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Zulueta vs. Court of Appeals, 253 SCRA 699, G.R. No.

107383 February 20, 1996

Petitioner Cecilia Zulueta is the wife of private respondent Alfredo Martin. On March 26,
1982, petitioner entered the clinic of her husband, a doctor of medicine, and in the
presence of her mother, a driver and private respondents secretary, forcibly opened the
drawers and cabinet in her husbands clinic and took 157 documents consisting of private
correspondence between Dr. Martin and his alleged paramours, greetings cards,
cancelled checks, diaries, Dr. Martins passport, and photographs. The documents and
papers were seized for use in evidence in a case for legal separation and for
disqualification from the practice of medicine which petitioner had filed against her
husband.

SC:

The constitutional injunction declaring “the privacy of communication and


correspondence [to be] inviolable” is no less applicable simply because it is the wife (who
thinks herself aggrieved by her husband’s infidelity) who is the party against whom the
constitutional provision is to be enforced. The only exception to the prohibition in the
Constitution is if there is a “lawful order [from a] court or when public safety or order
requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.” Any violation of this provision renders the
evidence obtained inadmissible “for any purpose in any proceeding.” ;

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.

People vs. Marti, 193 SCRA 57, G.R. No. 81561 January 18, 1991

Accused-Appellant, through a forwarder, shipped blocks of marijuana which was


previously declared as books, cigars and gloves and were later on discovered by
authorities in the Bureau of Customs.

Appellant contends that the evidence subject of the imputed offense had been obtained
in violation of his constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure and
privacy of communication (Sec. 2 and 3, Art. III, Constitution) and therefore argues that
the same should be held inadmissible in evidence (Sec. 3 (2), Art. III).

SC:

the case at bar assumes a peculiar character since the evidence sought to be excluded
was primarily discovered and obtained by a private person, acting in a private capacity and
without the intervention and participation of State authorities. Under the circumstances,
can accused/appellant validly claim that his constitutional right against unreasonable
searches and seizure has been violated? Stated otherwise, may an act of a private
individual, allegedly in violation of appellant’s constitutional rights, be invoked against the
State?

We hold in the negative. In the absence of governmental interference, the liberties


guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be invoked against the State.

xxx
The contraband in the case at bar having come into possession of the Government
without the latter transgressing appellant’s rights against unreasonable search and
seizure, the Court sees no cogent reason why the same should not be admitted against
him in the prosecution of the offense charged.

xxx

the mere presence of the NBI agents did not convert the reasonable search effected by
Reyes into a warrantless search and seizure proscribed by the Constitution. Merely to
observe and look at that which is in plain sight is not a search. Having observed that which
is open, where no tresspass has been committed in aid thereof, is not search (Chadwick
v. State, 429 SW2d 135). Where the contraband articles are identified without a trespass
on the part of the arresting officer, there is not the search that is prohibited by the
constitution (US v. Lee 274 US 559., 71 L.Ed. 1202 [1927]; Ker v. State of California 374
US 23, 10 L.Ed.2d. 726 [1963]; Moore v. State, 429 SW2d 122 [1968]).

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILLIPPINES v. BASILIO DAMASO , G.R. No. 93516, August
12, 1992
FACTS
Lt. Candido Quijardo, a Philippine Constabulary officer and some companions were sent
to verify the presence of CPP/NPA members in Barangay Catacdang, Arellano-Bani,
Dagupan City. In said place, the persons apprehended revealed that there was an
underground safe house at Gracia Village in Urdaneta, Pangasinan.
The group proceeded to Bonuan, Dagupan City, and put under surveillance the rented
apartment of Rosemarie Aritumba, sister of Berlina Aritumba whom they earlier arrested.
They interviewed Luzviminda Morados. She guided the group to the house rented by
appellant. When they reached the house, the group found that it had already been
vacated by the occupants. The barangay captain of the place then pointed out the new
house rented by appellant. When they reached the house, the group saw Luz Tanciangco
outside. They told her that they already knew that she was a member of the NPA in the
area. Upon entering the house, the group saw radio sets, pamphlets entitled "Ang Bayan,"
xerox copiers and a computer machine. When Luz Tanciangco opened one of the rooms,
they saw books used for subversive orientation, one M-14 rifle, bullets and ammunitions,
Kenwood radio, artificial beard, maps and other items. Said persons revealed that
appellant was the lessee of the house and owned the items confiscated therefrom.
The accused-appellant, Basilio Damaso, was originally charged with violation of
Presidential Decree No. 1866 in furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection with the
crime of subversion.
ISSUE
Was there a lawful search and seizure?
HELD
No. The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is enshrined in the
Constitution. However, such right is not absolute. There are instances when a warrantless
search and seizure becomes valid, namely: (1) search incidental to an arrest; (2) search
of a moving vehicle; and (3) seizure of evidence in plain view. None of these exceptions
is present in this case.
The Solicitor General argues otherwise. He claims that the group of Lt. Quijardo entered
the appellant's house upon invitation of Luz Tanciangco and Luzviminda Morados, helper
of the appellant. This is erroneous. The constitutional immunity from unreasonable
searches and seizures, being personal one, cannot be waived by anyone except
the person whose rights are invaded or one who is expressly authorized to do so
in his or her behalf.
In the case at bar, the records show that appellant was not in his house at that time
Luz Tanciangco and Luz Morados, his alleged helper, allowed the authorities to
enter it. There is no evidence that would establish the fact that Luz Morados was
indeed the appellant's helper or if it was true that she was his helper, that the
appellant had given her authority to open his house in his absence. The prosecution
likewise failed to show if Luz Tanciangco has such an authority. Without this evidence,
the authorities' intrusion into the appellant's dwelling cannot be given any color of legality.
While the power to search and seize is necessary to the public welfare, still it must be
exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the constitutional rights of the
citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify indifference
to the basic principles of government. As a consequence, the search conducted by the
authorities was illegal. It would have been different if the situation here demanded
urgency which could have prompted the authorities to dispense with a search
warrant. But the record is silent on this point. The fact that they came to the house
of the appellant at nighttime, does not grant them the license to go inside his
house.

Sps. Leopoldo and Ma. Luisa Veroy v. Hon. William Layague, G.R. No. 95630, June 18, 1992

Facts:

Petitioners formerly reside at a house in Skyline Village, Davao City but due to the
promotion of Leopoldo to the position of Assistant Administrator of the SSS, the family
transferred to a residence in Kamias, Quezon City. The spouses hold the keys to the house
(bedroom and children’s rooms) except the key to the kitchen, where the circuit breakers
are located, and it was in the possession of the caretakers to use in case of emergency.

After sometime, Capt. Obrero of PC/INP raided the house in Davao due to
information that the house is being used as a safehouse of rebels. They were able to enter
the yard through the caretakers but was not able to proceed further because the owners
(petitioners) were not present and they did not have a search warrant. Ma. Luisa was then
contacted by phone by Capt. Obrero to ask permission to search the house. She
responded that she will be flying to Davao to witness the search but she changed her
mind, and allowed the search on the condition that the search should be done in the
presence of Major Macasaet, a family friend.

Gaining their permission, they entered the house and conducted the search. They
were able to enter the kitchen because of the key given to the caretaker but they employed
a locksmith to open the padlock of the children’s room. In that room, they found a .45
caliber handgun and magazine with 7 live bullets in a clutch bag, 3 half-full jute sacks
containing printed materials of RAM-SFP, assorted clothing. The petitioners were then
charged for illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions in furtherance of rebellion.
Petitioners contend that the permission given to the officers were only for the purpose of
ascertaining the presence of the alleged rebel soldiers. It did not include the authority to
conduct a room to room search.

Issue:

Was there a valid waiver of their right against unreasonable searches and
seizures?

Held:

None. The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures (Article
III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution). However, the rule that searches and seizures must
be supported by a valid warrant is not an absolute one. Among the recognized exceptions
thereto are: (1) a search incidental to an arrest; (2) a search of a moving vehicle; and (3)
seizure of evidence in plain view.
None of these exceptions pertains to the case at bar. The reason for searching the
house of herein petitioner is that it was reportedly being used as a hideout and
recruitment center for rebel soldiers. While Capt. Obrero was able to enter the compound,
he did not enter the house because he did not have a search warrant and the owners were
not present. This shows that he himself recognized the need for a search warrant, hence,
he did not persist in entering the house but rather contacted the Veroys to seek
permission to enter the same. Permission was indeed granted by Ma. Luisa Veroy to enter
the house but only to ascertain the presence of rebel soldiers. Under the circumstances
it is undeniable that the police officers had ample time to procure a search warrant but
did not.

In a number of cases decided by this, Court, warrantless searches were declared


illegal because the officials conducting the search had every opportunity to secure a
search warrant. The objects seized, being products of illegal searches, were inadmissible
in evidence in the criminal actions subsequently instituted against the accused-
appellants.

VIVARES vs. ST. THERESA'S COLLEGE, G.R. No. 202666, September 29, 2014

Julia, Julienne, Angela are graduating students of St. Therese College (STC). Few months
before their graduation the went to a beach party where they took digital pictures of
themselves clad only in their undergarments. Angela uploaded the pictures on her
facebook account. Escudero, STC-HS teacher, was told of it, her students logged in to
their respective facebook accounts and showed her the photos of the identified students.
It was also claimed that these photos are viewable by any facebook user. Escudero
reported the matter for appropriate action. Following an investigation, STC found the
student violating the Student Handbook and as part of their penalty, they are barred from
joining the commencement exercises scheduled.

Their parents filed a Petition for Injunction and Damages before the RTC of Cebu City
against STC, et al., praying that defendants be enjoined from implementing the sanction.
The respondents filed their memorandum, containing printed copies of the photographs
in issue as annexes. The RTC issued a TRO allowing the students to attend the graduation
ceremony but STC still barred the students from participating in the graduation rites.
Thereafter, petitioners filed a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Data on the
basis of the following considerations:
xxx
2. The privacy setting of their children’s Facebook accounts was set at "Friends
Only." They, thus, have a reasonable expectation of privacy which must be
respected.
Xxx
4. The photos accessed belong to the girls and, thus, cannot be used and
reproduced without their consent. Escudero, however, violated their rights by
saving digital copies of the photos and by subsequently showing them to STC’s
officials. Thus, the Facebook accounts of petitioners’ children were intruded upon;
xxx
6. All the data and digital images that were extracted were boldly broadcasted by
respondents through their memorandum submitted to the RTC.

To petitioners, the interplay of the foregoing constitutes an invasion of their children’s


privacy and, thus, prayed that: (a) a writ of habeas data be issued xxx

Respondents on their verified return argued that,xxx (c) the instant case is not one where
a writ of habeas data may issue;and (d) there can be no violation of their right to privacy
as there is no reasonable expectation of privacy on Facebook.

Issue: whether or not there was indeed an actual or threatened violation of the right to
privacy in the life, liberty, or security of the minors involved in this case.
Ruling: STC did not violate petitioners’ daughters’ right to privacy

Before one can have an expectation of privacy in his or her OSN activity, it is first
necessary that said user, in this case the children of petitioners, manifest the intention to
keep certain posts private, through the employment of measures to prevent access
thereto or to limit its visibility. And this intention can materialize in cyberspace through
the utilization of the OSN’s privacy tools. In other words, utilization of these privacy tools
is the manifestation, in cyber world, of the user’s invocation of his or her right to
informational privacy.

Therefore, a Facebook user who opts to make use of a privacy tool to grant or deny
access to his or her post or profile detail should not be denied the informational privacy
right which necessarily accompanies said choice. Otherwise, using these privacy tools
would be a feckless exercise, such that if, for instance, a user uploads a photo or any
personal information to his or her Facebook page and sets its privacy level at "Only Me"
or a custom list so that only the user or a chosen few can view it, said photo would still
be deemed public by the courts as if the user never chose to limit the photo’s visibility
and accessibility. Such position, if adopted, will not only strip these privacy tools of their
function but it would also disregard the very intention of the user to keep said photo or
information within the confines of his or her private space.

It is, thus, incumbent upon internet users to exercise due diligence in their online dealings
and activities and must not be negligent in protecting their rights. Equity serves the
vigilant. Demanding relief from the courts, as here, requires that claimants themselves
take utmost care in safeguarding a right which they allege to have been violated. These
are indispensable. We cannot afford protection to persons if they themselves did nothing
to place the matter within the confines of their private zone. OSN users must be mindful
enough to learn the use of privacy tools, to use them if they desire to keep the information
private, and to keep track of changes in the available privacy settings, such as those of
Facebook, especially because Facebook is notorious for changing these settings and the
site's layout often.

In finding that respondent STC and its officials did not violate the minors' privacy rights.