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, MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION & COMMUNICATIONS, THE HON. CEFERINO S. CARREON, COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL TELECOM., COMMISSION, ET AL., respondents. RESOLUTION
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: This petition was filed to compel the respondents to allow the reopening of Radio Station DYRE which had been summarily closed on grounds of national security. The petitioner contended that it was denied due process when it was closed on the mere allegation that the radio station was used to incite people to sedition. it alleged that no hearing was held and not a bit of proof was submitted to establish a factual basis for the closure. The petitioner was not informed beforehand why administrative action which closed the radio station was taken against it. No action was taken by the respondents to entertain a motion seeking the reconsideration of the closure action. The petitioner also raised the issue of freedom of speech. It appears from the records that the respondents' general charge of "inciting people to commit acts of sedition" arose from the petitioner's shift towards what it stated was the coverage of public events and the airing of programs geared towards public affairs. On March 25, 1985, before the Court could promulgate a decision squarely passing upon all the issues raised, the petitioner through its president, Mr. Rene G. Espina suddenly filed a motion to withdraw or dismiss the petition. The petitioner alleged: 1. Petitioner Eastern Broadcasting Corporation has already sold its radio broadcasting station in favor of Manuel B. Pastrana as well as its rights and interest in the radio station DYRE in Cebu including its right to operate and its equipment; 2. Respondent National Telecommunications Commission has expressed its willingness to grant to the said new owner Manuel B. Pastrana the requisite license and franchise to operate the said radio station and to approve the sale of the radio transmitter of said station DYRE; 3. In view of the foregoing, petitioner has no longer any interest in said case, and the new owner, Manuel B. Pastrana is likewise not interested in pursuing the case any further. The case, therefore, has become moot and academic. However, for the guidance of inferior courts and administrative tribunals exercising quasijudicial functions, the Court issues the following guidelines: (1) The cardinal primary requirements in administrative proceedings laid down by this Court in Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations (69 Phil. 1 635) should be followed before a broadcast station may be closed or its operations curtailed. (2) It is necessary to reiterate that while there is no controlling and precise definition of due process, it furnishes an unavoidable standard to which government action must conform in order that any deprivation of life, liberty, or property, in each appropriate case, may be valid (Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association v. City Mayor, 20 SCRA 849). (3) All forms of media, whether print or broadcast, are entitled to the broad protection of the freedom of speech and expression clause. The test for limitations on freedom of expression continues to be the clear and present danger rule — that words are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that the lawmaker has a right to prevent, In hisConstitution of the Philippines (2nd Edition, pp. 569-570) Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando cites at least nine of our decisions which apply the test — (Primicias v. Fugoso [80 Phil. 71], American Bible Society v. City of Manila[101 Phil. 386], Cabansag v. Fernandez [102 Phil. 152], Vera v. Arca [28 SCRA 351], Navarro v. Villegas [31 SCRA 931], Imbong v. Ferrer [35 SCRA 28], Badoy v. Commission on Elections [35 SCRA 285], People v. Ferrer [48 SCRA 382], and the Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization v. Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc. [51 SCRA 189]. More recently, the clear and present danger test was applied in J.B.L. Reyes in behalf of the Anti-Bases Coalition v. Bagatsing [125 SCRA 553]. (4) The clear and present danger test, however, does not lend itself to a simplistic and all embracing interpretation applicable to all utterances in all forums.
Broadcasting has to be licensed. Airwave frequencies have to be allocated among qualified users. A broadcast corporation cannot simply appropriate a certain frequency without regard for government regulation or for the rights of others. All forms of communication are entitled to the broad protection of the freedom of expression clause. Necessarily, however, the freedom of television and radio broadcasting is somewhat lesser in scope than the freedom accorded to newspaper and print media. The American Court in Federal Communications Commission v. Pacifica Foundation (438 U.S. 726), confronted with a patently offensive and indecent regular radio program, explained why radio broadcasting, more than other forms of communications, receives the most limited protection from the free expression clause. First, broadcast media have established a uniquely pervasive presence in the lives of all citizens, Material presented over the airwaves confronts the citizen, not only in public, but in the privacy of his home. Second, broadcasting is uniquely accessible to children. Bookstores and motion picture theaters may be prohibited from making certain material available to children, but the same selectivity cannot be done in radio or television, where the listener or viewer is constantly tuning in and out. Similar considerations apply in the area of national security. The broadcast media have also established a uniquely pervasive presence in the lives of all Filipinos, Newspapers and current books are found only in metropolitan areas and in the poblaciones of municipalities accessible to fast and regular transportation. Even here, there are low income masses who find the cost of books, newspapers, and magazines beyond their humble means. Basic needs like food and shelter perforce enjoy high priorities. On the other hand, the transistor radio is found everywhere. The television set is also becoming universal. Their message may be simultaneously received by a national or regional audience of listeners including the indifferent or unwilling who happen to be within reach of a blaring radio or television set. The materials broadcast over the airwaves reach every person of every age, persons of varying susceptibilities to persuasion, persons of different I.Q.s and mental capabilities, persons whose reactions to inflammatory or offensive speech would be difficult to monitor or predict. The impact of the vibrant speech is forceful and immediate. Unlike readers of the printed work, the radio audience has lesser opportunity to cogitate analyze, and reject the utterance. (5) The clear and present danger test, therefore, must take the particular circumstances of broadcast media into account. The supervision of radio stations-whether by government or through self-regulation by the industry itself calls for thoughtful, intelligent and sophisticated handling. The government has a right to be protected against broadcasts which incite the listeners to violently overthrow it. Radio and television may not be used to organize a rebellion or to signal the start of widespread uprising. At the same time, the people have a right to be informed. Radio and television would have little reason for existence if broadcasts are limited to bland, obsequious, or pleasantly entertaining utterances. Since they are the most convenient and popular means of disseminating varying views on public issues, they also deserve special protection. (6) The freedom to comment on public affairs is essential to the vitality of a representative democracy. In the 1918 case of United States v. Bustos (37 Phil. 731) this Court was already stressing that. The interest of society and the maintenance of good government demand a full discussion of public affairs. Complete liberty to comment on the conduct of public men is a scalpel in the case of free speech. The sharp incision of its probe relieves the abscesses of officialdom. Men in public life may suffer under a hostile and an unjust accusation; the wound can be assuaged with the balm of a clear conscience. A public officer must not be too thin-skinned with reference to comment upon his official acts. Only thus can the intelligence and dignity of the individual be exalted. (7) Broadcast stations deserve the special protection given to all forms of media by the due process and freedom of expression clauses of the Constitution. WHEREFORE, the case having become moot and academic, the petitioner's motion to withdraw or dismiss the petition is hereby GRANTED. SO ORDERED. Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin Relova, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur. Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr. and De la Fuente, JJ., concur in the result (the case having become moot and academic). Aquino, J., took no part.
k. Private respondent Francisco Wenceslao. That case established two major propositions in the prosecution of defamatory remarks: first. the liberty of the press. Arturo Borjal and Maximo Soliven . Inc. More importantly. In this petition for review. is a civil engineer. J. 228 N. and we agree. then Chairman of the House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Industrial Policy. Perhaps. respondents. J. the issue of the right of free expression bestirs and presents itself time and again. to the other end of the spectrum in defense of the constitutionally protected status of unpopular opinion in free society. was estimated to cost around P1. private organizations. those who attended agreed to organize the First National Conference on Land Transportation (FNCLT) to be participated in by the private sector in the transport industry and government agencies concerned in order to find ways and means to solve the transportation crisis. treasonable. (PTI). No. DECISION "The question is not so much as who was aimed at as who was hit. laments Knight. No. petitioners. owner of The Philippine Star. This..815. we are asked to reverse the Court of Appeals in "Francisco Wenceslao v.. At the very least. transport firms. businessman. and second. that libel against a public person is a greater offense than one directed against an ordinary man. explore and furrow its heretofore uncharted moors and valleys and finally redefine the metes and bounds of its controversial domain. properly understood." found kindred expression  in the landmark opinion of England's Star Chamber in the Libelis Famosis case in 1603. drowned and swamped as they have been by the ceaseless cacophony and din of thought and discourse emanating from just about every source and direction. BELLOSILLO. private respondent Francisco Wenceslao was elected Executive Director. these principles have lost much of their flavor.Y. schismatical. according to private respondent. 58 ). honorable and reputable name. 126466. has been devalued by its utter commonality. business consultant and journalist by profession. he wrote numerous solicitation letters to the business community for the support of the conference. in Corrigan v. Among the regular writers of The Philippine Star is Borjal who runs the column Jaywalker. is one such case." (Pound. and individual delegates or  participants. Even the venerable Justice Holmes appeared to waffle as he swayed from the concept of criminal libel liability under the clear and present danger rule. Until republicanism caught fire in early America." CAG.. the view from the top on libel was no less dismal. immoral. In 1988 he served as a technical adviser of Congressman Fabian Sison.R. During the congressional hearings on the transport crisis sometime in September 1988 undertaken by the House Sub-Committee on Industrial Policy. to inveigle. January 14. nay. Quoted hereunder are excerpts from the articles of petitioner together with the dates  they were published 31 May 1989 . prominently. Petitioners Arturo Borjal and Maximo Soliven are among the incorporators of Philippines Today. At the time the complaint was filed. the objective of the FNCLT was to draft an omnibus bill that would embody a long-term land transportation policy for presentation to Congress. a daily newspaper. This may explain the imperceptible demise of criminal prosecutions for libel and the trend to rely instead on indemnity suits to repair any damage on one's reputation. at the organizational meeting of the FNCLT. 40496. on the other hand.00 would be funded through solicitations from various sponsors such as government agencies. Neither did it refer to the FNCLT as the conference therein mentioned. The conference which. vs. Inc. for its logical effect is to benumb thought and sensibility on what may be considered as criminal illegitimate encroachments on the right of persons to enjoy a good.[G. seditious. ART BORJAL and MAXIMO SOLIVEN. libel principles formulated at one time or another have waxed and waned through the years in the constant ebb and flow of judicial review. . is by no means infringed or violated. never in jurisprudential history has any freedom of man undergone radical doctrinal metamorphoses than his right to freely and openly express his views. Blackstone's pontifical comment that "where blasphemous. aided no less by an increasingly powerful and irrepressible mass media. Bobbs-Merill Co. in cyclic occurrence. challenge the courts to re-survey its ever shifting terrain. The articles dealt with the alleged anomalous activities of an "organizer of a conference" without naming or identifying private respondent. holding on 25 March 1996 that petitioners Arturo Borjal and Maximo Soliven are solidarily liable for damages for writing and publishing certain articles claimed to be derogatory and offensive to private respondent Francisco Wenceslao.a. petitioner Borjal was its President while Soliven was (and still is) Publisher and Chairman of its Editorial Board. or scandalous libels are punished by English law . 1999] ARTURO BORJAL a. . Viewed in modern times and the current revolution in information and communication technology. COURT OF APPEALS and FRANCISCO WENCESLAO. On 28 February 1989. Public discourse.: PERPETUALLY HAGRIDDEN as the public is about losing one of the most basic yet oft hotly contested freedoms of man.R. now PhilSTAR Daily. As such. that it is immaterial that the libel be true. Between May and July 1989 a series of articles written by petitioner Borjal was published on different dates in his column Jaywalker.000.
asked that his name be stricken off from the letterheads the ‘hero’ has been using to implement one of his pet ‘seminars. xxx . I will hire the best lawyers. after which the Garments Regulatory Board headed by Trade and Industry Undersecretary Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was approached by the organizer to expedite the garment license application of the P100. in his usual straightforward style. not you. He has been turning out a lot of funny-looking advice on investments. and the like. that’s easily P3 million to a project that seems so unsophisticated. This is a simple ploy coated in jazzy letterheads and slick prose.’ Reyes said: ‘I would like to reiterate my request that you delete my name. Ray Reyes even says that the conference should be unmasked as a moneymaking gimmick.’ Note that Ray Reyes is an honest man who would confront anybody eyeball to eyeball without blinking. But note that one garment company gave P100. Agrarian Reform Secretary on leave Philip Juico received one. He has tried to operate under a guise of a well-meaning reformist.' The 'consultant' was fired. his thick face very pale.000 persons and agencies approached by the organizer shelled out 1. xxx There seems to be no end to what a man could do to pursue his dubious ways. advised Juico to put the fund solicitation letter in the waste basket.000. 22 June 1989 The scheming 'organizer' we have been writing about seems to have been spreading his wings too far. Ray Reyes. A congressional source has informed the Jaywalker that the schemer once worked for a congressman from the North as some sort of a consultant on economic affairs.00. xxx The first information says that the 'organizer' tried to mulct half a million pesos from a garment producer and exporter who was being investigated for violation of the rules of the Garments. The Jaywalker continues to receive information about the man’s dubious deals. Transportation Secretary Rainerio ‘Ray’ Reyes.000 each. He has intellectual pretensions .000 fund solicitation letters were sent by the organizer to every Tom. It was only later that he realized that the 'consultant' was acting with a burst of energy 'in aid of extortion.' It seems that he was not only indiscreet. 19 June 1989 x x x some 3. according to reliable sources. export and -. Yet. Now.and sometimes he succeeds in getting his thoughts in the inside pages of some newspapers. 9 June 1989 Another questionable portion of the so-called conference is its unauthorized use of the names of President Aquino and Secretary Ray Reyes. xxx The 'organizer’s' principal gamely went along. You will be hearing more of the 'organizer’s' exploits from this corner soon. Recently. has reached the Premier Guest House where his name is spoken like dung. if the 3. The first thing the “organizer” did was to initiate hearings and round-the-table discussions with people from the business. The organizer got the shock of his life when the exporter told him: 'If I have that amount. His notoriety. And the letterheads carried the names of Reyes and Periquet.000.000 donor. The ‘hero’ has the gall to solicit fees from anybody with bucks to spare.' The organizer left in a huff. with the aid of some naive newspaper people. 21 June 1989 A 'conference organizer' associated with shady deals seems to have a lot of trash tucked inside his closet. xxx Friends in government and the private sector have promised the Jaywalker more 'dope' on the 'organizer. thinking that his 'consultant' had nothing but the good of these sectors in mi nd. in effect.the garments sector.his favorite -. The 'organizer' told the garment exporter that the case could be fixed for a sum of P500. Textile. he even failed to cover his tracks. The conference program being circulated claims that President Aquino and Reyes will be main speakers in the conference. export growth. the word is that Cory and Reyes have not accepted the invitation to appear in this confab.Another self-proclaimed ‘hero’ of the EDSA Revolution goes around organizing ‘seminars and conferences’ for a huge fee. Dick and Harry and to almost all government agencies. but he decided to find out from Reyes himself what the project was all about. Embroidery and Apparel Board.
However. private respondent filed a complaint with the National Press Club (NPC) against petitioner Borjal for unethical conduct. I am prepared to relinquish this position in case it is found that I have misappropriated even one peso of FNCLT money. according to his perception. the trial court decided in favor of private respondent Wenceslao and ordered petitioners Borjal and Soliven to indemnify private respondent P1. He is hoping for a broad power to ban crooks and influence-peddlers from entering the premises of his department.000. The big names in the industry also did not participate. can still concoct ways of doing his thing. AA Borjal Associates. None of the government officials involved in regulating public transportation was there. But the Cabinet man might not get his wish. moral and exemplary damages. In their answer.000. the Second Division denied both motions: the first. and to pay the costs of suit. AA Borjal Associates. 124396 had already been disposed of by the Second Division almost six (6) months earlier. Apparently not satisfied with his complaint with the NPC. if I can prove that Borjal has used his column as a ‘hammer’ to get  clients for his PR Firm.00 for actual and compensatory damages." "a conference organizer associated with shady deals who has a lot of trash tucked inside his closet. the Assistant Prosecutor handling the case dismissed the complaint for insufficiency of evidence. in a Resolution dated 7 August 1990. It was bound to fail. and." that petitioner’s claim of privilege communication was unavailing since the privileged character of the articles was lost by their publication in a newspaper of general circulation. Hence the instant petition for review. petitioner Borjal crossed the thin but clear line that separated fair comment from actionable defamation. congressmen. In turn. xxx The conference was doomed from the start.00 for exemplary damages. shamelessness and intellectual pretentions to Wenceslao. one wonders why the conference organizers went ahead with the affair and tried so hard to convince 3. there was no longer any case thereat with which to consolidate this case since G. On the other hand. How could a conference on transportation succeed without the participation of the big names in the industry and government policy-makers? Private respondent reacted to the articles. There is one 'organizer' who. Without a tinge of remorse. he should resign from the STAR and never again write a column. The personalities who count in the field of transportation refused to attend the affair or withdrew their support after finding out the background of the organizer of the conference.A cabinet secretary has one big wish. No. private respondent filed a criminal case for libel against petitioners Borjal and Soliven.00 attorney's fees plus costs. lacked the univocal indorsement of the responsible government officials. He sent a letter to The Philippine Star insisting that he was the “organizer” alluded to in petitioner  Borjal’s columns. However. and the second. On 20 November 1996 when the First Division consolidated and transferred the present case to the Second Division. the 'organizer' could fill up his letterheads with names of Cabinet members.000. The petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred: (a) in ruling that private respondent  .00 moral damages and P75. among others. for being a wrong remedy.00 actual damages. although not named.00 for attorney’s fees. in addition to P200.000. warning the public against contributing to a conference that. the appellate court ruled inter alia that private respondent was sufficiently identifiable.000. in the questioned articles. that private respondent was in fact defamed by petitioner Borjal by describing him variously as a "self-proclaimed hero. for being premature.R. The attendance was very poor and the few who participated in the affair were mostly leaders of jeepney drivers’ groups. Is it a deal? Thereafter. falsehood and misrepresentation. plus attorney’s fees and costs. petitioner Borjal published a rejoinder to the challenge of private respondent not only to protect his name and honor but also to refute the claim  that he was using his column for character assassination. P100." and "a person with dubious ways. and reputable people from the private sector to shore up his shady reputation and cover up his notoriety. On 31 October 1990 private respondent instituted against petitioners a civil action for damages based on libel subject of the instant case. petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but the Court of Appeals denied the motion in its Resolution of 12 September 1996. After due consideration." "thick face. On their part.000. The dismissal was sustained by the Department of Justice and later by the Office of the President. petitioners interposed compulsory counterclaims for actual. or simply informing the public of the letters Wenceslao wrote and the favors he requested or demanded. P200. In a 20-page Decision promulgated 25 March 1996. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the court a quo but reduced the amount of the monetary award to P110. that petitioner could have performed his office as a newspaperman without necessarily transgressing the rights of Wenceslao by calling the attention of the government offices concerned to examine the authority by which Wenceslao acted. 3 July 1989 A supposed conference on transportation was a big failure. in a Resolution dated 27 May 1996.00 for moral damages.000. that when he imputed dishonesty. He  accused petitioner Borjal of using his column as a form of leverage to obtain contracts for his public relations firm.000. In a subsequent letter to The Philippine Star. P200. private respondent refuted the matters contained in petitioner Borjal’s columns and openly challenged him in this manner To test if Borjal has the guts to back up his holier than thou attitude. even if physically banned.000 companies and individuals to contribute to the affair. Private respondent manifested his desire to appeal that portion of the appellate court’s decision which reduced the amount of damages awarded him by filing with this Court a Petition for Extension of Time to File Petition and a Motion for Suspension of Time to File  Petition. With such a poor attendance.
it is essential that the victim be identifiable although it is not necessary that he be named. we now proceed to resolve the other issues and pass upon the pertinent findings of the courts a quo.000. . No less than private respondent himself admitted that the FNCLT had several organizers and that he was only a part of the organization. The former even called up  columnist Borjal to inquire if he (Wenceslao) was the one referred to in the subject articles. private respondent himself entertained doubt that he was the person spoken of in Borjal's columns. 354 of The Revised Penal Code which state Art. Had private respondent not revealed that he was the "organizer" of the FNCLT referred to in the Borjal articles. His letter to the editor published in the 4 June 1989 issue of The Philippine Star even showed private respondent Wenceslao's uncertainty Although he used a subterfuge. In order to maintain a libel suit. fifth and sixth assigned errors all revolve around the primary question of whether the disputed articles constitute privileged communications as to exempt the author from liability. (f) in ruling that private respondent has a valid cause of action for libel against petitioners although he failed to prove actual malice on their part. fourth. and eventually. The trial court ruled that petitioner Borjal cannot hide behind the proposition that his articles are privileged in character under the provisions of Art. Requirement for publicity. and the award of damages on their counterclaim. in his 9 June 1989 column petitioner Borjal wrote about the "so-called First National Conference on Land   Transportation whose principal organizers are not specified" (italics supplied). It is well to note that the revelation of the identity of the person alluded to came not from petitioner Borjal but from private respondent himself when he supplied the information through his 4 June 1989 letter to the editor. Surely. if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown. the dismissal of the complaint against them for lack of merit.the very same appellation employed in all the column items . the Office of the President. 354. the Court of Appeals found that Borjal's column writings sufficiently identified Wenceslao as the "conference organizer.Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious. and on the assumption arguendo that private respondent has been sufficiently identified as the subject of Borjal's disputed comments. These conclusions are at variance with the evidence at hand. (b) in refusing to accord serious consideration to the findings of the Department of Justice and the Office of the President that private respondent Wenceslao was not sufficiently identified in the questioned articles. and who had pledged their assistance to it. The first of theJaywalker articles which appeared in the 31 May 1989 issue of The Philippine Star yielded nothing to indicate that private respondent was the person referred to therein. even if it be true. except in the following cases: . the Department of Justice. had already resolved that there was no sufficient evidence to prove the existence of libel. We hold otherwise." As a matter of fact. The petition is impressed with merit. Neither did the FNCLT letterheads disclose the identity of the conference organizer since these contained only an enumeration of names where private respondent Francisco Wenceslao was described as    Executive Director and Spokesman and not as a conference organizer. while the tentative program only denominated private respondent as "Vice Chairman and Executive Director.00 from Juliano Lim and the reference to the "organizer of the conference" . the donation of P100. I was almost certain that Art Borjal referred to the First National Conference on Land Transportation (June 29-30)  and me in the second paragraph of his May 31 column x x x Identification is grossly inadequate when even the alleged offended party is himself unsure that he was the object of the verbal attack. petitioners pray for the reversal of the appellate court’s ruling. The printout and tentative program of the conference were devoid of any indication of Wenceslao as organizer. the public would have remained in blissful ignorance of his identity. It is also not sufficient that the offended party recognized himself as the person attacked or defamed. I was invited then because I was the head of the technical panel of  the House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Industrial Policy that took care of congressional hearings.Wenceslao was sufficiently identified by petitioner Borjal in the questioned articles. The above disquisitions notwithstanding." It cited the First National Conference on Land Transportation.as having sufficiently established the identity of private respondent Wenceslao for those who knew about the FNCLT who were present at its inception. Sullivan. The questioned articles written by Borjal do not identify private respondent Wenceslao as the organizer of the conference. Regrettably. but it must be shown that  at least a third person could identify him as the object of the libelous publication. (c) in ruling that the subject articles do not constitute qualifiedly privileged communication. (d) in refusing to apply the "public official doctrine" laid down in New York Times v. this notwithstanding that the degree of proof required in a preliminary investigation is merely prima facie evidence which is significantly less than the preponderance of evidence required in civil cases." and not as organizer. thus I would like to clarify for the record that I was only a part of the organization. The third. In ruling for private respondent. and that the prosecutors of the City of Manila. there were millions of "heroes" of the EDSA Revolution and anyone of them could be "self-proclaimed" or an "organizer of seminars and conferences. It is therefore clear that on the element of identifiability alone the case falls. (g) assuming arguendo that Borjal should be held liable. Thus. Significantly. (e) in ruling that the questioned articles lost their privileged character because of their publication in a newspaper of general circulation. these requisites have not been complied with in the case at bar. and. in adjudging petitioner Soliven solidarily liable with him. The printout which contained an article entitled "Who Organized the NCLT?" did not even mention private respondent's name. the letterheads used listing different telephone numbers. as observed by petitioners.
If the comment is an expression of opinion. 2) A fair and true report. the welfare of society. nevertheless. 354 is not an exclusive list of qualifiedly privileged communications since fair commentaries on matters of public interest are likewise privileged.expression which. and. in the words of Yale Sterling Professor Owen Fiss. to raise this fund of your seminar? A: Well. An example is found in Sec. A privileged communication may be either absolutely privileged or qualifiedly privileged. qualifiedly privileged communications containing defamatory imputations are not actionable unless found to have been made without good intention or justifiable motive. To reiterate. or of any statement.’ The doctrine formulated in these two (2) cases resonates the rule that privileged communications must. in this first letter. as long as it might reasonably be  inferred from the facts. the composition of its members and participants." Indisputably. The doctrine of fair comment means that while in general every discreditable imputation publicly made is deemed false. the enumeration under Art. 11. Private respondent likewise testified that the FNCLT was raising funds through solicitation from the public Q: Now. This constitutional right cannot be abolished by the mere failure of the legislature to give it express recognition in the statute punishing libels. rather than promotes. moral or social duty. This closely adheres to the democratic theory of free speech as essential to collective self-determination and eschews the strictly  libertarian view that it is protective solely of self. Court of Appeals  and reiterated in Santos To be more specific. However this does not necessarily mean that they are not privileged. of the 1987 Constitution which exempts a member of Congress from liability for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any Committee thereof. sir. As held in Elizalde v. In order that such discreditable imputation to a public official may be actionable. you have attached a budget and it says here that in this seminar of the First National Conference on Land Transportation. as correctly observed by the appellate court. Respondent court explained that the writings in question did not fall under any of the exceptions described in the above-quoted article since these were neither "private communications" nor "fair and true report x x x without any comments or remarks. legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature. The declared objective of the conference. is that right? A: That was the budget estimate. be protective of public opinion. There is no denying that the questioned articles dealt with matters of public interest. As early as  1918. and every false imputation is deemed malicious. they are neither private communications nor fair and true report without any comments or remarks. An organization such as the FNCLT aiming to reinvent and . made in good faith. the  conference secretariat. because every man is presumed innocent until his guilt is judicially proved. VI. from sponsors such as government agencies and private sectors or organizations as well as individual transport firms and from  individual delegates/participants. petitioner Borjal’s questioned writings are not within the exceptions of Art.1) A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal. of any judicial. In his testimony. then it is immaterial that the opinion happens to be mistaken. It is therefore clear that the restrictive interpretation vested by the Court of Appeals on the penal provision exempting from liability only private communications and fair and true report without comments or remarks defeats. based on established facts. Q: How do you intend as executive officer. Upon the other hand. sadly contriving as it does. As was so well put by Justice Malcolm in Bustos: ‘Public policy. fair commentaries on matters of public interest are privileged and constitute a valid defense in an action for libel or slander. this Court ruled that publications which are privileged for reasons of public policy are protected by the constitutional guaranty of freedom of speech. Absolutely privileged communications are those which are not actionable even if the author has acted in bad faith. to suppress the healthy effloresence of public debate and opinion as shining linchpins of truly democratic societies. The rule on privileged communications had its  genesis not in the nation's penal code but in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech and of the press. makes its appeal to the individualistic ethos that so dominates our popular and political culture. and the orderly administration of government have demanded protection of public opinion. 354 of The Revised Penal Code for. report or speech delivered in said proceedings. Art. To be sure. and the manner by which it was intended to be funded no doubt lend to its activities as being genuinely imbued with public interest. the objective of the rule on privileged communications. private respondent spelled out the objectives of the conference thus x x x x The principal conference objective is to come up with a draft of an Omnibus Bill that will embody a long term land transportation policy for presentation to Congress in its next regular session in July. without any comments or remarks. Gutierrez  v. To this genre belong "private communications" and "fair and true report without any comments or remarks. or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions." But this is incorrect. The inevitable and incontestable result has been the development and adoption of the doctrine of privilege. no culpability could be imputed to petitioners for the alleged offending publication without doing violence to the concept of privileged communications implicit in the freedom of the press. the National Conference on Land Transportation (NCLT). when the discreditable imputation is directed against a public person in his public capacity. Since last January. in United States v. The concept of privileged communications is implicit in the freedom of the press. you will need around One million eight hundred fifteen thousand pesos. it must either be a false allegation of fact or a comment based on a false supposition. sui generis. Cañete. it is not necessarily actionable. has been enlisting support from all sectors to ensure the success of the project.
There is no denying that the questioned articles dealt with matters of public interest. a pugilist. however. He must  bring home to the defendant. to heed. It includes public officers. Supreme Court speaking through Mr. Obviously. or any other entertainer. and the management and coordination of the various activities of the conference demanded from him utmost honesty. a professional baseball player. his affairs and his character. While. with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. it cannot but invite close scrutiny by the media obliged to inform the public of the legitimacy of the purpose of the activity and of the qualifications and integrity of the personalities behind it.reshape the transportation laws of the country and seeking to source its funds for the project from the public at large cannot dissociate itself from the public character of its mission. and that it may well include vehement. the privilege is not to be defeated nor rendered inutile for. v. petitioner Borjal may have gone overboard in the language employed describing the "organizer of the conference. robust and wide open. We reject this postulate. integrity and competence. Alabama. Capulong as x x x x a person who. for he could be. the privileged character of a communication  destroys the presumption of malice. since would-be critics would be deterred from voicing out their criticisms even if such were believed to be true. generally." which is why the defamatory imputations against him had nothing to do with his task of organizing the FNCLT. A reading of the imputations of petitioner Borjal against respondent Wenceslao shows that all these necessarily bore upon the latter's official conduct and his moral and mental fitness as Executive Director of the FNCLT. For this reason. These are matters about which the public has the right to be informed. mode of living. Sullivan of Montgomery.” The Court of Appeals concluded that since malice is always presumed in the publication of defamatory matters in the absence of proof to the contrary. in other words. Brennan Jr. Sullivan. would not qualify as a public figure. a "public offical" nor a "public figure. not the participant's prior anonymity or notoriety. as in the case of an actor.. i. infant prodigy. as long as he was involved in a public issue. S. S. As its Executive Director and spokesman. because of doubt whether it could be proved or because of fear of the expense of having to  prove it. But even assuming ex-gratia argumenti that private respondent. caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on the government and public  officials. or were in fact true. The U. The guarantees of freedom of speech and press prohibit a public official or public figure from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice. dissemination of information about the FNCLT in order to generate interest in the conference. a celebrity. It includes. "[D]ebate on public issues should be uninhibited. At any rate. consequently. eff ect and significance  of the conduct. As such. The FNCLT was an undertaking infused with public interest. Justice William J. it attracted media mileage and drew public attention not only to the conference itself but to the personalities behind as well. It insisted that private respondent was not. The nature and functions of his position which included solicitation of funds. Supreme Court in the 1960s at the height of the bloody rioting in the American South over racial segregation. despite the position he occupied in the FNCLT. malice can be presumed from defamatory words. The then City Commissioner L. the existence of malice as the true motive of his conduct. to be included in this category are those who have achieved some degree of reputation by appearing before the public. ruled against Sullivan holding that honest criticisms on the conduct of public officials and public figures are insulated from libel judgments.’ He is. or by adopting a profession or calling which gives the public a legitimate interest in his doings. by his accomplishments. But no matter how intemperate or deprecatory the utterances appear to be.. As commissioner having charge over police actions Sullivan felt that he was sufficiently identified in the ad as the perpetrator of the outrage. The onus of proving actual malice then lies on plaintiff. it does not necessarily follow that he could not validly be the subject of a public comment even if he was not a public official or at least a public figure. B. he sued New York Times on the basis of what he believed were libelous utterances against him. in short. It was promoted as a joint project of the government and the private sector. Sullivan was decided by the U. has become a ‘public personage. as succinctly expressed by Mr. the public focus is on the conduct of the participant and the content. anyone who has arrived at a position where the public attention is focused upon him as a person. broader than this. The raison d'etre for the New York Times doctrine was that to require critics of official conduct to guarantee the truth of all their factual assertions on pain of libel judgments would lead to self-censorship. In the present case. petitioner Borjal herein. This in effect is the strong message in New York Times v. and no less a personage than the Great Exalted Ruler of the lodge. Sullivan which the appellate court failed to consider or. and organized by top government officials and prominent businessmen. Ltd.e. The list is. private respondent Wenceslao herein. New York Times v. properly speaking." One is tempted to wonder if it was by some mischievous gambit that he would also dare test the limits of the "wild blue yonder" of free speech in this jurisdiction. If a matter is a subject of public or general interest. taking into account the very public character of the conference itself. famous inventors and explorers. we deem private respondent a public figure within the purview of the New York Times ruling. we have also  defined "public figure" in Ayers Production Pty. Concededly. The public’s primary interest is in the event. private respondent consequently assumed the status of a public figure. fame. it cannot suddenly become less so merely because a private individual is involved or because in some sense the individual did not voluntarily choose to become involved. for that matter.  . Justice Brennan in New York Times v. sued New York Times for publishing a paid political advertisement espousing racial equality and describing police atrocities committed against students inside a college campus. war heroes and even ordinary soldiers. the question of privilege is immaterial.
that is. inaccuracy or even falsity alone does not prove actual malice. ought there not also be freedom from the press? It is in this sense that self-regulation as distinguished from self-censorshipbecomes the ideal mean for. Only by giving them much leeway and tolerance can they courageously and effectively function as   critical agencies in our democracy. is the eventual self-destruction of the right and the regression of human society into a veritable Hobbesian state of nature where life is short. a free press may readily become a powerful instrument of injustice. and implies an    intention to do ulterior and unjustifiable harm. Added to these are the admissions of private respondent that: (a) he assisted Juliano Lim in his application  for a quota allocation with the GTEB in exchange for monetary contributions to the FNCLT. But we nevertheless find these at least to have been based on reasonable grounds formed after the columnist conducted several personal interviews and after considering the varied documentary evidence provided him by his sources. the following are supported by documentary evidence: (a) that private respondent requested Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.” The foregoing disposition renders the second and seventh assigned errors moot and academic. we cannot begrudge him for that. (b) that Antonio Periquet was designated Chairman of the  Executive Committee of the FNCLT notwithstanding that he had previously declined the offer. The danger of an unbridled irrational exercise of the right of free speech and press. In Bulletin Publishing Corp. genuine freedom being that which is limned by the freedom of others. Consistent with good faith and reasonable care. hence. Furthermore." Lest we be misconstrued. The sharp incision of its probe relieves the abscesses of officialdom. There must be some room for misstatement of fact as well as for misjudgment. Errors or misstatements are inevitable in any scheme of truly free expression and debate. On the other hand. for honest mistakes or imperfections in the choice of language. Moved by a sense of civic duty and prodded by his responsibility as a newspaperman. their names were still  included in the printout of the FNCLT. Justice Malcolm expressed in U. (c) that despite the fact that then President Aquino and her Secretary of Transportation Rainerio Reyes declined the invitation to be guest speakers in the conference. that "the interest of society and the maintenance of good government demand a full discussion of public affairs. to be considered malicious. Noel we held A newspaper especially one national in reach and coverage. it may be salutary for private respondent to ponder upon the advice of Mr. Surely. and that it has become the singular role of the press to act as its "defensor fidei" in a democratic society such as ours. Malice is bad faith or bad motive. should be free to report on events and developments in which the public has a legitimate interest with minimum fear of being hauled to court by one group or another on criminal or civil charges for libel. In the milieu obtaining. but we do not consider that petitioner Borjal has violated that right in this case nor abused his press freedom. the libelous statements must be shown to have been written or published with the knowledge that  they are false or in reckless disregard of whether they are false or not. or that he possesses a high degree of awareness of their probable falsity. nasty and brutish. A public official must not be too thin-skinned with reference to comments upon his official acts. and. But it is also worth keeping in mind  . private respondent failed to substantiate by preponderant evidence that petitioner was animated by a desire to inflict unjustifiable harm on his reputation. so long as the newspaper respects and keeps within the standards of morality and civility prevailing within the general community. rules governing liability for injury to reputation are required to allow an adequate margin of error by protecting some inaccuracies. to expedite the processing and release of the import approval and certificate of availability of a garment firm in exchange for the monetary contribution of Juliano Lim. which necessitated a reply from the office of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo explaining the procedure of the GTEB in  processing applications and clarifying that all applicants were treated equally. and.constitutionally protected and guaranteed. he proceeded to expose and denounce what he perceived to be a public deception. Every citizen has the right to enjoy a good name and reputation. we find petitioner Borjal to have acted in good faith. in utter contempt of the rights of others and in willful disregard of the cumbrous responsibilities inherent in it. then head of the Garments and Textile Export Board (GTEB). the press should not be held to account. v.S. mere error. this is not to diminish nor constrict that space in which expression freely flourishes and operates. as Mr. Bustos. or that the articles were written and published without good motives or justifiable ends. Justice Frankfurter has warned. This is not to say however that the very serious allegations of petitioner Borjal assumed by private respondent to be directed against him are true. (b) he included the name of then Secretary of Transportation Rainerio Reyes in the promotional materials of the conference notwithstanding the latter's refusal to lend his name to and   participate in the FNCLT. To avoid the self-censorship that would necessarily accompany strict liability for erroneous statements. the wound may be assuaged by the balm of a clear conscience. we find no necessity to pass upon them. The articles subject of the instant case can hardly be said to have been written with knowledge that these are false or in reckless disregard of what is false or not. For we have always strongly maintained. We must however take this opportunity to likewise remind media practitioners of the high ethical standards attached to and demanded by their noble profession. (c) he used different letterheads and telephone numbers. can it be reasonably inferred that in writing and publishing the articles in question petitioner Borjal acted with malice? Primarily.  "[W]ithout x x x a lively sense of responsibility. Men in public life may suffer under a hostile and unjust accusation. It is for the same reason that the New York Times doctrine requires that liability for defamation of a public official or public figure may not be imposed in the absence of proof of "actual malice" on the part of the person making the libelous statement.Malice connotes ill will or spite and speaks not in response to duty but merely to injure the reputation of the person defamed. Complete liberty to comment on the conduct of public men is a scalpel in the case of free speech. Even assuming that the contents of the articles are false. to a point of suppression. that freedom of expression is man's birthright . v. as we do now. If there is freedom of the press. to recognize that there can be no absolute "unrestraint" in speech is to truly comprehend the quintessence of freedom in the marketplace of social thought and action. "Reckless disregard of what is false or not" means that the defendant   entertains serious doubt as to the truth of the publication. At any rate. Therefore. It is the essence of the crime of libel. Thus.
or in whispers. SO ORDERED. Martinez. an admiral with his fleet. private respondent acted within his rights to protect his honor from what he perceived to be malicious imputations against him. fraudulently and for the sole purpose of harassing petitioners. Petitioners’ counterclaim for damages is likewise DISMISSED for lack of merit. on one hand. The view of our court has been thus stated: ‘It is only in despotisms that one must speak sub rosa. and Buena. we are. oppressively. thereby entitling the latter to damages. not the master. or that he acted maliciously. Pulitzer Publishing Co. On the contrary. around the corner. private respondent cannot be said to have instituted the present suit in abuse of the legal processes and with hostility to the press. No costs. The Decision of the Court of Appeals of 25 March 1996 and its Resolution of 12 September 1996 denying reconsideration are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Indeed. or in the dark on a subject touching the common welfare. . and a healthy and robust right of free public discussion. The law could not have meant to impose a penalty on the right to litigate..’ WHEREFORE. wantonly. concur.  - Every man has a right to discuss matters of public interest. On petitioners’ counterclaim for damages. It is the brightest jewel in the crown of the law to speak and maintain the golden mean between defamation. JJ. a general with his army. nor should counsel’s fees be awarded e very time  a party wins a suit. concluding with the wisdom in Warren v.that the press is the servant. with bated breath. and its freedom does not carry with it an unrestricted hunting license to prey on the  ordinary citizen. and the complaint for damages against petitioners is DISMISSED. Proof and motive that the institution of the action was prompted by a sinister design to vex and humiliate a person must be clearly and preponderantly established to entitle the victim to damages. the petition is GRANTED. of the citizenry. on the other. a judge with his jury. For. A clergyman with his flock. the subject of public discussion. Puno. all of us. we find the evidence too meager to sustain any award.
in Civil Case No.. petitioner.  40151. INC. (AMEC-BCCM) and ANGELITA F.R. attorney’s fees and costs of suit. 2005] FILIPINAS BROADCASTING NETWORK. xxx Third: Students are required to take and pay for the subject even if the subject does not have an instructor . Several students had approached me stating that they had consulted with the DECS which told them that there is no such regulation. AGO MEDICAL AND EDUCATIONAL CENTER-BICOL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE. xxx It is a public knowledge that the Ago Medical and Educational Center has survived and has been surviving for the past few years since its inception because of funds support from foreign foundations. J. as Dean of AMEC’s College of Medicine. Claiming that the broadcasts  were defamatory. AGO. The Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the 14 December 1992 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City. In the morning of 14 and 15 December 1989. No. For example how many teachers in AMEC are former . The Court of Appeals held Filipinas Broadcasting Network. Branch 10. AMEC and Angelita Ago (“Ago”). Rima and Alegre on 27 February 1990. Inc.R. “Exposé” is heard over Legazpi City. There is a McDonald Hall. vs. Why not Jose Rizal or Bonifacio Hall? That is a very concrete and undeniable evidence that the support of foreign foundations for AMEC is substantial. Quoted are portions of the allegedly libelous broadcasts: JUN ALEGRE: Let us begin with the less burdensome: if you have children taking medical course at AMEC-BCCM. filed a complaint for damages against FBNI.such greed for money on the part of AMEC’s administration. xxx On the other hand. the Albay  municipalities and other Bicol areas. If you will take a look at the AMEC premises you’ll find out that the names of the buildings there are foreign soundings. Exposé is aired every morning over DZRC-AM which is owned by Filipinas Broadcasting Network. Inc. (“FBNI”). Students would be informed that course would be moved to a later date because the school is still searching for the appropriate instructor. If [there] is no such regulation why is AMEC doing the same? xxx Second: Earlier AMEC students in Physical Therapy had complained that the course is not recognized by DECS. 8236. Rima and Alegre exposed various alleged complaints from students. taking up all subjects including those they have passed already . DECISION CARPIO. But if the purpose of the institution (AMEC) is to deceive students at cross purpose with its reason for being it is possible for  these foreign foundations to lift or suspend their donations temporarily. Take the subject Anatomy: students would pay for the subject upon enrolment because it is offered by the school. AMEC Science High School and the AMEC-Institute of Mass Communication in their effort to minimize expenses in terms of salary are absorbing or continues to accept “rejects”. respondents. However there would be no instructor for such subject. January 17. isn’t it? With the report which is the basis of the expose in DZRC today. advise them to pass all subjects because if they fail in any subject they will repeat their year level. it would be very easy for detractors and enemies of the Ago family to stop the flow of support of foreign foundations who assist the medical school on the basis of the latter’s purpose. 141994. the administrators of AMEC-BCCM. CV No.[G. teachers and parents against Ago Medical and Educational Center-Bicol Christian College of Medicine (“AMEC”) and its administrators.: The Case This petition for review assails the 4 January 1999 Decision and 26 January 2000 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.   The Antecedents   “Exposé” is a radio documentary program hosted by Carmelo ‘Mel’ Rima (“Rima”) and Hermogenes ‘Jun’ Alegre (“Alegre”). and its broadcasters Hermogenes Alegre and Carmelo Rima liable for libel and ordered them to solidarily pay Ago Medical and Educational Center-Bicol Christian College of Medicine moral damages.
She is too old to work. FBNI filed a separate Answer claiming that it exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of Rima and Alegre. which are not found by this court to be really very serious and damaging. premises considered. this court finds for the plaintiff. low pay follows. The broadcasters did not even verify their reports before airing them to show good faith. expression. The Dean of Student Affairs of AMEC is Justita Lola.000. as the family name implies. When they become members of society outside of campus will be liabilities rather than assets. being an old woman. FBNI. As in atmospheric situation – zero visibility – the plane cannot land. The elderly can get by – that’s why she (Lola) was taken in as Dean. By the way. SO ORDERED. because an old person is not fastidious. a dean. Lozares. collaborating counsel of Atty. trial ensued. Is the AMEC administration exploiting the very [e]nterprising or compromising and undemanding Lola? Could it be that AMEC is just patiently making use of Dean Justita Lola were if she is very old. plus P30. the trial court rendered a Decision finding FBNI and Alegre liable for libel except Rima. that your are no longer fit to teach. With the supposed exposés. Rozil Lozares.” AMEC and Ago included FBNI as defendant for allegedly failing to exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees. and of the press. FBNI claimed that before hiring a broadcaster. and Filipinas Broadcasting Network (owner of the radio station DZRC). the broadcaster should (1) file an application. Rima and Alegre claimed that they were plainly impelled by a sense of public duty to report the “goings -on in AMEC. AMEC is a dumping ground for moral and physically misfit people. [which is] an institution imbued with public interest. It is likely that the students would be influenced by evil. Considering the degree of damages caused by the controversial utterances. I will prove to you my friends.  filed a Motion to Dismiss on FBNI’s behalf. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. are hereby jointly and severally ordered to pay plaintiff Ago Medical and Educational Center-Bicol Christian College of Medicine (AMEC-BCCM) the amount of P300. destroyed plaintiffs’ (AMEC and Ago) reputation. through Atty. so long as she has money to buy the ingredient of beetle juice. Rima and Alegre. What do you expect from a doctor who while studying at AMEC is so much burdened with unreasonable imposition? What do you expect from a student who aside from peculiar problems – because not all students  are rich – in their struggle to improve their social status are even more burdened with false regulations. filed an Answer alleging that the broadcasts against AMEC were fair and true. your case is zero visibility. and chairman of the scholarship committee at that. The reason is practical cost saving in salaries. On 18 June 1990. that AMEC is a dumping ground. The trial court rejected the broadcasters’ claim that their utterances were the result of straight reporting because it had no factual basis. and there being no showing that indeed the enrollment of plaintiff school dropped. FBNI likewise claimed that it always reminds its broadcasters to “observe truth. (2) be interviewed. and as such. The trial court found Rima’s statement within the “bounds of freedom of speech. Jr. She had retired from Bicol University a long time ago but AMEC has patiently made use of her. In absolving Rima from the charge. Don’t insist. But this is the truth. You are too old. defendants Hermogenes “Jun” Alegre. xxx Why did AMEC still absorb her as a teacher. What does this mean? Immoral and physically misfits as teachers.teachers of Aquinas University but were removed because of immorality? Does it mean that the present administration of AMEC have the total definite moral foundation from catholic administrator of Aquinas University. The trial court held that the broadcasts are libelous per se. particularly Rima and Alegre. garbage. FBNI. FBNI. The truth is this. Probably they only qualify in terms of intellect. On 14 December 1992.    (Emphasis supplied) .” Moreover. During the presentation of the evidence for the defense. xxx xxx On our end our task is to attend to the interests of students. and to pay the costs of suit. Dean Justita Lola is also the chairman of the committee on scholarship in AMEC.00 reimbursement of attorney’s fees. meaning she is very old. FBNI requires all broadcasters to pass theKapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (“KBP”) accreditation test and to secure a KBP permit. Atty. In holding FBNI liable for libel.000. xxx (Emphasis supplied) The complaint further alleged that AMEC is a reputable learning institution. the trial court ruled that Rima’s only participation was when he agreed with Alegre’s expo sé. fairness and objectivity i n their broadcasts and to refrain from using libelous and indecent language. Edmundo Cea. the trial court found that FBNI failed to exercise diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees. As an aviation. May I say I’m sorry to Dean Justita Lola. xxx MEL RIMA: xxx My friends based on the expose. and (3) undergo an apprenticeship and training program after passing the interview. Consequently.” The dispositive portion o f the decision reads: WHEREFORE.00 moral damages. Rima and Alegre “transmitted malicious imputations. not merely of moral and physical misfits.” Thereafter.
ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS OF SUIT. The Court’s Ruling We deny the petition. and not against her. and not against her. Rima and Alegre.    AMEC also invokes Article 19 of the Civil Code to justify its claim for damages. appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals.” The appellate court pointed out that FBNI. a reading of the complaint reveals that AMEC’s cause of action is based on Articles 30 and 33 of  the Civil Code. subject to the modification that broadcaster Mel Rima is SOLIDARILY ADJUDGED liable with FBN[I] and Hermo[g]enes Alegre. The Court of Appeals denied Ago’s claim for damages and attorney’s fees because the libelous remarks were directed against AMEC.  FBNI. The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals’ decision reads: WHEREFORE. Finding no factual basis for the imputations against AMEC’s administrators. FBNI filed this petition. On the other hand.” The Court of Appeals held that FBNI failed to exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees for allowing Rima and Alegre to make the radio broadcasts without the proper KBP accreditation. Hence. namely. Rima and Alegre merely gave a single name when asked to identify the students. Rima and Alegre filed a motion for reconsideration which the Court of Appeals denied in its 26 January 2000 Resolution. SO ORDERED. Rima and Alegre failed to present in court any of the students who allegedly complained against AMEC. WHETHER AMEC IS ENTITLED TO MORAL DAMAGES. and (3) AMEC burdened the  students with unreasonable imposition and false regulations. these circumstances cast doubt on the veracity of the broadcasters’ claim that they were “ impelled by their moral and social duty to inform the public about the students’ gripes. and AMEC and Ago. fraud. The Court of Appeals adjudged FBNI. III. The appellate court made Rima solidarily liable w ith FBNI and Alegre. Article 30 authorizes a separate civil action to recover civil liability arising from a criminal offense. Article  33 particularly provides that the injured party may bring a separate civil action for damages in cases of defamation.  . WHETHER THE AWARD OF ATTORNEY’S FEES IS PROPER. II. This is a civil action for damages as a result of the allegedly defamatory remarks of Rima and Alegre against AMEC. and WHETHER FBNI IS SOLIDARILY LIABLE WITH RIMA AND ALEGRE FOR PAYMENT OF MORAL DAMAGES.” The Court of Appeals found Rima also liable for libel since he remarked that “(1) AMEC -BCCM is a dumping ground for morally and physically misfit teachers. and physical injuries. AMEC cites Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code to hold FBNI solidarily liable with Rima and Alegre. According to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court denied Ago’s claim for damages and attorney’s fees because the broadcasts were directed against AMEC. FBNI.Both parties. While AMEC did not point out clearly the legal basis for its complaint. The Court of Appeals found Rima and Alegre’s clai m that they were actuated by their moral and social duty to inform the public of the students’ gripes as insufficient to justify the utterance of the defamatory remarks. the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED. WHETHER THE BROADCASTS ARE LIBELOUS. IV. Rima and Alegre solidarily liable to pay AMEC moral damages. Rima and Alegre failed to overcome the legal presumption of malice. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment with modification. Issues FBNI raises the following issues for resolution: I. the Court of Appeals ruled that the broadcasts were made “with reckless disregard as to whether they were true or false.  The Ruling of the Court of Appeals The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s ruling that the questioned broadcasts are libelous per se and that FBNI. on the other. on one hand. attorney’s fees and costs of suit. (2) AMEC obtained the services of Dean Justita Lola to minimize expenses on its employees’ salaries.
FBNI’s reliance on Borjal is misplaced. The doctrine of fair comment means that while in general every discreditable imputation publicly made is deemed false. condition. they had sufficient time to verify their sources and information. garbage of xxx moral and physical misfits”. AMEC is a private learning institution whose business of educating students is “genuinely imbued with public interest. there is reason to believe that defendant radio broadcasters. and AMEC students who graduate “will be liabilities rather than assets” of the so ciety are libelous per se. there is no libel. when the discreditable imputation is directed against a public person in his public capacity. discredit. Whether the broadcasts are libelous  A libel is a public and malicious imputation of a crime. Culture and Sports.” Significantly. based on established facts. FBNI’s contentions are untenable. did not verify and analyze the truth of the reports before they aired it. as long as it might reasonably be inferred from the  facts. FBNI concludes that since there is no malice. unlike in Borjal. In order that such discreditable imputation to a public official may be actionable. similar to the newspaper articles in Borjal. There is no question that the broadcasts were made public and imputed to AMEC defects or circumstances tending to cause it dishonor. However. in order to prove that they are in good faith. Court of Appeals. or any act or omission. FBNI claims that Rima and Alegre were plainly impelled by their civic duty to air the students’ gripes. FBNI further points out that Rima and Alegre exerted efforts to obtain AMEC’s side and gave Ago the opportunity to defend AMEC and its administrators. Such being the case. it is not necessarily actionable. Rima and Alegre cannot invoke the privilege of neutral reportage because unfounded comments abound in the broadcasts. Thus. much less present written complaint or petition to that effect. Every defamatory imputation is presumed malicious. Moreover. If the comment is an expression of opinion. Alegre testified that he merely went to AMEC to verify his report from an alleged AMEC official who refused to disclose any information. it must either be a false allegation of fact or a comment based on a false supposition. (Emphasis supplied) True. Neither did they inquire about nor confirm the purported irregularities in AMEC from the Department of Education. contrary to the mandates of their duties. and a  party to that controversy makes the defamatory statement. Since AMEC allegedly failed to prove actual malice. the questioned broadcasts are not based on established facts. then it is immaterial that the opinion happens to be mistaken. FBNI contends that the broadcasts are not malicious. FBNI argues vigorously that malice in law does not apply to this case. or of a vice or defect. yet. As hosts of a documentary or public affairs program. FBNI alleges that there is no evidence that ill will or spite motivated Rima and Alegre in making the broadcasts. However. In Borjal.” This plainly shows Rima and Alegre’s reckless disregard of whether their report was true or not. regardless of the  republisher’s subjective awareness of the truth or falsity of the accusation.” The welfare of the youth in general and AMEC’s students in particular is a matter which the public has the right to know. Such laxity would encourage careless and irresponsible broadcasting which is inimical to public interests. nor even gave name of a single student who made the complaint to them.   .” thus: [F]air commentaries on matters of public interest are privileged and constitute a valid defense in an action for libel or slander. the subject broadcasts dealt with matters of public interest.” Hearing the students’ alleged complaints a month before the exposé. Alegre simply relied on the words of the students “because they were ma ny and not because there is proof that what they are saying is  true. real or imaginary. or to blacken the memory of one who is  dead. However. Rima and Alegre should have presented the   public issues “free from inaccurate and misleading information. Citing Borjal v. The record supports the following findings of the trial court: xxx Although defendants claim that they were motivated by consistent reports of students and parents against plaintiff. Rima and Alegre’s remarks such as “greed for money on the part of AMEC’s administrators”. Under this privilege. some courts in the Unite d States apply the privilege of “neutral reportage” in libel cases involving matters of public interest or public fig ures.I. because every man is presumed innocent until his guilt is judicially proved. the broadcasts were not “the result of straight reporting. Rima and Alegre hardly made a thorough investigation of the students’ alleged gripes. or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor. a republisher who accurately and disinterestedly reports certain defamatory statements made against public figures is shielded from liability. defendants have not presented in court. nevertheless. discredit and contempt. and every false imputation is deemed malicious. there is no libel. To accept this defense of defendants is too dangerous because it could easily give license to the media to malign people and establishments based on flimsy excuses that there were reports to them although they could not satisfactorily establish it. Taken as a whole. there is no existing controversy involving AMEC when the broadcasts were made. AMEC should prove malice in fact or actual malice. However. the Court elucidated on the “doctrine of fair comment. Secondly. status. the broadcasts suggest that AMEC is a money-making institution where physically and morally unfit teachers abound. or contempt of a natural or juridical person. Contrary to FBNI’s claim. The privilege of neutral reportage applies where the defamed person is a public figure who is involved in an existing controversy. Rima and Alegre failed to show adequately their good intention and justifiable motive in airing the supposed gripes of the students. FBNI contends that the broadcasts “fall within the coverage of qualifiedly privileged communications” for being commentaries on matters of public in terest. “AMEC is a dumping groun d.
they are made to repeat all the other subject[s]. commentator. host and announcer to protect public interest. but is still alert and docile. A professional code of conduct provides the standards for determining whether a person has acted justly. not a single centavo appears to be received by plaintiff school from the aforementioned McDonald Foundation which does not exist. Counsel for defendants is past 75 but is found by this court to be still very sharp and effective. the station shall strive to present balanced discussion of issues. Lita Ago. Dr. PUBLIC ISSUES AND COMMENTARIES 1. (Emphasis supplied) 8. nor their claim that the school charges laboratory fees even if there are no laboratories in the school. Lola was observed by this court not to be physically decrepit yet. general welfare and  good order in the presentation of public affairs and public issues. The broadcasts also violate the Radio Code Code provides:  of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas. with zero visibility already. The Radio Code is a public warranty by the radio broadcast industry that radio broadcast practitioners are subject to a code by which their conduct are measured for lapses. The Radio Code is a voluntary code of conduct imposed by the radio broadcast industry on its own members. Contrary to the claim of defendants over the air. and was found to be 75 years old. even those they have already passed. 21. prejudice and inaccurate and misleading information. the comments of Rima and Alegre were not backed up by facts. liability and sanctions.Alegre contended that plaintiff school had no permit and is not accredited to offer Physical Therapy courses. xxx 7. . 1991. plaintiff produced a certificate coming from DECS that as of Sept. And yet. Had the comments been an expression of opinion based on established facts. which lays down the code of ethical conduct governing practitioners in the radio broadcast industry. Ago. x x x. 4. Although a big building of plaintiff school was given the name Mcdonald building. 22. The public has a right to expect and demand that radio broadcast practitioners live up to the code of conduct of their profession. Therefore. xxx Public affairs program shall present public issues free from personal bias. Defendants could have easily known this were they careful enough to verify. xxx Even older people prove to be effective teachers like Supreme Court Justices who are still very much in demand as law professors in their late years. which certificate is signed by no less than the Secretary of Education and Culture herself. The allegation that plaintiff was getting tremendous aids from foreign foundations like Mcdonald Foundation prove not to be true also. the broadcasts are not privileged and remain libelous per se. So is plaintiffs’ counsel. though denied by Dra. accreditation to offer Physical Therapy course had already been given the plaintiff. Quisumbing (Exh. Yet. x x x Furthermore. defendants were very categorical and sounded too positive when they made the erroneous report that plaintiff had no permit to offer Physical Therapy courses which they were offering. as  long as it might reasonably be inferred from the facts. Dean Lola testified in court last Jan. The truth is there is no Mcdonald Foundation existing. this court is aware that majority of the medical graduates of plaintiffs pass the board examination easily and become prosperous and responsible  professionals. As for the allegation that plaintiff is the dumping ground for misfits. and immoral teachers. PUBLIC AFFAIRS. The broadcasts fail to meet the standards prescribed in the Radio Code. A professional code of conduct also provides the standards for determining whether a person who willfully causes loss or injury to another has acted in a manner contrary to  morals or good customs under Article 21 of the Civil Code. 1987 or more than 2 years before the controversial broadcast. public issues and commentary programs so that they conform to the provisions and standards of this code. that was only in order to honor the first missionary in Bicol of plaintiffs’ religion. that when medical students fail in one subject. at least in order to give semblance of good faith. defendant[s] singled out Dean Justita Lola who is said to be so old. The station shall be responsible at all times in the supervision of public affairs. Defendants did not even also bother to prove their claim. However. It shall be the responsibility of the newscaster. nor mentally infirmed. The contention that plaintiffs’ graduates become liabilities rather than assets of our society is a mere conclusion. C-rebuttal). No evidence was presented to prove the bases for these claims. it is immaterial that the opinion happens to be mistaken. (“Radio Code”). Lourdes R. as explained by Dr. Ink. Item I(B) of the Radio B. just like other professionals. Being from the place himself. honestly and with  good faith in the exercise of his rights and performance of his duties as required by Article 19 of the Civil Code.
Article 2219(7) does not qualify whether the plaintiff is a natural or juridical person. AMEC did not adduce evidence to warrant the award of attorney’s fees. A juridical person is generally not entitled to moral damages because. However. including Rima and Alegre. promote. Court of Appeals. Joint tort feasors are jointly and severally liable for the tort which they commit. the legal reason for  the award of attorney’s fees. instigate. FBNI adds that the  instant case does not fall under the enumeration in Article 2208 of the Civil Code. both the trial and appellate courts failed to explicitly state in their respective   decisions the rationale for the award of attorney’s fees. evidence of an honest mistake or the want of  character or reputation of the party libeled goes only in mitigation of damages. PNB.000. et  al.II. Thus. The Court of Appeals cites Mambulao Lumber Co. unlike a natural person. and not only in the decretal portion thereof. we reduce the award of moral damages from P300. The power of the court to award attorney’s fees under Article 2208 of the Civil Code demands factual. where the broadcast is libelous per se. FBNI’s arguments do not persuade us.   III. countenance.” Rima’s accreditation lapsed due to his non-payment of the KBP annual fees while Alegre’s accreditation card was delayed allegedly for reasons attributable to the KBP Manila Office. Therefore. the broadcasts are libelous per se. IV. particularly Rima and Alegre. v. v. FBNI points out that the “minor deficiencies in the KBP accreditation of Rima and Alegre do not in any way prove that FBNI did not exercise the diligence of a good father of a family in selecting and supervising them. encourage. Moreover. AMEC is entitled to moral damages. we held that: [I]t is an accepted doctrine that the award thereof as an item of damages is the exception rather than the rule. Joint tort feasors are all the persons who command. serious anxiety. AMEC’s claim for moral damages falls under item 7 of Article 2219 of the Civil Code. Whether FBNI is solidarily liable with Rima and Alegre for moral damages. Whether the award of attorney’s fees is proper FBNI contends that since AMEC is not entitled to moral damages. it cannot experience physical suffering or such  sentiments as wounded feelings. we find the award of P300. the Court’s statement in Mambulao that “a corporation may have a good reputation which. undergo a “very regimented process” before they are allowed to go on air. advise. Inc. attorney’s fees and costs of suit FBNI contends that it is not solidarily liable with Rima and Alegre for the payment of damages and attorney’s fees because it exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees. examinations and an apprenticeship program. without which the award is a conclusion without a premise. aid or abet the commission of a tort. the law implies damages. However. legal and equitable justification. AMEC has not suffered any substantial or material damage to its reputation.000 to P150.000 moral damages unreasonable. and counsel’s fees are not to be awarded every time a party wins a suit. (Emphasis supplied) While it mentioned about the award of attorney’s fees by stating that it “lies within the discretion of the court a nd depends upon the circumstances of each case. In all events. FBNI claims that membership in the KBP is merely voluntary and not required by any law or government regulation. there is no basis for the award of attorney’s fees. In this case.” FBNI further argues that Alegre’s age and lack o f training are irrelevant to his competence as a broadcaster. cooperate in.” the Court of Appeals failed to point out any circumstance to justify the award.  if besmirched. or who  . Nevertheless. FBNI maintains that its broadcasters. its basis being improperly left to speculation and conjecture. The record shows that even though the broadcasts were libelous per se. The basis of the present action is a tort. This provision expressly authorizes the recovery of moral damages in cases of libel. to justify the award of moral damages. Neither in such a case is the plaintiff required to introduce  evidence of actual damages as a condition precedent to the recovery of some damages. In such a case. may also be a ground for the award of moral damages” is an obiter dictum. The award of attorney’s fees is not proper because AMEC failed to justify satisfactorily its claim for attorney’s fees. Whether AMEC is entitled to moral damages  FBNI contends that AMEC is not entitled to moral damages because it is a corporation. slander or any other form of defamation. mental anguish or moral shock. the court must explicitly state in the text of the decision. Moreover. a juridical person such as a corporation can validly complain for libel or any other form of defamation and  claim for moral damages. “Those who apply for broadcaster are subjected to interviews. In Inter-Asia Investment Industries. Therefore.
and continuous evaluation of the broadcasters’ performance are but a few of the many ways of showing diligence in the supervision of broadcasters. Costs against petitioner. and Azcuna.. FBNI neither alleged nor proved that Rima and Alegre went beyond the scope of their work at that time. there is insufficient evidence on record that FBNI exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees.” An employer and employee are solidarily liable for a defamatory statement by the employee within the course and scope of his or her employment. Ynares-Santiago. 40151 with the MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages is reduced from P300.000 to P150. at least when  the employer authorizes or ratifies the defamation. which is one of FBNI’s requirements before it hires a broadcaster. FBNI’s alleged constant reminder to its broadcasters to “observe truth. Davide. . We AFFIRM the Decision of 4 January 1999 and Resolution of 26 January 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. FBNI is solidarily liable to pay for damages arising from the libelous broadcasts. Jr. these circumstances show FBNI’s lack of diligence in selecting and supervising Rima and Alegre. sufficient information on libel laws. “recovery for defamatory statements published by radio or television may be had from the owner of the station. Hence. C. a  licensee..R. FBNI  admits that Rima and Alegre had deficiencies in their KBP accreditation. Significantly. if done for their benefit. no clear and convincing evidence shows that Rima and Alegre underwent FBNI’s “regimented process” of application. the operator of the station.J. CV No. fairness and objectivity and to refrain from using li belous and indecent language” is not enough to prove due diligence in the supervision of its broadcasters. or participates in.approve of it after it is done. In this case. Adequate training of the broadcasters on the industry’s code of conduct. Quisumbing. we DENY the instant petition. while voluntary. JJ. indicates the broadcaster’s strong commitment to observe the broadcast industry’s rules and regulations. SO ORDERED. concur. FBNI did not show how it exercised diligence in supervising its broadcasters. Rima and Alegre were clearly performing their official duties as hosts of FBNI’s radio program Exposé when they aired the broadcasts. of the Civil Code. There was likewise no showing that FBNI did not authorize and ratify the defamatory broadcasts. the making of the defamatory statements. bearing in mind their qualifications. FBNI merely showed that it exercised diligence in the selection of its broadcasters without introducing any evidence to prove that it observed the same diligence in the supervision of Rima and Alegre.000 and the award of attorney’s fees is deleted. particularly Rima and Alegre. FBNI is solidarily liable to pay damages together with Rima and Alegre. (Chairman). or a person who procures. As stated by the Court of Appeals. FBNI claims that it “has taken all the precaution in the selection of Rima and Alegre as broadcasters. WHEREFORE.  Thus. Fu rthermore. Clearly. AMEC correctly anchored its cause of action against FBNI on Articles 2176 and 2180 As operator of DZRC-AM and employer of Rima and Alegre.” However. Moreover.. membership in the KBP.
defendant pointed out that in that anti. seeks the review of the decision of the Court of Appeals. rejecting his appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court. a "men's magazine". 1983 why the writ prayed for should not be granted. WPD Superintendent. He invokes. Perello and De Dios for private respondent. By order dated December 8.R. 1983. filed no answer. 1983. The Court granted the temporary restraining order on December 14.1983 defendant Mayor Bagatsing admitted the confiscation and burning of obscence reading materials on December 1 and 3. and that the said confiscation and seizure was (sic) undertaken pursuant to P. as superintendent of Western Police District of the City of Manila. The other defendant. vs. We quote: On December 1 and 3. Arceno for petitioner.D.1983 having lapsed on January 3. which amended Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. No. Among the publications seized. INP of the Metropolitan Police Force of Manila. THE COURT OF APPEALS. Recto Avenue. 1983. and that the plaintiffs establishment was not raided. Narcisco Cabrera. On December 7. 80806 October 5.smut campaign conducted on December 1 and 3. in the presence of Mayor Bagatsing and several officers and members of various student organizations. raising the issue as to "whether or not the defendants and/or their agents can without a court order confiscate or seize plaintiffs magazine before any judicial finding is made on whether said magazine is obscene or not". 1983. There is no controversy as to the facts. against indiscriminate seizure. 1 983 the Court set the hearing on the petition for preliminary injunction on December 14. and NARCISO CABRERA. J. newsstand owners and peddlers along Manila sidewalks.G. was "Pinoy Playboy" magazines published and co-edited by plaintiff Leo Pita. No. publications and other reading materials believed to be obscene. confiscation and burning of plaintiff's "Pinoy Playboy" Magazines. 1983. dismissing his complaint for injunctive relief. 1983. the materials confiscated belonged to the magazine stand owners and peddlers who voluntarily surrendered their reading materials. plaintiff filed an Urgent Motion for issuance of a temporary restraining order. the plaintiff filed an urgent motion for issuance of another restraining order. artistic and educational magazine which is not per seobscene. plaintiff filed a case for injunction with prayer for issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction against Mayor Bagatsing and Narcisco Cabrera. In opposing the plaintiffs application for a writ of preliminary injunction.: The petitioner. 1 .D. providing for the Interim Rules Relative to the Implementation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 1989 LEO PITA doing business under the name and style of PINOY PLAYBOY. On December 12. Bagatsing. distributors. SARMIENTO. as amended by P. William C.1984. as well as its prohibition against deprivation of property without due process of law. 960. elements of the Special Anti-Narcotics Group. 129. magazines. Auxilliary Services Bureau. pending hearing on the petition for preliminary injunction in view of Mayor Bagatsing's pronouncement to continue the Anti-Smut Campaign. Manila. 1983. On January 5.M. seized and confiscated from dealers. which provides that a temporary restraining order shall be effective only for twenty days from date of its issuance. seeking to enjoin and/or restrain said defendants and their agents from confiscating plaintiffs magazines or from otherwise preventing the sale or circulation thereof claiming that the magazine is a decent. The restraining order issued on December 14. and later burned. In his Answer and Opposition filed on December 27. the guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizures of the Constitution. pursuing an Anti-Smut Campaign initiated by the Mayor of the City of Manila. and that the publication is protected by the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press. publisher of Pinoy Playboy. Western Police District. Casibang. which was opposed by defendant on the ground that issuance of a second restraining order would violate the Resolution of the Supreme Court dated January 11. in particular.1983 and ordered the defendants to show cause not later than December 13.1984. 969. plaintiff filed his Memorandum in support of the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. RAMON BAGATSING. No. respondents. but claimed that the said materials were voluntarily surrendered by the vendors to the police authorities. petitioner. pornographic and indecent and later burned the seized materials in public at the University belt along C. Ramon D.
in determining the existence of obscenity. The petitioner now ascribes to the respondent court the following errors: 1. 10 a prosecution under Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. Go Pin. 3. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the decision of the trial court and. it is to beg the question to say that a piece of literature has a corrupting influence because it is obscene." so Kottinger further declares. 1984. (People vs. are obscence per se or not". On January 16. 960 and P. sculptures and paintings are shown in art exhibit and art galleries for the cause of art. 1984. however. On January 11. 1984. "is that which 7 shocks the ordinary and common sense of men as an indecency. the Court laid down the test. to be viewed and appreciated by people interested in art.. however. IV). as when there is consent to the search or seizure. that freedom of the press is not without restraint as the state has the right to protect society from pornographic literature that is offensive to public morals. 2. in its effort to arrive at a "conclusive" definition. Art. and plaintiff filed his "Reply-Memorandum" to defendants' Comment on January 25. who may file a rejoinder within the same period from receipt. Revised Penal Code. Defendant filed his Comment on plaintiff s supplemental Memorandum on January 20. after which the issue of Preliminary Injunction shall be resolved". On February 3. and viceversa. and dismissing the case for lack of merit. Go Pin. 22) or search is an incident to an arrest. In other words. 969). among other things. 1984. and the protection afforded by the constitution against unreasonable searches and seizure (Sec. the question is: When does a publication have a corrupting tendency. Apparently." Yet Kottinger. that "[w]hether a picture is obscene or 8 indecent must depend upon the circumstances of the case. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal upon the grounds. as follows: We cannot quarrel with the basic postulate suggested by appellant that seizure of allegedly obscene publications or materials deserves close scrutiny because of the constitutional guarantee protecting the right to express oneself in print (Sec.. in effect. (People vs. is to deprave or corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences and 6 into whose hands a publication or other article charged as being obscene may fall. in People vs. confiscated and/or burned by the defendants. 22 SCRA 857).IV). The Court states at the outset that it is not the first time that it is being asked to pronounce what "obscene" means or what makes for an obscene 5 or pornographic literature. 1984 defendant filed his Comment and/or Rejoinder Memorandum in support of his opposition to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.We agree with counsel for appellant in part. or when can it be said to be offensive to human sensibilities? And obviously." "Another test. there would be no offense committed. as amended by P.D. in effect. Veloso. holding that the police officers could without any court warrant or order seize and confiscate petitioner's magazines on the basis simply of their determination that they are obscene. 1984. was also even hazier: . as indeed we have laws punishing the author. No. as follows: "whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscene. Also well settled is the rule that the right against unreasonable searches and seizures recognizes certain exceptions. 9. 48 Phil. the Court issued an order granting plaintiffs motion to be given three days "to file a reply to defendants' opposition dated January 9. Precisely. Malesugui 63 Phil. 1984 "for the parties to adduce evidence on the question of whether the publication 'Pinoy Playboy Magazine alleged (sic) seized. Plaintiff's supplemental Memorandum was filed on January 18. this Court promulgated People v. the trial court issued an Order setting the case for hearing on January 16. and that ultimately. succeeded merely in generalizing a problem that has grown increasingly complex over the years. 169. 201. holding that the trial court could dismiss the case on its merits without any hearing thereon when what was submitted to it for resolution was merely the application of 4 petitioner for the writ of preliminary injunction. 3 Alvero vs. the trial court promulgated the Order appealed from denying the motion for a writ of preliminary 2 injunction. However. " Kottinger hastened to say. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the decision of the trial court and. 637) or is conducted in a vehicle or movable structure (See Papa vs. the . If such pictures. the question is to be decided by the "judgment of the aggregate 9 sense of the community reached by it. Art. the pictures here in question were used not exactly for art's sake but rather for commercial purposes. Magno. About three decades later.D. Dizon. publishers and sellers of obscene publications (Sec. I . Art. No. Kottinger.On January 9. serving a copy thereof to the counsel for the defendants. It must be equally conceded. it would leave the final say to a hypothetical "community standard" — whatever that is — and that the question must supposedly be judged from case to case. Early on. 1984. Kottinger was aware of its own uncertainty because in the same breath. 76 Phil. 1984.
however. as we averred. In those cases. were not exactly artists and persons interested in art and who generally go to art exhibitions and galleries to satisfy and improve their artistic tastes. and (c) whether 24 the work. and lust. Padan y Alova. that connoisseurs of the same. has been as "unstable as it is unintelligible. One can see nothing in it but clear and unmitigated obscenity. to temper the wide discretion Kottinger had given unto law enforcers. although the film highlighted contemporary American sexuality. 12 indeed. to save it from a valid prosecution. has allowed a climate of opinions among magistrates predicated upon arbitrary. if vague theories of what is acceptable to society. raised more questions than answers." KalawKatigbak represented a marked departure from Kottinger in the sense that it measured obscenity in terms of the "dominant theme" of the work. and Jenkins v. California. and exerting a corrupting influence specially on the youth of the land. which characterized obscenity as one "utterly without any redeeming social value. would it cease to be a case of obscenity? Padan y Alova. acquitted the producers of the motion picture. and it would not be surprising if the persons who went to see those pictures and paid entrance fees for the privilege of doing so. Jenkins. inspiring and causing as it does. "that this development has reached a state of rest. one might yet claim that there was involved the element of art. . or that it will ever do so until the Court recognizes that obscene speech is speech nonetheless. xxx xxx xxx As the Court declared. applying contemporary standards. can have no redeeming feature. although it is subject — as in all speech — to regulation in the interests 28 of [society as a whole] — but not in the interest of a uniform vision of how human sexuality should be regarded and portrayed. Apparently." to wit: "(a) whether 'the average person. an assumption that. which has permitted an ad lib of Ideas and "two-cents worths" among judges as to what is obscene and what is art. taken as a whole. which were central toKottinger (although both cases are agreed that "contemporary community standards" are the final arbiters of what is "obscene"). that if "the pictures here in question were used not exactly for art's sake but rather for commercial purposes. 20 17 13 a 1966 decision. the courts have assumed that "obscenity" is not included in the guaranty of free speech.. indecency. Carnal Knowledge. like Go Pin." 25 26 22 23 . . as models in tableaux vivants. the Court.. It is easier said than done to say. taken as a whole. which expressly abandoned Massachusettes. nothing but 14 lust and lewdness. and painters and sculptors might find inspiration in the showing of pictures in the nude. which. It is significant that in the United States. Gain and profit would appear to have been the main. We quote: . artistic. or scientific value. following trends in the United States. In a much later decision. And "[t]here is little likelihood. Massachusettes. suppose that the exhibition was so presented that "connoisseurs of [art]. that introduced to Philippine jurisprudence the "redeeming" element that should accompany the work." in it.. Gonzalez v. if the exhibition was attended by "artists and persons 15 interested in art and who generally go to art exhibitions and galleries to satisfy and improve their artistic tastes." 21 marked yet The latest word. in which the fine lines have neither been drawn nor divided. like Go Pin also leaves too much latitude for judicial arbitrament." Memoirs v. the American Supreme Court decided Hamling v. lacks serious literary. rather than isolated passages. which we have condemned for obscenity and as offensive to morals." the pictures are not entitled to any constitutional protection. Kalaw Katigbak. Kalaw-Katigbak undertook moreover to make the determination of obscenity essentially a judicial question and as a consequence.. applying contemporary standards' would find the work. however. is Miller v. Georgia." could the same legitimately lay claim to "art"? For another. another development. . curiously. political. For one thing. adopted the test: "Whether to the average 18 person. appeals to the prurient interest .) The lack of uniformity in American jurisprudence as to what constitutes "obscenity" has been attributed to the reluctance of the courts to 27 recognize the constitutional dimension of the problem . in a patently offensive way. In it. including the youth who because of their immaturity are not in a position to resist and shield themselves from the 11 ill and perverting effects of these pictures. if not the exclusive consideration in their exhibition. and an offense to public morals. in the absence of "genitals" portrayed on screen. states one 19 authoritative commentator (with ample sarcasm).supposed artistic qualities of said pictures were being commercialized so that the cause of art was of secondary or minor importance. yet another reiteration of Miller. but rather people desirous of satisfying their morbid curiosity and taste. there is no room for art." (A year later. constitutional law on obscenity continues to journey from development to development. the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest. and painters and sculptors might find 16 inspiration. It was People v. or the human body exhibited in sheer nakedness. Padan y Alova . But an actual exhibition of the sexual act. United States which repeated Miller.. the issue is a complicated one.We have had occasion to consider offenses like the exhibition of still or moving pictures of women in the nude. (b) whether the work depicts or describes." says Tribe. sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law. and established "basic guidelines. preceded by acts of lasciviousness. and for love for excitement. however.
D. What the Court is impressing." "It is essential for the validity of . But it brings us back to square one: were the "literature" so confiscated "pornographic"? That we have laws punishing the author. As we said earlier. So is it equally evident that individual tastes develop. the right to due process of law and the right against unreasonable searches and seizures." is also fine. the presumption is that the speech may validly be said. Bagatsing. However. is not necessarily repulsive to the present generation. as evolving standards for proper police conduct faced with the problem. previous restraint or censorship that the . We defined police power as "state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal 39 liberty or property in order to promote the general welfare . this Court has consistently been on the side of the exercise of the right. It has no choice. Revised Penal 37 Code. to suppress smut provided it is smut..H. the Decrees themselves lay down procedures for implementation. which. James Joyce and D. after all." 35 33 The above disposition must not. But. there must be proof of such weight and sufficiency to satisfy the clear and present danger test. 38 In Philippine Service Exporters. The burden is on the State to demonstrate the existence of a danger. v. adapt to wideranging influences. specifically. again.. and (2) authorizing them to carry out a search and seizure. due process and illegal search and seizure." Neither do we. mainly. Undoubtedly. 960 and P. Meanwhile. to be forfeited in favor of the Government to be destroyed. authorit[ies]. by way of a search warrant. as amended by P. but they are not. . due process. lies on the. RPC as amended) shall be governed by the following rules: (a) Upon conviction of the offender. Disposition of the Prohibited Articles. to justify State action to stop the speech. Drilon.. as the state has the right to protect society from 36 pornographic literature that is offensive to public morals. films. it must come to terms with. the task that confronts us is less heroic than rushing to a "perfect" definition of "obscenity". publisher and sellers of obscence publications (Sec. They do not exempt our law enforcers. smut is not smut simply because one insists it is smut. an easy one to answer. First of all. the petitioner asserts constitutional issues. they were not possessed of a lawful court order: (1) finding the said materials to be pornography. if it acts notwithstanding that (absence of evidence of a clear and present danger). Art. We share Tribe's disappointment over the discouraging trend in American decisional law on obscenity as well as his pessimism on whether or not an "acceptable" solution is in sight. it is the divergent perceptions of men and women that have probably compounded the problem rather than resolved it. We quote: Sec. in the legitimate exercise of police power. 201).D. In the final analysis perhaps. . there is no challenge on the right of the State. No. . "immoral" lore or literature comes within the ambit of free expression. a danger that must not only be: (1) clear but also. 1. the Government must allow it (the speech). (2) present. that is. Lawrence were censored in the thirties yet their works are considered important 29 literature today. Goya's La Maja desnuda was once banned from public exhibition but now adorns the world's most prestigious museums. as it is far from being a settled matter. It is also significant that in his petition. 960 and 969 are. not subjective or conjectural.. Marcos'). However. five decades ago... Significantly. What shocked our forebears. For obvious reasons. by themselves. The Court is not convinced that the private respondents have shown the required proof to justify a ban and to warrant confiscation of the literature for which mandatory injunction had been sought below. peace or 34 safety may require." Presidential Decrees Nos. as a genuine constitutional issue. — The disposition of the literature. and has not been. freedom of the press is not without restraint. plainly and simply. or other materials involved in the violation referred to in Section 1 hereof (Art. authorities for high-handed acts. although not its protection. police power measures." "To justify such a limitation. 969). and keep in step with the rapid advance of civilization. this much we have to say. paintings. from the commandments of the Constitution. be taken as a neat effort to arrive at a solution-so only we may arrive at one-but rather as a serious attempt to put the question in its proper perspective. authority does not rely solely on his own appraisal of what the public welfare. As we so strongly stressed in Bagatsing. say. however.In the case at bar. Inc. if that is possible. 201. in carrying out the decree of the twin presidential issuances (Mr. but the question. sculptures. is: Has the petitioner been found guilty under the statute? The fact that the former respondent Mayor's act was sanctioned by "police power" is no license to seize property in disregard of due process. engravings. But neither should we say that "obscenity" is a bare (no pun intended) matter of opinion. No. 2. The Court of Appeals has no "quarrel that . a case involving the delivery of a political speech." "There must be objective and convincing. is the plaint specifically raised in the petition. proof of the existence of such clear and present danger . In free expression cases. so we asserted in Reyes v. prints. "the burden to show the existence of grave and imminent danger that would justify adverse 32 action .. and be held accountable for. arguably.. is that the question is not. barring a "clear and present danger" that would warrant State interference and 30 31 action.
3. whether political or "obscene". probable cause exists. Additional Penalties. in the opinion of the court. The authorities must convince the court that the materials sought to be seized are "obscene". in addition. PD No. otherwise. sculptures. The proper suit is then brought in the court under Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall not be violated. because. films.) (the Rules then prevailing). The appellate court may assess whether or not the properties seized are indeed "obscene". as amended. And precisely. 2. 960 as amended by PD No. within fifteen (15) days after his receipt of a copy of the decision. If. The judge must determine whether or not the same are indeed "obscene:" the question is to be resolved on a case-to-case basis and on His Honor's sound discretion. a political case. valid or invalid. 969. speech is speech. 4. nor are such charges being readied against any party. The Court is not ruling out warrantless searches. of the Revised Penal Code. who ought to be "punished". (Sec. In case the offender is a government official or employee who allows the violations of Section I hereof. and the persons or things to be seized. (c) The person aggrieved by the forfeiture action of the Chief of Constabulary may." and that "violation of penal law [must] be punished. this is the very complaint of the petitioner. in the complete absence of a warrant. jury. Chief of Staff. or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law. as amended. AFP. We counter-minded the orders of the Regional Trial Court authorizing the search of the premises of We Forum and Metropolitan Mail. The authorities must apply for the issuance of a search warrant from a judge. 201) hereof shall nevertheless be forfeited in favor of the government to be destroyed. The fact that the instant case involves an obscenity rap makes it no different from Burgos. 6. two Metro Manila dailies. 5." For starters. and executioner rolled into one. engravings. as the Rules of Court (1964 rev.(b) Where the criminal case against any violator of this decree results in an acquittal. by reason of a defective warrant. and particularly describing the place to be searched. It is basic that searches and seizures may be done only through a judicial warrant. "violation of penal laws" has been committed. after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce. there is no "accused" here to speak of. — Additional penalties shall be imposed as follows: 1. Any conviction is subject to appeal. 4. Under the Constitution. The decision of the Secretary of National Defense shall be final and unappealable. the search must have been an incident to a lawful arrest. houses. and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge. provide: SEC. to say that the respondent Mayor could have validly ordered the raid (as a result of an anti-smut campaign) without a lawful search warrant because. Second. after forfeiture proceedings conducted by the Chief of Constabulary. 43 In Burgos v. the accessory penalties provided for in the Revised 40 Penal Code. is to make the respondent Mayor judge. We make this resume. We have greater reason here to reprobate the questioned raid. no party has been charged. but as the provision itself suggests. it may issue the search warrant prayed for. 1. under Article 201. and as we have indicated. Here. The right of the people to be secure in their persons. Search without warrant of personarrested. they become unreasonable and subject to challenge. prints. — A person charged with an offense may be searched for dangerous 44 weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of the offense. if in their opinion. papers. 3. on the other hand: SEC. .) Sec. We reject outright the argument that "[t]here is no constitutional nor legal provision which would free the accused of all criminal responsibility 45 46 because there had been no warrant. the penalty as provided herein shall be imposed in the maximum period and. and the arrest must be on account of a crime committed. 12. in his opinion. paintings or other materials and articles involved in the violation referred to in Section 1 (referring to Art. and pose a clear and present danger of an evil substantive enough to warrant State interference and action. the obscene/immoral literature. an obscenity rap is in order. appeal the matter to the Secretary of National Defense for review. shall likewise be imposed . 2.
. the Court declines to grant affirmative relief. Fernan (C. Bidin.J. . Narvasa and Feliciano. Cruz. concur. SO ORDERED. that the magazines subject of the search and seizure ave been destroyed. The decision of the respondent court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. however. Paras. concur in the result. Medialdea and Regalado.. It appearing. the case is moot and academic. Gutierrez. Padilla. JJ.. or remedies against abuse of official power under the 47 48 Civil Code" or the Revised Penal code . the petition is GRANTED. Cortes. Gancayco.These do not foreclose. however.. Griño-Aquino. J. WHEREFORE. JJ. is on leave. defenses under the Constitution or applicable statutes.). Jr. To that extent. Melencio-Herrera.
3(d). alleging among others. Q-93-16052. Chancellor and Trustee of the PWU.D. On October 15. Accordingly. therefore. In the course of the program. the dispositive portion of which reads: “WHEREFORE. Chapter IV of the MTRCB Rules and  Regulations. unconstituti onal. pimps. J. subject of this case for review and approval of the MTRCB. Leticia P. petitioner has no power. de Guzman. 1986 and Section 3. The showing of “The Inside Story” caused uproar in the PWU community. (2) (in the alternative) exclude the “The Inside Story” from the coverage of the above cited provisions. news documentary. that respondents (1) did not submit “The Inside Story” to petitioner for its review and (2) exhibited the same without its permission. in Civil Case No. and 11 of P. as amended. Quezon City. The Philippine Women’s University (PWU) was named as the school of some of the students involved and the facade of PWU Building at Taft Aven ue. filed by petitioner Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) against ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation (ABS-CBN) and former Senator Loren Legarda. and (d).D. 3(c). 1997. Chairman of the MTRCB. and. 1986 and Sections 3. It depicted female students moonlighting as prostitutes to enable them to pay for their tuition fees. news documentary and socio -political editorial. judgment is hereby rendered: 1. 1993 affirming the above   ruling of its Investigating Committee. 1993. Respondents then filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Regional Trial Court (RTC). 1986 and Sections 3. DECLARING AND DECREEING that Sections 3 (b). D.” On appeal. 2. after hearing and submission of the parties’ memoranda.     thus. the Office of Atty. Dr. 7. No. On November 18. 155282. and 11 of P. January 17. the respondents are ordered to pay the sum of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20. student prostitutes. 7. the MTRCB Legal Counsel initiated a formal complaint with the MTRCB Investigating Committee.” an episode of the television (TV) program “The Inside Story” produced and hosted by respondent Legarda. Acting on the letter-complaints. respondents. and  the PWU Parents and Teachers Association filed letter-complaints with petitioner MTRCB. Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied in a Resolution dated April 14. the aforementioned premises. vs. ABS-CBN BROADCASTING CORPORATION and LOREN LEGARDA. 1997. respondent ABS-CBN aired “Prosti-tuition. the decretal portion of which reads: “WHEREFORE. customers. and (3) annul and set aside the MTRCB Decision dated March 12. Quezon City. Heretofore.R. 28 (a) of its Implementing Rules do not cover the TV Program “The Inside Story” and other similar programs. and . 4. On February 5. 1991. the RTC rendered a Decision   in favor of respondents. 1993. the MTRCB Investigating Committee rendered a Dec ision. 1993. otherwise the Board will act accordingly.: For our resolution is the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Court.000. or socio-political editorials” governed by standards similar to those governing newspapers. assailing the (a) Decision dated November 18. Branch 77.) No. DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ.00) for nonsubmission of the program.” the airing of which is protected by the constitutional provision on freedom of expression and of the press . Branch 77. Furthermore. 1993 and Resolution dated April 14. ANNULLING AND SETTING ASIDE the assailed Decision and Resolution of MTRCB dated March 12. and some faculty members were interviewed. the above cited provisions do not apply to the “The Inside Story” because it falls under the category of “public affairs program. petitioner. 2002 of the Regional Trial Court. 2005] MOVIE AND TELEVISION REVIEW AND CLASSIFICATION BOARD (MTRCB).[G. Mendez. authority and jurisdiction to impose any form of prior restraint upon respondents. violating Section 7 of Presidential Decree (P. 1993. The facts are undisputed. (c). No. 7. Respondents averred that the above-cited provisions constitute “prior restraint” on respondents’ exercise of freedom of expression and of the press.   respondents. issued a Decision dated March 12. Henrietta S. In their answer. 7. and 28 (a) of the MTRCB Rules  and Regulations. at 10:45 in the evening. It seeks to: (1) declare          as unconstitutional Sections 3(b). they being public affairs programs which can be equated to newspapers. PREMISES CONSIDERED. Both complainants alleged that the episode besmirched the name of the PWU and resulted in the harassment of some of its female students. Manila conspicuously served as the background of the episode. respondents explained that the “The Inside Story” is a “public affairs program. all subsequent programs of the ‘The Inside Story’ and all other programs of the ABS-CBN Channel 2 of the same category shall be  submitted to the Board of Review and Approval before showing. and (b) Order dated August 26. Chapter III and Section 7. No. 4.
television programs and publicity materials. or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence or of a wrong or crime. television programs and publicity materials subject of the preceding paragraph. second. news documentary. No. The present controversy brings into focus the provisions of Section 3 of P. powers and duties: x x x x x x  b) To screen. trailers and stills. Section 3(b) of P. Respondents take the opposite stance. c) To approve or disapprove.D. The petition is impressed with merit. copying. lease. permits for the importation. MAKING PERMANENT the Injunction against Respondents or all persons acting in their behalf. production. Article III of the Constitution. thus. review and examine all ‘television programs.’ By the clear terms of the law. delete objectionable portions from and/or prohibit the importation. regulate.3. petitioner’s power to review television programs under Section 3(b) of P. including “public affairs programs. Petitioner MTRCB through the Solicitor General.” Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied. No. all television programs. injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines and its people. which. production. the liberal regulation of the latter cannot apply to the former. indecent. the Iglesia ni Cristo sought exception from petitioner’s review power contending that the term “ television programs” under Sec. distribution. or socio-political editorials. and grant. Court of Appeals. D. D.’ The law also directs the Board to apply ‘contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard’ to determine those which are objectionable for being ‘immoral. through Justice Reynato Puno. Hence. for television broadcast or for general viewing. whether religious.’” Settled is the rule in statutory construction that where the law does not make any exception. No. – The BOARD shall have the following functions. exportation. and/or television broadcast of all motion pictures. in the judgment of the BOARD applying contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard. Thus. copying. There.” are subject to petitioner’s power of review under Section 3 (b) of P. to the end and that no such pictures. contrary to law and/or good customs. partly reproduced as follows: “SEC. the Board has the power to ‘approve. our task is to decide whether or not petitioner has the power to review the television program “ The Inside  Story. x x x x x x. programs and materials as are determined by the BOARD to be objectionable in accordance with paragraph (c) hereof shall be imported. 1986 gives petitioner “the power to screen. sale. The issue for our resolution is whether the MTRCB has the power or authority to review the “ The Inside Story” prior to its exhibition or broadcast by television. and in the latter case.D. Powers and Functions. including publicity materials such as advertisements. or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence or of a wrong or crime. produced. review and examine all motion pictures as herein defined. reproduced. imported or produced in the Philippines. Court of Appeals. when the law says “all  television programs. delete x x x and/or prohibit the x x x exhibition and/or television broadcast of x x x television programs x x x. distribution. deny or cancel. are objectionable for being immoral. D. 1986. whether they be for local viewing or for export. distributed. sale. contrary to law and/or good customs. 3. exhibition. 1986 and pursuant to this  Court’s ruling in Iglesia ni Cristo vs. courts may not except something therefrom. contends inter alia: first.” Vis-a-vis the foregoing provisions.” and fourth.” the word “all” covers all television programs.  unless there is compelling reason apparent in the law to justify it. No. etc. exhibited and/or broadcast by television. public affairs. news documentaries. No. 1986 does not violate respondents’ constitutional freedom of expression and of the press. . lease exhibition and/or television broadcast of the motion pictures. television programs. indecent. categorically ruled that P. third. review and examine “ all television programs.” emphasizing the phrase “all television programs. leased. exportation.” thus: “The law gives the Board the power to screen.” The task is not Herculean because it merely resurrects this Court En Banc’s ruling in Iglesia ni Cristo vs. Ubi lex non distinguit nec distinguere debemos. whether such motion pictures and publicity materials be for theatrical or non-theatrical distribution. television programs are more accessible to the public than newspapers. The principle  assumes that the legislative body made no qualification in the use of general word or expression. such as but not limited to: x x x d) To supervise. sold. exported. This Court. 3 (b) does not  include “religious programs” which are protected under Section 5. SO ORDERED. 1986 does not amount to “prior restraint. injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines or its people. copied. this petition for review on certiorari.
is protected by the constitutional provision on freedom of expression and of the press. (Chairman). as in Iglesia ni Cristo. Petitioner did not disapprove or ban the showing of the program. 1993 of petitioner MTRCB is AFFIRMED. and newsreels . or public place or by television within the Philippines any motion picture.” a term that was later  translated literally into the French cinema verite) and Frank Capra’s Why We Fight series. It is settled that no question involving the constitutionality or validity of a law or governmental act may be heard and decided by the court unless there is compliance with the legal requisites for judicial inquiry. Corona. D. television program or publicity material. D..” Still in a desperate attempt to be exempted. such as (1) television programs imprinted or exhibited by the Philippine Government and/or its departments and agencies. respondents contend that the “The Inside Story” falls under the category of newsreels. theatre. this Court declared that freedom of religion has been accorded a preferred status by the framers of our fundamental laws. No. . newsreels are straight presentation of  events. No. 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. Therefore. 1986 and the MTRCB Rules and Regulations specified by respondents contravene the Constitution. a freedom bearing no preferred status. the MTRCB Rules and Regulations implementing P. Unauthorized showing or exhibition. still this Court. If this Court. It is more of a public affairs program which is described as a variety  of news treatment.” Correspondingly. (4) that the decision on the constitutional or legal question must be necessary to the determination of the case  itself. However. Consequently. of oppression or the press. respondents sought exemption from the coverage of the term “television programs” on the ground that the “The Inside Story” is a  “public affairs program. including trailers. 7 and 28 (a) of the MTRCB Rules and Regulations are unconstitutional. 1986 does not define “newsreels. Some concrete examples are those of Dziga Vertov’s Russian Kino-Pravda newsreel series (Kino-Pravda means literally “film-truth. 1997 and Order dated August 26. 4. namely: (1) that the question must be raised by the proper party. there is no justification to exempt therefrom “The Inside Story” which. 1986. the ruling inIglesia ni Cristo applies squarely to the instant issue.” Yet despite the fact that freedom of religion has been accorded a preferred status. Respondents claim that the showing of “The Inside Story” is protected by the constitutional provision on freedom of speech and of the press. Panganiban. It bears stressing that the sole issue here is whether petitioner MTRCB has authority to review “ The Inside Story. – It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to exhibit or cause to be exhibited in any moviehouse. A glance at actual samples of newsreels shows that they are mostly reenactments of events that had already happened. Talk shows on a given issue are not considered  newsreels. 7. WHEREFORE. analysis and/or exchange of opinions. 2002 are hereby REVERSED. No. The Decision dated March 12. we cannot sustain the RTC’s ruling that Sections 3 (c) (d). No.It then follows that since “The Inside Story” is a television program. They are depiction of “actualities. the “The Inside Story” cannot be considered a newsreel. (2) that there must be an actual case or controversy. and (2) newsreels. and Garcia. JJ. The assailed RTC Decision dated November 18. the instant petition is GRANTED. Neither did it cancel respondents’ permit. Apparently. and.” Webster’s dictionary defines newsreels as short motion picture films portraying or dealing with  current events. D. we are not called upon to determine whether petitioner violated Section 4. television programs or publicity material imprinted or exhibited by the Philippine Government and/or its departments and agencies. 1986 define newsreels as “straight news reporting. we need not resolve whether certain provisions of P. concur. it is within the jurisdiction of the MTRCB over which it has power of review. commentaries and opinions. not duly authorized by the owner or his assignee and passed by the BOARD. news documentary and socio -political editorial” protected under Section 4. such kind of program is within petitioner’s review power. “designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience. Costs against respondents. No. and stills for lobby displays in connection with motion pictures. to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs x x x. did not exempt the Iglesia ni Cristo’s religious program from petitioner’s review power.  respondent’s basis is not freedom of religion. with more reason. Thus: “SEC. 1986 and Sections 3. D. did not exempt religious programs from the jurisdiction and review power of petitioner MTRCB. D.” Clearly. Their contention is unpersuasive. 7 and 11 of P. according to respondents. Certainly. in Iglesia ni Cristo. but freedom of expression and of the press. as distinguished from news analyses. past and present. or to print or cause to be printed on any motion picture to be exhibited in any theater or public place or by television a label or notice showing the same to have been officially passed by the BOARD when the same has not been previously authorized. a cross between pure television news and news-related commentaries. Here. P. The only exceptions from the MTRCB’s power of review are those expressly mentioned in Section 7 of P. Article III of the Constitution.” Clearly. Article III (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution providing that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech. Carpio-Morales. except motion pictures. Albeit. (3) that the question must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity. SO ORDERED. It is significant to note that in Iglesia ni Cristo. Respondents were merely penalized for their failure to submit to petitioner “ The Inside Story” for its review and approval.
The Soc-Gen contended that the question is political in nature hence the court cannot take cognizance of it. Under the terms of the 1973 Constitution. executive agreement. This is especially true in cases where the power of the Presidency to initiate the amending process by proposals of amendments. about alleged venality and corruption in the courts. a journalist who writes in a newspaper of general circulation. the power to propose amendments becomes ipso facto the prerogative of the regular National Assembly (Sec. 1 and 2 of Art. within the competence of this Court to pass upon. 1031. . . amending the previous PD No. 991 and 1033. XVI. The President can propose amendments to the Constitution and he was able to present those proposals to the people in sufficient time. Sec 4. Sanidad filed a Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction seeking to enjoin the Commission on Elections from holding and conducting the Referendum Plebiscite on October 16.” The Supreme Court has the last word in the construction not only of treaties and statutes. a function normally exercised by the legislature. insofar as it directs the Commission on Elections to supervise. hold.” He describes himself as a columnist. by hand and through the mail. but also of the Constitution itself. 1976. HELD: The amending process both as to proposal and ratification raises a judicial question. 1031. the period of its existence. Events Directly Giving Rise to the Proceeding at Bar. 1031. 1031 repealed inter alia. as well as Presidential Decree No. which will be submitted directly to the people in the referendum-plebiscite of October 16. 229 providing for the manner of voting and canvass of votes in “barangays” applicable to the national referendum-plebiscite of Oct 16.Sanidad v Comelec Political Law – Amendment to the Constitution On 2 Sept 1976. or law shall be heard and decided by the Supreme Court en banc and no treaty. And all these were being repeatedly and insistently adverted to by certain sectors of society. . 991. 1. the issues of martial law. Twenty days after. executive agreement. . its replacement. Marcos issued PD No. thus the issue of the validity of said Decrees is plainly a justiciable one. is seriously doubted. In Re: Emil Facts: Jurado. and the regular National Assembly in its active session. PD No. The Decree recites in its “whereas” clauses that the people’s continued opposition to the con vening of the interim National Assembly evinces their desire to have such body abolished and replaced thru a constitutional amendment. the length of the period for the exercise by the President of his present powers. or law may be declared unconstitutional without the concurrence of at least ten Members. Section 2 (2) Article X of the new Constitution provides: “All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty. As a consequence. who “incidentally happens to be a lawyer. ISSUE: Whether or not Marcos can validly propose amendments to the Constitution. 1976. 1976. to declare without force and effect Presidential Decree Nos. On September 27. At the same time. written in lambent words in the very Constitution sought to be amended. insofar as they propose amendments to the Constitution. the power to propose amendments to the Constitution resides in the interim National Assembly during the period of transition (Sec. anonymous communications were being extensively circulated. of PD No. Transitory Provisions). so that the Supreme Court is vested with that authority to determine whether that power has been discharged within its limits. On the same date of 22 Sept 1976. The implementing Presidential Decree Nos. 1976.”. This petition is however dismissed. Unavoidably. and conduct the Referendum-Plebiscite scheduled on October 16.Petitioners contend that under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions there is no grant to the incumbent President to exercise the constituent power to propose amendments to the new Constitution. The amending. 991. stating the questions to he submitted to the people in the referendumplebiscite on October 16. 1033. the incumbent President undertook the proposal of amendments and submitted the proposed amendments thru Presidential Decree 1033 to the people in a Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16. among other things. control. 1992 to March. the Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16 has no constitutional or legal basis. raises a contestable issue. pars. 991. Quite relevantly. 15.. 991 calling for a national referendum on 16 Oct 1976 for the Citizens Assemblies (“barangays”) to resolve. which commonly purport to have the force and effect of legislation are assailed as invalid. the powers of such replacement. Marcos issued PD No. providing for a new interim legislative body. 1993). Rather than calling the interim National Assembly to constitute itself into a constituent assembly. the regularity of the procedure for amendments. the interim assembly. After that period. The normal course has not been followed. and 1033. the “Manila Standard. had been writing about alleged improperties and irregularities in the judiciary over several months (from about October. Other journalists had also been making reports or comments on the same subject. the President issued another related decree. PD No. by declaring the provisions of PD No. like all other powers organized in the Constitution. 1973 Constitution). is in form a delegated and hence a limited power.
the “Philippine Daily Inquirer” and one or two other newspapers published. the “Magnificent Seven” in the Supreme Court. are rightly regarded as voluntarily subjecting themselves to norms of conduct which embody more stringent standards of honesty. reads and sounds like the writing of the PLDT’s counsel. in the context in which they were done.: “ARTICLE 19. viz. Mr. In connection with this case. in the so-called “controversial case” of “Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company v. Judges. persons who seek or accept appointment to the Judiciary cannot reasonably be regarded as having forfeited any right to private honor and reputation. Eastern Telephone Philippines. But the norm does prohibit the reckless disregard of private reputation by publishing or circulating defamatory statements without any bona fide effort to ascertain the truth thereof. an alleged expert in linguistics. (ETPI). in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties. No. in favor of the petitioner PLDT. it does not follow that the lie. David Miles Yerkes. (ETPI). demonstrate gross irresponsibility. The knowingly false statement and the false statement made with reckless disregard of the truth. by becoming such. The Supreme Court then issued a resolution ordering that the matter dealt with in the letter and affidavit of the public utility company be docketed and acted upon as an official Court proceeding for the determination of whether or not the allegations made by Jurado are true. Although honest utterances. decent and responsible journalists who live by their Code or the “Golden Rule” and who strive at all times to maintain the prestige and nobility of their calling. Every person must. Nevertheless. he speaks of the “Magnificent Seven.” Thus. constitutional or otherwise. HELD: Jurado’s actuations. the “Dirty Dozen. Gutierrez. give everyone his due. had been commissioned by one of the parties in the case. 1992. Justice Hugo E.. on January 28.R. wrote the opinion for the majority. Eliseo Alampay. publish statements which are clearly defamatory to identifiable judges or other public officials to exercise bona fide care in ascertaining the truth of the statements they publish. to examine and analyze the decision of Justice Gutierrez in relation to a few of his prior ponencias and the writings of one of the lawyers of PLDT. knowingly and deliberately published about a public official. G.” by merely referring to undisclosed regional trial court judges in Makati. and competence than are commonly required from private persons. And the point of adjustment or accommodation between these two legitimate interests is precisely found in the norm which requires those who. The norm does not require that a journalist guarantee the truth of what he says or publishes.The seed of the proceeding at bar was sown by the decision promulgated by this Court on August 27. In that decision the Court was sharply divided. The public interest involved in freedom of speech and the individual interest of judges (and for that matter. 94374. even if inaccurate. all other public officials) in the maintenance of private honor and reputation need to be accommodated one to the other.” as unidentified tri al judges in Makati and three other cities. in its Article 19 lays down the norm for the proper exercise of any right. They constitute contempt of court. by the latter. do not enjoy constitutional protection.” Requirement to exercise bona fide care in ascertaining the truth of the statements when publishing statements which are clearly defamatory to identifiable judges or other public officials. No. integrity. and six unnamed justices of this Court who reportedly spent a prepaid vacation in Hong Kong with their families. he has placed himself beyond the circle of reputable. directly tending as they do to degrade or abase the administration of justice and the judges engaged in that function.” The provision is reflective of the universally accepted precept of “abuse of rights. For to so rule will be to discourage all save those who feel no need to maintain their self-respect from becoming judges. This gentleman. may further the fruitful exercise of the right of free speech. and observe honesty and good faith. and indifference to factual acc uracy and the injury that he might cause to the name and reputation of those of whom he wrote. Inc. denying the allegations in Jurado’s column. should enjoy a like immunity. as some undesignated justices who supposedly vote as one.” “one of the most dominant principles which must be deemed always implied in any system of law.R. Jr. Mr. invoking freedom of speech. it appears. Inc. . Eastern Telephone Philippines.” to investigate the said reports of corruption in the judiciary. Yerkes proffered the conclusion that the Gutierrez decision “looks. a report of the purported affidavit of a Mr. in whole or in part. 94374. act with justice. The Civil Code. He adverts to an anonymous group of justices and judges for whom a bank allegedly hosted a party. to ascertain if the decision had been written. the vote was 9 to 4.” G. A letter affidavit was also received from the public utility. 1993. By doing them. The Chief Justice issued an administrative order “Creating an Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Reports of Corruption in the Judiciary.
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