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GINZBURG vs US

FactsoftheCase
RalphGinzburgandseveralofhisassociateswerechargedwithviolatingafederalobscenitystatuteformailingcircularsabouthowand
wherethreedifferentobscenepublicationscouldbeobtained.Ginzburgchallengedhisconvictionasunconstitutionalsincethecirculars
themselveswerenotobscene.OnappealfromanadverserulingbytheThirdCircuitCourtofAppeals,upholdinganunfavorablelowercourt
finding,theSupremeCourtgrantedGinzburgcertiorari.
Question
Doesconvictionunderthefederalobscenitystatute,forpanderingadvertisementsforsexuallyexplicitpublications,violateoftheFirst
Amendment'sfreespeechprotectionsiftheadvertisementsarenotthemselvesobscene?
Conclusion
Decision:5votesforUnitedStates,4vote(s)againstYes.Ina5to4decision,theCourtheldthatalthoughcircularsthemselvesmaynotbe
obscene,theirpublicmailingoffendsthefederalobscenitystatuteiftheyadvertiseobscenematerials.TheCourtreasonedthatwherethesole
emphasisofanadvertisementisthecommercialexploitationoferoticaforprurientappeal,itshallbedeemed"pornographic"communication
thatliesbeyondthescopeofFirstAmendmentspeechprotections.TheCourtcautioned,however,thatthedistributionofmaterialscontaining
sexualityinthecontextofart,literature,orscienceisnotperseprohibitedundertheobscenitystatuteifitcanbeshowntoadvancehuman
knowledgeorunderstanding.
Rothv.UnitedStates
BriefFactSummary.ThePetitioner,Roth(Petitioner),waschargedwithviolatingthefederallawagainstobscenity.
SynopsisofRuleofLaw.Obscenityisatypeofunprotectedspeech.Obscenematerialdealswithsexinamannerthatisappealingtothe
prurientinterest.
Facts.TheRespondent,theUnitedStates(Respondent),passedalawthatprohibitedthemailingofobscene,lewd,orlasciviousbook,
pamphlet,picture,orotherpublicationofanindecentcharacter.Petitionerwasconvictedofviolatingthisstatutebecausehemailedsexually
explicitadvertisementsandabooktorequesters.
Issue.IsobscenityprotectedspeechundertheFirstAmendmentoftheUnitedStatesConstitution(Constitution)?
Held.No.Thefederallawbanningsuchspeechisconstitutionalaslongastheappropriatestandardofobsceneisused.Obscenityisnot
communicationandiswithoutsocialvalue.
Dissent.Thisispunishingspeechfortheresultingthoughtthatitmayinvoke,notfortheactitself.Therefore,thelawisunconstitutional.
Discussion.Alldiscussionsordepictionsofsexarenotobscene.Tobeobscenethematerialmustprovidenoliteraryorsocialvalueandit
musthaveatendencytoexcitelustfulthoughts.Thiscaseismostfamousforthefootnotedescribingobscenityasashamefulormorbid
interestinnudity,sexorexertion,andifitfoessubstantiallybeyondcustomarylimitsofcandorindescriptionorrepresentationofsuch
matter.
Millerv.California
BriefFactSummary.ThisisoneofagroupofobscenitypornographycasesbeingreviewedbytheSupremeCourtoftheUnitedStates
(SupremeCourt)inareexaminationofthestandards,whichmustbeusedtoidentifyobscenematerialthataStatemayregulate.
SynopsisofRuleofLaw.Thebasicguidelinesforatrieroffactinanobscenitymattermustbe:(a)whethertheaverageperson,applying
contemporarycommunitystandards,wouldfindthatthework,takenasawhole,appealstotheprurientinterest;(b)whetherthework
depictsordescribes,inapatentlyoffensiveway,sexualconductspecificallydefinedbytheapplicablestatelawand(c)whetherthework,
takenasawhole,lacksseriousliterary,artistic,politicalorscientificvalue.
Facts.Inthiscase,theAppellant,Miller(Appellant),conductedamassmailingcampaigntoadvertisethesaleofillustratedadultmaterial
books.TheAppellantsconvictionwasspecificallybasedonhisconductincausingfiveunsolicitedadvertisingbrochurestobesentthroughthe
mail.Thebrochuresconsistprimarilyofpicturesanddrawingsveryexplicitlydepictingmenandwomeningroupsoftwoormoreengagingin
avarietyofsexualactivities,withgenitalsoftenpredominantlydisplayed.Thiscasethusinvolvestheapplicationofastatescriminalobscenity
statutetoasituationinwhichsexuallyexplicitmaterialshavebeenthrustbyaggressivesalesactionuponunwillingrecipients.
Issue.Whethertheobscenitypresentedinthiscaseisprohibitedbytheapplicablestatestatute?
Held.Insum,theSupremeCourt:(a)reaffirmedtheRothholdingthatobscenematerialisnotprotectedbytheFirstAmendmentofthe
UnitedStatesConstitution(Constitution),(b)heldthatsuchmaterialcanberegulatedbytheStates,subjecttospecificsafeguards,withouta
showingthatthematerialisutterlywithoutredeemingsocialvalueand(c)heldthatobscenityistobedeterminedbyapplying
contemporarycommunitystandards.Asaresult,themajoritydeterminedthatthematerialatissueinthiscasewasnotprotectedbythe
FirstAmendmentoftheConstitutionandthattheCaliforniastatestatutecouldregulatethematter.Furthermore,therequirementthata
Californiajuryevaluatethematerialswithreferencetocontemporarystandardsisconstitutionallyadequate.
Dissent.DissentingopinionswereofferedbybothJusticeWilliamDouglas(J.Douglas)andJusticeWilliamBrennan(J.Brennan).
J.Douglas:Itshouldnotbetheroleofthecourttodefineobscenity.
J.Brennan:Thestatestatuteinthiscaseisunconstitutionallyoverbroad.
Discussion.TheSupremeCourtfocusedmuchofitsdecisionontheroleofajuryinthistypeofmatter.TheSupremeCourtfoundthat,
despitetheguidelinesthatitestablished,itisnearlyimpossibletoarticulateanationalobscenitystandard.Asaresult,theSupremeCourt
notedthateachstateshouldbefree,throughstatestatute,toconstructobscenitylawsthatarerepresentativeoftheircommunities.
Furthermore,theSupremeCourtnotedthatthepublicationatissueinthiscasehadnoliterary,artistic,politicalorscientificvalue.The
SupremeCourtfoundthathardcoreportrayalofsexualconduct,foritsownsakeandfortheensuingcommercialgain,doesnotfitthe
articulatedstandard.

Renov.AmericanCivilLibertiesUnion
BriefFactSummary.TwoprovisionsoftheCommunicationsDecencyActof1996(CDA)thatcriminalizedprovidingobscenematerialsto
minorsbyontheinternetwereheldunconstitutionalbytheSupremeCourtoftheUnitedStates(SupremeCourt).
SynopsisofRuleofLaw.Whereacontentbasedblanketrestrictiononspeechisoverlybroadbyprohibitingprotectedspeechaswellas
unprotectedspeech,suchrestrictionisunconstitutional.
Facts.Atissueistheconstitutionalityoftwostatutoryprovisionsenactedtoprotectminorsfromindecentandpatentlyoffensive
communicationsontheInternet.TheDistrictCourtmadeextensivefindingsoffactabouttheInternetandtheCDA.Itheldthatthestatute
abridgesthefreedomofspeechprotectedbytheFirstAmendmentoftheUnitedStatesConstitution(Constitution).
Issue.WhetherthetwoCDAstatutoryprovisionsatissueareconstitutional?
Held.No.JudgmentoftheDistrictCourtaffirmed.UndertheCDA,neitherparentsconsentnortheirparticipationwouldavoidapplicationof
thestatute.TheCDAfailstoprovideanydefinitionofindecentandomitsanyrequirementthatthepatentlyoffensivemateriallackserious
literary,artistic,politicalorscientificvalue.Further,theCDAsbroadcategoricalprohibitionsarenotlimitedtoparticulartimesandarenot
dependentonanyevaluationbyanagencyfamiliarwiththeuniquecharacteristicsoftheInternet.CDAappliestotheentireuniverseofthe
cyberspace.Thus,theCDAisacontentbasedblanketrestrictiononspeech,assuch,cannotbeproperlyanalyzedasaformoftime,placeand
mannerrestriction.TheCDAlackstheprecisionthattheFirstAmendmentoftheConstitutionrequireswhenastatuteregulatesthecontentof
speech.Inordertodenyminorsaccesstopotentiallyharmfulspeech,thestatutesuppressesalargeamountofspeechthatadultshavea
constitutionalrighttoreceive.TheCDAplacesanunacceptableburdenonprotectedspeech,thus,thestatuteisinvalidasunconstitutional.
Concurrence.TheconstitutionalityoftheCDAasazoninglawhingesontheextenttowhichitsubstantiallyinterfereswiththeFirst
Amendmentrightsofadults.Becausetherightsofadultsareinfringedonlybythedisplayprovisionandbytheindecencytransmission
provision,thejudgewouldinvalidatetheCDAonlytothatextent.
Discussion.ThiscasebringstheFirstAmendmentoftheConstitutionintotheInternetagewhileprohibitingspeechregulationsthatare
overbroaddespitetheirseeminglybenevolentgoals.
GONZALEZVSKALAWKATIGBAK
FACTS: PetitionerwastheproducerofthemovieKapitsaPatalimwhichtheBoardofReviewforMotionPicturesandTelevisions
allowedonconditionthatcertaindeletionsweremadeandthatitwasshownonadultsonly.Thepetitionerbroughtanaction,claiming
violationoftheirfreedomofexpression.
HELD:Motionpicturesareimportantbothasamethodforthecommunicationofideasandtheexpressionoftheartisticimpulse.Thepower
oftheBoardislimitedtotheclassificationoffilms.Forfreedomofexpressionistheruleandrestrictionstheexception.Thepowertoimpose
priorrestraintisnottobepresumed,ratherthepresumptionisagainstitsvalidity.Censorshipisallowableonlyundertheclearestproofofa
clearandpresentdangerofasubstantiveeviltopublicsafety,publicmorals,publichealthoranyotherlegitimatepublicinterest.TheBoard
committedanabuseofdiscretioninsubjectingpetitionertodifficultyandtravailbeforethemoviewasclassifiedas"Foradultsonly"without
deletion.Howeverthereisnotenoughvotestoconsidertheabuseofdiscretiongraveasitexplainedthattherewerereasonsforitsaction
becauseofthescenesshowingwomeneroticallydancingnakedandkissingandcaressingeachotherlikelesbians.VV.
Notes:Themovieinvolvedinthiscasewas"KapitsaPatalim"whichthecensorswantedtocutinsomepartandtolabel"ForAdults". TheSC
rulesthatmoviesarewithintheconstitutionalprotectionoffreedomofexpression,sothatcensorshipispresumedtobevalidasconstituting
priorrestraint.TheonlycasewhetheBoardofCensorscanorderadeletioniswhenthereisaclearandpresentdangerofasubstantiveevil
againstnationalsecurityorpublicmoralsorotherpublicinterest.Inallothercases,theBoardcanonlyclassify.
Butadifferentstandardmustbefollowedintelevisionbecauseofthepervasiveandintrusiveinfluenceofthemediumonpeoplewhowatch
itsprogramswithouthavingtopayanything.
Ontheissueofobscenity,theSCheldthatsexalongisnotnecessarilyobscenity,thetestbeingwhether,usingcontemporarycommunity
standards,thedominantappealustotheprurientinterest.(Millerv.California).Thusonthisscore,itfoundabuseofdiscretionofthepartof
theBoardforsubjectingtheproducertodifficultyandforentertaininganarrowviewofobscenity,butitlackedthevotestorulesthatthe
abusewasgrave.

PITAVSCA

FACTS: Pursuant to the Anti-Smut Campaign of Mayor


Ramon Bagatsng, policemen seized and confiscated
from dealers, distributors, newsstand owners and
peddlers
along
Manila
sidewalks,
magazines,
publications and other reading materials believed to

be obscene, pornographic, and indecent and later


burned the seized materials in public. Among the
publications seized and later burned was "Pinoy
Playboy" magazines published and co-edited by
plaintiff Leo Pita. After his injunctive relief was
dismissed by the RTC and his appeal rejected by CA,
he seeks review with SC, invoking the guaranty
against unreasonable searches and seizure.
Issue: W/N the search and seizure was illegal
HELD: YES. It is basic that searches and seizure may
be done only through a judicial warrant , otherwise,
they become unreasonable and subject to challenge.
In Burgos v Chief of Staff (133 SCRA 800) , the SC
countermanded the orders of the RTC authorizing the
serach of the premises WE Forum and Metropolitan
Mail, two Metro Manila Dailies, by reason of a
defective warrant. There is a greater reason in this
case to reprobate the questioned raid, in the complete
absence of a warrant, valid or invalid. The fact that
the instant case involves an obscenity rap makes it no
different from Burgos, a political case, because speech
is speech, whether political or "obscene". The
authorities must apply for the issuance of the a search
warrant from the judge , if in their opinion, an
obscenity rap is in order. They must convince the court

that the materials sought to be seized are "obscene"


and pose a clear and present danger of an evil
substantive enough to warrant State interference and
action. The judge must determine WON the same are
indeed "obscene": the question is to be resolved on a
case-to-case basis and on the judge's sound
discretion. If probable cause exist, a search warrant
will issue.
FernandovCAG.R.No.159751December6,2006

J. Quisimbing
Facts:
Acting on reports of sale and distribution of pornographic materials, officers of the Philippine National
Police CIDG conducted police surveillance on the store bearing the name of Gaudencio E. Fernando
Music Fair (Music Fair).
On May 5, 1999, Judge Perfecto Laguio of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 19, issued
Search Warrant No. 99-1216 for violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code against petitioner
Gaudencio E. Fernando and a certain Warren Tingchuy.
The warrant ordered the search of the store for copies of New Rave, Hustler, IOU magazine, and VHS
tapes.
On the same day, police officers of the PNP-CIDG NCR served the warrant on Rudy Estorninos, who,
according to the prosecution, introduced himself as the store attendant of Music Fair. The police
searched the premises and confiscated twenty-five (25) VHS tapes and ten (10) different magazines,
which they deemed pornographic.
All appellants pled not guilty to the offenses charged. They waived their right to present evidence. The
RTC acquitted Tingchuy for lack of evidence to prove his guilt, but convicted herein petitioners
Fernando and Estorninos.
The CA affirmed the decision. The petitioners sought for review in the SC on certiorari and assailed the
CA decision.
They assigned the following errors:
I. Respondent court erred in convicting petitioner Fernando even if he was not present at the time of the
raid
II. Respondent erred in convicting petitioner Estorninos who was not doing anything illegal at the time
of the raid.
Petitioners contend that the prosecution failed to prove that at the time of the search, they were selling
pornographic materials. Fernando contends that since he was not charged as the owner of an
establishment selling obscene materials, the prosecution must prove that he was present during the raid
and that he was selling the said materials. Estorninos, on the other hand, insists that he was not an

attendant in Music Fair, nor did he introduce himself so.


The Solicitor General counters that owners of establishments selling obscene publications are expressly
held liable under Article 201, and petitioner Fernandos ownership was sufficiently proven. As the
owner, according to the Solicitor General, Fernando was naturally a seller of the prohibited materials
and liable under the Information.
Issue: Whether the appellate court erred in affirming the petitioners conviction.
Held: No. Petition dismissed.
Ratio:
As obscenity is an unprotected speech which the State has the right to regulate, the State in pursuing its
mandate to protect, as parens patriae, the public from obscene, immoral and indecent materials must
justify the regulation or limitation.
One such regulation is Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. To be held liable, the prosecution must
prove that (a) the materials, publication, picture or literature are obscene; and (b) the offender sold,
exhibited, published or gave away such materials. Necessarily, that the confiscated materials are
obscene must be proved.
People v. Kottinger-.obscenity as something which is offensive to chastity, decency or delicacy. The
test to determine the existence of obscenity is, whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscene,
is to deprave or corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences and into whose hands a
publication or other article charged as being obscene may fall.
Also, that which shocks the ordinary and common sense of men as an indecency. The disclaimer was
whether a picture is obscene or indecent must depend upon the circumstances of the case, and that
ultimately, the question is to be decided by the judgment of the aggregate sense of the community
reached by it.
Go Pin- If such pictures, sculptures and paintings are shown in art exhibits and art galleries for the
cause of art, to be viewed and appreciated by people interested in art, there would be no offense
committed. However, the pictures here in question were used not exactly for arts sake but rather for
commercial purposes. In other words, the supposed artistic qualities of said pictures were being
commercialized so that the cause of art was of secondary or minor importance. Gain and profit would
appear to have been the main, if not the exclusive consideration in their exhibition; and it would not be
surprising if the persons who went to see those pictures and paid entrance fees for the privilege of
doing so, were not exactly artists and persons interested in art and who generally go to art exhibitions
and galleries to satisfy and improve their artistic tastes, but rather people desirous of satisfying their
morbid curiosity and taste, and lust, and for love [of] excitement, including the youth who because of
their immaturity are not in a position to resist and shield themselves from the ill and perverting effects
of these pictures
Padan- An actual exhibition of the sexual act, preceded by acts of lasciviousness, can have no
redeeming feature. In it, there is no room for art. One can see nothing in it but clear and unmitigated
obscenity, indecency, and an offense to public morals, inspiring and causing as it does, nothing but lust
and lewdness, and exerting a corrupting influence specially on the youth of the land.
Katigbak- the Court measures obscenity in terms of the dominant theme of the material taken as a
whole rather than in isolated passages.
Pita v. Court of Appeals, concerning alleged pornographic publications, the Court recognized that
Kottinger failed to afford a conclusive definition of obscenity, and that both Go Pin and Padan y Alova
raised more questions than answers such as, whether the absence or presence of artists and persons
interested in art and who generally go to art exhibitions and galleries to satisfy and improve their
artistic tastes, determine what art is; or that if they find inspiration in the exhibitions, whether such

exhibitions cease to be obscene. Go Pin and Padan y Alova gave too much latitude for judicial
arbitrament, which has permitted ad lib of ideas and two-cents worths among judges as to what is
obscene or what is art.
The Court in Pita also emphasized the difficulty of the question and pointed out how hazy
jurisprudence is on obscenity and how jurisprudence actually failed to settle questions on the matter.
Significantly, the dynamism of human civilization does not help at all. It is evident that individual
tastes develop, adapt to wide-ranging influences, and keep in step with the rapid advance of
civilization. It seems futile at this point to formulate a perfect definition of obscenity that shall apply in
all cases.
There is no perfect definition of obscenity but the latest word is that of Miller v. California which
established basic guidelines, to wit: (a) whether to the average person, applying contemporary
standards would find the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (b) whether the work
depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable
state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or
scientific value.
But, it would be a serious misreading of Miller to conclude that the trier of facts has the unbridled
discretion in determining what is patently offensive. No one will be subject to prosecution for the sale
or exposure of obscene materials unless these materials depict or describe patently offensive hard
core sexual conduct. Ie offensive descriptions of sex acts.
What remains clear is that obscenity is an issue proper for judicial determination and should be treated
on a case to case basis and on the judges sound discretion.
In this case, the trial court found the confiscated materials obscene and the Court of Appeals affirmed
such findings. Findings of fact of the Court of Appeals affirming that of the trial court are accorded
great respect, even by this Court, unless such findings are patently unsupported by the evidence on
record or the judgment itself is based on misapprehension of facts.
Did petitioners participate in the distribution and exhibition of obscene materials? We emphasize that
mere possession of obscene materials, without intention to sell, exhibit, or give them away, is not
punishable under Article 201, considering the purpose of the law is to prohibit the dissemination of
obscene materials to the public. The offense in any of the forms under Article 201 is committed only
when there is publicity. The mayors permit shows that Fernando was the owner of the store.
Petitioner Estorninos is likewise liable as the store attendant actively engaged in selling and exhibiting
the obscene materials. Prosecution witness Police Inspector Tababan, who led the PNP-CIDG NCR
that conducted the search, identified him as the store attendant upon whom the search warrant was
served.

Guinguing vs. Court of Appeals


G.R. No. 128959
FACTS:
Cirse Choy Torralba, a broadcast journalist with two radio programs airing in Visayas and
Mindanao, filed a criminal complaint for libel against Segundo Lim and petitioner, Guinguing for
causing the publication of records of his criminal cases as well as photographs of his arrest. The
criminal records and photos were published by means of a one-page advertisement paid for by Lim in
the Sunday Post, a weekly publication edited and published by petitioner.
Choy Torralba asserted that he has been acquitted and that the cases referred to in the
publication had already been settled. He sought the conviction of Lim and Guinguing for libel and
claims that such publication placed him in public contempt and ridicule and was designed to degrade
and malign his person and destroy him as a broadcast journalist.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals found the publication indeed libelous declaring that
malice, the most important element of libel, was present in this case every defamatory publication
prima facie implies malice on the part of the author and publisher towards the person subject thereof.
The lower courts also ruled that publication of calumny even against public officers or candidates for
public office, according to the trial court, is an offense most dangerous to the people. It deserves
punishment because the latter may be deceived thereby and reject the best and deserving citizens to
their great injury.
Thus, petitioner prayed for reversal of the judgment against him contending that his conviction by the
lower courts constitutes an infringement of his constitutional right to freedom of speech and of the
press.
ISSUES:
Whether or not the publication in the instant case is indeed libelous
RULING:
The lower courts applied the strict letter of the law. However, this Court is compelled to delve deeper
into the issue considering that changes in the factual milieu evoked a change in the judgment
applicable.
Under the law, criminal libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or
defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the
dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is
dead. Thus, the elements of libel are: (a) imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another; (b)
publication of the imputation; (c) identity of the person defamed; and, (d) existence of malice.
However, in order to protect the constitutional guarantee of free speech, additional rules were applied
to libel cases involving public figures.
Ayer Productions Pty. Ltd. v. Capulong defined a public figure as a person who, by his
accomplishments, fame, or mode of living, or by adopting a profession or calling which gives
the public a legitimate interest in his doings, his affairs, and his character, has become a 'public
personage.'

The citizens have a legitimate and substantial interest in the conduct of such public figures, and
freedom of the press to engage in uninhibited debate about their involvement in public issues and
events is as crucial as it is in the case of public officials. Public opinion may be the only instrument
by which society can attempt to influence their conduct.
Thus, in libel cases involving public figures, actual malice standard rule applies. As held in New York
Times vs. Sullivan and reiterated in Agiong vs. Comelec, even if the defamatory statement is false, no
liability can attach if it relates to official conduct, unless the public official concerned proves that the
statement was made with actual malice that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless
disregard of whether it was false or not.
Therefore, in order to justify a conviction for criminal libel against a public figure, it must be
established beyond reasonable doubt that the libelous statements were made or published with actual
malice.
In the present case, Torralba was a public figure, being a broadcast journalist who hosts a public affairs
program. By entering into this line of work, complainant in effect gave the public a legitimate interest
in his life. He likewise gave them a stake in finding out if he himself had the integrity and character to
have the right to criticize others for their conduct.
Aside from the fact that the information contained in said publication was true, the intention to let the
public know the character of their radio commentator can at best be subsumed under the mantle of
having been done with good motives and for justifiable ends. Since Torralba failed to establish actual
malice against Lim and Guingguing, the petition for reversal of the judgment of libel against petitioner
was granted.
LUMEN POLICARPIO vs. THE MANILA TIMES PUBLICATION CO., INC.,
CONSTANTE C. ROLDAN, MANUEL V. VILLA-REAL, E. AGUILAR CRUZ and
CONSORCIO BORJE
FACTS: Policarpio was executive secretary of UNESCO Natl Commission. As such, she had
filed charges against Herminia Reyes, one of her subordinates in the Commission, & caused the
latter to be separated from the service. Reyes, in turn, filed counter-charges which were referred
for investigation. Pending completion, Reyes filed a complaint against Policarpio for alleged
malversation of public funds & another complaint for estafa thru falsification of public
documents. Policarpio filed a libel suit to Manila Times Publishing Co. for publishing two
defamatory, libelous and false articles/news items in Saturday Mirror of August 11, 1956 and in
the Daily Mirror of August 13, 1956 which are as follows:

Saturday Mirror (Aug 11, 1956):


WOMAN OFFICIAL SUED
PCAC RAPS L. POLICARPIO ON FRAUDS
Unesco Official Head Accused on Supplies, Funds Use by Colleague
Daily Mirror (Aug 13, 1956):
PALACE OPENS INVESTIGATION OF RAPS AGAINST POLICARPIO
Alba Probes Administrative Phase of Fraud Charges Against Unesco Woman
Official; Fiscal Sets Prelim Quiz of Criminal Suit on Aug 22
The articles contain news on Reyes charges against Policarpio for having malversed public
property and of having fraudulently sought reimbursement of supposed official expenses. It was
said that Policarpio used several sheets of government stencils for her private and personal use.
The other charge refers to the supposed reimbursements she had made for a trip to Quezon and
Pangasinan. Reyes complaint alleged that Policarpio had asked for refund of expenses for use of
her car when she had actually made the trip aboard an army plane. Policarpio was said to be
absent from the Bayambang conference for which she also sought a refund of expenses.
CFI dismissed the complaint on the ground that the plaintiff had not proven that defendants had
acted maliciously in publishing the articles, although portions thereof were inaccurate or false.
ISSUE: Whether or not the defendant is guilty of having published libelous/defamatory articles
HELD: Yes. The headline of the Aug 11 article was given prominence with a 6-column (about
11 inches) banner headline of 1-inch types. Its sub-title PCAC raps Policarpio on fraud
printed in bold 1 cm type is not true. Also, the statement in the 1st paragraph of the article, to the
effect that plaintiff was charged with malversation & estafa by the Presl Complaint & Action
Commission (PCAC) is not true, the complaints for said offenses having been filed by Reyes.
Neither is it true that said criminal action was initiated as a result of current administrative

investigation.
Plaintiff maintains that the effect of these false statements was to give the general impression
that said investigation by Col. Alba had shown that plaintiff was guilty and that, as a
consequence, PCAC had filed the corresponding complaints w/ the fiscals office. She also said
that the article did not mention that fact that the number of stencils involved in the charge was
only 18 or 20; that the sum allegedly misappropriated by her was only P54, and that the
falsification imputed to her was said to have been committed by claiming that certain expenses
for which she had sought reimbursement were incurred in trips during the period from July 1
Sept 30 1955, although the trips actually were made from Jul 8-Aug 31, 1955. By omitting these
details, plaintiff avers that the Aug 11 article had the effect of conveying the idea that the
offenses imputed to her were more serious than they really were.
Defendants contend that though the complaints were filed, not by the PCAC but by Reyes, this
inaccuracy is insignificant & immaterial to the case for the fact is that said complaints were filed.
As regards the number of sheets & the nature of the falsification charged, they argue that these
details do not affect the truthfulness of the article as a whole. Besides, defendants had no
means of knowing such details.
Prior to Aug 11, Col. Alba had already taken the testimony of witnesses; hence, defendants could
have ascertained the details had they wanted to. The number of stencil sheets used was actually
mentioned in the Aug 13 article.
Moreover, the penalty for estafa/embezzlement depends partly upon the amount of the damage
caused to the offended party. Hence, the amount or value of the property embezzled is material
to said offense.
It is obvious that the filing of criminal complaints by another agency of the Govt, like the PCAC,
particularly after an investigation conducted by the same, imparts the ideal that the probability of

guilt is greater than when the complaints are filed by a private individual, wspecially when the
latter is a former subordinate of the alleged offender, who was responsible for the dismissal of
the complainant from her employment.
Newspapers must enjoy a certain degrees of discretion in determining the manner in which a
given event should be presented to the public, and the importance to be attached thereto, as a
news item, and that its presentation in a sensational manner is not per se illegal. Newspapers may
publish news items relative to judicial, legislative or other official proceedings, which are not of
confidential nature, because the public is entitled to know the truth with respect to such
proceedings. But, to enjoy immunity, a publication containing derogatory information must be
not only true, but, also, fair, and it must be made in good faith and without any comments or
remarks.
Art. 354, RPC provides that Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious even if it
be true, if no good intention & justifiable motive for making it is shown, except, A fair and true
report, made in good faith, w/o any comments or remarks.... In the case at bar, aside from
containing information derogatory to the plaintiff, the Aug 11 article presented her in a worse
predicament than that in which she, in fact was. Said article was not a fair and true report of the
proceedings therein alluded to. What is more, its sub-title PCAC raps Policarpio on fraud is a
comment or remark, besides being false. Accordingly, the defamatory imputations contained in
said article are presumed to be malicious
In falsely stating that the complaints were filed by PCAC, either defendants knew the truth or
they did not. If they did, then the publication would actually be malicious. I f they did not, or if
they acted under a misapprehension of the facts, they were guilty of negligence in making said
statement.
We note that the Aug 13 article rectified a major inaccuracy in the 1st article, by stating that
neither Col. Alba nor the PCAC had filed the complaints. It likewise indicated the number of

stencil sheets involved. But, this rectification or clarification does not wipe out the responsibility
arising from the publication of the Aug 11 article, although it should mitigate it.
HELD: Decision reversed. Defendants ordered to pay plaintiff moral damages, attys fees plus
cost.
Lopez publisher and owner of Manila Chronicle and Gatbonton (Editor) v.
Court of Appeals and Cruz (1970)
Ponente: Fernando, J.
Facts:
o January 1956 Front-page story on the Manila Chronicle Fidel Cruz, sanitary
inspector assigned to the Babuyan Islands, sent distress signals to US Airforce
planes which forwarded such message to Manila
o
An American Army plane dropped emergency sustenance kits on the
beach of the island which contained, among other things, a two way radio
set. Using the radio set Cruz reported to the authorities in Manila that the
locals were living in terror due to a series of killings committed on the
island since Christmas of 1955.
o
Philippine defense forces (scout rangers) were immediately deployed
to the babuyan claro. They were led by Major Wilfredo Encarnacion
who discovered that Cruz only fabricated the story about the killings to
get attention. Cruz merely wanted transportation home to Manila.
o
Major Encarnacion branded the fiasco as a hoax the same word to
be used by the newspapers who covered the same
o January 13, 1956 - This Week Magazine of the Manila Chronicle, edited by
Gatbonton devoted a pictorial article to it. It claimed that despite the story of
Cruz being a hoax it brought to light the misery of the people living in that
place, with almost everybody sick, only 2 individuals able to read and write and
food and clothing being scarce
o January 29, 1956 - This Week Magazine in the "January News Quiz" made
reference to Cruz as a health inspector who suddenly felt "lonely" in his
isolated post, cooked up a story about a murderer running loose on the island
of Calayan so that he could be ferried back to civilization. Called it Hoax of
the year
o In both issues photos of a Fidel Cruz were published but both photos were of a
different person of the same name Fidel G. Cruz former mayor, business man,
contractor from Santa Maria, Bulacan
o
January 27, 1957 published statements correcting their misprint and
explained that confusion and error happened due to the rush to meet the
Jan 13th issues deadline
o Cruz sued herein petitioners for libel in CFI Manila. Cruz won and was awarded
P11,000 in damages (5k actual, 5k moral, 1k attorneys fees)
o CA affirmed CFI decision hence this case

Issue:
o WON petitioners should be held liable for their error in printing the
wrong Fidel Cruzs photo in relation to the hoax of the year?
o
WON such error is sufficient ground for an action for libel to
prosper?
Held:
Yes they are liable but damages awarded to Cruz is reduced to P1,000.00
1.

2.

4.

Ratio:
Mistake is no excuse to absolve publishers because libel is harmful on its face
by the fact that it exposes the injured party to more than trivial ridicule, whether
it is fact or opinion is irrelevant.
o Citing Lu Chu Sing v. Lu Tiong Gui libel is "malicious defamation,
expressed either in writing, printing, or by signs or pictures, or the
like, ..., tending to blacken the memory of one who is dead or to impeach
the honesty, virtue, or reputation, or publish the alleged or natural
defects of one who is alive, and thereby "pose him to public hatred,
contempt, or ridicule,"
o Citing standard treatise of Newell on Slander and Libel "Publication of a
person's photograph in connection with an article libelous of a third
person, is a libel on the person whose picture is published, where the
acts set out in the article are imputed to such person."
o
In this case 3rd person was Cruz his picture being published
beside the article imputes him as the purveyor of the hoax of the
year
Libel cannot be used to curtail press freedom however it also can not claim
any talismanic immunity form constitutional limitations
o State interest in press freedom citing Justice Malcolm: Full discussion of
public affairs is necessary for the maintenance of good governance
Public officials must not be too thin-skinned with reference to comments
on official actsof course criticism does not authorize defamation.
Nevertheless, as an individual is less than the state, so must expected
criticism be born for the common good.
o So long as it was done in good faith, the press should have the legal right
to have and express their opinions on legal questions. To deny them that
right would be to infringe upon freedom of the press.
o Last word on the subject Citing Quisumbing v. Lopez: Press should be
given leeway and tolerance as to enable them to courageously and
effectively perform their important role in our democracy
o Freedom of the press ranks high in the hierarchy of legal values
o TEST of LIABLITY must prove there was actual malice in publishing the
story/photo! (Note: but this was not done in this case)
Citing Concepcion, CJ. Correction of error in publishing does not wipe out the

responsibility arising from the publication of the original article


o Correction = Mitigating circumstance not a justifying circumstance!
Dissent: Dizon, J.
o Manila Chronicle should be absolved because:
o
No evidence of actual malice
o
The article does not ascribe anything immoral or any moral turpitude
to Cruz
o
The negligence performed by Manila Chronicle is this case should be
considered excusable negligence

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.
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Sullivan (Plaintiff) sued the Defendant, the New York
Times Co. (Defendant), for printing an advertisement about the civil rights movement in the
south that defamed the Plaintiff.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The constitutional guarantees require a federal rule that prohibits
a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his
official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice that is,
with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
Facts. The Plaintiff was one of three Commissioners of Montgomery, Alabama, who claimed that
he was defamed in a full-page ad taken out in the New York Times. The advertisement was
entitled, Heed Their Rising Voices and it charged in part that an unprecedented wave of
terror had been directed against those who participated in the civil rights movement in the
South. Some of the particulars of the advertisement were false. Although the advertisement
did not mention the Plaintiff by name, he claimed that it referred to him indirectly because
he had oversight responsibility of the police. The Defendant claimed that it authorized
publication of the advertisement because it did not have any reason to believe that its
contents were false. There was no independent effort to check its accuracy. The Plaintiff
demanded that the Defendant retract the advertisement. The Defendant was puzzled as to why
the Plaintiff thought the advertisement reflected adversely on him. The jury found the ad
libe
lous per se and actionable without proof of malice. The jury awarded the Plaintiff $500,000
in damages. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed. The Defendant appealed.
Issue. Is the Defendant liable for defamation for printing an advertisement, which
criticized a public officials official conduct?
Held. No. Reversed and remanded.
-Safeguards for freedom of speech and of the press are required by the First and Fourteenth
Amendments of the United States Constitution (Constitution) in a libel action brought by a
public official against critics of his official conduct.
-Under Alabama law, a publication is libelous per se if the words tend to injure a person in

his reputation or to bring him into public contempt. The jury must find that the words were
published of and concerning the plaintiff. Once libel per se has been established, the
defendant has no defense as to stated facts unless he can persuade the jury that they were
true in all their particulars.
-Erroneous statement is inevitable in free debate and it must be protected if the freedoms
of expression are to have the breathing space that the need to survive.
-The constitutional guarantees require a federal rule that prohibits a public official from
recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he
proves that the statement was made with actual malice that is, with knowledge that it was
false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
-The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) holds that the Constitution delimits
a States power to award damages for libel in actions brought by public officials against
critics of their official conduct. In this case, the rule requiring proof of actual malice
is applicable.
-The Defendants failure to retract the advertisement upon the Plaintiffs demand is not
adequate evidence of malice for constitutional purposes. Likewise, it is not adequate
evidence of malice that the Defendant failed to check the advertisements accuracy against
the news stories in the Defendants own files. Also, the evidence was constitutionally
defective in another respect: it was incapable of supporting the jurys finding that the
allegedly libelous statements were made of and concerning the Plaintiff.
Concurrence. Justice Hugo Black (J. Black) argued that the First and Fourteenth Amendments
of the Constitution do not merely delimit a States power to award damages, but completely
prohibit a State from exercising such a power. The Defendant had an absolute, unconditional
right to publish criticisms of the Montgomery agencies and officials.
Discussion. In order for a public official to recover in a defamation action involving his
official conduct, malice must be proved. Without the showing of malice, the Supreme Court
felt that a defamation action in this case would severely cripple the safeguards of freedom
speech and expression that are guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution and
applicable to the States via the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Rosenbloom v Metro Media, Inc.
403 U.S. 20
June 7 1971
In 1963, petitioner was a distributor of nudist magazines in the Philadelphia metropolitan
area. Respondent Metromediaradio station, which broadcast news reports every half hour,
broadcast news stories of petitioner Rosenblooms arrest for possession of obscene
literature and the police seizure of "obscene books," and stories concerning petitioner's
lawsuit against certain officials alleging that the magazines he distributed were not
obscene and seeking injunctive relief from police interference with his business. These
latter stories did not mention petitioner Rosenblooms name, but used the terms "smut
literature racket" and "girlie-book peddlers." Following petitioner's acquittal of criminal
obscenity charges, he filed this action seeking damages under Pennsylvania's libel law.
Issue:
Whether the New York Times' knowing-or-reckless-falsity standard applies in a state civil
libel action brought not by a "public official" or a "public figure" but by a private
individual for a defamatory falsehood uttered in a news broadcast by a radio station about
the individual's involvement in an event of public or general interest
Held:
The actual malice standard applies.
If a matter is a subject of public or general interest, it cannot suddenly become less so
merely because a private individual is involved, or because in some sense the individual did
not "voluntarily" choose to become involved.
The public's primary interest is in the event; the public focus is on the conduct of the
participant and the content, effect, and significance of the conduct, not the participant's
prior anonymity or notoriety. The present case illustrates the point.
The community has a vital interest in the proper enforcement of its criminal laws,
particularly in an area such as obscenity where a number of highly important values are
potentially in conflict: the public has an interest both in seeing that the criminal law is
adequately enforced and in assuring that the law is not used unconstitutionally to suppress
free expression. Whether the person involved is a famous large-scale magazine distributor or
a "private" businessman running a corner newsstand has no relevance in ascertaining whether
the public has an interest in the issue. We honor the commitment to robust debate on public
issues, which is embodied in the First Amendment, by extending constitutional protection to
all discussion and communication involving matters of public or general concern, without
regard to whether the persons involved are famous or anonymous.
Jim Garrison versus Louisiana
379 U.S. 64 (1964)
Decided on November 23, 1964
Facts:
Appellant Jim Garrison, whose original name was Earling Carothers Garrison, was the District

Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana. During a dispute with the eight judges of the
Criminal District Court of the Parish, he held a press conference at which he issued a
statement disparaging their judicial conduct.
As a result, he was tried without a jury before a judge from another parish and convicted of
criminal defamation under the Louisiana Criminal Defamation Statute. The principal charges
alleged to be defamatory were his attribution of a large backlog of pending criminal cases
to the inefficiency, laziness, and excessive vacations of the judges, and his accusation
that, by refusing to authorize disbursements to cover the expenses of undercover
investigations of vice in New Orleans, the judges had hampered his efforts to enforce the
vice laws. In impugning their motives, he said:
"The judges have now made it eloquently clear where their sympathies lie in regard to
aggressive vice investigations by refusing to authorize use of the DA's funds to pay for the
cost of closing down the Canal Street clip joints . . . .
. . . . .
". . . This raises interesting questions about the racketeer influences on our eight
vacation-minded judges."
A detailed history of his legal squirmishes with Louisiana judges has been recorded.
The Supreme Court of Louisiana affirmed the conviction.
Issue:
Whether the New York Times actual malice rule also limits state power to impose criminal
sanctions for criticism of the official conduct of public officials.
Should truth as a defense be negated on a showing of malice in the sense of ill-will?
Held:
Yes.
Where criticism of public officials is concerned, we see no merit in the argument that
criminal libel statutes serve interests distinct from those secured by civil libel laws, and
therefore should not be subject to the same limitations.
Where the criticism is of public officials and their conduct of public business, the
interest in private reputation is overborne by the larger public interest, secured by the
Constitution, in the dissemination of truth.
We held in New York Times that a public official might be allowed the civil remedy only if
he establishes that the utterance was false and that it was made with knowledge of its
falsity or in reckless disregard of whether it was false or true. The reasons which led us
so to hold in New York Times, apply with no less force merely because the remedy is
criminal.
The constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression compel application of the same
standard to the criminal remedy. Truth may not be the subject of either civil or criminal
sanctions where discussion of public affairs is concerned. And since ". . . erroneous
statement is inevitable in free debate, and . . . it must be protected if the freedoms of
expression are to have the `breathing space' that they `need . . . to survive' . . .," only
those false statements made with the high degree of awareness of their probable falsity
demanded by New York Times may be the subject of either civil or criminal sanctions.
For speech concerning public affairs is [379 U.S. 64, 75] more than self-expression; it is
the essence of self-government.
Calculated falsehood however is not protected
The use of calculated falsehood, however, would put a different cast on the constitutional
question. Although honest utterance, even if inaccurate, may further the fruitful exercise
of the right of free speech, it does not follow that the lie, knowingly and deliberately
published about a public official, should enjoy a like immunity. At the time the First
Amendment was adopted, as today, there were those unscrupulous enough and skillful enough to
use the deliberate or reckless falsehood as an effective political tool to unseat the public
servant or even topple an administration. That speech is used as a tool for political ends
does not automatically bring it under the protective mantle of the Constitution.
The New York Times rule is not rendered inapplicable merely because an official's private
reputation, as well as his public reputation, is harmed.
The public-official rule protects the paramount public interest in a free flow of
information to the people concerning public officials, their servants. To this end, anything
which might touch on an official's fitness for office is relevant. Few personal attributes
are more germane to fitness for office than dishonesty, malfeasance, or improper motivation,
even though these characteristics may also affect the official's private character.
Applying the principles of the New York Times case, we hold that the Louisiana statute, as
authoritatively interpreted by the Supreme Court of Louisiana, incorporates constitutionally
invalid standards in the context of criticism of the official conduct of public officials.
The New York times Rule prohibits punishment for truthful criticism
For, contrary to the New York Times rule, which absolutely prohibits punishment of truthful
criticism, the statute directs punishment for true statements made with "actual malice,"

Curtis Publishing Co. versus Butts


388 US 130 (1967).

Facts:
Two different cases with striking similarity in circumstance prompted the court to treat them in
a single decision.
The first case involved an article published in Curtis Publishing Company's Saturday Evening
Post which accused James Wallace "Wally" Butts Jr., an athletic director of the University of
Georgia, of fixing a football game between the University of Georgia football team and the
that of the University of Alabama.
Butts here was employed by a private corporation and not by the State of Georgia. He had
served as a football coach in the University and was well-known figure in the coaching ranks.
The defamatory article stated that Butts rigged a football match by revealing the game plan
of the Georgia team.
The basis of the story was the testimony of a salesman who was able to overhear the
conversation of Butts and another person to whom Butts purportedly spilled the beans. To
this Wally Butts sued Curtis Publishing and was awarded compensatory and punitive
damages. The case reached all the way to the US Supreme Court.
The second case, Associated Press vs. Walker, 389 U.S. 28 (1967) arose out of news
dispatch released by the petitioner Associated Press, about a rioting in the University of
Mississippi.
The dispatch stated that respondent retired U.S. Army General Edwin A. Walker, who was
present during the event, took command of the violent crowd and personally led a charge
against authorities. Walker was reported to have encouraged the rioters to use violence. The
AP reported that Walker had assumed command of rioters at the University of Mississippi
and led a charge of stuents against federal marshals when James H. Meredith was admitted
to the university in September 1962. Walker alleged those statements to be false.
It was reported that "In the heat of the battle, an Associated Press reporter called the APs
Atlanta bureau to report a famous man retired U. S. Army General Edwin Walker was
giving technical advice on tear gas to the rebels. The general, he said, was leading and
encouraging the charges at the Old Miss administration building. A bulletin was quickly
teletyped. The story was published all over the world.
Walker was a private citizen at the time of the riot and publication. He had a career in the US
Army before engaging in political activity. Walker was fairly deemed as a man of some
political prominence.
Because of the news dispatch, Walker sued the Associated Press. Walker received a
favorable verdict in a Texas state court, prompting the Associated Press to elevate the case
all the way to the US Supreme Court.
In the High Court, Curtis and Butts and Associated Press in Walker raised constitutionals
claims of the freedom of the press. Both argued that the actual malice doctrine in Sullivan
should be extended to them.
Issue:
Whether or not the actual malice standard is to be applied even to public figures.
Held:
Yes. The Actual malice standard is applicable to public figures.
A greater majority of five justices were of the opinion that defamation cases involving public
figures as plaintiffs must be measured against the actual malice standard laid down in New
York Times v. Sullivan.
In his concurring opinion, Mr. Chief Justice Warren adhered to the standard in the Sullivan,

which is actual malice, even to cases involving public figures.


He reasoned out that there is no basis of differentiating between public figures and public
officials. As a matter of fact, he explained, both types of plaintiffs are intimately involved in
the resolution of important public questions, or by reason of their fame, shape events in areas
of concern to society.
Public figures like public officials, often play influential role in ordering society. Public
figures too, like public officials have ready access to mass media in order to influence or
counter criticism.
On the basis of the pronouncements of the members of the US Supreme Court, it reveals the
interpretations of the New York Times v. Sullivan ruling on the First Amendment was meant to
apply not only to public officials, but also to public figures.
Meaning of Public Figure
The United States Supreme Court described public figures thus: Public figures are
characterized as those who command a substantial amount of independent public interest.
Both commanded sufficient public interest and had sufficient access to the means of counterargument to be able to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies of the
defamatory statements.
A public figure has been defined as a person who, by his accomplishments, fame, or mode of
living, or by adopting a profession or calling which gives the public a legitimates interest in his
doings, his affairs, and his character. He is in other words a celebrity. It covers everyone who
has arrived
at a position where public attention is focused upon him as a person
G.R. No. 126466 January 14, 1999

ARTURO BORJAL a.k.a. ART BORJAL and MAXIMO SOLIVEN, petitioners,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and FRANCISCO WENCESLAO, respondents.

Facts:
1.

2.

A civil action for damages based on libel was filed before the court against Borjal and Soliven for writing
and publishing articles that are allegedly derogatory and offensive against Francisco Wenceslao, attacking
among others the solicitation letters he send to support a conference to be launch concerning resolving
matters on transportation crisis that is tainted with anomalous activities.
Wenceslao however was never named in any of the articles nor was the conference he was organizing.
The lower court ordered petitioners to indemnify the private respondent for damages which was affirmed by
the Court of Appeals. A petition for review was filed before the SC contending that private respondent was
not sufficiently identified to be the subject of the published articles.

Issue:
Whether or not there are sufficient grounds to constitute guilt of petitioners for libel?
Ruling of the Case:
1.

2.

In order to maintain a libel suit, it is essential that the victim be identifiable although it is not necessary that he be
named. 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 third person could identify him as the object of the libelous publication. These
requisites have not been complied with in the case at bar. The element of identifiability was not met since it was
Wenceslaso who revealed he was the organizer of said conference and had he not done so the public would not
have known.
The concept of privileged communications is implicit in the freedom of the press and that privileged communications
must be protective of public opinion. Fair commentaries on matters of public interest are privileged and constitute a
valid defense in an action for libel or slander.
The doctrine of fair comment means that while in general every discreditable imputation publicly made is

deemed false, because every man is presumed innocent until his guilt is judicially proved, and every false
imputation is deemed malicious, nevertheless, when the discreditable imputation is directed against a
public person in his public capacity, it is not necessarily actionable. In order that such discreditable
imputation to a public official may be actionable, it must either be a false allegation of fact or a comment
based on a false supposition. If the comment is an expression of opinion, based on established facts, then
it is immaterial that the opinion happens to be mistaken, as long as it might reasonably be inferred from the
facts.
3.

The questioned article dealt with matters of public interest as the declared objective of the conference, the
composition of its members and participants, and the manner by which it was intended to be funded no doubt lend
to its activities as being genuinely imbued with public interest. Respondent is also deemed to be a public figure and
even otherwise is involved in a public issue. The court held that freedom of expression is constitutionally guaranteed
and protected with the reminder among media members to practice highest ethical standards in the exercise
thereof.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A privileged communication may be either:
1. Absolutely privileged communication those which are not actionable even if the author has acted in bad faith. An
example is found in Sec. 11, Art.VI, of the 1987 Constitution which exempts a member of Congress from liability for any
speech or debate in the Congress or in any Committee thereof.
2. Qualifiedly privileged communications those containing defamatory imputations are not actionable unless found to
have been made without good intention justifiable motive. To this genre belong "private communications" and "fair and true
report without any comments or remarks."

Rodolfo Vasquez v Court of Appeals


The1964rulinginNewYorkTimesv.SullivanhandeddownbytheUnitedStatesSupremeCourthasbeenthe
barometerusedindefamationcasesinvolvingpublicofficialsinbothjurisdictions.
ThePhilippinecasethatcomescomparablycloseincircumnstanceswiththatoftheNewYorkTimesrulingisthatof
RodolfoVasquezversusCourtofAppeals.
ItissimilartotheNewYorkTimesv.Sullivanrulinginthesensethattheplaintiffisalsoapublicofficial(abarangay
official).
Whenthebarangayofficialsuedforcriminallibel(note:NewYorkTimescasewasacivilcase),theSupremeCourt
ruledthatitwasincumbentupontheprosecutiontoproveactualmalice,andfailingsuch,noliabilityattachedagainst
theaccused.
Inanyevent,theSupremeCourttookocassiontoapplytheNewYorkTimesCo.v.Sullivanstandardinthiscase.
Hereisthedigestofthatcase:
RodolfoR.Vasquezv.CourtofAppeals
G.R.No.118971
September15,1999
Facts:
PetitionerRodolfoR.VasquezisaresidentoftheTondoForeshoreArea.SometimeinApril1986,heandsome37
familiesfromtheareawenttoseethenNationalHousingAuthority(NHA)GeneralManagerLitoAtienzaregarding
theircomplaintagainsttheirBarangayChairman,JaimeOlmedo,apublicofficial.AftertheirmeetingwithAtienza
andotherNHAofficials,petitionerandhiscompanionsweremetandinterviewedbynewspaperreportersattheNHA
compoundconcerningtheircomplaint.Thenextday,April22,1986,thefollowingexerptsofthenewsarticleappeared
inthenewspaperAngTinigngMasa.Inthearticle,pulishedweresupposedallegationsbyVasquezthat(1)
nakipagsabwatanumanosiChairmanJaimeOlmedoupangmakamkamangmay14nalotenglupa;(2)angmga
lupaayilegalnapatituluhan,nagawaitoniOlmedosapakikipagsabwatansamgaprojectmanageratlegalofficersng
NHA;(3)kasangkotdinumanosiOlmedosamgailegalnapasugalansanaturanglugaratmagingsamganakawanng
manok.xxx
Basedonthenewspaperarticle,Olmedofiledacomplaintforlibelagainstpetitionerallegingthatthelatters
statementscastaspersionsonhimanddamagedhisreputation.
OnMay28,1992,thetrialcourtrenderedjudgmentfindingpetitionerguiltyoflibelandsentencinghimtopayafineof
P1,000.00.Onappeal,theCourtofAppealsaffirmedintoto.Hence,thispetitionforreview.

Issue:
WhetherornottheatualmalicestandardinNewYorkTimesversusSullivanistobeappliedinprosecutionsfor
criminallibel.
Held:
ThestandardofactualmaliceinNewYorkTimesversusSullivanistobeappliedincriminalprosecutionsforlibel.
Forthatmatter,evenifthedefamatorystatementisfalse,noliabilitycanattachifitrelatestoofficialconduct,unless
thepublicofficialconcernedprovesthatthestatementwasmadewithactualmalicethatis,withknowledgethatit
wasfalseorwithrecklessdisregardofwhetheritwasfalseornot.
Inthiscase,theprosecutionfailedtoprovenotonlythatthechargesmadebypetitionerwerefalsebutalsothat
petitionermadethemwithknowledgeoftheirfalsityorwithrecklessdisregardofwhethertheywerefalseornot.
Aruleplacingontheaccusedtheburdenofshowingthetruthofallegationsofofficialmisconductand/orgoodmotives
andjustifiableendsformakingsuchallegationswouldnotonlybecontrarytoArt.361oftheRevisedPenalCode.It
would,aboveall,infringeontheconstitutionallyguaranteedfreedomofexpression.
Libelwasusedasaformofharassment:
Insteadoftheclaimthatpetitionerwaspoliticallymotivatedinmakingthechargesagainstcomplainant,itwould
appearthatcomplainantfiledthiscasetoharasspetitioner.
Itiscuriousthattheonesmostobviouslyresponsibleforthepublicationoftheallegedlyoffensivenewsreport,namely,
theeditorialstaffandtheperiodicalitself,werenotatallimpleaded.Thechargewasleveledagainstthepetitioner
and,"curiouser"still,hisclientswhohavenothingtodowiththeeditorialpoliciesofthenewspaper.
SOLIVENVSMAKASIAR
Facts:Pres.CoryAquinofiledacriminalcomplaintforlibelagainstBeltran
PetitionerBeltranarguesthat"thereasonswhichnecessitate
presidentialimmunityfromsuitimposeacorrelativedisabilitytofilesuit".He
contendsthatifcriminalproceedingsensuebyvirtueofthePresident'sfilingof
hercomplaintaffidavit,shemaysubsequentlyhavetobeawitnessforthe
prosecution,bringingherunderthetrialcourt'sjurisdiction.This,continues
Beltran,wouldinanindirectwaydefeatherprivilegeofimmunityfromsuit,asby
testifyingonthewitnessstand,shewouldbeexposingherselftopossible
contemptofcourtorperjury.
Issues:
1.WhetherornotthePresidentofthePhilippines,underthe
Constitution,mayinitiatecriminalproceedingsagainstthepetitioners
throughthefilingofacomplaintaffidavit.Ifshemayinitiate,whatare
therepercussionsofsuchinitiationtoherexecutiveimmunity?
2.CanBeltraninvoketheexecutiveimmunityofthepresidentasa
defense?
Held:
FirstIssue:
Yes.TherationaleforthegranttothePresidentoftheprivilegeof
immunityfromsuitistoassuretheexerciseofPresidentialdutiesandfunctionsfreefromanyhindranceordistraction,
consideringthatbeingtheChiefExecutiveoftheGovernmentisajobthat,asidefromrequiringalloftheoffice
holder'stime,alsodemandsundividedattention.
Facts:SolivenbroadcastedthestatementthatPresidentAquinohidunderherbedduringacoupd'etat.ThePresident
suedforlibel.Solivenclaimedthathecan'tbesuedbecausethePresidentwasimmunefromsuit.
Issue:WONBeltran'srightswereviolatedwhentheRTCissuedawarrantofarrestwithoutpersonallyexaminingthe
complainantandthewitnessestodetermineprobablecause.
Held:No
Ratio:Insatisfyinghimselfoftheexistenceofprobablecausetoissueawarrantofarrest,thejudgeisn'trequiredto
examinethecomplainantandthewitnesses.

Heshallonlypersonallyevaluatethereportandsupportingdocumentssubmittedbythefiscalregardingtheexistence
ofprobablecauseandissueawarrantofarrestonthebasisthereof.
Also,ifhefindsnoprobablecause,hemaydisregardthefiscal'sreportandrequiredthesubmissionofsupporting
affidavitsofwitnessestoaidhiminarrivingataconclusionastotheexistenceofprobablecause.
AYERV.CAPULONG[160S865(1988)EnBanc]
SenatorEnrilecannotobjecttohisinclusioninthemovieontheEDSARevolutionbyinvokinghisrighttoprivacy.
"Therightofprivacyor"herighttobeletalone"isnotanabsoluteright.Alimitedintrusionintoaperson'sprivacyhas
longbeenregardedaspermissiblewherethatpersonisapublicfigureandtheinformationsoughttobeelicitedfrom
himortobepublishedabouthimconstitutesmattersofapubliccharacter.Succinctlyput,therightofprivacycannot
beinvokedtoresistpublicationanddisseminationofmattersofpublicinterest.Therightofpriivacyofa"publicfigure"
isnecessarilynarrowerthanthatofanordinarycitizen."
AsdistinguishedfromLagunzadv.Gonzales,whichinvolvedafilmbiographynecessarilyincludingatleasthis
immediatefamily,thesubjectmatterofthemoveinthiscaseisoneofpublicconcernanddoesnotrelatetothe
individualorpubliclifeofSenatorEnrile.
Art.27.Anypersonsufferingmaterialormorallossbecauseapublicservantoremployeerefusesorneglects,without
justcause,toperformhisofficialdutymayfileanactionfordamagesandotherreliefagainstthelatter,without
prejudicetoanydisciplinaryadministrativeactionthatmaybetaken.
Art.28.Unfaircompetitioninagricultural,commercialorindustrialenterprisesorinlaborthroughtheuseofforce,
intimidation,deceit,machinations,oranyotherunjust,oppressiveorhighhandedmethodshallgiverisetoarightof
actionbythepersonwhotherebysuffersdamages.
Art.29.Whentheaccusedinacriminalprosecutionisacquittedonthegroundthathisguilthasnotbeenproved
beyondreasonabledoubt,acivilactionfordamagesforthesameactoromissionmaybeinstituted.Suchaction
requiresonlyapreponderanceofevidence.Uponmotionofthedefendant,thecourtmayrequiretheplaintifftofilea
bondtoanswerfordamagesincasethecomplaintshouldbefoundtobemalicious.
Ifinacriminalcasethejudgmentofacquittalisbaseduponreasonabledoubt,thecourtshallsodeclare.Intheabsence
ofanydeclarationtothateffect,itmaybeinferredfromthetextofthedecisionwhetherornottheacquittalisdueto
thatground.
AYERVSCAPULONG
Facts:PivaterespondentJuanPonceEnrilefiledanactionintheRTCofMakatitoenjointhepetitionersfrom
producingthemovie"TheFourDayRevolution,"adocumentaryoftheEDSARevolutionin1986onthegroundthatit
violatedhisrighttoprivacy.Petitionerscontendedthatthemoviewouldnotinvolvehisprivatelifenotthatofhis
family.Butthetrialcourtissuedawritofpreliminaryinjunctionandorderedpetitionerstodesistfrommakingthe
moviemakingreferencewhatsoevertoPonceEnrile.This,thisactionforcertiorari.
HELD:Freedomofspeechandexpressionincludesfreedomtoproducemotionpicturesandtoexhibitthem.Whatis
involvedisapriorrestraintbytheJudgeupontheexerciseofspeechandofexpressionbypetitioners.Becauseofthe
preferredcharacterofspeechandofexpression,aweightypresumptionofinvalidityvitiatesmeasuresofprior
restraint.TheJudgeshouldhavestayedhishandconsideringthatthemoviewasyetuncompletedandthereforethere
wasno"clearandpresentdanger."ThesubjectmatterofthemoviedoesnotrelatetotheprivatelifeofPonceEnrile.
Theintrusionisnomorethannecessarytokeepthefilmatruthfulhistoricalaccount.Heis,afterall,apublicfigure.
Thelineofequilibriuminthespecificcontextoftheinstantcasebetweenfreedomofspeechandofexpressionandthe
rightofprivacymaybemarkedoutintermsofarequirementthattheproposedmotionpicturemustbefairlytruthful
andhistoricalinitspresentationoffacts.Theremustbenoshowingofarecklessdisregardoftruth.Notes:Ayersought
toproduceamovieonthe4dayrevolution.Enrile,whohadpreviouslybeenaskedfortheuseofhischaracterinthe
movieandhadrefusedtheoffer,suedtoenjointhefilmingbecausehedidnotwantanymentionofhisandhisfamily's
name.TheSCliftedtheinjunctionissuedbythelowercourtonthegroundthatitamountedtopriorrestraint,which
isnobetterifimposedbythecourtsthanifimposedbyadministrativebodiesorbyecclesiaticalofficials.InAyer,the
referencetoEnrileisunavoidablebecausehisnameispartofhistoryandthiscannotbechangedoraltered;thushis
namecanbeusedsolongasonlyhispubliclifeisdwelledonly.ButinLagunzad,althoughMoisesPadillawasalsoa
publicfigure,themoviedealthwithboththepublicandprivatelivesofMoisesPadilla.

DIAZVSPEOPLE
Facts:
MannyPichelandOgieDiaz,ManagingEditorandwriter,respectivelyforBandera,wereaccusedofconspiringand
confederatingtogetherandmutuallyhelpingeachother,withthemaliciouspurposeofimpeachingtheintegrity,honor
andreputationofoneFlorindaBagay.Theaccusedwereallegedtofeloniouslywroteandpublishedanarticleaboutthe
sexualactivitiesofcertainMissSandPhilipHenson,inwhichthroughthewordsandphrasesusedinthearticle
meantandconveyedmaliciousimputationthatthisMissSisasexualpervertandpossesseslasciviousandimmoral
habits.FlorindaBagay,whohappenedtousePatriciaSantillanasherscreenname,claimsthatshewasthisMissS
beingreferredtointhesaidarticle.
Issue:
Whetherornotthesubjectarticleislibelous.
Held:
Alibelisapublicandmaliciousimputationofacrime,orofavice,ordefect,realorimaginary,oranyact,omission,
condition,status,orcircumstancetendingtocausethedishonor,discredit,orcontemptofanaturalorjuridicalperson,
ortoblackenthememoryofonewhoisdead.
Foranimputationtobelibelous,thefollowingrequisitesmustbepresent:(a)itmustbedefamatory;(b)itmustbe
malicious;itmustbegivenpublicity;and(d)thevictimmustbeidentifiable.2Absentoneoftheseelements,acase
forlibelwillnotprosper.
Inthecaseatbar,itmaybefindthatthefirstelementpresent.Indeterminingwhetherastatementisdefamatory,the
wordsusedaretobeconstruedintheirentiretyandshouldbetakenintheirplain,natural,andordinarymeaningas
theywouldnaturallybeunderstoodbythepersonsreadingthem,unlessitappearsthattheywereusedandunderstood
inanothersense.Intheinstantcase,thearticleinquestiondetailsthesexualactivitiesofacertainMissSandone
PhilipHensonwhohadaromanticliaison.Intheirordinarysense,thewordsusedcastaspersionuponthecharacter,
integrity,andreputationofMissS.ThewordsconveythatMissSisasexuallibertinewithunusuallywanton
proclivitiesinthebedroom.Inasocietysuchasours,wheremodestyisstillhighlyprizedamongyoungladies,the
behaviorattributedtoMissSbythearticleinquestionhadbesmirchedbothhercharacterandreputation.
Astotheelementofmalice,sinceonitsfacethearticleisdefamatory,thereisapresumptionthattheoffenderacted
withmalice.InArticle354ofthesameCode,everydefamatoryimputationispresumedtobemalicious,evenifitbe
true,ifnogoodintentionandjustifiablemotiveformakingitisshown.Thereismalicewhentheauthorofthe
imputationispromptedbypersonalillwillorspiteandspeaksnotinresponsetodutybutmerelytoinjurethe
reputationofthepersonwhoclaimstohavebeendefamed.Therewasneithergoodreasonnormotivewhythesubject
articlewaswrittenexcepttoembarrassMissSandinjureherreputation.
Ontheelementofpublication,therecanbenoquestionthatthearticleappearedintheDecember28,1991issue
ofBandera,alocaltabloid.
Thelastelementoflibelisthatthevictimisidentifiedoridentifiablefromthecontentsofthelibelousarticle.Inorder
tomaintainalibelsuit,itisessentialthatthevictimbeidentifiable,althoughitisnotnecessarythatthepersonbe
named.Itisenoughifbyintrinsicreferencetheallusionisapparentorifthepublicationcontainsmattersof
descriptionorreferencetofactsandcircumstancesfromwhichothersreadingthearticlemayknowthepersonalluded
to,orifthelatterispointedoutbyextraneouscircumstancessothatthoseknowingsuchpersoncouldanddid
understandthathewasthepersonreferredto.
Thelibelousarticle,whilereferringtoMissS,doesnotgiveasufficientdescriptionorotherindicationswhichidentify
MissS.Inshort,thearticlefailstoshowthatMissSandFlorindaBagayareoneandthesameperson.
Althoughthearticleislibelous,FlorindaBagaycouldnothavebeenthepersondefamedtherein.InUyTiocov.Yang
ShuWen,wheretherequirementforanidentifiedoridentifiablevictimhasnotbeencompliedwith,thecaseforlibel
mustbedismissed.

InReJurado
Facts:Jurado,ajournalistwhowritesinanewspaperofgeneralcirculation,theManilaStandard.Hedescribes
himselfasacolumnist,whoincidentallyhappenstobealawyer,,hadbeenwritingaboutallegedimpropertiesand
irregularitiesinthejudiciaryoverseveralmonths(fromaboutOctober,1992toMarch,1993).Otherjournalistshad
alsobeenmakingreportsorcommentsonthesamesubject.Atthesametime,anonymouscommunicationswerebeing
extensivelycirculated,byhandandthroughthemail,aboutallegedvenalityandcorruptioninthecourts.Andallthese
werebeingrepeatedlyandinsistentlyadvertedtobycertainsectorsofsociety.EventsDirectlyGivingRisetothe
ProceedingatBar.
TheseedoftheproceedingatbarwassownbythedecisionpromulgatedbythisCourtonAugust27,1992,intheso
calledcontroversialcaseofPhilippineLongDistanceTelephoneCompanyv.EasternTelephonePhilippines,Inc.
(ETPI),G.R.No,94374.InthatdecisiontheCourtwassharplydivided;thevotewas9to4,infavorofthepetitioner
PLDT.Mr.JusticeHugoE.Gutierrez,Jr.,wrotetheopinionforthemajority.
Inconnectionwiththiscase,G.R.No.94374,thePhilippineDailyInquirerandoneortwoothernewspapers
published,onJanuary28,1993,areportofthepurportedaffidavitofaMr.DavidMilesYerkes,anallegedexpertin
linguistics.Thisgentleman,itappears,hadbeencommissionedbyoneofthepartiesinthecase,EasternTelephone
Philippines,Inc.(ETPI),toexamineandanalyzethedecisionofJusticeGutierrezinrelationtoafewofhisprior
ponenciasandthewritingsofoneofthelawyersofPLDT,Mr.EliseoAlampay,toascertainifthedecisionhadbeen
written,inwholeorinpart,bythelatter.YerkesprofferedtheconclusionthattheGutierrezdecisionlooks,readsand
soundslikethewritingofthePLDTscounsel,Thus,hespeaksoftheMagnificentSeven,bymerelyreferringto
undisclosedregionaltrialcourtjudgesinMakati;theMagnificentSevenintheSupremeCourt,assomeundesignated
justiceswhosupposedlyvoteasone;theDirtyDozen,asunidentifiedtrialjudgesinMakatiandthreeothercities.He
advertstoananonymousgroupofjusticesandjudgesforwhomabankallegedlyhostedaparty;andsixunnamed
justicesofthisCourtwhoreportedlyspentaprepaidvacationinHongKongwiththeirfamilies.
TheChiefJusticeissuedanadministrativeorderCreatinganAdHocCommitteetoInvestigateReportsofCorruption
intheJudiciary,toinvestigatethesaidreportsofcorruptioninthejudiciary.Aletteraffidavitwasalsoreceivedfrom
thepublicutility,denyingtheallegationsinJuradoscolumn.TheSupremeCourtthenissuedaresolutionordering
thatthematterdealtwithintheletterandaffidavitofthepublicutilitycompanybedocketedandacteduponasan
officialCourtproceedingforthedeterminationofwhetherornottheallegationsmadebyJuradoaretrue.
HELD:Juradosactuations,inthecontextinwhichtheyweredone,demonstrategrossirresponsibility,and
indifferencetofactualaccuracyandtheinjurythathemightcausetothenameandreputationofthoseofwhomhe
wrote.Theyconstitutecontemptofcourt,directlytendingastheydotodegradeorabasetheadministrationofjustice
andthejudgesengagedinthatfunction.Bydoingthem,hehasplacedhimselfbeyondthecircleofreputable,decent
andresponsiblejournalistswholivebytheirCodeortheGoldenRuleandwhostriveatalltimestomaintainthe
prestigeandnobilityoftheircalling.
Althoughhonestutterances,evenifinaccurate,mayfurtherthefruitfulexerciseoftherightoffreespeech,itdoesnot
followthatthelie,knowinglyanddeliberatelypublishedaboutapublicofficial,shouldenjoyalikeimmunity.The
knowinglyfalsestatementandthefalsestatementmadewithrecklessdisregardofthetruth,donotenjoy
constitutionalprotection.
TheCivilCode,initsArticle19laysdownthenormfortheproperexerciseofanyright,constitutionalorotherwise,
viz.:ARTICLE19.Everypersonmust,intheexerciseofhisrightsandintheperformanceofhisduties,actwith
justice,giveeveryonehisdue,andobservehonestyandgoodfaith.Theprovisionisreflectiveoftheuniversally
acceptedpreceptofabuseofrights,oneofthemostdominantprincipleswhichmustbedeemedalwaysimpliedin
anysystemoflaw.
Requirementtoexercisebonafidecareinascertainingthetruthofthestatementswhenpublishingstatementswhich
areclearlydefamatorytoidentifiablejudgesorotherpublicofficials.
Judges,bybecomingsuch,arerightlyregardedasvoluntarilysubjectingthemselvestonormsofconductwhichembody
morestringentstandardsofhonesty,integrity,andcompetencethanarecommonlyrequiredfromprivatepersons.
Nevertheless,personswhoseekoracceptappointmenttotheJudiciarycannotreasonablyberegardedashaving

forfeitedanyrighttoprivatehonorandreputation.Fortosorulewillbetodiscourageallsavethosewhofeelnoneed
tomaintaintheirselfrespectfrombecomingjudges.Thepublicinterestinvolvedinfreedomofspeechandthe
individualinterestofjudges(andforthatmatter,allotherpublicofficials)inthemaintenanceofprivatehonorand
reputationneedtobeaccommodatedonetotheother.Andthepointofadjustmentoraccommodationbetweenthese
twolegitimateinterestsispreciselyfoundinthenormwhichrequiresthosewho,invokingfreedomofspeech,publish
statementswhichareclearlydefamatorytoidentifiablejudgesorotherpublicofficialstoexercisebonafidecarein
ascertainingthetruthofthestatementstheypublish.Thenormdoesnotrequirethatajournalistguaranteethetruth
ofwhathesaysorpublishes.Butthenormdoesprohibittherecklessdisregardofprivatereputationbypublishingor
circulatingdefamatorystatementswithoutanybonafideefforttoascertainthetruththereof.

INRELOZANO
FACTS:
TherewasacomplaintagainstaJudgeofFirstInstancewhichwasreferredtotheAtty.Generalfor
investigation,reportandrecommendation.TherewasanSCresolutionwhichmakessuchproceedingsconfidentialin
nature.
Theinvestigationwasconductedsecretly.Notwithstanding,theeditorofElPueblo,SeverinoLozano,printed
anarticlewrittenbyAnastacioQuevedo,indicatingthatthehearingwasheldbehindcloseddoors,andthatthe
informationofthereporterwasobtainedfromoutsidethescreenandfromcommentsinsocialcircles.Theninwriting
uptheinvestigation,itcameaboutthatthetestimonywasmutilatedandthatthereportreflectedupontheactionof
thecomplainanttohispossibledisadvantage.
ISSUE:WhetherLozanoandQuevedoareguiltyofcontemptofcourt?
HELD:
YES.TheyareeachrequiredtopaythenominalsumofP20
Judicialproceedings,inacasewhichthelawrequirestobeconductedinsecretfortheproperadministrationof
justice,shouldneverbe,whilethecaseisontrial,givenpublicitybythepress.
Theruleiswellestablishedthatthenewspaperpublicationstendingtoimpede,obstruct,embarass,or
influencethecourtsinadministeringjusticeinapendingsuitorproceedingconstitutecriminalcontemptwhichis
summarilypunishablebythecourts.Theruleisotherwiseafterthecauseisended.Itisalsoregardedasan
interferencewiththeworkofthecourtstopublishanymatterswhichtheirpolicyrequiresshouldbekeptprivate,as
forexamplethesecretsofthejuryroom,orproceedingsincamera.
ThepowertopunishforcontemptisinherentintheSC.Thispowerextendstoadministrativeproceedings,as
wellastosuitsatlaw
Disini,Jr.v.TheSecretaryofJustice,G.R.No.203335
FACTS:
PetitionersJoseJesusM.Disini,Jr.,RowenaS.Disini,LianneIvyP.Medina,JanetteToralandErnestoSonido,Jr.,as
taxpayers, file a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, the
petitioners seek to 1) nullify Sections 4(c)(4), 6, 7, 12 and 19 of RA 10175, otherwise known as the Cybercrime
PreventionActof2012forviolatingthefundamentalrightsprotectedundertheConstitution;and2)prohibitthe
Respondents,singlyandcollectively,fromenforcingtheaforementionedprovisionsoftheCybercrimeAct.
NamedasRespondentsaretheSecretaryofJustice,theSecretaryoftheInteriorandLocalGovernment,theExecutive
DirectoroftheInformationCommunicationsTechnologyOffice,theChiefofthePhilippineNationalPolice,andthe
DirectoroftheNationalBureauofInvestigation.
ISSUES/GROUNDS:
1.

Sections4(c)(4),6,7,12and19ofTheCybercrimeActviolatethepetitionersconstitutionallyprotectedrights
to freedom of expression, due process, equal protection, privacy of communications, as well as the
Constitutional sanctions against double jeopardy, undue delegation of legislative authority and the right
againstunreasonablesearchesandseizure;

Sections6and7oftheCybercrimeActmorethandoublestheliabilityforimprisonmentforany
violationofexistingpenallawsareinviolationofthepetitionersrightagainstDoubleJeopardy;

Section12oftheCybercrimeAct,whichpermitstheNBIandthePNPwithduecausetoengagein
real time collection of traffic data without the benefit of the intervention of a judge, violates the
PetitionersConstitutionallyprotectedrighttobefreefromunreasonablesearchesandseizureaswell
astherighttotheprivacyofcommunications;

Section19oftheCybercrimeAct,whichauthorizestheRespondentSecretaryofDOJtoblockor
restrictaccesstoanycontentuponaprimafaciefindingthatthesameviolatesthelaw,containsan
undue delegation of legislative authority, infringes upon the judicial power of the judiciary, and
violatesthePetitionersConstitutionallyprotectedrighttodueprocessandfreedomofexpression;and

Section4(c)(4)defineslibelasacybercrimeandinrelationtoSection6ofthelawincreasedthe
penaltyfrom6monthsto4yearsand2monthstothegreaterperiodof6yearsto10years,infringes
upontherighttofreedomofexpressionandalsorestrictsthefreedomofthepress.UnderSection12,
aprimafaciefindingbytheSecretaryofDOJcantriggeranorderdirectedatserviceprovidersto

block access to the said material without the benefit of a trial or a conviction. Thus, RA 10175
infringesupontherighttofreedomofexpressionandalsorestrictsthefreedomofthepress.The
increasedpenalties,plustheeasebywhichallegedlylibelousmaterialscanberemovedfromaccess,
worktogetherasachillingeffectuponprotectedspeech.
2.

Nootherplain,speedy,oradequateremedyinthecourtoflaw,andthatthisPetitionisthereforecognizableby
theSCsjudicialpowerunderArticleVIII,Section1par.2oftheConstitutionandpursuanttoRule65,Sec.1
ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure,asamended.

ARGUMENTS/DISCUSSIONS:
1.

2.

3.

4.

TheCybercrimeActViolatesFreeSpeech:

imposesheavierpenaltiesforonlinelibelthanpaperbasedlibel;singleactofonlinelibelwillresult
intwoconvictionspenalizedseparatelyundertheRPandtheCybercrimeAct;

onlinelibelundertheCybercrimeActwillensuretheimprisonmentoftheaccusedandforamuch
longerperiod.Suchchangeswillresultinachillingeffectuponthefreedomofspeech;

withthepassageoftheCybercrimeAct,SenatorVicenteSottoIIIsearlierthreattocriminally
prosecute all bloggers and internet users who were critical of his alleged plagiarism of online
materialsforuseinhisspeechagainsttheReproductiveHealthBillbecamereal;threatofcriminal
prosecution under RA 10175 will work to preclude people such as Petitioners from posting social
commentariesonline,thuscreatingachillingeffectuponthefreedomofexpression;

givestheDOJSecretaryblanketauthoritytorestrainandblockaccesstocontentwhetherauthored
byprivatecitizensortheorganizedpresssansanyhearingofanykindbutmerelyuponamereprima
facieshowingthataparticularInternetarticleconstitutesonlinelibel;

respondentsmustdemonstratehowtheCybercrimeActwillfareunderstrictscrutiny

Sections 6and 7oftheCybercrimeActviolatetheDouble Jeopardyand EqualProtection Clauses ofthe


Constitution:

Persons who commit crimes using information and communication technologies (ICTs) face the
possibilityofbeingimprisonedmorethandoubletheimprisonmentlaiddownintheRPCorspecial
law,simplybythepassageoftheCybercrimeAct;

thecybercrimesdefinedandpunishedunderSection6oftheActareabsolutelyidenticaltothe
crimes defined in the RPC and special laws which raises the possibility that an accused will be
punishedtwiceforthesameoffenseinviolationoftheConstitution;

Congresscreatedaclassofoffenderswhocommitcrimesby,throughorwiththeuseofICTsin
violationoftheequalprotectionclause

TheRealTimeCollectionofTrafficDateViolatetheRighttoPrivacyandtheRightAgainstUnreasonable
SearchesandSeizure:

Nocompellingstateinterestthatjustifiesrealtimecollectionofdata;theauthorityvestedonthe
PhilippineNationalPoliceandtheNationalBureauofInvestigationtocollectdataisnotboundedby
anyreasonablestandardexceptduecausewhichpresumably,thePNPandNBIwilldeterminefor
itself;

Whiletheprivacyofsuspectedterrorists,throughtheHumanSecurityAct,areprotectedbythe
interventionoftheCourtofAppealsbeforesurveillanceoperationsareconducted,theprivacyofall
citizensmaybeinfringedwithoutjudicialparticipationintheCybercrimeAct;

o
o

NeitherthePNPnortheNBIisrequiredtojustifytheincursionintotherighttoprivacy;

Nostatedjustificationforthiswarrantfreeunlimitedincursionintotheprivacyofcitizens

NolimitsimposeduponthePNPortheNBIsincetheycanlawfullycollecttrafficdataatalltimes
withoutinterruption;

TheRespondentDOJSecretarysTakeDownAuthorityunderSection19oftheCybercrimeActviolatesDue
ProcessandisanUndueDelegationofLegislativeAuthority

TheDOJSecretarysoverwhelmingpowerstoordertherestrictionorblockingofaccesstocertain
contentuponamereprimafaciefindingwithoutanyneedforajudicialdeterminationisinclear
violationofpetitionersConstitutionallyprotectedrighttodueprocess;

The Cybercrime Act contemplates that the respondent DOJ Secretary will be judge, jury and
executionerofallcybercrimerelatedcomplaints;

ToconsiderthatallpenalprovisionsinallspecialslawsarecybercrimesunderSection6,itfollows
that:
1.

ComplaintsfiledbyintellectualpropertyrightsownersmaybeactedupontheRespondent
DOJSecretarytoblockaccesstowebsitesandcontentuponamereprimafacieshowingofan
infringement;

2.

Foreignsites(e.g.Amazon.com)offeringgoodsonretailtoPhilippinecitizensmaybeblocked
forviolatingtheRetailTradeLaw;

3.

ForeignserviceproviderssuchasSkypemaybeblockedfromofferingvoiceserviceswithout
securingalicensefromtheNationalTelecommunicationsCommunication;

4.

YouTubevideomaybeblockedforpresumablyviolatingtheIPCode.

The Cybercrime Act fails the two tests laid down by the Court inAbakada Guro Party List v.
Purisima(GR No. 166715) to determine the validity of delegation of legislative power: (1) the
completenesstestand(2)thesufficientstandardtest
1.

NowhereintheCybercrimeActsdeclarationofpolicydoesitlaydownthelegislativepolicy
withrespecttotheblockingofcontent.Nolimitsuponthetakedownpoweroftherespondent
DOJSecretary;

2.

PrimafaciestandardisnotenoughtopreventtheDOJSecretaryfromexercisinginfinite
discretionandbecomingthesupremeauthorityinthePhilippineInternetlandscape.

PRAYER:
1.

Declarenullandvoid,forbeingunconstitutional,Sections4(c)(4),6,7,12and19ofRA10175;

2.

ProhibitallRespondentsfromimplementingSections4(c)(4),6,7,12and19ofRA10175;

3.

IssueaTROenjoiningtheRespondentsfromimplementingSections4(c)(4),6,7,12and19ofRA10175;and

4.

Issueotherreliefs,justandequitableinthepremises.

G.R.No.184315:November28,2011
ALFONSOT.YUCHENGCO,Petitioner,v.THEMANILACHRONICLEPUBLISHINGCORPORATION,NOELCABRERA,
GERRYZARAGOZA,DONNAGATDULA,RODNEYP.DIOLA,RAULVALINO,THELMASANJUANandROBERTCOYIUTO,
JR.,Respondents.
PERALTA,J.:
FACTS:
Thepresentcontroversyarosewheninthelastquarterof1993,severalallegedlydefamatoryarticlesagainstpetitionerwere
publishedinTheManilaChroniclebyChroniclePublishingCorporation.
PetitionerfiledacomplaintagainstrespondentsbeforetheRTCofMakatiCityunderthreeseparatecausesofaction,namely:
(1)fordamagesduetolibelouspublicationagainstNealH.Cruz,ErnestoTolentino,NoelCabrera,ThelmaSanJuan,Gerry
Zaragoza,DonnaGatdula,RaulValino,RodneyP.Diola,allmembersoftheeditorialstaffandwritersofTheManila
Chronicle,andChroniclePublishing;(2)fordamagesduetoabuseofrightagainstRobertCoyiuto,Jr.andChronicle
Publishing;and(3)forattorneysfeesandcostsagainstalltherespondents.
OnNovember8,2002,thetrialcourtrenderedaDecisioninfavorofpetitioner.
Aggrieved,respondentssoughtrecoursebeforetheCA.TheCArenderedaDecisionaffirmingintotothedecisionoftheRTC.
RespondentsthenfiledanMR.TheCArenderedanAmendedDecisionreversingtheearlierDecision.
Subsequently,petitionerfiledthepresentrecoursebeforethisCourt.
OnNovember25,2009,thisCourtrenderedaDecisionpartiallygrantingthepetition.
RespondentslaterfiledaMRdatedwhichtheCourtdenied.
Meanwhile,respondentCoyiuto,Jr.alsofiledaMotionforLeavetoFileSupplementalMRwithAttachedSupplemental

Motion.
OnApril21,2010,thisCourtissuedaResolutiongrantCoyiuto,Jr.smotionforleavetofilesupplementalmotionfor
reconsideration,andrequirepetitionertocommentonthemotionforreconsiderationandsupplementalmotionfor
reconsideration.PetitionerfiledhisComment.
ItisapparentthattheMRofrespondentsgenerallyreiteratestheargumentspreviouslyadvancedbyrespondents.
However,fromthesupplementalmotionforreconsideration,itisapparentthatCoyiuto,Jr.raisesanewmatterwhichhasnot
beenraisedintheproceedingsbelow.Thisnotwithstanding,basicequitydictatesthatCoyiuto,Jr.shouldbegivenallthe
opportunitytoventilatehisargumentsinthepresentaction,butmoreimportantly,inordertowritefinistothepresent
controversy.
ISSUE:(1)WhetherCoyuito,Jr.,wasCharimanofManilaChroniclePublishingCorporationwhenthelibelousarticleswere
published,(2)WhetherpetitionerscauseofactionbasedonAbuseofRightswarrantstheawardofdamages.
HELD:
FINDINGSOFFACTSBYTHELOWERCOURT,WHENCONFIRMEDBYTHECA,CONCLUSIVEUPONTHISCOURT
FromtheseCommentsandcontrarytoCoyiuto,Jr.scontention,itwassubstantiallyestablishedthathewastheChairmanof
ManilaChroniclePublishingCorporationwhenthesubjectarticleswerepublished.Coyiuto,Jr.evenadmittedthisfactinhis
ReplyandCommentonRequestforAdmission.BoththetrialcourtandtheCAaffirmedthisfact.Wereiteratethatfactual
findingsofthetrialcourt,whenadoptedandconfirmedbytheCA,arebindingandconclusiveonthisCourtandwillgenerally
notbereviewedonappeal.
AWARDOFDAMAGESBASEDONABUSEOFRIGHT,PROPER
Aright,thoughbyitselflegalbecauserecognizedorgrantedbylawassuch,mayneverthelessbecomethesourceofsome
illegality.WhenarightisexercisedinamannerwhichdoesnotconformwiththenormsenshrinedinArticle19andresultsin
damagetoanother,alegalwrongistherebycommittedforwhichthewrongdoermustbeheldresponsible.ButwhileArticle
19laysdownaruleofconductforthegovernmentofhumanrelationsandforthemaintenanceofsocialorder,itdoesnot
providearemedyforitsviolation.Generally,anactionfordamagesundereitherArticle20orArticle21wouldbeproper.
Here,itwasfoundthatCoyiuto,Jr.indeedabusedhisrightsasChairmanofTheManilaChronicle,whichledtothe
publicationofthelibelousarticlesinthesaidnewspaper,thus,entitlingpetitionertodamagesunderArticle19,inrelationto
Article20.
Coyuito,Jr.'ssupplementalMRispartiallygranted.
RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
SECONDDIVISION
G.R.No.194578February13,2013
PHILIP

SIGFRID

A.

FORTUN,
Petitioner,

vs.
PRIMAJESUSAB.QUINSAYAS,MA.GEMMAOQUENDO,DENNISAYON,NENITAOQUENDO,ESMAELMANGUDADATU,
JOSEPAVIA,MELINDAQUINTOSDEJESUS,REYNALDOHULOG,REDMONDBATARIO,MALOUMANGAHAS,DANILO
GOZO,GMANETWORKINC.,throughitsneweditorsRaffyJimenezandVictorSollorano,SOPHIADEDACE,ABSCBN
CORPORATION,throughtheHeadofitsNewsGroup,MariaRessa,CECILIAVICTORIAOREADRILON,PHILIPPINE
DAILYINQUIRER,INC.representedbyitsEditorinChiefLettyJimenezMagsanoc,TETCHTORRES,PHILIPPINESTAR
representedbyitsEditorinChiefIsaacBelmonte,andEDUPUNAY,Respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO,J.:
TheCase
BeforetheCourtisapetitionforContemptfiledbyAtty.PhilipSigfridA.Fortun(petitioner)againstAtty.PrimaJesusaB.
Quinsayas (Atty. Quinsayas), Ma. Gemma Oquendo (Gemma), Dennis Ayon (Ayon), Nenita Oquendo (Nenita), Esmael
Mangudadatu(Mangudadatu),JosePavia(Pavia),MelindaQuintosDeJesus(DeJesus),ReynaldoHulog(Hulog),Redmond
Batario(Batario),MalouMangahas(Mangahas),andDaniloGozo(Gozo).Atty.Quinsayasandtheotherrespondents,who
arenotfromthemedia,arereferredtointhiscaseasAtty.Quinsayas,etal.PetitioneralsonamedasrespondentsGMA

Network,Inc.(GMANetwork)throughitsnewseditorsRaffyJimenezandVictorSollorano,SophiaDedace(Dedace),ABS
CBNCorporation(ABSCBN)throughtheHeadofitsNewsGroupMariaRessa(Ressa),CeciliaVictoriaOreaDrilon(Drilon),
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inc. (PDI) represented by its EditorinChief Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, Tetch Torres (Torres),
Philippine Star (PhilStar) represented by its EditorinChief Isaac Belmonte, and Edu Punay (Punay). Respondents Atty.
Quinsayas,etal.andrespondentmediagroupsandpersonalitiesarecollectivelyreferredtointhiscaseasrespondents.
TheAntecedentFacts
On23November2009,aconvoyofsevenvehiclescarryingtherelativesofthenMaguindanaovicemayorEsmael"Toto"
Mangudadatu,aswellaslawyersandjournalists,wasontheirwaytotheCommissiononElectionsofficeinShariffAguakto
fileMangudadatusCertificateofCandidacy 1whentheywereaccostedbyagroupofabout100armedmenatacheckpointin
Sitio Malating,Ampatuantown,some four to ten kilometers fromtheirdestination. 2 Thegroup wastakenhostageand
broughttoahillyandsparselypopulatedpartofSitioMagating,BarangaySalman,Ampatuan,Maguindanao. 3Thegruesome
aftermath of thehostagetakingwaslater discovered and shocked theworld. Thehostageswere systematically killed by
shootingthematcloserangewithautomaticweapons,andtheirbodiesandvehiclesweredumpedinmassgravesandcovered
withtheuseofabackhoe.4ThesegruesomekillingsbecameknownastheMaguindanaoMassacre.Atotalof57victimswere
killed,30ofthemjournalists.Subsequently,criminalcasesforMurderwerefiledandraffledtotheRegionalTrialCourtof
QuezonCity,Branch221,anddocketedasCriminalCasesNo.Q09162148172,Q0916221631,Q10162652,andQ10
163766.PetitioneristhecounselforDatuAndalAmpatuan,Jr.(Ampatuan,Jr.),theprincipalaccusedinthemurdercases.
InNovember2010,Atty.Quinsayas,etal.filedadisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitionerbeforethisCourt,docketedasBar
MatterNo.A.C.8827.Thedisbarmentcaseisstillpending.
Petitionerallegedthaton22November2010,GMANewsTVinternetwebsitepostedanarticle,writtenbyDedace,entitled
"Mangudadatu,othersseekdisbarmentofAmpatuanlawyer,"aportionofwhichreads:
OnMonday,MaguindanaoGovernorEsmael"Toto"Mangudadatuandfourothersfileda33pagecomplaintagainstlawyer
SigridFortunwhomtheyaccusedof"engagingineveryconceivablechichanceryorartificetoundulydelaytheproceedingsby
usingandabusinglegalremediesavailable."5
Onevendate,Inquirer.net,thewebsiteofPDI,alsopublishedanarticle,writtenbyTorres,whichaccordingtopetitioneralso
stateddetailsofthedisbarmentcase,asfollows:
"RespondentAtty.Fortunhadastutelyembarkedinanuntiringquesttoobstruct,impedeanddegradetheadministrationof
justicebyfilingcountlesscausesofaction,allinthehopeofburyingtheprincipalissueofhisclientsparticipationorguiltin
themurderof57peoplethatillfateddayofNovember23,2009,"thepetitionerssaid.6
Petitionerfurtherallegedthaton23November2010,PhilStarpublishedanarticle,writtenbyPunay,whichgavedetailsofthe
disbarmentallegations,thus:
"Attorney Fortun used and abused legal remedies available and allowed under under the rules, muddled the issues and
divertedtheattentionawayfromthemainsubjectmatterofthecases,readthecomplaint.
***************
"RespondentAttorneyFortunsactofmisleadingtheprosecutionandtrialcourtisadishonest/deceitfulconductviolativeof
CodeofProfessionalResponsibility,"readthecomplaint.
"Insodoing,hediminishedthepublicconfidenceinthelawandthelegalprofession,renderinghimunfittobecalleda
memberoftheBar."7
Further,petitionerallegedthaton23November2010,Channel23aired onnationaltelevisionaprogramentitled"ANC
Presents: Crying for Justice: the Maguindanao Massacre." Drilon, the programs host, asked questions and allowed Atty.
Quinsayastodiscussthedisbarmentcaseagainstpetitioner,includingitsprincipalpoints.Petitionerwasallegedlysingledout
andidentifiedintheprogramastheleadcounseloftheAmpatuanfamily.
PetitionerallegedthatAtty.Quinsayas,etal.activelydisseminatedthedetailsofthedisbarmentcomplaintagainsthimin
violationofRule139BoftheRulesofCourtontheconfidentialnatureofdisbarmentproceedings.Petitionerfurtheralleged
thatrespondentmediagroupsandpersonalitiesconspiredwithAtty.Quinsayas,etal.bypublishingtheconfidentialmaterials
on their respective media platforms. Petitioner pointed out that Drilon discussed the disbarment complaint with Atty.
Quinsayasinatelevisionprogramviewednationwide
PetitionerallegedthatthepubliccirculationofthedisbarmentcomplaintagainsthimexposedthisCourtanditsinvestigators
to outside influence and public interference. Petitioner alleged that opinionwriters wrote aboutand commented on the
disbarment complaint which opened his professional and personal reputation to attack. He alleged that the purpose of
respondentsinpublishingthedisbarmentcomplaintwastomalignhispersonalandprofessionalreputation,consideringthe
following:(1)thebasesofthechargeswerenotnewbutwerebasedonincidentsthatsupposedlytookplaceinJanuary2010;

(2) it wastimed to coincide with theanniversary oftheMaguindanao Massacreto fuelhatred,contemptand scorn for
Ampatuan,Jr.andhiscounselandviolatedtheaccusedsrighttopresumptionofinnocenceanddueprocess;(3)itwas
publishedfollowingarticleswrittenaboutpetitionersadvocacyfortherightsofanaccusedandnegatedtheimpactofthese
articlesonthepublic;and(4)respondentsknewthatthechargeswerebaselessaspetitioneralwaysoptedforspeedytrialand
protection of the accuseds rights at trial. Petitioner further alleged that in announcing their "causes of action" in the
disbarmentcase,respondentswereonlyseekingtheapprovalandsympathyofthepublicagainsthimandAmpatuan,Jr.
InitsComment,GMANetworkallegedthatithasnonewspaperoranypublicationwhereitcouldhaveprintedthearticle.It
allegedthatitdidnotbroadcastthedisbarmentcomplaintonitstelevisionstation.GMANetworkallegedthatthepublication
hadalreadybeendoneandcompletedwhenAtty.Quinsayasdistributedcopiesofthedisbarmentcomplaintandthus,the
membersofthemedia whoreported thenewsand themedia groupsthatpublished itontheirwebsite,includingGMA
Network,didnotviolatetheconfidentialityrule.GMANetworkfurtherallegedthatDedace,afieldreporterforthejudiciary,
actedingoodfaithandwithoutmalicewhensheforwardedthenewstothenewsdesk.GMANewsalsoactedingoodfaithin
postingthenewsonitswebsite.GMANetworkdeniedthatitconspiredwiththeotherrespondentsinpublishingthenews.
GMANetworkallegedthatitpostedthedisbarmentcomplaint,withoutanyunfair,critical,anduntruthfulcomment,andonly
afteritwas"published"byAtty.Quinsayas,etal.whofurnishedcopiesofthedisbarmentcomplainttothemediareporters.
GMANetworkallegedthatithadnointentiontomalignpetitionerspersonalandprofessionalreputationinpostingthenews
aboutthedisbarmentcomplaintonitswebsite.
InherComment,DedaceclarifiedthatsheisafieldnewsreporterofGMANetworkandnotawriteroftheGMANewsTV
website.HerbeatincludestheSupremeCourt,theCourtofAppeals,andtheDepartmentofJustice.Dedaceallegedthaton22
November2010,shereceivedanadvicefromfellowfieldreporterMarkMerueasthatthelawyerofMangudadatuwouldbe
filingadisbarmentcaseagainstpetitioner.ShewaitedattheSupremeCourt.Ataround5:00p.m.,Atty.Quinsayasarrived.
Atty.QuinsayasgavecopiesofthepetitiontonewsreportersandDedacereceivedone.Dedacepreparedandsenthernews
storytoGMANetworkwhereitwenttotheeditor.Dedaceallegedthatshedidnotbreachtheruleonconfidentialityof
disbarmentproceedingsagainstlawyerswhenshereportedthefilingofthedisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitioner.She
allegedthatsheactedingoodfaithandwithoutmaliceinforwardinghernewsstorytothenewsdeskandthatshehadno
intentionto,andcouldnot,influenceorinterfereintheproceedingsofthedisbarmentcase.Shefurtherallegedthatshe
honestlybelievedthatthefilingofthedisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitionerwasnewsworthyandshouldbereportedas
news.
PDIallegedinitsCommentthatitsharescontentwiththeInquirer.netwebsitethroughasyndicationbutthelatterhasitsown
editorsandpublishmaterialsthatarenotfoundonthebroadsheet.ItallegedthatPhilippineDailyInquirer,Inc.andInquirer
Interactive,Inc.aretwodifferentcorporations,withseparatelegalpersonalities,andonemaynotbeheldresponsibleforthe
actsoftheother.
Torres8allegedinherCommentthaton17November2010,aprivateprosecutortoldherandseveralotherreportersthata
disbarmentcasewouldbefiledagainstpetitioner.Thedisbarmentcasewasactuallyfiledon22November2010whenTorres
receivedacopyofthecomplaint.Sincetheleadofthestorycamefromalawyer,Torresdidnotconsiderthatwritingastory
aboutthefilingofthedisbarmentcomplaintmightamounttocontemptofcourt.Torresallegedthatthewritingofthestory
wasanindependentactandshedidnotconspirewithanyoftheotherrespondents.Torresmaintainedthatsheactedingood
faithinwritingthenewsreportbecausetheMaguindanaoMassacrewasamatterofpublicconcernandtheallegationsinthe
disbarmentcomplaintwereinconnectionwithpetitionershandlingofthecase.Torresfurtherassertedthatpetitionerisa
publicfigureandthepublichasalegitimateinterestinhisdoings,affairsandcharacter.
InherComment,RessaallegedthatshewastheformerheadofABSCBNsNewsandCurrentAffairsGroupandtheformer
ManagingDirectorofANC.However,shewasonterminalleavebeginning30October2010inadvancetotheexpirationof
hercontracton3January2011.Ressaallegedthatshehadnoparticipationintheproductionandshowingofthebroadcast
on23November2010.RessaadoptstheanswerofhercorespondentsABSCBNandDriloninsofarasitwasapplicabletoher
case.
ABSCBNandDrilonfiledajointComment.ABSCBNallegedthatABSCBNNewsChannel,commonlyknownasANC,is
maintainedandoperatedbySarimanokNetworkNews(SNN)andnotbyABSCBN.SNN,whichproducedtheprogram"ANC
Presents:CryingforJustice:theMaguindanaoMassacre,"isasubsidiaryofABSCBNbutithasitsownjuridicalpersonality
althoughSNNandABSCBNhaveinterlockingdirectors.ABSCBNandDrilonallegedthatthepresentationandhostingofthe
programwerenotmaliciousastherewasnocriminalintenttoviolatetheconfidentialityruleindisbarmentproceedings.They
allegedthattheprogramwasacommemorationoftheMaguindanaoMassacreandwasnotareportsolelyonthedisbarment
complaintagainstpetitionerwhichtookonlyafewminutesoftheonehourprogram.Theyallegedthattheprogramwasnota
publicationintendedtoembarrasspetitionerwhowasnotevenidentifiedastherespondentinthedisbarmentcomplaint.
Drilonevencautionedagainsttherevelationofpetitionersnameintheprogram.ABSCBNandDrilonfurtherallegedthat
priortothebroadcastoftheprogramon23November2010,thefilingofthedisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitionerwas
already the subject of widespread news and already of public knowledge. They denied petitioners allegation that they
conspiredwiththeotherrespondentsinviolatingtheconfidentialityruleindisbarmentproceedings.Finally,theyallegedthat
the contempt charge violates their right to equal protection because there were other reports and publications of the
disbarmentcomplaintbutthepublisherswerenotincludedinthecharge.Theyalsoassailedthepenaltyofimprisonment

prayedforbypetitionerastooharsh.
IntheirjointComment,respondentsMangudadatu,Ayon,Nenita,andGemmaallegedthatpetitionerfailedtoprovethatthey
activelyparticipatedindisseminatingdetailsofthedisbarmentcomplaintagainsthim.Theyallegedthatwhiletheywerethe
oneswhofiledthedisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitioner,itdoesnotfollowthattheywerealsotheoneswhocausedthe
publicationofthecomplaint.Theyallegedthatpetitionerdidnotprovidethenameofanyparticularperson,dates,daysor
placestoshowtheallegedconfederationinthedisseminationofthedisbarmentcomplaint.
RespondentsDeJesus,Hulog,Batario,andMangahas,intheircapacityasmembersoftheBoardofTrusteesoftheFreedom
FundforFilipinoJournalists,Inc.(FFFJ)andAtty.Quinsayas,formercounselforFFFJ,alsofiledajointCommentclaiming
thattheallegedpostingandpublicationofthearticleswerenotestablishedasafact.Respondentsallegedthatpetitionerdid
notsubmitcertifiedtruecopiesofthearticlesandheonlyofferedtosubmitadigitalvideodisk(DVD)copyofthetelevised
programwhereAtty.QuinsayaswasallegedlyinterviewedbyDrilon.Respondentsallegedthat,assumingthearticleswere
published,petitionerfailedtosupporthisallegationsthattheyactivelydisseminatedthedetailsofthedisbarmentcomplaint.
IntheirjointComment,PhilStarandPunayallegedthaton22November2010,Atty.Quinsayas,etal.wenttothisCourtto
filethedisbarmentcomplaintbuttheywerenotabletofileitonthatday. 9 Atty.Quinsayas,etal.wereabletofilethe
disbarmentcomplaintthefollowingday,oron23November2010.PhilStarandPunayallegedthattheirnewsarticle,which
wasabouttheplantofileadisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitioner,waspublishedon23November2010.Itcameoutbefore
thedisbarmentcomplaintwasactuallyfiled.Theyallegedthatthenewsarticleonthedisbarmentcomplaintisaqualified
privilegedcommunication.Theyallegedthatthearticlewasatrue,fair,andaccuratereportonthedisbarmentcomplaint.The
articlewasstraightforward,truthful,andaccurate,withoutanycommentsfromtheauthor.TheyallegedthatPunayreported
theplanofMangudadatu,etal.tofilethedisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitionerasitinvolvedpublicinterestandhe
perceived it to be a newsworthy subject. They further alleged that assuming the news article is not a privileged
communication,itiscoveredbytheprotectionofthefreedomofexpression,speech,andofthepressundertheConstitution.
Theyalsoallegedthatthecaseisacriminalcontemptproceedingandintenttocommitcontemptofcourtmustbeshownby
proofbeyondreasonabledoubt.Theyfurtherallegedthattheydidnotcommitanycontemptibleact.Theymaintainedthatthe
news article did not impede, interfere with, or embarrass the administration of justice. They further claimed that it is
improbable,ifnotimpossible,forthearticletoinfluencetheoutcomeofthecaseorswaythisCourtinmakingitsdecision.
Thearticlealsodidnotviolatepetitionersrighttoprivacybecausepetitionerisapublicfigureandthepublichasalegitimate
interestinhisdoings,affairs,andcharacter.
Paviadiedduringthependencyofthiscase 10andwasnolongerincludedintheCommentfiledfortheFFFJTrustees.Gozo
resignedasmemberoftheFFFJTrusteesandwasnolongerrepresentedbytheFFFJcounselinfilingitscomment. 11Gozodid
notfileaseparatecomment.
TheIssue
Theonlyissueinthiscaseiswhetherrespondentsviolatedtheconfidentialityruleindisbarmentproceedings,warrantinga
findingofguiltforindirectcontemptofcourt.
TheRulingofthisCourt
First,thecontemptchargefiledbypetitionerisinthenatureofacriminalcontempt.InPeoplev.Godoy,12thisCourtmadea
distinctionbetweencriminalandcivilcontempt.TheCourtdeclared:
Acriminalcontemptisconductthatisdirectedagainstthedignityandauthorityofthecourtorajudgeactingjudicially;itis
anactobstructingtheadministrationofjusticewhichtendstobringthecourtintodisreputeordisrespect.Ontheotherhand,
civilcontemptconsistsinfailingtodosomethingorderedtobedonebyacourtinacivilactionforthebenefitoftheopposing
partythereinandis,therefore,anoffenseagainstthepartyinwhosebehalftheviolatedorderismade.
Acriminalcontempt,beingdirectedagainstthedignityandauthorityofthecourt,isanoffenseagainstorganizedsocietyand,
inaddition,isalsoheldtobeanoffenseagainstpublicjusticewhichraisesanissuebetweenthepublicandtheaccused,and
theproceedingstopunishitarepunitive.Ontheotherhand,theproceedingstopunishacivilcontemptareremedialandfor
thepurposeofthepreservationoftherightofprivatepersons.Ithasbeenheldthatcivilcontemptisneitherafelonynora
misdemeanor,butapowerofthecourt.
Ithasfurtherbeenstatedthatintentisanecessaryelementincriminalcontempt,andthatnoonecanbepunishedfora
criminalcontemptunlesstheevidencemakesitclearthatheintended to commitit.Onthecontrary,thereisauthority
indicatingthatsincethepurposeofcivilcontemptproceedingsisremedial,thedefendantsintentincommittingthecontempt
isimmaterial.Hence,goodfaithortheabsenceofintenttoviolatethecourtsorderisnotadefenseincivilcontempt. 13
Therecordsofthiscaseshowedthatthefilingofthedisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitionerhadbeenpublishedandwasthe
subjectofatelevisedbroadcastbyrespondentmediagroupsandpersonalities.
Weshalldiscussthedefensesandargumentsraisedbyrespondents.

GMANetwork,Inc.
GMANetworksdefenseisthatithasnonewspaperoranypublicationwherethearticlecouldbeprinted;itdidnotbroadcast
thedisbarmentcomplaintinitstelevisionstation;andthatthepublicationwasalreadycompletedwhenAtty.Quinsayas
distributedcopiesofthedisbarmentcomplainttothemedia.
GMANetworkdidnotdenythatitpostedthedetailsofthedisbarmentcomplaintonitswebsite.Itmerelysaidthatithasno
publicationwherethearticlecould beprinted and thatthenewswasnottelevised.Onlineposting,however,isalready
publicationconsideringthatitwasdoneonGMANetworksonlinenewswebsite.
PhilippineDailyInquirer,Inc.
PDI averred that it only shares its contents with Inquirer.net through a syndication. PDI attached a photocopy of the
syndicationpagestatingthat"[d]uetosyndicationagreementsbetweenPDIandInquirer.net,somearticlespublishedinPDI
maynotappearinInquirer.net."14
AvisittothewebsitedescribesInquirer.netas"theofficialnewswebsiteofthePhilippineDailyInquirer,thePhilippinesmost
widelycirculatedbroadsheet,andamemberoftheInquirerGroupofCompanies." 15PDIwasnotabletofullyestablishthatit
hasaseparatepersonalityfromInquirer.net.
ABSCBNCorporation
ABSCBN alleged that SNN is its subsidiary and although they have interlocking directors, SNN has its own juridical
personalityseparatefromitsparentcompany.ABSCBNallegedthatSNNcontrolsthelineupofshowsofANC.
WeagreewithABSCBNonthisissue.Wehaveruledthatasubsidiaryhasanindependentandseparatejuridicalpersonality
distinctfromthatofitsparentcompanyandthatanysuitagainstthethelatterdoesnotbindtheformerandviceversa. 16A
corporationisanartificialbeinginvestedbylawwithapersonalityseparateanddistinctfromthatofothercorporationsto
whichitmaybeconnected.17Hence,SNN,notABSCBN,shouldhavebeenmaderespondentinthiscase.
MariaRessa
RespondentRessaallegedthatshewasonterminalleavewhentheprogramabouttheMaguindanaoMassacrewasairedon
ANCandthatshehadnohandinitsproduction.RessasdefensewassupportedbyacertificationfromtheHumanResource
AccountHeadofABSCBN,statingthatRessawentonterminalleavebeginning30October2010. 18Thiswasnotdisputedby
petitioner.
SophiaDedace,TetchTorres,CeciliaVictoriaOreaDrilon,
andEduPunay
Basically,thedefenseofrespondentsDedace,Torres,Drilon,andPunaywasthatthedisbarmentcomplaintwaspublished
withoutanycomment,ingoodfaithandwithoutmalice;thatpetitionerisapublicfigure;thattheMaguindanaoMassacreisa
matterofpublicinterest;andthattherewasnoconspiracyontheirpartinpublishingthedisbarmentcomplaint.Theyalso
arguedthatthenewsreportswerepartofprivilegedcommunication.
InDrilonscase,shefurtherallegedthatthetelevisionprogramwasacommemorationoftheMaguindanaoMassacreandnot
solelyaboutthefilingofthedisbarmentcaseagainstpetitioner.Evenasthedisbarmentcomplaintwasbrieflydiscussedinher
program,petitionersnamewasnotmentionedatallintheprogram.
ViolationofConfidentialityRulebyRespondentMediaGroupsandPersonalities
Section18,Rule139BoftheRulesofCourtprovides:
Section18.Confidentiality.Proceedingsagainstattorneysshallbeprivateandconfidential.However,thefinalorderofthe
SupremeCourtshallbepublishedlikeitsdecisionsinothercases.
TheCourtexplainedthepurposeoftherule,asfollows:
xxx.ThepurposeoftheruleisnotonlytoenablethisCourttomakeitsinvestigationsfreefromanyextraneousinfluenceor
interference,butalsotoprotectthepersonalandprofessionalreputationofattorneysandjudgesfromthebaselesschargesof
disgruntled,vindictive,andirresponsibleclientsandlitigants;itisalsotodeterthepressfrompublishingadministrativecases
orportionstheretowithoutauthority.Wehaveruledthatmaliciousandunauthorizedpublicationorverbatimreproductionof
administrativecomplaintsagainstlawyersinnewspapersbyeditorsand/orreportersmay beactionable.Suchpremature
publicationconstitutesacontemptofcourt,punishablebyeitherafineorimprisonmentorbothatthediscretionoftheCourt.
xxx19
InPeoplev.Castelo,20theCourtruledthatcontemptisakintolibelandthattheprincipleofprivilegedcommunicationmaybe
invokedinacontemptproceeding.TheCourtruled:

Whilethepresentcaseinvolvesanincidentofcontemptthesameisakintoacaseoflibelforbothconstitutelimitationsupon
freedomofthepressorfreedomofexpressionguaranteedbyourConstitution.Sowhatisconsideredaprivilegeinonemay
likewisebeconsideredintheother.Thesamesafeguardshouldbeextendedtoonewhetheranchoredinfreedomofthepress
or freedom of expression. Therefore, this principle regarding privileged communications canalso beinvoked infavor of
appellant.21
TheCourtrecognizesthat"publicationswhichareprivilegedforreasonsofpublicpolicyareprotectedbytheconstitutional
guaranty of freedom of speech."22 As a general rule, disbarment proceedings are confidential innature until their final
resolutionandthefinaldecisionofthisCourt.Inthiscase,however,thefilingofadisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitioneris
itselfamatterofpublicconcernconsideringthatitarosefromtheMaguindanaoMassacrecase.Theinterestofthepublicis
notonpetitionerhimselfbutprimarilyonhisinvolvementandparticipationasdefensecounselintheMaguindanaoMassacre
case.Indeed,theallegationsinthedisbarmentcomplaintrelatetopetitionerssupposedactionsinvolvingtheMaguindanao
Massacrecase.
The Maguindanao Massacre is a very highprofile case. Of the 57 victims of the massacre, 30 were journalists. It is
understandablethatanymatterrelatedtotheMaguindanaoMassacreisconsideredamatterofpublicinterestandthatthe
personalitiesinvolved,includingpetitioner,areconsideredaspublicfigure.TheCourtexplainedit,thus:
Butevenassumingapersonwouldnotqualifyasapublicfigure,itwouldnotnecessarilyfollowthathecouldnotvalidlybe
thesubjectofapubliccomment.Forhecould;forinstance,ifandwhenhewouldbeinvolvedinapublicissue.Ifamatterisa
subjectofpublicorgeneralinterest,itcannotsuddenlybecomelesssomerelybecauseaprivateindividualisinvolvedor
becauseinsomesensetheindividualdidnotvoluntarilychoosetobecomeinvolved. Thepublicsprimaryinterestisinthe
event;thepublicfocusisontheconductoftheparticipantandthecontent,effectandsignificanceoftheconduct,not
theparticipantsprioranonymityornotoriety.23(Boldfaceintheoriginal)
Sincethedisbarmentcomplaintisamatterofpublicinterest,legitimatemediahadarighttopublishsuchfactunderfreedom
ofthepress.TheCourtalsorecognizesthatrespondentmediagroupsandpersonalitiesmerelyactedonanewsleadthey
receivedwhentheyreportedthefilingofthedisbarmentcomplaint.
ThedistributionbyAtty.Quinsayastothemediaofthedisbarmentcomplaint,byitself,isnotsufficienttoabsolvethemedia
fromresponsibilityforviolatingtheconfidentialityrule.However,sincepetitionerisapublicfigureorhasbecomeapublic
figure because he is representing a matter of public concern, and because the event itself that led to the filing of the
disbarmentcaseagainstpetitionerisamatterofpublicconcern,themediahastherighttoreportthefilingofthedisbarment
caseaslegitimatenews.Itwouldhavebeendifferentifthedisbarmentcaseagainstpetitionerwasaboutaprivatematteras
themediawouldthenbeboundtorespecttheconfidentialityprovisionofdisbarmentproceedingsunderSection18,Rule
139BoftheRulesofCourt.
Section18,Rule139BoftheRulesofCourtisnotarestrictiononthefreedomofthepress. 1wphi1Ifthereisalegitimate
publicinterest,mediaisnotprohibitedfrommakingafair,true,andaccuratenewsreportofadisbarmentcomplaint.Inthe
absenceofalegitimatepublicinterestinadisbarmentcomplaint,membersofthemediamustpreservetheconfidentialityof
disbarment proceedings during its pendency. Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers must still remain private and
confidentialuntiltheirfinaldetermination. 24OnlythefinalorderofthisCourtshallbepublishedlikeitsdecisionsinother
cases.25
Petitioneralsofailedtosubstantiatehisclaimthatrespondentmediagroupsandpersonalitiesactedinbadfaithandthatthey
conspiredwithoneanotherintheirpostingsandpublicationsofthefilingofadisbarmentcomplaintagainsthim.Respondent
mediagroupsandpersonalitiesreportedthefilingofthedisbarmentcomplaintwithoutanycommentsorremarksbutmerely
asitwasanewsitem.Petitionerfailedtoprovethatrespondentmediagroupsandpersonalitiesactedwithmaliciousintent.
Respondentmediagroupsandpersonalitiesmadeafairandtruenewsreportandappearedtohaveactedingoodfaithin
publishingandpostingthedetailsof thedisbarmentcomplaint.Inthetelevised broadcastofthecommemorationofthe
MaguindanaoMassacreoverANC,thedisbarmentcasewasbrieflydiscussedbutpetitionerwasnotnamed.Therewasalsono
proofthatrespondentmediagroupsandpersonalitiespostedandpublishedthenewstoinfluencethisCourtonitsactionon
thedisbarmentcaseortodeliberatelydestroypetitionersreputation.Itshouldalsoberememberedthatthefilingofthe
disbarmentcaseagainstpetitionerenteredthepublicdomainwithoutanyactonthepartofthemedia.Aswewilldiscuss
later,themembersofthemediaweregivencopiesofthedisbarmentcomplaintbyoneofthecomplainants.
EsmaelMangudadatu,DennisAyon,NenitaandMa.GemmaOquendo
Respondents,whileadmittingthattheyweresomeofthecomplainantsinthedisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitioner,alleged
thattherewasnoproofthattheyweretheoneswhodisseminatedthedisbarmentcomplaint.Indeed,petitionerfailedto
substantiatehisallegationthatMangudadatu,Ayon,Nenita,andGemmaweretheoneswhocausedthepublicationofthe
disbarmentcomplaintagainsthim.TherewasnothingintherecordsthatwouldshowthatMangudadatu,Ayon,Nenita,and
Gemmadistributedorhadahandinthedistributionofthedisbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitioner.
MelindaQuintosDeJesus,ReynaldoHulog,RedmondBatario,MalouMangahas,andAtty.PrimaJesusaB.Quinsayas

RespondentsDeJesus,Hulog,Batario,Mangahas,andAtty.Quinsayasallegedthatpetitionerwasnotabletoestablishthe
postingandpublicationofthearticlesaboutthedisbarmentcomplaint,andthatassumingthepostingandpublicationhad
beenestablished,petitionerfailed to support hisallegationthatthey actively disseminated the details ofthedisbarment
complaint.Theyfurtherallegedthattheydidnotcausethepublicationofthenewsarticlesandthus,theydidnotviolatethe
ruleonprivacyandconfidentialityofdisbarmentproceedings.
Indeed,petitionerfailedtoprovethat,exceptforAtty.Quinsayas,theotherrespondents,namelyDeJesus,Hulog,Batario,
Mangahas,andevenGozo,whodidnotfilehisseparatecomment,hadahandinthedisseminationandpublicationofthe
disbarmentcomplaintagainsthim.ItwouldappearthatonlyAtty.Quinsayaswasresponsibleforthedistributionofcopiesof
thedisbarmentcomplaint.InitsComment,GMANetworkstatedthatthepublication"hadalreadybeendoneandcompleted
whencopiesofthecomplaintfordisbarmentweredistributedbyoneofthedisbarmentcomplainants,Atty.Prima
Quinsayasxxx."26 DedacealsostatedinherCommentthat"Atty.Quinsayasgavecopiesofthedisbarmentcomplaint
againstAtty.Fortunandshereceivedone."27

Atty.QuinsayasisboundbySection18,Rule139BoftheRulesofCourtbothasacomplainantinthedisbarmentcaseagainst
petitionerandasalawyer.AsalawyerandanofficeroftheCourt,Atty.Quinsayasisfamiliarwiththeconfidentialnatureof
disbarment proceedings. However, instead of preserving its confidentiality, Atty. Quinsayas disseminated copies of the
disbarmentcomplaintagainstpetitionertomembersofthemediawhichactconstitutescontemptofcourt.InRelativov.De
Leon,28theCourtruledthattheprematuredisclosurebypublicationofthefilingandpendencyofdisbarmentproceedingsisa
violation of the confidentiality rule. 29 In that case, Atty. Relativo, the complainant in a disbarment case, caused the
publicationinnewspapersofstatementsregardingthefilingandpendencyofthedisbarmentproceedings.TheCourtfound
himguiltyofcontempt.
IndirectcontemptagainstaRegionalTrialCourtoracourtofequivalentorhigherrankispunishablebyafinenotexceeding
P30,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both. 30 Atty. Quinsayas acted wrongly in setting aside the
confidentialityrulewhicheverylawyerandmemberofthelegalprofessionshouldknow.Hence,wedeemitpropertoimpose
onherafineofTwentyThousandPesos(P20,000).
WHEREFORE,wefindAtty.PrimaJesusaB.QuinsayasGUILTYofindirectcontemptfordistributingcopiesofthedisbarment
complaintagainstAtty.PhilipSigfridA.FortuntomembersofthemediaandweorderhertopayaFINEofTwentyThousand
Pesos(P20,000).
Chaplinskyv.NewHampshire315U.S.568(1942)
Thefightingwordscase
BasicFactsandCaseBackground:
InNovember1941,WalterChaplinsky,aJehovahsWitness,wasdistributingliteratureabouthis
religioussectonthestreetsofRochester,NewHampshire.AcrowdbegantoformasChaplinsky
calledallorganizedreligionaracket.Thepassersbythoughthismessagewasoffensiveand
complainedtotheCityMarshal,whothenwarnedChaplinskythatthecrowdwasgetting
restless.LaterduringthedayadisturbanceoccurrednearChaplinskyandthenearesttraffic
officerondutybroughthimtothepolicestationwithoutinforminghimthathewasunderarrest
orwasgoingtobearrested.OntheirwaytothepolicestationtheyranintotheCityMarshalwho
againwarnedChaplinsky,towhichChaplinskyrepeatedlyproclaimed,YouareaGoddamned
racketeerandadamnedfascist.
ProceduralHistoryandCourtDecision:
Forsayingthesewords,ChaplinskywasconvictedofviolatingaNewHampshirestatute
prohibitingtheuseofoffensiveorannoyingwordswhenaddressinganotherpersoninpublic.
Chaplinskyclaimedthatthestatuteplacedanunreasonablerestraintonfreespeechandappealed

hisconviction.UponappealtherewasatrialdenovoofappellantbeforeajuryintheSuperior
CourtwherehewasfoundguiltyandtheconvictionwasaffirmedbytheNewHampshire
SupremeCourt.
ChaplinskyappealedandsaidthatthestatutewasinvalidundertheFourteenthAmendmentof
theConstitutionoftheUnitedStates,inthatitplacedanunreasonablerestraintonfreedomof
speech,freedomofthepress,andfreedomofworship,andbecauseitwasvagueandindefinite.
ThesecontentionswereoverruledandthecasethenwenttotheSupremeCourtoftheUnited
Statesonappeal.
TheSupremeCourtoftheUnitedStates,inaunanimousdecision,upheldthedecision.Thus,
therewasnodissentingopinion.
IssuesRaised:
FreedomofspeechisprotectedbytheFirstAmendmentandisafundamentalpersonalrightand
libertyprotectedbytheFourteenthAmendmentfrominvasionbystateaction.
ThecourtwasfacedwiththeissueofwhethertheNewHampshirestatuteorapplicationofthe
statuteviolatedChaplinskysrightsundertheFirstandFourteenthAmendments.
RationaleProvidedbytheCourt:
FightingwordsarenotentitledtoprotectionundertheFirstAmendmentoftheUnitedStates
Constitution.
Chaplinskysfightingwordsinnowaycontributedtotheoriginalmissionofhisdemonstration
Freespeechisnotabsoluteunderallconditions.Therearenarrowlydefinedclassesofspeech
thathaveneverbeenprotectedbytheFirstAmendment,includingthe"lewdandobscene,the
profane,thelibelous,andtheinsultingorfightingwords,whichinflictinjuryortendtoexcite
animmediatebreachofthepeace.
TheCourtnotedthat"damnedracketeer"and"damnedFascist"areepithetslikelytoprovokethe
averagepersontoretaliation,andtherebycauseabreachofthepeace.
TheNewHampshireStatutedoesnotunconstitutionallyimpingeupontherightoffreespeechas
itonlyappliestofightingwords.Sincefightingwordsarenotprotectedformsofspeech,the
SupremeCourtoftheUnitedStatesannouncedapermissibleformofcontentbasedrestriction
onspeech.
OtherImportantFactors:
Amajordifferencebetweenfightingwordsandcriticismliesinthespeakersintent.Fighting

wordsareintendedtoinflictharmwhilecriticismisintendedtocommunicateideas.Also,
fightingwordsarelikelytoprovoketheaveragepersontoviolencewhilecriticismsarenot.
Cohenv.California
BriefFactSummary.TheDefendant,Cohens(Defendant)conviction,forviolatingaCalifornialawbywearingajacketthat
hadfthedraftonitwasreversedbytheSupremeCourtoftheUnitedStates(SupremeCourt)whichheldsuchspeechwas
protected.
SynopsisofRuleofLaw.Emotivespeechthatisusedtogetattentionisprotectedbytheconstitution.
Facts.TheDefendantwasconvictedunderaCalifornialawforwearingajacketthathadonit,Fthedraftoutsidethe
municipalcourthouseduringtheVietnamWar.TheDefendantdidnotthreatenorengageinanyactofviolence.Thestate
courtaffirmedhisconvictionholdingthatoffensiveconductmeansbehaviorwhichhasatendencytoprovokeotherstoacts
ofviolenceortointurndisturbthepeace.
Issue.WhetherCaliforniacanexcise,asoffensiveconduct,oneparticularscurrilousepithetfromthepublicdiscourse,either
uponthetheoryofthecourtbelowthatitsuseisinherentlylikelytocauseviolentreactionsoruponamoregeneralassertion
thatthestates,actingasguardiansofthepublicmorality,mayproperlyremovethisoffensivewordfromthepublic
vocabulary?
Held.No.Judgmentofthelowercourtsreversed.DefendantsspeechisprotectedbytheFirstAmendmentoftheUnitedStates
Constitution(Constitution).Theonlyconvictionthatthestatesoughttopunishwascommunication.Thus,thiscaserests
solelyuponspeech.ThestatelackspowertopunishDefendantforthecontentofhismessagebecauseheshowednointent
toincitedisobediencetothedraft.Thus,hisconvictionrestsuponhisexerciseofthefreedomofspeechandcanonlybe
justifiedasavalidregulationofthemannerinwhichheexercisedthatfreedom.Thisisnotanobscenitycasebecausehis
messageisnoterotic.Thiscasedoesnotinvolvefightingwordsbecausehismessageisnotdirectedatanotherperson.
Further,thepublicisfreetoaverttheireyesfromthedistastefulmessage.Hismessageconstitutesemotivespeechbecauseit
seekstogetourattention.ThisspeechisprotectedbytheFirstAmendmentoftheConstitution.Therefore,hisconvictionmust
beoverturned.
Dissent.Defendantsconvictionshouldbesustainedbecausehisanticwasmainlyconductandthecaseinvolvesfighting
words.
Discussion.Thiscasecategorizesanewkindofspeech,emotivespeech.Italsoholdsthatitisnotenoughtofindspeech
unprotectedmerelybecauseitcreatesadisturbancetothepublic.

MVRSvsIslamicDaWahCouncilofthePhils.(2003)

Bellosillo,J.
FACTS:
a. IslamicDa'wahCouncilofthePhilippines,Inc.,alocalfederationofmorethanseventy(70)Muslimreligious
organizations,andindividualMuslims(Linzag,Arcilla,deGuzman,daSilva,Junio)filedintheRTCacomplaintfordamages
intheirownbehalfandasaclasssuitinbehalfoftheMuslimmembersnationwideagainstMVRSPublications,Inc.,arising
fromanarticlepublishedinthe1August1992issueofBulgar,adailytabloid.Thearticlereads:

"ALAMBANINYO?
NaangmgababoyatkahitanonguringhayopsaMindanaoayhindikinakainngmgaMuslim?
Parasakanilaangmgaitoayisangsagradongbagay.Hindinilaitokailangangkaininkahitnasilapaaymagutomatmawalan
ngulamsatuwingsilaaykakain.GinagawanilaitongDiyosatsinasambapanilaitosatuwingarawngkanilangpangingilin
lalunglalonasaarawnatinatawagnilang'Ramadan'."
b. IslamicDaWah:thelibelousstatementwasinsultinganddamagingtotheMuslims;notonlypublishedoutofsheer
ignorancebutwithintenttohurtthefeelings,castinsultanddisparagetheMuslimsandIslam,;thatonaccountofthese
libelouswordsBulgarinsultednotonlytheMuslimsinthePhilippinesbuttheentireMuslimworld
c. MVRSPublications,Inc.,:thearticledidnotmentionrespondentsastheobjectofthearticleandthereforewerenot
entitledtodamages;and,thatthearticlewasmerelyanexpressionofbelieforopinionandwaspublishedwithoutmalicenor
intentiontocausedamage
d. RTC:dismissedthecomplaint;personsallegedlydefamedbythearticlewerenotspecificallyidentified
e. CA:reversedRTCdecision.ThedefamationwasdirectedtoalladherentsoftheIslamicfaith.Thesuitfordamageswasa
"classsuit"andthatISLAMICDA'WAHCOUNCILOFTHEPHILIPPINES,INC.'sreligiousstatusasaMuslimumbrella
organizationgaveittherequisitepersonalitytosueandprotecttheinterestsofallMuslims.

ISSUES:
1.WONIslamicDaWahhasacauseofactionforlibel.NO.
2.WONinthealternative,theactioncanbeconsideredasoneisforintentionaltortandnotlibel.NO.
3.WONthisisavalidclasssuit.NO.
HELD:
1.NO,thereisnocauseofactionforlibel.
DOCTRINES:
Defamationwhichincludeslibelandslander,meanstheoffenseofinjuringaperson'scharacter,fameorreputation
throughfalseandmaliciousstatements.Itisthatwhichtendstoinjurereputationortodiminishtheesteem,respect,goodwill
orconfidenceintheplaintiffortoexcitederogatoryfeelingsoropinionsabouttheplaintiff.6Itisthepublicationofanything
whichisinjurioustothegoodnameorreputationofanotherortendstobringhimintodisrepute. 7Defamationisaninvasion
ofarelationalinterestsinceitinvolvestheopinionwhichothersinthecommunitymayhave,ortendtohave,oftheplaintiff.
Wordswhicharemerelyinsultingarenotactionableaslibelorslanderperse,andmerewordsofgeneralabusehoweverill
natured,whetherwrittenorspoken,donotconstituteabasisforanactionfordefamationintheabsenceofanallegationfor

specialdamages.Thefactthatthelanguageisoffensivetotheplaintiffdoesnotmakeitactionablebyitself. 10
Declarationsmadeaboutalargeclassofpeoplecannotbeinterpretedtoadverttoanidentifiedoridentifiableindividual.
Absentcircumstancesspecificallypointingoralludingtoaparticularmemberofaclass,nomemberofsuchclasshasarightof
actionwithoutatallimpairingtheequallydemandingrightoffreespeechandexpression,aswellasofthepress.
APPLICATION:therewasnofairlyidentifiablepersonwhowasallegedlyinjuredbytheBulgararticle.Sincethepersons
allegedlydefamedcouldnotbeidentifiable,privaterespondentshavenoindividualcausesofaction;hence,theycannotsue
foraclassallegedlydisparaged.
AnindividualMuslimhasareputationthatispersonal,separateanddistinctinthecommunity.AMuslimmayfindthearticle
dishonorable,evenblasphemous;othersmayfinditasanopportunitytostrengthentheirfaithandeducatethenonbelievers
andthe"infidels."ThereisnoinjurytothereputationoftheindividualMuslimswhoconstitutethiscommunitythatcangive
risetoanactionforgrouplibel.Eachreputationispersonalincharactertoeveryperson.Together,theMuslimsdonothavea
singlecommonreputationthatwillgivethemacommonorgeneralinterestinthesubjectmatterofthecontroversy.
DOCTRINE:Ifthegroupisaverylargeone,thentheallegedlibelousstatementisconsideredtohavenoapplicationto
anyoneinparticular,sinceonemightaswelldefameallmankind.Asthesizeofthesegroupsincreases,thechancesfor
membersofsuchgroupstorecoverdamagesontortiouslibelbecomeelusive.
Thisprincipleissaidtoembracetwo(2)importantpublicpolicies:
first,wherethegroupreferredtoislarge,thecourtspresumethatnoreasonablereaderwouldtakethestatementsasso
literallyapplyingtoeachindividualmember.
second,thelimitationonliabilitywouldsatisfactorilysafeguardfreedomofspeechandexpression,aswellasofthepress,
effectingasoundcompromisebetweentheconflictingfundamentalinterestsinvolvedinlibelcases.
APPLICATION:TheMuslimcommunityistoovastastoreadilyascertainwhoamongtheMuslimswereparticularlydefamed.
CASES/AUTHORITYCITED:
i.) Newsweek,Inc.v.IntermediateAppellateCourt:associationsofsugarcaneplantersinNegrosOccidentalfiledagainst
Newsweekoveranarticle"IslandofFear"allegedlydepictingNegrosProvinceasaplacedominatedbyexploitativewealthy
landownersandsugarplanterswhoalsobrutalizedandkilledunderpaidplanters.SCdismissedcomplaintonthegroundthat
noallegationinthecomplaintthatthearticlecomplainedofspecificallyreferredtoanyofthem.Wherethedefamationis
allegedtohavebeendirectedatagrouporclass,itisessentialthatthestatementmustbesosweepingorallembracingasto
applytoeveryindividualinthatgrouporclass,orsufficientlyspecificsothateachindividualintheclassorgroupcanprove
thatthedefamatorystatementspecificallypointedtohim,sothathecanbringtheactionseparately,ifneedbe.
ii.) Arcandv.TheEveningCallPublishingCompany:USCAheldthattheoneguidingprincipleofgrouplibelisthat
defamationofalargegroupdoesnotgiverisetoacauseofactiononthepartofanindividualunlessitcanbeshownthatheisthe
targetofthedefamatorymatter.
iii.) Mr.JusticeReynatoS.Punosopinion:

Defamationismadeupofthetwintortsoflibel(written)andslander(oral).Ineitherform,defamationisaninvasionof
theinterestinreputationandgoodname.Thisisa"relationalinterest"sinceitinvolvestheopinionothersinthecommunity
mayhave,ortendtohaveoftheplaintiff.
Thelawofdefamationprotectstheinterestinreputationtheinterestinacquiring,retainingandenjoyingone's
reputationasgoodasone'scharacterandconductwarrant.Defamationrequiresthatsomethingbecommunicatedtoathird
personthatmayaffecttheopinionothersmayhaveoftheplaintiff.Itmustbeshownthatthiscommunicationwouldtendto
hurtplaintiff'sreputation,toimpairplaintiff'sstandinginthecommunity.
Althoughthegistofanactionfordefamationisaninjurytoreputation,thefocusofadefamationactionisuponthe
allegedlydefamatorystatementitselfanditspredictableeffectuponthirdpersons.

TheRestatementofTortsdefinesadefamatorystatementasonethat"tendstosoharmthereputationofanotherasto
lowerhimintheestimationofthecommunityortodeterthirdpersonsfromassociatingordealingwithhim."
Consequentlyasaprerequisitetorecovery,itisnecessaryfortheplaintifftoprove:(1)publishedastatementthatwas(2)
defamatory(3)ofandconcerningtheplaintiff.Theruleinlibelisthattheactionmustbebroughtbythepersonagainst
whomthedefamatorychargehasbeenmade.Plaintiffmustbethepersonwithreferencetowhomthestatementwasmade.
Ifthedefamatorystatementsweredirectedatasmall,restrictedgroupofpersons,theyappliedtoanymemberofthe
group,andanindividualmembercouldmaintainanactionfordefamation.Incontrast,ifdefamatorywordsareused
broadlyinrespecttoalargeclassorgroupofpersons,andthereisnothingthatpoints,orbypropercolloquiumorinnuendo
canbemadetoapply,toaparticularmemberoftheclassorgroup,nomemberhasarightofactionforlibelorslander.A
primeconsideration,therefore,isthepublicperceptionofthesizeofthegroupandwhetherastatementwillbeinterpreted
torefertoeverymember.
2.Regardingtheargumentthatthepresentcaseisanintentionaltortiousactcausingmentaldistressandnotanactionfor
libel.InvokingChaplinskyv.NewHampshirewheretheU.S.SCheldthatprofanity,intendedmerelytoincitehostility,haveno
socialvalueanddonotenjoyprotection;andBeauharnaisv.Illinoiswhereitwasalsoruledthathatespeechagainstagroup
(basedonreligion,ethnicity,etc.)mayvalidlybeprohibited.
COURT:NO."Emotionaldistress"tortactionispersonalinnature;itisacivilactionfiledbyanindividualtoassuagethe
injuriestohisemotionaltranquilityduetopersonalattacksonhischaracter.
APPLICATION:noparticularindividualwasidentifiedinthedisputedarticleofBulgar.Here,itisrelationalharmwhich
includesharmtosocialrelationshipsinthecommunityintheformofdefamation;asdistinguishedfromtheprincipleof
reactiveharmwhichincludesinjuriestoindividualemotionaltranquilityintheformofaninflictionofemotionaldistress.
DOCTRINES:
SecondRestatementoftheLaw,torecoverfortheintentionalinflictionofemotionaldistresstheplaintiffmustshowthat:(a)
Theconductofthedefendantwasintentionalorinrecklessdisregardoftheplaintiff;(b)Theconductwasextremeand
outrageous;(c)Therewasacausalconnectionbetweenthedefendant'sconductandtheplaintiff'smentaldistress;and,(d)
Theplaintiff'smentaldistresswasextremeandsevere.
"Extremeandoutrageousconduct"meansconductthatissooutrageousincharacter,andsoextremeindegree,astogo
beyondallpossibleboundsofdecency,andtoberegardedasatrocious,andutterlyintolerableincivilizedsociety.
"Emotionaldistress"meansanyhighlyunpleasantmentalreactionsuchasextremegrief,shame,humiliation,embarrassment,
anger,disappointment,worry,nausea,mentalsufferingandanguish,shock,fright,horror,andchagrin.
"Severeemotionaldistress,"heorshehassufferedemotionaldistresssoseverethatnoreasonablepersoncouldbeexpected
toendureit;severityofthedistressisanelementofthecauseofaction,notsimplyamatterofdamages.31
HustlerMagazinev.Falwell:AparodyappearedinHustlermagazinefeaturingReverendFalwelldepictinghiminaninebriated
statehavinganincestuous,sexualliaisonwithhismother.USCourtheldthatitwasnotlibelous,becausenoreasonable
readerwouldhaveunderstooditasafactualassertion.Butstill$200,000awardedonaseparatecountof"intentional
inflictionofemotionaldistress,"acauseofactionthatdidnotrequireafalsestatementoffacttobemade.Here,anintentional
tortcausingemotionaldistressgiveswaytothefundamentalrighttofreespeech.
APPLICATION:theconductofpetitionerswasnotextremeoroutrageous.Neitherwastheemotionaldistressallegedly
sufferedbyrespondentssoseverethatnoreasonablepersoncouldbeexpectedtoendureit.Thereisnoevidenceonrecord
thatpointstothatresult.
CASES/AUTHORITYCITED:
i.) ProfessorWilliamProsser:Liabilityofcoursecannotbeextendedtoeverytrivialindignity.Onemustnecessarilybe
expectedandrequiredtobehardenedtoacertainamountofroughlanguage,andtoactsthataredefinitelyinconsiderateand
unkind.Onecannotrecovermerelybecauseofhurtfeelings.
ii.) ProfessorCalvertMagruder:Thereisnooccasionforthelawtointerveneineverycasewheresomeone'sfeelingsarehurt.

Theremuststillbefreedomtoexpressanunflatteringopinion.
iii.) ChaplinskyandBeauharnaishadlargelybeensupersededbyCohenandBranderburg.Americancourtsnolongeraccept
theviewthatspeechmaybeproscribedmerelybecauseitis"lewd,""profane,""insulting"orotherwisevulgaroroffensive.
iv.) Cohenv.California:Cohenworeajacketbearingthewords"FucktheDraft".Noonepresentinthecourthousewould
haveregardedCohen'sspeechasadirectpersonalinsult,norwasthereanydangerofreactiveviolenceagainsthim.No
specificindividualwastargetedintheallegedlydefamatorywordsprintedonCohen'sjacket.TherewasnoshowingthatCohen's
jacketbearingthewords"FucktheDraft"hadthreatenedtoprovokeimminentviolence.
v.) Brandenburgv.Ohio:aleaderoftheKuKluxKlanwasconvictedforadvocatingunlawfulmethodsofterrorismasameans
ofaccomplishingreforms;U.S.SupremeCourt,heldthattheadvocacyofillegalactionbecomespunishableonlyifsuch
advocacyisdirectedtoincitingorproducingimminentlawlessactionandislikelytoinciteorproducesuchaction.

3.NO,itisnotavalidclasssuit.
DOCTRINE:Mr.JusticeJoseC.Vitug:classsuitelements:(a)whethertheinterestofthenamedpartyiscoextensivewiththe
interestoftheothermembersoftheclass;(b)theproportionofthosemadepartiesasitsobearstothetotalmembershipof
theclass;and,(c)anyotherfactorbearingontheabilityofthenamedpartytospeakfortherestoftheclass.
APPLICATION:IslamicDa'wahCouncilofthePhilippines,Inc.,seeksineffecttoasserttheinterestsnotonlyoftheMuslimsin
thePhilippinesbutofthewholeMuslimworldaswell.Buttheyobviouslylackthesufficiencyofnumberstorepresentsucha
globalgroupandwerenotabletodemonstratetheyhavethesameinterestswiththerestofMuslims.