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United Democratic Opposition vs Commission on Elections Facts: In 1981, the BP proposed amendments to the 1973 Constitution. The amendments were to be placed to a plebiscite for the peoples approval. The YES vote was being advanced by KBL Marcos Party. While the NO vote was being advanced by UNIDO. To ensure parity and equality, COMELEC issued Resolutions 1467-1469 w/c basically provided that there be equal opportunity, equal time and equal space on media use for campaigns for both sides. On 12 Mar 1981, Marcos campaigned for the YES vote via TV and radio from 9:30pm to 11:30pm. The same was broadcasted live by 26 TV stations and 248 radio stations nationwide. UNIDO petitioned before the COMELEC that they be granted the same opportunity as Marcos has pursuant to Resns 1467-69. COMELEC denied the demand. UNIDO assailed the denial as a denial of equal protection before the laws.

ISSUE: Whether or not UNIDO was denied equal protection by virtue of COMELECs denial of their request.

HELD: The SC ruled that UNIDO was not denied due process nor were they not afforded equal protection. It is the considered view of the SC that when Marcos conducted his pulong-pulong or consultation with the people on March 12, 1981, he did so in his capacity as President/Prime Minister of the Philippines and not as the head of any political party. Under the Constitution, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet shall be responsible . . . for the program of government and shall determine the guidelines of national policy. In instances where the head of state is at the same time the president of the political party that is in power, it does not necessarily follow that he speaks with two voices when he dialogues with the governed. The president is accorded certain privileges that the opposition may not have. Further, the SC cannot compel TV stations and radio stations to give UNIDO free air time as they are not party to this case. UNIDO must sought contract with these TV stations and radio stations at their own expense.

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB VS. COMELEC [201 SCRA 1; G.R. NO. 1026653; 5 MAR 1992] Facts: Petitioners in these cases consist of representatives of the mass media which are prevented from selling or donating space and time for political advertisements; two (2) individuals who are candidates for office (one for national and the other for provincial office) in the coming May 1992 elections; and taxpayers and voters who claim that their right to be informed of election Issue and of credentials of the candidates is being curtailed. It is principally argued by petitioners that Section 11 (b) of Republic Act No. 66461 invades and violates the constitutional guarantees comprising freedom of expression. Petitioners maintain that the prohibition imposed by Section 11 (b) amounts to censorship, because it selects and singles out for suppression and repression with criminal sanctions, only publications of a particular content, namely, media-based election or political propaganda during the election period of 1992. It is asserted that the prohibition is in derogation of media's role, function and duty to provide adequate channels of public information and public opinion relevant to election Issue. Further, petitioners contend that Section 11 (b) abridges the freedom of speech of candidates, and that the suppression of media-based campaign or political propaganda except those appearing in the Comelec space of the newspapers and on Comelec time of radio and television broadcasts, would bring about a substantial reduction in the quantity or volume of information concerning candidates and Issue in the election thereby curtailing and limiting the right of voters to information and opinion.

Issue: Whether or Not Section 11 (b) of Republic Act No. 6646 constitutional. Held: Yes. It seems a modest proposition that the provision of the Bill of Rights which enshrines freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the press has to be taken in conjunction with Article IX (C) (4) which may be seen to be a special provision applicable during a specific limited period i.e., "during the election period." In our own society, equality of opportunity to proffer oneself for public office, without regard to the level of financial resources that one may have at one's disposal, is clearly an important value. One of the basic state policies given constitutional rank by Article II, Section 26 of the Constitution is the egalitarian demand that "the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law." The essential question is whether or not the assailed legislative or administrative provisions constitute a permissible exercise of the power of supervision or regulation of the operations of communication and information enterprises during an election period, or whether such act has gone beyond permissible supervision or regulation of media operations so as to constitute unconstitutional repression of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The Court considers that Section 11 (b) has not gone outside the permissible bounds of supervision or regulation of media operations during election periods. Section 11 (b) is limited in the duration of its applicability and enforceability. By virtue of the operation of Article IX (C) (4) of the Constitution, Section 11 (b) is limited in its applicability in time to election periods. Section 11 (b) does not purport in any way to restrict the reporting by newspapers or radio or television stations of news or news-worthy events relating to candidates, their qualifications, political parties and programs of government. Moreover, Section 11 (b) does not reach commentaries and expressions of belief or opinion by reporters or broadcasters or editors or commentators or columnists in respect of candidates, their qualifications, and programs and so forth, so long at least as such comments, opinions and beliefs are not in fact advertisements for particular candidates covertly paid for. In sum, Section 11 (b) is not to be read as reaching any report or commentary other coverage that, in responsible media, is not paid for by candidates for political office. Section 11 (b) as designed to cover only paid political advertisements of particular candidates. The limiting impact of Section 11 (b) upon the right to free speech of the candidates themselves is not unduly repressive or unreasonable.

SWS vs Comelec Facts: Petitioner SWS and KPC states that it wishes to conduct an election survey throughout the period of the elections and release to the media the results of such survey as well as publish them directly. Petitioners argue that the restriction on the publication of election survey results constitutes a prior restraint on the exercise of freedom of speech without any clear and present danger to justify such restraint. Issue: Are the Comelec Resolutions prohibiting the holding of pre-polls and exit polls and the dissemination of their results through mass media, valid and constitutional? Ruling:

No. The Court held that Section (5)4 is invalid because (1) it imposes a prior restraint on the freedom of expression, (2) it is a direct and total suppression of a category of expression even though such suppression is only for a limited period, and (3) the governmental interest sought to be promoted can be achieved by means other than suppression of freedom of expression. It has been held that "[mere] legislative preferences or beliefs respecting matters of public convenience may well support regulation directed at other personal activities, but be insufficient to justify such as diminishes the exercise of rights so vital to the maintenance of democratic institutions.

SOCIAL WEATHER STATIONS, INCORPORATED and KAMAHALAN PUBLISHINGCORPORATION, doing business as MANILA STANDARD, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent. Facts: Petitioner, Social Weather Stations, Inc. (SWS) is a private non-stock, non-profit social research institution conducting surveys in various fields. On the other hand, petitioner Kamahalan Publishing Corporation publishes the Manila Standard, a newspaper of general circulation. Petitioners brought this action for prohibition to enjoin the Commission on Elections from enforcing Section 5.4 of RA. No.9006 (Fair Election Act), which provides that: Surveys affecting national candidates shall not be published fifteen (15) days before an election and surveys affecting local candidates shall not be published seven (7) days before an election. Petitioners argue that the restriction on the publication of election survey results constitutes a prior restraint on the exercise of freedom of speech without any clear and present danger to justify such restraint. They claim that SWS and other pollsters conducted and published the results of surveys prior to the 1992, 1995, and 1998 elections up to as close as two days before the election day without causing confusion among the voters and that there is neither empirical nor historical evidence to support the conclusion that there is an immediate and inevitable danger to tile voting process posed by election surveys. No similar restriction is imposed on politicians from explaining their opinion or on newspapers or broadcast media from writing and publishing articles concerning political issues up to the day of the election. They contend that there is no reason for ordinary voters to be denied access to the results of election surveys, which are relatively objective. Respondent Commission on Elections justifies the restrictions in 5.4 of R.A. No. 9006 as necessary to prevent the manipulation and corruption of the electoral process by unscrupulous and erroneous surveys just before the election. It contends that (1) the prohibition on the publication of election survey results during the period proscribed by law bears a rational connection to the objective of the law, i.e., the prevention of the debasement of the electoralprocess resulting from manipulated surveys, bandwagon effect, and absence of reply; (2) it is narrowly tailored to meet the "evils" sought to be prevented; and (3) the impairment of freedom of expression is minimal, the restriction being limited both in duration, i.e., the last 15 days before the national election and the last 7 days before a local election, and in scope as it does not prohibit election survey results but only require timeliness. Issue: Whether or not Section 5.4 of RA 9006 constitutes an unconstitutional abridgment of freedom of speech, expression and the press? Held: Yes. The Court held that Section (5)4 is invalid because (1) it imposes a prior restraint on the freedom of expression, (2) it is a direct and total suppression of a category of expression even though such suppression is only for a limited period, and

(3) the governmental interest sought to be promoted can be achieved by means other than suppression of freedom of expression. It has been held that "[mere] legislative preferences or beliefs respecting matters of public convenience may well support regulation directed at other personal activities, but be insufficient to justify such as diminishes the exercise of rights so vital to the maintenance of democratic institutions.

Iglesia ni Cristo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 119673, July 26, 1996 I. THE FACTS

Several pre-taped episodes of the TV program Ang Iglesia ni Cristo of the religious group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) were rated X i.e., not for public viewing by the respondent Board of Review for Moving Pictures and Television (now MTRCB). These TV programs allegedly offend[ed] and constitute[d] an attack against other religions which is expressly prohibited by law because of petitioner INCs controversial biblical interpretations and its attacks against contrary religious beliefs. Petitioner INC went to court to question the actions of respondent Board. The RTC ordered the respondent Board to grant petitioner INC the necessary permit for its TV programs. But on appeal by the respondent Board, the CA reversed the RTC. The CA ruled that: (1) the respondent Board has jurisdiction and power to review the TV program Ang Iglesia ni Cristo, and (2) the respondent Board did not act with grave abuse of discretion when it denied permit for the exhibition on TV of the three series of Ang Iglesia ni Cristo on the ground that the materials constitute an attack against another religion. The CA also found the subject TV series indecent, contrary to law and contrary to good customs. Dissatisfied with the CA decision, petitioner INC appealed to the Supreme Court. II. THE ISSUES (1) Does respondent Board have the power to review petitioners TV program? (2) Assuming it has the power, did respondent Board gravely abuse its discretion when it prohibited the airing of petitioners religious program? III. THE RULING [The Court voted 13-1 to REVERSE the CA insofar as the CA sustained the action of the respondent Boards X-rating petitioners TV Program Series Nos. 115, 119, and 121. It also voted 10-4 to AFFIRM the CA insofar as the CA it sustained the jurisdiction of the respondent MTRCB to review petitioners TV program entitled Ang Iglesia ni Cristo.]

1. YES, respondent Board has the power to review petitioners TV program. Petitioner contends that the term television program [in Sec. 3 of PD No. 1986 that the respondent Board has the power to review and classify] should not include religious programs like its program Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. A contrary interpretation, it is urged, will contravene section 5, Article III of the Constitution which guarantees that no law shall be

made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. [The Court however] reject petitioners postulate. Petitioners public broadcast on TV of its religious program brings it out of the bosom of internal belief. Television is a medium that reaches even the eyes and ears of children. The Court iterates the rule that the exercise of religious freedom can be regulated by the State when it will bring about the clear and present danger of some substantive evil which the State is duty bound to prevent, i.e., serious detriment to the more overriding interest of public health, public morals, or public welfare. A laissez faire policy on the exercise of religion can be seductive to the liberal mind but history counsels the Court against its blind adoption as religion is and continues to be a volatile area of concern in our country today. . . [T]he Court] shall continue to subject any act pinching the space for the free exercise of religion to a heightened scrutiny but we shall not leave its rational exercise to the irrationality of man. For when religion divides and its exercise destroys, the State should not stand still.

2. YES, respondent Board gravely abuse its discretion when it prohibited the airing of petitioners religious program. [A]ny act that restrains speech is hobbled by the presumption of invalidity and should be greeted with furrowed brows. It is the burden of the respondent Board to overthrow this presumption. If it fails to discharge this burden, its act of censorship will be struck down. It failed in the case at bar. The evidence shows that the respondent Board x-rated petitioners TV series for attacking either religions, especially the Catholic Church. An examination of the evidence . . . will show that the so-called attacks are mere criticisms of some of the deeply held dogmas and tenets of other religions. The videotapes were not viewed by the respondent court as they were not presented as evidence. Yet they were considered by the respondent court as indecent, contrary to law and good customs, hence, can be prohibited from public viewing under section 3(c) of PD 1986. This ruling clearly suppresses petitioner's freedom of speech and interferes with its right to free exercise of religion. xxx. The respondent Board may disagree with the criticisms of other religions by petitioner but that gives it no excuse to interdict such criticisms, however, unclean they may be. Under our constitutional scheme, it is not the task of the State to favor any religion by protecting it against an attack by another religion. . . In fine, respondent board cannot squelch the speech of petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks other religions, even if said religion happens to be the most numerous church in our country. In a State where there ought to be no difference between the appearance and the reality of freedom of religion, the remedy against bad theology is better theology. The bedrock of freedom of religion is freedom of thought and it is best served by encouraging the marketplace of duelling ideas. When the luxury of time permits, the marketplace of ideas demands that speech should be met by more speech for it is the spark of opposite speech, the heat of colliding ideas that can fan the embers of truth. In x-rating the TV program of the petitioner, the respondents failed to apply the clear and present danger rule. In American Bible Society v. City of Manila, this Court held: The constitutional guaranty of free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship carries with it the right to disseminate religious information. Any restraint of such right can be justified like other restraints on freedom of expression on the ground that there is a clear and present danger of any substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent. In Victoriano vs. Elizalde Rope Workers Union, we further ruled that . . . it is only where it is unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified, and only to the smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger.

The records show that the decision of the respondent Board, affirmed by the respondent appellate court, is completely bereft of findings of facts to justify the conclusion that the subject video tapes constitute impermissible attacks against another religion. There is no showing whatsoever of the type of harm the tapes will bring about especially the gravity and imminence of the threatened harm. Prior restraint on speech, including religious speech, cannot be justified by hypothetical fears but only by the showing of a substantive and imminent evil which has taken the life of a reality already on ground.

MTRCB v. ABS-CBN G.R. No. 155282. January 17, 2005 Facts: Respondent ABS-CBN aired Prosti-tuition, an episode of the TV program The Inside Story produced and hosted by respondent Loren Legarda. It depicted female students moonlighting as prostitutes to enable them to pay for their tuition fees. Philippine Womens University was named as the school of some of the students involved and the faade of the PWU building served as the background of the episode. This caused uproar in the PWU community and they filed a lettercomplaint to the MTRCB. MTRCB alleged that respondents: 1) Did not submit the inside story to petitioner for review 2) Exhibited the same without its permission, thus violating sec 7 of PD 1986 and some sections of MTRCB rules and regulations ABS-CBN averred: 1) The Inside Story is a public affairs program, news documentary and socio-political editorial, its airing is protected by the constitutional provision on freedom of expression and of the press 2) Petitioners has no power, authority and jurisdiction to impose any form of prior restraint upon respondents. After hearing and submission of the parties memoranda, MTRCB investigating committee ordered the respondents to pay P20,000 for non-submission of the program MTRCB affirmed the ruling Respondents filed a special civil action for certiorari with RTC QC. RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondents, annulling and setting aside the decision and resolution of the MTRCB and declaring and decreeing that certain sections of PD 1986 & MTRCB do not cover the TV program Inside Story, they being a public affairs program which can be equated to a newspaper

Hence, this petition Issue: W/N petitioners power to review television programs under Section 3(b) of P. D. No. 1986 does not amount to prior restraint. Ratio: It is significant to note that in Iglesia ni Cristo, this Court declared that freedom of religion has been accorded a preferred status by the framers of our fundamental laws, past and present, designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience, to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs x x x. Yet despite the fact that freedom of religion has been accorded a preferred status, still this Court, did not exempt the Iglesia ni Cristos religious program from petitioners review power. Respondents claim that the showing of The Inside Story is protected by the constitutional provision on freedom of speech and of the press. However, there has been no declaration at all by the framers of the Constitution that freedom of expression and of the press has a preferred status. If this Court, in Iglesia ni Cristo, did not exempt religious programs from the jurisdiction and review power of petitioner MTRCB, with more reason, there is no justification to exempt therefrom The Inside Story which, according to respondents, is protected by the constitutional provision on freedom of expression and of the press, a freedom bearing no preferred status. The only exceptions from the MTRCBs power of review are those expressly mentioned in Section 7 of P. D. No. 1986, such as (1) television programs imprinted or exhibited by the Philippine Government and/or its departments and agencies, and (2) newsreels.

Freedom of Expression Clear and Present Danger Rule Viva Productions Inc. vs. CA Facts: The present petition assails the decision of respondent CA sustaining both the order of the RTC Paraaque and RTC Makati restraining the showing of the movie The Jessica Alfaro Story by petitioner Viva Productions Inc. There are two petitions filed with the two courts which are linked to the Vizconde Massacre, where private respondent Hubert Webb is charged, along with another 9 suspects, with rape with homicide on the strength of the sworn statement of NBI witness Jessica M. Alfaro. Thereafter, Alfaro was offered a movie contract by petitioner for the filming of her life story and she signed said movie contract while the case was still under investigation by the DOJ. Private respondent sent letters to the petitioner and Alfaro warning them that the showing of the subject movie would violate the sub judice rule and his rights as

the accused. Notwithstanding such letter, petitioner still promoted, advertised and marketed said story in print and broadcast media while its premiere showing was scheduled along with the nationwide showing. As a result, private respondent filed a petition for contempt against petitioner with the RTC Paraaque, while he also instituted a case for injunction with damages with the RTC Makati. The RTC Paraaque came out with its cease and desist order while the RTC Makati issued a Temporary Restraining Order. Petitioner then directly filed with the CA a motion for reconsideration but the same was dismissed. Issue: Whether or not the RTC Paraaque can totally disregard and curtail petitioners constitutional right to freedom of expression and of the press without the presence of the clear and present danger. Held: No. The SC held that the assailed decision of respondent court are hereby set aside, and a new one entered declaring null and void all orders of Branch 58 of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region stationed in Makati City in its Civil Case No. 95-1365 and forthwith dismissing said case, and declaring the order of the Regional Trial Court of the same National Capital Judicial Region stationed in Paraaque (Branch 274), functus officio insofar as it restrains the public showing of the movie The Jessica Alfaro Story.

Freedom of Expression Clear and Present Danger Rule Ayer Productions vs. Capulong Facts: Petitioner McElroy an Australian film maker, and his movie production company, Ayer Productions, envisioned, sometime in 1987, for commercial viewing and for Philippine and international release, the historic peaceful struggle of the Filipinos at EDSA. The proposed motion picture entitled "The Four Day Revolution" was endorsed by the MTRCB as and other government agencies consulted. Ramos also signified his approval of the intended film production.

It is designed to be viewed in a six-hour mini-series television play, presented in a "docu-drama" style, creating four fictional characters interwoven with real events, and utilizing actual documentary footage as background. David Williamson is Australia's leading playwright and Professor McCoy (University of New South Wales) is an American historian have developed a script. Enrile declared that he will not approve the use, appropriation, reproduction and/or exhibition of his name, or picture, or that of any member of his family in any cinema or television production, film or other medium for advertising or commercial exploitation. petitioners acceded to this demand and the name of Enrile was deleted from the movie script, and petitioners proceeded to film the projected motion picture. However, a complaint was filed by Enrile invoking his right to privacy. Petitioners' claim that in producing and "The Four Day Revolution," they are exercising their freedom of speech and of expression protected under our Constitution. RTC ordered for the desistance of the movie production and making of any reference to plaintiff or his family and from creating any fictitious character in lieu of plaintiff which nevertheless is based on, or bears substantial or marked resemblance to Enrile. Hence the appeal. Issue: 1. 2. Held: 1. Yes. Whether or not petitioners freedom of expression was violated. Whether or not Enriles right to privacy is violated.

The SC ruled that freedom of speech and of expression includes the freedom to film and produce motion pictures and exhibit such motion pictures in theatres or to diffuse them through television. Furthermore the circumstance that the production of motion picture films is a commercial activity expected to yield monetary profit, is not a disqualification for availing of freedom of speech and of expression. The projected motion picture was as yet uncompleted and hence not exhibited to any audience. Neither private respondent nor the respondent trial Judge knew what the completed film would precisely look like. There was, in other words, no "clear and present danger" of any violation of any right to privacy. Subject matter is one of public interest and concern. The subject thus relates to a highly critical stage in the history of the country. At all relevant times, during which the momentous events, clearly of public concern, that petitioners propose to film were taking place, Enrile was a "public figure:" Such public figures were held to have lost, to some extent at least, their right to privacy. The line of equilibrium in the specific context of the instant case between the constitutional freedom of speech and of expression and the right of privacy, may be marked out in terms of a requirement that the proposed motion picture must be fairly truthful and historical in its presentation of events. 2. No.

The SC held that the counter-balancing of private respondent is to a right of privacy. It was demonstrated sometime ago by the then Dean Irene R. Cortes that our law, constitutional and statutory, does include a right of privacy. It is left to case law, however, to mark out the precise scope and content of this right in differing types of particular situations. The right of privacy or "the right to be let alone," like the right of free expression, is not an absolute right. A limited intrusion


into a person's privacy has long been regarded as permissible where that person is a public figure and the information sought to be elicited from him or to be published about him constitute of a public character Succinctly put, the right of privacy cannot be invoked resist publication and dissemination of matters of public interest. The interest sought to be protected by the right of privacy is the right to be free from unwarranted publicity, from the wrongful publicizing of the private affairs and activities of an individual which are outside the realm of legitimate public concern. Whether the "balancing of interests test" or the clear and present danger test" be applied in respect of the instant Petitions, the Court believes that a different conclusion must here be reached: The production and filming by petitioners of the projected motion picture "The Four Day Revolution" does not, in the circumstances of this case, constitute an unlawful intrusion upon private respondent's "right of privacy."

Freedom of Expression Balancing of Interest Test Gonzales vs. COMELEC Facts: Petitioners challenged the validity of two sections included in the Revised Election Code, under Republic Act No. 4880, prohibiting the too early nomination of candidates and limiting the period of election campaign or partisan political activity claiming that "the enforcement of said Republic Act No. 4880 in question [would] prejudice [their] basic rights..., such as


their freedom of speech, their freedom of assembly and their right to form associations or societies for purpose not contrary to law, guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution," and that therefore said act is unconstitutional. Respondent Commission on Elections, in its answer, denied the allegations as to the validity of the act "for being mere conclusions of law, erroneous at that."

Issue: Whether or not R.A. No. 4880 is unconstitutional insofar as it violates the freedom of expression. Held: No. The SC held that the primacy, the high estate accorded freedom of expression is of course a fundamental postulate of our constitutional system. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press .... What does it embrace? At the very least, free speech and free press may be identified with the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully any matter of public interest without censorship or punishment. There is to be then no previous restraint on the communication of views or subsequent liability whether in libel suits, prosecution for sedition, or action for damages, or contempt proceedings unless there be a clear and present danger of substantive evil that Congress has a right to prevent. The vital need in a constitutional democracy for freedom of expression is undeniable whether as a means of assuring individual self-fulfilment, of attaining the truth, of assuring participation by the people in social including political decision-making, and of maintaining the balance between stability and change. From the language of the specified constitutional provision, it would appear that the right is not susceptible of any limitation. No law may be passed abridging the freedom of speech and of the press. The realities of life in a complex society preclude however a literal interpretation. Freedom of expression is not an absolute. This Court spoke, in Cabansag v. Fernandez; of two tests that may supply an acceptable criterion for permissible restriction. Thus: "These are the 'clear and present danger' rule and the 'dangerous tendency' rule. The first, as interpreted in a number of cases, means that the evil consequence of the comment or utterance must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high' before the utterance can be punished. The danger to be guarded against is the 'substantive evil' sought to be prevented." It has the advantage of establishing according to the above decision "a definite rule in constitutional law. It provides the criterion as to what words may be public established." The Cabansag case likewise referred to the other test, the "dangerous tendency" rule and explained it thus: "If the words uttered create a dangerous tendency which the state has a right to prevent, then such words are punishable. It is not necessary that some definite or immediate acts of force, violence, or unlawfulness be advocated. It is sufficient that such acts be advocated in general terms. Nor is it necessary that the language used be reasonably calculated to incite persons to acts of force, violence, or unlawfulness. It is sufficient if the natural tendency and probable effect of the utterance be to bring about the substantive evil which the legislative body seeks to prevent. In considering whether it is violative of any of the above rights, we cannot ignore of course the legislative declaration that its enactment was in response to a serious substantive evil affecting the electoral process, not merely in danger of happening, but actually in existence, and likely to continue unless curbed or remedied. To assert otherwise


would be to close one's eyes to the realities of the situation. Nor can we ignore the express legislative purpose apparent in the proviso "that simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign," and in the other proviso "that nothing herein stated shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems or issues, or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he supports." Such limitations qualify the entire provision restricting the period of an election campaign or partisan political activity. The constitutional objections are thus formidable. It cannot be denied that the limitations thus imposed on the constitutional rights of free speech and press, of assembly, and of association cut deeply, into their substance. On the other, it cannot be denied either that evils substantial in character taint the purity of the electoral process. There can be under the circumstances then no outright condemnation of the statute. It could not be said to be unwarranted, much less arbitrary. There is need for refraining from the outright assumption that the constitutional infirmity is apparent from a mere reading thereof. The majority of the Court is thus of the belief that the solicitation or undertaking of any campaign or propaganda whether directly or indirectly, by an individual, the making of speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interview for or against the election for any party or candidate for public office, or the publication or distribution of campaign literature or materials, suffer from the corrosion of invalidity. It lacks however one more affirmative vote to call for a declaration of unconstitutionality.

Freedom of Expression Balancing of Interest Test Lagunzad vs. Vda. De Gonzales Facts: Petitioner Manuel Lagunzad, a newspaperman, began the production of a movie entitled "The Moises Padilla Story" portraying the life of Moises Padilla, a mayoralty candidate of the Nacionalista Party for the Municipality of Magallon, Negros Occidental and for whose murder, Governor Rafael Lacson, a member of the Liberal Party then in power and his men were tried and convicted. Although the emphasis of the movie was on the public life of Moises Padilla, there were


portions which dealt with his private and family life including the portrayal in some scenes, of his mother, Maria Soto, private respondent herein, and of one "Auring" as his girlfriend. Padillas half sister, for and in behalf of her mother, Gonzales, objected to the "exploitation" of his life and demanded in writing for certain changes, corrections and deletions in the movie. After some bargaining as to the amount to be paid, Lagunzad and Vda. De Gonzales, executed a "Licensing Agreement" whereby the latter as LICENSOR granted Lagunzad authority and permission to exploit, use, and develop the life story of Moises Padilla for purposes of producing the picture for consideration of P20,000.00. Lagunzad paid Vda. de Gonzales the amount of P5,000.00. Subsequently, the movie was shown indifferent theatres all over the country. Because petitioner refused to pay any additional amounts pursuant to the Agreement, Vda. de Gonzales instituted the present suit against him praying for judgment in her favour ordering petitioner 1) to pay her the balance of P15,000.00, with legal interest from the filing of the Complaint; and 2) to render an accounting of the proceeds from the picture and to pay the corresponding 2-1/2% royalty there from, among others. Petitioner contended in his Answer that the episodes in the life of Moises Padilla depicted in the movie were matters of public knowledge and occurred at or about the same time that the deceased became and was a public figure; that private respondent has no property right over those incidents; that the Licensing Agreement was without valid cause or consideration and constitutes an infringement on the constitutional right of freedom of speech and of the press; and that he paid private respondent the amount of P5,000.00 only because of the coercion and threat employed upon him. As a counterclaim, petitioner sought for the nullification of the Licensing Agreement, both the trial court and the CA ruled in favour of Vda. De Gonzales. Issue: Whether or not the Licensing Agreement constitutes an infringement on the constitutional right of freedom of speech and of the press. Held: No. The SC held that Lagunzad claims that as a citizen and as a newspaperman, he had the right to express his thoughts in film on the public life of Moises Padilla without prior restraint. The right of freedom of expression, indeed, occupies a preferred position in the "hierarchy of civil liberties." It is not, however, without limitations. One criterion for permissible limitation on freedom of speech and of the press is the "balancing-of-interests test." The principle requires a court to take conscious and detailed consideration of the interplay of interests observable in a given situation or type of situation." 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, and consideringthe obligations assumed in the Licensing Agreemententered 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.