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HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)

Atty. Rodel Taton


Sharla Louisse A. Castillo

ASSIGNED CASES
LAGUNA
LAKE
DEVELOPMENT
AUTHORITY vs COURT OF APPEALS
(231 SCRA 292)
FACTS: 1. The residents of Tala Estate,
Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City raised
a complaint with the Laguna Lake
Development Authority (LLDA), seeking
to stop the operation of the City
Government of Caloocan of an 8.6
hectare open garbage dumpsite in Tala
Estate, due to its harmful effects on the
health of the residents and the pollution
of the surrounding water.
2. LLDA discovered that the City
Government of Caloocan has been
maintaining the open dumpsite at the
Camarin Area without a requisite
Environmental Compliance Certificate
from the Environmental Management
Bureau of the DENR. They also found the
water
to
have
been
directly
contaminated by the operation of the
dumpsite.
3. LLDA issued a Cease and Desist Order
against the City Government and other
entities to completely halt, stop and
desist from dumping any form or kind of
garbage and other waste matter on the
Camarin dumpsite.
4. The City Government went to the
Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City to
file an action for the declaration of nullity
of the cease and desist order and sought

to be declared as the sole authority


empowered to promote the health and
safety and enhance the right of the
people in Caloocan City to a balanced
ecology within its territorial jurisdiction.
5. LLDA sought to dismiss the complaint,
invoking the Pollution Control Law that
the review of cease and desist orders of
that nature falls under the Court of
Appeals and not the RTC.
6. RTC denied LLDAs motion to dismiss,
and issued a writ of preliminary
injunction enjoining LLDA from enforcing
the cease and desist order during the
pendency of the case.
7. The Court of Appeals promulgated a
decision that ruled that the LLDA has no
power and authority to issue a cease and
desist order enjoining the dumping of
garbage.
8. The residents seek a review of the
decision.
ISSUE
W/N the LLDA has authority and power to
issue an order which, in its nature and
effect was injunctive.
THEORY OF THE PARTIES
City Government of Caloocan: As a local
government unit, pursuant to the
general welfare provision of the Local
Government Code, they have the
mandate to operate a dumpsite and

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
determine the effects to the ecological
balance over its territorial jurisdiction.
LLDA: As an administrative agency which
was granted regulatory and adjudicatory
powers and functions by RA No. 4850, it
is invested with the power and authority
to issue a cease and desist order
pursuant to various provisions in EO No.
927.
RULING

a meeting among the representatives of


the city government, LLDA and the
residents.
2.
LLDA has the authority to issue
the cease and desist order.
a.

Explicit in the law.

4, par. (3) explicitly authorizes the LLDA


to make whatever order may be
necessary in the exercise of its
jurisdiction.

YES.
1.
LLDA is mandated by law to
manage the environment, preserve the
quality of human life and ecological
systems and prevent undue ecological
disturbances, deterioration and pollution
in the Laguna Lake area and surrounding
provinces and cities, including Caloocan.
While pollution cases are generally under
the Pollution Adjudication Board under
the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources, it does not preclude
mandate from special laws that provide
another forum.

While LLDA was not expressly conferred


the power to issue an ex-parte cease
and desist order in that language, the
provision granting authority to make
() orders requiring the discontinuance
of pollution, has the same effect.
b.

Necessarily implied powers.

Assuming arguendo that the cease and


desist
order
was
not
expressly
conferred by law, there is jurisprudence
enough to the effect.

In this case, RA No. 4850 provides that


mandate to the LLDA. It is mandated to
pass upon or approve or disapprove
plans and programs of local government
offices and agencies within the region
and
their
underlying
environmental/ecological repercussions.

While it is a fundamental rule that an


administrative agency has only such
power as expressly granted to it by law,
it is likewise a settled rule that an
administrative agency has also such
powers as are necessarily implied in the
exercise
of
its
express
powers.
Otherwise, it will be reduced to a
toothless paper agency.

The DENR even recognized the primary


jurisdiction of the LLDA over the case
when the DENR acted as intermediary at

In Pollution Adjudication Board vs Court


of Appeals, the Court ruled that the PAB
has the power to issue an ex-parte cease

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
and desist order on prima facie evidence
of an establishment exceeding the
allowable standards set by the antipollution laws of the country.

LLDA has been vested with sufficiently


broad powers in the regulation of the
projects within the Laguna Lake region,
and this includes the implementation of
relevant anti-pollution laws in the area.
KAISAHAN NG MANGGAGAWA V.
GOTAMCO SAW MILL (GR NO. L1573, 29 MARCH 1948)
Facts: The Kaisahan ng Manggagawa ng
Kahoy sa Pilipinas declared a strike
against Gotamco Saw Mill because the
latter did not accede to the formers
request of a salary increase. While the
case was being heard by the Court of
Industrial Relations, the parties reached
a temporary wage arrangement and the
workers were ordered to go back to work
while the saw mill was ordered to
increase the salaries of the workers by
P2.00, let them take home small pieces
of lumber to be utilized as firewood, and
was
enjoined
from
laying-off,
suspending, or dismissing any laborer
affiliated with the petitioning union.
Conversely, the workers were enjoined
from staging walk-outs or strikes during
the pendency of the hearing.
Gotamco Saw Mill subsequently filed an
urgent motion asking that the petitioning
union be held in contempt of court for
having staged a strike during the
pendency of the main case, for picketing
on the premises of the saw mill, and for

grave threats which prevented the


remaining laborers from working. The
union
alleged
that
one
of
its
representatives
conferred
with
the
management of the saw mill, but instead
of entertaining their grievances, the saw
mill ordered the stoppage of the work
and employed four new Chinese laborers
without express authority of the court
and in violation of Section 19 of
Commonwealth Act No. 103. The CIR
ruled that there was a violation of the
previous order of the CIR by the union,
which warranted the commencement of
contempt proceedings and that the saw
mill did not violate Section 19 of CA 103.
Issue: W/N Section 19 of CA 103 is
unconstitutional for being in violation of
the organic proscription of involuntary
servitude.
Ruling:
NO. Section 19 of CA 103
does
not
offend
against
the
constitutional
inhibition
proscribing
involuntary servitude. The provisions of
CA
103
were
inspired
by
the
constitutional injunction making it the
concern of the State to promote social
justice to insure the well-being and
economic security of all the people. In
order to attain this object, Section 19
was promulgated which grants to labor
what it grants to capital and denies to
labor what it denies to capital.
Among other things, Section 19 lays
down the implied condition that when
any dispute between the employer or
landlord and the employee, tenant or
laborer has been submitted to the CIR for

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
settlement or arbitration, pursuant to the
provisions of the Act, and pending award
or decision by it, the employee, tenant or
laborer shall not strike or walk out of his
employment when so joined by the court
after hearing and when public interest so
requires, and if he has already done so,
that he shall forthwith return to it, upon
order of the court, which shall be issued
only after hearing when public interest
so requires or when the dispute cannot,
in its opinion, be promptly decided or
settled.

Thus,
the
voluntariness
of
the
employees entering into such a contract
of employmenthe has a free choice
between entering into it or notwith
such an implied condition, negatives the
possibility
of
involuntary
servitude
ensuing.
Issue: W/N the previous order of the CIR,
which ordered the union laborers to go
back to work, is unconstitutional for
being in violation of the organic
proscription of involuntary servitude.
Ruling:
NO. The order of the court
was for the striking workers to return to
their work. That order was made after
hearing, and Section 19 of CA 103
authorizes such order when the dispute
cannot in its opinion be promptly decided
or settled. The very impossibility of
prompt decision or settlement of the
dispute confers upon the CIR the power
to issue the order for the reason that the
public has an interest in preventing
undue stoppage or paralyzation of the
wheels of industry.

Several laws promulgated which


apparently infringe the human
rights
of
individuals
were
subjected to regulation by the
State basically in the exercise of
its paramount police power.

From Justice Perfectos concurring


and dissenting opinion: If the
laborers should feel that they are
compelled against their will to
perform
something
which
is
repugnant to their conscience or
dignity, they need not resort to
any court action to seek judicial
settlement of the controversy, as
they can resign from their work
and there is no power that can
compel them to continue therein.

PEOPLE V. GALIT (GR NO. L-51770,


20 MARCH 1985)
Facts: Francisco Galit was picked up by
the Montalban police on suspicion for the
killing of Mrs. Natividad Francisco, a
widow. After he was taken by the
Montalban police, the case was referred
to the National Bureau of Investigation in
view of the alleged limited facilities of
the
Montalban
police
station.
Accordingly, Galit was brought to the NBI
where he was investigated by a team
headed by NBI Agent Carlos Flores. The
following day, Galit voluntarily executed
a Salaysay admitting participation in the
commission
of
the
crime,
also
implicating Juling and Pabling Dulay as
his companions in its commission. As a
result, he was charged with the crime of

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Robbery with Homicide before the Circuit
Trial Court of Pasig.

During trial, a witness stated that he


overheard Galit quarrelling with his wife
about his intention to leave their
residence immediately because he and
his two companions robbed and killed
Natividad Fernando. On the other hand,
Galit
denied
participation
in
the
commission of the crime and also
assailed
the
admissibility
of
the
extrajudicial confession extracted from
him
through
torture,
force
and
intimidation. He recounted that he was
mauled and tortured by the NBI officers
by covering his face with a rag and
pushing his face into a toilet bowl full of
human waste. He had no counsel when
the confession was extracted from him.
He admitted what the investigating
officers wanted him to admit and he
signed the confession they prepared.
Later, against his will, he posed for
pictures as directed by his investigators,
purporting it to be a re-enactment. This
notwithstanding, the trial court found
Galit guilty and sentenced him to suffer
the death penalty.
Issue: W/N Francisco Galit should be
acquitted on the ground that his
extrajudicial confession is inadmissible.
Ruling:
YES.
The
evidence
presented by the prosecution does not
support a conviction. In fact, the findings
of the trial court relative to the acts
attributed to the accused are not
supported by competent evidence. There
were no eyewitnesses, no property

recovered from the accused, no state


witnesses, and not even fingerprints of
the accused at the scene of the crime.
The only evidence against the accused is
his alleged confession. The alleged
confession and the pictures of the
supposed re-enactment are inadmissible
as evidence because they were obtained
in a manner contrary to law. Galit
acquitted.
Issue: How is the inadmissibility of the
extrajudicial confession shown?
Ruling:
Through
the
statement
itself. The first question was a very long
Tagalog
question
followed
by
a
monosyllabic answer. It does not satisfy
the requirements of the law that the
accused be informed of his rights under
the Constitution and our laws. Instead,
there should be several short and clear
questions and every right explained in
simple words in a dialect or language
known to the person under investigation.
The accused is from Samar and there is
no showing that he understands Tagalog.
Moreover, at the time of his arrest, the
accused
was
not
permitted
to
communicate with his lawyer, a relative,
or a friend. In fact, his sisters and other
relatives did not know that he had been
brought to the NBI for investigation and
it was only about two weeks after he had
executed the Salaysay that his relatives
were allowed to visit him. His statement
does not even contain any waiver of
right to counsel and yet during the
investigation he was not assisted by one.
At the supposed reenactment, again

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
accused was not assisted by the counsel
of his choice. These constitute gross
violation of his rights.

The correct procedure for peace officers


to follow when making an arrest and in
conducting a custodial investigation,
according to Morales v. Ponce Enrile: At
the time the person is arrested, it shall
be the duty of the arresting officer to
inform him of the reason of the arrest
and he must be shown the warrant of
arrest, if any. He shall be informed of his
constitutional right to remain silent and
to counsel, and that any statement he
might make could be used against him.
The person arrested shall have the right
to communicate with his lawyer, a
relative, or anyone he chooses by the
most expedient meansby telephone if
possibleor by letter or messenger. It
shall be the duty of the arresting officer
to see that this is accomplished. No
custodial
investigation
shall
be
conducted unless it be in the presence of
counsel engaged by the person arrested,
by any person on his behalf, or
appointed by the court upon petition
either of the detainee himself or by
anyone on his behalf. The right to
counsel may be waived but the waiver
shall not be valid unless made with the
assistance of counsel. Any statement
obtained in violation of the procedure
herein laid down, whether exculpatory or
inculpatory, in whole or in part, shall be
inadmissible in evidence.
Trial courts are cautioned to look
carefully
into
the
circumstances
surrounding the taking of any confession,

especially where the prisoner claims


having been maltreated into giving one.
Where there is any doubt as to its
voluntariness, the same must be
rejected in toto.
VICTOR
BOROVSKY
vs.
THE
COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION
and THE DIRECTOR OF PRISONS G.R.
No. L-4352 September 28, 1951
FACTS: Victor A. Borovsky, petitioner,
claims to be a stateless citizen, born in
Shanghai, China, of Russian parentage.
He came to the Philippines in 1936 and
had resided herein ever since, if the
period of his detention be included.
On June 24, 1946, by order of the
Commissioner of immigration of the
Philippines the petitioner was arrested
for investigation as to his past activities.
A warrant for deportation was issued by
the Deportation Board on the grounds
that he has been found to be an
undesirable alien, a vagrant and habitual
drunkard.
Petitioner was deported to China but he
was not provided with an entry visa
because he was not a a national of
China. He was therefore brought back to
Manila and was confined to the new
Bilibid
Prison
in
Muntinlupa.
On
December 8, 1947, was granted
provisional release by the President
through Secretary of Justice for a period
of six months. Before the expiration of
that period, the Immigration department
rearrested him and brought him to Cebu
for the purpose of placing him on board a

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Russian
vessel
carrying
out
the
deportation order issued against him.
However, said deportation failed to
materialize as the captain of the ship
refused to take him on board without
permission
from
the
Russian
government. As such, petitioner was
again detained. The Immigration Officials
however alleged that while in detention,
they have been taking steps regarding
the disposition of those foreigners
subject to deportation while awaiting
availability
of
transportation
or
arrangements to the place where they
may be sent.
Petitioner then filed for a writ of habeas
corpus to which the court denied as
mainly on the ground that such
detention was merely temporary. Over
two years had elapsed since the decision
was
promulgated,
but
still
the
Government had not found ways and
means of removing the petitioner out of
the country. Hence this second petition
for writ of habeas corpus.
ISSUE:
WON petitioner be continuously detained
without a fix period pending deportation
HELD: NO. Aliens illegally staying in the
Philippines have no right of asylum
therein (Soewapadji vs. Wixon, Sept. 13,
1946, 157 F. ed., 289, 290), even if they
are "stateless," which the petitioner
claims to be. Foreign nationals, not
enemy, against whom no criminal
charges have been formally made or
judicial order issued, may not indefinitely

be kept in detention. The protection


against deprivation of liberty, without
due process of law and except for crimes
committed against the laws of the land is
not limited to Philippine citizens but
extends to all residents, except enemy
aliens, regardless of nationality. Whether
an alien who entered the country in
violation of its immigration laws may be
detained for as long as the Government
is unable to deport him, is beside the
point and we need not decide. There is
no allegation that the petitioner's entry
into the Philippines was not lawful; on
the contrary, the inference from the
pleadings and the Deportation Board's
findings is that he came to and lived in
this country under legal permit.
Moreover, by its Constitution (Art. II, sec.
3) the Philippines "adopts the generally
accepted principles of international law
as part of the law of Nation." And in a
resolution entitled "Universal Declaration
of Human Rights" and approved by the
General Assembly of the United Nations
of which the Philippines is a member, at
its plenary meeting on December 10,
1948, the right to life and liberty and all
other fundamental rights as applied to all
human beings were proclaimed. lt was
there resolved that "All human beings
are born free and equal in degree and
rights" (Art. 1); that "Everyone is entitled
to all the rights and freedom set forth in
this Declaration, without distinction of
any kind, such as race, colour, sex,
language, religion, political or other
opinion, nationality or social origin,
property, birth, or other status (Art. 2) ;

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
that "Everyone has the right to an
effective remedy by the competent
national tribunals for acts violating the
fundamental rights granted him by the
Constitution or by law" (Art. 8); that "No
one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest,
detention or exile" (Art. 9) etc.

have been determined, they petitioned


the Court for a writ of mandamus to
compel the DAR Secretary to issue the
Implementing Rules and Regulations of
the said Presidential Decree, as they
could not eject their tenants and so are
unable to enjoy their right of retention.
Issue: W/N the assailed statutes violate
the equal protection clause.

ASSOCIATION
OF
SMALL
LANDOWNERS V. SECRETARY OF
AGRARIAN REFORM (GR NOS. 78742,
79310, 79744, AND 79777, 14 JULY
1989)
Facts: Several
petitioners,
mostly
landowners and sugar planters, in these
consolidated
cases,
assail
the
constitutionality of PD 27, EOs 228 and
229, and PP 131 for allegedly being
violative of the constitutional provisions
on just compensation, due process, and
equal protection.
The Association of Small Landowners in
the Philippines, on the other hand,
invokes the right of retention granted by
PD 27 to owners of rice and corn lands
not exceeding 7 hectares as long as they
are cultivating or intend to cultivate the
same. Their respective lands do not
exceed the statutory limit but are
occupied by tenants who are actually
cultivating such lands. Because PD 316
provides that no tenant-farmer in
agricultural lands primarily devoted to
rice and corn shall be ejected or
removed from his farmholding until such
time as the respective rights of the
tenant-farmers and the landowner shall

Ruling:
NO. Petitioners have not
shown that they belong to a different
class and entitled to a different
treatment. The argument that not only
landowners but also owners of other
properties must be made to share the
burden of implementing land reform
must be rejected. There is a substantial
distinction between these two classes of
owners that is clearly visible except to
those who will not see.
Issue: W/N the assailed statutes are valid
exercises of police power.
Ruling:
YES.
The
subject
and
purpose of agrarian reform have been
laid down by the Constitution itself,
which satisfies the first requirement of a
lawful subject. However, objection is
raised to the manner of fixing the just
compensation, which it is claimed is
entrusted
to
the
administrative
authorities in violation of judicial
prerogatives. However, there is no
arbitrariness in the provision, as the
determination of just compensation by
the DAR is not by any means final and
conclusive upon the landowner or any
other interested party, because the law

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
provides that the determination made by
the DAR is only preliminary unless
accepted by all parties concerned.
Otherwise, the courts will still have the
right to review with finality the said
determination.

to the government on receipt by the


landowner of the corresponding payment
or the deposit by the DAR of the
compensation in cash or LBP bonds with
an accessible bank. Until then, title also
remains with the landowner.

Issue: W/N the content and manner of


just compensation provided for in the
CARP Law is violative of the Constitution.

One of the basic principles of the


democratic system is that where the
rights of the individual are concerned,
the end does not justify the means.
There is no question that not even the
strongest moral conviction or the most
urgent public need, subject only to a few
notable exceptions, will excuse the
bypassing of an individuals rights. It is
no exaggeration to say that a person
invoking a right guaranteed under Article
III of the Constitution is a majority of one
even as against the rest of the nation
who would deny him that right.

Ruling:
NO. Although the traditional
medium
for
payment
of
just
compensation is money and no other,
what is being dealt with here is not the
traditional exercise of the power of
eminent domain. This is a revolutionary
kind of expropriation, which involves not
mere millions of pesos. The initially
intended amount of P50B may not be
enough, and is in fact not even fully
available at this time. The invalidation of
the said section will result in the
nullification of the entire program.
Issue: W/N the CARP and EO 228
contravene a well-accepted principle of
eminent domain by divesting the
landowner of his property even before
actual payment to him in full of just
compensation.
Ruling:
NO. EO 228 categorically
stated
that
all
qualified
farmerbeneficiaries were deemed full owners of
the land they acquired under PD 27,
after proof of full-fledged membership in
the farmers cooperatives and full
payment of just compensation. The CARP
Law, for its part, conditions the transfer
of possession and ownership of the land

ICHONG V. HERNANDEZ (GR NO. L7995, 31 MAY 1957)


Facts: Lao Ichong, for and in his own
behalf and on behalf of other alien
residents, corporations, and partnerships
adversely affected by the provisions of
Republic Act No. 1180, brought this
action to obtain a judicial declaration
that the said Act is unconstitutional and
to enjoin the Secretary of Finance and all
other
persons
acting
under him,
particularly
city
and
municipal
treasurers, from enforcing its provisions.
RA 1180 is entitled An Act to Regulate
the Retail Business. It, in effect,
nationalizes the retail trade business.
The main provisions of the Act are: (1) a

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
prohibition against persons, not citizens
of
the
Philippines,
and
against
associations,
partnerships,
or
corporations the capital of which are not
wholly owned by citizens of the
Philippines, from engaging directly or
indirectly in the retail trade; (2) an
exception from the above prohibition in
favor of aliens actually engaged in said
business from 15 May 1954, who are
allowed to continue to engage therein,
unless their licenses are forfeited in
accordance with the law, until their
death or voluntary retirement in case of
natural persons, and for ten years after
the approval of the Act or until the
expiration of term in case of juridical
persons; (3) an exception therefrom in
favor of citizens and juridical entities of
the United States; (4) a provision for the
forfeiture of licenses (to engage in the
retail business) for violation of the laws
on nationalization, control weights and
measures and labor and other laws
relating to trade, commerce, and
industry; (5) a prohibition against the
establishment or opening by aliens
actually engaged in the retail business of
additional stores or branches of retail
business; (6) a provision requiring aliens
actually engaged in the retail business to
present for registration with the proper
authorities
a
verified
statement
concerning their businesses, giving,
among other matters, the nature of their
business, their assets and liabilities and
their offices and principal offices of
judicial entities; and (7) a provision
allowing the heirs of aliens now engaged
in the retail business who die, to

continue such business for a period of six


months for purposes of liquidation.
Ichong contends that the Act denies to
alien residents the equal protection of
the laws and deprives of their liberty and
property without due process of law and
is thus unconstitutional.
Issue: W/N RA 1180 is unconstitutional
for denying to alien residents the equal
protection of the laws and deprives them
of their liberty and property without due
process of law.
Ruling:
NO. The Act is not the
product of racial hostility, prejudice or
discrimination, but the expression of the
legitimate desire and determination of
the people, through their authorized
representatives, to free the nation from
the
economic
situation
that
has
unfortunately been saddled upon it
rightly or wrongly, to its disadvantage.
The law is clearly in the interest of the
public, nay, of the national security itself,
and indisputably falls within the scope of
police power, through which and by
which the State insures its existence and
security and the supreme welfare of its
citizens.
Moreover, we would be doing violence
to fact and reality were we to hold that
no reason or ground for a legitimate
distinction can be found between one
and the other. We do not have here in
this country isolated groups of harmless
aliens retailing goods among nationals;
what we have are well organized and
powerful groups that dominate the

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HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
distribution of goods and commodities in
the communities and big centers of
population. They owe no allegiance or
loyalty to the State, and the State cannot
rely upon them in times of crisis or
emergency. While the national holds his
life, his person, and his property subject
to the needs of his country, the alien
may even become the potential enemy
of the State. The aliens interest in this
country
is
merely
transient
and
temporary. He never really makes a
genuine contribution to national income
and wealth. He undoubtedly contributes
to general distribution, but the gains and
profits he makes are not invested in
industries that would help the countrys
economy and increase national wealth.
This shows the existence of real and
actual,
positive
and
fundamental
differences between an alien and a
national which fully justify the legislative
classification adopted in the retail trade
measure. These differences are certainly
a valid reason for the State to prefer the
national over the alien in the retail trade.
The general rule is that aliens are under
no special constitutional protection which
forbids a classification otherwise justified
simply because the limitation of the class
falls along the lines of nationality. That
would be requiring a higher degree of
protection for aliens as a class than for
similar classes of Filipino citizens.
Broadly speaking, the difference in
status between citizens and aliens
constitutes a basis for reasonable
classification in the exercise of police
power.

Issue: W/N RA 1180 violates the Treaty of


Amity between the Republic of the
Philippines and the Republic of China.
Ruling:
NO. All that the treaty
guarantees is equality of treatment to
the Chinese nationals upon the same
terms as the nationals of any other
country. But the nationals of China are
not
discriminated
against
because
nationals of all other countries, except
those of the United States, who are
granted
special
rights
by
the
Constitution, are all prohibited from
engaging in the retail trade. But even
supposing that the law infringes upon
the said treaty, the treaty is always
subject to qualification or amendment by
a subsequent law, and the same may
never curtail or restrict the scope of the
police power of the State.
There is a general feeling on the part of
the public, which appears to be true to
fact, about the controlling and dominant
position that the alien retailer holds in
the nations economy. Official statistics
unmistakably point out to the everincreasing dominance and control by the
alien of the retail trade. Although
Filipinos have the edge in the number of
retailers, aliens more than make up for
the numerical gap through their assets
and gross sales which average between
six and seven times those of the very
many Filipino retailers. Numbers in
retailers do not imply superiority; the
alien invests more capital, buys and sells
six to seven times more, and gains much
more. The native investment is thinly
spread, and the Filipino retailer is

11

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
practically helpless in matters of capital,
credit, price, and supply. It is this
domination and control that is the
legislatures target in the enactment of
the disputed nationalization. With ample
capital, unity of purpose and action and
thorough organization, alien retailers and
merchants can act in such complete
unison and concert on such vital matters
as the fixing of prices, the determination
of the amount of goods or articles to be
made available in the market, and even
the choice of goods or articles they
would or would not patronize or
distribute, that fears of dislocation of the
national economy and of the complete
subservience of national economy and of
the consuming public are not entirely
unfounded.
Grave
abuses
have
characterized the exercise of the retail
trade by aliens. The present dominance
of the alien retailer, especially in the big
centers
of
population,
therefore,
becomes a potential source of danger on
occasions of war or other calamity.
RA 1180 purports to protect citizen and
country from the alien retailer. Through
it, and within the field of economy it
regulates,
Congress
attempts
to
translate
national
aspirations
for
economic independence and national
security, rooted in the drive and urge for
national survival and welfare, into a
concrete and tangible measure designed
to free the national retailer from the
competing dominance of the alien, so
that the country and the nation may be
free
from
a
supposed
economic
dependence and bondage.

It has been said the police power is so


far-reaching in scope, that it has become
almost impossible to limit its sweep. As it
derives its existence from the very
existence of the State itself, it does not
need to be expressed or defined in its
scope; it is said to be co-extensive with
self-protection and survival, and as such
it is the most positive and active of all
governmental processes, the most
essential, insistent and illimitable.
As we cannot foresee the needs and
demands of public interest and welfare in
this constantly changing and progressive
world, so we cannot delimit beforehand
the extent or scope of police power by
which and through which the State seeks
to attain or achieve interest or welfare.
So it is that Constitutions do not define
the scope or extent of the police power
of the State; what they do is to set forth
the limitations thereof. The most
important of these are the due process
clause and the equal protection clause,
which is found in Section 1 of Article III of
the Constitution. These constitutional
guarantees which embody the essence
of individual liberty and freedom in
democracies, are not limited to citizens
alone but are admittedly universal in
their application, without regard to any
differences of race, of color, or of
nationality.
The equal protection of the law clause is
against undue favor and individual or
class privilege, as well as hostile
discrimination or the oppression of
inequality. It is not intended to prohibit
legislation, which is limited either in the

12

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
object to which it is directed or by
territory within which it is to operate. It
does not demand absolute equality
among residents; it merely requires that
all persons shall be treated alike, under
like circumstances and conditions both
as to privileges conferred and liabilities
enforced. The equal protection clause is
not infringed by legislation which applies
only to those persons falling within a
specified class, if it applies alike to all
persons
within
such
class,
and
reasonable grounds exist for making a
distinction between those who fall within
such class and those who do not.

The due process clause has to do with


the
reasonableness
of
legislation
enacted in pursuance of the police
power. Is there public interest, a public
purpose; is public welfare involved? Is
the Act reasonably necessary for the
accomplishment of the legislatures
purpose;
is
it
not
unreasonable,
arbitrary, or oppressive? Is there
sufficient foundation or reason in
connection with the matter involved; or
has there not been a capricious use of
the legislative power? Can the aims
conceived be achieved by the means
used, or is it not merely an unjustified
interference with private interest? These
are the questions that we ask when the
due process test is applied.
There can be no absolute power,
whoever exercises it, for that would be
tyranny. Yet there can neither be
absolute liberty, for that would mean
license and anarchy. Police power, and
the guarantees of due process and equal

protection, are supposed to coexist. The


balancing is the indispensable means for
the attainment of legitimate aspirations
of any democratic society. Thus, the
State can deprive persons of life, liberty,
and property, provided there is due
process of law; and persons may be
classified into classes and groups,
provided that everyone is given the
equal protection of the law.
The police power legislation must be
firmly grounded on public interest and
welfare, and a reasonable relation must
exist between purposes and means. And
if distinction and classification has been
made, there must be a reasonable basis
for said distinction.
The
legislature,
which
is
the
constitutional repository of police power
and exercises
the prerogative of
determining the policy of the State, is by
force of circumstance primarily the judge
of
necessity,
adequacy,
or
reasonableness and wisdom, of any law
promulgated in the exercise of the police
power, or of the measures adopted to
implement the public policy or to achieve
public interest. Courts are not supposed
to override legitimate policy, and courts
never inquire into the wisdom of the law.
The power of the legislature to make
distinctions and classifications among
persons is not curtailed or denied by the
equal protection of the laws clause. The
legislative power admits of a wide scope
of discretion, and a law can be violative
of the constitutional limitation only when

13

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
the classification is without reasonable
basis.

MONTERO V. CHIEF OF POLICE, 80


PHIL. 853
A municipal councilor and a barrio
lieutenant who arrested a priest who did
not commit a crime and detained him
are guilty of arbitrary detention. Even if
the arrest or detention is legal but the
arresting officer fails to deliver the
person to judicial authorities within a
reasonable period prescribed by law, the
officer is guilty of arbitrary detention.
People v. Cuizon (GR No. 109287, 18
April 1996)
Facts: According to the National Bureau
of
Investigation,
it
conducted
a
surveillance on Antolin Cuizon and his
wife following information given to them
regarding shabu. When they received
information that the spouses were
arriving from Hong Kong with a
substantial amount of shabu, a team was
organized to intercept the spouses. After
Cuizon passed through the Immigration
and Customs Areas of the NAIA, he
allegedly handed four bags to Steve Pua
and Paul Lee. The latter loaded the bags
in a taxicab and went to the Manila
Peninsula Hotel in Makati. The spouses
boarded another vehicle. The NBI agents
then coordinated with the Chief Security
Officer of the said hotel where the
suspects were apprehended after shabu
was found in the bags that they had with
them. Immediately thereafter, the NBI
proceeded to the Cuizons house, where

the officers were able to retrieve another


bag of shabu, as well as a firearm.
Cuizon was also arrested. They were all
brought to the NBI Headquarters in
Manila for further investigation. Later in
the day, a roomboy of the Manila
Peninsula Hotel found another bag of
shabu concealed inside the ceiling of the
room where Pua and Lee stayed.
Pua interposed the defense of alibi,
stating that he was engaged by Lee as
an interpreter because Lee did not know
how to speak English. The luggage
wherein the shabu was found was
allegedly brought into the room by a
bellboy, followed by the NBI agents who
asked to be let in. Pua only agreed to let
them in when the CSO of the hotel
arrived and identified the NBI agents.
Pua and Lee were allegedly subsequently
asked to sign a piece of paper, which
they thought to be a slip of paper
regarding their consent for the agents to
see their room. The NBI agents
thereafter sought to open the luggage,
which Pua refused by stating that it was
not theirs. Just the same, the NBI opened
the bags and found the shabu. Cuizon,
on the other hand, flatly denied the NBIs
version of the incident. He stated that he
never met up with Pua and Lee, and that
he was manhandled by the NBI at his
home while he was resting. He further
stated that the NBI ransacked his home
without any warrant as he was forcibly
brought out of the house with his hands
bound with a necktie. Lee, who does not
understand a word of English or Filipino
and only knows Chinese-Cantonese, was

14

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
not able to take the witness stand for
lack of an interpreter. The three were
eventually convicted for violating Section
15 of RA 6425, otherwise known as the
Dangerous Drugs Act.
Issue: W/N the warrantless arrests and
searches conducted by the NBI legal and
constitutional.
Ruling:
NO.
Scrutinizing
the
provisions of Section 5 of Rule 113 of the
Rules of Court on lawful arrests without
warrant, which states that an arrest
without warrant may be lawfully made
by a peace officer or a private person:
(a) When in his presence, the person to
be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit
an offense;
(b) When an offense has in fact just been
committed, and he has personal
knowledge of facts indicating that the
person to be arrested has committed it;
and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a
prisoner who has escaped from a penal
establishment or place where he is
serving final judgment or temporarily
confined while his case is pending, or
has escaped while being transferred from
one confinement to another.
It may be noted that paragraph (c) is
obviously inapplicable, the accused not
being escapees from a penal institution
at the time of the arrest. Paragraph (a)
on the other hand requires that the

person be arrested (i) after he has


committed or while he is actually
committing or is at least attempting to
commit an offense, (ii) in the presence of
the
arresting
officer(s).
These
requirements were not present in the
case at bench, for at the time of their
arrest, Pua and Lee were merely resting
in their hotel room, and Cuizon was in
bed resting with his wife and child inside
his home. No offense had just been
committed, or was being actually
committed or being attempted by any of
the accused in the presence of the
lawmen. Paragraph (b) of the same
provision is likewise inapplicable since its
equally exacting requirements have also
not been met. The prosecution failed to
establish that at the time of the arrest,
an offense had in fact just been
committed and the arresting officers had
personal knowledge of facts indicating
that the accused had committed it.
Cuizon could not, by the mere act of
handing over four pieces of luggage to
the other two accused, be considered to
have committed the offense of carrying
and transporting prohibited drugs.
Under the circumstances of the case,
there was no sufficient probable cause
for the arresting officers to believe that
the accused were then and there
committing a crime. The act per se of
handing over the baggage, assuming the
prosecutions version to be true, cannot
be in any way considered a criminal act.
Moreover, one cannot determine from
the external appearance of the luggage
that they contained shabu hidden
beneath some secret panel or false

15

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
bottom. The only reason why such act of
parting with luggage took on the color
and dimensions of a felonious deed, at
least as far as the lawmen were
concerned, was the alleged tip that the
NBI agents purportedly received to the
effect that Cuizon would be arriving that
day with a shipment of shabu. All they
heard was hearsay information, and
about a crime that had yet to be
committed. Furthermore, according to
the testimonies of the NBI agents, not
only did they rely merely on hearsay
information, but they were completely
uncertain that anything was really going
down that day. Therefore, under the
circumstances obtaining, the prosecution
failed to establish that there was
sufficient and reasonable ground for the
NBI agent to believe that the accused
had committed a crime at the point
when the search and arrest of Pua and
Lee were made; hence, the said search
and arrest should be deemed illegal. The
search on Cuizons residence without the
benefit of a search warrant was also
clearly illegal and the shabu seized
thereat cannot but be considered
inadmissible in evidence. Since Cuizon
had timely raised before the Supreme
Court the issue of illegality of his own
arrest and the search and seizure
conducted
at
his
residence,
and
questioned the admission of the seized
shabu in evidence; and since all the
evidence seized against him are
considered fruit of the poisonous tree,
they are inadmissible against him, and
thus, he is acquitted.

Issue: Assuming the searches and arrests


were illegal, whether the failure by Pua
and Lee to explicitly assign the same as
errors before the Court amounted to a
waiver of their constitutional rights
against such illegal searches and arrests.
Ruling:
YES. While the search and
arrest carried out on Pua and Lee may
have been illegal for not being incident
to a lawful warrantless arrest, the
unfortunate fact is that Pua had failed to
challenge the validity of their arrest and
search, as well as the admissibility of the
evidence obtained thereby; he did not
raise the issue or assign the same as an
error
before
the
Supreme
Court.
Accordingly, any possible challenge
thereto based on constitutional grounds
is deemed waived. Additionally, the
handwritten consent to the search of
their baggage was written in English, and
states plainly that Pua and Lee freely
consent to the search of their luggage to
be conducted the NBI agents to
determine if they are carrying shabu. Pua
understands both Filipino and English,
and his barefaced claim that he did not
really read the consent before he signed
the same and only meant for the NBI
officers to enter the room is hardly
worthy of belief, considering that prior to
the search, he seemed to have been
extra careful about who to let into the
hotel room. The full weight of the
prosecutions testimonial evidence plus
the large amount of prohibited drugs
found, must be given full force vis--vis
his claim of innocent presence in the

16

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
hotel room, which is weak and not
worthy of credence.

Lees situation, on the other hand, is


different from Puas. The former was
denied his right to counsel, for although
he was provided one, he could not
understand and communicate with him
concerning his defense; further, he was
denied his right to have compulsory
process to guarantee the availability of
witnesses
and
the
production
of
evidence on his behalf, including the
services of a qualified and competent
interpreter to enable him to present his
testimony. He was denied due process.
For this reason, the case against Lee
must be remanded to the court of origin
for re-trial.
Well entrenched in this country is the
rule that no arrest, search and seizure
can be made without a valid warrant
issued by competent judicial authority.
So sacred is this right that no less than
the fundamental law of the land ordains
it. However, the right against warrantless
arrest and search and seizure is not
absolute. Section 5 of Rule 113 of the
Rules
of
Court
enumerates
the
circumstances when a peace officer or a
private person may lawfully make an
arrest without a warrant. On occasion of
any of those circumstances of legitimate
arrest without warrant, the person
arrested may be subjected to a search of
his body and of his personal effects or
belongings, for dangerous weapons or
anything which may be used as proof of
the commission of an offense, likewise
without need of a search warrant.

Where a person is searched without a


warrant, and under circumstances other
than those justifying a warrantless
arrest, upon a mere suspicion that he
has embarked on some criminal activity,
and/or for the purpose of discovering if
indeed a crime has been committed by
him, then the search made of such
person as well as his arrest are deemed
illegal. Consequently, any evidence
which may have been obtained during
such search, even if tending to confirm
or actually confirming such initial
suspicion, is absolutely inadmissible for
any purpose and in any proceeding, the
same being the fruit of the poisonous
tree. Emphasis is to be laid on the fact
that the law requires that the search be
incident to a lawful arrest, in order that
the search itself may likewise be
considered legal. Therefore, it is beyond
cavil that a lawful arrest must precede
the search of a person and his
belongings. Were a search is first
undertaken, then an arrest effected
based on evidence produced by the
search, both such search and arrest
would be unlawful, for being contrary to
law.
In arrests without a warrant, it is not
enough that there is reasonable ground
to believe that the person to be arrested
has committed a crime. A crime must in
fact or actually have been committed
first. That a crime has actually been
committed is an essential precondition. It
is not enough to suspect that a crime
may have been committed. The fact of
the commission of the offense must be

17

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
undisputed. The test of reasonable
ground applies only to the identity of the
perpetrator.

Obiter: Murphys lawwhatever could go


wrong, goes wrong, and at the worst
possible time
VALMONTE V. DE VILLA (GR NO.
83988, 29 SEPTEMBER 1989)
Facts: Ricardo Valmonte and the Union of
Lawyers and Advocates for Peoples
Rights seek to have the checkpoints in
Valenzuela, Metro Manila, or elsewhere,
declared as unconstitutional and for the
dismantling and banning of the same, or,
in the alternative, to direct the National
Capital Region District Command to
formulate
guidelines
in
the
implementation of checkpoints, for the
protection of the people.
Petitioners claim that the checkpoints
give the NCRDC a blanket authority to
make searches and/or seizures without
search warrant or court order in violation
of the Constitution, and the installation
of the said checkpoints make the
residents of Valenzuela worried of being
harassed and of their safety being placed
at
the
arbitrary,
capricious,
and
whimsical disposition of the military
manning the checkpoints.
Issue: W/N the checkpoints should be
declared unconstitutional.
Ruling:
NO. Petitioners concern for
their safety and apprehension at being
harassed by military manning the

checkpoints are not sufficient grounds to


declare the checkpoints as per se illegal.
No proof has been presented before the
Court to show that, in the course of their
routine checks, the military indeed
committed
specific
violations
of
petitioners right against unlawful search
and seizure or other rights. Valmontes
general allegation to the effect that he
had been stopped and searched without
a search warrant by the military manning
the checkpoints, without more, is not
sufficient to enable the Court to
determine whether there was a violation
of Valmontes right against unlawful
search and seizure. The setting up of the
question checkpoints in Valenzuela (and
probably in other areas) may be
considered as a security measure to
enable the NCRDC to pursue its mission
of
establishing
effective
territorial
defense and maintaining peace and
order for the benefit of the public.
Checkpoints may also be regarded as
measures to thwart plots to destabilize
the Government, in the interest of public
security. Between the inherent right of
the State to protect its existence and
promote
public
welfare
and
an
individuals right against a warrantless
search which is however reasonably
conducted, the former should prevail.
True, the manning of checkpoints by the
military is susceptible of abuse by the
men in uniform, in the same manner that
all governmental power is susceptible of
abuse. But, at the cost of occasional
inconvenience, discomfort and even
irritation to the citizen, the checkpoints

18

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
during these abnormal times, when
conducted within reasonable limits, are
part of the price we pay for an orderly
society and a peaceful community.
Petition dismissed.
The
constitutional
right
against
unreasonable searches and seizures is a
personal right invocable only by those
whose rights have been infringed, or
threatened to be infringed. What
constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable
search and seizure in any particular case
is
purely
a
judicial
question,
determinable from a consideration of the
circumstances involved.
Not all searches and seizures are
forbidden. A reasonable search is not to
be determined by any fixed formula but
is to be resolved according to the facts of
each case.
Justice Cruz dissent:
The bland declaration that individual
rights must yield to the demands of
national security ignores the fact that
the Bill of Rights was intended precisely
to limit the authority of the State even if
asserted on the ground of national
security.
Unless we are vigilant of our rights, we
may find ourselves back to the dark era
of the truncheon and the barbed wire,
with the Court itself a captive of its own
complaisance
and
sitting
at
the
deathbed of liberty.
Justice Sarmientos dissent:

The absence alone of a search warrant


makes
checkpoint
searches
unreasonable, and by itself, subject to
constitutional challenges. As it is,
checkpoints
have
become
search
warrants unto themselves, a roving one
at that.
PEOPLE V.
BOLANOS
101808, 3 JULY 1992)

(GR

NO.

Facts: Ramon Bolanos was tried for the


murder of Oscar Pagdalian. He was
convicted by the lower court based on
the testimonies of the apprehending
policemen, who stated that when they
boarded Bolanos and his companion,
Claudio Magtibay, on the police vehicle,
Bolanos allegedly admitted that he killed
Pagdalian because he was abusive. The
penalty of reclusion perpetua was
imposed upon him.
A manifestation was filed by the Solicitor
Generals Office, with the position that
the lower court erred in admitting as
evidence the extrajudicial confession of
Bolanos while on board the police patrol
jeep, for it was done in violation of
Bolanos constitutional right to be
informed, to remain silent, and to have a
counsel of his choice, while under police
custody.
Issue: W/N
admissible.

Bolanos

confession

is

Ruling:
NO. Being already under
custodial investigation while on board
the police patrol jeep on the way to the
Police Station where formal investigation

19

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
may have been conducted, Bolanos
should have been informed of his
constitutional rights under Article III,
Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution.
Considering the clear requirements of
the Constitution with respect to the
manner by which confession can be
admissible in evidence, and the glaring
fact that the alleged confession obtained
while on board the police vehicle was the
only reason for the conviction, besides
Bolanos conviction was not proved
beyond reasonable doubt, the Supreme
Court has no recourse but to reverse the
subject judgment under review.
Bolanos is acquitted.
PEOPLE V. BASAY (GR NO. 86941, 3
MARCH 1993)
Facts: The spouses Zosimo and Beatrice
Toting, together with one of their
daughters, Bombie, were hacked inside
their home. In order to conceal the
crime, the perpetrators also burned the
said house. Because of the fire, the
spouses other daughter, Manolita, was
burned to death, while one of their sons,
Manolo, suffered second and third
degree burns. Bombie survived the
hacking and the burning and was found
alive around forty meters away from the
dead bodies of her family members
almost two days after the crime was
committed. Upon being found, Bombie
allegedly related to the authorities that
Jaime Ramirez and Teodoro Basay killed
their parents and burned their house.
She died a day later while confined in the
hospital.

After Bombie told the authorities who the


perpetrators were, they went to Jaimes
house, and Jaime, upon seeing the
police, tried to run. He was then turned
over to the Pamplona police station and
brought to the chamber of Judge Teopisto
Calumpang, accompanied by Elpedio
Catacutan, a barrister and a COMELEC
registrar of the place, who acted as
Jaimes counsel. An affidavit, referred to
as Jaimes extrajudicial confession, was
produced before the Judge, previously
typed by a police investigating officer.
The Judge then made the court
interpreter translate the allegations of
the sworn statement into the local
dialect for Jaime, who did not understand
English. Afterwards, Jaime and Catacutan
signed the document in the presence of
the Judge. After Teodoro was also
apprehended by the police, he and Jaime
allegedly executed a Joint Waiver
wherein it was stated that for their safety
and security, they voluntarily decided to
be detained and that they killed the
spouses and thereafter burned the
spouses house which resulted in the
death of one and hospitalization of two
Toting children.
During the trial, Jaime testified that he
did not read the document that he
signed before Judge Calumpang because
he did not know how to read. He also did
not understand when it was read to him
because it was in English. He also stated
that Catacutan was not his lawyer and
that he did not know him, but only saw
him for the first time in the Pamplona

20

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Municipal Hall while the latter was going
upstairs.

Bombie Toting, and his presumed guilt


because of his alleged flight.

The trial court disregarded the joint


waiver insofar as it tended to incriminate
the accused and because when they
signed the same, they were not
represented by counsel, in violation of
their rights as provided in Section 12,
Article III of the 1987 Constitution. There
being no other evidence against Teodoro,
the court acquitted him. However, it
admitted
in
evidence
Jaimes
extrajudicial confession, considered as
part of the res gestae the statement
given by Bombie identifying Jaime and
Teodoro as the perpetrators of the crime,
and considered as flightwhich is
indicative of guiltJaimes running away
when he saw the law enforcers. It further
ruled that Jaime signed the extrajudicial
confession voluntarily and in the
presence of counsel so it is therefore
admissible against him.

Ruling:
YES. The confession, which
is
indisputably
an
uncounselled
confession or admission, is inadmissible
as evidence.

Jaime neither filed a notice of appeal, nor


orally manifested his intention to appeal.
However, the lower court transmitted the
records of the case to the Supreme Court
because in view of the penalty imposed
life imprisonmentthe lower court
raticionated that such decision is subject
for automatic review by the Supreme
Court. Although erroneous, the Supreme
Court nonetheless accepted the appeal
in the interest of justice.
Issue: W/N the trial court erred in finding
Jaime guilty on the basis of the alleged
extrajudicial confession, the statement of

A close scrutiny of the questioned


extrajudicial
confession
reveals
all
possible violations of Jaimes right to
remain silent, to counsel, and to be
informed of such rights, and of the
safeguards prescribed by the Supreme
Court for the holding of custodial
investigations. These violations are:
(a) The interrogation was conducted and
the confession was written in English, a
language that Jaime, a farmer in a
remote barangay of Pamplona, cannot
speak and does not understand; he only
finished Grade II. There is no evidence to
show that the interrogator, who was not
even presented as a witness and remains
unidentified, translated the questions
and the answers into a dialect known
and fairly understood by Jaime.
(b) Jaime was not told that he could
retain a counsel of choice and that if he
cannot afford to do so, he could be
provided with one.
(c) He did not sign any waiver of his right
to remain silent and to counsel.
(d) He was not assisted by any counsel
during the investigation. Instead, a
certain Elpedio Catacutan, who claimed
to have appeared for him as a friend-

21

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
counsel, was present only at the time
that Jaime was brought to the office of
Judge Catacutan for the preparation of
the jurat.

signature
thereto,
Catacutan
categorically declared that it was the
interpreter, one Pedro Rodriguez, who
translated it to Jaime.

(e) Assuming that Catacutan may have


been summoned to act as Jaimes
counsel, he was, nevertheless, not
present
during
the
custodial
interrogation which, by the way, was
conducted a week before he was made
to appear before Judge Calumpang.
Catacutans presence before the Judge
did not change the situation. As the
Supreme Court stated in People v.
Burgos, the securing of the counsel to
help the accused when the latter
subscribed under oath to his statement
at the Fiscals Office was too late and
had no palliative effect; it did not cure
the absence of counsel at the time of the
custodial
investigation
when
the
extrajudicial statement was being taken.

(h) Finally, the kind of advice proffered


by the unidentified interrogator belongs
to that stereotyped classa long
question by the investigator informing
Jaime of his right followed by a
monosyllabic
answerwhich
the
Supreme Court has condemned for being
unsatisfactory. The investigator gave his
advice perfunctorily or in a pro-forma
manner, obviously to pay mere lip
service to the prescribed norms. This
stereotyped advice has assumed the
nature of a legal form or model. Its
tired, punctilious, fixed and artificially
stately style does not create an
impression of voluntariness or even
understanding on the part of the
accused. The showing of a spontaneous,
free, and unconstrained giving up of a
right is missing.

(f) Furthermore, Catacutan is not a


lawyer; according to the trial court, he is
a barrister. In fact, he candidly admitted
that he is not a lawyer but that he
obtained a law degree from Siliman
University
in
1959.
Unfortunately,
however, he failed in three Bar
Examinations.
(g) There is no showing that the so-called
extrajudicial confession, which is in
English, was correctly explained and
translated to Jaime by Judge Calumpang.
Although the latter claimed in his
testimony on direct examination that he
translated the same in the local dialect
to Jaime before the latter affixed his

As for Bombies alleged statement given


to the authorities identifying Jaime and
Teodoro as the perpetrators of the
heinous crime, it should also not have
been admitted. In the first place, the trial
court itself ruled that Bombie was not a
competent witness. The Supreme Court
agrees with such a conclusion, not
necessarily because she was only 6
years old, but because her condition at
the time she supposedly gave her
statement made it impossible for her to
have communicated effectively. She was
taken from the crime scene two days
after the commission of the crime, and

22

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
died the day after. The doctor who first
attended to her when she arrived at the
hospital was not presented as a witness.
On the other hand, the doctor who
attended to her before she died testified
that when he last saw Bombie alive, she
could not talk. It was this inability to talk
which led the trial court to express its
doubts on the veracity of the childs
statement. Although persons of tender
age are prone to tell the truth, however,
the
Court
must
be
cautious
in
appreciating said testimony where the
person had a serious wound and had not
eaten for one day and one night. There is
no evidence to show that Bombie told
the doctor as to who were the
perpetrators of the crime; neither did she
tell her own brother, Zosimo Jr. that it
was Jaime and Teodoro who killed their
parents and her brother and sister and
burned their house. The Court cannot
understand why the law enforcer who
talked to her did not ask her questions
concerning the commission of the crime
by the accused. Neither did they take her
statement from her on her way to the
hospital or at the hospital. Had her
statement been made to the doctor or to
the barangay captain or to any reputable
member of the community where the
incident happened, the Court will have
put weight and consider her statement
as a dying declaration. Persons in
authority are prone to fabricate or
misrepresent the facts to serve their own
purpose. The Court therefore has to be
cautious when these peace officers
testify in Court. In the second place, as a
result of the foregoing, the trial court

completely disregarded Bombies socalled statement as against Teodoro. The


Supreme Court sees neither rhyme nor
reason for the trial courts admission of
the same as against Jaime.
Finally, while it may be true that Jaime
ran away when he first saw the armed
law officers, he did so merely out of fear
of them. This act should not be
considered as the flight which is
indicative of guilt. Jaime had not left his
house or barangay since the day the
crime was committed. If he were indeed
one of the perpetrators and had the
intention to flee in order to avoid arrest,
he should have vanished sooner and
should not have remained in his house.
Besides, if his running away could be
construed as flight, it could only be
considered as circumstantial evidence.
Such evidence would still be insufficient
for a conviction.
Hence, Jaimes guilt was not established
with moral certainty. He should be
acquitted.
Miranda v. Arizona emphasized that
statements made during the period of
custodial interrogation to be admissible
require a clear intelligent waiver of
constitutional rights, the suspect being
warned prior to the questioning that he
has a right to remain silent, that any
utterance may be used against him, and
that he has the right to the presence of a
counsel, either retained or appointed.
The
prosecution
may
not
use
statements, whether exculpatory or

23

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
inculpatory, stemming from custodial
interrogation of the defendant unless it
demonstrates the use of procedural
safeguards effective to secure the
privilege against self-incrimination. By
custodial
investigation,
we
mean
questioning initiated by law enforcement
officers after a person has been taken
into custody or otherwise deprived of his
freedom of action in any significant way.
As for the procedural safeguards to be
employed, unless other fully effective
means are devised to inform accused of
their right to silence and to assure a
continuous opportunity to exercise it, the
following measures are required. Prior to
any questioning, the person must be
warned that he has a right to remain
silent, that any statement he does make
may be used as evidence against him,
and that he has a right to the presence
of an attorney, either retained or
appointed. The defendant may waive
effectuation of those rights, provided the
waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly,
and
intelligently.
If,
however,
he
indicates in any manner and at any
stage of the process that he wishes to
consult
with
an
attorney
before
speaking, there can be no questioning.
Likewise, if the individual is alone and
indicates in any manner that he does not
wish to be interrogated, the police may
not question him. The mere fact that he
may have answered some questions or
volunteered some statements on his own
does not deprive him of the right to
refrain from answering any further
inquiries until he has consulted with an

attorney and thereafter consents to be


questioned.
Morales
v.
Enrile
prescribes
the
procedure to be followed by peace
officers when making an arrest and when
a custodial investigation, thus: At the
time a person is arrested, it shall be the
duty of the arresting officer to inform him
of the reason for the arrest and he must
be shown the warrant of arrest, if any. He
shall be informed of his constitutional
rights to remain silent and to counsel,
and that any statement he might make
could be used against him. The person
arrested shall have the right to
communicate with his lawyer, a relative,
or anyone he chooses by the most
expedient
meansby
telephone
if
possibleor by letter or messenger. It
shall be the responsibility of the arresting
officer to see to it that this is
accomplished. No custodial investigation
shall be conducted unless it be in the
presence of counsel engaged by the
person arrested, by any person on his
behalf, or appointed by the court upon
petition either of the detainee himself or
by anyone on his behalf. The right to
counsel may be waived but the waiver
shall not be valid unless made with the
assistance of counsel. Any statement
obtained in violation of the procedure
herein laid down, whether exculpatory or
inculpatory, in whole or in part, shall be
inadmissible in evidence.
In People v. Nicandro, the Supreme Court
declared that ones right to be informed
of the right to remain silent and to
counsel contemplates the transmission

24

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
of meaningful information rather than
just the ceremonial and perfunctory
recitation of an abstract constitutional
principle. Thus, it is not enough for the
interrogator to merely repeat to the
person under investigation the provisions
of Section 12, Article III of the 1987
Constitution; the former must also
explain the effects of such provision in
practical terms and in a language the
subject fairly understands. The right to
be informed carries with it a correlative
obligation on the part of the police
investigator
to
explain,
and
contemplates effective communication
which
results
in
the
subjects
understanding of what is conveyed.
Since it is comprehension that is sought
to be attained, the degree of explanation
required will necessarily vary and
depend on the education, intelligence,
and
other
relevant
personal
circumstances of the person undergoing
investigation. In further ensuring the
right to counsel, it is not enough that the
subject is informed of such right; he
should also be asked if he wants to avail
of the same and should be told that he
could ask for counsel if he so desired or
that one could be provided him at his
request. If he decides not to retain
counsel of his choice or avail of one to be
provided for him and, therefore, chooses
to waive his right to counsel, such
waiver, to be valid and effective, must
still be made with the assistance of
counsel. That counsel must be a lawyer.
Moreover, the adjectives competent and
independent, which qualify the kind of
counsel an accused is entitled to during

investigation, are meant to stress the


primacy of this right to counsel.
JAVIER V. COMELEC (GR NOS. L68379-81, 22 SEPTEMBER 1986)
Facts: Evelio Javier and Arturo Pacificador
were candidates in Antique for the
Batasang Pambansa in the May 1984
elections. Javier appeared to enjoy more
popular support but the latter had the
advantage of being the nominee of the
KBL with all its perquisites of power. On
the eve of the elections, some of Javiers
followers were ambushed and killed,
allegedly by Pacificadors men.
Javier, after the elections, went to the
COMELEC to question the canvass of the
election returns. He charged that the
elections were marred by massive
terrorism, intimidation, duress, votebuying, fraud, tampering and falsification
of election returns under duress, threat
and intimidation, snatching of ballot
boxes perpetrated by the armed men of
Pacificador. The Second Division of the
COMELEC, of which one of Pacificadors
former law partners was a Member,
directed
the
provincial
board
of
canvassers of Antique to proceed with
the canvass but to suspend the
proclamation of the winning candidate
until further orders. Subsequently, the
same Second Division ordered the board
to immediately convene and to proclaim
the winner without prejudice to the
outcome of the case before the
Commission. On certiorari before the
Supreme Court, the proclamation by the
canvassers was set aside as premature,

25

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
having been made before the lapse of
the five-day period of appeal, which
Javier had seasonably made. The Second
Division finally promulgated the decision
dismissing the complaints of Javier and
proclaiming Pacificador as the elected
assemblyman of Antique.
Javier then appealed to the Supreme
Court, with a prayer to annul the
decision proclaiming Pacificador as the
winner. In 1986, while the case was
pending, Javier was gunned down in
broad daylight. The EDSA Revolution
subsequently toppled the Marcos regime,
which brought about the abolition of the
Batasang Pambansa.
Issue: W/N Javiers petition should be
dismissed for being moot and academic
in the light of supervening events.
Ruling:
NO. Several lives have been
lost in connection with this case,
including that of petitioner Javiers
himself. Pacificador is now in hiding. The
purity of suffrage has been defiled and
the popular will scorned through a
confabulation of those in authority. The
Supreme Court cannot keep silent in the
face of these terrible facts. Were it not
for the supervening events that have
legally rendered it moot and academic,
this petition would have been granted
and the contested decision of the
COMELEC set aside as being violative of
the Constitution.
Issue: How
process?

was

Javier

denied

due

Ruling:
Commissioner Opinion, one
of the Second Division Commissioners,
ignored due process of law when he did
not inhibit himself from the proceedings
on the ground that he was formerly
Pacificadors law partner. For refusing to
do so, he divested the Second Division of
the necessary vote for the questioned
decision, assuming it could act, and
rendered the proceeding null and void.
Due process of law is intended to insure
confidence in the courts by requiring
compliance with what Justice Frankfurter
calls the rudiments of fair play. Fair play
calls for equal justice. There cannot be
equal justice where a suitor approaches
a court already committed to the other
party and with a judgment already made
and waiting only to be formalized after
the litigants shall have undergone the
charade of a formal hearing. Judicial (and
also extrajudicial) proceedings are not
orchestrated plays in which the parties
are supposed to make the motions and
reach the denouement according to a
prepared script. There is no writer to
foreordain the ending. The judge will
reach his conclusions only after all the
evidence is in and all the arguments are
filed, on the basis of the established
facts and the pertinent law.
The relationship of the judge with one of
the parties may color the facts and
distort the law to the prejudice of a just
decision. Where this is probable or even
only possible, due process demands that
the judge inhibit himself, if only out of a
sense of delicadeza.

26

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
PEOPLE V. RAMOS (GR NO. L-59318,
16 MAY 1983)

Facts: Malcon Olevere was stopped and


frisked by police officers when they saw
him acting suspiciously during one
evening, and found in his possession
dried marijuana leaves. Olevere was
then placed under arrest. During
investigation, Olevere declared that he
bought the recovered marijuana leaves
from Rogelio Ramos, alias Balanchoy.
The following day, a police team was
accompanied
by
Olevere
to
the
residence of Ramos, and Ramos was
arrested and immediately brought to the
Drugs Enforcement Section Western
Police Department Headquarters for
investigation.
During
the
custodial
investigation,
Olevere executed a written sworn
statement implicating Ramos as the
source of the marijuana leaves. Ramos,
after having been duly apprised of his
constitutional rights, verbally admitted
before the police officers the commission
of the offense charged. He likewise
admitted that he sold the marijuana
leaves to Olevere for P10.00. He pleaded
not
guilty
upon
arraignment.
Documentary evidence, as well as the
policemen who took down Oleveres
sworn statement and arrested Ramos,
and a forensic chemist who affirmed that
the leaves confiscated from Olevere are
positive for marijuana were presented.
Olevere was not.
After the trial, the Court of First Instance
of Manila found Ramos guilty beyond

reasonable doubt of the crime charged in


view of the verbal admission Ramos
himself gave and the evidence offered
and admitted in court. The case was
raised to the Supreme Court on
automatic review.
Issue: W/N the confession of Ramos to
the police officers of the commission of
the offense charged is admissible as
evidence against him.
Ruling: NO. Ramos only finished Grade
VI, which means that he is not
adequately educated to understand fairly
and fully the significance of his
constitutional rights to silence and to
counsel. As mandated, it is not enough
that the police investigator merely
informs him of his constitutional rights to
silence and to counsel, and then taking
his statements down, the interrogating
officer must have patience in explaining
these rights to him. The records do not
reveal that these requirements have
been fully complied with, nor was there
any showing that Ramos has been
represented by counsel during custodial
investigation. In consonance with Section
20 of the Bill of Rights which states that
any confession obtained in violation of
this section shall be inadmissible in
evidence, the Supreme Court holds that
Ramos
verbal
admissions
during
custodial investigation may not be taken
in evidence against him.
Issue: W/N the constitutional right of
Ramos to meet the witness against him
face to face and to cross-examine him

27

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
has been
violated
by the
presentation of Olevere in court.

non-

Ruling:
YES. The lower court erred
in admitting as evidence the written
sworn affidavit of Olevere, who executed
the written sworn statement declaring
that Ramos sold to him the marijuana
leaves for P10.00. This piece of evidence
is a mere scrap of paper because
Olevere was not produced in court for
cross-examination. An affidavit being
taken ex-parte is often incomplete and
inaccurate. Such kind of evidence is
considered hearsay. For the court to
admit the sworn statement of Olevere
without giving the adverse party the
right to cross-examine him would easily
facilitate the fabrication of evidence and
the
perpetration
of
fraud.
The
inadmissibility of this sort of evidence is
based, not only on the lack of
opportunity on the part of the adverse
party to cross-examine the affiant, but
also on the commonly known fact that,
generally, an affidavit is not prepared by
the affiant himself but by another who
uses his own language in writing the
affiants statements which may either be
omitted or misunderstood by the one
writing them.
Since Olevere was not presented as a
witness, the testimonies offered by the
witnesses for the prosecution are
regarded as hearsay, insofar as they
impute to Ramos the commission of the
offense charged.

Ramos acquitted, his guilt not having


been established beyond reasonable
doubt.
Testimony in open court in actual trial
cannot be equated with any out-of-court
declaration, even when the witness has
in fact been confronted already by the
defendant. The direct relevance of the
trial to the ultimate judgment as to the
guilt or innocence of the accused is not
present in any other proceeding and is
thus a factor that can influence
materially the conduct and demeanor of
the witness as well as the respective
efforts of the counsels of the parties.
A witness may not testify as to what he
merely learned from others, either
because he was told or having read or
heard the same. Such testimony is
considered hearsay and may not be
received as proof of the truth of what he
has learned.
CHAVEZ V. CA (GR NO. L-29169, 19
AUGUST 1968)
Facts: Roger Chavez, along with eight
others, were accused of stealing a
Thunderbird car. Upon arraignment, all of
the accused except those three who
have
not
been
identified
nor
apprehended, pleaded not guilty. The
trial
began
with
the
prosecution
spontaneously calling Roger Chavez to
the witness stand as an ordinary witness,
without previously informing Chavez
counsel, Atty. Carbon. Atty. Carbon
vehemently objected, to no avail. The
Judge called Chavez to the witness

28

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
stand, stating that it is the right of the
prosecution to ask anybody to act as
witness on the witness stand including
the accused, and that the defense
counsel could not object to have the
accused called on the witness stand.
There, Chavez was subjected to direct
examination.

After Chavez examination, the court


gathered enough information to free all
the accused except him, who was found
to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of qualified theft. Chavez
appealed to the Court of Appeals. The CA
dismissed the appeal on procedural
grounds. Chavez appealed to the
Supreme Court.
Issue: W/N Chavez right against selfincrimination was violated when he was
compelled to testify against himself in
open court.
Ruling:
YES. Chavez was forced to
testify to incriminate himself, in full
breach of his constitutional right to
remain silent. When the Judge of the trial
court emphatically stated that Chavez
counsel cannot object to Chavez being
called to the witness stand, Chavez had
to take the stand. He was thus
peremptorily asked to create evidence
against himself. The Judges statement
that Chavez counsel could not object to
have the latter called on the witness
stand wielded authority. By those words,
Chavez was enveloped by a coercive
force; they deprived him of his will to
resist; they foreclosed choice; the
realities of human nature tell us that as

he took his oath to tell the truth, the


whole truth and nothing but the truth, no
genuine consent underlay submission to
take the witness stand. Constitutionally
sound consent was absent. The decision
convicting him was clearly of the view
that the case for the People was built
primarily around the admissions of
Chavez himself. The trial court described
Chavez as the star witness for the
prosecution.
Issue: W/N Chavez waived his right
against
self-incrimination
when
he
answered the questions and did not
invoke the said right upon taking the
witness stand.
Ruling:
NO. It cannot be said that
he has waived his right. He did not
volunteer to take the stand and in his
own defense; he did not offer himself as
a witness; on the contrary, he claimed
the right upon being called to testify. If
he answered the questions in spite of his
fear of being accused of perjury or being
put under contempt, this circumstance
cannot be counted against him. His
testimony is not of his own choice. To
him it was a case of compelled
submission. He was a cowed participant
in proceedings before a judge who
possessed the power to put him under
contempt had he chosen to remain
silent. Nor could he escape testifying.
The court made it abundantly clear that
his testimony at least on direct
examination would be taken right then
and there on the first day of the trial. It
matters not, after all efforts to stave off
his taking the stand became fruitless, no

29

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
objections to questions propounded to
him were made. Here involved is not a
mere question of self-incrimination. It is a
defendants constitutional immunity from
being called to testify against himself.
And the objection made at the beginning
is a continuing one. There is therefore no
waiver of the privilege, because a
waiver, to be effective, must be certain
and
unequivocal,
and intelligently,
understandably, and willingly made;
such waiver following only where liberty
of choice has been fully accorded. The
defense of waiver, therefore, cannot
stand. If, by his own admission, the
defendant proved his guilt, still, his
original claim remains valid. For the
privilege against self-incrimination is a
rampart that gives protectioneven to
the guilty.
Chavez
ordered
discharged
from
custody, unless he is held, kept in
custody, or detained for any cause or
reason other than the said judgment.
It has been said that forcing a man to be
a witness against himself is at war with
the fundamentals of a republican
government; that it may suit the
purposes of despotic power but it cannot
abide the pure atmosphere of political
liberty and personal freedom.
The maxim nemo tenetur seipsum
accusare had its origin in a protest
against the inquisitorial and manifestly
unjust methods of interrogating accused
persons, which had long obtained in the
continental system, and, until the
expulsion of the Stuarts from the British

throne in 1688, and the erection of


additional barriers for the protection of
the people against the exercise of
arbitrary power, was not uncommon
even in England. While the admissions of
confessions of the prisoner, when
voluntarily and freely made, have always
ranked high in the scale of incriminating
evidence, if an accused person be asked
to explain his apparent connection with a
crime under investigation, the ease with
which the questions put to him may
assume an inquisitorial character, the
temptation to press the witness unduly,
to browbeat him if he be timid or
reluctant, to push him into a corner, and
to entrap him into fatal contradictions,
which is so painfully evident in many of
the earlier state trials, notably in those of
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, and Udal, the
Puritan minister, made the system so
odious as to give rise to a demand for its
total abolition. The change in the English
criminal procedure in that particular
seems to be founded upon no statute
and no judicial opinion, but upon a
general and silent acquiescence of the
courts in a popular demand. But,
however adopted, it has become firmly
embedded in English, as well as in
American jurisprudence. So deeply did
the iniquities of the ancient system
impress themselves upon the minds of
the American colonists that the states,
with one accord, made a denial of the
right to question an accused person a
part of their fundamental law, so that a
maxim which in England was a mere rule
of evidence, became clothed in this

30

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
country with the impregnability of a
constitutional enactment.

The right against self-incrimination is not


merely a formal technical rule the
enforcement of which is left to the
discretion of the court; it is mandatory; it
secures to a defendant a valuable and
substantive right; it is fundamental to
our scheme of justice. It is in this context
that the Supreme Court states that the
constitutional guarantee may not be
treated with unconcern.
US v. Navarro reaffirms the rule that the
constitutional
proscription
of
selfincrimination was established on broad
grounds of public policy and humanity; of
policy because it would place the witness
against the strongest temptation to
commit perjury, and of humanity
because it would be to extort a
confession of truth by a kind of duress
every species and degree of which the
law abhors.
The court may not extract from a
defendants own lips and against his will
an admission of his guilt. Nor may a
court as much as resort to compulsory
disclosure, directly or indirectly, of facts
usable against him as a confession of the
crime or the tendency of which is to
prove the commission of a crime.
Because, it is his right to forego
testimony, to remain silent, unless he
chooses to take the witness standwith
undiluted, unfettered exercise of his own
free, genuine will. Compulsion as it is
understood here does not necessarily
connote the use of violence; it may be

the product of unintentional statements.


Pressure which operates to overbear his
will, disable him from making a free and
rational choice, or impair his capacity for
rational judgment would in the Supreme
Courts opinion be sufficient. So is moral
coercion tending to force testimony
from the unwilling lips of the defendant.
An accused occupies a different tier of
protection from an ordinary witness.
Whereas an ordinary witness may be
compelled to take the witness stand and
claim the privilege as each question
requiring an incriminating answer is shot
at him, the accused may altogether
refuse to take the witness stand and
refuse to answer any and all questions.
In reality, the purpose of calling an
accused as a witness for the People
would be to incriminate him. The rule
positively intends to avoid and prohibit
the certainly inhuman procedure of
compelling a person to furnish the
missing evidence necessary for his
conviction. This rule may apply even to a
co-defendant in a joint trial. The guide in
the interpretation of the constitutional
precept that the accused shall not be
compelled to furnish evidence against
himself is not the probability of the
evidence but it is the capability of abuse.
While a defendants knowledge of the
facts remains concealed in his bosom, he
is safe; but draw it from thence, and he
is exposedto conviction.
Habeas corpus is a high prerogative writ.
It
is
traditionally
considered
an
exceptional remedy to release a person

31

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
whose liberty is illegally restrained such
as when the accuseds constitutional
rights are disregarded. Such defect
results in the absence or loss of
jurisdiction and therefore invalidates the
trial and the consequent conviction of
the accused whose fundamental right
was violated. That void judgment of
conviction may be challenged by
collateral attack, which precisely is the
function of habeas corpus. This writ may
issue even if another remedy which is
less effective may be availed of by the
defendant. Thus, failure by the accused
to perfect his appeal before the CA does
not preclude a recourse to the writ. The
writ may be granted upon a judgment
already final.
From Justice Castros dissent:
Dean Griswold: The privilege against selfincrimination is one of the great
landmarks in mans struggle to make
himself civilized We do not make even
the most hardened criminal sign his own
death warrant, or dig his own grave, or
pull the lever that springs the trap on
which he stands. We have through the
course of history developed considerable
feeling of the dignity and intrinsic
importance of the individual man. Even
the evil man is a human being.
The Government must establish guilt by
evidence independently and freely
secured; it cannot by coercion prove a
charge against an accused out of his own
mouth.

Vindication of due process is precisely


the historic office of the Great Writ
(habeas corpus).
Justice Douglas: The challenge to our
liberties comes frequently not from those
who consciously seek to destroy our
system of government, but from men of
goodwillgood men who allow their
proper concerns to blind them to the fact
that what they propose to accomplish
involves an impairment of liberty. The
motives of these men are often
commendable. What we must remember,
however, is that preservation of liberties
does not depend on motives. A
suppression of liberty has the same
effect whether the suppressor be a
reformer or an outlaw. The only
protection against misguided zeal is
constant alertness to infractions of the
guarantees of liberty contained in our
Constitution. Each surrender of liberty to
the demands of the moment makes
easier another, larger surrender. The
battle over the Bill of Rights is a never
ending one. The liberties of any person
are the liberties of all of us. In short, the
liberties of none are safe unless the
liberties of all are protected. But even if
we sense no danger to our own liberties,
even if we feel secure because we
belong to a group that is important and
respected, we must recognize that our
Bill of Rights is a code of fair play for the
less fortunate that we in all honor and
good conscience must observe.
PEOPLE V. ALE (GR NO. 70998, 14
OCTOBER 1986)

32

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Facts: Philippine Constabulary officers
Sgt. Alejandro Binan and Sgt. Teodosio
Rosaroso were informed of the presence
of a drug pusher in the Knights of
Columbus
recreation
center
in
Tagbilaran. Because of said information,
the two officers as well as another Sgt.
Romitera, along with their informant, had
a short briefing wherein they supplied
their informant with two pieces of fivepeso bills marked money to buy the
marijuana from the suspected drug
pusher, Rogelio Ale, who is a pinboy,
billiard keeper, and collector of fees at
the recreation center. Ale and the
informant had a short conversation, with
Binan and Rosaroso watching from a
distance of some ten to fifteen meters.
Ale left the recreation center and
proceeded to a group of houses, and
then reappeared at the recreation center
and handed four sticks of marijuana
cigarettes to the informant. After the
informant gave Ale the marked money,
he made a hand signal, and the PC
officers approached the two persons,
identified themselves, and arrested Ale.
They also confiscated the marked money
from Ale and the marijuana sticks from
their informant.
The trial court found Ale guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of violating the
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as
amended,
after
the
apparently
conflicting testimonies of Binan and
Rosaroso. The confidential informant was
not presented as a witness, and
witnesses for the prosecution gave a
different version of events. Ale was

sentenced to suffer the penalty of


reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of
P20,000.00. Ale appealed
to the
Supreme Court.
Issue: W/N Ales guilt had been proven
beyond reasonable doubt.
Ruling:
NO. The Supreme Court
cannot give full credit to the testimonies
of the prosecution witnesses marked as
they are with contradictions and tainted
with inaccuracies. First of all, the
prosecution evidence in this case leaves
much to be desired. The two agents who
allegedly observed the transaction
between Ale and their informant only
relied on hand signals to find out
whether the sale had already been
consummated. If the sale of prohibited
drugs was actually seen by the officers,
there would have been no need for them
to wait for a hand signal from the poseurbuyer to indicate that the transaction
had been completed, before closing in
and arresting Ale. What transpired
between the alleged buyer and seller,
how the sticks of marijuana changed
hands, and whether or not the four sticks
introduced in court were actually the
sticks supposedly purchased at that time
is unknown. The cigarettes were taken
from the hands of the poseur-buyer and
not from Ale. How they came into his
hands was not seen by the witnesses
who testified in court. Moreover, Binan
testified that they were able to tell that
the four cigarettes were marijuana
cigarettes because according to him, the
rolling of ordinary cigarettes are different
from those of marijuana cigarettes. It is,

33

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
however, incredible to believe that they
could discern the type of rolling done on
those cigarettes from the distance where
they were observing the alleged sale.
Rosaroso also contradicted Binans
testimony with regard to the police
informant.
Their
testimonies
are
conflicting because while Rosaroso
stated that the informant and the
poseur-buyer were different people,
Binan stated that they were actually the
same
person.
Witnesses
for
the
prosecution,
who
had
concurring
testimonies, testified that they were
playing billiards in the recreation center,
and one of them was talking to Ale when
Binan and Rosaroso just suddenly
arrested Ale, dragged him outside the
recreation center, Binan dipped his
hands into the pockets of Ale while
Rosaroso kept him immobilized, and then
the money was marked on top of the
billiards table where the two witnesses
were playing. This contradicts with
Binans statement that the money was
marked beforehand. Ale, on the other
hand, told the court that the reason why
he was arrested was because there was
a time in July 1984 that Rosaroso played
billiards at the recreation center with
some other military men, and got angry
at Ale when the latter asked Rosaroso to
pay for the billiard game. It was then
Rosaroso threatened that he would make
revenge. There must also have been
some degree of familiarity between Ale
and the officers because Ale referred to
them in their nicknames.

All considered, the court holds that Ales


guilt has not been established beyond
reasonable
doubt,
and
must
be
acquitted.
If
the
inculpatory
facts
and
circumstances are capable of two or
more explanations, one of which is
consistent with the innocence of the
accused and the other consistent with
his guilt, then the evidence does not
fulfill the test of moral certainty and is
not sufficient to support a conviction.
The Constitution and the law are clear
that in case of reasonable doubt, the
accused
must
be
acquitted.
Our
jurisprudence is built around the concept
that it is preferable for the guilty to
remain unpunished than for an innocent
person to suffer a long prison term
unjustly.
The presumption that official duty is
regularly performed cannot, by itself,
prevail
against
the
constitutional
presumption of innocence accorded an
accused person.
Judges trying narcotics cases are often
placed in a non-enviable predicament.
The threat posed by drugs against
human dignity and the integrity of
society is malevolent and incessant.
Courts should not hamper, in any way,
the dedicated although sometimes puny
efforts to stem the giant menace. Courts
should not unwittingly tie down the
hands of narcotic agents whose work is
already difficult and dangerous enough
without legal and procedural obstacles to
successful prosecutions. At the same

34

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
time, we cannot close our eyes to the
many reports of evidence being planted
or unwary persons either for extorting
money or exacting personal vengeance.
By the very nature of anti-narcotics
operations, the need for entrapment
procedures, the use of shady characters
as informants, the ease with which sticks
of marijuana or grams of heroin can be
planted in pockets or hands of
unsuspecting provincial hicks, and the
secrecy that inevitably shrouds all drug
deals, the possibility of abuse is great.
Courts must also be extra vigilant in
trying drug charges lest an innocent
person is made to suffer the unusually
severe penalties for drug offenses.
PEOPLE V. AUSTRIA
55109, 8 APRIL 1991)

(GR

NO.

L-

Facts: Tomas Azuela was found stabbed


to death, with his skull fractured, on a
sugarcane field in Negros Occidental. It
was later on learned that he was carrying
the payroll and P771.40 intended as
wages for the laborers of Hacienda
Austria, where he worked as an overseer,
and the payroll and the money were
missing.
In connection with his death, four
suspects were picked up by the police.
One was Pablo Austria, the last person
who was seen with Tomas. The others
were implicated based on the sworn
statement of PabloEduardo, Pablos
son; Jaime de la Torre; and Leopoldo
Abanilla. A complaint of robbery with
homicide was then filed against them. All
of them pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The prosecution witnesses stated that


Tomas was last seen alive with Pablo. A
bloodstained hoe was found in Jaimes
home. Upon examination, the blood from
the crime scene and the blood from the
hoe were found to be from the same
blood
group.
Eduardo
was
only
implicated based on his fathers sworn
statement.
Both Jaime and Pablo claim that they
were manhandled by the police. On
cross-examination,
the
interrogating
officer admitted that he did not apprise
both of their rights to remain silent and
to counsel as he was merely conducting
an informal interview. The trial court
convicted Jaime, Pablo, and Eduardo.
During the pendency of the appeal, Pablo
died of undetermined cause while Jaime
died of hypertension in the New Bilibid
Prisons Hospital.
Issue: W/N Eduardos guilt had been
established beyond reasonable doubt.
Ruling:
NO. Conviction should be
made on the basis of a strong, clear, and
compelling evidence. Of course, this is
not to say that conviction cannot be had
simply
because
the
evidence
is
circumstantial. However, in this case, the
evidence of the prosecution against
Eduardo Austria is merely circumstantial.
They do not prove an unbroken link of
events that could give rise to a
reasonable and fair conclusion that
Eduardo committed the imputed offense.
The only evidence against him is that he
was seen at about 1:oo in the afternoon
of 9 August 1975 along the road to

35

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Hacienda Austria. This evidence, even if
tied up with the testimony of Illuminada
that Eduardo harbored ill-feelings against
Tomas
because
the
former
was
dismissed from the hacienda by the
latter does not establish or support an
inference, much less a conclusion, that
he participated in the commission of the
offense charged. Eduardos conviction on
an inference based on another inference
cannot be maintained. To overcome the
presumption of innocence, proof beyond
reasonable doubt is needed.
Eduardo acquitted on the ground of
reasonable doubt.
To sustain a conviction based on
circumstantial evidence under Section 5,
Rule 133, there must be (a) more than
one circumstance; (b) the facts from
which the inferences are derived are
proven; and (c) the combination of all
the circumstances is such as to produce
a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
The series of circumstances proved must
be consistent with each other and every
circumstance must be consistent with
the guilt of the accused and inconsistent
with his innocence. To warrant a
conviction in criminal cases based upon
circumstantial
evidence,
it
must
constitute an unbroken chain of events
so as to lead to a conviction that the
accused is guilty beyond reasonable
doubt.
If
the
inculpatory
facts
and
circumstances are capable of two or
more explanations, one of which is
consistent with the innocence of the

accused and the other consistent with


his guilt, then the evidence does not
fulfill the tests of moral certainty and is
not sufficient to support a conviction.
Accusation
is
not,
according
to
fundamental law, synonymous with guilt;
the prosecution must overthrow the
presumption of innocence with proof
beyond reasonable doubt. To meet this
standard, there is need for the most
careful scrutiny of the testimony of the
state, both oral and documentary,
independently of whatever defense is
offered by the accused. Only if the judge
below and the appellate tribunal could
arrive at a conclusion that the crime had
been committed precisely by the person
on trial under such an exacting test
should the sentence be one of
conviction. It is thus required that every
circumstance favoring his innocence be
duly taken into account. The proof
against him must survive the test of
reason; the strongest suspicion must not
be permitted to sway judgment.
PEOPLE V. SUGA (GR NO. L-57875,
5 JULY 1983)
Facts: Leonora Deang, a married woman
with seven children, went to Patricia
Sugas house to return a collection of
All-Saints Day songs. After doing so, she
went on her way home but was waylaid
by Ernesto Suga, Patricias brother.
Leonora was then allegedly held by
Ernesto by the neck and was boxed twice
on her chest until she lost consciousness.
When she regained her senses, she

36

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
realized that Ernesto was already raping
her.

Salome Perez, whose house was about


15 meters away from where the rape
was ongoing, was talking with her
neighbors,
Corsino Hernandez
and
Bonifacio Batac. Because of her barking
dog, she went out with a flashlight to see
what was happening outside. When she
noticed movements in her backyard, she
summoned Hernandez and Batac and
they went to the place together. They
saw Ernesto having sexual intercourse
with a woman they could not recognize
because his head was covering her face.
Ernesto then shouted at the three to
leave or else he would kill them. Afraid,
the three went away. Afterwards, Ernesto
left the place as well. Leonora then
proceeded home and reported the
matter
to
her
husband,
who
accompanied her to the barangay and
police authorities. The following day,
Leonora was examined by a doctor and
was found to have an abrasion in the
right upper chest, about the size of a 1peso coin.
During the trial, Ernesto denied having
carnal knowledge of Leonora. He said he
was having sexual intercourse with his
girlfriend, Letty Legaspi, who was about
to leave for Bicol. He was found to be
guilty beyond reasonable doubt and
sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
Issue: W/N Ernesto should be adjudged
guilty beyond reasonable doubt because
of a weak defense.

Ruling:
NO.
Although
Ernestos
defense is weak, still, he cannot be
convicted because the constitutional
presumption of innocence was not
overcome.
In this case, Hernandez and Perez saw
Ernesto having carnal knowledge with a
woman and they made no mention of the
fact that in doing so there was force and
intimidation. Neither did they testify that
the woman under him was fighting back
or was shouting for help. As the flashlight
was focused on Ernesto and the woman,
the latter must have been aware that
there were people around from whom
she could ask for help but which she did
not. Leonora made mention of the fact
that she was given blows to the chest,
but when she was examined by the
doctor, there was only an abrasion on
the right upper chest about the size of a
1-peso coin. Such abrasion would not
have been the effect of fist blows.
Moreover, while it is true that Leonora
reported the matter to her husband and
the authorities on the same night the
incident happened, her possible reason
for doing so was to save face with her
husband because there were witnesses
who saw them doing the sexual
intercourse. If she really was forced into
the act, why did she not run to the house
of Salome Perez after Ernesto had left?
This is not the normal behavior of a
woman who had just been violated if
indeed she had. Well-settled is the rule
that evidence to be believed must not
only proceed from the mouth of a
credible witness, but it must be credible

37

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
in itself such as the common experience
of mankind can approve as probable
under the circumstance.

were the prime suspects in the crime,


having been implicated by at least two
individuals who had already confessed.

Ernesto is therefore acquitted.

The alleged purpose for the killing of


Nogaliza was that so he could not testify
against them in the robbery case, so he
was ambushed and killed while he was
returning from Sapao. Nogaliza was
accosted by Dramayo with a request for
a cigarette, and then Ecubin hit the
victim with a piece of wood on the right
side of his head. Dramayo then stabbed
Nogaliza with a short bolo repeatedly,
and warned the others to keep their
mouths sealed as to what had just
happened. Dramayo was even the one
who reported Nogalizas death to his wife
and the police.

Crimes against chastity by their very


nature usually involve only two persons
the complainant and the offender.
Seldom, if ever, is there an eyewitness to
the commission of the offense. As a
consequence, conviction or acquittal of
the accused depends almost entirely on
the credibility of the complainants
testimony. There is therefore every
reason for courts to examine with the
greatest care the complainants story
and subject it to a thorough scrutiny to
determine its veracity in the light of
human nature and experience.
An accused is presumed innocent
until the contrary is proven and,
consequently, the burden of proof as to
the offense charged lies on the
prosecution. Accordingly, an accused
should be convicted on the strength of
the
evidence
presented
by
the
prosecution and not on the weakness of
his defense.
PEOPLE V. DRAMAYO (GR NO. L21325, 29 OCTOBER 1971)
Facts: Pableo Dramayo and Paterno
Ecubin saw the chief of police of the
Municipality of Sapao, Surigao del Norte,
to become witnesses to a robbery
committed in the house of the deceased
Estelito Nogaliza. The chief of police
refused their offer, because those two

There were seven suspects in the


case, two of whom were used as state
witnesses. Because of the testimony of
the two, Dramayo and Ecubin were found
guilty beyond reasonable doubt, while
the rest were acquitted on the ground of
insufficiency of evidence as to their
culpability. Dramayo and Ecubin appeal
on the ground that since conspiracy was
alleged between the seven of them, the
two cannot be found guilty while the rest
are acquitted.
Issue: W/N Dramayo and Ecubin should
be acquitted.
Ruling:
NO. It cannot be denied that
the credible and competent evidence of
record resulted in moral certainty being
entertained not only by the trial judge
but also by the Supreme Court as to the

38

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
culpability of the two appellants,
Dramayo and Ecubin. The force of the
controlling doctrines on presumption of
innocence, on the other hand, required
that the other three accused be
acquitted precisely because, unlike the
appellants, the requisite quantum of
proof to show guilt beyond reasonable
doubt was not present. There is no
question as to the other two who
testified for the state being likewise no
longer subject to any criminal liability.

The judgment of conviction should


not have occasioned any surprise on the
part of the two appellants, as from the
evidence deserving of the fullest
credence, their guilt had been more than
amply demonstrated. The presumption
of innocence could not come to their
rescue as it was more than sufficiently
overcome by the proof that was offered
by the prosecution.
It is to be admitted that the starting
point is the presumption of innocence.
So it must be, according to the
Constitution. Accusation is not, according
to the fundamental law, synonymous
with guilt. It is incumbent on the
prosecution
to
demonstrate
that
culpability lies. The accuseds freedom is
forfeit only if the requisite quantum of
proof necessary for conviction be in
existence.
There is need for the most careful
scrutiny of the testimony of the state,
both
oral
and
documentary,
independently of whatever defense is
offered by the accused. Only if the judge

below and the appellate tribunal could


arrive at a conclusion that the crime had
been committed precisely by the person
on trial under such an exacting test
should the sentence be of conviction. It
is thus required that circumstance
favoring his innocence be duly taken into
account. The proof against him must
survive the reason; the strongest
suspicion must not be permitted to sway
away judgment. The conscience must be
satisfied that on the accused could be
laid the responsibility for the offense
charged; that not only did he perpetrate
the act but that it amounted to a crime.
What is required then is moral certainty.
By reasonable doubt is meant that
which of possibility may arise, but it is
doubt engendered by an investigation of
the whole proof and an inability, after
such investigation, to let the mind rest
easy upon the certainty of guilt. Absolute
certainty of guilt is not demanded by the
law to convict of any carnal charge but
moral certainty is required, and this
certainty is required as to every
proposition of proof regular to constitute
the offense.
DE LA CAMARA V. ENAGE (GR NOS.
L-32951-2, 17 SEPTEMBER 1971)
Facts: Ricardo de la Camara, the
Municipal Mayor of Magsaysay, Misamis
Oriental, was arrested and detained at
the Provincial Jail of Agusan for his
alleged participation in the killing of
fourteen and the wounding of twelve
other laborers of the Tirador Logging
Company. He, along with his co-accused

39

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Nambinalot Tagunan and Fortunato
Galgo,
was
accused
of
multiple
frustrated murder and multiple murder.
De la Camara filed an application for bail,
premised on the assertion that there was
no evidence to link him with the crime.
The judge, Hon. Manuel Enage, fixed the
amount of his bail at P1,195,200.00
P840,000.00 for the information charging
multiple murder and P355,200.00 for the
offense of multiple frustrated murder.
The Secretary of Justice, upon being
informed of this order, sent a telegram to
the Judge stating that the bond is
excessive and suggesting that a
P40,000.00 bond, either in cash or
property, would be reasonable. However,
the Judge remained adamant.

De la Camara appealed by way of


certiorari to the Supreme Court, assailing
the constitutionality of the amount of the
bail
fixed
as
repugnant
to
the
constitutional
mandate
prohibiting
excessive bail. However, de la Camara
escaped
from
prison
during
the
pendency of the appeal, thus rendering
the case moot and academic.
Issue: Was the amount for bail fixed by
the judge excessive, and should the
amount therefore be reduced?
Ruling:
YES.
No
attempt
at
rationalization can give the color of
validity to the challenged order. The
order fixing the amount of bail at
P840,000.00 for the information charging
multiple murder, there being fourteen
victims, and the sum of P355,200.00 for
the
information
charging
multiple

frustrated murder, there being twelve


victims, is clearly violative of the
constitutional
provision
against
excessive bail. Under the circumstances,
there being only two offenses charged,
the amount required as bail could not
possibly exceed P50,000.00 for the
information for murder and P25,000.00
for the other information for frustrated
murder. Nor should it be ignored that the
Department of Justice did recommend
the total sum of P40,000.00 for the two
offenses.
Issue: Has the case against De la
Camara been rendered moot and
academic by his escape from prison?
Ruling:
YES. De la Camaras escape
cannot be condoned. That is why he is
not entitled to the relief prayed for.
However, in the guidance of lower court
judges, it is deemed advisable for the
Supreme Court to set forth anew the
controlling and authoritative doctrines
that should be observed in fixing the
amount of the bail sought in order that
full respect be accorded to such a
constitutional right. The fact that this
case is moot and academic should not
preclude the Supreme Court from setting
forth
in
language
clear
and
unmistakable, the obligation of fidelity
on the part of lower court judges to the
unequivocal
command
of
the
Constitution that excessive bail shall not
be required.
What should be observed in fixing the
amount of bail?

40

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
1. Before conviction, every person is
bailable except if charged with capital
offenses when the evidence of guilt is
strong. Such a right flows from the
presumption of innocence in favor of
every accused who should not be
subjected to the loss of freedom as
thereafter he would be entitled to
acquittal, unless his guilt be proved
beyond reasonable doubt. Thereby a
regime of liberty is honored in the
observance and not in the breach. It is
not beyond the realm of probability,
however, that a person charged with a
crime, especially so where his defense is
weak, would just simply make himself
scarce and thus frustrate the hearing of
his case. A bail is intended as a
guarantee that such an intent would be
thwarted. It is a mode short of
confinement
which
would,
with
reasonable
certainty,
insure
the
attendance of the accused for the
subsequent trial. Nor is there anything
unreasonable in denying this right to one
charged with a capital offense when
evidence of guilt is strong, as the
likelihood is, rather than await the
outcome of the proceeding against him
with a death sentence, an ever-present
threat, temptation to flee the jurisdiction
would be too great to be resisted.
2. Where, however, the right to bail
exists, it should not be rendered
nugatory by requiring a sum that is
excessive.
So
the
Constitution
commands. It is understandable why. If
there were no such prohibition, the right
to bail becomes meaningless.

3. Guidelines in the fixing of the amount


of bail, according to Villaseor v. Abano:
(1) Ability of the accused to give bail;
(2) Nature of the offense;
(3) Penalty for the offense charged;
(4) Character
accused;

and

reputation

of

the

of

the

(5) Health of the accused;


(6) Character
evidence;

and

strength

(7) Probability of the accused appearing


in trial;
(8) Forfeiture of other bonds;
(9) Whether the accused was a fugitive
from justice when arrested; and
(10) If the accused is under bond for
appearance at trial in other cases.
PEOPLE V. OBSANIA
24447, 29 JUNE 1968)

(GR

NO.

L-

Facts: Erlinda Dollente, a 14-year-old girl,


with the assistance of her parents, filed a
case with the municipal court against
Willy Obsania, accusing him of rape.
When the case was forwarded to the
Court of First Instance for further
proceedings, the assistant provincial
fiscal filed an information for rape
against
Obsania,
embodying
the
allegations of the previous complaint,
with the additional averment that the

41

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
offense was
designs.

committed

with

lewd

Upon arraignment, Obsania pleaded


not guilty and moved for the dismissal of
the case, contending that the complaint
was fatally defective for failure to allege
lewd designs and that the subsequent
information
which
averred
lewd
designs did not cure the jurisdictional
infirmity. The court granted Obsanias
motion and dismissed the case. The
fiscal appealed the dismissal.
Issue: W/N the appeal by the fiscal of the
case places Obsania in double jeopardy.
Ruling:
NO. In order that the
protection against double jeopardy may
inure in favor of the accused, the
following requisites must have obtained
in the original prosecution: (a) a valid
complaint
or
information;
(b)
a
competent court; (c) the defendant had
pleaded to the charge; (d) the defendant
was acquitted, or convicted, or the case
against him was dismissed or otherwise
terminated without his express consent.
In the case at bar, the controverted
dismissal was ordered by the trial judge
upon Obsanias motion to dismiss
predicated on his erroneous contention
that the complaint was defective and
such infirmity affected the jurisdiction of
the court. The appealed order of
dismissal did not terminate the action on
the merits. Thus, he is actually estopped
from invoking double jeopardy, because
the two sine qua non conditions required
for the application of the sister doctrines
of waiver and estoppel are here present:

first, the dismissal must be sought or


induced by the defendant personally or
through his counsel; and second, such
dismissal must not be on the merits and
must not necessarily amount to an
acquittal.
An appeal by the prosecution in a
criminal case is not available if the
defendant would thereby be placed in
double jeopardy.
People v. Salico: When the case is
dismissed with the express consent of
the defendant, the dismissal will not be a
bar to another prosecution for the same
offense; because, his action in having
the case dismissed constitutes a waiver
of his constitutional right or privilege, for
the reason that he thereby prevents the
court from proceeding to the trial on the
merits and rendering a judgment of
conviction against him.
People v. Marapao: Having himself
asked for such dismissal, before a
judgment of conviction or acquittal could
have been rendered, the appellee is not
entitled to invoke the defense of double
jeopardy.
Gandicela v. Lutero: Where a
defendant expressly consents to, by
moving for, the dismissal of the case
against him, even if the court of judge
states in the order that the dismissal is
definite or does not say that the
dismissal is without prejudice on the part
of the fiscal to file another information,
the dismissal will not be a bar to a

42

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
subsequent prosecution of the defendant
for the same offense.

People v. Desalisa: An appeal of the


prosecution from the order of dismissal
(of the criminal complaint) by the trial
court will not constitute double jeopardy
if (1) the dismissal is made upon motion,
or with the express consent, of the
defendant; (2) the dismissal is not an
acquittal or based upon consideration of
the evidence or of the merits of the case;
and (3) the question to be passed upon
by the appellate court is purely legal; so
that should the dismissal be found
incorrect, the case would have to be
remanded to the court of origin for
further proceedings, to determine the
guilt or innocence of the defendant.
People v. Acierto: When a court
dismisses a case on a disclaimer of
jurisdiction, upon the instigation of the
accused, the latter is estopped on appeal
from asserting the jurisdiction of the
lower court in support of his plea of
second jeopardy. The doctrine of
estoppel is in quintessence the same as
the doctrine of waiver: the thrust of both
is that a dismissal, other than on the
merits, sought by the accused in a
motion to dismiss, is deemed to be with
his express consent and bars him from
subsequently interposing the defense of
double jeopardy on appeal or in a new
prosecution for the same offense.
People
v.
Reyes:
Where
the
complaint or information is in truth valid
and sufficient, but the case is dismissed
upon the petition of the accused on the

ground that the complaint or information


is invalid and insufficient, such dismissal
will not bar another prosecution for the
same offense and the defendant is
estopped from alleging in the second
information that the former dismissal
was wrong because the complaint or
information was valid.
People v. Romero: The face that the
counsel for the defendant, and not the
defendant himself personally moved for
the dismissal of the case against him,
had the same effect as if the defendant
had personally moved for such dismissal,
inasmuch as the act of the counsel in the
prosecution of the defendants cases was
the act of the defendant himself, for the
only case in which the defendant cannot
be represented by his counsel is in
pleading guilty according to Section 3,
Rule 114, of the Rules of Court.

TOYOTO V. RAMOS (GR NO. L-69270,


15 OCTOBER 1985)
Facts: Gerry Toyoto, Eddie Gonzales, and
Dominador Gabiana belong to a group
called the Urban Poor which conducted
a march, demonstration, and rally along
Northbay Boulevard in Navotas, Metro
Manila.
They
were
subsequently
arrested, along with some others, for
violating Presidential Decree No. 1835
(Codifying the Various Laws on AntiSubversion and Increasing the Penalties
for
Membership
in
Subversive
Organizations) in a criminal case filed
against them in the Regional Trial Court

43

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
of Malabon. No bail was recommended
for their provisional liberty.

Upon arraignment, the accused


pleaded not guilty. The prosecution was
able to present only one witness, which
prompted the accused to move for the
dismissal of the case. The dismissal was
granted by the Judge because the
prosecutions evidence against the
accused was weak.
One month after the dismissal of the
case, a petition for habeas corpus was
filed in behalf of the accused because
they had still not been released. Hon.
Fidel Ramos, Captain Alvarez, and
Captain Ballen refused to release the
prisoners on the ground that a
Preventive Detention Action had been
issued against them. Subsequently, the
accused were released to their relatives
pursuant to the order of the Ministry of
Defense to temporarily release them.
The respondents now claim that the
petition is already moot and academic in
view of the said release of the prisoners.
The accused state that their case
may only be dismissed for being moot
and academic only if their release would
be permanent.
Issue: W/N the accuseds case had
already become moot and academic in
the light of their temporary release.
Ruling:
NO. Ordinarily, a petition for
habeas corpus becomes moot and
academic when the restraint on the
liberty of the petitioner is lifted either

temporarily or permanently. But in this


case, the question to be resolved is
whether the State can reserve the power
to re-arrest a person for an offense after
a court of competent jurisdiction has
absolved him of the offense. An
affirmative answer is repugnant to the
government of laws and not of men
principle. Under this principle, the
moment a person is acquitted on a
criminal charge, he can no longer be
detained or re-arrested for the same
offense.
We thus have the sorry spectacle of
persons arrested, charged, and tried for
merely exercising their constitutional
rights. And the injury was compounded
when overzealous minions of the
government refused to release them
even after they had been acquitted by a
court of competent jurisdiction because
they were covered by a PDA. To be sure,
it cannot be denied that there was a
flagrant violation of human rights.
Petitioners release declared to be
permanent.
IN RE: KAY VILLEGAS KAMI, INC. (GR
NO. L-32485, 22 OCTOBER 1970)
Facts: Kay Villegas Kami, Inc., a duly
recognized and existing non-stock and
non-profit corporation, prays for a
determination of the validity of Section 8
of RA 6132 and a declaration of its rights
and duties thereunder. It claims that it
has printed material designed to
propagate its ideology and program of
government, and intends to pursue its

44

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
purposes by supporting delegates to the
Constitutional Convention who will
propagate its ideology.

(3) Changes the punishment and inflicts


a greater punishment than the law
annexed to the crime when committed;

Issue: W/N Section 8 violates the due


process clause, right of association,
freedom of expression, and the equal
protection clause.

(4) Alters the legal rules of evidence, and


authorizes conviction upon less or
different testimony than the law required
at the time of the commission of the
offense;

Ruling:
NO.
The
questioned
provision is a valid limitation on the due
process, freedom of expression, freedom
of association, freedom of assembly, and
equal protection clauses. The same is
designed to prevent the clear and
present danger of the twin substantive
evils, namely, the prostitution of
electoral process and denial of the equal
protection of the laws. Moreover, under
the balancing-of-interests test, the
cleansing of the electoral process, the
guarantee of equal change for all
candidates, and the independence of the
delegates who must be beholden to no
one
but
to
God,
country,
and
conscience, are interests that should be
accorded primacy.
Issue: W/N RA 6132 is an ex post facto
law.
Ruling:
one which:

NO. An ex post facto law is

(1) Makes criminal an act before the


passage of the law and which was
innocent when done, and punishes such
an act;
(2) Aggravates a crime, or makes it
greater than it was, when committed;

(5) Assuming to regulate civil rights and


remedies only, in effect imposes penalty
or deprivation of a right for something
which when done was lawful; and
(6) Deprives a person accused of a crime
of some lawful protection to which he
has become entitled, such as the
protection of a former conviction or
acquittal, or a proclamation of amnesty.
From the aforesaid definition as well as
classification of ex post facto laws, the
constitutional inhibition refers only to
criminal laws which are given retroactive
effect. While it is true that Section 18
penalizes a violation of any provision of
RA 6132 including Section 8 thereof, the
penalty is imposed only for acts
committed after the approval of the law
and not those perpetrated prior thereto.
There is nothing in the law that remotely
insinuates that Sections 8 and 18, or any
other provision thereof, shall apply to
acts carried out prior to its approval.
Constitutionality
upheld.

of

the

assailed

GUANZON V. DE VILLA
80508, 30 JANUARY 1990)

(GR

law

NO.

45

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Facts: Pursuant to the Areal Target
Zonings
or
Saturation
Drives
conducted by the military and police in
Metro Manila, 41 residents and taxpayers
from Metro Manila filed a petition for
prohibition with preliminary injunction,
maintaining that they have a common or
general interest in the preservation of
the rule of law, protection of their human
rights, and the reign of peace and order
in their communities. According to them,
the
said
saturation
drives
were
conducted in critical areas pinpointed by
the military and police as places where
the subversives are hiding. The arrests
range from 7 to 1,500; and the
petitioners claim that they follow a
common pattern of human rights abuses,
such as:

1. Having no specific target in mind, in


the dead of the night or early morning
hours, police and military units without
any search warrant or warrant of arrest
cordon an area of more than one
residence
and
sometimes
whole
barangay or areas of barangay in Metro
Manila. Most of them are in civilian
clothes and without nameplates or
identification cards.
2. The raiders rudely rouse residents
from their sleep by banging on the walls
and windows of their homes, shouting,
kicking their doors open (destroying
some in the process), and then ordering
the residents within to come out of their
respective residences.
3. The residents at the point of highpowered guns are herded like cows, the

men are ordered to strip down to their


briefs and examined for tattoo marks
and other imagined marks.
4. While the examination of the bodies
of the men are being conducted by the
raiders, some of the members of the
raiding team force their way into each
and every house within the cordoned off
area and then proceed to conduct a
search of the said houses without civilian
witnesses from the neighborhood.
5. In many instances, many residents
have complained that the raiders
ransack their homes, tossing about the
residents belongings without total
regard for their value. In several
instances, walls are destroyed, ceilings
are damaged in the raiders illegal effort
to fish for incriminating evidence.
6. Some
victims
of
these
illegal
operations
have
complained
with
increasing frequency that their money
and valuables have disappeared after
the said operations.
7. All men and some women who
respond to these illegal and unwelcome
intrusions are arrested on the spot and
hauled off to waiting vehicles that take
them to detention centers where they
are interrogated and verified. These
arrests are all conducted without any
warrants of arrest duly issued by a judge,
nor under the conditions that will
authorize warrantless arrest. Some
hooded men are used to fingerpoint
suspected subversives.

46

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
8. In some instances, arrested persons
are released after the expiration of the
period wherein they can be legally
detained without any charge at all. In
other instances, some arrested persons
are released without charge after a few
days of arbitrary detention.

9. The raiders almost always brandish


their weapons and point them at the
residents during these illegal operations.
10.Many have also reported incidents of
on-the-spot beatings, maulings and
maltreatment.
11.Those who are detained for further
verification
by
the
raiders
are
subjected to mental and physical torture
to extract confessions and tactical
information.
Issue: W/N
the
saturation
drives
conducted by the authorities should be
enjoined by the courts.
Ruling:
NO. The Court believes it
highly probable that some violations
were actually committed. However, the
remedy is not to stop all police actions,
including the essential and legitimate
ones. There is nothing wrong in police
making their presence visibly felt in
troubled areas. Police cannot respond to
riots or violent demonstrations if they do
not move in sufficient numbers. A show
of force is sometimes necessary as long
as the rights of people are protected and
not violated. A blanket prohibition such
as that sought by the petitioners would
limit all police actions to one on one

confrontations where search warrants


and warrants of arrests against specific
individuals are easily procured. Anarchy
may reign if the military and police
decide to sit down in their offices
because all concerted drives where a
show of force is present are totally
prohibited.
The remedy, moreover, is not an
original action for prohibition brought
through a taxpayers suit. Where not one
victim complains and not one violator is
properly charged, the problem is not
initially for the Supreme Court. It is
basically
one
for
the
executive
departments and for trial courts. Well
meaning citizens with only second-hand
knowledge of the events cannot keep on
indiscriminately tossing problems of the
executive, the military, and the police to
the Supreme Court as if we are the
repository of all remedies for all evils.
The rules of constitutional litigation have
been evolved for an orderly procedure in
the vindication of rights. They should be
followed. If our police makers sustain the
contention of the military and the police
that occasional saturation drives are
essential to maintain the stability of
government and to insure peace and
order, clear policy guidelines on the
behavior of soldiers and policemen must
not only be evolved, they should also be
enforced. A method of pinpointing
human rights abuses and identifying
violators is necessary. Thus, the problem
is appropriate for the Commission of
Human Rights. A high level conference
should bring together the heads of the

47

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Department of Justice, Department of
National Defense, and the operating
heads
of
affected
agencies
and
institutions to devise procedures for the
prevention of abuses.

Constitution is involved, it is the duty of


the Court to stop the transgression and
state where even the awesome power of
the state may not encroach upon the
rights of the individual.

Under the circumstances of this


taxpayers suit, there is no erring soldier
or policeman whom we can order
prosecuted. In the absence of clear facts
ascertained
through
an
orderly
procedure, no permanent relief can be
given at this time. Further investigation
of the petitioners charges and a hard
look by administration officials at the
policy implications of the prayed for
blanket prohibition are also warranted.

Our democratic institutions may still


be fragile but they are not in the least bit
strengthened through violations of the
constitutional protections which are their
distinguishing features.

In the meantime and in the face of a


prima facie showing that some abuses
were probably committed and could be
committed during future police actions,
the Court has to temporarily restrain the
alleged banging on walls, the kicking in
of doors, the herding of half-naked men
to assembly areas for examination of
tattoo marks, the violation of residences
even if these are humble shanties of
squatters, and the other alleged acts
which are shocking to the conscience.
Petition remanded to the Regional
Trial Courts of Manila, Malabon, and
Pasay City, so that the petitioners may
present
evidence
supporting
their
allegations and where specific erring
parties
may
be
pinpointed
and
prosecuted.
Where a violation of human rights
specifically
guaranteed
by
the

It is deference to ones personality


that lies at the core of the right against
illegal searches and seizures, but it could
also be looked upon as a recognition of a
constitutionally protected area, primarily
ones home, but not necessarily thereto
confined. What is sought to be guarded
is a mans prerogative to choose who is
allowed entry to his residence. In that
haven of refuge, his individuality can
assert itself not only in the choice of who
shall be welcome but likewise in the kind
of objects he wants around him. There
the state, however powerful, does not as
such have access except under the
circumstances above noted, for in the
traditional
formulation,
his
house,
however humble, is his castle. Thus is
outlawed any unwarranted intrusion by
government, which is called upon to
refrain from any invasion of his dwelling
and to respect the privacies of his life. In
the same vein, the constitutional right
could
be
characterized
as
the
embodiment of a spiritual concept: the
belief that the value the privacy of home
and
person
and
to
afford
its
constitutional protection against the long
reach of government is no less than to

48

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
value human dignity, and that his
privacy must not be disturbed except in
case of overriding social need, and then
only
under
stringent
procedural
safeguards.
Justice Cruz dissent:
Liberty and authority must co-exist,
for only in a well-ordered society can
rights be properly employed. Implicit in
that theory, however, is the other
imperative: that the highest function of
authority is to insure liberty.
Where liberty is involved, every
person is a proper party even if he may
not be directly injured. Each of us has a
duty to protect liberty and that alone
makes him a proper party.
Article III, Section 2 is intended to
protect the individual from official and
(officious) intrusions, no matter how
humble his abode and however lowly his
station in life. Against the mighty forces
of the government, the persons house is
his castle, his inviolate refuge and
exclusive domain where he is the
monarch of all he surveys.
Saturation drives are not among the
accepted instances when a search or an
arrest may be made without warrant.
They come under the concept of fishing
expeditions stigmatized by law and
doctrine.
This
Court
should
declare
categorically and emphatically that these
saturation drives are violative of human

rights and individual liberty and


should be stopped immediately.

so

The danger to our free institutions lies


not only in those who openly defy the
authority of the government and violate
its laws. The greater menace is in those
who, in the name of democracy, destroy
the very things it stands for and so
undermine democracy itself.
Where liberty is debased into a cruel
illusion, all of us are degraded and
diminished. Liberty is indivisible; it
belongs to every one. We should realize
that when the bell tolls the death of
liberty for one of us, it tolls for thee
and for all of us.

Justice Padillas separate opinion:


That the State, acting through the
government and its forces, has the
authority to suppress lawless violence in
all its forms cannot be denied. The
exercise of that authority is justified
when viewed from the standpoint of the
general welfare, because the State has
the elementary and indispensable duty
to insure a peaceful life and existence for
its citizens. A government that loses its
capability to insure peace and order for
its citizens loses the very right to remain
in power.
While the checkpoint is a defensive
device, on the part of government, the
areal target zoning or saturation
drive is a direct assault against, an

49

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
intrusion
liberties.

into

individual

rights

and

Justice Sarmientos dissent:


As a general rule, a peace officer
cannot act unless he is possessed of the
proper arrest or search warrant. The
exception is when a criminal offense is
unfolding before him, in which case,
action is justified and necessary. A show
of force (by way of saturation drives) is
a violation of human rights because it is
not covered by a judicial warrant.
RAMIREZ V. CA (GR NO. 93833, 28
SEPTEMBER 1995)
Facts: Socorro Ramirez filed a civil case
for damages with the Quezon City RTC
alleging that Ester Garcia, in a
confrontation in the latters office,
allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated
her in a manner offensive to Ramirez
dignity and personality. In support of her
claim, Ramirez produced a transcript of
the confrontation, which was secretly
recorded by her.
Because of Ramirez taping of the
confrontation, Garcia filed a criminal
case against Ramirez for violation of
Republic Act 4200, or An Act to Prohibit
and Penalize Wire Tapping and Other
Related
Violations
of
Private
Communication, and Other Purposes.
The case
was quashed for not
constituting a violation against RA 4200,
for the said law refers to the taping of a
communication by a person other than a
participant to the communication. Garcia

appealed, and the trial court


reversed by the Court of Appeals.

was

Issue: W/N Ramirez is guilty of violating


the Anti-Wiretapping Act.
Ruling:
YES. RA 4200 clearly and
unequivocally makes it illegal for any
person, not authorized by all the parties
to any private communication, to
secretly record such communication by
means of a tape recorder. The law makes
no distinction as to whether the party
sought to be penalized by the statute
ought to be a party other than or
different from those involved in the
private communication. The statutes
intent
to
penalize
all
persons
unauthorized to make such recording is
underscored by the use of the qualifier
any. A perusal of the Senate
Congressional
Records,
moreover,
supports the conclusion that in enacting
RA
4200
our
lawmakers
indeed
contemplated
to
make
illegal,
unauthorized tape recording of private
conversations or communications taken
either by the parties themselves or by
third persons. Consequently, even a
person privy to a communication who
records his private conversation with
another without the knowledge of the
latter will qualify as a violator under
Section 1 of RA 4200.
What RA 4200 penalizes are the acts
of secretly overhearing, intercepting, or
recording private communications by
means of the devices enumerated
therein.

50

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Senator Taadas Explanatory Note to
Anti-Wiretapping Bill: It has been said
that innocent people have nothing to
fear from their conversations being
overheard. But this statement ignores
the usual nature of conversations as well
as the undeniable fact that most, if not
all, civilized people have some aspects of
their lives they do not wish to expose.
Free
conversations
are
often
characterized
by
exaggerations,
obscenity, agreeable falsehoods, and the
expression of anti-social desires of views
not intended to be taken seriously. The
right to the privacy of communication,
among others, has expressly been
assured by our Constitution. Needless to
state
here,
the
framers
of
our
Constitution must have recognized the
nature
of
conversations
between
individuals and the significance of mans
spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his
intellect. They must have known that
part of the pleasures and satisfactions of
life are to be found in the unaudited, and
free
exchange
of
communication
between individualsfree from every
unjustifiable intrusion by whatever
means.

usurpation of the power of Congress to


legislate; and (2) It impermissibly
intrudes on our citizenrys protected
zone of privacy.
Issue: W/N AO 308 violates the citizens
right to privacy.

OPLE V. TORRES (GR NO. 127685,


23 JULY 1998)

Ruling:
YES. The right to privacy is
a fundamental right guaranteed by the
Constitution, hence, it is the burden of
the Government to show that AO 308 is
justified by some compelling state
interest and that it is narrowly drawn. AO
308 is predicated on two considerations:
(1) the need to provide our citizens and
foreigners
with
the
facility
to
conveniently transact business with
basic services and social security
providers
and
other
government
instrumentalities and (2) the need to
reduce,
if
not
totally
eradicate,
fraudulent
transactions
and
misrepresentations by persons seeking
basic services. It is debatable whether
these interests are compelling enough to
warrant the issuance of AO 308. But
what is not arguable is the broadness,
the vagueness, the overbreadth of AO
308 which if implemented will put our
peoples right to privacy in clear and
present danger.

Facts: Administrative Order No. 308,


entitled
Adoption
of
a
National
Computerized Identification Reference
System was issued by President Fidel V.
Ramos on 12 December 1996. Senator
Blas F. Ople submitted a petition to the
Court, assailing the Order on two
constitutional grounds: (1) It is a

AO 308, furthermore, falls short of


assuring that personal information which
will be gathered about our people will
only be processed for unequivocally
specified purposes. The lack of proper
safeguards in this regard of AO 308 may
interfere with the individuals liberty of
abode and travel by enabling authorities

51

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
to track down his movement; it may also
enable unscrupulous persons to access
confidential information and circumvent
the right against self-incrimination; it
may pave the way for fishing
expeditions by government authorities
and
evade
the
right
against
unreasonable searches and seizures. The
possibilities of abuse and misuse of the
PRN,
biometrics,
and
computer
technology are accentuated when we
consider that the individual lacks control
over what can be read or placed on his
ID, much less verify the correctness of
the data encoded. They threaten the
very abuses that the Bill of Rights seeks
to prevent.

Issue: W/N
the
individual
has
a
reasonable expectation of privacy with
regard to the national ID and the use of
biometrics technology.
Ruling:
NO. The use of biometrics
and computer technology in AO 308 does
not assure the individual of a reasonable
expectation of privacy. As technology
advances, the level of reasonably
expected
privacy
decreases.
The
measure of protection granted by the
reasonable expectation diminishes as
relevant technology becomes more
widely accepted. The security of the
computer data file depends not only on
the physical inaccessibility of the file but
also on the advances in hardware and
software computer technology. AO 308 is
so widely drawn that a minimum
standard for a reasonable expectation of
privacy, regardless of technology used,
cannot be inferred from its provisions.

The ability of a sophisticated data center


to generate a comprehensive cradle-tograve dossier on an individual and
transmit it over a national network is one
of the most graphic threats of the
computer revolution. The computer is
capable of producing a comprehensive
dossier on individuals out of information
given at different times and for varied
purposes. It can continue adding to the
stored data and keeping the information
up to date. Retrieval of stored data is
simple. When information of a privileged
character finds its way into the
computer, it can be extracted together
with other data on the subject. Once
extracted, the information is putty in the
hands of any person. The end of privacy
begins.
AO 308 declared null and void for being
unconstitutional.
The essence of privacy is the right to
be let alone. It was not engraved in our
Constitution for flattery.
Zones of privacy are recognized and
protected in our laws. The Civil Code
provides that every person shall respect
the dignity, personality, privacy, and
peace of mind of his neighbors and other
persons and punishes as actionable
torts several acts by a person of
meddling and prying into the privacy of
another. It also holds a public officer or
employee or any private individual liable
for damages for any violation of the
rights and liberties of another person,
and recognizes the privacy of letters and
other private communications. The

52

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Revised Penal Code makes a crime the
violation of secrets by an officer, the
revelation of trade and industrial secrets,
and trespass to dwelling. Invasion of
privacy is an offense in special laws like
the Anti-Wiretapping Law, the Secrecy of
Bank Deposits Act, and the Intellectual
Property Code. The Rules of Court on
privileged
communication
likewise
recognize
the
privacy
of
certain
information.
Two-part test of the reasonableness of
persons expectation of privacy: (1)
Whether by his conduct, the individual
has exhibited an expectation of privacy;
and (2) Whhether this expectation is one
that society recognizes as reasonable.
The factual circumstances of the case
determine the reasonableness of the
expectation. However, other factors,
such as customs, physical surroundings,
and practices of a particular activity,
may serve to create or diminish this
expectation.
When the integrity of a fundamental
right is at stake, the Court will give the
challenged law, administrative order,
rule or regulation a stricter scrutiny. It
will not do for the authorities to invoke
the presumption of regularity in the
performance of official duties. Nor is it
enough for the authorities to prove that
their act is not irrational for a basic right
can be diminished, if not defeated, even
when the government does not act
irrationally. They must satisfactorily show
the presence of compelling state
interests and that the law, rule, or
regulation is narrowly drawn to preclude

abuses. This approach is demanded by


the 1987 Constitution whose entire
matrix is designed to protect human
rights and to prevent authoritarianism. In
case of doubt, the least we can do is to
lean towards the stance that will not put
in danger the rights protected by the
Constitution.
The right to privacy does not bar all
incursions into individual privacy. The
right is not intended to stifle scientific
and technological advancements that
enhance public service and the common
good. It merely requires that the law be
narrowly focused and a compelling
interest justify such intrusions. Intrusions
into the right must be accompanied by
proper safeguards and well-defined
standards to prevent unconstitutional
invasions.
Concept of limited government: The
concept of limited government has
always
included
the
idea
that
governmental powers stop short of
certain intrusions into the personal life of
the citizen. This is indeed one of the
basic distinctions between absolute and
limited
government.
Ultimate
and
pervasive control of the individual, in all
aspects of his life, is the hallmark of the
absolute state. In contrast, a system of
limited government safeguards a private
sector, which belongs to the individual,
firmly distinguishing it from the public
sector, which the state can control.
Protection of this private sector
protection, in other words, of the dignity
and integrity of the individualhas
become
increasingly
important
as

53

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
modern society has developed. All the
forces
of
a
technological
age
industrialization,
urbanization,
and
organizationoperate to narrow the area
of privacy and facilitate intrusion into it.
In modern terms, the capacity to
maintain and support this enclave of
private life marks the difference between
a democratic and a totalitarian society.

Annotation: The National Computerized


Identification Reference System as
Violation of the Right to Privacy
Generally, the right to privacy now
involves most basic rights of the
individual conduct and choice. The right
to privacy includes the right of the
person to prevent intrusion into certain
thoughts and activities which includes
the freedom of speech, to form or join
associations. It also includes the
constitutional freedoms of unreasonable
searches and seizures and the freedom
from self-incrimination.
Other rights included in the right to
privacy: right to reputation, right to
privacy in marriage and the family, right
to
sterilization,
right
to
use
contraceptives,
the
right
to
die
(euthanasia),
and
freedom
of
homosexuality.
The use of computers to accumulate,
store, process, retrieve, and transmit
data has greatly advanced research
methods. The new technology, however,
poses new threats to privacy because it
interferes with and may deprive the right
of the individual of the right to control

the flow of information about himself.


The computer technology has advanced
rapidly with the global internet system.
The computer system and other media
tools tend to intrude into privacy as it
can handle personal information by
disseminating evidence of present or
past actions or association which the
individual may not have consented for
said information. There is also the
probability of introducing inaccurate
information that might create an
erroneous information over which the
individual has no control.
VILLAVICENCIO V. LUKBAN (GR NO.
L-14639, 25 MARCH 1919)
Facts: Mayor Justo Lukban of Manila, in
an effort to exterminate vice, ordered
the closure of the segregated district for
women of ill-repute which had been
permitted for a number of years. Around
170 women were kept confined to their
houses in the district by the police for a
number of days, after which, they were
deported to Davao without previously
informing them or obtaining their
consent. When they landed in Davao,
they were receipted for as laborers by
Francisco Sales, the provincial governor
of Davao. The said governor had no idea
that the women were prostitutes who
had been expelled from the city of
Manila. A petition for habeas corpus was
presented to a member of the Supreme
Court for all the deported women.
Issue: W/N the women
restrained of their liberty.

had

been

54

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Ruling:
YES. The forcible taking of
the women from Manila by officials of
that city, who handed them over to other
parties, who deposited them in a distant
region, deprived these women of
freedom of locomotion just as effectively
as if they had been imprisoned. Placed in
Davao without either money or personal
belongings, they were prevented from
exercising the liberty of going when and
where they pleased. The restraint of
liberty which began in Manila continued
until the aggrieved parties were returned
to Manila and released or until they
freely and truly waived her right.
Law defines power. No official, no
matter how high, is above the law.
Remedies of the unhappy victims of
official oppression: (1) civil action; (2)
criminal action; and (3) habeas corpus.
The writ of habeas corpus was
devised and exists as a speedy and
effectual remedy to relieve persons from
unlawful restraint, and as the best and
only sufficient defense of personal
freedom.
A prime specification of an application
for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of
liberty. The essential object and purpose
of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire
into all manner of involuntary restraint
as distinguished from voluntary, and to
relieve a person therefrom if such
restraint is illegal. Any restraint which
will preclude freedom of action is
sufficient.

The power to punish for contempt of


court should be exercised on the
preservative and not on the vindictive
principle. Only occasionally should the
court invoke its inherent power in order
to retain that respect without which the
administration of justice must falter or
fail.
Justice Torres dissent:
If a young woman, instead of
engaging in an occupation or works
suitable to her sex, which can give her
sufficient
remuneration
for
her
substance, prefers to put herself under
the will of another woman who is usually
older than she is and who is the manager
or owner of a house of prostitution, or
spontaneously dedicates herself to this
shameful profession, it is undeniable that
she voluntarily and with her own
knowledge renounces her liberty and
individual rights guaranteed by the
Constitution, because it is evident that
she cannot join the society of decent
women nor can she expect to get the
same respect that is due to the latter,
nor is it possible for her to live within the
community or society with the same
liberty and rights enjoyed by every
citizen. Considering her dishonorable
conduct and life, she should therefore be
comprised within that class which is
always subject to the police and sanitary
regulations
conducive
to
the
maintenance of public decency and
morality and to the conservation of
public health, and for this reason it
should not be permitted that the
unfortunate
women
dedicated
to

55

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
prostitution evade the just orders and
resolutions
adopted
by
the
administrative authorities.
In ordering the dissolution and
abandonment of the said houses of
prostitution and the change of the
domicile of the inmates thereof, the
mayor did not in bad faith violate the
constitutional laws which guarantees the
liberty and the individual rights of every
Filipino, inasmuch as the women
petitioners do not absolutely enjoy the
said liberty and rights, the exercise of
which they have voluntarily renounced in
exchange for the free practice of their
shameful profession.
MARCOS V. MANGLAPUS (GR NO.
88211, 15 SEPTEMBER 1989)
Facts: Former
President
Ferdinand
Marcos, on his deathbed, wishes to
return to the Philippines after his exile
due to the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
Present
President
Corazon
Aquino,
considering the dire consequences to the
nation of his return at a time when the
stability of the government is threatened
from various directions and the economy
is just beginning to rise and move
forward, has stood firmly on the decision
to bar the return of Marcos and his
family.
Marcos filed a petition for mandamus
and prohibition for the Court to order the
Secretary
of
Foreign
Affairs,
the
Executive Secretary, the Secretary of
Justice, the Immigration Commissioner,
the Secretary of National Defense, and

the Chief of Staff to issue travel


documents to Marcos and the immediate
members of his family, and to enjoin the
implementation
of
the
Presidents
decision to bar their return to the
Philippines.
Issue: W/N the President may prohibit
the Marcoses from returning to the
Philippines.
Ruling:
YES. At the outset, it must
be stated that it would not do to view the
case within the confines of the right to
travel. It must be emphasized that the
individual right involved is not the right
to travel from the Philippines to other
countries or within the Philippines. These
are what the right to travel would usually
connote. Essentially, the right involved is
the right to return to ones country, a
totally distinct right under international
law, independent from although related
to the right to travel.
The request or demand of the Marcoses
to be allowed to return to the Philippines
cannot be considered in the light solely
of
the
constitutional
provisions
guaranteeing liberty of abode and the
right to travel, subject to certain
exceptions, or of case law which clearly
never contemplated situations even
remotely similar to the present one. It
must be treated as a matter that is
appropriately
addressed
to
those
residual
unstated
powers
of
the
President which are implicit in and
correlative to the paramount duty
residing in that office to safeguard and
protect general welfare. In that context,

56

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
such request or demand should submit
to the exercise of a broader discretion on
the part of the President to determine
whether it must be granted or denied.

The Universal Declaration of Human


Rights and the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights treat the right to
freedom of movement and abode within
the territory of the state, the right to
leave a country, and the right to enter
ones country as separate and distinct
rights.
It
would
therefore
be
inappropriate to construe the limitations
to the right to return to ones country in
the same context as those pertaining to
the liberty of abode and the right to
travel.
The right to return to ones country is
not among the rights guaranteed in the
Bill of Rights, which treats only of the
liberty of abode and the right to travel,
but it is the Courts well-considered view
that the right to return may be
considered, as a generally accepted
principle of international law, and, under
our Constitution, as part of the law of the
land. However, it is distinct and separate
from the right to travel and enjoys a
different
protection
under
the
International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, against being arbitrarily
deprived thereof.

MEJOFF V. DIRECTOR OF PRISONS


(GR NO. L-2855, 30 JULY 1949)

Facts: Boris Mejoff is an alien of Russian


descent who was brought to the
Philippines from Shanghai as a secret
operative by the Japanese forces during
the latters regime. Upon liberation, he
was arrested as a Japanese spy by US
Counter-Intelligence Corps. Later on, he
was handed to the Commonwealth
Government
for
disposition
in
accordance with Commonwealth Act No.
682. He was ordered released by the
Peoples Court.
However, the Deportation Board
found that he had no travel documents
when he entered the country, and after
investigation, concluded that he entered
the country illegally and ordered that he
be deported on the first available
transportation to Russia. Being under
custody, he was transferred to the Cebu
Provincial Jail together with three other
Russians to await the arrival of some
Russian vessels. Some Russian vessels
and some months thereafter, Mejoff was
transferred to the Bilibid Prison at
Muntinlupa where he was confined until
1949, because the Russian vessels would
not take him for lack of authority to do
so, and the Immigration Commissioner
believes it is for the best interest of the
country to keep him under detention
while arrangements for his deportation
are being made. A petition for habeas
corpus in his behalf was filed.
Issue: W/N Mejoff should be kept under
detention pending his deportation.
Ruling:
YES. Considering that this
Government desires to expel the alien,

57

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
and does not relish keeping him at the
peoples expense, we must presume it is
making efforts to carry out the decree of
exclusion by the highest officer of the
land. On top of this presumption
assurances
were
made
that
the
Government is really trying to expedite
the expulsion of this prisoner. On the
other hand, the record fails to show how
long he has been under confinement
since the last time he was apprehended.
Neither does he indicate neglected
opportunities to send him abroad. And
unless it is shown that the deportee is
being indefinitely imprisoned under the
pretense of awaiting a chance for
deportation or unless the Government
admits that it cannot deport him or
unless the detainee is being held for too
long a period, our courts will not
interfere. In this jurisdiction, moreover,
we have no sufficient data to fix a
definite
deadline
within
which
imprisoned aliens should be deported,
otherwise their release would be ordered
by writ of habeas corpus. Considering in
the United States (where transportation
facilities
are
much
greater
and
diplomatic arrangements are easier to
make), a delay of twenty months in
carrying out an order of deportation has
not been held sufficient to justify the
issuance of the writ of habeas corpus,
this petition must be denied.
Mejoffs detention upheld.
While it must be admitted that
temporary detention is a necessary step
in the process of exclusion or expulsion
of undesirable aliens and that pending

arrangements for his deportation, the


Government has the right to hold the
undesirable alien under confinement for
a reasonable length of time, under
established precedents, too long a
detention may justify the issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus. The meaning of
reasonable time depends upon the
circumstances, especially the difficulties
of obtaining a passport, the availability
of
transportation,
the
diplomatic
arrangements concerned and the efforts
displayed to send the deportee away.
From Justice Perfectos dissent:
The constitutional guarantee that no
person shall be deprived of liberty
without due process of law has been
intended to protect all inhabitants or
residents who may happen to be under
the shadows of the Philippine flag.
PROVINCE OF TAYABAS V. PEREZ (GR
NO. L-35364, 29 OCTOBER 1931)
Facts: Three lots, lot X-1, X-2, and X-3, in
the province of Tayabas are under
condemnation proceedings. Lots X-1 and
X-3 were assessed at P8.00 per square
meter, and lot X-2 at P3.50 per square
meter. Simeon Perez two sheds on the
land were assessed at P3,500.00. These
assessments were accepted by the trial
court. The Province of Tayabas appealed,
insisting upon a reduction of the price.
On the other hand, Godofredo Reyes and
Domingo Lopez have also appealed from
the judgment which denied their
complaint of intervention on the ground
that it has been filed out of time, and

58

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
that the record did not show the
necessity of a new investigation to
protect them from certain abuse of
authority insinuated to have been
committed by the provincial officials.
It is to be noted that there actually
was no hearing in court, but only
pleadings were presented.
Issue: W/N there should have been an
actual hearing.
Ruling:
YES. It is the intention of the
law that a proper hearing, with both
parties present, be had upon the
commissioners report in condemnation
proceedings. Even in cases where both
parties, the plaintiff and the defendant,
agree with the commissioners in their
report, such acquiescence must appear
in the record of that hearing. In the
matter of condemnation proceedings,
the rule followed by the courts is that the
provisions of the law are to be strictly
followed so that the party whose
property may be sought to be
expropriated may have all the legal
guarantees of due process of law.
Records of the case ordered to be
remanded to the court of origin so that
the case may be reopened, and a
hearing on the commissioners report, at
which hearing Godofredo Reyes and
Domingo Lopez may be heard, together
with any other person who may have a
legal interest in the matter in litigation,
or in the success of either party, or any
interest adverse to the latter.

EBRALINAG
V.
DIVISION
SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS OF
CEBU (GR NO. 95770, 1 MARCH
1993)
Facts: 68 high school and grade school
students from public schools in Cebu, all
of whom were members of a religious
sect known as the Jehovahs Witnesses,
were expelled from their classes by the
Cebu public school authorities for
refusing to salute the flag, sing the
national anthem, and recite the patriotic
pledge as required by Republic Act No.
1265 and by Department Order No. 8 of
the Department of Education, Culture
and Sports making the flag ceremony
compulsory
in
all
educational
institutions.
The Jehovahs Witnesses admittedly
teach their children not to salute the
flag, sing the national anthem, and recite
the patriotic pledge for they believe that
those are acts of worship or religious
devotion
which
they
cannot
conscientiously give to anyone or
anything except God. They feel bound
by the Bibles command to guard
themselves from idols. They consider
the flag as an image or idol representing
the State. They think the action of the
local authorities in compelling the flag
salute
and
pledge
transcends
constitutional limitations on the States
power and invades the sphere of the
intellect and spirit which the Constitution
protects against official control. They
claim that the childrens rights to free
public education, and their right to
freedom of speech, religion, and worship

59

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
were all violated by the actions of the
local public school authorities. On the
other hand, the local authorities claim
that the flag salute is devoid of any
religious significance; and it instead
inculcates respect and love of country,
for which the flag stands. Additionally,
they contend that the bizarre religious
practices of the Jehovahs Witnesses
produce
rebellious
and
antisocial
schoolchildren and consequently disloyal
and mutant Filipino citizens.

Issue: W/N school children who are


members of a religious sect may be
expelled from school (both public and
private) for refusing, on account of their
religious beliefs, to take part in the flag
ceremony which includes playing (by a
band) or singing the Philippine national
anthem, saluting the Philippine flag and
reciting the patriotic pledge.
Ruling:
NO. This ruling overturns
the 30-year-old decision in Gerona v.
Secretary of Education and Balbuna v.
Secretary of Education, wherein the
Court upheld the expulsion of the
students who refused to obey the flag
salute law. The idea that one may be
compelled to salute the flag, sing the
national anthem, and recite the patriotic
pledge, during a flag ceremony on pain
of being dismissed from ones job or of
being expelled from school, is alien to
the conscience of the present generation
of Filipinos who cut their teeth on the Bill
of Rights which guarantees their rights to
free speech and the free exercise of
religious profession and worship.

The Court is not persuaded that by


exempting the Jehovahs Witnesses from
saluting the flag, singing the national
anthem and reciting the patriotic pledge,
this religious group which admittedly
comprises a small portion of the school
population will shake up our part of the
globe and suddenly produce a nation
untaught and uninculcated in and
unimbued with reverence for the flag,
patriotism,
love
of
country
and
admiration for national heroes. After all,
what the students seek only is
exemption from the flag ceremony, not
exclusion from the public schools where
they may study the Constitution, the
democratic way of life and form of
government, and learn not only the arts,
sciences, Philippine history and culture
but also receive training for a vocation or
profession and be taught the virtues of
patriotism, respect for human rights,
appreciation for national heroes, the
rights and duties of citizenship, and
moral and spiritual values as part of the
curricula. Forcing a small religious group,
through the iron hand of the law, to
participate in a ceremony that violates
their religious beliefs, will hardly be
conducive to love of country or respect
for duly constituted authorities. Thus, an
exemption may be accorded to the
Jehovahs Witnesses with regard to the
observance of the flag ceremony out of
respect for their religious beliefs.
Nevertheless,
their
right
not
to
participate in the flag ceremony does not
give them a right to disrupt such
patriotic exercises. While the highest
regard must be afforded the right to the

60

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
free exercise of religion, this should not
mean that school authorities are
powerless to discipline them if they
should commit breaches of the peace by
actions that offend the sensibilities, both
religious and patriotic, of other persons.

Moreover, the expulsion of members


of Jehovahs Witnesses from the schools
where they are enrolled will violate their
right as Philippine citizens, under the
1987 Constitution, to receive free
education, for it is the duty of the State
to protect and promote the right of all
citizens to quality education and to make
such education accessible to all.
Expulsion of the students annulled.
Religious freedom is a fundamental
right which is entitled to the highest
priority and the amplest protection
among human rights, for it involves the
relationship of man to his Creator.
The right to religious profession and
worship has a two-fold aspect, viz.,
freedom to believe and freedom to act
on ones belief. The first is absolute as
long as the belief is confined within the
realm of thought. The second is subject
to regulation where the belief is
translated into external acts that affect
the public welfare.
The sole justification for a prior
restraint or limitation on the exercise of
religious freedom is the existence of a
grave and present danger of a character
both grave and imminent, of a serious
evil to public safety, public morals, public

health, or any other legitimate public


interest, that the State has a right (and
duty) to prevent.
It is certain that not every conscience
can be accommodated by all the laws of
the land; but when general laws conflict
with scruples of conscience, exemptions
ought to be granted unless some
compelling state interest intervenes.
Justice Cruz concurring opinion:
Freedom of speech includes the right
to be silent. The Bill of Rights that
guarantees to the individual the liberty
to utter what is in his mind also
guarantees to him the liberty not to utter
what is not in his mind.
The democratic system provides for
the accommodation of diverse ideas,
including the unconventional and even
the bizarre or eccentric. The will of the
majority prevails, but it cannot regiment
thought by prescribing the recitation by
rote of its opinions or proscribing the
assertion of unorthodox or unpopular
views as in this case.
The State cannot make the individual
speak when the soul within rebels.
US V. BUSTOS (GR NO. L-12592, 8
MARCH 1918)
Facts: Citizens of the province of
Pampanga assembled and prepared and
signed a petition to the Executive
Secretary charging Roman Punsalan,
justice of the peace of Macabebe and

61

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Masantol, Pampanga, with malfeasance
in office and asking for his removal. The
Executive Secretary referred the matter
to the Judge of First Instance Percy Moir,
requesting investigation, proper action,
and report. Judge Moir, after hearing,
recommended to the Governor-General
that Punsalan should be removed from
his position as justice of the peace of
Macabebe and Masantol.

Punsalan thereafter filed a motion for


a new trial, which was granted. Six
councilors and the municipal president of
Masantol asserted that Punsalan was
only a victim of prosecution, because the
auxiliary justice of the peace of
Macabebe and Masantol, Agustin Jaime,
instituted the charges for personal
reasons. Punsalan was acquitted, and
now Punsalan initiated a criminal action
for libel against those who signed the
first petition against him. The judge
found all of them, except Felix
Fernandez,
Juan
Alfonso,
Restituto
Garcia, and Manuel Mallari, guilty, and
sentenced each of them to pay a fine of
P10.00 and one thirty-second part of the
costs,
or
to
suffer
subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency. The
convicted persons appealed.
Issue: W/N the lower court erred in not
holding that the alleged libelous
statement was unqualifiedly privileged.
Ruling:
YES. Although as a general
rule, words imputing to a judge or a
justice of the peace dishonesty or
corruption or incapacity or misconduct
touching him in his office are actionable,

we do not have here a simple case of


direct and vicious accusations published
in the press, but of charges predicated
on affidavits made to the proper official
and thus qualifiedly privileged. Express
malice has not been proved by the
prosecution.
Further,
although
the
charges are probably not true as to the
justice of the peace, they were believed
to be true by the petitioners. Good faith
surrounds their action. Probable cause
for them to think that malfeasance or
misfeasance in office existed is apparent.
The ends and the motives of these
citizensto secure the removal from
office of a person thought to be venal
were justifiable. In no way did they abuse
the privilege.
Appellants entitled to the protection
of the rules concerning qualified
privilege, growing out of constitutional
guaranties in our bill of rights. Instead of
punishing
citizens
for
an
honest
endeavor to improve the public service,
they should be commended for their
good citizenship. Appellants acquitted.
The interest of society and the
maintenance
of
good
government
demand a full discussion of public affairs.
Complete liberty to comment on the
conduct of public men is a scalpel in the
case of free speech. The sharp incision of
its probe relieves the abscesses of
officialdom. Men in public life may suffer
under a hostile and an unjust accusation;
the wound can be assuaged with the
balm of a clear conscience. A public
officer must not be too thin-skinned with
reference to comment upon his official

62

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
acts. Only thus can the intelligence and
the dignity of the individual be exalted.
Of course, criticism does not authorize
defamation.
Nevertheless,
as
the
individual is less than the State, so must
expected criticism be born for the
common good. Rising superior to any
official or set of officials, to the Chief of
Executive, to the Legislature, to the
Judiciaryto any or all the agencies of
Governmentpublic opinion should be
the constant source of liberty and
democracy.

The guaranties of a free speech and a


free press include the right to criticize
judicial conduct. The administration of
the law is a matter of vital public
concern. Whether the law is wisely or
badly enforced is, therefore, a fit subject
for proper comment. If the people cannot
criticize a justice of the peace or a judge
the same way as any other public officer,
public
opinion
will
be
effectively
muzzled. Attempted terrorization of
public opinion on the part of the judiciary
would be tyranny of the basest sort. The
sword of Damocles in the hands of a
judge does not hang suspended over the
individual who dares to assert his
prerogative as a citizen and to stand up
bravely before any official. On the
contrary, it is a duty which everyone
owes to society or to the State to assist
in the investigation of any alleged
misconduct. It is further the duty of all
who know of any official dereliction on
the part of a magistrate or the wrongful
act of any public officer to being the

facts to the notice of those whose duty it


is to inquire into and punish them.
Justice Gayner: The people are not
obliged to speak of the conduct of their
officials in whispers or with bated breath
in a free government, but only in a
despotism.
The right to assemble and petition is
the necessary consequence of republican
institutions and the complement of the
part of free speech. Assembly means a
right on the part of citizens to meet
peaceably for consultation in respect to
public affairs. Petition means that any
person or group of persons can apply,
without fear of penalty, to the
appropriate branch or office of the
government for a redress of grievances.
The persons assembling and petitioning
must, of course, assume responsibility
for the charges made.
Public policy, the welfare of society,
and the orderly administration of
government have demanded protection
for public opinion. The inevitable and
incontestable result has been the
development and adoption of the
doctrine
of
privilege. Privilege
is
classified as either absolute or qualified.
As to qualified privilege, it is as the
words suggest a prima facie privilege
which may be lost by proof of malice.
The rule on qualified privilege: A
communication made bona fide upon
any subject-matter in which the party
communicating has an interest, or in
reference to which has a duty, is

63

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
privileged, if made to a person having a
corresponding interest or duty, although
it contained criminatory matter which
without
this
privilege
would
be
slanderous and actionable.

privileged communications. The ultimate


test is that of bona fides.

All persons have an interest in the


pure and efficient administration of
justice and of public affairs. The duty
under which a party is privileged is
sufficient if it is social or moral in its
nature and this person in good faith
believes he is acting in pursuance
thereof although in fact he is mistaken.
The privilege is not defeated by the mere
fact that the communication is made in
intemperate terms. A further element of
the law of privilege concerns the person
to whom the complaint should be made.
The rule is that if a party applies to the
wrong person through some natural and
honest mistake as to the respective
functions of various officials such
unintentional error will not take the case
out of the privilege.

Facts: The
radio
station
Eastern
Broadcasting Corporation (DYRE) was
closed
by
the
National
Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
under the general charge of inciting
people to commit acts of sedition when
the said radio station shifted towards
what it stated was the coverage of public
events and the airing of programs
geared towards public affairs. The radio
station, through its president, Mr. Rene
Espina, contended that it was denied due
process when it was closed on the mere
allegation that the radio station was
used to incite people to sedition, alleging
that no hearing was held and not a bit of
proof was submitted to establish a
factual basis for the closure. It also
raised the issue of freedom of speech.

In the usual case malice can be


presumed from defamatory words.
Privilege destroys that presumption. The
onus of proving malice then lies on the
plaintiff. The plaintiff must bring home to
the defendant the existence of malice as
the true motive of his conduct. Falsehood
and the absence of probable cause will
amount to proof of malice. However, a
privileged communication should not be
subjected to microscopic examination to
discover grounds of malice or falsity.
Such excessive scrutiny would defeat the
protection which the law throws over

However, before the Court could


promulgate a decision squarely passing
upon all the issues raised, the radio
station filed a motion to withdraw or
dismiss the petition, alleging that it had
already sold its rights and interest in
favor of Manuel Pastrana and the NTC
has already expressed its willingness to
grant to the new owner the requisite
license and franchise to operate the said
radio station, and thus, has no interest in
pursuing the case any further.

EASTERN BROADCASTING V. DANS


(GR NO. L-59329, 19 JULY 1985)

Although the case has already


become moot and academic, the Court

64

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
issues the following guidelines for the
guidance
of
inferior
courts
and
administrative tribunals exercising quasijudicial functions, in the shutting down of
operations of broadcasting stations:

1. The cardinal primary requirements in


administrative proceedings laid down by
the Supreme Court in the case of Ang
Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations
should be followed before a broadcast
station may be closed or its operations
curtailed.
2. While there is no controlling and
precise definition of due process, it
furnishes an unavoidable standard to
which government action must conform
in order that any deprivation of life,
liberty, or property, in each appropriate
case, may be valid.
3. All forms of media, whether print or
broadcast, are entitled to the broad
protection of the freedom of speech and
expression
clause.
The
test
for
limitations on freedom of expression
continues to be the clear and present
danger rulethat words are used in such
circumstances that the lawmaker has a
right to prevent.
4. The clear and present danger test,
however, does not lend itself to a
simplistic
and
all
embracing
interpretation applicable to all utterances
in all forums.
a. Broadcasting has to be licensed.
Airwave frequencies have to be allocated
among qualified users. A broadcast

corporation cannot simply appropriate a


certain frequency without regard for
government regulation or for the rights
of others.
b. All forms of communication are
entitled to the broad protection of the
freedom
of
expression
clause.
Necessarily, however, the freedom of
television and radio broadcasting is
somewhat lesser in scope than the
freedom accorded to newspaper and
print media.
c. The broadcast media have also
established
a
uniquely
pervasive
presence in the lives of all Filipinos.
Newspapers and current books are found
only in metropolitan areas and in the
poblaciones of municipalities accessible
to fast and regular transportation. Even
here, there are low income masses who
find the cost of books, newspapers and
magazines beyond their humble means.
Basic needs like food and shelter
perforce enjoy high priorities. On the
other hand, the transistor radio is found
everywhere. The television set is also
becoming universal. Their message may
be simultaneously received by a national
or regional
audience
of listeners
including the indifferent or unwilling who
happen to be within reach of a blaring
radio or television set. The materials
broadcast over the airwaves reach every
person of every age, persons of varying
susceptibilities to persuasion, persons of
different I.Q.s and mental capabilities,
persons who reactions to inflammatory
or offensive speech would be difficult to
monitor or predict. The impact of the

65

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
vibrant
speech
is
forceful
and
immediate. Unlike readers of the printed
work, the radio audience has lesser
opportunity to cogitate, analyze, and
reject the utterance.

5. The clear and present danger test,


therefore, must take the particular
circumstances of broadcast media into
account. The supervision of radio
stationswhether by government or
through self-regulation by the industry
itselfcalls for thoughtful, intelligent,
and sophisticated handling.
6. The freedom to comment on public
affairs is essential to the vitality of a
representative democracy.
7. Broadcast
stations
deserve
the
special protection given to all forms of
media by the due process and freedom
of expression clauses of the Constitution.
Doctrines:
Radio broadcasting, more than other
forms of communications, receives the
most limited protection from the free
expression clause. First, broadcast media
have established a uniquely pervasive
presence in the lives of all citizens.
Material presented over the airwaves
confronts the citizen, not only in public,
but in the privacy of his home. Second,
broadcasting is uniquely accessible to
children. Bookstores and motion picture
theaters may be prohibited from making
certain material available to children, but
the same selectivity cannot be done in

radio or television, where the listener or


viewer is constantly tuning in and out.
The government has a right to be
protected against broadcasts which
incite listeners to violently overthrow it.
Radio and television may not be used to
organize a rebellion or to signal the start
of widespread uprising. At the same
time, the people have a right to be
informed. Radio and television would
have little reason for existence if
broadcasts
are
limited
to
bland,
obsequious, or pleasantly entertaining
utterances. Since they are the most
convenient and popular means of
disseminating varying views on public
issues, they also deserve special
protection.
Justice Teehankees concurring opinion:
If there is any principle of the
Constitution that more imperatively calls
for attachment than any other, it is the
principle of free thoughtnot free
thought for those who agree with us but
freedom for the thought that we hate;
that freedom of expression is a preferred
right and therefore stands on a higher
level than substantive economic or other
liberties, that this must be so because
the lessons of history, both political and
legal, illustrate that freedom of thought
and
speech
is
the
indispensable
condition of nearly every other form of
freedom.
Protection
is
especially
mandated for political discussions. This
Court is particularly concerned when
allegations are made that restraints have
been imposed upon mere criticisms of

66

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
government and public officials. Political
discussion
is
essential
to
the
ascertainment of political truth. It cannot
be the basis of criminal indictments; that
there must be tolerance of political
hyperbole since debate on public issues
should be uninhibited, robust, and wide
open and it may well include vehement,
caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly
sharp attacks on government and public
officials,
that
the
constitutional
guarantees of free speech and free press
do not permit a State to forbid or
prescribe advocacy of the use of force or
of law in violation except where such
advocacy is directed to inciting or
producing imminent lawless action and is
likely to incite or produce such action;
that political discussion even among
those
opposed
to
the
present
administration is within the protective
clause of freedom of speech and
expression. The same cannot be
construed as subversive activities per se
or as evidence of membership in a
subversive organization in the absence
of proof that such discussion was in
furtherance of any plan to overthrow the
government through illegal means.
From Justice Abad Santos concurring
opinion:
The closure of the petitioners radio
station on grounds of national security
without elaboration of the grounds and
without
hearing
deserves
to
be
condemned in no uncertain terms for it is
manifest that due process was not
observed. If there is an idea which
should be impressed in the minds of

those who wield power it is that power


must be used in a reasonable manner.
Arbitrariness must be eschewed. The
main opinion, and the case of Ang Tibay
v. CIR, should be made required reading
materials for public officials who huff and
puff with power making themselves not
merely obnoxious but dangerous as well.
BURGOS V. CHIEF OF STAFF (GR NO.
L-64261, 26 DECEMBER 1984)
Facts: Two search warrants were issued
by Judge Ernani Cruz-Pao, pursuant to
which the premises of the Metropolitan
Mail and We Forum newspapers were
searched, and office and printing
machines, equipment, paraphernalia,
motor vehicles, and other articles used in
the printing, publication, and distribution
of said newspapers, as well as numerous
papers, documents, books, and other
written literature alleged to be in the
possession and control of Jose Burgos, Jr.,
publisher-editor of the We Forum
newspaper,
were
seized.
As
a
consequence of the search and seizure,
the premises were also padlocked and
sealed, with the further result that the
printing and publication of the said
newspapers
were
discontinued.
A
petition for certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus with preliminary mandatory
and
prohibitory
injunction
was
subsequently filed by Burgos with the
Supreme Court, assailing the validity of
the said search warrants, praying for the
return of the seized articles, and
requesting that the articles not be used
in evidence against Burgos in a criminal
case pending against him. The Solicitor

67

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
General stated that these articles will not
be used against Burgos until the legality
of the seizure of the articles has been
finally resolved by the Court.

Respondents aver that the Court


should dismiss the petition because
Burgos had come to the Supreme Court
without having previously sought the
quashal of the search warrants before
the Judge Pao. They also claim that
Burgos is guilty of laches, because while
the said search warrants were issued on
7
December
1982,
the
petition
impugning the same was filed only on 16
June 1983, or afer the lapse of a period
of more than six months. Petitioners, on
the other hand, impugn the validity of
the search warrants on the ground that
the
documents
seized
by
the
respondents could not have provided
sufficient basis for the finding of a
probable cause upon which a warrant
may validly issue.
Issue: W/N the search warrants were
validly issued.
Ruling:
NO. First of all, when the
search warrant applied for is directed
against a newspaper publisher or editor
in connection with the publication of
subversive materials, the application
and/or its supporting affidavits must
contain a specification, stating with
particularity the alleged subversive
material he has published or is intending
to publish. Mere generalization will not
suffice. Thus, the broad statement in Col.
Abadillas application (the Intelligence
Officer who applied for the search

warrant) that petitioner is in possession


or has in his control printing equipment
and
other
paraphernalia,
news
publications and other documents which
were used and are all continuously being
used as a means of committing the
offense of subversion punishable under
PD 885 is a mere conclusion of law and
does not satisfy the requirements of
probable
cause.
Bereft
of
such
particulars as would justify a finding of
the existence of probable cause, said
allegation cannot serve as basis for the
issuance of a search warrant and it was a
grave error for respondent judge to have
done so.
Secondly, the statements contained
in the joint affidavits of Alejandro
Gutierrez and Pedro Tango, members of
the Metrocom Intelligence and Security
Group
under
Col.
Abadilla
which
conducted a surveillance of the premises
prior to the filing of the application for
the search warrants, stating that the
evidence gathered and collated by our
unit clearly shows that the premises
above-mentioned and the articles and
things above-described were used and
are
continuously
being
used
for
subversive activities in conspiracy with,
and to promote the objective of, illegal
organizations such as the Light-a-Fire
Movement,
Movement
for
Free
Philippines, and April 6 Movement, are
insufficient
as
basis
for
the
determination of probable cause. In
mandating that no warrant shall issue
except upon probable cause to be
determined
by
the
judge,
after

68

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
examination under oath or affirmation of
the complainant and the witnesses he
may produce, the Constitution requires
no less than personal knowledge by the
complainant or his witnesses of the facts
upon which the issuance of a search
warrant may be justified. In Alvarez v.
Court of First Instance, the Court ruled
that the oath required must refer to the
truth of the facts within the personal
knowledge of the petitioner of his
witness, because the purpose thereof is
to convince the committing magistrate,
not the individual making the affidavit
and seeking the issuance of the warrant,
of the existence of probable cause. As
couched, the quoted averment in said
joint affidavit filed before the respondent
Judge hardly meets the test of sufficiency
established by this Court in the Alvarez
case.
Next, another factor which makes the
search warrants under consideration
constitutionally objectionable is that they
are in the nature of general warrants.
The description of the articles sought to
be seized under the search warrants in
question were too general, and are
therefore invalid.
Lastly, the closure of the premises,
which was a consequence of the search
and seizure, is in the nature of previous
restraint or censorship abhorrent to the
freedom of the press guaranteed under
the fundamental law, and constitutes a
virtual denial of petitioners freedom to
express themselves in print. This state of
being is patently anathemic to a
democratic framework where a free,

alert, and even militant press is essential


for the political enlightenment and
growth of the citizenry.
Search warrants null and void. Prayer
for a writ of mandatory injunction for the
return of the seized articles granted, and
all articles seized thereunder ordered
released to petitioners.
Laches is failure or negligence for an
unreasonable and unexplained length of
time to do that which, by exercising due
diligence, could or should have been
done earlier. It is negligence or omission
to assert a right within a reasonable
time, warranting a presumption that the
party entitled to assert it either has
abandoned it or declined to assert it.
In the determination of whether a
search warrant describes the premises to
be searched with sufficient particularity,
it has been held that the executing
officers prior knowledge as to the place
intended in the warrant is relevant. This
would seem to be especially true where
the executing officer is the affiant on
whose affidavit the warrant had issued,
and when he knows that the judge who
issued the warrant intended the building
described in the affidavit. And it has also
been said that the executing officer may
look to the affidavit in the official court
file to resolve an ambiguity in the
warrant as to the place to be searched.
Section 2, Rule 126 of the Rules of
Court does not require that the property
to be seized should be owned by the
person against whom the search warrant

69

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
is directed. It may or may not be owned
by him. In fact, under subsection (b) of
the said provision, one of the properties
that may be seized is stolen property.
Necessarily, stolen property must be
owned by one other than the person in
whose possession it may be at the time
of the search and seizure. Ownership,
therefore, is of no consequence, and it is
sufficient that the person against whom
the warrant is directed has control or
possession of the property sought to be
seized.
Probable cause for a search is defined
as such facts and circumstances which
would lead a reasonably discreet and
prudent man to believe that an offense
has been committed and that the objects
sought to in connection with the offense
are in the place sought to be searched.
From Justice Abad Santos concurring
opinion:
The action against We Forum was a
naked suppression of press freedom for
the search warrants were issued in gross
violation of the Constitution.
Any search warrant conducted in
disregard of the two points stressed in
Section 3, Article IV of the 1973
Constitution will result in wiping out
completely one of the most fundamental
rights guaranteed in our Constitution, for
it would place the sanctity of the
domicile
and
the
privacy
of
communication and correspondence at
the mercy of the whims, caprice, or
passion of peace officers.

SANIDAD V. COMELEC (GR


90878, 29 JANUARY 1990)

NO.

Facts: Pablito Sanidad, a newspaper


columnist of the Overview for the
Baguio Midland Courier, a weekly
newspaper circulated in the City of
Baguio and the Cordilleras, assail the
constitutionality of Section 19 of
COMELEC Resolution No. 2167 (An Act
Providing for an Organic Act for the
Cordillera Autonomous Region), which
provides:
Section 19. Prohibition on columnists,
commentators, or announcers. During
the plebiscite campaign period, on the
day before and on the plebiscite day, no
mass media columnist, commentator,
announcer, or personality shall use his
column or radio or television time to
campaign for or against the plebiscite
issues.
Sanidad alleges that the provision is
void and unconstitutional because it
violates the constitutional guarantee of
freedom of expression and of the press
enshrined in the Constitution. He
believes
that
the
said
provision
constitutes
prior
restraint
on
his
constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of
the
press
and
further
imposes
subsequent punishment for those who
may violate it because it contains a
penal provision. He maintains that if
media practitioners were to express their
views, beliefs, and opinions on the issue
submitted to a plebiscite, it would in fact

70

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
help in the government drive and desire
to disseminate information, and hear, as
well as ventilate, all sides of the issue.

The COMELEC maintains that the


questioned
provision
is
a
valid
implementation of the power of the
COMELEC to supervise and regulate
media during election or plebiscite
periods as enunciated in Article IX-C,
Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution. It
further claims that COMELEC Resolution
No. 2167 does not absolutely bar
Sanidad from expressing his views
and/or from campaigning for or against
the Organic Act because he may still
express his views through the COMELEC
space and airtime.
Issue: W/N the assailed provision
violative of the freedom of the press.

their views in the COMELEC space and


airtime does not absolutely bar the
press freedom of expression, it is still a
restriction on their choice of the forum
where they may express their views. This
form of regulation is tantamount to a
restriction of Sanidads freedom of
expression for no justifiable reason.
Section 19 of COMELEC Resolution
No. 2167 declared unconstitutional.
In a plebiscite, votes are taken in an
area on some special political matter
unlike in an election where votes are cast
in favor of specific persons for some
office. In other words, the electorate is
asked to vote for or against issues, not
candidates, in a plebiscite.

is

Ruling:
YES. Neither Article IX-C of
the 1987 Constitution nor Section 11(b),
2nd paragraph of RA 6646 can be
construed to mean that the COMELEC
has been granted the right to supervise
and regulate the exercise by media
practitioners themselves of their right to
expression during plebiscite periods.
Media practitioners exercising their
freedom of expression during plebiscite
periods are neither the franchise holders
nor the candidates. In fact, there are no
candidates involved in a plebiscite.
Therefore, Section 19 of COMELEC
Resolution No. 2167 has no statutory
basis.
Moreover, while the limitation on the
media practitioners freedom to express

Plebiscite issues are a matter of


public concern and importance. The
peoples right to be informed and to be
able to freely and intelligently make a
decision would be better served by
access to an unabridged discussion of
the issues, including the forum. The
people affected by the issues presented
in a plebiscite should not be unduly
burdened by restrictions on the forum
where the right to expression may be
exercised.
AYER
PRODUCTION
V.
JUDGE
CAPULONG (GR NOS. L-82380 & 98,
29 APRIL 1988)
Facts: Hal
McElroy,
an
Australian
filmmaker, and Ayer Productions, his
movie production company, sought to
produce a film for international and local

71

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
release about the historic peaceful
struggle of the Filipinos at EDSA. He
consulted a local movie producer who
advised him to consult further with the
appropriate government agencies, and
also with General Fidel V. Ramos and
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who had
played major roles in the events
proposed to be in the film.
Juan Ponce Enrile stated that he
would not and will not approve of the
use, appropriation, reproduction, and/or
exhibition of his name, or picture, or that
of any member of his family in any
cinema or television production, film or
other
medium
for
advertising
or
commercial exploitation and further
advised McElroy and Ayer Productions
that in the production, airing, showing,
distribution or exhibition of said or
similar film, no reference whatsoever
(whether written, verbal, or visual)
should not be made to him or any
member of his family, much less to any
matter purely personal to them. Ayer
Productions acceded to this demand and
Enriles name was deleted from the
movie script, and the projected motion
picture underwent filming.
Subsequently, Enrile applied for a
temporary restraining order against
McElroy and Ayer, seeking to enjoin them
from producing the movie, alleging that
its production was without the formers
consent
and
over
his
objection,
constituting an obvious violation of his
right to privacy. McElroy filed a Motion to
Dismiss, contending that the film would
not involve the private life of Juan Ponce

Enrile nor that of his family and that an


injunction would amount to a prior
restraint to their right of free expression.
The TRO was issued, and a preliminary
injunction as well. Ayer and McElroy then
separately filed petitions for certiorari
with the Supreme Court, emphasizing
their right to freedom of expression.
Issue: W/N the making of the film
constitutes a violation of Juan Ponce
Enriles right to privacy.
Ruling:
NO. The right of privacy or
the right to be let alone, like the right
of free expression, is not an absolute
right. A limited intrusion into a persons
privacy has long been regarded as
permissible where that person is a public
figure and the information sought to be
elicited from him or to be published
about him constitute matters of a public
character. Succinctly put, the right of
privacy cannot be invoked to resist
publication and dissemination of matters
of public interest. The interest sought to
be protected by the right of privacy is
the right to be free from unwarranted
publicity, from the wrongful publicizing of
the private affairs and activities of an
individual which are outside the realm of
legitimate public concern.
Moreover, Juan Ponce Enrile is a
public figure precisely because of his
participation as a principal actor in the
culminating events of the change of
government in February 1986. Because
his participation therein was major in
character, a film reenactment of the
peaceful revolution that fails to make

72

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
reference to the role played by him
would be grossly unhistorical. The right
of privacy of a public figure is
necessarily narrower than that of an
ordinary citizen. Juan Ponce Enrile has
not retired into the seclusion of simple
private citizenship. He continues to be a
public figure. After a successful
political campaign during which his
participation in the EDSA Revolution was
directly or indirectly referred to in the
press, radio, and television, he sits in a
very public place, the Senate of the
Philippines.
Issue: W/N the injunction issued by the
lower court against the production of the
movie constitutes a violation of McElroy
and his production companys freedom
of expression.
Ruling:
YES. It may be observed at
the outset that what is involved in the
instant case is a prior and direct restraint
on the part of the respondent Judge upon
the exercise of speech of McElroy and
Ayer.
The
respondent
Judge
has
restrained the latter from filming and
producing the entire proposed motion
picture. Because of the preferred
character of the constitutional rights of
freedom of speech and of expression, a
weighty presumption of invalidity vitiates
measures of prior restraint upon such
freedoms. The invalidity of a measure of
prior restraint does not, of course, mean
that no subsequent liability may lawfully
be imposed upon a person claiming to
exercise such constitutional freedoms.
The respondent Judge should have
stayed his hand, instead of issuing an ex

parte TRO one day after the filing of a


complaint by Juan Ponce Enrile and
issuing a preliminary injunction 20 days
later, for the projected motion picture
was as yet uncompleted and hence not
exhibited to any audience. Neither Juan
Ponce Enrile nor the trial Judge knew
what the completed film would precisely
look like. There was, in other words, no
clear and present danger of any
violation of any right to privacy that Juan
Ponce Enrile could lawfully assert.
Moreover, the subject matter of the
film relates to the non-bloody change of
government that took place at EDSA in
February 1986, and the train of events
which led up to that denouement.
Clearly, such subject matter is one of
public interest and concern. Indeed, it is
of international interest. The subject thus
relates to a highly critical stage in the
history of this country and as such, must
be regarded as having passed into the
public domain and as an appropriate
subject for speech and expression and
coverage by any form of mass media.
The subject matter, as set out in the
synopsis of the film, does not relate to
the individual life and certainly not to the
private life of Juan Ponce Enrile. The film
is not principally about, nor is it focused
upon, the man Juan Ponce Enrile; but it is
compelled, if it is to be historical, to refer
to the role played by Juan Ponce Enrile in
the precipitating and the constituent
events of the change of government in
February 1986. The extent of the
intrusion upon the life of Juan Ponce
Enrile that would be entailed by the

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HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
production and exhibition of the film
would therefore be limited in character.
The extent of that intrusion may be
generally described as such intrusion as
is reasonably necessary to keep that film
a truthful historical account.
The line of equilibrium in the specific
context of the instance case between the
constitutional freedom of speech and of
expression and the right to privacy, may
be marked out in terms of a requirement
that the proposed motion picture must
be fairly truthful and historical in its
presentation of events. There must be no
knowing or reckless disregard of truth in
depicting the participation of Juan Ponce
Enrile in the EDSA Revolution. There
must be no presentation of the private
life of Juan Ponce Enrile and certainly no
revelation of intimate or embarrassing
personal facts. To the extent that the film
limits itself in portraying Juan Ponce
Enriles participation in the EDSA
Revolution to those events which are
directly and reasonably related to the
public facts of the EDSA Revolution, the
intrusion into his privacy cannot be
regarded
as
unreasonable
and
actionable. Such portrayal may even be
carried out without a license from him.
Ayer Productions and Hal McElroy
permitted to continue filming.
Freedom of expression includes the
freedom to film and produce motion
pictures and to exhibit such motion
pictures in theaters or to diffuse them
through television.

Motion pictures are important both as


a medium for the communication of
ideas and the expression of artistic
impulse. Their effects on the perception
by our people of issues and public
officials or public figures as well as the
prevailing cultural traits is considerable.
Nor is the importance of motion pictures
as an organ of public opinion lessened by
the fact that they are designed to
entertain as well as to inform. There is
no clear dividing line between what
involves knowledge and what affords
pleasure. If such a distinction were
sustained, there is a diminution of the
basic right to free expression.
Our law, constitutional and statutory,
does include a right of privacy. It is left to
case law, however, to mark out the
precise scope and content of this right in
differing types of particular situations.
In our day and age, motion pictures
are a universally utilized vehicle of
communication
and
medium
of
expression. Along with the press, radio,
and television, motion pictures constitute
a
principal
medium
of
mass
communication
for
information,
education, and entertainment. This
freedom is available in our country both
to locally-owned and to foreign-owned
motion picture companies. Furthermore,
the circumstance that the production of
motion picture films is a commercial
activity expected to yield monetary
profit, is not a disqualification for availing
of freedom of speech and of expression.
In our community as in many other
countries, media facilities are owned

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HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
either by the government or the private
sector but the private sector-owned
media facilities commonly require to be
sustained by being devoted in whole or
in part to revenue producing activities.
Indeed, commercial media constitute the
bulk of such facilities available in our
country
and
hence
to
exclude
commercially owned and operated media
from the exercise of constitutionally
protected freedom of speech and of
expression can only result in the drastic
contraction
of
such
constitutional
liberties in our country.
Lagunzad v. Vda. de Gonzales: Being
a public figure ipso facto does not
automatically destroy in toto a persons
right to privacy. The right to invade a
persons privacy to disseminate public
information does not extend to a fictional
or novelized representation of a person,
no matter how public a figure he or she
may be. A privilege may be given to the
surviving relatives of a deceased person
to protect his memory, but the privilege
exists for the benefit of the living, to
protect their feelings and to prevent a
violation of their own rights in the
character and memory of the deceased.
Gonzales v. COMELEC: The right of
freedom of expression, indeed, occupies
a preferred position in the hierarchy of
civil liberties. However, it is not without
limitations. The prevailing doctrine is
that the clear and present danger rule is
such a limitation. Another criterion of
permissible limitation on freedom of
speech and of the press, which includes
such vehicles of the mass media as

radio, television, and the movies, is the


balancing-of-interests
test.
The
principle requires a court to take
conscious and detailed consideration of
the interplay of interests observable in a
given situation or type of situation. The
limits of freedom of expression are
reached when expression touches upon
matters of essentially private concern.
A public figure has been defined as a
person who, by his accomplishments,
fame, or mode of living, or by adopting a
profession or calling which gives the
public a legitimate interest in his doings,
his affairs, and his character, has
become a public personage. He is, in
other words, a celebrity. Obviously to be
included in this category are those who
have
achieved
some
degree
of
reputation by appearing before the
public, as in the case of an actor, a
professional baseball player, a pugilist,
or any other entertainer. The list is,
however, broader than this. It includes
public officers, famous inventors and
explorers, war heroes and even ordinary
soldiers, an infant prodigy, and no less a
personage than the Grand Exalted Ruler
of a lodge. It includes, in short, anyone
who has arrived at a position where
public attention is focused upon him as a
person. Such public figures were held to
have lost, to some extent at least, their
right of privacy. Three reasons were
given: that they had sought publicity and
consented to it, and so could not
complain when they received it; that
their personalities and their affairs had
already become public, and could no

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HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
longer be regarded as their own private
business; and that the press had a
privilege, under the Constitution, to
inform the public about those who have
become legitimate matters of public
interest. On one or another of these
grounds, and sometimes all, it was held
that there was no liability when they
were given additional publicity, as to
matters legitimately within the scope of
the public interest they had aroused.

The privilege of giving publicity to


news, and other matters of public
interest, was held to arise out of the
desire and the right of the public to know
what is going on in the world, and the
freedom of the press and other agencies
of information to tell it. News includes
all events and items of information which
are out of the ordinary hum-drum
routine, and which have that indefinable
quality of information which arouses
public attention. The privilege of
enlightening the public is not, however,
limited to the dissemination of news in
the sense of current events. It extends
also to information or education, or even
entertainment and amusement, by
books, articles, pictures, films, and
broadcasts
concerning
interesting
phases of human activity in general, as
well as the reproduction of the public
scene in newsreels and travelogues. In
determining where to draw the line, the
courts were invited to exercise a species
of censorship over what the public may
be permitted to read; and they were
understandably liberal in allowing the
benefit of the doubt.

VALMONTE V. BELMONTE (GR NO.


74930, 13 FEBRUARY 1989)
Facts: Ricardo
Valmonte,
a
lawyer,
member of the media, and citizen of the
Republic of the Philippines, wrote to
Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. in his capacity as
the GSIS General Manager, with the
request that he be furnished a copy of
the names of the opposition members of
the Batasang Pambansa who were able
to secure a clean loan of P2,000,000.00
each on guaranty of Mrs. Imelda Marcos.
He based his request on the provision of
the Freedom Constitution which referred
to the right of the people to information
on matters of public concern. Meynardo
Tiro, the Deputy General Counsel of
GSIS, replied in behalf of Belmonte and
told Valmonte that his request could not
be granted because a confidential
relationship existed between the GSIS
and all those who borrow from it, and
that the GSIS has a duty to its customers
to preserve that confidentiality. He added
that it would not be proper for GSIS to
breach
such
confidentiality
unless
ordered by the courts. Valmonte, along
with
other
media
practitioners,
petitioned the Supreme Court for
mandamus.
Issue: W/N the documents evidencing
loan transactions of the GSIS should be
deemed outside the ambit of the right to
information, in view of the right to
privacy which is protected by the
Constitution.
Ruling:
NO. The right to privacy
belongs to the individual in his private

76

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
capacity, and not to public and
governmental agencies like the GSIS.
The right cannot be invoked by juridical
entities like the GSIS. A corporation has
no right of privacy in its name since the
entire basis of the right to privacy is an
injury to the feelings and sensibilities of
the party and a corporation would have
no such ground for relief. Neither can the
GSIS through its General Manager
(Belmonte) invoke the right to privacy of
its borrowers. The right is purely
personal in nature, and hence may be
invoked only by the person whose
privacy is claimed to be violated. But in
this case, however, the concerned
borrowers themselves may not succeed
if they choose to invoke their right to
privacy, considering the public offices
they were holding at the time the loans
were alleged to have been granted. It
cannot be denied that because of the
interest
they
generate
and
their
newsworthiness, public figures, most
especially those holding responsible
positions in government, enjoy a more
limited right to privacy as compared to
ordinary individuals, their actions being
subject to closer public scrutiny.
Issue: W/N the documents are covered
by the constitutional right to information
on matters of public concern, which
guarantees access to official records,
and to documents and papers pertaining
to official acts, transactions, or decisions.
Ruling:
YES. That the GSIS, in
granting the loans, was exercising a
proprietary function would not justify the
exclusion of the transactions from the

coverage and scope of the right to


information.
Considering
that
government-owned
and
controlled
corporations,
whether
performing
proprietary or governmental functions
are accountable to the people, the
transactions entered into by the GSIS, a
GOCC created by special legislation, are
within the ambit of the peoples right to
be
informed
pursuant
to
the
constitutional policy of transparency in
government dealings.
Issue: W/N Valmonte is entitled to the
documents sought by virtue of his
constitutional right to information.
Ruling:
YES. The public nature of
the loanable funds of the GSIS and the
public office held by the alleged
borrowers make the information sought
clearly a matter of public interest and
concern.
GSIS
is
a
trustee
of
contributions from the government and
its employees and the administrator of
various insurance programs for the
benefit of the latter. Undeniably, its
funds assume a public character. More
particularly, the Revised Government
Service Insurance Act of 1977 provides
for annual appropriations to pay the
contributions, premiums, interest, and
other amounts payable to GSIS by the
government, as employer, as well as the
obligations which the Republic of the
Philippines assumes or guarantees to
pay. Considering the nature of its funds,
the GSIS is expected to manage its
resources with utmost prudence and in
strict compliance with the pertinent laws
or rules and regulations. Consequently,

77

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
the GSIS is not supposed to grant clean
loans. It is therefore the legitimate
concern of the public to ensure that
these funds are managed properly with
the end in view of maximizing the
benefits that accrue to the insured
government employees. Furthermore,
the supposed borrowers were members
of the defunct Batansang Pambansa who
themselves appropriated funds for the
GSIS and were therefore expected to be
the first to see to it that the GSIS
performed its tasks with the greatest
degree of fidelity and that all its
transactions were above board.

Moreover, petitioners are practitioners in


media. As such, they have both the right
to gather and the obligation to check the
accuracy
of
information
they
disseminate. For them, the freedom of
the press and of speech is not only
critical, but vital to the exercise of their
professions. The right of access to
information ensures that these freedoms
are not rendered nugatory by the
governments monopolizing pertinent
information. For an essential element of
these freedoms is to keep open a
continuing dialogue or process of
communication between the government
and the people. It is in the interest of the
State that the channels for free political
discussion be maintained to the end that
the government may perceive and be
responsive to the peoples will. Yet, this
open dialogue can be effective only to
the extent that the citizenry is informed
and thus able to formulate its will
intelligently. Only when the participants

in the discussion are aware of the issues


and have access to information relating
thereto can such bear fruit.
THUS, the Supreme Court rules as such:
Petitioners are entitled to access the
documents evidencing loans granted by
the
GSIS,
subject
to
reasonable
regulations
that
the
latter
may
promulgate relating to the manner and
hours of examination, to the end that
damage to or loss of the records may be
avoided, that undue interference with
the duties of the custodian of the records
may be prevented and that the right of
other persons entitled to inspect the
records may be insured. However, the
request of the petitioners to compel
Belmonte to furnish the former the list of
the names of the Batasang Pambansa
members belonging to the UNIDO and
PDP-Laban who were able to secure
clean loans before the 7 February
election
through
the
intercession/marginal note of the then
First Lady Imelda Marcos. Although
citizens are afforded the right to
information and, pursuant thereto, are
entitled to access to official records,
the Constitution does not accord them a
right to compel custodians of official
records to prepare lists, abstracts,
summaries, and the like in their desire to
acquire information on matters of public
concern.
An informed citizenry with access to
the diverse currents in political, moral
and artistic thought and date relative to
them, and the free exchange of ideas
and discussion of issues thereon, is vital

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HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
to
the
democratic
government
envisioned under our Constitution. The
cornerstone of this republican system of
government is delegation of power by
the people to the State. In this system,
governmental agencies and institutions
operate within the limits of the authority
conferred by the people. Denied access
to information on the inner workings of
government, the citizenry can become
prey to the whims and caprices of those
to whom the power had been delegated.
The postulate of a public office as a
public trust, institutionalized in the
Constitution to protect the people from
abuse of governmental power, would
certainly be empty words if access to
such information of public concern is
denied,
except
under
limitations
prescribed by implementing legislation
adopted pursuant to the Constitution.
The right to information is an
essential premise of a meaningful right
to speech and expression. But this is not
to say that the right to information is
merely an adjunct of and therefore
restricted in application by the exercise
of the freedoms of speech and of the
press. Far from it. The right to
information goes hand-in-hand with the
constitutional policies of full public
disclosure and honesty in the public
service. It is meant to enhance the
widening role of the citizenry in
governmental decision-making as well as
in checking abuse in government.
Like all constitutional guarantees, the
right to information is not absolute. The
peoples right to information is limited to

matters of public concern and is


further subject to such limitations as
may be provided by law. Similarly, the
States policy of full disclosure is limited
to
transactions
involving
public
interest, and is subject to reasonable
conditions prescribed by law.
Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission:
In determining whether or not a
particular information is of public
concern there is no rigid test which can
be applied. Public concern like public
interest is a term that eludes exact
definition. Both terms embrace a broad
spectrum of subjects which the public
may want to know, either because these
directly affect their lives, or simply
because such matters naturally arouse
the interest of an ordinary citizen. In the
final analysis, it is for the courts to
determine on a case by case basis
whether the matter at issue is of interest
or importance, as it relates to or affects
the public.
The
constituent-ministrant
dichotomy characterizing government
function has long been repudiated. The
Government, whether carrying out its
sovereign attributes or running some
business, discharges the same function
of service to the people.

BALDOZA V. DIMAANO
1120-MJ, 5 MAY 1976)

(AM

NO.

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HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2nd Semester)


Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
Facts: The Municipal Secretary of Taal,
Batangas, Dominador Baldoza, charged
Municipal Judge Rodolfo Dimaano of the
same municipality with abuse of
authority in refusing to allow employees
of the Municipal Mayor to examine the
criminal docket records of the Municipal
Court to secure data in connection with
their contemplated report on the peace
and order conditions of the said
municipality. The case was referred to
Judge Francisco Mat. Riodique for
investigation
and
report.
At
the
preliminary hearing, Taal Mayor Corazon
Caniza filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint to preserve harmony and
cooperation among officers in the same
municipality. The motion was denied by
the Investigating Judge, but after formal
investigation,
he
recommended
exoneration of the respondent Judge.
Issue: W/N
Judge
Dimaano
acted
arbitrarily in refusing to allow employees
of the Municipal Mayor to examine the
criminal docket records of the Municipal
Court.
Ruling:
NO. As found by the
Investigating Judge, the respondent
allowed the complainant to open and
view the docket books, under certain
conditions and under his control and
supervision. It has not been shown that
the rules and conditions imposed by the
respondent Judge were unreasonable.
Case
against
dismissed.

Judge

Dimaano

The access to public records is


predicated on the right of the people to
acquire information on matters of public
concern. Undoubtedly in a democracy,
the public has a legitimate interest in
matters
of
social
and
political
significance.
People ex rel. Guarantee & T. Co. v.
Railly: While the Register of Deeds has
discretion to exercise as to the manner in
which persons desiring to inspect,
examine, or copy the records in his office
may exercise their rights, such power
does not carry with it authority to
prohibit. Except, perhaps, when it is clear
that the purpose of the examination is
unlawful, or sheer, idle curiosity, the
Court does not believe it is the duty
under the law of registration officers to
concern themselves with the motives,
reasons, and objects of the person
seeking access to the records. It is not
their prerogative to see that the
information which the records contain is
not flaunted before public gaze, or that
scandal is not made of it. If it be wrong
to publish the contents of the records, it
is the legislature and not the officials
having custody thereof which is called
upon to devise a remedy. As to the moral
or material injury which the publication
might inflict on other parties, that is the
publishers responsibility and lookout.
The publication is made subject to the
consequences of the law.
The New Constitution now expressly
recognizes that the people are entitled to
information on matters of public concern
and thus are expressly granted access to

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Atty. Rodel Taton
Sharla Louisse A. Castillo
official records, as well as documents of
official acts, or transactions, or decisions,
subject to such limitations imposed by
law. The incorporation of this right in the
Constitution is a recognition of the
fundamental role of free exchange of
information in a democracy. There can be
no realistic perception by the public of
the nations problems, nor a meaningful
democratic decision making if they are
denied access to information of general
interest. Information is needed to enable
the members of society to cope with the
exigencies of the times. Maintaining the
flow of such information depends on
protection for both its acquisition and its
dissemination since, if either process is
interrupted, the flow inevitably ceases.
However, restrictions on access to
certain records may be imposed by law.
Thus, access restrictions imposed to
control civil insurrection have been
permitted upon a showing of immediate
and impending danger that renders
ordinary means of control inadequate to
maintain order.

81