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BLAS F.

OPLE
v.
RUBEN D. TORRES, ALEXANDER AGUIRRE,
HECTOR VILLANUEVA, CIELITO
HABITO,ROBERT BARBERS, CARMENCITA
REODICA, CESAR SARINO, RENATO
VALENCIA, TOMAS P. AFRICA, HEADOF THE
NATIONAL COMPUTER CENTER and
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT
Facts: The petition at bar is a commendable effort
on the part of Senator Blas F. Ople to prevent the
shrinking of the rightto privacy, which the revered
Mr. Justice Brandeis considered as "the most
comprehensive of rights and the rightmost valued
by civilized men." Petitioner Ople prays that we
invalidate Administrative Order No. 308
entitled"Adoption of a National Computerized
Identification Reference System" on two important
constitutional grounds:
:(1)it is a usurpation of the power
of Congress to legislate, and
(2)it impermissibly intrudes on our
citizenry's protected zone of privacy.
We grant the petition for the rights sought to be
vindicated by the petitioner need stronger barriers
against furthererosion.
A.O. No. 308 was published in four newspapers of
general circulation on January 22, 1997 and
January 23, 1997. On January 24, 1997, petitioner
filed the instant petition against respondents, then
Executive Secretary Ruben Torresand the heads of
the government agencies, who as members of the
Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee, arecharged
with the implementation of A.O. No. 308. On April 8,
1997, we issued a temporary restraining
orderenjoining its implementation.
Issue:
WON the petitioner has the stand to assail the
validity of A.O. No. 308
Ruling:
YES , As is usual in constitutional litigation,
respondents raise the threshold issues relating to
the standing to sue of thepetitioner and the
justiciability of the case at bar. More specifically,
respondents aver that petitioner has no legalinterest
to uphold and that the implementing rules of A.O.
No. 308 have yet to be promulgated. These

submissions do not deserve our sympathetic ear.


Petitioner Ople is a distinguished member of our
Senate. Asa Senator, petitioner is possessed of the
requisite standing to bring suit raising the issue that
the issuance of A.O.No. 308 is a usurpation of
legislative power.
As taxpayer and member of the Government
Service InsuranceSystem (GSIS), petitioner can
also impugn the legality of the misalignment of
public funds and the misuse of GSISfunds to
implement A.O. No. 308. The ripeness for
adjudication of the Petition at bar is not affected by
the fact that the implementing rules of A.O.No. 308
have yet to be promulgated. Petitioner Ople assails
A.O. No. 308 as invalid per se and as infirmed on
itsface. His action is not premature for the rules yet
to be promulgated cannot cure its fatal defects.
Moreover, therespondents themselves have started
the implementation of A.O. No. 308 without waiting
for the rules. As early as January 19, 1997,
respondent Social Security System (SSS) caused
the publication of a notice to bid for themanufacture
of the National Identification (ID) card. Respondent
Executive Secretary Torres has publicly
announcedthat representatives from the GSIS and
the SSS have completed the guidelines for the
national identificationsystem.All signals from the
respondents show their unswerving will to
implement A.O. No. 308 and we need not wait
forthe formality of the rules to pass judgment on its
constitutionality. In this light, the dissenters
insistence that wetighten the rule on standing is not
a commendable stance as its result would be to
throttle an importantconstitutional principle and a
fundamental right.
Zulueta vs. Court of Appeals 253 SCRA
699 Gr No. 107383, February 20, 1996
FACTS:Petitioner, Cecilia Zulueta is married
to private respondent, Dr. Alfredo Martin.
That petitioner accused her husband
of infidelity. That on March 26, 1982,
petitioner went to the clinic of private
respondent, who is a doctor of
medicine,without the consent of the latter.
That on the same date mentioned, petitioner
opened the drawers and cabinet of
herhusband and took 157 documents and
papers consisting of private correspondence
between Dr. Martin and his
allegedparamours. The documents found by

petitioner were seized for use as evidence


in a case for legal separation filed
byZulueta. Dr. Martin brought this action
below for recovery of the documents and
papers and for damages against petitioner.
The RTC, decided in favor of private
respondent, declaring him the
capital/exclusive owner of
propertiesdescribed and ordering petitioner
to return the properties to Dr. Martin and
pay him nominal and moral damages
andattorneys fees, and cost of the suit.
Furthermore, petitioner and her attorneys
and representatives were enjoined
fromusing or submitting/admitting as
evidence the documents and papers in
question. On appeal, the Court of
Appealsaffirmed the decision made by the
Regional Trial Court. Hence, this petition.
ISSUE: W/N the documents and papers in
question are admissible in evidence.
HELD:NO. The Supreme Court held that the
documents and papers in question are
inadmissible in evidence. The
constitutionalinjunction declaring the privacy
of communication and correspondence [to
be] inviolable (Sec.3, Par.1, Art.III,
1987Constitution) is no less applicable
simply because it is the wife (who thinks
herself aggrieved by her husbands
infidelity)who is the party against whom the
constitutional provision is to be enforced.
The only exception to the provision in
theconstitution is if there is a lawful order
[from a] court or when public safety or order
requires otherwise as provide bylaw. (Sec.3,
Par.1, Art.III, 1987 Constitution) Any
violation of this provision renders the
evidence obtained inadmissiblefor any
purpose in any proceeding. (Sec.3, Par.2,
Art.III,1987 Constitution)A person, by
contracting marriage does not shed his/her
integrity or his right to privacy as an
individual and theconstitutional protection is
ever available to him or to her. The law
ensures absolute freedom of
communication betweenthe spouses by
making it privileged. Neither husband nor
wife may testify for or against the other

without consent of theaffected spouse while


the marriage subsists. (Sec.22, Rule130,
Rules of Court). Neither maybe examined
without theconsent of the other as to any
communication received in confidence by
one from the other during the marriage,
save forspecified exceptions. (Sec.24, Rule
130, Rules of Court)PETITION DENIED
487 SCRA 623 Political Law Control
Power of the President
This case is consolidated with Consolidated
with Bayan Muna vs Ermita
In 2005, Executive Order No. 420 was
passed. This law sought to harmonize and
streamline the countrys id system. Kilusang
Mayo Uno, Bayan Muna, and other
concerned groups sought to enjoin the
Director-General from implementing the EO
because they allege that the said EO is
unconstitutional for it infringes upon the right
to privacy of the people and that the same is
a usurpation of legislative power by the
president.
ISSUE: Whether or not the said EO is
unconstitutional.
HELD: No. Section 1 of EO 420 directs
these government entities to adopt a
unified multi-purpose ID system. Thus, all
government entities that issue IDs as part of
their functions under existing laws are
required to adopt a uniform data collection
and format for their IDs.
Section 1 of EO 420 enumerates the
purposes of the uniform data collection and
format. The President may by executive or
administrative order direct the government
entities under the Executive department to
adopt a uniform ID data collection and
format. Sec 17, Article 7 of the 1987
Constitution provides that the President
shall have control of all executive
departments, bureaus and offices. The
same Section also mandates the President
to ensure that the laws be faithfully
executed.
Certainly,
under
this
constitutional power of control the President
can direct all government entities, in the

exercise of their functions under existing


laws, to adopt a uniform ID data collection
and ID format to achieve savings, efficiency,
reliability, compatibility, and convenience to
the public.
The Presidents constitutional power of
control is self-executing and does not need
any implementing legislation. Of course,
the Presidents power of control is limited to
the Executive branch of government and
does not extend to the Judiciary or to the
independent
constitutional
commissions. Thus, EO 420 does not
apply to the Judiciary, or to the COMELEC
which under existing laws is also authorized
to issue voters ID cards. This only shows
that EO 420 does not establish a national ID
system because legislation is needed to
establish a single ID system that is
compulsory for all branches of government.

Bayan et.al. vs. Ermita


Facts:Petitioners come in three groups.
Bayan et al, Jess del Prado
et al, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), et al,
KMU, et al. The rally was scheduled to
proceed along Espaa Avenue in front of
the University of Santo Tomas and going
towards Mendiola bridge. Police officers
blocked them alongMorayta Street and
prevented them from proceeding further.
They were then forciblydispersed, causing
injuries on one of them. Three other rallyists
were arrestedin the case of Bayan, et al
allege that they are citizens and taxpayers
of the Philippinesand that their rights as
organizations and individuals were violated
when the rally they participated in on
October 6, 2005 was violently dispersed by
policemen implementingBatas Pambansa
(B.P.) No. 880All petitioners assail Batas
Pambansa No. 880, some of them
in toto and others onlySections 4, 5, 6,
12, 13(a), and 14(a), as well as the policy of
CPR, "CalibratedPreemptive Response".
They seek to stop violent dispersals of
rallies under the "no permit, no rally" policy

and the CPR policy recently


announced.Bayan et al argued that B.P. No.
880 requires a permit before one can stage
a publicassembly regardless of the
presence or absence of a clear and present
danger. It alsocurtails the choice of venue
and is thus repugnant to the freedom of
expression clause asthe time and place of a
public assembly form part of the message
for which theexpression is sought.
Furthermore, it is not content-neutral as it
does not apply to massactions in support of
the government. The words "lawful cause,"
"opinion," "protesting or influencing" suggest
the exposition of some cause not espoused
by the government. Also,the phrase
"maximum tolerance" shows that the law
applies to assemblies against
thegovernment because they are being
tolerated. As a content-based legislation, it
cannot pass the strict scrutiny
test.Issue:Whether or not the
implementation of B.P. No. 880 volated their
rights as organizationsand individuals when
the rally they participated in on October 6,
2005Held:Petitioners standing cannot be
seriously challenged. Their right as
citizens to engage in peaceful assembly and
exercise the right of petition, as guaranteed
by the Constitution, isdirectly affected by
B.P. No. 880 which requires a permit for all
who would publiclyassemble in the nations
streets and parks. They have, in fact,
purposely engaged in public assemblies
without the required permits to press their
claim that no such permitcan be validly
required without violating the Constitutional
guarantee. Respondents, onthe other hand,
have challenged such action as contrary to
law and dispersed the publicassemblies
held without the permit. Sec. 4 Art. III
Section 4 of Article III of the
ConstitutionSec. 4. No law shall be passed
abridging the freedom of speech, of
expression, or of the press, or the right of
the people peaceably to assemble and
petition the government for redress of
grievances The first point to mark is that the
right to peaceably assemble and petition for
redress of grievances is, together with
freedom of speech, of expression, and of

the press, a rightthat enjoys primacy in the


realm of constitutional protection. For
these rights constitutethe very basis of a
functional democratic polity, without which
all the other rights would be meaningless
and unprotectedRights to peaceful
assembly to petition the government for a
redress of grievances and,for that matter, to
organize or form associations for purposes
not contrary to law, as wellas to engage in
peaceful concerted activities. These rights
are guaranteed by no less thanthe
Constitution, particularly Sections 4 and 8 of
the Bill of Rights, Section 2(5) of Article IX,
and Section 3 of Article XIII. Jurisprudence
abounds with hallowed pronouncements
defending and promoting the peoples
exercise of these rightsIt is very clear,
therefore, that B.P. No. 880 is not an
absolute ban of public assemblies but a
restriction that simply regulates the time,
place and manner of the assemblies, it as
a"content-neutral" regulation of the time,
place, and manner of holding public
assembliesA fair and impartial reading of
B.P. No. 880 thus readily shows that it
refers to all kindsof public assemblies that
would use public places. The reference to
"lawful cause" doesnot make it contentbased because assemblies really have to
be for lawful causes,otherwise they would
not be "peaceable" and entitled to
protection. Neither are the words"opinion,"
"protesting" and "influencing" in the
definition of public assembly content based,
since they can refer to any subject. The
words "petitioning the government
for redress of grievances" come from the
wording of the Constitution, so its use
cannot beavoided. Finally, maximum
tolerance is for the protection and benefit of
all rallyists andis independent of the
content of the expressions in the
rally.Furthermore, the permit can only be
denied on the ground of clear and present
danger to public order, public safety, public
convenience, public morals or public
healththe so-called calibrated preemptive
response policy has no place in our legal
firmamentand must be struck down as a
darkness that shrouds freedom. It merely

confuses our people and is used by some


police agents to justify abuses. On the other
hand, B.P. No.880 cannot be condemned
as unconstitutional; it does not curtail or
unduly restrictfreedoms; it merely regulates
the use of public places as to the time,
place and manner of assemblies. Far from
being insidious, "maximum tolerance" is for
the benefit of rallyists, not the government.
The delegation to the mayors of the power
to issue rally "permits" isvalid because it is
subject to the constitutionally-sound "clear
and present danger"standard.In this
Decision, the Court goes even one step
further in safeguarding liberty by givinglocal
governments a deadline of 30 days within
which to designate specific freedom parks
as provided under B.P. No. 880. If, after that
period, no such parks are so identifiedin
accordance with Section 15 of the law,
all public parks and plazas of the
municipalityor city concerned shall in effect
be deemed freedom parks; no prior permit
of whatever kind shall be required to hold an
assembly therein. The only requirement will
be writtennotices to the police and the
mayors office to allow proper coordination
and orderlyactivities.
On February 20, 2006, Senator Miriam
Defensor-Santiago introduced Senate Res.
No. 455 directing an inquiry in aid of
legislation on the anomalous losses
incurred by the Philippines Overseas
Telecommunications
Corporation
(POTC),
Philippine
Communications
Satellite Corporation (PHILCOMSAT), and
PHILCOMSAT Holdings Corporation (PHC)
due to the alleged improprieties in their
operations by their respective Board of
Directors. Pursuant to this, on May 8, 2006,
Senator Richard Gordon, wrote Chairman
Camilo Sabio of the PCGG inviting him to
be one of the resource persons in the public
meeting jointly conducted by the Committee
on Government Corporations and Public
Enterprises and Committee on Public
Services. Chairman Sabio declined the
invitation because of prior commitment. At
the same time, he invoked Section 4(b)

of E.O. No. 1 No member or staff of the


Commission shall be required to testify or
produce evidence in any judicial, legislative
or administrative proceeding concerning
matters within its official cognizance.
Apparently, the purpose is to ensure
PCGGs unhampered performance of its
task.
Gordons
Subpoenae
Ad
Testificandum was repeatedly ignored by
Sabio hence he threatened Sabio to be
cited with contempt.
ISSUE: Whether or not Section 4 of EO No.
1 is constitutional.
HELD: No. It can be said that the Congress
power of inquiry has gained more solid
existence and expansive construal. The
Courts high regard to such power is
rendered more evident in Senate v. Ermita,
where it categorically ruled that the power
of inquiry is broad enough to cover officials
of the executive branch. Verily, the Court
reinforced the doctrine in Arnault that the
operation of government, being a legitimate
subject for legislation, is a proper subject
for investigation and that the power
of inquiry is co-extensive with the power to
legislate. Subject to reasonable conditions
prescribed by law, the State adopts and
implements a policy of full public disclosure
of all its transactions involving public
interest.
Article III, Section 7
The right of the people to information on
matters of public concern shall be
recognized. Access to official records, and
to documents, and papers pertaining to
official acts, transactions, or decisions, as
well as to government research data used
as basis for policy development, shall be
afforded the citizen, subject to such
limitations as may be provided by law.
These twin provisions of the Constitution
seek to promote transparency in policymaking and in the operations of the
government, as well as provide the people
sufficient information to enable them to
exercise effectively their constitutional

rights. Armed with the right information,


citizens can participate in public discussions
leading to the formulation of government
policies and their effective implementation.

Espuelas vs People
G.R. No. L-2990
December 17, 1951
Facts:
On June 9 and June 24, 1947, both dates
inclusive, in the town of Tagbilaran, Bohol,
Oscar Espuelas y Mendoza had his picture
taken, making it to appear as if he were
hanging lifeless at the end of a piece of rope
suspended form the limb of the tree, when
in truth and in fact, he was merely standing
on a barrel. After securing copies of his
photograph, Espuelas sent copies of same
to Free Press, the Evening News, the
Bisayas, Lamdang of general circulation
and other local periodicals in the Province of
Bohol but also throughout the Philippines
and abroad, for their publication with a
suicide note or letter, wherein he made to
appear that it was written by a fictitious
suicide, Alberto Reveniera and addressed
to the latter's supposed wife translation of
which letter or note, stating his dismay and
administration of President Roxas, pointing
out the situation in Central Luzon and Leyte,
and directing his wife his dear wife to write
to President Truman and Churchill of US
and tell them that in the Philippines the
government is infested with many Hitlers
and Mussolinis.
Issue:
Whether the accused is liable of seditious
libel under Art. 142 of the RPC against the
Government of the Philippines?
Held:
Yes. The accused must therefore be found
guilty as charged. And there being no
question as to the legality of the penalty
imposed on him, the decision will be
affirmed with costs.

Analyzed for meaning and weighed in its


consequences, the article written bybthe
accused, cannot fail to impress thinking
persons that it seeks to sow the seeds of
sedition and strife. The infuriating language
is not a sincere effort to persuade, what with
the writer's simulated suicide and false
claim to martyrdom and what with is failure
to particularize. When the use irritating
language centers not on persuading the
readers but on creating disturbances, the
rationable of free speech cannot apply and
the speaker or writer is removed from the
protection of the constitutional guaranty.
If it be argued that the article does not
discredit the entire governmental structure
but only President Roxas and his men, the
reply is that article 142 punishes not only all
libels against the Government but also
"libels against any of the duly constituted
authorities thereof." The "Roxas people" in
the Government obviously refer of least to
the President, his Cabinet and the majority
of legislators to whom the adjectives dirty,
Hitlers and Mussolinis were naturally
directed. On this score alone the conviction
could be upheld.
U.S. v Bustos G.R. No. L-12592 March 8,
1918
J. Malcolm
Facts:
In 1915, 34 Pampanga residents signed a
petition to the Executive Secretary
regarding
charges
against
Roman
Punsalan, the justice of the peace of
Macabebe. They wanted to oust him from
his office.
Specific
allegations
against
him
included bribery charges,
involuntary
servitude, and theft.
The justice denied the charges. In the CFI,
not all the charges were proved. But, the
judge still found him guilty.
Punsalan filed charges alleging that he was
the victim of prosecution and one Jaime, an
auxiliary justice, instigated the charges

against him for personal reasons. He was


acquitted.
The complainants filed an appeal to the
Governor General but it wasnt acted upon.
Criminal action was instituted aganst the
residents by Punsalan.
The CFI found almost all of the 34
defendants guilty and sentenced them to
pay 10 pesos or suffer imprisonment in case
of insolvency.
The defendants filed a motion for a retrial to
retire the objection made by Punsalan. The
trial court denied the motion. All except 2 of
the
defendants
appealed.
Making assignments of error.
1. The court erred in overruling motion for
retrial.
2. Error in not holding that the libelous
statement was not privileged
3. Error in not acquitting defendants
4. Evidence failed to show gult of
defendants beyond reasonable doubt.
5. Erred in making defendants prove that
the libelous statements were true.
6. Error in sustaining the prosecutions
objection to the introduction in evidence by
the accused of the affidavits upon which the
petition forming the basis of the libelous
charge was based.
7. Erred in refusing to permit the defendants
to retire the objection in advertently
interposed
by
their
counsel
to
the admission in evidence of the expediente
administrativo out of which the accusation in
this case arose.
Issue:
Whether or not the defendants and
appellants are guilty of a libel of Roman
Punsalan, justice of the peace in
Pampanga.
Held: Yes. Defendants acquitted.
Ratio:
Freedom of speech was non existent in the
country before 1900. There were small
efforts at reform made by the La
Solidaridad. The Malolos Constitution,
on the other hand, guaranteed freedom of
speech.

During the U.S. period, President McKinley


himself laid down the tenet Magna Charta of
Philippine Liberty when he wrote, that no
law shall be passed abridging the freedom
of speech or of the press or of the rights of
the people to peaceably assemble and
petition the Government for a redress of
grievances." This was in the Philippine Bill.
In the Amrican cases it was held, there were
references to public opinion should be the
constant source of liberty and democracy.
It also said the guaranties of a free speech
and a free press include the right to criticize
judicial conduct. The administration of the
law is a matter of vital public concern.
Whether
the
law
is
wisely
or
badly enforced is, therefore, a fit subject for
proper comment. If the people cannot
criticize a justice of the peace or a judge the
same as any other public officer, public
opinion will be effectively muzzled.
Attempted terrorization of public opinion on
the part of the judiciary would be tyranny of
the basest sort.
It is a duty which every one owes to society
or to the State to assist in the investigation
of any alleged misconduct. It is further the
duty of all who know of any official
dereliction on the part of a magistrate or the
wrongful act of any public officer to bring the
facts to the notice of those whose duty it is
to inquire into and punish them.
The right to assemble and petition is the
necessary consequence of republican
institutions and the complement of the part
of free speech. Assembly means a right on
the part of citizens to meet peaceably for
consultation in respect to public affairs.
Petition means that any person or group of
persons can apply, without fear of penalty,
to the appropriate branch or office of the
government for a redress of grievances.
The persons assembling and petitioning
must, of course, assume responsibility for
the charges made.
Public policy has demanded protection for
public opinion. The doctrine of privilege has
been the result of this. Privilged
communications may in some instances
afford an immunity to the slanderer. Public

policy is the unfettered administration of


justice.
Privilege is either absolute or qualified.
Qualified privilege is prima facie which may
be lost by proof of malice. This is apparent
in complaints made in good faith against a
public officials conduct having a duty in the
matter. Even if the statements were found to
be false, the protection of privilege may
cover the individual given that it was in good
faith. There must be a sense of duty and not
a self-seeking motive.
A communication made bona fide upon any
subject-matter
in
which
the
party
communicating has an interest, or in
reference to which has a duty, is privileged,
if made to a person having a corresponding
interest or duty, although it contained
criminatory matter which without this
privilege would be slanderous and
actionable.
In the usual case malice can be presumed
from defamatory words. Privilege destroys
that presumption. The onus of proving
malice then lies on the plaintiff. The plaintiff
must bring home to the defendant the
existence of malice as the true motive of his
conduct. Falsehood and the absence of
probable cause will amount to proof of
malice.
It is true that the particular words set out in
the information, if said of a private person,
might well be considered libelous per se.
The charges might also under certain
conceivable conditions convict one of a libel
of a government official. As a general rule
words imputing to a judge or a justice of the
peace dishonesty or corruption or incapacity
or misconduct touching him in his office are
actionable. But as suggested in the
beginning we do not have present a simple
case of direct and vicious accusations
published in the press, but of charges
predicated on affidavits made to the proper
official and thus qualifiedly privileged.
Express malice has not been proved by the
prosecution. Further, although the charges
are probably not true as to the justice of the
peace, they were believed to be true by the
petitioners. Good faith surrounded their
action. Probable cause for them to think that

malfeasance or misfeasance in office


existed is apparent. The ends and the
motives of these citizens to secure the
removal from office of a person thought to
be venal were justifiable. In no way did
they abuse the privilege. These respectable
citizens did not eagerly seize on a frivolous
matter but on instances which not only
seemed to them of a grave character, but
which were sufficient in an investigation by
a judge of first instance to convince him of
their seriousness. No undue publicity was
given to the petition. The manner of
commenting on the conduct of the justice of
the peace was proper.

People vs. Perez


FACTS:
Isaac Perez while holding a discussion with
several persons on political matters uttered
the following words "Andthe Filipinos, like
myself, must use Bolos f o r c u t t i n g o f f
W ood's head for having
recommended a bad thing for the
Philippines. Because of such
utterances, he was charged in the CFI
of Sorsogon with violation of Art. 256
of the
RPC which has something to do with conte
mpt of ministers of the Crown or other perso
ns in authority. He was convicted.Hence,
this appeal.
ISSUE:
WON Perezs remarks is protected by the
constitutional protection on freedom of
speech.Or WON the provisions of Act No.
292 should be interpreted so as to abridge
the freedom of speech and the right of the
people to peacebly assemble and petition
the Government for redress of grievances.
HELD:
No , it is not. Agreed with the lower court in
its findings of facts but convicted the
accused for violation of Act No.292 (Section
8).
RATIO DECIDENDI:
It is of course fundamentally true that the
provisions of Act No. 292 must not be
interpreted so as to abridge the

freedom of speech and the right


of the people
peaceably to assemble and
petition
t h e G o v e r n m e n t f o r r e d r e s s o f gri
evances. Criticism is permitted to
penetrate even to the foundations of
Government.
Criticism, no matter
how s e v e r e , o n t h e E x e c u t i v e ,
the Legislature, and the Jud
iciary, is within the range of
l i b e r t y o f speech,
unless the intention and effect be
seditious
.
But when the intention and effect of the act
is seditious, the constitutional guaranties of
freedom of speech and press and of
assembly and petition must yield to punitive
measures designed to maintain the
prestige of constituted authority, the
supremacy of the constitution and the
laws, and the
existence of the State. (III W
harton's Criminal Law, pp. 212
7 etseq. ; U . S . vs.A p u r a d o [ 1 9 0 7 ] ,
7 P h i l . , 4 2 2 ; People vs.
Perfecto,supra)In this instance, the
attack on the Governor-General
passes the furthest bounds of free
speech was intended. There is a
seditious tendency in the words used, which
could easily produce disaffection among the
people and a state of feeling incompatible
with a disposition to remain loyal to the
Government and obedient to the laws. In
the words of the law, Perez has
uttered seditious words. He has made
a statement and done an act which
tended to instigate others to cabal or
meet together for unlawful purposes.
He has made a statement and done
an act which suggested and incited
rebellious conspiracies. He has made a
statement and done an act which tended to
stir up the people a g a i n s t t h e l a w f u l
authorities. He has made a
statement and done an act which
tended to disturb the peace of the
community and the safety or order of

the Government. All of these various


tendencies can be ascribed to the
action of Perez and may be characterized
as penalized by section 8 of Act No. 292 as
amended. Every person who shall utter
seditious words or speeches, or who
shall write, publish or circulate
scurrilous libels against the
Government of the United States or against
the Government of the Philippine Islands,
or who shall print, write, publish utter
or make any statement, or speech, or do
any act which tends to disturb or obstruct
any lawful officer in executing his office or in
performing his duty, or which tends to
instigate others to cabal or meet together for
unlawful purposes, or which suggests or
incites rebellious conspiracies or which
tends to stir up the people against the lawful
authorities, or which tends to disturb the
peace of the community or the safety or
order of the Government, or who shall
knowingly conceal such evil practices from
the constituted authorities, shall be
punished by a fine not exceeding two
thousand dollars United States currency or
by imprisonment not exceeding two years,
or both, in the discretion of the court.
BAGUIO MIDLAND COURIER & CECILLE
AFABLE VS. COURT OF APPEALS &
RAMON LABO, JR., 444 SCRA 28
[November 25, 2004]
Freedom of Expression; the public has
the right to be informed on the mental,
moral and physical fitness of candidates
for public office.
FACTS:

Japanes Senator or a barrio Kapitan? Is it


true that he will send P18M aid to Baguio?
Somebody wanted to put an advertisement
of Labo in the Midland Courier but was
refused because he has not yet paid his
account of the last time he was a candidate
for Congress. We will accept all
advertisements for him if he pays his old
account first.
2.
In the same column, Cecille Afable
wrote the following comments in
her January 10, 1988 column at the
Courier:
I heard that the Dumpty in the Egg is
campaigning for Cortes. Not fair. Some real
doctors are also busy campaigning against
Labo because he has not also paid their
medical services with them. Since he is
donating millions he should also settle his
small debts like the reportedly insignificant
amount of P27,000 only. If he wins, several
teachers were signifying to resign and leave
Baguio forever, and Pangasinan will be the
franca-liqua of Baguio.
3.
As a result of the above articles,
Ramon Labor, Jr. filed a complaint for
Damages before the regional trial Court of
Baguio City as he claimed said articles were
libelous. He likewise filed a separate
criminal complaint before the Office of the
City Prosecutor of Baguio but was
dismissed;

1.
In the January 3, 1988 issue of the
Baguio Midland Courier (BMC), Cecille
Afable, the Editor-in-Chief, in her column In
and Out of Baguio made the following
comments:

4.
Labo claimed that the said articles
were tainted with malice because he was
allegedly described as Dumpty in the
Egg or one who is a failure in his
business which is false because he is a
very successful businessman or to mean
zero or a big lie; that he is a balasubas
due to his alleged failure to pay his medical
expenses;

Of all the candidates for Mayor of Baguio


City), Labo has the most imponderables
about him. People would ask: can he read
and write? Why is he always talking about
his Japanese father-in-law? Is he really a

The petitioners, however, were able to


prove that Labo has an unpaid obligation to
the Courier in the amount of P27,415.00 for
the ads placed by his campaigners for the
1984 Batasang Pambansa elections;

The Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Baguio


City, in its Decision dated June 14, 1990
dismissed Labos complaint for damages on
the ground that the article of petitioner
Afable was privileged and constituted fair
comment on matters of public interest as it
dealt with the integrity, reputation and
honesty of private respondent Labo who
was a candidate for Mayor of Baguio City;
On January 7, 1992, the Court of Appeals
reversed the RTC Decision and ordered the
petitioners to pay Ramon Labo,
Jr. damages in the total amount of
P350,000.00 after concluding that the
Dumpty in the Egg refers to no one but
Labo himself.

should be dismissed since Labo utterly


failed to dispose of this responsibility.
2.
Labo claims that the petitioners
could not invoke public interest to justify
the publication since he was not yet a public
official at that time. This argument is without
merit since he was already a candidate for
City mayor of Baguio. As such, the article is
still within the mantle of protection
guaranteed by the freedom of expression
provided in the Constitution since it is the
publics right to be informed of the mental,
moral and physical fitness of candidates for
public office. This was recognized as early
as the case of US VS. SEDANO, 14 Phil.
338 [1909] and the case of NEW YORK
TIMES VS. SULLIVAN, 376 U.S. 254 where
the US Supreme Court held:

Hence, the Petition to the Supreme Court.


ISSUES:
1.
Was Labo the Dumpty in the Egg
described in the questioned article/
2.
Were the articles subject of the
case libelous or privileged/
HELD:
1.
The Court of Appeals is wrong
when it held that Labo is the Dumpty in the
Egg in the questioned article. This is so
because the article stated that The Dumpty
in the Egg is campaigning for Cortes,
another candidate for mayor and opponent
of Labo himself. It is unbelievable that Labo
campaigned for his opponent and against
himself. Although such gracious attitude on
the part of Labo would have been
commendable, it is contrary to common
human experience. As pointed out by the
petitioners, had he done that, it is doubtful
whether he could have won as City Mayor
of Baguio in the 1988 elections, which he
actually did. In line with the doctrine in
BORJAL VS. CA, 310 SCRA 1, that it is
also not sufficient that the offended party
recognized himself as the person attacked
or defamed, but it must be shown that at
least a 3rd person could identify him as the
object of the libelous publication, the case

it is of the utmost consequence that the


people should discuss the character and
qualifications of candidates for their
suffrages. The importance to the State and
to society of such discussions is so vast,
and the advantages derived so great, that
they more than counterbalance the
inconvenience of private persons whose
conduct may be involved, and occasional
injury to the reputations of individuals must
yield to the public welfare, although at times
such injury may be great. The public benefit
from publicity is so great and the chance of
injury to private character so small, that
such discussion must be privileged.
Clearly, the questioned articles constitute
fair comment on a matter of public interest
as it dealt with the character of the private
respondent who was running for the top
elective post in Baguio City at that time.