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Case Digest # 65: MTRCB v ABS-CBN (2005) Parties: MTRCB, petitioner; ABS CBN Broadcasting Network and former Senator Loren Legarda, respondents Nature of Action: Petition for Review on Certiorari *see also: Iglesia ni Cristo vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 119673 July 26, 1996 259 SCRA 529 FACTS: On October 15, 1991 at 10:45 P.M., ABS-CBN aired an episode on The Inside Story called Prostituition . The segment was produced and hosted by respondent Legarda. The story depicted female students moonlighting as prostitutes in order for them to pay for their tuition fees. Philippine Women s University (PWU) was named in the program as the school of some the students that were involved. PWU officials and the PWU Parents and Teachers Association filed letter to complaints to petitioner MTRCB, and the legal counsel of the MTRCB recommended the investigation of the said episode. The MTRCB Investigating committee alleged that (1) the respondents did not submit The Inside Story to the petitioner for its review and (2) exhibited the same without its permission, thus, violating Section 7 of PD 1986 and Section 3, Ch.7 and Section 7 Ch. 4 of the MTRCB Rules and Regulations. In their answer, respondents explained that the show (a news documentary and socio-political editorial program) is protected by the constitutional provision on freedom of expression and of the press. The results of the investigation did not favor the respondents. A portion of the decision of the MTRCB Investigating Committee reads:
WHEREFORE, the aforementioned premises, the respondents are ordered to pay the sum of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00) for non-submission of the program, subject of this case for review and approval of the MTRCB. Heretofore, all subsequent programs of the The Inside Story and all other programs of the ABS-CBN Channel 2 of the same category shall be submitted to the Board of Review and Approval before showing; otherwise the Board will act accordingly.

Respondent s appeal and Motion for Reconsideration were denied by MTRCB Chairwoman Atty. Henrietta S. Mendez. The respondents then files a special civil action for certiorari with the RTC Branch 77 of QC seeking to: (1) declare unconstitutional the provisions in question; (2) exclude The Inside Story from the coverage of the above-cited provisions; and (3) annul and set aside the MTRCB Decision. The RTC rendered a decision in favor of the respondents on all issues raised. Petitioners filed for a motion of reconsideration but were denied. Hence, this petition for review on certiorari. ISSUE/S: Whether or not the MTRCB has the power or authority to review The Inside Story prior to its exhibition or broadcast by television.

They are depiction of actualities. y y The Inside Story cannot be classified. a freedom bearing no preferred status. 1986: programs imprinted or exhibited by the Philippine Government or. 1997 and Order dated August 26. thus. SO ORDERED. LEGAL ARGUMENTS/BASIS: y Television programs are more accessible to the public than newspapers. to be under newsreels . review and examine all television programs. There is nothing in the law that would justify an exclusion of any program (except those expressly mentioned Section 7 of P. the Court ruled that P. Apparently. No. 1986 define newsreels as straight news reporting. Court of Appeals. If this Court. Talk shows on a given issue are not considered newsreels. The assailed RTC Decision dated November 18. Costs against respondents. the instant petition is GRANTED. 1986 gives the MTRCB the power to screen. as attempted by the respondents. D. . in Iglesia ni Cristo. the MTRCB Rules and Regulations implementing P. there is no justification to exempt therefrom The Inside Story which. No. The Decision dated March 12. 1993 of petitioner MTRCB is AFFIRMED. with more reason. newsreels) from the regulations of the MTRCB. did not exempt religious programs from the jurisdiction and review power of petitioner MTRCB. In the case Iglesia ni Cristo vs. newsreels are straight presentation of events. as distinguished from news analyses. is protected by the constitutional provision on freedom of expression and of the press.D.RULING: WHEREFORE. according to respondents. the liberal regulation of the latter cannot apply to the former. Correspondingly.D. commentaries and opinions. 2002 are hereby REVERSED.