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32. (GR No. 180906, The Secretary of National Defense v.

Manalo, October 7, 2008)

Brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo were abducted by military men belonging to the CAFGU on the suspicion that they
were members and supporters of the NPA. After 18 months of detention and torture, the brothers escaped on August 13, 2007.

Ten days after their escape, they filed a Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order to stop the military
officers and agents from depriving them of their right to liberty and other basic rights. While the said case was pending, the Rule
on the Writ of Amparo took effect on October 24, 2007. The Manalos subsequently filed a manifestation and omnibus motion to
treat their existing petition as amparo petition.

On December 26, 2007, the Court of Appeals granted the privilege of the writ of amparo. The CA ordered the Secretary of
National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the AFP to furnish the Manalos and the court with all official and unofficial investigation
reports as to the Manalos’ custody, confirm the present places of official assignment of two military officials involved, and
produce all medical reports and records of the Manalo brothers while under military custody. The Secretary of National Defense
and the Chief of Staff of the AFP appealed to the SC seeking to reverse and set aside the decision promulgated by the CA.

HELD: In upholding the CA decision, the Supreme Court ruled that there is a continuing violation of the Manalos right to security.
xxx The Writ of Amparo is the most potent remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security has been
violated or is threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission by public officials or employees and by private
individuals or entities. xxx Understandably, since their escape, the Manalos have been under concealment and protection by
private citizens because of the threat to their life, liberty, and security. The circumstances of respondents’ abduction, detention,
torture and escape reasonably support a conclusion that there is an apparent threat that they will again be abducted,
tortured, and this time, even executed. These constitute threats to their liberty, security, and life, actionable through a petition
for a writ of amparo,” the Court explained. (GR No. 180906, The Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo, October 7, 2008)
Distinguish the production order under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo from a search warrant:
The production order under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo should not be confused with a search warrant for law enforcement
under Art. III, sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution. It said that the production order should be likened to the production of documents
or things under sec. 1, Rule 27 of the Rules of Civil Procedure which states that “upon motion of any party showing good cause
therefor, the court in which an action is pending may (a) order any party to produce and permit the inspection and copying or
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photographing, by or on behalf of the moving party, of any designated documents, papers, books of accounts, letters,
photographs, objects or tangible things, not privileged, which constitute or contain evidence material to any matter involved in
the action and which are in his possession, custody or control.”
Of Mexican origin, the writ of Amparo (“Amparo” literally means “protection” in Spanish) is a remedy available to any person
whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official
or employee, or of a private individual or entity. The writ covers extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats
thereof.
The governing law on petitions for and the issuance of a writ of Amparo is found in The Rule on the Writ of Amparo (A.M. No. 07-
9-12-SC), which was promulgated by the Supreme Court on October 24, 2007.

The writ of Amparo provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a summary proceeding that requires only substantial evidence
-- such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. It is not an action to
determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring preponderance of
evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.
The writ serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the commission of these offenses; it is curative in
that it facilitates the subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads to subsequent investigation and
action. In the long run, the goal of both the preventive and curative roles is to deter the further commission of extralegal killings
and enforced disappearances. (The Secretary of National Defense v. Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, G.R. No. 180906, 7
October 2008)

The Amparo petition may be filed on any day and at any time with the Regional Trial Court of the place where the threat, act,
or omission was committed or any of its elements occurred, or with the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Appeals, the Supreme
Court, or any justice of such courts. There are no docket and other lawful fees for the petition.

Upon filing of the petition or at any time before final judgment, the court, justice or judge may grant a Temporary Protection
Order, Inspection Order, Production Order, or Witness Protection Order.

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33. Reverend Father ROBERT P. REYES, vs. RAUL M. GONZALEZ et. al.

FACTS: Petitioner, Rev. Reyes was among those arrested in the Manila Peninsula Hotel siege on November 2007 and together
with fifty (50) others, they were brought to Camp Crame to await inquest proceedings. On December 2007, a Hold Departure
Order List was issued ordering the Immigration to include the name of petitioner and 49 others for the alleged crime of
Rebellion, in the interest of national security and public safety.
Petitioner’s counsel wrote the DOJ Secretary requesting the lifting of HDO, in view of the dismissal of his client’s criminal case on
rebellion. That, the DOJ Secretary has not acted on their request, petitioner then next recourse was for the availment of the writ
of amparo because of his alleged continued restraint of right to travel.

ISSUE: Whether petitioner’s right to liberty has been violated or threatened with violation by the issuance of the HDO, which
would entitle him to the privilege of the writ of amparo.

HELD: No. The right to travel refers to the right to move from one place to another. Here, the restriction on petitioner’s right to
travel as a consequence of the pendency of the criminal case filed against him was not unlawful. Petitioner has also failed to
establish that his right to travel was impaired in the manner and to the extent that it amounted to a serious violation of his right
to life, liberty and security, for which there exists no readily available legal recourse or remedy. The writ of amparo was originally
conceived as a response to the extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced disappearances, and to the perceived
lack of available and effective remedies to address these extraordinary concerns. Where, as in this case, there is no clear
showing that the right to life, liberty or security of the petitioner is immediately in danger or threatened, or that the danger or
threat is continuing. Petitioner’s apprehension is at best merely speculative.

33.a In the matter of petition consolidated cases: (1) Petition for Partial Review on Certiorari (2) Petition for Review on Certiorari
(Noriel Rodriguez) WHEREFORE, the petition for writ of amparo and writ of habeas data is GRANTED.

Respondents are ORDERED to furnish this Court within five (5) days from notice of this decision, official or unofficial
reports pertaining to petitioner covering but not limited to intelligence reports, operation reports and provost

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marshal reports prior to, during and subsequent to September 6, 2009 made by the 5 th Infantry Division, Philippine
Army, its branches and subsidiaries, including the 17th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army.

The above-named respondents are also DIRECTED to refrain from using the said reports in any transaction
or operation of the military. Necessarily, the afore-named respondents are ORDERED to expunge from the records
of the military all documents having any reference to petitioner.

Likewise, the afore-named respondents, as well as respondents Police Director General Jesus Ame Versoza,
Antonio Cruz, Aldwin Pasicolan and Vicente Callagan are DIRECTED to ensure that no further violation of petitioners
rights to life, liberty and security is committed against the latter or any member of his family.

The petition is DISMISSED with respect to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on account of her
presidential immunity from suit. Similarly, the petition is DISMISSED with respect to respondents Calog and George
Palacpac or Harry for lack of merit.

Petitioners prayer for issuance of a temporary protection order and inspection order is DENIED.

Noriel Rodriguez (Rodriguez) is petitioner in G.R. No. 191805 and respondent in G.R. No. 193160. He is a member
of Alyansa Dagiti Mannalon Iti Cagayan (Kagimungan), a peasant organization affiliated with Kilusang Magbubukid ng
Pilipinas (KMP).

Rodriguez claims that the military tagged KMP as an enemy of the State under the Oplan Bantay Laya, making its
members targets of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.[2]

On 6 September 2009, at 5:00 p.m., Rodriguez had just reached Barangay Tapel, Cagayan onboard a tricycle driven by Hermie
Antonio Carlos (Carlos), when four men forcibly took him and forced him into a car. Inside the vehicle were several men in civilian
clothes, one of whom was holding a .45 caliber pistol. Subsequently, three more persons arrived, and one of them carried a gun
at his side. Two men boarded the car, while the others rode on the tricycle.[3]
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The men tied the hands of Rodriguez, ordered him to lie on his stomach, sat on his back and started punching him. The car
travelled towards the direction of Sta. Teresita-Mission and moved around the area until about 2:00 a.m. During the drive, the
men forced Rodriguez to confess to being a member of the New Peoples Army (NPA), but he remained silent. The car then
entered a place that appeared to be a military camp. There were soldiers all over the area, and there was a banner with the
word Bravo written on it. Rodriguez later on learned that the camp belonged to the 17th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.[4]

On 7 December 2009, Rodriguez filed before this Court a Petition for the Writ of Amparo and Petition for the Writ of Habeas
Data with Prayers for Protection Orders, Inspection of Place, and Production of Documents and Personal Properties dated 2
December 2009. The petition prayed for the following reliefs:

a. The issuance of the writ of amparo ordering respondents to desist from violating Rodriguezs right to life, liberty and security.

b. The issuance of an order to enjoin respondents from doing harm to or approaching Rodriguez, his family and his witnesses.

c. Allowing the inspection of the detention areas of the Headquarters of Bravo Co., 5th Infantry Division, Maguing, Gonzaga,
Cagayan and another place near where Rodriguez was brought.

d. Ordering respondents to produce documents submitted to them regarding any report on Rodriguez, including operation
reports and
provost marshall reports of the 5th Infantry Division, the Special Operations Group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP), prior to, on and subsequent to 6 September 2009.

e. Ordering records pertinent or in any way connected to Rodriguez, which are in the custody of respondents, to be
expunged, disabused, and forever barred from being used.[27]

On 15 December 2009, we granted the respective writs after finding that the petition sufficiently alleged that Rodriguez
had been abducted, tortured and later released by members of the 17th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.[28] We likewise
ordered respondents therein to file a verified return on the writs on or before 22 December 2009 and to comment on the petition
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on or before 4 January 2010.[29] Finally, we directed the Court of Appeals to hear the petition on 4 January 2010 and decide on
the case within 10 days after its submission for decision.[30]

In their Return, respondents therein alleged that Rodriguez had surrendered to the military on 28 May 2009 after he had been put
under surveillance and identified as Ka Pepito by former rebels.[33] According to his military handlers, Rodriguez was a former
member of the NPA operating in Cagayan Valley.[34] Wanting to bolt from the NPA, he told Cpl. Cabaccan and Cpl. Navarro
that he would help the military in exchange for his protection.[35]

Upon his voluntary surrender on 28 May 2009, Rodriguez was made to sign an Oath of Loyalty and an Agents
Agreement/Contract, showing his willingness to return to society and become a military asset. [36] Since then, he acted as a
double agent, returning to the NPA to gather information. [37] However, he feared that his NPA comrades were beginning to
suspect him of being an infiltrator.[38] Thus, with his knowledge and consent, the soldiers planned to stage a sham abduction to
erase any suspicion about him being a double agent.[39] Hence, the abduction subject of the instant petition was conducted.[40]

Meanwhile, Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan filed a Consolidated Return of the Writ dated 15 January 2010,[41] alleging that they had
exercised extraordinary diligence in locating Rodriguez, facilitating his safe turnover to his family and securing their journey back
home to Manila. More specifically, they alleged that, on 16 September 2009, after Wilma sought their assistance in ascertaining the
whereabouts of her son, Cruz made phone calls to the military and law enforcement agencies to determine his location.[42] Cruz
was able to speak with Lt. Col. Mina, who confirmed that Rodriguez was in their custody.[43] This information was transmitted to CHR
Regional Director Atty. Jimmy P. Baliga. He, in turn, ordered Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan to accompany Wilma to the 17th Infantry
Division.[44]

When the CHR officers, along with Wilma and Rodel, arrived at the 17 th Infantry Battalion at Masin, Alcala, Cagayan,
Brigade Commander Col. de Vera and Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Mina alleged that Rodriguez had become one of their
assets, as evidenced by the Summary on the Surrender of Noriel Rodriguez and the latters Contract as Agent. [45] The CHR officers
observed his casual and cordial demeanor with the soldiers.[46] In any case, Cruz asked him to raise his shirt to see if he had been
subjected to any maltreatment. Cruz and Pasicolan did not see any traces of torture. Thereafter, Rodriguez was released to his

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family, and they were made to sign a certification to this effect. During the signing of the document, herein CHR officers did not
witness any threat, intimidation or force employed against Rodriguez or his family. [47]

During their journey back to the home of Rodriguez, the CHR officers observed that he was very much at ease with his
military escorts, especially with 1st Lt. Matutina.[48] Neither was there any force or intimidation when the soldiers took pictures of his
house, as the taking of photographs was performed with Wilmas consent.[49]

During the hearing on 27 January 2010, the parties agreed to file additional affidavits and position papers and to have
the case considered submitted for decision after the filing of these pleadings.[50]

Before the Court of Appeals could resolve this Motion for Reconsideration, Rodriguez filed the instant Petition for Partial Review on
Certiorari (G.R. No. 191805), raising the following assignment of errors:

a. The Court of Appeals erred in not granting the Interim Relief for temporary protection order.

b. The Court of Appeals erred in saying: (H)owever, given the nature of the writ of amparo, which has the
effect of enjoining the commission by respondents of violation to petitioners right to life, liberty and security, the
safety of petitioner is ensured with the issuance of the writ, even in the absence of an order preventing respondent
from approaching petitioner.

c. The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that respondent Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had command
responsibility.[53]

On the other hand, respondents therein, in their Comment dated 30 July 2010, averred:

a. The Court of Appeals properly dropped then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as a party-
respondent, as she may not be sued in any case during her tenure of office or actual incumbency.

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b. Petitioner had not presented any adequate and competent evidence, much less substantial
evidence, to establish his claim that public respondents had violated, were violating or threatening to violate his
rights to life, liberty and security, as well as his right to privacy. Hence, he was not entitled to the privilege of the
writs of amparo and habeas data or to the corresponding interim reliefs (i.e. inspection order, production order
and temporary protection order) provided under the rule on the writ of amparo and the rule on the writ of habeas
data.[54]

a Petition for Review on Certiorari, seeking the reversal of the 12 April 2010 Decision of the Court of Appeals.[55] They
alleged that Rodriguez

Has not presented any adequate and competent evidence, must less substantial evidence, to establish
his claim that petitioners have violated, are violating or threatening with violation his rights to life, liberty and security,
as well as his right to privacy; hence, he is not entitled to the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data and
their corresponding interim reliefs (i.e., inspection order, production order and temporary protection order)
provided under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo and the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data.[56]

ISSUES

I. Whether the interim reliefs prayed for by Rodriguez may be granted after the writs of amparo and habeas
data have already been issued in his favor.

II. Whether former President Arroyo should be dropped as a respondent on the basis of the presidential immunity from suit.

III. Whether the doctrine of command responsibility can be used in amparo and habeas data cases.

IV. Whether the rights to life, liberty and property of Rodriguez were violated or threatened by respondents in G.R. No.
191805.

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At the outset, it must be emphasized that the writs of amparo and habeas data were promulgated to ensure the
protection of the peoples rights to life, liberty and security.[57] The rules on these writs were issued in light of the alarming
prevalence of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.[58] The Rule on the Writ of Amparo took effect on 24 October
2007,[59] and the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data on 2 February 2008.[60]

Meanwhile, the writ of habeas data provides a judicial remedy to protect a persons right to control information
regarding oneself, particularly in instances where such information is being collected through unlawful means in order to achieve
unlawful ends.[65] As an independent and summary remedy to protect the right to privacy especially the right to informational
privacy[66] the proceedings for the issuance of the writ of habeas data does not entail any finding of criminal, civil or
administrative culpability. If the allegations in the petition are proven through substantial evidence, then the Court may (a) grant
access to the database or information; (b) enjoin the act complained of; or (c) in case the database or information contains
erroneous data or information, order its deletion, destruction or rectification.[67]

First issue: Grant of interim reliefs

In the petition in G.R. No. 191805, Rodriguez prays for the issuance of a temporary protection order. It must be
underscored that this interim relief is only available before final judgment. Section 14 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo clearly
provides:

Interim Reliefs. Upon filing of the petition or at anytime before final judgment, the court, justice or judge
may grant any of the following reliefs:

Temporary Protection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon motion or motu proprio, may order that the
petitioner or the aggrieved party and any member of the immediate family be protected in a government agency
or by an accredited person or private institution capable of keeping and securing their safety. If the petitioner is an
organization, association or institution referred to in Section 3(c) of this Rule, the protection may be extended to
the officers involved.

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The Supreme Court shall accredit the persons and private institutions that shall extend temporary
protection to the petitioner or the aggrieved party and any member of the immediate family, in accordance with
guidelines which it shall issue.

The accredited persons and private institutions shall comply with the rules and conditions that may be
imposed by the court, justice or judge.

(a) Inspection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon verified motion and after due hearing, may
order any person in possession or control of a designated land or other property, to permit entry for the purpose of
inspecting, measuring, surveying, or photographing the property or any relevant object or operation thereon.

The motion shall state in detail the place or places to be inspected. It shall be supported by affidavits or
testimonies of witnesses having personal knowledge of the enforced disappearance or whereabouts of the
aggrieved party.

If the motion is opposed on the ground of national security or of the privileged nature of the information,
the court, justice or judge may conduct a hearing in chambers to determine the merit of the opposition.

The movant must show that the inspection order is necessary to establish the right of the aggrieved party
alleged to be threatened or violated.

The inspection order shall specify the person or persons authorized to make the inspection and the date,
time, place and manner of making the inspection and may prescribe other conditions to protect the constitutional
rights of all parties. The order shall expire five (5) days after the date of its issuance, unless extended for justifiable
reasons.

(b) Production Order. The court, justice, or judge, upon verified motion and after due hearing, may
order any person in possession, custody or control of any designated documents, papers, books, accounts, letters,
photographs, objects or tangible things, or objects in digitized or electronic form, which constitute or contain
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evidence relevant to the petition or the return, to produce and permit their inspection, copying or photographing
by or on behalf of the movant.

The motion may be opposed on the ground of national security or of the privileged nature of the
information, in which case the court, justice or judge may conduct a hearing in chambers to determine the merit
of the opposition.

The court, justice or judge shall prescribe other conditions to protect the constitutional rights of all the
parties.

(c) Witness Protection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon motion or motu proprio, may refer
the witnesses to the Department of Justice for admission to the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program,
pursuant to Republic Act No. 6981.

The court, justice or judge may also refer the witnesses to other government agencies, or to accredited
persons or private institutions capable of keeping and securing their safety. (Emphasis supplied)

We held in Yano v. Sanchez[68] that [t]hese provisional reliefs are intended to assist the court before it arrives at a judicious
determination of the amparo petition. Being interim reliefs, they can only be granted before a final adjudication of the case is made.
In any case, it must be underscored that the privilege of the writ of amparo, once granted, necessarily entails the protection of the
aggrieved party. Thus, since we grant petitioner the privilege of the writ of amparo, there is no need to issue a temporary protection
order independently of the former. The order restricting respondents from going near Rodriguez is subsumed under the privilege of
the writ.

Third issue: Command responsibility in amparo proceedings

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To attribute responsibility or accountability to former President Arroyo, Rodriguez contends that the doctrine of
command responsibility may be applied. As we explained in Rubrico v. Arroyo,[77] command responsibility pertains to the
responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to their
control in international wars or domestic conflict.[78] Although originally used for ascertaining criminal complicity, the command
responsibility doctrine has also found application in civil cases for human rights abuses. [79] it is our view that command
responsibility may likewise find application in proceedings seeking the privilege of the writ of amparo. As we held in Rubrico:

It may plausibly be contended that command responsibility, as legal basis to hold military/police
commanders liable for extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats, may be made applicable to this
jurisdiction on the theory that the command responsibility doctrine now constitutes a principle of international law
or customary international law in accordance with the incorporation clause of the Constitution.

If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these proceedings, it should, at most, be
only to determine the author who, at the first instance, is accountable for, and has the duty to address, the
disappearance and harassments complained of, so as to enable the Court to devise remedial measures that may
be appropriate under the premises to protect rights covered by the writ of amparo.

Precisely in the case at bar, the doctrine of command responsibility may be used to determine whether respondents
are accountable for and have the duty to address the abduction of Rodriguez in order to enable the courts to devise remedial
measures to protect his rights. Clearly, nothing precludes this Court from applying the doctrine of command responsibility
in amparo proceedings to ascertain responsibility and accountability in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. In this
regard, the Separate Opinion of Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales in Rubrico is worth noting, thus:

That proceedings under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo do not determine criminal, civil or administrative
liability should not abate the applicability of the doctrine of command responsibility. Taking Secretary of National
Defense v. Manalo and Razon v. Tagitis in proper context, they do not preclude the application of the doctrine of
command responsibility to Amparo cases.

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Manalo was actually emphatic on the importance of the right to security of person and its contemporary
signification as a guarantee of protection of ones rights by the government. It further stated that protection includes
conducting effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to victims of
extralegal killings or enforced disappearances, or threats thereof, and/or their families, and bringing offenders to
the bar of justice.
Tagitis, on the other hand, cannot be more categorical on the application, at least in principle, of the
doctrine of command responsibility:

Given their mandates, the PNP and PNP-CIDG officials and members were the ones who
were remiss in their duties when the government completely failed to exercise the extraordinary
diligence that the Amparo Rule requires. We hold these organizations accountable through their
incumbent Chiefs who, under this Decision, shall carry the personal responsibility of seeing to it that
extraordinary diligence, in the manner the Amparo Rule requires, is applied in addressing the
enforced disappearance of Tagitis.

Neither does Republic Act No. 9851 emasculate the applicability of the command responsibility doctrine
to Amparo cases. The short title of the law is the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law,
Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity. Obviously, it should, as it did, only treat of superior responsibility as
a ground for criminal responsibility for the crimes covered. Such limited treatment, however, is merely in keeping
with the statutes purpose and not intended to rule out the application of the doctrine of command responsibility
to other appropriate cases.

Indeed, one can imagine the innumerable dangers of insulating high-ranking military and police officers
from the coverage of reliefs available under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. The explicit adoption of the doctrine
of command responsibility in the present case will only bring Manalo and Tagitis to their logical conclusion.

In fine, I submit that the Court should take this opportunity to state what the law ought to be if it truly wants
to make the Writ of Amparo an effective remedy for victims of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or
threats thereof. While there is a genuine dearth of evidence to hold respondents Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and
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P/Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon accountable under the command responsibility doctrine, the ponencias hesitant
application of the doctrine itself is replete with implications abhorrent to the rationale behind the Rule on the Writ
of Amparo.[82] (Emphasis supplied.)
This Separate Opinion was reiterated in the recently decided case of Boac v. Cadapan,[83] likewise penned by Justice
Carpio-Morales, wherein this Court ruled:

Rubrico categorically denies the application of command responsibility in amparo cases to


determine criminal liability. The Court maintains its adherence to this pronouncement as far as amparo cases are
concerned.

Rubrico, however, recognizes a preliminary yet limited application of command responsibility


in amparo cases to instances of determining the responsible or accountable individuals or entities that are duty-
bound to abate any transgression on the life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party.

If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these proceedings, it should,


at most, be only to determine the author who, at the first instance, is accountable for, and has the
duty to address, the disappearance and harassments complained of, so as to enable the Court to
devise remedial measures that may be appropriate under the premises to protect rights covered by
the writ of amparo. As intimated earlier, however, the determination should not be pursued to fix
criminal liability on respondents preparatory to criminal prosecution, or as a prelude to administrative
disciplinary proceedings under existing administrative issuances, if there be any.

In other words, command responsibility may be loosely applied in amparo cases in order to identify those
accountable individuals that have the power to effectively implement whatever processes an amparo court
would issue. In such application, the amparo court does not impute criminal responsibility but merely pinpoint the
superiors it considers to be in the best position to protect the rights of the aggrieved party.

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Such identification of the responsible and accountable superiors may well be a preliminary determination
of criminal liability which, of course, is still subject to further investigation by the appropriate government
agency. (Emphasis supplied.)

As earlier pointed out, amparo proceedings determine (a) responsibility, or the extent the actors have been established
by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, and (b)
accountability, or the measure of remedies that should be addressed to those (i) who exhibited involvement in the enforced
disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or (ii) who are imputed
with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or (iii) those who carry, but
have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced disappearance. Thus,
although there is no determination of criminal, civil or administrative liabilities, the doctrine of command responsibility may
nevertheless be applied to ascertain responsibility and accountability within these foregoing definitions.

Having established the applicability of the doctrine of command responsibility in amparo proceedings, it must now be
resolved whether the president, as commander-in-chief of the military, can be held responsible or accountable for extrajudicial
killings and enforced disappearances. We rule in the affirmative.

To hold someone liable under the doctrine of command responsibility, the following elements must obtain:

a. the existence of a superior-subordinate relationship between the accused as superior and the perpetrator
of the crime as his subordinate;

b. the superior knew or had reason to know that the crime was about to be or had been committed; and

c. the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the criminal acts or punish
the perpetrators thereof.[84]

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The president, being the commander-in-chief of all armed forces,[85] necessarily possesses control over the military that
qualifies him as a
superior within the purview of the command responsibility doctrine. [86]

On the issue of knowledge, it must be pointed out that although international tribunals apply a strict standard of
knowledge, i.e., actual knowledge, such may nonetheless be established through circumstantial evidence. [87] In the Philippines,
a more liberal view is adopted and superiors may be charged with constructive knowledge. This view is buttressed by the
enactment of Executive Order No. 226, otherwise known as the Institutionalization of the Doctrine of Command Responsibility in
all Government Offices, particularly at all Levels of Command in the Philippine National Police and other Law Enforcement
Agencies (E.O. 226).[88]

The next question that must be tackled is whether Rodriguez has proven through substantial evidence that former
President Arroyo is responsible or accountable for his abduction. We rule in the negative.

Rodriguez anchors his argument on a general allegation that on the basis of the Melo Commission and the Alston Report,
respondents in G.R. No. 191805 already had knowledge of and information on, and should have known that a climate of
enforced disappearances had been perpetrated on members of the NPA.[92] Without even attaching, or at the very least,
quoting these reports, Rodriguez contends that the Melo Report points to rogue military men as the perpetrators. While the Alston
Report states that there is a policy allowing enforced disappearances and pins the blame on the President, we do not
automatically impute responsibility to former President Arroyo for each and every count of forcible disappearance.[93] Aside from
Rodriguezs general averments, there is no piece of evidence that could establish her responsibility or accountability for his
abduction. Neither was there even a clear attempt to show that she should have known about the violation of his right to life,
liberty or security, or that she had failed to investigate, punish or prevent it.

Dr. Pamugas performed a separate medical examination of Rodriguez on 19 September 2009, the results of which
confirmed that the injuries suffered by the latter were inflicted through torture. Dr. Pamugas thus issued a Medical Report dated
23 September 2009,[102] explicitly stating that Rodriguez had been tortured during his detention by the military, to wit:

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X. Interpretation of Findings
In assessing the weight of the Certifications, the Court of Appeals correctly relied on the medical finding that the injuries
suffered by Rodriguez matched his account of the maltreatment inflicted on him by the soldiers of the 17 th Infantry
Battalion, 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. Further, the kind of injuries he sustained showed that he could not
have sustained them from merely falling, thus making respondents claim highly implausible.

Despite these medical findings that overwhelmingly supported and lent credibility to the allegations of Rodriguez in
his Sinumpaang Salaysay, respondents in G.R. No. 191805 still stubbornly clung to their argument that he was neither abducted
nor detained. Rather, they claimed that he was a double agent, whose relationship with the military was at all times congenial.
This contention cannot be sustained, as it is far removed from ordinary human experience.

If it were true that Rodriguez maintained amicable relations with the military, then he should have unhesitatingly assured
his family on 17 September 2009 that he was among friends. Instead, he vigorously pleaded with them to get him out of the
military facility.

Furthermore, the appellate court also properly ruled that aside from the abduction, detention and torture of Rodriguez,
respondents, specifically 1st Lt. Matutina, had violated and threatened the formers right to security when they made a visual
recording of his house, as well as the photos of his relatives

It must be pointed out, however, that as to respondents Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan, there was no substantial
evidence to show that they violated, or threatened with violation, Rodriguezs right to life, liberty and security. Despite the dearth
of evidence to show the CHR officers responsibility or accountability, this Court nonetheless emphasizes its criticism as regards
their capacity to recognize torture or any similar form of abuse. The CHR, being constitutionally mandated to protect human
rights and investigate violations thereof,[110] should ensure that its officers are well-equipped to respond effectively to and address
human rights violations. The actuations of respondents unmistakably showed their insufficient competence in facilitating and
ensuring the safe release of Rodriguez after his ordeal.

17
The Rule on the Writ of Amparo explicitly states that the violation of or threat to the right to life, liberty and security may
be caused by either an act or an omission of a public official.[111] Moreover, in the context of amparo proceedings, responsibility
may refer to the participation of the respondents, by action or omission, in enforced disappearance.[112] Accountability, on the
other hand, may attach to respondents who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and
who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the
investigation of the enforced disappearance.[113]

In this regard, we emphasize our ruling in Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo[114] that the right to security of a person
includes the positive obligation of the government to ensure the observance of the duty to investigate

the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has interpreted the right to security not only as prohibiting the State from
arbitrarily depriving liberty, but imposing a positive duty on the State to afford protection of the right to liberty.

Clearly, the absence of a fair and effective official investigation into the claims of Rodriguez violated his right to security,
for which respondents in G.R. No. 191805 must be held responsible or accountable.

Nevertheless, it must be clarified that Rodriguez was unable to establish any responsibility or accountability on the part
of respondents P/CSupt. Tolentino, P/SSupt. Santos, Calog and Palacpac. Respondent P/CSupt. Tolentino had already retired
when the abduction and torture of Rodriguez was perpetrated, while P/SSupt. Santos had already been reassigned and
transferred to the National Capital Regional Police Office six months before the subject incident occurred. Meanwhile, no
sufficient allegations were maintained against respondents Calog and Palacpac.

From all the foregoing, we rule that Rodriguez was successful in proving through substantial evidence that respondents
Gen. Ibrado, PDG. Verzosa, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Brig. Gen. De Vera, 1st Lt. Matutina, and Lt. Col. Mina were
responsible and accountable for the violation of Rodriguezs rights to life, liberty and security on the basis of (a) his abduction,
detention and torture from 6 September to 17 September 2009, and (b) the lack of any fair and effective official investigation as
to his allegations. Thus, the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data must be granted in his favor. As a result, there is no

18
longer any need to issue a temporary protection order, as the privilege of these writs already has the effect of enjoining
respondents in G.R. No. 191805 from violating his rights to life, liberty and security.

It is also clear from the above discussion that despite (a) maintaining former President Arroyo in the list of respondents in
G.R. No. 191805, and (b) allowing the application of the command responsibility doctrine to amparo and habeas
data proceedings, Rodriguez failed to prove through substantial evidence that former President Arroyo was responsible or
accountable for the violation of his rights to life, liberty and property. He likewise failed to prove through substantial evidence the
accountability or responsibility of respondents Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan.

WHEREFORE, we resolve to GRANT the Petition for Partial Review in G.R. No. 191805 and DENY the Petition for Review in
G.R. No. 193160. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION.

The case is dismissed with respect to respondents former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, P/CSupt. Ameto G.
Tolentino, and P/SSupt. Jude W. Santos, Calog, George Palacpac, Antonio Cruz, Aldwin Pasicolan and Vicent Callagan for lack
of merit.

This Court directs the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take the
appropriate action with respect to any possible liability or liabilities, within their respective legal competence, that may have been
incurred by respondents Gen. Victor Ibrado, PDG. Jesus Verzosa, Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, Maj. Gen. Nestor Ochoa, Brig. Gen.
Remegio De Vera, 1st Lt. Ryan Matutina, and Lt. Col. Laurence Mina. The Ombudsman and the DOJ are ordered to submit to this
Court the results of their action within a period of six months from receipt of this Decision.

In the event that herein respondents no longer occupy their respective posts, the directives mandated in this Decision
and in the Court of Appeals are enforceable against the incumbent officials holding the relevant positions. Failure to comply with
the foregoing shall constitute contempt of court.

19
33.b. DR. JOY MARGATE LEE, PETITIONER, VS. P/SUPT. NERI A. ILAGAN, RESPONDENT.

Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari[1] assailing the Decision[2] dated August 30, 2012 of the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City, Branch 224 (RTC) in SP No. 12-71527, which extended the privilege of the writ of habeas data in favor of
respondent Police Superintendent Neri A. Ilagan (Ilagan).

Facts: In his Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Data[3] dated June 22, 2012, Ilagan alleged that he and petitioner Dr.
Joy Margate Lee (Lee) were former common law partners. Sometime in July 2011, he visited Lee at the latter's condominium,
rested for a while and thereafter, proceeded to his office. Upon arrival, Ilagan noticed that his digital camera was missing.

On August 23, 2011, Lee confronted Ilagan at the latter's office regarding a purported sex video (subject video) she discovered
from the aforesaid camera involving Ilagan and another woman. Ilagan denied the video and demanded Lee to return the
camera, but to no avail. During the confrontation, Ilagan allegedly slammed Lee's head against a wall inside his office and
walked away.[6] Subsequently, Lee utilized the said video as evidence in filing various complaints against Ilagan, namely: (a) a
criminal complaint for violation of Republic Act No. 9262,[7] otherwise known as the "Anti-Violence Against Women and Their
Children Act of 2004," before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati; and (b) an administrative complaint for grave
misconduct before the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM).[8]

Ilagan claimed that Lee's acts of reproducing the subject video and threatening to distribute the same to the upper echelons
of the NAPOLCOM and uploading it to the internet violated not only his right to life, liberty, security, and privacy but also that of
the other woman, and thus, the issuance of a writ of habeas data in his favor is warranted.[9]

Finding the petition prima facie meritorious, the RTC issued a Writ of Habeas Data[10] dated June 25, 2012, directing Lee to
appear before the court a quo, and to produce Ilagan's digital camera, as well as the negative and/or original of the subject
video and copies thereof, and to file a verified written return within five (5) working days from date of receipt thereof.

20
In her Verified Return[11] dated July 2, 2012, Lee admitted that she indeed kept the memory card of the digital camera and
reproduced the aforesaid video but averred that she only did so to utilize the same as evidence in the cases she filed against
Ilagan. She also admitted that her relationship with Ilagan started sometime in 2003 and ended under disturbing circumstances
in August 2011, and that she only happened to discover the subject video when Ilagan left his camera in her condominium.
Accordingly, Lee contended that Ilagan's petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas data should be dismissed because: (a)
its filing was only aimed at suppressing the evidence against Ilagan in the cases she filed; and (b) she is not engaged in the
gathering, collecting, or storing of data regarding the person of Ilagan.[12]

The RTC Ruling: In a Decision[13] dated August 30, 2012, the RTC granted the privilege of the writ of habeas data in Ilagan's
favor, and accordingly, ordered the implementing officer to turn-over copies of the subject video to him, and enjoined Lee
from further reproducing the same.[14]

The RTC did not give credence to Lee's defense that she is not engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data
regarding the person of Ilagan, finding that her acts of reproducing the subject video and showing it to other people, i.e., the
NAPOLCOM officers, violated the latter's right to privacy in life and caused him to suffer humiliation and mental anguish. In this
relation, the RTC opined that Lee's use of the subject video as evidence in the various cases she filed against Ilagan is not
enough justification for its reproduction. Nevertheless, the RTC clarified that it is only ruling on the return of the aforesaid video
and not on its admissibility before other tribunals. Dissatisfied, Lee filed this petition.

Issue: whether or not the RTC correctly extended the privilege of the writ of habeas data in favor of Ilagan.

Ruling: The petition is meritorious. A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC, or the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data (Habeas Data Rule), was
conceived as a response, given the lack of effective and available remedies, to address the extraordinary rise in the number of
killings and enforced disappearances.[16] It was conceptualized as a judicial remedy enforcing the right to privacy, most
especially the right to informational privacy of individuals,[17] which is defined as "the right to control the collection,
maintenance, use, and dissemination of data about oneself."[18]

21
As defined in Section 1 of the Habeas Data Rule, the writ of habeas data now stands as "a remedy available to any person
whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or
employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding
the person, family, home, and correspondence of the aggrieved party." Thus, in order to support a petition for the issuance of
such writ, Section 6 of the Habeas Data Rule essentially requires that the petition sufficiently alleges, among others, "[t]he
manner the right to privacy is violated or threatened and how it affects the right to life, liberty or security of the aggrieved
party." In other words, the petition must adequately show that there exists a nexus between the right to privacy on the one
hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other.[19] Corollarily, the allegations in the petition must be supported by
substantial evidence showing an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim.[20]
In this relation, it bears pointing out that the writ of habeas data will not issue to protect purely property or commercial
concerns nor when the grounds invoked in support of the petitions therefor are vague and doubtful.[21]

the Court finds that Ilagan was not able to sufficiently allege that his right to privacy in life, liberty or security was or would be
violated through the supposed reproduction and threatened dissemination of the subject sex video. While Ilagan purports a
privacy interest in the suppression of this video which he fears would somehow find its way to Quiapo or be uploaded in the
internet for public consumption he failed to explain the connection between such interest and any violation of his right to life,
liberty or security. Indeed, courts cannot speculate or contrive versions of possible transgressions. As the rules and existing
jurisprudence on the matter evoke, alleging and eventually proving the nexus between one's privacy right to the cogent rights
to life, liberty or security are crucial in habeas data cases, so much so that a failure on either account certainly renders a
habeas data petition dismissible, as in this case.

In fact, even discounting the insufficiency of the allegations, the petition would equally be dismissible due to the inadequacy of
the evidence presented. As the records show, all that Ilagan submitted in support of his petition was his self-serving testimony
which hardly meets the substantial evidence requirement as prescribed by the Habeas Data Rule. This is because nothing
therein would indicate that Lee actually proceeded to commit any overt act towards the end of violating Ilagan's right to
privacy in life, liberty or security. Nor would anything on record even lead a reasonable mind to conclude[22] that Lee was
going to use the subject video in order to achieve unlawful ends say for instance, to spread it to the public so as to ruin Ilagan's
reputation. Contrastingly, Lee even made it clear in her testimony that the only reason why she reproduced the subject video

22
was to legitimately utilize the same as evidence in the criminal and administrative cases that she filed against Ilagan.[23]
Hence, due to the insufficiency of the allegations as well as the glaring absence of substantial evidence, the Court finds it
proper to reverse the RTC Decision and dismiss the habeas data petition.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated August 30, 2012 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 224
in SP No. 12-71527is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Data filed by
respondent P/Supt. Neri A. Ilagan is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

Right to Privacy

34. Gamboa v. Chan et al.

Gamboa alleged that the Philippine National Police in Ilocos Norte (PNP–Ilocos Norte) conducted a series of surveillance
operations against her and her aides, and classified her as someone who keeps a Private Army Group (PAG). Purportedly
without the benefit of data verification, PNP–Ilocos Norte forwarded the information gathered on her to the Zeñarosa
Commission, thereby causing her inclusion in the Report’s enumeration of individuals maintaining PAGs. Contending that her
right to privacy was violated and her reputation maligned and destroyed, Gamboa filed a Petition for the issuance of a writ of
habeas data against respondents in their capacities as officials of the PNP-Ilocos Norte.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petition for the issuance of writ of habeas data is proper when the right to privacy is invoked as
opposed to the state’s interest in preserving the right to life, liberty or security.

RULING: NO. The writ of habeas data is an independent and summary remedy designed to protect the image, privacy, honor,
information, and freedom of information of an individual, and to provide a forum to enforce one’s right to the truth and to
informational privacy. It seeks to protect a person’s right to control information regarding oneself, particularly in instances in
which such information is being collected through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends. It must be emphasized
that in order for the privilege of the writ to be granted, there must exist a nexus between the right to privacy on the one hand,
and the right to life, liberty or security on the other.

23
In this case, the Court ruled that Gamboa was unable to prove through substantial evidence that her inclusion in the list of
individuals maintaining PAGs made her and her supporters susceptible to harassment and to increased police surveillance. In
this regard, respondents sufficiently explained that the investigations conducted against her were in relation to the criminal
cases in which she was implicated. As public officials, they enjoy the presumption of regularity, which she failed to overcome.
[T]he state interest of dismantling PAGs far outweighs the alleged intrusion on the private life of Gamboa, especially when the
collection and forwarding by the PNP of information against her was pursuant to a lawful mandate. Therefore, the privilege of
the writ of habeas data must be denied.

PRIVACY OF COMMUNICATION

35. Navarro vs. Court of Appeals, 313 SCRA 153 (1999)

FACTS: Two local media men, Stanley Jalbuena, Enrique Lingan, in Lucena City wnet to the police station to report alledged
indecent show in one of the night establishment shows in the City. At the station, a heated confrontation followed between
victim Lingan and accused policeman Navarro who was then having drinks outside the headquarters, lead to a fisticuffs. The
victim was hit with the handle of the accused's gun below the left eyebrow, followed by a fist blow, resulted the victim to fell
and died under treatment. The exchange of words was recorded on tape, specifically the frantic exclamations made by
Navarro after the altercation that it was the victim who provoked the fight. During the trial, Jalbuena, the other media man,
testified. Presented in evidence to confirm his testimony was a voice recording he had made of the heated discussion at the
police station between the accused police officer Navarro and the deceased, Lingan, which was taken without the
knowledge of the two.

ISSUES:

1. Whether or not the voice recording is admissible in evidence in view of RA 4200, which prohibits wire tapping.

24
HELD:Yes. the tape is admissible in view of RA 4200, which prohibits wire tapping. Jalbuena's testimony is confirmed by the
voice recording he had made. The law prohibits the overhearing, intercepting, or recording of private communications
(Ramirez v Cpourt of Appeals, 248 SCRA 590 [1995]). Snce the exchange between petitioner Navarro and Lingan was not
private, its tape recording is not prohibited.

36. Socorro Ramirez vs. CA and Garcia [G.R. No. 93833. September 28, 1995

FACTS: Petitioner made a secret recording of the conversation that was part of a civil case filed in the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City alleging that the private respondent, Ester S. Garcia, 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.”.
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.”
Petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information. The trial court granted the said motion. The private respondent filed a
Petition for Review on Certiorari with the Supreme Court, which referred the case to the Court of Appeals in a Resolution.
Respondent Court of Appeals promulgated its decision declaring the trial court’s order as null and void, after subsequently
denied the motion for reconsideration by the petitioner.

ISSUE: Whether or not 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.

HELD: NO. Petition denied. Costs against petitioner. Legislative intent is determined principally from the language of the statute.
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.
[P]etitioner’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.

25
37. Zulueta v. CA

FACTS: Cecilia Zulueta, petitioner, entered the clinic of her husband, Alfredo Martin, private respondent, forcibly opened the
drawers and cabinets and took a total of 157 documents consisting of private correspondence between the private
respondent and and hi alleged paramours, greeting cards, cancelled checks, diaries, respondent’s passport, and
photographs. The documents and papers were to be used in evidence in a case for legal separation and for disqualification
from practice of medicine filed by the petitioner against the private respondent.
Respondent then filed an action for the recovery of the documents and damages against the petitioner which was granted by
the Regional Trial Court (RTC). The decision of the RTC was then affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA) hence this petition for
certiorary.

ISSUE: Whether or not the documents obtained be admissible as evidence against the respondent.

HELD: NO. Such documents are inadmissible in any proceeding. Even though the petitioner and respondent are husband and
wife, their contracting of marriage does not shed the right of privacy of one of the contracting parties. And that, such
documents were obtained without the consent of the respondent.

The Supreme Court ruled that the right to privacy of the spouse as against the other is preserved even after marriage. As
elaborated by the Court, “the intimacies between husband and wife do not justify any one of them in breaking the drawers
and cabinets of the other and in ransacking them for any telltale evidence of marital infidelity. A person, by contracting
marriage, does not shed his/her integrity or his right to privacy as an individual and the constitutional protection is ever
available to him or to her.”

38. Waterouse Drug Corporation v. NLRC G.R. No. 113271. October 16, 1997

Facts: Antonia Melodia Catolico was hired as a pharmacist by Waterous Drug Corp. YSP Inc., a supplier of medicine, sold to
Waterous, thru Catolico, 10 bottles of Voren Tablets at P384 per unit. However, previews P.O.s issued to YSP, Inc. showed that
the price per bottle is P320.00. Verification was made to YSP, Inc. to determine the discrepancy and it was found that the cost
per bottle was indeed overpriced.
26
YSP, Inc. Accounting Department (Ms. Estelita Reyes) confirmed that the difference represents refund of jack-up price of ten
bottles of Voren tablets per sales invoice, which was paid to Ms. Catolico. Said check was sent in an envelope addressed to
Catolico.

Catolico denied receiving the same. However, Saldana, the clerk of Waterous Drug Corp. confirmed that she saw an open
envelope with a check amounting P640 payable to Catolico. Waterous Drug Corp. ordered the termination of Catolico for acts
of dishonesty.

NLRC: Dismissed the Petition. Evidence of respondents (check from YSP) being rendered inadmissible, by virtue of the
constitutional right invoked by complainants.

Petitioners: In the light of the decision in the People v. Marti, the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and
seizures refers to the immunity of one’s person from interference by government and cannot be extended to acts committed
by private individuals so as to bring it within the ambit of alleged unlawful intrusion by the government.

Issue: W/N the check is admissible as evidence

Held: Yes. Ratio: (People vs. Marti) Marti ruling: The Bill of Rights does not protect citizens from unreasonable searches and
seizures perpetrated by private individuals. It is not true, as counsel for Catolico claims, that the citizens have no recourse
against such assaults. On the contrary, and as said counsel admits, such an invasion gives rise to both criminal and civil
liabilities. Despite this, the SC ruled that there was insufficient evidence of cause for the dismissal of Catolico from employment
Suspicion is not among the valid causes provided by the Labor Code for the termination of Employment.

39. MARQUEZ vs DESIERTO

FACTS: Marquez, branch manager of Union Bank Julia Vargas, received an Order from Ombudsman to produce several bank
documents for purposes of inspection in camera. The Ombudsman wanted to conduct such in camera inspection on the

27
accounts based on a trail of manager’s checks by a certain Trivinio who purchased 51 managers checks for a total amount of
P272M. Marquez agreed to the inspection.

Marquez wrote to the Ombudsman saying that the accounts in question cannot readily be identified and asked for time to
respond to the order. The Ombudsman replied that the Bank should have preserved records despite the accounts being
dormant.

Ombudsman issued order to direct Marquez to produce the bank documents due to the unjustified delay by the Bank since
the in camera inspection had already been extended twice.

Marquez filed for declaratory relief to clear the rights of petitioners under the bank secrecy law

ISSUE/S: Whether the in camera inspection orders are allowed as an exception to the bank secrecy law? NO

RULING: The in camera inspection is not allowed. There being no pending case before a court of competent jurisdiction. An
exception to the bank secrecy law is when the money deposited is the subject matter of a litigation. Therefore, it may be
allowed on the ground of a pending case when:

1. The case is pending in court of competent jurisdiction

2. The account must be clearly identified

3. Inspection is limited to the subject matter of the pending case

4. The Bank personnel and account holder must be notified to be present during the inspection

28
5. Such inspection may cover only the account identified in the pending case
The order for in camera inspection is based on a pending investigation of the Ombudsman for violations of RA 3019, Sec
3(e)(g). Clearly, there is no pending litigation yet before a court of competent authority. It is only an investigation by the
Ombudsman.

40. O P L E V S T O R R E S ( 1 9 9 8 )

FACTS: A.O. No. 308 was issued by President Fidel V. Ramos on December 12, 1996 for the Adoption of a National
Computerized Identification Reference System. It was published in four newspapers of general circulation on January. Petitioner
filed the instant petition against respondents, on the grounds that:
1. it is a usurpation of the power of Congress to legislate,
2. it impermissibly intrudes on our citizenry’s protected zone of privacy.

ISSUE: Whether there is a violation of the Right to Privacy as enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

HELD: The essence of privacy is the “right to be left alone.” The right to privacy as such is accorded recognition independently
of its identification with liberty; in itself, it is fully deserving of constitutional protection. The Court prescind from the premise that
the right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, hence, it is the burden of government to show that
A.O. No. 308 is justified by some compelling state interest and that it is narrowly drawn. A.O. No. 308 is predicated on two
considerations:
1. the need to provides our citizens and foreigners with the facility to conveniently transact business with basic service and
social security providers and other government instrumentalities and ;
2. the need to reduce, if not totally eradicate, fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations by persons seeking basic
services.
It is debatable whether the interests are compelling enough to warrant the issuance of the said order. The broadness,
vagueness, and overbreadth of A.O. No. 308 which if implemented will put our people’s right to privacy in clear and present
danger. In the case at bar, the threat comes from which by issuing A.O. No. 308 pressures the people to surrender their privacy
by giving information about themselves on the pretext that it will facilitate delivery of basic services. Petition is granted. A.O. No.
308 is unconstitutional.
29
41. TELEBAP v. COMELEC

Facts: Petitioners challenge the validity of §92 of B.P. Blg. 881. on the ground (1) that it takes property without due process of law
and without just compensation; (2) that it denies radio and television broadcast companies the equal protection of the laws;
and (3) that it is in excess of the power given to the COMELEC to supervise or regulate the operation of media of communication
or information during the period of election.

Issue: Whether is in excess of the power given to the COMELEC to supervise or regulate the operation of media of communication
or information during the period of election.

Held: No. The petition is dismissed. With the prohibition on media advertising by candidates themselves, the COMELEC Time and
COMELEC Space are about the only means through which candidates can advertise their qualifications and programs of
government. More than merely depriving candidates of time for their ads, the failure of broadcast stations to provide air time
unless paid by the government would clearly deprive the people of their right to know. Art. III, §7 of the Constitution provides that
“the right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized,” while Art. XII, §6 states that “the use of
property bears a social function [and] the right to own, establish, and operate economic enterprises [is] subject to the duty of
the State to promote distributive justice and to intervene when the common good so demands.”

To affirm the validity of §92 of B.P. Blg. 881 is to hold public broadcasters to their obligation to see to it that the variety and vigor
of public debate on issues in an election is maintained. For while broadcast media are not mere common carriers but entities
with free speech rights, they are also public trustees charged with the duty of ensuring that the people have access to the diversity
of views on political issues. This right of the people is paramount to the autonomy of broadcast media. To affirm the validity of
§92, therefore, is likewise to uphold the people’s right to information on matters of public concern. The use of property bears a
social function and is subject to the state’s duty to intervene for the common good. Broadcast media can find their just and
highest reward in the fact that whatever altruistic service they may render in connection with the holding of elections is for that
common good

42. ABS-CBN v. COMELECBS-CBN BROADCASTING CORPORATION vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


30
FACTS: COMELEC issued a Resolution restraining ABS-CBN or any other groups from conducting exit survey during the elections
for national officials particularly for President and Vice President. The electoral body believed that such project might conflict
with the official COMELEC count, as well as the unofficial quick count of the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL).

ISSUE: Whether the COMELEC Resolution restraining survey polls infringes the Freedom of Speech and of the Press.

HELD: The holding of exit polls and the dissemination of their results through mass media constitute an essential part of the
freedoms of speech and of the press. Hence, the COMELEC cannot ban them totally in the guise of promoting clean, honest,
orderly and credible elections. Quite the contrary, exit polls — properly conducted and publicized — can be vital tools in
eliminating the evils of election-fixing and fraud. Narrowly tailored countermeasures may be prescribed by the COMELEC so as
to minimize or suppress the incidental problems in the conduct of exit polls, without transgressing in any manner the
fundamental rights of our people.

The freedoms of speech and of the press should all the more be upheld when what is sought to be curtailed is the
dissemination of information meant to add meaning to the equally vital right of suffrage. The Court cannot support any ruling or
order “the effect of which would be to nullify so vital a constitutional right as free speech.” When faced with borderline
situations in which the freedom of a candidate or a party to speak or the freedom of the electorate to know is invoked against
actions allegedly made to assure clean and free elections, this Court shall lean in favor of freedom. For in the ultimate analysis,
the freedom of the citizen and the State’s power to regulate should not be antagonistic. There can be no free and honest
elections if, in the efforts to maintain them, the freedom to speak and the right to know are unduly curtailed.

43. SWS vs Comelec

Facts : Petitioner, Social Weather Stations, Inc. (SWS), is a private non-stock, non-profit social research institution conducting
surveys in various fields, including economics, politics, demography, and social development, and thereafter processing,
analyzing, and publicly reporting the results thereof. On the other hand, petitioner Kamahalan Publishing Corporation publishes
the Manila Standard, a newspaper of general circulation, which features news- worthy items of information including election

31
surveys Petitioners brought this action for prohibition to enjoin the Commission on Elections from enforcing §5.4 of RA. No.9006
(Fair Election Act), which provides: Surveys affecting national candidates shall not be published fifteen (15) days before an
election and surveys affecting local candidates shall not be published seven (7) days be- fore an election. Petitioner SWS states
that it wishes to conduct an election survey throughout the period of the elections both at the national and local levels and
release to the media the results of such survey as well as publish them directly. Petitioner Kamahalan Publishing Corporation, on
the other hand, states that it intends to publish election survey results up to the last day of the elections on May 14,2001

Issue : WON §5.4 of R.A. No. 9006 constitutes an unconstitutional abridgment of freedom of speech, expression, and the press.

HELD : What test should then be employed to determine the constitutional validity of §5.4? The United States Supreme Court,
through Chief Justice Warren, held in United States v. O 'Brien: [A] Government regulation is sufficiently justified [1] if it is within
the constitutional power of the Government; [2] if it furthers an important or substantial governmental interest; [3] if the
governmental interest is unrelated to the suppression of free expression; and [4] if the incidental restriction on alleged First
Amendment freedoms [of speech, expression and press] is no greater than is essential to the furtherance of that interest. This is
so far the most influential test for distinguishing content-based from content neutral regulations and is said to have "become
canonical in the review of such laws." is noteworthy that the O 'Brien test has been applied by this Court in at least two cases
First. Sec. 5.4 fails to meet criterion [3] of the O 'Brien test because the causal connection of expression to the asserted
governmental interest makes such interest "not related to the suppression of free expression." By prohibiting the publication of
election survey results because of the possibility that such publication might undermine the integrity of the election, §5.4
actually suppresses a whole class of expression, while allowing the expression of opinion concerning the same subject matter
by newspaper columnists, radio and TV commentators, armchair theorists, and other opinion takers Even if the governmental
interest sought to be promoted is unrelated to the suppression of speech and the resulting restriction of free expression is only
incidental, §5.4 nonetheless fails to meet criterion [4] of the O'Brien test, namely, that the restriction be not greater than is
necessary to further the governmental interest. As already stated, §5.4 aims at the prevention of last-minute pressure on voters,
the creation of bandwagon effect, "junking" of weak or "losing" candidates, and resort to the form of election cheating called
"dagdag-bawas." Praiseworthy as these aims of the regulation might be, they cannot be attained at the sacrifice of the
fundamental right of expression, when such aim can be more narrowly pursued by punishing unlawful acts, rather than
32
speechbecause of apprehension that such speech creates the danger of such evils To summarize then, we hold that §5.4 is
invalid because (1) it imposes a prior restraint on the freedom of expression, (2) it is a direct and total suppression of a category
of expression even though such suppression is only for a limited period, and (3) the governmental interest sought to be
promoted can be achieved by means other than suppression of freedom of expression.

44. A.M. No. 01-4-03-S.C. June 29, 2001 RE: REQUEST RADIO-TV COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL OF IN THE SANDIGANBAYAN OF THE
PLUNDER CASES AGAINST THE FORMER PRESIDENT JOSEPH E. ESTRADA SECRETARY OF JUSTICE HERNANDO PEREZ, KAPISANAN NG
MGA BRODKASTER NG PILIPINAS, CESAR SARINO, RENATO CAYETANO and ATTY. RICARDO ROMULO, petitioners,
vs. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA and INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, oppositors.

The travails of a deposed President continue. The Sandiganbayan reels to start hearing the criminal charges against Mr. Joseph
E. Estrada. Media seeks to cover the event via live television and live radio broadcast and endeavors this Court to allow it that
kind of access to the proceedings.

On 13 March 2001, the Kapisanan ng mga BroadKaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), an association representing duly franchised and
authorized television and radio networks throughout the country, sent a letter requesting this Court to allow live media
coverage of the anticipated trial of the plunder and other criminal cases filed against former President Joseph E. Estrada
before the Sandiganbayan in order "to assure the public of full transparency in the proceedings of an unprecedented case in
our history."2 The request was seconded by Mr. Cesar N. Sarino in his letter of 05 April 2001 to the Chief Justice and, still later, by
Senator Renato Cayetano and Attorney Ricardo Romulo.

On 17 April 2001, the Honorable Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez formally filed the instant petition,3 submitting the following
exegesis:

"3. The foregoing criminal cases involve the previous acts of the former highest official of the land, members of his family,
his cohorts and, therefore, it cannot be over emphasized that the prosecution thereof, definitely involves a matter of

33
public concern and interest, or a matter over which the entire citizenry has the right to know, be informed and made
aware of.

"4. There is no gainsaying that the constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern, as in the
instant cases, can best be recognized, served and satisfied by allowing the live radio and television coverage of the
concomitant court proceedings.

"5. Moreover, the live radio and television coverage of the proceedings will also serve the dual purpose of ensuring the
desired transparency in the administration of justice in order to disabuse the minds of the supporters of the past regime of
any and all unfounded notions, or ill-perceived attempts on the part of the present dispensation, to railroad the instant
criminal cases against the Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada."4

Public interest, the petition further averred, should be evident bearing in mind the right of the public to vital information
affecting the nation.

In effect, the petition seeks a re-examination of the 23rd October 1991 resolution of this Court in a case for libel filed by then
President Corazon C. Aquino. The resolution read:

"The records of the Constitutional Commission are bereft of discussion regarding the subject of cameras in the
courtroom. Similarly, Philippine courts have not had the opportunity to rule on the question squarely.

"While we take notice of the September 1990 report of the United States Judicial Conference Ad Hoc Committee on
Cameras in the Courtroom, still the current rule obtaining in the Federal Courts of the United States prohibits the
presence of television cameras in criminal trials. Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure forbids the taking of
photographs during the progress of judicial proceedings or radio broadcasting of such proceedings from the courtroom.
A trial of any kind or in any court is a matter of serious importance to all concerned and should not be treated as a

34
means of entertainment. To so treat it deprives the court of the dignity which pertains to it and departs from the orderly
and serious quest for truth for which our judicial proceedings are formulated.

"Courts do not discriminate against radio and television media by forbidding the broadcasting or televising of a trial
while permitting the newspaper reporter access to the courtroom, since a television or news reporter has the same
privilege, as the news reporter is not permitted to bring his typewriter or printing press into the courtroom.

"In Estes vs. Texas. the United States Supreme Court held that television coverage of judicial proceedings involves an
inherent denial of the due process rights of a criminal defendant. Voting 5-4, the Court through Mr. Justice Clark
identified four (4) areas of potential prejudice which might arise from the impact of the cameras on the jury, witnesses,
the trial judge and the defendant. The decision in part pertinently stated:

"Experience likewise has established the prejudicial effect of telecasting on witnesses. Witnesses might be frightened,
play to the camera, or become nervous. They are subject to extraordinary out-of court influences which might affect
their testimony. Also, telecasting not only increases the trial judge's responsibility to avoid actual prejudice to the
defendant, it may as well affect his own performance. Judges are human beings also and are subject to the same
psychological reactions as laymen. For the defendant, telecasting is a form of mental harassment and subjects him
to excessive public exposure and distracts him from the effective presentation of his defense. 1âwphi1.nêt

'The television camera is a powerful weapon which intentionally or inadvertently can destroy an accused and his
case in the eyes of the public.'

"Representatives of the press have no special standing to apply for a writ of mandate to compel a court to permit them to
attend a trial, since within the courtroom, a reporter's constitutional rights are no greater than those of any other member
of the public. Massive intrusion of representatives of the news media into the trial itself can so alter or destroy the
constitutionally necessary judicial atmosphere and decorum that the requirements of impartiality imposed by due process

35
of law are denied the defendant and a defendant in a criminal proceeding should not be forced to run a gauntlet of
reporters and photographers each time he enters or leaves the courtroom.

"Considering the prejudice it poses to the defendant's right to due process as well as to the fair and orderly administration
of justice, and considering further that the freedom of the press and the right of the people to information may be served
and satisfied by less distracting, degrading and prejudicial means, live radio and television coverage of court
proceedings shall not be allowed. Video footages of court hearings for news purposes shall be restricted and limited to
shots of the courtroom, the judicial officers, the parties and their counsel taken prior to the commencement of official
proceedings. No video shots or photographs shall be permitted during the trial proper.

" Accordingly, in order to protect the parties' right to due process, to prevent the distraction of the participants in the
proceedings and in the last analysis, to avoid miscarriage of justice, the Court resolved to PROHlBIT live radio and
television coverage of court proceedings. Video footage of court hearings for news purposes shall be limited and
restricted as above indicated."

Admittedly, the press is a mighty catalyst in awakening public consciousness, and it has become an important instrument in the
quest for truth. 5 Recent history exemplifies media's invigorating presence, and its contribution to society is quite impressive. The
Court, just recently, has taken judicial notice of the enormous effect of media in stirring public sentience during the
impeachment trial, a partly judicial and partly political exercise, indeed the most-watched program in the boob-tubes during
those times, that would soon culminate in EDSA II.

The propriety of granting or denying the instant petition involve the weighing out of the constitutional guarantees of freedom of
the press and the right to public information, on the one hand, and the fundamental rights of the accused, on the other hand,
along with the constitutional power of a court to control its proceedings in ensuring a fair and impartial trial.6

When these rights race against one another, jurisprudence7 tells us that the right of the accused must be preferred to win.

36
With the possibility of losing not only the precious liberty but also the very life of an accused, it behooves all to make absolutely
certain that an accused receives a verdict solely on the basis of a just and dispassionate judgment, a verdict that would come
only after the presentation of credible evidence testified to by unbiased witnesses unswayed by any kind of pressure, whether
open or subtle, in proceedings that are devoid of histrionics that might detract from its basic aim to ferret veritable facts free
from improper influence,8 and decreed by a judge with an unprejudiced mind, unbridled by running emotions or passions.

Due process guarantees the accused a presumption of innocence until the contrary is proved in a trial that is not lifted above
its individual settings nor made an object of public's attention9 and where the conclusions reached are induced not by any
outside force or influence10 but only by evidence and argument given in open court, where fitting dignity and calm ambiance
is demanded.

Witnesses and judges may very well be men and women of fortitude, able to thrive in hardy climate, with every reason to
presume firmness of mind and resolute endurance, but it must also be conceded that "television can work profound changes in
the behavior of the people it focuses on."11

Even while it may be difficult to quantify the influence, or pressure that media can bring to bear on them directly and through
the shaping of public opinion, it is a fact, nonetheless, that, indeed, it does so in so many ways and in varying degrees. The
conscious or unconscious effect that such a coverage may have on the testimony of witnesses and the decision of judges
cannot be evaluated but, it can likewise be said, it is not at all unlikely for a vote of guilt or innocence to yield to it. 12 It might be
farcical to build around them an impregnable armor against the influence of the most powerful media of public opinion. 13

To say that actual prejudice should first be present would leave to near nirvana the subtle threats to justice that a disturbance
of the mind so indispensable to the calm and deliberate dispensation of justice can create.14 The effect of television may
escape the ordinary means of proof, but it is not far-fetched for it to gradually erode our basal conception of a trial such as we
know it now. 15

37
An accused has a right to a public trial but it is a right that belongs to him, more than anyone else, where his life or liberty can
be held critically in balance. A public trial aims to ensure that he is fairly dealt with and would not be unjustly condemned and
that his rights are not compromised in secrete conclaves of long ago. A public trial is not synonymous with publicized trial; it
only implies that the court doors must be open to those who wish to come, sit in the available seats, conduct themselves with
decorum and observe the trial process. In the constitutional sense, a courtroom should have enough facilities for a reasonable
number of the public to observe the proceedings, not too small as to render the openness negligible and not too large as to
distract the trial participants from their proper functions, who shall then be totally free to report what they have observed during
the proceedings.16

The courts recognize the constitutionally embodied freedom of the press and the right to public information. It also approves of
media's exalted power to provide the most accurate and comprehensive means of conveying the proceedings to the public
and in acquainting the public with the judicial process in action; nevertheless, within the courthouse, the overriding
consideration is still the paramount right of the accused to due process17 which must never be allowed to suffer diminution in its
constitutional proportions. Justice Clark thusly pronounced, "while a maximum freedom must be allowed the press in carrying
out the important function of informing the public in a democratic society, its exercise must necessarily be subject to the
maintenance of absolute fairness in the judicial process."18

This Court, in the instance19 already mentioned, citing Estes vs. Texas,20 the United States Supreme Court holding the television
coverage of judicial proceedings as an inherent denial of due process rights of an accused, also identified the following as
being likely prejudices:

"1. The potential impact of television x x x is perhaps of the greatest significance. x x x. From the moment the trial judge
announces that a case will be televised it becomes a cause celebre. The whole community, x x x becomes interested in
all the morbid details surrounding it. The approaching trial immediately assumes an important status in the public press
and the accused is highly publicized along with the offense with which he is charged. Every juror carries with him into the
jury box these solemn facts and thus increases the chance of prejudice that is present in every criminal case. x x x.

38
"2. The quality of the testimony in criminal trials will often be impaired. The impact upon a witness of the knowledge that he
is being viewed by a vast audience is Simply incalculable. Some may be demoralized and frightened, some cocky and
given to overstatement; memories may falter, as with anyone speaking publicly, and accuracy of statement may be
severely undermined. x x x. Indeed, the mere fact that the trial is to be televised might render witnesses reluctant to
appear and thereby impede the trial as well as the discovery of the truth.

"3. A major aspect of the problem is the additional responsibilities the presence of television places on the trial judge. His
job is to make certain that the accused receives a fair trial. This most difficult task requires his undivided attention. x x x

"4. Finally, we cannot ignore the impact of courtroom television on the defendant. Its presence is a form of mental if not
physical-harassment, resembling a police line-up or the third degree. The inevitable close-up of his gestures and
expressions during the ordeal of his trial might well transgress his personal sensibilities, his dignity, and his ability to
concentrate on the proceedings before him -sometimes the difference between life and death -dispassionately, freely
and without the distraction of wide public surveillance. A defendant on trial for a specific crime is entitled to his day in
court, not in a stadium, or a city or nationwide arena. The heightened public clamor resulting from radio and television
coverage will inevitably result in prejudice."

In his concurring opinion in Estes, Mr. Justice Harlan opined that live television and radio coverage could have mischievous
potentialities for intruding upon the detached atmosphere that should always surround the judicial process.21

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, in its Resolution of 16 Apri1 2001, expressed its own concern on the live television and radio
coverage of the criminal trials of Mr. Estrada; to paraphrase: Live television and radio coverage can negate the rule on
exclusion of witnesses during the hearings intended to assure a fair trial; at stake in the criminal trial is not only the life and liberty
of the accused but the very credibility of the Philippine criminal justice system, and live television and radio coverage of the
trial could allow the "hooting throng" to arrogate unto themselves the task of judging the guilt of the accused, such that the
verdict of the court will be acceptable only if popular; and live television and radio coverage of the trial will not subserve the
ends of justice but will only pander to the desire for publicity of a few grandstanding lawyers.

39
It may not be unlikely, if the minority position were to be adopted, to see protracted delays in the prosecution of cases before
trial courts brought about by petitions seeking a declaration of mistrial on account of undue publicity and assailing a court
a quo's action either allowing or disallowing live media coverage of the court proceedings because of supposed abuse of
discretion on the part of the judge.

En passant, the minority would view the ponencia as having modified the case law on the matter. Just to the contrary, the
Court effectively reiterated its standing resolution of 23 October 1991. Until 1991, the Court had yet to establish the case law on
the matter, and when it did in its 23rd October resolution, it confirmed, in disallowing live television and radio coverage of court
proceedings, that "the records of the Constitutional Commission (were) bereft of discussion regarding the subject of cameras in
the courtroom" and that "Philippine courts (had) not (therefore) had the opportunity to rule on the question squarely."

But were the cases decided by the U.S. courts and cited in the minority opinion really in point?

In Nebraska Press Association vs, Stewart,22 the Nebraska State trial judge issued an order restraining news media from
publishing accounts of confession or admissions made by the accused or facts strongly implicating him. The order was struck
down. In Richmond Newspaper; Inc., vs, Virginia,23 the trial judge closed the courtroom to the public and all participants
except witnesses when they testify. The judge was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled that criminal trials were
historically open. In Globe Newspaper vs. Superior Court,24 the US Supreme Court voided a Massachusetts law that required trial
judges to exclude the press and the public from the courtroom during the testimony of a minor victim of certain sexual offenses.

Justice Steward, in Chandler vs. Florida,25 where two police officers charged with burglary sought to overturn their conviction
before the US Supreme Court upon the ground that the television coverage had infringed their right to fair trial, explained that
"the constitutional violation perceived by the Estes Court did not stem from the physical disruption that might one day
disappear with technological advances in the television equipment but inhered, rather, in the hypothesis that the mere
presence of cameras and recording devices might have an effect on the trial participants prejudicial to the accused."26

40
Parenthetically, the United States Supreme Court and other federal courts do not allow live television and radio coverage of
their proceedings.

The sad reality is that the criminal cases presently involved are of great dimensions so involving as they do a former President of
the Republic. It is undeniable that these cases have twice become the nation's focal points in the two conflicting phenomena
of EDSA II and EDSA III where the magnitude of the events has left a still divided nation. Must these events be invited anew and
risk the relative stability that has thus far been achieved? The transcendental events in our midst do not allow us to turn a blind
eye to yet another possible extraordinary case of mass action being allowed to now creep into even the business of the courts
in the dispensation of justice under a rule of law. At the very least, a change in the standing rule of the court contained in its
resolution of 23 October 1991 may not appear to be propitious.

Unlike other government offices, courts do not express the popular will of the people in any sense which, instead, are tasked to
only adjudicate justiciable controversies on the basis of what alone is submitted before them. 27 A trial is not a free trade of
ideas, Nor is a competing market of thoughts the known test of truth in a courtroom. 28

The Court is not all that umnindful of recent technological and scientific advances but to chance forthwith the life or liberty of
any person in a hasty bid to use and apply them, even before ample safety nets are provided and the concerns heretofore
expressed are aptly addressed, is a price too high to pay. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

45. Newsounds Broadcasting vs. Dy, G.R. No. 170270, April 2, 2009 Nature: Petition for Review emanated from a petition for
mandamus

Summary: RTC rendered a Decision denying the petition for mandamus. The RTC upheld all the arguments of the respondents,
including their right to deny the sought after mayors permit unless they were duly satisfied that the subject property has been
classified as commercial in nature. The Decision made no reference to the application for a writ of preliminary mandatory
injunction.

41
CA dismissed the Petition for Certiorari, ruling that the RTC did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in impliedly denying
the application for preliminary mandatory injunction.
Facts: Petitioners operate and run Bombo Radyo DZNC Cauayan (DZNC), an AM radio broadcast station, and Star FM DWIT
Cauayan, an FM radio broadcast station, in Cauayan Citry, Isabela. Back in 1996, Newsounds commenced relocation of its
broadcasting station, management office, and transmitters on propery located in Minante 2, Cauayan City, Isabela.

On July 1996, the Housing & Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and Office of the Municipal Planning and Development
Coordinator (OMPDC) affirmed and certified that the commercial structure to be constructed conformed to local zoning
regulations, noting as well that the location is classified as a “commercial area”. The radio station was able to fully operate
smoothly thereafter.

In 2002 however, when petitioners applied for a renewal of mayor’s permit, City Zoning Administratior-Designate Bagnos
Maximo refused to issue zoning clearance on the grounds that petitioners were not able to submit conversion papers showing
that the agricultural land was converted to commercial land. Petitioners asked the court to compel the issuance of mayor’s
permit but the court denied the action. In the meantime, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Region II office issued to
petitioners a formal recognition of conversion of the property from agricultural to commercial.

In 2003, petitioners again filed their application for renewal of mayor’s permit, attaching the DAR Order. Respondent Felicisimo
Meer, acting City Administrator of Cauayan City denied the same, claiming that it was void on the grounds that they did not
have record of the DAR Order.
The deadline lapsed on Febuary 15, 2004, and respondents Meer and Racma Fernandez-Garcia, City Legal Officer of Cauayan
City, closed the radio station. Due to the prvosion of Omnibus Election Code which prohibits the closure of radio station during
the pendency of election period, COMELEC issued an order allowing the petitioners to operate before Febuary 17, 2004, but
was barred again by respondent Mayor Ceasar Dy on the grounds that the radio station had no permit. Nonetheless,
COMELEC allowed them to run again until June 10, 2004 after elections. Petitioners filed the case to the RTC and CA for the
issuance of mayor’s permit but both courts denied the petition.

42
A municipal or city mayor is likewise authorized under the LGC to issue licenses and permits, and suspend or revoke the same
for any violation of the conditions upon which said licenses or permits had been issued, pursuant to law or ordinance. In case of
Cauayan City, the authority to require a mayor’s permit was enacted through Ordinance No. 92-004, enacted in 1993.
However, nothing in the ordinance requires an application for a mayor’s permit to submit “either an approved land conversion
papers from DAR, showing that its property was converted from prime agricultural land or an approved resolution from the
Sangguniang Bayan or Sangguniang Panglungsod authorizing the reclassification of property from agricultural to commercial
land.
In 1996, the HLURB issued a zoning decision that classified the property as commercial. Petitioners are also armed with several
certifications stating that the property is indeed a commercial area. Also, petitioners paid real property taxes based on the
classification of property as commercial without objections raised by the respondents.

Petitioners argued that this consistent recognition by the local government of Cauayan of the commercial character of the
property constitutes estoppels against respondents from denying the fact before the courts. The lower courts had ruled that
“the government of Cauayan City is not bound by estoppels, but petitioners classified that this concept is understood to only
refer to acts and mistakes of its official especially to those which are irregular.

Issue: WON there is prior restraint against DZNC

Ratio: YES. Petitioners have taken great pains to depict their struggle as a textbook case of denial of the right to free speech
and of the press. In their tale, there is undeniable political color. They admit that in 2001, Bombo Radyo was aggressive in
exposing the widespread election irregularities in Isabela that appear to have favored respondent Dy and other members of
the Dy political dynasty. Respondent Ceasar Dy is the brother of Faustino Dy, Jr., governor of Isabela from 2001 until he was
defeated in his re-election bid in 2004 by Grace Padaca, a former assistant station manager at petitioners own DZNC Bombo
Radyo. A rival AM radio station in Cauayan City, DWDY, is owned and operated by the Dy family. Petitioners likewise direct our
attention to a 20 February 2004 article printed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer where Dy is quoted as intending to file
disenfranchisement proceedings against DZNC-AM.

43
The partisan component of this dispute will no doubt sway many observers towards one opinion or the other, but not us. The
comfort offered by the constitutional shelter of free expression is neutral as to personality, affinity, ideology and popularity. The
judges tasked to enforce constitutional order are expected to rule accordingly from the comfort of that neutral shelter.
The following undisputed facts bring the issue of free expression to fore. Petitioners are authorized by law to operate radio
stations in Cauayan City, and had been doing so for some years undisturbed by local authorities. Beginning in 2002,
respondents in their official capacities have taken actions, whatever may be the motive, that have impeded the ability of
petitioners to freely broadcast, if not broadcast at all. These actions have ranged from withholding permits to operate to the
physical closure of those stations under color of legal authority. While once petitioners were able to broadcast freely, the
weight of government has since bore down upon them to silence their voices on the airwaves. An elementary school child with
a basic understanding of civics lessons will recognize that free speech animates these cases.
Without taking into account any extenuating circumstances that may favor the respondents, we can identify the bare acts of
closing the radio stations or preventing their operations as an act of prior restraint against speech, expression or of the press.
Prior restraint refers to official governmental restrictions on the press or other forms of expression in advance of actual
publication or dissemination. While any system of prior restraint comes to court bearing a heavy burden against its
constitutionality, not all prior restraints on speech are invalid.
That the acts imputed against respondents constitute a prior restraint on the freedom of expression of respondents who
happen to be members of the press is clear enough. There is a long-standing tradition of special judicial solicitude for free
speech, meaning that governmental action directed at expression must satisfy a greater burden of justification than
governmental action directed at most other forms of behavior. We had said in SWS v. COMELEC: Because of the preferred
status of the constitutional rights of speech, expression, and the press, such a measure is vitiated by a weighty presumption of
invalidity. Indeed, any system of prior restraints of expression comes to this Court bearing a heavy presumption against its
constitutional validity. . . . The Government 'thus carries a heavy burden of showing justification for the enforcement of such
restraint. There is thus a reversal of the normal presumption of validity that inheres in every legislation.
At the same time, jurisprudence distinguishes between a content-neutral regulation, i.e., merely concerned with the incidents
of the speech, or one that merely controls the time, place or manner, and under well defined standards; and a content-
based restraint or censorship, i.e., the restriction is based on the subject matter of the utterance or speech. Content-based
laws are generally treated as more suspect than content-neutral laws because of judicial concern with discrimination in the
44
regulation of expression.[44] Content-neutral regulations of speech or of conduct that may amount to speech, are subject to
lesser but still heightened scrutiny.
Ostensibly, the act of an LGU requiring a business of proof that the property from which it operates has been zoned for
commercial use can be argued, when applied to a radio station, as content-neutral since such a regulation would presumably
apply to any other radio station or business enterprise within the LGU.
However, the circumstances of this case dictate that we view the action of the respondents as a content-based restraint.
35.3. The timing of respondents closure of petitioners radio stations is also very telling. The closure comes at a most critical time
when the people are set to exercise their right of suffrage. Such timing emphasizes the ill motives of respondents.
In their Answer with Comment to the petition for mandamus, respondents admitted that petitioners had made such exposes
during the 2001 elections, though they denied the nature and truthfulness of such reports. They conceded that the Philippine
Daily Inquirer story reported that Dy said he planned to file disenfranchisement proceedings against [DZNC]-AM. While
respondents assert that there are other AM radio stations in Isabela, they do not specifically refute that station DWDY was
owned by the Dy family, or that DZNC and DWDY are the two only stations that operate out of Cauayan.
Prior to 2002, petitioners had not been frustrated in securing the various local government requirements for the operation of
their stations. It was only in the beginning of 2002, after the election of respondent Ceasar Dy as mayor of Cauayan, that the
local government started to impose these new requirements substantiating the conversion of CDCs property for commercial
use. Petitioners admit that during the 2001 elections, Bombo Radyo was aggressive in exposing the widespread election
irregularities in Isabela that appear to have favored Respondent Dy and other members of the Dy political dynasty.[52]
Respondents efforts to close petitioners radio station clearly intensified immediately before the May 2004 elections, where a
former employee of DZNC Bombo Radyo, Grace Padaca, was mounting a credible and ultimately successful challenge
against the incumbent Isabela governor, who happened to be the brother of respondent Dy. It also bears notice that the
requirements required of petitioners by the Cauayan City government are frankly beyond the pale and not conventionally
adopted by local governments throughout the Philippines.
All those circumstances lead us to believe that the steps employed by respondents to ultimately shut down petitioners radio
station were ultimately content-based. The United States Supreme Court generally treats restriction of the expression of a
particular point of view as the paradigm violation of the First Amendment.[53] The facts confronting us now could have easily
been drawn up by a constitutional law professor eager to provide a plain example on how free speech may be violated.
45
The Court is of the position that the actions of the respondents warrant heightened or strict scrutiny from the Court, the test which
we have deemed appropriate in assessing content-based restrictions on free speech, as well as for laws dealing with freedom
of the mind or restricting the political process, of laws dealing with the regulation of speech, gender, or race as well as other
fundamental rights as expansion from its earlier applications to equal protection.[54] The immediate implication of the
application of the strict scrutiny test is that the burden falls upon respondents as agents of government to prove that their
actions do not infringe upon petitioners constitutional rights. As content regulation cannot be done in the absence of any
compelling reason,[55] the burden lies with the government to establish such compelling reason to infringe the right to free
expression.
Ruling: WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. The assailed decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Court of
Cauayan City, Branch 24, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The instant petition for mandamus is hereby GRANTED and
respondents are directed to immediately issue petitioners zoning clearances and mayors permits for 2004 to petitioners
Notes: Whenever the force of government or any of its political subdivisions bears upon to close down a private broadcasting
station, the issue of free speech infringement cannot be minimized, no matter the legal justifications offered for the closure. In
many respects, the present petitions offer a textbook example of how the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech,
expression and of the press may be unlawfully compromised. Tragically, the lower courts involved in this case failed to
recognize or assert the fundamental dimensions, and it is our duty to reverse, and to affirm the Constitution and the most
sacred rights it guarantees.

46. Hector Villanueva v. PDI


This petition for review on certiorari assails the Amended Decision[1] dated May 25, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 54134, reversing the Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Negros Oriental, Dumaguete City, Branch 44 in Civil
Case No. 206-B, which had awarded damages to petitioner for respondents false reporting.

Petitioner was one of the mayoralty candidates in Bais, Negros Oriental during the May 11, 1992 elections. On March 30, 1990,
Ricardo Nolan, another mayoralty candidate, petitioned for the disqualification of petitioner from running in the elections. Said
petition, however, was denied by the COMELEC.[3]

46
Two days before the elections, or on May 9, 1992, respondent Manila Daily Bulletin Publishing Corporation (Manila Bulletin)
published the following story:
The Comelec has disqualified Hector G. Villanueva as Lakas-NUCD candidate for mayor of Bais City for having been convicted
in three administrative cases for grave abuse of authority and harassment in 1987, while he was officer-in-charge of the mayors
office of Bais City.[4] [Emphasis and underscoring supplied.]
A day before the elections or on May 10, 1992, respondent Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inc. (PDI) also came out with a similar story,
to wit:
The Commission on Elections disqualified Hector G. Villanueva as Lakas-NUCD candidate for mayor of Bais City for having been
convicted in three administrative cases for grave abuse of authority and harassment in 1987, while he was the officer-in-charge
of the mayors office in the city.
The Comelec upheld the recommendation of the Comelec office in Bais City, stressing that Villanuevas conviction in the
administrative cases barred him from seeking any elective office.
The Comelec cited Section 40 of the Local Government Code of 1991, which provides that among those who are disqualified
from running for any elective position are those removed from office as a result of an administrative case.
Villanueva was appointed Bais City OIC on April 18, 1986 by then Local Government Minister Aquilino Pimentel. Sometime
during the same year, three administrative cases were instituted against Villanueva before the Department of Local
Government upon complaint of Rebecco V. Fernandez and Dr. Harte C. Fuentes.
Sometime in May 1987, the ministry found Villanueva guilty as charged and ordered him removed from his position as OIC of
the city government, which decision was approved by Minister Jaime Ferrer.
In the same month, Francisco G. Villanueva was appointed OIC Mayor to replace Hector Villanueva who had been removed
from office.
The poll body also stated that insofar as the penalty of the removal is concerned, this cannot be reversed anymore, and
consequently cannot be the subject matter of an appeal.
The indefinite term as OIC to which respondent was appointed in 1986 already lapsed, with the holding of the 1988 local
elections and the assumption of office of those elected therein.[5] [Emphasis and underscoring supplied.]
On May 11, 1992, the national and local elections were held as scheduled. When results came out, it turned out that petitioner
failed in his mayoralty bid.
47
Believing that his defeat was caused by the publication of the above-quoted stories, petitioner sued respondents PDI and
Manila Bulletin as well as their publishers and editors for damages before the RTC of Bais City. He alleged that the articles were
maliciously timed to defeat him. He claimed he should have won by landslide, but his supporters reportedly believed the news
items distributed by his rivals and voted for other candidates. He asked for actual damages of P270,000 for the amount he
spent for the campaign, moral damages of P10,000,000, an unspecified amount of exemplary damages, attorneys fees of
P300,000 and costs of suit.[6]
Respondents disclaimed liability. They asserted that no malice can be attributed to them as they did not know petitioner and
had no interest in the outcome of the election, stressing that the stories were privileged in nature.[7]
According to Manila Bulletin reporter Edgardo T. Suarez, he got the story during a COMELEC commissioners press briefing. He,
however, came in late and only a fellow reporter told him that the disqualification case against petitioner was granted. He did
not bother to get a confirmation from anyone as he had a deadline to beat.[8]
PDI political section editor Carlos Hidalgo, on the other hand, said that he got the story from a press release. He claimed that
he found the press release on his desk the day Manila Bulletin published the same story. The press release bore COMELECs
letterhead and was signed by one Sonia Dimasupil, a former Malaya newspaper editor who was in-charge of COMELEC press
releases. He tried to contact her but she was out of the office. Since the news item was also published in the Manila Bulletin, he
felt confident the press release was authentic. He however failed to produce the press release in court.[9]
On April 18, 1996, the trial court rendered a decision in favor of petitioner as follows:
WHEREFORE FOREGOING CONSIDERED, this Court holds that defendants Philippine Daily Inquirer, [Inc.] and Manila [Daily]
Bulletin Publishing Corporation with their respective officers are liable [for] damages to plaintiff in the following manner:
1. As moral damages, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, [Inc.] and the Manila [Daily] Bulletin Publishing Corporation are ordered to
pay P1,000,000.00 each to plaintiff;
2. Both defendants are likewise ordered to pay an exemplary damage in the amount of P500,000.00 each;
3. To pay plaintiffs attorneys fees in the amount of P100,000.00;
4. And to pay the costs.
The trial court found the news items derogatory and injurious to petitioners reputation and candidacy. It faulted respondents for
failing to verify the truth of the news tips they published and held respondents liable for negligence, citing Policarpio v. Manila

48
Times Pub. Co., Inc.[11] The trial court also ruled that because the news items lacked truth and fairness, they were not privileged
communications.
On appeal by respondents, the Court of Appeals dismissed the complaint. It explained that although the stories were false and
not privileged, as there is no proof they were obtained from a press conference or release, respondents were not impelled by
malice or improper motive. There was also no proof that petitioners supporters junked him due to the reports. Neither was there
any proof he would win, making his action unfounded.
Before us, petitioner raises the lone issue of whether: [THE] HONORABLE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO UTTER LACK OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT UNILATERALLY, UNPROCEDURALLY AND ARBITRARILY
CHANGED THE PLEADING-BORNE AND PRE-TRIAL ORDER DELINEATED THEORY OF QUASI-DELICT OF APPELLEE, THEREBY
DISMISSING THE CASE FOR FAILURE TO EVIDENCE AN ESSENTIAL REQUISITE OF ITS IMPOSED IRRELEVANT THEORY.[12]
Simply stated, we are asked to resolve the issue of whether petitioner is required to prove malice to be entitled to damages.
Petitioner argues that his cause of action is based on quasi-delict which only requires proof of fault or negligence, not proof of
malice beyond reasonable doubt as required in a criminal prosecution for libel. He argues that the case is entirely different and
separate from an independent civil action arising from libel under Article 100[13] of the Revised Penal Code. He claims he
proffered proofs sustaining his claim for damages under quasi-delict, not under the law on libel, as malice is hard to prove. He
stresses that nowhere in the complaint did he mention libel, and nothing in his complaint shows that his cause of action had
some shade of libel as defined in the Revised Penal Code. He also did not hint a resort to a criminal proceeding for libel.[14]
PDI and its officers argue that petitioners complaint clearly lays a cause of action arising from libel as it highlights malice
underlying the publications. And as malice is an element of libel, the appellate court committed no error in characterizing the
case as one arising from libel.[15]
For their part, Manila Bulletin and its officers claim that petitioner changed his theory, which must be disallowed as it violates
respondents right to due process. Although petitioners claim for damages before the trial court hinged on the erroneous
publications, which he alleged were maliciously timed, he claims in his petition before this Court that his cause of action is
actually one for quasi-delict or tort. They stress that the prayer and allegations in petitioners complaint, which never alleged
quasi-delict or tort but malicious publication as basis for the claim for damages, control his case theory. Thus, it may not be
altered unless there was an amendment of the complaint to change the cause of action. They claim that petitioners initiatory
pleading and the trial courts pre-trial order and decision reveal that his cause of action for damages arose from the
49
publications of the malicious articles; hence, he should have proved actual malice to be entitled to any award of damages.
They added that the appellate court correctly ruled that the articles were not published with actual malice.[16]
We rule in favor of the respondents.
Basic is the rule that what determines the nature of an action as well as which court has jurisdiction over it are the allegations of
the complaint and the character of the relief sought.[17] The nature of a pleading is determined by allegations therein made in
good faith, the stage of the proceeding at which it is filed, and the primary objective of the party filing the same. The ground
chosen or the rationale adopted by the court in resolving the case does not determine or change the real nature thereof.
The complaint was denominated as one for damages, and a perusal of its content reveals that the factual allegations
constituted a complaint for damages based on malicious publication. It specifically pointed out that petitioner lost the election
because of the bad publicity created by the malicious publication of respondents PDI and Manila Bulletin. It is alleged
numerous times that the action for damages stemmed from respondents malicious publication. Petitioner sought that
respondents be declared guilty of irresponsible and malicious publication and be made liable for damages. The fact that
petitioner later on changed his theory to quasi-delict does not change the nature of petitioners complaint and convert
petitioners action into quasi-delict. The complaint remains to be one for damages based on malicious publication.
Consequently, as the issue of malice was raised, it was incumbent on petitioner to prove the same. The basic rule is that mere
allegation is not evidence, and is not equivalent to proof.[18] As correctly stated by the Court of Appeals, while the questioned
news item was found to be untrue, this does not necessarily render the same malicious.
To fully appreciate the import of the complaint alleging malice and damages, we must recall the essence of libel.
Libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission,
condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural person or juridical person,
or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.[19] Any of these imputations is defamatory and under the general rule stated in
Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code, every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious.[20] The presumption of
malice, however, does not exist in the following instances:
1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral, or social duty; and
2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative, or other official
proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report, or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of
any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions.[21]
50
We note that the publications or articles in question are neither private communications nor true reports of official proceedings
without any comments or remarks. However, this does not necessarily mean that the questioned articles are not privileged. The
enumeration under Art. 354 is not an exclusive list of qualified privileged communications since fair commentaries on matters of
public interest are likewise privileged and constitute a valid defense in an action for libel or slander.[22] The rule on privileged
communication had its genesis not in the nations penal code but in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom
of speech and of the press. As early as 1918, in United States v. Caete,[23] this Court ruled that publications which are
privileged for reasons of public policy are protected by the constitutional guaranty of freedom of speech.[24]

In the instant case, there is no denying that the questioned articles dealt with matters of public interest. These are matters
about which the public has the right to be informed, taking into account the very public character of the election itself. For this
reason, they attracted media mileage and drew public attention not only to the election itself but to the candidates. As one of
the candidates, petitioner consequently assumed the status of a public figure within the purview of Ayers Productions Pty. Ltd.
v. Capulong.[25]

But even assuming a person would not qualify as a public figure, it would not necessarily follow that he could not validly be the
subject of a public comment. For he could; for instance, if and when he would be involved in a public issue. If a matter is a
subject of public or general interest, it cannot suddenly become less so merely because a private individual is involved or
because in some sense the individual did not voluntarily choose to become involved. The publics primary interest is in the
event; the public focus is on the conduct of the participant and the content, effect and significance of the conduct, not the
participants prior anonymity or notoriety.[26]
In any event, having been OIC-Mayor of Bais City after the People Power Revolution, petitioner in this case as early as 1992 was
already a well-known official and public figure.
However, it must be stressed that the fact that a communication or publication is privileged does not mean that it is not
actionable; the privileged character simply does away with the presumption of malice, which the plaintiff has to prove in such
a case.[27] That proof in a civil case must of course be based on preponderance of evidence. This, however, petitioner failed
to do in this case.

51
Under the current state of our jurisprudence, to be considered malicious, the libelous statement must be shown to have been
written or published with the knowledge that they are false or in reckless disregard of whether they are false or not. Reckless
disregard of what is false or not means that the author or publisher entertains serious doubt as to the truth of the publication, or
that he possesses a high degree of awareness of their probable falsity.[28]
In the instant case, we find no conclusive showing that the published articles in question were written with knowledge that
these were false or in reckless disregard of what was false or not. According to Manila Bulletin reporter Edgardo T. Suarez, he
got the story from a fellow reporter who told him that the disqualification case against petitioner was granted. PDI, on the other
hand, said that they got the story from a press release the very same day the Manila Bulletin published the same story. PDI
claims that the press release bore COMELECs letterhead, signed by one Sonia Dimasupil, who was in-charge of COMELEC press
releases. They also tried to contact her but she was out of the office. Since the news item was already published in the Manila
Bulletin, they felt confident the press release was authentic. Following the narration of events narrated by respondents, it
cannot be said that the publications, were published with reckless disregard of what is false or not.
Nevertheless, even assuming that the contents of the articles turned out to be false, mere error, inaccuracy or even falsity
alone does not prove actual malice. Errors or misstatements are inevitable in any scheme of truly free expression and debate.
Consistent with good faith and reasonable care, the press should not be held to account, to a point of suppression, for honest
mistakes or imperfections in the choice of language. There must be some room for misstatement of fact as well as for
misjudgment. Only by giving them much leeway and tolerance can they courageously and effectively function as critical
agencies in our democracy.[29]
A newspaper, especially one national in reach and coverage, should be free to report on events and developments in which
the public has a legitimate interest with minimum fear of being hauled to court by one group or another on criminal or civil
charges for malice or damages, i.e. libel, so long as the newspaper respects and keeps within the standards of morality and
civility prevailing within the general community.[30]
Likewise, in our view respondents failure to counter-check their report or present their informant should not be a reason to hold
them liable. While substantiation of the facts supplied is an important reporting standard, still, a reporter may rely on information
given by a lone source although it reflects only one side of the story provided the reporter does not entertain a high degree of
awareness of [its] probable falsity.[31] Petitioner, in this case, presented no proof that respondents entertained such awareness.
Failure to present respondents informant before the court should not be taken against them.[32]
52
Worth stressing, jurisprudence instructs us that a privileged communication should not be subjected to microscopic examination
to discover grounds for malice or falsity. Such excessive scrutiny would defeat the protection which the law throws over
privileged communications. The ultimate test is that of bona fides.[33]
Further, worthy of note, before the filing of the complaint, respondents herein received no word of protest, exception or
objection from petitioner. Had the error in the news reports in question been pointed out by interested parties to the
respondents, their publishers and editors could have promptly made a rectification through print and broadcast media just
before and during the election day deflecting thereby any prejudice to petitioners political or personal interest.
As aptly observed in Quisumbing v. Lopez, et al.:[34]
Every citizen of course has the right to enjoy a good name and reputation, but we do not consider that the respondents, under
the circumstances of this case, had violated said right or abused the freedom of the press. The newspapers should be given
such leeway and tolerance as to enable them to courageously and effectively perform their important role in our democracy.
In the preparation of stories, press reporters and edition usually have to race with their deadlines; and consistently with good
faith and reasonable care, they should not be held to account, to a point of suppression, for honest mistakes or imperfection in
the choice of words.[35] [Emphasis supplied.]
We find respondents entitled to the protection of the rules concerning qualified privilege, growing out of constitutional
guaranties in our Bill of Rights. We cannot punish journalists including publishers for an honest endeavor to serve the public
when moved by a sense of civic duty and prodded by their sense of responsibility as news media to report what they
perceived to be a genuine report.
Media men are always reminded of their responsibilities as such. This time, there is also a need to remind public figures of the
consequences of being one. Fittingly, as held in Time, Inc. v. Hill,[36] one of the costs associated with participation in public
affairs is an attendant loss of privacy.
Exposure of the self to others in varying degrees is a concomitant of life in a civilized community. The risk of this exposure is an
essential incident of life in a society which places a primary value on freedom of speech and of press. Freedom of discussion, if
it would fulfill its historic function in this nation, must embrace all issues about which information is needed or appropriate to
enable the members of society to cope with the exigencies of their period.[37]
On petitioners claim for damages, we find no evidence to support their award. Indeed, it cannot be said that respondents
published the questioned articles for the sole purpose of harassing petitioner. Proof and motive that the publication was
53
prompted by a sinister design to vex and humiliate petitioner has not been clearly and preponderantly established to entitle
the petitioner to damages. There remains unfulfilled the need to prove that the publications were made with actual malice
that is, with the knowledge of the publications falsity or with reckless disregard of whether they were false or not.[38]
Thus, from American jurisprudence as amplified in Lopez v. Court of Appeals: For liability to arise then without offending press
freedom, there is this test to meet: "The constitutional guarantees require, we think, a federal rule that prohibits a public official
from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was
made with actual malice that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not." The
United States Supreme Court went further in Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts,[39] where such immunity, was held as covering
statements concerning public figures regardless of whether or not they are government officials. Why there should be such an
extension is understandable in the light of the broad scope enjoyed by press freedom which certainly allows a full and free
discussion of public issues. What can be more logical and appropriate, then, than such an expansion of the principle. As noted
by a commentator: Since discussion of public issues cannot be meaningful without reference to the men involved on both sides
of such issues, and since such men will not necessarily be public officials, one cannot but agree that the Court was right in
Curtis to extend the Times[40] rule to all public figures.[41] [Emphasis supplied.]

Furthermore, the guarantee of press freedom has also come to ensure that claims for damages arising from the utilization of the
freedom be not unreasonable or exorbitant as to practically cause a chilling effect on the exercise thereof. Damages, in our
view, could not simply arise from an inaccurate or false statement without irrefutable proof of actual malice as element of the
assailed publication. WHEREFORE, the assailed Amended Decision dated May 25, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 54134 is AFFIRMED

47. G.R. No. 180291, July 27, 2010 GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (GSIS) and WINSTON F. GARCIA, in his capacity as
PRESIDENT and GENERAL MANAGER of the GSIS, Petitioners, vs. DINNAH VILLAVIZA, ELIZABETH DUQUE, ADRONICO A. ECHAVEZ,
RODEL RUBIO, ROWENA THERESE B. GRACIA, PILAR LAYCO, and ANTONIO JOSE LEGARDA, Respondents.

FACTS: Petitioner Winston Garcia (PGM Garcia), as President and General Manager of the GSIS, filed separate formal charges
against respondents Dinnah Villaviza, Elizabeth Duque, Adronico A. Echavez, Rodel Rubio, Rowena Therese B. Gracia, Pilar Layco,

54
and Antonio Jose Legarda for Grave Misconduct and/or Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service pursuant to the
Rules of Procedure in Administrative Investigation (RPAI) of GSIS Employees and Officials, III, D, (1, c, f) in relation to Section 52A
(3), (20), Rule IV, of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (URACCS), in accordance with Book V of the
Administrative Code of 1987, committed as follows:
· That on 27 May 2005, respondent, wearing red shirt together with some employees, marched to or appeared simultaneously at
or just outside the office of the Investigation Unit in a mass demonstration/rally of protest and support for Messrs. Mario Molina
and Albert Velasco, the latter having surreptitiously entered the GSIS premises;
· That some of these employees badmouthed the security guards and the GSIS management and defiantly raised clenched fists
led by Atty. Velasco who was barred by Hearing Officer Marvin R. Gatpayat in an Order dated 24 May 2005 from appearing as
counsel for Atty. Molina pursuant to Section 7 (b) (2) of R.A. 6713 otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards
for Public Officials and Employees;
· That respondent, together with other employees in utter contempt of CSC Resolution No. 021316, dated 11 October 2002,
otherwise known as Omnibus Rules on Prohibited Concerted Mass Actions in the Public Sector caused alarm and heightened
some employees and disrupted the work at the Investigation Unit during office hours.
This episode was earlier reported to PGM Garcia, through an office memorandum dated May 31, 2005, by the Manager
of the GSIS Security Department (GSIS-SD), Dennis Nagtalon. On the same day, the Manager of the GSIS Investigation Unit (GSIS-
IU), Atty. Lutgardo Barbo, issued a memorandum to each of the seven (7) respondents requiring them to explain in writing and
under oath within three (3) days why they should not be administratively dealt with.
Respondents Duque, Echavez, Rubio, Gracia, Layco, and Legarda, together with two others, submitted a letter-
explanation to Atty. Barbo dated June 6, 2005. Denying that there was a planned mass action, the respondents explained that
their act of going to the office of the GSIS-IU was a spontaneous reaction after learning that their former union president was
there. Aside from some of them wanting to show their support, they were interested in that hearing as it might also affect
them. For her part, respondent Villaviza submitted a separate letter explaining that she had a scheduled pre-hearing at the GSIS-
IU that day and that she had informed her immediate supervisor about it, attaching a copy of the order of pre-hearing. These
letters were not under oath.
PGM Garcia then filed the above-mentioned formal charges for Grave Misconduct and/or Conduct Prejudicial to the
Best Interest of the Service against each of the respondents, all dated June 4, 2005. Respondents were again directed to submit
their written answers under oath within three (3) days from receipt thereof. None was filed.

55
On June 29, 2005, PGM Garcia issued separate but similarly worded decisions finding all seven (7) respondents guilty of
the charges and meting out the penalty of one (1) year suspension plus the accessory penalties appurtenant thereto.
On appeal, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) found the respondents guilty of the lesser offense of Violation of
Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations and reduced the penalty to reprimand. The CSC ruled that respondents were not
denied their right to due process but there was no substantial evidence to hold them guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best
Interest of the Service. Instead,
The actuation of the appellants in going to the IU, wearing red shirts, to witness a public hearing cannot be considered as
constitutive of such offense. Appellants’ (respondents herein) assembly at the said office to express support to Velasco, their
Union President, who pledged to defend them against any oppression by the GSIS management, can be considered as an
exercise of their freedom of expression, a constitutionally guaranteed right.
PGM Garcia sought reconsideration but was denied. Thus, PGM Garcia went to the Court of Appeals via a Petition for
Review under Rule 43 of the Rules on Civil Procedure. The CA upheld the CSC in this wise:
The Civil Service Commission is correct when it found that the act sought to be punished hardly falls within the definition
of a prohibited concerted activity or mass action. The petitioners failed to prove that the supposed concerted activity of the
respondents resulted in work stoppage and caused prejudice to the public service. Only about twenty (20) out of more than a
hundred employees at the main office, joined the activity sought to be punished. These employees, now respondents in this
case, were assigned at different offices of the petitioner GSIS. Hence, despite the belated claim of the petitioners that the act
complained of had created substantial disturbance inside the petitioner GSIS’ premises during office hours, there is nothing in
the record that could support the claim that the operational capacity of petitioner GSIS was affected or reduced to substantial
percentage when respondents gathered at the Investigation Unit. Despite the hazy claim of the petitioners that the gathering
was intended to force the Investigation Unit and petitioner GSIS to be lenient in the handling of Atty. Molina’s case and allow
Atty. Velasco to represent Atty. Molina in his administrative case before petitioner GSIS, there is likewise no concrete and
convincing evidence to prove that the gathering was made to demand or force concessions, economic or otherwise from the
GSIS management or from the government. In fact, in the separate formal charges filed against the respondents, petitioners
clearly alleged that respondents “marched to or appeared simultaneously at or just outside the office of the Investigation Unit in
a mass demonstration/rally of protest and support for Mssrs. Mario Molina and Albert Velasco, the latter surreptitiously entered
the GSIS premises.” Thus, petitioners are aware at the outset that the only apparent intention of the respondents in going to the
IU was to show support to Atty. Mario Molina and Albert Velasco, their union officers. The belated assertion that the intention of

56
the respondents in going to the IU was to disrupt the operation and pressure the GSIS administration to be lenient with Atty. Mario
Molina and Albert Velasco, is only an afterthought.

ISSUE: WHETHER AN ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL MAY APPLY SUPPLETORILY THE PROVISIONS OF THE RULES OF COURT ON THE EFFECT
OF FAILURE TO DENY THE ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT AND FAILURE TO FILE ANSWER, WHERE THE RESPONDENTS IN THE
ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS DID NOT FILE ANY RESPONSIVE PLEADING TO THE FORMAL CHARGES AGAINST THEM.

HELD: The Court finds no merit in the petition.


Petitioners primarily question the probative value accorded to respondents’ letters of explanation in response to the
memorandum of the GSIS-IU Manager. The respondents never filed their answers to the formal charges. The petitioners argue
that there being no answers, the allegations in the formal charges that they filed should have been deemed admitted pursuant
to Section 11, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court which provides:
SECTION 11. Allegations not specifically denied deemed admitted.— Material averment in the complaint, other than those as to
the amount of liquidated damages, shall be deemed admitted when not specifically denied. Allegations of usury in a complaint
to recover usurious interest are deemed admitted if not denied specifically and under oath.
According to the petitioners, this rule is applicable to the case at bench pursuant to Rule 1, Section 4 of the Rules of Court
which reads:
SECTION 4. In what cases not applicable. – These Rules shall not apply to election cases, land registration, cadastral,
naturalization and insolvency proceedings, and other cases not herein provided for, except by analogy or in a suppletory
character and whenever practicable and convenient.
The Court does not subscribe to the argument of the petitioners. Petitioners’ own rules, Rule XI, Section 4 of the GSIS’
Amended Policy and Procedural Guidelines No. 178-04, specifically provides:
If the respondent fails to file his Answer within five (5) working days from receipt of the Formal Charge for the supporting evidence,
when requested, he shall be considered to have waived his right to file an answer and the PGM or the Board of Trustees, in proper
cases, shall render judgment, as may be warranted by the facts and evidence submitted by the prosecution.
A perusal of said section readily discloses that the failure of a respondent to file an answer merely translates to a waiver of
“his right to file an answer.” There is nothing in the rule that says that the charges are deemed admitted. It has not done away
with the burden of the complainant to prove the charges with clear and convincing evidence.
57
It is true that Section 4 of the Rules of Court provides that the rules can be applied in a “suppletory character.” Suppletory
is defined as “supplying deficiencies.”It means that the provisions in the Rules of Court will be made to apply only where there is
an insufficiency in the applicable rule. There is, however, no such deficiency as the rules of the GSIS are explicit in case of failure
to file the required answer. What is clearly stated there is that GSIS may “render judgment as may be warranted by the facts and
evidence submitted by the prosecution.”
Even granting that Rule 8, Section 11 of the Rules of Court finds application in this case, petitioners must remember that
there remain averments that are not deemed admitted by the failure to deny the same. Among them are immaterial allegations
and incorrect conclusions drawn from facts set out in the complaint. Thus, even if respondents failed to file their answer, it does
not mean that all averments found in the complaint will be considered as true and correct in their entirety, and that the
forthcoming decision will be rendered in favor of the petitioners. We must not forget that even in administrative proceedings, it
is still the complainant, or in this case the petitioners, who have the burden of proving, with substantial evidence, the allegations
in the complaint or in the formal charges.

48. Soriano v. MTRCB

Before us is this motion of petitioner Eliseo F. Soriano for reconsideration of the Decision of the Court dated April 29, 2009,

modifying that of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) by imposing the penalty of three-month

suspension on the television show Ang Dating Daan, instead of on petitioner Soriano, as host of that program.

Petitioner seeks reconsideration on the following grounds or issues: (1) the suspension thus meted out to the program

constitutes prior restraint; (2) the Court erred in ruling that his utterances[1] did not constitute exercise of religion; (3) the Court erred

in finding the language used as offensive and obscene; (4) the Court should have applied its policy of non-interference in cases

of conflict between religious groups; and (5) the Court erred in penalizing the television program for the acts of petitioner. The

motion has no merit.

58
Petitioners threshold posture that the suspension thus imposed constitutes prior restraint and an abridgement of his

exercise of religion and freedom of expression is a mere rehash of the position he articulated in the underlying petitions for certiorari

and expounded in his memorandum.[2] So are the supportive arguments and some of the citations of decisional law, Philippine

and American, holding it together. They have been considered, sufficiently discussed in some detail, and found to be without

merit in our Decision. It would, thus, make little sense to embark on another lengthy discussion of the same issues and arguments.

Suffice it to reiterate that the sanction imposed on the TV program in question does not, under the factual milieu of the

case, constitute prior restraint, but partakes of the nature of subsequent punishment for past violation committed by petitioner in

the course of the broadcast of the program on August 10, 2004. To be sure, petitioner has not contested the fact of his having

made statements on the air that were contextually violative of the programs G rating. To merit a G rating, the program must be

suitable for all ages, which, in turn, means that the material for television [does not], in the judgment of the [MTRCB], x x x contain

anything unsuitable for children and minors, and may be viewed without adult guidance or supervision. [3] As previously discussed

by the Court, the vulgar language petitioner used on prime-time television can in no way be characterized as suitable for all ages,

and is wholly inappropriate for children.

Petitioner next harps on the primacy of his freedoms, referring particularly to the exercise of his religious beliefs and
profession, as presiding minister of his flock, over the right and duty of the state as parens patriae. Petitioners position may be
accorded some cogency, but for the fact that it fails to consider that the medium he used to make his statements was a television
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broadcast, which is accessible to children of virtually all ages. As already laid down in the Decision subject of this recourse, the
interest of the government in protecting children who may be subjected to petitioners invectives must take precedence over his
desire to air publicly his dirty laundry. The public soapbox that is television must be guarded by the state, which purpose the MTRCB
serves, and has served, in suspending Ang Dating Daan for petitioners statements. As emphasized in Gonzalez
v. Kalaw Katigbak,[4] the freedom of broadcast media is, in terms of degree of protection it deserves, lesser in scope, especially
as regards television, which reaches every home where there is a set, and where children will likely be among the avid viewers of
the programs shown. The same case also laid the basis for the classification system of the MTRCB when it stated, It cannot be
denied though that the State as parens patriae is called upon to manifest an attitude of caring for the welfare of the young.[5]

The penalty of suspension imposed on petitioner has driven him to liken the Court to a blind man who was asked to
describe an elephant, and by his description he stubbornly believed that an elephant is just the same as a Meralco post after
touching one if its legs.[6] Petitioner makes this comparison with the view that the factual backdrop against which his statements
were made was purportedly not considered by the Court. As he presently argues:

The Honorable Court should have rendered its decision in light of the surrounding circumstances why
and what prompted herein petitioner to utter those words. Clearly, he was provoked because of the malicious
and blatant splicing by the INC ministers of his recorded voice. Verily, Petitioner submits that the choice of words
he used has been harsh but strongly maintains that the same was consistent with his constitutional right of
freedom of speech and religion.

Contrary to petitioners impression, the Court has, in fact, considered the factual antecedents of and his motive in making
his utterances, and has found those circumstances wanting as defense for violating the programs G rating. Consider the following
excerpts from the Courts Decision:

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There is nothing in petitioners statements subject of the complaints expressing any particular religious
belief, nothing furthering his avowed evangelical mission. The fact that he came out with his statements in a
televised bible exposition program does not automatically accord them the character of a religious discourse.
Plain and simple insults directed at another person cannot be elevated to the status of religious speech. Even
petitioners attempts to place his words in context show that he was moved by anger and the need to seek
retribution, not by any religious conviction. His claim, assuming its veracity, that some INC ministers distorted his
statements respecting amounts Ang Dating Daan owed to a TV station does not convert the foul language
used in retaliation as religious speech. We cannot accept that petitioner made his statements in defense of his
reputation and religion, as they constitute no intelligible defense or refutation of the alleged lies being spread
by a rival religious group. They simply illustrate that petitioner had descended to the level of name-calling and
foul-language discourse. Petitioner could have chosen to contradict and disprove his detractors, but opted for
the low road.

And just to set things straight, the penalty imposed is on the program, not on petitioner.

Petitioner would next have the Court adopt a hands-off approach to the conflict between him and the Iglesia Ni Cristo. In
support of his urging, he cites Iglesia ni Cristo v. Court of Appeals.[7]

Petitioners invocation of Iglesia ni Cristo to support his hands-off thesis is erroneous. Obviously, he fails to appreciate what
the Court stated in that particular case when it rejected the argument that a religious program is beyond MTRCBs review and
regulatory authority. We reproduce what the Court pertinently wrote in Iglesia ni Cristo:

We thus reject petitioners postulate that its religious program is per se beyond review by the respondent
[MTRCB]. Its public broadcast on TV of its religious program brings it out of the bosom of internal belief. Television is

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a medium that reaches even the eyes and ears of children. The Court iterates the rule that the exercise of religious
freedom can be regulated by the State when it will bring about the clear and present danger of some substantive
evil which the State is duty bound to prevent, i.e. serious detriment to the more overriding interest of public health,
public morals, or public welfare. A laissez faire policy on the exercise of religion can be seductive to the liberal mind
but history counsels the Court against its blind adoption as religion is and continues to be a volatile area of concern
in our country today. Across the sea and in our shore, the bloodiest and bitterest wars fought by men were caused
by irreconcilable religious differences. Our country is still not safe from the recurrence of this stultifying strife
considering our warring religious beliefs and the fanaticism with which some of us cling and claw to these beliefs.
x x x For when religion divides and its exercise destroys, the State should not stand still.[8] (Emphasis added.)

Lastly, petitioner claims that there was violation of due process of law, alleging that the registered producer of the
program is not a party to the proceedings. Hence, the program cannot, so petitioner asserts, be penalized.
We will let the records speak for themselves to refute that argument.
As per petitioners admission in his petition for certiorari filed with the Court, he is the Executive Producer
of Ang Dating Daan, a televised bible exposition program produced by the Philippine-based religious
organization, Church of God International.[9] It is unclear, then, which producer the movant is referring to in claiming that there
was no representation before the MTRCB. He was and is the representative of Ang Dating Daan, and the claim that there was no
due process of law is simply bereft of merit.
Even as the foregoing disquisitions would suffice to write finis to the instant motion, certain relevant issues have been
raised by some members of the Court that ought to be addressed if only to put things in their proper perspective. We refer to the
matter of obscenity.
As stressed at every possible turn in the challenged Courts Decision, the defining standards to be employed in judging
the harmful effects of the statements petitioner used would be those for the average child, not those for the average adult. We
note that the ratings and regulation of television broadcasts take into account the protection of the child, and it is from the childs
narrow viewpoint that the utterances must be considered, if not measured. The ratings G, PG (parental guidance), PG-13, and R

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(restricted or for adults only) suggest as much. The concern was then, as now, that the program petitioner hosted and produced
would reach an unintended audience, the average child, and so it is how this audience would view his words that matters. The
average child would not be concerned with colorful speech, but, instead, focus on the literal, everyday meaning of words used.
It was this literal approach that rendered petitioners utterances obscene.

The Court has taken stock of Action for Childrens Television v. FCC,[10] but finds this U.S. case not to be of governing
application to this jurisdiction under the present state of things. The so-called safe harbor of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., adverted to
in Action for Childrens Television as the time wherein broadcast of indecent material may be permitted, is believed inapplicable
here. As it were, there is no legislative enactment or executive issuance setting a similar period in the Philippines wherein indecent
material may be broadcast. Rather than fix a period for allowing indecent programming, what is used in this jurisdiction is the
system of classification of television programs, which the petitioner violated. His program was rated G, purported to be suitable
for all ages. We cannot lose sight of the violation of his programs classification that carried with it the producers implied assurance
that the program did not contain anything unsuitable for children and minors. The hour at which it was broadcasted was of little
moment in light of the guarantee that the program was safe for childrens viewing.

The suspension of the program has not been arrived at lightly. Taking into account all the factors involved and the
arguments pressed on the Court, the suspension of the program is a sufficiently limited disciplinary action, both to address the
violation and to serve as an object lesson for the future. The likelihood is great that any disciplinary action imposed on petitioner
would be met with an equally energetic defense as has been put up here. The simple but stubborn fact is that there has been a
violation of government regulations that have been put in place with a laudable purpose, and this violation must accordingly be
dealt with. We are not unmindful of the concerns on the restriction of freedoms that may occur in imposing sanctions upon erring
individuals and institutions, but it cannot be over-emphasized that the freedoms encased in the Bill of Rights are far from absolute.
Each has its own limits, responsibilities, and obligations. Everyone is expected to bear the burden implicit in the exercise of these
freedoms. So it must be here. WHEREFORE, petitioners motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED.

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49. a SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ENGAGEMENT NETWORK, INC., vs.ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL, et. al G.R. No. 178552 October 5, 2010
chilling effect, facial challenge, Human Security Act of 2007, in terrorem effect

FACTS: Petitioners assail for being intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad the definition of the crime of terrorism under RA
9372 (the Human Security Act of 2007) in that terms like “widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace”
and “coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand” are nebulous, leaving law enforcement agencies with no
standard to measure the prohibited acts.

ISSUE: Can the Human Security Act of 2007 be facially challenged on the grounds of vagueness and overbreadh doctrines?

RULING: No. A facial invalidation of a statute is allowed only in free speech cases, wherein certain rules of constitutional
litigation are rightly excepted.

In Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan it was held that: A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which
is overbroad because of possible”chilling effect” upon protected speech. The possible harm to society in permitting some
unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred
and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes.

This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in terrorem effect resulting from their very
existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws against
socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.

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THE DIOCESE OF BACOLOD, represented by the Most Rev. Bishop Vicente Navarra
vs. COMELEC

FACTS: On February 2013, petitioners posted two (2) tarpaulins within the compound of San Sebastian Cathedral of Bacolod.
Each tarpaulin was approximately 6×10 in size. They were posted on the front walls of the cathedral within public view.
The first tarpaulin contains the message “IBASURA RH Law” referring to the Reproductive Health Law of 2012 or Republic Act No.
10354. The second tarpaulin is the subject of the present case. This tarpaulin contains the heading “Conscience Vote” and lists
candidates as either “(Anti-RH)/ Team Buhay” or “(Pro-RH)/Team Patay”.
The electoral candidates were classified according to their vote on the adoption of the RH Law. Those who voted for the
passing of the law were classified by petitioners as comprising “Team Patay,” while those who voted against it form “Team
Buhay”:
Respondent Atty. Mavil V. Majarucon, as Election Officer of Bacolod City, issued a Notice to Remove Campaign Materials
addressed to petitioner Most Rev. Bishop Vicente M. Navarra, otherwise, COMELEC will be constrained to file an election
offense against the petitioners.

ISSUE: Whether the act of the COMELEC infringes the Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech.

HELD: On Freedom of Religion. As aptly argued by COMELEC, the tarpaulin, on its face, “does not convey any religious doctrine
of the Catholic church.” That the position of the Catholic church appears to coincide with the message of the tarpaulin
regarding the RH Law does not, by itself, bring the expression within the ambit of religious speech. On the contrary, the tarpaulin
clearly refers to candidates classified under “Team Patay” and “Team Buhay” according to their respective votes on the RH
Law.
On Freedom of Speech. Embedded in the tarpaulin, are opinions expressed by petitioners. It is a specie of expression protected
by our fundamental law. There are several theories and schools of thought that strengthen the need to protect the basic right
to freedom of expression.
First, this relates to the right of the people to participate in public affairs, including the right to criticize government actions.
Speech that promotes dialogue on public affairs, or airs out grievances and political discontent, should thus be protected and
encouraged.
Second, free speech should be encouraged under the concept of a market place of ideas.
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Third, free speech involves self-expression that enhances human dignity.
Fourth, expression is a marker for group identity.
Fifth, the Bill of Rights, free speech included, is supposed to “protect individuals and minorities against majoritarian abuses
perpetrated through [the] framework [of democratic governance]. ”
Lastly, free speech must be protected under the safety valve theory. In order to avoid this situation and prevent people from
resorting to violence, there is a need for peaceful methods in making passionate dissent. Free speech must, thus, be protected
as a peaceful means of achieving one’s goal, considering the possibility that repression of nonviolent dissent may spill over to
violent means just to drive a point.
In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free expression and of assembly occupy a preferred position as they are essential
to the preservation and vitality of our civil and political institutions; and such priority “gives these liberties the sanctity and the
sanction not permitting dubious intrusions.

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