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Republic of the Philippines


G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995
SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner,
S. GARCIA, respondents.

civil case da!a"es #as filed b$ petitioner
Socorro D. Ra!ire% in the Re"ional Trial &ourt of
'ue%on &it$ alle"in" that the private respondent,
(ster S. )arcia, in a confrontation in the latter*s
office, alle"edl$ ve+ed, insulted and hu!iliated her
in a ,hostile and furious !ood, and in a !anner
offensive to petitioner*s di"nit$ and personalit$,,
contrar$ to !orals, "ood custo!s and public
In support of her clai!, petitioner produced a
verbati! transcript of the event and sou"ht !oral
da!a"es, attorne$*s fees and other e+penses of
liti"ation in the a!ount of P-./,///.//, in addition
to costs, interests and other reliefs a#ardable at
the trial court*s discretion. The transcript on #hich
the civil case #as based #as culled fro! a tape
recordin" of the confrontation !ade b$
The transcript reads as follo#s0
Plaintiff Soccoro D.
Ra!ire% 1&huchi2 3
)ood fternoon M*a!.
Defendant (ster S.
)arcia 1(S)2 3 no
ba an" nan"$ari sa
*$o, na4ali!ot 4a na
4un" paano 4a
napunta rito, por4e
!e!ber 4a na,
!a"su!bon" 4a 4un"
ano an" "a"a#in 4o sa
&56&5I 3 7asi, na4a
dut$ a4o noon.
(S) 3 Tapos ini#an
no. 1Sic2
&56&5I 3 5indi
!*a!, pero ilan beses
na nila a4on"
binali4an, sabin"
"anoon 3
(S) 3 Ito and 1sic2
!asasabi 4o sa *$o,
a$a# 4un" 1sic2 !a"
e+plain 4a, 4asi
han""an" ./0// p.!.,
4inabu4asan hindi 4a
na pu!aso4. N"a$on
a4o an" babali4 sa *$o,
na"8aapl$ 4a sa
States, na"8aapl$ 4a
sa revie# !o, 4un"
4a4ailan"anin an"
certification !o,
4ali!utan !o na 4asi
hindi 4a sa a4in
&56&5I 3 5indi
M*a!. 7asi an" ano 4o
tala"a noon i8
cocontinue 4o up to
./0// p.!.
(S) 3 Bastos
ka, na4ali!utan !o na
4un" paano 4a
pu!aso4 dito sa hotel.
Ma"su!bon" 4a sa
6nion 4un" "usto !o.
Na4ali!utan !o na
4un" paano 4a
na4apaso4 dito ,Do
$ou thin4 that on $our
o#n !a4a4apaso4 4a
4un" hindi a4o.
Panunu!b$o$an na
4ita 1Sinusu!batan na
&56&5I 3 Itutulo$ 4o
na M*a! sana an"
dut$ 4o.
(S) 3 7aso ilan"
beses na a4on"
binabali4an doon n"
!"a no 1sic2 4o.
(S) 3 Na4ali!utan
!o na ba 4un" paano
4a pu!aso4 sa hotel,
4un" on $our o#n
!erit ala! 4o na!an
4un" "aano 4a ,4a
bobo, !o. Mara!i an"
na"8aapl$ ala! 4on"
hindi 4a papasa.
&56&5I 3 7u!uha
4a!i n" e+a! noon.
(S) 3 Oo, pero hindi
4a papasa.
&56&5I 3 (h, ba4it
a4o an" na4uha ni Dr.
(S) 3 7u4unin 4a
4asi a4o.
&56&5I 3 (h, di sana
(S) 3 5u#a" !on"
ipa"!ala4i na !a$
uta4 4a 4asi wala kang
utak. 4ala !o ba
!a4u4uha 4a dito
4un" hindi a4o.
&56&5I 3 Ma"8
ee+plain a4o.
(S) 3 5u#a" na,
hindi a4o !a"8papa8
e+plain sa *$o,
!a4aalala 4a 4un"
paano 4a pu!a8rito.
,Putang-ina, sasabi8
sabihin !o 4a!a"8
ana4 n" nana$ at
tata$ !o an" !"a
!a"ulan" 4o.
(S) 3 9ala na a4on"
pa4iala!, dahil
nandito 4a sa loob,
nasa labas 4a pu#ede
4a n" hindi pu!aso4,
o4e$ $an nasaloob 4a
u!alis 4a doon.
&56&5I 3 7asi M*a!,
binbali4an a4o n" !"a
ta"a 6nion.
(S) 3 Nandi$an na
rin a4o, pero hu#a"
!on" 4ali!utan na
hindi 4a !a4a4apaso4
4un" hindi a4o. 7un"
hindi !o 4ini4ilala $an
o4e$ lan" sa a4in,
dahil tapos 4a na.
&56&5I 3 Ina8ano 4o
!*a! na utan" na
(S) 3 5u#a" na lan",
hindi !o utan" na
loob, 4asi 4un" ba"a
sa no, nilapastan"an
!o a4o.
&56&5I 3 Paano 4ita
(S) 3 Mabuti pa
lu!abas 4a na. 5indi
na a4o !a4i4ipa"usap
sa *$o. ;u!abas 4a na.
Ma"su!bon" 4a.
s a result of petitioner*s recordin" of the event
and alle"in" that the said act of secretl$ tapin" the
confrontation #as ille"al, private respondent filed a
cri!inal case before the Re"ional Trial &ourt of
Pasa$ &it$ for violation of Republic ct <=//,
entitled ,n ct to prohibit and penali%e #ire
tappin" and other related violations of private
co!!unication, and other purposes., n
infor!ation char"in" petitioner of violation of the
said ct, dated October -, .>?? is @uoted
The 6ndersi"ned ssistant &it$ Fiscal
ccusses Socorro D. Ra!ire% of
Violation of Republic ct No. <=//,
co!!itted as follo#s0
That on or about the
==nd da$ of Februar$,
.>??, in Pasa$ &it$
Metro Manila,
Philippines, and #ithin
the Aurisdiction of this
honorable court, the
above8na!ed accused,
Socorro D. Ra!ire%
not bein" authori%ed
b$ (ster S. )arcia to
record the latter*s
conversation #ith said
accused, did then and
there #illfull$,
unla#full$ and
feloniousl$, #ith the
use of a tape recorder
secretl$ record the
said conversation and
co!!unicate in
#ritin" the contents of
the said recordin" to
other person.
&ontrar$ to la#.
Pasa$ &it$, Metro
Manila, Septe!ber .-,
sst. &it$ Fiscal
6pon arrai"n!ent, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed
a Motion to 'uash the Infor!ation on the "round
that the facts char"ed do not constitute an offense,
particularl$ a violation of R.. <=//. In an order
Ma$ B, .>?>, the trial court "ranted the Motion to
'uash, a"reein" #ith petitioner that .2 the facts
char"ed do not constitute an offense under R..
<=//C and that =2 the violation punished b$ R..
<=// refers to a the tapin" of a co!!unication b$
a personother than a participant to the
Fro! the trial court*s Order, the private respondent
filed a Petition for Revie# on Certiorari #ith this
&ourt, #hich forth#ith referred the case to the
&ourt of ppeals in a Resolution 1b$ the First
Division2 of Dune .>, .>?>.
On Februar$ >, .>>/, respondent &ourt of ppeals
pro!ul"ated its assailed Decision declarin" the trial
court*s order of Ma$ B, .>?> null and void, and
holdin" that0
ETFhe alle"ations sufficientl$
constitute an offense punishable
under Section . of R.. <=//. In
thus @uashin" the infor!ation based
on the "round that the facts alle"ed
do not constitute an offense, the
respondent Aud"e acted in "rave
abuse of discretion correctible
b$ certiorari.
&onse@uentl$, on Februar$ =., .>>/, petitioner
filed a Motion for Reconsideration #hich respondent
&ourt of ppeals denied in its Resolution
Dune .>, .>>/. 5ence, the instant petition.
Petitioner vi"orousl$ ar"ues, as her ,!ain and
principal issue,
that the applicable provision of
Republic ct <=// does not appl$ to the tapin" of a
private conversation b$ one of the parties to the
conversation. She contends that the provision
!erel$ refers to the unauthori%ed tapin" of a
private conversation b$ a part$ other than those
involved in the co!!unication.
In relation to this,
petitioner avers that the substance or content of
the conversation !ust be alle"ed in the
Infor!ation, other#ise the facts char"ed #ould not
constitute a violation of R.. <=//.
petitioner a"ues that R.. <=// penali%es the
tapin" of a ,private co!!unication,, not a ,private
conversation, and that conse@uentl$, her act of
secretl$ tapin" her conversation #ith private
respondent #as not ille"al under the said act.
9e disa"ree.
First, le"islative intent is deter!ined principall$
fro! the lan"ua"e of a statute. 9here the
lan"ua"e of a statute is clear and una!bi"uous,
the la# is applied accordin" to its e+press ter!s,
and interpretation #ould be resorted to onl$ #here
a literal interpretation #ould be either
or absurb or #ould lead to an
Section . of R.. <=// entitled, , n ct to Prohibit
and Penali%ed 9ire Tappin" and Other Related
Violations of Private &o!!unication and Other
Purposes,, provides0
Sec. .. It shall be unla#full for an$
person, not bein" authori%ed b$ all
the parties to an$ private
co!!unication or spo4en #ord, to
tap an$ #ire or cable, or b$ usin"
an$ other device or arran"e!ent, to
secretl$ overhear, intercept, or
record such co!!unication or
spo4en #ord b$ usin" a device
co!!onl$ 4no#n as a dictaphone or
dicta"raph or detectaphone or
#al4ie8tal4ie or tape recorder, or
ho#ever other#ise described.
The aforestated provision clearl$ and une@uivocall$
!a4es it ille"al for an$ person, not authori%ed b$
all the parties to an$ private co!!unication to
secretl$ record such co!!unication b$ !eans of a
tape recorder. The la# !a4es no distinction as to
#hether the part$ sou"ht to be penali%ed b$ the
statute ou"ht to be a part$ other than or different
fro! those involved in the private co!!unication.
The statute*s intent to penali%e all persons
unauthori%ed to !a4e such recordin" is
underscored b$ the use of the @ualifier ,an$,.
&onse@uentl$, as respondent &ourt of ppeals
correctl$ concluded, ,even a 1person2 priv$ to a
co!!unication #ho records his private
conversation #ith another #ithout the 4no#led"e
of the latter 1#ill2 @ualif$ as a violator,
this provision of R.. <=//.
perusal of the Senate &on"ressional Records,
!oreover, supports the respondent court*s
conclusion that in enactin" R.. <=// our
la#!a4ers indeed conte!plated to !a4e ille"al,
unauthori%ed tape recordin" of private
conversations or co!!unications ta4en either b$
the parties the!selves or b$ third persons. Thus0
+++ +++ +++
Senator TaGada0 That @ualified onl$
Senator Padilla0 So that #hen it is
intercepted or recorded, the ele!ent
of secrec$ #ould not appear to be
!aterial. No#, suppose, Hour 5onor,
the recordin" is not !ade b$ all the
parties but b$ so!e parties and
involved not cri!inal cases that
#ould be !entioned under section B
but #ould cover, for e+a!ple civil
cases or special proceedin"s
#hereb$ a recordin" is !ade not
necessaril$ b$ all the parties but
perhaps b$ so!e in an effort to sho#
the intent of the parties because the
actuation of the parties prior,
si!ultaneous even subse@uent to the
contract or the act !a$ be indicative
of their intention. Suppose there is
such a recordin", #ould $ou sa$,
Hour 5onor, that the intention is to
cover it #ithin the purvie# of this bill
or outside:
Senator TaGada0 That is covered b$
the purvie# of this bill, Hour 5onor.
Senator Padilla0 (ven if the record
should be used not in the
prosecution of offense but as
evidence to be used in &ivil &ases or
special proceedin"s:
Senator TaGada0 That is ri"ht. This is
a comlete !an on tae recor"e"
con#ersations taken without the
authori$ation o% all the arties.
Senator Padilla0 No#, #ould that be
reasonable, $our 5onor:
Senator TaGada0 I believe it is
reasonable because it is not sorting
to recor" the o!ser#ation o% one
without his knowing it an" then
using it against him. It is not %air, it
is not sortsmanlike. If the purposeC
Hour honor, is to record the intention
of the parties. I believe that all the
parties should 4no# that the
observations are bein" recorded.
Senator Padilla0 This !i"ht reduce
the utilit$ of recorders.
Senator TaGada0 9ell no. For
e+a!ple, I #as to sa$ that in
!eetin"s of the board of directors
#here a tape recordin" is ta4en,
there is no obAection to this if all the
parties 4no#. It is but fair that the
people #hose re!ar4s and
observations are bein" !ade should
4no# that the observations are bein"
Senator Padilla0 No#, I can
Senator TaGada0 That is #h$ #hen
#e ta4e state!ents of persons, #e
sa$0 ,Please be infor!ed that
#hatever $ou sa$ here !a$ be used
a"ainst $ou., That is fairness and
that is #hat #e de!and. No#, in
spite of that #arnin", he !a4es
da!a"in" state!ents a"ainst his
o#n interest, #ell, he cannot
co!plain an$ !ore. But i% &ou are
going to take a recor"ing o% the
o!ser#ations an" remarks o% a
erson without him knowing that it
is !eing tae" or recor"e", without
him knowing that what is !eing
recor"e" ma& !e use" against him, I
think it is un%air.
+++ +++ +++
1&on"ression Record, Vol. III, No.
B., p. I?<, March .=, .>-<2
Senator Dio4no0 Do $ou understand,
Mr. Senator, that under Section . of
the bill as no# #orded, i% a art&
secretl& recor"s a u!lic seech, he
#ould be penali%ed under Section .:
Jecause the speech is public, but the
recordin" is done secretl$.
Senator TaGada0 9ell, that particular
aspect is not conte!plated b$ the
bill. It is the communication !etween
one erson an" another erson '
not !etween a seaker an" a u!lic.
+++ +++ +++
1&on"ressional Record, Vol. III, No.
BB, p. -=-, March .=, .>-<2
+++ +++ +++
The una!bi"uit$ of the e+press #ords of the
provision, ta4en to"ether #ith the above8@uoted
deliberations fro! the &on"ressional Record,
therefore plainl$ supports the vie# held b$ the
respondent court that the provision see4s to
penali%e even those priv$ to the private
co!!unications. 9here the la# !a4es no
distinctions, one does not distin"uish.
Second, the nature of the conversations is
i!!aterial to a violation of the statute. The
substance of the sa!e need not be specificall$
alle"ed in the infor!ation. 9hat R.. <=//
penali%es are the acts of secretl$ o#erhearing,
interceting or recor"ing private co!!unications
b$ !eans of the devices enu!erated therein. The
!ere alle"ation that an individual !ade a secret
recordin" of a private co!!unication b$ !eans of
a tape recorder #ould suffice to constitute an
offense under Section . of R.. <=//. s the
Solicitor )eneral pointed out in his &OMM(NT
before the respondent court0 ,No#here 1in the said
la#2 is it re@uired that before one can be re"arded
as a violator, the nature of the conversation, as
#ell as its co!!unication to a third person should
be professed.,
Finall$, petitioner*s contention that the phrase
,private co!!unication, in Section . of R.. <=//
does not include ,private conversations, narro#s
the ordinar$ !eanin" of the #ord ,co!!unication,
to a point of absurdit$. The #ord co!!unicate
co!es fro! the latin #ord communicare, !eanin"
,to share or to i!part., In its ordinar$ si"nification,
co!!unication connotes the act of sharin" or
i!partin" si"nification, co!!unication connotes
the act of sharin" or i!partin", as in
a con#ersation,
or si"nifies the ,process b$ #hich
!eanin"s or thou"hts are shared bet#een
individuals throu"h a co!!on s$ste! of s$!bols
1as lan"ua"e si"ns or "estures2,
definitions are broad enou"h to include verbal or
non8verbal, #ritten or e+pressive co!!unications
of ,!eanin"s or thou"hts, #hich are li4el$ to
include the e!otionall$8char"ed e+chan"e, on
Februar$ ==, .>??, bet#een petitioner and private
respondent, in the privac$ of the latter*s office. n$
doubts about the le"islative bod$*s !eanin" of the
phrase ,private co!!unication, are, further!ore,
put to rest b$ the fact that the ter!s
,conversation, and ,co!!unication, #ere
interchan"eabl$ used b$ Senator TaGada in his
(+planator$ Note to the bill @uoted belo#0
It has been said that innocent people
have nothin" to fear fro!
their con#ersations bein" overheard.
Jut this state!ent i"nores the usual
nature of con#ersations as #ell the
undeniable fact that !ost, if not all,
civili%ed people have so!e aspects of
their lives the$ do not #ish to
e+pose. Freecon#ersations are often
characteri%ed b$ e+a""erations,
obscenit$, a"reeable falsehoods, and
the e+pression of anti8social desires
of vie#s not intended to be ta4en
seriousl$. The ri"ht to the ri#ac& o%
communication, a!on" others, has
e+pressl$ been assured b$ our
&onstitution. Needless to state here,
the fra!ers of our &onstitution !ust
have reco"ni%ed the nature
of con#ersations bet#een individuals
and the si"nificance of !an*s
spiritual nature, of his feelin"s and of
his intellect. The$ !ust have 4no#n
that part of the pleasures and
satisfactions of life are to be found in
the unaudited, and free e+chan"e
of communication bet#een
individuals 3 free fro! ever$
unAustifiable intrusion b$ #hatever
In (aanan #s. Interme"iate Aellate Court,
case #hich dealt #ith the issue of telephone
#iretappin", #e held that the use of a telephone
e+tension for the purpose of overhearin" a private
conversation #ithout authori%ation did not violate
R.. <=// because a telephone e+tension devise
#as neither a!on" those ,device1s2 or
arran"e!ent1s2, enu!erated therein,
the principle that ,penal statutes !ust be
construed strictl$ in favor of the accused.,
instant case turns on a different note, because the
applicable facts and circu!stances pointin" to a
violation of R.. <=// suffer fro! no a!bi"uit$,
and the statute itself e+plicitl$ !entions the
unauthori%ed ,recordin", of private
co!!unications #ith the use of tape8recorders as
a!on" the acts punishable.
95(R(FOR(, because the la#, as applied to the
case at bench is clear and una!bi"uous and leaves
us #ith no discretion, the instant petition is hereb$
D(NI(D. The decision appealed fro! is FFIRM(D.
&osts a"ainst petitioner.
Pa"illa, )a#i"e, *r+ an" Bellosillo **+, concur+
,ermosisima, *r+, *+, is on lea#e+
Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 1+*383 #ebr-$r. 2+, 199)
CECI"IA ZU"UETA, petitioner,
MARTIN, respondents.
This is a petition to revie# the decision of the &ourt
of ppeals, affir!in" the decision of the Re"ional
Trial &ourt of Manila 1Jranch K2 #hich ordered
petitioner to return docu!ents and papers ta4en
b$ her fro! private respondent*s clinic #ithout the
latter*s 4no#led"e and consent.
The facts are as follo#s0
Petitioner &ecilia Lulueta is the #ife of private
respondent lfredo Martin. On March =-, .>?=,
petitioner entered the clinic of her husband, a
doctor of !edicine, and in the presence of her
!other, a driver and private respondent*s
secretar$, forcibl$ opened the dra#ers and cabinet
in her husband*s clinic and too4 .IM docu!ents
consistin" of private correspondence bet#een Dr.
Martin and his alle"ed para!ours, "reetin"s cards,
cancelled chec4s, diaries, Dr. Martin*s passport, and
photo"raphs. The docu!ents and papers #ere
sei%ed for use in evidence in a case for le"al
separation and for dis@ualification fro! the practice
of !edicine #hich petitioner had filed a"ainst her
Dr. Martin brou"ht this action belo# for recover$ of
the docu!ents and papers and for da!a"es
a"ainst petitioner. The case #as filed #ith the
Re"ional Trial &ourt of Manila, Jranch K, #hich,
after trial, rendered Aud"!ent for private
respondent, Dr. lfredo Martin, declarin" hi! ,the
capitalNe+clusive o#ner of the properties described
in para"raph B of plaintiff*s &o!plaint or those
further described in the Motion to Return and
Suppress, and orderin" &ecilia Lulueta and an$
person actin" in her behalf to a i!!ediatel$ return
the properties to Dr. Martin and to pa$ hi!
PI,///.//, as no!inal da!a"esC PI,///.//, as
!oral da!a"es and attorne$*s feesC and to pa$ the
costs of the suit. The #rit of preli!inar$ inAunction
earlier issued #as !ade final and petitioner &ecilia
Lulueta and her attorne$s and representatives
#ere enAoined fro! ,usin" or sub!ittin"Nad!ittin"
as evidence, the docu!ents and papers in
@uestion. On appeal, the &ourt of ppeals affir!ed
the decision of the Re"ional Trial &ourt. 5ence this
There is no @uestion that the docu!ents and
papers in @uestion belon" to private respondent,
Dr. lfredo Martin, and that the$ #ere ta4en b$ his
#ife, the herein petitioner, #ithout his 4no#led"e
and consent. For that reason, the trial court
declared the docu!ents and papers to be
properties of private respondent, ordered petitioner
to return the! to private respondent and enAoined
her fro! usin" the! in evidence. In appealin" fro!
the decision of the &ourt of ppeals affir!in" the
trial court*s decision, petitioner*s onl$ "round is
that in lfredo Martin v. lfonso Feli+, Dr.,
&ourt ruled that the docu!ents and papers
1!ar4ed as nne+es 8. to D8M of respondent*s
co!!ent in that case2 #ere ad!issible in evidence
and, therefore, their use b$ petitioner*s attorne$,
lfonso Feli+ did not constitute !alpractice or "ross
!isconduct, For this reason it is contended that the
&ourt of ppeals erred in affir!in" the decision of
the trial court instead of dis!issin" private
respondent*s co!plaint.
Petitioner*s contention has no !erit. The case
a"ainst tt$. Feli+, Dr. #as for disbar!ent. !on"
other thin"s, private respondent, Dr. lfredo
Martin, as co!plainant in that case, char"ed that in
usin" the docu!ents in evidence, tt$. Feli+, Dr.
co!!itted !alpractice or "ross !isconduct
because of the inAunctive order of the trial court. In
dis!issin" the co!plaint a"ainst tt$. Feli+, Dr., this
&ourt too4 note of the follo#in" defense of tt$.
Feli+C Dr. #hich it found to be ,i!pressed #ith
On the alle"ed !alpractice or "ross
!isconduct of respondent Elfonso Feli+,
Dr.F, he !aintains that0
. . . .
<. 9hen respondent refiled &ecilia*s case for
le"al separation before the Pasi" Re"ional
Trial &ourt, there #as ad!ittedl$ an order of
the Manila Re"ional Trial &ourt prohibitin"
&ecilia fro! usin" the docu!ents nne+ ,8
. to D8M., On Septe!ber -, .>?B, ho#ever
havin" appealed the said order to this &ourt
on a petition for certiorari , this &ourt issued
a restrainin" order on aforesaid date #hich
order te!poraril$ set aside the order of the
trial court. 5ence, durin" the enforceabilit$
of this &ourt*s order, respondent*s re@uest
for petitioner to ad!it the "enuineness and
authenticit$ of the subAect anne+es cannot
be loo4ed upon as !alpractice. Notabl$,
petitioner Dr. Martin finall$ ad!itted the
truth and authenticit$ of the @uestioned
anne+es, t that point in ti!e, #ould it have
been !alpractice for respondent to use
petitioner*s ad!ission as evidence a"ainst
hi! in the le"al separation case pendin" in
the Re"ional Trial &ourt of Ma4ati:
Respondent sub!its it is not !alpractice.
Si"nificantl$, petitioner*s ad!ission #as
done not thru his counsel but b$ Dr. Martin
hi!self under oath, Such verified ad!ission
constitutes an affidavit, and, therefore,
receivable in evidence a"ainst hi!.
Petitioner beca!e bound b$ his ad!ission.
For &ecilia to avail herself of her husband*s
ad!ission and use the sa!e in her action
for le"al separation cannot be treated as
Thus, the ac@uittal of tt$. Feli+, Dr. in the
ad!inistrative case a!ounts to no !ore than a
declaration that his use of the docu!ents and
papers for the purpose of securin" Dr. Martin*s
ad!ission as to their "enuiness and authenticit$
did not constitute a violation of the inAunctive order
of the trial court. J$ no !eans does the decision in
that case establish the ad!issibilit$ of the
docu!ents and papers in @uestion.
It cannot be overe!phasi%ed that if tt$. Feli+, Dr.
#as ac@uitted of the char"e of violatin" the #rit of
preli!inar$ inAunction issued b$ the trial court, it
#as onl$ because, at the ti!e he used the
docu!ents and papers, enforce!ent of the order
of the trial court #as te!poraril$ restrained b$ this
&ourt. The TRO issued b$ this &ourt #as eventuall$
lifted as the petition for certiorari filed b$ petitioner
a"ainst the trial court*s order #as dis!issed and,
therefore, the prohibition a"ainst the further use of
the docu!ents and papers beca!e effective a"ain.
Indeed the docu!ents and papers in @uestion are
inad!issible in evidence. The constitutional
inAunction declarin" ,the privac$ of co!!unication
and correspondence Eto beF inviolable,
is no less
applicable si!pl$ because it is the #ife 1#ho thin4s
herself a""rieved b$ her husband*s infidelit$2 #ho
is the part$ a"ainst #ho! the constitutional
provision is to be enforced. The onl$ e+ception to
the prohibition in the &onstitution is if there is a
,la#ful order Efro! aF court or #hen public safet$
or order re@uires other#ise, as prescribed b$
n$ violation of this provision renders the
evidence obtained inad!issible ,for an$ purpose in
an$ proceedin".,
The inti!acies bet#een husband and #ife do not
Austif$ an$ one of the! in brea4in" the dra#ers
and cabinets of the other and in ransac4in" the!
for an$ telltale evidence of !arital infidelit$.
person, b$ contractin" !arria"e, does not shed
hisNher inte"rit$ or his ri"ht to privac$ as an
individual and the constitutional protection is ever
available to hi! or to her.
The la# insures absolute freedo! of
co!!unication bet#een the spouses b$ !a4in" it
privile"ed. Neither husband nor #ife !a$ testif$ for
or a"ainst the other #ithout the consent of the
affected spouse #hile the !arria"e
Neither !a$ be e+a!ined #ithout the
consent of the other as to an$ co!!unication
received in confidence b$ one fro! the other
durin" the !arria"e, save for specified
Jut one thin" is freedo! of
co!!unicationC @uite another is a co!pulsion for
each one to share #hat one 4no#s #ith the other.
nd this has nothin" to do #ith the dut$ of fidelit$
that each o#es to the other.
95(R(FOR(, the petition for revie# is D(NI(D for
lac4 of !erit.
Regala"o, Romero an" Puno, **+, concur.
Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 121+8* A-0-1t 2), 1999
#E"IPE NA,ARRO, petitioner,
TE PI"IPPINES, respondents.
This is a petition for revie# on certiorari of the
of the &ourt of ppeals, dated Dece!ber
.<, .>><, #hich affir!ed the Aud"!ent of the
Re"ional Trial &ourt, Jranch I, ;ucena &it$, dated
Dul$ =M, .>>=, findin" petitioner Felipe Navarro
"uilt$ be$ond reasonable doubt of ho!icide and
sentencin" hi! to ten 1./2 $ears of rision ma&or,
as !ini!u!, and fourteen 1.<2 $ears and ei"ht 1?2
!onths, and 1.2 da$ of reclusion temoral, as
!a+i!u!, but increased the death inde!nit$
a#arded to the heirs of the victi!, (nri@ue ,I4e,
;in"an, fro! PB/,///.// to PI/,///.//.
The infor!ation a"ainst petitioner alle"ed 3
That on or about the <th da$ of Februar$,
.>>/, in the ni"htti!e, in the &it$ of
;ucena, Province of 'ue%on, Philippines,
and #ithin the Aurisdiction of this 5onorable
&ourt, the said accused, bein" then a
!e!ber of the ;ucena Inte"rated National
Police, #ith intent to 4ill, did then and there
#illfull$, unla#full$ and feloniousl$ assault
one I4e ;in"an inside the ;ucena police
head@uarters, #here authorities are
supposed to be en"a"ed in the dischar"e of
their duties, b$ bo+in" the said I4e ;in"an
in the head #ith the butt of a "un and
thereafter #hen the said victi! fell, b$
ban"in" his head a"ainst the concrete
pave!ent, as a conse@uence of #hich said
I4e ;in"an suffered cerebral concussion and
shoc4 #hich directl$ caused his death.
The evidence sho# that, at around ?0</ in the
evenin" of Februar$ <, .>>/, Stanle$ Dalbuena and
(nri@ue ,I4e, ;in"an, #ho #ere reporters of the
radio station D9TI in ;ucena &it$, to"ether #ith
one Mario Ila"an, #ent to the (ntertain!ent &it$
follo#in" reports that it #as sho#in" the nude
dancers. fter the three had seated the!selves at
a table and ordered beer, a scantil$ clad dancer
appeared on sta"e and be"an to perfor! a strip
act. s she re!oved her brassieres, Dalbuena
brou"ht out his ca!era and too4 a picture.
t that point, the floor !ana"er, Dante ;i@uin, #ith
a securit$ "uard, le+ Sioco, approached Dalbuena
and de!anded to 4no# #h$ he too4 a
Dalbuena replied0 ,9ala 4an" pa4iala!,
because this is !$ Aob.,
Sioco pushed Dalbuena
to#ards the table as he #arned the latter that he
#ould 4ill hi!.
9hen Dalbuena sa# that Sioco #as
about to pull out his "un, he ran out of the Aoint
follo#ed b$ his co!panions.
Dalbuena and his co!panions #ent to the police
station to report the !atter. Three of the police!an
on dut$, includin" petitioner Navarro, #ere havin"
drin4s in front of the police station, and the$ as4ed
Dalbuena and his co!panions to Aoin the!.
Dalbuena declined and #ent to the des4 officer, S"t.
Gonuevo, to report the incident. In a #hile, ;i@uin
and Sioco arrived on a !otorc$cle.
Sioco and ;i@uin #ere !et b$ petitioner Navarro
#ho tal4ed #ith the! in a corner for around fifteen
fter#ards, petitioner Navarro turned to
Dalbuena and, pushin" hi! to the #all, said to hi!0
,Putan" ina, 4ina4alaban !o si 7abo ;i@uin, ana4
$an ni 7abo ;i@uin, hindi !o ba 4ilala:,
Navarro then pulled out his firear! and coc4ed it,
and, pressin" it on the face of Dalbuena, said ,no,
uutasin na 4ita:,
t this point, ;in"an intervened and said to
petitioner Navarro0 ,5u#a" na!an" "an$an
pu!arito 4a!i para !a"pa8blotter, I a! here to
Petitoner Navarro replied0 ,9alan"
press, press, !a"8sa!pu pa 4a$o.,
5e then
turned to S"t. Gonuevo and told hi! to !a4e of
record the behavior of Dalbuena and ;in"an.
This an"ered ;in"an, #ho said0 ,O, di ila"a$ !o
Petitioner Navarro retorted0 ,Tala"an"
ilala"a$ 4o.,
The t#o then had a heated
Finall$, ;in"an said0 ,Mas$ado 4an"
abusado, alisin !o $an" baril !o at !a"suntu4an
na lan" ta$o.,
Petitioner Navarro replied0 ,h,
s ;in"an #as about turn a#a$, petitioner Navarro
hit hi! #ith the handle of the pistol above the left
e$ebro#. ;in"an fell on the floor, blood flo#in"
do#n his face. 5e tried to "et up, but petitioner
Navarro "ave hi! a fist blo# on the forehead #hich
floored hi!.
Petitioner Navarro turned to Dalbuena and said0
,7ita !o $an ha, buha$ 4an" testi"o, si I4e ;in"an
and na"ha!on.,
5e said to S"t. Gonuevo0
,Ila"a$ !o di$an sa blotter sa harap ni le+ Sioco
at Dante ;i@uin, na si I4e ;in"an an"
5e then po4ed his "un at the ri"ht
te!ple of Dalbuena and !ade hi! si"n his na!e on
the blotter.
Dalbuena could not affi+ his si"nature.
5is ri"ht hand #as tre!blin" and he si!pl$ #rote
his na!e in print.
&apt. &oronado, the station co!!ander, called
petitioner Navarro to his office, #hile a police!an
too4 ;in"an to the 'ue%on Me!orial 5ospital. The
station !ana"er of D9TI, Jo$, &asaGada, arrived
and, learnin" that ;in"an had been ta4en to the
hospital, proceeded there. Jut ;in"an died fro! his
6n4no#n to petitioner Navarro, Dalbuena #as able
to record on tape the e+chan"e bet#een petitioner
and the deceased.
The follo#in" is an e+cerpt
fro! the tape recordin"0
;in"an0 Pare, $ou are abusin" $ourself.
Navarro0 9ho is that abusin":
;in"an0 I*! here to !ediate. Do not include
!e in the proble!. I*! out of the proble!.
+ + + + + + + + +
Navarro0 9ala sa a4in $an. n" 4aso
lan" . . .
;in"an0 7alaban !o an" !edia, pare, 4o
at si Stanle$, dala#a 4a!i. O4a$. Do not
fi"ht #ith !e. I Aust ca!e here to a$usin
thin"s. Do not sa$ bad thin"s a"ainst !e.
I*! the nu!ber one lo4o sa !edia. I*! the
best !edia !an. . . .
Navarro0 5u#a" ta$on" !a"8lo4ohan sa
"an$anO 5u#a" na ta$on" !a"8ta4otanO
5u#a" !on" sabihin" lo4o 4aO
;in"an0 I*! brave also.
Navarro0 $ lalo na a4o. Tahi!i4 lan"
na!an a4o. 9ala 4a na!an" !asasabi sa
a4in dahil na"8tatrabaho lan" a4o n" a$on
sa serbis$o 4o.
;in"an0 Hou are challen"in" !e and
hi!. . . .
Navarro0 $ #alasti4 4a na!an I4eO Pa"
!a$ proble!a 4a dito sinasabihan 4ita na
!a$ balita ta$on" !a"anda. Pa!bihira 4a
I4e. 5u#a" !on" sabihin na . . . Paran"
!ino!onopol$ !o eh.
;in"an0 Pati a4o 4alaban nin$o.
Navarro0 Tala"an" 4alaban na!in an"
press. ;ahat, hindi lan" i4a#O
;in"an0 Hou are #ron". Ja4it 4alaban n$o
an" press:
Navarro0 Pulis itoO baO
;in"an0 lisin !o an" baril !oO lisin !o
an" baril !oO Suntu4an ta$o, si"e.
Navarro0 Ma$aban" 4a ahO
1Sounds of a scuffle2
Navarro0 5ina!on a4o n$anO Pare hina!on
a4o n$anO Pare hina!on a4o n$an, testi"o
4a$o. lisin 4o da# an" baril 4o. 5ina!on
a4o n$an. Pare, ila"a$ !o di$an, hina!on
a4o sa harap ni Stanle$. Testi"o 4a$o,
hina!on a4o. Pulis ta$o eh. Puta, buti n"a,
sunto4 lan" an" inabot n$an. Sa harap ni
le+, ni Doe, ni Stanle$, hina!on a4o. Pare,
hina!on a4o, 4ini" n$o ha. 5ina!on a4o
n$an. Si"e, dalhin n$o sa hospital $an.
Petitioner Felipe Navarro clai!s that it #as the
deceased #ho tried to hit hi! t#ice, but he
1petitioner2 #as able to duc4 both ti!es, and that
;in"an #as so drun4 he fell on the floor t#ice, each
ti!e hittin" his head on the concrete.
In "ivin" credence to the evidence for the
prosecution, the trial court stated0
fter a thorou"h and in8depth evaluation of
the evidence adduced b$ the prosecution
and the defense, this court finds that the
evidence for the prosecution is the !ore
credible, concrete and sufficient to create
that !oral certaint$ in the !ind of the court
that accused herein is cri!inall$
The defense*s evidence #hich consists of
outri"ht denial could not under the
circu!stance overturn the stren"th of the
prosecution*s evidence.
This court finds that the prosecution
#itnesses, !ore particularl$ Stanle$
Dalbuena, lac4ed an$ !otive to !a4e false
accusation, distort the truth, testif$
falsehood or cause accusation of one #ho
had neither brou"ht hi! har! or inAur$.
)oin" over the evidence on record,
the ostmortem report issued b$ Dra. (va
Ha!a!oto confir!s the detailed account
"iven b$ Stanle$ Dalbuena on ho# ;in"an
sustained head inAuries.
Said ost-mortem report to"ether #ith the
testi!on$ of Dalbuena sufficientl$ belie the
clai! of the defense that the head inAuries
of deceased ;in"an #ere caused b$ the
latter*s fallin" do#n on the concrete
pave!ent head first.
The &ourt of ppeals affir!ed0
9e are far fro! bein" convinced b$
appellant*s aforesaid dis@uisition. 9e have
carefull$ evaluated the conflictin" versions
of the incident as presented b$ both parties,
and #e find the trial court*s factual
conclusions to have better and stron"er
evidentiar$ support.
In the first place, the !ere fact that
Dalbuena #as hi!self a victi! of appellant*s
a""ression does not i!pair the probative
#orth of his positive and lo"ical account of
the incident in @uestion. In fact, far fro!
provin" his innocence, appellant*s
un#arranted assault upon Dalbuena, #hich
the defense has virtuall$ ad!itted, clearl$
betra$s his violent character or disposition
and his capacit$ to har! others. pparentl$,
the sa!e !otivation that led hi! into
assailin" Dalbuena !ust have provo4ed hi!
into also attac4in" ;in"an #ho had
interceded for Dalbuena and hu!iliated hi!
and further challen"ed to a fist
+ + + + + + + + +
On the other hand, appellant*s e+planation
as ho# ;in"an #as inAured is too tenuous
and illo"ical to be accepted. It is in fact
contradicted b$ the nu!ber, nature and
location of ;in"an*s inAuries as sho#n in
theost-mortem report 1(+h. D2. ccordin"
to the defense, ;in"an fell t#o ti!es #hen
he #as outbalanced in the course of bo+in"
the appellant. nd $et, ;in"an suffered
lacerated #ounds in his left forehead, left
e$ebro#, bet#een his left and ri"ht
e$ebro#s, and contusion in the ri"ht
te!poral re"ion of the head 1(+h. (.2.
&ertainl$, these inAuries could not have been
resulted fro! ;in"an*s accidental fall.
5ence, this appeal. Petitioner Navarro contends0
T5( 5ONORJ;( &O6RT OF PP(;S 5S
D(&ID(D T5( &S( NOT IN &&ORD 9IT5
;9 ND 9IT5 T5( PP;I&J;(
The appeal is #ithout !erit.
First. Petitioner Navarro @uestions the credibilit$ of
the testi!on$ of Dalbuena on the "round that he
#as a biased #itness, havin" a "rud"e a"ainst hi!.
The testi!on$ of a #itness #ho has an interest in
the conviction of the accused is not, for this reason
alone, unreliable.
Trial courts, #hich have the
opportunit$ observe the facial e+pressions,
"estures, and tones of voice of a #itness #hile
testif$in", are co!petent to deter!ine #hether his
or her testi!on$ should be "iven credence.
In the
instant case, petitioner Navarro has not sho#n that
the trial court erred in accordin" #ei"ht to the
testi!on$ of Dalbuena.
Indeed, Dalbuena*s testi!on$ is confir!ed b$ the
voice recordin" had !ade. It !a$ be as4ed
#hether the tape is ad!issible in vie# of R.. No.
<=//, #hich prohibits #ire tappin". The ans#er is
in the affir!ative. The la# provides0
Sec. .. It shall be unla#ful for an$ person,
not bein" authori%ed b$ all the parties to
an$ private co!!unication or spo4en #ord,
to tap an$ #ire or cable, or b$ usin" an$
other device or arran"e!ent, to secretl$
overhear, intercept, or record such
co!!unication or spo4en #ord b$ usin" a
device co!!onl$ 4no#n as dictaphone or
dicta"raph of dectectaphone or #al4ie8tal4ie
or tape8recorder, or ho#ever other#ise
It shall also be unla#ful for an$ person, be
he a participant or not in the act or acts
penali%ed in the ne+t precedin" sentence, to
4no#in"l$ possess an$ tape record, #ire
record, disc record, or an$ other such
record, or copies thereof, of an$
co!!unication or spo4en #ord secured
either before or after the effective date of
this ct in the !anner prohibited b$ this
la#C or to repla$ the sa!e for an$ other
person or personsC or to co!!unicate the
contents thereof, either verball$ or in
#ritin", or to furnish transcriptions thereof,
#hether co!plete or partial, to an$ other
person0 Pro#i"e", That the use of such
record or an$ copies thereof as evidence in
an$ civil, cri!inal investi"ation or trial of
offenses !entioned in section B hereof,
shall not be covered b$ this prohibition.
+ + + + + + + + +
Sec. <. n$ co!!unication or spo4en #ord,
or the e+istence, contents, substance,
purport, effect, or !eanin" of the sa!e or
an$ part thereof, or an$ infor!ation therein
contained obtained or secured b$ an$
person in violation of the precedin" sections
of this ct shall not be ad!issible in
evidence in an$ Audicial, @uasi8Audicial,
le"islative or ad!inistrative hearin" or
Thus, the la# prohibits the overhearin",
interceptin", or recordin" of private
Since the e+chan"e bet#een
petitioner Navarro and ;in"an #as not private, its
tape recordin" is not prohibited.
Nor is there an$ @uestion that it #as dul$
authenticated. voice recordin" is authenticated
b$ the testi!on$ of a #itness 1.2 that he
personall$ recorded the conversationsC 1=2 that the
tape pla$ed in the court #as the one he recordedC
and 1B2 that the voices on the tape are those of the
persons such are clai!ed to belon".
In the
instant case, Dalbuena testified that he personall$
!ade the voice recordin"C
that the tape pla$ed in
the court #as the one he recordedC
and that the
spea4ers on the tape #ere petitioner Navarro and
sufficient foundation #as thus laid for
the authentication of the tape presented b$ the
Secon". The voice recordin" !ade b$ Dalbuena
established0 1.2 that there #as a heated e+chan"e
bet#een petitioner Navarro and ;in"an on the
placin" in the police blotter of an entr$ a"ainst hi!
and DalbuenaC and 1=2 that so!e for! of violence
occurred involvin" petitioner Navarro and ;in"an,
#ith the latter "ettin" the #orst of it.
Further!ore, Dr. (va Ha!a!oto, #ho perfor!ed
the autops$ on the bod$ of ;in"an, issued the
!edical certificate,
dated Februar$ I, .>>/,
containin" the follo#in" findin"s0
Post Mortem Findin"s0
P Dried blood, forehead Q face
P No blood oo%ed fro! the ears, nose Q
P S#ellin", B c! + = c!, te!poral re"ion,
head, ri"ht
P ;acerated #ound, = c! in len"th, .8= in
depth, lateral e$ebro#, ;eft
P ;acerated #ound, /.I c! in len"th,
superficial, bet#een the left Q ri"ht e$ebro#
P ;acerated #ound, = c! in len"th, . c! in
depth, forehead, ;eft
P &$anosis of the tips of fin"ers Q toes
&6S( OF D(T50
P &(R(JR; &ON&6SSION Q S5O&7
P J;O9 ON T5( 5(D
Dr. Ha!a!ato testified0
' )ive $our opinion as to #hat #as the possible
cause of this findin"s nu!ber one, #hich is oo%in"
of blood fro! the forehead:
It !a$ be due to a blo# on the forehead or it
bu!ped to a hard obAect, sir.
' &ould a !etal li4e a butt of a "un have caused
this #ound No. ..:
It is possible, sir.
' nd in the alternative, could have it been
caused b$ bu!pin" on a concrete floor:
Possible, sir.
9hat could have been the cause of the contusion
and s#ellin" under $our findin"s No. = doctor:
It !a$ be caused b$ bu!pin" to a hard obAect, sir.
' &ould a butt of a "un have caused it doctor:
The s#ellin" is bi" so it could have not been
caused b$ a butt of a "un because the butt of a
"un is s!all, sir.
' 5o# about this findin"s No. <:
J$ a bu!p or contact of the bod$ to a hard
obAect, sir.
' nd findin"s No. I #hat could have caused it:
Sa!e cause, sir.
' This findin"s No. - #hat could have caused this
Sa!e thin" sir.
' 5o# about the last findin", c$anosis of tips of
fin"ers and toes, #hat could have caused it doctor:
It indicates there #as cardiac failure, sir.
In this sa!e ost mortem report and under the
headin" cause of death it states0 &ause of Death0
&erebral concussion and Shoc4, #ill $ou e+plain it:
&erebral concussion !eans in Ta"alo" ,naalo"
an" uta4, or Aarrin" of the brain, sir.
' 9hat could have been the cause of Aarrin" of
the brain:
It could have been caused b$ a blo# of a hard
obAect, sir.
' 9hat about the shoc4, #hat could have caused
It #as due to peripheral circulator$ failure, sir.
' &ould an$ one of both caused the death of the
Hes, sir.
' &ould cerebral concussion alone have caused
the death of the deceased:
Ma$ be, sir.
9hich of these t#o !ore li4el$, to cause death:
Shoc4, sir.
' Please e+plain further the !eanin" of the
!edical ter! shoc4:
It is caused b$ peripheral circulator$ failure as I
have said earlier sir.
+ + + + + + + + +
&ould a bu!pin" or pushin" of one*s head a"ainst
a concrete floor have caused shoc4:
Possible, sir.
5o# about stri4in" #ith a butt of a "un, could it
cause shoc4:
Possible, sir.
The above testi!on$ clearl$ supports the clai! of
Dalbuena that petitioner Navarro hit ;in"an #ith the
handle of his pistol above the left e$ebro# and
struc4 hi! on the forehead #ith his fist.
Thir". It is ar"ued that the !iti"atin"
circu!stances of sufficient provocation or threat on
the part of the offended part$ i!!ediatel$
precedin" the act should have been appreciated in
favor of petitioner Navarro. Provocation is defined
to be an$ unAust or i!proper conduct or act of the
offended part$, capable of e+citin", incitin" or
irritatin" an$one.
The provocation !ust be
sufficient and should i!!ediatel$ precede the
To be sufficient, it !ust be ade@uate to e+cite
a person to co!!it the #ron", #hich !ust
accordin"l$ be proportionate in "ravit$.
nd it
!ust i!!ediatel$ precede the act so !uch so that
there is no interval bet#een the provocation b$ the
offended part$ and the co!!ission of the cri!e b$
the accused.
In the present case, the re!ar4s of ;in"an, #hich
i!!ediatel$ preceded the act of petitioner,
constituted sufficient provocation. In Peole
#. Macaso,
#e appreciated this !iti"atin"
circu!stance in favor of the accused, a police!an,
#ho shot a !otorist after the latter had repeatedl$
taunted hi! #ith defiant #ords. 5ence, this
!iti"atin" circu!stance should be considered in
favor of petitioner Navarro.
Further!ore, the !iti"atin" circu!stance that the
offender had no intention to co!!it so "rave a
#ron" as that co!!itted should also be
appreciated in favor of petitioner. The frantic
e+cla!ations of petitioner Navarro after the scuffle
that it #as ;in"an #ho provo4ed hi! sho#s that he
had no intent to 4ill the latter. Thus, this !iti"atin"
circu!stance should be ta4en into account in
deter!inin" the penalt$ that should be i!posed on
petitioner Navarro. The allo#ance of this !iti"atin"
circu!stance is consistent #ith the rule that
cri!inal liabilit$ shall be incurred b$ an$ person
co!!ittin" a felon$ althou"h the #ron"ful act
done be different fro! that #hich he
In Peole #. Castro,
the !iti"atin"
circu!stance of lac4 of intent to co!!it so "rave a
#ron" as that co!!itted #as appreciated in favor
of the accused #hile findin" hi! "uilt$ of ho!icide.
5o#ever, the a""ravatin" circu!stance of
co!!ission of a cri!e in a place #here the public
authorities are en"a"ed in the dischar"e of their
duties should be appreciated a"ainst petitioner
Navarro. The offense in this case #as co!!itted
ri"ht in the police station #here police!en #ere
dischar"in" their public functions.
The cri!e co!!itted as found b$ the trial court
and the &ourt of ppeals #as ho!icide, for #hich
the penalt$ under rt. =<> of the Revised Penal
&ode is reclusion temoral. s there #ere t#o
!iti"atin" circu!stances and one a""ravatin"
circu!stances, the penalt$ should be fi+ed in its
!ini!u! period.
ppl$in" the Indeter!inate
Sentence ;a#, petitioner Navarro should be
sentenced to an indeter!inate penalt$, the
!ini!u! of #hich is #ithin the ran"e of the
penalt$ ne+t lo#er de"ree, i.e., rision ma&or, and
the !a+i!u! of #hich is reclusion temoral in its
!ini!u! period.
The inde!nit$ as increased b$ the &ourt of ppeals
fro! PB/,///.// to PI/,///.// is in accordance
#ith the current Aurisprudence.
95(R(FOR(, the decision of the &ourt of ppeals
is FFIRM(D #ith the !odification that petitioner
Felipe Navarro is hereb$ S(NT(N&(D to suffer a
prison ter!s of .? $ears of rision ma&or, as
!ini!u!, to .< $ears and ? !onths of reclusion
temoral, as !a+i!u!.
SO ORD(R(D.-.whi-+n/t
Bellosillo, 0uisum!ing an" Buena, **+, concur+
Republic of the Philippines
(N JN&

G.R. No. 12*)85 3-4. 23, 1998
!"AS #. OP"E, petitioner,
ON AUDIT, respondents.

The petition at bar is a co!!endable effort on the
part of Senator Jlas F. Ople to prevent the
shrin4in" of the ri"ht to privac$, #hich the revered
Mr. Dustice Jrandeis considered as ,the !ost
co!prehensive of ri"hts and the ri"ht !ost valued
b$ civili%ed !en.,
Petitioner Ople pra$s that #e
invalidate d!inistrative Order No. B/? entitled
,doption of a National &o!puteri%ed Identification
Reference S$ste!, on t#o i!portant constitutional
"rounds, #i$0 one, it is a usurpation of the po#er of
&on"ress to le"islate, and t#o, it i!per!issibl$
intrudes on our citi%enr$*s protected %one of
privac$. 9e "rant the petition for the ri"hts sou"ht
to be vindicated b$ the petitioner need stron"er
barriers a"ainst further erosion.
.O. No. B/? #as issued b$ President Fidel V.
Ra!os On Dece!ber .=, .>>- and reads as
95(R(S, there is a need to provide
Filipino citi%ens and forei"n residents
#ith the facilit$ to convenientl$
transact business #ith basic service
and social securit$ providers and
other "overn!ent instru!entalitiesC
95(R(S, this #ill re@uire a
co!puteri%ed s$ste! to properl$ and
efficientl$ identif$ persons see4in"
basic services on social securit$ and
reduce, if not totall$ eradicate
fraudulent transactions and
95(R(S, a concerted and
collaborative effort a!on" the
various basic services and social
securit$ providin" a"encies and other
"overn!ent intru!entalities is
re@uired to achieve such a s$ste!C
NO9, T5(R(FOR(, I, FID(; V.
RMOS, President of the Republic of
the Philippines, b$ virtue of the
po#ers vested in !e b$ la#, do
hereb$ direct the follo#in"0
Sec. .. 1sta!lishment o% a National
Comoteri$e" I"enti%ication
Re%erence S&stem. decentrali%ed
Identification Reference S$ste!
a!on" the 4e$ basic services and
social securit$ providers is hereb$
Sec. =. Inter-Agenc& Coor"inating
Committee. n Inter8"enc$
&oordinatin" &o!!ittee 1I&&2 to
dra#8up the i!ple!entin" "uidelines
and oversee the i!ple!entation of
the S$ste! is hereb$ created,
chaired b$ the (+ecutive Secretar$,
#ith the follo#in" as !e!bers0
5ead, Presidential Mana"e!ent Staff
Secretar$, National (cono!ic
Develop!ent uthorit$
Secretar$, Depart!ent of the Interior
and ;ocal )overn!ent
Secretar$, Depart!ent of 5ealth
d!inistrator, )overn!ent Service
Insurance S$ste!,
d!inistrator, Social Securit$
d!inistrator, National Statistics
Mana"in" Director, National
&o!puter &enter.
Sec. B. Secretariat. The National
&o!puter &enter 1N&&2 is hereb$
desi"nated as secretariat to the I&&
and as such shall provide
ad!inistrative and technical support
to the I&&.
Sec. <. 2inkage Among Agencies.
The Population Reference Nu!ber
1PRN2 "enerated b$ the NSO shall
serve as the co!!on reference
nu!ber to establish a lin4a"e a!on"
concerned a"encies. The I&&
Secretariat shall coordinate #ith the
different Social Securit$ and Services
"encies to establish the standards
in the use of Jio!etrics Technolo"$
and in co!puter application desi"ns
of their respective s$ste!s.
Sec. I. Con"uct o% In%ormation
)issemination Camaign. The Office
of the Press Secretar$, in
coordination #ith the National
Statistics Office, the )SIS and SSS
as lead a"encies and other
concerned a"encies shall underta4e
a !assive tri8!edia infor!ation
disse!ination ca!pai"n to educate
and raise public a#areness on the
i!portance and use of the PRN and
the Social Securit$ Identification
Sec. -. Fun"ing. The funds necessar$
for the i!ple!entation of the s$ste!
shall be sourced fro! the respective
bud"ets of the concerned a"encies.
Sec. M. Su!mission o% Regular
Reorts. The NSO, )SIS and SSS
shall sub!it re"ular reports to the
Office of the President throu"h the
I&&, on the status of
i!ple!entation of this underta4in".
Sec. ?. 1%%ecti#it&. This
d!inistrative Order shall ta4e effect
DON( in the &it$ of Manila, this .=th
da$ of Dece!ber in the $ear of Our
;ord, Nineteen 5undred and Ninet$8
1S)D.2 FID(; V. RMOS
.O. No. B/? #as published in four ne#spapers of
"eneral circulation on Danuar$ ==, .>>M and
Danuar$ =B, .>>M. On Danuar$ =<, .>>M, petitioner
filed the instant petition a"ainst respondents, then
(+ecutive Secretar$ Ruben Torres and the heads of
the "overn!ent a"encies, #ho as !e!bers of the
Inter8"enc$ &oordinatin" &o!!ittee, are char"ed
#ith the i!ple!entation of .O. No. B/?. On pril
?, .>>M, #e issued a te!porar$ restrainin" order
enAoinin" its i!ple!entation.
Petitioner contends0
&T. T5( ISS6N&( OF .O. NO.
T5(R(FOR(, N
T5( &ON)R(SS OF T5( R(P6J;I&
95I&5 9I;; VIO;T( T5( JI;; OF
Respondents counter8ar"ue0
D6STI&IJ;( &S( S 9O6;D
J. .O. NO. B/? E.>>-F 9S ISS6(D
9IT5IN T5( (K(&6TIV( ND
(N&RO&5IN) ON T5( ;()IS;TIV(
&. T5( F6NDS N(&(SSRH FOR T5(
T5( J6D)(TS OF T5( &ON&(RN(D
D. .O. NO. B/? E.>>-F PROT(&TS
9e no# resolve.
s is usual in constitutional liti"ation, respondents
raise the threshold issues relatin" to the standin"
to sue of the petitioner and the Austiciabilit$ of the
case at bar. More specificall$, respondents aver
that petitioner has no le"al interest to uphold and
that the i!ple!entin" rules of .O. No. B/? have
$et to be pro!ul"ated.
These sub!issions do not deserve our s$!pathetic
ear. Petitioner Ople is a distin"uished !e!ber of
our Senate. s a Senator, petitioner is possessed of
the re@uisite standin" to brin" suit raisin" the issue
that the issuance of .O. No. B/? is a usurpation of
le"islative po#er.
s ta+pa$er and !e!ber of the
)overn!ent Service Insurance S$ste! 1)SIS2,
petitioner can also i!pu"n the le"alit$ of the
!isali"n!ent of public funds and the !isuse of
)SIS funds to i!ple!ent .O. No. B/?.
The ripeness for adAudication of the Petition at bar
is not affected b$ the fact that the i!ple!entin"
rules of .O. No. B/? have $et to be pro!ul"ated.
Petitioner Ople assails .O. No. B/? as invalid er
se and as infir!ed on its face. 5is action is not
pre!ature for the rules $et to be pro!ul"ated
cannot cure its fatal defects. Moreover, the
respondents the!selves have started the
i!ple!entation of .O. No. B/? #ithout #aitin" for
the rules. s earl$ as Danuar$ .>, .>>M,
respondent Social Securit$ S$ste! 1SSS2 caused
the publication of a notice to bid for the
!anufacture of the National Identification 1ID2
Respondent (+ecutive Secretar$ Torres has
publicl$ announced that representatives fro! the
)SIS and the SSS have co!pleted the "uidelines
for the national identification s$ste!.
ll si"nals
fro! the respondents sho# their uns#ervin" #ill to
i!ple!ent .O. No. B/? and #e need not #ait for
the for!alit$ of the rules to pass Aud"!ent on its
constitutionalit$. In this li"ht, the dissenters
insistence that #e ti"hten the rule on standin" is
not a co!!endable stance as its result #ould be to
throttle an i!portant constitutional principle and a
funda!ental ri"ht.
9e no# co!e to the core issues. Petitioner clai!s
that .O. No. B/? is not a !ere ad!inistrative
order but a la# and hence, be$ond the po#er of
the President to issue. 5e alle"es that .O. No. B/?
establishes a s$ste! of identification that is all8
enco!passin" in scope, affects the life and libert$
of ever$ Filipino citi%en and forei"n resident, and
!ore particularl$, violates their ri"ht to privac$.
Petitioner*s sedulous concern for the (+ecutive not
to trespass on the la#!a4in" do!ain of &on"ress
is understandable. The blurrin" of the de!arcation
line bet#een the po#er of the ;e"islature to !a4e
la#s and the po#er of the (+ecutive to e+ecute
la#s #ill disturb their delicate balance of po#er and
cannot be allo#ed. 5ence, the e+ercise b$ one
branch of "overn!ent of po#er belon"in" to
another #ill be "iven a stricter scrutin$ b$ this
The line that delineates ;e"islative and (+ecutive
po#er is not indistinct. ;e"islative po#er is ,the
authorit$, under the &onstitution, to !a4e la#s,
and to alter and repeal the!.,
The &onstitution,
as the #ill of the people in their ori"inal, soverei"n
and unli!ited capacit$, has vested this po#er in
the &on"ress of the Philippines.
The "rant of
le"islative po#er to &on"ress is broad, "eneral and
The le"islative bod$ possesses
plenar$ po#er for all purposes of civil
n$ po#er, dee!ed to be
le"islative b$ usa"e and tradition, is necessaril$
possessed b$ &on"ress, unless the &onstitution has
lod"ed it else#here.
In fine, e+cept as li!ited b$
the &onstitution, either e+pressl$ or i!pliedl$,
le"islative po#er e!braces all subAects and
e+tends to !atters of "eneral concern or co!!on
9hile &on"ress is vested #ith the po#er to enact
la#s, the President e+ecutes the la#s.
e+ecutive po#er is vested in the Presidents.
It is
"enerall$ defined as the po#er to enforce and
ad!inister the la#s.
It is the po#er of carr$in"
the la#s into practical operation and enforcin" their
due observance.
s head of the (+ecutive Depart!ent, the
President is the &hief (+ecutive. 5e represents the
"overn!ent as a #hole and sees to it that all la#s
are enforced b$ the officials and e!plo$ees of his
5e has control over the e+ecutive
depart!ent, bureaus and offices. This !eans that
he has the authorit$ to assu!e directl$ the
functions of the e+ecutive depart!ent, bureau and
office or interfere #ith the discretion of its
&orollar$ to the po#er of control, the
President also has the dut$ of supervisin" the
enforce!ent of la#s for the !aintenance of "eneral
peace and public order. Thus, he is "ranted
ad!inistrative po#er over bureaus and offices
under his control to enable hi! to dischar"e his
duties effectivel$.
d!inistrative po#er is concerned #ith the #or4 of
appl$in" policies and enforcin" orders as
deter!ined b$ proper "overn!ental or"ans.
enables the President to fi+ a unifor! standard of
ad!inistrative efficienc$ and chec4 the official
conduct of his a"ents.
To this end, he can issue
ad!inistrative orders, rules and re"ulations.
Prescindin" fro! these precepts, #e hold that .O.
No. B/? involves a subAect that is not appropriate
to be covered b$ an ad!inistrative order. n
ad!inistrative order is0
Sec. B. A"ministrati#e Or"ers. 3
cts of the President #hich relate to
particular aspects of "overn!ental
operation in pursuance of his duties
as ad!inistrative head shall be
pro!ul"ated in ad!inistrative
n ad!inistrative order is an ordinance
issued b$ the President #hich relates to
specific aspects in the ad!inistrative
operation of "overn!ent. It !ust be in
har!on$ #ith the la# and should be for the
sole purpose of i!ple!entin" the la# and
carr$in" out the le"islative polic$.
reAect the ar"u!ent that .O. No. B/?
i!ple!ents the le"islative polic$ of the
d!inistrative &ode of .>?M. The &ode is a
"eneral la# and ,incorporates in a unified
docu!ent the !aAor structural, functional
and procedural principles of
and ,e!bodies chan"es in
ad!inistrative structure and procedures
desi"ned to serve the
The &ode is divided into seven
1M2 Joo4s0 Joo4 I deals #ith Soverei"nt$
and )eneral d!inistration, Joo4 II #ith
the Distribution of Po#ers of the three
branches of )overn!ent, Joo4 III on the
Office of the President, Joo4 IV on the
(+ecutive Jranch, Joo4 V on &onstitutional
&o!!issions, Joo4 VI on National
)overn!ent Jud"etin", and Joo4 VII on
d!inistrative Procedure. These Joo4s
contain provisions on the or"ani%ation,
po#ers and "eneral ad!inistration of the
e+ecutive, le"islative and Audicial branches
of "overn!ent, the or"ani%ation and
ad!inistration of depart!ents, bureaus and
offices under the e+ecutive branch, the
or"ani%ation and functions of the
&onstitutional &o!!issions and other
constitutional bodies, the rules on the
national "overn!ent bud"et, as #ell as
"uideline for the e+ercise b$ ad!inistrative
a"encies of @uasi8le"islative and @uasi8
Audicial po#ers. The &ode covers both the
internal ad!inistration of
"overn!ent, i.e, internal or"ani%ation,
personnel and recruit!ent, supervision and
discipline, and the effects of the functions
perfor!ed b$ ad!inistrative officials on
private individuals or parties outside
It cannot be si!plisticall$ ar"ued that .O. No. B/?
!erel$ i!ple!ents the d!inistrative &ode of
.>?M. It establishes for the first ti!e a National
&o!puteri%ed Identification Reference S$ste!.
Such a S$ste! re@uires a delicate adAust!ent of
various contendin" state policies 3 the pri!ac$ of
national securit$, the e+tent of privac$ interest
a"ainst dossier8"atherin" b$ "overn!ent, the
choice of policies, etc. Indeed, the dissent of Mr.
Dustice Mendo%a states that the .O. No. B/?
involves the all8i!portant freedo! of thou"ht. s
said ad!inistrative order redefines the para!eters
of so!e basic ri"hts of our citi%enr$ #is-a-#is the
State as #ell as the line that separates the
ad!inistrative po#er of the President to !a4e
rules and the le"islative po#er of &on"ress, it
ou"ht to be evident that it deals #ith a subAect that
should be covered b$ la#.
Nor is it correct to ar"ue as the dissenters do that
.D. No. B/? is not a la# because it confers no
ri"ht, i!poses no dut$, affords no proctection, and
creates no office. 6nder .O. No. B/?, a citi%en
cannot transact business #ith "overn!ent a"encies
deliverin" basic services to the people #ithout the
conte!plated identification card. No citi%en #ill
refuse to "et this identification card for no one can
avoid dealin" #ith "overn!ent. It is thus clear as
da$li"ht that #ithout the ID, a citi%en #ill have
difficult$ e+ercisin" his ri"hts and enAo$in" his
privile"es. )iven this realit$, the contention that
.O. No. B/? "ives no ri"ht and i!poses no dut$
cannot stand.
"ain, #ith due respect, the dissentin" opinions
undul$ e+pand the li!its of ad!inistrative
le"islation and conse@uentl$ erodes the plenar$
po#er of &on"ress to !a4e la#s. This is contrar$
to the established approach definin" the traditional
li!its of ad!inistrative le"islation. s #ell stated
b$ Fisher0 ,. . . Man$ re"ulations ho#ever, bear
directl$ on the public. It is here that ad!inistrative
le"islation !ust he restricted in its scope and
application. Re"ulations are not supposed to be a
substitute for the "eneral polic$8!a4in" that
&on"ress enacts in the for! of a public la#.
lthou"h ad!inistrative re"ulations are entitled to
respect, the authorit$ to prescribe rules and
re"ulations is not an independent source of po#er
to !a4e la#s.,
ssu!in", ar"uendo, that .O. No. B/? need not
be the subAect of a la#, still it cannot pass
constitutional !uster as an ad!inistrative
le"islation because faciall$ it violates the ri"ht to
privac$. The essence of privac$ is the ,ri"ht to be
let alone.,
In the .>-I case of )ris#old v.
the 6nited States Supre!e &ourt
"ave !ore substance to the ri"ht of privac$ #hen it
ruled that the ri"ht has a constitutional foundation.
It held that there is a ri"ht of privac$ #hich can be
found #ithin the penu!bras of the First, Third,
Fourth, Fifth and Ninth !end!ents,
Specific "uarantees in the Jill of
Ri"hts have penu!bras for!ed b$
e!anations fro! these "uarantees
that help "ive the! life and
substance . . . various "uarantees
create %ones of privac$. The ri"ht of
association contained in the
penu!bra of the First !end!ent is
one, as #e have seen. The Third
!end!ent in its prohibition a"ainst
the @uarterin" of soldiers ,in an$
house, in ti!e of peace #ithout the
consent of the o#ner is another facet
of that privac$. The Fourth
!end!ent e+plicitl$ affir!s the
**ri"ht of the people to be secure in
their persons, houses and effects,
a"ainst unreasonable searches and
sei%ures., The Fifth !end!ent in
its Self8Incri!ination &lause enables
the citi%en to create a %one of
privac$ #hich "overn!ent !a$ not
force hi! to surrender to his
detri!ent. The Ninth !end!ent
provides0 ,The enu!eration in the
&onstitution, of certain ri"hts, shall
not be construed to den$ or
dispara"e others retained b$ the
In the .>-? case of Mor%e #+ Mutuc,
adopted the )ris#old rulin" that there is a
constitutional ri"ht to privac$. Spea4in" thru
Mr. Dustice, later &hief Dustice, (nri@ue
Fernando, #e held0
+++ +++ +++
The )ris#old case invalidated a
&onnecticut statute #hich !ade the
use of contraceptives a cri!inal
offence on the "round of its
a!ountin" to an unconstitutional
invasion of the ri"ht of privac$ of
!arried personsC ri"htfull$ it
stressed ,a relationship l$in" #ithin
the %one of privac$ created b$
several funda!ental constitutional
"uarantees., It has #ider
i!plications thou"h. The
constitutional ri"ht to privac$ has
co!e into its o#n.
So it is li4e#ise in our Aurisdiction.
The ri"ht to privac$ as such is
accorded reco"nition independentl$
of its identification #ith libert$C in
itself, it is full$ deservin" of
constitutional protection. The
lan"ua"e of Prof. (!erson is
particularl$ apt0 ,The concept of
li!ited "overn!ent has al#a$s
included the idea that "overn!ental
po#ers stop short of certain
intrusions into the personal life of the
citi%en. This is indeed one of the
basic distinctions bet#een absolute
and li!ited "overn!ent. 6lti!ate
and pervasive control of the
individual, in all aspects of his life, is
the hall!ar4 of the absolute state. In
contrast, a s$ste! of li!ited
"overn!ent safe"uards a private
sector, #hich belon"s to the
individual, fir!l$ distin"uishin" it
fro! the public sector, #hich the
state can control. Protection of this
private sector 3 protection, in other
#ords, of the di"nit$ and inte"rit$ of
the individual 3 has beco!e
increasin"l$ i!portant as !odern
societ$ has developed. ll the forces
of a technolo"ical a"e 3
industriali%ation, urbani%ation, and
or"ani%ation 3 operate to narro#
the area of privac$ and facilitate
intrusion into it. In !odern ter!s,
the capacit$ to !aintain and support
this enclave of private life !ar4s the
difference bet#een a de!ocratic and
a totalitarian societ$.,
Indeed, if #e e+tend our Audicial "a%e #e #ill find
that the ri"ht of privac$ is reco"ni%ed and
enshrined in several provisions of our
It is e+pressl$ reco"ni%ed in section
B 1.2 of the Jill of Ri"hts0
Sec. B. 1.2 The privac$ of
co!!unication and correspondence
shall be inviolable e+cept upon la#ful
order of the court, or #hen public
safet$ or order re@uires other#ise as
prescribed b$ la#.
Other facets of the ri"ht to privac$ are
protectad in various provisions of the Jill of
Ri"hts, #i$0
Sec. .. No person shall be deprived
of life, libert$, or propert$ #ithout
due process of la#, nor shall an$
person be denied the e@ual
protection of the la#s.
Sec. =. The ri"ht of the people to be
secure in their persons, houses
papers, and effects a"ainst
unreasonable searches and sei%ures
of #hatever nature and for an$
purpose shall be inviolable, and no
search #arrant or #arrant of arrest
shall issue e+cept upon probable
cause to be deter!ined personall$
b$ the Aud"e after e+a!ination under
oath or affir!ation of the
co!plainant and the #itnesses he
!a$ produce, and particularl$
describin" the place to be searched
and the persons or thin"s to be
+++ +++ +++
Sec. -. The libert$ of abode and of
chan"in" the sa!e #ithin the li!its
prescribed b$ la# shall not be
i!paired e+cept upon la#ful order of
the court. Neither shall the ri"ht to
travel be i!paired e+cept in the
interest of national securit$, public
safet$, or public health as !a$ be
provided b$ la#.
+++ +++ +++
Sec. ?. The ri"ht of the people,
includin" those e!plo$ed in the
public and private sectors, to for!
unions, associations, or societies for
purposes not contrar$ to la# shall
not be abrid"ed.
Sec. .M. No person shall be
co!pelled to be a #itness a"ainst
Lones of privac$ are li4e#ise reco"ni%ed and
protected in our la#s. The &ivil &ode provides that
,EeFver$ person shall respect the di"nit$,
personalit$, privac$ and peace of !ind of his
nei"hbors and other persons, and punishes as
actionable torts several acts b$ a person of
!eddlin" and pr$in" into the privac$ of
It also holds a public officer or
e!plo$ee or an$ private individual liable for
da!a"es for an$ violation of the ri"hts and liberties
of another person,
and reco"ni%es the privac$ of
letters and other private co!!unications.
Revised Penal &ode !a4es a cri!e the violation of
secrets b$ an officer,
the revelation of trade and
industrial secrets,
and trespass to
Invasion of privac$ is an offense in
special la#s li4e the nti89iretappin" ;a#,
Secrec$ of Jan4 Deposits ct
and the Intellectual
Propert$ &ode.
The Rules of &ourt on privile"ed
co!!unication li4e#ise reco"ni%e the privac$ of
certain infor!ation.
6nli4e the dissenters, #e prescind fro! the
pre!ise that the ri"ht to privac$ is a funda!ental
ri"ht "uaranteed b$ the &onstitution, hence, it is
the burden of "overn!ent to sho# that .O. No.
B/? is Austified b$ so!e co!pellin" state interest
and that it is narro#l$ dra#n. .O. No. B/? is
predicated on t#o considerations0 1.2 the need to
provides our citi%ens and forei"ners #ith the facilit$
to convenientl$ transact business #ith basic service
and social securit$ providers and other "overn!ent
instru!entalities and 1=2 the need to reduce, if not
totall$ eradicate, fraudulent transactions and
!isrepresentations b$ persons see4in" basic
services. It is debatable #hether these interests
are co!pellin" enou"h to #arrant the issuance of
.O. No. B/?. Jut #hat is not ar"uable is the
broadness, the va"ueness, the overbreadth of .O.
No. B/? #hich if i!ple!ented #ill put our people*s
ri"ht to privac$ in clear and present dan"er.
The heart of .O. No. B/? lies in its Section < #hich
provides for a Population Reference Nu!ber 1PRN2
as a ,co!!on reference nu!ber to establish a
lin4a"e a!on" concerned a"encies, throu"h the
use of ,Jio!etrics Technolo"$, and ,co!puter
application desi"ns.,
Jio!etr$ or bio!etrics is ,the science of the
applicatin of statistical !ethods to biolo"ical factsC
a !athe!atical anal$sis of biolo"ical data.,
ter! ,bio!etrics, has evolved into a broad
cate"or$ of technolo"ies #hich provide precise
confir!ation of an individual*s identit$ throu"h the
use of the individual*s o#n ph$siolo"ical and
behavioral characteristics.
characteristic is a relativel$ stable ph$sical
characteristic such as a fin"erprint, retinal scan,
hand "eo!etr$ or facial features. behavioral
characteristic is influenced b$ the individual*s
personalit$ and includes voice print, si"nature and
Most bio!etric idenfication s$ste!s
use a card or personal identificatin nu!ber 1PIN2
for initial identification. The bio!etric
!easure!ent is used to verif$ that the individual
holdin" the card or enterin" the PIN is the
le"iti!ate o#ner of the card or PIN.
!ost co!!on for! of biolo"ical encodin" is
fin"er8scannin" #here technolo"$ scans a fin"ertip
and turns the uni@ue pattern therein into an
individual nu!ber #hich is called a biocr$pt. The
biocr$pt is stored in co!puter data ban4s
beco!es a !eans of identif$in" an individual usin"
a service. This technolo"$ re@uires one*s fin"ertip
to be scanned ever$ ti!e service or access is
nother !ethod is the retinal scan.
Retinal scan technolo"$ e!plo$s optical technolo"$
to !ap the capillar$ pattern of the retina of the
e$e. This technolo"$ produces a uni@ue print
si!ilar to a fin"er print.
nother bio!etric
!ethod is 4no#n as the ,artificial nose., This
device che!icall$ anal$%es the uni@ue co!bination
of substances e+creted fro! the s4in of
The latest on the list of bio!etric
achieve!ents is the ther!o"ra!. Scientists have
found that b$ ta4in" pictures of a face usin" infra8
red ca!eras, a uni@ue heat distribution pattern is
seen. The different densities of bone, s4in, fat and
blood vessels all contribute to the individual*s
personal ,heat si"nature.,
In the last fe# decades, technolo"$ has pro"ressed
at a "allopin" rate. So!e science fictions are no#
science facts. Toda$, bio!etrics is no lon"er li!ited
to the use of fin"erprint to identif$ an individual. It
is a ne# science that uses various technolo"ies in
encodin" an$ and all biolo"ical characteristics of an
individual for identification. It is note#orth$ that
.O. No. B/? does not state #hat specific biolo"ical
characteristics and #hat particular bio!etrics
technolo"$ shall be used to identif$ people #ho #ill
see4 its covera"e. &onsiderin" the ban@uest of
options available to the i!ple!entors of .O. No.
B/?, the fear that it threatens the ri"ht to privac$
of our people is not "roundless.
.O. No. B/? should also raise our antennas for a
further loo4 #ill sho# that it does not state
#hether encodin" of data is li!ited to biolo"ical
infor!ation alone for identification purposes. In
fact, the Solicitor )eneral clai!s that the adoption
of the Identification Reference S$ste! #ill
contribute to the ,"eneration of population data for
develop!ent plannin".,
This is an ad!ission that
the PRN #ill not be used solel$ for identification but
the "eneration of other data #ith re!ote relation
to the avo#ed purposes of .O. No. B/?. &learl$,
the indefiniteness of .O. No. B/? can "ive the
"overn!ent the rovin" authorit$ to store and
retrieve infor!ation for a purpose other than the
identification of the individual throu"h his PRN.
The potential for !isuse of the data to be "athered
under .O. No. B/? cannot be undarpla$ed as the
dissenters do. Pursuant to said ad!inistrative
order, an individual !ust present his PRN
ever$ti!e he deals #ith a "overn!ent a"enc$ to
avail of basic services and securit$. 5is transactions
#ith the "overn!ent a"enc$ #ill necessaril$ be
recorded 3 #hether it be in the co!puter or in the
docu!entar$ file of the a"enc$. The individual*s file
!a$ include his transactions for loan avail!ents,
inco!e ta+ returns, state!ent of assets and
liabilities, rei!burse!ents for !edication,
hospitali%ation, etc. The !ore fre@uent the use of
the PRN, the better the chance of buildin" a hu"e
for!idable infor!atin base throu"h the electronic
lin4a"e of the files.
The data !a$ be "athered
for "ainful and useful "overn!ent purposesC but
the e+istence of this vast reservoir of personal
infor!ation constitutes a covert invitation to
!isuse, a te!ptation that !a$ be too "reat for
so!e of our authorities to resist.
9e can even "rant, ar"uendo, that the co!puter
data file #ill be li!ited to the na!e, address and
other basic personal info!ation about the
(ven that hospitable assu!ption #ill
not save .O. No. B/? fro! constitutional infir!it$
for a"ain said order does not tell us in clear and
cate"orical ter!s ho# these infor!ation "athered
shall he handled. It does not provide #ho shall
control and access the data, under #hat
circu!stances and for #hat purpose. These factors
are essential to safe"uard the privac$ and "uarant$
the inte"rit$ of the infor!ation.
9ell to note, the
co!puter lin4a"e "ives other "overn!ent a"encies
access to the infor!ation. Het, there are no
controls to "uard a"ainst lea4a"e of infor!ation.
9hen the access code of the control pro"ra!s of
the particular co!puter s$ste! is bro4en, an
intruder, #ithout fear of sanction or penalt$, can
!a4e use of the data for #hatever purpose, or
#orse, !anipulate the data stored #ithin the
It is plain and #e hold that .O. No. B/? falls short
of assurin" that personal infor!ation #hich #ill be
"athered about our people #ill onl$ be processed
for une@uivocall$ specified purposes.
The lac4 of
proper safe"uards in this re"ard of .O. No. B/?
!a$ interfere #ith the individual*s libert$ of abode
and travel b$ enablin" authorities to trac4 do#n his
!ove!entC it !a$ also enable unscrupulous
persons to access confidential infor!ation and
circu!vent the ri"ht a"ainst self8incri!inationC it
!a$ pave the #a$ for ,fishin" e+peditions, b$
"overn!ent authorities and evade the ri"ht a"ainst
unreasonable searches and sei%ures.
possibilities of abuse and !isuse of the PRN,
bio!etrics and co!puter technolo"$ are
accentuated #hen #e consider that the individual
lac4s control over #hat can be read or placed on
his ID, !uch less verif$ the correctness of the data
The$ threaten the ver$ abuses that the
Jill of Ri"hts see4s to prevent.
The abilit$ of sophisticated data center to "enerate
a co!prehensive cradle8to8"rave dossier on an
individual and trans!it it over a national net#or4 is
one of the !ost "raphic threats of the co!puter
The co!puter is capable of producin"
a co!prehensive dossier on individuals out of
infor!ation "iven at different ti!es and for varied
It can continue addin" to the stored
data and 4eepin" the infor!ation up to date.
Retrieval of stored date is si!ple. 9hen
infor!ation of a privile"ed character finds its #a$
into the co!puter, it can be e+tracted to"ether #ith
other data on the subAect.
Once e+tracted, the
infor!ation is putt$ in the hands of an$ person.
The end of privac$ be"ins.
Thou"h .O. No. B/? is undoubtedl$ not narro#l$
dra#n, the dissentin" opinions #ould dis!iss its
dan"er to the ri"ht to privac$ as speculative and
h$pothetical. "ain, #e cannot countenance such a
laidbac4 posture. The &ourt #ill not be true to its
role as the ulti!ate "uardian of the people*s libert$
if it #ould not i!!ediatel$ s!other the spar4s that
endan"er their ri"hts but #ould rather #ait for the
fire that could consu!e the!.
9e reAect the ar"u!ent of the Solicitor )eneral
that an individual has a reasonable e+pectation of
privac$ #ith re"ard to the Natioal ID and the use of
bio!etrics technolo"$ as it stands on @uic4sand.
The reasonableness of a person*s e+pectation of
privac$ depends on a t#o8part test0 1.2 #hether b$
his conduct, the individual has e+hibited an
e+pectation of privac$C and 1=2 #hether this
e+pectation is one that societ$ reco"ni%es as
The factual circu!stances of the case
deter!ines the reasonableness of the
5o#ever, other factors, such as
custo!s, ph$sical surroundin"s and practices of a
particular activit$, !a$ serve to create or di!inish
this e+pectation.
The use of bio!etrics and
co!puter technolo"$ in .O. No. B/? does not
assure the individual of a reasonable e+pectation of
s technolo"$ advances, the level of
reasonabl$ e+pected privac$ decreases.
!easure of protection "ranted b$ the reasonable
e+pectation di!inishes as relevant technolo"$
beco!es !ore #idel$ accepted.
The securit$ of
the co!puter data file depends not onl$ on the
ph$sical inaccessibilit$ of the file but also on the
advances in hard#are and soft#are co!puter
technolo"$. .O. No. B/? is so #idel$ dra#n that a
!ini!u! standard for a reasonable e+pectation of
privac$, re"ardless of technolo"$ used, cannot be
inferred fro! its provisions.
The rules and re"ulations to be b$ the I&& cannot
re!ed$ this fatal defect. Rules and re"ulations
!erel$ i!ple!ent the polic$ of the la# or order. On
its face, .O. No. "ives the I&& virtuall$ infettered
discretion to deter!ine the !etes and bounds of
the ID S$ste!.
Nor do $our present la#s prvide ade@uate
safe"uards for a reasonable e+pectation of privac$.
&o!!on#ealth ct. No. I>. penali%es the
disclosure b$ an$ person of data furnished b$ the
individual to the NSO #ith i!prison!ent and
Republic ct. No. ..-. prohibits public
disclosure of SSS e!plo$!ent records and
These la#s, ho#ever, appl$ to records
and data #ith the NSO and the SSS. It is not clear
#hether the$ !a$ be applied to data #ith the other
"overn!ent a"encies for!in" part of the National
ID S$ste!. The need to clarif$ the penal aspect of
.O. No. B/? is another reason #h$ its enact!ent
should be "iven to &on"ress.
Ne+t, the Solicitor )eneral ur"es us to validate
.O. No. B/?*s abrid"!ent of the ri"ht of privac$
b$ usin" the rational relationship test.
stressed that the purposes of .O. No. B/? are0 1.2
to strea!line and speed up the i!ple!entation of
basic "overn!ent services, 1=2 eradicate fraud b$
avoidin" duplication of services, and 1B2 "enerate
population data for develop!ent plannin". 5e
cocludes that these purposes Austif$ the incursions
into the ri"ht to privac$ for the !eans are
rationall$ related to the end.
9e are not i!pressed b$ the ar"u!ent. In Mor%e
#+ Mutuc,
#e upheld the constitutionalit$ of R..
B/.>, the nti8)raft and &orrupt Practices ct, as a
valid police po#er !easure. 9e declared that the
la#, in co!pellin" a public officer to !a4e an
annual report disclosin" his assets and liabilities,
his sources of inco!e and e+penses, did not
infrin"e on the individual*s ri"ht to privac$. The la#
#as enacted to pro!ote !oralit$ in public
ad!inistration b$ curtailin" and !ini!i%in" the
opportunities for official corruption and !aintainin"
a standard of honest$ in the public service.
The sa!e circu!stances do not obtain in the case
at bar. For one, R.. B/.> is a statute, not an
ad!inistrative order. Secondl$, R.. B/.> itself is
sufficientl$ detailed. The la# is clear on #hat
practices #ere prohibited and penali%ed, and it #as
narro#l$ dra#n to avoid abuses. IN the case at bar,
.O. No. B/? !a$ have been i!pelled b$ a #orth$
purpose, but, it cannot pass constitutional scrutin$
for it is not narro#l$ dra#n. nd #e no# hod that
#hen the inte"rit$ of a funda!ental ri"ht is at
sta4e, this court #ill "ive the challen"ed la#,
ad!inistrative order, rule or re"ulation a stricter
scrutin$. It #ill not do for the authorities to invo4e
the presu!ption of re"ularit$ in the perfor!ance of
official duties. Nor is it enou"h for the authorities
to prove that their act is not irrational for a basic
ri"ht can be di!inished, if not defeated, even #hen
the "overn!ent does not act irrationall$. The$
!ust satisfactoril$ sho# the presence of co!pellin"
state interests and that the la#, rule or re"ulation
is narro#l$ dra#n to preclude abuses. This
approach is de!anded b$ the .>?M &onstitution
#hose entire !atri+ is desi"ned to protect hu!an
ri"hts and to prevent authoritarianis!. In case of
doubt, the least #e can do is to lean to#ards the
stance that #ill not put in dan"er the ri"hts
protected b$ the &onstitutions.
The case of 3halen #+ Roe
cite" b$ the Solicitor
)eneral is also off8line. In 9halen, the 6nited
States Supre!e &ourt #as presented #ith the
@uestion of #hether the State of Ne# Hor4 could
4eep a centrali%ed co!puter record of the na!es
and addresses of all persons #ho obtained certain
dru"s pursuant to a doctor*s prescription. The Ne#
Hor4 State &ontrolled Substance ct of .>M=
re@uired ph$sicians to identif$ parties obtainin"
prescription dru"s enu!erated in the statute, i.e.,
dru"s #ith a reco"ni%ed !edical use but #ith a
potential for abuse, so that the na!es and
addresses of the patients can be recorded in a
centrali%ed co!puter file of the State Depart!ent
of 5ealth. The plaintiffs, #ho #ere patients and
doctors, clai!ed that so!e people !i"ht decline
necessar$ !edication because of their fear that the
co!puteri%ed data !a$ be readil$ available and
open to public disclosureC and that once disclosed,
it !a$ sti"!ati%e the! as dru" addicts.
plaintiffs alle"ed that the statute invaded a
constitutionall$ protected %one of privac$, i.e., the
individual interest in avoidin" disclosure of personal
!atters, and the interest in independence in
!a4in" certain 4inds of i!portant decisions. The
6.S. Supre!e &ourt held that #hile an individual*s
interest in avoidin" disclosuer of personal !atter is
an aspect of the ri"ht to privac$, the statute did
not pose a "rievous threat to establish a
constitutional violation. The &ourt found that the
statute #as necessar$ to aid in the enforce!ent of
la#s desi"ned to !ini!i%e the !isuse of dan"erous
dru"s. The patient8identification re@uire!ent #as a
product of an orderl$ and rational le"islative
decision !ade upon reco!!!endation b$ a
speciall$ appointed co!!ission #hich held
e+tensive hearin"s on the !atter. Moreover, the
statute #as narro#l$ dra#n and contained
nu!erous safe"uards a"ainst indiscri!inate
disclosure. The statute laid do#n the procedure
and re@uire!ents for the "atherin", stora"e and
retrieval of the infor!atin. It ebu!erated #ho #ere
authori%ed to access the data. It also prohibited
public disclosure of the data b$ i!posin" penalties
for its violation. In vie# of these safe"uards, the
infrin"e!ent of the patients* ri"ht to privac$ #as
Austified b$ a valid e+ercise of police po#er. s #e
discussed above, .O. No. B/? lac4s these vital
(ven #hile #e stri4e do#n .O. No. B/?, #e spell
out in neon that the &ourt is not er se a"ains the
use of co!puters to accu!ulate, store, process,
retvieve and trans!it data to i!prove our
bureaucrac$. &o!puters #or4 #onders to achieve
the efficienc$ #hich both "overn!ent and private
industr$ see4. Man$ infor!ation s$ste! in different
countries !a4e use of the co!puter to facilitate
i!portant social obAective, such as better la#
enforce!ent, faster deliver$ of public services,
!ore efficient !ana"e!ent of credit and insurance
pro"ra!s, i!prove!ent of teleco!!unications and
strea!linin" of financial activities.
6sed #isel$,
data stored in the co!puter could help "ood
ad!inistration b$ !a4in" accurate and
co!prehensive infor!ation for those #ho have to
fra!e polic$ and !a4e 4e$ decisions.
benefits of the co!puter has revolutioni%ed
infor!ation technolo"$. It developed the
introduced the concept of
and the infor!ation superhi"h#a$
#here the individual, ar!ed onl$ #ith his personal
co!puter, !a$ surf and search all 4inds and
classes of infor!ation fro! libraries and databases
connected to the net.
In no uncertain ter!s, #e also underscore that the
ri"ht to privac$ does not bar all incursions into
individual privac$. The ri"ht is not intended to stifle
scientific and technolo"ical advance!ents that
enhance public service and the co!!on "ood. It
!erel$ re@uires that the la# be narro#l$
and a co!pellin" interest Austif$ such
Intrusions into the ri"ht !ust be
acco!panied b$ proper safe"uards and #ell8
defined standards to prevent unconstitutional
invasions. 9e reiterate that an$ la# or order that
invades individual privac$ #ill be subAected b$ this
&ourt to strict scrutin$. The reason for this stance
#as laid do#n in Mor%e #+ Mutuc, to #it0
The concept of li!ited "overn!ent
has al#a$s included the idea that
"overn!ental po#ers stop short of
certain intrusions into the personal
life of the citi%en. This is indeed one
of the basic disctinctions bet#een
absolute and li!ited "overn!ent.
6lti!ate and pervasive control of the
individual, in all aspects of his life, is
the hall!ar4 of the absolute state. In
contrast, a s$ste! of li!ited
"overn!ent safe"uards a private
sector, #hich belon"s to the
individual, fir!l$ distin"uishin" it
fro! the public sector, #hich the
state can control. Protection of this
private sector 3 protection, in other
#ords, of the di"nit$ and inte"rit$ of
the individual 3 has beco!e
increasin"l$ i!portant as !odern
societ$ has developed. ll the forces
of a technolo"ical a"e 3
industriali%ation, urbani%ation, and
or"ani%ation 3 operate to narro#
the area of privac$ and facilitate
intrusion into it. In !odern ter!s,
the capacit$ to !aintain and support
this enclave of private life !ar4s the
difference bet#een a de!ocratic and
a totalitarian societ$.
The ri"ht to privac$ is one of the !ost threatened
ri"hts of !an livin" in a !ass societ$. The threats
e!anate fro! various sources 3 "overn!ents,
Aournalists, e!plo$ers, social scientists, etc.
th case at bar, the threat co!es fro! the e+ecutive
branch of "overn!ent #hich b$ issuin" .O. No.
B/? pressures the people to surrender their privac$
b$ "ivin" infor!ation about the!selves on the
prete+t that it #ill facilitate deliver$ of basic
services. )iven the record84eepin" po#er of the
co!puter, onl$ the indifferent fail to perceive the
dan"er that .O. No. B/? "ives the "overn!ent the
po#er to co!pile a devastatin" dossier a"ainst
unsuspectin" citi%ens. It is ti!el$ to ta4e note of
the #ell8#orded #arnin" of 7alvin, Dr., ,the
disturbin" result could be that ever$one #ill live
burdened b$ an unerasable record of his past and
his li!itations. In a #a$, the threat is that because
of its record84eepin", the societ$ #ill have lost its
beni"n capacit$ to for"et.,
Oblivious to this
counsel, the dissents still sa$ #e should not be too
@uic4 in labellin" the ri"ht to privac$ as a
funda!ental ri"ht. 9e close #ith the state!ent
that the ri"ht to privac$ #as not en"raved in our
&onstitution for flatter$.
IN VI(9 95(R(OF, the petition is "ranted and
d!inisrative Order No. B/? entitled ,doption of a
National &o!puteri%ed Identification Reference
S$ste!, declared null and void for bein"