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G.R. No.

202666, September 29, 2014
RHONDA AVE S. VIVARES AND SPS. MARGARITA AND DAVID
SUZARA, Petitioners, v. ST. THERESA’S COLLEGE, MYLENE RHEZA
T. ESCUDERO, AND JOHN DOES, Respondents.
DECISION
VELASCO JR., J.:
The individual’s desire for privacy is never absolute, since participation
in society is an equally powerful desire. Thus each individual is
continually engaged in a personal adjustment process in which he
balances the desire for privacy with the desire for disclosure and
communication of himself to others, in light of the environmental
conditions and social norms set by the society in which he lives.
~ Alan Westin, Privacy and Freedom (1967)
The Case

that some seniors at STC posted pictures online, depicting themselves
from the waist up, dressed only in brassieres. Escudero then asked her
students if they knew who the girls in the photos are. In turn, they
readily identified Julia, Julienne, and Chloe Lourdes Taboada (Chloe),
among others.
Using STC’s computers, Escudero’s students logged in to their
respective personal Facebook accounts and showed her photos of the
identified students, which include: (a) Julia and Julienne drinking hard
liquor and smoking cigarettes inside a bar; and (b) Julia and Julienne
along the streets of Cebu wearing articles of clothing that show
virtually the entirety of their black brassieres. What is more,
Escudero’s students claimed that there were times when access to or
the availability of the identified students’ photos was not confined to
the girls’ Facebook friends,4 but were, in fact, viewable by any
Facebook user.5
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Upon discovery, Escudero reported the matter and, through one of her
student’s Facebook page, showed the photos to Kristine Rose Tigol
(Tigol), STC’s Discipline-in-Charge, for appropriate action. Thereafter,
following an investigation, STC found the identified students to have
deported themselves in a manner proscribed by the school’s Student
Handbook, to wit:
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Before Us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court, in relation to Section 19 of A.M. No. 08-1-16SC,1 otherwise known as the “Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data.”
Petitioners herein assail the July 27, 2012 Decision2 of the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 14 in Cebu City (RTC) in SP. Proc. No. 19251-CEB,
which dismissed their habeas data petition.

1.

Possession of alcoholic drinks outside the school campus;

2.

Engaging in immoral, indecent, obscene or lewd acts;

3.

Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages in public places;

4.

Apparel that exposes the underwear;

5.

Clothing that advocates unhealthy behaviour; depicts
obscenity; contains sexually suggestive messages, language
or symbols; and

6.

Posing and uploading pictures on the Internet that entail
ample body exposure.

The Facts
Nenita Julia V. Daluz (Julia) and Julienne Vida Suzara (Julienne), both
minors, were, during the period material, graduating high school
students at St. Theresa’s College (STC), Cebu City. Sometime in
January 2012, while changing into their swimsuits for a beach party
they were about to attend, Julia and Julienne, along with several
others, took digital pictures of themselves clad only in their
undergarments. These pictures were then uploaded by Angela Lindsay
Tan (Angela) on her Facebook3 profile.
Back at the school, Mylene Rheza T. Escudero (Escudero), a computer
teacher at STC’s high school department, learned from her students

On March 1, 2012, Julia, Julienne, Angela, and the other students in

the pictures in question, reported, as required, to the office of Sr.
Celeste Ma. Purisima Pe (Sr. Purisima), STC’s high school principal and
ICM6Directress. They claimed that during the meeting, they were
castigated and verbally abused by the STC officials present in the
conference, including Assistant Principal Mussolini S. Yap (Yap),
Roswinda Jumiller, and Tigol. What is more, Sr. Purisima informed their
parents the following day that, as part of their penalty, they are barred
from joining the commencement exercises scheduled on March 30,
2012.
A week before graduation, or on March 23, 2012, Angela’s mother, Dr.
Armenia M. Tan (Tan), filed a Petition for Injunction and Damages
before the RTC of Cebu City against STC, et al., docketed as Civil Case
No. CEB-38594.7 In it, Tan prayed that defendants therein be
enjoined from implementing the sanction that precluded Angela from
joining the commencement exercises. On March 25, 2012, petitioner
Rhonda Ave Vivares (Vivares), the mother of Julia, joined the fray as
an intervenor.
On March 28, 2012, defendants in Civil Case No. CEB-38594 filed their
memorandum, containing printed copies of the photographs in issue as
annexes. That same day, the RTC issued a temporary restraining order
(TRO) allowing the students to attend the graduation ceremony, to
which STC filed a motion for reconsideration.
Despite the issuance of the TRO, STC, nevertheless, barred the
sanctioned students from participating in the graduation rites, arguing
that, on the date of the commencement exercises, its adverted motion
for reconsideration on the issuance of the TRO remained unresolved.
Thereafter, petitioners filed before the RTC a Petition for the Issuance
of a Writ of Habeas Data, docketed as SP. Proc. No. 19251-CEB 8 on the
basis of the following considerations:

privacy. Corollarily, respondents knew or ought to have known
that the girls, whose privacy has been invaded, are the victims
in this case, and not the offenders. Worse, after viewing the
photos, the minors were called “immoral” and were punished
outright;
4.

The photos accessed belong to the girls and, thus, cannot be
used and reproduced without their consent. Escudero,
however, violated their rights by saving digital copies of the
photos and by subsequently showing them to STC’s officials.
Thus, the Facebook accounts of petitioners’ children were
intruded upon;

5.

The intrusion into the Facebook accounts, as well as the
copying of information, data, and digital images happened at
STC’s Computer Laboratory; and

6.

All the data and digital images that were extracted were boldly
broadcasted by respondents through their memorandum
submitted to the RTC in connection with Civil Case No. CEB38594.

To petitioners, the interplay of the foregoing constitutes an invasion of
their children’s privacy and, thus, prayed that: (a) a writ of habeas
data be issued; (b) respondents be ordered to surrender and deposit
with the court all soft and printed copies of the subject data before or
at the preliminary hearing; and (c) after trial, judgment be rendered
declaring all information, data, and digital images accessed, saved or
stored, reproduced, spread and used, to have been illegally obtained in
violation of the children’s right to privacy.

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1.

The photos of their children in their undergarments (e.g., bra)
were taken for posterity before they changed into their
swimsuits on the occasion of a birthday beach party;

2.

The privacy setting of their children’s Facebook accounts was
set at “Friends Only.” They, thus, have a reasonable
expectation of privacy which must be respected.

3.

Respondents, being involved in the field of education, knew or
ought to have known of laws that safeguard the right to

Finding the petition sufficient in form and substance, the RTC, through
an Order dated July 5, 2012, issued the writ of habeas data. Through
the same Order, herein respondents were directed to file their verified
written return, together with the supporting affidavits, within five (5)
working days from service of the writ.
In time, respondents complied with the RTC’s directive and filed their
verified written return, laying down the following grounds for the
denial of the petition, viz: (a) petitioners are not the proper parties to
file the petition; (b) petitioners are engaging in forum shopping; (c)
the instant case is not one where a writ of habeas data may issue; and

(d) there can be no violation of their right to privacy as there is no
reasonable expectation of privacy on Facebook.
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On July 27, 2012, the RTC rendered a Decision dismissing the petition
for habeas data. The dispositive portion of the Decision pertinently
states:
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WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the Petition is
hereby DISMISSED.
The parties and media must observe the aforestated confidentiality.
xxxx

availability of the Writ of Habeas Data
The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose
right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by
an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a
private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or
storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and
correspondence of the aggrieved party.11 It is an independent and
summary remedy designed to protect the image, privacy, honor,
information, and freedom of information of an individual, and to
provide a forum to enforce one’s right to the truth and to informational
privacy. It seeks to protect a person’s right to control information
regarding oneself, particularly in instances in which such information is
being collected through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful
ends.12
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SO ORDERED.9
To the trial court, petitioners failed to prove the existence of an actual
or threatened violation of the minors’ right to privacy, one of the
preconditions for the issuance of the writ of habeas data. Moreover,
the court a quo held that the photos, having been uploaded on
Facebook without restrictions as to who may view them, lost their
privacy in some way. Besides, the RTC noted, STC gathered the
photographs through legal means and for a legal purpose, that is, the
implementation of the school’s policies and rules on discipline.
Not satisfied with the outcome, petitioners now come before this Court
pursuant to Section 19 of the Rule on Habeas Data.10

In developing the writ of habeas data, the Court aimed to protect an
individual’s right to informational privacy, among others. A
comparative law scholar has, in fact, defined habeas data as “a
procedure designed to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the
information age.”13 The writ, however, will not issue on the basis
merely of an alleged unauthorized access to information about a
person. Availment of the writ requires the existence of a nexus
between the right to privacy on the one hand, and the right to life,
liberty or security on the other.14 Thus, the existence of a person’s
right to informational privacy and a showing, at least by substantial
evidence, of an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in
life, liberty or security of the victim are indispensable before the
privilege of the writ may be extended.15
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The Issues
The main issue to be threshed out in this case is whether or not a writ
of habeas data should be issued given the factual milieu. Crucial in
resolving the controversy, however, is the pivotal point of whether or
not there was indeed an actual or threatened violation of the right to
privacy in the life, liberty, or security of the minors involved in this
case.
Our Ruling
We find no merit in the petition.
Procedural issues concerning the

Without an actionable entitlement in the first place to the right to
informational privacy, a habeas datapetition will not prosper. Viewed
from the perspective of the case at bar, this requisite begs this
question: given the nature of an online social network (OSN)––(1) that
it facilitates and promotes real-time interaction among millions, if not
billions, of users, sans the spatial barriers, 16 bridging the gap created
by physical space; and (2) that any information uploaded in OSNs
leaves an indelible trace in the provider’s databases, which are outside
the control of the end-users––is there a right to informational
privacy in OSN activities of its users? Before addressing this point,
We must first resolve the procedural issues in this case.
The writ of habeas data is not only confined to
cases of extralegal killings and enforced
disappearancesContrary to respondents’ submission, the Writ

of Habeas Data was not enacted solely for the purpose of
complementing the Writ of Amparo in cases of extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances.
Section 2 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data provides:

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Sec. 2. Who May File. – Any aggrieved party may file a petition for the
writ of habeas data.However, in cases of extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances, the petition may be filed by:
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(a) Any member of the immediate family of the
aggrieved party, namely: the spouse,
children and parents; or
(b) Any ascendant, descendant or collateral
relative of the aggrieved party within the
fourth civil degree of consanguinity or
affinity, in default of those mentioned in the
preceding paragraph. (emphasis supplied)
Had the framers of the Rule intended to narrow the operation of the
writ only to cases of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances, the
above underscored portion of Section 2, reflecting a variance ofhabeas
data situations, would not have been made.
Habeas data, to stress, was designed “to safeguard individual freedom
from abuse in the information age.”17 As such, it is erroneous to limit
its applicability to extralegal killings and enforced disappearances only.
In fact, the annotations to the Rule prepared by the Committee on the
Revision of the Rules of Court, after explaining that the Writ of Habeas
Data complements the Writ of Amparo, pointed out that:
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The writ of habeas data, however, can be availed of as an
independent remedy to enforce one’s right to privacy, more
specifically the right to informational privacy.The remedies
against the violation of such right can include the updating,
rectification, suppression or destruction of the database or information
or files in possession or in control of respondents.18 (emphasis Ours)
Clearly then, the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Data may also be
availed of in cases outside of extralegal killings and enforced

disappearances.
Meaning of “engaged” in the gathering,
collecting or storing of data or informationRespondents’
contention that the habeas data writ may not issue against STC, it not
being an entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data
or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence
of the aggrieved party, while valid to a point, is, nonetheless,
erroneous.
To be sure, nothing in the Rule would suggest that the habeas
data protection shall be available only against abuses of a person or
entity engaged in the business of gathering, storing, and collecting of
data. As provided under Section 1 of the Rule:
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Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas data is a remedy
available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security
is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public
official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged
in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information
regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the
aggrieved party. (emphasis Ours)
The provision, when taken in its proper context, as a whole, irresistibly
conveys the idea that habeas data is a protection against unlawful acts
or omissions of public officials and of private individuals or entities
engaged in gathering, collecting, or storing data about the aggrieved
party and his or her correspondences, or about his or her family. Such
individual or entity need not be in the business of collecting or storing
data.
To “engage” in something is different from undertaking a business
endeavour. To “engage” means “to do or take part in something.”19 It
does not necessarily mean that the activity must be done in pursuit of
a business. What matters is that the person or entity must be
gathering, collecting or storing said data or information about the
aggrieved party or his or her family. Whether such undertaking carries
the element of regularity, as when one pursues a business, and is in
the nature of a personal endeavour, for any other reason or even for
no reason at all, is immaterial and such will not prevent the writ from
getting to said person or entity.
To agree with respondents’ above argument, would mean unduly
limiting the reach of the writ to a very small group, i.e., private

“[i]n this [Social Networking] environment. a user/owner can post anything––from text. which. In H v. the very purpose of OSNs is socializing––sharing a myriad of information. but rather in some theoretical protocol better known as wishful thinking. through time. some or all of the other users to see his or her posts. to pictures. not to mention each system’s inherent vulnerability to attacks and intrusions. among others. and in the process decreasing the effectiveness of the writ as an instrument designed to protect a right which is easily violated in view of rapid advancements in the information and communications technology––a right which a great majority of the users of technology themselves are not capable of protecting.persons and entities whose business is data gathering and storage. In his or her bulletin board. recognized that. The Common Right to Privacy. It is akin to having a room filled with millions of personal bulletin boards or “walls. in its Decision in the landmark case.” Consistent with this.26 promulgated on January 30. viz: (1) locational or situational privacy.” the user invites another to connect their accounts so that they can view any and all “Public” and “Friends Only” posts of the other. Several commentators regarding privacy and social networking sites. according to its developers. to music and videos––access to which would depend on whether he or she allows one. recognized that “[t]he law has to take into account the changing realities not only technologically but also socially or else it will lose credibility in the eyes of the people. all agree that given the millions of OSN users. Once the request is accepted. W.25 In the same vein. including those that occur in OSNs.32 the South Gauteng High Court recognized this .27 some of which would have otherwise remained personal. This evolution was briefly recounted in former Chief Justice Reynato S. Having resolved the procedural aspect of the case. among others. Since gaining popularity. whereby the user gives his or her “Facebook friend” access to his or her profile and shares certain information to the latter. W.” therefore. the purpose of an OSN is precisely to give users the ability to interact and to stay connected to other members of the same or different social media platform through the sharing of statuses. H v.” the contents of which are under the control of each and every user. greatly evolved. 2013. By sending a “friend request. “Friending. and to share and express what matters to them. We now proceed to the core of the controversy. Puno’s speech. the link is established and both users are permitted to view the other user’s “Public” or “Friends Only” posts.”28 cralawla wlibrary Facebook connections are established through the process of “friending” another user. acting cautiously and with wisdom. privacy is no longer grounded in reasonable expectations. generally speaking. www. The question now though is up to what extent is the right to privacy protected in OSNs? Bear in mind that informational privacy involves personal information. the Court. having an expectation of informational privacy is not necessarily incompatible with engaging in cyberspace activities.22 Of the three. with technological advancements having an influential part therein. by developing what may be viewed as the Philippine model of the writ of habeas data.”24 cralawlawlibrary It is due to this notion that the Court saw the pressing need to provide for judicial remedies that would allow a summary hearing of the unlawful use of data or information and to remedy possible violations of the right to privacy. in effect. there is more reason that every individual’s right to control said flow of information should be protected and that each individual should have at least a reasonable expectation of privacy in cyberspace. people use “to stay connected with friends and family. and (3) decisional privacy.30 but without defeating its purpose. the OSN phenomenon has paved the way to the creation of various social networking sites. allows the user to form or maintain one-to-one relationships with other users. including the one involved in the case at bar.20 where he explained the three strands of the right to privacy. depending on the services provided by the site. what is relevant to the case at bar is the right to informational privacy––usually defined as the right of individuals to control information about themselves. the South African High Court. to discover what’s going on in the world. x x x It is imperative that the courts respond appropriately to changing times. 23 cralawla wlibrary With the availability of numerous avenues for information gathering and data sharing nowadays. Facebook’s Privacy Tools: a response to the clamor for privacy in OSN activities Briefly. photos. Facebook was armed with different privacy tools designed to regulate the accessibility of a user’s profile31 as well as information uploaded by the user.facebook.21 (2) informational privacy. videos. The right to informational privacy on Facebook The Right to Informational Privacy The concept of privacy has.29 cralawla wlibrary To address concerns about privacy. At the same time.com (Facebook). however.

STC did not violate petitioners’ daughters’ right to privacy Without these privacy settings.the default setting. Facebook extends its users an avenue to make the availability of their Facebook activities reflect their choice as to “when and to what extent to disclose facts about [themselves] – and to put others in the position of receiving such confidences. will not only strip these privacy tools of their function but it would also disregard the very intention of the user to keep said photo or information within the confines of his or her private space. said photo would still be deemed public by the courts as if the user never chose to limit the photo’s visibility and accessibility.39Ultimately. according to them. these privacy settings are not fool-proof. a Facebook user can regulate the visibility and accessibility of digital images (photos).only the user’s Facebook friends and their friends can view the photo.only the user’s Facebook friends can view the photo. through the employment of measures to prevent access thereto or to limit its visibility. and (d) Only Me .the photo is made visible only to particular friends and/or networks of the Facebook user. respondents’ contention that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in Facebook would. Before one can have an expectation of privacy in his or her OSN activity. a user uploads a photo or any personal information to his or her Facebook page and sets its privacy level at “Only Me” or a custom list so that only the user or a chosen few can view it.36 And this intention can materialize in cyberspace through the utilization of the OSN’s privacy tools. In other words. did the minors limit the disclosure of the photos such that the images were kept within their zones of privacy? This determination is necessary in resolving the issue of whether the minors carved out a zone of privacy when the photos were uploaded to Facebook so that the images will be protected against unauthorized access and disclosure. Needless to say. by selecting his or her desired privacy setting: chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary (a) Public .35 cralawlawlibrary This. In other words. a Facebook user who opts to make use of a privacy tool to grant or deny access to his or her post or profile detail should not be denied the informational privacy right which necessarily accompanies said choice. Such position. from another user’s point of view.the digital image can be viewed only by the user. We must now determine the extent that the images in question were visible to other Facebook users and whether the disclosure was confidential in nature.”34 Ideally. posted on his or her personal bulletin or “wall. such that if. including respondents. be correct. fewer Facebook users can view that user’s particular post. as the privacy setting becomes more limiting. were under “very private” or “Only Friends” setting safeguarded with a password. among others. for instance. people who are not their Facebook friends. of the user’s invocation of his or her right to informational privacy. utilization of these privacy tools is the manifestation. Therefore. (c) Custom . using these privacy tools would be a feckless exercise. in context. the selected setting will be based on one’s desire to interact with others. such is not the case.”33 cralawlawlibrary For instance. in cyber world. To them. manifest the intention to keep certain posts private.” but did so with this caveat: “Facebook states in its policies that. downloaded copies of the pictures and showed said photos to Tigol. designed to set up barriers to broaden or limit the visibility of his or her specific profile content. every Facebook user can view the photo. does not mean that any Facebook user automatically has a protected expectation of privacy in all of his or her Facebook activities. In other words. this was a breach of the minors’ privacy since their Facebook accounts. insist that Escudero intruded upon their children’s Facebook accounts. It is through the availability of said privacy tools that many OSN users are said to have a subjective expectation that only those to whom they grant access to their profile will view the information they post or upload thereto.38 Otherwise. although it makes every effort to protect a user’s information. in support of their thesis about their children’s privacy right being violated. However. The foregoing are privacy tools. allegedly. in this case the children of petitioners. and photos. if adopted. they posit that their children’s disclosure was only limited since their profiles were not open to public viewing.” except for the user’s profile picture and ID. coupled with the opposing need to withhold certain information as well as to regulate the spreading of his or her personal information. statuses. available to Facebook users. however. it is first necessary that said user. (b) Friends of Friends . are barred .37 cralawlawlibrary Therefore.ability of the users to “customize their privacy settings. (b) Friends . Petitioners.

It is well to emphasize at this point that setting a post’s or profile detail’s privacy to “Friends” is no assurance that it can no longer be viewed by another user who is not Facebook friends with the source of the content. who are their friends in [F]acebook.43 and that it is reasonable to assume. Considering that the default setting for Facebook posts is “Public. stated in her affidavit 41 that “my students showed me some pictures of girls clad in brassieres. suppose A has 100 Facebook friends and B has 200. particularly under circumstances such as here. Without any evidence to corroborate their statement that the images were visible only to the five of them. when the post is shared or when a person is tagged. these students then logged into their Facebook account [sic].. If such were the case. their statements are. Messages sent to the public at large in the chat room or e-mail that is forwarded from correspondent to correspondent loses any semblance of privacy. absent any proof that petitioners’ children positively limited the disclosure of the photograph.48 (3 The sheer number of “Friends” one user has. the respective Facebook friends of the person who shared the post or who was tagged can view the post. Escudero. United States v.” In this regard. despite its being visible only to his or her own Facebook friends. who are the minors’ Facebook “friends.40 although who these five are do not appear on the records. not confined to their friends in Facebook. Also. the less privacy one can reasonably expect. In this regard. They even told me that there had been times when these photos were ‘public’ i. on the other hand. it was Angela who uploaded the subject photos which were only viewable by the five of them.42 cralawla wlibrary It is well to note that not one of petitioners disputed Escudero’s sworn account that her students.” That the photos are viewable by “friends only” does not necessarily bolster the petitioners’ contention. or “tag”50 others who are not Facebook friends with the former. or (2) by the public at large. This student [sic] of mine informed me that these are senior high school [students] of STC. regardless of whether the user tagged by the latter is Facebook friends or not with the former. therefore. The ensuing pronouncement in US v. The user’s own Facebook friend can share said content or tag his or her own Facebook friend thereto. in reality. We cannot give much weight to the minors’ testimonies for one key reason: failure to question the students’ act of showing the photos to Tigol disproves their allegation that the photos were viewable only by the five of them.e. and without their challenging Escudero’s claim that the other students were able to view the photos. At the computer lab. A .” showed her the photos using their own Facebook accounts. and (4 A user’s Facebook friend can “share”49 the ) former’s post.” To illustrate. As petitioner’s children testified.45 chanroble slaw Also. ) usually by the hundreds.”47 (2 A good number of Facebook users “befriend” ) other users who are total strangers. viewable either by (1) their Facebook friends. the privacy setting of which was set at “Friends. selfserving.from accessing said post without their knowledge and consent. This only goes to show that no special means to be able to view the allegedly private posts were ever resorted to by Escudero’s students. and accessed from there the various photographs x x x. at best. they cannot invoke the protection attached to the right to informational privacy. x x x They then said [that] there are still many other photos posted on the Facebook accounts of these girls. GinesPerez44 is most instructive: chanRoblesvirtualLa wlibrary [A] person who places a photograph on the Internet precisely intends to forsake and renounce all privacy rights to such imagery. where the Defendant did not employ protective measures or devices that would have controlled access to the Web page or the photograph itself. thus deserving scant consideration. Maxwell46 held that “[t]he more open the method of transmission is. the cyber community is agreed that the digital images under this setting still remain to be outside the confines of the zones of privacy in view of the following: chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary (1 Facebook “allows the world to be more open ) and connected by giving its users the tools to interact and share in any conceivable way. that the photos were.” it can be surmised that the photographs in question were viewable to everyone on Facebook.

”59 cralawlawlibrary As such. In fact.” the initial audience of 100 (A’s own Facebook friends) is dramatically increased to 300 (A’s 100 friends plus B’s 200 friends or the public. the audience who can view the post is effectively expanded–– and to a very large extent. considering the complexity of the cyber world and its pervasiveness.” contrary to petitioners’ argument. however. which is set at “Friends. there’s no substitute for parental involvement and supervision. as it encourages broadcasting of individual user posts. if any. Curiously enough. other than bare assertions that they utilized Facebook’s privacy settings to make the photos visible only to them or to a select few. Too. STC cannot be faulted for being steadfast in its duty of teaching its students to be responsible in their dealings and activities in cyberspace. the records are bereft of any evidence. along with its other features and uses. even assuming that the photos in issue are visible only to the sanctioned students’ Facebook friends. Without proof that they placed the photographs subject of this case within the ambit of their protected zone of privacy. As applied. the intention to limit access to the particular post. On Cyber Responsibility It has been said that “the best filter is the one between your children’s ears. tags B in A’s post. As a result. it is believed that “to limit such risks. respondent STC can hardly be taken to task for the perceived privacy invasion since it was the minors’ Facebook friends who showed the pictures to Tigol. fail. or to be more precise. more so automatically. In fact. petitioners failed to prove their contention that respondents reproduced and broadcasted the photographs. the fault.55 It is in this regard that many OSN users. In sum. if indiscriminately circulated. However.”51 Thus. contrary to petitioners’ assertion. be said to be “very private. They did not resort to any unlawful means of gathering the information as it was voluntarily given to them by persons who had legitimate access to the said posts. likely to affect. Responsible social networking or observance of the “netiquettes”56 on the part of teenagers has been the concern of many due to the widespread notion that teenagers can sometimes go too far since they generally lack the people skills or general wisdom to conduct themselves sensibly in a public forum. the reputation of the minors enrolled in a conservative institution. it is suggested.54 As a cyberspace community member. through the “Me Only” privacy setting. that a profile. when it enforced the disciplinary actions specified in the Student Handbook. it has been said that OSNs have facilitated their users’ self-tribute. Clearly.58 Furthermore. or that the user’s contact list has been screened to limit access to a select few. especially minors. Had it been proved that the access to the pictures posted were limited to the original uploader. through the “Custom” setting. the result may have been different. or even a post. If C.57 cralawla wlibrary Respondent STC is clearly aware of this and incorporating lessons on good cyber citizenship in its curriculum to educate its students on proper online conduct may be most timely. what petitioners attributed to respondents as an act of offensive disclosure was no more than the actuality that respondents appended said photographs in their memorandum submitted to the trial court in connection with Civil Case No.”53 This means that self-regulation on the part of OSN users and internet consumers in general is the best means of avoiding privacy rights violations. there can be no quibbling that the images in question. becomes more manifest and palpable. lies with the friends of the minors. as well as the dangers that these children are wittingly or unwittingly exposed to in view of their unsupervised activities in cyberspace. are personal in nature. Furthermore. one has to be proactive in protecting his or her own privacy. it is not only STC but a number of schools and organizations have already deemed it important to include digital literacy and good cyber citizenship in their respective programs and curricula in view of the risks that the children are exposed to every time they participate in online activities.52 These are not tantamount to a violation of the minor’s informational privacy rights. in . This. the participation of the parents in disciplining and educating their children about being a good digital citizen is encouraged by these institutions and organizations. CEB-38594. thereby resulting into the “democratization of fame. depending upon B’s privacy setting). particularly in OSNs. Respondents were mere recipients of what were posted. the photos of minor students scantily clad. is confirmation of Facebook’s proclivity towards user interaction and socialization rather than seclusion or privacy. with visibility set at “Friends Only” cannot easily. In fact. they cannot now insist that they have an expectation of privacy with respect to the photographs in question. for in such instances. neither the minors nor their parents imputed any violation of privacy against the students who showed the images to Escudero. absent a showing that. instead of being broadcasted to the public at large or all the user’s friends en masse. A’s Facebook friend.and B are not Facebook friends.

. OSN users should be aware of the risks that they expose themselves to whenever they engage in cyberspace activities. they should be cautious enough to control their privacy and to exercise sound discretion regarding how much information about themselves they are willing to give up. . SO ORDERED. thus. These are indispensable. 2007 Resolution4 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. No pronouncement as to costs. petitioner-spouses Bill and Victoria Hing filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue City a Complaint5 for Injunction and Damages with prayer for issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction/Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). We find no cogent reason to disturb the findings and case disposition of the court a quo. read. Proc. Equity serves the vigilant. against respondents Alexander Choachuy. and Allan Choachuy. CEB-SP No. to use them if they desire to keep the information private. Reyes. requires that claimants themselves take utmost care in safeguarding a right which they allege to have been violated. premises considered. Demanding relief from the courts."1 This Petition for Review on Certiorari2 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the July 10. In light of the foregoing. and Jardeleza. 2005. WHEREFORE. Villarama. 01473. such as those of Facebook. the Court need not belabor the other assigned errors. as here. it violated the students’ rights. The Decision dated July 27. In finding that respondent STC and its officials did not violate the minors’ privacy rights. concur. DECISION DEL CASTILLO. incumbent upon internet users to exercise due diligence in their online dealings and activities and must not be negligent in protecting their rights. We cannot afford protection to persons if they themselves did nothing to place the matter within the confines of their private zone. OSN users must be mindful enough to learn the use of privacy tools. J. 19251-CEB is hereby AFFIRMED. especially because Facebook is notorious for changing these settings and the site’s layout often.the process. cralawred Peralta. docketed as Civil Case MAN-5223 and raffled to Branch 28. It is. 2007 Decision3 and the September 11. Accordingly. Furthermore. No. Internet consumers ought to be aware that. information. Branch 14 in Cebu City in SP. JJ. the petition is hereby DENIED.R. and to keep track of changes in the available privacy settings. 2012 of the Regional Trial Court.. otherwise private.: "The concept of liberty would be emasculated if it does not likewise compel respect for one's personality as a unique individual whose claim to privacy and non-interference demands respect. the perpetuation of which is outside the ambit of their control. they are automatically and inevitably making it permanently available online. Jr. or copied by third parties who may or may not be allowed access to such. Factual Antecedents On August 23. and more importantly. Sr. voluntarily surrendered by them can be opened. by entering or uploading any kind of data or information online.

27 The CA explained that the right to privacy of residence under Article 26(1) of the Civil Code was not violated since the property subject of the controversy is not used as a residence. respondents on June 13. 9 that the court. Cebu. in that case.7 that respondents constructed an auto-repair shop building (Aldo Goodyear Servitec) on Lot 1900C. in order to get evidence to support the said case.8 that in that case. facing the road. denied Aldo’s application for preliminary injunction for failure to substantiate its allegations. also took pictures of petitioners’ ongoing construction.000. The CA ruled that the Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued with grave abuse of discretion because petitioners failed to show a clear and unmistakable right to an injunctive writ.12 and that the acts of respondents violate petitioners’ right to privacy. The dispositive portion of the said Order reads: WHEREFORE. the RTC issued an Order 19 granting the application for a TRO. Issue a Writ of Preliminary Injunction in consonance with the Order dated 18 October 2005. They are hereby directed to immediately remove the revolving camera that they installed at the left side of their building overlooking the side of petitioners’ lot and to transfer and operate it elsewhere at the back where petitioners’ property can no longer be viewed within a distance of about 2-3 meters from the left corner of Aldo Servitec. that in April 2005. and Allan Choachuy. 2005 illegally set-up and installed on the building of Aldo Goodyear Servitec two video surveillance cameras facing petitioners’ property. Aldo filed a case against petitioners for Injunction and Damages with Writ of Preliminary Injunction/TRO.10 that.13 Thus. let a Writ of Preliminary Injunction issue against the respondents Alexander Choachuy. 2005. the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. Aldo claimed that petitioners were constructing a fence without a valid permit and that the said construction would destroy the wall of its building. 16nor did they order their employees to take pictures of petitioners’ construction. City of Mandaue. the CA issued its Decision26 granting the Petition for Certiorari.00.24 Aggrieved. which the Court sets at P50.11 that respondents. 2006.28 The CA alsosaid that since respondents are not the . Upon the filing and approval of a bond by petitioners. the application for a Temporary Restraining Order or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction is granted.6 that respondents are the owners of Aldo Development & Resources. which is adjacent to petitioners’ property. Ruling of the Court of Appeals On July 10. Sr.17 They also clarified that they are not the owners of Aldo but are mere stockholders. MAN-5125. respondents claimed that they did not install the video surveillance cameras. IT IS SO ORDERED. 2007. respondents filed with the CA a Petition for Certiorari25 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with application for a TRO and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. Inc.Petitioners alleged that they are the registered owners of a parcel of land (Lot 1900-B) covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.14 In their Answer with Counterclaim. IT IS SO ORDERED.18 15 Ruling of the Regional Trial Court On October 18. 42817 situated in Barangay Basak. docketed as Civil Case No. through their employees and without the consent of petitioners. petitioners prayed that respondents be ordered to remove the video surveillance cameras and enjoined from conducting illegal surveillance.20 Respondents moved for a reconsideration21 but the RTC denied the same in its Order22 dated February 6.23Thus: WHEREFORE. (Aldo) located at Lots 1901 and 1900-C. adjacent to the property of petitioners.

33 Essentially. 2005 and February 6. THE X X X CA COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT SINCE THE OWNER OF THE BUILDING IS ALDO DEVELOPMENT AND RESOURCES. which has a separate juridical personality. citing Professor Arturo M.29 They are mere stockholders of Aldo. WHICH RESPONDENTS CHOACHUY FAILED TO REFUTE. THE X X X CA COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT IGNORED THE SERIOUS FORMAL DEFICIENCIES OF BOTH THE PETITION AND THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION DATED 15 MARCH 2006 OF RESPONDENTS CHOACHUY AND GAVE X X X THEM DUE COURSE AND CONSIDERATION. 2006 issued by the respondent judge are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. this recourse by petitioners arguing that: I.owners of the building. SO ORDERED. Tolentino. THAT THE ILLEGALLY INSTALLED SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS OF RESPONDENTS CHOACH[U]Y WOULD CAPTURE THE Petitioners insist that they are entitled to the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction because respondents’ installation of a stationary camera directly facing petitioners’ property and a revolving camera covering a significant portion of the same property constitutes a violation of petitioners’ right to privacy.30 Thus. THE X X X CA COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT ANNULLED AND SET ASIDE THE ORDERS OF THE RTC DATED 18 OCTOBER 2005 AND 6 FEBRUARY 2006 HOLDING THAT THEY WERE ISSUED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION.31 The fallo reads: PRIVATE ACTIVITIES OF PETITIONER SPOUSES HING. INC.34 Petitioners cite Article 26(1) of the Civil Code. they could not have installed video surveillance cameras. THE X X X CA COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT PETITIONER SPOUSES HING ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION ON THE GROUND THAT THERE IS NO VIOLATION OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL AND CIVIL RIGHT TO PRIVACY DESPITE THE FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE RTC. WHEREFORE. and (2) whether respondents are the proper parties to this suit. THEIR CHILDREN AND EMPLOYEES. Issues Hence. The assailed orders dated October 18. in view of the foregoing premises.32 IV. Petitioners’ Arguments II. even . III. the issues boil down to (1) whether there is a violation of petitioners’ right to privacy. petitioners opine that it includes business offices.36 Thus. judgment is hereby rendered by us GRANTING the petition filed in this case. THEN TO SUE RESPONDENTS CHOACHUY CONSTITUTES A PURPORTEDLY UNWARRANTED PIERCING OF THE CORPORATE VEIL.35 Although the said provision pertains to the privacy of another’s residence. which enjoins persons from prying into the private lives of others. they are not the proper parties.

on the other hand. or to live without unwarranted interference by the public in matters in which the public is not necessarily concerned. not even the State."46 Simply put. 26. It states: Art. Article 26(1) of the Civil Code. prevention and other relief: (1) Prying into the privacy of another’s residence. xxxx This provision recognizes that a man’s house is his castle. echo the ruling of the CA that petitioners cannot invoke their right to privacy since the property involved is not used as a residence. Every person shall respect the dignity. though they may not constitute a criminal offense. In this regard.39 Respondents’ Arguments Respondents."49 The phrase "prying into the privacy of another’s . The following and similar acts. No one. on the other hand. the State recognizes the right of the people to be secure in their houses. the right to privacy is "the right to be let alone. then they had no business consenting to the ocular inspection conducted by the court. they were wrongfully impleaded in this case. protects an individual’s right to privacy and provides a legal remedy against abuses that may be committed against him by other individuals. The right to privacy is the right to be let alone." can disturb them in the privacy of their homes. except "in case of overriding social need and then only under the stringent procedural safeguards. It is defined as "the right to be free from unwarranted exploitation of one’s person or from intrusion into one’s private activities in such a way as to cause humiliation to a person’s ordinary sensibilities. privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons. it is still covered by the said provision. where the video surveillance cameras were installed. peeping or peering inquisitively into the residence of another without the consent of the latter.48 The right to privacy under Article 26(1) of the Civil Code covers business offices where the public are excluded therefrom and only certain individuals are allowed to enter.40 Respondents maintain that they had nothing to do with the installation of the video surveillance cameras as these were installed by Aldo.41as additional security for its building. petitioners claim that respondents and Aldo are one and the same."47 The Bill of Rights guarantees the people’s right to privacy and protects them against the State’s abuse of power. where his right to privacy cannot be denied or even restricted by others.assuming arguendo that petitioners’ property is used for business."45 It is the right of an individual "to be free from unwarranted publicity.37 As to whether respondents are the proper parties to implead in this case. personality. shall produce a cause of action for damages.42 Hence. It includes "any act of intrusion into. and that respondents only want to hide behind Aldo’s corporate fiction.38 They point out that if respondents are not the real owners of the building. The right to privacy is enshrined in our Constitution44 and in our laws. the registered owner of the building. 43 Our Ruling The Petition is meritorious.

52 we enunciated that "the reasonableness of a person’s expectation of privacy depends on a two-part test: (1) whether. covers places. was obtained. however. "The owner of . The CA. This test determines whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and whether the expectation has been violated. because the law covers also "similar acts.51 In Ople v. And as long as his right is recognized by society. The operation by respondents of a revolving camera. The installation of these cameras. the Court understands why petitioner Hing was so unyielding in asserting that the revolving camera was set up deliberately to monitor the on[-]going construction in his property. Nor should these cameras be used to pry into the privacy of another’s residence or business office as it would be no different from eavesdropping. If the purpose of respondents in setting up a camera at the back is to secure the building and factory premises. Torres. Thus. there is basis to grant the application for a temporary restraining order." This does not mean. or even situations which an individual considers as private. Inc. the reasonableness of a person’s In this case. and (2) this expectation is one that society recognizes as reasonable. video surveillance cameras are installed practically everywhere for the protection and safety of everyone. Tolentino: expectation of privacy must be determined on a case-to-case basis since it depends on the factual circumstances surrounding the case. Respondents’ camera cannot be made to extend the view to petitioners’ lot." A business office is entitled to the same privacy when the public is excluded therefrom and only such individuals as are allowed to enter may come in." Customs. The monitor showed only a portion of the roof of the factory of Aldo. an individual’s right to privacy under Article 26(1) of the Civil Code should not be confined to his house or residence as it may extend to places where he has the right to exclude the public or deny them access. Based on the ocular inspection. x x x50 (Emphasis supplied) In this day and age. however. then the camera should revolve only towards their properties at the back. erred in limiting the application of Article 26(1) of the Civil Code only to residences." however. other individuals may not infringe on his right to privacy. therefore. should not cover places where there is reasonable expectation of privacy. The camera does not only focus on respondents’ property or the roof of the factory at the back (Aldo Development and Resources. whose right to privacy would be affected. that only the residence is entitled to privacy.54 Our Code specifically mentions "prying into the privacy of another’s residence. In ascertaining whether there is a violation of the right to privacy." therefore. ruled that: After careful consideration.) but it actually spans through a good portion of the land of petitioners. The phrase "prying into the privacy of another’s residence. violated the right of privacy of petitioners. and practices may. by his conduct. locations. does not mean that only the residence is entitled to privacy. courts use the "reasonable expectation of privacy" test. in granting the application for Preliminary Injunction. therefore. the individual has exhibited an expectation of privacy. limit or extend an individual’s "reasonable expectation of privacy. who are the owners of the adjacent lot."53 Hence. unless the consent of the individual. To allow the respondents to do that over the objection of the petitioners would violate the right of petitioners as property owners. even if it were mounted on their building.residence. The "reasonable expectation of privacy" test is used to determine whether there is a violation of the right to privacy. 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law. community norms. the RTC. As elucidated by Civil law expert Arturo M. which is a crime under Republic Act No.

59 During the hearing of the application for Preliminary Injunction. which could be used against petitioners in another case. Rule 3 of the Rules of Court provides: SEC. 2005 of the RTC. Parties-in-interest. notwithstanding their claim that they are not owners of the building.61 He also admitted that as early as 1998 there has already been a dispute between his family and the Choachuy family concerning the boundaries of their respective properties. is a clear violation of their right to privacy. although Aldo has a juridical personality separate and distinct from its stockholders. Section 2. thus.60 and thus. We need not belabor that the issuance of a preliminary injunction is discretionary on the part of the court taking cognizance of the case and should not be interfered with. 2. considered that petitioners have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their property. The counsel for respondents even toured Judge Marilyn Lagura-Yap inside the building and answered all her questions regarding the set-up and installation of the video surveillance cameras. or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. they could not have installed the video surveillance cameras."55 defendant’s act or omission which had violated the legal right of the former.56 Here. is erroneous. — A real party-in-interest is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit. every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party-in-interest."57 The RTC. he reported the matter to the barangay for mediation. without their consent. whether they use it as a business office or as a residence and that the installation of video surveillance cameras directly facing petitioners’ property or covering a significant portion thereof. A real party defendant is "one who has a correlative legal obligation to redress a wrong done to the plaintiff by reason of the In their Complaint. allowed the court to enter the compound of Aldo and conduct an ocular inspection. we believe that respondents are the proper parties to be impleaded. petitioners claimed that respondents installed the video surveillance cameras in order to fish for evidence.64 And when respondents moved for reconsideration of the Order dated October 18. The fact that respondents are not the registered owners of the building does not automatically mean that they did not cause the installation of the video surveillance cameras. Hence. records show that it is a familyowned corporation managed by the Choachuy family. Unless otherwise authorized by law or these Rules. there is no indication of any grave abuse of discretion. In ruling that respondents are not the proper parties. the CA reasoned that since they do not own the building. filed a Complaint against respondents before the RTC. the CA erred in finding that petitioners are not entitled to an injunctive writ. the issuance of a preliminary injunction was justified. and eventually.a thing cannot make use thereof in such a manner as to injure the rights of a third person. he immediately broached his concerns but they did not seem to care. As we see then. Moreover.63 Also quite telling is the fact that respondents.58 Such reasoning. petitioner Bill testified that when respondents installed the video surveillance cameras. This brings us to the next question: whether respondents are the proper parties to this suit. A real party defendant is one who has a correlative legal obligation to redress a wrong done to the plaintiff by reason of the defendant's act or omission which had violated the legal right of the former. . however.62 With these factual circumstances in mind. unless there is grave abuse of discretion committed by the court.

JOY MARGATE LEE.: Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the Decision2 dated August 30. G. MAN-5223 are hereby REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. CEB-SP No. Ilagan alleged that he and petitioner Dr. Ilagan (Ilagan). in these instances. J. The Orders dated October 18. SO ORDERED. 2012. 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.proceeded to his office.65 Noticeably. Branch 224 (RTC) in SP No. All these taken together lead us to the inevitable conclusion that respondents are merely using the corporate fiction of Aldo as a shield to protect themselves from this suit. No. 2007 and the Resolution dated September 11.2005 and February 6. P/SUPT. which extended the privilege of the writ of habeas data in favor of respondent Police Superintendent Neri A. Lee confronted Ilagan at the latter’s office regarding a purported sex video (subject . rested for a while and thereafter. 2011. NERI A. 01473 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner. Sometime in July 2011. 12-71527.4 On August 23. the Petition is hereby GRANTED. DECISION PERLAS-BERNABE. ILAGAN. v. 200[6] of Branch 28 of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City in Civil Case No. October 08. 203254. 2012 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.R. Respondent. In view of the foregoing.R.one of the arguments they raised is that Aldo would suffer damages if the video surveillance cameras are removed and transferred. he visited Lee at the latter’s condominium. the personalities of respondents and Aldo seem to merge. The Facts In his Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Data3 dated June 22. WHEREFORE. Joy Margate Lee (Lee) were former common law partners. The Decision dated July 10. Ilagan noticed that his digital camera was missing. we find that respondents are the proper parties to this suit. 2014 DR. Upon arrival.

17 which is defined as “the right to control the collection. and dissemination of data about oneself. use. 12 The RTC Ruling In a Decision13 dated August 30. liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee. 15 Dissatisfied. or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering.5 During the confrontation. collecting.e. 2012. violated the latter’s right to privacy in life and caused him to suffer humiliation and mental anguish. maintenance. Lee admitted that she indeed kept the memory card of the digital camera and reproduced the aforesaid video but averred that she only did so to utilize the same as evidence in the cases she filed against Ilagan. ordered the implementing officer to turn-over copies of the subject video to him. in order to support a petition for the issuance of such writ. the RTC issued a Writ of Habeas Data10 dated June 25. liberty. 08-1-16-SC. “[t]he manner the right to privacy is violated or threatened and how it affects the right to life.16 It was conceptualized as a judicial remedy enforcing the right to privacy. and correspondence of the aggrieved party. security. The Court’s Ruling The petition is meritorious. the RTC clarified that it is only ruling on the return of the aforesaid video and not on its admissibility before other tribunals. or storing of data regarding the person of Ilagan. and to produce Ilagan’s digital camera. given the lack of effective and available remedies. namely: (a) a criminal complaint for violation of Republic Act No. A. to address the extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced disappearances. and that she only happened to discover the subject video when Ilagan left his camera in her condominium. but to no avail. Ilagan allegedly slammed Lee’s head against a wall inside his office and walked away. and privacy but also that of the other woman. as well as the negative and/or original of the subject video and copies thereof. 2012. Lee filed this petition. and accordingly. liberty or security of the aggrieved party. Section 6 of the Habeas Data Rule essentially requires that the petition sufficiently alleges. the issuance of a writ of habeas data in his favor is warranted.” In other words.. Lee contended that Ilagan’s petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas data should be dismissed because: (a) its filing was only aimed at suppressing the evidence against Ilagan in the cases she filed. 2012. among others. and (b) an administrative complaint for grave misconduct before the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM).8 Ilagan claimed that Lee’s acts of reproducing the subject video and threatening to distribute the same to the upper echelons of the NAPOLCOM and uploading it to the internet violated not only his right to life. the RTC granted the privilege of the writ of habeas data in Ilagan’s favor. directing Lee to appear before the court a quo. She also admitted that her relationship with Ilagan started sometime in 2003 and ended under disturbing circumstances in August 2011. home. Lee utilized the said video as evidence in filing various complaints against Ilagan. family.M. Nevertheless. No. Ilagan denied the video and demanded Lee to return the camera.” before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati. and enjoined Lee from further reproducing the same. and thus.6Subsequently. collecting or storing of data regarding the person of Ilagan. was conceived as a response. most especially the right to informational privacy of individuals.9 Finding the petition prima facie meritorious.” Thus. the RTC opined that Lee’s use of the subject video as evidence in the various cases she filed against Ilagan is not enough justification for its reproduction. and (b) she is not engaged in the gathering. and to file a verified written return within five (5) working days from date of receipt thereof. In her Verified Return11 dated July 2. the petition must adequately show that there exists a nexus between the right to . 14 The RTC did not give credence to Lee’s defense that she is not engaged in the gathering. or the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data (Habeas Data Rule). In this relation. The Issue Before the Court The essential issue for the Court’s resolution is whether or not the RTC correctly extended the privilege of the writ of habeas data in favor of Ilagan.7otherwise known as the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004. the NAPOLCOM officers. finding that her acts of reproducing the subject video and showing it to other people. collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person.”18 As defined in Section 1 of the Habeas Data Rule. i.video) she discovered from the aforesaid camera involving Ilagan and another woman. Accordingly. the writ of habeas data now stands as “a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life. 9262.

SO ORDERED. the Court finds that Ilagan was not able to sufficiently allege that his right to privacy in life. Neri A. the allegations in the petition must be supported by substantial evidence showing an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in life. liberty or security. Indeed. As the records show. liberty or security are crucial in habeas datacases. even discounting the insufficiency of the allegations. 12-71527is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Branch 224 in SP No. and the right to life. courts cannot speculate or contrive versions of possible transgressions. the petition would equally be dismissible due to the inadequacy of the evidence presented. The Decision dated August 30. liberty or security. it bears pointing out that the writ of habeas data will not issue to protect purely property or commercial concerns nor when the grounds invoked in support of the petitions therefor are vague and doubtful. Accordingly. as in this case. the petition is GRANTED.19 Corollarily. Lee even made it clear in her testimony that the only reason why she reproduced the subject video was to legitimately utilize the same as evidence in the criminal and administrative cases that she filed against Ilagan. the Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Data filed by respondent P/Supt. liberty or security on the other . all that Ilagan submitted in support of his petition was his self-serving testimony which hardly meets the substantial evidence requirement as prescribed by the Habeas Data Rule. to spread it to the public so as to ruin Ilagan’s reputation. liberty or security of the victim. Nor would anything on record even lead a reasonable mind to conclude22 that Lee was going to use the subject video in order to achieve unlawful ends – say for instance.privacy on the one hand. 2012 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. While Ilagan purports a privacy interest in the suppression of this video – which he fears would somehow find its way to Quiapo or be uploaded in the internet for public consumption – he failed to explain the connection between such interest and any violation of his right to life. due to the insufficiency of the allegations as well as the glaring absence of substantial evidence. In fact. the Court finds it proper to reverse the RTC Decision and dismiss the habeas data petition. 23 Hence. Ilagan isDISMISSED for lack of merit.21 In this case. alleging and eventually proving the nexus between one’s privacy right to the cogent rights to life. liberty or security was or would be violated through the supposed reproduction and threatened dissemination of the subject sex video.20 In this relation. As the rules and existing jurisprudence on the matter evoke. . WHEREFORE. Contrastingly. This is because nothing therein would indicate that Lee actually proceeded to commit any overt act towards the end of violating Ilagan’s right to privacy in life. so much so that a failure on either account certainly renders a habeas data petition dismissible.

if upheld. Therefore. of a “malicious. The Press claimed that the chief of police had “illicit relations with gangsters. or other periodical. The freedom of press is essential to the nature of a free state but that freedom may be restricted by the government in certain situations. Subsequent punishment for such abuses as may exist is the appropriate remedy. The state law authorized Held. consistent with the constitutional privilege. could lead to a complete system of censorship. scandalous and defamatory newspaper. that the matter published is true and is published with good motives and for justifiable ends. Judgment of the state court reversed. unconstitutional. No. The Saturday Press (the Press) published attacks on local officials. the . A Minnesota law that “gagged” a periodical from publishing derogatory statements about local public officials was held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court). A state court order abated the Press and enjoined the Defendants. The statute in question cannot be justified by reason of the fact that the publisher is permitted to show. Synopsis of Rule of Law. from publishing or circulating such “defamatory and scandalous” periodicals. as a public nuisance.” Minnesota officials obtained an injunction in order to abate the publishing of the Press newspaper under a state law that allowed this course of action. Thus. Issue. This statute.abatement. publishers of the Press (Defendants). before injunction issues. The fact that the liberty of press may be abused by miscreant purveyors of scandal does not effect the requirement that the press has immunity from previous restraints when it deals with official misconduct. Whether a statute authorizing such proceedings is consistent with the conception of the liberty of the press as historically conceived and guaranteed? Near v Minnesota Brief Fact Summary. Facts. a statute authorizing such proceedings is not consistent with the conception of the liberty of the press as historically conceived and guaranteed and is thus.

Brief Fact Summary.statute is a substantial infringement on the liberty of the press and in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) in this case extended the presumption against prior restraint in the licensing context to judicial restraints as well. No. The District Court in the New York Times case and the District Court and the Court of Appeals in the Washington Post case held that the Government had not met the requisite burden justifying such a prior restraint. The doctrine prohibiting prior restraints does not prevent the courts from maintaining status . The United States sought to enjoin the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing contents of a confidential study about the Government’s decision making with regards to Vietnam policy. Judgments of the lower courts affirmed. Dissent. Issue. 1971. by the Court are vacated. The stays entered June 25. This statute does not operate as a previous restraint on publication within proper meaning of that phrase. Synopsis of Rule of Law. The scope of the judicial function in passing upon activities of the Executive Branch in the field of foreign affairs is very narrowly restricted. Dissent. This view is dictated by the doctrine of Separation of Powers. Discussion. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) held that the Government failed to meet the requisite burden of proof needed to justify a prior restraint of expression when attempting to enjoin the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing contents of a classified study. The mandates shall issue forthwith. The order of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is reversed and remanded with directions to enter a judgment affirming the District Court. Any system of prior restraints on expression comes to the Supreme Court bearing a heavy presumption against its invalidity. Whether the United States met the heavy burden of showing justification for the enforcement of such a restraint on the New York Times and Washington Post to enjoin them from publishing contents of a classified study? Held.” Facts. The Government “thus creates a heavy burden of showing justification for the enforcement of such a restraint.

The Executive must have the large duty to determine and preserve the degree of internal security necessary to exercise its power effectively. The responsibility must be where the power is. only governmental allegation and proof that publication must inevitably.quo long enough to act responsibly. PUNO. directly and immediately cause the occurrence of an event kindred to imperiling the safety of a transport already at sea can support the issuance of an interim restraining order.: This is a petition for review of the Decision dated March 24. The United States has not met the very heavy burden. There is. [Constitution]. To find that the President has “inherent power” The ultimate issue in this case is whether this Court or the to halt the publication of news by resort to the courts would Congress has the power to make this law. cases. The First Amendment of the Constitution tolerates no prior judicial restraints of the press predicated upon surmise or conjecture that untoward consequences may result. the First Amendment of the Constitution commands that no injunction be issued. The must meet to warrant an injunction against publication in these cases should be remanded to be developed expeditiously. a duly organized religious organization. but disclosure of any of them will not result in irreparable danger to the public. Thus. The First Amendment of the Constitution leaves no room for governmental restraint on the press. moreover. 1995 of the respondent Court of Appeals affirming the action of the respondent Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television which x-rated the TV Program Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. The Executive is correct with respect to some of the documents here. has a television program entitled Ang Iglesia ni Cristo aired on Channel 2 every Saturday and on Channel 13 every . Petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo. no statute barring the publication by the press of the material that the Times and Post seek to publish. which it The First Amendment is only part of the Constitution. Unless and until the Government has clearly made its case. It is plain that wipe out the First Amendment of the United States Congress has refused to grant the authority the Government Constitution seeks from this Court. J. Concurrence.

Petitioner pursued two (2) courses of action against the respondent Board. petitioner also filed against the respondent Board Civil Case No. 128 to be publicly telecast. No. the trial court held a hearing on petitioners prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction.: (1) Exhibit A. 1992. 1993. In their Answer. 1992 action on petitioners Series No. respondent Boards Voting Slip for Television showing its September 9. The program presents and propagates petitioners religious beliefs. viz. 1986 in relation to Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. with the RTC. 1992. There are remarks which are direct criticism which affect other religions. On December 14. 121 and 128. 119. NCR. Petitioner alleged that the respondent Board [1] acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in requiring petitioner to submit the VTR tapes of its TV program and in x-rating them. 115. The Board classified the series as X or not for public viewing on the ground that they offend and constitute an attack against other religions which is expressly prohibited by law. the Office of the President reversed the decision of the respondent Board. It succeeded in its appeal for on December 18. It cited its TV Program Series Nos. 119. Sometime in the months of September. respondent Board invoked its power under P. October and November 1992. On November 28. On January 4. 121 and 128. 1992. 128. 115 as follows:[2] REMARKS: There are some inconsistencies in the particular program as it is very surprising for this program to show series of Catholic ceremonies and also some religious sects and using it in their discussion about the bible. Q-9214280. . Petitioner submitted the following as its exhibits. doctrines and practices often times in comparative studies with other religions. it appealed to the Office of the President the classification of its TV Series No. The parties orally argued and then marked their documentary evidence. the Board allowed Series No. 116. Quezon City. Forthwith.D.Sunday. petitioner submitted to the respondent Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television the VTR tapes of its TV program Series Nos.

worship and decision. 128 as follows:[6] REMARKS: The episode presented criticizes the religious beliefs of the Catholic and Protestants beliefs. 1992. E-1. they do on. specifically. 1992 action on petitioners Series No.Need more opinions for this particular program. respondent Boards Voting Slip for Television showing its October 9. We suggest that the program should delve on explaining their own faith and beliefs and avoid attacks on other faith. (3) Exhibit B. dictate any other religion that they are right and the rest are wrong. (5) Exhibit D. as follows:[4] REMARKS: The Iglesia ni Cristo insists on the literal translation of the bible and says that our (Catholic) veneration of the Virgin Mary is not to be condoned because nowhere it is found in the bible that we should do so. (6) Exhibits E. respondent Boards Voting Slip for Television showing its October 20. based on their own interpretation of the Bible. Please subject to more opinions. petitioners Airtime Contract with Island Broadcasting Corporation. 1992 subsequent action on petitioners Series No. 119. 1992 action on petitioners Series No. respondent Boards Voting Slip for Television showing its November 20. 115 as follows:[3] REMARKS: This program is criticizing different religions. 1992 action on petitioners Series No. petitioners block time contract with ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation dated September 1. respondent Boards Voting Slip for Television showing its September 11. 121 as follows:[5] REMARKS: I refuse to approve the telecast of this episode for reasons of the attacks. which they clearly present in this episode. This is intolerance and robs off all sects of freedom of choice.[7] (7) Exhibit F. We suggest a second review. (2) Exhibit A-1. (4) Exhibit C.[8] . I refuse to admit that they can tell. the Catholic religion.

viz. The trial court set the pre-trial of the case and the parties submitted their pre-trial briefs. which is Exhibit G of petitioner. Mendez. H-1. (3) Exhibit 3. addressed to President Fidel V. the trial court rendered [9] . 129. respondent Board submitted the following exhibits. Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution. The letter reads in part: xxx xxx xxx The television episode in question is protected by the constitutional guarantee of free speech and expression under Article III. We have viewed a tape of the television episode in question. The material involved constitute an attack against another religion which is expressly prohibited by law. 15181 dated December 18. addressed to the Christian Era Broadcasting Service which reads in part: xxx In the matter of your television show Ang Iglesia ni Cristo Series No. 1992 of Henrietta S.. The trial of the case was set and reset several times as the parties tried to reach an amicable accord. (9) Exhibits H.: (1) Exhibit 1. After evaluating the evidence of the parties. The pretrial briefs show that the parties evidence is basically the evidence they submitted in the hearing of the issue of preliminary injunction. Permit Certificate for Television Exhibition No. Ramos. Their efforts failed and the records show that after submission of memoranda. On its part. as well as studied the passages found by MTRCB to be objectionable and we find no indication that the episode poses any clear and present danger sufficient to limit the said constitutional guarantee. please be informed that the Board was constrained to deny your show a permit to exhibit. letter dated October 12. 128.000. Ramos appealing the action of the respondent Board x-rating petitioners Series No. Please be guided in the submission of future shows. Amante. 1992 allowing the showing of Series No. addressed to Henrietta S.. letter dated December 18. letter dated November 26. Mendez reversing the decision of the respondent Board which x-rated the showing of petitioners Series No. Sr. (2) Exhibit 2. 128 under parental guidance. 119. 1992 of former Executive Secretary Edelmiro A. the trial court issued a writ of preliminary injunction on petitioners bond of P10.00.(8) Exhibit G. 1992 of Teofilo C. Sr.

the xxx WHEREFORE. however. In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. is directed to refrain from offending and attacking other existing religions in showing Ang Iglesia ni Cristo program. Respondents are further prohibited from requiring petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo to submit for review VTR tapes of its religious program Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. The respondent Board opposed the motion. petitioner raises the following issues: . On March 5. on December 15.a Judgment. directing petitioner to refrain from offending and attacking other existing religions in showing Ang Iglesia ni Cristo program is hereby deleted and set aside. It also found the series indecent. 1993. [15] Petitioner moved for reconsideration praying: (a) for the deletion of the second paragraph of the dispositive portion of the Decision. Respondent Board appealed to the Court of Appeals after its motion for reconsideration was denied. the Motion for Reconsideration is granted. Petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo. dispositive portion of which reads: [10] 1993. It ruled that: (1) the respondent board has jurisdiction and power to review the TV program Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. It ordered: [11] [12] [13] xxx WHEREFORE. 1995. and (2) the respondent Board did not act with grave abuse of discretion when it denied permit for the exhibition on TV of the three series of Ang Iglesia ni Cristo on the ground that the materials constitute an attack against another religion. The second portion of the Courts Order dated December 15. judgment is hereby rendered ordering respondent Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television (BRMPT) to grant petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo the necessary permit for all the series of Ang Iglesia ni Cristo program. the respondent Court of Appeals reversed the trial court. and (b) for the Board to be perpetually enjoined from requiring petitioner to submit for review the tapes of its program. 1993. [14] SO ORDERED. the trial court granted petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. contrary to law and contrary to good customs. On March 7.

Its Section 3 pertinently provides: III WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE MTRCB IS VESTED WITH THE POWER TO CENSOR RELIGIOUS PROGRAMS. A PURELY RELIGIOUS Sec. The first issue can be resolved by examining the powers of the Board under P. imported . for the reason that they constitute an attack against other religions and that they are indecent. television programs. whether it gravely abused its discretion when it prohibited the airing of petitioners religious program. 3 Powers and Functions. contrary to law and good customs. powers and duties: xxx xxx xxx b) To screen. including publicity materials such as advertisements. 1986. 115.D. 119 and 121. and (2) second. review and examine all motion pictures as herein defined. assuming it has the power. IV WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ANG IGLESIA NI CRISTO.I WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT ANG IGLESIA NI CRISTO PROGRAM IS NOT CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED AS A FORM OF RELIGIOUS EXERCISE AND EXPRESSION. THE ANG IGLESIA NI CRISTO PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO THE POLICE POWER OF THE STATE ONLY IN THE EXTREME CASE THAT IT POSES A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER. whether the respondent Board has the power to review petitioners TV program Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. II WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT BEING AN EXERCISE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. series Nos. trailers and stills. The BOARD shall have the following functions. The basic issues can be reduced into two: (1) first. PROGRAM IS INDECENT AND CONTRARY TO LAW AND GOOD CUSTOMS. No. whether such motion pictures and publicity materials be for theatrical or non-theatrical distribution for television broadcast or for general viewing.

which. delete objectionable portion from and/or prohibit the importation. .or produced in the Philippines and in the latter case. delete x x xand/or prohibit the x x x exhibition and/or television broadcast of x x x television programs x x x. copying. production. i) Those which tend to incite subversion. vi) Those which are libelous or defamatory to the good name and reputation of any person. are objectionable for being immoral. or otherwise threaten the economic and/or political stability of the State. c) To approve. the Board has the power to approve. By the clear terms of the law. or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence or of a wrong or crime. such as but not limited to: v) Those which tend to abet the traffic in and use of prohibited drugs. in the judgment of the BOARD applying contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard. whether living or dead. insurrection. vii) Those which may constitute contempt of court or of any quasi-judicial tribunal. rebellion or sedition against the State. indecent. iv) Those which serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence or pornography. The law also directs the Board to apply contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard to determine those which are objectionable for being immoral. sale. injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines and its people. review and examine all television programs. contrary to law and/or good customs. or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence or of a wrong or crime. contrary to law and/or good customs. The law gives the Board the power to screen. ii) Those which tend to undermine the faith and confidence of the people. distribution. lease. subject of the preceding paragraph. iii) Those which glorify criminals or condone crimes. exportation. or pertain to matters which are sub-judice in nature (emphasis ours). their government and/or duly constituted authorities. injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines and its people. indecent. whether they be for local viewing or for export. television programs and publicity materials. exhibition and/or television broadcast of the motion pictures.

He may not be required to prove his beliefs.. or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. past and present. To quote the summation of Mr. even if they be hostile and heretical to the majority. We have affirmed this preferred status well aware that it is designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience. our well-known constitutionalist: [16] [17] Religious Profession and Worship The right to religious profession and worship has a twofold aspect. (2) Freedom to Act on Ones Beliefs . shall forever be allowed. it is urged. Men may believe what they cannot prove. consistent with the liberty of others and with the common good. worship any god he chooses. without discrimination or preference. acknowledge the divinity of God or of any being that appeals to his reverence. to profess his beliefs. The first is absolute as long as the belief is confined within the realm of thought. The second is subject to regulation where the belief is translated into external acts that affect the public welfare. he has full freedom to believe as he pleases. Article III of the Constitution which guarantees that no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion. freedom to believe and freedom to act on ones beliefs. will contravene Section 5. We have also laboriously defined in our jurisprudence the intersecting umbras and penumbras of the right to religious profession and worship. is a matter of faith. He may not be punished for his inability to do so. Every one has a right to his beliefs and he may not be called to account because he cannot prove what he believes. However absurd his beliefs may be to others. A contrary interpretation. and to live as he believes he ought to live. Freedom of religion has been accorded a preferred status by the framers of our fundamental laws. Justice Isagani Cruz. embrace or reject any religion. Religion. or none at all. We reject petitioners submission which need not set us adrift in a constitutional voyage towards an uncharted sea. He may indulge his own theories about life and death.Petitioner contends that the term television program should not include religious programs like its program Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. (1) Freedom to Believe The individual is free to believe (or disbelieve) as he pleases concerning the hereafter. recognize or deny the immortality of his soul in fact. viz. after all.The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship. to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs. cherish any religious conviction as he and he alone sees fit.

As great as this liberty may be. religious freedom. not freedom from conformity to law because of religious dogma. And this is true even if such practices are pursued out of sincere religious conviction and not merely for the purpose of evading the reasonable requirements or prohibitions of the law. it did not create new privileges. A laissez faire policy on the exercise of religion can be seductive to the liberal . Accordingly. public morals. his freedom to do so becomes subject to the authority of the State. The Court iterates the rule that the exercise of religious freedom can be regulated by the State when it will bring about the clear and present danger of some substantive evil which the State is duty bound to prevent. A person cannot refuse to pay taxes on the ground that it would be against his religious tenets to recognize any authority except that of God alone. Those who literally interpret the Biblical command to go forth and multiply are nevertheless not allowed to contract plural marriages in violation of the laws against bigamy.e. he may not offer the object of his piety a human sacrifice. Television is a medium that reaches even the eyes and ears of children. or public welfare. like all the other rights guaranteed in the Constitution. can be enjoyed only with a proper regard for the rights of others.. Justice Frankfurter put it succinctly: The constitutional provision on religious freedom terminated disabilities. It is error to think that the mere invocation of religious freedom will stalemate the State and render it impotent in protecting the general welfare. The police power can be validly asserted against the Indian practice of the suttee born of deep religious conviction. i. We thus reject petitioners postulate that its religious program is per se beyond review by the respondent Board. Its essence is freedom from conformity to religious dogma. The inherent police power can be exercised to prevent religious practices inimical to society. that calls on the widow to immolate herself at the funeral pile of her husband. serious detriment to the more overriding interest of public health. It gave religious liberty.But where the individual externalizes his beliefs in acts or omissions that affect the public. Its public broadcast on TV of its religious program brings it out of the bosom of internal belief. while one has full freedom to believe in Satan. An atheist cannot express his disbelief in acts of derision that wound the feelings of the faithful. as this would be murder. not civil immunity.

A-1. The bewildering rise of weird religious cults espousing violence as an article of faith also proves the wisdom of our rule rejecting a strict let alone policy on the exercise of religion. 115. the respondent Board x-rated petitioners TV program series Nos. Exhibit C shows that Series No. For sure. 121 and 128. Across the sea and in our shore. In sum. (respondent Boards Voting Slip for Television) reveal that its reviewing members x-rated Series 115 for x x x criticizing different religions. it was x-rated because of its unbalanced interpretations of some parts of the Bible. 119 was xrated because the Iglesia ni Cristo insists on the literal translation of the bible and says that our Catholic veneration of the Virgin Mary is not to be condoned because nowhere it is found in the bible that we should do so. Exhibit D also shows that Series No. x x x (T)hey can not tell. the State should not stand still. Even now. dictate any other religion that they are right and the rest are wrong x x x.mind but history counsels the Court against its blind adoption as religion is and continues to be a volatile area of concern in our country today. they do on. the Catholic religion. Thus. 121 was x-rated x x x for reasons of the attacks. based on their own interpretation of the Bible. On second review. 121 and 128 because of [18] . 119. we shall continue to subject any act pinching the space for the free exercise of religion to a heightened scrutiny but we shall not leave its rational exercise to the irrationality of man. 115. It is also petitioners submission that the respondent appellate court gravely erred when it affirmed the ruling of the respondent Board x-rating its TV Program Series Nos. 119. specifically. the roots of which have been nourished by the mistrust and misunderstanding between our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters. 128 was not favorably recommended because it x x x outrages Catholic and Protestants beliefs. The records show that the respondent Board disallowed the program series for attacking other religions. This is intolerance x x x. Exhibits A. Our country is still not safe from the recurrence of this stultifying strife considering our warring religious beliefs and the fanaticism with which some of us cling and claw to these beliefs. Exhibit B shows that Series No. For when religion divides and its exercise destroys. the bloodiest and bitterest wars fought by men were caused by irreconcilable religious differences. we have yet to settle the near century old strife in Mindanao. They suggested that the program should only explain petitioners x x x own faith and beliefs and avoid attacks on other faiths.

Deeply ensconced in our fundamental law is its hostility against all prior restraints on speech. these liberties are. An examination of the evidence.: [20] xxx xxx xxx In the realm of religious faith. To persuade others to his own point of view. as we know. The evidence shows that the respondent Board x-rated petitioners TV series for attacking other religions. sharp differences arise. The respondent Board may disagree with the criticisms of other religions by petitioner but that gives it no excuse to interdict such criticisms. C. or are prominent in church or state or even to false statements. its act of censorship will be struck down. and in that of political belief. at times. It misappreciates the essence of freedom to differ as delineated in the benchmark case of Cantwell v. especially Exhibits A. essential to enlightened opinion and right conduct on the part of the citizens of democracy. But the people of this nation have ordained in the light of history that inspite of the probability of excesses and abuses. especially the Catholic church. contrary to law and good customs. The respondent appellate court agreed and even held that the said attacks are indecent. any act that restrains speech is hobbled by the presumption of invalidity and should be greeted with furrowed brows. B. First. If it fails to discharge this burden. contrary to law and good customs. can be prohibited from public viewing under Section 3(c) of PD 1986. [19] Second. The videotapes were not viewed by the respondent court as they were not presented as evidence. in the long view. A-1. In both fields. It is the burden of the respondent Board to overthrow this presumption. . hence. the tenets of one man may seem the rankest error to his neighbor. Connecticut. It failed in the case at bar. to vilification of men who have been. Yet they were considered by the respondent court as indecent. We reverse the ruling of the appellate court. resorts to exaggeration. This ruling clearly suppresses petitioners freedom of speech and interferes with its right to free exercise of religion.petitioners controversial biblical interpretations and its attacks against contrary religious beliefs. the pleader. including religious speech. and D will show that the socalled attacks are mere criticisms of some of the deeply held dogmas and tenets of other religions. Hence. viz.

Under our constitutional scheme. Third. The ground attack against another religion was merely added by the respondent Board in its Rules. Religious dogmas and beliefs are often at war and to preserve peace among their followers. Article 201 (2) (b) (3) of the Revised Penal Code should be invoked to justify the subsequent punishment of a show which offends any religion. unclean they may be.Vis-a-vis religious differences. it is not the task of the State to favor any religion by protecting it against an attack by another religion. the marketplace of ideas demands that speech should be met by more speech for it is the spark of opposite speech. This rule is void for it runs smack against the hoary doctrine that administrative rules and regulations cannot expand the letter and spirit of the law they seek to enforce. respondent board cannot squelch the speech of petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks other religions. We respectfully disagree for it is plain that the word attack is not synonymous with the word offend. especially the fanatics. In a State where there ought to be no difference between the appearance and the reality of freedom of religion. Even a sideglance at Section 3 of PD 1986 will reveal that it is not among the grounds to justify an order prohibiting the broadcast of petitioners television program.however. the establishment clause of freedom of religion prohibits the State from leaning towards any religion. It cannot be utilized to justify prior censorship of speech. Moreover. When the luxury of time permits. The respondents cannot also rely on the ground attacks against another religion in x-rating the religious program of petitioner. Neutrality alone is its fixed and immovable stance.It must be . television programs and publicity materials which are contrary to law and Article 201 (2) (b) (3) of the Revised Penal Code punishes anyone who exhibits shows which offend any race or religion. the remedy against bad theology is better theology. even if said religion happens to be the most numerous church in our country. [21] It is opined that the respondent board can still utilize attack against any religion as a ground allegedly x x x because Section 3 (c) of PD 1986 prohibits the showing of motion pictures. the heat of colliding ideas that can fan the embers of truth. The bedrock of freedom of religion is freedom of thought and it is best served by encouraging the marketplace of dueling ideas. In fine. the State enjoys no banquet of options.

The ground was not. and only to the smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger. we further ruled that x x x it is only where it is unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified. paragraph (c) of E. Any restraint of such right can be justified like other restraints on freedom of expression on the ground that there is a clear and present danger of any substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent. carried over by PD 1986. contrary to law and/or good customs. 1985 then Minister of Justice. Elizalde Rope Workers Union. the respondents failed to apply the clear and present danger rule. in an Opinion dated November 28. even the Executive Department espouses this view. this Court held: The constitutional guaranty of free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship carries with it the right to disseminate religious information. to wit: immoral. City of Manila. 876. the law prior to PD 1986. which prescribes the standards of censorship.O. On the face of the law itself. [22] [23] . the question whether the BRMPT (now MTRCB) may preview and censor the subject television program of INC should be viewed in the light of the provision of Section 3. No. There can be no other intent. As stated. applying contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard. which is substantially the same as the provision of Section 3. 876-A. (Italics supplied) Fourth.O. there can conceivably be no basis for censorship of said program by the Board as much as the alleged reason cited by the Board does not appear to be within the contemplation of the standards of censorship set by law. the intention of the Board to subject the INCs television program to previewing and censorship is prompted by the fact that its religious program makes mention of beliefs and practices of other religion. or of a wrong as determined by the Board. indecent. injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines or its people or with dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence. now President of the Senate.emphasized that E. In x-rating the TV program of the petitioner. Indeed. In American Bible Society v. Neptali Gonzales explained: xxx However. included attack against any religion as a ground for censorship. paragraph (c) of PD 1986. Thus. In Victoriano vs. Its deletion is a decree to disuse it. however.

Presently in the United States. The use of the test took a downswing in the 1950s when the US Supreme Court decided Dennis v. is completely bereft of findings of facts to justify the conclusionthat the subject video tapes constitute impermissible attacks against another religion. however. for instance. Admittedly. including religious speech. Bannered by Justices Holmes and Brandeis. Ohio. It is suggested that we re-examine the application of clear and present danger rule to the case at bar. the test was applied to annul a total ban on labor picketing. the protection of the rule was weakened. it is true that the clear and present danger test has undergone permutations. In Dennis. justifies such invasion of free speech as is necessary to avoid the danger. the components of the test were altered as the High Court adopted Judge Learned Hands formulation that x x x in each case [courts] must ask whether the gravity of the evil. when the High Court restored in the test the imminence requirement. the clear and present danger test is not applied to protect low value speeches such as obscene [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] .The records show that the decision of the respondent Board. Thus. Justice Holmes who formulated the test in Schenck v. It was Mr. There is no showing whatsoever of the type of harm the tapes will bring about especially the gravity and imminence of the threatened harm. US. when its umbrella was used to protect speech other than subversive speech. United States involving communist conspiracy. Prior restraint on speech. affirmed by the respondent appellate court. In the United States. the test attained its full flowering in the decade of the forties. In 1969. The imminence requirement of the test was thus diminished and to that extent. the strength of the test was reinstated inBrandenburg v. as follows: x x x the question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. discounted by its improbability. and even added an intent requirement which according to a noted commentator ensured that only speech directed at inciting lawlessness could be punished. cannot be justified by hypothetical fears but only by the showing of a substantive and imminent evil which has taken the life of a reality already on ground. the test was originally designed to determine the latitude which should be [24] given to speech that espouses anti-government action.

unless the speech is first allowed. The same submission is made by Mr. Justice Kapunan that x x x the determination of the question as to whether or not such vilification. even following the drift of American jurisprudence. out of court contempt and release of information that endangers a fair trial. only a procedure requiring [31] [32] .speech. exaggeration or fabrication falls within or lies outside the boundaries of protected speech or expression is a judicial function which cannot be arrogated by an administrative body such as a Board of Censors. [30] It is also opined that it is inappropriate to apply the clear and present danger test to the case at bar because the issue involves the content of speech and not the time. By 1965. it is also opined by Mr. He submits that a system of prior restraint may only be validly administered by judges and not left to administrative agencies. the US Supreme Court in Freedman v. Hence. it is not unreasonable to assume that the respondent Board. the test is still applied to four types of speech: speech that advocates dangerous ideas. Maryland was ready to hold that the teaching of cases is that. Finally. there is reason to apply the clear and present danger test to the case at bar which concerns speech that attacks other religions and could readily provoke hostile audience reaction. This thoughtful thesis is an attempt to transplant another American rule in our jurisdiction. Given the specific content of the speech. Day. speech that provokes a hostile audience reaction. It cannot be doubted that religious truths disturb and disturb terribly. Justice Brennan in his concurring opinion in the 1962 case of Manual Enterprise v. The contention overlooks the fact that the case at bar involves videotapes that are pre-taped and hence. Its seedbed was laid down by Mr. with its expertise. place or manner of speech. Be that as it may. its impact cannot be measured. because only a judicial determination in an adversary proceeding ensures the necessary sensitivity to freedom of expression. and the causal connection between the speech and the evil apprehended cannot be established. can determine whether its sulphur will bring about the substantive evil feared by the law. Justice Mendoza. Allegedly. their speech content is known and not an X quantity. commercial speech and defamation.

Payne [1904]. is extremely delicate in nature and can only be justified where the statute is unequivocably applicable to the supposed objectionable publication. On the other hand. we upheld this set-up in Sotto vs. viz. Coyne [1903]. 96 U. 63. [33] While the thesis has a lot to commend itself. 106. Persons possess no absolute right to put into the mail anything they please. This is the more true with reference to articles supposedly libelous than to other particulars of the law. we are not ready to hold that it is unconstitutional for Congress to grant an administrative body quasijudicial power to preview and classify TV programs and enforce its decision subject to review by our courts. As far back as 1921. Hitchcock [1912]. (Exparte Jackson [1878]. 246 Fed.. the action of the Director of Posts must be subject to revision by the courts in case he had abused his discretion or exceeded his authority. 194 U.S. (Bates & Guilid Co. the exclusion of newspaper and other publications from the mails.a judicial determination suffices to impose a valid final restraint. Every intendment of the law is in favor of the correctness of his action. Murray [1916]. Smith vs. announcing a somewhat different doctrine and relied upon by the Attorney-General). Post Publishing Co. 103 Fed. that the courts will not interfere with the decision of the Director of Posts unless clearly of opinion that it was wrong. vs. Co. Ruiz.. the performance of the duty of determining whether a publication contains printed matter of a libelous character rests with the Director of Posts and involves the exercise of his judgment and discretion. 194 U. 23Fed... The rule is (and we go only to those cases coming from the United States Supreme Court and pertaining to the United States Postmaster-General). Masses Pub. Patten[1917]. 773) [34] The use of the mails by private persons is in the nature of a privilege which can be regulated in order to avoid its abuse. vs. 727. since whether an article is or As has been said. 497.S.. the object should be not to interfere with the freedom of the press or with any other fundamental right of the people.. regardless of its character. 909. in the exercise of executive power.: is not libelous. is fundamentally a legal question. In excluding any publication for the mails.S. 24. Brown [1900].. In order for there to be due process of law. 226 U. vs. Public Clearing House vs. But see David vs.S. .

[35] IN VIEW WHEREOF. as one of the petitioners. as the repository of sovereignty. who argues that there is really no conflict between the right of the people to public information and the freedom of the press. live media coverage will only pave the way for so-called "expert commentary" which can trigger massive demonstrations aimed at pressuring the Sandiganbayan to render a decision one way or the other. legal scholars in the United States are still debating the proposition whether or not courts alone are competent to decide whether speech is constitutionally protected. and.: This is a motion for reconsideration of the decision denying petitioners' request for permission to televise and broadcast live the trial of former President Estrada before the Sandiganbayan. based on his experience with the impeachment trial. 115. Estrada contends that the right of the people to . the Decision of the respondent Court of Appeals dated March 24. The issue involves highly arguable policy considerations and can be better addressed by our legislators. No costs. SO ORDERED. the right of the accused to a fair trial. 1995 is affirmed insofar as it sustained the jurisdiction of the respondent MTRCB to review petitioners TV program entitled Ang Iglesia ni Cristo. former President Joseph E. that if there is a clash between these rights. Soj v sandiganbayan MENDOZA. Estrada reiterates his objection to the live TV and radio coverage of his trial on the ground that its allowance will violate the sub judice rule and that.To be sure. on the one hand. it must be resolved in favor of the right of the people and the press because the people. and is reversed and set aside insofar as it sustained the action of the respondent MTRCB xrating petitioners TV Program Series Nos. The motion was filed by the Secretary of Justice. J. and that live media coverage is a safeguard against attempts by any party to use the courts as instruments for the pursuit of selfish interests. On the other hand. on the other. and 121. are entitled to information. 119. Mr.

On the other hand. by delaying the release of the tapes for broadcast.will be allayed. as much as of those in favor of. §21 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. The accuracy of the transcripts of stenographic notes taken during the trial can be checked by reference to the tapes. The 1awphil. No comment shall be included in the documentary except annotations which may be necessary to explain certain scenes which are depicted.4 For the purpose of recording the proceedings. is the concern of those opposed to. there is the need to keep audio-visual records of the hearings for documentary purposes.net Above all. witnesses. after the Sandiganbayan shall have promulgated its decision in every case to which the recording pertains. the hearings are of historic significance. Only later will they be available for public showing. The possibility that judgment will be rendered by the popular tribunal before the court of justice can render its own will be avoided. the Estrada cases involve matters of vital concern to our people who have a fundamental right to know how their government is conducted. The trial shall be recorded in its entirety. There are several reasons for such televised recording. 1âwphi1.1 the Court denies the motion for reconsideration of the Secretary of Justice. and prejudicial than live TV and radio coverage. or decisions of the Sandiganbayan is sought or becomes necessary.2 has resolved to order the audio-visual recording of the trial. The Court has considered the arguments of the parties on this important issue and. First. The recordings will be useful in preserving the essence of the proceedings in a way that the cold print cannot quite do because it cannot capture the sights and sounds of events. At the same time. audio-visual recordings shall be made under the supervision and control of the Sandiganbayan or its Division as the case may be. audio-visual presentation is essential for the education and civic training of the people. the Court believes that there should be an audio-visual recording of the proceedings. sed sub Deo et Lege. by the vote of eight (8) Justices.information may be served through other means less distracting. The recordings will not be for live or real time broadcast but for documentary purposes. finds no reason to alter or in any way modify its decision prohibiting live or real time broadcast by radio or television of the trial of the former president." (Quod Rex non debet esse sub homine.) Second. it may be assumed. Third. rulings. They are an affirmation of our commitment to the rule that "the King is under no man. except such portions thereof as the Sandiganbayan may decide should not be held public pursuant to Rule 119. televised trials . They will be primarily for the use of appellate courts in the event a review of the proceedings. or even prevent. but he is under God and the law.nêt In lieu of live TV and radio coverage of the trial. lawphil. cameras will be inconspicuously installed in the courtroom and the movement of TV crews will be regulated. after due deliberation.net Considering the significance of the trial before the Sandiganbayan of former President Estrada and the importance of preserving the records thereof. This right can be enhanced by audio visual presentation. The possibility that parallel trials before the bar of justice and the bar of public opinion may jeopardize.will . The master film shall be deposited in the National Museum and the Records Management and Archives Office for historical preservation and exhibition pursuant to law.which. By a vote of nine (9) to six (6) of its members. What follows is the opinion of the majority. or judges -. the Court. concerns about the regularity and fairness of the trial -. court personnel. the just determination of the cases can be minimized. consistent with the dignity and solemnity of the proceedings. concerns that those taking part in the proceedings will be playing to the cameras and will thus be distracted from the proper performance of their roles -. degrading.whether as counsel.

in four installments. and with the safeguards of completeness and consent.7 Professor Freund's observation is as valid today as when it was made thirty years ago. with a verdict of acquittal. at least. for the familiar good reasons. while at the same time acknowledging the necessity of keeping audio-visual recordings of the proceedings of celebrated cases. is now a desperate need. for public information and exhibition. This Court held: "A limited intrusion into a person's privacy has long been regarded as permissible where that person is a public figure and the information sought to be elicited from him or to be published about him constitute matters of a public character. many important purposes for preserving the record of the trial can be served by audio-visual recordings without impairing the right of the accused to a fair trial."6 No one can prevent the making of a movie based on the trial. Thus. But.be addressed since the tapes will not be released for public showing until after the decision of the cases by the Sandiganbayan. an audio-visual recording of the trial of former President Estrada before the Sandiganbayan is hereby ordered to be made. several months after the case was concluded -concluded incidentally. especially when emotions are running high on the issues stirred by a case. the role of then Minister of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile in the 1986 EDSA people power. WHEREFORE. for the ways whereby law copes with uncertainties and ambiguities through presumptions and burden of proof. and the sense of gravity with which judge and jury carried out their responsibilities. . Understanding of our legal process. not for the broadcast of live news. Capulong. And yet the use of television at a trial for documentary purposes. It is perceptive for its recognition of the serious risks posed to the fair administration of justice by live TV and radio broadcasts. and broadcast the document in full. if a documentary record is made of the proceedings. An educational television network filmed a trial in Denver of a Black Panther leader on charges of resisting arrest. Ltd. As he explained: In fairness let me refer to an American experience many of my lay friends found similarly moving.5 this Court set aside a lower court's injunction restraining the filming of "Four Day Revolution. after passions have subsided. under the following conditions: (a) the trial shall be recorded in its entirety. V. Nor is the right of privacy of the accused a bar to the production of such documentary. the depiction of an actual trial is an agency of enlightenment that could have few equals in its impact on the public understanding. Properly safeguarded and with suitable commentary. Indeed. any movie that may later be produced can be checked for its accuracy against such documentary and any attempt to distort the truth can thus be averted. among other things." a documentary film depicting. so rarely provided by our educational system. for the account of the Sandiganbayan. much of the problem posed by real time TV and radio broadcast will be avoided. I agree in general with the exclusion of television from the courtroom. By delaying the release of the tapes. In Ayer Productions Pty. a somewhat similar proposal for documentary recording of celebrated cases or causes célèbres was made was made way back in 1971 by Paul Freund of the Harvard Law School. No one could witness the trial without a feeling of profound respect for the painstaking way in which the truth was searched for. is an educational experiment that I would be prepared to welcome.

the histolic peaceful struggle of the Filipinos at EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue). the for commercial viewing and for Philippine and international release. §21 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure. (e) to ensure that the conditions are observed. who had played major roles in the events proposed to be filmed. (c) the audio-visual recordings shall be made for documentary purposes only and shall be made without comment except such annotations of scenes depicted therein as may be necessary to explain them. Ramos and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. General Fidel Ramos also signified his approval of the intended film production. J. 1 envisioned. and his movie production company. sometime in 1987. Petitioners discussed this Project with local movie producer Lope V. (b) cameras shall be installed inconspicuously inside the courtroom and the movement of TV crews shall be regulated consistent with the dignity and solemnity of the proceedings. the original thereof shall be deposited in the National Museum and the Records Management and Archives Office for preservation and exhibition in accordance with law. the full text of which is set out below: . (Ayer Productions). and (f) simultaneously with the release of the audio-visual recordings for public broadcast. Juban who suggested th they consult with the appropriate government agencies and also with General Fidel V. Petitioner Ayer Productions pty Ltd.: Petitioner Hal McElroy an Australian film maker. The proposed motion picture entitled "The Four Day Revolution" was endorsed by the Movie Television Review and Classification Board as wel as the other government agencies consulted. the audio-visual recording of the proceedings shall be made under the supervision and control of the Sandiganbayan or its Division concerned and shall be made pursuant to rules promulgated by it. SO ORDERED. (d) the live broadcast of the recordings before the Sandiganbayan shall have rendered its decision in all the cases against the former President shall be prohibited under pain of contempt of court and other sanctions in case of violations of the prohibition. petitioner Hal McElroy informed private respondent Juan Ponce Enrile about the projected motion picture enclosing a synopsis of it. In a letter dated 16 December 1987. FELICIANO.excepting such portions thereof as the Sandiganbayan may determine should not be held public under Rule 119.

' Travelling North) and 11 feature films (The Year of Living Dangerously. Their dislike for General Ver. there appears to be no alternative to Marcos except the Communists. a middle-aged editor of a Manila newspaper who despises the Marcos regime and is a supporter an promoter of Cory Aquino. Ben has two daughters. she must choose between her love and the revolution.' she is quickly caught up in the events as it becomes dear that the time has come for a change. Cehea left wing lawyer who is a secret member of the New People's Army. screenwriter David Williamson and history Prof Al McCoy have chosen a "docu-drama" style and created [four] fictitious characters to trace the revolution from the death of Senator Aquino.R. Faced with the task of dramatising these rerkble events. who has worked on the research for this project for some 18 months. Together with Davi Wilhamgon they have developed a script we believe accurately depicts the complex issues and events that occurred during th period .The Four Day Revolution is a six hour mini-series about People Power—a unique event in modern history that-made possible the Peaceful revolution in the Philippines in 1986. The story incorporates actual documentary footage filmed during the period which we hope will capture the unique atmosphere and forces that combined to overthrow President Marcos. David Williamson is Australia's leading playwright with some 14 hugely successful plays to his credit(Don's Party. Although Tony is aware of the corruption and of Marcos' megalomania. now the home of crucially important military bases. their strong loyalty to Defense Minister Enrile.' Gallipoli. and ultimately their defection from Marcos. for him. Ultimately. to the Feb revolution and the fleeing of Marcos from the country. we follow the developing discontent in the armed forces. we show the complex nature of Filipino society. Next. Through Angle and her relationship with one of the Reform Army Movement Colonels (a fictitious character).' 'Phar Lap'). . Angie Fox a fiery Australian photo-journalist. girl. there's Tony O'Neil. Through the interviews and experiences of these central characters. politically moderate and very much in love with Tony. and Eva--a -P. The fourth fictitious character is Ben Balano. Tony reflects the average American attitude to the Phihppinence —once a colony. Professor McCoy (University of New South Wales) is an American historian with a deep understanding of the Philippines. These character stories have been woven through the real events to help our huge international audience understand this ordinary period inFilipino history. First. an American television journalist working for major network. A 'new girl in town.' 'The Club. and thintertwining series of events and characters that triggered these remarkable changes. we meet all of the principal characters and experience directly dramatic recreation of the revolution. Through them also.

On 21 December 1987. upon plaintiff's filing of a bond in the amount of P 2. reproduction and/or exhibition of his name. private respondent filed a Complaint with application for Temporary Restraining Order and Wilt of Pretion with the Regional Trial Court of Makati. On 9 March 1988. creating four (4) fictional characters interwoven with real events. airing.000. until further orders from this Court. no reference whatsoever (whether written. it is designed to be viewed in a six-hour mini-series television play. On 23 February 1988. appropriation. Hal McElroy flied a Motion to Dismiss with Opposition to the Petition for Preliminary Injunction contending that the mini-series fim would not involve the private life of Juan Ponce Enrile nor that of his family and that a preliminary injunction would amount to a prior restraint on their right of free expression.00. the trial court issued ex-parte a Temporary Restraining Order and set for hearing the application for preliminary injunction. 88-151 in Branch 134 thereof. or picture. much less to any matter purely personal to them. to answer for whatever damages defendants may suffer by reason of the injunction if the Court should finally decide that plaintiff was not entitled thereto. or that of any member of his family in any cinema or television production. xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied) . The complaint alleged that petitioners' production of the mini-series without private respondent's consent and over his objection. or is otherwise Identifiable with. the dispositive portion of which reads thus: WHEREFORE. and petitioners proceeded to film the projected motion picture. distribution or exhibition of said or similar film. the Australian Broadcast Corporation in Australia and Zenith Productions in the United Kingdom The proposed motion picture would be essentially a re-enact. and utilizing actual documentary footage as background. plaintiff in the production and any similar film or photoplay. including actors.000. constitutes an obvious violation of his right of privacy. verbal or visual) should not be made to [him] or any member of his family. It appears that petitioners acceded to this demand and the name of private respondent Enrile was deleted from the movie script. docketed as Civil Case No. On 24 February 1988. In an Order 2 dated 16 March 1988. actresses and members of the production staff and crew as well as all persons and entities acting on defendants' behalf. or bears rent substantial or marked resemblance or similarity to. private respondent Enrile replied that "[he] would not and will not approve of the use. presented in a "docu-drama" style.The six hour series is a McElroy and McElroy coproduction with Home Box Office in American. let a writ of preliminary injunction be issued. to cease and desist from producing and filming the mini-series entitled 'The Four Day Revolution" and from making any reference whatsoever to plaintiff or his family and from creating any fictitious character in lieu of plaintiff which nevertheless is based on. ment of the events that made possible the EDSA revolution. film or other medium for advertising or commercial exploitation" and further advised petitioners that 'in the production. ordering defendants. and all persons and entities employed or under contract with them. showing. seeking to enjoin petitioners from producing the movie "The Four Day Revolution". Petitioner Ayer Productions also filed its own Motion to Dismiss alleging lack of cause of action as the mini-series had not yet been completed. respondent court issued a writ of Preliminary Injunction against the petitioners.

the petitions were consolidated and private respondent was required to file a consolidated Answer. 501). If such a distinction were sustained. Nor as pointed out in Burstyn v. dated 22 March 1988. or on 23 March 1988. L-82398. explained: 1. There is no clear dividing line between what involves knowledge and what affords pleasure. petitioner Ayer Productions came to this Court by a Petition for certiorari dated 21 March 1988 with an urgent prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Restraining Order. Motion pictures are important both as a medium for the communication of Ideas and the expression of the artistic impulse. No. 4 This freedom is available in our country both to locally-owned and to foreign-owned motion picture companies. Their effect on the perception by our people of issues and public officials or public figures as well as the pre cultural traits is considerable. speaking for the Court. In our community as in many other countries. 3former Chief Justice Fernando. upon the other hand. No. is not a disqualification for availing of freedom of speech and of expression. motion pictures are a univesally utilized vehicle of communication and medium Of expression.. In our day and age. Along with the press.R. docketed as G. Furthermore the circumstance that the production of motion picture films is a commercial activity expected to yield monetary profit. Indeed. radio and television.. the Court granted a Temporary Restraining Order partially enjoining the implementation of the respondent Judge's Order of 16 March 1988 and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued therein. asserts a right of privacy and claims that the production and filming of the projected mini-series would constitute an unlawful intrusion into his privacy which he is entitled to enjoy. Private respondent. and allowing the petitioners to resume producing and filming those portions of the projected mini-series which do not make any reference to private respondent or his family or to any fictitious character based on or respondent. commercial media constitute the bulk of such facilities available in our country and hence to exclude commercially owned and operated media from the exerciseof constitutionally protected om of speech and of expression can . there is a diminution of the basic right to free expression. petitiioner Hal McElroy also filed separate Petition for certiorari with Urgent Prayer for a Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction. Private respondent seasonably filed his Consolidated Answer on 6 April 1988 invoking in the main a right of privacy. . Further. Katigbak. I The constitutional and legal issues raised by the present Petitions are sharply drawn.R. motion pictures constitute a principal medium of mass communication for information. education and entertainment. By a Resolution dated 24 March 1988. Wilson(343 US 495 [19421) is the Importance of motion pictures as an organ of public opinion lessened by the fact that they are designed to entertain as well as to inform' (Ibid. Petitioners' claim that in producing and "The Four Day Revolution. media facilities are owned either by the government or the private sector but the private sector-owned media facilities commonly require to be sustained by being devoted in whole or in pailt to revenue producing activities.On 22 March 1988. which petition was docketed as G. In Gonzales v. A day later. L-82380." they are exercising their freedom of speech and of expression protected under our Constitution. Considering first petitioners' claim to freedom of speech and of expression the Court would once more stress that this freedom includes the freedom to film and produce motion pictures and to exhibit such motion pictures in theaters or to diffuse them through television. in the same Resolution.

" that did not dispense with the need for prior consent and authority from the deceased heirs to portray publicly episodes in said deceased's life and in that of his mother and the member of his family. or for having an illegal cause or consideration. however. constitutional and statutory. 9 Lagunzad v. DCNY 97 F. through Justice Melencio-Herrera. is not an absolute right. A limited intrusion into a person's privacy has long been regarded as permissible where that person is a public figure and the information sought to be elicited from him or to be published about him constitute of apublic character. The right of privacy or "the right to be let alone. 'a privilege may be given the surviving relatives of a deperson to protect his memory.42 NE 31 LRA 286. It was demonstrated sometime ago by the then Dean Irene R. no matter how public a he or she may be (Garner v. The counter-balancing of private respondent is to a right of privacy. to protect their feelings and to preventa violation of their own rights in the character and memory of the deceased. In the case at bar. petitioner admits that he included a little romance in the film because without it. ([1895]. to deal with contraposed claims to freedom of speech and of expression and to privacy. The right to invade a person's privacy to disseminate public information does not extend to a fictional or novelized representation of a person. Being a public figure ipso facto does not automatically destroy in toto a person's right to privacy. 8 The interest sought to be protected by the right of privacy is the right to be free from unwarranted publicity. it would be a drab story of torture and brutality. As held in Schuyler v. a member of the Liberal Party then in power and his men were tried and convicted. Cortes that our law. Negros Occidental during the November 1951 elections and for whose murder. Vda. is neither well taken. but the privilege wts for the benefit of the living. 12 In Lagunzad. in the name of freedom of speech and expression. de Gonzales. the Court had need. Governor Rafael Lacson. Lagunzad the licensee in effect claimed. SU 549 [1951]).only result in the drastic contraction of such constitutional liberties in our country.49 Am St Rep 671). This agreement gave the licensee the right to produce a motion Picture Portraying the life of Moises Padilla. as we have in the instant case. a mayoralty candidate of the Nacionalista Party for the Municipality of Magallon. from the wrongful publicizing of the private affairs and activities of an individual which are outside the realm of legitimate public concern. the Court. 10 on which private respondent relies heavily.' Petitioners averment that private respondent did not have any property right over the life of Moises Padilla since the latter was a public figure. while it is true that petitioner bad pled the rights to the book entitled "The Moises Padilla Story." 6 like the right of free expression. recognized a right to privacy in a context which included a claim to freedom of speech and of expression. 7 Succinctly put. the right of privacy cannot be invoked resist publication and dissemination of matters of public interest.147 NY 434. Triangle Publications. a right to produce a motion picture biography at least partly "fictionalized" of Moises Padilla without the consent of and . Curtis.. Lagunzad involved a suit fortion picture producer as licensee and the widow and family of the late Moises Padilla as licensors. does include a right of privacy. Supp. 5 It is left to case law. while it is true that petitioner exerted efforts to present a true-to-life Story Of Moises Padilla. to mark out the precise scope and content of this right in differing types of particular situations. said: Neither do we agree with petitioner's subon that the Licensing Agreement is null and void for lack of. 11 In the judgment of the lower court enforcing the licensing agreement against the licensee who had produced the motion picture and exhibited it but refused to pay the stipulated royalties.

The respondent Judge should have stayed his hand. Another criterion for permissible limitation on freedom of speech and the press. There was. 14 The invalidity of a measure of prior restraint doesnot. Commission on Elections. the interests observable are the right to privacy asserted by respondent and the right of freedom of expression invoked by petitioner. Philippine Blooming Mills Co. Inc. In rejecting the licensee's claim." 13 Whether the "balancing of interests test" or the clear and present danger test" be applied in respect of the instant Petitions. the validity of such agreement will have to be upheld particularly because the limits of freedom of expression are reached when expression touches upon matters of essentially private concern. television and the movies. 858 [1960]: xxx xxx xxx The prevailing doctine is that the clear and present danger rule is such a limitation. taking into account the interplay of those interests. in the circumstances of this case. and considering the obligations assumed in the Licensing Agreement entered into by petitioner. instead of issuing an ex-parte Temporary Restraining Order one day after filing of a complaint by the private respondent and issuing a Preliminary Injunction twenty (20) days later. there was no prior restrain of any kind imposed upon the movie producer who in fact completed and exhibited the film biography of Moises Padilla. p.without paying pre-agreed royalties to the widow and family of Padilla. indeed. a weighty presumption of invalidity vitiates. Fernando on the Bill of Rights. The principle "requires a court to take conscious and detailed consideration of the interplay of interests observable in given situation or type of situation" (Separation Opinion of the late Chief Justice Castro in Gonzales v. 1970 ed. It is important to note that in Lagunzad. without limitations. the Court believes that a different conclusion must here be reached: The production and filming by petitioners of the projected motion picture "The Four Day Revolution" does not. p. we hold that under the particular circumstances presented. supra. of course. however. As held in Gonzales v. in that. is the "balancing of interest test" (Chief Justice Enrique M.The right freedom of expression. Because of the speech and of expression. neither do we find merit in petitioners contention that the Licensing Agreement infringes on the constitutional right of freedom of speech and of the press. In the case at bar. mean that no subsequent liability may lawfully be imposed upon a person claiming to exercise such constitutional freedoms. 51 SCRA 191 [1963])." 1. in other words. which includes such vehicles of the mass media as radio. It is not. It may be observed at the outset that what is involved in the instant case is a prior and direct restraint on the part of the respondent Judge upon the exercise of speech and of expression by petitioners. as a citizen and as a newspaperman. constitute an unlawful intrusion upon private respondent's "right of privacy. Neither private respondent nor the respondent trial Judge knew what the completed film would precisely look like.. he had the right to express his thoughts in film on the public life of Moises Padilla without prior restraint. The respondent Judge has restrained petitioners from filming and producing the entire proposed motion picture. 899). Commission on Elections. 27 SCRA 835. no "clear and present danger" of any violation of any right to privacy that private respondent could lawfully assert. for the projected motion picture was as yet uncompleted and hence not exhibited to any audience. . 79). the Court said: Lastly.. occupies a preferred position in the "hierarchy of civil liberties" (Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization v.

Three reasons were given. therefore. however. The privilege of giving publicity to news. anyone who has arrived at a position where public attention is focused upon him as a person. "The Four Day Revolution" is not principally about. that petitioners propose to film were taking place. The subject mater. The subject thus relates to a highly critical stage in the history of this countryand as such. if it is to be historical. in other words. 3. in short. such subject matter is one of public interest and concern. his affairs. be limited in character. has become a 'public personage. and the trian of events which led up to that denouement. famous inventors and explorers. fame. as set out in the synopsis provided by the petitioners and quoted above. or mode of living. a celebrity. to inform the public about those who have become legitimate matters of public interest. At all relevant times. to refer to the role played by Juan Ponce Enrile in the precipitating and the constituent events of the change of government in February 1986. it is.' He is. more or less fictionalized. It includes public officers. It includes. what we have here is not a film biography. must be regarded as having passed into the public domain and as an appropriate subject for speech and expression and coverage by any form of mass media. and no less a personage than the Grand Exalted Ruler of a lodge. an infant prodigy. it was held that there was no liability when they were given additional publicity. does not relate to the individual life and certainly not to the private life of private respondent Ponce Enrile. or by adopting a profession or calling which gives the public a legitimate interest in his doings. the man Juan Ponce Enrile' but it is compelled. The list is. that their personalities and their affairs has already public. The extent of that intrusion. broader than this. Indeed. as this Court understands the synopsis of the proposed film. 4. a pugilist. and could no longer be regarded as their own private business. The extent of the instrusion upon the life of private respondent Juan Ponce Enrile that would be entailed by the production and exhibition of "The Four Day Revolution" would. under the Constitution. The subject matter of "The Four Day Revolution" relates to the non-bloody change of government that took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in February 1986. Private respondent does not claim that petitioners threatened to depict in "The Four Day Revolution" any part of the private life of private respondent or that of any member of his family. Obviously to be included in this category are those who have achieved some degree of reputation by appearing before the public. and sometimes all. private respondent was what Profs. war heroes and even ordinary soldiers. and so could not complaint when they received it. as in the case of an actor. of private respondent Ponce Enrile. clearly of public concern. a professional baseball player. was held to arise out of . more or less indiscrimately. and other matters of public interest. which concerned the life story of Moises Padilla necessarily including at least his immediate family.2. may be generally described as such intrusion as is reasonably necessary to keep that film a truthful historical account. Unlike in Lagunzad. On one or another of these grounds. Such public figures were held to have lost. to some extent at least. as to matters legitimately within the scope of the public interest they had aroused. of international interest. or any other entertainment. nor is it focused upon. their tight to privacy. and his character. Clearly. Prosser and Keeton have referred to as a "public figure:" A public figure has been defined as a person who. during which the momentous events. by his accomplishments. in the decisions" that they had sought publicity and consented to it. and that the press had a privilege. petitioners' argue.

however. pictures. be no presentation of the private life of the unwilling private respondent and certainly no revelation of intimate or embarrassing personal facts. was issued by Judge Teofilo Guadiz of the Regional . II In a Manifestation dated 30 March 1988. petitioner Hal McElroy informed this Court that a Temporary Restraining Order dated 25 March 1988. further. he continues to be a "public figure. radio and television. limited. the birth of a child to a twelve year old girl. Justice Melencio-Herrera in Lagunzad referred to as "matters of essentially private concern. and undoubtedly many other similar matters of genuine. Such portrayal may be carried out even without a license from private respondent. and the freedom of the press and other agencies of information to tell it. a film reenactment of the peaceful revolution that fails to make reference to the role played by private respondent would be grossly unhistorical. in other words. Because his participation therein was major in character. of his participation as a principal actor in the culminating events of the change of government in February 1986. or even entertainment and amusement. a death from the use of narcotics. It includes homicide and othe crimes. "News" includes all events and items of information which are out of the ordinary humdrum routine. as well as the reproduction of the public scene in newsreels and travelogues. has succeeded in making its own definination of news. 16 There must. and they were understandably liberal in allowing the benefit of the doubt. articles. There must. to the dissemination of news in the scene of current events. with its experience or instinct as to what its readers will want. suicides. he sits in a very public place. be no knowing or reckless disregard of truth in depicting the participation of private respondent in the EDSA Revolution.' To a very great extent the press. popular appeal. marriages and divorces. the reappearance of one supposed to have been murdered years ago. 5. the intrusion into private respondent's privacy cannot be regarded as unreasonable and actionable. The privilege of enlightening the public was not. 15 Private respondent is a "public figure" precisely because. In determining where to draw the line. if more or less deplorable. a woman with a rare disease. may be marked out in terms of a requirement that the proposed motion picture must be fairly truthful and historical in its presentation of events." After a successful political campaign during which his participation in the EDSA Revolution was directly or indirectly referred to in the press. films and broadcasts concerning interesting phases of human activity in general." 18 To the extent that "The Four Day Revolution" limits itself in portraying the participation of private respondent in the EDSA Revolution to those events which are directly and reasonably related to the public facts of the EDSA Revolution. and which have 'that indefinable quality of information which arouses public attention.the desire and the right of the public to know what is going on in the world. arrests and police raides. the courts were invited to exercise a species of censorship over what the public may be permitted to read. accidents. The right of privacy of a "public figure" is necessarily narrower than that of an ordinary citizen. as a glance at any morning newspaper will sufficiently indicate. Private respondent has not retired into the seclusion of simple private citizenship. inter alia. It extended also to information or education. 17 The proposed motion picture should not enter into what Mme. by books. The line of equilibrium in the specific context of the instant case between the constitutional freedom of speech and of expression and the right of privacy. the Senate of the Philippines.

cut out straight grom the complaint of private respondent Ponce Enrile in Civil Case No. must be deemed to have forfeited any right the might have had to protect his privacy through court processes. reiterating that the complaint of Gregorio B. hereby REQUIRES Judge Teofilo Guadiz of the Regional Trial Court of Makati. however. Lope Juban and PMP Motion for Pictures Production" enjoining him and his production company from further filimg any scene of the projected miniseries film. in a separate Manifestation dated 4 April 1988. deliberately engaged in "forum shopping. Petitioner Ayer Productions. with whom counsel for Gregorio Honasan are apparently associated. 88-151. . brought to the attention of the Court the same information given by petitoner Hal McElroy. 88-413." It is. it is not necessary for the Court to deal with the question of whether or not the lawyers of private respondent Ponce Enrile have engaged in "forum shopping. The limited Temporary Restraining Order granted by this Court on 24 March 1988 is hereby MODIFIED by enjoining unqualifiedly the implementation of respondent Judge's Order of 16 March 1988 and made PERMANENT. For reasons that by now have become clear. the cited cases on "forum shopping" were not in point because the parties here and those in Civil Case No. WHEREFORE. Ltd. and b) Treating the Manifestations of petitioners dated 30 March 1988 and 4 April 1988 as separate Petitions for Certiorari with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Restraining Order. Branch 147. 88-413 and accordingly to SET ASIDE and DISSOLVE his Temporary Restraining Order dated 25 March 1988 and any Preliminary Injunction that may have been issued by him. 88-413 are not identical. the Court. Honasan vs. counsel for private respondent. important to dispose to the complaint filed by former Colonel Honasan who. Petitioner alleged that Honasan's complaint was a "scissors and paste" pleading. No pronouncement as to costs. in Civil Case No. 88-151. Ayer Productions Pty. having refused to subject himself to the legal processes of the Republic and having become once again in fugitive from justice. Hal McElroy. that private respondent's cause of action for invasion of privacy is separate and distinct from that of Honasan's although they arose from the same tortious act of petitioners' that the rule on permissive joinder of parties is not mandatory and that. Honasan was substantially identical to that filed by private respondent herein and stating that in refusing to join Honasan in Civil Case No. SO ORDERED." Private respondent filed a Counter-Manifestation on 13 April 1988 stating that the "slight similarity" between private respondent's complaint and that on Honasan in the construction of their legal basis of the right to privacy as a component of the cause of action is understandable considering that court pleadings are public records.Trial Court of Makati. in the exercise of its plenary and supervisory jurisdiction. forthwith to DISMISS Civil Case No. a) the Petitions for Certiorari are GRANTED DUE COURSE. Branch 147. entitled "Gregorio B.. and the Order dated 16 March 1988 of respondent trial court granting a Writ of Preliminary Injunction is hereby SET ASIDE. McElroy Film Productions.

Question Was the law an unconstitutional infringement of O'Brien's freedom of speech? Conclusion No." that a government regulation is sufficiently justified if it is within the ." destruction or mutilation of drafts card a crime. if the Facts of the case: David O'Brien burned his draft card governmental interest is unrelated to the suppression of free at a Boston courthouse. He said he was expression. "[W]e think it clear. established a test to determine whether governmental regulation involving symbolic speech was justified." wrote Warren. speaking through Chief Justice Earl Warren. The formula examines whether the regulation is unrelated to content and narrowly tailored to achieve the government's interest. The 7-to-1 majority. if it furthers an important or substantial governmental interest. and if the incidential restriction on alleged First expressing his opposition to war. He was Amendment freedoms is not greater than is essential to the convicted under a federal law that made the furtherance of that interest.constitutional power of the Government.