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Grosjean v. American Press Co., Inc., 297 U.S.

233, February 10,



The case of Grosjean v. American Press Co., Inc., 297 U.S. 233, February 10,
1936, involved a Louisiana law that imposed on publishing companies a license tax of 2% of the
gross receipts for the privilege of engaging in advertising in newspapers, magazines or periodicals if
their circulation is more than 20,000 copies per week. Nine Louisiana-based publishers of
newspapers, with circulations of more than 20,000 copies per week each, filed a suit to enjoin the
enforcement against them of the said provision. They assailed the validity of the act on the
ground, inter alia, that it abridges the freedom of the press in contravention of the due process
clause contained in the FourteenthAmendment of the U.S. Constitution.


Did the assailed Louisiana law abridge the freedom of the press in contravention of the due
process clause contained in the Fourteenth Amendment?


[The Court voted unanimously to AFFIRM the decree of the District Court for the Eastern
District of Louisiana permanently enjoining the enforcement of the Louisiana state tax on

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held that the act imposing the tax in question is
unconstitutional under the due process of law clause because it abridges the freedom of the press,

The tax imposed is designated a license tax for the privilege of engaging in such business --
that is to say, the business of selling, or making any charge for, advertising. As applied to appellees, it is a
tax of two percent on the gross receipts derived from advertisements carried in their newspapers when,
and only when, the newspapers of each enjoy a circulation of more than 20,000 copies per week. It thus
operates as a restraint in a double sense. First, its effect is to curtail the amount of revenue realized from
advertising, and, second, its direct tendency is to restrict circulation. This is plain enough when we
consider that, if it were increased to a high degree, as it could be if valid, it well might result in destroying
both advertising and circulation. (Citation omitted.)

xxx xxx xxx

xxx. The tax here involved is bad not because it takes money from the pockets of the appellees. If
that were all, a wholly different question would be presented. It is bad because, in the light of its history
and of its present setting, it is seen to be a deliberate and calculated device in the guise of a tax to limit
the circulation of information to which the public is entitled in virtue of the constitutional guaranties. A free
press stands as one of the great interpreters between the government and the people. To allow it to be
fettered is to fetter ourselves.
On 2 Sept 1976, Marcos issued PD No. 991 calling for a national referendum on 16 Oct
1976 for the Citizens Assemblies (barangays) to resolve, among other things, the issues of
martial law, the interim assembly, its replacement, the powers of such replacement, the
period of its existence, the length of the period for the exercise by the President of his
present powers. Twenty days after, the President issued another related decree, PD No.
1031, amending the previous PD No. 991, by declaring the provisions of PD No. 229
providing for the manner of voting and canvass of votes in barangays applicable to the
national referendum-plebiscite of Oct 16, 1976. Quite relevantly, PD No. 1031 repealed inter
alia, Sec 4, of PD No. 991. On the same date of 22 Sept 1976, Marcos issued PD No. 1033,
stating the questions to he submitted to the people in the referendum-plebiscite on October
16, 1976. The Decree recites in its whereas clauses that the peoples continued opposition
to the convening of the interim National Assembly evinces their desire to have such body
abolished and replaced thru a constitutional amendment, providing for a new interim
legislative body, which will be submitted directly to the people in the referendum-plebiscite
of October 16.

On September 27, 1976, Sanidad filed a Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction seeking to
enjoin the Commission on Elections from holding and conducting the Referendum Plebiscite
on October 16; to declare without force and effect Presidential Decree Nos. 991 and 1033,
insofar as they propose amendments to the Constitution, as well as Presidential Decree No.
1031, insofar as it directs the Commission on Elections to supervise, control, hold, and
conduct the Referendum-Plebiscite scheduled on October 16, 1976.Petitioners contend that
under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions there is no grant to the incumbent President to
exercise the constituent power to propose amendments to the new Constitution. As a
consequence, the Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16 has no constitutional or legal
basis. The Soc-Gen contended that the question is political in nature hence the court cannot
take cognizance of it.

ISSUE: Whether or not Marcos can validly propose amendments to the Constitution.

HELD: Yes. The amending process both as to proposal and ratification raises a judicial
question. This is especially true in cases where the power of the Presidency to initiate the
amending process by proposals of amendments, a function normally exercised by the
legislature, is seriously doubted. Under the terms of the 1973 Constitution, the power to
propose amendments to the Constitution resides in the interim National Assembly during
the period of transition (Sec. 15, Transitory Provisions). After that period, and the regular
National Assembly in its active session, the power to propose amendments becomes ipso
facto the prerogative of the regular National Assembly (Sec. 1, pars. 1 and 2 of Art. XVI,
1973 Constitution). The normal course has not been followed. Rather than calling the
interim National Assembly to constitute itself into a constituent assembly, the incumbent
President undertook the proposal of amendments and submitted the proposed amendments
thru Presidential Decree 1033 to the people in a Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16.
Unavoidably, the regularity of the procedure for amendments, written in lambent words in
the very Constitution sought to be amended, raises a contestable issue. The implementing
Presidential Decree Nos. 991, 1031, and 1033, which commonly purport to have the force
and effect of legislation are assailed as invalid, thus the issue of the validity of said Decrees
is plainly a justiciable one, within the competence of this Court to pass upon. Section 2 (2)
Article X of the new Constitution provides: All cases involving the constitutionality of a
treaty, executive agreement, or law shall be heard and decided by the Supreme Court en
banc and no treaty, executive agreement, or law may be declared unconstitutional without
the concurrence of at least ten Members. . . .. The Supreme Court has the last word in the
construction not only of treaties and statutes, but also of the Constitution itself. The
amending, like all other powers organized in the Constitution, is in form a delegated and
hence a limited power, so that the Supreme Court is vested with that authority to determine
whether that power has been discharged within its limits.

This petition is however dismissed. The President can propose amendments to the
Constitution and he was able to present those proposals to the people in sufficient time. The
President at that time also sits as the legislature.

G.R. No. L-32717 November 26, 1970 AMELITO R. MUTUC vs. COMELEC

FACTS: Petitioner Mutuc was a candidate for delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He
filed a special civil action against the respondent COMELEC when the latter informed him
through a telegram that his certificate of candidacy was given due course but he was
prohibited from using jingles in his mobile units equipped with sound systems and loud
speakers. The petitioner accorded the order to be violative of his constitutional right to
freedom of speech. COMELEC justified its prohibition on the premise that the Constitutional
Convention act provided that it is unlawful for the candidates to purchase, produce, request
or distribute sample ballots, or electoral propaganda gadgets such as pens, lighters, fans (of
whatever nature), flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets, bandanas, shirts, hats,
matches, cigarettes, and the like, whether of domestic or foreign origin. COMELEC
contended that the jingle or the recorded or taped voice of the singer used by petitioner was
a tangible propaganda material and was, under the above statute, subject to confiscation.

ISSUE: Whether or not the usage of the jingle by the petitioner form part of the prohibition
invoked by the COMELEC.

HELD: The Court held that the general words following any enumeration being applicable
only to things of the same kind or class as those specifically referred to. The COMELECs
contention that a candidates jingle form part of the prohibition, categorized under the
phrase and the like, could not merit the courts approval by principle of Ejusdem Generis.
It is quite apparent that what was contemplated in the Act was the distribution of gadgets of
the kind referred to as a means of inducement to obtain a favorable vote for the candidate
responsible for its distribution. Furthermore, the COMELEC failed to observe construction of
the statute which should be in consonance to the express terms of the constitution. The
intent of the COMELEC for the prohibition may be laudable but it should not be sought at
the cost of the candidates constitutional rights.
Facts: An action was instituted by the petitioner for the refusal of the respondent to issue a
permit to them to hold a public meeting in Plaza Miranda for redress of grievances to the
government. The reason alleged by the respondent in his defense for refusing the permit is,
"that there is a reasonable ground to believe, basing upon previous utterances and upon
the fact that passions, specially on the part of the losing groups, remains bitter and high,
that similar speeches will be delivered tending to undermine the faith and confidence of the
people in their government, and in the duly constituted authorities, which might threaten
breaches of the peace and a disruption of public order." Giving emphasis as well to the
delegated police power to local government. Stating as well Revised Ordinances of 1927
prohibiting as an offense against public peace, and penalizes as a misdemeanor, "any act,
in any public place, meeting, or procession, tending to disturb the peace or excite a riot; or
collect with other persons in a body or crowd for any unlawful purpose; or disturb or disquiet
any congregation engaged in any lawful assembly." Included herein is Sec. 1119, Free use
of Public Place.

Issue: Whether or Not the freedom of speech was violated.

Held: Yes. Dealing with the ordinance, specifically, Sec. 1119, said section provides for two
constructions: (1) the Mayor of the City of Manila is vested with unregulated discretion to
grant or refuse, to grant permit for the holding of a lawful assembly or meeting, parade, or
procession in the streets and other public places of the City of Manila; (2) The right of the
Mayor is subject to reasonable discretion to determine or specify the streets or public places
to be used with the view to prevent confusion by overlapping, to secure convenient use of
the streets and public places by others, and to provide adequate and proper policing to
minimize the risk of disorder. The court favored the second construction. First construction
tantamount to authorizing the Mayor to prohibit the use of the streets. Under our democratic
system of government no such unlimited power may be validly granted to any officer of the
government, except perhaps in cases of national emergency. The Mayors first defense is
untenable. Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and
assembly. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. To
justify suppression of free speech there must be reasonable ground to fear that serious evil
will result if free speech is practiced. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the
danger apprehended is imminent. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the evil
to be prevented is a serious one. The fact that speech is likely to result in some violence or
in destruction of property is not enough to justify its suppression. There must be the
probability of serious injury to the state.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 Gonzales v Katigbak G.R. No. L-69500 July 22, 1985 CJ Fernando
Facts: Antonio Gonzales, president of Malaya Films, claimed that his film Kapit sa Patalim,
was rated for adults only by a subcommittee of the movie review board together with the
required cuts and scene deletions. He justified that these requirements were without basis
and were restrains on artistic expression. He adduced that the film is an integral whole and
all its portions, including those to which the Board now offers belated objection, are
essential for the integrity of the film. Viewed as a whole, there is no basis even for the
vague speculations advanced by the Board as basis for its classification. He appealed to
the movie review board but the same affirmed the decion of the sub committee. When
Gonzales appealed to the supreme court, the board claimed that the deletions were
removed and the requirement to submit the master negative was taken out but the film was
still rated for adults only. The petition was amended to contest the rating only. Issue: Was
the rating made with grave avuse of discretion (Note I put in those regarding obscenity for
future purposes) Held: No. Petition dismissed. There was no grave abuse of discretion DUE
TO LACK OF VOTES Ratio: Motion pictures are important both as a medium for the
communication of Ideas and the expression of the artistic impulse Burstyn-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 (No clear dividing line between what affords knowledge and
that of pleasure or else there will be a diminution to a right to self-expression) Bagatsing-
Press freedom may be identified with the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully any matter
of public concern without censorship or punishment. This is not to say that such freedom, as
is the freedom of speech, absolute. It can be limited if "there be a 'clear and present danger
of a substantive evil that [the State] has a right to prevent. Censorship doesnt full cover
free speech or there might bean emasculation of basic rights. However, there must be in
exceptional circumstances a sine qua non for the meaningful exercise of such right without
denying the freedom from liability. Freedom from censorship is a settled principle in our
jurisdiction. Mutuc- board of review is limited to classification of films to safeguard other
constitutional objections, hence the GP, PG, or R-18 ratings. That is to abide by the principle
that freedom of expression is the rule and restrictions the exemption. The power to exercise
prior restraint is not to be presumed, rather the presumption is against its validity The test,
to repeat, to determine whether freedom of expression may be limited is the clear and
present danger of an evil of a substantive character that the State has a right to prevent.
Such danger must not only be clear but also present. There should be no doubt that what is
feared may be traced to the expression complained of. The causal connection must be
evident. Also, there must be reasonable apprehension about its imminence. The time
element cannot be ignored. Nor does it suffice if such danger be only probable. Where
movies are concerned, censorship, especially so if an entire production is banned, is
allowable only under the clearest proof of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil to
public public morals, public health or any other legitimate public interest. Roth- "All Ideas
having even the slightest redeeming social importance unorthodox Ideas, controversial
Ideas, even Ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion have the full protection of
the guaranties, unless excludable because they encroach upon the limited area of the First
Amendment is the rejection of obscenity as utterly without redeeming social importance.
Given obscenity as the nemesis of censorship, there is difficulty in determining what is
obsecene. Roth- The early leading standard of obscenity allowed material to be judged
merely by the effect of an isolated excerpt upon particularly susceptible persons The test
was whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the
dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest. Some material
can legitimately deal with sex and its effects on susceptible persons. Such a censorship can
be considered violative of the constitution. On the other hand, the substituted standard
provides safeguards adequate to withstand the charge of constitutional infirmity. Roth- Sex
and obscenity are not synonymous. Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a
manner appealing to prurient interest. The portrayal of sex, e.g., in art, literature and
scientific works, is not itself sufficient reason to deny material the constitutional protection of
freedom of speech and press. Sex, a great and mysterious motive force in human life has
indisputably been a subject of absorbing interest to mankind through the ages; it is one of
the vital problems of human interest and public concern. In the Philippine context, E.O. 876
applied contemporary Filipino cultural values as a standard. Moreover, as far as the
question of sex and obscenity are concerned, it cannot be stressed strongly that the arts
and letters "shall be under the patronage of the State. Given this constitutional mandate, It
will be less than true to its function if any government office or agency would invade the
sphere of autonomy that an artist enjoys. There is no orthodoxy in what passes for beauty
or for reality. It is for the artist to determine what for him is a true representation. It is not to
be forgotten that art and belleslettres deal primarily with imagination, not so much with ideas
in a strict sense. What is seen or perceived by an artist is entitled to respect, unless there is
a showing that the product of his talent rightfully may be considered obscene. On the
question of obscenity, therefore, such standard set forth in Executive Order No. 878 is to be
construed in such a fashion to avoid any taint of unconstitutionality. To repeat, what was
stated in a recent decision in Trinidad- an elementary, a fundamental, and a universal role of
construction, applied when considering constitutional questions, that when a law is
susceptible of two constructions' one of which will maintain and the other destroy it, the
courts will always adopt the former. There can be no valid objection to the controlling
standard. There was really a grave abuse of discretion when the Board and its perception of
what obscenity is is very restrictive. But, sadly, THERE WERE NOT ENOUGH VOTES TO
was in the fact that some scenes were not for young people. They might misunderstand the
scenes. The respondents offered to make it GP if the petitioners would remove the lesbian
and sex scenes. But they refused. The ruling is to be limited to the concept of obscenity
applicable to motion pictures. It is the consensus of this Court that where television is
concerned: a less liberal approach calls for observance. This is so because unlike motion
pictures where the patrons have to pay their way, television reaches every home where
there is a set. It is hardly the concern of the law to deal with the sexual fantasies of the adult
population. It cannot be denied though that the State as parens patriae is called upon to
manifest an attitude of caring for the welfare of the young.


ACTS: COMELEC issued a Resolution approving the issuance of a restraining order to stop
ABS CBN or any other groups, its agents or representatives from conducting exit surveys.
The Resolution was issued by the Comelec allegedly upon "information from a reliable
source that ABS-CBN (Lopez Group) has prepared a project, with PR groups, to conduct
radio-TV coverage of the elections and to make an exit survey of the vote during the
elections for national officials particularly for President and Vice President, results of which
shall be broadcasted immediately. The electoral body believed that such project might
conflict with the official Comelec count, as well as the unofficial quick count of the National
Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel). It also noted that it had not authorized or deputized
ABS-CBN to undertake the exit survey. Two days before the elections on May 11, 1998, the
Court issued the Temporary Restraining Order prayed for by petitioner ABS-CBN. The
Comelec was directed to cease and desist, until further orders, from implementing the
assailed Resolution or the restraining order issued pursuant thereto, if any. In fact, the exit
polls were actually conducted and reported by media without any difficulty or problem.
ISSUE: W/N the Comelec, in the exercise of its powers, can absolutely ban exit polls ABS-
CBN: The holding of exit polls and the nationwide reporting of their results are valid
exercises of the freedoms of speech and of the press COMELEC: 1)The issuance thereof
was "pursuant to its constitutional and statutory powers to promote a clean, honest, orderly
and credible May 11, 1998 elections"; and "to protect, preserve and maintain the secrecy
and sanctity of the ballot." 2)It contends that "the conduct of exit surveys might unduly
confuse and influence the voters," and that the surveys were designed "to condition the
minds of people and cause confusion as to who are the winners and the losers in the
election," which in turn may result in "violence and anarchy." 3)"exit surveys indirectly
violate the constitutional principle to preserve the sanctity of the ballots," as the "voters are
lured to reveal the contents of ballots," in violation of Section 2, Article V of the Constitution
and relevant provisions of the Omnibus Election Code. It submits that the constitutionally
protected freedoms invoked by petitioner "are not immune to regulation by the State in the
legitimate exercise of its police power," such as in the present case. 4) "[p]ress freedom
may be curtailed if the exercise thereof creates a clear and present danger to the
community or it has a dangerous tendency." It then contends that "an exit poll has the
tendency to sow confusion considering the randomness of selecting interviewees, which
further make[s] the exit poll highly unreliable. The probability that the results of such exit poll
may not be in harmony with the official count made by the Comelec x x x is ever present. In
other words, the exit poll has a clear and present danger of destroying the credibility and
integrity of the electoral process." SUPREME COURT: The COMELEC Resolution on exit
polls ban is nullified and set aside. 1) Clear and present danger of destroying the integrity of
electoral processes Speculative and Untenable. First, by the very nature of a survey, the
interviewees or participants are selected at random, so that the results will as much as
possible be representative or reflective of the general sentiment or view of the community or
group polled. Second, the survey result is not meant to replace or be at par with the official
Comelec count. It consists merely of the opinion of the polling group as to who the
electorate in general has probably voted for, based on the limited data gathered from polled
individuals. Finally, not at stake here are the credibility and the integrity of the elections,
which are exercises that are separate and independent from the exit polls. The holding and
the reporting of the results of exit polls cannot undermine those of the elections, since the
former is only part of the latter. If at all, the outcome of one can only be indicative of the
other. 2) Overbroad The Comelec's concern with the possible noncommunicative effect of
exit polls -- disorder and confusion in the voting centers -- does not justify a total ban on
them. Undoubtedly, the assailed Comelec Resolution is too broad, since its application is
without qualification as to whether the polling is disruptive or not.[44] Concededly, the
Omnibus Election Code prohibits disruptive behavior around the voting centers.[45] There is
no showing, however, that exit polls or the means to interview voters cause chaos in voting
centers. Neither has any evidence been presented proving that the presence of exit poll
reporters near an election precinct tends to create disorder or confuse the voters. Moreover,
the prohibition incidentally prevents the collection of exit poll data and their use for any
purpose. The valuable information and ideas that could be derived from them, based on the
voters' answers to the survey questions will forever remain unknown and unexplored.
Unless the ban is restrained, candidates, researchers, social scientists and the electorate in
general would be deprived of studies on the impact of current events and of election-day
and other factors on voters' choices. 3) Violation of Ban Secrecy The contention of public
respondent that exit polls indirectly transgress the sanctity and the secrecy of the ballot is
off-tangent to the real issue. Petitioner does not seek access to the ballots cast by the
voters. The ballot system of voting is not at issue here. The reason behind the principle of
ballot secrecy is to avoid vote buying through voter identification. Thus, voters are
prohibited from exhibiting the contents of their official ballots to other persons, from making
copies thereof, or from putting distinguishing marks thereon so as to be identified. Also
proscribed is finding out the contents of the ballots cast by particular voters or disclosing
those of disabled or illiterate voters who have been assisted. Clearly, what is forbidden is
the association of voters with their respective votes, for the purpose of assuring that the
votes have been cast in accordance with the instructions of a third party. This result cannot,
however, be achieved merely through the voters' verbal and confidential disclosure to a
pollster of whom they have voted for. In exit polls, the contents of the official ballot are not
actually exposed. Furthermore, the revelation of whom an elector has voted for is not
compulsory, but voluntary. Voters may also choose not to reveal their identities. Indeed,
narrowly tailored countermeasures may be prescribed by the Comelec, so as to minimize or
suppress incidental problems in the conduct of exit polls, without transgressing the
fundamental rights of our people

SWS vs Comelec Facts: Petitioner SWS and KPC states that it wishes to conduct an
election survey throughout the period of the elections and release to the media the results
of such survey as well as publish them directly. Petitioners argue that the restriction on the
publication of election survey results constitutes a prior restraint on the exercise of freedom
of speech without any clear and present danger to justify such restraint. Issue: Are the
Comelec Resolutions prohibiting the holding of pre-polls and exit polls and the
dissemination of their results through mass media, valid and constitutional? Ruling: No. The
Court held that Section (5)4 is invalid because (1) it imposes a prior restraint on the freedom
of expression, (2) it is a direct and total suppression of a category of expression even
though such suppression is only for a limited period, and (3) the governmental interest
sought to be promoted can be achieved by means other than suppression of freedom of
expression. It has been held that "[mere] legislative preferences or beliefs respecting
matters of public convenience may well support regulation directed at other personal
activities, but be insufficient to justify such as diminishes the exercise of rights so vital to the
maintenance of democratic institutions. Pharma vs. Duque Facts: Before the Court is a
petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking to nullify A.O No. 2006-
0012 otherwise known as the "Milk Code," RIRR. Petitioner posits that the RIRR is not valid
as it contains provisions that are not constitutional and go beyond the law it is supposed to
implement. Issue: Is the absolute ban on advertisements of breast milk substitutes violative
of freedom of speech? Ruling: No. It does not violate freedom of speech because there is
no absolute ban. The Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) will evaluate some advertising and
promotional materials subject to the standards provided for by the Milk Code. The IAC can
allow if the advertising and promotions will not undermine breast milk and breastfeeding. It
is recognized that the IAC has that power to evaluate promotional materials. Jalandoni vs
Drilon Facts: Private respondent Ledesma filed an administrative complaint for violation of
the RPC and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against the petitioner with the PCGG.
Exactly a year thereafter, petitioner Jalandoni filed a complaint for the crime of libel against
officials/directors of OPMC. Herein is a petition for certiorari seeking to nullify and set aside
the orders of the Honorable Secretary of Justice withdrawing the information in I.S. Nos. 93-
6228 and 93-6422 and denying the motion for reconsideration filed by herein petitioner
Jalandoni. Issue: Can malice be presumed from defamatory words? Who has the burden of
proving malice? Ruling: No. Under Article 361 of the Revised Penal Code, in libel cases
against public officials, for liability to arise, the alleged defamatory statement must relate to
official conduct, even if the defamatory statement is false, unless the public official
concerned proves that the statement was made with actual malice, that is, with knowledge
that it was false or not. The subject of the defamatory statement has the burden of proving
malice on the part of the author of such statement. The same was not written to cast
aspersion on the good name of the petitioner. The paid advertisement merely served as a
vehicle to inform the stockholders of the going-ons in the business world and only exposed
the irregularities surrounding the PCGG and RCBC deal and the parties involved.

SCRA 28 [November 25, 2004]

Freedom of Expression; the public has the right to be informed on the mental, moral and
physical fitness of candidates for public office.


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

Of all the candidates for Mayor of Baguio City), Labo has the most imponderables about him.
People would ask: can he read and write? Why is he always talking about his Japanese father-in-
law? Is he really a Japanes Senator or a barrio Kapitan? Is it true that he will send P18M aid to
Baguio? Somebody wanted to put an advertisement of Labo in the Midland Courier but was refused
because he has not yet paid his account of the last time he was a candidate for Congress. We will
accept all advertisements for him if he pays his old account first.

2. In the same column, Cecille Afable wrote the following comments in her January 10,
1988 column at the Courier:

I heard that the Dumpty in the Egg is campaigning for Cortes. Not fair. Some real doctors are
also busy campaigning against Labo because he has not also paid their medical services with them.
Since he is donating millions he should also settle his small debts like the reportedly insignificant
amount of P27,000 only. If he wins, several teachers were signifying to resign and leave Baguio
forever, and Pangasinan will be the franca-liqua of Baguio.

3. As a result of the above articles, Ramon Labor, Jr. filed a complaint for Damages before
the regional trial Court of Baguio City as he claimed said articles were libelous. He likewise filed a
separate criminal complaint before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Baguio but was dismissed;

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

The petitioners, however, were able to prove that Labo has an unpaid obligation to the Courier in
the amount of P27,415.00 for the ads placed by his campaigners for the 1984 Batasang Pambansa

The Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Baguio City, in its Decision dated June 14, 1990 dismissed
Labos complaint for damages on the ground that the article of petitioner Afable was privileged
and constituted fair comment on matters of public interest as it dealt with the integrity,
reputation and honesty of private respondent Labo who was a candidate for Mayor of Baguio City;

On January 7, 1992, the Court of Appeals reversed the RTC Decision and ordered the petitioners to
pay Ramon Labo, Jr. damages in the total amount of P350,000.00 after concluding that the
Dumpty in the Egg refers to no one but Labo himself.

Hence, the Petition to the Supreme Court.


1. Was Labo the Dumpty in the Egg described in the questioned article/

2. Were the articles subject of the case libelous or privileged/


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

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

it is of the utmost consequence that the people should discuss the character and qualifications
of candidates for their suffrages. The importance to the State and to society of such discussions is
so vast, and the advantages derived so great, that they more than counterbalance the
inconvenience of private persons whose conduct may be involved, and occasional injury to the
reputations of individuals must yield to the public welfare, although at times such injury may be
great. The public benefit from publicity is so great and the chance of injury to private character
so small, that such discussion must be privileged.

Clearly, the questioned articles constitute fair comment on a matter of public interest as it dealt
with the character of the private respondent who was running for the top elective post in Baguio
City at that time.

Miriam College Foundation, Inc. v CA 348 SCRA 265 December 15, 2000 Facts: The
members of the editorial board of the Miriam College Foundations school paper were
subjected to disciplinary sanction by the College Discipline Committee after letters of
complaint were filed before the Board following the publication of the school paper that
contains obscene, vulgar, and sexually explicit contents. Prior to the disciplinary sanction to
the defendants they were required to submit a written statement to answer the complaints
against them to the Discipline Committee but the defendants, instead of doing so wrote to
the Committee to transfer the case to the DECS which they alleged to have the jurisdiction
over the issue. Pushing through with the investigation ex parte the Committee found the
defendants guilty and imposed upon them disciplinary sanctions. Defendants filed before
the court for prohibition with preliminary injunction on said decision of the Committee
questioning the jurisdiction of said Discipline Board over the defendants. Issue: WON the
Discipline Board of Miriam College has jurisdiction over the defendants. Held: The court
resolved the issue before it by looking through the power of DECS and the Disciplinary
Committee in imposing sanctions upon the defendants. Section 5 (2), Article XIV of the
Constitution guarantees all institutions of higher learning academic freedom. This
institutional academic freedom includes the right of the school or college to decide for itself,
its aims and objectives, and how best to attain them free from outside coercion or
interference save possibly when the overriding public welfare calls for some restraint. Such
duty gives the institution the right to discipline its students and inculcate upon them good
values, ideals and attitude. The right of students to free speech in school is not always
absolute. The court upheld the right of students for the freedom of expression but it does
not rule out disciplinary actions of the school on the conduct of their students. Further, Sec.
7 of the of the Campus Journalism Act provides that the school cannot suspend or expel a
student solely on the basis of the articles they write EXCEPT when such article materially
disrupts class work of involve substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.
Therefore the court ruled that the power of the school to investigate is an adjunct of its
power to suspend or expel. It is a necessary corollary to the enforcement of rules and
regulations and the maintenance of a safe and orderly educational environment conducive
to learning. That power, like the power to suspend or expel, is an inherent part of the
academic freedom of institutions of higher learning guaranteed by the Constitution. The
court held that Miriam College has the authority to hear and decide the cases filed against
respondent students.

Reyes v Bagatsing 125 SCRA 553 (1983) Facts: Petitioner sought a permit from the City of
Manila to hold a peaceful march and rally on October 26, 1983 from 2:00 to 5:00 in the
afternoon, starting from the Luneta to the gates of the United States Embassy. Once there,
and in an open space of public property, a short program would be held. The march would
be attended by the local and foreign participants of such conference. That would be
followed by the handing over of a petition based on the resolution adopted at the closing
session of the Anti-Bases Coalition. There was likewise an assurance in the petition that in
the exercise of the constitutional rights to free speech and assembly, all the necessary
steps would be taken by it "to ensure a peaceful march and rally. However the request was
denied. Reference was made to persistent intelligence reports affirming the plans of
subversive/criminal elements to infiltrate or disrupt any assembly or congregations where a
large number of people is expected to attend. Respondent suggested that a permit may be
issued if it is to be held at the Rizal Coliseum or any other enclosed area where the safety
of the participants themselves and the general public may be ensured. An oral argument
was heard and the mandatory injunction was granted on the ground that there was no
showing of the existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that could
justify the denial of a permit. However Justice Aquino dissented that the rally is violative of
Ordinance No. 7295 of the City of Manila prohibiting the holding of rallies within a radius of
five hundred (500) feet from any foreign mission or chancery and for other purposes. Hence
the Court resolves. Issue: Whether or Not the freedom of expression and the right to
peaceably assemble violated. Held: Yes. The invocation of the right to freedom of
peaceable assembly carries with it the implication that the right to free speech has likewise
been disregarded. It is settled law that as to public places, especially so as to parks and
streets, there is freedom of access. Nor is their use dependent on who is the applicant for
the permit, whether an individual or a group. There can be no legal objection, absent the
existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil, on the choice of Luneta as the
place where the peace rally would start. Time immemorial Luneta has been used for
purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public
questions. Such use of the public places has from ancient times, been a part of the
privileges, immunities, rights, and liberties of citizens. With regard to the ordinance, there
was no showing that there was violation and even if it could be shown that such a condition
is satisfied it does not follow that respondent could legally act the way he did. The validity of
his denial of the permit sought could still be challenged. A summary of the application for
permit for rally: The applicants for a permit to hold an assembly should inform the licensing
authority of the date, the public place where and the time when it will take place. If it were a
private place, only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is
required. Such application should be filed well ahead in time to enable the public official
concerned to appraise whether there may be valid objections to the grant of the permit or to
its grant but at another public place. It is an indispensable condition to such refusal or
modification that the clear and present danger test be the standard for the decision reached.
Notice is given to applicants for the denial.

Nelson Navarro, Petitioner vs. Mayor Antonio Villegas, respondent.FACTS:On February 24,
1970, the petitioner, acting in behalf of the Movement of a DemocraticPhilippines, wrote a
letter to the respondent, the Mayor of the city of Manila, applying tohold a rally at Plaza
Miranda February 26, 1970, from 4-11pm.On the same day, the respondent wrote a reply,
denying his request on the grounds that,the have temporarily adopted the policy of not
issuing any permit for the used of PlazaMiranda for rallies or demonstration during
weekdays due to the events that happenedfrom the past week.On the same letter, the
respondent gave the petitioner an option to use the Sunken Gardennear Intamuros for its
rally, and for it to be held earlier for it to end before dark.The petitioner filed suit contesting
the Mayors action on the ground that it violates the petitioners right to peaceable assemble
and petition the government for redress of grievances (ART. 3, sec 1(8)) and of the
petitioners right to the equal protection of thelaw (art. 3, sec. 1).ISSUE:Whether or not the
respondents act on denying the request of the petitioner violates the petitioners Right to
peaceable assembly and right to the equal protection of the law.Held:The right of peaceable
assemble is subject to regulation under the police power of thestate.The right to freedom of
speech and peaceful assembly, though granted by theConstitution, is not absolute for it may
be regulated in order that it may not be injuriousto the equal enjoyment of others having an
equal right of community and society, This power may be exercised under the police power
of the state, which is the power of thestate, which is the power to prescribe regulations to
promote the health, morals, peace,education, and good order, safety and general welfare of
the people.While the privilege of the citizen to use streets and parks for communication may
beregulated in the interest of all, said privilege is not absolute. It must be exercised
insubordination to the general comfort and convenience and in consonance with peace
andgood order, but it must not guise of regulation be abridged or denied.

Bayan, et al., Vs. Eduardo Ermita, et al., G.R. No. 169838 April 25, 2006 Facts: The
petitioners, Bayan, et al., alleged that they are citizens and taxpayers of the Philippines and
that their right as organizations and individuals were violated when the rally they
participated in on October 6, 2005 was violently dispersed by policemen implementing
Batas Pambansa No. 880. Petitioners contended that Batas Pambansa No. 880 is clearly a
violation of the Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and
other human rights treaties of which the Philippines is a signatory. They argue that B.P. No.
880 requires a permit before one can stage a public assembly regardless of the presence or
absence of a clear and present danger. It also curtails the choice of venue and is thus
repugnant to the freedom of expression clause as the time and place of a public assembly
form part of the message which the expression is sought. Furthermore, it is not content-
neutral as it does not apply to mass actions in support of the government. The words lawful
cause, opinion, protesting or influencing suggest the exposition of some cause not
espoused by the government. Also, the phrase maximum tolerance shows that the law
applies to assemblies against the government because they are being tolerated. As a
content-based legislation, it cannot pass the strict scrutiny test. This petition and two other
petitions were ordered to be consolidated on February 14, 2006. During the course of oral
arguments, the petitioners, in the interest of a speedy resolution of the petitions, withdrew
the portions of their petitions raising factual issues, particularly those raising the issue of
whether B.P. No. 880 and/or CPR is void as applied to the rallies of September 20, October
4, 5 and 6, 2005. Issue: Whether the Calibrated Pre-emptive response and the Batas
Pambansa No. 880, specifically Sections 4, 5, 6, 12, 13(a) and 14(a) violates Art. III Sec. 4
of the Philippine Constitution as it causes a disturbing effect on the exercise by the people
of the right to peaceably assemble. Held: Section 4 of Article III of the Philippine
Constitution provides that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of
expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition
the government for redress of grievances. The right to peaceably assemble and petition for
redress of grievances, together with freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press, is
a right that enjoys dominance in the sphere of constitutional protection. For this rights
represent the very basis of a functional democratic polity, without which all the other rights
would be meaningless and unprotected. However, it must be remembered that the right,
while sacrosanct, is not absolute. It may be regulated that it shall not be injurious to the
equal enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the community
or society. The power to regulate the exercise of such and other constitutional rights is
termed the sovereign police power, which is the power to prescribe regulations, to promote
the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety, and general welfare of the
people. B.P. No 880 is not an absolute ban of public assemblies but a restriction that simply
regulates the time, place and manner of the assemblies. B.P. No. 880 thus readily shows
that it refers to all kinds of public assemblies that would use public places. The reference to
lawful cause does not make it content-based because assemblies really have to be for
lawful causes, otherwise they would not be peaceable and entitled to protection. Neither
the words opinion, protesting, and influencing in of grievances come from the wording
of the Constitution, so its use cannot be avoided. Finally, maximum tolerance is for the
protection and benefit of all rallyist and is independent of the content of the expression in
the rally. Furthermore, the permit can only be denied on the ground of clear and present
danger to public order, public safety, public convenience, public morals or public health. This
is a recognized exception to the exercise of the rights even under the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights and The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Wherefore,
the petitions are GRANTED in part, and respondents, more particularly the Secretary of the
Interior and Local Governments, are DIRECTED to take all necessary steps for the
immediate compliance with Section 15 of Batas Pambansa No. 880 through the
establishment or designation of at least one suitable freedom park or plaza in every city and
municipality of the country. After thirty (30) days from the finality of this Decision, subject to
the giving of advance notices, no prior permit shall be required to exercise the right to
peaceably assemble and petition in the public parks or plaza in every city or municipality
that has not yet complied with section 15 of the law. Furthermore, Calibrated pre-emptive
response (CPR), insofar as it would purport to differ from or be in lieu of maximum
tolerance, is NULL and VOID and respondents are ENJOINED to REFRAIN from using it
and to STRICTLY OBSERVE the requirements of maximum tolerance, The petitions are
DISMISSED in all other respects, and the constitutionality of Batas Pambansa No. 880 is


Facts: Seven counts of treason were filed against Susano Perez aka Kid Perez, the
accused, for recruiting, apprehending, and commandeering women (Eriberta Ramo,
Eduarda Daohog, Eutiquia Lamay, and Flaviana Bonalos) against their will to satisfy the
immoral purpose and sexual desire of Colonel Mini, and other Japanese of Officers. Only
counts 1,2,4,5,6 were substantiated. In the 4th and 5th counts, the accused personally
assaulted and abused two of the offended girls. Susano Perez was convicted of treason
and sentenced to death by electrocution by the Peoples Court. Issue: Whether or not the
acts of the accused constitute a crime of treason Held : NO. There is a dilemma in trying to
draw a line between treasonable and untreasonable assistance, since the scope of
adherence to the enemy is comprehensive, and its requirement indeterminate, but as a
general rule acts providing aid and comfort to the enemies are considered treasonable
when the aid and comfort rendered are directed to them as enemies not as mere
individuals. To lend or give money to an enemy as a friend so that he may buy personal
necessities is not technically traitorous, but to lend or give money to an enemy to enable
him to buy arms or ammunition to use against the government of the giver is treason. The
act of the accused of providing the enemies with women and entertainment, boosting their
(the enemies) morale and making their lives more pleasant, is not treason. Sexual and
social relations with the Japanese did not directly and materially tend to improve their war
efforts or weaken the power of the government. Any favourable effect toward the Japanese
that the accused might have made was trivial, imperceptible and unintentional. Intent of
disloyalty is a vital ingredient in the crime of treason, which in the absence of admission
may be gathered from the nature and circumstances of each case. In this particular case, it
was not evident that the intent of the accused in providing the enemies with women was to
help them overthrow the government.


The American Communications Association (ACA) was founded in 1931 as the American Radio
Telegraphists Association (ARTA) by Mervyn Rathbone.[1][2] The union
represented telegraphists and radio operators (on land and at sea) in the United States. The union
had previously been involved in a Supreme Court case regarding the use
of strikebreakers in strikes (NLRB v. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co., 304 U.S. 333 (1938)), which it
had lost. In 1937, the union changed its name to the American Communications Association and
affiliated with the newly formed Congress of Industrial Organizations.[3] A majority of the union's
members were strongly left-wing, and most the union's leaders were members of the Communist
Party USA (CPUSA)with the union effectively under the control of the CPUSA. [4]

The United States Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) on June 27, 1935,
and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law on July 5.[5] In 1947, Congress amended the
NLRA by enacting the LaborManagement Relations Act (better known as the Taft-Hartley Act) on
June 23, 1947, overriding President Harry S. Truman's veto.[6] Section 9(h) of the Taft-Hartley Act
required leaders of labor unions to file an affidavit with the National Labor Relations Board affirming
that they were not members of the Communist Party USA and did not advocate the violent overthrow
of the United States federal government.[7] If a union had an elected leader who did not file such an
affidavit, that union would lose the protection of the NLRA.[7]

ACA leaders categorically refused to sign the anti-communist affidavits on the grounds that the oaths
violated their First Amendment rights. On October 29, 1947, Charles T. Douds, regional director of
the National Labor Relations Board in New York City, barred the American Communications
Association from appearing on an NLRB-supervised union organizing election (its very first action
under the new Taft-Hartley anti-communist oath provisions).[8][9] The ACA sued to have the provision
declared unconstitutional as a violation of its leaders' First Amendment rights. [10]

On June 29, 1948, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held, in a 2-to-1
decision written by Judge Thomas Walter Swan, that Section 9(h) did not impermissibly impose on
union members' First Amendment rights.[11] Attorney Victor Rabinowitz appealed the case to the
Supreme Court.[11] The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari on November 8, 1949.[9]Although the
Court was due to hear oral argument on January 13, 1949, it delayed this in order to take on another
case (United Steelworkers of America v. National Labor Relations Board) with almost identical
issues.[10] Argument was rescheduled for February 28, 1949,[10] but did not occur until October 11 so
that both cases could be heard together.

DECISION: 5-to-1 ruling by the United States Supreme Court which held that the Taft
Hartley Act's imposition of an anti-communist oath on labor union leaders does not violate
the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, is not an ex post facto law or bill of
attainder in violation of Article One, Section 10 of the United States Constitution, and is not
a "test oath" in violation of Article Six of the Constitution

Zaldivar vs. Sandiganbayan [G.R. Nos. 79690-707 October 7,1988] 06 AUG [Per Curiam]
FACTS: Petitioner filed Resolution including Motion to Cite in Contempt Special Prosecutor
(formerly Tanodbayan) Raul M. Gonzalez. Gonzalez in: (1) having caused the filing of the
information against petitioner in criminal case before the Sandiganbayan, and (2) issuing
certain allegedly contemptuous statements to the media in relation to the proceedings in
where respondent is claiming that he is acting as Tanodbayan-Ombudsman. A Resolution
from the Supreme Court required respondent to show cause why he should not be punished
for contempt and/or subjected to administrative sanctions for making certain public
statements. Portion of the published article from Philippine Daily Globe in his interview:
What I am afraid of (with the issuance of the order) is that it appears that while rich and
influential persons get favorable actions from the Supreme Court, it is difficult for an
ordinary litigant to get his petition to be given due course. Respondent has not denied
making the above statements; indeed, he acknowledges that the newspaper reports of the
statements attributed to him are substantially correct. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent
Atty. Gonzales is entitled to invoke freedom of speech as a defense. HELD: NO.
Respondent indefinitely suspended from the practice of law. RATIO: The Court concludes
that respondent Gonzalez is guilty both of contempt of court in facie curiae and of gross
misconduct as an officer of the court and member of the Bar.(Section 27, Rule 138, Rules of
Court) [F]reedom of speech and of expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is not
absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and
accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interests.