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DWELLING

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-17332 August 18, 1921
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE
ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
OLIMPIO DE PERALTA, defendant-
appellant.
Fred Castro for appellant.
Acting Attorney-General Tuason for appellee.
VILLAMOR, J.:
About the month of October, 1919, and for
sometime previously Cecilio Toledo held the
position of president of the "Philippine Marine
Union," and in such capacity, he had the
privilege of occupying, as his dwelling, a room
of house No. 507 of Jaboneros Street of this
city, which was rented to said association.
About the middle of said month of October,
Toledo was discharged from the position of
president and was succeeded by Olimpio de
Peralta. The latter, for the purpose of looking
for a desk glass which he believed was the
property of the union, entered the room in
question in the morning of the 16th of the same
month. This gave rise to the information for
trespass to dwelling against Peralta, in which it
is alleged that he entered the room of Toledo
against the will of the occupant. Trial was had
and the accused was sentenced to suffer two
months and one day of arresto mayor, to pay a
fine 400 pesetas, and costs. From this judgment
the present appeal was taken.
Two witnesses for the prosecution, Lucia
Matias and Daniel Alvarado, testify as to how
the accused entered the room on the day in
question. The former stated that she was inside
the room, the door of which was closed, when
the accused pushed the door; and that she, upon
seeing him already inside, asked him: "Why
did you enter without permission?" to which
the accused answered: "I need something in
this room," and Lucia Matias told him not to
take away the glass because Toledo was absent.
The second witness, Daniel Alvarado, states
that he was inside the room cleaning a
phonograph when the accused struck the door
and he heard a strong blow which he believes
was a kick against the door given by the
accused.
On the other hand, two witnesses for the
defense, Bernardo Bildad and Bonifacio Viloria
testify similarly that the accused on the day in
question, between half past ten and eleven in
the morning, entered the room of Toledo
looking for the desk glass in question,
accompanied by Lucia Matias whom he found
outside.
After a careful study of the testimony given in
the case, we are of the opinion that the accused,
after calling at or near the door, pushed it and
without the permission of the occupants entered
the room with the object of taking away the
desk glass. There is no evidence that Toledo
had expressed his will in the sense of
prohibiting the accused Peralta from entering
his room, and the mere fact that the latter
entered it, without the permission of the
occupant, does not constitute the offense of
trespass to dwelling provided for and penalized
in article 491 of the Penal Code. In order that
this crime may exist it is necessary that the
entrance should be against the express or
presumed prohibition of the occupant, and the
lack of permission should not be confused with
prohibition. In the decisions of the courts of
Spain, as well as in those of this jurisdiction, it
has been held uniformly that this crime is
committed when a person enters another's
dwelling against the will of the occupant, but
not when the entrance is effected without his
knowledge or opposition.
As Groizard says in his commentaries on
article 504 of the Penal Code of Spain,
corresponding to article 491 of that of the
Philippines: "It is not necessary, in the ordinary
life of men, in order to call at the door of a
house or enter it, to obtain previous permission
from the owner who lives in it. With the utmost
good faith may a person, to whom entrance has
not been denied beforehand, suppose that the
owner of the room has no objection to
receiving him in it." And in the present case it
is to be supposed that the members of the
"Philippine Marine Union," among them the
accused, had something familiarity which
warrants entrance into the room occupied by
the president of the association, particularly
when we consider the hour at which the act in
question happened (between half past ten and
eleven in the morning), the fact that the door of
the room was not barricaded or locked with a
key, and the circumstance that the room in
question was part of the house rented to said
association.
For the reason above stated, the judgment
appealed from is reversed, and the accused
Olimpio de Peralta is acquitted, with costs of
both instances de oficio. So ordered.
EN BANC

[G.R. No. 1491. March 5, 1904. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Complainant-


Appellee, v. LORENZO ARCEO ET AL.,
Defendants-Appellants.

Crispin Oben, for Appellants.

Solicitor-General Araneta, for Appellee.

SYLLABUS
1. CRIMINAL LAW; FORCIBLE ENTRY. —
The law which forbids a forcible entry into the
dwelling of another relates not only to the
method by which one may pass the threshold of
the dwelling of another without his consent but
also to the conduct immediately after entrance
of one who so enters.

2. ID.; ID.; INVIOLABILITY OF THE


DWELLING; POLICE POWER. — The right
to be free from unauthorized entrance into
one’s dwelling is one of the most sacred
personal rights secured by the law, and its only
limitation is found in the necessary exercise of
the police power, under which this private right
must yield to the public welfare.

3. ID.; ID.; EXPRESS PROHIBITION. — It is


not necessary to a conviction of the offense of
forcible entry that there should be an express
prohibition to enter; no one may enter the
dwelling of another without rendering himself
liable under the law unless the one seeking
entrance comes within some of the exceptions
dictated by the law or private policy.
DECISION

JOHNSON, J. :

The defendants were charged with entering the


house of one Alejo Tiongson on the night of
February 20, 1903, armed with deadly
weapons, against the will of the said Alejo
Tiongson.

The evidence shows that Alejo Tiongson lived


in his house in company with his wife,
Alejandra San Andres, and his wife’s sister,
Marcela San Andres. On the night of the 20th
of February, 1903, between 8 and 9 o’clock at
night, the accused, one of whom was with a
gun and the other two each with a bolo, entered
the house of the said Alejo Tiongson without
first obtaining the permission of any person. It
appears from the proof that there was a light
burning in the house at that time the accused
entered, which was immediately put out by one
of the accused; that Alejo and his wife had
retired for the night; that Marcela was still
sitting up sewing; that as soon as Marcela had
discovered the accused in the house she awoke
Alejo and his wife; that immediately after the
accused were in the house, one of them
wounded, by means of a bolo, Alejo Tiongson,
the owner of the house; that the accused
appropriated to their own use a certain quantity
of money; that the accused took and carried
away out of the said house toward the fields the
said Marcela San Andres and illtreated her.

The evidence on the part of the defense tended


to prove an alibi. The court below found that
this testimony was not to be believed. We find
no occasion , from the proof, to charge this
finding of fact.

The court below found that the defendants were


each guilty of the crime of entering the house
of another, with violence and intimidation,
which crime is punishable under subsection 2
of article 491 of the Penal Code, and sentenced
each of them to be imprisoned for the term of
three years six months and twenty-one days of
prision correccional, and also imposed upon
each a fine of 271 pesos and costs. In reaching
this conclusion the court took into
consideration the aggravating circumstance of
nighttime and the extenuating circumstance
provided for in article 11 of the Penal Code.

Article 491 of the Penal Code provides that —

"He who shall enter the residence (dwelling


house) of another against the will of the tenant
thereof shall be punished with the penalty of
arresto mayor and a fine of 325 to 3,250
pesetas."cralaw virtua1aw library

Subsection 2 provides that —


"If the act shall be executed with violence or
intimidation the penalty shall be prision
correccional in the medium and maximum
grade, and a fine of from 325 to 3,250
pesetas."cralaw virtua1aw library

Under the facts presented in this case, was the


trial court justified in finding that the accused
were guilty of the crime of entering the
residence of another against his will and with
violence and intimidation? We think that it was.
We are not of the opinion that the statute relates
simply to the method by which one may pass
the threshold of the residence of another
without his consent. We think it relates also to
the conduct, immediately after entrance, of him
who enters the house of another without his
consent. He who being armed with deadly
weapons enters the residence of another in the
nighttime, without consent, and immediately
commits acts of violence and intimidation, is
guilty of entering the house of another with
violence and intimidation and is punishable
under subsection 2 of article 491 of the Penal
Code. (See Viada, vol. 3, p.303; Gazette of
Spain of the 28th of March, 1883; Viada, vol. 6,
p.363; Gazette of the Spain of the 19th of May,
1892, p. 165.)

The inviolability of the house is one of the


most fundamental of all the individual rights
declared and recognized in the political codes
of civilized nations. No one can enter into the
home of another without the consent of its
owners or occupants.

The privacy of the home — the place of abode,


the place where a man with his family may
dwell in peace and enjoy the companionship of
his wife and children unmolested by anyone,
even the king, except in the rare cases — has
always been regarded by civilized nations as
one of the most sacred personal rights to which
men are entitled. Both the common and the
civil law guaranteed to man the right of
absolute protection to the privacy of his home.
The king was powerful; he was clothed with
majesty; his will was the law, but, with few
exceptions, the humblest citizen or subject
might shut the door of his humble cottage in
the face of the monarch and defend his
intrusion into that privacy which was regarded
as sacred as any of the kingly prerogatives. The
poorest and most humble citizen or subject
may, in his cottage, no matter how frail or
humble it is, bid defiance to all the powers of
the state; the wind, the storm and the sunshine
alike may enter through its weather-beaten
parts, but the king may not enter against its
owner’s will; none of the forces dare to cross
the threshold even the humblest tenement
without its owner’s consent.

"A man’s house is his castle," has become a


maxim among the civilized peoples of the
earth. His protection therein has become a
matter of constitutional protection n England,
America, and Spain, as well as in other
countries.

However, under the police power of the state


the authorities may compel entrance to
dwelling houses against the will of the owners
for sanitary purposes. The government has this
right upon grounds of public policy. It has a
right to protect the health and lives of all its
people. A man can not insist upon the privacy
of his home when a question of the health and
life of himself, his family, and that of the
community is involved. This private right must
be subject to the public welfare.

It may be argued that one who enters the


dwelling house of another is not liable unless
he has been forbidden — i. e., the phrase
"against the will of the owner" means that there
must have been an express prohibition to enter.
In other words, if one enters the dwelling house
of another without the knowledge of the owner
he has not entered against his will. This
construction is certainly not tenable, because
entrance is forbidden generally under the spirit
of the law unless permission to enter is
expressly given. To allow this construction
would destroy the very spirit of the law. Under
the law no one has the right to enter the home
of another without the other’s express consent.
Therefore, to say that when one enters the
home of another without his knowledge he
does not enter against the will of the owner, is
to say the one’s home is open for the entrance
of all who are not expressly forbidden. This is
not the rule. The statute must not be given that
construction. No one can enter the dwelling
house of another, in these Islands, without
rendering himself liable under the law, he has
the express consent of the owner and unless the
one seeking entrance comes within some of the
exceptions dictated by the law or by a sound
public policy.
So jealously did the people of England regard
this right to enjoy, unmolested, the privacy of
their houses, that they might even take the life
of the unlawful intruder, if it be nighttime. This
was also the sentiment of the Romans
expressed by Tully: "Quid enim sanctius quid
omni religione munitius, quam domus uniuscu
jusque civium."cralaw virtua1aw library

It may be argued that the offense punishable


under article 491 of the Penal Code
corresponds to the crime of burglary at the
common law. It is true that the offense of
entering the house of another without the
latter’s consent and the common-law crime of
burglary are both offenses against the
habitation of individuals. But these crimes are
distinctively different. The punishment for
burglary is "to prevent the breaking and
entering of a dwelling house of another in the
nighttime for the purpose a felony therein."
while the object of article 491 is to prevent
entrance into the dwelling house of another at
any time, either by day or by night, for any
purpose, against the will of its owner.

In burglary there must have existed an intent to


enter for the purpose of committing a felony,
while under article 491 of the Penal Code
entrance against the will, simply, of the owner
is punishable. Under the provisions of the Penal
Code entrance in the nighttime can only be
regarded as an aggravation of the offense of
entering.

We are of the opinion, under all of the facts in


the case, that the extenuating circumstance
provided for in article 11 of the Penal Code
should not be considered in favor of these
defendants.

We find that the defendants are guilty of the


crime of entering the house of another with
violence and intimidation, without the consent
of the owner, with the aggravating
circumstance of nocturnity, and hereby impose
the maximum degree of prision correccional,
and the fine provided for in subsection 2 of
article 491 of the Penal Code should be
imposed.

The sentence of the court below is therefore


modified, and each of the said defendants is
hereby sentenced to be imprisoned for the term
of six years of prision correccional, and each to
pay a fine of 271 pesos and the costs of this suit
or in default thereof to suffer subsidiary
imprisonment.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-6717 October 19, 1911
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
FAUSTINO MESINA, defendant-appellant.
Antonio Sanz for appellant.
Attorney-General Villamor for appellee.

TORRES, J.:
An appeal raised by the defendant from a
judgment of conviction rendered in this case by
the Honorable Judge George N. Hurd.
On the night of the 18th until the clearly
morning of the 19th of May, 1910, Elena
Llanera was asleep in her house situated in the
pueblo of Aliaga, Nueva Ecija, her husband,
Emilio Soriano, being at the time absent in this
city; she was sleeping under a mosquito netting
in the parlor of the house with her three minor
children and the women Damiana Collado and
Elena Molina, and in the dining room of the
said house the men named Cenon and Luis
Pascual, with their respective wives, were also
asleep. At about 4 o'clock in the morning
Llanera was awakened by the noise produced
on the floor by a mans step, in the direction of
her feet; she therefore awoke Damiana and, on
raising one of the sides of the mosquito netting,
they saw and recognized Faustino Mesina, for
there was then a light in the house; the latter
hurriedly went into another room followed by
the three women who then saw the said party
go out of the window, which on that occasion
was open, and from there alight on the ground
by supporting himself upon a window of the
ground floor. The inmates of the house testified
that before going to bed that night they had
closed all the windows and doors of the house.
1awphil.net
The provincial fiscal, therefore, on September
22, 1910, filed an information with the Court of
First Instance of Nueva Ecija, charging
Faustino Mesina with the crime of forcible
entry, and, this cause having been instituted, the
court in view of the evidence and on the 23d of
November following rendered judgment by
sentencing the defendant to the penalty of four
months of arresto mayor, to pay a fine of 500
pesetas, with subsidiary imprisonment in case
of insolvency, and the costs. From this
judgment the defendant appealed.
The facts related, duly proved in this cause,
certainly constitute the crime of forcible entry,
performed without violence or intimidation,
provided for and punished in article 491,
paragraph, 1, of the Penal Code, inasmuch as,
from the testimony of three eyewitnesses, it
was fully proven that, on the owner of the
house, Elena Llanera, being awakened, early in
the morning of the 19th of May, by the sound
of the steps of a person who was walking inside
of the house near her bed which was covered
with a mosquito netting, both she and her
companions who were sleeping with her under
the same netting on raising one side of the
same saw and recognized the person, by the
light there was in the house, as being the
defendant, Faustino Mesina, who, on observing
that the said women had awakened and had
seen him, immediately and hastily entered the
small room of the house, followed by them, and
went down out of the building through one of
the windows of the said room, which at that
moment was open, by supporting himself on a
window of the entresol, located thereunder,
which must have been the way he got in, for
the inmates of the house had closed that room
window and all the others in the house had
closed that room window and all the others in
the house the night previous before retiring.
The defendant's denial, his exculpatory
allegations and the testimony of his witnesses
were unsuccessful in over-throwing the very
positive evidence of the prosecution, for his
allegation that he was at the said house on the
morning of the day aforementioned, for the
purpose of making some requests to the
husband of the offended woman, Elena
Llanera, who, as she was in the granary nearby,
had to be called and on arriving at her house he
had a long conversation with her and not until
after she had had her breakfast did he leave for
the sitio of Bibclat, was not corroborated by the
testimony of his two witnesses, Buenaventura
Maligsi and Eusebio Landicho, the first of
whom testified that he was engaged that
morning in hauling rice to the warehouse of
Elena Llanera, who was then inside of this
building, and the second witness, that he was
near the warehouse waiting for his neighbor
named Julio; they then saw the defendant enter
the house of the offended party and after a short
while, during which the latter, called by a little
girl, returned to the house, these witnesses saw
the defendant come down out of the
house.1awph!1.net This testimony, far from
proving the defendant's statement, completely
disproves them and belies the fact affirmed by
Mesina relative to the long conversation;
besides, the offended party denied that the
defendant was in her house that morning.
Moreover, the testimony of the municipal
policeman, Timoteo Palis, corroborates the
evidence of the prosecution. This witness
testified that while he was on guard duty at the
municipal building a short while before 4
o'clock on the morning of the said date, the
defendant passed by and advised him that the
policeman should be ready who were to
accompany him, Mesina, to the sitio of Bibclat,
and that the defendant immediately left and
witness did not know whether the latter went.
This testimony, combined with that of the
offended party and her two witness, and all
taken as a whole, produce in the mind a
thorough conviction that the defendant did
commit the crime under prosecution. It is to be
presumed that after passing by the municipal
building the defendant went to the house where
the crime was committed and claimed up into it
through the window, for this was not very high
up.
For the reason stated, the testimony of the wife
of the defendant can not be considered as proof
of an alibi in his behalf to the effect that at the
hour and on the date mentioned her husband
was in his house and that Elena Llanera,
subsequent to the denunciation of the crime,
had talked with her in order that she might feel
no resentment-inasmuch as such statements
were not proved and the offended party denied
that she had had any conversation whatever
with Marcelina Santiago, the defendant's wife.
Article 491, aforecited, provides that any
private person who shall enter the dwelling of
another against the latter's will shall incur the
penalty specified therein, and although the
inmates of the house did not forbid the
defendant to enter the same, nevertheless and
withal when one enters a house by climbing up
into it and passing through a window thereof
which had been closed and was opened by the
perpetrator of the crime for the purpose of his
entry, even though no violence was employed
in doing so, it is unquestionable that the entry
into the house, by taking advantage of the
darkness and when all the inmates thereof were
asleep, bears the character of the crime of
forcible entry, for the reason that, under such
circumstance, it is not necessary that there
should have been a previous prohibition to
enter by the inmates, since this is presumed,
and because the entry into the premises was
affected against the will of the occupants
thereof, there being no proof that the defendant
entered the same with the permission or the
consent of any of them.
In the commission of the crime there is no
extenuating circumstance whatever to be
considered, but there is the aggravating one of
nocturnity, since the defendant perpetrated the
crime by taking advantage of the silence and
darkness of the night: therefore, the penalty
fixed by law of arresto mayor should be
imposed upon him in its maximum degree.
For the foregoing reasons it is our opinion that
the judgment appealed from should be
affirmed; provided, however, that the defendant
shall be sentenced to the penalty of five months
of arresto mayor, to the other penalties of the
judgment of the lower court, and the costs of
this instance. So ordered.

THREATS
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. Nos. L-21528 and L-21529
March 28, 1969
ROSAURO REYES, petitioner,
vs.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondent.
Jose F. Mañacop for petitioner.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A.
Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico P.
de Castro and Solicitor Antonio M. Martinez
for respondent.
MAKALINTAL, J.:
This case is before us on appeal by certiorari,
from the decision of the Court of Appeals
affirming that a the municipal court of Cavite
City, convicting Rosauro Reyes of the crimes
of grave threats and grave oral defamation, and
sentencing him, in the first case (Criminal Case
No. 2594), to four (4) months and ten (10) days
of arresto mayor and to pay a fine of P300,
with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency; and in the second case (Criminal
Case No. 2595), to an indeterminate penalty of
from four (4) months of arresto mayor to one
(1) year and eight (8) months of prison
correccional and to pay Agustin Hallare the
sum of P800 as moral damages, with costs in
both cases.
The petitioner herein, Rosauro Reyes, was a
former civilian employee of the Navy
Exchange, Sangley Point, Cavite City, whose
services were terminated on May 6, 1961. In
the afternoon of June 6, 1961, he led a group of
about 20 to 30 persons in a demonstration
staged in front of the main gate of the United
States Naval Station at Sangley Point. They
carried placards bearing statements such as,
"Agustin, mamatay ka;" "To, alla boss con
Nolan;" "Frank do not be a common funk;"
"Agustin, mamamatay ka rin"; "Agustin, Nolan
for you;" "Agustin alla bos con Nolan;"
"Agustin, dillega, el dia di quida rin bo
chiquiting;" and others. The base commander,
Capt. McAllister, called up Col. Patricia
Monzon, who as Philippine Military Liaison
Officer at Sangley Point was in charge of
preserving harmonious relations between
personnel of the naval station and the civilian
population of Cavite City. Capt. McAllister
requested Col. Monzon to join him at the main
gate of the base to meet the demonstrators. Col.
Monzon went to the place and talked to
Rosauro Reyes and one Luis Buenaventura
upon learning that the demonstration was not
directed against the naval station but against
Agustin Hallare and a certain Frank Nolan for
their having allegedly caused the dismissal of
Rosauro Reyes from the Navy Exchange, Col.
Monzon suggested to them to demonstrate in
front of Hallare's residence, but they told him
that they would like the people in the station to
know how they felt about Hallare and Nolan.
They assured him, however, that they did not
intend to use violence, as "they just wanted to
blow off steam."
At that time Agustin Hallare was in his office
inside the naval station. When he learned about
the demonstration he became apprehensive
about his safety, so he sought Col. Monzon's
protection. The colonel thereupon escorted
Hallare, his brother, and another person in
going out of the station, using his (Monzon's)
car for the purpose. Once outside, Col. Monzon
purpose slowed down to accommodate the
request of Reyes. He told Hallare to take a
good look at the demonstrators and at the
placards they were carrying. When the
demonstrators saw Hallare they shouted,
"Mabuhay si Agustin." Then they boarded their
jeeps and followed the car. One jeep overtook
passed the car while the other to led behind.
After Hallare and his companions had alighted
in front of his residence at 967 Burgos St.,
Cavite City, Col. Monzon sped away.
The three jeeps carrying the demonstrators
parked in front of Hallare's residence after
having gone by it twice Rosauro Reyes got off
his jeep and posted himself at the gate, and
with his right hand inside his pocket and his
left holding the gate-door, he shouted
repeatedly, "Agustin, putang ina mo. Agustin,
mawawala ka. Agustin lumabas ka, papatayin
kita." Thereafter, he boarded his jeep and the
motorcade left the premises. Meanwhile,
Hallare, frightened by the demeanor of Reyes
and the other demonstrators, stayed inside the
house.lâwphi1.ñet
On the basis of the foregoing events Rosauro
Reyes was charged on July 24 and 25, 1961
with grave threats and grave oral defamation,
respectively (Criminal Cases Nos. 2594 and
2595, Municipal Court of Cavite City), as
follows;
The undersigned City Fiscal of the
City of Cavite accuses Rosauro Reyes
of the crime of Grave Threats, as
defined by Article 282 of the Revised
Penal Code and penalized by
paragraph 2 of the same Article,
committed as follows:
That on or about June 6, 1961, in the
City of Cavite, Republic of the
Philippines and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above
named accused, did then and there,
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
orally threaten to kill, one Agustin
Hallare.
Contrary to law.
Cavite City, July 24, 1961.
DEOGRACIAS S. SOLIS
City Fiscal
BY: (SGD.) BUEN N. GUTIERREZ

Special Counsel
The undersigned complainant, after
being duly sworn to an oath in
accordance with law, accuses Rosauro
Reyes of the crime of Grave Oral
Defamation, as defined and penalized
by Article 358 of the Revised Penal
Code, committed as follows:
That on or about June 6, 1961, in the
City of Cavite, Republic of the
Philippines and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above
named accused, without any justifiable
motive but with the intention to cause
dishonor, discredit and contempt to the
undersigned complainant, in the
presence of and within hearing of
several persons, did then and there,
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
utter to the undersigned complainant
the following insulting and serious
defamatory remarks, to wit:
"AGUSIN, PUTANG INA MO".
which if translated into English are as
follows: "Agustin, Your mother is a
whore."
Contrary to law.
Cavite City, July 25, 1961.
(SGD.) AGUSTIN HALLARE

Complainant
Subscribed and sworn to before me
this. 25th day of July, 1961, in the City
of Cavite, Philippines.
(SGD.) BUEN N. GUTIERREZ
Special Counsel
Upon arraignment, the accused pleaded not
guilty to both charges and the cases were set for
joint trial. On the day of the hearing the
prosecution moved to amend the information in
Criminal Case No. 2594 for grave threats by
deleting therefrom the word "orally". The
defense counsel objected to the motion on the
ground that the accused had already been
arraigned on the original information and that
the amendment "would affect materially the
interest of the accused." Nevertheless, the
amendment was allowed and the joint trial
proceeded.
From the judgment of conviction the accused
appeal to the Court of Appeals, which returned
a verdict of affirmance. A motion for
reconsideration having been denied, the
accused brought this appeal by certiorari.
Petitioner avers that the Court of Appeals
erred: (1) in affirming the proceedings in the
lower court allowing the substantial
amendment of the information for grave threats
after petitioner had been arraigned on the
original information; (2) in proceeding with the
trial of the case of grave threats without first
requiring petitioner to enter his plea on the
amended information; (3) in convicting
petitioner of both offenses when he could
legally be convicted of only one offense,
thereby putting him in jeopardy of being
penalized twice for the same offense; (4) in
convicting petitioner of grave threats when the
evidence adduced and considered by the court
tend to establish the offense of light threats
only; and (5) in convicting petitioner of grave
oral defamation when the evidence tend to
establish that of simple slander only.
On the first error assigned, the rule is that
after the accused has pleaded the information
may be amended as to all matters of form by
leave and at the discretion of the court when
the same can be done without prejudice to the
rights of the defendant (Section 13, Rule 110,
New Rules of Court). Amendments that touch
upon matters of substance cannot be permitted
after the plea is entered.
After a careful consideration of the original
information, we find that all the elements of the
crime of grave threats as defined in Article 282
1 of the Revised Penal Code and penalized by
its paragraph 2 were alleged therein namely:
(1) that the offender threatened another person
with the infliction upon his person of a wrong;
(2) that such wrong amounted to a crime; and
(3) that the threat was not subject to a
condition. Hence, petitioner could have been
convicted thereunder. It is to be noted that
under the aforementioned provision the
particular manner in which the threat is made
not a qualifying ingredient of the offense, such
that the deletion of the word "orally" did not
affect the nature and essence of the crime as
charged originally. Neither did it change the
basic theory of the prosecution that the accused
threatened to kill Rosauro Reyes so as to
require the petitioner to undergo any material
change or modification in his defense. Contrary
to his claim, made with the concurrence of the
Solicitor General, petitioner was not exposed
after the amendment to the danger of
conviction under paragraph 1 of Article 282,
which provides for a different penalty, since
there was no allegation in the amended
information that the threat was made subject to
a condition. In our view the deletion of the
word "orally" was effected in order to make the
information conformable to the evidence to be
presented during the trial. It was merely a
formal amendment which in no way prejudiced
petitioner's rights.
Petitioner next contends that even assuming
that the amendment was properly allowed, the
trial court committed a reversible error in
proceeding with the trial on the merits without
first requiring him to enter his plea to the
amended information. Considering, however,
that the amendment was not substantial, no
second plea was necessary at all.
The third and fourth issues are related and will
be discussed together. Petitioner avers that the
appellate court erred in affirming the decision
of the trial court erred in affirming him of grave
threats and of grave oral defamation when he
could legally be convicted of only one offense,
and in convicting him of grave threats at all
when the evidence adduced and considered by
the court indicates the commission of light
threats only.
The demonstration led by petitioner Agustin
Hallare in front of the main gate of the naval
station; the fact that placards with threatening
statements were carried by the demonstrators;
their persistence in trailing Hallare in a
motorcade up to his residence; and the
demonstration conducted in front thereof,
culminating in repeated threats flung by
petitioner in a loud voice, give rise to only one
conclusion: that the threats were made "with
the deliberate purpose of creating in the mind
of the person threatened the belief that the
threat would be carried into effect." 2 Indeed,
Hallare became so apprehensive of his safety
that he sought the protection of Col. Monzon,
who had to escort him home, wherein he stayed
while the demonstration was going on. It
cannot be denied that the threats were made
deliberately and not merely in a temporary fit
of anger, motivated as they were by the
dismissal of petitioner one month before the
incident. We, therefore, hold that the appellate
court was correct in upholding petitioner's
conviction for the offense of grave threats.
The charge of oral defamation stemmed from
the utterance of the words, "Agustin, putang ina
mo". This is a common enough expression in
the dialect that is often employed, not really to
slander but rather to express anger or
displeasure. It is seldom, if ever, taken in its
literal sense by the hearer, that is, as a
reflection on the virtues of a mother. In the
instant case, it should be viewed as part of the
threats voiced by appellant against Agustin
Hallare, evidently to make the same more
emphatic. In the case of Yebra, G.R. No. L-
14348, Sept. 30, 1960, this Court said:
The letter containing the allegedly libelous
remarks is more threatening than libelous
and the intent to threaten is the principal
aim and object to the letter. The libelous
remarks contained in the letter, if so they be
considered, are merely preparatory remarks
culminating in the final threat. In other
words, the libelous remarks express the beat
of passion which engulfs the writer of the
letter, which heat of passion in the latter part
of the letter culminates into a threat. This is
the more important and serious offense
committed by the accused. Under the
circumstances the Court believes, after the
study of the whole letter, that the offense
committed therein is clearly and principally
that of threats and that the statements
therein derogatory to the person named do
not constitute an independent crime of libel,
for which the writer maybe prosecuted
separately from the threats and which
should be considered as part of the more
important offense of threats.
The foregoing ruling applies with equal force
to the facts of the present case.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is
hereby reversed and petitioner is acquitted,
with costs de oficio, insofar as Criminal Case
No. 2595 of the Court a quo (for oral
defamation) is concerned; and affirmed with
respect to Criminal Case No. 2594, for grave
threats, with costs against petitioner.

COERCION
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
C.A. No. 762 February 6, 1946
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
SILVERIO NEBREJA ET AL., defendants.
SILVERIO NEBREJA, appellant.
Ceferino Inciong for appellant.
Acting Assistant Solicitor General Barcelona
for appellee.
FERIA, J.:
The appellant Silverio Nebreja was charged
with several others and found guilty of the
crime of grave coercion by the Court of First
Instance of Batangas, and sentenced to suffer
imprisonment of four (4) months of arresto
mayor, with the accessories of the law, to pay a
fine of P100 with subsidiary imprisonment in
case of insolvency, and to pay one-seventh of
the costs. The other accused pleaded guilty of
light coercion and were sentenced to serve the
corresponding penalty and did not appeal.
The following facts are established in this case.
The appellant was an encargado of Mateo
Maningat, an hacendero of Balayan, Batangas,
who bought the Lian Estate, situated in Lian,
Batangas, from the corporation El Colegio de
San Jose, but the buyer could not tare
possession of a portion of the land due to
opposition of the occupants, among them the
offended party Nicomedes Jonson. In the
morning of October 5, 1942, while Nicomedes
Jonson, assisted by Felipe Balbal, Marcelo
Jonson and Alfonso Jonson, was plowing a
parcel of the said land claimed by him and in
his possession, the seven defendants led by the
appellant, all armed with bolos except the
appellant and Mariano Magno, ordered
Nicomedes Jonson to stop plowing the land
because the defendants would plow it.
Nicomedes Jonson answered that he had a right
to continue plowing the land as it was still in
his possession, and that while it was involved
in a litigation there was as yet no decision and
order of the court to deliver possession thereof
to somebody else. The appellant retorted that if
they (Nicomedes Jonson and his companions)
did not stop plowing they would get hurt, and
grabbed the rope of the carabao of Nicomedes
Jonson, while his co-accused, with their hand
on the handles of their bolos, surrounded
Nicomedes Jonson and his companions. Cowed
by this hostile attitude of the defendants,
Nicomedes Jonson and his companions had to
stop plowing, thus enabling the defendants to
take possession of and plow the land.
Nicomedes Jonson immediately reported the
matter to the local authorities, and returned
with Sergeant of Police Amado Caraig and five
policemen. Upon arriving at the place, they
found Silverio Nebreja standing on the land
while three of the defendants were plowing and
the rest were standing guard. Sergeant Caraig
approached and asked the appellant if it was
true that he had stopped Nicomedes Jonson
from plowing the land, to which the latter
answered in the affirmative, stating that it was
he who should plow the land. The Sergeant
then warned the appellant that if the he had and
his men did not stop the plowing they would be
taken to the municipal building; and as the
defendant refused to stop and the appellant said
that he was ready for any eventuality, they were
arrested and taken to the municipal jail.
Appellant's defense is an alibi, that is, that in
the morning of October 5, 1942, when the
alleged crime was committed, he was at the
Central Azucarera Don Pedro in Nasugbu,
Batangas, talking with a certain Captain
Mauchi, and that when he returned to the Lian,
Batangas, in the afternoon of the same day, he
was arrested and thrown in jail.
This alibi set up by the appellant has no
probative value, because it is not supported by
evidence, for neither Captain Mauchi nor any
one from the sugar central was presented to
support it. The negative testimony of the
negative co-defendants, who pleaded guilty and
were convicted, to the effect that the appellant
was not in the land when they were arrested are
not strictly in support of the alibi that the
appellant was in said sugar central, and is
contradicted by Arsenio Nebreja, one of his co-
accused who was presented as a witness of the
defense, who categorically testified that the
appellant was among the arrested in the place
where the offense was committed in the
morning of October 5, 1942, and by the
positive testimony to that effect of the offended
party, Felipe Balbal and Sergeant Caraig.
Besides, considering the short distance between
the municipality of Lian and Nasugbu and the
available means of transportation, it was not
impossible to the appellant, according to the
lower court which took judicial notice of that
fact, to have been in the sugar central at
Nasugbu in the morning of October 5, 1942,
and to have returned to Lian in the same
morning in time to commit the offense charged.
The contention of attorney for the appellant
that the latter, being an "encargado" of the
owner of the land, had the right to eject forcibly
the offended party from the land and prevent
him from plowing it, does not deserve serious
consideration, for no person may take the law
into his own hands.
In view of the foregoing, we hold that the
evidence shows beyond reasonable doubt the
appellant's guilt of the crime charge and of
which he was convicted, and that the penalty
imposed is in confirmity with the law, and,
therefore, the sentence appealed from its
hereby affirmed with costs to the appellant. So
ordered.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-62050 November 25, 1983
JOSE "PEPITO" TIMONER, petitioner,
vs.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
AND THE HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, IV DIVISION, respondents.
Marciano C. Dating, Jr. and Jose &
Fuentebella for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for respondents.

ESCOLIN, J.:ñé+.£ªwph!1
Petition for review of the affirmance in toto
by the Court of Appeals, now the
Intermediate Appellate Court, of the
judgment of conviction handed down by
the then Municipal Court of Daet,
Camarines Norte, in Criminal Case No.
4281, entitled People of the Philippines vs.
Jose Timoner, finding petitioner guilty of
the crime of grave coercion, as follows:
têñ.£îhqwâ£
WHEREFORE this Court finds the
accused JOSE 'PEPITO' TIMONER
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of Grave Coercion as
penalized under Art. 286 in the
Revised Penal Code, and hereby
sentences the said accused
pursuant to the provision of Rule 64,
Par. 3, to suffer SIX MONTHS OF
IMPRISONMENT OF ARRESTO
MAYOR IN ITS MAXIMUM PERIOD,
to pay a fine of P300.00 and to pay
the offended party in the amount of
P5,000.00 as damages, without
subsidiary liability in case of
insolvency. The other accused
SAMUEL MORENA and ERNESTO
QUIBRAL are hereby ordered
ACQUITTED.
The salient facts are not disputed. At about
10:00 in the evening of December 13,
1971, petitioner, then Mayor of Daet,
Camarines Norte, accompanied by two
uniformed policemen, Samuel Morena and
Ernesto Quibral, and six laborers, arrived
in front of the stalls along Maharlika
highway, the main thoroughfare of the
same town. Upon orders of petitioner,
these laborers proceeded to nail together
rough lumber slabs to fence off the stalls
which protruded into the sidewalk of the
Maharlika highway. Among the structures
thus barricaded were the barbershop of
Pascual Dayaon, the complaining witness
and the store belonging to one Lourdes
Pia-Rebustillos. These establishments had
been recommended for closure by the
Municipal Health Officer, Dra. Alegre, for
non-compliance with certain health and
sanitation requirements.
Thereafter, petitioner filed a complaint in
the Court of First Instance of Camarines
Norte against Lourdes Pia-Rebustillos and
others for judicial abatement of their stalls.
The complaint, docketed as Civil Case No.
2257, alleged that these stalls constituted
public nuisances as well as nuisances per
se. Dayaon was never able to reopen his
barbershop business.
Subsequently, petitioner and the two
policemen, Morena and Quibral, were
charged with the offense of grave coercion
before the Municipal Court of Daet. As
already noted, the said court exonerated
the two policemen, but convicted petitioner
of the crime charged as principal by
inducement.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed in
full the judgment of the trial court. Hence,
the present recourse.
Petitioner contends that the sealing off of
complainant Dayaon's barbershop was
done in abatement of a public nuisance
and, therefore, under lawful authority.
We find merit in this contention.
Unquestionably, the barbershop in
question did constitute a public nuisance
as defined under Article Nos. 694 and 695
of the Civil Code, to wit: têñ.£îhqwâ£
ART. 694. A nuisance is any act,
omission, establishment, business,
condition of property, or anything
else which:
(1) Injures or endangers the health
or safety of others; or
(2) Annoys or offends the senses; or
(3) Shocks, defies or disregards
decency or morality; or
(4) Obstructs or interferes with the
free passage of any public highway
or street, or any body of water; or
(5) Hinders or impairs the use of
property.
ART. 695. Nuisance is either public
or private. A public nuisance affects
a community or neighborhood or any
considerable number of persons,
although the extent of the
annoyance, danger or damage upon
individuals may be unequal A private
nuisance is one that is not included
in the foregoing definition.
The barbershop occupied a portion of the
sidewalk of the poblacion's main
thoroughfare and had been recommended
for closure by the Municipal Health Officer.
In fact, the Court of First Instance of
Camarines Norte, in its decision in Civil
Case No. 2257, declared said barbershop
as a nuisance per-se. Thus: têñ.£îhqwâ£
Under the facts of the case, as well
as the law in point, there is no
semblance of any legality or right
that exists in favor of the defendants
to build a stall and conduct their
business in a sidewalk, especially in
a highway where it does not only
constitute a menace to the health of
the general public passing through
the street and also of the unsanitary
condition that is bred therein as well
as the unsightly and ugly structures
in the said place. Moreover, even if it
is claimed and pretended that there
was a license, permit or toleration of
the defendants' makeshift store and
living quarters for a number of years
does not lend legality to an act which
is a nuisance per se. Such nuisance
affects the community or
neighborhood or any considerable
number of persons and the general
public which posed a danger to the
people in general passing and using
that place, for in addition, this is an
annoyance to the public by the
invasion of its rights — the fact that it
is in a public place and annoying to
all who come within its sphere
[Baltazar vs. Carolina Midland, Ry,
Co., 54 S.C. 242, 32 SB 258, cited in
11 Tolentino's Civil Code of the
Philippines, p. 375; Kapisanan
Lingkod ng Bayan, Inc. vs. Lacson,
CA-G.R. No. 27260R, March 25,
1964; 61 O.G. 2487].
xxx xxx xxx
... IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING,
the Court hereby declares that the
structures subject of this complaint
as well as those occupied by the
impleaded defendants are nuisances
per se and therefore orders the
defendants to demolish the stall and
vacate the premises immediately ...
But even without this judicial
pronouncement, petitioner could not have
been faulted for having fenced off said
barbershop. Paragraph 3, Article 699 of the
Civil Code authorizes the abatement of a
public nuisance without judicial
proceedings. têñ.£îhqwâ£
ART. 699. The remedies against a
public nuisance are:
[l] A prosecution under the Penal
Code or any local ordinance; or
[2] A civil action; or
[3] Abatement, without judicial
proceedings.
In the case at bar, petitioner, as mayor of
the town, merely implemented the
aforesaid recommendation of the Municipal
Health Officer. Having then acted in good
faith in the performance of his duty,
petitioner incurred no criminal liability.
Grave coercion is committed when "a
person who, without authority of law, shall
by means of violence, prevent another
from doing something not prohibited by law
or compel to do something against his will,
either it be right or wrong." 1 The three
elements of grave coercion are: [1] that
any person be prevented by another from
doing something not prohibited by law, or
compelled to do something against his will,
be it right or wrong; [2] that the prevention
or compulsion be effected by violence,
either by material force or such display of it
as would produce intimidation and control
the will of the offended party, and [3] that
the person who restrained the will and
liberty of another had no right to do so, or,
in other words, that the restraint was not
made under authority of law or in the
exercise of a lawful right. 2
The third element being absent in the case
at bar, petitioner cannot be held guilty of
grave coercion.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA G.R. No. 19534-CR, is
hereby set aside and petitioner is acquitted
of the crime charged. Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.1äwphï1.ñët
ANTI
WIRETAPPING
LAW
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995


SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS,
and ESTER S. GARCIA, respondents.

KAPUNAN, J.:
A civil case damages was filed by
petitioner Socorro D. Ramirez in the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City
alleging that the private respondent, Ester
S. Garcia, in a confrontation in the latter's
office, allegedly vexed, insulted and
humiliated her in a "hostile and furious
mood" and in a manner offensive to
petitioner's dignity and personality,"
contrary to morals, good customs and
public policy." 1
In support of her claim, petitioner produced
a verbatim transcript of the event and
sought moral damages, attorney's fees and
other expenses of litigation in the amount
of P610,000.00, in addition to costs,
interests and other reliefs awardable at the
trial court's discretion. The transcript on
which the civil case was based was culled
from a tape recording of the confrontation
made by petitioner. 2 The transcript reads
as follows:
Plaintiff Soccoro D. Ramirez
(Chuchi) — Good Afternoon
M'am.
Defendant Ester S. Garcia
(ESG) — Ano ba ang nangyari
sa 'yo, nakalimot ka na kung
paano ka napunta rito, porke
member ka na, magsumbong
ka kung ano ang gagawin ko
sa 'yo.
CHUCHI — Kasi, naka duty
ako noon.
ESG — Tapos iniwan no. (Sic)
CHUCHI — Hindi m'am, pero
ilan beses na nila akong
binalikan, sabing ganoon —
ESG — Ito and (sic) masasabi
ko sa 'yo, ayaw kung (sic) mag
explain ka, kasi hanggang
10:00 p.m., kinabukasan hindi
ka na pumasok. Ngayon ako
ang babalik sa 'yo, nag-aaply
ka sa States, nag-aaply ka sa
review mo, kung kakailanganin
ang certification mo, kalimutan
mo na kasi hindi ka sa akin
makakahingi.
CHUCHI — Hindi M'am. Kasi
ang ano ko talaga noon i-
cocontinue ko up to 10:00 p.m.
ESG — Bastos ka,
nakalimutan mo na kung
paano ka pumasok dito sa
hotel. Magsumbong ka sa
Union kung gusto mo.
Nakalimutan mo na kung
paano ka nakapasok dito "Do
you think that on your own
makakapasok ka kung hindi
ako. Panunumbyoyan na kita
(Sinusumbatan na kita).
CHUCHI — Itutuloy ko na
M'am sana ang duty ko.
ESG — Kaso ilang beses na
akong binabalikan doon ng
mga no (sic) ko.
ESG — Nakalimutan mo na ba
kung paano ka pumasok sa
hotel, kung on your own merit
alam ko naman kung gaano ka
"ka bobo" mo. Marami ang
nag-aaply alam kong hindi ka
papasa.
CHUCHI — Kumuha kami ng
exam noon.
ESG — Oo, pero hindi ka
papasa.
CHUCHI — Eh, bakit ako ang
nakuha ni Dr. Tamayo
ESG — Kukunin ka kasi ako.
CHUCHI — Eh, di sana —
ESG — Huwag mong
ipagmalaki na may utak ka
kasi wala kang utak. Akala mo
ba makukuha ka dito kung
hindi ako.
CHUCHI — Mag-eexplain ako.
ESG — Huwag na, hindi ako
mag-papa-explain sa 'yo,
makaalala ka kung paano ka
puma-rito. "Putang-ina"
sasabi-sabihin mo kamag-
anak ng nanay at tatay mo ang
mga magulang ko.
ESG — Wala na akong
pakialam, dahil nandito ka sa
loob, nasa labas ka puwede ka
ng hindi pumasok, okey yan
nasaloob ka umalis ka doon.
CHUCHI — Kasi M'am,
binbalikan ako ng mga taga
Union.
ESG — Nandiyan na rin ako,
pero huwag mong kalimutan
na hindi ka makakapasok kung
hindi ako. Kung hindi mo
kinikilala yan okey lang sa
akin, dahil tapos ka na.
CHUCHI — Ina-ano ko m'am
na utang na loob.
ESG — Huwag na lang, hindi
mo utang na loob, kasi kung
baga sa no, nilapastangan mo
ako.
CHUCHI — Paano kita
nilapastanganan?
ESG — Mabuti pa lumabas ka
na. Hindi na ako
makikipagusap sa 'yo.
Lumabas ka na. Magsumbong
ka. 3
As a result of petitioner's recording of the
event and alleging that the said act of
secretly taping the confrontation was
illegal, private respondent filed a criminal
case before the Regional Trial Court of
Pasay City for violation of Republic Act
4200, entitled "An Act to prohibit and
penalize wire tapping and other related
violations of private communication, and
other purposes." An information charging
petitioner of violation of the said Act, dated
October 6, 1988 is quoted herewith:
INFORMATION
The Undersigned Assistant City
Fiscal Accusses Socorro D. Ramirez
of Violation of Republic Act No.
4200, committed as follows:
That on or about the 22nd day
of February, 1988, in Pasay
City Metro Manila, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of
this honorable court, the
above-named accused,
Socorro D. Ramirez not being
authorized by Ester S. Garcia
to record the latter's
conversation with said
accused, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, with the use of a
tape recorder secretly record
the said conversation and
thereafter communicate in
writing the contents of the said
recording to other person.
Contrary to law.
Pasay City, Metro Manila,
September 16, 1988.
MARIANO
M. CUNETA
Asst. City
Fiscal
Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea,
petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the
Information on the ground that the facts
charged do not constitute an offense,
particularly a violation of R.A. 4200. In an
order May 3, 1989, the trial court granted
the Motion to Quash, agreeing with
petitioner that 1) the facts charged do not
constitute an offense under R.A. 4200; and
that 2) the violation punished by R.A. 4200
refers to a the taping of a communication
by a person other than a participant to the
communication. 4
From the trial court's Order, the private
respondent filed a Petition for Review on
Certiorari with this Court, which forthwith
referred the case to the Court of Appeals in
a Resolution (by the First Division) of June
19, 1989.
On February 9, 1990, respondent Court of
Appeals promulgated its assailed Decision
declaring the trial court's order of May 3,
1989 null and void, and holding that:
[T]he allegations sufficiently
constitute an offense punishable
under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. In thus
quashing the information based on
the ground that the facts alleged do
not constitute an offense, the
respondent judge acted in grave
abuse of discretion correctible by
certiorari. 5
Consequently, on February 21, 1990,
petitioner filed a Motion for
Reconsideration which respondent Court of
Appeals denied in its Resolution 6 dated
June 19, 1990. Hence, the instant petition.
Petitioner vigorously argues, as her "main
and principal issue" 7 that the applicable
provision of Republic Act 4200 does not
apply to the taping of a private
conversation by one of the parties to the
conversation. She contends that the
provision merely refers to the unauthorized
taping of a private conversation by a party
other than those involved in the
communication. 8 In relation to this,
petitioner avers that the substance or
content of the conversation must be
alleged in the Information, otherwise the
facts charged would not constitute a
violation of R.A. 4200. 9 Finally, petitioner
agues that R.A. 4200 penalizes the taping
of a "private communication," not a "private
conversation" and that consequently, her
act of secretly taping her conversation with
private respondent was not illegal under
the said act. 10
We disagree.
First, legislative intent is determined
principally from the language of a statute.
Where the language of a statute is clear
and unambiguous, the law is applied
according to its express terms, and
interpretation would be resorted to only
where a literal interpretation would be
either impossible 11 or absurb or would
lead to an injustice. 12
Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, " An Act to
Prohibit and Penalized Wire Tapping and
Other Related Violations of Private
Communication and Other Purposes,"
provides:
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawfull for any
person, not being authorized by all
the parties to any private
communication or spoken word, to
tap any wire or cable, or by using
any other device or arrangement, to
secretly overhear, intercept, or
record such communication or
spoken word by using a device
commonly known as a dictaphone or
dictagraph or detectaphone or
walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or
however otherwise described.
The aforestated provision clearly and
unequivocally makes it illegal for any
person, not authorized by all the parties to
any private communication to secretly
record such communication by means of a
tape recorder. The law makes no
distinction as to whether the party sought
to be penalized by the statute ought to be
a party other than or different from those
involved in the private communication. The
statute's intent to penalize all persons
unauthorized to make such recording is
underscored by the use of the qualifier
"any". Consequently, as respondent Court
of Appeals correctly concluded, "even a
(person) privy to a communication who
records his private conversation with
another without the knowledge of the latter
(will) qualify as a violator" 13 under this
provision of R.A. 4200.
A perusal of the Senate Congressional
Records, moreover, supports the
respondent court's conclusion that in
enacting R.A. 4200 our lawmakers indeed
contemplated to make illegal, unauthorized
tape recording of private conversations or
communications taken either by the parties
themselves or by third persons. Thus:
xxx xxx xxx
Senator Tañada: That qualified only
"overhear".
Senator Padilla: So that when it is
intercepted or recorded, the element
of secrecy would not appear to be
material. Now, suppose, Your Honor,
the recording is not made by all the
parties but by some parties and
involved not criminal cases that
would be mentioned under section 3
but would cover, for example civil
cases or special proceedings
whereby a recording is made not
necessarily by all the parties but
perhaps by some in an effort to show
the intent of the parties because the
actuation of the parties prior,
simultaneous even subsequent to
the contract or the act may be
indicative of their intention. Suppose
there is such a recording, would you
say, Your Honor, that the intention is
to cover it within the purview of this
bill or outside?
Senator Tañada: That is covered by
the purview of this bill, Your Honor.
Senator Padilla: Even if the record
should be used not in the
prosecution of offense but as
evidence to be used in Civil Cases or
special proceedings?
Senator Tañada: That is right. This is
a complete ban on tape recorded
conversations taken without the
authorization of all the parties.
Senator Padilla: Now, would that be
reasonable, your Honor?
Senator Tañada: I believe it is
reasonable because it is not sporting
to record the observation of one
without his knowing it and then using
it against him. It is not fair, it is not
sportsmanlike. If the purpose; Your
honor, is to record the intention of
the parties. I believe that all the
parties should know that the
observations are being recorded.
Senator Padilla: This might reduce
the utility of recorders.
Senator Tañada: Well no. For
example, I was to say that in
meetings of the board of directors
where a tape recording is taken,
there is no objection to this if all the
parties know. It is but fair that the
people whose remarks and
observations are being made should
know that the observations are being
recorded.
Senator Padilla: Now, I can
understand.
Senator Tañada: That is why when
we take statements of persons, we
say: "Please be informed that
whatever you say here may be used
against you." That is fairness and
that is what we demand. Now, in
spite of that warning, he makes
damaging statements against his
own interest, well, he cannot
complain any more. But if you are
going to take a recording of the
observations and remarks of a
person without him knowing that it is
being taped or recorded, without him
knowing that what is being recorded
may be used against him, I think it is
unfair.
xxx xxx xxx
(Congression Record, Vol. III, No.
31, p. 584, March 12, 1964)
Senator Diokno: Do you understand,
Mr. Senator, that under Section 1 of
the bill as now worded, if a party
secretly records a public speech, he
would be penalized under Section 1?
Because the speech is public, but
the recording is done secretly.
Senator Tañada: Well, that particular
aspect is not contemplated by the
bill. It is the communication between
one person and another person —
not between a speaker and a public.
xxx xxx xxx
(Congressional Record, Vol. III, No.
33, p. 626, March 12, 1964)
xxx xxx xxx
The unambiguity of the express words of
the provision, taken together with the
above-quoted deliberations from the
Congressional Record, therefore plainly
supports the view held by the respondent
court that the provision seeks to penalize
even those privy to the private
communications. Where the law makes no
distinctions, one does not distinguish.
Second, the nature of the conversations is
immaterial to a violation of the statute. The
substance of the same need not be
specifically alleged in the information. What
R.A. 4200 penalizes are the acts of
secretly overhearing, intercepting or
recording private communications by
means of the devices enumerated therein.
The mere allegation that an individual
made a secret recording of a private
communication by means of a tape
recorder would suffice to constitute an
offense under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. As
the Solicitor General pointed out in his
COMMENT before the respondent court:
"Nowhere (in the said law) is it required
that before one can be regarded as a
violator, the nature of the conversation, as
well as its communication to a third person
should be professed." 14
Finally, petitioner's contention that the
phrase "private communication" in Section
1 of R.A. 4200 does not include "private
conversations" narrows the ordinary
meaning of the word "communication" to a
point of absurdity. The word communicate
comes from the latin word communicare,
meaning "to share or to impart." In its
ordinary signification, communication
connotes the act of sharing or imparting
signification, communication connotes the
act of sharing or imparting, as in a
conversation, 15 or signifies the "process
by which meanings or thoughts are shared
between individuals through a common
system of symbols (as language signs or
gestures)" 16 These definitions are broad
enough to include verbal or non-verbal,
written or expressive communications of
"meanings or thoughts" which are likely to
include the emotionally-charged exchange,
on February 22, 1988, between petitioner
and private respondent, in the privacy of
the latter's office. Any doubts about the
legislative body's meaning of the phrase
"private communication" are, furthermore,
put to rest by the fact that the terms
"conversation" and "communication" were
interchangeably used by Senator Tañada
in his Explanatory Note to the bill quoted
below:
It has been said that innocent people
have nothing to fear from their
conversations being overheard. But
this statement ignores the usual
nature of conversations as well the
undeniable fact that most, if not all,
civilized people have some aspects
of their lives they do not wish to
expose. Free conversations are
often characterized by
exaggerations, obscenity, agreeable
falsehoods, and the expression of
anti-social desires of views not
intended to be taken seriously. The
right to the privacy of
communication, among others, has
expressly been assured by our
Constitution. Needless to state here,
the framers of our Constitution must
have recognized the nature of
conversations between individuals
and the significance of man's
spiritual nature, of his feelings and of
his intellect. They must have known
that part of the pleasures and
satisfactions of life are to be found in
the unaudited, and free exchange of
communication between individuals
— free from every unjustifiable
intrusion by whatever means. 17
In Gaanan vs. Intermediate Appellate
Court, 18 a case which dealt with the issue
of telephone wiretapping, we held that the
use of a telephone extension for the
purpose of overhearing a private
conversation without authorization did not
violate R.A. 4200 because a telephone
extension devise was neither among those
"device(s) or arrangement(s)" enumerated
therein, 19 following the principle that
"penal statutes must be construed strictly
in favor of the accused." 20 The instant
case turns on a different note, because the
applicable facts and circumstances
pointing to a violation of R.A. 4200 suffer
from no ambiguity, and the statute itself
explicitly mentions the unauthorized
"recording" of private communications with
the use of tape-recorders as among the
acts punishable.
WHEREFORE, because the law, as
applied to the case at bench is clear and
unambiguous and leaves us with no
discretion, the instant petition is hereby
DENIED. The decision appealed from is
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-69809 October 16, 1986
EDGARDO A. GAANAN, petitioner,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT
and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


This petition for certiorari asks for an
interpretation of Republic Act (RA) No.
4200, otherwise known as the Anti-
Wiretapping Act, on the issue of whether or
not an extension telephone is among the
prohibited devices in Section 1 of the Act,
such that its use to overhear a private
conversation would constitute unlawful
interception of communications between
the two parties using a telephone line.
The facts presented by the People and
narrated in the respondent court's decision
are not disputed by the petitioner.
In the morning of October 22, 1975,
complainant Atty. Tito Pintor and his
client Manuel Montebon were in the
living room of complainant's
residence discussing the terms for
the withdrawal of the complaint for
direct assault which they filed with
the Office of the City Fiscal of Cebu
against Leonardo Laconico. After
they had decided on the proposed
conditions, complainant made a
telephone call to Laconico (tsn,
August 26, 1981, pp. 3-5).
That same morning, Laconico
telephoned appellant, who is a
lawyer, to come to his office and
advise him on the settlement of the
direct assault case because his
regular lawyer, Atty. Leon Gonzaga,
went on a business trip. According to
the request, appellant went to the
office of Laconico where he was
briefed about the problem. (Exhibit
'D', tsn, April 22, 1982, pp. 4-5).
When complainant called up,
Laconico requested appellant to
secretly listen to the telephone
conversation through a telephone
extension so as to hear personally
the proposed conditions for the
settlement. Appellant heard
complainant enumerate the following
conditions for withdrawal of the
complaint for direct assault.
(a) the P5,000.00 was no longer
acceptable, and that the figure had
been increased to P8,000.00. A
breakdown of the P8,000.00 had
been made together with other
demands, to wit: (a) P5,000.00 no
longer for the teacher Manuel
Montebon, but for Atty. Pintor himself
in persuading his client to withdraw
the case for Direct Assault against
Atty. Laconico before the Cebu City
Fiscal's Office;
(b) Public apology to be made by
Atty. Laconico before the students of
Don Bosco Technical High School;
(c) Pl,000.00 to be given to the Don
Bosco Faculty club;
(d) transfer of son of Atty. Laconico
to another school or another section
of Don Bosco Technical High School;
(e) Affidavit of desistance by Atty.
Laconico on the Maltreatment case
earlier filed against Manuel
Montebon at the Cebu City Fiscal's
Office, whereas Montebon's affidavit
of desistance on the Direct Assault
Case against Atty. Laconico to be
filed later;
(f) Allow Manuel Montebon to
continue teaching at the Don Bosco
Technical School;
(g) Not to divulge the truth about the
settlement of the Direct Assault Case
to the mass media;
(h) P2,000.00 attorney s fees for
Atty. Pintor. (tsn, August 26, 1981,
pp. 47-48).
Twenty minutes later, complainant
called up again to ask Laconico if he
was agreeable to the conditions.
Laconico answered 'Yes'.
Complainant then told Laconico to
wait for instructions on where to
deliver the money. (tsn, March 10,
1983, pp. 2-12).
Complainant called up again and
instructed Laconico to give the
money to his wife at the office of the
then Department of Public Highways.
Laconico who earlier alerted his
friend Colonel Zulueta of the
Criminal Investigation Service of the
Philippine Constabulary, insisted that
complainant himself should receive
the money. (tsn, March 10, 1982, pp.
26-33). When he received the money
at the Igloo Restaurant, complainant
was arrested by agents of the
Philippine Constabulary.
Appellant executed on the following
day an affidavit stating that he heard
complainant demand P8,000.00 for
the withdrawal of the case for direct
assault. Laconico attached the
affidavit of appellant to the
complainant for robbery/extortion
which he filed against complainant.
Since appellant listened to the
telephone conversation without
complainant's consent, complainant
charged appellant and Laconico with
violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Act.
After trial on the merits, the lower court, in
a decision dated November 22, 1982,
found both Gaanan and Laconico guilty of
violating Section 1 of Republic Act No.
4200. The two were each sentenced to one
(1) year imprisonment with costs. Not
satisfied with the decision, the petitioner
appealed to the appellate court.
On August 16, 1984, the Intermediate
Appellate Court affirmed the decision of the
trial court, holding that the communication
between the complainant and accused
Laconico was private in nature and,
therefore, covered by Rep. Act No. 4200;
that the petitioner overheard such
communication without the knowledge and
consent of the complainant; and that the
extension telephone which was used by
the petitioner to overhear the telephone
conversation between complainant and
Laconico is covered in the term "device' as
provided in Rep. Act No. 4200.
In this petition for certiorari, the petitioner
assails the decision of the appellate court
and raises the following issues; (a) whether
or not the telephone conversation between
the complainant and accused Laconico
was private in nature; (b) whether or not an
extension telephone is covered by the term
"device or arrangement" under Rep. Act
No. 4200; (c) whether or not the petitioner
had authority to listen or overhear said
telephone conversation and (d) whether or
not Rep. Act No. 4200 is ambiguous and,
therefore, should be construed in favor of
the petitioner.
Section 1 of Rep. Act No. 4200 provides:
Section 1. It shall be unlawful for any
person, not being authorized by all
the parties to any private
communication or spoken word, to
tap any wire or cable or by using any
other device or arrangement, to
secretly overhear, intercept, or
record such communication or
spoken word by using a device
commonly known as a dictaphone or
dictagraph or detectaphone or
walkie-talkie or tape-recorder, or
however otherwise described:
It shall be unlawful for any person,
be he a participant or not in the act
or acts penalized in the next
preceeding sentence, to knowingly
possess any tape record, wire
record, disc record, or any other
such record, or copies thereof, of
any communication or spoken word
secured either before or after the
effective date of this Act in the
manner prohibited by this law; or to
replay the same for any other person
or persons; or to communicate the
contents thereof, either verbally or in
writing, or to furnish transcriptions
thereof, whether complete or partial,
to any other person: Provided, that
the use of such record or any copies
thereof as evidence in any civil,
criminal investigation or trial of
offenses mentioned in Section 3
hereof, shall not be covered by this
prohibition.
We rule for the petitioner.
We are confronted in this case with the
interpretation of a penal statute and not a
rule of evidence. The issue is not the
admissibility of evidence secured over an
extension line of a telephone by a third
party. The issue is whether or not the
person called over the telephone and his
lawyer listening to the conversation on an
extension line should both face prison
sentences simply because the extension
was used to enable them to both listen to
an alleged attempt at extortion.
There is no question that the telephone
conversation between complainant Atty.
Pintor and accused Atty. Laconico was
"private" in the sense that the words
uttered were made between one person
and another as distinguished from words
between a speaker and a public. It is also
undisputed that only one of the parties
gave the petitioner the authority to listen to
and overhear the caller's message with the
use of an extension telephone line.
Obviously, complainant Pintor, a member
of the Philippine bar, would not have
discussed the alleged demand for an
P8,000.00 consideration in order to have
his client withdraw a direct assault charge
against Atty. Laconico filed with the Cebu
City Fiscal's Office if he knew that another
lawyer was also listening. We have to
consider, however, that affirmance of the
criminal conviction would, in effect, mean
that a caller by merely using a telephone
line can force the listener to secrecy no
matter how obscene, criminal, or annoying
the call may be. It would be the word of the
caller against the listener's.
Because of technical problems caused by
the sensitive nature of electronic
equipment and the extra heavy loads
which telephone cables are made to carry
in certain areas, telephone users often
encounter what are called "crossed lines".
An unwary citizzen who happens to pick up
his telephone and who overhears the
details of a crime might hesitate to inform
police authorities if he knows that he could
be accused under Rep. Act 4200 of using
his own telephone to secretly overhear the
private communications of the would be
criminals. Surely the law was never
intended for such mischievous results.
The main issue in the resolution of this
petition, however, revolves around the
meaning of the phrase "any other device or
arrangement." Is an extension of a
telephone unit such a device or
arrangement as would subject the user to
imprisonment ranging from six months to
six years with the accessory penalty of
perpetual absolute disqualification for a
public officer or deportation for an alien?
Private secretaries with extension lines to
their bosses' telephones are sometimes
asked to use answering or recording
devices to record business conversations
between a boss and another businessman.
Would transcribing a recorded message for
the use of the boss be a proscribed
offense? or for that matter, would a "party
line" be a device or arrangement under the
law?
The petitioner contends that telephones or
extension telephones are not included in
the enumeration of "commonly known"
listening or recording devices, nor do they
belong to the same class of enumerated
electronic devices contemplated by law. He
maintains that in 1964, when Senate Bill
No. 9 (later Rep. Act No. 4200) was being
considered in the Senate, telephones and
extension telephones were already widely
used instruments, probably the most
popularly known communication device.
Whether or not listening over a telephone
party line would be punishable was
discussed on the floor of the Senate. Yet,
when the bill was finalized into a statute,
no mention was made of telephones in the
enumeration of devices "commonly known
as a dictaphone or dictagraph,
detectaphone or walkie talkie or tape
recorder or however otherwise described."
The omission was not a mere oversight.
Telephone party lines were intentionally
deleted from the provisions of the Act.
The respondent People argue that an
extension telephone is embraced and
covered by the term "device" within the
context of the aforementioned law because
it is not a part or portion of a complete set
of a telephone apparatus. It is a separate
device and distinct set of a movable
apparatus consisting of a wire and a set of
telephone receiver not forming part of a
main telephone set which can be detached
or removed and can be transferred away
from one place to another and to be
plugged or attached to a main telephone
line to get the desired communication
corning from the other party or end.
The law refers to a "tap" of a wire or cable
or the use of a "device or arrangement" for
the purpose of secretly overhearing,
intercepting, or recording the
communication. There must be either a
physical interruption through a wiretap or
the deliberate installation of a device or
arrangement in order to overhear,
intercept, or record the spoken words.
An extension telephone cannot be placed
in the same category as a dictaphone,
dictagraph or the other devices
enumerated in Section 1 of RA No. 4200
as the use thereof cannot be considered
as "tapping" the wire or cable of a
telephone line. The telephone extension in
this case was not installed for that purpose.
It just happened to be there for ordinary
office use. It is a rule in statutory
construction that in order to determine the
true intent of the legislature, the particular
clauses and phrases of the statute should
not be taken as detached and isolated
expressions, but the whole and every part
thereof must be considered in fixing the
meaning of any of its parts. (see
Commissioner of Customs v. Esso
Estandard Eastern, Inc., 66 SCRA
113,120).
In the case of Empire Insurance Com any
v. Rufino (90 SCRA 437, 443-444), we
ruled:
Likewise, Article 1372 of the Civil
Code stipulates that 'however
general the terms of a contract may
be, they shall not be understood to
comprehend things that are distinct
and cases that are different from
those upon which the parties
intended to agree.' Similarly, Article
1374 of the same Code provides that
'the various stipulations of a contract
shall be interpreted together,
attributing to the doubtful ones that
sense which may result from all of
them taken jointly.
xxx xxx xxx
Consequently, the phrase 'all
liabilities or obligations of the
decedent' used in paragraph 5(c)
and 7(d) should be then restricted
only to those listed in the Inventory
and should not be construed as to
comprehend all other obligations of
the decedent. The rule that
'particularization followed by a
general expression will ordinarily be
restricted to the former' is based on
the fact in human experience that
usually the minds of parties are
addressed specially to the
particularization, and that the
generalities, though broad enough to
comprehend other fields if they stood
alone, are used in contemplation of
that upon which the minds of the
parties are centered. (Hoffman v.
Eastern Wisconsin R., etc., Co., 134
Wis. 603, 607, 115 NW 383, cited in
Francisco, Revised Rules of Court
(Evidence), 1973 ed, pp. 180-181).
Hence, the phrase "device or arrangement"
in Section 1 of RA No. 4200, although not
exclusive to that enumerated therein,
should be construed to comprehend
instruments of the same or similar nature,
that is, instruments the use of which would
be tantamount to tapping the main line of a
telephone. It refers to instruments whose
installation or presence cannot be
presumed by the party or parties being
overheard because, by their very nature,
they are not of common usage and their
purpose is precisely for tapping,
intercepting or recording a telephone
conversation.
An extension telephone is an instrument
which is very common especially now
when the extended unit does not have to
be connected by wire to the main
telephone but can be moved from place ' to
place within a radius of a kilometer or
more. A person should safely presume that
the party he is calling at the other end of
the line probably has an extension
telephone and he runs the risk of a third
party listening as in the case of a party line
or a telephone unit which shares its line
with another. As was held in the case of
Rathbun v. United States (355, U.S. 107, 2
L Ed 2d 137-138):
Common experience tells us that a
call to a particular telephone number
may cause the bell to ring in more
than one ordinarily used instrument.
Each party to a telephone
conversation takes the risk that the
other party may have an extension
telephone and may allow another to
overhear the conversation. When
such takes place there has been no
violation of any privacy of which the
parties may complain. Consequently,
one element of 605, interception, has
not occurred.
In the same case, the Court further ruled
that the conduct of the party would differ in
no way if instead of repeating the message
he held out his hand-set so that another
could hear out of it and that there is no
distinction between that sort of action and
permitting an outsider to use an extension
telephone for the same purpose.
Furthermore, it is a general rule that penal
statutes must be construed strictly in favor
of the accused. Thus, in case of doubt as
in the case at bar, on whether or not an
extension telephone is included in the
phrase "device or arrangement", the penal
statute must be construed as not including
an extension telephone. In the case of
People v. Purisima, 86 SCRA 542, 562, we
explained the rationale behind the rule:
American jurisprudence sets down
the reason for this rule to be the
tenderness of the law of the rights of
individuals; the object is to establish
a certain rule by conformity to which
mankind would be safe, and the
discretion of the court limited.
(United States v. Harris, 177 US 305,
44 L Ed 780, 20 S Ct 609; Braffith v.
Virgin Islands (CA3) 26 F2d 646;
Caudill v. State, 224 Ind 531, 69
NE2d; Jennings v. Commonwealth,
109 VA 821,63 SE 1080, all cited in
73 Am Jur 2d 452). The purpose is
not to enable a guilty person to
escape punishment through a
technicality but to provide a precise
definition of forbidden acts." (State v.
Zazzaro, 20 A 2d 737, quoted in
Martin's Handbook on Statutory
Construction, Rev. Ed. pp. 183-184).
In the same case of Purisima, we also
ruled that on the construction or
interpretation of a legislative measure, the
primary rule is to search for and determine
the intent and spirit of the law. A perusal of
the Senate Congressional Records will
show that not only did our lawmakers not
contemplate the inclusion of an extension
telephone as a prohibited device or
arrangement" but of greater importance,
they were more concerned with penalizing
the act of recording than the act of merely
listening to a telephone conversation.
xxx xxx xxx
Senator Tañada. Another
possible objection to that is
entrapment which is certainly
objectionable. It is made
possible by special
amendment which Your Honor
may introduce.
Senator Diokno.Your Honor, I
would feel that entrapment
would be less possible with the
amendment than without it,
because with the amendment
the evidence of entrapment
would only consist of
government testimony as
against the testimony of the
defendant. With this
amendment, they would have
the right, and the government
officials and the person in fact
would have the right to tape
record their conversation.
Senator Tañada. In case of
entrapment, it would be the
government.
Senator Diokno. In the same
way, under this provision,
neither party could record and,
therefore, the court would be
limited to saying: "Okay, who is
more credible, the police
officers or the defendant?" In
these cases, as experienced
lawyers, we know that the
Court go with the peace
offices.
(Congressional Record, Vol.
111, No. 33, p. 628, March 12,
1964).
xxx xxx xxx
Senator Diokno. The point I
have in mind is that under
these conditions, with an agent
outside listening in, he could
falsify the testimony and there
is no way of checking it. But if
you allow him to record or
make a recording in any form
of what is happening, then the
chances of falsifying the
evidence is not very much.
Senator Tañada. Your Honor,
this bill is not intended to
prevent the presentation of
false testimony. If we could
devise a way by which we
could prevent the presentation
of false testimony, it would be
wonderful. But what this bill
intends to prohibit is the use of
tape record and other
electronic devices to intercept
private conversations which
later on will be used in court.
(Congressional Record, Vol.
III, No. 33, March 12, 1964, p.
629).
It can be readily seen that our lawmakers
intended to discourage, through
punishment, persons such as government
authorities or representatives of organized
groups from installing devices in order to
gather evidence for use in court or to
intimidate, blackmail or gain some
unwarranted advantage over the telephone
users. Consequently, the mere act of
listening, in order to be punishable must
strictly be with the use of the enumerated
devices in RA No. 4200 or others of similar
nature. We are of the view that an
extension telephone is not among such
devices or arrangements.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED.
The decision of the then Intermediate
Appellate Court dated August 16, 1984 is
ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The
petitioner is hereby ACQUITTED of the
crime of violation of Rep. Act No. 4200,
otherwise known as the Anti-Wiretapping
Act.
SO ORDERED.

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 4200

AN ACT TO PROHIBIT AND


PENALIZE WIRE TAPPING AND
OTHER RELATED VIOLATIONS
OF THE PRIVACY OF
COMMUNICATION, AND FOR
OTHER PURPOSES
Section 1. It shall be unlawful for
any person, not being authorized
by all the parties to any private
communication or spoken word,
to tap any wire or cable, or by
using any other device or
arrangement, to secretly
overhear, intercept, or record
such communication or spoken
word by using a device commonly
known as a dictaphone or
dictagraph or detectaphone or
walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or
however otherwise described:
It shall also be unlawful for any
person, be he a participant or not
in the act or acts penalized in the
next preceding sentence, to
knowingly possess any tape
record, wire record, disc record,
or any other such record, or
copies thereof, of any
communication or spoken word
secured either before or after the
effective date of this Act in the
manner prohibited by this law; or
to replay the same for any other
person or persons; or to
communicate the contents
thereof, either verbally or in
writing, or to furnish
transcriptions thereof, whether
complete or partial, to any other
person: Provided, That the use of
such record or any copies thereof
as evidence in any civil, criminal
investigation or trial of offenses
mentioned in Sec. 3 hereof, shall
not be covered by this
prohibition.
Sec. 2. Any person who wilfully or
knowingly does or who shall aid,
permit, or cause to be done any
of the acts declared to be
unlawful in the preceding Sec. or
who violates the provisions of the
following Sec. or of any order
issued thereunder, or aids,
permits, or causes such violation
shall, upon conviction thereof, be
punished by imprisonment for
not less than six months or more
than six years and with the
accessory penalty of perpetual
absolute disqualification from
public office if the offender be a
public official at the time of the
commission of the offense, and, if
the offender is an alien he shall
be subject to deportation
proceedings. chan robles
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Sec. 3. Nothing contained in this
Act, however, shall render it
unlawful or punishable for any
peace officer, who is authorized
by a written order of the Court,
to execute any of the acts
declared to be unlawful in the two
preceding Sec.s in cases involving
the crimes of treason, espionage,
provoking war and disloyalty in
case of war, piracy, mutiny in the
high seas, rebellion, conspiracy
and proposal to commit rebellion,
inciting to rebellion, sedition,
conspiracy to commit sedition,
inciting to sedition, kidnapping
as defined by the Revised Penal Code, and
violations of Commonwealth Act
No. 616, punishing espionage and
other offenses against national
security: Provided, That such
written order shall only be issued
or granted upon written
application and the examination
under oath or affirmation of the
applicant and the witnesses he
may produce and a showing: (1)
that there are reasonable grounds
to believe that any of the crimes
enumerated hereinabove has been
committed or is being committed
or is about to be committed:
Provided, however, That in cases
involving the offenses of
rebellion, conspiracy and
proposal to commit rebellion,
inciting to rebellion, sedition,
conspiracy to commit sedition,
and inciting to sedition, such
authority shall be granted only
upon prior proof that a rebellion
or acts of sedition, as the case
may be, have actually been or are
being committed; (2) that there
are reasonable grounds to believe
that evidence will be obtained
essential to the conviction of any
person for, or to the solution of,
or to the prevention of, any such
crimes; and (3) that there are no
other means readily available for
obtaining such evidence. chan
robles virtual law library
The order granted or issued shall
specify: (1) the identity of the
person or persons whose
communications, conversations,
discussions, or spoken words are
to be overheard, intercepted, or
recorded and, in the case of
telegraphic or telephonic
communications, the telegraph
line or the telephone number
involved and its location; (2) the
identity of the peace officer
authorized to overhear, intercept,
or record the communications,
conversations, discussions, or
spoken words; (3) the offense or
offenses committed or sought to
be prevented; and (4) the period
of the authorization. The
authorization shall be effective
for the period specified in the
order which shall not exceed
sixty (60) days from the date of
issuance of the order, unless
extended or renewed by the court
upon being satisfied that such
extension or renewal is in the
public interest.
All recordings made under court
authorization shall, within forty-
eight hours after the expiration
of the period fixed in the order,
be deposited with the court in a
sealed envelope or sealed
package, and shall be
accompanied by an affidavit of
the peace officer granted such
authority stating the number of
recordings made, the dates and
times covered by each recording,
the number of tapes, discs, or
records included in the deposit,
and certifying that no duplicates
or copies of the whole or any part
thereof have been made, or if
made, that all such duplicates or
copies are included in the
envelope or package deposited
with the court. The envelope or
package so deposited shall not be
opened, or the recordings
replayed, or used in evidence, or
their contents revealed, except
upon order of the court, which
shall not be granted except upon
motion, with due notice and
opportunity to be heard to the
person or persons whose
conversation or communications
have been recorded. chan robles
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The court referred to in this Sec.
shall be understood to mean the
Court of First Instance within
whose territorial jurisdiction the
acts for which authority is
applied for are to be executed.
Sec. 4. Any communication or
spoken word, or the existence,
contents, substance, purport,
effect, or meaning of the same or
any part thereof, or any
information therein contained
obtained or secured by any
person in violation of the
preceding Sec.s of this Act shall
not be admissible in evidence in
any judicial, quasi-judicial,
legislative or administrative
hearing or investigation.
Sec. 5. All laws inconsistent with
the provisions of this Act are
hereby repealed or accordingly
amended. chan robles virtual
law library
Sec. 6. This Act shall take effect
upon its approval.
Approved: June 19, 1965