EN BANC

[G.R. No. 119673. July 26, 1996]

IGLESIA NI CRISTO (INC.), petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, BOARD OF REVIEW FOR MOTION PICTURES AND TELEVISION and HONORABLE HENRIETTA S. MENDEZ, respondents. DECISION
PUNO, J.:

This is a petition for review of the Decision dated March 24, 1995 of the respondent Court of Appeals affirming the action of the respondent Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television which x-rated the TV Program “Ang Iglesia ni Cristo.” Petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo, a duly organized religious organization, has a television program entitled “Ang Iglesia ni Cristo” aired on Channel 2 every Saturday and on Channel 13 every Sunday. The program presents and propagates petitioner’s religious beliefs, doctrines and practices often times in comparative studies with other religions. Sometime in the months of September, October and November 1992, petitioner submitted to the respondent Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television the VTR tapes of its TV program Series Nos. 116, 119, 121 and 128. The Board classified the series as “X” or not for public viewing on the ground that they “offend and constitute an attack against other religions which is expressly prohibited by law.” Petitioner pursued two (2) courses of action against the respondent Board. On November 28, 1992, it appealed to the Office of the President the classification of its TV Series No. 128. It succeeded in its appeal for on December 18, 1992, the Office of the President reversed the decision of the respondent Board. Forthwith, the Board allowed Series No. 128 to be publicly telecast. On December 14, 1992, petitioner also filed against the respondent Board Civil Case No. Q-92-14280, with the RTC, NCR, Quezon City.[1] Petitioner alleged that the respondent Board acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in requiring petitioner to submit the VTR tapes of its TV program and in x-rating them. It cited its TV Program Series Nos. 115, 119, 121 and 128. In their Answer, respondent Board invoked its power under P.D. No. 1986 in relation to Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. On January 4, 1993, the trial court held a hearing on petitioner’s prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction. The parties orally argued and then marked their documentary evidence. Petitioner submitted the following as its exhibits, viz.:
(1) Exhibit “A”, respondent Board’s Voting Slip for Television showing its September 9, 1992 action on petitioner’s Series No. 115 as follows:[2]

We suggest a second review. (5) Exhibit “D”.[7] . respondent Board’s Voting Slip for Television showing its October 9. specifically. 119. (4) Exhibit “C”. 1992. 1992 action on petitioner’s Series No. Please subject to more opinions. as follows:[4] REMARKS: The Iglesia ni Cristo insists on the literal translation of the bible and says that our (Catholic) veneration of the Virgin Mary is not to be condoned because nowhere it is found in the bible that we should do so. 128 as follows:[6] REMARKS: The episode presented criticizes the religious beliefs of the Catholic and Protestant’s beliefs. the Catholic religion.REMARKS: There are some inconsistencies in the particular program as it is very surprising for this program to show series of Catholic ceremonies and also some religious sects and using it in their discussion about the bible. There are remarks which are direct criticism which affect other religions. 1992 action on petitioner’s Series No. We suggest that the program should delve on explaining their own faith and beliefs and avoid attacks on other faith. Need more opinions for this particular program. 1992 action on petitioner’s Series No. 121 as follows:[5] REMARKS: I refuse to approve the telecast of this episode for reasons of the attacks. petitioner’s block time contract with ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation dated September 1. “E-1”. 1992 subsequent action on petitioner’s Series No. based on their own interpretation of the Bible. 115 as follows:[3] REMARKS: This program is criticizing different religions. (6) Exhibits “E”. respondent Board’s Voting Slip for Television showing its September 11. respondent Board’s Voting Slip for Television showing its October 20. respondent Board’s Voting Slip for Television showing its November 20. which they clearly present in this episode. worship and decision. (3) Exhibit “B”. This is intolerance and robs off all sects of freedom of choice. (2) Exhibit “A-1”. dictate any other religion that they are right and the rest are wrong. I refuse to admit that they can tell. they do on.

Mendez. Their efforts failed and the records show that after submission of memoranda. respondent Board submitted the following exhibits. The letter reads in part: “xxx xxx xxx The television episode in question is protected by the constitutional guarantee of free speech and expression under Article III. the trial court issued a writ of preliminary injunction on petitioner’s bond of P10. 119. Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution. (8) [8] Exhibit “F”..” (9) Exhibits “H”. the dispositive portion of which reads: “x x x WHEREFORE. viz. petitioner’s Airtime Contract with Island Broadcasting Exhibit “G”. “H-1”. (2) Exhibit “2”.00. judgment is hereby rendered ordering respondent Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television (BRMPT) to grant petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo the necessary permit for all the series of ‘Ang Iglesia ni Cristo’ program.(7) Corporation. 1993. (3) Exhibit “3”. Ramos.: (1) Exhibit “1”. letter dated December 18. Sr. 128 under parental guidance.. Sr. Ramos appealing the action of the respondent Board x-rating petitioner’s Series No. 129.000. Permit Certificate for Television Exhibition No. addressed to the Christian Era Broadcasting Service which reads in part: xxx In the matter of your television show “Ang Iglesia ni Cristo” Series No. addressed to President Fidel V. the trial court rendered a Judgment.[9] The pre-trial briefs show that the parties’ evidence is basically the evidence they submitted in the hearing of the issue of preliminary injunction.[10] on December 15. 15181 dated December 18. Amante. The trial court set the pre-trial of the case and the parties submitted their pre-trial briefs. letter dated October 12. The trial of the case was set and reset several times as the parties tried to reach an amicable accord. 1992 of Henrietta S. addressed to Henrietta S. Mendez reversing the decision of the respondent Board which x-rated the showing of petitioner’s Series No. The material involved constitute an attack against another religion which is expressly prohibited by law. please be informed that the Board was constrained to deny your show a permit to exhibit. After evaluating the evidence of the parties. as well as studied the passages found by MTRCB to be objectionable and we find no indication that the episode poses any clear and present danger sufficient to limit the said constitutional guarantee. letter dated November 26. . On its part. which is Exhibit “G” of petitioner. 1992 of former Executive Secretary Edelmiro A. 1992 of Teofilo C. Please be guided in the submission of future shows. We have viewed a tape of the television episode in question. 128. 1992 allowing the showing of Series No.

contrary to law and contrary to good customs. It ruled that: (1) the respondent board has jurisdiction and power to review the TV program “Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. the trial court granted petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. 1995. The second portion of the Court’s Order dated December 15.Petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo. 1993. . It also found the series “indecent.[14] On March 5.[12] On March 7.” Petitioner moved for reconsideration[11] praying: (a) for the deletion of the second paragraph of the dispositive portion of the Decision. the Motion for Reconsideration is granted. SO ORDERED. 1993. directing petitioner to refrain from offending and attacking other existing religions in showing ‘Ang Iglesia ni Cristo’ program is hereby deleted and set aside.” In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45.” and (2) the respondent Board did not act with grave abuse of discretion when it denied permit for the exhibition on TV of the three series of “Ang Iglesia ni Cristo” on the ground that the materials constitute an attack against another religion. however. It ordered:[13] “x x x WHEREFORE. The respondent Board opposed the motion.’” Respondent Board appealed to the Court of Appeals after its motion for reconsideration was denied. and (b) for the Board to be perpetually enjoined from requiring petitioner to submit for review the tapes of its program. Respondents are further prohibited from requiring petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo to submit for review VTR tapes of its religious program ‘Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. is directed to refrain from offending and attacking other existing religions in showing ‘Ang Iglesia ni Cristo’ program. petitioner raises the following issues: I WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT ‘ANG IGLESIA NI CRISTO’ PROGRAM IS NOT CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED AS A FORM OF RELIGIOUS EXERCISE AND EXPRESSION. the respondent Court of Appeals[15] reversed the trial court.

assuming it has the power. lease. III WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE MTRCB IS VESTED WITH THE POWER TO CENSOR RELIGIOUS PROGRAMS. contrary to law and good customs. or otherwise threaten the economic and/or political stability of the State. No. 119 and 121. are objectionable for being immoral. delete objectionable portion from and/or prohibit the importation. IV WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ‘ANG IGLESIA NI CRISTO. insurrection. in the judgment of the BOARD applying contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard. rebellion or sedition against the State.D. powers and duties: xxx xxx xxx b) To screen. injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines and its people. review and examine all motion pictures as herein defined. imported or produced in the Philippines and in the latter case. whether such motion pictures and publicity materials be for theatrical or non-theatrical distribution for television broadcast or for general viewing. trailers and stills. copying. subject of the preceding paragraph. 115. The first issue can be resolved by examining the powers of the Board under P. indecent. including publicity materials such as advertisements. The basic issues can be reduced into two: (1) first. Its Section 3 pertinently provides: “Sec. contrary to law and/or good customs.’ A PURELY RELIGIOUS PROGRAM IS INDECENT AND CONTRARY TO LAW AND GOOD CUSTOMS.II WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT BEING AN EXERCISE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. exportation. exhibition and/or television broadcast of the motion pictures. series Nos. distribution. such as but not limited to: i) Those which tend to incite subversion. whether the respondent Board has the power to review petitioner’s TV program “Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. whether they be for local viewing or for export. television programs. television programs and publicity materials. whether it gravely abused its discretion when it prohibited the airing of petitioner’s religious program. — The BOARD shall have the following functions. sale. 3 Powers and Functions.” and (2) second. THE ‘ANG IGLESIA NI CRISTO’ PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO THE POLICE POWER OF THE STATE ONLY IN THE EXTREME CASE THAT IT POSES A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER. 1986. . c) To approve. production. or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence or of a wrong or crime. for the reason that they constitute an attack against other religions and that they are indecent. which.

” We reject petitioner’s submission which need not set us adrift in a constitutional voyage towards an uncharted sea. 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. will contravene Section 5. their government and/or duly constituted authorities. The second is subject to regulation where the belief is translated into external acts that affect the public welfare. whether living or dead. indecent. the Board has the power to “approve. iii) Those which glorify criminals or condone crimes. or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. We have affirmed this preferred status well aware that it is “designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience. consistent with the liberty of others and with the common good..” Petitioner contends that the term “television program” should not include religious programs like its program “Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. freedom to believe and freedom to act on one’s beliefs. The first is absolute as long as the belief is confined within the realm of thought. review and examine all “television programs. To quote the summation of Mr. iv) Those which serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence or pornography. Freedom of religion has been accorded a preferred status by the framers of our fundamental laws. vii) Those which may constitute contempt of court or of any quasi-judicial tribunal. to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs.” The law also directs the Board to apply “contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard” to determine those which are objectionable for being “immoral. past and present. or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence or of a wrong or crime. viz. (1) Freedom to Believe . shall forever be allowed. without discrimination or preference. contrary to law and/or good customs.ii) Those which tend to undermine the faith and confidence of the people. Article III of the Constitution which guarantees that “no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion. it is urged. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship.” A contrary interpretation.”[16] We have also laboriously defined in our jurisprudence the intersecting umbras and penumbras of the right to religious profession and worship. Justice Isagani Cruz. injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines and its people. and to live as he believes he ought to live.” By the clear terms of the law. our well-known constitutionalist:[17] Religious Profession and Worship The right to religious profession and worship has a two-fold aspect. v) Those which tend to abet the traffic in and use of prohibited drugs. The law gives the Board the power to screen. or pertain to matters which are sub-judice in nature (emphasis ours). vi) Those which are libelous or defamatory to the good name and reputation of any person. to profess his beliefs.

A laissez faire policy on the exercise of religion can be seductive to the liberal mind but history counsels the Court against its blind adoption as religion is and continues to be a volatile area of concern in our country today.e. cherish any religious conviction as he and he alone sees fit. An atheist cannot express his disbelief in acts of derision that wound the feelings of the faithful. serious detriment to the more overriding interest of public health. It gave religious liberty. recognize or deny the immortality of his soul — in fact. Its public broadcast on TV of its religious program brings it out of the bosom of internal belief. It is error to think that the mere invocation of religious freedom will stalemate the State and render it impotent in protecting the general welfare. embrace or reject any religion. while one has full freedom to believe in Satan. he has full freedom to believe as he pleases. as this would be murder. The police power can be validly asserted against the Indian practice of the suttee born of deep religious conviction. Television is a medium that reaches even the eyes and ears of children. Across the sea and in our shore. Our country is still not safe from the recurrence of this stultifying strife considering our warring religious beliefs and the fanaticism with which some of us cling and claw to these beliefs. ‘Men may believe what they cannot prove. He may not be required to prove his beliefs. or none at all. Religion. not freedom from conformity to law because of religious dogma. Justice Frankfurter put it succinctly: ‘The constitutional provision on religious freedom terminated disabilities. i. However absurd his beliefs may be to others. like all the other rights guaranteed in the Constitution. Those who literally interpret the Biblical command to “go forth and multiply” are nevertheless not allowed to contract plural marriages in violation of the laws against bigamy. And this is true even if such practices are pursued out of sincere religious conviction and not merely for the purpose of evading the reasonable requirements or prohibitions of the law. not civil immunity.The individual is free to believe (or disbelieve) as he pleases concerning the hereafter. he may not offer the object of his piety a human sacrifice. is a matter of faith. his freedom to do so becomes subject to the authority of the State. after all. Its essence is freedom from conformity to religious dogma. even if they be hostile and heretical to the majority. He may not be punished for his inability to do so. or public welfare. (2) Freedom to Act on One’s Beliefs But where the individual externalizes his beliefs in acts or omissions that affect the public. Even . acknowledge the divinity of God or of any being that appeals to his reverence. religious freedom. A person cannot refuse to pay taxes on the ground that it would be against his religious tenets to recognize any authority except that of God alone. that calls on the widow to immolate herself at the funeral pile of her husband. As great as this liberty may be. it did not create new privileges. worship any god he chooses.’ Every one has a right to his beliefs and he may not be called to account because he cannot prove what he believes.. He may indulge his own theories about life and death. can be enjoyed only with a proper regard for the rights of others. the bloodiest and bitterest wars fought by men were caused by irreconcilable religious differences. The Court iterates the rule that the exercise of religious freedom can be regulated by the State when it will bring about the clear and present danger of some substantive evil which the State is duty bound to prevent. public morals. We thus reject petitioner’s postulate that its religious program is per se beyond review by the respondent Board. Accordingly. The inherent police power can be exercised to prevent religious practices inimical to society.

First. the respondent Board x-rated petitioner’s TV program series Nos. It is also petitioner’s submission that the respondent appellate court gravely erred when it affirmed the ruling of the respondent Board x-rating its TV Program Series Nos.”[18] In sum. An examination of the evidence. For sure. If it fails to discharge this burden. It misappreciates the essence of freedom to differ as delineated in the benchmark case of Cantwell v. 119. contrary to law and good customs. For when religion divides and its exercise destroys. based on their own interpretation of the Bible. the roots of which have been nourished by the mistrust and misunderstanding between our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters. including religious speech. The evidence shows that the respondent Board x-rated petitioners TV series for “attacking” other religions. the Catholic religion. 115. “C”. It failed in the case at bar. Yet they were considered by the respondent court as indecent. can be prohibited from public viewing under Section 3(c) of PD 1986. especially the Catholic church. “B. 121 was x-rated “x x x for reasons of the attacks.” Exhibit “D” also shows that Series No. we have yet to settle the near century old strife in Mindanao. 121 and 128. Connecticut. any act that restrains speech is hobbled by the presumption of invalidity and should be greeted with furrowed brows. we shall continue to subject any act pinching the space for the free exercise of religion to a heightened scrutiny but we shall not leave its rational exercise to the irrationality of man. This ruling clearly suppresses petitioner’s freedom of speech and interferes with its right to free exercise of religion. Deeply ensconced in our fundamental law is its hostility against all prior restraints on speech. “A-1”.now. dictate any other religion that they are right and the rest are wrong x x x. the State should not stand still. x x x (T)hey can not tell.” Exhibit “B” shows that Series No. 115.[20] viz. hence. specifically. Hence. The records show that the respondent Board disallowed the program series for “attacking” other religions. 121 and 128 because of petitioner’s controversial biblical interpretations and its “attacks” against contrary religious beliefs. The respondent appellate court agreed and even held that the said “attacks” are indecent. and “D” will show that the so-called “attacks” are mere criticisms of some of the deeply held dogmas and tenets of other religions. its act of censorship will be struck down. The videotapes were not viewed by the respondent court as they were not presented as evidence. We reverse the ruling of the appellate court.: . (respondent Board’s Voting Slip for Television) reveal that its reviewing members x-rated Series 115 for “x x x criticizing different religions. Exhibits “A”. “A-1”. 119. The bewildering rise of weird religious cults espousing violence as an article of faith also proves the wisdom of our rule rejecting a strict let alone policy on the exercise of religion. it was x-rated because of its “unbalanced interpretations of some parts of the Bible.[19] It is the burden of the respondent Board to overthrow this presumption. Thus. contrary to law and good customs.” Exhibit “C” shows that Series No.” On second review.” They suggested that the program should only explain petitioner’s “x x x own faith and beliefs and avoid attacks on other faiths. especially Exhibits “A”. they do on. This is intolerance x x x. 119 was x-rated because “the Iglesia ni Cristo insists on the literal translation of the bible and says that our Catholic veneration of the Virgin Mary is not to be condoned because nowhere it is found in the bible that we should do so. Second. 128 was not favorably recommended because it “x x x outrages Catholic and Protestant’s beliefs.

the tenets of one man may seem the rankest error to his neighbor. Vis-a-vis religious differences. television programs and publicity materials which are contrary to law and Article 201 (2) (b) (3) of the Revised Penal Code punishes anyone who exhibits “shows which offend any race or religion. the State enjoys no banquet of options. in the long view. sharp differences arise. Third. or are prominent in church or state or even to false statements. Under our constitutional scheme. now President of the Senate.xxx xxx xxx In the realm of religious faith. In both fields. Religious dogmas and beliefs are often at war and to preserve peace among their followers. the pleader. The bedrock of freedom of religion is freedom of thought and it is best served by encouraging the marketplace of dueling ideas. There can be no other intent. unclean they may be. Indeed. at times. however. the remedy against bad theology is better theology. The ground “attack against another religion” was merely added by the respondent Board in its Rules. Thus. The ground was not. essential to enlightened opinion and right conduct on the part of the citizens of democracy. Article 201 (2) (b) (3) of the Revised Penal Code should be invoked to justify the subsequent punishment of a show which offends any religion.[21] This rule is void for it runs smack against the hoary doctrine that administrative rules and regulations cannot expand the letter and spirit of the law they seek to enforce. To persuade others to his own point of view. the law prior to PD 1986. and in that of political belief. But the people of this nation have ordained in the light of history that inspite of the probability of excesses and abuses. In a State where there ought to be no difference between the appearance and the reality of freedom of religion. as we know. Its deletion is a decree to disuse it. included “attack against any religion” as a ground for censorship. In fine.O. When the luxury of time permits.” Moreover. however. even if said religion happens to be the most numerous church in our country. The respondent Board may disagree with the criticisms of other religions by petitioner but that gives it no excuse to interdict such criticisms. It cannot be utilized to justify prior censorship of speech. carried over by PD 1986. Neutrality alone is its fixed and immovable stance. especially the fanatics. in an Opinion dated November 28. respondent board cannot squelch the speech of petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks other religions. to vilification of men who have been. The respondents cannot also rely on the ground “attacks against another religion” in x-rating the religious program of petitioner. the marketplace of ideas demands that speech should be met by more speech for it is the spark of opposite speech. It must be emphasized that E. it is not the task of the State to favor any religion by protecting it against an attack by another religion. resorts to exaggeration. even the Executive Department espouses this view. Neptali Gonzales explained: . 876.” We respectfully disagree for it is plain that the word “attack” is not synonymous with the word “offend. It is opined that the respondent board can still utilize “attack against any religion” as a ground allegedly “x x x because Section 3 (c) of PD 1986 prohibits the showing of motion pictures. these liberties are. the establishment clause of freedom of religion prohibits the State from leaning towards any religion. 1985 then Minister of Justice. Even a sideglance at Section 3 of PD 1986 will reveal that it is not among the grounds to justify an order prohibiting the broadcast of petitioner’s television program. the heat of colliding ideas that can fan the embers of truth.

[26] The use of the test took a downswing in the 1950’s when the US Supreme Court decided Dennis v. cannot be justified by hypothetical fears but only by the showing of a substantive and imminent evil which has taken the life of a reality already on ground. In the United States. which prescribes the standards of censorship. injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines or its people or with dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence.[23] we further ruled that “x x x it is only where it is unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified. the question whether the BRMPT (now MTRCB) may preview and censor the subject television program of INC should be viewed in the light of the provision of Section 3. . and only to the smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger. for instance. US. paragraph (c) of PD 1986. affirmed by the respondent appellate court. the respondents failed to apply the clear and present danger rule. the intention of the Board to subject the INC’s television program to ‘previewing and censorship is prompted by the fact that its religious program makes mention of beliefs and practices of other religion. 876-A. which is substantially the same as the provision of Section 3. Prior restraint on speech. Justice Holmes who formulated the test in Schenck v. or of a wrong’ as determined by the Board. there can conceivably be no basis for censorship of said program by the Board as much as the alleged reason cited by the Board does not appear to be within the contemplation of the standards of censorship set by law. to wit: ‘immoral. the test was originally designed to determine the latitude which should be given to speech that espouses anti-government action. when its umbrella was used to protect speech other than subversive speech. contrary to law and/or good customs.[22] this Court held: “The constitutional guaranty of free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship carries with it the right to disseminate religious information.’ As stated. the test attained its full flowering in the decade of the forties. In x-rating the TV program of the petitioner. it is true that the clear and present danger test has undergone permutations. It is suggested that we re-examine the application of clear and present danger rule to the case at bar. There is no showing whatsoever of the type of harm the tapes will bring about especially the gravity and imminence of the threatened harm.“x x x “However. Bannered by Justices Holmes and Brandeis. In American Bible Society v.[24] as follows: “x x x the question in every case is whether the words used 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 Congress has a right to prevent. Elizalde Rope Workers Union. paragraph (c) of E.” Admittedly.’ On the face of the law itself. ‘applying contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard.” (Italics supplied) Fourth. Any restraint of such right can be justified like other restraints on freedom of expression on the ground that there is a clear and present danger of any substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent.O.” In Victoriano vs. including religious speech. indecent. It was Mr. No.[25] Thus. City of Manila.” The records show that the decision of the respondent Board. is completely bereft of findings of facts to justify the conclusion that the subject video tapes constitute impermissible attacks against another religion. the test was applied to annul a total ban on labor picketing.

’ discounted by its improbability. As far back as 1921. we are not ready to hold that it is unconstitutional for Congress to grant an administrative body quasi-judicial power to preview and classify TV programs and enforce its decision subject to review by our courts. and even added an intent requirement which according to a noted commentator ensured that only speech directed at inciting lawlessness could be punished.: .” He submits that a “system of prior restraint may only be validly administered by judges and not left to administrative agencies. Ruiz.[29] Presently in the United States.” The imminence requirement of the test was thus diminished and to that extent. speech that provokes a hostile audience reaction. commercial speech and defamation. there is reason to apply the clear and present danger test to the case at bar which concerns speech that attacks other religions and could readily provoke hostile audience reaction. In 1969. the strength of the test was reinstated in Brandenburg v. however. exaggeration or fabrication falls within or lies outside the boundaries of protected speech or expression is a judicial function which cannot be arrogated by an administrative body such as a Board of Censors. It cannot be doubted that religious truths disturb and disturb terribly. Maryland[32] was ready to hold that “the teaching of cases is that.[28] when the High Court restored in the test the imminence requirement. only a procedure requiring a judicial determination suffices to impose a valid final restraint.”[33] While the thesis has a lot to commend itself. the test is still applied to four types of speech: speech that advocates dangerous ideas. Allegedly. the US Supreme Court in Freedman v.[31] By 1965. Justice Kapunan that “x x x the determination of the question as to whether or not such vilification. Justice Mendoza. it is also opined by Mr. can determine whether its sulphur will bring about the substantive evil feared by the law. Justice Brennan in his concurring opinion in the 1962 case of Manual Enterprise v. and the causal connection between the speech and the evil apprehended cannot be established. Its seedbed was laid down by Mr. its impact cannot be measured. Day.” The same submission is made by Mr. justifies such invasion of free speech as is necessary to avoid the danger. with its expertise. unless the speech is first allowed. Given the specific content of the speech. because only a judicial determination in an adversary proceeding ensures the necessary sensitivity to freedom of expression. Be that as it may. This thoughtful thesis is an attempt to transplant another American rule in our jurisdiction. place or manner of speech. It is also opined that it is inappropriate to apply the clear and present danger test to the case at bar because the issue involves the content of speech and not the time. the clear and present danger test is not applied to protect low value speeches such as obscene speech. it is not unreasonable to assume that the respondent Board. The contention overlooks the fact that the case at bar involves videotapes that are pre-taped and hence. their speech content is known and not an X quantity.United States involving communist conspiracy. the components of the test were altered as the High Court adopted Judge Learned Hand’s formulation that “x x x in each case [courts] must ask whether the gravity of the ‘evil.[30] Hence. Ohio.[27] In Dennis. Finally. even following the drift of American jurisprudence. the protection of the rule was weakened. we upheld this set-up in Sotto vs.[34] viz. out of court contempt and release of information that endangers a fair trial.

in the exercise of executive power. 194 U. Brown [1900]. in the result. announcing a somewhat different doctrine and relied upon by the Attorney-General).J. Every intendment of the law is in favor of the correctness of his action. Bellosillo. 24. 63.. vs. Persons possess no absolute right to put into the mail anything they please. In excluding any publication for the mails.. Hermosisima. Romero.. SO ORDERED.. on leave. is fundamentally a legal question. The rule is (and we go only to those cases coming from the United States Supreme Court and pertaining to the United States Postmaster-General). Davide. 226 U. prohibition and injunction. 246 Fed. Padilla... Co.. see separate opinion.. Payne [1904]. 103 Fed. the action of the Director of Posts must be subject to revision by the courts in case he had abused his discretion or exceeded his authority. Melo. Post Publishing Co. 727. Panganiban. JJ. legal scholars in the United States are still debating the proposition whether or not courts alone are competent to decide whether speech is constitutionally protected. (Bates & Guilid Co. To be sure. Masses Pub. Smith vs. 115. IN VIEW WHEREOF. since whether an article is or is not libelous. the case was raffled to Br. Coyne [1903].S. see concurring and dissenting opinion. Hitchcock [1912]. In order for there to be due process of law.S. 194 U. C. Francisco.. 106. JJ.. vs. This is the more true with reference to articles supposedly libelous than to other particulars of the law. 96 U. . vs.S. Murray [1916]... Kapunan. J. 1995 is affirmed insofar as it sustained the jurisdiction of the respondent MTRCB to review petitioner’s TV program entitled “Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. J. is extremely delicate in nature and can only be justified where the statute is unequivocably applicable to the supposed objectionable publication.. Jr. concur. regardless of its character. Vitug.. But see David vs. [1] A petition for certiorari. 104. 773) As has been said. the Decision of the respondent Court of Appeals dated March 24. 23-Fed.” and is reversed and set aside insofar as it sustained the action of the respondent MTRCB x-rating petitioner’s TV Program Series Nos. Patten [1917].“The use of the mails by private persons is in the nature of a privilege which can be regulated in order to avoid its abuse. On the other hand.. the performance of the duty of determining whether a publication contains printed matter of a libelous character rests with the Director of Posts and involves the exercise of his judgment and discretion. JJ. Jr. see separate concurring opinion. 119. that the courts will not interfere with the decision of the Director of Posts unless clearly of opinion that it was wrong.. 909. 497. the exclusion of newspaper and other publications from the mails.[35] The issue involves highly arguable policy considerations and can be better addressed by our legislators. JJ. Narvasa.S. and Kapunan. (Ex-parte Jackson [1878]. No costs. joins the concurring and dissenting opinion of J. and Mendoza. then presided by Judge. and Torres.. and 121. the object should be not to interfere with the freedom of the press or with any other fundamental right of the people. Regalado. Public Clearing House vs. Jr.

now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals Maximiano Asuncion. [13] Original Records. 21-22. [15] Tenth Division with Associate Justice Antonio P. [8] Original Records. Governing Standard. 403 US 713 (1971). 245-250. 58. p. contrary to law. The second review shows the following action of the respondent Board: REMARKS: An unbalanced interpretation of some parts of the bible regarding Christmas. [21] Sec. — a) the Board shall judge the motion pictures and television programs and publicity materials submitted to it for review. [11] Original Records. 29. 219-220. pp.” [22] 101 Phil. Sullivan. L-25246. [17] Cruz. [3] Original Records. [5] Original Records. and good customs x x x such as but not limited: xxx xxx xxx vii. 30. [14] Original Records. [19] Near v. 144-149. pp. p. 25. pp. pp. New York Times v. creed. to abate what are legally objectionable for being immoral. [23] 59 SCRA 54. Those which clearly constitute an attack against any race. p. September 12. pp. 30) [7] Original Records. 24. [18] Original Records. 1991 ed. p. 233-242. pp.. 4. Bantam Books Inc. [10] Original Records. 223-230. pp. [9] Original Records. 1974 per Mr. 121-120. p. [12] Original Records. 379-381. 27. Solano (ponente). 372 US 58 (1963). 176-178. p. Constitutional Law. . They (The Iglesia ni Kristo) tackle/discuss only their own interpretations (and) while the sides of the Protestants and the Catholics who they pick on in this episode are not heard of. p. (Original Records. We feel that this topic of the Iglesia ni Kristo which is (?) of attacking other religious beliefs does not merit public telecast. Justice Calixto Zaldivar. Elizalde Rope Worker Union. 283 US 697 (1931). [20] 310 US 296. [16] Victoriano v. pp. [6] Original Records. pp. using as standard contemporary Filipino cultural values. Minnesota. p. 386. or religion as distinguished from individual members thereof. 28. v. Associate Justice Alfredo Benipayo (chairman) and Associate Justice Ricardo Galvez (member). indecent. United States. 23. [2] Original Records. [4] Original Records.

27 Stan L. p. Some Fragments of History. [33] Id. Toward a Better Understanding of the Prior Restraint Doctrine. Law Rev. 719 (1975). 314 US 252. A Reply to Prof. [35] See Hunter.” [26] Thornhill v.. 262 where J. Rev.. [25] Bridges v. [29] Gunther.63 Led 470 (1919). Speech. Black observed that the test “has afforded a practical guidance in a variety of cases in which the scope of constitutional protections of freedom of expression was an issue. 1453 (1991). 6. [32] 380 US 51 (1965). 67 Cornell L. [28] Id. 310 US 88 (1940). 91 Col. 283 (1982) for the view that courts are no better than administrative agencies in protecting First Amendment rights. 468 (1921) per Justice Malcolm. 58. at p. Harm and Self Government: Understanding the Ambit of the Clear and Present Danger Test. [34] 41 Phil. Learned Hand and the Origins of Modern First Amendment Doctrine. Alabama. Rev. 510. . [31] 370 US 478 (1962). [27] 341 US 494 (1951). at p. California. Mayton. No. [30] Hentoff.[24] 249 US 47.