated objection, are essential for the integrity of the
vs. of October 23, 1984, a permit to exhibit the film Kapit film. Viewed as a whole, there is no basis even for the
CHAIRMAN MARIA KALAW KATIGBAK, sa Patalim under the classification "For Adults Only," vague speculations advanced by the Board as basis for
GENERAL WILFREDO C. ESTRADA (Ret.), and with certain changes and deletions enumerated was its classification. 8 There was an answer to the amended
THE BOARD OF REVIEW FOR MOTION granted. A motion for reconsideration was filed by petition filed on February 18, 1985. It was therein
PICTURES AND TELEVISION petitioners stating that the classification of the film "For asserted that the issue presented as to the previous
(BRMPT), respondents. Adults Only" was without basis. 4 Then on November deletions ordered by the Board as well as the statutory
12, 1984, respondent Board released its decision: provisions for review of films and as to the requirement
Irene R. Cortes, Perfecto V. Fernandez, Haydee Yorac "Acting on the applicant's Motion for Reconsideration to submit the master negative have been all rendered
and Joker P. Arroyo for petitioners. dated 29 October 1984, the Board, after a review of the moot. It was also submitted that the standard of the law
resolution of the sub-committee and an examination of for classifying films afford a practical and determinative
The Solicitor General for respondents. the film, Resolves to affirm in toto the ruling of the sub- yardstick for the exercise of judgment. For respondents,
committee. Considering, however, certain vital the question of the sufficiency of the standards remains
deficiencies in the application, the Board further the only question at issue.
Resolves to direct the Chairman of the Board to
FERNANDO, C.J.:
Withheld the issuance of the Permit to exhibit until It would be unduly restrictive under the circumstances
these deficiencies are supplied. 5 Hence this petition. to limit the issue to one of the sufficiency of standards
In this case of first impression, a certiorari proceeding
to guide respondent Board in the exercise of its power.
filed on January 10, 1985, there is a persuasive ring to
This Court, in a resolution of January 12, 1985, required Even if such were the case, there is justification for an
the invocation of the constitutional right to freedom of
respondent to answer. In such pleading submitted on inquiry into the controlling standard to warrant the
expression 1 of an artist—and for that matter a man of
January 21, 1985, as one of its special and affirmative classification of "For Adults Only." This is especially
letters too—as the basis for a ruling on the scope of the
defenses, it was alleged that the petition is moot as so, when obscenity is the basis for any alleged invasion
power of respondent Board of Review for Motion
"respondent Board has revoked its questioned of the right to the freedom of artistic and literary
Pictures and Television and how it should be exercised.
resolution, replacing it with one immediately granting expression embraced in the free speech and free press
The dispute between the parties has been narrowed
petitioner company a permit to exhibit the film Kapit guarantees of the Constitution.
down. The motion picture in question, Kapit sa
without any deletion or cut [thus an] adjudication of the
Patalim was classified "For Adults Only." There is the
questions presented above would be academic on the 1. Motion pictures are important both as a medium for
further issue then, also one of first impression, as to the
case." 6 Further: "The modified resolution of the Board, the communication of Ideas and the expression of the
proper test of what constitutes obscenity in view of the
of course, classifies Kapit as for-adults-only, but the artistic impulse. Their effects on the perception by our
objections raised. Thus the relevance of this
petition does not raise any issue as to the validity of this people of issues and public officials or public figures as
constitutional command: "Arts and letters shall be under
classification. All that petitioners assail as arbitrary on well as the prevailing cultural traits is considerable. Nor
the patronage of the State.2
the part of the Board's action are the deletions ordered as pointed out in Burstyn v. Wilson9 is the "importance
in the film. 7 The prayer was for the dismissal of the of motion pictures as an organ of public opinion
The principal petitioner is Jose Antonio U.
petition. lessened by the fact that they are designed to entertain
Gonzalez, 3 President of the Malaya Films, a movie
as well as to inform. 10There is no clear dividing line
production outfit duly registered as a single
An amended petition was then filed on January 25, between what involves knowledge and what affords
proprietorship with the Bureau of Domestic Trade. The
1985. The main objection was the classification of the pleasure. If such a distinction were sustained, there is a
respondent is the Board of Review for Motion Pictures
film as "For Adults Only." For petitioners, such
diminution of the basic right to free expression. Our and restrictions the exemption. The power to exercise 5. There is, however, some difficulty in determining
recent decision in Reyes v. Bagatsing11 cautions against prior restraint is not to be presumed, rather the what is obscene. There is persuasiveness to the
such a move. Press freedom, as stated in the opinion of presumption is against its validity.16 approach followed in Roth: "The early leading standard
the Court, "may be Identified with the liberty to discuss of obscenity allowed material to be judged merely by
publicly and truthfully any matter of public concern 3. The test, to repeat, to determine whether freedom of the effect of an isolated excerpt upon particularly
without censorship or punishment. 12This is not to say excession may be limited is the clear and present danger susceptible persons. Regina v. Hicklin [1868] LR 3 QB
that such freedom, as is the freedom of speech, of an evil of a substantive character that the State has a 360. Some American courts adopted this standard but
absolute. It can be limited if "there be a 'clear and right to prevent. Such danger must not only be clear but later decisions have rejected it and substituted this test:
present danger of a substantive evil that [the State] has a also present. There should be no doubt that what is whether to the average person, applying contemporary
right to prevent. 13 feared may be traced to the expression complained of. community standards, the dominant theme of the
The causal connection must be evident. Also, there material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest.
2. Censorship or previous restraint certainly is not all must be reasonable apprehension about its imminence. The Hicklin test, judging obscenity by the effect of
there is to free speech or free press. If it were so, then The time element cannot be ignored. Nor does it suffice isolated passages upon the most susceptible persons,
such basic rights are emasculated. It is however, except if such danger be only probable. There is the require of might well encompass material legitimately treating
in exceptional circumstances a sine qua non for the its being well-nigh inevitable. The basic postulate, with sex, and so it must be rejected as
meaningful exercise of such right. This is not to deny wherefore, as noted earlier, is that where the movies, unconstitutionally restrictive of the freedoms of speech
that equally basic is the other important aspect of theatrical productions radio scripts, television programs, and press. On the other hand, the substituted standard
freedom from liability. Nonetheless, for the purposes of and other such media of expression are concerned — provides safeguards adequate to withstand the charge of
this litigation, the emphasis should rightly be on included as they are in freedom of expression — constitutional infirmity. 21
freedom from censorship. It is, beyond question, a well- censorship, especially so if an entire production is
settled principle in our jurisdiction. As early as 1909, in banned, is allowable only under the clearest proof of a 6. The above excerpt which imposes on the judiciary
the case of United States v. Sedano,14 a prosecution for clear and present danger of a substantive evil to public the duty to be ever on guard against any impermissible
libel, the Supreme Court of the Philippines already public morals, public health or any other legitimate infringement on the freedom of artistic expression calls
made clear that freedom of the press consists in the public interest. 17 There is merit to the observation of to mind the landmark ponencia of Justice Malcolm
right to print what one chooses without any previous Justice Douglas that "every writer, actor, or producer, in United States v. Bustos, 22 decided in 1918. While
license. There is reaffirmation of such a view in Mutuc no matter what medium of expression he may use, recognizing the principle that libel is beyond the pale of
v. Commission on Elections, 15 where an order of should be freed from the censor. 18 constitutional protection, it left no doubt that in
respondent Commission on Elections giving due course determining what constitutes such an offense, a court
to the certificate of candidacy of petitioner but 4. The law, however, frowns on obscenity and rightly should ever be mindful that no violation of the right to
prohibiting him from using jingles in his mobile units so. As categorically stated by Justice Brennan in Roth v. freedom of expression is allowable. It is a matter of
equipped with sound systems and loud speakers was United States 19 speaking of the free speech and press pride for the Philippines that it was not until 1984
considered an abridgment of the right of the freedom of guarantee of the United States Constitution: "All Ideas in New York Timer v. Sullivan, 23 thirty-years later, that
expression amounting as it does to censorship. It is the having even the slightest redeeming social importance the United States Supreme Court enunciated a similar
opinion of this Court, therefore, that to avoid an — unorthodox Ideas, controversial Ideas, even Ideas doctrine.
unconstitutional taint on its creation, the power of hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion — have the
respondent Board is limited to the classification of full protection of the guaranties, unless excludable 7. It is quite understandable then why in the Roth
films. It can, to safeguard other constitutional because they encroach upon the limited area of the First opinion, Justice Brennan took pains to emphasize that
objections, determine what motion pictures are for Amendment is the rejection of obscenity as utterly "sex and obscenity are not synonymous. 24 Further:
general patronage and what may require either parental without redeeming social importance. 20 Such a view "Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a
guidance or be limited to adults only. That is to abide commends itself for approval. manner appealing to prurient interest. The portrayal of
by the principle that freedom of expression is the rule sex, e.g., in art, literature and scientific works, is not
itself sufficient reason to deny material the objection to the sufficiency of the controlling standard television is concerned: a less liberal approach calls for
constitutional protection of freedom of speech and and its conformity to what the Constitution ordains. observance. This is so because unlike motion pictures
press. Sex, a great and mysterious motive force in where the patrons have to pay their way, television
human life has indisputably been a subject of absorbing 9. This being a certiorari petition, the question before reaches every home where there is a set. Children then
interest to mankind through the ages; it is one of the the Court is whether or not there was a grave abuse of will likely will be among the avid viewers of the
vital problems of human interest and public concern. 25 discretion. That there was an abuse of discretion by programs therein shown. As was observed by Circuit
respondent Board is evident in the light of the difficulty Court of Appeals Judge Jerome Frank, it is hardly the
8. In the applicable law, Executive Order No. 876, and travail undergone by petitioners before Kapit sa concern of the law to deal with the sexual fantasies of
reference was made to respondent Board "applying Patalim was classified as "For Adults Only," without the adult population. 34 it cannot be denied though that
contemporary Filipino cultural values as any deletion or cut. Moreover its perception of what the State as parens patriae is called upon to manifest an
standard, 26 words which can be construed in an constitutes obscenity appears to be unduly restrictive. attitude of caring for the welfare of the young.
analogous manner. Moreover, as far as the question of This Court concludes then that there was an abuse of
sex and obscenity are concerned, it cannot be stressed discretion. Nonetheless, there are not enough votes to WHEREFORE, this Court, in the light of the principles
strongly that the arts and letters "shall be under the maintain that such an abuse can be considered grave. of law enunciated in the opinion, dismisses this petition
patronage of the State. 27 That is a constitutional Accordingly, certiorari does not lie. This conclusion for certiorari solely on the ground that there are not
mandate. It will be less than true to its function if any finds support in this explanation of respondents in its enough votes for a ruling that there was a grave abuse
government office or agency would invade the sphere Answer to the amended petition: "The adult of discretion in the classification of Kapit sa Patalim as
of autonomy that an artist enjoys. There is no orthodoxy classification given the film serves as a warning to "For-Adults-Only."
in what passes for beauty or for reality. It is for the artist theater operators and viewers that some contents of
to determine what for him is a true representation. It is Kapit are not fit for the young. Some of the scenes in
not to be forgotten that art and belleslettres deal the picture were taken in a theater-club and a good
primarily with imagination, not so much with ideas in a portion of the film shots concentrated on some women
strict sense. What is seen or perceived by an artist is erotically dancing naked, or at least nearly naked, on the
entitled to respect, unless there is a showing that the theater stage. Another scene on that stage depicted the
product of his talent rightfully may be considered women kissing and caressing as lesbians. And toward
obscene. As so wen put by Justice Frankfurter in a the end of the picture, there exists scenes of excessive
concurring opinion, "the widest scope of freedom is to violence attending the battle between a group of robbers
be given to the adventurous and imaginative exercise of and the police. The vulnerable and imitative in the
the human spirit" 28 in this sensitive area of a man's young audience will misunderstand these
personality. On the question of obscenity, therefore, and scenes." 32 Further: "Respondents further stated in its
in the light of the facts of this case, such standard set answer that petitioner company has an option to have
forth in Executive Order No. 878 is to be construed in the film reclassified to For-General-Patronage if it
such a fashion to avoid any taint of unconstitutionality. would agree to remove the obscene scenes and pare
To repeat, what was stated in a recent decision 29 citing down the violence in the film." 33 Petitioners, however,
the language of Justice Malcolm in Yu Cong Eng v. refused the "For Adults Only" classification and
Trinidad, 30 it is "an elementary, a fundamental, and a instead, as noted at the outset, filed this suit for
universal role of construction, applied when considering certiorari.
constitutional questions, that when a law is susceptible
of two constructions' one of which will maintain and the 10. All that remains to be said is that the ruling is to be
other destroy it, the courts will always adopt the limited to the concept of obscenity applicable to motion
former. 31 As thus construed, there can be no valid pictures. It is the consensus of this Court that where
G.R. No. L-69809 October 16, 1986 When complainant called up, Laconico requested Twenty minutes later, complainant called up again to
appellant to secretly listen to the telephone conversation ask Laconico if he was agreeable to the conditions.
EDGARDO A. GAANAN, petitioner, through a telephone extension so as to hear personally Laconico answered 'Yes'. Complainant then told
vs. the proposed conditions for the settlement. Appellant Laconico to wait for instructions on where to deliver the
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and PEOPLE heard complainant enumerate the following conditions money. (tsn, March 10, 1983, pp. 2-12).
OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. for withdrawal of the complaint for direct assault.
Complainant called up again and instructed Laconico to
(a) the P5,000.00 was no longer acceptable, and that the give the money to his wife at the office of the then
figure had been increased to P8,000.00. A breakdown of Department of Public Highways. Laconico who earlier
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: the P8,000.00 had been made together with other alerted his friend Colonel Zulueta of the Criminal
demands, to wit: (a) P5,000.00 no longer for the teacher Investigation Service of the Philippine Constabulary,
This petition for certiorari asks for an interpretation of Manuel Montebon, but for Atty. Pintor himself in insisted that complainant himself should receive the
Republic Act (RA) No. 4200, otherwise known as the persuading his client to withdraw the case for Direct money. (tsn, March 10, 1982, pp. 26-33). When he
Anti-Wiretapping Act, on the issue of whether or not an Assault against Atty. Laconico before the Cebu City received the money at the Igloo Restaurant,
extension telephone is among the prohibited devices in Fiscal's Office; complainant was arrested by agents of the Philippine
Section 1 of the Act, such that its use to overhear a Constabulary.
private conversation would constitute unlawful (b) Public apology to be made by Atty. Laconico before
interception of communications between the two parties the students of Don Bosco Technical High School; Appellant executed on the following day an affidavit
using a telephone line. stating that he heard complainant demand P8,000.00 for
(c) Pl,000.00 to be given to the Don Bosco Faculty the withdrawal of the case for direct assault. Laconico
The facts presented by the People and narrated in the club; attached the affidavit of appellant to the complainant for
respondent court's decision are not disputed by the robbery/extortion which he filed against complainant.
petitioner. (d) transfer of son of Atty. Laconico to another school Since appellant listened to the telephone conversation
or another section of Don Bosco Technical High without complainant's consent, complainant charged
In the morning of October 22, 1975, complainant Atty. School; appellant and Laconico with violation of the Anti-
Tito Pintor and his client Manuel Montebon were in the
Wiretapping Act.
living room of complainant's residence discussing the (e) Affidavit of desistance by Atty. Laconico on the
terms for the withdrawal of the complaint for direct Maltreatment case earlier filed against Manuel After trial on the merits, the lower court, in a decision
assault which they filed with the Office of the City Montebon at the Cebu City Fiscal's Office, whereas dated November 22, 1982, found both Gaanan and
Fiscal of Cebu against Leonardo Laconico. After they Montebon's affidavit of desistance on the Direct Assault Laconico guilty of violating Section 1 of Republic Act
had decided on the proposed conditions, complainant Case against Atty. Laconico to be filed later; No. 4200. The two were each sentenced to one (1) year
made a telephone call to Laconico (tsn, August 26, imprisonment with costs. Not satisfied with the
1981, pp. 3-5). (f) Allow Manuel Montebon to continue teaching at the decision, the petitioner appealed to the appellate court.
Don Bosco Technical School;
That same morning, Laconico telephoned appellant, On August 16, 1984, the Intermediate Appellate Court
who is a lawyer, to come to his office and advise him on (g) Not to divulge the truth about the settlement of the affirmed the decision of the trial court, holding that the
the settlement of the direct assault case because his Direct Assault Case to the mass media; communication between the complainant and accused
regular lawyer, Atty. Leon Gonzaga, went on a business Laconico was private in nature and, therefore, covered
trip. According to the request, appellant went to the (h) P2,000.00 attorney s fees for Atty. Pintor. (tsn,
by Rep. Act No. 4200; that the petitioner overheard
office of Laconico where he was briefed about the August 26, 1981, pp. 47-48).
such communication without the knowledge and
problem. (Exhibit 'D', tsn, April 22, 1982, pp. 4-5). consent of the complainant; and that the extension
telephone which was used by the petitioner to overhear
the telephone conversation between complainant and mentioned in Section 3 hereof, shall not be covered by of a crime might hesitate to inform police authorities if
Laconico is covered in the term "device' as provided in this prohibition. he knows that he could be accused under Rep. Act 4200
Rep. Act No. 4200. of using his own telephone to secretly overhear the
We rule for the petitioner. private communications of the would be criminals.
In this petition for certiorari, the petitioner assails the Surely the law was never intended for such mischievous
decision of the appellate court and raises the following We are confronted in this case with the interpretation of results.
issues; (a) whether or not the telephone conversation a penal statute and not a rule of evidence. The issue is
between the complainant and accused Laconico was not the admissibility of evidence secured over an The main issue in the resolution of this petition,
private in nature; (b) whether or not an extension extension line of a telephone by a third party. The issue however, revolves around the meaning of the phrase
telephone is covered by the term "device or is whether or not the person called over the telephone "any other device or arrangement." Is an extension of a
arrangement" under Rep. Act No. 4200; (c) whether or and his lawyer listening to the conversation on an telephone unit such a device or arrangement as would
not the petitioner had authority to listen or overhear said extension line should both face prison sentences simply subject the user to imprisonment ranging from six
telephone conversation and (d) whether or not Rep. Act because the extension was used to enable them to both months to six years with the accessory penalty of
No. 4200 is ambiguous and, therefore, should be listen to an alleged attempt at extortion. perpetual absolute disqualification for a public officer
construed in favor of the petitioner. or deportation for an alien? Private secretaries with
There is no question that the telephone conversation extension lines to their bosses' telephones are
Section 1 of Rep. Act No. 4200 provides: between complainant Atty. Pintor and accused Atty. sometimes asked to use answering or recording devices
Laconico was "private" in the sense that the words to record business conversations between a boss and
Section 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being uttered were made between one person and another as another businessman. Would transcribing a recorded
authorized by all the parties to any private distinguished from words between a speaker and a message for the use of the boss be a proscribed offense?
communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or public. It is also undisputed that only one of the parties or for that matter, would a "party line" be a device or
cable or by using any other device or arrangement, to gave the petitioner the authority to listen to and arrangement under the law?
secretly overhear, intercept, or record such overhear the caller's message with the use of an
communication or spoken word by using a device extension telephone line. Obviously, complainant The petitioner contends that telephones or extension
commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or Pintor, a member of the Philippine bar, would not have telephones are not included in the enumeration of
detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape-recorder, or discussed the alleged demand for an P8,000.00 "commonly known" listening or recording devices, nor
however otherwise described: consideration in order to have his client withdraw a do they belong to the same class of enumerated
direct assault charge against Atty. Laconico filed with electronic devices contemplated by law. He maintains
It shall be unlawful for any person, be he a participant the Cebu City Fiscal's Office if he knew that another that in 1964, when Senate Bill No. 9 (later Rep. Act No.
or not in the act or acts penalized in the next preceeding lawyer was also listening. We have to consider, 4200) was being considered in the Senate, telephones
sentence, to knowingly possess any tape record, wire however, that affirmance of the criminal conviction and extension telephones were already widely used
record, disc record, or any other such record, or copies would, in effect, mean that a caller by merely using a instruments, probably the most popularly known
thereof, of any communication or spoken word secured telephone line can force the listener to secrecy no matter communication device.
either before or after the effective date of this Act in the how obscene, criminal, or annoying the call may be. It
manner prohibited by this law; or to replay the same for would be the word of the caller against the listener's. Whether or not listening over a telephone party line
any other person or persons; or to communicate the would be punishable was discussed on the floor of the
contents thereof, either verbally or in writing, or to Because of technical problems caused by the sensitive Senate. Yet, when the bill was finalized into a statute,
furnish transcriptions thereof, whether complete or nature of electronic equipment and the extra heavy no mention was made of telephones in the enumeration
partial, to any other person: Provided, that the use of loads which telephone cables are made to carry in of devices "commonly known as a dictaphone or
such record or any copies thereof as evidence in any certain areas, telephone users often encounter what are dictagraph, detectaphone or walkie talkie or tape
civil, criminal investigation or trial of offenses called "crossed lines". An unwary citizzen who happens recorder or however otherwise described." The
to pick up his telephone and who overhears the details omission was not a mere oversight. Telephone party
lines were intentionally deleted from the provisions of Likewise, Article 1372 of the Civil Code stipulates that An extension telephone is an instrument which is very
the Act. 'however general the terms of a contract may be, they common especially now when the extended unit does
shall not be understood to comprehend things that are not have to be connected by wire to the main telephone
The respondent People argue that an extension distinct and cases that are different from those upon but can be moved from place ' to place within a radius
telephone is embraced and covered by the term "device" which the parties intended to agree.' Similarly, Article of a kilometer or more. A person should safely presume
within the context of the aforementioned law because it 1374 of the same Code provides that 'the various that the party he is calling at the other end of the line
is not a part or portion of a complete set of a telephone stipulations of a contract shall be interpreted together, probably has an extension telephone and he runs the
apparatus. It is a separate device and distinct set of a attributing to the doubtful ones that sense which may risk of a third party listening as in the case of a
movable apparatus consisting of a wire and a set of result from all of them taken jointly. party line or a telephone unit which shares its line with
telephone receiver not forming part of a main telephone another. As was held in the case of Rathbun v. United
set which can be detached or removed and can be xxx xxx xxx States (355, U.S. 107, 2 L Ed 2d 137-138):
transferred away from one place to another and to be
plugged or attached to a main telephone line to get the Consequently, the phrase 'all liabilities or obligations of Common experience tells us that a call to a particular
desired communication corning from the other party or the decedent' used in paragraph 5(c) and 7(d) should be telephone number may cause the bell to ring in more
end. then restricted only to those listed in the Inventory and than one ordinarily used instrument. Each party to a
should not be construed as to comprehend all other telephone conversation takes the risk that the other
The law refers to a "tap" of a wire or cable or the use of obligations of the decedent. The rule that party may have an extension telephone and may allow
a "device or arrangement" for the purpose of secretly 'particularization followed by a general expression will another to overhear the conversation. When such takes
overhearing, intercepting, or recording the ordinarily be restricted to the former' is based on the place there has been no violation of any privacy of
communication. There must be either a physical fact in human experience that usually the minds of which the parties may complain. Consequently, one
interruption through a wiretap or parties are addressed specially to the particularization, element of 605, interception, has not occurred.
the deliberate installation of a device or arrangement in and that the generalities, though broad enough to
order to overhear, intercept, or record the spoken words. comprehend other fields if they stood alone, are used in In the same case, the Court further ruled that the
contemplation of that upon which the minds of the conduct of the party would differ in no way if instead of
An extension telephone cannot be placed in the same parties are centered. (Hoffman v. Eastern Wisconsin R., repeating the message he held out his hand-set so that
category as a dictaphone, dictagraph or the other etc., Co., 134 Wis. 603, 607, 115 NW 383, cited in another could hear out of it and that there is no
devices enumerated in Section 1 of RA No. 4200 as the Francisco, Revised Rules of Court (Evidence), 1973 ed, distinction between that sort of action and permitting an
use thereof cannot be considered as "tapping" the wire pp. 180-181). outsider to use an extension telephone for the same
or cable of a telephone line. The telephone extension in purpose.
this case was not installed for that purpose. It just Hence, the phrase "device or arrangement" in Section 1
happened to be there for ordinary office use. It is a rule of RA No. 4200, although not exclusive to that Furthermore, it is a general rule that penal statutes must
in statutory construction that in order to determine the enumerated therein, should be construed to comprehend be construed strictly in favor of the accused. Thus, in
true intent of the legislature, the particular clauses and instruments of the same or similar nature, that is, case of doubt as in the case at bar, on whether or not an
phrases of the statute should not be taken as detached instruments the use of which would be tantamount to extension telephone is included in the phrase "device or
and isolated expressions, but the whole and every part tapping the main line of a telephone. It refers to arrangement", the penal statute must be construed as not
thereof must be considered in fixing the meaning of any instruments whose installation or presence cannot be including an extension telephone. In the case of People
of its parts. (see Commissioner of Customs v. Esso presumed by the party or parties being overheard v. Purisima, 86 SCRA 542, 562, we explained the
Estandard Eastern, Inc., 66 SCRA 113,120). because, by their very nature, they are not of common rationale behind the rule:
usage and their purpose is precisely for tapping,
In the case of Empire Insurance Com any v. Rufino (90 intercepting or recording a telephone conversation. American jurisprudence sets down the reason for this
SCRA 437, 443-444), we ruled: rule to be the tenderness of the law of the rights of
individuals; the object is to establish a certain rule by
conformity to which mankind would be safe, and the Senator Diokno. In the same way, under this provision, WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The
discretion of the court limited. (United States v. Harris, neither party could record and, therefore, the court decision of the then Intermediate Appellate Court dated
177 US 305, 44 L Ed 780, 20 S Ct 609; Braffith v. would be limited to saying: "Okay, who is more August 16, 1984 is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The
Virgin Islands (CA3) 26 F2d 646; Caudill v. State, 224 credible, the police officers or the defendant?" In these petitioner is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime of
Ind 531, 69 NE2d; Jennings v. Commonwealth, 109 VA cases, as experienced lawyers, we know that the Court violation of Rep. Act No. 4200, otherwise known as the
821,63 SE 1080, all cited in 73 Am Jur 2d 452). The go with the peace offices. Anti-Wiretapping Act.
purpose is not to enable a guilty person to escape
punishment through a technicality but to provide a (Congressional Record, Vol. 111, No. 33, p. 628, March SO ORDERED.
precise definition of forbidden acts." (State v. Zazzaro, 12, 1964).
20 A 2d 737, quoted in Martin's Handbook on Statutory
Construction, Rev. Ed. pp. 183-184). xxx xxx xxx

In the same case of Purisima, we also ruled that on the Senator Diokno. The point I have in mind is that under
construction or interpretation of a legislative measure, these conditions, with an agent outside listening in, he
the primary rule is to search for and determine the intent could falsify the testimony and there is no way of
and spirit of the law. A perusal of the Senate checking it. But if you allow him to record or make a
Congressional Records will show that not only did our recording in any form of what is happening, then the
lawmakers not contemplate the inclusion of an chances of falsifying the evidence is not very much.
extension telephone as a prohibited device or
arrangement" but of greater importance, they were more Senator Tañada. Your Honor, this bill is not intended to
concerned with penalizing the act of recording than the prevent the presentation of false testimony. If we could
act of merely listening to a telephone conversation. devise a way by which we could prevent the
presentation of false testimony, it would be wonderful.
xxx xxx xxx But what this bill intends to prohibit is the use of tape
record and other electronic devices to intercept private
Senator Tañada. Another possible objection to that is conversations which later on will be used in court.
entrapment which is certainly objectionable. It is made
possible by special amendment which Your Honor may (Congressional Record, Vol. III, No. 33, March 12,
introduce. 1964, p. 629).

Senator Diokno.Your Honor, I would feel that It can be readily seen that our lawmakers intended to
entrapment would be less possible with the amendment discourage, through punishment, persons such as
than without it, because with the amendment the government authorities or representatives of organized
evidence of entrapment would only consist of groups from installing devices in order to gather
government testimony as against the testimony of the evidence for use in court or to intimidate, blackmail or
defendant. With this amendment, they would have the gain some unwarranted advantage over the telephone
right, and the government officials and the person in users. Consequently, the mere act of listening, in order
fact would have the right to tape record their to be punishable must strictly be with the use of the
conversation. enumerated devices in RA No. 4200 or others of similar
nature. We are of the view that an extension telephone
Senator Tañada. In case of entrapment, it would be the is not among such devices or arrangements.
government.
G.R. No. L-68635 May 14, 1987 would have written stories about the case in a manner and could not have prevented the contemptuous
that sells newspapers; even a series of juicy articles statements, conduct, acts and malicious charges of Eva
IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR perhaps, something that would have further subjected Maravilla Ilustre who was no longer his client when
DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST ATTY. the respondent justices to far worse publicity;" that, on these alleged acts were done; that "he is grateful to this
WENCESLAO LAURETA, AND OF CONTEMPT the contrary, the press conference scheduled by Ilustre Court for the reminder on the first duty of a lawyer
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST EVA MARAVILLA- was cancelled through his efforts in order to prevent any which is to the Court and not to his client, a duty that he
ILUSTRE in G.R. No. 68635, entitled "EVA further adverse publicity resulting from the filing of the has always impressed upon his law students;" and
MARAVILLA-ILUSTRE, vs. HON. INTERMEDIATE complaint before the Tanodbayan; that, as a matter of finally, that "for the record, he is sorry for the adverse
APPELLATE COURT, ET AL." fact, it was this Court's Resolution that was serialized in publicity generated by the filing of the complaint
the Bulletin Today, which newspaper also made him the against the Justices before the Tanodbayan."
RESOLUTION subject of a scathing editorial but that he "understands
the cooperation because after all, the Court rendered a In her own Motion for Reconsideration, Eva Maravilla-
favorable judgment in the Bulletin union case last year;" Ilustre also raises as her main ground the alleged
that he considered it "below his dignity to plead for the deprivation of her constitutional right to due process.
PER CURIAM: She maintains that as contempt proceedings are
chance to present his side" with the Editor, Mr. Ben
Rodriguez, "a long-time personal friend" since he "can commonly treated as criminal in nature, the mode of
Before us are 1) Atty. Wenceslao Laureta's Motion for
afford to be the sacrificial lamb if only to help the procedure and rules of evidence in criminal prosecution
Reconsideration of the Per Curiam Resolution of this
Honorable Court uphold its integrity;" that he was should be assimilated, as far as practicable, in this
Court promulgated on March 12, 1987, finding him
called by a reporter of DZRH and was asked to proceeding, and that she should be given every
guilty of grave professional misconduct and suspending
comment on the case filed before the Tanodbayan but opportunity to present her side. Additionally, she states
him indefinitely from the practice of law; and 2) Eva
that his remarks were confined to the filing of the case that, with some sympathetic lawyers, they made an
Maravilla-Ilustre's Motion for Reconsideration of the
by Ilustre herself, and that the judgment of the trial "investigation" and learned that the Resolution of the
same Resolution holding her in contempt and ordering
Court had attained its finality long ago; that he is not First Division was arrived at without any deliberation
her to pay a fine of P1,000.00.
Ilustre's counsel before the Tanodbayan and did not by its members; that Court personnel were "tight-lipped
prepare the complaint filed before it, his professional about the matter, which is shrouded mystery" thereby
Essentially, Atty. Laureta maintains that the Order of
services having been terminated upon the final prompting her to pursue a course which she thought was
suspension without hearing violated his right to life and
dismissal of Ilustre's case before this Court; that legal and peaceful; that there is nothing wrong in
due process of law and by reason thereof the Order is
similarities in the language and phraseology used in the making public the manner of voting by the Justices, and
null and void; that the acts of misconduct imputed to
Ilustre letters, in pleadings before this Court and before it was for that reason that she addressed Identical letters
him are without basis; that the charge against him that it
the Tanodbayan do not prove his authorship since other to Associate Justices Andres Narvasa, Ameurfina M.
was he who had circulated to the press copies of the
lawyers "even of a mediocre caliber" could very easily Herrera, Isagani Cruz and Florentino Feliciano; that "if
Complaint filed before the Tanodbayan is unfounded
have reproduced them; that the discussions on the the lawyers of my opponents were not a Solicitor
such that, even in this Court's Resolution, his having
merits in the Per Curiam Resolution are "more properly General, and member of the Supreme Court and a
distributed copies to the press is not stated positively;
addressed to the Tanodbayan, Justice Raul M. Gonzales Division Chairman, respectively, the resolution of May
that the banner headline which appeared In the Daily
being competent to deal with the case before him;" that 14, 1986 would not have aroused my suspicion;" that
Express is regrettable but that he was not responsible
he takes exception to the accusation that he has instead of taking the law into her own hands or joining
for such "misleading headline;" that he "did nothing of
manifested lack of respect for and exposed to public any violent movement, she took the legitimate step of
the sort" being fully conscious of his responsibilities as
ridicule the two highest Courts of the land, all he did making a peaceful investigation into how her case was
a law practitioner and officer of the Court; that as a
having been to call attention to errors or injustice decided, and brought her grievance to the Tanodbayan
former newspaperman, he would not have been satisfied
committed in the promulgation of judgments or orders; "in exasperation" against those whom she felt had
with merely circulating copies of the Complaint to the
press in envelopes where his name appears; "he himself that he has "not authorized or assisted and/or abetted
committed injustice against her "in an underhanded SCRA 712). Atty. Laureta and Ilustre were given ample to do was to return to the Sheriff the copy intended for
manner." opportunity to be heard, and were, in fact, heard. Ilustre. As it was, however, service on Atty. Laureta
proved to be service on Ilustre as well. The close tie- up
We deny reconsideration in both instances. (1) between the corespondents is heightened by the fact that
three process servers of this Court failed to serve copy
The argument premised on lack of hearing and due In his Motion for Reconsideration, Atty. Laureta of this Court's Per Curiam Resolution on Ilustre
process, is not impressed with merit. What due process reiterates his allegations in his Answer to the show- personally.
abhors is absolute lack of opportunity to be heard cause Resolution that his professional services were
(Tajonera vs. Lamaroza, et al., 110 SCRA 438 [1981]). terminated by Ilustre after the dismissal of the main Noteworthy, as well, is that by Atty. Laureta's own
The word "hearing" does not necessarily connote a petition by this Court; that he had nothing to do with the admission, he was the one called by a "reporter" of
"trial-type" proceeding. In the show-cause Resolution of contemptuous letters to the individual Justices; and that DZRH to comment on the Ilustre charges before the
this Court, dated January 29, 1987, Atty. Laureta was he is not Ilustre's counsel before the Tanodbayan. Tanodbayan. If, in fact, he had nothing to do with the
given sufficient opportunity to inform this Court of the complaint, he would not have been pinpointed at all.
reasons why he should not be subjected to dispose Significantly enough, however, copy of the Tanodbayan And if his disclaimer were the truth, the logical step for
action. His Answer, wherein he prayed that the action Resolution dismissing Ilustre's Complaint was furnished him to have taken was to refer the caller to the lawyer/s
against him be dismissed, contained twenty-two (22) Atty. Laureta as "counsel for the complainant" at his allegedly assisting Ilustre, at the very least, out of
pages, double spaced. Eva Maravilla-Ilustre was also address of record. Of note, too, is the fact that it was he elementary courtesy and propriety. But he did nothing
given a like opportunity to explain her statements, who was following up the Complaint before the of the sort. " He gave his comment with alacrity.
conduct, acts and charges against the Court and/or the Tanodbayan and, after its dismissal, the Motion for
official actions of the Justices concerned. Her Reconsideration of the Order of dismissal. The impudence and lack of respect of Atty. Laureta for
Compliance Answer, wherein she prayed that the this Court again surfaces when he asserts in his Motion
contempt proceeding against her be dismissed, Of import, as well, is the report of Lorenzo C. Bardel, a for Reconsideration that he "understands the
contained nineteen (19) pages, double spaced. Both process server of this Court, that after having failed to cooperation" of the Bulletin Today as manifested in the
were afforded ample latitude to explain matters fully. serve copy of the Per Curiam Resolution of March 12, serialized publication of the Per Curiam Resolution of
Atty. Laureta denied having authored the letters written 1987 of this Court on Ilustre personally at her address this Court and his being subjected to a scathing editorial
by Ilustre, his being her counsel before the Tanodbayan, of record, "101 F. Manalo St., Cubao, Quezon City," by the same newspaper "because after all, the Court
his having circularized to the press copies of the having been informed that she is 6 not a resident of the rendered a favorable judgment in the Bulletin union
complaint filed before said body, and his having place," he proceeded to the residence of Atty. Laureta case last year." The malice lurking in that statement is
committed acts unworthy of his profession. But the where the latter's wife "voluntarily received the two most unbecoming of an officer of the Court and is an
Court believed otherwise and found that those letters copies of decision for her husband and for Ms. added reason for denying reconsideration.
and the charges levelled against the Justices concerned, Maravina-Ilustre" (p. 670, Rollo, Vol. 11).
of themselves and by themselves, betray not only their Further, Atty. Laureta stubbornly contends that
malicious and contemptuous character, but also the lack That Ilustre subsequently received copy of this Court's discussions on the merits in the Court's Per Curiam
of respect for the two highest Courts of the land, a Resolution delivered to Mrs. Laureta is shown by the Resolution are more properly addressed to the
complete obliviousness to the fundamental principle of fact that she filed, as of March 27, 1987, a "Petition for Tanodbayan, forgetting, however, his own discourse on
separation of powers, and a wanton disregard of the Extension of Time to file Motion for Reconsideration" the merits in his Answer to this Court's Resolution
cardinal doctrine of independence of the Judiciary. Res and subsequently the Motion for Reconsideration. In dated January 29, 1987. He thus incorrigibly insists on
ipsa loquitur. Nothing more needed to have been said or that Petition Ilustre acknowledged receipt of the subordinating the Judiciary to the executive
proven. The necessity to conduct any further Resolution on March 12, 1987, the very same date Mrs. notwithstanding the categorical pronouncement in the
evidentially hearing was obviated (See People vs. Hon. Laureta received copy thereof. If, indeed, the lawyer- Per Curiam Resolution of March 12, 1987, that Article
Valenzuela, G.R. Nos. 63950-60, April 19, 1985, 135 client relationship between her husband and Ilustre had 204 of the Revised Penal Code has no application to the
been allegedly completely severed, all Mrs. Laureta had members of a collegiate Court; that a charge of
violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on Neither do we find merit in Ilustre's Motion for 5. That I even asked the occupants (Cerdan Family) of
the ground that a collective decision is "unjust" cannot Reconsideration. She has turned deaf ears to any reason No. 17 Quezon Street, Tondo, Manila, and they
prosper; plus the clear and extended dissertation in the or clarification. She and her counsel have refused to informed that there is no such Ms. Eva Maravilla-Ilustre
same Per Curiam Resolution on the fundamental accept the untenability of their case and the inevitability in the neighborhood and/or in the vicinity; ... (p. 672,
principle of separation of powers and of checks and of losing in Court. They have allowed suspicion alone Rollo, Vol. 11).
balances, pursuant to which it is this Court "entrusted to blind their actions and in so doing degraded the
exclusively with the judicial power to adjudicate with administration of justice. "Investigation" was utterly The third process server, Nelson C. Cabesuela, was also
finality all justifiable disputes, public and private. No uncalled for. All conclusions and judgments of the unable to serve copy of this Court's Resolution on
other department or agency may pass upon its Court, be they en banc or by Division, are arrived at Ilustre. He reported:
judgments or declare them 'unjust' upon controlling and only after deliberation. The fact that no dissent was
irresistible reasons of public policy and of sound indicated in the Minutes of the proceedings held on 2. On March 17, 1987, at about 9:30 A.M., I arrived at
practice." May 14, 1986 showed that the members of the Division the house in the address furnished at; the notice of
voted unanimously. Court personnel are not in a judgment (101 Felix Manalo St., Cubao, Quezon City),
Atty. Laureta's protestations that he has done his best to position to know the voting in any case because all and was received by an elderly woman who admitted to
protect and uphold the dignity of this Court are belied deliberations are held behind closed doors without any be the owner of the house but vehemently refused to be
by environmental facts and circumstances. His one of them being present. No malicious inferences Identified, and told me that she does not know the
apologetic stance for the "adverse publicity" generated should have been drawn from their inability to furnish addressee Maravilla, and told me further that she always
by the filing of the charges against the Justices the information Ilustre and Atty. Laureta desired The meets different persons looking for Miss Maravilla
concerned before the Tanodbayan rings with insincerity. personality of the Solicitor General never came into the because the latter always gives the address of her house;
The complaint was calculated precisely to serve that picture. It was Justice Abad Santos, and not Justice
very purpose. The threat to bring the case to "another Yap, who was Chairman of the First Division when the 3. That, I was reminded of an incident that I also
forum of justice" was implemented to the fun. Besides, Resolution of May 14, 1986 denying the Petition was experienced in the same place trying to serve a
he misses the heart of the matter. Exposure to the glare rendered. Thereafter Justice Yap inhibited himself from resolution to Miss Maravilla which was returned
of publicity is an occupational hazard. If he has been any participation. The fact that the Court en unserved because she is not known in the place; ... (p.
visited with disciplinary sanctions it is because by his banc upheld the challenged Resolutions of the First 674, Rollo, Vol. II).
conduct, acts and statements, he has, overall, Division emphasizes the irrespective of Ilustre's case
deliberately sought to destroy the "authenticity, And yet, in her Petition for Extension of Time and in
irrespective of the personalities involved.
integrity, and conclusiveness of collegiate acts," to her Motion for Reconsideration she persists in giving
"undermine the role of the Supreme Court as the final Additionally, Ilustre has been trifling with this Court. that address at 101 Felix Manalo St., Cubao, Quezon
arbiter of all justifiable disputes," and to subvert public She has given our process servers the run-around. Three City, where our process servers were told that she was
confidence in the integrity of the Courts and the Justices of them failed to serve on her personally her copy of not a resident of and that she was unknown thereat. If
concerned, and in the orderly administration of justice. this Court's Per Curiam Resolution of March 12, 1987 for her contumacious elusiveness and lack of candor
at her address of record. Mrs. Laureta informed process alone, Ilustre deserves no further standing before this
In fine, we discern nothing in Atty. Laureta's Motion for server Lorenzo C. Bardel that Ilustre was residing at 17- Court.
Reconsideration that would call for a modification, D, Quezon St., Tondo, Manila. Romeo C. Regala,
much less a reversal, of our finding that he is guilty of ACCORDINGLY, the respective Motions for
another process server, went to that address to serve
grave professional misconduct that renders him unfit to reconsideration of Atty. Wenceslao G. Laureta for the
copy of the Resolution but he reported:
continue to be entrusted with the duties and setting aside of the order suspending him from the
responsibilities pertaining to an attorney and officer of 4. That inspite of diligent efforts to locate the address of practice of law, and of Eva Maravilla Ilustre for the
the Court. ms.Eva Maravilla-Ilustre, said address could not be lifting of the penalty for contempt are DENIED, and
located; this denial is FINAL. Eva Maravilla Ilustre shall pay the
(2) fine of P1,000.00 imposed on her within ten (10) days
from notice, or, suffer imprisonment for ten (10) days
upon failure to pay said fine within the stipulated
period.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-69377 July 20, 1987 Carancio and asked him to go with them to the upper accused Lawi-an, who is his compadre, arrived and
portion because they will do something there. Carancio informed him that his father (the accused) wanted him
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, was taken to the house of accused Lawi-an where (Sisneros) in his house. So, Sisneros went with Lawi-
vs. several persons were already gathered, among whom an's son (tsn, September 16, 1982, pp. 3-7, 11). On
ALEXANDER ALBOFERA and ROMEO LAWI- were accused Lawi-an, a certain alias Jun, Boy Lawi-an, reaching the front yard of the Lawi-ans, Sisneros saw
AN, accused-appellants. and Joel Maldan. Once inside and seated, Albofera the ac cused Lawi-an at the window. A lot of people
began questioning Carancio about his purpose in the were likewise in the house, and he recognized Boy
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: place. Carancio replied that he was there to inspect the Lawi-an and a certain Jun Menez among others.
"caingin" as a forester Albofera resented this, telling Sisneros called for accused Lawi-an. The latter went
Mandatory review of the Decision of the Regional Trial Carancio that his acts hurt the poor people who were down and they talked downstairs. Accused Lawi-an
Court, Branch XVIII, Digos, Davao del Sur, in Criminal making a plain and simple living. Carancio answered explained that he had Sisneros fetched, because the
Case No. 184.* which convicted accused Alexander that he was only complying with the orders of the people inside the house were discussing on what to do
Albofera and Romeo Lawi-an of Murder, inflicted on government. Albofera then asked Carancio should he be with somebody — a Bureau of Forestry employee-later
them the capital punishment, and ordered them to set free not to come back anymore. Carancio, however, on Identified as Teodoro Carancio — who was also
indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of replied that he would still come back and bring his inside the house at the time, and that they were inclined
P35,000.00, "by way of moral as well as actual nephew who is an army man. Thereupon, Albofera to kill that person who, according to Lawi-an, was a
damages." intimated to Carancio that he is a member of the NPA hindrance to the farmers, because he (the forester) had
and that the NPA's were against the forestry personnel. caused Lawi-an's uncle and brother-in-law to be put in
There is no direct evidence linking both accused to the
Thereafter, the persons gathered decided to kin jail and fined for cutting trees in the forest. Shocked,
crime charged, their alleged participation therein having
Carancio. Right then and there, Albofera tied Carancio's Sisneros could only say "do not do that because killing
been found by the Trial Court to have been proved by
hands at the back. Carancio pleaded for mercy. a person is great sin toward God." Thereafter, accused
circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution as
Unheeding, Albofera, Romeo Lawi-an, alias Jun, Boy Lawi-an went upstairs. Sisneros who was left
follows:
Lawi-an, and Joel Maldan decided to bring, and they downstairs went home (tsn, September 16, 1982, pp.
indeed brought, Carancio to the forest some 200 meters 11-16, 21).
Sometime in June or July 1980, at about 4:30 o'clock in
away from Lawi-an's house. Esma did not join the
the afternoon. Rodrigo Esma was tending his onion
group but remained in the house of Lawi-an (tsn, The following day, at about 9:00 o'clock in the
farm located in Upper Bagong Silang, Managa,
October 20, 1982, pp. 44-51). Not long after, the group morning, Sisneros was at his farm when accused Lawi-
Bansalan, Davao del Sur, near the place of the accused
returned to Lawi-an's house, but without Carancio. an and Jun Menez passed by and called him. When
Romeo Lawi-an, a long time acquaintance, when
Albofera's hands, as wen as alias Jun's hands were Sisneros got near the two, accused Lawi-an told him
accused Alexander Albofera, whom Esma also knew for
bloodied. After washing their hands, Albofera that the forester was already killed and warned him not
years and likewise a resident of the same place, called
announced that they had already finished the killing. He to reveal this matter to anybody otherwise he would be
him and informed him they would ran after somebody.
also warned everyone, particularly Esma, against killed (tsn, September 16, 1982, pp. 16-20.)
Esma acceded (tsn, October 20, 1982, pp. 38-42).
revealing or saying anything to any person or the
Together, Albofera and Esma proceeded at once to the The threat to his life caused Sisneros to be cautious in
military, otherwise he (Albofera) would hold him
house of accused Lawi-an. There Lawi-an told Albofera not reporting at once the matter to the authorities.
accountable. After that, E smaller went home (tsn,
that the forester was around making a list of people However, in June 1981, Sisneros finally reported the
October 20, 1982, pp. 52-54).
engaged in "caingin" (tsn, October 20, 1982, p. 43). killing of that forester to his brother Margarito, a CHDF
Whereupon, Albofera asked Esma to join him in going member in Bansalan. Margarito then accompanied him
Meanwhile, at about the same time Efren Sisneros and
after the forester. The two were able to overtake the to the municipal hall to see the Chief of Police, P/Sgt.
his wife were weeding their farm in Barangay
forester, a certain Teodoro Carancio, at the lower Arnulfo Gohol. Sisneros related the killing to Sgt.
Buenavista, Bansalan, which is adjacent to Bagong
portion of the road (tsn, October 20, 1982, p. 44). Gohol. That forester must have already been reported
Silang, Managa, also in Bansalan, when the son of
Albofera at once put his arm on the shoulder of
missing, for Sgt. Gohol told Sisneros that the slain "sentenced him (the victim) to die by stabbing." October 20, 1982, which was translated into English by
forester was Teodoro Carancio. Sisneros asked that his Albofera further declared: the Trial Court interpreter and reads as follows:
Identity be kept secret in the meantime pending the
arrest of Albofera and Lawi-an. Sgt. Gohol acceded Q. 21- Was said Carancio killed by the group? 10-5-82
(tsn. September 16, 1982, pp. 19-20, 21-22).
A. Yes, sir, Carancio was stabbed to death by alias Dear Odeng,
The police authorities arrested accused Albofera on July John, Romeo Lawi-an, alias "Dolly" Fred, Albert and
2, 1981. ... myself in succession. Ding first of all how are you are in good health. As to
me if you will also ask me I am here suffering from
xxx xxx xxx Q. 22- Do you mean to say that you have participated in hardship, so that Ding, help me that I can get out in this
stabbing Carancio to death? difficult condition because your affidavit is the one that
Accused Romeo Lawi-an was subsequently arrested on has weight. Ding, you go with Mining to my lawyer so
July 4, 1981 (pp. 12, 15, Record). A. I was the last to thrust said bolo but I know that said that I can study your reason because I will ride if what
victim was already dead when I did it. is your affidavit. If you will not appear before the
Also in July, 1981, the two accused, shortly after their lawyer it will mean that you will pushed us. Ding, you
arrest, led the police authorities to the place in Bagong Accused for their part, maintain: know about this incident and that I do not want this to
Silang where they buried the slain forester, specifically happen but you were the one persisting in fact I asked
in a hilly portion near the forest where the trees were That in or about the middle of 1980, both the accused- you and you acceded so that that happened. But now
not quite big besides a coffee plantation (tsn, January 6, appellants ALEXANDER ALBOFERA and ROMEO you are going to put us down will you not pity the uncle
1983, pp, 84-87). And on the very spot pointed to by the LAWI-AN, who were farmer-residents at that time of of your wife and furthermore you were not threatened
two accused, the authorities dug and recovered the Sitio Balutakay, Barangay Mansaga, a remote by me we have agreed about this thing now you will
cadaver, together with the clothings, namely: a maroon settlement in the Municipality of Bansalan, Davao del free yourself. Ding you must bear in mind that you are a
sweater, a semi-green trousers and fatigue briefs worn Sur, were fetched from their farm houses by four (4) part of this if that will happen to me I will include you
by the victim, still intact. After placing these in a sack, persons, known to be NPA elements operating in their so that we will be together in jail anyway your affidavit
the group left at about 6:00 o'clock p.m. and returned to locality and Identified with their aliases "Fred", is there that you are one of those who apprehended the
the municipal building at around 10:00 p.m. (tsn, "Dolly", "John", and "Albert". Both accused together forestry and Noy Roming will testify that no one
January 6, 1983, pp. 87-89, 94-101). with Efren Sisneros and Rodrigo Esma were brought by threatened us and also according to him that he will
the said four (4) NPA's to a secluded forested area in declare that the two of us apprehended so that the three
xxx xxx xxx1 order to witness the execution of a man, whom the of us win be convicted. Ding why is it that we are not
prosecution later claimed to be one Teodoro Carancio, going to understand one another so that we will not be
On July 2, 1981, Albofera executed an extra-judicial an employee of the Bureau of Forest Development. hard-up we have still a way that will be taught by my
confession before the Municipal Circuit Judge. He Thereafter, both the accused, Efren Sisneros and lawyer in which we have nothing to fear each one of us.
stated therein that he was forced to join the NPA Rodrigo Esma were ordered by these armed NPA to Anyway you can still be a witness of the other side my
movement for fear of his life; that said group had bury the remains of the victim. Afterwards, they were lawyer wants to know only your reason so that he can
ordered the "arrest" of the victim, Carancio, a Forest warned, with threat to their lives, not to reveal or report study this in order that I ran prepare and ride on it so
Guard in the National Park, because he was "a very to the government authorities. 2 that you will not be included and I can also get out from
strict employee of the government who arrested several this case because if you will not make any arrangement
kaingeros already in the National Park and Romeo In the course of the trial, the prosecution presented a
our reasons will contradict with each other even though
Lawi-an being one of his victims before, got mad of his letter written in the Visayan dialect by accused
we have exculpated you we will instead be together
actuations prompting the latter to report said person to Alexander Albofera, while under detention, to witness
here if how many years will be my sentence yours will
the NPA for possible punishments;" and that the group Rodrigo Esma several days before the latter testified on
also be the same because I will include you anyway you
were present in the incident nobody force us nobody
can witness that you were force by me because that is appellant's illegal arrest, tortures, and detention without of accused Alexander Albofera (Exh. C) in violation of,
not the truth. And Ding, I have not squeal because it's bait their fundamental constitutional and human rights and contrary to Sec. 20, Art. IV of the Philippine
difficult the other side no jail its's better for the were blatantly violated, brazenly trampled upon and Constitution of 1973 and the Supreme Court's judicial
government because we will just be imprisoned you are utterly reduced to naught. precedents in point.
the one who win know how to understand we win help
one another in order that no hazard of both of us II VI
anyway you will not be imprisoned of this you will only
help me in order that I can get out here. This is our That the Regional Trial Court of Davao del Sur gravely That the Trial Court gravely erred (1) in sustaining the
agreement, is it not. erred-in failing to consider at all the prosecution's prosecution's theory that both accused-appellants were
evidence on record, which reasonably raises doubt upon responsible and culpable for the killing of the alleged
I hope you will remember our being together before we the conclusiveness of the bases as to the supposed victim; (2) in according credence to the testimonies of
are very close but now because we have a victim's (1) Identity; (2) his alleged fact of death as prosecution's witnesses Efren Sisneros and Rodrigo K.
misunderstanding but our complainant you do not even stated in the certificate of death [Exh. D]; (3) the place Esma; (3) in failing to sustain the defense theory; and
know him will they look back at you after this. of death and, the approximate or credible date of death; (4) in convicting and sentencing both accused-
and-consequently, in not finding that on the basis of the appellants.
Your mercy above-factual hiatus, the evidence has failed to establish
the guilt of both accused beyond that quantum of VII
(Sgd.) Alex Albofera. 3 reasonable doubt as zealously mandated by the
constitution. Furthermore, the lower court gravely incurred the
Rodrigo Esma's Affidavit referred to in the letter taken following patent reversible errors: (1) in finding
on July 21, 1981, mentioned accused "Albofera and III aggravating and qualifying circumstances in the alleged
"alias Jun" "as having killid the victim. commission of murder, and (2) in not absolving the two
That the Court a quo erred in holding that evidence accused-appellants, and awarding damages. 4
After trial, the lower Court found the circumstantial adduced against accused-appellants conceded to be
evidence sufficient to warrant conviction beyond merely circumstantial in character and confirmed as Succintly stated, the essential issues posed are:
reasonable doubt of both accused for the crime charged, such in the appealed decision, has attained such degree
and sentenced them to death in its Decision of October of proof and weight of moral persuasion as to leave no 1) Whether or not "serious illegalities and jurisdictional
5, 1984, now before us. vestige of reasonable doubt on the guilt of both accused. infirmities," in fact, attended the proceedings below and
"constitutional and human rights of the accused
The accused raise the following errors: IV brazenly trampled upon."

I That the Court a quo erred in appreciating as competent 2) Whether or not the extrjudicial confession of accused
evidence the letter written by accused Alexander Alexander Albofera, and his letter to Rodrigo Esma are
That the Regional Trial Court of Davao del Sur gravely Albofera to Rodrigo Esma (Exh. B), the admissibility admissible in evidence;
erred in finding both accused guilty of murder, as thereof being specifically excluded under Sec. 4, Art.
charged in the information, and ordaining a sentence of IV of the 1973 Constitution. 3) Whether or not the Identity of the victim and the fact
death, instead of dismissing the charge anchor of his death were duly proved;
absolving them as the entire proceedings on the case in V
the Municipal Court of Bansalan up to rendition of 4) Whether or not the circumstantial evidence adduced
judgment in the CFI of Davao del Sur are void ab initio That the Regional Trial Court of Davao del Sur gravely is sufficient to warrant conviction; and
and a nullity for being tainted with serious illegalities erred in admitting and considering as competent
and jurisdictional infirmities as from the inception of evidence the illegally extracted extra-judicial confession
5) Whether or not qualifying and aggravating I would like to inform you further, that the manner in Constitutional requirement that an accused be apprised
circumstances were duly proved. which this investigation will be conducted in English, of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to
but however, the contents of the same will be counsel. It is, at best, ceremonial and perfunctory, with
On Irregularities alleged: interpreted to you in dialect you fully understand and the answers being mere formalisms put into the mouth
speak, and if you choose to answer one of the question of the affiant. What is contemplated is the transmission
The charge of illegalities and infirmities is absolutely or questions propounded to you, your answer will be of meaningful information, comprehended by the
without basis. There was nothing illegal in the accused's reduced into writing and the same will be used in person under investigation, not a mere recitation of the
detention without bail. They were charged with and evidence against you or to your favor in any court of Constitutional mandates.
held for the crime of murder, a capital offense and, justice in the country, do you understand what I am
therefore, were not entitled to bail where the evidence explaining to you? More, the extra-judicial confession was extracted
of guilt was strong. That was for the Trial Court to without the assistance of counsel contrary to the rulings
evaluate. The preliminary investigation was far from Answer — Yes. sir, I understand it because you of this Court in Morales, Jr. vs. Enrile, No. L-61016,
being "hasty and farcical." If the second stage thereof explained it to me clearly. April 26, 1983, 121 SCRA 538, affirmed in People vs.
was not held it was because the accused had waived the Galit, No. L-51770, March 20, 1985, 135 SCRA
same and prayed for the transmittal of the case to the Do you need then the assistance of counsel to assist you 465, People vs. Burgos, L-68955, September 4, 1986,
then Court of First Instance for trial on the merits; it while investigated? 144 SCRA 1, that "no custodial investigation shall be
was not because they were deprived of the right. Much conducted unless it be in the presence of counsel
less has due process been denied the accused. They Answer — I think I do not need any yet this time engaged by the person arrested, by any person on his
were duly informed of the charge against them and they because I know what I am going to declare here it being behalf, or appointed by the court upon petition either of
were given fun opportunity to interpose and prove their the truth of the matter, sir. the detainee himself or by anyone on his behalf."
defense.
Since you do not (have) any lawyer yet, are you willing While Albofera seemingly waived his right to counsel,
On the Admissibility of the Extra-Judicial Confession of to proceed with this investigation and submit yourself which he is allowed to do, aside from the fact that we
Accused A Alexander Albofera: freely into it? are not convinced that the waiver was voluntary,
knowing and intelligent, the waiver was not valid
The preliminary questions addressed to said accused Answer — I wish that this investigation will be because it was made without the assistance of
when his Sworn Statement was taken read: continued because lawyer is not necessary yet. counsel.6 That principle is now enshrined in the 1987
Constitution, which explicitly requires that the waiver
P R E L I M I N A R Y: Are you willing to swear and sign this statement of
be in writing and in the presence of counsel.7
yours freely to justify that your submission into the said
Mr. Albofera, I am reminding you that you are now investigation is free and voluntary? For failure to meet such exacting standards, the
under investigation in connection with the commission extrajudicial confession of accused Albofera must be
of an offense, but before I will proceed in it, I would Answer — Yes sir, I will sign it if only to prove that all
stricken out and held inadmissible in evidence against
like to inform you that under the Constitution of the what I have stated are true and to the best of my
him.8
Philippines it is so provided that you have the right to knowledge and ability.
remain silent, the right to counsel of your own choice to On the admissibility of Albofera's Letter.
be present with you while being investigated, the right (Sgd.) Alex Albofera
to self-incrimination and the right to due process, do Accused Albofera contends that his letter to prosecution
you understand this: (Exhibits "C", "C-1").
witness, Rodrigo Esma (Exhibit "B"), is inadmissible in
evidence against him under the exclusionary provisions
Answer — Yes sir, I do. Judicial precedents5 have laid down the rule that the
of Section 4, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution
foregoing form of questioning, does not satisfy the
(substantially reproduced in Section 3, Article III of the been dumped and which, when dug, produced human statement that he was bringing an army man to help
1987 Constitution), which provides: remains, which turned out to be those of the victim. him. Sufficient motive was provided to do away with
the victim. Albofera tied the victim's hands and, with
Sec. 4 (1) The privacy of communication and The skeletal remains of the victim were Identified by Lawi-an and three others, took the victim to the forest.
correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful his brother, Benjamin Carancio, through the victim's When the group returned not long after, the victim was
order of the Court, or when public safety and order front teeth whose "base seemed rusty" and which bore no longer with them. Witness Esma noticed Albofera's
require otherwise. resemblance to his own, as well as through the victim's and "alias Jun's" hands bloodied. After they had washed
clothes, fatigue briefs, maroon sweater and trousers, their hands, Albofera announced to everyone present at
2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the which Benjamin recognized.10 Prosecution witness Lawi-an's house that the victim had been done away
preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose Esma also Identified the victim from a photograph with and warned everyone not to reveal the incident to
in any proceeding. which was presented to him.11 anyone including the military.

The submission is untenable. The foregoing provision On the Circumstantial Evidence: Apparent from the foregoing narrated circumstances is
implements another Constitutional provision on the the fact that it was Albofera who was "calling the
security of a citizen against unreasonable search and Circumstantial evidence is admissible in the absence of shots;" that it was he who was the leader of the group
seizure. The production of that letter by the prosecution an eyewitness to the commission of a crime, and it is and not "alias Jun" as he would want this Court to
was not the result of an unlawful search and seizure nor sufficient for conviction if: (1) there is more than one believe.
was it through unwarranted intrusion or invasion into circumstance; (2) the facts from which the inferences
Albofera's privacy. Albofera admitted having sent the are derived are proven; and (3) the combination of all Esma's testimony is worthy of credence. He was a
letter and it was its recipient, Rodrigo Esma himself, the circumstances is such as to produce conviction friend of long standing of Albofera.lawphi1 There was
who produced and Identified the same in the course of beyond reasonable doubt.12 no reason for him to attribute to Albofera the
his testimony in Court. Besides, there is nothing really commission of such a serious crime as Murder, if such
self-incriminatory in the letter. Albofera mainly pleaded The circumstances testified to by prosecution witnesses not the truth.
that Esma change his declaration in his Affidavit and meet the foregoing criteria. Even disregarding
testify in his (Albofera's) favor. Furthermore, nothing Albofera's extra-judicial confession, the combination of Accused Lawi-an must be held equally culpable. That
Albofera stated in his letter is being taken against him circumstances sufficiently point to his guilt. The he was part of the criminal design from its initial stages
in arriving at a determination of his culpability. presence of both accused at the scene of the incident is until its culmination is revealed through the
admitted by them. They also admit that they witnessed circumstances brought out by prosecution witness,
On the Identity of the Victim and the Fact of Death: the execution of the victim, although they claim that Sisneros who testified that while he was weeding his
they were merely compelled to do so. The foregoing farm, Lawi-an, his "compadre," sent his son to fetch
Accused argue that corpus delicti had not been version, however, is negated by Rodrigo Esma's him (Sisneros). With the son, they proceeded to Lawi-
established as the body of the victim, Teodoro testimony from which it is clear that it was Albofera, his an's house where Sisneros saw many people. Lawi-an
Carancio, was not Identified, nor the fact, place and long-time friend, who had fetched witness Esma and went down the house and explained to Sisneros that
approximate date of his death established. informed the latter that they would run after somebody. they were discussing what to do with the victim, and
Together, they proceeded to the house of accused Lawi- that they were inclined to kill him. Sisneros advised
The term corpus delicti stands for the substance of the an who informed Albofera that the victim was around against it and went home. The following morning,
crime, the fact that a crime has actually been making a list of "kaingeros." Albofera asked Esma to Lawi-an passed by Sisneros farm and informed the
committed.9The evidence adduced in this case join him in going after the forester. Overtaking the latter that the victim had already been killed with the
sufficiently proved the commission of the crime. In fact, latter, Albofera took him to Lawi-an's house where a warning to Sisneros not to reveal the incident to anyone.
the accused themselves pointed to the grave where the group had already congregated and a discussion
body of a person, allegedly slain in their presence, had followed as to the victim's fate. Albofera resented the Prosecution witness, Esma, further buttressed the fact of
victim's determination to do his duty and the latter's Lawi-an's participation in the criminal plot when he
testified that it was Lawi-an who informed Albofera Evident premeditation was likewise present as both
that the victim was around making a list of "kaingeros;" accused and their co-conspirators had deliberately
that it was on the strength of that information that planned to commit the crime and had persistently and
Albofera coaxed Esma into joining him to search for the continuously followed it notwithstanding that they had
victim; that Lawi-an was with Albofera and three others ample time to reflect and allow their conscience to
who, starting from Lawi-an's house, took the victim to overcome their resolution to kill.14
the forest and then returned thereafter without the
victim, obviously because the latter had been done away The accused likewise took advantage of superior
with. strength although this cannot be appreciated separately
as it is deemed absorbed in treachery.15
While the degree of actual participation by Lawi-an in
committing the offense is not described with accuracy, The killing of the victim because of his strictness and
Lawi-an's conduct before and after the commission of the resentment against him as a forester constitutes the
the crime shows that he acted in concert with his co- aggravating circumstance of disregard of the respect
accused Albofera. He indubitably cooperated with the due the offended party on account of his rank,16 and not
latter and three other persons in bringing about the because the victim was engaged in the discharge of his
death of the victim goaded by resentment against the duties under Article 14 (5) of the Revised Penal Code as
latter for his strict enforcement of forestry laws, which found by the Trial Court.
led to the incarceration of Lawi-an's uncle and brother-
in-law and the imposition of fines against them. The With the attendance of the qualifying circumstance of
circumstances proven sufficiently establish a treachery and two (2) generic aggravating
community of purpose-a conspiracy among the circumstances with no mitigating circumstance to offset
perpetrators — such that the crime committed in them, the crime committed is Murder and the death
furtherance thereof must be held to be the act of all penalty imposed by the Trial Court is proper. However,
regardless of the extent and character of an accused's with the abolition of the death penalty under Section
active participation.13 19(l), Article III of the 1987 Constitution, and as
mandated therein the death penalty imposed by the Trial
On the Attendance of Qualifying and Aggravating Court should be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
Circumstances:
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction is hereby
No reversible error was committed by the Trial Court in affirmed with modification that the accused Alexander
appreciating the presence of qualifying and aggravating Albofera and Romeo Lawi-an are hereby sentenced to
circumstances. suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, to indemnify
the heirs of the victim, Teodoro Carancio, in the amount
The killing of the victim was committed treacherously, of P30,000.00, and each to pay one-half (1/2) of the
his hands having been tied behind his back so that he costs.
was totally helpless and defenseless, and in no position
to resist nor fight back. The accused employed means
which tended directly to insure the execution of the
crime without risk to themselves arising from the
defense which the victim might have made.
G.R. No. 82380 April 29, 1988 Enrile about the projected motion picture enclosing a Eva--a -P.R. girl, politically moderate and very much in
synopsis of it, the full text of which is set out below: love with Tony. Ultimately, she must choose between
AYER PRODUCTIONS PTY. LTD. and McELROY & her love and the revolution.
McELROY FILM PRODUCTIONS, petitioners, The Four Day Revolution is a six hour mini-series about
vs. People Power—a unique event in modern history that- Through the interviews and experiences of these central
HON.IGNACIO M. CAPULONG and JUAN PONCE made possible the Peaceful revolution in the Philippines characters, we show the complex nature of Filipino
ENRILE, respondents. in 1986. society, and thintertwining series of events and
characters that triggered these remarkable changes.
G.R. No. 82398 April 29, 1988 Faced with the task of dramatising these rerkble events, Through them also, we meet all of the principal
screenwriter David Williamson and history Prof Al characters and experience directly dramatic recreation
HAL MCELROY petitioner, McCoy have chosen a "docu-drama" style and created of the revolution. The story incorporates actual
vs. [four] fictitious characters to trace the revolution from documentary footage filmed during the period which we
HON. IGNACIO M. CAPULONG, in his capacity as the death of Senator Aquino, to the Feb revolution and hope will capture the unique atmosphere and forces that
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, the fleeing of Marcos from the country. combined to overthrow President Marcos.
Branch 134 and JUAN PONCE ENRILE, respondents.
These character stories have been woven through the David Williamson is Australia's leading playwright with
real events to help our huge international audience some 14 hugely successful plays to his credit(Don's
understand this ordinary period inFilipino history. Party,' 'The Club,' Travelling North) and 11 feature
FELICIANO, J.: films (The Year of Living Dangerously,' Gallipoli,'
First, there's Tony O'Neil, an American television 'Phar Lap').
Petitioner Hal McElroy an Australian film maker, and journalist working for major network. Tony reflects the
his movie production company, Petitioner Ayer average American attitude to the Phihppinence —once a Professor McCoy (University of New South Wales) is
Productions pty Ltd. (Ayer Productions), 1 envisioned, colony, now the home of crucially important military an American historian with a deep understanding of the
sometime in 1987, the for commercial viewing and for bases. Although Tony is aware of the corruption and of Philippines, who has worked on the research for this
Philippine and international release, the histolic Marcos' megalomania, for him, there appears to be no project for some 18 months. Together with Davi
peaceful struggle of the Filipinos at EDSA (Epifanio de alternative to Marcos except the Communists. Wilhamgon they have developed a script we believe
los Santos Avenue). Petitioners discussed this Project accurately depicts the complex issues and events that
with local movie producer Lope V. Juban who Next, Angie Fox a fiery Australian photo-journalist. A occurred during th period .
suggested th they consult with the appropriate 'new girl in town,' she is quickly caught up in the events
government agencies and also with General Fidel V. as it becomes dear that the time has come for a change. The six hour series is a McElroy and McElroy co-
Ramos and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who had played Through Angle and her relationship with one of the production with Home Box Office in American, the
major roles in the events proposed to be filmed. Reform Army Movement Colonels (a fictitious Australian Broadcast Corporation in Australia and
character), we follow the developing discontent in the Zenith Productions in the United Kingdom
The proposed motion picture entitled "The Four Day armed forces. Their dislike for General Ver, their strong
Revolution" was endorsed by the Movie Television loyalty to Defense Minister Enrile, and ultimately their The proposed motion picture would be essentially a re-
Review and Classification Board as wel as the other defection from Marcos. enact. ment of the events that made possible the EDSA
government agencies consulted. General Fidel Ramos revolution; it is designed to be viewed in a six-hour
also signified his approval of the intended film The fourth fictitious character is Ben Balano, a middle- mini-series television play, presented in a "docu-drama"
production. aged editor of a Manila newspaper who despises the style, creating four (4) fictional characters interwoven
Marcos regime and is a supporter an promoter of Cory with real events, and utilizing actual documentary
In a letter dated 16 December 1987, petitioner Hal Aquino. Ben has two daughters, Cehea left wing lawyer footage as background.
McElroy informed private respondent Juan Ponce who is a secret member of the New People's Army, and
On 21 December 1987, private respondent Enrile In an Order 2 dated 16 March 1988, respondent court Resolution, the Court granted a Temporary Restraining
replied that "[he] would not and will not approve of the issued a writ of Preliminary Injunction against the Order partially enjoining the implementation of the
use, appropriation, reproduction and/or exhibition of his petitioners, the dispositive portion of which reads thus: respondent Judge's Order of 16 March 1988 and the
name, or picture, or that of any member of his family in Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued therein, and
any cinema or television production, film or other WHEREFORE, let a writ of preliminary injunction be allowing the petitioners to resume producing and
medium for advertising or commercial exploitation" and issued, ordering defendants, and all persons and entities filming those portions of the projected mini-series
further advised petitioners that 'in the production, employed or under contract with them, including actors, which do not make any reference to private respondent
airing, showing, distribution or exhibition of said or actresses and members of the production staff and crew or his family or to any fictitious character based on or
similar film, no reference whatsoever (whether written, as well as all persons and entities acting on defendants' respondent.
verbal or visual) should not be made to [him] or any behalf, to cease and desist from producing and filming
member of his family, much less to any matter purely the mini-series entitled 'The Four Day Revolution" and Private respondent seasonably filed his Consolidated
personal to them. from making any reference whatsoever to plaintiff or Answer on 6 April 1988 invoking in the main a right of
his family and from creating any fictitious character in privacy.
It appears that petitioners acceded to this demand and lieu of plaintiff which nevertheless is based on, or bears
the name of private respondent Enrile was deleted from rent substantial or marked resemblance or similarity to, I
the movie script, and petitioners proceeded to film the or is otherwise Identifiable with, plaintiff in the
projected motion picture. production and any similar film or photoplay, until The constitutional and legal issues raised by the present
further orders from this Court, upon plaintiff's filing of Petitions are sharply drawn. Petitioners' claim that in
On 23 February 1988, private respondent filed a a bond in the amount of P 2,000,000.00, to answer for producing and "The Four Day Revolution," they are
Complaint with application for Temporary Restraining whatever damages defendants may suffer by reason of exercising their freedom of speech and of expression
Order and Wilt of Pretion with the Regional Trial Court the injunction if the Court should finally decide that protected under our Constitution. Private respondent,
of Makati, docketed as Civil Case No. 88-151 in Branch plaintiff was not entitled thereto. upon the other hand, asserts a right of privacy and
134 thereof, seeking to enjoin petitioners from claims that the production and filming of the projected
producing the movie "The Four Day Revolution". The xxx xxx xxx mini-series would constitute an unlawful intrusion into
complaint alleged that petitioners' production of the his privacy which he is entitled to enjoy.
mini-series without private respondent's consent and (Emphasis supplied)
over his objection, constitutes an obvious violation of Considering first petitioners' claim to freedom of speech
his right of privacy. On 24 February 1988, the trial On 22 March 1988, petitioner Ayer Productions came to and of expression the Court would once more stress that
court issued ex-parte a Temporary Restraining Order this Court by a Petition for certiorari dated 21 March this freedom includes the freedom to film and produce
and set for hearing the application for preliminary 1988 with an urgent prayer for Preliminary Injunction motion pictures and to exhibit such motion pictures in
injunction. or Restraining Order, which petition was docketed as theaters or to diffuse them through television. In our
G.R. No. L-82380. day and age, motion pictures are a univesally utilized
On 9 March 1988, Hal McElroy flied a Motion to vehicle of communication and medium Of expression.
Dismiss with Opposition to the Petition for Preliminary A day later, or on 23 March 1988, petitiioner Hal Along with the press, radio and television, motion
Injunction contending that the mini-series fim would McElroy also filed separate Petition for certiorari with pictures constitute a principal medium of mass
not involve the private life of Juan Ponce Enrile nor that Urgent Prayer for a Restraining Order or Preliminary communication for information, education and
of his family and that a preliminary injunction would Injunction, dated 22 March 1988, docketed as G.R. No. entertainment. In Gonzales v. Katigbak, 3former Chief
amount to a prior restraint on their right of free L-82398. Justice Fernando, speaking for the Court, explained:
expression. Petitioner Ayer Productions also filed its
own Motion to Dismiss alleging lack of cause of action By a Resolution dated 24 March 1988, the petitions 1. Motion pictures are important both as a medium for
as the mini-series had not yet been completed. were consolidated and private respondent was required the communication of Ideas and the expression of the
to file a consolidated Answer. Further, in the same artistic impulse. Their effect on the perception by our
people of issues and public officials or public figures as constitute of apublic character. 7 Succinctly put, the to preventa violation of their own rights in the character
well as the pre cultural traits is considerable. Nor as right of privacy cannot be invoked resist publication and memory of the deceased.'
pointed out in Burstyn v. Wilson(343 US 495 [19421) is and dissemination of matters of public interest. 8 The
the Importance of motion pictures as an organ of public interest sought to be protected by the right of privacy is Petitioners averment that private respondent did not
opinion lessened by the fact that they are designed to the right to be free from unwarranted publicity, from have any property right over the life of Moises Padilla
entertain as well as to inform' (Ibid, 501). There is no the wrongful publicizing of the private affairs and since the latter was a public figure, is neither well taken.
clear dividing line between what involves knowledge activities of an individual which are outside the realm Being a public figure ipso facto does not automatically
and what affords pleasure. If such a distinction were of legitimate public concern. 9 destroy in toto a person's right to privacy. The right to
sustained, there is a diminution of the basic right to free invade a person's privacy to disseminate public
expression. ...4 Lagunzad v. Vda. de Gonzales, 10 on which private information does not extend to a fictional or novelized
respondent relies heavily, recognized a right to privacy representation of a person, no matter how public a he or
This freedom is available in our country both to locally- in a context which included a claim to freedom of she may be (Garner v. Triangle Publications, DCNY 97
owned and to foreign-owned motion picture companies. speech and of expression. Lagunzad involved a suit F. Supp., SU 549 [1951]). In the case at bar, while it is
Furthermore the circumstance that the production of fortion picture producer as licensee and the widow and true that petitioner exerted efforts to present a true-to-
motion picture films is a commercial activity expected family of the late Moises Padilla as licensors. This life Story Of Moises Padilla, petitioner admits that he
to yield monetary profit, is not a disqualification for agreement gave the licensee the right to produce a included a little romance in the film because without it,
availing of freedom of speech and of expression. In our motion Picture Portraying the life of Moises Padilla, a it would be a drab story of torture and brutality. 12
community as in many other countries, media facilities mayoralty candidate of the Nacionalista Party for the
are owned either by the government or the private Municipality of Magallon, Negros Occidental during In Lagunzad, the Court had need, as we have in the
sector but the private sector-owned media facilities the November 1951 elections and for whose murder, instant case, to deal with contraposed claims to freedom
commonly require to be sustained by being devoted in Governor Rafael Lacson, a member of the Liberal Party of speech and of expression and to privacy. Lagunzad
whole or in pailt to revenue producing activities. then in power and his men were tried and the licensee in effect claimed, in the name of freedom of
Indeed, commercial media constitute the bulk of such convicted. 11 In the judgment of the lower court speech and expression, a right to produce a motion
facilities available in our country and hence to exclude enforcing the licensing agreement against the licensee picture biography at least partly "fictionalized" of
commercially owned and operated media from the who had produced the motion picture and exhibited it Moises Padilla without the consent of and without
exerciseof constitutionally protected om of speech and but refused to pay the stipulated royalties, the Court, paying pre-agreed royalties to the widow and family of
of expression can only result in the drastic contraction through Justice Melencio-Herrera, said: Padilla. In rejecting the licensee's claim, the Court said:
of such constitutional liberties in our country.
Neither do we agree with petitioner's subon that the Lastly, neither do we find merit in petitioners
The counter-balancing of private respondent is to a right Licensing Agreement is null and void for lack of, or for contention that the Licensing Agreement infringes on
of privacy. It was demonstrated sometime ago by the having an illegal cause or consideration, while it is true the constitutional right of freedom of speech and of the
then Dean Irene R. Cortes that our law, constitutional that petitioner bad pled the rights to the book entitled press, in that, as a citizen and as a newspaperman, he
and statutory, does include a right of privacy. 5 It is left "The Moises Padilla Story," that did not dispense with had the right to express his thoughts in film on the
to case law, however, to mark out the precise scope and the need for prior consent and authority from the public life of Moises Padilla without prior restraint.The
content of this right in differing types of particular deceased heirs to portray publicly episodes in said right freedom of expression, indeed, occupies a
situations. The right of privacy or "the right to be let deceased's life and in that of his mother and the member preferred position in the "hierarchy of civil liberties"
alone," 6 like the right of free expression, is not an of his family. As held in Schuyler v. Curtis, ([1895],147 (Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization v.
absolute right. A limited intrusion into a person's NY 434,42 NE 31 LRA 286.49 Am St Rep 671), 'a Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., 51 SCRA 191
privacy has long been regarded as permissible where privilege may be given the surviving relatives of a [1963]). It is not, however, without limitations. As held
that person is a public figure and the information sought deperson to protect his memory, but the privilege wts in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 27 SCRA
to be elicited from him or to be published about him for the benefit of the living, to protect their feelings and 835, 858 [1960]:
xxx xxx xxx important to note that in Lagunzad, there was no prior not principally about, nor is it focused upon, the man
restrain of any kind imposed upon the movie producer Juan Ponce Enrile' but it is compelled, if it is to be
The prevailing doctine is that the clear and present who in fact completed and exhibited the film biography historical, to refer to the role played by Juan Ponce
danger rule is such a limitation. Another criterion for of Moises Padilla. Because of the speech and of Enrile in the precipitating and the constituent events of
permissible limitation on freedom of speech and the expression, a weighty presumption of invalidity the change of government in February 1986.
press, which includes such vehicles of the mass media vitiates. 14 The invalidity of a measure of prior restraint
as radio, television and the movies, is the "balancing of doesnot, of course, mean that no subsequent liability 3. The extent of the instrusion upon the life of private
interest test" (Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando on the may lawfully be imposed upon a person claiming to respondent Juan Ponce Enrile that would be entailed by
Bill of Rights, 1970 ed. p. 79). The principle "requires a exercise such constitutional freedoms. The respondent the production and exhibition of "The Four Day
court to take conscious and detailed consideration of the Judge should have stayed his hand, instead of issuing an Revolution" would, therefore, be limited in character.
interplay of interests observable in given situation or ex-parte Temporary Restraining Order one day after The extent of that intrusion, as this Court understands
type of situation" (Separation Opinion of the late Chief filing of a complaint by the private respondent and the synopsis of the proposed film, may be generally
Justice Castro in Gonzales v. Commission on issuing a Preliminary Injunction twenty (20) days later; described as such intrusion as is reasonably necessary to
Elections, supra, p. 899). for the projected motion picture was as yet uncompleted keep that film a truthful historical account. Private
and hence not exhibited to any audience. Neither private respondent does not claim that petitioners threatened to
In the case at bar, the interests observable are the right respondent nor the respondent trial Judge knew what depict in "The Four Day Revolution" any part of the
to privacy asserted by respondent and the right of the completed film would precisely look like. There private life of private respondent or that of any member
freedom of expression invoked by petitioner. taking into was, in other words, no "clear and present danger" of of his family.
account the interplay of those interests, we hold any violation of any right to privacy that private
that under the particular circumstances presented, and respondent could lawfully assert. 4. At all relevant times, during which the momentous
considering the obligations assumed in the Licensing events, clearly of public concern, that petitioners
Agreement entered into by petitioner, the validity of 2. The subject matter of "The Four Day Revolution" propose to film were taking place, private respondent
such agreement will have to be upheld particularly relates to the non-bloody change of government that was what Profs. Prosser and Keeton have referred to as
because the limits of freedom of expression are reached took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in February a "public figure:"
when expression touches upon matters of essentially 1986, and the trian of events which led up to that
private concern." 13 denouement. Clearly, such subject matter is one of A public figure has been defined as a person who, by
public interest and concern. Indeed, it is, petitioners' his accomplishments, fame, or mode of living, or by
Whether the "balancing of interests test" or the clear argue, of international interest. The subject thus relates adopting a profession or calling which gives the public
and present danger test" be applied in respect of the to a highly critical stage in the history of this a legitimate interest in his doings, his affairs, and his
instant Petitions, the Court believes that a different countryand as such, must be regarded as having passed character, has become a 'public personage.' He is, in
conclusion must here be reached: The production and into the public domain and as an appropriate subject for other words, a celebrity. Obviously to be included in
filming by petitioners of the projected motion picture speech and expression and coverage by any form of this category are those who have achieved some degree
"The Four Day Revolution" does not, in the mass media. The subject mater, as set out in the of reputation by appearing before the public, as in the
circumstances of this case, constitute an unlawful synopsis provided by the petitioners and quoted above, case of an actor, a professional baseball player, a
intrusion upon private respondent's "right of privacy." does not relate to the individual life and certainly not to pugilist, or any other entertainment. The list is,
the private life of private respondent Ponce Enrile. however, broader than this. It includes public
1. It may be observed at the outset that what is involved Unlike in Lagunzad, which concerned the life story of officers, famous inventors and explorers, war heroes
in the instant case is a prior and direct restraint on the Moises Padilla necessarily including at least his and even ordinary soldiers, an infant prodigy, and no
part of the respondent Judge upon the exercise of immediate family, what we have here is not a film less a personage than the Grand Exalted Ruler of a
speech and of expression by petitioners. The respondent biography, more or less fictionalized, of private lodge. It includes, in short, anyone who has arrived at a
Judge has restrained petitioners from filming and respondent Ponce Enrile. "The Four Day Revolution" is position where public attention is focused upon him as a
producing the entire proposed motion picture. It is person.
Such public figures were held to have lost, to some concerning interesting phases of human activity in the participation of private respondent in the EDSA
extent at least, their tight to privacy. Three reasons were general, as well as the reproduction of the public scene Revolution to those events which are directly and
given, more or less indiscrimately, in the decisions" that in newsreels and travelogues. In determining where to reasonably related to the public facts of the EDSA
they had sought publicity and consented to it, and so draw the line, the courts were invited to exercise a Revolution, the intrusion into private respondent's
could not complaint when they received it; that their species of censorship over what the public may be privacy cannot be regarded as unreasonable and
personalities and their affairs has already public, and permitted to read; and they were understandably liberal actionable. Such portrayal may be carried out even
could no longer be regarded as their own private in allowing the benefit of the doubt. 15 without a license from private respondent.
business; and that the press had a privilege, under the
Constitution, to inform the public about those who have Private respondent is a "public figure" precisely II
become legitimate matters of public interest. On one or because, inter alia, of his participation as a principal
another of these grounds, and sometimes all, it was held actor in the culminating events of the change of In a Manifestation dated 30 March 1988, petitioner Hal
that there was no liability when they were given government in February 1986. Because his participation McElroy informed this Court that a Temporary
additional publicity, as to matters legitimately within therein was major in character, a film reenactment of Restraining Order dated 25 March 1988, was issued by
the scope of the public interest they had aroused. the peaceful revolution that fails to make reference to Judge Teofilo Guadiz of the Regional Trial Court of
the role played by private respondent would be grossly Makati, Branch 147, in Civil Case No. 88-413, entitled
The privilege of giving publicity to news, and other unhistorical. The right of privacy of a "public figure" is "Gregorio B. Honasan vs. Ayer Productions Pty. Ltd.,
matters of public interest, was held to arise out of the necessarily narrower than that of an ordinary citizen. McElroy Film Productions, Hal McElroy, Lope Juban
desire and the right of the public to know what is going Private respondent has not retired into the seclusion of and PMP Motion for Pictures Production" enjoining
on in the world, and the freedom of the press and other simple private citizenship. he continues to be a "public him and his production company from further filimg
agencies of information to tell it. "News" includes all figure." After a successful political campaign during any scene of the projected mini-series film. Petitioner
events and items of information which are out of the which his participation in the EDSA Revolution was alleged that Honasan's complaint was a "scissors and
ordinary hum-drum routine, and which have 'that directly or indirectly referred to in the press, radio and paste" pleading, cut out straight grom the complaint of
indefinable quality of information which arouses public television, he sits in a very public place, the Senate of private respondent Ponce Enrile in Civil Case No. 88-
attention.' To a very great extent the press, with its the Philippines. 151. Petitioner Ayer Productions, in a separate
experience or instinct as to what its readers will want, Manifestation dated 4 April 1988, brought to the
has succeeded in making its own definination of news, 5. The line of equilibrium in the specific context of the attention of the Court the same information given by
as a glance at any morning newspaper will sufficiently instant case between the constitutional freedom of petitoner Hal McElroy, reiterating that the complaint of
indicate. It includes homicide and othe crimes, arrests speech and of expression and the right of privacy, may Gregorio B. Honasan was substantially identical to that
and police raides, suicides, marriages and divorces, be marked out in terms of a requirement that the filed by private respondent herein and stating that in
accidents, a death from the use of narcotics, a woman proposed motion picture must be fairly truthful and refusing to join Honasan in Civil Case No. 88-151,
with a rare disease, the birth of a child to a twelve year historical in its presentation of events. There must, in counsel for private respondent, with whom counsel for
old girl, the reappearance of one supposed to have been other words, be no knowing or reckless disregard of Gregorio Honasan are apparently associated,
murdered years ago, and undoubtedly many other truth in depicting the participation of private respondent deliberately engaged in "forum shopping."
similar matters of genuine, if more or less deplorable, in the EDSA Revolution. 16 There must, further, be no
popular appeal. presentation of the private life of the unwilling private Private respondent filed a Counter-Manifestation on 13
respondent and certainly no revelation of intimate or April 1988 stating that the "slight similarity" between
The privilege of enlightening the public was not, embarrassing personal facts. 17 The proposed motion private respondent's complaint and that on Honasan in
however, limited, to the dissemination of news in the picture should not enter into what Mme. Justice the construction of their legal basis of the right to
scene of current events. It extended also to information Melencio-Herrera in Lagunzad referred to as "matters privacy as a component of the cause of action is
or education, or even entertainment and amusement, by of essentially private concern." 18 To the extent that understandable considering that court pleadings are
books, articles, pictures, films and broadcasts "The Four Day Revolution" limits itself in portraying public records; that private respondent's cause of action
for invasion of privacy is separate and distinct from that
of Honasan's although they arose from the same tortious
act of petitioners' that the rule on permissive joinder of
parties is not mandatory and that, the cited cases on
"forum shopping" were not in point because the parties
here and those in Civil Case No. 88-413 are not
identical.

For reasons that by now have become clear, it is not


necessary for the Court to deal with the question of
whether or not the lawyers of private respondent Ponce
Enrile have engaged in "forum shopping." It is,
however, important to dispose to the complaint filed by
former Colonel Honasan who, having refused to subject
himself to the legal processes of the Republic and
having become once again in fugitive from justice, must
be deemed to have forfeited any right the might have
had to protect his privacy through court processes.

WHEREFORE,

a) the Petitions for Certiorari are GRANTED DUE


COURSE, and the Order dated 16 March 1988 of
respondent trial court granting a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction is hereby SET ASIDE. The limited
Temporary Restraining Order granted by this Court on
24 March 1988 is hereby MODIFIED by enjoining
unqualifiedly the implementation of respondent Judge's
Order of 16 March 1988 and made PERMANENT, and

b) Treating the Manifestations of petitioners dated 30


March 1988 and 4 April 1988 as separate Petitions for
Certiorari with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction or
Restraining Order, the Court, in the exercise of its
plenary and supervisory jurisdiction, hereby
REQUIRES Judge Teofilo Guadiz of the Regional Trial
Court of Makati, Branch 147, forthwith to DISMISS
Civil Case No. 88-413 and accordingly to SET ASIDE
and DISSOLVE his Temporary Restraining Order dated
25 March 1988 and any Preliminary Injunction that may
have been issued by him.

No pronouncement as to costs.
G.R. No. 82380 April 29, 1988 Enrile about the projected motion picture enclosing a Eva--a -P.R. girl, politically moderate and very much in
synopsis of it, the full text of which is set out below: love with Tony. Ultimately, she must choose between
AYER PRODUCTIONS PTY. LTD. and McELROY & her love and the revolution.
McELROY FILM PRODUCTIONS, petitioners, The Four Day Revolution is a six hour mini-series about
vs. People Power—a unique event in modern history that- Through the interviews and experiences of these central
HON.IGNACIO M. CAPULONG and JUAN PONCE made possible the Peaceful revolution in the Philippines characters, we show the complex nature of Filipino
ENRILE, respondents. in 1986. society, and thintertwining series of events and
characters that triggered these remarkable changes.
G.R. No. 82398 April 29, 1988 Faced with the task of dramatising these rerkble events, Through them also, we meet all of the principal
screenwriter David Williamson and history Prof Al characters and experience directly dramatic recreation
HAL MCELROY petitioner, McCoy have chosen a "docu-drama" style and created of the revolution. The story incorporates actual
vs. [four] fictitious characters to trace the revolution from documentary footage filmed during the period which we
HON. IGNACIO M. CAPULONG, in his capacity as the death of Senator Aquino, to the Feb revolution and hope will capture the unique atmosphere and forces that
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, the fleeing of Marcos from the country. combined to overthrow President Marcos.
Branch 134 and JUAN PONCE ENRILE, respondents.
These character stories have been woven through the David Williamson is Australia's leading playwright with
real events to help our huge international audience some 14 hugely successful plays to his credit(Don's
understand this ordinary period inFilipino history. Party,' 'The Club,' Travelling North) and 11 feature
FELICIANO, J.: films (The Year of Living Dangerously,' Gallipoli,'
First, there's Tony O'Neil, an American television 'Phar Lap').
Petitioner Hal McElroy an Australian film maker, and journalist working for major network. Tony reflects the
his movie production company, Petitioner Ayer average American attitude to the Phihppinence —once a Professor McCoy (University of New South Wales) is
Productions pty Ltd. (Ayer Productions), 1 envisioned, colony, now the home of crucially important military an American historian with a deep understanding of the
sometime in 1987, the for commercial viewing and for bases. Although Tony is aware of the corruption and of Philippines, who has worked on the research for this
Philippine and international release, the histolic Marcos' megalomania, for him, there appears to be no project for some 18 months. Together with Davi
peaceful struggle of the Filipinos at EDSA (Epifanio de alternative to Marcos except the Communists. Wilhamgon they have developed a script we believe
los Santos Avenue). Petitioners discussed this Project accurately depicts the complex issues and events that
with local movie producer Lope V. Juban who Next, Angie Fox a fiery Australian photo-journalist. A occurred during th period .
suggested th they consult with the appropriate 'new girl in town,' she is quickly caught up in the events
government agencies and also with General Fidel V. as it becomes dear that the time has come for a change. The six hour series is a McElroy and McElroy co-
Ramos and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who had played Through Angle and her relationship with one of the production with Home Box Office in American, the
major roles in the events proposed to be filmed. Reform Army Movement Colonels (a fictitious Australian Broadcast Corporation in Australia and
character), we follow the developing discontent in the Zenith Productions in the United Kingdom
The proposed motion picture entitled "The Four Day armed forces. Their dislike for General Ver, their strong
Revolution" was endorsed by the Movie Television loyalty to Defense Minister Enrile, and ultimately their The proposed motion picture would be essentially a re-
Review and Classification Board as wel as the other defection from Marcos. enact. ment of the events that made possible the EDSA
government agencies consulted. General Fidel Ramos revolution; it is designed to be viewed in a six-hour
also signified his approval of the intended film The fourth fictitious character is Ben Balano, a middle- mini-series television play, presented in a "docu-drama"
production. aged editor of a Manila newspaper who despises the style, creating four (4) fictional characters interwoven
Marcos regime and is a supporter an promoter of Cory with real events, and utilizing actual documentary
In a letter dated 16 December 1987, petitioner Hal Aquino. Ben has two daughters, Cehea left wing lawyer footage as background.
McElroy informed private respondent Juan Ponce who is a secret member of the New People's Army, and
On 21 December 1987, private respondent Enrile In an Order 2 dated 16 March 1988, respondent court Resolution, the Court granted a Temporary Restraining
replied that "[he] would not and will not approve of the issued a writ of Preliminary Injunction against the Order partially enjoining the implementation of the
use, appropriation, reproduction and/or exhibition of his petitioners, the dispositive portion of which reads thus: respondent Judge's Order of 16 March 1988 and the
name, or picture, or that of any member of his family in Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued therein, and
any cinema or television production, film or other WHEREFORE, let a writ of preliminary injunction be allowing the petitioners to resume producing and
medium for advertising or commercial exploitation" and issued, ordering defendants, and all persons and entities filming those portions of the projected mini-series
further advised petitioners that 'in the production, employed or under contract with them, including actors, which do not make any reference to private respondent
airing, showing, distribution or exhibition of said or actresses and members of the production staff and crew or his family or to any fictitious character based on or
similar film, no reference whatsoever (whether written, as well as all persons and entities acting on defendants' respondent.
verbal or visual) should not be made to [him] or any behalf, to cease and desist from producing and filming
member of his family, much less to any matter purely the mini-series entitled 'The Four Day Revolution" and Private respondent seasonably filed his Consolidated
personal to them. from making any reference whatsoever to plaintiff or Answer on 6 April 1988 invoking in the main a right of
his family and from creating any fictitious character in privacy.
It appears that petitioners acceded to this demand and lieu of plaintiff which nevertheless is based on, or bears
the name of private respondent Enrile was deleted from rent substantial or marked resemblance or similarity to, I
the movie script, and petitioners proceeded to film the or is otherwise Identifiable with, plaintiff in the
projected motion picture. production and any similar film or photoplay, until The constitutional and legal issues raised by the present
further orders from this Court, upon plaintiff's filing of Petitions are sharply drawn. Petitioners' claim that in
On 23 February 1988, private respondent filed a a bond in the amount of P 2,000,000.00, to answer for producing and "The Four Day Revolution," they are
Complaint with application for Temporary Restraining whatever damages defendants may suffer by reason of exercising their freedom of speech and of expression
Order and Wilt of Pretion with the Regional Trial Court the injunction if the Court should finally decide that protected under our Constitution. Private respondent,
of Makati, docketed as Civil Case No. 88-151 in Branch plaintiff was not entitled thereto. upon the other hand, asserts a right of privacy and
134 thereof, seeking to enjoin petitioners from claims that the production and filming of the projected
producing the movie "The Four Day Revolution". The xxx xxx xxx mini-series would constitute an unlawful intrusion into
complaint alleged that petitioners' production of the his privacy which he is entitled to enjoy.
mini-series without private respondent's consent and (Emphasis supplied)
over his objection, constitutes an obvious violation of Considering first petitioners' claim to freedom of speech
his right of privacy. On 24 February 1988, the trial On 22 March 1988, petitioner Ayer Productions came to and of expression the Court would once more stress that
court issued ex-parte a Temporary Restraining Order this Court by a Petition for certiorari dated 21 March this freedom includes the freedom to film and produce
and set for hearing the application for preliminary 1988 with an urgent prayer for Preliminary Injunction motion pictures and to exhibit such motion pictures in
injunction. or Restraining Order, which petition was docketed as theaters or to diffuse them through television. In our
G.R. No. L-82380. day and age, motion pictures are a univesally utilized
On 9 March 1988, Hal McElroy flied a Motion to vehicle of communication and medium Of expression.
Dismiss with Opposition to the Petition for Preliminary A day later, or on 23 March 1988, petitiioner Hal Along with the press, radio and television, motion
Injunction contending that the mini-series fim would McElroy also filed separate Petition for certiorari with pictures constitute a principal medium of mass
not involve the private life of Juan Ponce Enrile nor that Urgent Prayer for a Restraining Order or Preliminary communication for information, education and
of his family and that a preliminary injunction would Injunction, dated 22 March 1988, docketed as G.R. No. entertainment. In Gonzales v. Katigbak, 3former Chief
amount to a prior restraint on their right of free L-82398. Justice Fernando, speaking for the Court, explained:
expression. Petitioner Ayer Productions also filed its
own Motion to Dismiss alleging lack of cause of action By a Resolution dated 24 March 1988, the petitions 1. Motion pictures are important both as a medium for
as the mini-series had not yet been completed. were consolidated and private respondent was required the communication of Ideas and the expression of the
to file a consolidated Answer. Further, in the same artistic impulse. Their effect on the perception by our
people of issues and public officials or public figures as constitute of apublic character. 7 Succinctly put, the to preventa violation of their own rights in the character
well as the pre cultural traits is considerable. Nor as right of privacy cannot be invoked resist publication and memory of the deceased.'
pointed out in Burstyn v. Wilson(343 US 495 [19421) is and dissemination of matters of public interest. 8 The
the Importance of motion pictures as an organ of public interest sought to be protected by the right of privacy is Petitioners averment that private respondent did not
opinion lessened by the fact that they are designed to the right to be free from unwarranted publicity, from have any property right over the life of Moises Padilla
entertain as well as to inform' (Ibid, 501). There is no the wrongful publicizing of the private affairs and since the latter was a public figure, is neither well taken.
clear dividing line between what involves knowledge activities of an individual which are outside the realm Being a public figure ipso facto does not automatically
and what affords pleasure. If such a distinction were of legitimate public concern. 9 destroy in toto a person's right to privacy. The right to
sustained, there is a diminution of the basic right to free invade a person's privacy to disseminate public
expression. ...4 Lagunzad v. Vda. de Gonzales, 10 on which private information does not extend to a fictional or novelized
respondent relies heavily, recognized a right to privacy representation of a person, no matter how public a he or
This freedom is available in our country both to locally- in a context which included a claim to freedom of she may be (Garner v. Triangle Publications, DCNY 97
owned and to foreign-owned motion picture companies. speech and of expression. Lagunzad involved a suit F. Supp., SU 549 [1951]). In the case at bar, while it is
Furthermore the circumstance that the production of fortion picture producer as licensee and the widow and true that petitioner exerted efforts to present a true-to-
motion picture films is a commercial activity expected family of the late Moises Padilla as licensors. This life Story Of Moises Padilla, petitioner admits that he
to yield monetary profit, is not a disqualification for agreement gave the licensee the right to produce a included a little romance in the film because without it,
availing of freedom of speech and of expression. In our motion Picture Portraying the life of Moises Padilla, a it would be a drab story of torture and brutality. 12
community as in many other countries, media facilities mayoralty candidate of the Nacionalista Party for the
are owned either by the government or the private Municipality of Magallon, Negros Occidental during In Lagunzad, the Court had need, as we have in the
sector but the private sector-owned media facilities the November 1951 elections and for whose murder, instant case, to deal with contraposed claims to freedom
commonly require to be sustained by being devoted in Governor Rafael Lacson, a member of the Liberal Party of speech and of expression and to privacy. Lagunzad
whole or in pailt to revenue producing activities. then in power and his men were tried and the licensee in effect claimed, in the name of freedom of
Indeed, commercial media constitute the bulk of such convicted. 11 In the judgment of the lower court speech and expression, a right to produce a motion
facilities available in our country and hence to exclude enforcing the licensing agreement against the licensee picture biography at least partly "fictionalized" of
commercially owned and operated media from the who had produced the motion picture and exhibited it Moises Padilla without the consent of and without
exerciseof constitutionally protected om of speech and but refused to pay the stipulated royalties, the Court, paying pre-agreed royalties to the widow and family of
of expression can only result in the drastic contraction through Justice Melencio-Herrera, said: Padilla. In rejecting the licensee's claim, the Court said:
of such constitutional liberties in our country.
Neither do we agree with petitioner's subon that the Lastly, neither do we find merit in petitioners
The counter-balancing of private respondent is to a right Licensing Agreement is null and void for lack of, or for contention that the Licensing Agreement infringes on
of privacy. It was demonstrated sometime ago by the having an illegal cause or consideration, while it is true the constitutional right of freedom of speech and of the
then Dean Irene R. Cortes that our law, constitutional that petitioner bad pled the rights to the book entitled press, in that, as a citizen and as a newspaperman, he
and statutory, does include a right of privacy. 5 It is left "The Moises Padilla Story," that did not dispense with had the right to express his thoughts in film on the
to case law, however, to mark out the precise scope and the need for prior consent and authority from the public life of Moises Padilla without prior restraint.The
content of this right in differing types of particular deceased heirs to portray publicly episodes in said right freedom of expression, indeed, occupies a
situations. The right of privacy or "the right to be let deceased's life and in that of his mother and the member preferred position in the "hierarchy of civil liberties"
alone," 6 like the right of free expression, is not an of his family. As held in Schuyler v. Curtis, ([1895],147 (Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization v.
absolute right. A limited intrusion into a person's NY 434,42 NE 31 LRA 286.49 Am St Rep 671), 'a Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., 51 SCRA 191
privacy has long been regarded as permissible where privilege may be given the surviving relatives of a [1963]). It is not, however, without limitations. As held
that person is a public figure and the information sought deperson to protect his memory, but the privilege wts in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 27 SCRA
to be elicited from him or to be published about him for the benefit of the living, to protect their feelings and 835, 858 [1960]:
xxx xxx xxx important to note that in Lagunzad, there was no prior not principally about, nor is it focused upon, the man
restrain of any kind imposed upon the movie producer Juan Ponce Enrile' but it is compelled, if it is to be
The prevailing doctine is that the clear and present who in fact completed and exhibited the film biography historical, to refer to the role played by Juan Ponce
danger rule is such a limitation. Another criterion for of Moises Padilla. Because of the speech and of Enrile in the precipitating and the constituent events of
permissible limitation on freedom of speech and the expression, a weighty presumption of invalidity the change of government in February 1986.
press, which includes such vehicles of the mass media vitiates. 14 The invalidity of a measure of prior restraint
as radio, television and the movies, is the "balancing of doesnot, of course, mean that no subsequent liability 3. The extent of the instrusion upon the life of private
interest test" (Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando on the may lawfully be imposed upon a person claiming to respondent Juan Ponce Enrile that would be entailed by
Bill of Rights, 1970 ed. p. 79). The principle "requires a exercise such constitutional freedoms. The respondent the production and exhibition of "The Four Day
court to take conscious and detailed consideration of the Judge should have stayed his hand, instead of issuing an Revolution" would, therefore, be limited in character.
interplay of interests observable in given situation or ex-parte Temporary Restraining Order one day after The extent of that intrusion, as this Court understands
type of situation" (Separation Opinion of the late Chief filing of a complaint by the private respondent and the synopsis of the proposed film, may be generally
Justice Castro in Gonzales v. Commission on issuing a Preliminary Injunction twenty (20) days later; described as such intrusion as is reasonably necessary to
Elections, supra, p. 899). for the projected motion picture was as yet uncompleted keep that film a truthful historical account. Private
and hence not exhibited to any audience. Neither private respondent does not claim that petitioners threatened to
In the case at bar, the interests observable are the right respondent nor the respondent trial Judge knew what depict in "The Four Day Revolution" any part of the
to privacy asserted by respondent and the right of the completed film would precisely look like. There private life of private respondent or that of any member
freedom of expression invoked by petitioner. taking into was, in other words, no "clear and present danger" of of his family.
account the interplay of those interests, we hold any violation of any right to privacy that private
that under the particular circumstances presented, and respondent could lawfully assert. 4. At all relevant times, during which the momentous
considering the obligations assumed in the Licensing events, clearly of public concern, that petitioners
Agreement entered into by petitioner, the validity of 2. The subject matter of "The Four Day Revolution" propose to film were taking place, private respondent
such agreement will have to be upheld particularly relates to the non-bloody change of government that was what Profs. Prosser and Keeton have referred to as
because the limits of freedom of expression are reached took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in February a "public figure:"
when expression touches upon matters of essentially 1986, and the trian of events which led up to that
private concern." 13 denouement. Clearly, such subject matter is one of A public figure has been defined as a person who, by
public interest and concern. Indeed, it is, petitioners' his accomplishments, fame, or mode of living, or by
Whether the "balancing of interests test" or the clear argue, of international interest. The subject thus relates adopting a profession or calling which gives the public
and present danger test" be applied in respect of the to a highly critical stage in the history of this a legitimate interest in his doings, his affairs, and his
instant Petitions, the Court believes that a different countryand as such, must be regarded as having passed character, has become a 'public personage.' He is, in
conclusion must here be reached: The production and into the public domain and as an appropriate subject for other words, a celebrity. Obviously to be included in
filming by petitioners of the projected motion picture speech and expression and coverage by any form of this category are those who have achieved some degree
"The Four Day Revolution" does not, in the mass media. The subject mater, as set out in the of reputation by appearing before the public, as in the
circumstances of this case, constitute an unlawful synopsis provided by the petitioners and quoted above, case of an actor, a professional baseball player, a
intrusion upon private respondent's "right of privacy." does not relate to the individual life and certainly not to pugilist, or any other entertainment. The list is,
the private life of private respondent Ponce Enrile. however, broader than this. It includes public
1. It may be observed at the outset that what is involved Unlike in Lagunzad, which concerned the life story of officers, famous inventors and explorers, war heroes
in the instant case is a prior and direct restraint on the Moises Padilla necessarily including at least his and even ordinary soldiers, an infant prodigy, and no
part of the respondent Judge upon the exercise of immediate family, what we have here is not a film less a personage than the Grand Exalted Ruler of a
speech and of expression by petitioners. The respondent biography, more or less fictionalized, of private lodge. It includes, in short, anyone who has arrived at a
Judge has restrained petitioners from filming and respondent Ponce Enrile. "The Four Day Revolution" is position where public attention is focused upon him as a
producing the entire proposed motion picture. It is person.
Such public figures were held to have lost, to some concerning interesting phases of human activity in the participation of private respondent in the EDSA
extent at least, their tight to privacy. Three reasons were general, as well as the reproduction of the public scene Revolution to those events which are directly and
given, more or less indiscrimately, in the decisions" that in newsreels and travelogues. In determining where to reasonably related to the public facts of the EDSA
they had sought publicity and consented to it, and so draw the line, the courts were invited to exercise a Revolution, the intrusion into private respondent's
could not complaint when they received it; that their species of censorship over what the public may be privacy cannot be regarded as unreasonable and
personalities and their affairs has already public, and permitted to read; and they were understandably liberal actionable. Such portrayal may be carried out even
could no longer be regarded as their own private in allowing the benefit of the doubt. 15 without a license from private respondent.
business; and that the press had a privilege, under the
Constitution, to inform the public about those who have Private respondent is a "public figure" precisely II
become legitimate matters of public interest. On one or because, inter alia, of his participation as a principal
another of these grounds, and sometimes all, it was held actor in the culminating events of the change of In a Manifestation dated 30 March 1988, petitioner Hal
that there was no liability when they were given government in February 1986. Because his participation McElroy informed this Court that a Temporary
additional publicity, as to matters legitimately within therein was major in character, a film reenactment of Restraining Order dated 25 March 1988, was issued by
the scope of the public interest they had aroused. the peaceful revolution that fails to make reference to Judge Teofilo Guadiz of the Regional Trial Court of
the role played by private respondent would be grossly Makati, Branch 147, in Civil Case No. 88-413, entitled
The privilege of giving publicity to news, and other unhistorical. The right of privacy of a "public figure" is "Gregorio B. Honasan vs. Ayer Productions Pty. Ltd.,
matters of public interest, was held to arise out of the necessarily narrower than that of an ordinary citizen. McElroy Film Productions, Hal McElroy, Lope Juban
desire and the right of the public to know what is going Private respondent has not retired into the seclusion of and PMP Motion for Pictures Production" enjoining
on in the world, and the freedom of the press and other simple private citizenship. he continues to be a "public him and his production company from further filimg
agencies of information to tell it. "News" includes all figure." After a successful political campaign during any scene of the projected mini-series film. Petitioner
events and items of information which are out of the which his participation in the EDSA Revolution was alleged that Honasan's complaint was a "scissors and
ordinary hum-drum routine, and which have 'that directly or indirectly referred to in the press, radio and paste" pleading, cut out straight grom the complaint of
indefinable quality of information which arouses public television, he sits in a very public place, the Senate of private respondent Ponce Enrile in Civil Case No. 88-
attention.' To a very great extent the press, with its the Philippines. 151. Petitioner Ayer Productions, in a separate
experience or instinct as to what its readers will want, Manifestation dated 4 April 1988, brought to the
has succeeded in making its own definination of news, 5. The line of equilibrium in the specific context of the attention of the Court the same information given by
as a glance at any morning newspaper will sufficiently instant case between the constitutional freedom of petitoner Hal McElroy, reiterating that the complaint of
indicate. It includes homicide and othe crimes, arrests speech and of expression and the right of privacy, may Gregorio B. Honasan was substantially identical to that
and police raides, suicides, marriages and divorces, be marked out in terms of a requirement that the filed by private respondent herein and stating that in
accidents, a death from the use of narcotics, a woman proposed motion picture must be fairly truthful and refusing to join Honasan in Civil Case No. 88-151,
with a rare disease, the birth of a child to a twelve year historical in its presentation of events. There must, in counsel for private respondent, with whom counsel for
old girl, the reappearance of one supposed to have been other words, be no knowing or reckless disregard of Gregorio Honasan are apparently associated,
murdered years ago, and undoubtedly many other truth in depicting the participation of private respondent deliberately engaged in "forum shopping."
similar matters of genuine, if more or less deplorable, in the EDSA Revolution. 16 There must, further, be no
popular appeal. presentation of the private life of the unwilling private Private respondent filed a Counter-Manifestation on 13
respondent and certainly no revelation of intimate or April 1988 stating that the "slight similarity" between
The privilege of enlightening the public was not, embarrassing personal facts. 17 The proposed motion private respondent's complaint and that on Honasan in
however, limited, to the dissemination of news in the picture should not enter into what Mme. Justice the construction of their legal basis of the right to
scene of current events. It extended also to information Melencio-Herrera in Lagunzad referred to as "matters privacy as a component of the cause of action is
or education, or even entertainment and amusement, by of essentially private concern." 18 To the extent that understandable considering that court pleadings are
books, articles, pictures, films and broadcasts "The Four Day Revolution" limits itself in portraying public records; that private respondent's cause of action
for invasion of privacy is separate and distinct from that
of Honasan's although they arose from the same tortious
act of petitioners' that the rule on permissive joinder of
parties is not mandatory and that, the cited cases on
"forum shopping" were not in point because the parties
here and those in Civil Case No. 88-413 are not
identical.

For reasons that by now have become clear, it is not


necessary for the Court to deal with the question of
whether or not the lawyers of private respondent Ponce
Enrile have engaged in "forum shopping." It is,
however, important to dispose to the complaint filed by
former Colonel Honasan who, having refused to subject
himself to the legal processes of the Republic and
having become once again in fugitive from justice, must
be deemed to have forfeited any right the might have
had to protect his privacy through court processes.

WHEREFORE,

a) the Petitions for Certiorari are GRANTED DUE


COURSE, and the Order dated 16 March 1988 of
respondent trial court granting a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction is hereby SET ASIDE. The limited
Temporary Restraining Order granted by this Court on
24 March 1988 is hereby MODIFIED by enjoining
unqualifiedly the implementation of respondent Judge's
Order of 16 March 1988 and made PERMANENT, and

b) Treating the Manifestations of petitioners dated 30


March 1988 and 4 April 1988 as separate Petitions for
Certiorari with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction or
Restraining Order, the Court, in the exercise of its
plenary and supervisory jurisdiction, hereby
REQUIRES Judge Teofilo Guadiz of the Regional Trial
Court of Makati, Branch 147, forthwith to DISMISS
Civil Case No. 88-413 and accordingly to SET ASIDE
and DISSOLVE his Temporary Restraining Order dated
25 March 1988 and any Preliminary Injunction that may
have been issued by him.

No pronouncement as to costs.
G.R. No. L-69866 April 15, 1988 Forces of the Philippines, known as Task Force the performance of their official duties; and (3) the
Makabansa (TFM) ordered by General Fabian Ver "to complaint states no cause of action against the
ROGELIO ABERCA, RODOLFO BENOSA, NESTOR conduct pre-emptive strikes against known communist- defendants. Opposition to said motion to dismiss was
BODINO NOEL ETABAG DANILO DE LA terrorist (CT) underground houses in view of increasing filed by plaintiffs Marco Palo, Danilo de la Fuente,
FUENTE, BELEN DIAZ-FLORES, MANUEL reports about CT plans to sow disturbances in Metro Benjamin Sesgundo, Nel Etabag, Alfredo Mansos and
MARIO GUZMAN, ALAN JAZMINEZ, EDWIN Manila," Plaintiffs allege, among others, that complying Rolando Salutin on July 8, 1983, and by plaintiffs
LOPEZ, ALFREDO MANSOS, ALEX MARCELINO, with said order, elements of the TFM raided several Edwin Lopez, Manuel Mario Guzman, Alan Jasminez,
ELIZABETH PROTACIO-MARCELINO, JOSEPH places, employing in most cases defectively issued Nestor Bodino, Carlos Palma, Arturo Tabara, Joseph
OLAYER, CARLOS PALMA, MARCO PALO, judicial search warrants; that during these raids, certain Olayer, Rodolfo Benosa, Belen Diaz, Flores, Rogelio
ROLANDO SALUTIN, BENJAMIN SESGUNDO, members of the raiding party confiscated a number of Aberca, Alex Marcelino and Elizabeth Marcelino on
ARTURO TABARA, EDWIN TULALIAN and purely personal items belonging to plaintiffs; that July 21, 1983. On November 7, 1983, a Consolidated
REBECCA TULALIAN petitioners, plaintiffs were arrested without proper warrants issued Reply was filed by defendants' counsel.
vs. by the courts; that for some period after their arrest,
MAJ. GEN. FABIAN VER, COL. FIDEL SINGSON, they were denied visits of relatives and lawyers; that Then, on November 8, 1983, the Regional Trial Court,
COL. ROLANDO ABADILLA, COL. GERARDO B. plaintiffs were interrogated in violation of their rights to National Capital Region, Branch 95, Judge Willelmo C.
LANTORIA, COL. GALILEO KINTANAR, 1ST LT. silence and counsel; that military men who interrogated Fortun, Presiding, 1 issued a resolution granting the
COL. PANFILO M. LACSON, MAJ. RODOLFO them employed threats, tortures and other forms of motion to dismiss. I sustained, lock, stock and barrel,
AGUINALDO, CAPT. DANILO PIZARRO, 1ST LT. violence on them in order to obtain incriminatory the defendants' contention (1) the plaintiffs may not
PEDRO TANGO, 1ST LT. ROMEO RICARDO, 1ST information or confessions and in order to punish them; cause a judicial inquiry into the circumstances of their
LT. RAUL BACALSO, MSGT BIENVENIDO that all violations of plaintiffs constitutional rights were detention in the guise of a damage suit because, as to
BALABA and REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, National part of a concerted and deliberate plan to forcibly them, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is
Capital Judicial Region, Branch XCV (95), Quezon extract information and incriminatory statements from suspended; (2) that assuming that the court can entertain
City, respondents. plaintiffs and to terrorize, harass and punish them, said the present action, defendants are immune from liability
plans being previously known to and sanctioned by for acts done in the performance of their official duties;
defendants. and (3) that the complaint states no cause of action
against defendants, since there is no allegation that the
YAP, J.: Plaintiffs sought actual/compensatory damages defendants named in the complaint confiscated
amounting to P39,030.00; moral damages in the amount plaintiffs' purely personal properties in violation of their
This petition for certiorari presents vital issues not of at least P150,000.00 each or a total of P3,000,000.00; constitutional rights, and with the possible exception of
heretofore passed upon by this Court. It poses the exemplary damages in the amount of at least Major Rodolfo Aguinaldo and Sergeant Bienvenido
question whether the suspension of the privilege of the P150,000.00 each or a total of P3,000,000.00; and Balabo committed acts of torture and maltreatment, or
writ of habeas corpus bars a civil action for damages for attorney's fees amounting to not less than P200,000.00. that the defendants had the duty to exercise direct
illegal searches conducted by military personnel and supervision and control of their subordinates or that
other violations of rights and liberties guaranteed under A motion to dismiss was filed by defendants, through they had vicarious liability as employers under Article
the Constitution. If such action for damages may be their counsel, then Solicitor-General Estelito Mendoza, 2180 of the Civil Code. The lower court stated, "After a
maintained, who can be held liable for such violations: alleging that (1) plaintiffs may not cause a judicial careful study of defendants' arguments, the court finds
only the military personnel directly involved and/or inquiry into the circumstances of their detention in the the same to be meritorious and must, therefore, be
their superiors as well. guise of a damage suit because, as to them, the privilege granted. On the other hand, plaintiffs' arguments in their
of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended; (2) assuming opposition are lacking in merit."
This case stems from alleged illegal searches and that the courts can entertain the present action,
seizures and other violations of the rights and liberties defendants are immune from liability for acts done in
of plaintiffs by various intelligence units of the Armed
A motion to set aside the order dismissing the complaint represented by counsel, Atty. Efren Mercado, failed to 3. Col. Rolando Abadilla
and a supplemental motion for reconsideration was filed file a motion to reconsider the Order of November 8,
by the plaintiffs on November 18, 1983, and November 1983, dismissing the complaint, nor interposed an 4. Lt. Col. Conrado Lantoria, Jr.
24, 1983, respectively. On December 9, 1983, the appeal therefrom within the reglementary period, as
defendants filed a comment on the aforesaid motion of prayed for by the defendants, said Order is now final 5. Col. Galileo Montanar
plaintiffs, furnishing a copy thereof to the attorneys of against said plaintiffs.
all the plaintiffs, namely, Attys. Jose W. Diokno, 6. Col. Panfilo Lacson
Procopio Beltran, Rene Sarmiento, Efren Mercado, Assailing the said order of May 11, 1984, the plaintiffs
filed a motion for reconsideration on May 28,1984, 7. Capt. Danilo Pizaro
Auguso Sanchez, Antonio L. Rosales, Pedro B. Ella Jr.,
Arno V. Sanidad, Alexander Padilla, Joker Arroyo, alleging that it was not true that plaintiffs Rogelio
8. 1 Lt Pedro Tango
Rene Saguisag, Ramon Esguerra and Felicitas Aquino. Aberca, Danilo de la Fuente, Marco Palo, Alan
Jasminez, Alex Marcelino, Elizabeth Protacio-
9. Lt. Romeo Ricardo
On December 15, 1983, Judge Fortun issued an order Marcelino, Alfredo Mansos and Rolando Salutin failed
voluntarily inhibiting himself from further proceeding to file a motion to reconsider the order of November 8, 10. Lt. Raul Bacalso
in the case and leaving the resolution of the motion to 1983 dismissing the complaint, within the reglementary
set aside the order of dismissal to Judge Lising, "to period. Plaintiffs claimed that the motion to set aside the motion to set aside and reconsider the Resolution of
preclude any suspicion that he (Judge Fortun) cannot the order of November 8, 1983 and the amplificatory dismissal of the present action or complaint, dated
resolve [the] aforesaid pending motion with the cold motion for reconsideration was filed for all the November 8, 1983, is also denied but in so far as it
neutrality of an impartial judge and to put an end to plaintiffs, although signed by only some of the lawyers. affects and refers to defendants, to wit:
plaintiffs assertion that the undersigned has no authority
or jurisdiction to resolve said pending motion." This In its resolution of September 21, 1984, the respondent 1. Major Rodolfo Aguinaldo, and
order prompted plaintiffs to reesolve an amplificatory court dealt with both motions (1) to reconsider its order
motion for reconsideration signed in the name of the of May 11, 1984 declaring that with respect to certain 2. Master Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba
Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) of Mabini Legal plaintiffs, the resolution of November 8, 1983 had
Aid Committee, by Attys. Joker P. Arroyo, Felicitas already become final, and (2) to set aside its resolution the motion to reconsider and set aside the Resolution of
Aquino and Arno Sanidad on April 12, 1984. On May of November 8, 1983 granting the defendants' motion to dismissal dated November 3, 1983 is granted and the
2,1984, the defendants filed a comment on said dismiss. In the dispositive portion of the order of Resolution of dismissal is, in this respect, reconsidered
amplificatory motion for reconsideration. September 21, 1984, the respondent court resolved: and modified.

In an order dated May 11, 1984, the trial court, Judge (1) That the motion to set aside the order of finality, Hence, petitioners filed the instant petition for certiorari
Esteban Lising, Presiding, without acting on the motion dated May 11, 1984, of the Resolution of dismissal of on March 15, 1985 seeking to annul and set aside the
to set aside order of November 8, 1983, issued an order, the complaint of plaintiffs Rogelio Aberca, Danilo de la respondent court's resolution of November 8, 1983, its
as follows: Fuente, Marco Palo, Alan Jasminez Alex Marcelino, order of May 11, 1984, and its resolution dated
Elizabeth Protacio-Marcelino, Alfredo Mansos and September 21, 1984. Respondents were required to
It appearing from the records that, indeed, the following Rolando Salutin is deed for lack of merit; comment on the petition, which it did on November 9,
plaintiffs, Rogelio Aberca, Danilo de la Fuente and 1985. A reply was filed by petitioners on August 26,
Marco Palo, represented by counsel, Atty. Jose W. (2) For lack of cause of action as against the following 1986.
Diokno, Alan Jasminez represented by counsel, Atty. defendants, to wit:
Augusta Sanchez, Spouses Alex Marcelino and We find the petition meritorious and decide to give it
Elizabeth Protacio-Marcelino, represented by counsel, 1. Gen Fabian Ver due course.
Atty. Procopio Beltran, Alfredo Mansos represented by
counsel, Atty. Rene Sarmiento, and Rolando Salutin, 2. Col. Fidel Singson
At the heart of petitioners' complaint is Article 32 of the (15) The right to be free from involuntary servitude in It is obvious that the purpose of the above codal
Civil Code which provides: any form; provision is to provide a sanction to the deeply
cherished rights and freedoms enshrined in the
ART. 32. Any public officer or employee, or any (16) The rigth of the accused against excessive bail; Constitution. Its message is clear; no man may seek to
private individual who directly or indirectly obstructs, violate those sacred rights with impunity. In times of
defeats, violates or in any manner impedes or impairs (17) The rigth of the aaccused to be heard by himself great upheaval or of social and political stress, when the
any of the following rights and liberties of another and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of temptation is strongest to yield — borrowing the words
person shall be liable to the latter for damages: the accusation against him, to have a speedy and public of Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee — to the law of
trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have force rather than the force of law, it is necessary to
(1) Freedom of religion; compulsory process to secure the attendance of witness remind ourselves that certain basic rights and liberties
in behalf; are immutable and cannot be sacrificed to the transient
(2) Freedom of speech; needs or imperious demands of the ruling power. The
(18) Freedom from being compelled to be a witness rule of law must prevail, or else liberty will perish. Our
(3) Freedom to write for the press or to maintain a against ones self, or from being forced to confess guilt, commitment to democratic principles and to the rule of
periodical publication; or from being induced by a promise of immunity or law compels us to reject the view which reduces law to
reward to make such confession, except when the nothing but the expression of the will of the
(4) Freedom from arbitrary or illegal detention; person confessing becomes a State witness; predominant power in the community. "Democracy
(5) Freedom of suffrage; cannot be a reign of progress, of liberty, of justice,
(19) Freedom from excessive fines or cruel and unusual
unless the law is respected by him who makes it and by
punishment, unless the same is imposed or inflicted in
(6) The right against deprivation of property without him for whom it is made. Now this respect implies a
accordance with a statute which has not been judicially
due process maximum of faith, a minimum of Idealism. On going to
declared unconstitutional; and
the bottom of the matter, we discover that life demands
(7) of law; of us a certain residuum of sentiment which is not
(20) Freedom of access to the courts.
derived from reason, but which reason nevertheless
(8) The right to a just compensation when private In any of the cases referred to in this article, whether or controls. 2
property is taken for public use; not the defendant's act or omission constitutes a
Seeking to justify the dismissal of plaintiffs' complaint,
criminal offense, the against grieved party has a right to
(9) The right to the equal protection of the laws; the respondents postulate the view that as public
commence an entirely separate and distinct civil action
officers they are covered by the mantle of state
for damages, and for other relief. Such civil action shall
(10) The right to be secure in one's person, house, immunity from suit for acts done in the performance of
proceed independently of any criminal prosecution (if
papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and official duties or function In support of said contention,
the latter be instituted), and may be proved by a
seizures; respondents maintain that —
preponderance of evidence.
(11) The liberty of abode and of changing the same; Respondents are members of the Armed Forces of the
The indemnity shall include moral damages. Exemplary
Philippines. Their primary duty is to safeguard public
(12) The privacy of cmmunication and correspondence; damages may also be adjudicated.
safety and order. The Constitution no less provides that
The responsibility herein set forth is not demandable the President may call them "to prevent or supress
(13) The right to become a member of associations or lawless violence, invasion, insurrection or rebellion, or
societies for purposes not contrary to law; from a judge unless his act or omission constitutes a
violation of the Penal Code or other penal statute. imminent danger thereof." (Constitution, Article VII,
Section 9).
(14) The right to take part in a peaceable assembly to
petition the Government for redress of grievances;
On January 17, 1981, the President issued Proclamation The immunity of public officers from liability arising subversion" in accordance with Proclamation No. 2054
No. 2045 lifting martial law but providing for the from the performance of their duties is now a settled of President Marcos, despite the lifting of martial law
continued suspension of the privilege of the writ of jurisprudence Alzua v. Johnson, 21 Phil. 308; Zulueta v. on January 27, 1981, and in pursuance of such
habeas corpus in view of the remaining dangers to the Nicolas, 102 Phil. 944; Spalding v. Vilas, 161 US 483; objective, to launch pre- emptive strikes against alleged
security of the nation. The proclamation also provided 40 L. Ed. 780, 16 S. Ct. 631; Barr v. Mateo, 360; Butz communist terrorist underground houses. But this
"that the call to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to v. Economon, 438 US 478; 57 L. Ed. 2d 895, 98 S. Ct. cannot be construed as a blanket license or a roving
prevent or suppress lawless violence, insuitection 2894; Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 US 232; Forbes v. commission untramelled by any constitutional restraint,
rebellion and subversion shall continue to be in force Chuoco Tiaco, supra; Miller v. de Leune, 602 F. 2d to disregard or transgress upon the rights and liberties of
and effect." 198; Sami v. US, 617 F. 2d 755). the individual citizen enshrined in and protected by the
Constitution. The Constitution remains the supreme law
Petitioners allege in their complaint that their causes of Respondents-defendants who merely obeyed the lawful of the land to which all officials, high or low, civilian or
action proceed from respondent General Ver's order to orders of the President and his call for the suppression military, owe obedience and allegiance at all times.
Task Force Makabansa to launch pre-emptive strikes of the rebellion involving petitioners enjoy such
against communist terrorist underground houses in immunity from Suit.3 Article 32 of the Civil Code which renders any public
Metro Manila. Petitioners claim that this order and its officer or employee or any private individual liable in
subsequent implementation by elements of the task We find respondents' invocation of the doctrine of state damages for violating the Constitutional rights and
force resulted in the violation of their constitutional immunity from suit totally misplaced. The cases liberties of another, as enumerated therein, does not
rights against unlawful searches, seizures and arrest, invoked by respondents actually involved acts done by exempt the respondents from responsibility. Only
rights to counsel and to silence, and the right to property officers in the performance of official duties written the judges are excluded from liability under the said article,
and that, therefore, respondents Ver and the named ambit of their powers. As held in Forbes, etc. vs. provided their acts or omissions do not constitute a
members of the task force should be held liable for Chuoco Tiaco and Crossfield: 4 violation of the Penal Code or other penal statute.
damages.
No one can be held legally responsible in damages or This is not to say that military authorities are restrained
But, by launching a pre-emptive strike against otherwise for doing in a legal manner what he had from pursuing their assigned task or carrying out their
communist terrorists, respondent members of the armed authority, under the law, to do. Therefore, if the mission with vigor. We have no quarrel with their duty
forces merely performed their official and constitutional Governor-General had authority, under the law to to protect the Republic from its enemies, whether of the
duties. To allow petitioners to recover from respondents deport or expel the defendants, and circumstances left or of the right, or from within or without, seeking to
by way of damages for acts performed in the exercise of justifying the deportation and the method of carrying it destroy or subvert our democratic institutions and
such duties run contrary to the policy considerations to out are left to him, then he cannot be held liable in imperil their very existence. What we are merely trying
shield respondents as public officers from undue damages for the exercise of this power. Moreover, if the to say is that in carrying out this task and mission,
interference with their duties and from potentially courts are without authority to interfere in any manner, constitutional and legal safeguards must be observed,
disabling threats of hability (Aarlon v. Fitzgerald 102 S. for the purpose of controlling or interferring with the otherwise, the very fabric of our faith will start to
Ct. 2731-1 Forbes v. Chuoco Tiaco, 16 Phil. 634), and exercise of the political powers vested in the chief unravel. In the battle of competing Ideologies, the
upon the necessity of protecting the performance of executive authority of the Government, then it must struggle for the mind is just as vital as the struggle of
governmental and public functions from being harassed follow that the courts cannot intervene for the purpose arms. The linchpin in that psychological struggle is faith
unduly or constantly interrupted by private suits of declaring that he is liable in damages for the in the rule of law. Once that faith is lost or
(McCallan v. State, 35 Cal. App. 605; Metran v. exeercise of this authority. compromised, the struggle may well be abandoned.
Paredes, 79 Phil. 819).
It may be that the respondents, as members of the We do not find merit in respondents' suggestion that
xxx xxx xxx Armed Forces of the Philippines, were merely plaintiffs' cause of action is barred by the suspension of
responding to their duty, as they claim, "to prevent or the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Respondents
suppress lawless violence, insurrection, rebellion and contend that "Petitioners cannot circumvent the
suspension of the privilege of the writ by resorting to a damages for illegal arrest and detention, it does not and meaning and asgilrnes a larger dimension. No longer
damage suit aimed at the same purpose-judicial inquiry cannot suspend their rights and causes of action for may a superior official relax his vigilance or abdicate
into the alleged illegality of their detention. While the injuries suffered because of respondents' confiscation of his duty to supervise his subordinates, secure in the
main relief they ask by the present action is their private belongings, the violation of their right to thought that he does not have to answer for the
indemnification for alleged damages they suffered, their remain silent and to counsel and their right to protection transgressions committed by the latter against the
causes of action are inextricably based on the same against unreasonable searches and seizures and against constitutionally protected rights and liberties of the
claim of violations of their constitutional rights that torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment. citizen. Part of the factors that propelled people power
they invoked in the habeas corpus case as grounds for in February 1986 was the widely held perception that
release from detention. Were the petitioners allowed the However, we find it unnecessary to address the the government was callous or indifferent to, if not
present suit, the judicial inquiry barred by the constitutional issue pressed upon us. On March 25, actually responsible for, the rampant violations of
suspension of the privilege of the writ will take place. 1986, President Corazon C. Aquino issued human rights. While it would certainly be go naive to
The net result is that what the courts cannot do, i.e. Proclamation No. 2, revoking Proclamation Nos. 2045 expect that violators of human rights would easily be
override the suspension ordered by the President, and 2045-A and lifting the suspension of the privilege deterred by the prospect of facing damage suits, it
petitioners will be able to do by the mere expedient of of the writ of habeas corpus. The question therefore has should nonetheless be made clear in no ones terms that
altering the title of their action." become moot and academic. Article 32 of the Civil Code makes the persons who are
directly, as well as indirectly, responsible for the
We do not agree. We find merit in petitioners' This brings us to the crucial issue raised in this petition. transgression joint tortfeasors.
contention that the suspension of the privilege of the May a superior officer under the notion of respondent
writ of habeas corpus does not destroy petitioners' right superior be answerable for damages, jointly and In the case at bar, the trial court dropped defendants
and cause of action for damages for illegal arrest and severally with his subordinates, to the person whose General Fabian Ver, Col. Fidel Singson, Col. Rolando
detention and other violations of their constitutional constitutional rights and liberties have been violated? Abadilla, Col. Gerardo Lantoria, Jr., Col. Galileo
rights. The suspension does not render valid an Kintanar, Col. Panfilo Lacson, Capt. Danilo Pizarro, lst
otherwise illegal arrest or detention. What is suspended Respondents contend that the doctrine of respondent Lt. Pedro Tango, Lt. Romeo Ricardo and Lt. Ricardo
is merely the right of the individual to seek release from superior is applicable to the case. We agree. The Bacalso from the acts of their subordinates. Only Major
detention through the writ of habeas corpus as a speedy doctrine of respondent superior has been generally Rodolfo Aguinaldo and Master Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba
means of obtaining his liberty. limited in its application to principal and agent or to were kept as defendants on the ground that they alone
master and servant (i.e. employer and employee) 'have been specifically mentioned and Identified to have
Moreover, as pointed out by petitioners, their right and relationship. No such relationship exists between allegedly caused injuries on the persons of some of the
cause of action for damages are explicitly recognized in superior officers of the military and their subordinates. plaintiff which acts of alleged physical violence
P.D. No. 1755 which amended Article 1146 of the Civil constitute a delict or wrong that gave rise to a cause of
Code by adding the following to its text: Be that as it may, however, the decisive factor in this action. But such finding is not supported by the record,
case, in our view, is the language of Article 32. The law nor is it in accord with law and jurisprudence.
However, when the action (for injury to the rights of the speaks of an officer or employee or person 'directly' or
plaintiff or for a quasi-delict) arises from or out of any "indirectly" responsible for the violation of the Firstly, it is wrong to at the plaintiffs' action for
act, activity or conduct of any public officer involving constitutional rights and liberties of another. Thus, it is damages 5 Section 1, Article 19. to 'acts of alleged
the exercise of powers or authority arising from Martial not the actor alone (i.e. the one directly responsible) physical violence" which constituted delict or wrong.
Law including the arrest, detention and/or trial of the who must answer for damages under Article 32; the Article 32 clearly specifies as actionable the act of
plaintiff, the same must be brought within one (1) year. person indirectly responsible has also to answer for the violating or in any manner impeding or impairing any
damages or injury caused to the aggrieved party. of the constitutional rights and liberties enumerated
Petitioners have a point in contending that even therein, among others —
assuming that the suspension of the privilege of the writ By this provision, the principle of accountability of
of habeas corpus suspends petitioners' right of action for public officials under the Constitution 5 acquires added 1. Freedom from arbitrary arrest or illegal detention;
2. The right against deprivation of property without due The responsibility of the defendants, whether direct or But the body of the motion itself clearly indicated that
process of law; indirect, is amply set forth in the complaint. It is well the motion was filed on behalf of all the plaintiffs. And
established in our law and jurisprudence that a motion this must have been also the understanding of
3. The right to be secure in one's person, house, papers to dismiss on the ground that the complaint states no defendants' counsel himself for when he filed his
and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures; cause of action must be based on what appears on the comment on the motion, he furnished copies thereof,
face of the complaint. 6 To determine the sufficiency of not just to the lawyers who signed the motion, but to all
4. The privacy of communication and correspondence; the cause of action, only the facts alleged in the the lawyers of plaintiffs, to wit: Attys. Jose Diokno,
complaint, and no others, should be considered. 7 For Procopio Beltran, Rene Sarmiento, Efren Mercado,
5. Freedom from being compelled to be a witness this purpose, the motion to dismiss must hypothetically Augusto Sanchez, Antonio Rosales, Pedro Efla Jr.,
against one's self, or from being forced to confess guilt, admit the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint. 8 Arno Sanidad, Alexander Padilla, Joker Arroyo, Rene
or from being induced by a promise of immunity or Saguisag, Ramon Esguerra and Felicitas S. Aquino.
reward to make a confession, except when the person Applying this test, it is difficult to justify the trial
confessing becomes a state witness. court's ruling, dismissing for lack of cause of action the In filing the motion to set aside the resolution of
complaint against all the defendants, except Major November 8, 1983, the signing attorneys did so on
The complaint in this litigation alleges facts showing Rodolfo Aguinaldo and Master Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba. behalf of all the plaintiff. They needed no specific
with abundant clarity and details, how plaintiffs' The complaint contained allegations against all the authority to do that. The authority of an attorney to
constitutional rights and liberties mentioned in Article defendants which, if admitted hypothetically, would be appear for and in behalf of a party can be assumed,
32 of the Civil Code were violated and impaired by sufficient to establish a cause or causes of action against unless questioned or challenged by the adverse party or
defendants. The complaint speaks of, among others, all of them under Article 32 of the Civil Code. the party concerned, which was never done in this case.
searches made without search warrants or based on Thus, it was grave abuse on the part of respondent judge
irregularly issued or substantially defective warrants; This brings us to the last issue. Was the trial court to take it upon himself to rule that the motion to set
seizures and confiscation, without proper receipts, of correct in dismissing the complaint with respect to aside the order of November 8, 1953 dismissing the
cash and personal effects belonging to plaintiffs and plaintiffs Rogelio Aberca, Danilo de la Puente, Marco complaint was filed only by some of the plaintiffs,
other items of property which were not subversive and Palo, Alan Jazminez, Alex Marcelino, Elizabeth when by its very language it was clearly intended to be
illegal nor covered by the search warrants; arrest and Protacio-Marcelino, Alfredo Mansos and Rolando filed by and for the benefit of all of them. It is obvious
detention of plaintiffs without warrant or under Salutin, on the basis of the alleged failure of said that the respondent judge took umbrage under a
irregular, improper and illegal circumstances; detention plaintiffs to file a motion for reconsideration of the contrived technicality to declare that the dismissal of
of plaintiffs at several undisclosed places of court's resolution of November 8, 1983, granting the the complaint had already become final with respect to
'safehouses" where they were kept incommunicado and respondent's motion to dismiss? some of the plaintiffs whose lawyers did not sign the
subjected to physical and psychological torture and motion for reconsideration. Such action tainted with
other inhuman, degrading and brutal treatment for the It is undisputed that a timely motion to set aside said legal infirmity cannot be sanctioned.
purpose of extracting incriminatory statements. The order of November 8, 1983 was filed by 'plaintiffs,
complaint contains a detailed recital of abuses through counsel. True, the motion was signed only by Accordingly, we grant the petition and annul and set
perpetrated upon the plaintiffs violative of their Atty. Joker P. Arroyo, counsel for Benjamin Sesgulido; aside the resolution of the respondent court, dated
constitutional rights. Atty. Antonio Rosales, counsel for Edwin Lopez and November 8, 1983, its order dated May 11, 1984 and its
Manuel Martin Guzman; Atty. Pedro B. Ella, Jr., resolution dated September 21, 1984. Let the case be
Secondly, neither can it be said that only those shown to counsel for Nestor Bodino and Carlos Palma; Atty. remanded to the respondent court for further
have participated "directly" should be held liable. Arno V. Sanidad, counsel for Arturo Tabara; Atty. proceedings. With costs against private respondents.
Article 32 of the Civil Code encompasses within the Felicitas S. Aquino, counsel for Joseph Olayer; and
ambit of its provisions those directly, as well as Atty. Alexander Padilla, counsel for Rodolfo Benosa. SO ORDERED.
indirectly, responsible for its violation.
G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995 CHUCHI — Hindi m'am, pero ilan beses na nila akong CHUCHI — Mag-eexplain ako.
binalikan, sabing ganoon —
SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner, ESG — Huwag na, hindi ako mag-papa-explain sa 'yo,
vs. ESG — Ito and (sic) masasabi ko sa 'yo, ayaw kung makaalala ka kung paano ka puma-rito. "Putang-ina"
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and ESTER S. (sic) mag explain ka, kasi hanggang 10:00 p.m., sasabi-sabihin mo kamag-anak ng nanay at tatay mo
GARCIA, respondents. kinabukasan hindi ka na pumasok. Ngayon ako ang ang mga magulang ko.
babalik sa 'yo, nag-aaply ka sa States, nag-aaply ka sa
review mo, kung kakailanganin ang certification mo, ESG — Wala na akong pakialam, dahil nandito ka sa
kalimutan mo na kasi hindi ka sa akin makakahingi. loob, nasa labas ka puwede ka ng hindi pumasok, okey
KAPUNAN, J.: yan nasaloob ka umalis ka doon.
CHUCHI — Hindi M'am. Kasi ang ano ko talaga noon
A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro D. i-cocontinue ko up to 10:00 p.m. CHUCHI — Kasi M'am, binbalikan ako ng mga taga
Ramirez in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City Union.
alleging that the private respondent, Ester S. Garcia, in ESG — Bastos ka, nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka
a confrontation in the latter's office, allegedly vexed, pumasok dito sa hotel. Magsumbong ka sa Union kung ESG — Nandiyan na rin ako, pero huwag mong
insulted and humiliated her in a "hostile and furious gusto mo. Nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka kalimutan na hindi ka makakapasok kung hindi ako.
mood" and in a manner offensive to petitioner's dignity nakapasok dito "Do you think that on your own Kung hindi mo kinikilala yan okey lang sa akin, dahil
and personality," contrary to morals, good customs and makakapasok ka kung hindi ako. Panunumbyoyan na tapos ka na.
public policy."1 kita (Sinusumbatan na kita).
CHUCHI — Ina-ano ko m'am na utang na loob.
In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim CHUCHI — Itutuloy ko na M'am sana ang duty ko.
transcript of the event and sought moral damages, ESG — Huwag na lang, hindi mo utang na loob, kasi
attorney's fees and other expenses of litigation in the ESG — Kaso ilang beses na akong binabalikan doon ng kung baga sa no, nilapastangan mo ako.
amount of P610,000.00, in addition to costs, interests mga no (sic) ko.
and other reliefs awardable at the trial court's discretion. CHUCHI — Paano kita nilapastanganan?
The transcript on which the civil case was based was ESG — Nakalimutan mo na ba kung paano ka pumasok
culled from a tape recording of the confrontation made sa hotel, kung on your own merit alam ko naman kung ESG — Mabuti pa lumabas ka na. Hindi na ako
by petitioner.2 The transcript reads as follows: gaano ka "ka bobo" mo. Marami ang nag-aaply alam makikipagusap sa 'yo. Lumabas ka na. Magsumbong
kong hindi ka papasa. ka.3
Plaintiff Soccoro D. Ramirez (Chuchi) — Good
Afternoon M'am. CHUCHI — Kumuha kami ng exam noon. As a result of petitioner's recording of the event and
alleging that the said act of secretly taping the
Defendant Ester S. Garcia (ESG) — Ano ba ang ESG — Oo, pero hindi ka papasa. confrontation was illegal, private respondent filed a
nangyari sa 'yo, nakalimot ka na kung paano ka napunta criminal case before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay
rito, porke member ka na, magsumbong ka kung ano CHUCHI — Eh, bakit ako ang nakuha ni Dr. Tamayo City for violation of Republic Act 4200, entitled "An
ang gagawin ko sa 'yo. Act to prohibit and penalize wire tapping and other
ESG — Kukunin ka kasi ako. related violations of private communication, and other
CHUCHI — Kasi, naka duty ako noon. purposes." An information charging petitioner of
CHUCHI — Eh, di sana — violation of the said Act, dated October 6, 1988 is
ESG — Tapos iniwan no. (Sic) quoted herewith:
ESG — Huwag mong ipagmalaki na may utak ka
kasi wala kang utak. Akala mo ba makukuha ka dito INFORMATION
kung hindi ako.
The Undersigned Assistant City Fiscal Accusses court's order of May 3, 1989 null and void, and holding Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, " An Act to Prohibit
Socorro D. Ramirez of Violation of Republic Act No. that: and Penalized Wire Tapping and Other Related
4200, committed as follows: Violations of Private Communication and Other
[T]he allegations sufficiently constitute an offense Purposes," provides:
That on or about the 22nd day of February, 1988, in punishable under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. In thus
Pasay City Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the quashing the information based on the ground that the Sec. 1. It shall be unlawfull for any person, not being
jurisdiction of this honorable court, the above-named facts alleged do not constitute an offense, the authorized by all the parties to any private
accused, Socorro D. Ramirez not being authorized by respondent judge acted in grave abuse of discretion communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or
Ester S. Garcia to record the latter's conversation with correctible by certiorari.5 cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to
said accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully secretly overhear, intercept, or record such
and feloniously, with the use of a tape recorder secretly Consequently, on February 21, 1990, petitioner filed a communication or spoken word by using a device
record the said conversation and thereafter Motion for Reconsideration which respondent Court of commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or
communicate in writing the contents of the said Appeals denied in its Resolution6 dated June 19, 1990. detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or
recording to other person. Hence, the instant petition. however otherwise described.

Contrary to law. Petitioner vigorously argues, as her "main and principal The aforestated provision clearly and unequivocally
issue"7 that the applicable provision of Republic Act makes it illegal for any person, not authorized by all the
Pasay City, Metro Manila, September 16, 1988. 4200 does not apply to the taping of a private parties to any private communication to secretly record
conversation by one of the parties to the conversation. such communication by means of a tape recorder. The
MARIANO M. CUNETA She contends that the provision merely refers to the law makes no distinction as to whether the party sought
Asst. City Fiscal unauthorized taping of a private conversation by a party to be penalized by the statute ought to be a party other
other than those involved in the communication.8 In than or different from those involved in the private
Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed a relation to this, petitioner avers that the substance or communication. The statute's intent to penalize all
Motion to Quash the Information on the ground that the content of the conversation must be alleged in the persons unauthorized to make such recording is
facts charged do not constitute an offense, particularly a Information, otherwise the facts charged would not underscored by the use of the qualifier "any".
violation of R.A. 4200. In an order May 3, 1989, the constitute a violation of R.A. 4200.9 Finally, petitioner Consequently, as respondent Court of Appeals correctly
trial court granted the Motion to Quash, agreeing with agues that R.A. 4200 penalizes the taping of a "private concluded, "even a (person) privy to a communication
petitioner that 1) the facts charged do not constitute an communication," not a "private conversation" and that who records his private conversation with another
offense under R.A. 4200; and that 2) the violation consequently, her act of secretly taping her conversation without the knowledge of the latter (will) qualify as a
punished by R.A. 4200 refers to a the taping of a with private respondent was not illegal under the said violator" 13 under this provision of R.A. 4200.
communication by a person other than a participant to act. 10
the communication.4 A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records,
We disagree. moreover, supports the respondent court's conclusion
From the trial court's Order, the private respondent filed that in enacting R.A. 4200 our lawmakers indeed
a Petition for Review on Certiorari with this Court, First, legislative intent is determined principally from contemplated to make illegal, unauthorized tape
which forthwith referred the case to the Court of the language of a statute. Where the language of a recording of private conversations or communications
Appeals in a Resolution (by the First Division) of June statute is clear and unambiguous, the law is applied taken either by the parties themselves or by third
19, 1989. according to its express terms, and interpretation would persons. Thus:
be resorted to only where a literal interpretation would
On February 9, 1990, respondent Court of Appeals be either impossible 11 or absurb or would lead to an xxx xxx xxx
promulgated its assailed Decision declaring the trial injustice. 12
Senator Tañada: That qualified only "overhear".
Senator Padilla: So that when it is intercepted or recording is taken, there is no objection to this if all the The unambiguity of the express words of the provision,
recorded, the element of secrecy would not appear to be parties know. It is but fair that the people whose taken together with the above-quoted deliberations from
material. Now, suppose, Your Honor, the recording is remarks and observations are being made should know the Congressional Record, therefore plainly supports the
not made by all the parties but by some parties and that the observations are being recorded. view held by the respondent court that the provision
involved not criminal cases that would be mentioned seeks to penalize even those privy to the private
under section 3 but would cover, for example civil cases Senator Padilla: Now, I can understand. communications. Where the law makes no distinctions,
or special proceedings whereby a recording is made not one does not distinguish.
necessarily by all the parties but perhaps by some in an Senator Tañada: That is why when we take statements
effort to show the intent of the parties because the of persons, we say: "Please be informed that whatever Second, the nature of the conversations is immaterial to
actuation of the parties prior, simultaneous even you say here may be used against you." That is fairness a violation of the statute. The substance of the same
subsequent to the contract or the act may be indicative and that is what we demand. Now, in spite of that need not be specifically alleged in the information.
of their intention. Suppose there is such a recording, warning, he makes damaging statements against his What R.A. 4200 penalizes are the acts of
would you say, Your Honor, that the intention is to own interest, well, he cannot complain any more. But if secretly overhearing, intercepting or recording private
cover it within the purview of this bill or outside? you are going to take a recording of the observations communications by means of the devices enumerated
and remarks of a person without him knowing that it is therein. The mere allegation that an individual made a
Senator Tañada: That is covered by the purview of this being taped or recorded, without him knowing that what secret recording of a private communication by means
bill, Your Honor. is being recorded may be used against him, I think it is of a tape recorder would suffice to constitute an offense
unfair. under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor General
Senator Padilla: Even if the record should be used not in pointed out in his COMMENT before the respondent
the prosecution of offense but as evidence to be used in xxx xxx xxx court: "Nowhere (in the said law) is it required that
Civil Cases or special proceedings? before one can be regarded as a violator, the nature of
(Congression Record, Vol. III, No. 31, p. 584, March the conversation, as well as its communication to a third
Senator Tañada: That is right. This is a complete ban on 12, 1964) person should be professed." 14
tape recorded conversations taken without the
authorization of all the parties. Senator Diokno: Do you understand, Mr. Senator, that Finally, petitioner's contention that the phrase "private
under Section 1 of the bill as now worded, if a party communication" in Section 1 of R.A. 4200 does not
Senator Padilla: Now, would that be reasonable, your secretly records a public speech, he would be penalized include "private conversations" narrows the ordinary
Honor? under Section 1? Because the speech is public, but the meaning of the word "communication" to a point of
recording is done secretly. absurdity. The word communicate comes from the latin
Senator Tañada: I believe it is reasonable because it is word communicare, meaning "to share or to impart." In
not sporting to record the observation of one without Senator Tañada: Well, that particular aspect is not
its ordinary signification, communication connotes the
his knowing it and then using it against him. It is not contemplated by the bill. It is the communication
act of sharing or imparting signification,
fair, it is not sportsmanlike. If the purpose; Your honor, between one person and another person — not between
communication connotes the act of sharing or
is to record the intention of the parties. I believe that all a speaker and a public.
imparting, as in a conversation, 15 or signifies the
the parties should know that the observations are being "process by which meanings or thoughts are shared
recorded. xxx xxx xxx
between individuals through a common system of
(Congressional Record, Vol. III, No. 33, p. 626, March symbols (as language signs or gestures)" 16 These
Senator Padilla: This might reduce the utility of
12, 1964) definitions are broad enough to include verbal or non-
recorders.
verbal, written or expressive communications of
xxx xxx xxx "meanings or thoughts" which are likely to include the
Senator Tañada: Well no. For example, I was to say that
emotionally-charged exchange, on February 22, 1988,
in meetings of the board of directors where a tape
between petitioner and private respondent, in the unauthorized "recording" of private communications
privacy of the latter's office. Any doubts about the with the use of tape-recorders as among the acts
legislative body's meaning of the phrase "private punishable.
communication" are, furthermore, put to rest by the fact
that the terms "conversation" and "communication" WHEREFORE, because the law, as applied to the case
were interchangeably used by Senator Tañada in his at bench is clear and unambiguous and leaves us with
Explanatory Note to the bill quoted below: no discretion, the instant petition is hereby DENIED.
The decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. Costs
It has been said that innocent people have nothing to against petitioner.
fear from their conversations being overheard. But this
statement ignores the usual nature of conversations as SO ORDERED.
well the undeniable fact that most, if not all, civilized
people have some aspects of their lives they do not wish
to expose. Free conversationsare often characterized by
exaggerations, obscenity, agreeable falsehoods, and the
expression of anti-social desires of views not intended
to be taken seriously. The right to the privacy of
communication, among others, has expressly been
assured by our Constitution. Needless to state here, the
framers of our Constitution must have recognized the
nature of conversations between individuals and the
significance of man's spiritual nature, of his feelings
and of his intellect. They must have known that part of
the pleasures and satisfactions of life are to be found in
the unaudited, and free exchange
of communication between individuals — free from
every unjustifiable intrusion by whatever means.17

In Gaanan vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 18 a case


which dealt with the issue of telephone wiretapping, we
held that the use of a telephone extension for the
purpose of overhearing a private conversation without
authorization did not violate R.A. 4200 because a
telephone extension devise was neither among those
"device(s) or arrangement(s)" enumerated
therein, 19 following the principle that "penal statutes
must be construed strictly in favor of the
accused."20 The instant case turns on a different note,
because the applicable facts and circumstances pointing
to a violation of R.A. 4200 suffer from no ambiguity,
and the statute itself explicitly mentions the
CECILIA ZULUETA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF as nominal damages; P5,000.00, as moral damages and On the alleged malpractice or gross misconduct of
APPEALS and ALFREDO MARTIN, respondents. attorneys fees; and to pay the costs of the suit. The writ respondent [Alfonso Felix, Jr.], he maintains that:
of preliminary injunction earlier issued was made final
DECISION and petitioner Cecilia Zulueta and her attorneys and xxx xxx xxx
representatives were enjoined from using or
MENDOZA, J.: submitting/admitting as evidence the documents and 4. When respondent refiled Cecilias case for legal
papers in question. On appeal, the Court of Appeals separation before the Pasig Regional Trial Court, there
This is a petition to review the decision of the Court of affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court. was admittedly an order of the Manila Regional Trial
Appeals, affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Hence this petition. Court prohibiting Cecilia from using the documents
Court of Manila (Branch X) which ordered petitioner to Annex A-I to J-7. On September 6, 1983, however
return documents and papers taken by her from private There is no question that the documents and papers in having appealed the said order to this Court on a
respondents clinic without the latters knowledge and question belong to private respondent, Dr. Alfredo petition for certiorari, this Court issued a restraining
consent. Martin, and that they were taken by his wife, the herein order on aforesaid date which order temporarily set
petitioner, without his knowledge and consent. For that aside the order of the trial court. Hence, during the
The facts are as follows: reason, the trial court declared the documents and enforceability of this Courts order, respondents request
papers to be properties of private respondent, ordered for petitioner to admit the genuineness and authenticity
Petitioner Cecilia Zulueta is the wife of private of the subject annexes cannot be looked upon as
petitioner to return them to private respondent and
respondent Alfredo Martin. On March 26, 1982, malpractice. Notably, petitioner Dr. Martin finally
enjoined her from using them in evidence. In appealing
petitioner entered the clinic of her husband, a doctor of admitted the truth and authenticity of the questioned
from the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the
medicine, and in the presence of her mother, a driver annexes. At that point in time, would it have been
trial courts decision, petitioners only ground is that
and private respondents secretary, forcibly opened the malpractice for respondent to use petitioners admission
in Alfredo Martin v. Alfonso Felix, Jr.,1 this Court ruled
drawers and cabinet in her husbands clinic and took 157 as evidence against him in the legal separation case
that the documents and papers (marked as Annexes A-i
documents consisting of private correspondence pending in the Regional Trial Court of Makati?
to J-7 of respondents comment in that case) were
between Dr. Martin and his alleged paramours, Respondent submits it is- not malpractice.
admissible in evidence and, therefore, their use by
greetings cards, cancelled checks, diaries, Dr. Martins
petitioners attorney, Alfonso Felix, Jr., did not
passport, and photographs. The documents and papers Significantly, petitioners admission was done not thru
constitute malpractice or gross misconduct. For this
were seized for use in evidence in a case for legal his counsel but by Dr. Martin himself under oath. Such
reason it is contended that the Court of Appeals erred in
separation and for disqualification from the practice of verified admission constitutes an affidavit, and,
affirming the decision of the trial court instead of
medicine which petitioner had filed against her therefore, receivable in evidence against him. Petitioner
dismissing private respondents complaint.
husband. became bound by his admission. For Cecilia to avail
Petitioners contention has no merit. The case against herself of her husbands admission and use the same in
Dr. Martin brought this action below for recovery of the her action for legal separation cannot be treated as
Atty. Felix, Jr. was for disbarment. Among other things,
documents and papers and for damages against malpractice.
private respondent, Dr. Alfredo Martin, as complainant
petitioner. The case was filed with the Regional Trial
in that case, charged that in using the documents in
Court of Manila, Branch X, which, after trial, rendered Thus, the acquittal of Atty. Felix, Jr. in the
evidence, Atty. Felix, Jr. committed malpractice or
judgment for private respondent, Dr. Alfredo Martin, administrative case amounts to no more than a
gross misconduct because of the injunctive order of the
declaring him the capital/exclusive owner of the declaration that his use of the documents and papers for
trial court. In dismissing the complaint against Atty.
properties described in paragraph 3 of plaintiffs the purpose of securing Dr. Martins admission as to
Felix, Jr., this Court took note of the following defense
Complaint or those further described in the Motion to their genuiness and authenticity did not constitute a
of Atty. Felix, Jr. which it found to be impressed with
Return and Suppress and ordering Cecilia Zulueta and violation of the injunctive order of the trial court. By no
merit:2
any person acting in her behalf to immediately return means does the decision in that case establish the
the properties to Dr. Martin and to pay him P5,000.00, admissibility of the documents and papers in question.
It cannot be overemphasized that if Atty. Felix, Jr. was is freedom of communication; quite another is a
acquitted of the charge of violating the writ of compulsion for each one to share what one knows with
preliminary injunction issued by the trial court, it was the other. And this has nothing to do with the duty of
only because, at the time he used the documents and fidelity that each owes to the other.
papers, enforcement of the order of the trial court was
temporarily restrained by this Court. The TRO issued WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED for
by this Court was eventually lifted as the petition for lack of merit.
certiorari filed by petitioner against the trial courts order
was dismissed and, therefore, the prohibition against the
further use of the documents and papers became
effective again.

Indeed the documents and papers in question are


inadmissible in evidence. The constitutional injunction
declaring the privacy of communication and
correspondence [to be] inviolable3is no less applicable
simply because it is the wife (who thinks herself
aggrieved by her husbands infidelity) who is the party
against whom the constitutional provision is to be
enforced. The only exception to the prohibition in the
Constitution is if there is a lawful order [from a] court
or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as
prescribed by law.4 Any violation of this provision
renders the evidence obtained inadmissible for any
purpose in any proceeding.5

The intimacies between husband and wife do not justify


any one of them in breaking the drawers and cabinets of
the other and in ransacking them for any telltale
evidence of marital infidelity. A person, by contracting
marriage, does not shed his/her integrity or his right to
privacy as an individual and the constitutional
protection is ever available to him or to her.

The law insures absolute freedom of communication


between the spouses by making it privileged. Neither
husband nor wife may testify for or against the other
without the consent of the affected spouse while the
marriage subsists.6 Neither may be examined without
the consent of the other as to any communication
received in confidence by one from the other during the
marriage, save for specified exceptions.7 But one thing
WATEROUS DRUG CORPORATION and MS. As regards the first memorandum, Catolico did not deny unaware of the overprice. However, upon conversation
EMMA CO, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL LABOR her responsibility but explained that her act was due to with Ms. Saldana, EDRC Espana Pharmacy Clerk, she
RELATIONS COMMISSION and ANTONIA negligence, since fellow employee Irene Soliven confirmed that the check amounting to P640.00 was
MELODIA CATOLICO, respondents. obtained the medicines in bad faith and through actually received by Ms. Catolico. As a matter of fact,
misrepresentation when she claimed that she was given Ms. Catolico even asked Ms. Saldana if she opened the
DECISION a charge slip by the Admitting Dept. Catolico then envelope containing the check but Ms. Saldana
asked the company to look into the fraudulent activities answered her talagang ganyan, bukas. It appears that the
DAVIDE, JR. J.: of Soliven.[8] amount in question (P640.00) had been pocketed by
Ms. Catolico.[10]
Nor is he a true Servant [who] buys dear to share in the In a memorandum[9] dated 21 November 1989,
Profit with the Seller.[1] WATEROUS Supervisor Luzviminda E. Bautro warned Forthwith, in her memorandum[11] dated 31 January
Catolico against the rush delivery of medicines without 1990, Co asked Catolico to explain, within twenty-four
This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules the proper documents. hours, her side of the reported irregularity. Catolico
of Court seeks to declare private respondent Antonia asked for additional time to give her explanation,[12] and
Melodia Catolico (hereafter Catolico) not a true On 29 January 1990, WATEROUS Control Clerk she was granted a 48-hour extension from 1 to 3
Servant, thereby assailing the 30 September 1993 Eugenio Valdez informed Co that he noticed an February 1990. However, on 2 February 1990, she was
decision[2] and 2 December 1993 Resolution[3] of the irregularity involving Catolico and Yung Shin informed that effective 6 February 1990 to 7 March
National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (hereafter YSP), which he 1990, she would be placed on preventive suspension to
NLRC-NCR CA No. 005160-93, which sustained the described as follows: protect the interests of the company.[13]
reinstatement and monetary awards in favor of private
respondent[4] and denied the petitioners motion for A case in point is medicine purchased under our In a letter dated 2 February 1990, Catolico requested
reconsideration.[5] Purchase Order (P.O.) No. 19045 with YSP Sales access to the file containing Sales Invoice No. 266 for
Invoice No. 266 representing purchase of ten (10) her to be able to make a satisfactory explanation. In said
The facts are as follows: bottles of Voren tablets at P384.00 per unit. Previous letter she protested Saldaas invasion of her privacy
P.O.s issued to YSP, Inc. showed that the price per when Saldaa opened an envelope addressed to
Catolico was hired as a pharmacist by petitioner bottle is P320.00 while P.O. No. 19045 is priced Catolico.[14]
Waterous Drug Corporation (hereafter WATEROUS) at P384.00 or an over price of P64.00 per bottle (or total
on 15 August 1988. of P640.00). WDRC paid the amount of P3,840.00 thru In a letter[15] to Co dated 10 February 1990, Catolico,
MBTC Check No. 222832 dated December 15, 1988. through her counsel, explained that the check she
On 31 July 1989, Catolico received a
Verification was made to YSP, Inc. to determine the received from YSP was a Christmas gift and not a
memorandum[6] from WATEROUS Vice President-
discrepancy and it was found that the cost per bottle refund of overprice. She also averred that the preventive
General Manager Emma R. Co warning her not to
was indeed overpriced. YSP, Inc. Accounting suspension was ill-motivated, as it sprang from an
dispense medicine to employees chargeable to the
Department (Ms. Estelita Reyes) confirmed that the earlier incident between her and Cos secretary, Irene
latters accounts because the same was a prohibited
difference represents refund of jack-up price of ten Soliven.
practice. On the same date, Co issued another
bottles of Voren tablets per sales invoice no. 266 as per
memorandum[7] to Catolico warning her not to negotiate On 5 March 1990, WATEROUS Supervisor
their check voucher no. 629552 (shown to the
with suppliers of medicine without consulting the Luzviminda Bautro, issued a memorandum[16] notifying
undersigned), which was paid to Ms. Catolico through
Purchasing Department, as this would impair the Catolico of her termination; thus:
China Bank check no. 892068 dated November 9,
companys control of purchases and, besides she was not
1989....
authorized to deal directly with the suppliers. We received your letter of explanation and your
The undersigned talked to Ms. Catolico regarding the lawyer's letter dated Feb. 2, 1990 and Feb. 10, 1990
check but she denied having received it and that she is respectively regarding our imposition of preventive
suspension on you for acts of dishonesty.However, said Separation pay (3 years) 4,305.15 III. Public respondent gravely erred in applying Section
letters failed to rebut the evidences [sic] in our 3, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
possession which clearly shows that as a Pharmacist TOTAL AWARD: P35,401.86
stationed at Espana Branch, you actually made Purchase As to the first and second grounds, petitioners insist that
Orders at YSP Phils., Inc. for 10 bottles of Voren tablets Petitioners seasonably appealed from the decision and Catolico had been receiving commissions from YSP, or
at P384.00/bottle with previous price of P320.00/bottle urged the NLRC to set it aside because the Labor probably from other suppliers, and that the check issued
only. A check which you received in the amount Arbiter erred in finding that Catolico was denied due to her on 9 November 1989 was not the first or the
of P640.00 actually represents the refund of over price process and that there was no just cause to terminate her last. They also maintained that Catolico occupied a
of said medicines and this was confirmed by Ms. services. confidential position and that Catolicos receipt of YSPs
Estelita Reyes, YSP Phils., Inc. Accounting check, aggravated by her propensity to violate company
Department. In its decision[19] of 30 September 1993, the NLRC rules, constituted breach of confidence. And contrary to
affirmed the findings of the Labor Arbiter on the ground the findings of NLRC, Catolico was given ample
Your actuation constitutes an act of dishonesty that petitioners were not able to prove a just cause for opportunity to explain her side of the controversy.
detrimental to the interest of the company. Accordingly, Catolicos dismissal from her employment. It found that
you are hereby terminated effective March 8, 1990. petitioners evidence consisted only of the check Anent the third ground, petitioners submit that, in light
of P640.00 drawn by YSP in favor of complainant, of the decision in the People v. Marti,[21] the
On 5 May 1990, Catolico filed before the Office of the which her co-employee saw when the latter opened the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches
Labor Arbiter a complaint for unfair labor practice, envelope. But, it declared that the check was and seizures refers to the immunity of ones person from
illegal dismissal, and illegal suspension.[17] inadmissible in evidence pursuant to Sections 2 and 3(1 interference by government and cannot be extended to
and 2) of Article III of the Constitution.[20] It concluded: acts committed by private individuals so as to bring it
In his decision[18] of 10 May 1993, Labor Arbiter Alex within the ambit of alleged unlawful intrusion by the
Arcadio Lopez found no proof of unfair labor practice With the smoking gun evidence of respondents being government.
against petitioners. Nevertheless, he decided in favor of rendered inadmissible, by virtue of the constitutional
Catolico because petitioners failed to prove what [they] right invoked by complainants, respondents case falls In its Manifestation in Lieu of Comment, the Office of
alleged as complainants dishonesty, and to show that apart as it is bereft of evidence which cannot be used as the Solicitor General (OSG) disagreed with the NLRC's
any investigation was conducted. Hence, the dismissal a legal basis for complainants dismissal. decision, as it was of the persuasion that (a) the
was without just cause and due process. He thus conclusions reached by public respondent are
declared the dismissal and suspension illegal but The NLRC then dismissed the appeal for lack of merit, inconsistent with its findings of fact; and (b) the
disallowed reinstatement, as it would not be to the best but modified the dispositive portion of the appealed incident involving the opening of envelope addressed to
interest of the parties. Accordingly, he awarded decision by deleting the award for illegal suspension as private respondent does not warrant the application of
separation pay to Catolico computed at one-half months the same was already included in the computation of the the constitutional provisions. It observed that Catolico
pay for every year of service; back wages for one year; aggregate of the awards in the amount of P35,401.86. was given several opportunities to explain her side of
and the additional sum of P2,000.00 for illegal the check controversy, and concluded that the
suspension representing 30 days work. Arbiter Lopez Their motion for reconsideration having been denied, opportunities granted her and her subsequent
computed the award in favor of Catolico as follows: petitioners filed this special civil action for certiorari, explanation satisfy the requirements of just cause and
which is anchored on the following grounds: due process. The OSG was also convinced that
30 days Preventive Suspension P 2,000.00 Catolicos dismissal was based on just cause and that
I. Public respondent committed grave abuse of
Catolicos admission of the existence of the check, as
Backwages 26,858.50 discretion in its findings of facts.
well as her lame excuse that it was a Christmas gift
from YSP, constituted substantial evidence of
1/12 of P26,858.50 2,238.21 II. Due process was duly accorded to private
dishonesty. Finally, the OSG echoed petitioners
respondent.
argument that there was no violation of the right of
privacy of communication in this case,[22] adding that was doing the task of a saleslady: selling drugs and who claims to have discovered Catolicos inappropriate
petitioner WATEROUS was justified in opening an making requisitions when supplies were low. transaction, stated in his affidavit:[26]
envelope from one of its regular suppliers as it could
assume that the letter was a business communication in A thorough review of the record leads us to no other 4. My findings revealed that on or before the month of
which it had an interest. conclusion than that, except as to the third ground, the July 31, 1989, Ms. Catolico in violation of the
instant petition must fail. [company] procedure, made an under the table deal with
In its Comment which we required to be filed in view of YSP Phils. to supply WDRC needed medicines like
the adverse stand of the OSG, the NLRC contends that Concededly, Catolico was denied due Voren tablets at a jack-up price of P384.00 per bottle of
petitioners miserably failed to prove their claim that it process. Procedural due process requires that an 50 mg. which has a previous price of only P320.00;
committed grave abuse of discretion in its findings of employee be apprised of the charge against him, given
fact. It then prays that we dismiss this petition. reasonable time to answer the charge, allowed ample 5. I verified the matter to YSP Phils. to determine the
opportunity to be heard and defend himself, and assisted discrepancy and I found out that the cost per bottle was
In her Comment, Catolico asserts that petitioners by a representative if the employee so desires.[23] Ample indeed overpriced. The Accounting Department of YSP
evidence is too flimsy to justify her dismissal. The opportunity connotes every kind of assistance that Phils. through Ms. Estelita Reyes confirmed that there
check in issue was given to her, and she had no duty to management must accord the employee to enable him to was really an overprice and she said that the difference
turn it over to her employer.Company rules do not prepare adequately for his defense, including legal was refunded through their check voucher no. 629552
prohibit an employee from accepting gifts from clients, representation.[24] which was shown to me and the payee is Melodia
and there is no indication in the contentious check that Catolico, through a China Bank Check No. 892068
it was meant as a refund for overpriced In the case at bar, although Catolico was given an dated November 9, 1989.
medicines.Besides, the check was discovered in opportunity to explain her side, she was dismissed from
violation of the constitutional provision on the right to the service in the memorandum of 5 March 1990 issued It clearly appears then that Catolicos dismissal was
privacy and communication; hence, as correctly held by by her Supervisor after receipt of her letter and that of based on hearsay information. Estelita Reyes never
the NLRC, it was inadmissible in evidence. her counsel. No hearing was ever conducted after the testified nor executed an affidavit relative to this case;
issues were joined through said letters. The Supervisors thus, we have to reject the statements attributed to her
Catolico likewise disputes petitioners claim that the memorandum spoke of evidences [sic] in by Valdez. Hearsay evidence carries no probative
audit report and her initial response that she never [WATEROUS] possession, which were not, however, value.[27]
received a check were sufficient to justify her submitted. What the evidences [sic] other than the sales
dismissal. When she denied having received a check invoice and the check were, only the Supervisor knew. Besides, it was never shown that petitioners paid for the
from YSP, she meant that she did not receive any Voren tablets. While Valdez informed Co, through the
refund of overprice, consistent with her position that Catolico was also unjustly dismissed. It is settled that formers memorandum[28] of 29 January 1990, that
what she received was a token gift. All that can be the burden is on the employer to prove just and valid WATEROUS paid YSP P3,840.00 thru MBTC Check
gathered from the audit report is that there was cause for dismissing an employee, and its failure to No. 222832, the said check was never presented in
apparently an overcharge, with no basis to conclude that discharge that burden would result in a finding that the evidence, nor was any receipt from YSP offered by
Catolico pocketed the amount in collusion with dismissal is unjustified.[25] Here, WATEROUS proved petitioners.
YSP. She thus concluded that her dismissal was based unequal to the task.
on a mere suspicion. Moreover, the two purchase orders for Voren tablets
It is evident from the Supervisors memorandum that presented by petitioners do not indicate an
Finally, Catolico insists that she could not have Catolico was dismissed because of an alleged overcharge. The purchase order dated 16 August
breached the trust and confidence of WATEROUS anomalous transaction with YSP. Unfortunately for 1989[29] stated that the Voren tablets cost P320.00 per
because, being merely a pharmacist, she did not handle petitioners, their evidence does not establish that there box, while the purchase order dated 5 October
confidential information or sensitive properties. She was an overcharge. Control Clerk Eugenio C. Valdez, 1989[30] priced the Voren tablets at P384.00 per
bottle. The difference in price may then be attributed to claims, that the citizens have no recourse against such
the different packaging used in each purchase order. assaults. On the contrary, and as said counsel admits,
such an invasion gives rise to both criminal and civil
Assuming that there was an overcharge, the two liabilities.
purchase orders for the Voren tablets were
recommended by Director-MMG Mario R. Panuncio, Finally, since it has been determined by the Labor
verified by AVP-MNG Noli M. Lopez and approved by Arbiter that Catolicos reinstatement would not be to the
Vice President-General Manager Emma R. Co. The best interest of the parties, he correctly awarded
purchase orders were silent as to Catolicos participation separation pay to Catolico.Separation pay in lieu of
in the purchase. If the price increase was objectionable reinstatement is computed at one months salary for
to petitioners, they or their officers should have every year of service.[35] In this case, however, Labor
disapproved the transaction. Consequently, petitioners Arbiter Lopez computed the separation pay at one-half
had no one to blame for their predicament but months salary for every year of service. Catolico did not
themselves. This set of facts emphasizes the oppose or raise an objection. As such, we will uphold
exceedingly incredible situation proposed by the award of separation pay as fixed by the Labor
petitioners. Despite the memorandum warning Catolico Arbiter.
not to negotiate with suppliers of medicine, there was
no proof that she ever transacted, or that she had the WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby
opportunity to transact, with the said suppliers. Again, DISMISSED and the challenged decision and resolution
as the purchase orders indicate, Catolico was not at all of the National Labor Relations Commission dated 30
involved in the sale of the Voren tablets. There was no September 1993 and 2 December 1993, respectively, in
occasion for Catolico to initiate, much less benefit from, NLRC-NCR CA No. 005160-93 are AFFIRMED,
what Valdez called an under the table deal with YSP. except as to its reason for upholding the Labor Arbiters
decision, viz., that the evidence against private
Catolicos dismissal then was obviously grounded on respondent was inadmissible for having been obtained
mere suspicion, which in no case can justify an in violation of her constitutional rights of privacy of
employees dismissal. Suspicion is not among the valid communication and against unreasonable searches and
causes provided by the Labor Code for the termination seizures which is hereby set aside.
of employment;[31] and even the dismissal of an
employee for loss of trust and confidence must rest on Costs against petitioners.
substantial grounds and not on the employers
arbitrariness, whims, caprices, or suspicion.[32] Besides, SO ORDERED.
Catolico was not shown to be a managerial employee,
to which class of employees the term trust and
confidence is restricted.[33]

As regards the constitutional violation upon which the


NLRC anchored its decision, we find no reason to
revise the doctrine laid down in People vs. Marti[34] that
the Bill of Rights does not protect citizens from
unreasonable searches and seizures perpetrated by
private individuals. It is not true, as counsel for Catolico
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff- P/Lt. Jose Domingo.Based on their testimonies, the of Property Seized was prepared for the confiscated
appellee, vs. ROSA ARUTA y MENGUIN, accused- court a quo found the following: marijuana leaves.
appellant.
On December 13, 1988, P/Lt. Abello was tipped off by Upon examination of the seized marijuana specimen at
DECISION his informant, known only as Benjie, that a certain the PC/INP Crime Laboratory, Camp Olivas,
Aling Rosa would be arriving from Baguio City the Pampanga, P/Maj. Marlene Salangad, a Forensic
ROMERO, J.: following day, December 14, 1988, with a large volume Chemist, prepared a Technical Report stating that said
of marijuana. Acting on said tip, P/Lt. Abello assembled specimen yielded positive results for marijuana, a
With the pervasive proliferation of illegal drugs and its a team composed of P/Lt. Jose Domingo, Sgt. Angel prohibited drug.
pernicious effects on our society, our law enforcers tend Sudiacal, Sgt. Oscar Imperial, Sgt. Danilo Santiago and
at times to overreach themselves in apprehending drug Sgt. Efren Quirubin. After the presentation of the testimonies of the arresting
offenders to the extent of failing to observe well- officers and of the above technical report, the
entrenched constitutional guarantees against illegal Said team proceeded to West Bajac-Bajac, Olongapo prosecution rested its case.
searches and arrests. Consequently, drug offenders City at around 4:00 in the afternoon of December 14,
manage to evade the clutches of the law on mere 1988 and deployed themselves near the Philippine Instead of presenting its evidence, the defense filed a
technicalities. National Bank (PNB) building along Rizal Avenue and Demurrer to Evidence alleging the illegality of the
the Caltex gasoline station. Dividing themselves into search and seizure of the items thereby violating
Accused-appellant Rosa Aruta y Menguin was arrested two groups, one group, made up of P/Lt. Abello, P/Lt. accused-appellants constitutional right against
and charged with violating Section 4, Article II of Domingo and the informant posted themselves near the unreasonable search and seizure as well as
Republic Act No. 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs PNB building while the other group waited near the their inadmissibility in evidence.
Act. The information reads: Caltex gasoline station.
The said Demurrer to Evidence was, however, denied
That on or about the fourteenth (14th) day of December, While thus positioned, a Victory Liner Bus with body without the trial court ruling on the alleged illegality of
1988, in the City of Olongapo, Philippines, and within number 474 and the letters BGO printed on its front and the search and seizure and the inadmissibility in
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- back bumpers stopped in front of the PNB building at evidence of the items seized to avoid pre-
named accused, without being lawfully authorized, did around 6:30 in the evening of the same day from where judgment. Instead, the trial court continued to hear the
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly two females and a male got off. It was at this stage that case.
engage in transporting approximately eight (8) kilos and the informant pointed out to the team Aling Rosa who
five hundred (500) grams of dried marijuana packed in was then carrying a travelling bag. In view of said denial, accused-appellant testified on her
plastic bag marked Cash Katutak placed in a travelling behalf. As expected, her version of the incident differed
bag, which are prohibited drugs. Having ascertained that accused-appellant was Aling from that of the prosecution. She claimed that
Rosa, the team approached her and introduced immediately prior to her arrest, she had just come from
Upon arraignment, she pleaded not guilty. After trial on themselves as NARCOM agents. When P/Lt. Abello Choice Theater where she watched the movie
the merits, the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City asked Aling Rosa about the contents of her bag, the Balweg. While about to cross the road, an old woman
convicted and sentenced her to suffer the penalty of life latter handed it to the former. asked her help in carrying a shoulder bag. In the middle
imprisonment and to pay a fine of twenty thousand of the road, Lt. Abello and Lt. Domingo arrested her
(P20,000.00) pesos.[1] Upon inspection, the bag was found to contain dried and asked her to go with them to the NARCOM Office.
marijuana leaves packed in a plastic bag marked Cash
The prosecution substantially relied on the testimonies Katutak. The team confiscated the bag together with the During investigation at said office, she disclaimed any
of P/Lt. Ernesto Abello, Officer-in-Charge of the Victory Liner bus ticket to which Lt. Domingo affixed knowledge as to the identity of the woman and averred
Narcotics Command (NARCOM) of Olongapo City and his signature. Accused-appellant was then brought to that the old woman was nowhere to be found after she
the NARCOM office for investigation where a Receipt
was arrested.Moreover, she added that no search These submissions are impressed with merit. Section 3(2). Any evidence obtained in violation of this
warrant was shown to her by the arresting officers. or the preceding section shall be inadmissible in
In People v. Ramos,[3] this Court held that a search may evidence for any purpose in any proceeding.
After the prosecution made a formal offer of evidence, be conducted by law enforcers only on the strength of a
the defense filed a Comment and/or Objection to search warrant validly issued by a judge as provided in From the foregoing, it can be said that the State cannot
Prosecutions Formal Offer of Evidence contesting the Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution which simply intrude indiscriminately into the houses, papers,
admissibility of the items seized as they were allegedly provides: effects, and most importantly, on the person of an
a product of an unreasonable search and seizure. individual. The constitutional provision guaranteed an
Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their impenetrable shield against unreasonable searches and
Not convinced with her version of the incident, the persons, houses, papers, and effects against seizures. As such, it protects the privacy and sanctity of
Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City convicted unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature the person himself against unlawful arrests and other
accused-appellant of transporting eight (8) kilos and and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search forms of restraint.[6]
five hundred (500) grams of marijuana from Baguio warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon
City to Olongapo City in violation of Section 4, Article probable cause to be determined personally by the judge Therewithal, the right of a person to be secured against
11 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, otherwise known as after examination under oath or affirmation of the any unreasonable seizure of his body and any
the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 and sentenced her to complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and deprivation of his liberty is a most basic and
life imprisonment and to pay a fine of twenty thousand particularly describing the place to be searched and the fundamental one. A statute, rule or situation which
(P20,000.00) pesos without subsidiary imprisonment in persons or things to be seized. allows exceptions to the requirement of a warrant of
case of insolvency.[2] arrest or search warrant must perforce be strictly
This constitutional guarantee is not a blanket construed and their application limited only to cases
In this appeal, accused-appellant submits the following: prohibition against all searches and seizures as it specifically provided or allowed by law. To do
operates only against unreasonable searches and otherwise is an infringement upon personal liberty and
1. The trial court erred in holding that the NARCOM seizures. The plain import of the language of the would set back a right so basic and deserving of full
agents could not apply for a warrant for the search of a Constitution, which in one sentence prohibits protection and vindication yet often violated.[7]
bus or a passenger who boarded a bus because one of unreasonable searches and seizures and at the same time
the requirements for applying a search warrant is that prescribes the requisites for a valid warrant, is that The following cases are specifically provided or
the place to be searched must be specifically designated searches and seizures are normally unreasonable unless allowed by law:
and described. authorized by a validly issued search warrant or warrant
of arrest. Thus, the fundamental protection accorded by 1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful
2. The trial court erred in holding or assuming that if a the search and seizure clause is that between person and arrest recognized under Section 12, Rule 126 of the
search warrant was applied for by the NARCOM police must stand the protective authority of a Rules of Court[8] and by prevailing jurisprudence;
agents, still no court would issue a search warrant for magistrate clothed with power to issue or refuse to issue
the reason that the same would be considered a general search warrants or warrants of arrest.[4] 2. Seizure of evidence in plain view, the elements of
search warrant which may be quashed. which are:
Further, articles which are the product of unreasonable
3. The trial court erred in not finding that the searches and seizures are inadmissible as evidence (a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless
warrantless search resulting to the arrest of accused- pursuant to the doctrine pronounced in Stonehill v. arrest in which the police are legally present in the
appellant violated the latters constitutional rights. Diokno.[5] This exclusionary rule was later enshrined in pursuit of their official duties;
Article III, Section 3(2) of the Constitution, thus:
4. The trial court erred in not holding that although the (b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the
defense of denial is weak yet the evidence of the police who had the right to be where they are;
prosecution is even weaker.
(c) the evidence must be immediately apparent, and It ought to be emphasized that in determining probable In instant case, the apprehending officers already had
cause, the average man weighs facts and circumstances prior knowledge from their informant regarding Arutas
(d) plain view justified mere seizure of evidence without resorting to the calibrations of our rules of alleged activities. In Tangliben policemen were
without further search; evidence of which his knowledge is technically confronted with an on-the-spot tip. Moreover, the
nil. Rather, he relies on the calculus of common sense policemen knew that the Victory Liner compound is
3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the which all reasonable men have in abundance. The same being used by drug traffickers as their business
government, the vehicles inherent mobility reduces quantum of evidence is required in determining address. More significantly, Tangliben was acting
expectation of privacy especially when its transit in probable cause relative to search. Before a search suspiciously.His actuations and surrounding
public thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable warrant can be issued, it must be shown by substantial circumstances led the policemen to reasonably suspect
suspicion amounting to probable cause that the evidence that the items sought are in fact seizable by that Tangliben is committing a crime. In instant case,
occupant committed a criminal activity; virtue of being connected with criminal activity, and there is no single indication that Aruta was acting
that the items will be found in the place to be suspiciously.
4. Consented warrantless search; searched.[13]
In People v. Malmstedt,[15] the Narcom agents received
5. Customs search;[9] In searches and seizures effected without a warrant, it is reports that vehicles coming from Sagada were
necessary for probable cause to be present. Absent any transporting marijuana. They likewise received
6. Stop and Frisk;[10] and
probable cause, the article(s) seized could not be information that a Caucasian coming from Sagada had
admitted and used as evidence against the person prohibited drugs on his person. There was no
7. Exigent and Emergency Circumstances.[11]
arrested. Probable cause, in these cases, must only be reasonable time to obtain a search warrant, especially
The above exceptions, however, should not become based on reasonable ground of suspicion or belief that a since the identity of the suspect could not be readily
unbridled licenses for law enforcement officers to crime has been committed or is about to be committed. ascertained. His actuations also aroused the
trample upon the constitutionally guaranteed and more suspicion of the officers conducting the operation. The
In our jurisprudence, there are instances where Court held that in light of such circumstances, to
fundamental right of persons against unreasonable
information has become a sufficient probable cause to deprive the agents of the ability and facility to act
search and seizures. The essential requisite of probable
effect a warrantless search and seizure. promptly, including a search without a warrant, would
cause must still be satisfied before a warrantless search
and seizure can be lawfully conducted. be to sanction impotence and ineffectiveness in law
In People v. Tangliben,[14] acting on information enforcement, to the detriment of society.
supplied by informers, police officers conducted a
Although probable cause eludes exact and concrete
surveillance at the Victory Liner Terminal compound in Note, however, the glaring differences of Malmstedt to
definition, it generally signifies a reasonable ground of
San Fernando, Pampanga against persons who may the instant case. In present case, the police officers had
suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently
commit misdemeanors and also on those who may be reasonable time within which to secure a search
strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man to
engaging in the traffic of dangerous drugs. At 9:30 in warrant. Second, Arutas identity was priorly
believe that the person accused is guilty of the offense
the evening, the policemen noticed a person carrying a ascertained. Third, Aruta was not acting
with which he is charged. It likewise refers to the
red travelling bag who was acting suspiciously. They suspiciously. Fourth, Malmstedt was searched aboard a
existence of such facts and circumstances which could
confronted him and requested him to open his bag but moving vehicle, a legally accepted exception to the
lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe
he refused. He acceded later on when the policemen warrant requirement.Aruta, on the other hand, was
that an offense has been committed and that the item(s),
identified themselves.Inside the bag were marijuana searched while about to cross a street.
article(s) or object(s) sought in connection with said
leaves wrapped in a plastic wrapper. The police officers
offense or subject to seizure and destruction by law is in
only knew of the activities of Tangliben on the night of In People v. Bagista,[16] the NARCOM officers had
the place to be searched.[12]
his arrest. probable cause to stop and search all vehicles coming
from the north to Acop, Tublay, Benguet in view of the
confidential information they received from their
regular informant that a woman having the same the law enforcement officers received information from in accordance with Administrative Circular No. 13 and
appearance as that of accused-appellant would be an informant named Benjie that a certain Aling Rosa Circular No. 19, series of 1987, the lawmen could have
bringing marijuana from up north. They likewise had would be leaving for Baguio City on December 14, applied for a warrant even after court hours. The failure
probable cause to search accused-appellants belongings 1988 and would be back in the afternoon of the same or neglect to secure one cannot serve as an excuse for
since she fitted the description given by the NARCOM day carrying with her a large volume of marijuana; violating Encinadas constitutional right.
informant. Since there was a valid warrantless search by (2) At 6:30 in the evening of December 14, 1988,
the NARCOM agents, any evidence obtained in the accused-appellant alighted from a Victory Liner Bus In the instant case, the NARCOM agents were
course of said search is admissible against accused- carrying a travelling bag even as the informant pointed admittedly not armed with a warrant of arrest. To
appellant. Again, this case differs from Aruta as this her out to the law enforcement officers; (3) The law legitimize the warrantless search and seizure of
involves a search of a moving vehicle plus the fact that enforcement officers approached her and introduced accused-appellants bag, accused-appellant must have
the police officers erected a checkpoint. Both are themselves as NARCOM agents; (4) When asked by Lt. been validly arrested under Section 5 of Rule 113 which
exceptions to the requirements of a search warrant. Abello about the contents of her travelling bag, she provides inter alia:
gave the same to him; (5) When they opened the same,
In Manalili v. Court of Appeals and People,[17] the they found dried marijuana leaves; (6) Accused- Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace
policemen conducted a surveillance in an area of the appellant was then brought to the NARCOM office for officer or a private person may, without a warrant,
Kalookan Cemetery based on information that drug investigation. arrest a person:
addicts were roaming therein. Upon reaching the place,
they chanced upon a man in front of the cemetery who This case is similar to People v. Aminnudin where the (a) When in his presence, the person to be arrested has
appeared to be high on drugs. He was observed to have police received information two days before the arrival committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
reddish eyes and to be walking in a swaying of Aminnudin that the latter would be arriving from commit an offense;
manner. Moreover, he appeared to be trying to avoid the Iloilo on board the M/V Wilcon 9. His name was
policemen. When approached and asked what he was known, the vehicle was identified and the date of arrival xxx xxx xxx.
holding in his hands, he tried to resist. When he showed was certain. From the information they had received,
Accused-appellant Aruta cannot be said to be
his wallet, it contained marijuana. The Court held that the police could have persuaded a judge that there was
committing a crime. Neither was she about to commit
the policemen had sufficient reason to accost accused- probable cause, indeed, to justify the issuance of a
one nor had she just committed a crime. Accused-
appellant to determine if he was actually high on drugs warrant. Instead of securing a warrant first, they
appellant was merely crossing the street and was not
due to his suspicious actuations, coupled with the fact proceeded to apprehend Aminnudin. When the case was
acting in any manner that would engender a reasonable
that based on information, this area was a haven for brought before this Court, the arrest was held to be
ground for the NARCOM agents to suspect and
drug addicts. illegal; hence any item seized from Aminnudin could
conclude that she was committing a crime. It was only
not be used against him.
In all the abovecited cases, there was information when the informant pointed to accused-appellant and
received which became the bases for conducting the Another recent case is People v. Encinada where the identified her to the agents as the carrier of the
warrantless search. Furthermore, additional factors and police likewise received confidential information the marijuana that she was singled out as the suspect. The
circumstances were present which, when taken together day before at 4:00 in the afternoon from their informant NARCOM agents would not have apprehended
with the information, constituted probable causes which that Encinada would be bringing in marijuana from accused-appellant were it not for the furtive finger of
justified the warrantless searches and seizures in each of Cebu City on board M/V Sweet Pearl at 7:00 in the the informant because, as clearly illustrated by the
the cases. morning of the following day. This intelligence evidence on record, there was no reason whatsoever for
information regarding the culprits identity, the them to suspect that accused-appellant was committing
In the instant case, the determination of the absence or particular crime he allegedly committed and his exact a crime, except for the pointing finger of the informant.
existence of probable cause necessitates a whereabouts could have been a basis of probable cause This the Court could neither sanction nor tolerate as it is
reexamination of the facts. The following have been for the lawmen to secure a warrant. This Court held that a clear violation of the constitutional guarantee against
established: (1) In the morning of December 13, 1988, unreasonable search and seizure. Neither was there any
semblance of any compliance with the rigid by the informer was the probable cause as determined building was being used as headquarters by the RAM
requirements of probable cause and warrantless arrests. by the officers (and not a judge) that authorized them to during a coup detat. A surveillance team was fired at by
pounce upon Aminnudin and immediately arrest him. a group of armed men coming out of the building and
Consequently, there was no legal basis for the the occupants of said building refused to open the door
NARCOM agents to effect a warrantless search of In the absence of probable cause to effect a valid and despite repeated requests. There were large quantities of
accused-appellants bag, there being no probable cause legal warrantless arrest, the search and seizure of explosives and ammunitions inside the building. Nearby
and the accused-appellant not having been lawfully accused-appellants bag would also not be justified as courts were closed and general chaos and disorder
arrested. Stated otherwise, the arrest being incipiently seizure of evidence in plain view under the second prevailed. The existing circumstances sufficiently
illegal, it logically follows that the subsequent search exception. The marijuana was obviously not showed that a crime was being committed. In short,
was similarly illegal, it being not incidental to a lawful immediately apparent as shown by the fact that the there was probable cause to effect a warrantless search
arrest.The constitutional guarantee against unreasonable NARCOM agents still had to request accused-appellant of the building. The same could not be said in the
search and seizure must perforce operate in favor of to open the bag to ascertain its contents. instant case.
accused-appellant. As such, the articles seized could not
be used as evidence against accused-appellant for these Neither would the search and seizure of accused- The only other exception that could possibly legitimize
are fruits of a poisoned tree and, therefore, must be appellants bag be justified as a search of a moving the warrantless search and seizure would be consent
rejected, pursuant to Article III, Sec. 3(2) of the vehicle. There was no moving vehicle to speak of in the given by the accused-appellant to the warrantless search
Constitution. instant case as accused-appellant was apprehended as to amount to a waiver of her constitutional right. The
several minutes after alighting from the Victory Liner Solicitor General argues that accused-appellant
Emphasis is to be laid on the fact that the law requires bus. In fact, she was accosted in the middle of the street voluntarily submitted herself to search and inspection
that the search be incidental to a lawful arrest, in order and not while inside the vehicle. citing People v. Malasugui[23] where this Court ruled:
that the search itself may likewise be considered
legal. Therefore, it is beyond cavil that a lawful arrest People v. Solayao,[20] applied the stop and When one voluntarily submits to a search or consents to
must precede the search of a person and his frisk principle which has been adopted in Posadas v. have it made on his person or premises, he is precluded
belongings. Where a search is first undertaken, and an Court of Appeals.[21] In said case, Solayao attempted to from complaining later thereof. (Cooley, Constitutional
arrest effected based on evidence produced by the flee when he and his companions were accosted by Limitations, 8th ed., [V]ol. I, p. 631.)The right to be
search, both such search and arrest would be unlawful, government agents. In the instant case, there was no secure from unreasonable search may, like every right,
for being contrary to law.[18] observable manifestation that could have aroused the be waived and such waiver may be made either
suspicion of the NARCOM agents as to cause them to expressly or impliedly.
As previously discussed, the case in point is People v. stop and frisk accused-appellant. To reiterate, accused-
Aminnudin[19] where, this Court observed that: appellant was merely crossing the street when In support of said argument, the Solicitor General cited
apprehended. Unlike in the abovementioned cases, the testimony of Lt. Abello, thus:
x x x accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his accused-appellant never attempted to flee from the
arrest, committing a crime nor was it shown that he was NARCOM agents when the latter identified themselves Q When this informant by the name of alias Benjie
about to do so or that he had just done so. What he was as such. Clearly, this is another indication of the paucity pointed to Aling Rosa, what happened after that?
doing was descending the gangplank of the M/V of probable cause that would sufficiently provoke a
Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that suspicion that accused-appellant was committing a A We followed her and introduced ourselves as
called for his arrest. To all appearances, he was like any crime. NARCOM agents and confronted her with our
of the other passengers innocently disembarking from informant and asked her what she was carrying and if
the vessel. It was only when the informer pointed to him The warrantless search and seizure could not likewise we can see the bag she was carrying.
as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly became be categorized under exigent and emergency
suspect and so subject to apprehension. It was the circumstances, as applied in People v. De Gracia.[22] In Q What was her reaction?
furtive finger that triggered his arrest. The identification said case, there were intelligence reports that the
A She gave her bag to me. Q: By the way, when Roel Encinada agreed to allow Palacio, 80 Phil. 770). As pointed out by Justice Laurel
you to examine the two chairs that he carried, what did in the case of Pasion Vda. de Garcia v. Locsin (supra):
Q So what happened after she gave the bag to you? you do next?
xxx xxx xxx
A I opened it and found out plastic bags of marijuana A: I examined the chairs and I noticed that something
inside.[24] inside in between the two chairs. x x x As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent
upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do not
This Court cannot agree with the Solicitor Generals We are not convinced. While in principle we agree that place the citizen in the position of either contesting an
contention for the Malasugui case is inapplicable to the consent will validate an otherwise illegal search, we officers authority by force, or waiving his constitutional
instant case. In said case, there was probable cause for believe that appellant -- based on the transcript quoted rights; but instead they hold that a peaceful submission
the warrantless arrest thereby making the warrantless above -- did not voluntarily consent to Bolonias search to a search or seizure is not a consent or an invitation
search effected immediately thereafter equally of his belongings. Appellants silence should not be thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the
lawful.[25] On the contrary, the most essential element of lightly taken as consent to such search. The implied supremacy of the law. (Citation omitted).
probable cause, as expounded above in detail, is acquiscence to the search, if there was any, could not
wanting in the instant case making the warrantless have been more than mere passive conformity given We apply the rule that: courts indulge every reasonable
arrest unjustified and illegal. Accordingly, the search under intimidating or coercive circumstances and is thus presumption against waiver of fundamental
which accompanied the warrantless arrest was likewise considered no consent at all within the purview of the constitutional rights and that we do not presume
unjustified and illegal.Thus, all the articles seized from constitutional guarantee. Furthermore, considering that acquiescence in the loss of fundamental
the accused-appellant could not be used as evidence the search was conducted irregularly, i.e., without a rights.[28](Emphasis supplied)
against her. warrant, we cannot appreciate consent based merely on
the presumption of regularity of the performance of To repeat, to constitute a waiver, there should be an
Aside from the inapplicability of the abovecited case, duty.(Emphasis supplied) actual intention to relinquish the right. As clearly
the act of herein accused-appellant in handing over her illustrated in People v. Omaweng,[29] where prosecution
bag to the NARCOM agents could not be construed as Thus, accused-appellants lack of objection to the search witness Joseph Layong testified thus:
voluntary submission or an implied acquiescence to the is not tantamount to a waiver of her constitutional rights
unreasonable search. The instant case is similar or a voluntary submission to the warrantless search. As PROSECUTOR AYOCHOK:
to People v. Encinada,[26] where this Court held: this Court held in People v. Barros:[27]
Q - When you and David Fomocod saw the travelling
[T]he Republics counsel avers that appellant voluntarily x x x [T]he accused is not to be presumed to have bag, what did you do?
handed the chairs containing the package of marijuana waived the unlawful search conducted on the occasion
to the arresting officer and thus effectively waived his of his warrantless arrest simply because he failed to A - When we saw that travelling bag, we asked the
right against the warrantless search. This he gleaned object- driver if we could see the contents.
from Bolonias testimony.
x x x. To constitute a waiver, it must appear first that Q - And what did or what was the reply of the driver, if
Q: After Roel Encinada alighted from the motor the right exists; secondly, that the person involved had there was any?
tricycle, what happened next? knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of
A - He said you can see the contents but those are only
such right; and lastly, that said person had an actual
A: I requested to him to see his chairs that he carried. clothings (sic).
intention to relinquish the right (Pasion Vda. de Garcia
v. Locsin, 65 Phil. 698). The fact that the accused failed
Q: Are you referring to the two plastic chairs? Q - When he said that, what did you do?
to object to the entry into his house does not amount to
a permission to make a search therein (Magoncia v. A - We asked him if we could open and see it.
A: Yes, sir.
Q - When you said that, what did he tell you? x x x [N]o search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue objections to the illegality of the warrantless search and
except upon probable cause to be determined by the to the inadmissibility of the evidence obtained thereby,
A - He said you can see it. judge, or such other responsible officer as may be the same may not apply in the instant case for the
authorized by law, after examination under oath or following reasons:
Q - And when he said you can see and open it, what did affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
you do? may produce, and particularly describing the place to 1. The waiver would only apply to objections pertaining
be searched and the persons or things to be to the illegality of the arrest as her plea of not guilty and
A - When I went inside and opened the bag, I saw that it seized. (Italics supplied) participation in the trial are indications of her voluntary
was not clothings (sic) that was contained in the bag. submission to the courts jurisdiction.[32] The plea and
Search warrants to be valid must particularly describe active participation in the trial would not cure the
Q - And when you saw that it was not clothings (sic), the place to be searched and the persons or things to be illegality of the search and transform the inadmissible
what did you do? seized. The purpose of this rule is to limit the things to evidence into objects of proof. The waiver simply does
be seized to those and only those, particularly described not extend this far.
A - When I saw that the contents were not clothes, I
in the warrant so as to leave the officers of the law with
took some of the contents and showed it to my 2. Granting that evidence obtained through a
no discretion regarding what articles they shall seize to
companion Fomocod and when Fomocod smelled it, he warrantless search becomes admissible upon failure to
the end that unreasonable searches and seizures may not
said it was marijuana.(Emphasis supplied) object thereto during the trial of the case, records show
be made.[30]
that accused-appellant filed a Demurrer to Evidence and
In the above-mentioned case, accused was not subjected
Had the NARCOM agents only applied for a search objected and opposed the prosecutions Formal Offer of
to any search which may be stigmatized as a violation
warrant, they could have secured one without too much Evidence.
of his Constitutional right against unreasonable searches
difficulty, contrary to the assertions of the Solicitor
and seizures.If one had been made, this Court would be It is apropos to quote the case of People v.
General. The person intended to be searched has been
the first to condemn it as the protection of the citizen Barros,[33] which stated:
particularized and the thing to be seized specified. The
and the maintenance of his constitutional rights is one
time was also sufficiently ascertained to be in the
of the highest duties and privileges of the Court. He It might be supposed that the non-admissibility of
afternoon of December 14, 1988. Aling Rosa turned out
willingly gave prior consent to the search and evidence secured through an invalid warrantless arrest
to be accused-appellant and the thing to be seized was
voluntarily agreed to have it conducted on his vehicle or a warrantless search and seizure may be waived by
marijuana. The vehicle was identified to be a Victory
and traveling bag, which is not the case with Aruta. an accused person. The a priori argument is that the
Liner bus. In fact, the NARCOM agents purposely
positioned themselves near the spot where Victory invalidity of an unjustified warrantless arrest, or an
In an attempt to further justify the warrantless search, arrest effected with a defective warrant of arrest may be
Liner buses normally unload their
the Solicitor General next argues that the police officers waived by applying for and posting of bail for
passengers. Assuming that the NARCOM agents failed
would have encountered difficulty in securing a search provisional liberty, so as to estop an accused from
to particularize the vehicle, this would not in any way
warrant as it couldbe secured only if accused-appellants questioning the legality or constitutionality of his
hinder them from securing a search warrant. The above
name was known, the vehicle identified and the date of detention or the failure to accord him a preliminary
particulars would have already sufficed. In any case,
its arrival certain, as in the Aminnudin case where the investigation. We do not believe, however, that waiver
this Court has held that the police should particularly
arresting officers had forty-eight hours within which to of the latter necessarily constitutes, or carries with it,
describe the place to be searched and the person or
act. waiver of the former--an argument that the Solicitor
things to be seized, wherever and whenever it is
feasible.[31] (Emphasis supplied) General appears to be making impliedly. Waiver of the
This argument is untenable.
non-admissibility of the fruits of an invalid warrantless
While it may be argued that by entering a plea during arrest and of a warrantless search and seizure is not
Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution provides:
arraignment and by actively participating in the trial, casually to be presumed, if the constitutional right
accused-appellant may be deemed to have waived against unlawful searches and seizures is to retain its
vitality for the protection of our people. In the case at the constitutional rights of the citizens, for the
bar, defense counsel had expressly objected on enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to
constitutional grounds to the admission of the carton justify indifference to the basic principles of
box and the four (4) kilos of marijuana when these were government.[36]
formally offered in evidence by the prosecution. We
consider that appellants objection to the admission of Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not
such evidence was made clearly and seasonably and justified in disregarding the rights of the individual in
that, under the circumstances, no intent to waive his the name of order. Order is too high a price to pay for
rights under the premises can be reasonably inferred the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes declared: I think it
from his conduct before or during the trial.(Emphasis is less evil that some criminals escape than that the
supplied) government should play an ignoble part. It is simply not
allowed in free society to violate a law to enforce
In fine, there was really no excuse for the NARCOM another, especially if the law violated is the Constitution
agents not to procure a search warrant considering that itself.[37]
they had more than twenty-four hours to do so.
Obviously, this is again an instance of seizure of the WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision
fruit of the poisonous tree, hence illegal and of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 73, Olongapo City,
inadmissible subsequently in evidence. is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. For lack of
evidence to establish her guilt beyond reasonable doubt,
The exclusion of such evidence is the only practical accused-appellant ROSA ARUTA Y MENGUIN is
means of enforcing the constitutional injunction against hereby ACQUITTED and ordered RELEASED from
unreasonable searches and seizure. The non- confinement unless she is being held for some other
exclusionary rule is contrary to the letter and spirit of legal grounds. No costs.
the prohibition against unreasonable searches and
seizures.[34]

While conceding that the officer making the unlawful


search and seizure may be held criminally and civilly
liable, the Stonehill case observed that most
jurisdictions have realized that the exclusionary rule is
the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional
injunction against abuse. This approach is based on the
justification made by Judge Learned Hand that only in
case the prosecution which itself controls the seizing
officials, knows that it cannot profit by their wrong, will
the wrong be repressed.[35]

Unreasonable searches and seizures are the menace


against which the constitutional guarantees afford full
protection. While the power to search and seize may at
times be necessary to the public welfare, still it may be
exercised and the law enforced without transgressing
BLAS F. OPLE, petitioner, vs. RUBEN D. TORRES, eradicate, fraudulent transactions and SEC. 3. Secretariat. The National Computer Center
ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, HECTOR VILLANUEVA, misrepresentations; (NCC) is hereby designated as secretariat to the IACC
CIELITO HABITO, ROBERT BARBERS, and as such shall provide administrative and technical
CARMENCITA REODICA, CESAR SARINO, WHEREAS, a concerted and collaborative effort among support to the IACC.
RENATO VALENCIA, TOMAS P. AFRICA, HEAD the various basic services and social security providing
OF THE NATIONAL COMPUTER agencies and other government instrumentalities is SEC. 4. Linkage Among Agencies. The Population
CENTER andCHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION required to achieve such a system; Reference Number (PRN) generated by the NSO shall
ON AUDIT, respondents. serve as the common reference number to establish a
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President linkage among concerned agencies. The IACC
DECISION of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the Secretariat shall coordinate with the different Social
powers vested in me by law, do hereby direct the Security and Services Agencies to establish the
PUNO, J.: following: standards in the use of Biometrics Technology and in
computer application designs of their respective
The petition at bar is a commendable effort on the part SECTION 1. Establishment of a National Computerized systems.
of Senator Blas F. Ople to prevent the shrinking of the Identification Reference System. A decentralized
right to privacy, which the revered Mr. Justice Brandeis Identification Reference System among the key basic SEC. 5. Conduct of Information Dissemination
considered as "the most comprehensive of rights and the services and social security providers is hereby Campaign. The Office of the Press Secretary, in
right most valued by civilized men."[1] Petitioner Ople established. coordination with the National Statistics Office, the
prays that we invalidate Administrative Order No. 308 GSIS and SSS as lead agencies and other concerned
entitled "Adoption of a National Computerized SEC. 2 Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee. An agencies shall undertake a massive tri-media
Identification Reference System" on two important Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC) to draw- information dissemination campaign to educate and
constitutional grounds, viz: one, it is a usurpation of the up the implementing guidelines and oversee the raise public awareness on the importance and use of the
power of Congress to legislate, and two, it implementation of the System is hereby created, chaired PRN and the Social Security Identification Reference.
impermissibly intrudes on our citizenry's protected zone by the Executive Secretary, with the following as
of privacy. We grant the petition for the rights sought to members: SEC. 6. Funding. The funds necessary for the
be vindicated by the petitioner need stronger barriers implementation of the system shall be sourced from the
against further erosion. Head, Presidential Management Staff respective budgets of the concerned agencies.

A.O. No. 308 was issued by President Fidel V. Ramos Secretary, National Economic Development Authority SEC. 7. Submission of Regular Reports. The NSO,
on December 12, 1996 and reads as follows: GSIS and SSS shall submit regular reports to the Office
Secretary, Department of the Interior and of the President, through the IACC, on the status of
"ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED implementation of this undertaking.
IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM Local Government
SEC. 8. Effectivity. This Administrative Order shall take
WHEREAS, there is a need to provide Filipino citizens Secretary, Department of Health
effect immediately.
and foreign residents with the facility to conveniently
Administrator, Government Service Insurance
transact business with basic service and social security DONE in the City of Manila, this 12th day of December
providers and other government instrumentalities; in the year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-
System,
Six.
WHEREAS, this will require a computerized system to
Administrator, Social Security System, Administrator,
properly and efficiently identify persons seeking basic (SGD.) FIDEL V. RAMOS"
National Statistics Office Managing Director, National
services on social security and reduce, if not totally
Computer Center.
A.O. No. 308 was published in four newspapers of B. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] WAS ISSUED WITHIN THE started the implementation of A.O. No. 308 without
general circulation on January 22, 1997 and January 23, EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS waiting for the rules. As early as January 19, 1997,
1997. On January 24, 1997, petitioner filed the instant OF THE PRESIDENT WITHOUT ENCROACHING respondent Social Security System (SSS) caused the
petition against respondents, then Executive Secretary ON THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF CONGRESS; publication of a notice to bid for the manufacture of the
Ruben Torres and the heads of the government National Identification (ID) card.[6] Respondent
agencies, who as members of the Inter-Agency C. THE FUNDS NECESSARY FOR THE Executive Secretary Torres has publicly announced that
Coordinating Committee, are charged with the IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IDENTIFICATION representatives from the GSIS and the SSS have
implementation of A.O. No. 308. On April 8, 1997, we REFERENCE SYSTEM MAY BE SOURCED FROM completed the guidelines for the national identification
issued a temporary restraining order enjoining its THE BUDGETS OF THE CONCERNED AGENCIES; system.[7] All signals from the respondents show their
implementation. unswerving will to implement A.O. No. 308 and we
D. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] PROTECTS AN need not wait for the formality of the rules to pass
Petitioner contends: INDIVIDUAL'S INTEREST IN PRIVACY.[3] judgment on its constitutionality. In this light, the
dissenters insistence that we tighten the rule on standing
"A. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL We now resolve. is not a commendable stance as its result would be to
COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE throttle an important constitutional principle and a
SYSTEM REQUIRES A LEGISLATIVE ACT. THE I
fundamental right.
ISSUANCE OF A.O. NO. 308 BY THE PRESIDENT
OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IS, As is usual in constitutional litigation, respondents raise
II
THEREFORE, AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL the threshold issues relating to the standing to sue of the
USURPATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF petitioner and the justiciability of the case at bar. More We now come to the core issues. Petitioner claims that
THE CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE specifically, respondents aver that petitioner has no A.O. No. 308 is not a mere administrative order but a
PHILIPPINES. legal interest to uphold and that the implementing rules law and hence, beyond the power of the President to
of A.O. No. 308 have yet to be promulgated. issue. He alleges that A.O. No. 308 establishes a system
B. THE APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY of identification that is all-encompassing in scope,
THE PRESIDENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION These submissions do not deserve our sympathetic
affects the life and liberty of every Filipino citizen and
OF A.O. NO. 308 IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL ear. Petitioner Ople is a distinguished member of our
foreign resident, and more particularly, violates their
USURPATION OF THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT OF Senate. As a Senator, petitioner is possessed of the
right to privacy.
CONGRESS TO APPROPRIATE PUBLIC FUNDS requisite standing to bring suit raising the issue that the
FOR EXPENDITURE. issuance of A.O. No. 308 is a usurpation of legislative Petitioner's sedulous concern for the Executive not to
power.[4] As taxpayer and member of the Government trespass on the lawmaking domain of Congress is
C. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO. 308 Service Insurance System (GSIS), petitioner can also understandable. The blurring of the demarcation line
INSIDIOUSLY LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR A impugn the legality of the misalignment of public funds between the power of the Legislature to make laws and
SYSTEM WHICH WILL VIOLATE THE BILL OF and the misuse of GSIS funds to implement A.O. No. the power of the Executive to execute laws will disturb
RIGHTS ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION."[2] 308.[5] their delicate balance of power and cannot be
allowed. Hence, the exercise by one branch of
Respondents counter-argue: The ripeness for adjudication of the petition at bar is not
government of power belonging to another will be
affected by the fact that the implementing rules of A.O.
given a stricter scrutiny by this Court.
A. THE INSTANT PETITION IS NOT A No. 308 have yet to be promulgated. Petitioner Ople
JUSTICIABLE CASE AS WOULD WARRANT A assails A.O. No. 308 as invalid per se and as infirmed The line that delineates Legislative and Executive
JUDICIAL REVIEW; on its face. His action is not premature for the rules yet power is not indistinct. Legislative power is "the
to be promulgated cannot cure its fatal authority, under the Constitution, to make laws, and to
defects. Moreover, the respondents themselves have alter and repeal them."[8] The Constitution, as the will of
the people in their original, sovereign and unlimited end, he can issue administrative orders, rules and and quasi-judicial powers. The Code covers both the
capacity, has vested this power in the Congress of the regulations. internal administration of government, i.e, internal
Philippines.[9] The grant of legislative power to organization, personnel and recruitment, supervision
Congress is broad, general and comprehensive.[10] The Prescinding from these precepts, we hold that A.O. No. and discipline, and the effects of the functions
legislative body possesses plenary power for all 308 involves a subject that is not appropriate to be performed by administrative officials on private
purposes of civil government.[11] Any power, deemed to covered by an administrative order. An administrative individuals or parties outside government.[27]
be legislative by usage and tradition, is necessarily order is:
possessed by Congress, unless the Constitution has It cannot be simplistically argued that A.O. No. 308
lodged it elsewhere.[12] In fine, except as limited by the "Sec. 3. Administrative Orders.-- Acts of the President merely implements the Administrative Code of 1987. It
Constitution, either expressly or impliedly, legislative which relate to particular aspects of governmental establishes for the first time a National Computerized
power embraces all subjects and extends to matters of operation in pursuance of his duties as administrative Identification Reference System. Such a System
general concern or common interest.[13] head shall be promulgated in administrative orders."[23] requires a delicate adjustment of various contending
state policies-- the primacy of national security, the
While Congress is vested with the power to enact An administrative order is an ordinance issued by the extent of privacy interest against dossier-gathering by
laws, the President executes the laws.[14] The executive President which relates to specific aspects in the government, the choice of policies, etc. Indeed, the
power is vested in the President.[15] It is generally administrative operation of government. It must be in dissent of Mr. Justice Mendoza states that the A.O. No.
defined as the power to enforce and administer the harmony with the law and should be for the sole 308 involves the all-important freedom of thought. As
laws.[16] It is the power of carrying the laws into purpose of implementing the law and carrying out the said administrative order redefines the parameters
practical operation and enforcing their due legislative policy.[24] We reject the argument that A.O. of some basic rights of our citizenry vis-a-vis the State
observance.[17] No. 308 implements the legislative policy of the as well as the line that separates the administrative
Administrative Code of 1987. The Code is a general power of the President to make rules and the legislative
As head of the Executive Department, the President is law and "incorporates in a unified document the major power of Congress, it ought to be evident that it deals
the Chief Executive. He represents the government as a structural, functional and procedural principles of with a subject that should be covered by law.
whole and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the governance"[25] and "embodies changes in
officials and employees of his department.[18] He has administrative structures and procedures designed to Nor is it correct to argue as the dissenters do that A.O.
control over the executive department, bureaus and serve the people."[26] The Code is divided into seven (7) No. 308 is not a law because it confers no right,
offices. This means that he has the authority to assume Books: Book I deals with Sovereignty and General imposes no duty, affords no protection, and creates no
directly the functions of the executive department, Administration, Book II with the Distribution of Powers office. Under A.O. No. 308, a citizen cannot transact
bureau and office, or interfere with the discretion of its of the three branches of Government, Book III on the business with government agencies delivering basic
officials.[19] Corollary to the power of control, the Office of the President, Book IV on the Executive services to the people without the contemplated
President also has the duty of supervising the Branch, Book V on the Constitutional Commissions, identification card. No citizen will refuse to get this
enforcement of laws for the maintenance of general Book VI on National Government Budgeting, and Book identification card for no one can avoid dealing with
peace and public order. Thus, he is VII on Administrative Procedure. These Books contain government. It is thus clear as daylight that without the
granted administrative power over bureaus and offices provisions on the organization, powers and general ID, a citizen will have difficulty exercising his rights
under his control to enable him to discharge his duties administration of the executive, legislative and judicial and enjoying his privileges.Given this reality, the
effectively.[20] branches of government, the organization and contention that A.O. No. 308 gives no right and
administration of departments, bureaus and offices imposes no duty cannot stand.
Administrative power is concerned with the work of under the executive branch, the organization and
applying policies and enforcing orders as determined by functions of the Constitutional Commissions and other Again, with due respect, the dissenting opinions unduly
proper governmental organs.[21] It enables the President constitutional bodies, the rules on the national expand the limits of administrative legislation and
to fix a uniform standard of administrative efficiency government budget, as well as guidelines for the consequently erodes the plenary power of Congress to
and check the official conduct of his agents.[22] To this exercise by administrative agencies of quasi-legislative make laws. This is contrary to the established approach
defining the traditional limits of administrative certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or maintain and support this enclave of private life marks
legislation. As well stated by Fisher: "x x x Many disparage others retained by the people.'" the difference between a democratic and a totalitarian
regulations however, bear directly on the public. It is society.'"
here that administrative legislation must be restricted in In the 1968 case of Morfe v. Mutuc,[32] we adopted
its scope and application. Regulations are not supposed the Griswold ruling that there is a constitutional right to Indeed, if we extend our judicial gaze we will find that
to be a substitute for the general policy-making that privacy. Speaking thru Mr. Justice, later Chief Justice, the right of privacy is recognized and enshrined in
Congress enacts in the form of a public law. Although Enrique Fernando, we held: several provisions of our Constitution.[33] It is
administrative regulations are entitled to respect, the expressly recognized in Section 3(1) of the Bill of
authority to prescribe rules and regulations is not an "xxx Rights:
independent source of power to make laws."[28]
The Griswold case invalidated a Connecticut statute "Sec. 3. (1) The privacy of communication and
III which made the use of contraceptives a criminal offense correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful
on the ground of its amounting to an unconstitutional order of the court, or when public safety or order
Assuming, arguendo, that A.O. No. 308 need not be the invasion of the right of privacy of married persons; requires otherwise as prescribed by law."
subject of a law, still it cannot pass constitutional rightfully it stressed "a relationship lying within the
muster as an administrative legislation because zone of privacy created by several fundamental Other facets of the right to privacy are protected in
facially itviolates the right to privacy. The essence of constitutional guarantees." It has wider implications various provisions of the Bill of Rights, viz:[34]
privacy is the "right to be let alone."[29] In the 1965 case though.The constitutional right to privacy has come into
of Griswold v. Connecticut,[30] the United States its own. "Sec. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or
Supreme Court gave more substance to the right of property without due process of law, nor shall any
privacy when it ruled that the right has a constitutional So it is likewise in our jurisdiction. The right to privacy person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
foundation. It held that there is a right of privacy which as such is accorded recognition independently of its
can be found within the penumbras of the First, Third, identification with liberty; in itself, it is fully deserving Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their
Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Amendments,[31] viz: of constitutional protection.The language of Prof. persons, houses, papers, and effects against
Emerson is particularly apt: 'The concept of limited unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature
"Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have government has always included the idea that and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search
penumbras formed by emanations from these governmental powers stop short of certain intrusions warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon
guarantees that help give them life and substance x x x. into the personal life of the citizen. This is indeed one probable cause to be determined personally by the judge
Various guarantees create zones of privacy. The right of of the basic distinctions between absolute and limited after examination under oath or affirmation of the
association contained in the penumbra of the First government. Ultimate and pervasive control of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
Amendment is one, as we have seen. The Third individual, in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark of particularly describing the place to be searched and the
Amendment in its prohibition against the quartering of the absolute state. In contrast, a system of limited persons or things to be seized.
soldiers `in any house' in time of peace without the government safeguards a private sector, which belongs
consent of the owner is another facet of that to the individual, firmly distinguishing it from the x x x.
privacy. The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the public sector, which the state can control. Protection of
this private sector-- protection, in other words, of the Sec. 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same
`right of the people to be secure in their persons,
dignity and integrity of the individual--has become within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable
increasingly important as modern society has except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the
searches and seizures.' The Fifth Amendment in its
developed. All the forces of a technological age -- right to travel be impaired except in the interest of
Self-Incrimination Clause enables the citizen to create a
industrialization, urbanization, and organization-- national security, public safety, or public health, as may
zone of privacy which government may not force him to
operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate be provided by law.
surrender to his detriment. The Ninth Amendment
provides: `The enumeration in the Constitution, of intrusion into it. In modern terms, the capacity to
x x x. basic services. It is debatable whether these interests are retina of the eye. This technology produces a unique
compelling enough to warrant the issuance of A.O. No. print similar to a finger print.[51] Another biometric
Sec. 8. The right of the people, including those 308. But what is not arguable is the broadness, the method is known as the "artificial nose." This device
employed in the public and private sectors, to form vagueness, the overbreadth of A.O. No. 308 which if chemically analyzes the unique combination of
unions, associations, or societies for purposes not implemented will put our people's right to privacy in substances excreted from the skin of people.[52] The
contrary to law shall not be abridged. clear and present danger. latest on the list of biometric achievements is
the thermogram. Scientists have found that by taking
Sec. 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness The heart of A.O. No. 308 lies in its Section 4 which pictures of a face using infra-red cameras, a unique heat
against himself." provides for a Population Reference Number (PRN) as distribution pattern is seen. The different densities of
a "common reference number to establish a linkage bone, skin, fat and blood vessels all contribute to the
Zones of privacy are likewise recognized and protected among concerned agencies" through the use of individual's personal "heat signature."[53]
in our laws. The Civil Code provides that "[e]very "Biometrics Technology" and "computer application
person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and designs." In the last few decades, technology has progressed at a
peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons" and galloping rate. Some science fictions are now science
punishes as actionable torts several acts by a person of Biometry or biometrics is "the science of the application facts. Today, biometrics is no longer limited to the use
meddling and prying into the privacy of another.[35] It of statistical methods to biological facts; a mathematical of fingerprint to identify an individual. It is a new
also holds a public officer or employee or any private analysis of biological data."[45] The term "biometrics" science that uses various technologies in encoding any
individual liable for damages for any violation of the has now evolved into a broad category of technologies and all biological characteristics of an individual
rights and liberties of another person,[36] and recognizes which provide precise confirmation of an individual's for identification. It is noteworthy that A.O. No. 308
the privacy of letters and other private identity through the use of the individual's own does not state what specific biological characteristics
communications.[37] The Revised Penal Code makes a physiological and behavioral characteristics.[46] A and what particular biometrics technology shall be used
crime the violation of secrets by an officer,[38] the physiological characteristic is a relatively stable to identify people who will seek its
revelation of trade and industrial secrets,[39] and trespass physical characteristic such as a fingerprint, retinal coverage.Considering the banquet of options available
to dwelling.[40] Invasion of privacy is an offense scan, hand geometry or facial features. A behavioral to the implementors of A.O. No. 308, the fear that it
in special laws like the Anti-Wiretapping Law,[41] the characteristic is influenced by the individual's threatens the right to privacy of our people is not
Secrecy of Bank Deposit Act[42] and the Intellectual personality and includes voice print, signature and groundless.
Property Code.[43] The Rules of Court on privileged keystroke.[47] Most biometric identification systems use
communication likewise recognize the privacy of a card or personal identification number (PIN) for initial A.O. No. 308 should also raise our antennas for a
certain information.[44] identification. The biometric measurement is used to further look will show that it does not state whether
verify that the individual holding the card or entering encoding of data is limited to biological information
Unlike the dissenters, we prescind from the premise that the PIN is the legitimate owner of the card or PIN.[48] alone for identification purposes. In fact, the Solicitor
the right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed by General claims that the adoption of the Identification
the Constitution, hence, it is the burden of government A most common form of biological encoding is finger- Reference System will contribute to the "generation of
to show that A.O. No. 308 is justified by some scanning where technology scans a fingertip and turns population data for development planning."[54] This is
compelling state interest and that it is narrowly the unique pattern therein into an individual number an admission that the PRN will not be used solely for
drawn. A.O. No. 308 is predicated on two which is called a biocrypt. The biocrypt is stored in identification but for the generation of other data with
considerations: (1) the need to provide our citizens and computer data banks[49] and becomes a means of remote relation to the avowed purposes of A.O. No.
foreigners with the facility to conveniently transact identifying an individual using a service. This 308. Clearly, the indefiniteness of A.O. No. 308 can
business with basic service and social security providers technology requires one's fingertip to be scanned every give the government the roving authority to store and
and other government instrumentalities and (2) the need time service or access is provided.[50] Another method is retrieve information for a purpose other than the
to reduce, if not totally eradicate, fraudulent the retinal scan. Retinal scan technology employs identification of the individual through his PRN.
transactions and misrepresentations by persons seeking optical technology to map the capillary pattern of the
The potential for misuse of the data to be gathered It is plain and we hold that A.O. No. 308 falls short of would not immediately smother the sparks that
under A.O. No. 308 cannot be underplayed as the assuring that personal information which will be endanger their rights but would rather wait for the fire
dissenters do. Pursuant to said administrative order, an gathered about our people will only be processed that could consume them.
individual must present his PRN everytime he deals for unequivocally specified purposes.[60] The lack of
with a government agency to avail of basic services and proper safeguards in this regard of A.O. No. 308 may We reject the argument of the Solicitor General that an
security. His transactions with the government agency interfere with the individual's liberty of abode and travel individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy with
will necessarily be recorded-- whether it be in the by enabling authorities to track down his movement; it regard to the National ID and the use of biometrics
computer or in the documentary file of the agency. The may also enable unscrupulous persons to access technology as it stands on quicksand. The
individual's file may include his transactions for loan confidential information and circumvent the right reasonableness of a person's expectation of privacy
availments, income tax returns, statement of assets and against self-incrimination; it may pave the way for depends on a two-part test: (1) whether by his conduct,
liabilities, reimbursements for medication, "fishing expeditions" by government authorities and the individual has exhibited an expectation of privacy;
hospitalization, etc. The more frequent the use of the evade the right against unreasonable searches and and (2) whether this expectation is one that society
PRN, the better the chance of building a huge and seizures.[61] The possibilities of abuse and misuse of the recognizes as reasonable.[67] The factual circumstances
formidable information base through the electronic PRN, biometrics and computer technology are of the case determines the reasonableness of the
linkage of the files.[55] The data may be gathered for accentuated when we consider that the individual lacks expectation.[68] However, other factors, such as customs,
gainful and useful government purposes; but the control over what can be read or placed on his ID, much physical surroundings and practices of a particular
existence of this vast reservoir of personal information less verify the correctness of the data encoded.[62] They activity, may serve to create or diminish this
constitutes a covert invitation to misuse, a temptation threaten the very abuses that the Bill of Rights seeks to expectation.[69] The use of biometrics and computer
that may be too great for some of our authorities to prevent.[63] technology in A.O. No. 308 does not assure the
resist.[56] individual of a reasonable expectation of privacy.[70] As
The ability of a sophisticated data center to generate a technology advances, the level of reasonably expected
We can even grant, arguendo, that the computer data comprehensive cradle-to-grave dossier on an individual privacy decreases.[71] The measure of protection granted
file will be limited to the name, address and other basic and transmit it over a national network is one of the by the reasonable expectation diminishes as relevant
personal information about the individual.[57] Even that most graphic threats of the computer revolution.[64] The technology becomes more widely accepted.[72] The
hospitable assumption will not save A.O. No. 308 from computer is capable of producing a comprehensive security of the computer data file depends not only on
constitutional infirmity for again said order does not tell dossier on individuals out of information given at the physical inaccessibility of the file but also on the
us in clear and categorical terms how these information different times and for varied purposes.[65] It can advances in hardware and software computer
gathered shall be handled. It does not provide who shall continue adding to the stored data and keeping the technology. A.O. No. 308 is so widely drawn that a
control and access the data, under what circumstances information up to date. Retrieval of stored data is minimum standard for a reasonable expectation of
and for what purpose. These factors are essential to simple. When information of a privileged character privacy, regardless of technology used, cannot be
safeguard the privacy and guaranty the integrity of the finds its way into the computer, it can be extracted inferred from its provisions.
information.[58] Well to note, the computer linkage gives together with other data on the subject.[66] Once
other government agencies access to the extracted, the information is putty in the hands of any The rules and regulations to be drawn by the IACC
information. Yet, there are no controls to guard against person. The end of privacy begins. cannot remedy this fatal defect. Rules and regulations
leakage of information. When the access code of the merely implement the policy of the law or order. On its
control programs of the particular computer system is Though A.O. No. 308 is undoubtedly not narrowly face, A.O. No. 308 gives the IACC virtually unfettered
broken, an intruder, without fear of sanction or penalty, drawn, the dissenting opinions would dismiss its danger discretion to determine the metes and bounds of the ID
can make use of the data for whatever purpose, or to the right to privacy as speculative and System.
worse, manipulate the data stored within the system.[59] hypothetical. Again, we cannot countenance such a
laidback posture. The Court will not be true to its role Nor do our present laws provide adequate safeguards
as the ultimate guardian of the people's liberty if it for a reasonable expectation of privacy. Commonwealth
Act No. 591 penalizes the disclosure by any person of
data furnished by the individual to the NSO with may have been impelled by a worthy purpose, but, it disclosure of personal matters, and the interest in
imprisonment and fine.[73] Republic Act No. 1161 cannot pass constitutional scrutiny for it is not narrowly independence in making certain kinds of important
prohibits public disclosure of SSS employment records drawn. And we now hold that when the integrity of decisions. The U.S. Supreme Court held that while an
and reports.[74] These laws, however,apply to records a fundamental right is at stake, this court will give the individual's interest in avoiding disclosure of personal
and data with the NSO and the SSS. It is not clear challenged law, administrative order, rule or regulation matters is an aspect of the right to privacy, the statute
whether they may be applied to data with the other a stricter scrutiny. It will not do for the authorities to did not pose a grievous threat to establish a
government agencies forming part of the National ID invoke the presumption of regularity in the performance constitutional violation. The Court found that the statute
System. The need to clarify the penal aspect of A.O. of official duties. Nor is itenough for the authorities to was necessary to aid in the enforcement of laws
No. 308 is another reason why its enactment should be prove that their act is not irrational for a basic right can designed to minimize the misuse of dangerous
given to Congress. be diminished, if not defeated, even when the drugs. The patient-identification requirement was a
government does not act irrationally. They must product of an orderly and rational legislative decision
Next, the Solicitor General urges us to validate A.O. satisfactorily show the presence of compelling state made upon recommendation by a specially appointed
No. 308's abridgment of the right of privacy by using interests and that the law, rule, or regulation is narrowly commission which held extensive hearings on the
the rational relationship test.[75] He stressed that the drawn to preclude abuses. This approach is demanded matter. Moreover, the statute was narrowly drawn and
purposes of A.O. No.308 are: (1) to streamline and by the 1987 Constitution whose entire matrix is contained numerous safeguards against indiscriminate
speed designed to protect human rights and to prevent disclosure. The statute laid down the procedure and
up the implementation of basic government services, authoritarianism. In case of doubt, the least we can do is requirements for the gathering, storage and retrieval of
(2) eradicate fraud by avoiding duplication of services, to lean towards the stance that will not put in danger the the information. It enumerated who were authorized to
and (3) generate population data for development rights protected by the Constitution. access the data. It also prohibited public disclosure of
planning. He concludes that these purposes justify the the data by imposing penalties for its violation. In view
incursions into the right to privacy for the means are The case of Whalen v. Roe[79] cited by the Solicitor of these safeguards, the infringement of the patients'
rationally related to the end.[76] General is also off-line. In Whalen, the United States right to privacy was justified by a valid exercise of
Supreme Court was presented with the question of police power. As we discussed above, A.O. No. 308
We are not impressed by the argument. In Morfe v. whether the State of New York could keep a centralized lacks these vital safeguards.
Mutuc,[77] we upheld the constitutionality of R.A. 3019, computer record of the names and addresses of all
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as a valid persons who obtained certain drugs pursuant to a Even while we strike down A.O. No. 308, we spell out
police power measure. We declared that the law, in doctor's prescription. The New York State Controlled in neon that the Court is not per se against the use of
compelling a public officer to make an annual report Substances Act of 1972 required physicians to identify computers to accumulate, store, process, retrieve and
disclosing his assets and liabilities, his sources of patients obtaining prescription drugs enumerated in the transmit data to improve our bureaucracy. Computers
income and expenses, did not infringe on the statute, i.e., drugs with a recognized medical use but work wonders to achieve the efficiency which both
individual's right to privacy. The law was enacted to with a potential for abuse, so that the names and government and private industry seek. Many
promote morality in public administration by curtailing addresses of the patients can be recorded in a information systems in different countries make use of
and minimizing the opportunities for official corruption centralized computer file of the State Department of the computer to facilitate important social objectives,
and maintaining a standard of honesty in the public Health. The plaintiffs, who were patients and doctors, such as better law enforcement, faster delivery of public
service.[78] claimed that some people might decline necessary services, more efficient management of credit and
medication because of their fear that the computerized insurance programs, improvement of
The same circumstances do not obtain in the case at data may be readily available and open to public telecommunications and streamlining of financial
bar. For one, R.A. 3019 is a statute, not an disclosure; and that once disclosed, it may stigmatize activities.[81] Used wisely, data stored in the computer
administrative order. Secondly, R.A. 3019 itself is them as drug addicts.[80] The plaintiffs alleged that the could help good administration by making accurate and
sufficiently detailed. The law is clear on what practices statute invaded a constitutionally protected zone of comprehensive information for those who have to frame
were prohibited and penalized, and it was narrowly privacy, i.e, the individual interest in avoiding policy and make key decisions.[82] The benefits of the
drawn to avoid abuses. In the case at bar, A.O. No. 308
computer has revolutionized information technology. It IV
developed the internet,[83] introduced the concept of
cyberspace[84] and the information superhighway where The right to privacy is one of the most threatened rights
the individual, armed only with his personal computer, of man living in a mass society. The threats emanate
may surf and search all kinds and classes of information from various sources-- governments, journalists,
from libraries and databases connected to the net. employers, social scientists, etc.[88] In the case at bar,
the threat comes from the executive branch of
In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the right government which by issuing A.O. No. 308 pressures
to privacy does not bar all incursions into individual the people to surrender their privacy by giving
privacy. The right is not intended to stifle scientific and information about themselves on the pretext that it will
technological advancements that enhance public service facilitate delivery of basic services. Given the record-
and the common good. It merely requires that the law keeping power of the computer, only the indifferent will
be narrowly focused[85] and a compelling interest justify fail to perceive the danger that A.O. No. 308 gives the
such intrusions.[86] Intrusions into the right must be government the power to compile a devastating dossier
accompanied by proper safeguards and well-defined against unsuspecting citizens. It is timely to take note of
standards to prevent unconstitutional invasions. We the well-worded warning of Kalvin, Jr., "the disturbing
reiterate that any law or order that invades individual result could be that everyone will live burdened by an
privacy will be subjected by this Court to strict unerasable record of his past and his limitations. In a
scrutiny. The reason for this stance was laid down way, the threat is that because of its record-keeping, the
in Morfe v. Mutuc, to wit: society will have lost its benign capacity to
forget."[89] Oblivious to this counsel, the dissents still
"The concept of limited government has always say we should not be too quick in labelling the right to
included the idea that governmental powers stop short privacy as a fundamental right. We close with the
of certain intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. statement that the right to privacy was not engraved in
This is indeed one of the basic distinctions between our Constitution for flattery.
absolute and limited government. Ultimate and
pervasive control of the individual, in all aspects of his IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted and
life, is the hallmark of the absolute state. In contrast, a Administrative Order No. 308 entitled "Adoption of a
system of limited government safeguards a private National Computerized Identification Reference
sector, which belongs to the individual, firmly System" declared null and void for being
distinguishing it from the public sector, which the state unconstitutional.
can control. Protection of this private sector--
protection, in other words, of the dignity and integrity SO ORDERED.
of the individual-- has become increasingly important as
modern society has developed. All the forces of a
technological age-- industrialization, urbanization, and
organization-- operate to narrow the area of privacy and
facilitate intrusion into it. In modern terms, the capacity
to maintain and support this enclave of private life
marks the difference between a democratic and a
totalitarian society."[87]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. distraught, Maximo started on his way home. When he well.[7] Acting on this lead, the policemen returned to
DELFIN RONDERO, accused-appellant. was about five (5) meters away from his house, Pugaro and arrested accused-appellant.
Maximo, who was then carrying a flashlight, saw herein
DECISION accused-appellant Delfin Rondero pumping the artesian An autopsy of the body of the victim conducted by the
well about one (1) meter away. Accused-appellant had Assistant City Health Officer of Dagupan City, Dr.
PER CURIAM: an ice pick clenched in his mouth and was washing his Tomas G. Cornel, revealed the following injuries:
bloodied hands.[2]
When an accused appeals from the judgment of the trial EXTERNAL FINDINGS
court, he waives the constitutional safeguard against Maximo hastily returned to the school and told
double jeopardy and throws the whole case open for Kagawad Andong what he saw without, however, 1. Contusion hematoma, anterior chest wall, along the
review of the appellate court, which is then called to revealing that the person he saw was the latters own midclavicular line, level of the 2nd intercostal space,
render such judgment as law and justice dictate, son.[3] Maximo and Andong continued their search for right.
whether favorable or unfavorable.[1] With this precept in Mylene but after failing to find her, the two men
mind, this Court as the ultimate dispenser of justice, decided to go home. After some time, a restless 2. Contusion hematoma, along the parasternal line, level
will not hesitate to render the proper imposable penalty, Maximo began to search anew for her daughter. He of the 1st intercostal space, left.
whenever it sees fit, even the supreme penalty of death. again sought the help of Andong and the barangay
3. Contusion hematoma, posterior aspect, shoulder, left.
secretary. The group returned to Pugaro Elementary
Before us is an appeal from a decision rendered by the School where they found Mylenes lifeless body lying
Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City, Branch 41, 4. Contusion hematoma, anterior axillary line, level of
on a cemented pavement near the canteen.[4] Her right
sentencing herein accused-appellant Delfin Rondero y the 3rd intercostal space. left.
hand was raised above her head, which was severely
Sigua to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the bashed, and her fractured left hand was behind her
crime of homicide. 5. Contusion hematoma, anterior aspect, neck.
back. She was naked from the waist down and had
several contusions and abrasions on different parts of 6. Contusion hematoma, lower jaw, mid portion.
The facts of the case are as follows:
her body. Tightly gripped in her right hand were some
hair strands. A blue rubber slipper with a tiny leaf 7. Contusion hematoma, periorbital, right.
On the evening of March 25, 1994, Mardy Doria came
painted in red was found beside her body while the
home late from a barrio fiesta. When he noticed that his
other slipper was found behind her back. 8. Lacerated wound, 1x x , maxillary area, right.
nine year old sister, Mylene, was not around, he woke
up his parents to inquire about his sisters
Half an hour later, five (5) policemen arrived at the 9. Contusion hematoma, temporal area, left.
whereabouts. Realizing that Mylene was missing, their
scene and conducted a spot investigation. They found a
father, Maximo Doria, sought the help of a neighbor,
pair of shorts[5] under Mylenes buttocks, which Maximo 10. Contusion hematoma, mid frontal area.
Barangay Kagawad Andong Rondero to search for
identified as hers. Thereafter, Maximo led the
Mylene. Maximo and Andong went to the house of a 11. Lacerated wound x x , frontal area, left.
policemen to the artesian well where he had seen
Barangay Captain to ask for assistance and also
accused-appellant earlier washing his hands. The
requested their other neighbors in Pugaro, Dagupan to 12. Contusion hematoma, occipital area, right.
policemen found that the artesian well was spattered
look for Mylene.
with blood.[6] After the investigation, the policemen,
13. Abrasion, medial anterior aspect, elbow, left.
together with Maximo, went back to their headquarters
The group began searching for Mylene at around 1:00
in Dagupan City. There, Maximo disclosed that before
oclock in the morning of March 26, 1994. They scoured 14. Abrasion, lateral aspect, buttock, right.
they found Mylenes body, he saw accused-appellant
the campus of Pugaro Elementary School and the
washing his bloodstained hands at the artesian 15. Abrasion, antero lateral aspect, iliac crest, right.
seashore in vain. They even returned to the school and
inspected every classroom but to no avail. Tired and
16. Contusion hematoma, upper lip. That on or about the 26th day of March, 1994, in the strands found on the right hand of the victim had similar
city of Dagupan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction characteristics to those of accused-appellants, while the
17. Avulsion, upper central and lateral incisors. of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, hair specimen taken from the crime scene showed
DELFIN RONDERO y Sigua, did then and there, similar characteristics to those of the victims. [16] Alicia
18. Fresh laceration of the hymen at 1:00 oclock, 6:00 wilfully, unlawfully, criminally, and forcibly have P. Liberato, the NBI Senior Forensic Chemist who
oclock and 9:00 oclock position. Fresh laceration of the carnal knowledge with one MYLENE J. DORIA, a 9- conducted the microscopic examination on the hair
labia minora at 6:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock position. year old girl, against her will and consent, and samples, later reiterated the aforesaid findings in
thereafter, with intent to kill, criminally and unlawfully court.[17]
INTERNAL FINDINGS employed violence against her person, thereby causing
the death of said MYLENE J. DORIA, as evidenced by At the trial, Dr. Cornel, the physician who conducted
Massive intracranial hemorrhage with brain tissue the autopsy on Mylene at around 9:30 oclock in the
the Autopsy Report issued by Dr. Tomas G. Cornel,
injury. Fracture of the right occipital bone. morning of March 26, 1994, testified that the victims
Asst. City Health Officer, this city, to the damage and
prejudice of the legal heirs of said deceased, MYLENE death probably occurred before 11:00 oclock in the
Note:
J. DORIA in the amount of not less than FIFTY evening of March 25, 1994 judging from the rigidity of
THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00), Philippine her lower and upper extremities. He explained that the
Vaginal smear was done at the Gov. Teofilo Sison
currency, and other consequential damages. contusions and hematoma found on Mylenes body were
Memorial Provl Hosp. Laboratory and the result
possibly caused by a blunt instrument, a clenched fist or
showed no sperm cell seen. (March 26, 1994)
Contrary to Article 335 in relation to Article 249 of the a piece of wood.[18] The lacerated wounds on her face
Cause of death: Cardio Respiratory Arrest Revised Penal Code. may have been caused by a bladed instrument, not
necessarily sharp, or by hitting her head on a concrete
Due to: Massive Intracranial Hemorrhage Traumatic[8] Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty at his wall with jagged edges. The abrasions on her elbow,
arraignment. In the meantime, the NBI sent a fax right buttock and upper hip may have been caused by a
For Mylenes burial, her parents spent P5,043.00 during message to the Dagupan City Police Station saying that rough object that came in contact with her skin. [19] Dr.
her wake,[9] P9,000.00 for funeral expenses[10] and it could not conduct an examination on the hair strands Cornel also explained that the victims upper and lateral
P850.00 for church services and entombment.[11] because the proper comparative specimens were not incisors may have been avulsed by a sudden blow in the
given. The NBI suggested that hair strands be pulled, mouth using a blunt instrument, stone or wood. He
On March 28, 1994, the hair strands which were found not cut, from the suspect and from the victim on the added that the fresh hymenal lacerations at 1:00 o'clock,
on the victims right hand and at the scene of the crime, four regions of their heads so that all parts of the hair 6:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock positions and the fresh
together with hair specimens taken from the victim and strands, from root to tip, may be laceration of the labia minora at 6:00 oclock and 9:00
accused-appellant, were sent to he National Bureau of presented.[13] Thereupon, accused-appellant, who oclock positions could have been caused either by
Investigation (NBI) for laboratory examination.[12] executed a waiver of detention including a waiver of the sexual intercourse or by an object forcibly inserted in
provisions of Section 12, Article III of the Constitution Mylenes vagina.[20]
Meanwhile, on March 30, 1994, accused-appellant was on the rights of the accused during custodial
formally charged with the special complex crime of investigation,[14] was allegedly convinced by a certain Accused-appellant resolved not to testify at the trial,
rape with homicide in an information which reads: Major Wendy Ocampo to give sample hair opting instead to present his wife and his father as
strands. Another police officer went to the Dorias witnesses to account for his whereabouts on the night of
The undersigned 4th Assistant City Prosecutor accuses residence to get hair samples from Mylene, who had not the gruesome incident.
DELFIN RONDERO y Sigua, of Pugaro District, yet been interred. The hair strands taken from accused-
Dagupan City, of the crime of RAPE WITH appellant and the victim were later indorsed to the NBI Christine Gonzales, wife of accused-appellant, testified
HOMICIDE, committed as follows: for laboratory testing.[15] Comparative micro-physical that on March 25, 1994, at around 7:00 oclock in the
examination on the specimens showed that the hair evening, she had a quarrel with her husband. Accused-
appellant was then slightly drunk and apparently irked
when supper was not yet ready. He slapped his wife and his assistance to search for his missing nine-year old to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua instead, on
shouted invectives at her, causing a disturbance in the daughter Mylene. Leonardo willingly obliged. Thus, the ground that under Section 10 of Republic Act No.
neighborhood and prompting his father, who lived just a Maximo, Leonardo and the barangay secretary searched 7610, otherwise known as the Special Protection of
house away, to intervene. When accused-appellant the nearby houses for hours but failed to find Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and
refused to be pacified, his father hit him in the nose, Mylene.[23] Discrimination Act, the penalty for homicide
mouth and different parts of the body.[21] His father left is reclusion perpetua when the victim is under twelve
accused-appellant profusely bleeding. Accused- On October 13, 1995, the trial court rendered (12) years of age.[26]
appellant then changed his blood-stained clothes and judgment[24] convicting accused-appellant of the crime
went to bed with his wife. It was a little after 8:00 of murder and sentencing him to death. The dispositive In this appeal, accused-appellant raises the following
oclock in the evening. portion of the decision reads: assignment of errors:

Christine woke up the next day at around 7:00 oclock in WHEREFORE: I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING
the morning. She washed some clothes including the ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY OF THE CRIME
blood-stained ones her husband wore the night For the crime you had wilfully and deliberately OF MURDER AMENDED TO HOMICIDE AND
before. After doing the laundry, she went out to pay her committed, this court finds you guilty beyond SENTENCING HIM TO SUFFER LIFE
father a visit. On her way back home, Christine was reasonable doubt of the crime of murder defined and IMPRISONMENT (sic) AND TO INDEMNIFY THE
informed by a child that her husband was arrested by punished by Section 6 of Republic Act No. 7659, in AGGRIEVED PARTY IN THE AMOUNT OF
the police. Christine rushed home and found some relation to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, P175,000.00 BASED ONLY ON CIRCUMSTANTIAL
policemen taking the newly washed undershirt and short together with all its attendant aggravating circumstances EVIDENCE.
pants of accused-appellant from the clothesline. The without any mitigating circumstance of whatever
policemen brought Christine with them to the police nature. II. THE LOWER COURT COMMITTED GRAVE
headquarters for questioning. When asked about the ERROR IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED OF
blood on her husbands clothes, Christine told them You, Delfin Rondero, are hereby therefore sentenced to HOMICIDE.
about their quarrel the night before.[22] die by electrocution pursuant to Article 81 of Republic
Act No. 7659, for your heinous crime as charged in the III. THE LOWER COURT COMMITTED GRAVE
Accused-appellants father, Leonardo Rondero, information as a punishment and as an example to ERROR IN FINDING ACCUSED GUILTY TO (sic)
corroborated Christines story. He testified that on the future offenders. THE CRIME OF HOMICIDE DESPITE ILLEGAL
night in question, at around 7:00 oclock in the evening, ARREST AND ILLEGAL DETENTION OF
he was resting at home, located only a house away from You are hereby further ordered to indemnify the heirs of ACCUSED-APPELLANT.[27]
his sons, when he heard the latter having a heated the victim by paying to them an amount of P60,000.00
discussion with Christine. Embarrassed at the scene that for the loss of life of Mylene J. Doria; P15,000.00 for The appeal has no merit.
his son was creating at such an hour, Leonardo went to consequential damages and P100,000.00 as moral
damages. Accused-appellant argues that the circumstantial
he couples house to pacify the slightly inebriated
evidence presented by the prosecution is not strong
accused-appellant. Accused-appellant ignored his father
May God have mercy on your soul. enough to sustain his conviction, asserting that Maximo
and continued shouting at his wife. Leonardo then hit
Dorias testimony that he saw him about a meter away
him several times causing his nose and mouth to bleed
SO ORDERED.[25] washing his bloodied hands at an artesian well was
profusely that it stained his sando and short
highly improbable inasmuch as it was dark at that
pants. Startled at the injuries that his son sustained, Accused-appellant moved for reconsideration. On time. Accused-appellant also considered it strange that
Leonardo went home. Early the next morning, March November 10, 1995, the trial court issued an order when Maximo saw him, he did not bother to ask if he
26, 1994, at around 1:30 oclock, Leonardo was modifying its earlier decision, convicting accused- had seen Mylene. Finally, accused-appellant alleges that
awakened by his neighbor, Maximo Doria, who sought appellant of the crime of homicide and sentencing him the slippers presented in court as evidence are not the
same ones which were recovered at the scene of the 1. A few hours after the victims probable time of death, photographs corroborate the testimony of the
crime since the pictures presented in court did not show Maximo saw accused-appellant, with an ice pick prosecutions witnesses that a pair of rubber slippers
the leaf painted in red on the left slipper. clenched in his mouth, washing his bloodied hands at an were indeed recovered at the scene.
artesian well.[30]
Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Court It might not be amiss to note that Maximo was not
provides: 2. A pair of slippers which Maximo identified as shown to have had any motive to impute so grave a
belonging to accused-appellant was found at the scene wrong on accused-appellant. Prior to the incident,
Sec. 4. Circumstantial evidence, when sufficient.- of the crime. One was found beside the victims body accused-appellant used to frequent Maximos house for a
Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if: while the other was under her buttocks.[31] Maximo visit.[36] On the night of the incident, Maximo even
positively pointed to accused-appellant as the owner of sought the help of accused-appellants father to search
(a) There is more than one circumstance; the pair of slippers because of a distinguishing mark of for Mylene.
the painting of a red leaf on the left slipper. Maximo
(b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are said accused-appellant used to frequent their house On the other hand, the testimonies of the witnesses for
proven; and wearing the same pair of slippers for over a year.[32] the defense are incredulous, to say the least. Leonardo
Rondero, accused-appellants father, testified that he
(c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as 3. The hair strands which were found on Mylenes right mauled his son in an effort to pacify him during a
to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. hand and the hair strands taken from accused-appellant heated altercation with his wife, Christine. Leonardo
were shown to have similar characteristics when said that he felt embarrassed because his son was
Circumstantial evidence is that evidence which proves a
subjected to microscopic examination.[33] shouting invectives at Christine and was causing a
fact or series of facts from which the facts in issue may
scene in the neighborhood so he hit the accused-
be established by inference.[28] Such evidence is 4. Accused-appellants undershirt and short pants which appellant several times. Leonardos curious way of
founded on experience and observed facts and he wore on the night of March 25, 1994 had pacifying his son resulted in bodily injuries on the
coincidences establishing a connection between the bloodstains. His wife admitted having washed the latter. Strangely, despite his sustained injuries and
known and proven facts and the facts sought to be undershirt and short pants in the early morning of profuse bleeding, accused-appellant and his wife just
proved.[29] Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for March 26, 1994.[34] went to sleep after Leonardo left.[37] We find it
conviction in criminal cases when there is more than
unnatural that a father, a barangay kagawad, would
one circumstance, derived from facts duly given and the Contrary to the allegations of accused-appellant, the repeatedly hit his son in an effort to pacify him in the
combination of all is such as to produce conviction evidence presented by the prosecution is sufficient to middle of a marital spat. We find it even more unnatural
beyond reasonable doubt. The test for accepting sustain his conviction. Maximo stated on the witness that one who was bleeding profusely would act so
circumstantial evidence as proof of guilt beyond stand that he was able to identify accused-appellant insouciant as to just to go to sleep without attending to
reasonable doubt is: the series of circumstances duly because he focused his flashlight on him while he was his injuries.
proved must be consistent with each other and that each washing his bloodstained hands at an artesian well
and every circumstance must be consistent with the located only a meter away from where Maximo was Accused-appellant alleges that while in the custody of
accuseds guilt and inconsistent with his innocence. standing.[35] Maximo considered it wise not to talk to police officers, some hair strands were taken from him
accused-appellant because at that time he had an ice without his consent and submitted to the NBI for
In the case at bar, the prosecution avers that there are pick clenched in his mouth and looked slightly investigation, in violation of his right against self
several circumstances availing which, when pieced drunk. As to the allegation that the slippers presented in incrimination. Aside from executing a waiver of the
together, point to accused-appellant as the author of the court were not the same ones recovered at the scene of provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code,
gruesome crime committed on the night of March 25, the crime, suffice it to say that the photographs taken of accused-appellant executed a waiver of the provisions
1994, to wit: the crime scene were not focused only on the pair of of Article III, Section 12 of the Constitution regarding
slippers; hence, the red leaf may be too minuscule to be the rights of an accused during custodial
noticed. In any case, the pair of slippers shown in the investigation.[38] It appears, however, that the waivers
were executed by the accused without the assistance of making a free and rational choice or impair his capacity right against illegal searches and seizure, are
a counsel of his own choice. for making rational judgment would be sufficient. So is inadmissible in court as evidence.
moral coercion tending to force testimony from the
The use of evidence against the accused obtained by unwilling lips of the defendant. Needless to say, the Nevertheless, even without the admission of the
virtue of his testimony or admission without the above-mentioned provisions are an affirmation that bloodied garments of the accused as corroborative
assistance of counsel while under custodial coercion can be mental as well as physical and that the evidence, the circumstances obtaining against accused-
investigation is proscribed under Sections 12 and 17, blood of the accused is not the only hallmark of an appellant are sufficient to establish his guilt.
Article III of the Constitution, to wit: unconstitutional inquisition.[40]
Having disposed of the foregoing, we now come to the
Sec. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the It bears emphasis, however, that under the above-quoted issue of whether accused-appellant should be convicted
commission of an offense shall have the right to be provisions, what is actually proscribed is the use of of the special complex crime of rape with homicide.
informed of his right to remain silent and to have physical or moral compulsion to extort communication
competent and independent counsel preferably of his from the accused-appellant and not the inclusion of his It is a jurisprudential rule that an appeal throws a whole
own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of body in evidence when it may be material. For instance, case to review and it becomes the duty of the appellate
counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights substance emitted from the body of the accused may be court to correct such error as may be found in the
cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence received as evidence in prosecution for acts of judgment appealed from whether they are made the
of counsel. lasciviousness[41] and morphine forced out of the mouth subject of assigned errors or not.[44]
of the accused may also be used as evidence against
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation or him.[42] Consequently, although accused-appellant The trial court dismissed the charge of rape holding that
any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used insists that hair samples were forcibly taken from him it has not been adequately proven due to the absence of
against him. Secret detention places, solitary, and submitted to the NBI for forensic examination, the spermatozoa in the victims private part. It is well settled
incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are hair samples may be admitted in evidence against him, that the absence of spermatozoa in the victims private
prohibited. for what is proscribed is the use of testimonial part does not negate the commission of rape for the
compulsion or any evidence communicative in nature simple reason that the mere touching of the pudenda by
(3) Any confession or admission in violation of this or acquired from the accused under duress. the male organ is already considered as consummated
Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence rape. Mylene Doria was naked from waist down when
against him. On the other hand, the blood-stained undershirt and she was found. Her private organ had hymenal
short pants taken from the accused are inadmissible in lacerations at 1:00 oclock, 6:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock
xxxxxxxxx evidence. They were taken without the proper search positions. There were fresh lacerations in the labia
warrant from the police officers. Accused-appellants minora at 6:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock positions as
Sec. 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness well. The trial judge even noted that it can be
wife testified that the police officers, after arresting her
against himself. conclusively deduced that her sex organ was subjected
husband in their house, took the garments from the
clothesline without proper authority.[43] This was never to a humiliating punishment. While the examining
The aforesaid rules are set forth in the Constitution as a physician speculated that the lacerations could have
rebutted by the prosecution.Under the libertarian
recognition of the fact that the psychological if not been caused by a piece of wood or rounded object, he
exclusionary rule known as the fruit of the poisonous
physical atmosphere of custodial investigations in the did not rule out the possibility of forcible sexual
tree, evidence illegally obtained by the state should not
absence of procedural safeguards is inherently coercive intercourse.
be used to gain other evidence because the illegally
in nature. However, to paraphrase Justice Sanchez in
obtained evidence taints all evidence subsequently
the case of Chavez vs. Court of Appeals,[39] Compulsion The presence of physical injuries on the victim strongly
obtained. Simply put, accused-appellants garments,
does not necessarily connote the use of violence; it may indicates the employment of force on her
having been seized in violation of his constitutional
be the product of unintentional statements. Pressure person. Contusion was found on Mylenes face, arms
which operates to overbear his will, disable him from and thighs. In rape cases, when a woman is forcibly
made to lie down, she will utilize her elbow as the throws the whole case open to the review of the P75,000.00 by way of civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as
fulcrum so that abrasions will be observed. In an appellate court, which is then called to render judgment moral damages and P15,000.00 as consequential
attempt to stand, the victim will flex her neck as the law and justice dictate, whether favorable or damages.
forward. The offender will then push her head unfavorable, and whether they are made the subject of
backwards, causing hematoma at the region of the assigned errors or not. This precept should be borne in In accordance with Section 25 of Republic Act No.
occiput. To prevent penetration of the male organ, she mind by every lawyer of an accused who unwittingly 7659, amending Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code,
will try to flex her thighs and the offender will give a takes the risk involved when he decides to appeal his upon finality of this decision, let the records of this case
strong blow to the inner aspects of both thighs so that sentence. be forwarded to the Office of the President for possible
the victim will be compelled to straighten them.[45] exercise of pardoning power.
Accused-appellants guilt having been established
As aptly observed by the Solicitor General, aside from beyond reasonable doubt for the rape and brutal slaying SO ORDERED.
the hymenal lacerations, the examining physician of Mylene Doria, this Court has no other recourse but to
testified that Mylene sustained abrasions on her left impose the penalty of death upon accused-appellant
elbow, right buttock and right upper hip and contusion Delfin Rondero y Sigua. Under Article 335 of the
hematoma at the occipital area, i.e., back part of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No.
head, right side.[46] Indeed, the physical evidence 7659, when by reason or on occasion of the rape, a
indubitably tells a harrowing crime committed against homicide is committed, the penalty shall be death. At
nine-year old Mylene Doria in a manner that no words this juncture, it should be stated that four justices of the
can sufficiently describe. court have continued to maintain the unconstitutionality
of R.A. No. 7659 insofar as it prescribes the death
Anent accused-appellants third assignment of error, it penalty; nevertheless, they submit to the ruling of the
might be true that accused-appellants warrantless arrest majority to the effect that this law is constitutional and
was not lawful. The police officers who arrested him that the death penalty can be lawfully imposed in the
had no personal knowledge of facts indicating that he case at bar.
was the perpetrator of the crime just committed. His
warrantless arrest was not based on a personal The award of P50,000.00 as indemnity to the heirs of
knowledge of the police officers indicating facts that he the victim is increased to P75,000.00 in line with our
has committed the gruesome crime but solely on ruling in People vs. Mahinay.[48] The award of moral
Maximos suspicion that he was involved in the slaying damages in the sum of P100,000.00 is reduced to
of Mylene since he was seen washing his bloodied P50,000.00. Further, accused-appellant is ordered to
hands in the early morning of March 26, pay the sum of P15,000.00 as consequential damages.
1994.[47] Nevertheless, it is hornbook knowledge that
any irregularity attending the arrest of an accused is WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial
deemed waived when, instead of quashing the Court, Branch 41, Dagupan City finding accused-
information for lack of jurisdiction over his person, the appellant Delfin Rondero y Sigua guilty beyond
accused voluntarily submits himself to the court by reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide is
entering a plea of guilty or not guilty during the MODIFIED. Accused-appellant Delfin Rondero y
arraignment and participating in the proceedings. Sigua is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
charge of special complex crime of rape with homicide
Finally, we reiterate that when an accused appeals from committed against Mylene J. Doria and is accordingly
the sentence of the trial court, he waives the sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH. He
constitutional safeguard against double jeopardy and is also ordered to pay the heirs of the victim the sum of
SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS), G.R. No. 157870 PUNO, C.J., VELASCO, JR., J.:

Petitioner, QUISUMBING, In these kindred petitions, the constitutionality of


Section 36 of Republic Act No. (RA) 9165, otherwise
- versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO, known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of
2002, insofar as it requires mandatory drug testing of
CARPIO, candidates for public office, students of secondary and
tertiary schools, officers and employees of public and
DANGEROUS DRUGS BOARD and AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, private offices, and persons charged before the
- versus - CORONA, prosecutors office with certain offenses, among other
PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT
personalities, is put in issue.
CARPIO MORALES,
AGENCY (PDEA),
AZCUNA,
Respondents.
As far as pertinent, the challenged section reads as
TINGA,
follows:
x-----------------------------------------------x
CHICO-NAZARIO,
SEC. 36. Authorized Drug Testing.Authorized drug
ATTY. MANUEL J. LASERNA, JR., G.R. No. 158633
testing shall be done by any government forensic
VELASCO, JR.,
Petitioner, laboratories or by any of the drug testing laboratories
NACHURA, accredited and monitored by the DOH to safeguard the
quality of the test results. x x x The drug testing shall
REYES, employ, among others, two (2) testing methods, the
- versus - screening test which will determine the positive result
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and as well as the type of drug used and the confirmatory
test which will confirm a positive screening test. x x
BRION, JJ. x The following shall be subjected to undergo drug
DANGEROUS DRUGS BOARD and testing:

PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT


COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Promulgated:
AGENCY, xxxx
Respondent.
Respondents.
November 3, 2008
x-----------------------------------------------x (c) Students of secondary and tertiary schools.Students
x------------------------------------------------------------------ of secondary and tertiary schools shall, pursuant to the
AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., G.R. No. 161658 -----------------------x related rules and regulations as contained in the schools
student handbook and with notice to the parents,
Petitioner, DECISION undergo a random drug testing x x x;

Present:
(d) Officers and employees of public and private On December 23, 2003, the Commission on Elections NOW THEREFORE, The [COMELEC], pursuant to
offices.Officers and employees of public and private (COMELEC) issued Resolution No. 6486, prescribing the authority vested in it under the Constitution, Batas
offices, whether domestic or overseas, shall be the rules and regulations on the mandatory drug testing Pambansa Blg. 881 (Omnibus Election Code), [RA]
subjected to undergo a random drug test as contained in of candidates for public office in connection with 9165 and other election laws, RESOLVED to
the companys work rules and regulations, x x x for the May 10, 2004 synchronized national and local promulgate, as it hereby promulgates, the following
purposes of reducing the risk in the workplace. Any elections. The pertinent portions of the said resolution rules and regulations on the conduct of mandatory drug
officer or employee found positive for use of dangerous read as follows: testing to candidates for public office[:]
drugs shall be dealt with administratively which shall be
a ground for suspension or termination, subject to the
provisions of Article 282 of the Labor Code and
pertinent provisions of the Civil Service Law; WHEREAS, Section 36 (g) of Republic Act No. 9165 SECTION 1. Coverage.All candidates for public office,
provides: both national and local, in the May 10, 2004
Synchronized National and Local Elections shall
undergo mandatory drug test in government forensic
xxxx laboratories or any drug testing laboratories monitored
SEC. 36. Authorized Drug Testing.x x x and accredited by the Department of Health.

(f) All persons charged before the prosecutors office


with a criminal offense having an imposable penalty of xxxx SEC. 3. x x x
imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1)
day shall undergo a mandatory drug test;

(g) All candidates for public office x x x both in the On March 25, 2004, in addition to the drug certificates
national or local government shall undergo a mandatory filed with their respective offices, the Comelec Offices
(g) All candidates for public office whether appointed drug test. and employees concerned shall submit to the Law
or elected both in the national or local government shall Department two (2) separate lists of candidates. The
undergo a mandatory drug test. WHEREAS, Section 1, Article XI of the 1987 first list shall consist of those candidates who complied
Constitution provides that public officers and with the mandatory drug test while the second list shall
employees must at all times be accountable to the consist of those candidates who failed to comply x x x.
people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity,
In addition to the above stated penalties in this Section, loyalty and efficiency;
those found to be positive for dangerous drugs use shall
be subject to the provisions of Section 15 of this Act. SEC. 4. Preparation and publication of names of
candidates.Before the start of the campaign period, the
WHEREAS, by requiring candidates to undergo [COMELEC] shall prepare two separate lists of
mandatory drug test, the public will know the quality of candidates. The first list shall consist of those
G.R. No. 161658 (Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. v. candidates they are electing and they will be assured candidates who complied with the mandatory drug test
Commission on Elections) that only those who can serve with utmost while the second list shall consist of those candidates
responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency would who failed to comply with said drug test. x x x
be elected x x x.
SEC. 5. Effect of failure to undergo mandatory drug test by requiring, via RA 9165 and Resolution No. 6486, a
and file drug test certificate.No person elected to any senatorial aspirant, among other candidates, to undergo
public office shall enter upon the duties of his office a mandatory drug test, create an additional qualification Petitioner Atty. Manuel J. Laserna, Jr., as citizen and
until he has undergone mandatory drug test and filed that all candidates for senator must first be certified as taxpayer, also seeks in his Petition for Certiorari and
with the offices enumerated under Section 2 hereof the drug free. He adds that there is no provision in the Prohibition under Rule 65 that Sec. 36(c), (d), (f), and
drug test certificate herein required. (Emphasis Constitution authorizing the Congress or COMELEC to (g) of RA 9165 be struck down as unconstitutional for
supplied.) expand the qualification requirements of candidates for infringing on the constitutional right to privacy, the
senator. right against unreasonable search and seizure, and the
right against self-incrimination, and for being contrary
to the due process and equal protection guarantees.
Petitioner Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., a senator of the
Republic and a candidate for re-election in the May 10, G.R. No. 157870 (Social Justice Society v. Dangerous
2004 elections,[1] filed a Petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition under Rule 65. In it, he seeks (1) to nullify Drugs Board and Philippine Drug Enforcement
Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. Agency)
6486 dated December 23, 2003 for being
unconstitutional in that they impose a qualification for
candidates for senators in addition to those already The Issue on Locus Standi
provided for in the 1987 Constitution; and (2) to enjoin In its Petition for Prohibition under Rule 65, petitioner
Social Justice Society (SJS), a registered political party, First off, we shall address the justiciability of the cases
the COMELEC from implementing Resolution No.
seeks to prohibit the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) at bench and the matter of the standing of petitioners
6486.
and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) SJS and Laserna to sue. As respondents DDB and
from enforcing paragraphs (c), (d), (f), and (g) of Sec. PDEA assert, SJS and Laserna failed to allege any
36 of RA 9165 on the ground that they are incident amounting to a violation of the constitutional
Pimentel invokes as legal basis for his petition Sec. 3, constitutionally infirm. For one, the provisions rights mentioned in their separate petitions.[2]
Article VI of the Constitution, which states: constitute undue delegation of legislative power when
they give unbridled discretion to schools and employers
to determine the manner of drug testing. For another,
the provisions trench in the equal protection clause It is basic that the power of judicial review can only be
SECTION 3. No person shall be a Senator unless he is a inasmuch as they can be used to harass a student or an exercised in connection with a bona fide controversy
natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and, on the day employee deemed undesirable. And for a third, a which involves the statute sought to be reviewed.[3] But
of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to persons constitutional right against unreasonable even with the presence of an actual case or controversy,
read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the searches is also breached by said provisions. the Court may refuse to exercise judicial review unless
Philippines for not less than two years immediately the constitutional question is brought before it by a
preceding the day of the election. party having the requisite standing to challenge it.[4] To
have standing, one must establish that he or she has
G.R. No. 158633 (Atty. Manuel J. Laserna, Jr. v. suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of
Dangerous the allegedly illegal conduct of the government; the
According to Pimentel, the Constitution only prescribes Drugs Board and Philippine Drug Enforcement injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action; and
a maximum of five (5) qualifications for one to be a Agency) the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable
candidate for, elected to, and be a member of the action.[5]
Senate. He says that both the Congress and COMELEC,
Pimentel Petition Congress inherent legislative powers, broad as they may
be, are subject to certain limitations. As early as 1927,
The rule on standing, however, is a matter of procedure; (Constitutionality of Sec. 36[g] of RA 9165 and in Government v. Springer, the Court has defined, in the
hence, it can be relaxed for non-traditional plaintiffs, abstract, the limits on legislative power in the following
like ordinary citizens, taxpayers, and legislators when COMELEC Resolution No. 6486) wise:
the public interest so requires, such as when the matter
is of transcendental importance, of overarching
significance to society, or of paramount public
interest.[6] There is no doubt that Pimentel, as senator of In essence, Pimentel claims that Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 Someone has said that the powers of the legislative
the Philippines and candidate for the May 10, and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 illegally impose department of the Government, like the boundaries of
2004 elections, possesses the requisite standing since he an additional qualification on candidates for senator. He the ocean, are unlimited. In constitutional governments,
has substantial interests in the subject matter of the points out that, subject to the provisions on nuisance however, as well as governments acting under delegated
petition, among other preliminary candidates, a candidate for senator needs only to meet authority, the powers of each of the departments x x x
considerations. Regarding SJS and Laserna, this Court the qualifications laid down in Sec. 3, Art. VI of the are limited and confined within the four walls of the
is wont to relax the rule on locus standi owing primarily Constitution, to wit: (1) citizenship, (2) voter constitution or the charter, and each department can
to the transcendental importance and the paramount registration, (3) literacy, (4) age, and (5) only exercise such powers as are necessarily implied
public interest involved in the enforcement of Sec. 36 of residency. Beyond these stated qualification from the given powers. The Constitution is the shore of
RA 9165. requirements, candidates for senator need not possess legislative authority against which the waves of
any other qualification to run for senator and be voted legislative enactment may dash, but over which it
The Consolidated Issues upon and elected as member of the Senate. The cannot leap.[10]
Congress cannot validly amend or otherwise modify
these qualification standards, as it cannot disregard,
evade, or weaken the force of a constitutional
The principal issues before us are as follows: mandate,[7] or alter or enlarge the Constitution. Thus, legislative power remains limited in the sense that
it is subject to substantive and constitutional limitations
which circumscribe both the exercise of the power itself
and the allowable subjects of legislation.[11] The
(1) Do Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Pimentels contention is well-taken. Accordingly, Sec. substantive constitutional limitations are chiefly found
Resolution No. 6486 impose an additional qualification 36(g) of RA 9165 should be, as it is hereby declared as, in the Bill of Rights[12] and other provisions, such as
for candidates for senator? Corollarily, can Congress unconstitutional. It is basic that if a law or an Sec. 3, Art. VI of the Constitution prescribing the
enact a law prescribing qualifications for candidates for administrative rule violates any norm of the qualifications of candidates for senators.
senator in addition to those laid down by the Constitution, that issuance is null and void and has no
Constitution? and effect. The Constitution is the basic law to which all
laws must conform; no act shall be valid if it conflicts
(2) Are paragraphs (c), (d), (f), and (g) of Sec. 36, RA with the Constitution.[8] In the discharge of their defined In the same vein, the COMELEC cannot, in the guise of
9165 unconstitutional? Specifically, do these functions, the three departments of government have no enforcing and administering election laws or
paragraphs violate the right to privacy, the right against choice but to yield obedience to the commands of the promulgating rules and regulations to implement Sec.
unreasonable searches and seizure, and the equal Constitution. Whatever limits it imposes must be 36(g), validly impose qualifications on candidates for
protection clause? Or do they constitute undue observed.[9] senator in addition to what the Constitution prescribes.
delegation of legislative power? If Congress cannot require a candidate for senator to
meet such additional qualification, the COMELEC, to
be sure, is also without such power. The right of a
citizen in the democratic process of election should not to can only refer to and revolve around the election and trafficking and use of dangerous drugs x x x through an
be defeated by unwarranted impositions of requirement the assumption of public office of the candidates. Any integrated system of planning, implementation and
not otherwise specified in the Constitution.[13] other construal would reduce the mandatory nature of enforcement of anti-drug abuse policies, programs and
Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 into a pure jargon without projects.[14] The primary legislative intent is not
Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165, as sought to be implemented by meaning and effect whatsoever. criminal prosecution, as those found positive for illegal
the assailed COMELEC resolution, effectively enlarges drug use as a result of this random testing are not
the qualification requirements enumerated in the Sec. 3, While it is anti-climactic to state it at this juncture, necessarily treated as criminals. They may even be
Art. VI of the Constitution. As couched, said Sec. 36(g) COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 is no longer exempt from criminal liability should the illegal drug
unmistakably requires a candidate for senator to be enforceable, for by its terms, it was intended to cover user consent to undergo rehabilitation. Secs. 54 and 55
certified illegal-drug clean, obviously as a pre-condition only the May 10, 2004 synchronized elections and the of RA 9165 are clear on this point:
to the validity of a certificate of candidacy for senator candidates running in that electoral event. Nonetheless,
or, with like effect, a condition sine qua non to be voted to obviate repetition, the Court deems it appropriate to
upon and, if proper, be proclaimed as senator-elect. The review and rule, as it hereby rules, on its validity as an
COMELEC resolution completes the chain with the implementing issuance.
proviso that [n]o person elected to any public office
shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has Sec. 54. Voluntary Submission of a Drug Dependent to
undergone mandatory drug test. Viewed, therefore, in Confinement, Treatment and Rehabilitation.A drug
its proper context, Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and the It ought to be made abundantly clear, however, that the dependent or any person who violates Section 15 of this
implementing COMELEC Resolution add another unconstitutionality of Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 is rooted Act may, by himself/herself or through his/her parent,
qualification layer to what the 1987 Constitution, at the on its having infringed the constitutional provision [close relatives] x x x apply to the Board x x x for
minimum, requires for membership in the Senate. defining the qualification or eligibility requirements for treatment and rehabilitation of the drug
Whether or not the drug-free bar set up under the one aspiring to run for and serve as senator. dependency. Upon such application, the Board shall
challenged provision is to be hurdled before or after bring forth the matter to the Court which shall order that
election is really of no moment, as getting elected the applicant be examined for drug dependency. If the
would be of little value if one cannot assume office for examination x x x results in the certification that the
SJS Petition applicant is a drug dependent, he/she shall be ordered
non-compliance with the drug-testing requirement.
by the Court to undergo treatment and rehabilitation in a
(Constitutionality of Sec. 36[c], [d], [f], and [g] of RA Center designated by the Board x x x.
9165)
It may of course be argued, in defense of the validity of
Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165, that the provision does not
expressly state that non-compliance with the drug test xxxx
The drug test prescribed under Sec. 36(c), (d), and (f) of
imposition is a disqualifying factor or would work to
RA 9165 for secondary and tertiary level students and
nullify a certificate of candidacy. This argument may be
public and private employees, while mandatory, is a
accorded plausibility if the drug test requirement is
random and suspicionless arrangement. The objective is Sec. 55. Exemption from the Criminal Liability Under
optional. But the particular section of the law, without
to stamp out illegal drug and safeguard in the process the Voluntary Submission Program.A drug dependent
exception, made drug-testing on those covered
the well being of [the] citizenry, particularly the youth, under the voluntary submission program, who is finally
mandatory, necessarily suggesting that the obstinate
from the harmful effects of dangerous drugs. This discharged from confinement, shall be exempt from the
ones shall have to suffer the adverse consequences for
statutory purpose, per the policy-declaration portion of criminal liability under Section 15 of this Act subject to
not adhering to the statutory command. And since the
the law, can be achieved via the pursuit by the state of the following conditions:
provision deals with candidates for public office, it
an intensive and unrelenting campaign against the
stands to reason that the adverse consequence adverted
xxxx of frequent drug use by school athletes. After before their peers in locker rooms, non-athletes are
consultation with the parents, they required random entitled to more privacy.
urinalysis drug testing for the schools athletes. James
Acton, a high school student, was denied participation
School children, the US Supreme Court noted, are most in the football program after he refused to undertake the
vulnerable to the physical, psychological, and addictive urinalysis drug testing. Acton forthwith sued, claiming The US Supreme Court, citing Vernonia, upheld the
effects of drugs. Maturing nervous systems of the young that the schools drug testing policy violated, inter alia, constitutionality of drug testing even among non-
are more critically impaired by intoxicants and are more the Fourth Amendment[19] of the US Constitution. athletes on the basis of the schools custodial
inclined to drug dependency. Their recovery is also at a responsibility and authority. In so ruling, said court
depressingly low rate.[15] made no distinction between a non-athlete and an
athlete. It ratiocinated that schools and teachers act in
The US Supreme Court, in fashioning a solution to the place of the parents with a similar interest and duty of
issues raised in Vernonia, considered the following: (1) safeguarding the health of the students. And in holding
The right to privacy has been accorded recognition in schools stand in loco parentis over their students; (2) that the school could implement its random drug-testing
this jurisdiction as a facet of the right protected by the school children, while not shedding their constitutional policy, the Court hinted that such a test was a kind of
guarantee against unreasonable search and rights at the school gate, have less privacy rights; (3) search in which even a reasonable parent might need to
seizure[16] under Sec. 2, Art. III[17] of the Constitution. athletes have less privacy rights than non-athletes since engage.
But while the right to privacy has long come into its the former observe communal undress before and after
own, this case appears to be the first time that the sports events; (4) by joining the sports activity, the
validity of a state-decreed search or intrusion through athletes voluntarily subjected themselves to a higher
the medium of mandatory random drug testing among degree of school supervision and regulation; (5) In sum, what can reasonably be deduced from the above
students and employees is, in this jurisdiction, made the requiring urine samples does not invade a students two cases and applied to this jurisdiction are: (1)
focal point. Thus, the issue tendered in these privacy since a student need not undress for this kind of schools and their administrators stand in loco
proceedings is veritably one of first impression. drug testing; and (6) there is need for the drug testing parentis with respect to their students; (2) minor
because of the dangerous effects of illegal drugs on the students have contextually fewer rights than an adult,
young. The US Supreme Court held that the policy and are subject to the custody and supervision of their
constituted reasonable search under the Fourth[20] and parents, guardians, and schools; (3) schools, acting in
US jurisprudence is, however, a rich source of loco parentis, have a duty to safeguard the health and
14th Amendments and declared the random drug-testing
persuasive jurisprudence. With respect to random drug well-being of their students and may adopt such
policy constitutional.
testing among school children, we turn to the teachings measures as may reasonably be necessary to discharge
of VernoniaSchool District 47J v. Acton (Vernonia) such duty; and (4) schools have the right to impose
and Board of Education of Independent School District conditions on applicants for admission that are fair, just,
No. 92 of Pottawatomie County, et al. v. Earls, et In Board of Education, the Board of Education of a and non-discriminatory.
al. (Board of Education),[18]both fairly pertinent US school in Tecumseh, Oklahoma required a drug test for
Supreme Court-decided cases involving the high school students desiring to join extra-curricular Guided by Vernonia and Board of Education, the Court
constitutionality of governmental search. activities.Lindsay Earls, a member of the show choir, is of the view and so holds that the provisions of RA
marching band, and academic team declined to undergo 9165 requiring mandatory, random, and suspicionless
a drug test and averred that the drug-testing policy made drug testing of students are constitutional. Indeed, it is
to apply to non-athletes violated the Fourth and 14th within the prerogative of educational institutions to
In Vernonia, school administrators require, as a condition for admission, compliance with
Amendments. As Earls argued, unlike athletes who
in Vernonia, Oregon wanted to address the drug menace reasonable school rules and regulations and policies. To
routinely undergo physical examinations and undress
in their respective institutions following the discovery
be sure, the right to enroll is not absolute; it is subject to of the Constitution.[24] Petitioner Lasernas lament is just intrusion on the individuals privacy interest against the
fair, reasonable, and equitable requirements. as simplistic, sweeping, and gratuitous and does not promotion of some compelling state interest.[31] In the
merit serious consideration. Consider what he wrote criminal context, reasonableness requires showing of
without elaboration: probable cause to be personally determined by a judge.
Given that the drug-testing policy for employeesand
The Court can take judicial notice of the proliferation of students for that matterunder RA 9165 is in the nature
prohibited drugs in the country that threatens the well- of administrative search needing what was referred to
being of the people,[21] particularly the youth and school The US Supreme Court and US Circuit Courts of in Vernonia as swift and informal disciplinary
children who usually end up as victims. Accordingly, Appeals have made various rulings on the procedures, the probable-cause standard is not required
and until a more effective method is conceptualized and constitutionality of mandatory drug tests in the school or even practicable. Be that as it may, the review should
put in motion, a random drug testing of students in and the workplaces. The US courts have been consistent focus on the reasonableness of the challenged
secondary and tertiary schools is not only acceptable in their rulings that the mandatory drug tests violate a administrative search in question.
but may even be necessary if the safety and interest of citizens constitutional right to privacy and right against
the student population, doubtless a legitimate concern unreasonable search and seizure. They are quoted
of the government, are to be promoted and extensively hereinbelow.[25]
protected. To borrow from Vernonia, [d]eterring drug The first factor to consider in the matter of
use by our Nations schoolchildren is as important as reasonableness is the nature of the privacy interest upon
enhancing efficient enforcement of the Nations laws which the drug testing, which effects a search within the
against the importation of drugs; the necessity for the The essence of privacy is the right to be left alone.[26] In meaning of Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution, intrudes.
State to act is magnified by the fact that the effects of a context, the right to privacy means the right to be free In this case, the office or workplace serves as the
drug-infested school are visited not just upon the users, from unwarranted exploitation of ones person or from backdrop for the analysis of the privacy expectation of
but upon the entire student body and intrusion into ones private activities in such a way as to the employees and the reasonableness of drug testing
faculty.[22] Needless to stress, the random testing cause humiliation to a persons ordinary requirement. The employees privacy interest in an
scheme provided under the law argues against the idea sensibilities. [27] And while there has been general office is to a large extent circumscribed by the
that the testing aims to incriminate unsuspecting agreement as to the basic function of the guarantee companys work policies, the collective bargaining
individual students. against unwarranted search, translation of the abstract agreement, if any, entered into by management and the
prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures bargaining unit, and the inherent right of the employer
into workable broad guidelines for the decision of to maintain discipline and efficiency in the workplace.
particular cases is a difficult task, to borrow from C. Their privacy expectation in a regulated office
Just as in the case of secondary and tertiary level Camara v. Municipal Court.[28] Authorities are agreed environment is, in fine, reduced; and a degree of
students, the mandatory but random drug test prescribed though that the right to privacy yields to certain impingement upon such privacy has been upheld.
by Sec. 36 of RA 9165 for officers and employees of paramount rights of the public and defers to the states
public and private offices is justifiable, albeit not exercise of police power.[29]
exactly for the same reason. The Court notes in this
regard that petitioner SJS, other than saying that Just as defining as the first factor is the character of the
subjecting almost everybody to drug testing, without intrusion authorized by the challenged law. Reduced to
probable cause, is unreasonable, an unwarranted As the warrantless clause of Sec. 2, Art III of the a question form, is the scope of the search or intrusion
intrusion of the individual right to privacy,[23] has failed Constitution is couched and as has been held, clearly set forth, or, as formulated in Ople v. Torres, is
to show how the mandatory, random, and suspicionless reasonableness is the touchstone of the validity of a the enabling law authorizing a search narrowly drawn
drug testing under Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA 9165 government search or intrusion.[30] And whether a or narrowly focused? [32]
violates the right to privacy and constitutes unlawful search at issue hews to the reasonableness standard is
and/or unconsented search under Art. III, Secs. 1 and 2 judged by the balancing of the government-mandated
The poser should be answered in the affirmative. For the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act received as a met by the search, and the well-defined limits set forth
one, Sec. 36 of RA 9165 and its implementing rules and result of the operation of the drug testing. All told, in the law to properly guide authorities in the conduct of
regulations (IRR), as couched, contain provisions therefore, the intrusion into the employees privacy, the random testing, we hold that the challenged drug
specifically directed towards preventing a situation that under RA 9165, is accompanied by proper safeguards, test requirement is, under the limited context of the
would unduly embarrass the employees or place them particularly against embarrassing leakages of test case, reasonable and, ergo, constitutional.
under a humiliating experience. While every officer and results, and is relatively minimal.
employee in a private establishment is under the law Like their counterparts in the private sector, government
deemed forewarned that he or she may be a possible officials and employees also labor under reasonable
subject of a drug test, nobody is really singled out in supervision and restrictions imposed by the Civil
advance for drug testing. The goal is to discourage drug To reiterate, RA 9165 was enacted as a measure to Service law and other laws on public officers, all
use by not telling in advance anyone when and who is stamp out illegal drug in the country and thus protect enacted to promote a high standard of ethics in the
to be tested. And as may be observed, Sec. 36(d) of RA the well-being of the citizens, especially the youth, from public service.[37] And if RA 9165 passes the norm of
9165 itself prescribes what, in Ople, is a narrowing the deleterious effects of dangerous drugs. The law reasonableness for private employees, the more reason
ingredient by providing that the employees concerned intends to achieve this through the medium, among that it should pass the test for civil servants, who, by
shall be subjected to random drug test as contained in others, of promoting and resolutely pursuing a national constitutional command, are required to be accountable
the companys work rules and regulations x x x for drug abuse policy in the workplace via a mandatory at all times to the people and to serve them with utmost
purposes of reducing the risk in the work place. random drug test.[36] To the Court, the need for drug responsibility and efficiency.[38]
testing to at least minimize illegal drug use is
substantial enough to override the individuals privacy
interest under the premises. The Court can consider that
For another, the random drug testing shall be the illegal drug menace cuts across gender, age group, Petitioner SJS next posture that Sec. 36 of RA 9165 is
undertaken under conditions calculated to protect as and social- economic lines. And it may not be amiss to objectionable on the ground of undue delegation of
much as possible the employees privacy and dignity. As state that the sale, manufacture, or trafficking of illegal power hardly commends itself for
to the mechanics of the test, the law specifies that the drugs, with their ready market, would be an investors concurrence. Contrary to its position, the provision in
procedure shall employ two testing methods, i.e., the dream were it not for the illegal and immoral question is not so extensively drawn as to give
screening test and the confirmatory test, doubtless to components of any of such activities. The drug problem unbridled options to schools and employers to
ensure as much as possible the trustworthiness of the has hardly abated since the martial law public execution determine the manner of drug testing. Sec. 36 expressly
results. But the more important consideration lies in the of a notorious drug trafficker. The state can no longer provides how drug testing for students of secondary and
fact that the test shall be conducted by trained assume a laid back stance with respect to this modern- tertiary schools and officers/employees of public/private
professionals in access-controlled laboratories day scourge. Drug enforcement agencies perceive a offices should be conducted. It enumerates the persons
monitored by the Department of Health (DOH) to mandatory random drug test to be an effective way of who shall undergo drug testing. In the case of students,
safeguard against results tampering and to ensure an preventing and deterring drug use among employees in the testing shall be in accordance with the school rules
accurate chain of custody.[33] In addition, the IRR issued private offices, the threat of detection by random testing as contained in the student handbook and with notice to
by the DOH provides that access to the drug results being higher than other modes. The Court holds that the parents. On the part of officers/employees, the testing
shall be on the need to know basis;[34] that the drug test chosen method is a reasonable and enough means to shall take into account the companys work rules. In
result and the records shall be [kept] confidential lick the problem. either case, the random procedure shall be observed,
subject to the usual accepted practices to protect the meaning that the persons to be subjected to drug test
confidentiality of the test results.[35] Notably, RA 9165 shall be picked by chance or in an unplanned way. And
does not oblige the employer concerned to report to the in all cases, safeguards against misusing and
prosecuting agencies any information or evidence Taking into account the foregoing factors, i.e., the compromising the confidentiality of the test results are
relating to the violation of reduced expectation of privacy on the part of the established.
employees, the compelling state concern likely to be
persons to the parental authority of school authorities. 9165 CONSTITUTIONAL, but declaring its Sec.
In the case of private and public employees, the 36(f) UNCONSTITUTIONAL. All concerned agencies
Lest it be overlooked, Sec. 94 of RA 9165 charges the constitutional soundness of the mandatory, random, and are, accordingly, permanently enjoined from
DDB to issue, in consultation with the DOH, suspicionless drug testing proceeds from the implementing Sec. 36(f) and (g) of RA 9165. No costs.
Department of the Interior and Local Government, reasonableness of the drug test policy and requirement.
Department of Education, and Department of Labor and
Employment, among other agencies, the IRR necessary
to enforce the law. In net effect then, the participation SO ORDERED.
of schools and offices in the drug testing scheme shall We find the situation entirely different in the case of
always be subject to the IRR of RA 9165. It is, persons charged before the public prosecutors office
therefore, incorrect to say that schools and employers with criminal offenses punishable with six (6) years and
have unchecked discretion to determine how often, one (1) day imprisonment. The operative concepts in
under what conditions, and where the drug tests shall be the mandatory drug testing are randomness and
conducted. suspicionless. In the case of persons charged with a
crime before the prosecutors office, a mandatory drug
testing can never be random or suspicionless. The ideas
of randomness and being suspicionless are antithetical
The validity of delegating legislative power is now a to their being made defendants in a criminal
quiet area in the constitutional landscape.[39] In the face complaint. They are not randomly picked; neither are
of the increasing complexity of the task of the they beyond suspicion. When persons suspected of
government and the increasing inability of the committing a crime are charged, they are singled out
legislature to cope directly with the many problems and are impleaded against their will. The persons thus
demanding its attention, resort to delegation of power, charged, by the bare fact of being haled before the
or entrusting to administrative agencies the power of prosecutors office and peaceably submitting themselves
subordinate legislation, has become imperative, as here. to drug testing, if that be the case, do not necessarily
consent to the procedure, let alone waive their right to
privacy.[40] To impose mandatory drug testing on the
accused is a blatant attempt to harness a medical test as
Laserna Petition (Constitutionality of Sec. 36[c], [d], a tool for criminal prosecution, contrary to the stated
objectives of RA 9165. Drug testing in this case would
[f], and [g] of RA 9165)
violate a persons right to privacy guaranteed under Sec.
2, Art. III of the Constitution. Worse still, the accused
persons are veritably forced to incriminate themselves.
Unlike the situation covered by Sec. 36(c) and (d) of
RA 9165, the Court finds no valid justification for
mandatory drug testing for persons accused of crimes.
WHEREFORE, the Court resolves to GRANT the
In the case of students, the constitutional viability of the
petition in G.R. No. 161658 and declares Sec.
mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing for
36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No.
students emanates primarily from the waiver by the
6486 as UNCONSTITUTIONAL; and to PARTIALLY
students of their right to privacy when they seek entry
GRANT the petition in G.R. Nos. 157870 and 158633
to the school, and from their voluntarily submitting their
by declaring Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA
G.R. No. 203335 February 11, 2014 G.R. No. 203359 STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET
AL., Petitioners,
JOSE JESUS M. DISINI, JR., ROWENA S. DISINI, SENATOR TEOFISTO DL GUINGONA vs.
LIANNE IVY P. MEDINA, JANETTE TORAL and III, Petitioner, PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., in his capacity as
ERNESTO SONIDO, JR., Petitioners, vs. Executive Secretary and alter-ego of President Benigno
vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF Simeon Aquino III, LEILA DE LIMA in her capacity as
THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF THE Secretary of Justice, Respondents.
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL
LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNMENT, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE x-----------------------x
DIRECTOR OF THE INFORMATION AND NATIONAL POLICE, and DIRECTOR OF THE
COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY OFFICE, THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF G.R. No. 203407
CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE INVESTIGATION, Respondents.
and THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL BUREAU BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN
OF INVESTIGATION, Respondents. x-----------------------x SECRETARY GENERAL RENATO M. REYES, JR.,
National Artist BIENVENIDO L. LUMBERA,
x-----------------------x G.R. No. 203378 Chairperson of Concerned Artists of the Philippines,
ELMER C. LABOG, Chairperson of Kilusang Mayo
G.R. No. 203299 ALEXANDER ADONIS, ELLEN TORDESILLAS, Uno, CRISTINA E. PALABAY, Secretary General of
MA. GISELA ORDENES-CASCOLAN, H. HARRY L. Karapatan, FERDINAND R. GAITE, Chairperson of
LOUIS "BAROK" C. BIRAOGO, Petitioner, ROQUE, JR., ROMEL R. BAGARES, and GILBERT COURAGE, JOEL B. MAGLUNSOD, Vice President
vs. T. ANDRES, Petitioners, of Anakpawis Party-List, LANA R. LINABAN,
NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION and vs. Secretary General Gabriela Women's Party, ADOLFO
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, Respondents. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE ARES P. GUTIERREZ, and JULIUS GARCIA
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MATIBAG, Petitioners,
x-----------------------x MANAGEMENT, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, vs.
THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, President of the
G.R. No. 203306 LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE NATIONAL Republic of the Philippines, PAQUITO N. OCHOA,
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, THE PHILIPPINE JR., Executive Secretary, SENATE OF THE
ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM), NATIONAL POLICE, AND THE INFORMATION PHILIPPINES, represented by SENATE PRESIDENT
HUKUMAN NG MAMAMAYAN MOVEMENT, AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY JUAN PONCE ENRILE, HOUSE OF
INC., JERRY S. YAP, BERTENI "TOTO" CAUSING, OFFICE-DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND REPRESENTATIVES, represented by SPEAKER
HERNANI Q. CUARE, PERCY LAPID, TRACY TECHNOLOGY, Respondents. FELICIANO BELMONTE, JR., LEILA DE LIMA,
CABRERA, RONALDO E. RENTA, CIRILO P.
Secretary of the Department of Justice, LOUIS
SABARRE, JR., DERVIN CASTRO, ET x-----------------------x NAPOLEON C. CASAMBRE, Executive Director of
AL., Petitioners,
the Information and Communications Technology
vs. G.R. No. 203391 Office, NONNATUS CAESAR R. ROJAS, Director of
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, represented by
the National Bureau of Investigation, D/GEN.
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, SENATE OF HON. RAYMOND V. PALATINO, HON. ANTONIO
NICANOR A. BARTOLOME, Chief of the Philippine
THE PHILIPPINES, and HOUSE OF TINIO, VENCER MARI CRISOSTOMO OF
National Police, MANUEL A. ROXAS II, Secretary of
REPRESENTATIVES, Respondents. ANAKBAYAN, MA. KATHERINE ELONA OF THE
the Department of the Interior and Local
PHILIPPINE COLLEGIAN, ISABELLE THERESE
Government, Respondents.
x-----------------------x BAGUISI OF THE NATIONAL UNION OF
x-----------------------x COORDINATING CENTER, AND ALL AGENCIES represented by FELICIANO R. BELMONTE, JR., in
AND INSTRUMENTALITIES OF GOVERNMENT his capacity as Speaker of the House of
G.R. No. 203440 AND ALL PERSONS ACTING UNDER THEIR Representatives; HON. PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., in
INSTRUCTIONS, ORDERS, DIRECTION IN his capacity as Executive Secretary; HON. LEILA M.
MELENCIO S. STA. MARIA, SEDFREY M. RELATION TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF DE LIMA, in her capacity as Secretary of Justice;
CANDELARIA, AMPARITA STA. MARIA, RAY REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10175, Respondents. HON. LOUIS NAPOLEON C. CASAMBRE, in his
PAOLO J. SANTIAGO, GILBERT V. SEMBRANO, capacity as Executive Director, Information and
and RYAN JEREMIAH D. QUAN (all of the Ateneo x-----------------------x Communications Technology Office; HON.
Human Rights Center),Petitioners, NONNATUS CAESAR R. ROJAS, in his capacity as
vs. G.R. No. 203454 Director, National Bureau of Investigation; and
HONORABLE PAQUITO OCHOA in his capacity as P/DGEN. NICANOR A. BARTOLOME, in his
Executive Secretary, HONORABLE LEILA DE LIMA PAUL CORNELIUS T. CASTILLO & RYAN D. capacity as Chief, Philippine National
in her capacity as Secretary of Justice, HONORABLE ANDRES, Petitioners, Police, Respondents.
MANUEL ROXAS in his capacity as Secretary of the vs.
Department of Interior and Local Government, The THE HON. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE THE HON. x-----------------------x
CHIEF of the Philippine National Police, The SECRETARY OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL
DIRECTOR of the National Bureau of Investigation (all GOVERNMENT,Respondents. G.R. No. 203501
of the Executive Department of
Government), Respondents. x-----------------------x PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner,
vs.
x-----------------------x G.R. No. 203469 HIS EXCELLENCY BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, in his
official capacity as President of the Republic of the
G.R. No. 203453 ANTHONY IAN M. CRUZ; MARCELO R. Philippines; HON. PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., in his
LANDICHO; BENJAMIN NOEL A. ESPINA; official capacity as Executive Secretary; HON. LEILA
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE MARCK RONALD C. RIMORIN; JULIUS D. M. DE LIMA, in her official capacity as Secretary of
PHILIPPINES (NUJP), PHILIPPINE PRESS ROCAS; OLIVER RICHARD V. ROBILLO; AARON Justice; LOUIS NAPOLEON C. CASAMBRE, in his
INSTITUTE (PPI), CENTER FOR MEDIA ERICK A. LOZADA; GERARD ADRIAN P. official capacity as Executive Director, Information and
FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY, ROWENA MAGNAYE; JOSE REGINALD A. RAMOS; MA. Communications Technology Office; NONNATUS
CARRANZA PARAAN, MELINDA QUINTOS-DE ROSARIO T. JUAN; BRENDALYN P. RAMIREZ; CAESAR R. ROJAS, in his official capacity as Director
JESUS, JOSEPH ALWYN ALBURO, ARIEL MAUREEN A. HERMITANIO; KRISTINE JOY S. of the National Bureau of Investigation; and
SEBELLINO AND THE PETITIONERS IN THE e- REMENTILLA; MARICEL O. GRAY; JULIUS IVAN DIRECTOR GENERAL NICANOR A.
PETITION http://www.nujp.org/no-to- F. CABIGON; BENRALPH S. YU; CEBU BARTOLOME, in his official capacity as Chief of the
ra10175/, Petitioners, BLOGGERS SOCIETY, INC. PRESIDENT RUBEN Philippine National Police,Respondents.
vs. B. LICERA, JR; and PINOY EXPAT/OFW BLOG
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY AWARDS, INC. COORDINATOR PEDRO E. x-----------------------x
OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR RAHON; Petitioners,
AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE SECRETARY vs. G.R. No. 203509
OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, THE HIS EXCELLENCY BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, in his
DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINE capacity as President of the Republic of the Philippines; BAYAN MUNA REPRESENTATIVE NERI J.
NATIONAL POLICE, THE DIRECTOR OF THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by COLMENARES, Petitioner,
NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, THE HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, in his capacity as vs.
CYBERCRIME INVESTIGATION AND Senate President; HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO OCHOA, vs. 4. Inquire and do business with institutional entities like
JR., Respondent. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY government agencies, banks, stock exchanges, trade
OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF INTERIOR houses, credit card companies, public utilities, hospitals,
x-----------------------x AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE SECRETARY and schools; and
OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, THE
G.R. No. 203515 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE INFORMATION 5. Communicate in writing or by voice with any person
TECHNOLOGY OFFICE, THE DIRECTOR OF THE through his e-mail address or telephone.
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB OF THE PHILIPPINES, NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, THE
INC. represented by BENNY D. ANTIPORDA in his CHIEF, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, THE This is cyberspace, a system that accommodates
capacity as President and in his personal HEAD OF THE DOJ OFFICE OF CYBERCRIME, and millions and billions of simultaneous and ongoing
capacity, Petitioner, THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CYBERCRIME individual accesses to and uses of the internet. The
vs. INVESTIGATION AND COORDINATING cyberspace is a boon to the need of the current
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, PRES. BENIGNO CENTER, Respondents. generation for greater information and facility of
SIMEON AQUINO III, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, communication. But all is not well with the system
DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL DECISION since it could not filter out a number of persons of ill
GOVERNMENT, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, will who would want to use cyberspace technology for
NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, ABAD, J.: mischiefs and crimes. One of them can, for instance,
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT avail himself of the system to unjustly ruin the
AND ALL OTHER GOVERNMENT These consolidated petitions seek to declare several reputation of another or bully the latter by posting
INSTRUMENTALITIES WHO HAVE HANDS IN provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) 10175, the defamatory statements against him that people can read.
THE PASSAGE AND/OR IMPLEMENTATION OF Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, unconstitutional
REPUBLIC ACT 10175, Respondents. and void. And because linking with the internet opens up a user to
communications from others, the ill-motivated can use
x-----------------------x The Facts and the Case the cyberspace for committing theft by hacking into or
surreptitiously accessing his bank account or credit card
G.R. No. 203518 The cybercrime law aims to regulate access to and use or defrauding him through false representations. The
of the cyberspace. Using his laptop or computer, a wicked can use the cyberspace, too, for illicit trafficking
PHILIPPINE INTERNET FREEDOM ALLIANCE, person can connect to the internet, a system that links in sex or for exposing to pornography guileless children
composed of DAKILA-PHILIPPINE COLLECTIVE him to other computers and enable him, among other who have access to the internet. For this reason, the
FOR MODERN HEROISM, represented by Leni things, to: government has a legitimate right to regulate the use of
Velasco, PARTIDO LAKAS NG MASA, represented cyberspace and contain and punish wrongdoings.
by Cesar S. Melencio, FRANCIS EUSTON R. ACERO, 1. Access virtual libraries and encyclopedias for all
MARLON ANTHONY ROMASANTA TONSON, kinds of information that he needs for research, study, Notably, there are also those who would want, like
TEODORO A. CASIÑO, NOEMI LARDIZABAL- amusement, upliftment, or pure curiosity; vandals, to wreak or cause havoc to the computer
DADO, IMELDA ORALES, JAMES MATTHEW B. systems and networks of indispensable or highly useful
MIRAFLOR, JUAN G.M. RAGRAGIO, MARIA 2. Post billboard-like notices or messages, including institutions as well as to the laptop or computer
FATIMA A. VILLENA, MEDARDO M. MANRIQUE, pictures and videos, for the general public or for special programs and memories of innocent individuals. They
JR., LAUREN DADO, MARCO VITTORIA TOBIAS audiences like associates, classmates, or friends and accomplish this by sending electronic viruses or virtual
SUMAYAO, IRENE CHIA, ERASTUS NOEL T. read postings from them; dynamites that destroy those computer systems,
DELIZO, CRISTINA SARAH E. OSORIO, ROMEO networks, programs, and memories. The government
FACTOLERIN, NAOMI L. TUPAS, KENNETH 3. Advertise and promote goods or services and make
certainly has the duty and the right to prevent these
KENG, ANA ALEXANDRA C. CASTRO, Petitioners, purchases and payments;
tomfooleries from happening and punish their i. Section 5 on Aiding or Abetting and Attempt in the Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts
perpetrators, hence the Cybercrime Prevention Act. Commission of Cybercrimes; constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under
this Act:
But petitioners claim that the means adopted by the j. Section 6 on the Penalty of One Degree Higher;
cybercrime law for regulating undesirable cyberspace (a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and
activities violate certain of their constitutional rights. k. Section 7 on the Prosecution under both the Revised availability of computer data and systems:
The government of course asserts that the law merely Penal Code (RPC) and R.A. 10175;
seeks to reasonably put order into cyberspace activities, (1) Illegal Access. – The access to the whole or any part
punish wrongdoings, and prevent hurtful attacks on the l. Section 8 on Penalties; of a computer system without right.
system.
m. Section 12 on Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data; Petitioners contend that Section 4(a)(1) fails to meet the
Pending hearing and adjudication of the issues strict scrutiny standard required of laws that interfere
presented in these cases, on February 5, 2013 the Court n. Section 13 on Preservation of Computer Data; with the fundamental rights of the people and should
extended the original 120-day temporary restraining thus be struck down.
o. Section 14 on Disclosure of Computer Data;
order (TRO) that it earlier issued on October 9, 2012,
enjoining respondent government agencies from The Court has in a way found the strict scrutiny
p. Section 15 on Search, Seizure and Examination of standard, an American constitutional construct,1 useful
implementing the cybercrime law until further orders.
Computer Data; in determining the constitutionality of laws that tend to
The Issues Presented target a class of things or persons. According to this
q. Section 17 on Destruction of Computer Data;
standard, a legislative classification that impermissibly
Petitioners challenge the constitutionality of the interferes with the exercise of fundamental right or
r. Section 19 on Restricting or Blocking Access to
following provisions of the cybercrime law that regard operates to the peculiar class disadvantage of a suspect
Computer Data;
certain acts as crimes and impose penalties for their class is presumed unconstitutional. The burden is on the
commission as well as provisions that would enable the s. Section 20 on Obstruction of Justice; government to prove that the classification is necessary
government to track down and penalize violators. These to achieve a compelling state interest and that it is the
provisions are: t. Section 24 on Cybercrime Investigation and least restrictive means to protect such interest.2 Later,
Coordinating Center (CICC); and the strict scrutiny standard was used to assess the
a. Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access; validity of laws dealing with the regulation of speech,
u. Section 26(a) on CICC’s Powers and Functions. gender, or race as well as other fundamental rights, as
b. Section 4(a)(3) on Data Interference; expansion from its earlier applications to equal
Some petitioners also raise the constitutionality of protection.3
c. Section 4(a)(6) on Cyber-squatting; related Articles 353, 354, 361, and 362 of the RPC on
the crime of libel. In the cases before it, the Court finds nothing in Section
d. Section 4(b)(3) on Identity Theft; 4(a)(1) that calls for the application of the strict scrutiny
The Rulings of the Court standard since no fundamental freedom, like speech, is
e. Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex;
involved in punishing what is essentially a condemnable
Section 4(a)(1) act – accessing the computer system of another without
f. Section 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography;
right. It is a universally condemned conduct.4
Section 4(a)(1) provides:
g. Section 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial
Petitioners of course fear that this section will
Communications;
jeopardize the work of ethical hackers, professionals
h. Section 4(c)(4) on Libel; who employ tools and techniques used by criminal
hackers but would neither damage the target systems Under the overbreadth doctrine, a proper governmental xxxx
nor steal information. Ethical hackers evaluate the purpose, constitutionally subject to state regulation,
target system’s security and report back to the owners may not be achieved by means that unnecessarily sweep (6) Cyber-squatting. – The acquisition of domain name
the vulnerabilities they found in it and give instructions its subject broadly, thereby invading the area of over the internet in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy
for how these can be remedied. Ethical hackers are the protected freedoms.7 But Section 4(a)(3) does not the reputation, and deprive others from registering the
equivalent of independent auditors who come into an encroach on these freedoms at all. It simply punishes same, if such a domain name is:
organization to verify its bookkeeping records.5 what essentially is a form of vandalism,8 the act of
willfully destroying without right the things that belong (i) Similar, identical, or confusingly similar to an
Besides, a client’s engagement of an ethical hacker to others, in this case their computer data, electronic existing trademark registered with the appropriate
requires an agreement between them as to the extent of document, or electronic data message. Such act has no government agency at the time of the domain name
the search, the methods to be used, and the systems to connection to guaranteed freedoms. There is no registration;
be tested. This is referred to as the "get out of jail free freedom to destroy other people’s computer systems
card."6Since the ethical hacker does his job with prior and private documents. (ii) Identical or in any way similar with the name of a
permission from the client, such permission would person other than the registrant, in case of a personal
insulate him from the coverage of Section 4(a)(1). All penal laws, like the cybercrime law, have of course name; and
an inherent chilling effect, an in terrorem effect9 or the
Section 4(a)(3) of the Cybercrime Law fear of possible prosecution that hangs on the heads of (iii) Acquired without right or with intellectual property
citizens who are minded to step beyond the boundaries interests in it.
Section 4(a)(3) provides: of what is proper. But to prevent the State from
Petitioners claim that Section 4(a)(6) or cyber-squatting
legislating criminal laws because they instill such kind
Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts violates the equal protection clause12 in that, not being
of fear is to render the state powerless in addressing and
constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under narrowly tailored, it will cause a user using his real
penalizing socially harmful conduct.10 Here, the chilling
this Act: name to suffer the same fate as those who use aliases or
effect that results in paralysis is an illusion since
take the name of another in satire, parody, or any other
Section 4(a)(3) clearly describes the evil that it seeks to
(a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and literary device. For example, supposing there exists a
punish and creates no tendency to intimidate the free
availability of computer data and systems: well known billionaire-philanthropist named "Julio
exercise of one’s constitutional rights.
Gandolfo," the law would punish for cyber-squatting
xxxx both the person who registers such name because he
Besides, the overbreadth challenge places on petitioners
the heavy burden of proving that under no set of claims it to be his pseudo-name and another who
(3) Data Interference. – The intentional or reckless registers the name because it happens to be his real
circumstances will Section 4(a)(3) be valid.11 Petitioner
alteration, damaging, deletion or deterioration of name. Petitioners claim that, considering the substantial
has failed to discharge this burden.
computer data, electronic document, or electronic data distinction between the two, the law should recognize
message, without right, including the introduction or the difference.
Section 4(a)(6) of the Cybercrime Law
transmission of viruses.
Section 4(a)(6) provides: But there is no real difference whether he uses "Julio
Petitioners claim that Section 4(a)(3) suffers from Gandolfo" which happens to be his real name or use it
overbreadth in that, while it seeks to discourage data Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts as a pseudo-name for it is the evil purpose for which he
interference, it intrudes into the area of protected speech constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under uses the name that the law condemns. The law is
and expression, creating a chilling and deterrent effect this Act: reasonable in penalizing him for acquiring the domain
on these guaranteed freedoms. name in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputation,
(a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and or deprive others who are not ill-motivated of the
availability of computer data and systems: rightful opportunity of registering the same. The
challenge to the constitutionality of Section 4(a)(6) on Gordon"15 the relevance of these zones to the right to guaranteed freedoms like speech. Clearly, what this
ground of denial of equal protection is baseless. privacy: section regulates are specific actions: the acquisition,
use, misuse or deletion of personal identifying data of
Section 4(b)(3) of the Cybercrime Law Zones of privacy are recognized and protected in our another. There is no fundamental right to acquire
laws. Within these zones, any form of intrusion is another’s personal data.
Section 4(b)(3) provides: impermissible unless excused by law and in accordance
with customary legal process. The meticulous regard we Further, petitioners fear that Section 4(b)(3) violates the
Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts accord to these zones arises not only from our freedom of the press in that journalists would be
constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under conviction that the right to privacy is a "constitutional hindered from accessing the unrestricted user account of
this Act: right" and "the right most valued by civilized men," but a person in the news to secure information about him
also from our adherence to the Universal Declaration of that could be published. But this is not the essence of
xxxx Human Rights which mandates that, "no one shall be identity theft that the law seeks to prohibit and punish.
subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy" and Evidently, the theft of identity information must be
b) Computer-related Offenses:
"everyone has the right to the protection of the law intended for an illegitimate purpose. Moreover,
against such interference or attacks." acquiring and disseminating information made public
xxxx
by the user himself cannot be regarded as a form of
Two constitutional guarantees create these zones of theft.
(3) Computer-related Identity Theft. – The intentional
privacy: (a) the right against unreasonable
acquisition, use, misuse, transfer, possession, alteration,
searches16 and seizures, which is the basis of the right to The Court has defined intent to gain as an internal act
or deletion of identifying information belonging to
be let alone, and (b) the right to privacy of which can be established through the overt acts of the
another, whether natural or juridical, without right:
communication and correspondence.17 In assessing the offender, and it may be presumed from the furtive
Provided: that if no damage has yet been caused, the
challenge that the State has impermissibly intruded into taking of useful property pertaining to another, unless
penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.
these zones of privacy, a court must determine whether special circumstances reveal a different intent on the
Petitioners claim that Section 4(b)(3) violates the a person has exhibited a reasonable expectation of part of the perpetrator.20 As such, the press, whether in
constitutional rights to due process and to privacy and privacy and, if so, whether that expectation has been quest of news reporting or social investigation, has
correspondence, and transgresses the freedom of the violated by unreasonable government intrusion.18 nothing to fear since a special circumstance is present to
press. negate intent to gain which is required by this Section.
The usual identifying information regarding a person
The right to privacy, or the right to be let alone, was includes his name, his citizenship, his residence Section 4(c)(1) of the Cybercrime Law
institutionalized in the 1987 Constitution as a facet of address, his contact number, his place and date of birth,
the name of his spouse if any, his occupation, and Section 4(c)(1) provides:
the right protected by the guarantee against
unreasonable searches and seizures.13 But the Court similar data.19 The law punishes those who acquire or
use such identifying information without right, Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses.– The following acts
acknowledged its existence as early as 1968 in Morfe v.
implicitly to cause damage. Petitioners simply fail to constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under
Mutuc,14 it ruled that the right to privacy exists
show how government effort to curb computer-related this Act:
independently of its identification with liberty; it is in
itself fully deserving of constitutional protection. identity theft violates the right to privacy and
correspondence as well as the right to due process of xxxx

Relevant to any discussion of the right to privacy is the law.


(c) Content-related Offenses:
concept known as the "Zones of Privacy." The Court
explained in "In the Matter of the Petition for Issuance Also, the charge of invalidity of this section based on
(1) Cybersex.– The willful engagement, maintenance,
of Writ of Habeas Corpus of Sabio v. Senator the overbreadth doctrine will not hold water since the
control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any
specific conducts proscribed do not intrude into
lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, conduct in exchange for money, profit, or any other through a computer system: Provided, That the penalty
with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration.27 to be imposed shall be (1) one degree higher than that
consideration. provided for in Republic Act No. 9775.
The case of Nogales v. People28 shows the extent to
Petitioners claim that the above violates the freedom of which the State can regulate materials that serve no It seems that the above merely expands the scope of the
expression clause of the Constitution.21 They express other purpose than satisfy the market for violence, lust, Anti-Child Pornography Act of 200931 (ACPA) to cover
fear that private communications of sexual character or pornography.29 The Court weighed the property identical activities in cyberspace. In theory, nothing
between husband and wife or consenting adults, which rights of individuals against the public welfare. Private prevents the government from invoking the ACPA
are not regarded as crimes under the penal code, would property, if containing pornographic materials, may be when prosecuting persons who commit child
now be regarded as crimes when done "for favor" in forfeited and destroyed. Likewise, engaging in sexual pornography using a computer system. Actually,
cyberspace. In common usage, the term "favor" acts privately through internet connection, perceived by ACPA’s definition of child pornography already
includes "gracious kindness," "a special privilege or some as a right, has to be balanced with the mandate of embraces the use of "electronic, mechanical, digital,
right granted or conceded," or "a token of love (as a the State to eradicate white slavery and the exploitation optical, magnetic or any other means." Notably, no one
ribbon) usually worn conspicuously."22 This meaning of women. has questioned this ACPA provision.
given to the term "favor" embraces socially tolerated
trysts. The law as written would invite law enforcement In any event, consenting adults are protected by the Of course, the law makes the penalty higher by one
agencies into the bedrooms of married couples or wealth of jurisprudence delineating the bounds of degree when the crime is committed in cyberspace. But
consenting individuals. obscenity.30The Court will not declare Section 4(c)(1) no one can complain since the intensity or duration of
unconstitutional where it stands a construction that penalty is a legislative prerogative and there is rational
But the deliberations of the Bicameral Committee of makes it apply only to persons engaged in the business basis for such higher penalty.32 The potential for
Congress on this section of the Cybercrime Prevention of maintaining, controlling, or operating, directly or uncontrolled proliferation of a particular piece of child
Act give a proper perspective on the issue. These indirectly, the lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or pornography when uploaded in the cyberspace is
deliberations show a lack of intent to penalize a "private sexual activity with the aid of a computer system as incalculable.
showing x x x between and among two private persons Congress has intended.
x x x although that may be a form of obscenity to Petitioners point out that the provision of ACPA that
some."23 The understanding of those who drew up the Section 4(c)(2) of the Cybercrime Law makes it unlawful for any person to "produce, direct,
cybercrime law is that the element of "engaging in a manufacture or create any form of child
business" is necessary to constitute the illegal Section 4(c)(2) provides: pornography"33 clearly relates to the prosecution of
cybersex.24 The Act actually seeks to punish cyber persons who aid and abet the core offenses that ACPA
prostitution, white slave trade, and pornography for Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts seeks to punish.34 Petitioners are wary that a person who
favor and consideration. This includes interactive constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under merely doodles on paper and imagines a sexual abuse of
prostitution and pornography, i.e., by webcam.25 this Act: a 16-year-old is not criminally liable for producing
child pornography but one who formulates the idea on
The subject of Section 4(c)(1)—lascivious exhibition of xxxx his laptop would be. Further, if the author bounces off
sexual organs or sexual activity—is not novel. Article his ideas on Twitter, anyone who replies to the tweet
(c) Content-related Offenses:
201 of the RPC punishes "obscene publications and could be considered aiding and abetting a cybercrime.
exhibitions and indecent shows." The Anti-Trafficking
xxxx
in Persons Act of 2003 penalizes those who "maintain The question of aiding and abetting the offense by
or hire a person to engage in prostitution or simply commenting on it will be discussed elsewhere
(2) Child Pornography. — The unlawful or prohibited
pornography."26 The law defines prostitution as any act, below. For now the Court must hold that the
acts defined and punishable by Republic Act No. 9775
transaction, scheme, or design involving the use of a constitutionality of Section 4(c)(2) is not successfully
or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed
person by another, for sexual intercourse or lascivious challenged.
Section 4(c)(3) of the Cybercrime Law The above penalizes the transmission of unsolicited freedom of expression. Unsolicited advertisements are
commercial communications, also known as "spam." legitimate forms of expression.
Section 4(c)(3) provides: The term "spam" surfaced in early internet chat rooms
and interactive fantasy games. One who repeats the Articles 353, 354, and 355 of the Penal Code
Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts same sentence or comment was said to be making a
constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under "spam." The term referred to a Monty Python’s Flying Section 4(c)(4) of the Cyber Crime Law
this Act: Circus scene in which actors would keep saying "Spam,
Spam, Spam, and Spam" when reading options from a Petitioners dispute the constitutionality of both the
xxxx menu.35 penal code provisions on libel as well as Section 4(c)(4)
of the Cybercrime Prevention Act on cyberlibel.
(c) Content-related Offenses: The Government, represented by the Solicitor General,
points out that unsolicited commercial communications The RPC provisions on libel read:
xxxx
or spams are a nuisance that wastes the storage and
Art. 353. Definition of libel. — A libel is public and
network capacities of internet service providers, reduces
(3) Unsolicited Commercial Communications. – The malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect,
the efficiency of commerce and technology, and
transmission of commercial electronic communication real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition,
interferes with the owner’s peaceful enjoyment of his
with the use of computer system which seeks to status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor,
property. Transmitting spams amounts to trespass to
advertise, sell, or offer for sale products and services are discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or
one’s privacy since the person sending out spams enters
prohibited unless: to blacken the memory of one who is dead.
the recipient’s domain without prior permission. The
OSG contends that commercial speech enjoys less
(i) There is prior affirmative consent from the recipient; Art. 354. Requirement for publicity. — Every
or protection in law.
defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious,
even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable
(ii) The primary intent of the communication is for But, firstly, the government presents no basis for
motive for making it is shown, except in the following
service and/or administrative announcements from the holding that unsolicited electronic ads reduce the
cases:
sender to its existing users, subscribers or customers; or "efficiency of computers." Secondly, people, before the
arrival of the age of computers, have already been
1. A private communication made by any person to
(iii) The following conditions are present: receiving such unsolicited ads by mail. These have
another in the performance of any legal, moral or social
never been outlawed as nuisance since people might
duty; and
(aa) The commercial electronic communication contains have interest in such ads. What matters is that the
a simple, valid, and reliable way for the recipient to recipient has the option of not opening or reading these 2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without
reject receipt of further commercial electronic messages mail ads. That is true with spams. Their recipients any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or
(opt-out) from the same source; always have the option to delete or not to read them. other official proceedings which are not of confidential
nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered
(bb) The commercial electronic communication does To prohibit the transmission of unsolicited ads would
in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by
not purposely disguise the source of the electronic deny a person the right to read his emails, even
public officers in the exercise of their functions.
message; and unsolicited commercial ads addressed to him.
Commercial speech is a separate category of speech Art. 355. Libel means by writings or similar means. —
(cc) The commercial electronic communication does which is not accorded the same level of protection as A libel committed by means of writing, printing,
not purposely include misleading information in any that given to other constitutionally guaranteed forms of lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting,
part of the message in order to induce the recipients to expression but is nonetheless entitled to theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any
read the message. protection.36 The State cannot rob him of this right similar means, shall be punished by prision correccional
without violating the constitutionally guaranteed
in its minimum and medium periods or a fine ranging The elements of libel are: (a) the allegation of a It can be gleaned from her testimony that petitioner had
from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the civil discreditable act or condition concerning another; (b) the motive to make defamatory imputations against
action which may be brought by the offended party. publication of the charge; (c) identity of the person complainants. Thus, petitioner cannot, by simply
defamed; and (d) existence of malice.40 making a general denial, convince us that there was no
The libel provision of the cybercrime law, on the other malice on her part. Verily, not only was there malice in
hand, merely incorporates to form part of it the There is "actual malice" or malice in fact41 when the law, the article being malicious in itself, but there was
provisions of the RPC on libel. Thus Section 4(c)(4) offender makes the defamatory statement with the also malice in fact, as there was motive to talk ill
reads: knowledge that it is false or with reckless disregard of against complainants during the electoral campaign.
whether it was false or not.42 The reckless disregard (Emphasis ours)
Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. — The following acts standard used here requires a high degree of awareness
constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under of probable falsity. There must be sufficient evidence to Indeed, the Court took into account the relatively wide
this Act: permit the conclusion that the accused in fact leeway given to utterances against public figures in the
entertained serious doubts as to the truth of the above case, cinema and television personalities, when it
xxxx statement he published. Gross or even extreme modified the penalty of imprisonment to just a fine of
negligence is not sufficient to establish actual malice.43 ₱6,000.00.
(c) Content-related Offenses:
The prosecution bears the burden of proving the But, where the offended party is a private individual,
xxxx presence of actual malice in instances where such the prosecution need not prove the presence of malice.
element is required to establish guilt. The defense of The law explicitly presumes its existence (malice in
(4) Libel. — The unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as
absence of actual malice, even when the statement turns law) from the defamatory character of the assailed
defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as
out to be false, is available where the offended party is a statement.45 For his defense, the accused must show that
amended, committed through a computer system or any
public official or a public figure, as in the cases of he has a justifiable reason for the defamatory statement
other similar means which may be devised in the future.
Vasquez (a barangay official) and Borjal (the Executive even if it was in fact true.46
Director, First National Conference on Land
Petitioners lament that libel provisions of the penal
Transportation). Since the penal code and implicitly, the Petitioners peddle the view that both the penal code and
code37 and, in effect, the libel provisions of the
cybercrime law, mainly target libel against private the Cybercrime Prevention Act violate the country’s
cybercrime law carry with them the requirement of
persons, the Court recognizes that these laws imply a obligations under the International Covenant of Civil
"presumed malice" even when the latest jurisprudence
stricter standard of "malice" to convict the author of a and Political Rights (ICCPR). They point out that in
already replaces it with the higher standard of "actual
defamatory statement where the offended party is a Adonis v. Republic of the Philippines,47 the United
malice" as a basis for conviction.38 Petitioners argue
public figure. Society’s interest and the maintenance of Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) cited its
that inferring "presumed malice" from the accused’s
good government demand a full discussion of public General Comment 34 to the effect that penal defamation
defamatory statement by virtue of Article 354 of the
affairs.44 laws should include the defense of truth.
penal code infringes on his constitutionally guaranteed
freedom of expression. But General Comment 34 does not say that the truth of
Parenthetically, the Court cannot accept the proposition
that its ruling in Fermin disregarded the higher standard the defamatory statement should constitute an all-
Petitioners would go further. They contend that the laws
of actual malice or malice in fact when it found encompassing defense. As it happens, Article 361
on libel should be stricken down as unconstitutional for
Cristinelli Fermin guilty of committing libel against recognizes truth as a defense but under the condition
otherwise good jurisprudence requiring "actual malice"
complainants who were public figures. Actually, the that the accused has been prompted in making the
could easily be overturned as the Court has done in
Court found the presence of malice in fact in that case. statement by good motives and for justifiable ends.
Fermin v. People39 even where the offended parties
Thus: Thus:
happened to be public figures.
Art. 361. Proof of the truth. — In every criminal on libel were enacted. The culture associated with abetting sufficiently protects the freedom of expression
prosecution for libel, the truth may be given in evidence internet media is distinct from that of print. of "netizens," the multitude that avail themselves of the
to the court and if it appears that the matter charged as services of the internet. He points out that existing laws
libelous is true, and, moreover, that it was published The internet is characterized as encouraging a and jurisprudence sufficiently delineate the meaning of
with good motives and for justifiable ends, the freewheeling, anything-goes writing style.50 In a sense, "aiding or abetting" a crime as to protect the innocent.
defendants shall be acquitted. they are a world apart in terms of quickness of the The Solicitor General argues that plain, ordinary, and
reader’s reaction to defamatory statements posted in common usage is at times sufficient to guide law
Proof of the truth of an imputation of an act or omission cyberspace, facilitated by one-click reply options enforcement agencies in enforcing the law.51 The
not constituting a crime shall not be admitted, unless the offered by the networking site as well as by the speed legislature is not required to define every single word
imputation shall have been made against Government with which such reactions are disseminated down the contained in the laws they craft.
employees with respect to facts related to the discharge line to other internet users. Whether these reactions to
of their official duties. defamatory statement posted on the internet constitute Aiding or abetting has of course well-defined meaning
aiding and abetting libel, acts that Section 5 of the and application in existing laws. When a person aids or
In such cases if the defendant proves the truth of the cybercrime law punishes, is another matter that the abets another in destroying a forest,52 smuggling
imputation made by him, he shall be acquitted. Court will deal with next in relation to Section 5 of the merchandise into the country,53 or interfering in the
law. peaceful picketing of laborers,54 his action is essentially
Besides, the UNHRC did not actually enjoin the physical and so is susceptible to easy assessment as
Philippines, as petitioners urge, to decriminalize libel. It Section 5 of the Cybercrime Law criminal in character. These forms of aiding or abetting
simply suggested that defamation laws be crafted with lend themselves to the tests of common sense and
care to ensure that they do not stifle freedom of Section 5 provides: human experience.
expression.48Indeed, the ICCPR states that although
everyone should enjoy freedom of expression, its Sec. 5. Other Offenses. — The following acts shall also But, when it comes to certain cybercrimes, the waters
exercise carries with it special duties and constitute an offense: are muddier and the line of sight is somewhat blurred.
responsibilities. Free speech is not absolute. It is subject The idea of "aiding or abetting" wrongdoings online
to certain restrictions, as may be necessary and as may (a) Aiding or Abetting in the Commission of threatens the heretofore popular and unchallenged
be provided by law.49 Cybercrime. – Any person who willfully abets or aids in dogmas of cyberspace use.
the commission of any of the offenses enumerated in
The Court agrees with the Solicitor General that libel is this Act shall be held liable. According to the 2011 Southeast Asia Digital Consumer
not a constitutionally protected speech and that the Report, 33% of Filipinos have accessed the internet
government has an obligation to protect private (b) Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrime. — Any within a year, translating to about 31 million
individuals from defamation. Indeed, cyberlibel is person who willfully attempts to commit any of the users.55 Based on a recent survey, the Philippines ranks
actually not a new crime since Article 353, in relation to offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable. 6th in the top 10 most engaged countries for social
Article 355 of the penal code, already punishes it. In networking.56 Social networking sites build social
effect, Section 4(c)(4) above merely affirms that online Petitioners assail the constitutionality of Section 5 that
relations among people who, for example, share
defamation constitutes "similar means" for committing renders criminally liable any person who willfully abets
interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life
libel. or aids in the commission or attempts to commit any of
connections.57
the offenses enumerated as cybercrimes. It suffers from
But the Court’s acquiescence goes only insofar as the overbreadth, creating a chilling and deterrent effect on Two of the most popular of these sites are Facebook
cybercrime law penalizes the author of the libelous protected expression. and Twitter. As of late 2012, 1.2 billion people with
statement or article. Cyberlibel brings with it certain shared interests use Facebook to get in touch.58 Users
intricacies, unheard of when the penal code provisions The Solicitor General contends, however, that the
register at this site, create a personal profile or an open
current body of jurisprudence and laws on aiding and
book of who they are, add other users as friends, and
exchange messages, including automatic notifications for posting the blog; e) the person who makes a clear if aiding or abetting libel in the physical world is a
when they update their profile.59 A user can post a favorable comment on the blog; and f) the person who crime.
statement, a photo, or a video on Facebook, which can posts a link to the blog site.60 Now, suppose Maria (a
be made visible to anyone, depending on the user’s blogger) maintains a blog on WordPress.com (blog But suppose Nestor posts the blog, "Armand is a thief!"
privacy settings. service provider). She needs the internet to access her on a social networking site. Would a reader and his
blog so she subscribes to Sun Broadband (Internet Friends or Followers, availing themselves of any of the
If the post is made available to the public, meaning to Service Provider). "Like," "Comment," and "Share" reactions, be guilty of
everyone and not only to his friends, anyone on aiding or abetting libel? And, in the complex world of
Facebook can react to the posting, clicking any of One day, Maria posts on her internet account the cyberspace expressions of thoughts, when will one be
several buttons of preferences on the program’s screen statement that a certain married public official has an liable for aiding or abetting cybercrimes? Where is the
such as "Like," "Comment," or "Share." "Like" signifies illicit affair with a movie star. Linda, one of Maria’s venue of the crime?
that the reader likes the posting while "Comment" friends who sees this post, comments online, "Yes, this
enables him to post online his feelings or views about is so true! They are so immoral." Maria’s original post Except for the original author of the assailed statement,
the same, such as "This is great!" When a Facebook is then multiplied by her friends and the latter’s friends, the rest (those who pressed Like, Comment and Share)
user "Shares" a posting, the original "posting" will and down the line to friends of friends almost ad are essentially knee-jerk sentiments of readers who may
appear on his own Facebook profile, consequently infinitum. Nena, who is a stranger to both Maria and think little or haphazardly of their response to the
making it visible to his down-line Facebook Friends. Linda, comes across this blog, finds it interesting and so original posting. Will they be liable for aiding or
shares the link to this apparently defamatory blog on her abetting? And, considering the inherent impossibility of
Twitter, on the other hand, is an internet social Twitter account. Nena’s "Followers" then "Retweet" the joining hundreds or thousands of responding "Friends"
networking and microblogging service that enables its link to that blog site. or "Followers" in the criminal charge to be filed in
users to send and read short text-based messages of up court, who will make a choice as to who should go to
to 140 characters. These are known as "Tweets." Pamela, a Twitter user, stumbles upon a random jail for the outbreak of the challenged posting?
Microblogging is the practice of posting small pieces of person’s "Retweet" of Nena’s original tweet and posts
digital content—which could be in the form of text, this on her Facebook account. Immediately, Pamela’s The old parameters for enforcing the traditional form of
pictures, links, short videos, or other media—on the Facebook Friends start Liking and making Comments libel would be a square peg in a round hole when
internet. Instead of friends, a Twitter user has on the assailed posting. A lot of them even press the applied to cyberspace libel. Unless the legislature crafts
"Followers," those who subscribe to this particular Share button, resulting in the further spread of the a cyber libel law that takes into account its unique
user’s posts, enabling them to read the same, and original posting into tens, hundreds, thousands, and circumstances and culture, such law will tend to create a
"Following," those whom this particular user is greater postings. chilling effect on the millions that use this new medium
subscribed to, enabling him to read their posts. Like of communication in violation of their constitutionally-
Facebook, a Twitter user can make his tweets available The question is: are online postings such as "Liking" an guaranteed right to freedom of expression.
only to his Followers, or to the general public. If a post openly defamatory statement, "Commenting" on it, or
is available to the public, any Twitter user can "Sharing" it with others, to be regarded as "aiding or The United States Supreme Court faced the same issue
"Retweet" a given posting. Retweeting is just reposting abetting?" In libel in the physical world, if Nestor in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union,61 a case
or republishing another person’s tweet without the need places on the office bulletin board a small poster that involving the constitutionality of the Communications
of copying and pasting it. says, "Armand is a thief!," he could certainly be Decency Act of 1996. The law prohibited (1) the
charged with libel. If Roger, seeing the poster, writes on knowing transmission, by means of a
In the cyberworld, there are many actors: a) the blogger it, "I like this!," that could not be libel since he did not telecommunications device, of
who originates the assailed statement; b) the blog author the poster. If Arthur, passing by and noticing the
service provider like Yahoo; c) the internet service poster, writes on it, "Correct!," would that be libel? No, "obscene or indecent" communications to any recipient
provider like PLDT, Smart, Globe, or Sun; d) the for he merely expresses agreement with the statement under 18 years of age; and (2) the knowing use of an
internet café that may have provided the computer used on the poster. He still is not its author. Besides, it is not interactive computer service to send to a specific person
or persons under 18 years of age or to display in a avoided by a more carefully drafted statute. (Emphasis In an "as applied" challenge, the petitioner who claims a
manner available to a person under 18 years of age ours) violation of his constitutional right can raise any
communications that, in context, depict or describe, in constitutional ground – absence of due process, lack of
terms "patently offensive" as measured by Libel in the cyberspace can of course stain a person’s fair notice, lack of ascertainable standards, overbreadth,
contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory image with just one click of the mouse. Scurrilous or vagueness. Here, one can challenge the
activities or organs. statements can spread and travel fast across the globe constitutionality of a statute only if he asserts a
like bad news. Moreover, cyberlibel often goes hand in violation of his own rights. It prohibits one from
Those who challenged the Act claim that the law hand with cyberbullying that oppresses the victim, his assailing the constitutionality of the statute based solely
violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of relatives, and friends, evoking from mild to disastrous on the violation of the rights of third persons not before
speech for being overbroad. The U.S. Supreme Court reactions. Still, a governmental purpose, which seeks to the court. This rule is also known as the prohibition
agreed and ruled: regulate the use of this cyberspace communication against third-party standing.66
technology to protect a person’s reputation and peace of
The vagueness of the Communications Decency Act of mind, cannot adopt means that will unnecessarily and But this rule admits of exceptions. A petitioner may for
1996 (CDA), 47 U.S.C.S. §223, is a matter of special broadly sweep, invading the area of protected instance mount a "facial" challenge to the
concern for two reasons. First, the CDA is a content- freedoms.62 constitutionality of a statute even if he claims no
based regulation of speech. The vagueness of such a violation of his own rights under the assailed statute
regulation raises special U.S. Const. amend. I concerns If such means are adopted, self-inhibition borne of fear where it involves free speech on grounds of overbreadth
because of its obvious chilling effect on free speech. of what sinister predicaments await internet users will or vagueness of the statute.
Second, the CDA is a criminal statute. In addition to the suppress otherwise robust discussion of public issues.
opprobrium and stigma of a criminal conviction, the Democracy will be threatened and with it, all liberties. The rationale for this exception is to counter the
CDA threatens violators with penalties including up to Penal laws should provide reasonably clear guidelines "chilling effect" on protected speech that comes from
two years in prison for each act of violation. The for law enforcement officials and triers of facts to statutes violating free speech. A person who does not
severity of criminal sanctions may well cause speakers prevent arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.63 The know whether his speech constitutes a crime under an
to remain silent rather than communicate even arguably terms "aiding or abetting" constitute broad sweep that overbroad or vague law may simply restrain himself
unlawful words, ideas, and images. As a practical generates chilling effect on those who express from speaking in order to avoid being charged of a
matter, this increased deterrent effect, coupled with the themselves through cyberspace posts, comments, and crime. The overbroad or vague law thus chills him into
risk of discriminatory enforcement of vague regulations, other messages.64 Hence, Section 5 of the cybercrime silence.67
poses greater U.S. Const. amend. I concerns than those law that punishes "aiding or abetting" libel on the
implicated by certain civil regulations. cyberspace is a nullity. As already stated, the cyberspace is an incomparable,
pervasive medium of communication. It is inevitable
xxxx When a penal statute encroaches upon the freedom of that any government threat of punishment regarding
speech, a facial challenge grounded on the void-for- certain uses of the medium creates a chilling effect on
The Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), 47 vagueness doctrine is acceptable. The inapplicability of the constitutionally-protected freedom of expression of
U.S.C.S. § 223, presents a great threat of censoring the doctrine must be carefully delineated. As Justice the great masses that use it. In this case, the particularly
speech that, in fact, falls outside the statute's scope. Antonio T. Carpio explained in his dissent in complex web of interaction on social media websites
Given the vague contours of the coverage of the statute, Romualdez v. Commission on Elections,65 "we must would give law enforcers such latitude that they could
it unquestionably silences some speakers whose view these statements of the Court on the inapplicability arbitrarily or selectively enforce the law.
messages would be entitled to constitutional protection. of the overbreadth and vagueness doctrines to penal
That danger provides further reason for insisting that statutes as appropriate only insofar as these doctrines Who is to decide when to prosecute persons who boost
the statute not be overly broad. The CDA’s burden on are used to mount ‘facial’ challenges to penal statutes the visibility of a posting on the internet by liking it?
protected speech cannot be justified if it could be not involving free speech." Netizens are not given "fair notice" or warning as to
what is criminal conduct and what is lawful conduct.
When a case is filed, how will the court ascertain accomplice to the distribution of child pornography? A hacker may for instance have done all that is
whether or not one netizen’s comment aided and When a user downloads the Facebook mobile necessary to illegally access another party’s computer
abetted a cybercrime while another comment did not? application, the user may give consent to Facebook to system but the security employed by the system’s
access his contact details. In this way, certain lawful owner could frustrate his effort. Another hacker
Of course, if the "Comment" does not merely react to information is forwarded to third parties and unsolicited may have gained access to usernames and passwords of
the original posting but creates an altogether new commercial communication could be disseminated on others but fail to use these because the system
defamatory story against Armand like "He beats his the basis of this information.70 As the source of this supervisor is alerted.72 If Section 5 that punishes any
wife and children," then that should be considered an information, is the user aiding the distribution of this person who willfully attempts to commit this specific
original posting published on the internet. Both the communication? The legislature needs to address this offense is not upheld, the owner of the username and
penal code and the cybercrime law clearly punish clearly to relieve users of annoying fear of possible password could not file a complaint against him for
authors of defamatory publications. Make no mistake, criminal prosecution. attempted hacking. But this is not right. The hacker
libel destroys reputations that society values. Allowed should not be freed from liability simply because of the
to cascade in the internet, it will destroy relationships Section 5 with respect to Section 4(c)(4) is vigilance of a lawful owner or his supervisor.
and, under certain circumstances, will generate enmity unconstitutional. Its vagueness raises apprehension on
and tension between social or economic groups, races, the part of internet users because of its obvious chilling Petitioners of course claim that Section 5 lacks positive
or religions, exacerbating existing tension in their effect on the freedom of expression, especially since the limits and could cover the innocent. 73 While this may be
relationships. crime of aiding or abetting ensnares all the actors in the true with respect to cybercrimes that tend to sneak past
cyberspace front in a fuzzy way. What is more, as the the area of free expression, any attempt to commit the
In regard to the crime that targets child pornography, petitioners point out, formal crimes such as libel are not other acts specified in Section 4(a)(1), Section 4(a)(2),
when "Google procures, stores, and indexes child punishable unless consummated.71 In the absence of Section 4(a)(3), Section 4(a)(4), Section 4(a)(5), Section
pornography and facilitates the completion of legislation tracing the interaction of netizens and their 4(a)(6), Section 4(b)(1), Section 4(b)(2), Section
transactions involving the dissemination of child level of responsibility such as in other countries, 4(b)(3), and Section 4(c)(1) as well as the actors aiding
pornography," does this make Google and its users Section 5, in relation to Section 4(c)(4) on Libel, and abetting the commission of such acts can be
aiders and abettors in the commission of child Section 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial identified with some reasonable certainty through adroit
pornography crimes? 68 Byars highlights a feature in the Communications, and Section 4(c)(2) on Child tracking of their works. Absent concrete proof of the
American law on child pornography that the Pornography, cannot stand scrutiny. same, the innocent will of course be spared.
Cybercrimes law lacks—the exemption of a provider or
notably a plain user of interactive computer service But the crime of aiding or abetting the commission of Section 6 of the Cybercrime Law
from civil liability for child pornography as follows: cybercrimes under Section 5 should be permitted to
apply to Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access, Section Section 6 provides:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service 4(a)(2) on Illegal Interception, Section 4(a)(3) on Data
shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any Interference, Section 4(a)(4) on System Interference, Sec. 6. All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised
information provided by another information content Section 4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices, Section 4(a)(6) Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed
provider and cannot be held civilly liable for any action on Cyber-squatting, Section 4(b)(1) on Computer- by, through and with the use of information and
voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or related Forgery, Section 4(b)(2) on Computer-related communications technologies shall be covered by the
availability of material that the provider or user Fraud, Section 4(b)(3) on Computer-related Identity relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the
considers to be obscene...whether or not such material is Theft, and Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex. None of these penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher
constitutionally protected.69 offenses borders on the exercise of the freedom of than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as
expression. amended, and special laws, as the case may be.
When a person replies to a Tweet containing child
pornography, he effectively republishes it whether The crime of willfully attempting to commit any of Section 6 merely makes commission of existing crimes
wittingly or unwittingly. Does this make him a willing these offenses is for the same reason not objectionable. through the internet a qualifying circumstance. As the
Solicitor General points out, there exists a substantial establishes the computer system as another means of of at least Two hundred thousand pesos
distinction between crimes committed through the use publication.75 Charging the offender under both laws (Ph₱200,000.00) but not exceeding One million pesos
of information and communications technology and would be a blatant violation of the proscription against (Ph₱1,000,000.00) or both.
similar crimes committed using other means. In using double jeopardy.76
the technology in question, the offender often evades Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts
identification and is able to reach far more victims or The same is true with child pornography committed enumerated in Section 4(c)(2) of this Act shall be
cause greater harm. The distinction, therefore, creates a online. Section 4(c)(2) merely expands the ACPA’s punished with the penalties as enumerated in Republic
basis for higher penalties for cybercrimes. scope so as to include identical activities in cyberspace. Act No. 9775 or the "Anti-Child Pornography Act of
As previously discussed, ACPA’s definition of child 2009:" Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall
Section 7 of the Cybercrime Law pornography in fact already covers the use of be one (1) degree higher than that provided for in
"electronic, mechanical, digital, optical, magnetic or Republic Act No. 9775, if committed through a
Section 7 provides: any other means." Thus, charging the offender under computer system.
both Section 4(c)(2) and ACPA would likewise be
Sec. 7. Liability under Other Laws. — A prosecution tantamount to a violation of the constitutional Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts
under this Act shall be without prejudice to any liability prohibition against double jeopardy. enumerated in Section 4(c)(3) shall be punished with
for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal imprisonment of arresto mayor or a fine of at least Fifty
Code, as amended, or special laws. Section 8 of the Cybercrime Law thousand pesos (Ph₱50,000.00) but not exceeding Two
hundred fifty thousand pesos (Ph₱250,000.00) or both.
The Solicitor General points out that Section 7 merely Section 8 provides:
expresses the settled doctrine that a single set of acts Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts
may be prosecuted and penalized simultaneously under Sec. 8. Penalties. — Any person found guilty of any of enumerated in Section 5 shall be punished with
two laws, a special law and the Revised Penal Code. the punishable acts enumerated in Sections 4(a) and imprisonment one (1) degree lower than that of the
When two different laws define two crimes, prior 4(b) of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment of prescribed penalty for the offense or a fine of at least
jeopardy as to one does not bar prosecution of the other prision mayor or a fine of at least Two hundred One hundred thousand pesos (Ph₱100,000.00) but not
although both offenses arise from the same fact, if each thousand pesos (Ph₱200,000.00) up to a maximum exceeding Five hundred thousand pesos
crime involves some important act which is not an amount commensurate to the damage incurred or both. (Ph₱500,000.00) or both.
essential element of the other.74 With the exception of
the crimes of online libel and online child pornography, Any person found guilty of the punishable act under Section 8 provides for the penalties for the following
the Court would rather leave the determination of the Section 4(a)(5) shall be punished with imprisonment of crimes: Sections 4(a) on Offenses Against the
correct application of Section 7 to actual cases. prision mayor or a fine of not more than Five hundred Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of Computer
thousand pesos (Ph₱500,000.00) or both. Data and Systems; 4(b) on Computer-related Offenses;
Online libel is different. There should be no question 4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices; when the crime
that if the published material on print, said to be If punishable acts in Section 4(a) are committed against punishable under 4(a) is committed against critical
libelous, is again posted online or vice versa, that critical infrastructure, the penalty of reclusion temporal infrastructure; 4(c)(1) on Cybersex; 4(c)(2) on Child
identical material cannot be the subject of two separate or a fine of at least Five hundred thousand pesos Pornography; 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial
libels. The two offenses, one a violation of Article 353 (Ph₱500,000.00) up to maximum amount Communications; and Section 5 on Aiding or Abetting,
of the Revised Penal Code and the other a violation of commensurate to the damage incurred or both, shall be and Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrime.
Section 4(c)(4) of R.A. 10175 involve essentially the imposed.
same elements and are in fact one and the same offense. The matter of fixing penalties for the commission of
Indeed, the OSG itself claims that online libel under Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts crimes is as a rule a legislative prerogative. Here the
Section 4(c)(4) is not a new crime but is one already enumerated in Section 4(c)(1) of this Act shall be legislature prescribed a measure of severe penalties for
punished under Article 353. Section 4(c)(4) merely punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine what it regards as deleterious cybercrimes. They appear
proportionate to the evil sought to be punished. The believe that evidence that will be obtained is essential to state business. Indeed, as Chief Justice Sereno points
power to determine penalties for offenses is not diluted the conviction of any person for, or to the solution of, or out, the Budapest Convention on Cybercrimes requires
or improperly wielded simply because at some prior to the prevention of, any such crimes; and (3) that there signatory countries to adopt legislative measures to
time the act or omission was but an element of another are no other means readily available for obtaining such empower state authorities to collect or record "traffic
offense or might just have been connected with another evidence. data, in real time, associated with specified
crime.77 Judges and magistrates can only interpret and communications."83 And this is precisely what Section
apply them and have no authority to modify or revise Petitioners assail the grant to law enforcement agencies 12 does. It empowers law enforcement agencies in this
their range as determined by the legislative department. of the power to collect or record traffic data in real time country to collect or record such data.
as tending to curtail civil liberties or provide
The courts should not encroach on this prerogative of opportunities for official abuse. They claim that data But is not evidence of yesterday’s traffic data, like the
the lawmaking body.78 showing where digital messages come from, what kind scene of the crime after it has been committed, adequate
they are, and where they are destined need not be for fighting cybercrimes and, therefore, real-time data is
Section 12 of the Cybercrime Law incriminating to their senders or recipients before they superfluous for that purpose? Evidently, it is not. Those
are to be protected. Petitioners invoke the right of every who commit the crimes of accessing a computer system
Section 12 provides: individual to privacy and to be protected from without right,84 transmitting viruses,85 lasciviously
government snooping into the messages or information exhibiting sexual organs or sexual activity for favor or
Sec. 12. Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data. — Law that they send to one another. consideration;86 and producing child
enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall be pornography87 could easily evade detection and
authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic The first question is whether or not Section 12 has a prosecution by simply moving the physical location of
means traffic data in real-time associated with specified proper governmental purpose since a law may require their computers or laptops from day to day. In this
communications transmitted by means of a computer the disclosure of matters normally considered private digital age, the wicked can commit cybercrimes from
system. but then only upon showing that such requirement has a virtually anywhere: from internet cafés, from kindred
rational relation to the purpose of the law,79 that there is places that provide free internet services, and from
Traffic data refer only to the communication’s origin, a compelling State interest behind the law, and that the unregistered mobile internet connectors. Criminals
destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type of provision itself is narrowly drawn.80 In assessing using cellphones under pre-paid arrangements and with
underlying service, but not content, nor identities. regulations affecting privacy rights, courts should unregistered SIM cards do not have listed addresses and
balance the legitimate concerns of the State against can neither be located nor identified. There are many
All other data to be collected or seized or disclosed will
constitutional guarantees.81 ways the cyber criminals can quickly erase their tracks.
require a court warrant.
Those who peddle child pornography could use relays
Undoubtedly, the State has a compelling interest in of computers to mislead law enforcement authorities
Service providers are required to cooperate and assist
enacting the cybercrime law for there is a need to put regarding their places of operations. Evidently, it is only
law enforcement authorities in the collection or
order to the tremendous activities in cyberspace for real-time traffic data collection or recording and a
recording of the above-stated information.
public good.82 To do this, it is within the realm of subsequent recourse to court-issued search and seizure
reason that the government should be able to monitor warrant that can succeed in ferreting them out.
The court warrant required under this section shall only
traffic data to enhance its ability to combat all sorts of
be issued or granted upon written application and the
cybercrimes. Petitioners of course point out that the provisions of
examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant
and the witnesses he may produce and the showing: (1) Section 12 are too broad and do not provide ample
Chapter IV of the cybercrime law, of which the safeguards against crossing legal boundaries and
that there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of
collection or recording of traffic data is a part, aims to invading the people’s right to privacy. The concern is
the crimes enumerated hereinabove has been
provide law enforcement authorities with the power understandable. Indeed, the Court recognizes in Morfe
committed, or is being committed, or is about to be
they need for spotting, preventing, and investigating v. Mutuc88 that certain constitutional guarantees work
committed; (2) that there are reasonable grounds to
crimes committed in cyberspace. Crime-fighting is a
together to create zones of privacy wherein As the Solicitor General points out, an ordinary ICT packets and send them to the other person’s cellphone
governmental powers may not intrude, and that there user who courses his communication through a service where they are refitted together and heard. The latter’s
exists an independent constitutional right of privacy. provider, must of necessity disclose to the latter, a third spoken reply is sent to the caller in the same way. To be
Such right to be left alone has been regarded as the person, the traffic data needed for connecting him to the connected by the service provider, the sender reveals his
beginning of all freedoms.89 recipient ICT user. For example, an ICT user who cellphone number to the service provider when he puts
writes a text message intended for another ICT user his call through. He also reveals the cellphone number
But that right is not unqualified. In Whalen v. Roe,90 the must furnish his service provider with his cellphone to the person he calls. The other ways of
United States Supreme Court classified privacy into two number and the cellphone number of his recipient, communicating electronically follow the same basic
categories: decisional privacy and informational accompanying the message sent. It is this information pattern.
privacy. Decisional privacy involves the right to that creates the traffic data. Transmitting
independence in making certain important decisions, communications is akin to putting a letter in an In Smith v. Maryland,94 cited by the Solicitor General,
while informational privacy refers to the interest in envelope properly addressed, sealing it closed, and the United States Supreme Court reasoned that
avoiding disclosure of personal matters. It is the latter sending it through the postal service. Those who post telephone users in the ‘70s must realize that they
right—the right to informational privacy—that those letters have no expectations that no one will read the necessarily convey phone numbers to the telephone
who oppose government collection or recording of information appearing outside the envelope. company in order to complete a call. That Court ruled
traffic data in real-time seek to protect. that even if there is an expectation that phone numbers
Computer data—messages of all kinds—travel across one dials should remain private, such expectation is not
Informational privacy has two aspects: the right not to the internet in packets and in a way that may be likened one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable.
have private information disclosed, and the right to live to parcels of letters or things that are sent through the
freely without surveillance and intrusion.91 In posts. When data is sent from any one source, the In much the same way, ICT users must know that they
determining whether or not a matter is entitled to the content is broken up into packets and around each of cannot communicate or exchange data with one another
right to privacy, this Court has laid down a two-fold these packets is a wrapper or header. This header over cyberspace except through some service providers
test. The first is a subjective test, where one claiming contains the traffic data: information that tells to whom they must submit certain traffic data that are
the right must have an actual or legitimate expectation computers where the packet originated, what kind of needed for a successful cyberspace communication. The
of privacy over a certain matter. The second is an data is in the packet (SMS, voice call, video, internet conveyance of this data takes them out of the private
objective test, where his or her expectation of privacy chat messages, email, online browsing data, etc.), where sphere, making the expectation to privacy in regard to
must be one society is prepared to accept as objectively the packet is going, and how the packet fits together them an expectation that society is not prepared to
reasonable.92 with other packets.93 The difference is that traffic data recognize as reasonable.
sent through the internet at times across the ocean do
Since the validity of the cybercrime law is being not disclose the actual names and addresses (residential The Court, however, agrees with Justices Carpio and
challenged, not in relation to its application to a or office) of the sender and the recipient, only their Brion that when seemingly random bits of traffic data
particular person or group, petitioners’ challenge to coded internet protocol (IP) addresses. The packets are gathered in bulk, pooled together, and analyzed,
Section 12 applies to all information and travel from one computer system to another where their they reveal patterns of activities which can then be used
communications technology (ICT) users, meaning the contents are pieced back together. to create profiles of the persons under surveillance.
large segment of the population who use all sorts of With enough traffic data, analysts may be able to
electronic devices to communicate with one another. Section 12 does not permit law enforcement authorities determine a person’s close associations, religious views,
Consequently, the expectation of privacy is to be to look into the contents of the messages and uncover political affiliations, even sexual preferences. Such
measured from the general public’s point of view. the identities of the sender and the recipient. information is likely beyond what the public may
Without reasonable expectation of privacy, the right to expect to be disclosed, and clearly falls within matters
it would have no basis in fact. For example, when one calls to speak to another protected by the right to privacy. But has the procedure
through his cellphone, the service provider’s that Section 12 of the law provides been drawn
communication’s system will put his voice message into narrowly enough to protect individual rights?
Section 12 empowers law enforcement authorities, Section 12, of course, limits the collection of traffic data This Court is mindful that advances in technology allow
"with due cause," to collect or record by technical or to those "associated with specified communications." the government and kindred institutions to monitor
electronic means traffic data in real-time. Petitioners But this supposed limitation is no limitation at all since, individuals and place them under surveillance in ways
point out that the phrase "due cause" has no precedent evidently, it is the law enforcement agencies that would that have previously been impractical or even
in law or jurisprudence and that whether there is due specify the target communications. The power is impossible. "All the forces of a technological age x x x
cause or not is left to the discretion of the police. virtually limitless, enabling law enforcement authorities operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate
Replying to this, the Solicitor General asserts that to engage in "fishing expedition," choosing whatever intrusions into it. In modern terms, the capacity to
Congress is not required to define the meaning of every specified communication they want. This evidently maintain and support this enclave of private life marks
word it uses in drafting the law. threatens the right of individuals to privacy. the difference between a democratic and a totalitarian
society."96 The Court must ensure that laws seeking to
Indeed, courts are able to save vague provisions of law The Solicitor General points out that Section 12 needs take advantage of these technologies be written with
through statutory construction. But the cybercrime law, to authorize collection of traffic data "in real time" specificity and definiteness as to ensure respect for the
dealing with a novel situation, fails to hint at the because it is not possible to get a court warrant that rights that the Constitution guarantees.
meaning it intends for the phrase "due cause." The would authorize the search of what is akin to a "moving
Solicitor General suggests that "due cause" should mean vehicle." But warrantless search is associated with a Section 13 of the Cybercrime Law
"just reason or motive" and "adherence to a lawful police officer’s determination of probable cause that a
procedure." But the Court cannot draw this meaning crime has been committed, that there is no opportunity Section 13 provides:
since Section 12 does not even bother to relate the for getting a warrant, and that unless the search is
collection of data to the probable commission of a immediately carried out, the thing to be searched stands Sec. 13. Preservation of Computer Data. — The
particular crime. It just says, "with due cause," thus to be removed. These preconditions are not provided in integrity of traffic data and subscriber information
justifying a general gathering of data. It is akin to the Section 12. relating to communication services provided by a
use of a general search warrant that the Constitution service provider shall be preserved for a minimum
prohibits. The Solicitor General is honest enough to admit that period of six (6) months from the date of the
Section 12 provides minimal protection to internet users transaction. Content data shall be similarly preserved
Due cause is also not descriptive of the purpose for and that the procedure envisioned by the law could be for six (6) months from the date of receipt of the order
which data collection will be used. Will the law better served by providing for more robust safeguards. from law enforcement authorities requiring its
enforcement agencies use the traffic data to identify the His bare assurance that law enforcement authorities will preservation.
perpetrator of a cyber attack? Or will it be used to build not abuse the provisions of Section 12 is of course not
up a case against an identified suspect? Can the data be enough. The grant of the power to track cyberspace Law enforcement authorities may order a one-time
used to prevent cybercrimes from happening? communications in real time and determine their extension for another six (6) months: Provided, That
sources and destinations must be narrowly drawn to once computer data preserved, transmitted or stored by
The authority that Section 12 gives law enforcement preclude abuses.95 a service provider is used as evidence in a case, the
agencies is too sweeping and lacks restraint. While it mere furnishing to such service provider of the
says that traffic data collection should not disclose Petitioners also ask that the Court strike down Section transmittal document to the Office of the Prosecutor
identities or content data, such restraint is but an 12 for being violative of the void-for-vagueness shall be deemed a notification to preserve the computer
illusion. Admittedly, nothing can prevent law doctrine and the overbreadth doctrine. These doctrines data until the termination of the case.
enforcement agencies holding these data in their hands however, have been consistently held by this Court to
from looking into the identity of their sender or receiver apply only to free speech cases. But Section 12 on its The service provider ordered to preserve computer data
and what the data contains. This will unnecessarily own neither regulates nor punishes any type of speech. shall keep confidential the order and its compliance.
expose the citizenry to leaked information or, worse, to Therefore, such analysis is unnecessary.
extortion from certain bad elements in these agencies. Petitioners in G.R. 20339197 claim that Section 13
constitutes an undue deprivation of the right to property.
They liken the data preservation order that law the order in relation to a valid complaint officially (d) To conduct forensic analysis or examination of the
enforcement authorities are to issue as a form of docketed and assigned for investigation and the computer data storage medium; and
garnishment of personal property in civil forfeiture disclosure is necessary and relevant for the purpose of
proceedings. Such order prevents internet users from investigation. (e) To render inaccessible or remove those computer
accessing and disposing of traffic data that essentially data in the accessed computer or computer and
belong to them. The process envisioned in Section 14 is being likened to communications network.
the issuance of a subpoena. Petitioners’ objection is that
No doubt, the contents of materials sent or received the issuance of subpoenas is a judicial function. But it is Pursuant thereof, the law enforcement authorities may
through the internet belong to their authors or recipients well-settled that the power to issue subpoenas is not order any person who has knowledge about the
and are to be considered private communications. But it exclusively a judicial function. Executive agencies have functioning of the computer system and the measures to
is not clear that a service provider has an obligation to the power to issue subpoena as an adjunct of their protect and preserve the computer data therein to
indefinitely keep a copy of the same as they pass its investigatory powers.98 provide, as is reasonable, the necessary information, to
system for the benefit of users. By virtue of Section 13, enable the undertaking of the search, seizure and
however, the law now requires service providers to keep Besides, what Section 14 envisions is merely the examination.
traffic data and subscriber information relating to enforcement of a duly issued court warrant, a function
communication services for at least six months from the usually lodged in the hands of law enforcers to enable Law enforcement authorities may request for an
date of the transaction and those relating to content data them to carry out their executive functions. The extension of time to complete the examination of the
for at least six months from receipt of the order for their prescribed procedure for disclosure would not constitute computer data storage medium and to make a return
preservation. an unlawful search or seizure nor would it violate the thereon but in no case for a period longer than thirty
privacy of communications and correspondence. (30) days from date of approval by the court.
Actually, the user ought to have kept a copy of that data Disclosure can be made only after judicial intervention.
when it crossed his computer if he was so minded. The Petitioners challenge Section 15 on the assumption that
service provider has never assumed responsibility for Section 15 of the Cybercrime Law it will supplant established search and seizure
their loss or deletion while in its keep. procedures. On its face, however, Section 15 merely
Section 15 provides: enumerates the duties of law enforcement authorities
At any rate, as the Solicitor General correctly points that would ensure the proper collection, preservation,
out, the data that service providers preserve on orders of Sec. 15. Search, Seizure and Examination of Computer and use of computer system or data that have been
law enforcement authorities are not made inaccessible Data. — Where a search and seizure warrant is properly seized by virtue of a court warrant. The exercise of
to users by reason of the issuance of such orders. The issued, the law enforcement authorities shall likewise these duties do not pose any threat on the rights of the
process of preserving data will not unduly hamper the have the following powers and duties. person from whom they were taken. Section 15 does not
normal transmission or use of the same. appear to supersede existing search and seizure rules
Within the time period specified in the warrant, to but merely supplements them.
Section 14 of the Cybercrime Law conduct interception, as defined in this Act, and:
Section 17 of the Cybercrime Law
Section 14 provides: (a) To secure a computer system or a computer data
storage medium; Section 17 provides:
Sec. 14. Disclosure of Computer Data. — Law
enforcement authorities, upon securing a court warrant, (b) To make and retain a copy of those computer data Sec. 17. Destruction of Computer Data. — Upon
shall issue an order requiring any person or service secured; expiration of the periods as provided in Sections 13 and
provider to disclose or submit subscriber’s information, 15, service providers and law enforcement authorities,
traffic data or relevant data in his/its possession or (c) To maintain the integrity of the relevant stored as the case may be, shall immediately and completely
control within seventy-two (72) hours from receipt of computer data;
destroy the computer data subject of a preservation and Computer data99 may refer to entire programs or lines of rule.101 Section 19, however, merely requires that the
examination. code, including malware, as well as files that contain data to be blocked be found prima facie in violation of
texts, images, audio, or video recordings. Without any provision of the cybercrime law. Taking Section 6
Section 17 would have the computer data, previous having to go into a lengthy discussion of property rights into consideration, this can actually be made to apply in
subject of preservation or examination, destroyed or in the digital space, it is indisputable that computer data, relation to any penal provision. It does not take into
deleted upon the lapse of the prescribed period. The produced or created by their writers or authors may consideration any of the three tests mentioned above.
Solicitor General justifies this as necessary to clear up constitute personal property. Consequently, they are
the service provider’s storage systems and prevent protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, The Court is therefore compelled to strike down Section
overload. It would also ensure that investigations are whether while stored in their personal computers or in 19 for being violative of the constitutional guarantees to
quickly concluded. the service provider’s systems. freedom of expression and against unreasonable
searches and seizures.
Petitioners claim that such destruction of computer data Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides
subject of previous preservation or examination violates that the right to be secure in one’s papers and effects Section 20 of the Cybercrime Law
the user’s right against deprivation of property without against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever
due process of law. But, as already stated, it is unclear nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable. Further, Section 20 provides:
that the user has a demandable right to require the it states that no search warrant shall issue except upon
service provider to have that copy of the data saved probable cause to be determined personally by the Sec. 20. Noncompliance. — Failure to comply with the
indefinitely for him in its storage system. If he wanted judge. Here, the Government, in effect, seizes and provisions of Chapter IV hereof specifically the orders
them preserved, he should have saved them in his places the computer data under its control and from law enforcement authorities shall be punished as a
computer when he generated the data or received it. He disposition without a warrant. The Department of violation of Presidential Decree No. 1829 with
could also request the service provider for a copy before Justice order cannot substitute for judicial search imprisonment of prision correctional in its maximum
it is deleted. warrant. period or a fine of One hundred thousand pesos
(Php100,000.00) or both, for each and every
Section 19 of the Cybercrime Law The content of the computer data can also constitute noncompliance with an order issued by law
speech. In such a case, Section 19 operates as a enforcement authorities.
Section 19 empowers the Department of Justice to restriction on the freedom of expression over
restrict or block access to computer data: cyberspace. Certainly not all forms of speech are Petitioners challenge Section 20, alleging that it is a bill
protected. Legislature may, within constitutional of attainder. The argument is that the mere failure to
Sec. 19. Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer bounds, declare certain kinds of expression as illegal. comply constitutes a legislative finding of guilt, without
Data.— When a computer data is prima facie found to But for an executive officer to seize content alleged to regard to situations where non-compliance would be
be in violation of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ be unprotected without any judicial warrant, it is not reasonable or valid.
shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such enough for him to be of the opinion that such content
computer data. But since the non-compliance would be punished as a
violates some law, for to do so would make him judge,
violation of Presidential Decree (P.D.) 1829,102 Section
jury, and executioner all rolled into one.100
Petitioners contest Section 19 in that it stifles freedom 20 necessarily incorporates elements of the offense
of expression and violates the right against Not only does Section 19 preclude any judicial which are defined therein. If Congress had intended for
unreasonable searches and seizures. The Solicitor intervention, but it also disregards jurisprudential Section 20 to constitute an offense in and of itself, it
General concedes that this provision may be guidelines established to determine the validity of would not have had to make reference to any other
unconstitutional. But since laws enjoy a presumption of restrictions on speech. Restraints on free speech are statue or provision.
constitutionality, the Court must satisfy itself that generally evaluated on one of or a combination of three
Section 19 indeed violates the freedom and right P.D. 1829 states:
tests: the dangerous tendency doctrine, the balancing of
mentioned. interest test, and the clear and present danger
Section 1. The penalty of prision correccional in its Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) the WHEREFORE, the Court DECLARES:
maximum period, or a fine ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 power to formulate a national cybersecurity plan
pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who without any sufficient standards or parameters for it to 1. VOID for being UNCONSTITUTIONAL:
knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or follow.
delays the apprehension of suspects and the a. Section 4(c)(3) of Republic Act 10175 that penalizes
investigation and prosecution of criminal cases by In order to determine whether there is undue delegation posting of unsolicited commercial communications;
committing any of the following acts: of legislative power, the Court has adopted two tests:
the completeness test and the sufficient standard test. b. Section 12 that authorizes the collection or recording
x x x. Under the first test, the law must be complete in all its of traffic data in real-time; and
terms and conditions when it leaves the legislature such
Thus, the act of non-compliance, for it to be punishable, that when it reaches the delegate, the only thing he will c. Section 19 of the same Act that authorizes the
must still be done "knowingly or willfully." There must have to do is to enforce it.1avvphi1 The second test Department of Justice to restrict or block access to
still be a judicial determination of guilt, during which, mandates adequate guidelines or limitations in the law suspected Computer Data.
as the Solicitor General assumes, defense and to determine the boundaries of the delegate’s authority
justifications for non-compliance may be raised. Thus, 2. VALID and CONSTITUTIONAL:
and prevent the delegation from running riot.103
Section 20 is valid insofar as it applies to the provisions
a. Section 4(a)(1) that penalizes accessing a computer
of Chapter IV which are not struck down by the Court. Here, the cybercrime law is complete in itself when it
system without right;
directed the CICC to formulate and implement a
Sections 24 and 26(a) of the Cybercrime Law national cybersecurity plan. Also, contrary to the
b. Section 4(a)(3) that penalizes data interference,
position of the petitioners, the law gave sufficient
Sections 24 and 26(a) provide: including transmission of viruses;
standards for the CICC to follow when it provided a
definition of cybersecurity. c. Section 4(a)(6) that penalizes cyber-squatting or
Sec. 24. Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating
Center.– There is hereby created, within thirty (30) days acquiring domain name over the internet in bad faith to
Cybersecurity refers to the collection of tools, policies,
from the effectivity of this Act, an inter-agency body to the prejudice of others;
risk management approaches, actions, training, best
be known as the Cybercrime Investigation and practices, assurance and technologies that can be used d. Section 4(b)(3) that penalizes identity theft or the use
Coordinating Center (CICC), under the administrative to protect cyber environment and organization and or misuse of identifying information belonging to
supervision of the Office of the President, for policy user’s assets.104 This definition serves as the parameters another;
coordination among concerned agencies and for the within which CICC should work in formulating the
formulation and enforcement of the national cybersecurity plan. e. Section 4(c)(1) that penalizes cybersex or the
cybersecurity plan.
lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity
Further, the formulation of the cybersecurity plan is for favor or consideration;
Sec. 26. Powers and Functions.– The CICC shall have consistent with the policy of the law to "prevent and
the following powers and functions: combat such [cyber] offenses by facilitating their f. Section 4(c)(2) that penalizes the production of child
detection, investigation, and prosecution at both the pornography;
(a) To formulate a national cybersecurity plan and domestic and international levels, and by providing
extend immediate assistance of real time commission of arrangements for fast and reliable international g. Section 6 that imposes penalties one degree higher
cybercrime offenses through a computer emergency cooperation."105 This policy is clearly adopted in the when crimes defined under the Revised Penal Code are
response team (CERT); x x x. interest of law and order, which has been considered as committed with the use of information and
sufficient standard.106 Hence, Sections 24 and 26(a) are communications technologies;
Petitioners mainly contend that Congress invalidly
likewise valid.
delegated its power when it gave the Cybercrime
h. Section 8 that prescribes the penalties for 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access, Section 4(a)(2) on Illegal
cybercrimes; Interception, Section 4(a)(3) on Data Interference,
Section 4(a)(4) on System
i. Section 13 that permits law enforcement authorities to
require service providers to preserve traffic data and Interference, Section 4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices,
subscriber information as well as specified content data Section 4(a)(6) on Cyber-squatting, Section 4(b)(1) on
for six months; Computer-related Forgery, Section 4(b)(2) on
Computer-related Fraud, Section 4(b)(3) on Computer-
j. Section 14 that authorizes the disclosure of computer related Identity Theft, and Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex;
data under a court-issued warrant; but VOID and UNCONSTITUTIONAL with respect to
Sections 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography, 4(c)(3) on
k. Section 15 that authorizes the search, seizure, and Unsolicited Commercial Communications, and 4(c)(4)
examination of computer data under a court-issued on online Libel.1âwphi1
warrant;
Lastly, the Court RESOLVES to LEAVE THE
l. Section 17 that authorizes the destruction of DETERMINATION of the correct application of
previously preserved computer data after the expiration Section 7 that authorizes prosecution of the offender
of the prescribed holding periods; under both the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act
10175 to actual cases, WITH THE EXCEPTION of the
m. Section 20 that penalizes obstruction of justice in crimes of:
relation to cybercrime investigations;
1. Online libel as to which, charging the offender under
n. Section 24 that establishes a Cybercrime both Section 4(c)(4) of Republic Act 10175 and Article
Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC); 353 of the Revised Penal Code constitutes a violation of
the proscription against double jeopardy; as well as
o. Section 26(a) that defines the CICC’s Powers and
Functions; and 2. Child pornography committed online as to which,
charging the offender under both Section 4(c)(2) of
p. Articles 353, 354, 361, and 362 of the Revised Penal
Republic Act 10175 and Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-
Code that penalizes libel.
Child Pornography Act of 2009 also constitutes a
violation of the same proscription, and, in respect to
Further, the Court DECLARES:
these, is VOID and UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
1. Section 4(c)(4) that penalizes online libel as VALID
SO ORDERED.
and CONSTITUTIONAL with respect to the original
author of the post; but VOID and
UNCONSTITUTIONAL with respect to others who
simply receive the post and react to it; and

2. Section 5 that penalizes aiding or abetting and


attempt in the commission of cybercrimes as VA L I D
and CONSTITUTIONAL only in relation to Section
G.R. No. 202666 September 29, 2014 of themselves clad only in their undergarments. These 4. Apparel that exposes the underwear;
pictures were then uploaded by Angela Lindsay Tan
RHONDA AVE S. VIVARES and SPS. MARGARITA (Angela) on her Facebook3 profile. 5. Clothing that advocates unhealthy behaviour; depicts
and DAVID SUZARA, Petitioners, obscenity; contains sexually suggestive messages,
vs. Back at the school, Mylene Rheza T. Escudero language or symbols; and 6. Posing and uploading
ST. THERESA'S COLLEGE, MYLENE RHEZA T. (Escudero), a computer teacher at STC’s high school pictures on the Internet that entail ample body exposure.
ESCUDERO, and JOHN DOES, Respondents. department, learned from her students that some seniors
at STC posted pictures online, depicting themselves On March 1, 2012, Julia, Julienne, Angela, and the
DECISION from the waist up, dressed only in brassieres. Escudero other students in the pictures in question, reported, as
then asked her students if they knew who the girls in the required, to the office of Sr. Celeste Ma. Purisima Pe
VELASCO, JR., J.: photos are. In turn, they readily identified Julia, (Sr. Purisima), STC’s high school principal and
Julienne, and Chloe Lourdes Taboada (Chloe), among ICM6 Directress. They claimed that during the meeting,
The individual's desire for privacy is never absolute, others. they were castigated and verbally abused by the STC
since participation in society is an equally powerful officials present in the conference, including Assistant
desire. Thus each individual is continually engaged in a Using STC’s computers, Escudero’s students logged in Principal Mussolini S. Yap (Yap), Roswinda Jumiller,
personal adjustment process in which he balances the to their respective personal Facebook accounts and and Tigol. What is more, Sr. Purisima informed their
desire for privacy with the desire for disclosure and showed her photos of the identified students, which parents the following day that, as part of their penalty,
communication of himself to others, in light of the include: (a) Julia and Julienne drinking hard liquor and they are barred from joining the commencement
environmental conditions and social norms set by the smoking cigarettes inside a bar; and (b) Julia and exercises scheduled on March 30, 2012.
society in which he lives. Julienne along the streets of Cebu wearing articles of
clothing that show virtually the entirety of their black A week before graduation, or on March 23, 2012,
- Alan Westin, Privacy and Freedom (1967) brassieres. What is more, Escudero’s students claimed Angela’s mother, Dr. Armenia M. Tan (Tan), filed a
that there were times when access to or the availability Petition for Injunction and Damages before the RTC of
The Case
of the identified students’ photos was not confined to Cebu City against STC, et al., docketed as Civil Case
the girls’ Facebook friends,4but were, in fact, viewable No. CEB-38594.7In it, Tan prayed that defendants
Before Us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under
by any Facebook user.5 therein be enjoined from implementing the sanction that
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, in relation to Section 19
precluded Angela from joining the commencement
of A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC,1 otherwise known as the
Upon discovery, Escudero reported the matter and, exercises.
"Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data." Petitioners herein
through one of her student’s Facebook page, showed the
assail the July 27, 2012 Decision2 of the Regional Trial
photosto Kristine Rose Tigol (Tigol), STC’s Discipline- On March 25, 2012,petitioner Rhonda Ave Vivares
Court, Branch 14 in Cebu City (RTC) in SP. Proc. No. (Vivares), the mother of Julia, joined the fray as an
in-Charge, for appropriate action. Thereafter, following
19251-CEB, which dismissed their habeas data petition. intervenor. On March 28, 2012, defendants inCivil Case
an investigation, STC found the identified students to
have deported themselves in a manner proscribed by the No. CEB-38594 filed their memorandum, containing
The Facts
school’s Student Handbook, to wit: printed copies of the photographs in issue as annexes.
That same day, the RTC issued a temporary restraining
Nenita Julia V. Daluz (Julia) and Julienne Vida Suzara
1. Possession of alcoholic drinks outside the school order (TRO) allowing the students to attend the
(Julienne), both minors, were, during the period
campus; graduation ceremony, to which STC filed a motion for
material, graduating high school students at St.
reconsideration.
Theresa's College (STC), Cebu City. Sometime in
2. Engaging in immoral, indecent, obscene or lewd acts;
January 2012, while changing into their swimsuits for a
Despite the issuance of the TRO,STC, nevertheless,
beach party they were about to attend, Julia and 3. Smoking and drinking alcoholicbeverages in public barred the sanctioned students from participating in the
Julienne, along with several others, took digital pictures places; graduation rites, arguing that, on the date of the
commencement exercises, its adverted motion for Civil Case No. CEB-38594. To petitioners, the interplay SO ORDERED.9
reconsideration on the issuance ofthe TRO remained of the foregoing constitutes an invasion of their
unresolved. children’s privacy and, thus, prayed that: (a) a writ of To the trial court, petitioners failed to prove the
habeas databe issued; (b) respondents be ordered to existence of an actual or threatened violation of the
Thereafter, petitioners filed before the RTC a Petition surrender and deposit with the court all soft and printed minors’ right to privacy, one of the preconditions for
for the Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Data, docketed as copies of the subjectdata before or at the preliminary the issuance of the writ of habeas data. Moreover, the
SP. Proc. No. 19251-CEB8 on the basis of the following hearing; and (c) after trial, judgment be rendered court a quoheld that the photos, having been uploaded
considerations: declaring all information, data, and digital images on Facebook without restrictions as to who may view
accessed, saved or stored, reproduced, spread and used, them, lost their privacy in some way. Besides, the RTC
1. The photos of their children in their undergarments to have been illegally obtained inviolation of the noted, STC gathered the photographs through legal
(e.g., bra) were taken for posterity before they changed children’s right to privacy. means and for a legal purpose, that is, the
into their swimsuits on the occasion of a birthday beach implementation of the school’s policies and rules on
party; Finding the petition sufficient in form and substance, discipline.
the RTC, through an Order dated July 5, 2012, issued
2. The privacy setting of their children’s Facebook the writ of habeas data. Through the same Order, herein Not satisfied with the outcome, petitioners now come
accounts was set at "Friends Only." They, thus, have a respondents were directed to file their verified written before this Court pursuant to Section 19 of the Rule on
reasonable expectation of privacy which must be return, together with the supporting affidavits, within Habeas Data.10
respected. five (5) working days from service of the writ.
The Issues
3. Respondents, being involved in the field of In time, respondents complied with the RTC’s directive
education, knew or ought to have known of laws that and filed their verified written return, laying down the The main issue to be threshed out inthis case is whether
safeguard the right to privacy. Corollarily, respondents following grounds for the denial of the petition, viz: (a) or not a writ of habeas datashould be issued given the
knew or ought to have known that the girls, whose petitioners are not the proper parties to file the petition; factual milieu. Crucial in resolving the controversy,
privacy has been invaded, are the victims in this case, (b) petitioners are engaging in forum shopping; (c) the however, is the pivotal point of whether or not there
and not the offenders. Worse, after viewing the photos, instant case is not one where a writ of habeas data may was indeed an actual or threatened violation of the right
the minors were called "immoral" and were punished issue;and (d) there can be no violation of their right to to privacy in the life, liberty, or security of the minors
outright; privacy as there is no reasonable expectation of privacy involved in this case.
on Facebook.
4. The photos accessed belong to the girls and, thus, Our Ruling
cannot be used and reproduced without their consent. Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
Escudero, however, violated their rights by saving We find no merit in the petition.
digital copies of the photos and by subsequently On July 27, 2012, the RTC rendered a Decision
showing them to STC’s officials. Thus, the Facebook dismissing the petition for habeas data. The dispositive Procedural issues concerning the availability of the Writ
accounts of petitioners’ children were intruded upon; portion of the Decision pertinently states: of Habeas Data

5. The intrusion into the Facebook accounts, as well as WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the The writ of habeas datais a remedy available to any
the copying of information, data, and digital images Petition is hereby DISMISSED. person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security
happened at STC’s Computer Laboratory; and is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission
The parties and media must observe the aforestated of a public official or employee, or of a private
6. All the data and digital images that were extracted confidentiality. individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting
were boldly broadcasted by respondents through their or storing of data or information regarding the person,
memorandum submitted to the RTC in connection with xxxx family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved
party.11 It is an independent and summary remedy a. The writ of habeas data is not only confined to cases privacy, more specifically the right to informational
designed to protect the image, privacy, honor, of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances privacy. The remedies against the violation of such right
information, and freedom of information of an can include the updating, rectification, suppression or
individual, and to provide a forum to enforce one’s right Contrary to respondents’ submission, the Writ of destruction of the database or information or files in
to the truth and to informational privacy. It seeks to Habeas Datawas not enacted solely for the purpose of possession or in control of respondents.18 (emphasis
protect a person’s right to control information regarding complementing the Writ of Amparoin cases of Ours) Clearly then, the privilege of the Writ of Habeas
oneself, particularly in instances in which such extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. Datamay also be availed of in cases outside of
information is being collected through unlawful means extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.
in order to achieve unlawful ends.12 Section 2 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data
provides: b. Meaning of "engaged" in the gathering, collecting or
In developing the writ of habeas data, the Court aimed storing of data or information
to protect an individual’s right to informational privacy, Sec. 2. Who May File. – Any aggrieved party may file a
among others. A comparative law scholar has, in fact, petition for the writ of habeas data. However, in cases Respondents’ contention that the habeas data writ may
defined habeas dataas "a procedure designed to of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances, the not issue against STC, it not being an entity engaged in
safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the petition may be filed by: the gathering, collecting or storing of data or
information age."13 The writ, however, will not issue on information regarding the person, family, home and
the basis merely of an alleged unauthorized access to (a) Any member of the immediate family of the correspondence of the aggrieved party, while valid to a
information about a person.Availment of the writ aggrieved party, namely: the spouse, children and point, is, nonetheless, erroneous.
requires the existence of a nexus between the right to parents; or
privacy on the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or To be sure, nothing in the Rule would suggest that the
(b) Any ascendant, descendant or collateral relative of habeas data protection shall be available only against
security on the other.14 Thus, the existence of a person’s
the aggrieved party within the fourth civil degreeof abuses of a person or entity engaged in the businessof
right to informational privacy and a showing, at least by
consanguinity or affinity, in default of those mentioned gathering, storing, and collecting of data. As provided
substantial evidence, of an actual or threatened violation
in the preceding paragraph. (emphasis supplied) under Section 1 of the Rule:
of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the
victim are indispensable before the privilege of the writ
Had the framers of the Rule intended to narrow the Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas datais a
may be extended.15
operation of the writ only to cases of extralegal killings remedy available to any person whose right to privacy
or enforced disappearances, the above underscored in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an
Without an actionable entitlement in the first place to
portion of Section 2, reflecting a variance of habeas unlawful act or omission of a public official or
the right to informational privacy, a habeas datapetition
data situations, would not have been made. employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in
will not prosper. Viewed from the perspective of the
case at bar,this requisite begs this question: given the the gathering, collecting or storing of data or
Habeas data, to stress, was designed "to safeguard information regarding the person, family, home and
nature of an online social network (OSN)––(1) that it
individual freedom from abuse in the information correspondence of the aggrieved party. (emphasis Ours)
facilitates and promotes real-time interaction among
age."17 As such, it is erroneous to limit its applicability
millions, if not billions, of users, sans the spatial
to extralegal killings and enforced disappearances only. The provision, when taken in its proper context, as a
barriers,16 bridging the gap created by physical space;
In fact, the annotations to the Rule preparedby the whole, irresistibly conveys the idea that habeas data is a
and (2) that any information uploaded in OSNs leavesan
Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, after protection against unlawful acts or omissions of public
indelible trace in the provider’s databases, which are
explaining that the Writ of Habeas Data complements officials and of private individuals or entities engaged
outside the control of the end-users––is there a right to
the Writ of Amparo, pointed out that: in gathering, collecting, or storing data about the
informational privacy in OSN activities of its users?
Before addressing this point, We must first resolve the aggrieved party and his or her correspondences, or
The writ of habeas data, however, can be availed of as about his or her family. Such individual or entity need
procedural issues in this case. an independent remedy to enforce one’s right to not be in the business of collecting or storing data.
To "engage" in something is different from undertaking With the availability of numerous avenues for Briefly, the purpose of an OSN is precisely to give users
a business endeavour. To "engage" means "to do or take information gathering and data sharing nowadays, not the ability to interact and to stay connected to other
part in something."19 It does not necessarily mean that to mention each system’s inherent vulnerability to members of the same or different social media platform
the activity must be done in pursuit of a business. What attacks and intrusions, there is more reason that every through the sharing of statuses, photos, videos, among
matters is that the person or entity must be gathering, individual’s right to control said flow of information others, depending on the services provided by the site. It
collecting or storing said data or information about the should be protected and that each individual should is akin to having a room filled with millions of personal
aggrieved party or his or her family. Whether such have at least a reasonable expectation of privacy in bulletin boards or "walls," the contents of which are
undertaking carries the element of regularity, as when cyberspace. Several commentators regarding privacy under the control of each and every user. In his or her
one pursues a business, and is in the nature of a and social networking sites, however, all agree that bulletin board, a user/owner can post anything––from
personal endeavour, for any other reason or even for no given the millions of OSN users, "[i]n this [Social text, to pictures, to music and videos––access to which
reason at all, is immaterial and such will not prevent the Networking] environment, privacy is no longer would depend on whether he or she allows one, some or
writ from getting to said person or entity. grounded in reasonable expectations, but rather in some all of the other users to see his or her posts. Since
theoretical protocol better known as wishful thinking."24 gaining popularity, the OSN phenomenon has paved the
To agree with respondents’ above argument, would way to the creation of various social networking sites,
mean unduly limiting the reach of the writ to a very It is due to this notion that the Court saw the pressing includingthe one involved in the case at bar,
small group, i.e., private persons and entities whose need to provide for judicial remedies that would allow a www.facebook.com (Facebook), which, according to its
business is data gathering and storage, and in the summary hearing of the unlawful use of data or developers, people use "to stay connected with friends
process decreasing the effectiveness of the writ asan information and to remedy possible violations of the and family, to discover what’s going on in the world,
instrument designed to protect a right which is easily right to privacy.25 In the same vein, the South African and to share and express what matters to them."28
violated in view of rapid advancements in the High Court, in its Decision in the landmark case, H v.
information and communications technology––a right W,26promulgated on January30, 2013, recognized that Facebook connections are established through the
which a great majority of the users of technology "[t]he law has to take into account the changing realities process of "friending" another user. By sending a
themselves are not capable of protecting. not only technologically but also socially or else it will "friend request," the user invites another to connect
lose credibility in the eyes of the people. x x x It is their accounts so that they can view any and all "Public"
Having resolved the procedural aspect of the case, We imperative that the courts respond appropriately to and "Friends Only" posts of the other.Once the request
now proceed to the core of the controversy. changing times, acting cautiously and with wisdom." is accepted, the link is established and both users are
Consistent with this, the Court, by developing what may permitted to view the other user’s "Public" or "Friends
The right to informational privacy on Facebook be viewed as the Philippine model of the writ of habeas Only" posts, among others. "Friending," therefore,
data, in effect, recognized that, generally speaking, allows the user to form or maintain one-to-one
a. The Right to Informational Privacy having an expectation of informational privacy is not relationships with other users, whereby the user gives
necessarily incompatible with engaging in cyberspace his or her "Facebook friend" access to his or her profile
The concept of privacyhas, through time, greatly
activities, including those that occur in OSNs. and shares certain information to the latter.29
evolved, with technological advancements having an
influential part therein. This evolution was briefly The question now though is up to whatextent is the right To address concerns about privacy,30 but without
recounted in former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno’s to privacy protected in OSNs? Bear in mind that defeating its purpose, Facebook was armed with
speech, The Common Right to Privacy,20 where he informational privacy involves personal information. At different privacy tools designed to regulate the
explained the three strands of the right to privacy, viz: the same time, the very purpose of OSNs is socializing– accessibility of a user’s profile31 as well as information
(1) locational or situational privacy;21(2) informational –sharing a myriad of information,27 some of which uploaded by the user. In H v. W,32 the South Gauteng
privacy; and (3) decisional privacy. 22 Of the three, what would have otherwise remained personal. High Court recognized this ability of the users to
is relevant to the case at bar is the right to informational "customize their privacy settings," but did so with this
privacy––usually defined as the right of individuals to b. Facebook’s Privacy Tools: a response to the clamor caveat: "Facebook states in its policies that, although it
control information about themselves.23 for privacy in OSN activities
makes every effort to protect a user’s information, these STC did not violate petitioners’ daughters’ right to of the user to keep said photo or information within the
privacy settings are not foolproof."33 privacy confines of his or her private space.

For instance, a Facebook user canregulate the visibility Without these privacy settings, respondents’ contention We must now determine the extent that the images in
and accessibility of digital images(photos), posted on that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in question were visible to other Facebook users and
his or her personal bulletin or "wall," except for the Facebook would, in context, be correct. However, such whether the disclosure was confidential in nature. In
user’sprofile picture and ID, by selecting his or her is not the case. It is through the availability of said other words, did the minors limit the disclosure of the
desired privacy setting: privacy tools that many OSN users are said to have a photos such that the images were kept within their
subjective expectation that only those to whomthey zones of privacy? This determination is necessary in
(a) Public - the default setting; every Facebook user can grant access to their profile will view the information resolving the issue of whether the minors carved out a
view the photo; they post or upload thereto.35 zone of privacy when the photos were uploaded to
Facebook so that the images will be protected against
(b) Friends of Friends - only the user’s Facebook This, however, does not mean thatany Facebook user unauthorized access and disclosure.
friends and their friends can view the photo; automatically has a protected expectation of privacy
inall of his or her Facebook activities. Petitioners, in support of their thesis about their
(b) Friends - only the user’s Facebook friends can view children’s privacy right being violated, insist that
the photo; Before one can have an expectation of privacy in his or Escudero intruded upon their children’s Facebook
her OSN activity, it is first necessary that said user, in accounts, downloaded copies ofthe pictures and showed
(c) Custom - the photo is made visible only to particular this case the children of petitioners,manifest the said photos to Tigol. To them, this was a breach of the
friends and/or networks of the Facebook user; and intention to keepcertain posts private, through the minors’ privacy since their Facebook accounts,
employment of measures to prevent access thereto or to allegedly, were under "very private" or "Only Friends"
(d) Only Me - the digital image can be viewed only by limit its visibility.36 And this intention can materialize setting safeguarded with a password.39 Ultimately, they
the user. in cyberspace through the utilization of the OSN’s posit that their children’s disclosure was only limited
privacy tools. In other words, utilization of these since their profiles were not open to public viewing.
The foregoing are privacy tools, available to Facebook
privacy tools is the manifestation,in cyber world, of the Therefore, according to them, people who are not their
users, designed to set up barriers to broaden or limit the
user’s invocation of his or her right to informational Facebook friends, including respondents, are barred
visibility of his or her specific profile content, statuses,
privacy.37 from accessing said post without their knowledge and
and photos, among others, from another user’s point of
consent. Aspetitioner’s children testified, it was
view. In other words, Facebook extends its users an Therefore, a Facebook user who opts to make use of a Angelawho uploaded the subjectphotos which were
avenue to make the availability of their Facebook privacy tool to grant or deny access to his or her post only viewable by the five of them,40 although who these
activities reflect their choice as to "when and to what orprofile detail should not be denied the informational five are do not appear on the records.
extent to disclose facts about [themselves] – and to put privacy right which necessarily accompanies said
others in the position of receiving such choice.38Otherwise, using these privacy tools would be Escudero, on the other hand, stated in her
confidences."34 Ideally, the selected setting will be a feckless exercise, such that if, for instance, a user affidavit41 that "my students showed me some pictures
based on one’s desire to interact with others, coupled uploads a photo or any personal information to his or of girls cladin brassieres. This student [sic] of mine
with the opposing need to withhold certain information her Facebook page and sets its privacy level at "Only informed me that these are senior high school [students]
as well as to regulate the spreading of his or her Me" or a custom list so that only the user or a chosen of STC, who are their friends in [F]acebook. x x x They
personal information. Needless to say, as the privacy few can view it, said photo would still be deemed public then said [that] there are still many other photos posted
setting becomes more limiting, fewer Facebook users by the courts as if the user never chose to limit the on the Facebook accounts of these girls. At the
can view that user’s particular post. photo’s visibility and accessibility. Such position, if computer lab, these students then logged into their
adopted, will not only strip these privacy tools of their Facebook account [sic], and accessed from there the
function but it would also disregard the very intention various photographs x x x. They even told me that there
had been times when these photos were ‘public’ i.e., not Also, United States v. Maxwell46 held that "[t]he more To illustrate, suppose A has 100 Facebook friends and
confined to their friends in Facebook." open the method of transmission is, the less privacy one B has 200. A and B are not Facebook friends. If C, A’s
can reasonably expect. Messages sent to the public at Facebook friend, tags B in A’s post, which is set at
In this regard, We cannot give muchweight to the large inthe chat room or e-mail that is forwarded from "Friends," the initial audience of 100 (A’s own
minors’ testimonies for one key reason: failure to correspondent to correspondent loses any semblance of Facebook friends) is dramatically increased to 300 (A’s
question the students’ act of showing the photos to privacy." 100 friends plus B’s 200 friends or the public,
Tigol disproves their allegation that the photos were depending upon B’s privacy setting). As a result, the
viewable only by the five of them. Without any That the photos are viewable by "friends only" does not audience who can view the post is effectively
evidence to corroborate their statement that the images necessarily bolster the petitioners’ contention. In this expanded––and to a very large extent.
were visible only to the five of them, and without their regard, the cyber community is agreed that the digital
challenging Escudero’s claim that the other students images under this setting still remain to be outside the This, along with its other features and uses, is
were able to view the photos, their statements are, at confines of the zones of privacy in view of the confirmation of Facebook’s proclivity towards user
best, self-serving, thus deserving scant consideration.42 following: interaction and socialization rather than seclusion or
privacy, as it encourages broadcasting of individual user
It is well to note that not one of petitioners disputed (1) Facebook "allows the world to be more open and posts. In fact, it has been said that OSNs have facilitated
Escudero’s sworn account that her students, who are the connected by giving its users the tools to interact and their users’ self-tribute, thereby resulting into the
minors’ Facebook "friends," showed her the photos share in any conceivable way;"47 "democratization of fame."51Thus, it is suggested, that a
using their own Facebook accounts. This only goes to profile, or even a post, with visibility set at "Friends
show that no special means to be able to viewthe (2) A good number of Facebook users "befriend" other Only" cannot easily, more so automatically, be said to
allegedly private posts were ever resorted to by users who are total strangers;48 be "very private," contrary to petitioners’ argument.
Escudero’s students,43 and that it is reasonable to
assume, therefore, that the photos were, in reality, (3) The sheer number of "Friends" one user has, usually As applied, even assuming that the photos in issue are
viewable either by (1) their Facebook friends, or (2) by by the hundreds; and visible only to the sanctioned students’ Facebook
the public at large. friends, respondent STC can hardly be taken to task for
(4) A user’s Facebook friend can "share"49 the former’s the perceived privacy invasion since it was the minors’
Considering that the default setting for Facebook posts post, or &qu