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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 107383. February 20, 1996.]
CECILIA ZULUEA, petitioner, vs. C!UR !F A""EAL# a$%
ALFRE&! 'ARIN, respondents.
#(LLA)U#
C!N#IUI!NAL LA*+ )ILL !F RIG,#+ RIG, ! "RI-AC( !F
C!''UNICAI!N AN& C!RRE#"!N&ENCE+ A "ER#!N )(
C!NRACING 'ARRIAGE, &!E# N! #,E& ,I#.,ER INEGRI(
!R ,I# RIG, ! "RI-AC( A# AN IN&I-I&UAL AN& ,E
C!N#IUI!NAL "R!ECI!N I# E-ER A-AILA)LE ! ,I' !R !
,ER. / Indeed the documents and papers in question are inadmissible in
evidence. The constitutional injunction declaring the privac! o"
communication and correspondence #to be$ inviolable% is no less
applicable simpl! because it is the &i"e '&ho thin(s hersel" aggrieved b!
her husband)s in"idelit!* &ho is the part! against &hom the constitutional
provision is to be en"orced. The onl! e+ception to the prohibition in the
Constitution is i" there is a la&"ul order #"rom a$ court or &hen public
sa"et! or order requires other&ise, as prescribed b! la&.% -n! violation o"
this provision renders the evidence obtained inadmissible "or an! purpose
in an! proceeding.% The intimacies bet&een husband and &i"e do not
justi"! an! one o" them in brea(ing the dra&ers and cabinets o" the other
and in ransac(ing them "or an! telltale evidence o" marital in"idelit!. -
person, b! contracting marriage, does not shed his.her integrit! or his right
to privac! as an individual and the constitutional protection is ever
available to him or to her.
A""EARANCE# !F C!UN#EL
Leonides S. Respicio & Associates Law Office "or petitioner.
Galileo P. Brion for private respondent.
& E C I # I ! N
'EN&!ZA, J.:
This is a petition to revie& the decision o" the Court o" -ppeals, a""irming the
decision o" the /egional Trial Court o" 0anila '1ranch 2* &hich ordered petitioner to
return documents and papers ta(en b! her "rom private respondent)s clinic &ithout the
latter)s (no&ledge and consent.
The "acts are as "ollo&s3
4etitioner Cecilia 5ulueta is the &i"e o" private respondent -l"redo 0artin. On 0arch
67, 89:6, petitioner entered the clinic o" her husband, a doctor o" medicine, and in the
presence o" her mother, a driver and private respondent)s secretar!, "orcibl! opened the
dra&ers and cabinet in her husband)s clinic and too( 8;< documents consisting o"
private correspondence bet&een Dr. 0artin and his alleged paramours, greetings cards,
cancelled chec(s, diaries, Dr. 0artin)s passport, and photographs. The documents and
papers &ere sei=ed "or use in evidence in a case "or legal separation and "or
disquali"ication "rom the practice o" medicine &hich petitioner had "iled against her
husband.
Dr. 0artin brought this action belo& "or recover! o" the documents and papers and
"or damages against petitioner. The case &as "iled &ith the /egional Trial Court o"
0anila, 1ranch 2, &hich, a"ter trial, rendered judgment "or private respondent, Dr.
-l"redo 0artin, declaring him the capital.e+clusive o&ner o" the properties described in
paragraph > o" plainti"")s Complaint or those "urther described in the 0otion to /eturn
and Suppress% and ordering Cecilia 5ulueta and an! person acting in her behal" to
immediatel! return the properties to Dr. 0artin and to pa! him 4;,???.??, as nominal
damages@ 4;,???.??, as moral damages and attorne!)s "ees@ and to pa! the costs o"
the suit. The &rit o" preliminar! injunction earlier issued &as made "inal and petitioner
Cecilia 5ulueta and her attorne!s and representatives &ere enjoined "rom using or
submitting.admitting as evidence% the documents and papers in question. On appeal,
the Court o" -ppeals a""irmed the decision o" the /egional Trial Court. Aence this
petition.
There is no question that the documents and papers in question belong to private
respondent, Dr. -l"redo 0artin, and that the! &ere ta(en b! his &i"e, the herein
petitioner, &ithout his (no&ledge and consent. Bor that reason, the trial court declared
the documents and papers to be properties o" private respondent, ordered petitioner to
return them to private respondent and enjoined her "rom using them in evidence. In
appealing "rom the decision o" the Court o" -ppeals a""irming the trial court)s decision,
petitioner)s onl! ground is that in Alfredo Martin v. Alfonso Felix, Jr.,
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this Court ruled that
the documents and papers 'mar(ed as -nne+es -Ci to DC< o" respondent)s comment in
that case* &ere admissible in evidence and, there"ore, their use b! petitioner)s attorne!,
-l"onso Beli+, Dr., did not constitute malpractice or gross misconduct. Bor this reason it
is contended that the Court o" -ppeals erred in a""irming the decision o" the trial court
instead o" dismissing private respondent)s complaint.
4etitioner)s contention has no merit. The case against -tt!. Beli+, Dr. &as "or
disbarment. -mong other things, private respondent, Dr. -l"redo 0artin, as complainant
in that case, charged that in using the documents in evidence, -tt!. Beli+, Dr. committed
malpractice or gross misconduct because o" the injunctive order o" the trial court. In
dismissing the complaint against -tt!. Beli+, Dr., this Court too( note o" the "ollo&ing
de"ense o" -tt!. Beli+, Dr. &hich it "ound to be impressed &ith merit3%
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On the alleged malpractice or gross misconduct o" respondent #-l"onso Beli+, Dr.$,
he maintains that3
+++ +++ +++
4. When respondent refiled Cecilia’s case for legal separation before the Pasig
Regional Trial Court, there was admittedly an order of the Manila Regional Trial
Court prohibiting Cecilia from using the documents nne! "#$ to %#&.' (n
)eptember *, +,-., howe/er ha/ing appealed the said order to this Court on a petition
for certiorari, this Court issued a restraining order on aforesaid date which order
temporarily set aside the order of the trial court. 0ence, during the enforceability of
this Court’s order, respondent’s re1uest for petitioner to admit the genuineness and
authenticity of the sub2ect anne!es cannot be loo3ed upon as malpractice. 4otably,
petitioner 5r. Martin finally admitted the truth and authenticity of the 1uestioned
anne!es. t that point in time, would it ha/e been malpractice for respondent to use
petitioner’s admission as e/idence against him in the legal separation case pending in
the Regional Trial Court of Ma3ati6 Respondent submits it is# not malpractice.
Signi"icantl!, petitioner)s admission &as done not thru his counsel but b! Dr. 0artin
himsel" under oath. Such veri"ied admission constitutes an a""idavit, and, there"ore,
receivable in evidence against him. 4etitioner became bound b! his admission. Bor
Cecilia to avail hersel" o" her husband)s admission and use the same in her action "or
legal separation cannot be treated as malpractice.
Thus, the acquittal o" -tt!. Beli+, Dr. in the administrative case amounts to no more
than a declaration that his use o" the documents and papers "or the purpose o" securing
Dr. 0artin)s admission as to their genuiness and authenticit! did not constitute a
violation o" the injunctive order o" the trial court. 1! no means does the decision in that
case establish the admissibilit! o" the documents and papers in question.
It cannot be overemphasi=ed that i" -tt!. Beli+, Dr. &as acquitted o" the charge o"
violating the &rit o" preliminar! injunction issued b! the trial court, it &as onl! because,
at the time he used the documents and papers, en"orcement o" the order o" the trial
court &as temporaril! restrained b! this Court. The T/O issued b! this Court &as
eventuall! li"ted as the petition "or certiorari "iled b! petitioner against the trial court)s
order &as dismissed and, there"ore, the prohibition against the "urther use o" the
documents and papers became e""ective again.
Indeed the documents and papers in question are inadmissible in evidence. The
constitutional injunction declaring the privac! o" communication and correspondence
#to be$ inviolable%
>
is no less applicable simpl! because it is the &i"e '&ho thin(s hersel"
aggrieved b! her husband)s in"idelit!* &ho is the part! against &hom the constitutional
provision is to be en"orced. The onl! e+ception to the prohibition in the Constitution is i"
there is a la&"ul order #"rom a$ court or &hen public sa"et! or order requires other&ise,
as prescribed b! la&.%
E
-n! violation o" this provision renders the evidence obtained
inadmissible "or an! purpose in an! proceeding.%
;
The intimacies bet&een husband and &i"e do not justi"! an! one o" them in brea(ing
the dra&ers and cabinets o" the other and in ransac(ing them "or an! telltale evidence
o" marital in"idelit!. - person, b! contracting marriage, does not shed his.her integrit! or
his right to privac! as an individual and the constitutional protection is ever available to
him or to her.
The la& insures absolute "reedom o" communication bet&een the spouses b!
ma(ing it privileged. Neither husband nor &i"e ma! testi"! "or or against the other
&ithout the consent o" the a""ected spouse &hile the marriage subsists.
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Neither ma! be
e+amined &ithout the consent o" the other as to an! communication received in
con"idence b! one "rom the other during the marriage, save "or speci"ied
e+ceptions.
<
1ut one thing is "reedom o" communication@ quite another is a compulsion
"or each one to share &hat one (no&s &ith the other. -nd this has nothing to do &ith the
dut! o" "idelit! that each o&es to the other.
*,EREF!RE, the petition "or revie& is DENIED "or lac( o" merit.
#! !R&ERE&