You are on page 1of 24

SECTION 4 – FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND ASSEMBLY taxpayers and voters who claim that their right to be informed of

AND PETITION election issues and of credentials of the candidates is being


curtailed.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
It is principally argued by petitioners that Section 11 (b) of
NEAR V. MINNESOTA, 283 U.S. 697 (1931) Republic Act No. 6646 invades and violates the constitutional
guarantees comprising freedom of expression. Petitioners
(a) When a nation is at war, many things that might be said maintain that the prohibition imposed by Section 11 (b) amounts
in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their to censorship, because it selects and singles out for
utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that suppression and repression with criminal sanctions, only
no court could regard them as protected by any publications of a particular content, namely, media-based
constitutional right election or political propaganda during the election period of
1992. It is asserted that the prohibition is in derogation of
(b) Actual obstruction to the government’s recruiting media's role, function and duty to provide adequate channels of
service or the publication of the sailing dates of transports public information and public opinion relevant to election issues.
Further, petitioners contend that Section 11 (b) abridges the
or the number and location of troops
freedom of speech of candidates, and that the suppression of
media-based campaign or political propaganda except those
(c) Obscene publications
appearing in the Comelec space of the newspapers and on
(d) Incitements to acts of violence and the overthrow by Comelec time of radio and television broadcasts, would bring
about a substantial reduction in the quantity or volume of
force of orderly government
information concerning candidates and issues in the election
thereby curtailing and limiting the right of voters to information
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB VS. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and opinion.
G.R. NO. 102653. MARCH 5, 1992.
PONENTE: FELICIANO, J. Section 11 (b) of Republic Act No. 6646, known as the Electoral
Reforms Law of 1987:
FACTS:
Sec. 11 Prohibited Forms of Election Propaganda. — In addition
In the three (3) consolidated Petitions before us, the common to the forms of election propaganda prohibited under Section 85
question raised by petitioners is the constitutionality of Section of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, it shall be unlawful;
11 (b) of Republic Act No. 6646.
b) for any newspapers, radio broadcasting or television station,
Petitioners in these cases consist of representatives of the mass other mass media, or any person making use of the mass media
media which are prevented from selling or donating space and to sell or to give free of charge print space or air time for
time for political advertisements; two (2) individuals who are campaign or other political purposes except to the Commission
candidates for office (one for national and the other for as provided under Sections 90 and 92 of Batas Pambansa Blg.
provincial office) in the coming May 1992 elections; and 881. Any mass media columnist, commentator, announcer or
personality who is a candidate for any elective public office shall
take a leave of absence from his work as such during the unconstitutional repression of freedom of speech and freedom
campaign period. of the press. The Court considers that Section 11 (b) has not
gone outside the permissible bounds of supervision or
ISSUE: regulation of media operations during election periods.
Whether or not Section 11 of Republic Act No. 6646 is valid/
constitutional. Section 11 (b) does, of course, limit the right of free speech
and of access to mass media of the candidates themselves.
RULING: The limitation, however, bears a clear and reasonable
connection with the constitutional objective set out in
It seems a modest proposition that the provision of the Bill of Article IX(C)(4) and Article II (26) of the Constitution. For it is
Rights which enshrines freedom of speech, freedom of precisely in the unlimited purchase of print space and radio and
expression and freedom of the press (Article III [4], Constitution) television time that the resources of the financially affluent
has to be taken in conjunction with Article IX(C) (4) which may candidates are likely to make a crucial difference. Here lies the
be seen to be a special provision applicable during a specific core problem of equalization of the situations of the candidates
limited period — i.e., “during the election period.” It is difficult to with deep pockets and the candidates with shallow or empty
overemphasize the special importance of the rights of freedom pockets that Article IX(C)(4) of the Constitution and Section 11
of speech and freedom of the press in a democratic polity, in (b) seek to address. That the statutory mechanism which
particular when they relate to the purity and integrity of the Section 11 (b) brings into operation is designed and may be
electoral process itself, the process by which the people identify expected to bring about or promote equal opportunity, and equal
those who shall have governance over them. Thus, it is time and space, for political candidates to inform all and sundry
frequently said that these rights are accorded a preferred status about themselves, cannot be gainsaid.
in our constitutional hierarchy. Withal, the rights of free
speech and free press are not unlimited rights for they are (In relation to PRIOR RESTRAINT, the concept is found in the
not the only important and relevant values even in the most Dissenting Opinion of Justice Cruz)
democratic of polities. In our own society, equality of
opportunity to proffer oneself for public office, without regard to But the most important objection to Section 11(b) is that it
the level of financial resources that one may have at one’s constitutes prior restraint on the dissemination of ideas. In
disposal, is clearly an important value. One of the basic state a word, it is censorship. It is that officious functionary of
policies given constitutional rank by Article II, Section 26 of the the repressive government who tells the citizen that he may
Constitution is the egalitarian demand that “the State shall speak only if allowed to do so, and no more and no less
guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and than what he is permitted to say on pain of punishment
prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.” should he be so rash as to disobey. In his “Appeal for the
Liberty of Unlicensed Printing,” Milton deplored the impossibility
The essential question is whether or not the assailed legisla-tive of finding a man base enough to accept the office of censor and
or administrative provisions constitute a permissible exercise of at the same time good enough to perform its duties. Yet a
the power of supervision or regulation of the operations of pretender to that meddler is in our midst today, smugly
communication and information enterprises during an election brandishing the threat of this miserable law.
period, or whether such act has gone beyond permissible
supervision or regulation of media operations so as to constitute
One could perhaps concede some permissible instances of
censorship, as where private mail is screened during wartime to ADIONG VS. COMELEC
prevent deliberate or unwitting disclosure of sensitive or G.R. NO. 103956, MARCH 31, 1992
classified matters that might prejudice the national security or PONENTE: GUTIERREZ, JR., J.
where, to take a famous example, a person is prohibited from
shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. But these exceptions FACTS:
merely make and bolster the rule that there should be no prior
restraint upon a person’s right to express his ideas on any Public respondent promulgated a resolution prohibiting the
subject of public interest. The rule applies whether the posting of decals and stickers on “mobile” places, public or
censorship be in the form of outright prohibition, as in the cases private, and limit their location or publication to the authorized
before us, or in more subtle forms like the imposition of a tax posting areas that COMELEC fixes. Petitioner Blo Umpar
upon periodicals exceeding a prescribed maximum number of Adiong, a senatorial candidate in the May 11, 1992 elections
copies per issue or allowing the circulation of books only if they now assails the COMELEC's Resolution insofar as it prohibits
are judged to be fit for minors, thus reducing the reading tastes the posting of decals and stickers in "mobile" places like cars
of adults to the level of juvenile morality. and other moving vehicles. According to him such prohibition is
violative of Section 82 of the Omnibus Election Code and
I remind the Court of the doctrine announced in Bantam Section 11(a) of Republic Act No. 6646. In addition, the
Books v. Sullivan that “any system of prior restraints of petitioner believes that with the ban on radio, television and print
expression comes to this Court bearing a heavy political advertisements, he, being a neophyte in the field of
presumption against its validity.” That presumption has not politics stands to suffer grave and irreparable injury with this
been refuted in the cases sub judice. On the contrary, the prohibition. The posting of decals and stickers on cars and other
challenged provision appears quite clearly to be invalid on its moving vehicles would be his last medium to inform the
face because of its undisguised attempt at censorship. The electorate that he is a senatorial candidate in the May 11, 1992
feeble effort to justify it in the name of social justice and clean elections. Finally, the petitioner states that as of February 22,
elections cannot prevail over the self-evident fact that what we 1992 (the date of the petition) he has not received any notice
have here is an illegal intent to suppress free speech by denying from any of the Election Registrars in the entire country as to
access to the mass media as the most convenient instruments the location of the supposed "Comelec Poster Areas."
for the molding of public opinion. And it does not matter that the
use of these facilities may involve financial transactions, for the ISSUE:
element of the commercial does not remove them from the
protection of the Constitution. Whether or not the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) may
prohibit the posting of decals and stickers on "mobile" places,
OSMENA V. COMELEC public or private, and limit their location or publication to the
G.R. NO. 132231, MARCH 31, 1998 authorized posting areas that it fixes.
PONENTE:
RULING:
FACTS:
ISSUE: The petition is impressed with merit. The COMELEC's
RULING: prohibition on posting of decals and stickers on "mobile" places
whether public or private except in designated areas provided IN RE Emil (Emiliano) P. JURADO
for by the COMELEC itself is null and void on constitutional A.M. No. 93-2-037 SC. April 6, 1995.
grounds. PONENTE: NARVASA, C.J.

First — the prohibition unduly infringes on the citizen's DOCTRINE:


fundamental right of free speech enshrined in the Constitution
(Sec. 4, Article III). There is no public interest substantial False reports about a public official or other person are not
enough to warrant the kind of restriction involved in this case. shielded from sanction by the cardinal right to free speech
enshrined in the Constitution. Even the most liberal view of
Second — the questioned prohibition premised on the statute free speech has never countenanced the publication of
and as couched in the resolution is void for overbreadth. falsehoods, specially the persistent and unmitigated
dissemination of patent lies.
Third — the constitutional objective to give a rich candidate and
a poor candidate equal opportunity to inform the electorate as FACTS:
regards their candidacies, mandated by Article II, Section 26
Jurado, a journalist who writes in a newspaper of general
and Article XIII, section 1 in relation to Article IX (c) Section 4 of
circulation, the “Manila Standard.” He describes himself as a
the Constitution, is not impaired by posting decals and stickers columnist, who “incidentally happens to be a lawyer,”, had been
on cars and other private vehicles. Compared to the paramount writing about alleged improperties and irregularities in the
interest of the State in guaranteeing freedom of expression, any judiciary over several months (from about October, 1992 to
financial considerations behind the regulation are of marginal March, 1993). Other journalists had also been making reports or
significance. comments on the same subject. At the same time, anonymous
communications were being extensively circulated, by hand and
through the mail, about alleged venality and corruption in the
The posting of decals and stickers in mobile places like cars and courts. And all these were being repeatedly and insistently
other moving vehicles does not endanger any substantial adverted to by certain sectors of society. Events Directly Giving
government interest. There is no clear public interest threatened Rise to the Proceeding at Bar.
by such activity so as to justify the curtailment of the cherished
citizen's right of free speech and expression. Under the clear The seed of the proceeding at bar was sown by the decision
and present danger rule not only must the danger be patently promulgated by this Court on August 27, 1992, in the so-called
clear and pressingly present but the evil sought to be avoided “controversial case” of “Philippine Long Distance Telephone
must be so substantive as to justify a clamp over one's mouth or Company v. Eastern Telephone Philippines, Inc. (ETPI),” G.R.
a writing instrument to be stilled. No, 94374. In that decision the Court was sharply divided; the
vote was 9 to 4, in favor of the petitioner PLDT. Mr. Justice
In sum, the prohibition on posting of decals and stickers on Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., wrote the opinion for the majority.
“mobile” places whether public or private except in the In connection with this case, G.R. No. 94374, the “Philippine
authorized areas designated by the COMELEC becomes Daily Inquirer” and one or two other newspapers published, on
censorship which cannot be justified by the Constitution. January 28, 1993, a report of the purported affidavit of a Mr.
David Miles Yerkes, an alleged expert in linguistics. This
gentleman, it appears, had been commissioned by one of the by their Code or the “Golden Rule” and who strive at all times to
parties in the case, Eastern Telephone Philippines, Inc. (ETPI), maintain the prestige and nobility of their calling.
to examine and analyze the decision of Justice Gutierrez in
relation to a few of his prior ponencias and the writings of one of Although honest utterances, even if inaccurate, may further the
the lawyers of PLDT, Mr. Eliseo Alampay, to ascertain if the fruitful exercise of the right of free speech, it does not follow that
decision had been written, in whole or in part, by the latter. the lie, knowingly and deliberately published about a public
Yerkes proffered the conclusion that the Gutierrez decision official, should enjoy a like immunity. The knowingly false
“looks, reads and sounds like the writing of the PLDT’s counsel,” statement and the false statement made with reckless disregard
Thus, he speaks of the “Magnificent Seven,” by merely referring of the truth, do not enjoy constitutional protection.
to undisclosed regional trial court judges in Makati; the
“Magnificent Seven” in the Supreme Court, as some The Civil Code, in its Article 19 lays down the norm for the
undesignated justices who supposedly vote as one; the “Dirty proper exercise of any right, constitutional or otherwise, viz.:
Dozen,” as unidentified trial judges in Makati and three other “ARTICLE 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights
cities. He adverts to an anonymous group of justices and judges and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give
for whom a bank allegedly hosted a party; and six unnamed everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.” The
justices of this Court who reportedly spent a prepaid vacation in provision is reflective of the universally accepted precept of
Hong Kong with their families. “abuse of rights,” “one of the most dominant principles which
must be deemed always implied in any system of law.”
The Chief Justice issued an administrative order “Creating an Requirement to exercise bona fide care in ascertaining the truth
Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Reports of Corruption in the of the statements when publishing statements which are clearly
Judiciary,” to investigate the said reports of corruption in the defamatory to identifiable judges or other public officials.
judiciary. A letter affidavit was also received from the public Judges, by becoming such, are rightly regarded as voluntarily
utility, denying the allegations in Jurado’s column. The Supreme subjecting themselves to norms of conduct which embody more
Court then issued a resolution ordering that the matter dealt with stringent standards of honesty, integrity, and competence than
in the letter and affidavit of the public utility company be are commonly required from private persons. Nevertheless,
docketed and acted upon as an official Court proceeding for the persons who seek or accept appointment to the Judiciary
determination of whether or not the allegations made by Jurado cannot reasonably be regarded as having forfeited any right to
are true. private honor and reputation. For to so rule will be to discourage
all save those who feel no need to maintain their self-respect
HELD: from becoming judges. The public interest involved in freedom
of speech and the individual interest of judges (and for that
Jurado’s actuations, in the context in which they were done, matter, all other public officials) in the maintenance of private
demonstrate gross irresponsibility, and indifference to factual honor and reputation need to be accommodated one to the
accuracy and the injury that he might cause to the name and other. And the point of adjustment or accommodation between
reputation of those of whom he wrote. They constitute contempt these two legitimate interests is precisely found in the norm
of court, directly tending as they do to degrade or abase the which requires those who, invoking freedom of speech, publish
administration of justice and the judges engaged in that statements which are clearly defamatory to identifiable judges or
function. By doing them, he has placed himself beyond the other public officials to exercise bona fide care in ascertaining
circle of reputable, decent and responsible journalists who live the truth of the statements they publish. The norm does not
require that a journalist guarantee the truth of what he says or Productions), 1 envisioned, sometime in 1987, the for
publishes. But the norm does prohibit the reckless disregard of commercial viewing and for Philippine and international release,
private reputation by publishing or circulating defamatory the histolic peaceful struggle of the Filipinos at EDSA (Epifanio
statements without any bona fide effort to ascertain the truth de los Santos Avenue). Petitioners discussed this Project with
thereof. local movie producer Lope V. Juban who suggested th they
consult with the appropriate government agencies and also with
AYER PRODUCTION PTY LTD. V HON.IGNACIO M. General Fidel V. Ramos and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who
CAPULONG AND JUAN PONCE ENRILE had played major roles in the events proposed to be filmed.
G.R. No. 82380. April 29, 1988.
PONENTE: FELICIANO, J. The proposed motion picture entitled "The Four Day Revolution"
was endorsed by the Movie Television Review and
DOCTRINE: Classification Board as wel as the other government agencies
consulted. General Fidel Ramos also signified his approval of
The production and filming by petitioners of the projected the intended film production.
motion picture "The Four Day Revolution" does not, in the
circumstances of this case, constitute an unlawful intrusion On 21 December 1987, private respondent Enrile replied that
upon private respondent's "right of privacy." "[he] would not and will not approve of the use, appropriation,
reproduction and/or exhibition of his name, or picture, or that of
The right to be let alone is not an absolute right. A limited any member of his family in any cinema or television production,
intrusion to a person’s privacy has long been regarded as film or other medium for advertising or commercial exploitation"
permissible where that person is a public figure and the and further advised petitioners that 'in the production, airing,
information sought to be elicited from him or to be showing, distribution or exhibition of said or similar film, no
published about him constitute matters of public character. reference whatsoever (whether written, verbal or visual) should
The interest sought to be protected by the right to privacy not be made to [him] or any member of his family, much less to
is the right to be free from unwarranted publicity, from the any matter purely personal to them.
wrongful publicizing of the private affairs and activities of
an individual which are outside the realm of legitimate It appears that petitioners acceded to this demand and the
public concern. name of private respondent Enrile was deleted from the movie
script, and petitioners proceeded to film the projected motion
Intrusion has to be based upon a nonjudicial government picture.
official’s assessment that public safety and order demands
such intrusion, limited to the provisions of law. To hold ISSUES:
otherwise would be to opt for a government of men, and a. Whether or not the Freedom of Speech/ Expression
not of laws. includes freedom to film and produce motion pictures.
b. Whether or not the Right to Privacy of Respondent Enrile
FACTS: is violated by the Motion Picture of “Four Day
Revolution”.
Petitioner Hal McElroy an Australian film maker, and his movie
production company, Petitioner Ayer Productions pty Ltd. (Ayer HELD:
exercise of the constitutional rights of free speech and
a. Yes. Freedom of Speech includes the freedom to film peaceable assembly. These rights are assured by our
and produce motion pictures and to exhibit such motion Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human
pictures in theaters or to diffuse them through television. Rights. The participants to such assembly, composed
Along with press, radio and television, motion pictures primarily of those in attendance at the International
constitute a principal medium of mass communication for Conference for General Disbarment, World Peace and the
information, education and entertainment. This freedom Removal of All Foreign Military Bases would start from the
of Speech is available in our country both to locally- Luneta. Proceeding through Roxas Boulevard to the gates
owned and to foreign-owned motion picture companies. of the United States Embassy located at the same street. To
b. No. The projected motion picture “The Four Day repeat, it is settled law that as to public places, especially
Revolution” does not constitute an unlawful intrusion so as to parks and streets, there is freedom of access. Nor
upon private respondent’s right of privacy. Whether the is their use dependent on who is the applicant for the
"balancing of interests test" or the clear and present permit, whether an individual or a group.
danger test" be applied in respect of the instant Petitions,
the Court believes that a different conclusion must here FACTS:
be reached: The production and filming by petitioners of
the projected motion picture "The Four Day Revolution" Petitioner sought a permit from the City of Manila to hold a
does not, in the circumstances of this case, constitute an peaceful march and rally on October 26, 1983 from 2:00 to 5:00
unlawful intrusion upon private respondent's "right of in the afternoon, starting from the Luneta to the gates of the
privacy." United States Embassy. Once there, and in an open space of
public property, a short program would be held. The march
would be attended by the local and foreign participants of such
JOSE B.L. REYES vs. RAMON BAGATSING conference. That would be followed by the handing over of a
G.R. No. L-65366. November 9, 1983. petition based on the resolution adopted at the closing session
PONENTE: FERNANDO, C.J. of the Anti-Bases Coalition. There was likewise an assurance in
the petition that in the exercise of the constitutional rights to free
DOCTRINE: speech and assembly, all the necessary steps would be taken
by it "to ensure a peaceful march and rally. However the request
There is merit to the observation that except as to the novel was denied. Reference was made to persistent intelligence
aspects of litigation, the judgment must be confined within reports affirming the plans of subversive/criminal elements to
the limits of previous decisions. The law declared on past infiltrate or disrupt any assembly or congregations where a large
occasions is, on the whole, a safe guide, so it has been number of people are expected to attend. Respondent
here. Hence, as noted, on the afternoon of the hearing, suggested that a permit may be issued if it is to be held at the
October 25, 1983, this Court issued the minute resolution Rizal Coliseum or any other enclosed area where the safety of
granting the mandatory injunction allowing the proposed the participants themselves and the general public may be
march and rally scheduled for the next day. That sured. An oral argument was heard and the mandatory
conclusion was inevitable ill the absence of a clear and injunction was granted on the ground that there was no showing
present danger of a substantive, evil to a legitimate public of the existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive
interest. There was no justification then to deny the evil that could justify the denial of a permit. However Justice
Aquino dissented that the rally is violative of Ordinance No. sidewalks, magazines believed to be obscene. These were later
7295 of the City of Manila prohibiting the holding of rallies within burned. One of the publications was Pinoy Playboy published
a radius of five hundred (500) feet from any foreign mission or by Leo Pita.
chancery and for other purposes. Hence the Court resolves.
He filed an injunction case against the mayor of Manila to enjoin
ISSUE: him from confiscating more copies of his magazine and claimed
that this was a violation of freedom of speech. The court
Whether or not the freedom of expression and the right to ordered him to show cause. He then filed an Urgent Motion for
peaceably assemble violated. issuance of a temporary restraining order against indiscriminate
seizure.
HELD:
Defendant Mayor Bagatsing admitted the confiscation and
Yes. The invocation of the right to freedom of peaceable burning of obscene reading materials but admitted that these
assembly carries with it the implication that the right to free were surrendered by the stall owners and the establishments
speech has likewise been disregarded. It is settled law that as to were not raided.
public places, especially so as to parks and streets, there is
freedom of access. Nor is their use dependent on who is the The other defendant, WPD Superintendent, Narcisco Cabrera,
applicant for the permit, whether an individual or a group. There filed no answer.
can be no legal objection, absent the existence of a clear and
present danger of a substantive evil, on the choice of Luneta as On January 11, 1984, the trial court issued an Order setting the
the place where the peace rally would start. Time immemorial case for hearing on January 16, 1984 "for the parties to adduce
Luneta has been used for purposes of assembly, evidence on the question of whether the publication 'Pinoy
communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing Playboy Magazine alleged (sic) seized, confiscated and/or
public questions. Such use of the public places has from ancient burned by the defendants, are obscence per se or not".
times, been a part of the privileges, immunities, rights, and
liberties of citizens. With regard to the ordinance, there was no On February 3, 1984, the trial court promulgated the Order
showing that there was violation and even if it could be shown appealed from denying the motion for a writ of preliminary
that such a condition is satisfied it does not follow that injunction, and dismissing the case for lack of merit.
respondent could legally act the way he did. The validity of his
denial of the permit sought could still be challenged. The CA also dismissed the appeal due to the argument that
freedom of the press is not without restraint.
PITA VS COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. NO. 80806. OCTOBER 5, 1989. In the SC, the petitioner claimed that:
PONENTE: SARMIENTO, J.
1. The CA erred in holding that the police officers could without
FACTS: any court warrant or order seize and confiscate petitioner's
magazines on the basis simply of their determination that they
In 1983, elements of the Special Anti-Narcotics Group, and the are obscene.
Manila Police, seized and confiscated from dealers along Manila
2. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the decision of the DOCTRINE:
trial court and, in effect, holding that the trial court could dismiss
the case on its merits without any hearing thereon when what The right of freedom of speech and to peacefully assemble
was submitted to it for resolution was merely the application of and petition the government for redress of grievances, are
petitioner for the writ of preliminary injunction. fundamental personal rights of the people recognized and
guaranteed by the Constitutions of democratic countries.
But it a casettled principle growing out of the nature of
HELD: well-ordered civil societies that the exercise of those rights
is not absolute for it may be so regulated that it shall not be
In free expression cases, this Court has consistently been injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having equal
on the side of the exercise of the right, barring a "clear and rights, not injurious to the rights of the community or
present danger" that would warrant State interference and society. The power to regulate the exercise of such and
action. But the burden to show this lies with the authorities. other constitutional rights is termed the sovereign "police
power" which is the power to prescribe regulations, to
"There must be objective and convincing, not subjective or promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order
conjectural, proof of the existence of such clear and or safety, and general welfare of the people. This sovereign
present danger." police power is exercised by the government through its
As we so strongly stressed in Bagatsing, a case involving legislative branch by the enactment of laws regulating
the delivery of a political speech, the presumption is that those and other constitutional and civil rights, and it may
the speech may validly be said. The burden is on the State be delegated to political subdivisions, such as towns,
to demonstrate the existence of a danger, a danger that municipalities, and cities authorizing their legislative
must not only be: (1) clear but also, (2) present, to justify bodies, called municipal and city councils to enact
State action to stop the speech. ordinances for the purpose.

The Court is not convinced that the private respondents have FACTS:
shown the required proof to justify a ban and to warrant
confiscation of the literature for which mandatory injunction had This case is an action of mandamus instituted by petitioner
been sought below. First of all, they were not possessed of a Cipriano Primicias, manager of the Coalesced Minority Parties,
lawful court order: (1) finding the said materials to be against respondent Manila City Mayor, Valeriano Fugoso, to
pornography, and (2) authorizing them to carry out a search and compel the latter to issue a permit for the holding of a public
seizure, by way of a search warrant. meeting at the Plaza Miranda on Nov 16, 1947. The petitioner
requested for a permit to hold a “peaceful public meeting”.
However, the respondent refused to issue such permit because
ASSEMBLY AND PETITION he found “that there is a reasonable ground to believe, basing
upon previous utterances and upon the fact that passions,
PRIMICIAS VS. FUGOSO especially on the part of the losing groups, remains bitter and
L-18000. JAN 27, 1948 high, that similar speeches will be delivered tending to
PONENTE: FERIA, J. undermine the faith and confidence of the people in their
government, and in the duly peace and a disruption of public The Court holds that the assembly is lawful and thus cannot be
order.” struck down. Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify
suppression of free speech and assembly. It is the function of
Respondent based his refusal to the Revised Ordinances of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. To
1927 prohibiting as an offense against public peace, and justify suppression of free speech there must be reasonable
penalizes as a misdemeanor, "any act, in any public place, ground to fear that serious evil will result if free speech is
meeting, or procession, tending to disturb the peace or excite a practiced. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the
riot; or collect with other persons in a body or crowd for any danger apprehended is imminent. There must be reasonable
unlawful purpose; or disturb or disquiet any congregation ground to believe that the evil to be prevented is a serious one.
engaged in any lawful assembly." Included herein is Sec. 1119, The fact that speech is likely to result in some violence or in
free use of Public Place. destruction of property is not enough to justify its suppression.
There must be the probability of serious injury to the state.
HELD:
Supreme Court states that the freedom of speech, and to
peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of
grievances, are fundamental personal rights of the people JOSE B.L. REYES vs. RAMON BAGATSING
recognized and guaranteed by the constitution. However, these G.R. No. L-65366. November 9, 1983.
rights are not absolute. They can be regulated under the state’s PONENTE: FERNANDO, C.J.
police power – that they should not be injurious to the equal
enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor to the rights of the DOCTRINE:
community or society. The Court holds that there can be 2 Freedom of assembly connotes the right people to meet
interpretations of Sec. 1119: 1) the Mayor of the City of Manila peaceably for consultation and discussion of matters of
is vested with unregulated discretion to grant or refuse, to grant public concern. It is entitled to be accorded the utmost
permit for the holding of a lawful assembly or meeting, parade, deference and respect. It is not to be limited, much less
or procession in the streets and other public places of the City of denied, except on a showing, as the case with freedom of
Manila; and 2) The right of the Mayor is subject to reasonable expression, of a clear and present danger of a substantive
discretion to determine or specify the streets or public places to evil that the state has a right to prevent.
be used with the view to prevent confusion by overlapping, to
secure convenient use of the streets and public places by
others, and to provide adequate and proper policing to minimize MALABANAN vs. RAMENTO
the risk of disorder. The court favored the second construction G.R. No. L-62270. May 21, 1984.
since the first construction is tantamount to authorizing the FERNANDO, CJ.
Mayor to prohibit the use of the streets. Under our democratic
system of government no such unlimited power may be validly DOCTRINE:
granted to any officer of the government, except perhaps in
cases of national emergency. It is to be noted that the permit to Petitioners invoke their rights to peaceable assembly and
be issued is for the use of public places and not for the free speech. They are entitled to do so. They enjoy like the
assembly itself. rest of the citizens the freedom to express their views and
communicate their thoughts to those disposed to listen in
gatherings such as was held in this case. They do not, to Petitioners were officers of the Supreme Student Council of
borrow from the opinion of Justice Fortas in Tinker v. Des respondent University. They sought and were granted by tile
Moines Community School District, "shed their school authorities a permit to hold a meeting from 8:00 A.M. to
constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at 12:00 P.M, on August 27, 1982. Pursuant to such permit, along
the schoolhouse gate." While, therefore, the authority of with other students, they held a general assembly at the
educational institutions over the conduct of students must Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science basketball court
be recognized, it cannot go so far as to be violative of (VMAS), the place indicated in such permit, not in the basketball
constitutional safeguards. On a more specific level there is court as therein stated but at the second floor lobby. At such
persuasive force to this formulation in the Fortas opinion: gathering they manifested in vehement and vigorous language
"The principal use to which the schools are dedicated is to their opposition to the proposed merger of the Institute of Animal
accommodate students during prescribed hours for the Science with the Institute of Agriculture. At 10:30 A.M., the
purpose of certain types of activities. Among those same day, they marched toward the Life Science Building and
activities is personal intercommunication among the continued their rally. It was outside the area covered by their
students. This is not only an inevitable part of the process permit. They continued their demonstration, giving utterance to
of attending school; it is also an important part of the language severely critical of the University authorities and using
educational process. A student's rights, therefore, do not megaphones in the process. There was, as a result, disturbance
embrace merely the classroom hours. When he is in the of the classes being held. Also, the non-academic employees,
cafeteria, or on the playing field, or on the campus during within hearing distance, stopped their work because of the noise
the authorized hours, he may express his opinions, even on created. They were asked to explain on the same day why they
controversial subjects like the conflict in Vietnam, if he should not be held liable for holding an illegal assembly. Then
does so without 'materially and substantially interfer[ing] on September 9, 1982, they were formed through a
with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the memorandum that they were under preventive suspension for
operation of the school' and without colliding with the their failure to explain the holding of an illegal assembly in front
rights of others. ... But conduct by the student, in class or of the Life Science Building. The validity thereof was challenged
out of it, which for any reason — whether it stems from by petitioners both before the Court of First Instance of Rizal in
time, place, or type of behavior — materially disrupts a petition for mandamus with damages against private
classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of respondents and before the Ministry of Education, Culture, and
the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by the Sports. On October 20, 1982, respondent Ramento, as Director
constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech." of the National Capital Region, found petitioners guilty of the
charge of having violated par. 146(c) of the Manual for Private
FACTS: Schools more specifically their holding of an illegal assembly
which was characterized by the violation of the permit granted
The failure to accord respect to the constitutional rights of resulting in the disturbance of classes and oral defamation. The
freedom of peaceable assembly and free speech is the penalty was suspension for one academic year.
grievance alleged by petitioners, students of the Gregorio
Araneta University Foundation, in this certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus proceeding. HELD:
The rights to peaceable assembly and free speech are re-enrollment in view of the academic freedom enjoyed by the
guaranteed students of educational institutions. Necessarily, school.
their exercise to discuss matters affecting their welfare or
involving public interest is not to be subjected to previous The respondents, in justifying their action, stated that 8 of the
restraint or subsequent punishment unless there be a showing petitioners have incurred failing grades. In response, the
of a clear and present danger to a substantive evil that the state, petitioners stated that: (a) three of them were graduating. (b)
has a right to present. As a corollary, the utmost leeway and Their academic deficiencies do not warrant non-readmission. (c)
scope is accorded the content of the placards displayed or The improper conduct attributed to them was during the
utterances made. The peaceable character of an assembly exercise of the cognate rights of free speech and peaceable
could be lost, however, by an advocacy of disorder under the assembly. (d) There was no due investigation that could serve
name of dissent, whatever grievances that may be aired being as basis for disciplinary action. (e) Respondent school is their
susceptible to correction through the ways of the law. If the choice institution near their places of residence, which they can
assembly is to be held in school premises, permit must be afford to pay for tertiary education.
sought from its school authorities, who are devoid of the power
to deny such request arbitrarily or unreasonably. In granting HELD:
such permit, there may be conditions as to the time and place of
the assembly to avoid disruption of classes or stoppage of work The contract between the school and the student is not an
of the non-academic personnel. Even if, however, there be ordinary contract. It is imbued with public interest, considering
violations of its terms, the penalty incurred should not be the high priority given by the Constitution to education and the
disproportionate to the offense. grant to the State of supervisory and regulatory powers over all
educational institutions. The authority for schools to refuse
ARIEL NON VS. HON. SANCHO DANES II enrollment to a student on the ground that his contract, which
G.R. No. 89317. May 20, 1990. has a term of one semester, has already expired, cannot be
CORTES, J. justified. Still, institutions' discretion on the admission and
enrollment of students as a major component of the academic
FACTS: freedom guaranteed to institutions of higher learning.

Petitioners, students in private respondent Mabini Colleges, Inc. The right of an institution of higher learning to set academic
were not allowed to re-enroll by the school for the academic standards, however, cannot be utilized to discriminate against
year 1988-1989 for leading or participating in student mass students who exercise their constitutional rights to speech and
actions against the school in the preceding semester. The assembly, for otherwise there will be a violation of their right to
subject of the protests is not, however, made clear in the equal protection.
pleadings.
Thus, an institution of learning has a contractual obligation to
The trial court dismissed the petition referring to the ruling in afford its students a fair opportunity to complete the course they
Alcuaz vs. PSBA stating, that being a mere privilege and not a seek to pursue.
legal right for a student to be enrolled or re-enrolled, respondent
Mabini College is free to admit or not admit the petitioners for However, when a student commits a serious breach of discipline
or fails to maintain the required academic standard, he forfeits
his contractual right; and the court should not review the In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free
discretion of university authorities. Excluding students because expression and of assembly occupy a preferred position as
of failing grades when the cause for the action taken against they are essential to the preservation and vitality of our
them undeniably related to possible breaches of discipline not civil and political institutions; and such priority "gives
only is a denial of due process but also constitutes a violation of these liberties the sanctity and the sanction not permitting
the basic tenets of fair play. dubious intrusions."

Further, the failures in one or two subjects by some cannot be The superiority of these freedoms over property rights is
considered marked academic deficiency. Neither can the underscored by the fact that a mere reasonable or rational
academic deficiency be gauged from the academic standards of relation between the means employed by the law and its
the school due to an insufficiency of information. Herein, the object or purpose — that the law is neither arbitrary nor
students could have been subjected to disciplinary proceedings discriminatory nor oppressive — would suffice to validate a
in connection with the mass actions, but the penalty that could law which restricts or impairs property rights.
have been imposed must be commensurate to the offense
committed and it must be imposed only after the requirements FACTS:
of procedural due process have been complied with (Paragraph
145, Manual of Regulations for Private Schools). Petitioners claim that on March 1, 1969, they decided to stage a
mass demonstration at Malacañang on March 4, 1969, in
But this matter of disciplinary proceedings and the imposition of protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig police, to be
administrative sanctions have become moot and academic. participated in by the workers in the first shift (from 6 A.M. to 2
Petitioners, who have been refused readmission or re- P.M.) as well as those in the regular second and third shifts
enrollment and who have been effectively excluded from (from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. and from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., respectively);
respondent school for four (4) semesters, have already been and that they informed the respondent Company of their
more than sufficiently penalized for any breach of discipline they proposed demonstration.
might have committed when they led and participated in the
mass actions that, according to respondents, resulted in the After learning about the planned mass demonstration, Philippine
disruption of classes. To still subject them to disciplinary Blooming Mills Inc., called for a meeting with the leaders of the
proceedings would serve no useful purpose and would only PBMEO. During the meeting, the planned demonstration was
further aggravate the strained relations between petitioners and confirmed by the union. But it was stressed out that the
the officials of respondent school which necessarily resulted demonstration was not a strike against the company but was in
from the heated legal battle here, in the Court of Appeals and fact an exercise of the laborers' inalienable constitutional right to
before the trial court. freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom for
petition for redress of grievances.
PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS EMPLOYMENT
ORGANIZATION vs. PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS CO. The company asked them to cancel the demonstration for it
G.R. No. L-31195. June 5, 1973. would interrupt the normal course of their business which may
PONENTE: MAKASIAR, J. result in the loss of revenue. This was backed up with the threat
DOCTRINE: of the possibility that the workers would lose their jobs if they
pushed through with the rally.
The freedoms of speech and of the press as well as of peaceful
A second meeting took place where the company reiterated assembly and of petition for redress of grievances are absolute
their appeal that while the workers may be allowed to when directed against public officials or "when exercised in
participate, those from the 1st and regular shifts should not relation to our right to choose the men and women by whom we
absent themselves to participate, otherwise, they would be shall be governed.”
dismissed. Since it was too late to cancel the plan, the rally took
place and the officers of the PBMEO were eventually dismissed GREGORIO AGLIPAY vs. JUAN RUIZ
for a violation of the ‘No Strike and No Lockout’ clause of their G.R. No. L-45459. March 13, 1937.
Collective Bargaining Agreement. PONENTE: LAUREL, J.

The lower court decided in favor of the company and the officers FACTS:
of the PBMEO were found guilty of bargaining in bad faith. Their
motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied by the The petitioner, Mons. Gregorio Aglipay, Supreme Head of the
Court of Industrial Relations for being filed two days late. Philippine Independent Church, seeks the issuance from this
court of a writ of prohibition to prevent the respondent Director
ISSUE: of Posts from issuing and selling postage stamps
commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic
Whether or not the workers who joined the strike violated the Congress.
CBA?
In May, 1936, the Director of Posts announced in the dailies of
HELD: Manila that he would order the issues of postage stamps
commemorating the celebration in the City of Manila of the
No. While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the Thirty-third international Eucharistic Congress, organized by the
primacy of human rights over property rights is recognized. Roman Catholic Church. The petitioner, in the fulfillment of what
Because these freedoms are "delicate and vulnerable, as well he considers to be a civic duty, requested Vicente Sotto, Esq.,
as supremely precious in our society" and the "threat of member of the Philippine Bar, to denounce the matter to the
sanctions may deter their exercise almost as potently as the President of the Philippines. In spite of the protest of the
actual application of sanctions," they "need breathing space to petitioner's attorney, the respondent publicly announced having
survive," permitting government regulation only "with narrow sent to the United States the designs of the postage stamps for
specificity." Property and property rights can be lost thru printing as follows:
prescription; but human rights are imprescriptible. In the
hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights to freedom of expression "In the center is chalice, with grape vine and stalks of wheat as
and of assembly occupy a preferred position as they are border design. The stamps are blue, green, brown, cardinal red,
essential to the preservation and vitality of our civil and political violet and orange, 1 inch by 1,094 inches. The denominations
institutions; and such priority "gives these liberties the sanctity are for 2, 6, 16, 20, 36 and 50 centavos." The said stamps were
and the sanction not permitting dubious intrusions." actually issued and sold though the greater part thereof, to this
day, remains unsold. The further sale of the stamps is sought to
be prevented by the petitioner herein.
HELD:
We are much impressed with the vehement appeal of counsel
Religious freedom, however, as a constitutional mandate is for the petitioner to maintain inviolate the complete separation of
not inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is not church and state and curb any attempt to infringe by indirection
denial of its influence in human affairs. Religion as a a constitutional inhibition. Indeed, in the Philippines, once the
profession of faith to an active power that binds and scene of religious intolerance and prescription, care should be
elevates man to his Creator is recognized. And, in so far as taken that at this stage of our political development nothing is
it instills into the minds the purest principles of morality, its done by the Government or its officials that may lead to the
influence is deeply felt and highly appreciated. When the belief that the Government is taking sides or favoring a
Filipino people, in the preamble of their Constitution, particular religious sect or institution. But, upon very serious
implored "the aid of Divine Providence, in order to establish reflection, examination of Act No. 4052, and scrutiny of the
a government that shall embody their ideals, conserve and attending circumstances, we have come to the conclusion that
develop the patrimony of the nation, promote the general there has been no constitutional infraction in the case at bar, Act
welfare, and secure to themselves and their posterity the No. 4052 grants the Director of Posts, with the approval of the
blessings of independence under a regime of justice, Secretary of Public Works and Communications, discretion to
liberty and democracy," they thereby manifested reliance misuse postage stamps with new designs "as often as may be
upon Him who guides the destinies of men and nations. deemed advantageous to the Government." Even if we were to
assume that these officials made use of a poor judgment in
Act No. 4052 contemplates no religious purpose in view. issuing and selling the postage stamps in question still, the case
What it gives the Director of Posts is the discretionary of the petitioner would fail to take in weight. Between the
power to determine when the issuance of special postage exercise of a poor judgment and the unconstitutionality of the
stamps would be "advantageous to the Government." Of step taken, a gap exists which is yet to be filled to justify the
course, the phrase "advantageous to the Government" court in setting aside the official act assailed as coming within a
does not authorize the violation of the Constitution. It does constitutional inhibition.
not authorize the appropriation, use or application of public
money or property for the use, benefit or support of a ANDRES GARCES vs. Hon. NUMERIANO G. ESTENZO
particular sect or church. In the present case, however, the G.R. No. L-53487. May 25, 1981.
issuance of the postage stamps in question by the Director
of Posts and the Secretary of Public Works and DOCTRINE:
Communications was not inspired by any sectarian
denomination. The stamps were not issue and sold for the The wooden image was purchased in connection with the
benefit of the Roman Catholic Church. Nor were money celebration of the barrio fiesta honoring the patron saint,
derived from the sale of the stamps given to that church. San Vicente Ferrer, and not for the purpose of favoring any
On the contrary, it appears from the latter of the Director of religion nor interfering with religious matters or the
Posts of June 5, 1936, incorporated on page 2 of the religious beliefs of the barrio residents. One of the
petitioner's complaint that the only purpose in issuing and highlights of the fiesta was the mass. Consequently, the
selling the stamps was "to advertise the Philippines and image of the patron saint had to be placed in the church
attract more tourists to this country." when the mass was celebrated.
Not every governmental activity which involves the Yes. Resolution No. 5 of the barangay council of Valenzuela,
expenditure of public funds and which has some religious Ormoc City, "reviving the traditional socio-religious celebration"
tint is violative of the constitutional provisions regarding every fifth day of April "of the feast day of Señor San Vicente
separation of church and state, freedom of worship and Ferrer, the patron saint of Valenzuela", and providing for: (I) the
banning the use of public money or property. acquisition of the image of San Vicente Ferrer; and (2) the
construction of a waiting shed as the barangay's projects, funds
FACTS: for which would be obtained through the "selling of tickets and
Pursuant to Resolution No. 5 of the Barangay Council of cash donations", does not directly or indirectly establish any
Valencia, Ormoc City, a wooden image of San Vicente Ferrer religion, nor abridge religious liberty, nor appropriate money for
was acquired by the barangay council with funds raised by the benefit of any sect, priest or clergyman. The image was
means of solicitations and cash, duly ratified by the barangay purchased with private funds, not with tax money. The
assembly in a plebiscite, reviving the traditional socio-religious construction of the waiting shed is entirely a secular matter. The
celebration of the feast day of the saint. As per Resolution No. wooden image was purchased in connection with the
6, the image was brought to the Catholic parish church during celebration of the barrio fiesta honoring the patron saint, San
the saint's feast day which also designated the hermano mayor Vicente Ferrer, and not for the purpose of favoring any religion
as the custodian of the image. After the fiesta, however, or interfering with religious beliefs of the barrio residents. One of
petitioner parish priest, Father Sergio Marilao Osmeña, refused the highlights of the fiesta was the mass. Consequently, the
to return custody of the image to the council on the pretext that image of the patron saint had to be placed in the church when
it was the property of the church because church funds were the mass was celebrated. If there is nothing unconstitutional or
used for its acquisition until after the latter, by resolution, filed a illegal in holding a fiesta and having a patron saint for the barrio,
replevin case against the priest and posted the required bond. then any activity intended to facilitate the worship of the patron
Thereafter, the parish priest and his co-petitioners filed an saint (such as the acquisition and display of his image) cannot
action for annulment of the council's resolutions relating to the be branded as illegal. As noted in the resolution, the barrio
subject image contending that when they were adopted, the fiesta is a socio-religious affair. Its celebration is an ingrained
barangay council was not duly constituted because the tradition in rural communities. The fiesta relieves the monotony
chairman of the Kabataang Barangay was not allowed to and drudgery of the lives of the masses.
participate; and that they contravened the constitutional
provisions on separation of church and state, freedom of religion AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY VS. CITY OF MANILA
and the use of public money to favor any sect or church. GR NO. L-9637 | APRIL 30, 1957
PONENTE: FELIX, J.
ISSUE:
DOCTRINE:
Whether the barangay council's resolution providing for
purchase of saint's image with private funds in connection with Nor could dissemination of religious information be
barangay fiesta, constitutional. conditioned upon the approval of an official or manager
even if the town were owned by a corporation as held in the
case of Marsh vs. State of Alabama (326 U.S. 501), or by the
HELD: United States itself as held in the case of Tucker vs. Texas
(326 U.S. 517). In the former case the Supreme Court
expressed the opinion that the right to enjoy freedom of the RULING:
press and religion occupies a preferred position as against
the constitutional right of property owners. 1. Yes, they are constitutional. The ordinances do not
deprive defendant of his constitutional right of the free
"When we balance the constitutional rights of owners of exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and
property against those of the people to enjoy freedom of worship, even though it prohibits him from introducing
press and religion, as we must here, we remain mindful of and carrying out a scheme or purpose which he sees fit
the fact that the latter occupy a preferred position. . . . In to claim as part of his religious system. It seems clear,
our view the circumstance that the property rights to the therefore, that Ordinance No. 3000 cannot be considered
premises where the deprivation of property here involved, unconstitutional, even if applied to plaintiff society.
took place, were held by others than the public, is not
sufficient to justify the State's permitting a corporation to Iglesia ni Cristo v. Court of Appeals
govern a community of citizens so as to restrict their G.R. No. 119673, July 26, 1996
fundamental liberties and the enforcement of such restraint PUNO, J.
by the application of a State statute." (Tañada and
Fernando on the Constitution of the Philippines, Vol. 1, 4th FACTS:
ed., p. 304-306).
Petitioner has a television program entitled “Ang Iglesia ni
FACTS: Cristo” aired on Channel 2 every Saturday and on Channel 13
every Sunday. The program presents and propagates
American Bible Society is a foreign, non-stock, non-profit, petitioner’s religious beliefs, doctrines and practices often times
religious, missionary corporation duly registered and doing in comparative studies with other religions. Petitioner submitted
business in the Philippines, with its principal office in Manila. to the respondent Board of Review for Moving Pictures and
They distribute and sell bibles throughout the country. The City Television the VTR tapes of its TV program Series Nos. 116,
Treasurer of Manila informed American Bible Society that it 119, 121 and 128. The Board classified the series as “X” or not
violated Ordinance No. 3000 and 2529 as it was conducting for public viewing on the ground that they “offend and constitute
business of general merchandise since November 1945, without an attack against other religions which is expressly prohibited by
the necessary Mayor’s permit and municipal license and law.”
required them to secure the permit and license within three days
together with compromise in the sum of P5,821.45. To avoid the On November 28, 1992, it appealed to the Office of the
closure of their business, they paid under protest. They filed a President the classification of its TV Series No. 128 which
complaint and prayed that the ordinance be declared illegal and allowed it through a letter of former Executive Secretary
unconstitutional as it infringes religious freedom. Edelmiro A. Amante, Sr., addressed for Henrietta S. Mendez
reversing the decision of the respondent Board. According to
ISSUE: the letter the episode in is protected by the constitutional
guarantee of free speech and expression and no indication that
Whether or not the ordinances of the City of Manila are the episode poses any clear and present danger.
constitutional and valid.
Petitioner also filed a civil case. Petitioner alleged that the The basis of freedom of religion is freedom of thought and it is
respondent Board acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse best served by encouraging the marketplace of dueling ideas. It
of discretion in requiring petitioner to submit the VTR tapes of its is only where it is unavoidably necessary to prevent an
TV program and in x-rating them. It cited its TV Program Series immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the
Nos. 115, 119, 121 and 128. In their Answer, respondent Board community that infringement of religious freedom may be
invoked its power under PD No. 19861 in relation to Article 201 justified, and only to the smallest extent necessary to avoid the
of the Revised Penal Code. The Iglesia ni Cristo insists on the danger. There is no showing whatsoever of the type of harm the
literal translation of the Bible and says that the (Catholic) tapes will bring about especially the gravity and imminence of
veneration of the Virgin Mary is not to be condoned because it the threatened harm. Prior restraint on speech, including
was not in the Bible. The board contended that it outrages religious speech, cannot be justified by hypothetical fears but
Catholic and Protestant beliefs. RTC ruled in favor of only by the showing of a substantive and imminent evil.
petitioners. CA however reversed it hence this petition.
It is inappropriate to apply the clear and present danger test to
ISSUE: the case at bar because the issue involves the content of
speech and not the time, place or manner of speech. Allegedly,
Was the Iglesia ni Cristo program constitutionally protected as a unless the speech is first allowed, its impact cannot be
form of religious exercise and expression? – YES. measured, and the causal connection between the speech and
the evil apprehended cannot be established. The determination
RATIO: of the question as to whether or not such vilification,
exaggeration or fabrication falls within or lies outside the
Any act that restrains speech is accompanied with presumption boundaries of protected speech or expression is a judicial
of invalidity. It is the burden of the respondent Board to function which cannot be arrogated by an administrative body
overthrow this presumption. Respondent failed to do this. So- such as a Board of Censors.” A system of prior restraint may
called “attacks” are mere criticisms of some of the deeply held only be validly administered by judges and not left to
dogmas and tenets of other religions. RTC’s ruling clearly administrative agencies.
suppresses petitioner’s freedom of speech and interferes with
its right to free exercise of religion. “Attack” is different from German v. Barangan
“offend” any race or religion. The respondent Board may G.R. No. L-68828 March 27, 1985
disagree with the criticisms of other religions by petitioner but Escolin, J.
that gives it no excuse to interdict such criticisms, however,
unclean they may be. FACTS:

Under our constitutional scheme, it is not the task of the State to In the afternoon of October 2, 1984, petitioners, composed of
favor any religion by protecting it against an attack by another about 50 businessmen, students and office employees
religion. Religious dogmas and beliefs are often at war and to converged at J.P. Laurel Street, Manila, for the purpose of
preserve peace among their followers, especially the fanatics; hearing Mass at the St. Jude Chapel which adjoins the
the establishment clause of freedom of religion prohibits the Malacañang grounds located in the same street. Wearing yellow
State from leaning towards any religion. T-shirts, they started to march down with raised clenched fists
and shouts of anti-government invectives. The marchers were
barred by respondent Major Lariosa, upon orders of his includes playing (by a band) or singing the Philippine national
superiors and co-respondent Gen. Santiago Barangan, from anthem, saluting the Philippine flag and reciting the patriotic
proceeding any further, on the ground that St. Jude Chapel was pledge.
located within the Malacañang security area. Despite plea, they
were not allowed in the church. All of the petitioners in both (consolidated) cases were expelled
from their classes by the public school authorities in Cebu for
Petitioners' alleged purpose in converging at J.P. Laurel Street refusing to salute the flag, sing the national anthem and recite
was to pray and hear mass at St. Jude church. At the hearing of the patriotic pledge as required by Republic Act No. 1265 (An
this petition, respondents assured petitioners and the Court that Act making flag ceremony compulsory in all educational
they have never restricted, and will never restrict, any person or institutions) of July 11, 1955 , and by Department Order No. 8
persons from entering and worshipping at said church. They (Rules and Regulations for Conducting the Flag Ceremony in All
maintain, however, that petitioners' intention was not really to Educational Institutions)dated July 21, 1955 of the Department
perform an act of religious worship, but to conduct an anti- of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) making the flag
government demonstration at a place close to the very ceremony compulsory in all educational institutions.
residence and offices of the President of the Republic.
Petitioners are Jehovah’s Witnesses believing that by doing
HELD: these is religious worship/devotion akin to idolatry against their
teachings. They contend that to compel transcends
In the case at bar, petitioners are not denied or restrained constitutional limits and invades protection against official
of their freedom of belief or choice of their religion, but only control and religious freedom. The respondents relied on the
in the manner by which they had attempted to translate the precedence of Gerona et al v. Secretary of Education where the
same into action. Court upheld the explulsions. Gerona doctrine provides that we
are a system of separation of the church and state and the flag
Suffice it to say that the restriction imposed on the use of is devoid of religious significance and it doesn’t involve any
J.P. Laurel Street, the wisdom and reasonableness of which religious ceremony. The children of Jehovah’s Witnesses
have already been discussed, is allowed under the cannot be exempted from participation in the flag ceremony.
fundamental law, the same having been established in the They have no valid right to such exemption. Moreover,
interest of national security. exemption to the requirement will disrupt school discipline and
demoralize the rest of the school population which by far
ROEL EBRALINAG vs THE DIVISION SUPERINTENDENT constitutes the great majority. The freedom of religious belief
G.R. No. 95770. March 1, 1993. guaranteed by the Constitution does not and cannot mean
GRIÑO-AQUINO, J. exemption from or non-compliance with reasonable and non-
discriminatory laws, rules and regulations promulgated by
Two special civil actions for certiorari, Mandamus and competent authority.
Prohibition were filed and consolidated raising the same issue
whether school children who are members or a religious sect ISSUE:
known as Jehovah’s Witnesses may be expelled from school
(both public and private), for refusing, on account of their Whether school children who are members or a religious sect
religious beliefs, to take part in the flag ceremony which known as Jehovah's Witnesses may be expelled from school
(both public and private), for refusing, on account of their FACTS:
religious beliefs, to take part in the flag ceremony which
includes playing (by a band) or singing the Philippine national Case was filed by Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI),
anthem, saluting the Philippine flag and reciting the patriotic represented by its supreme bishop Gerardo Bayaca, against
pledge. Bishop Fonacier seeking to render an accounting of his
administration of all the temporal properties and to recover the
HELD: same on the ground that he ceased to be the supreme bishop of
IFI. Isabelo De los Reyes Jr. had been elected as the Supreme
The Court held that the expulsion of the petitioners from the Bishop. Petitioner claims that he was not properly removed as
school was not justified. Supreme Bishop and his legal successor was Juan Jamias. He
claims that the there was an accounting of his administration
Religious freedom is a fundamental right of highest priority and was turned over to bishop Jamias. Also, that Isabelo De los
and the amplest protection among human rights, for it Reyes and Bayaca have abandoned their faith and formally
involves the relationship of man to his Creator. The right to joined the Prostestant Episcopal Church of America. CFI
religious profession and worship has a two-fold aspect, rendered judgment declaring Isabelo De Los Reyes, Jr. as the
vis., freedom to believe and freedom to act on one’s belief. sole and legitimate Supreme Bishop of IFI and ordered Fonacier
The first is absolute as long as the belief is confined within to render an accounting of his administration CA affirmed the
the realm of thought. The second is subject to regulation decision of the CFI.
where the belief is translated into external acts that affect
the public welfare. The only limitation to religious freedom Issue:
is the existence of grave and present danger to public
safety, morals, health and interests where State has right to Whether or not the petitioner should still be regarded as the
prevent. legitimate supreme bishop of IFI.

Petitioners stress that while they do not take part in the Held:
compulsory flag ceremony, they do not engage in “external acts”
or behavior that would offend their countrymen who believe in Supreme Court affirmed CA’s decision. The legitimate Supreme
expressing their love of country through the observance of the Bishop of IFI is Isabelo De los Reyes, Jr. The Supreme Court
flag ceremony. They quietly stand at attention during the flag affirms the validity of the election of Bishop Delos Reyes as the
ceremony to show their respect for the right of those who Supreme Bishop based on their internal laws to finally dispose
choose to participate in the solemn proceedings. Since they do of the property issue, the Court, citing Watson v. Jones,368
not engage in disruptive behavior, there is no warrant for their declared that the rule in property controversies within
expulsion. religious congregations strictly independent of any other
superior ecclesiastical association (such as the Philippine
Independent Church) is that the rules for resolving such
SANTIAGO A. FONACIER vs. COURT OF APPEALS controversies should be those of any voluntary
G.R. No. L-5917. January 28, 1955. association. If the congregation adopts the majority rule
then the majority should prevail; if it adopts adherence to
duly constituted authorities within the congregation, then existence of God ..." Such a constitutional requirement was
that should be followed. assailed as contrary to the First Amendment of the United
States Constitution by an appointee to the office of notary
FORTUNATO R. PAMIL vs. HONORABLE TELERON public in Maryland, who was refused a commission as he
G.R. No. L-34854. November 20, 1978. would not declare a belief in God. He failed in the Maryland
Court of Appeals but prevailed in the United States
The novel question raised in this certiorari proceeding concerns Supreme Court, which reversed the state court decision. It
the eligibility of an ecclesiastic to an elective municipal position. could not have been otherwise. As emphatically declared
Private respondent, Father Margarito R. Gonzaga, was, in 1971, by Justice Black: "this Maryland religious test for public
elected to the position of municipal mayor of Alburquerque, office unconstitutionally invades the appellant's freedom of
Bohol. 1 Therefore, he was duly proclaimed. A suit for quo belief and religion and therefore cannot be enforced
warranto was then filed by petitioner, himself an aspirant for the against him."
office, for his disqualification 2 based on this Administrative
Code provision: "In no case shall there be elected or appointed The analogy appears to be obvious. In that case, it was lack
to a municipal office ecclesiastics, soldiers in active service, of belief in God that was a disqualification. Here being an
persons receiving salaries or compensation from provincial or ecclesiastic and therefore professing a religious faith
national funds, or contractors for public works of the suffices to disqualify for a public office. There is thus an
municipality." 3 The suit did not prosper, respondent Judge incompatibility between the Administrative Code provision
sustaining the right of Father Gonzaga to the office of municipal relied upon by petitioner and an express constitutional
mayor. He ruled that such statutory ineligibility was impliedly mandate. It is not a valid argument against this conclusion
repealed by the Election Code of 1971. The matter was then to assert that under the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916,
elevated to this Tribunal by petitioner. It is his contention that there was such a prohibition against a religious test, and
there was no such implied repeal, that it is still in full force and yet such a ban on holding a municipal position had not
effect. Thus was the specific question raised. been nullified. It suffices to answer that no question was
raised as to its validity. In Vilar v. Paraiso, 20 decided under
It would be an unjustified departure from a settled principle the 1935 Constitution, it was assumed that there was no
of the applicable construction of the provision on what conflict with the fundamental law.
laws remain operative after 1935 if the plea of petitioner in
this case were to be heeded. The challenged Administrative MARCOS VS MANGLAPUS
Code provision, certainly insofar as it declares ineligible G.R. No. 88211. September 15, 1989.
ecclesiastics to any elective or appointive office, is, on its
face, inconsistent with the religious freedom guaranteed by FACTS:
the Constitution. To so exclude them is to impose a
religious test. Torcaso v. Watkins 18 an American Supreme Former President Marcos, after his and his family spent three
Court decision has persuasive weight. What was there year exile in Hawaii, USA, sought to return to the Philippines.
involved was the validity of a provision in the Maryland The call is about to request of Marcos family to order the
Constitution prescribing that "no religious test ought ever respondents to issue travel order to them and to enjoin the
to be required as a disqualification for any office or profit or petition of the President's decision to bar their return to the
trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the Philippines.
ISSUE: As petitioner has failed to satisfy the trial courts and the
appellate court of the urgency of his travel, the duration
Whether or not, in the exercise of the powers granted by the thereof, as well as the consent of his surety to the
Constitution, the President may prohibit the Marcoses from proposed travel, We find no abuse of judicial discretion in
returning to the Philippines. their having denied petitioner's motion for permission to
leave the country, in much the same way, albeit with
HELD: contrary results, that We found no reversible error to have
been committed by the appellate court in allowing
It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is Shepherd to leave the country after it had satisfied itself
not the right to travel from the Philippines to other that she would comply with the conditions of her bail bond.
countries or within the Philippines. These are what the right
to travel would normally connote. Essentially, the right
involved is the right to return to one's country, a totally RICARDO C. SILVERIO vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS
distinct right under international law, independent from G.R. No. 94284. April 8, 1991.
although related to the right to travel. Thus, the Universal
Declaration of Humans Rights and the International On 26 January 1988, or more than two (2) years after the filing
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treat the right to of the Information, respondent People of the Philippines filed an
freedom of movement and abode within the territory of a Urgent ex parte Motion to cancel the passport of and to issue a
state, the right to leave a country, and the right to enter hold-departure Order against accused-petitioner on the ground
one's country as separate and distinct rights. The that he had gone abroad several times without the necessary
Declaration speaks of the "right to freedom of movement Court approval resulting in postponements of the arraignment
and residence within the borders of each state" [Art. 13(l)] and scheduled hearings.
separately from the "right to leave any country, including
his own, and to return to his country." [Art. 13(2).] On the Petitioner is facing a criminal charge. He has posted bail
other hand, the Covenant guarantees the "right to liberty of but has violated the conditions thereof by failing to appear
movement and freedom to choose his residence" [Art. 12(l)] before the Court when required. Warrants for his arrest
and the right to "be free to leave any country, including his have been issued. Those orders and processes would be
own." [Art. 12(2)] which rights may be restricted by such rendered nugatory if an accused were to be allowed to
laws as "are necessary to protect national security, public leave or to remain, at his pleasure, outside the territorial
order, public health or morals or enter qqqs own country" confines of the country. Holding an accused in a criminal
of which one cannot be "arbitrarily deprived." [Art. 12(4).] It case within the reach of the Courts by preventing his
would therefore be inappropriate to construe the limitations departure from the Philippines must be considered as a
to the right to return to one's country in the same context valid restriction on his right to travel so that he may be
as those pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to dealt with in accordance with law. The offended party in
travel. any criminal proceeding is the People of the Philippines. It
is to their best interest that criminal prosecutions should
RICARDO L. MANOTOC, JR. VS THE COURT OF APPEALS run their course and proceed to finality without undue
G.R. No. L-62100. May 30, 1986. delay, with an accused holding himself amenable at all
times to Court Orders and processes.
The right to information is an essential premise of a
MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO vs. VASQUEZ meaningful right to speech and expression. But this is not
G.R. Nos. 99289-90. January 27, 1993. to say that the right to information is merely an adjunct of
and therefore restricted in application by the exercise of the
We elucidate that such policy includes the matter of freedoms of speech and of the press. Far from it. The right
petitions or motions involving hold departure orders of the to information goes hand-in-hand with the constitutional
trial or lower courts. Parties with pending cases therein policies of full public disclosure and honesty in the public
should apply for permission to leave the country from the service. It is meant to enhance the widening role of the
very same courts which, in the first instance, are in the best citizenry in governmental decision-making as well as in
position to pass upon such applications and to impose the checking abuse in government.
appropriate conditions therefor since they are conversant
with the facts of the cases and the ramifications or MA. CARMEN G. AQUINO-SARMIENTO vs. MANUEL L.
implications thereof. MORATO
G.R. No. 92541. November 13, 1991.
VALENTIN L. LEGASPI vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
G.R. No. L-72119. May 29, 1987. FACTS:

But the constitutional guarantee to information on matters At issue in this petition is the citizen's right of access to official
of public concern is not absolute. It does not open every records as guaranteed by the constitution.
door to any and all information. Under the Constitution,
access to official records, papers, etc., are "subject to In February 1989, petitioner, herself a member of respondent
limitations as may be provided by law" (Art. III, Sec. 7, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board
second sentence). The law may therefore exempt certain (MTRCB), wrote its records officer requesting that she be
types of information from public scrutiny, such as those allowed to examine the board's records pertaining to the voting
affecting national security (Journal No. 90, September 23, slips accomplished by the individual board members after a
1986, p. 10; and Journal No. 91, September 24, 1986, p. 32, review of the movies and television productions. It is on the
1986 Constitutional Commission). It follows that, in every basis of said slips that films are either banned, cut or classified
case, the availability of access to a particular public record accordingly.
must be circumscribed by the nature of the information
sought, i.e., (a) being of public concern or one that involves Acting on the said request, the records officer informed
public interest, and, (b) not being exempted by law from the petitioner that she has to secure prior clearance from
operation of the constitutional guarantee. The threshold respondent Manuel Morato, as chairman of MTRCB, to gain
question is, therefore, whether or not the information access to the records sought to be examined.
sought is of public interest or public concern.
The decisions of the Board and the individual voting slips
RICARDO VALMONTE vs FELICIANO BELMONTE, JR accomplished by the members concerned are acts made
G.R. No. 74930. February 13, 1989. pursuant to their official functions, and as such, are neither
CORTES, J. personal nor private in nature but rather public in
character. They are, therefore, public records access to
which is guaranteed to the citizenry by no less than the
fundamental law of the land. Being a public right, the
exercise thereof cannot be made contingent on the
discretion, nay, whim and caprice, of the agency charged
with the custody of the official records sought to be
examined. The constitutional recognition of the citizen's
right of access to official records cannot be made
dependent upon the consent of the members of the board
concerned, otherwise, the said right would be rendered
nugatory.

LEO ECHEGARAY vs. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE


G.R. No. 132601. January 19, 1999.
PUNO, J.

The right of the people to information on matters of public


concern shall be recognized. Access to official records,
and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts,
transactions, or decisions, as well as to government
research data used as basis for policy development shall,
be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may
be provided by law.