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WRIT OF HABEAS DATA

The writ of habeas data provides a judicial remedy to protect a persons right to
control information regarding oneself, particularly in instances where such
information is being collected through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful
end.
As an independent and summary remedy to protect the right to privacy especially
the right to informational privacy the proceedings for the issuance of the writ of
habeas data does not entail any finding of criminal, civil or administrative
culpability.

Literal Translation of Habeas Data


You should have the data.

PURPOSE OF THE WRIT OF HABEAS DATA


It is designed to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the information age by
means of an individual complaint presented in a constitutional court.
Specifically, it protects the image, privacy, honor, information, self-determination,
and freedom of information of a person.

PHILIPPINE HABEAS DATA


The Rule on Habeas Data, promulgated by the Supreme Court on January 22, 2008
through A.M. 08-1-16 and took effect on February 2, 2008, was born in the midst of
worsening human rights condition in the country through extra-judicial killings,
enforced disappearance and torture.

WRIT IS A GUARANTEE TO THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND THE RIGHT TO TRUTH


Recourse to the action for habeas data has become a fundamental instrument for
investigations into human rights violations committed during past military
dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere. Family members of disappeared persons
have used actions for habeas data to obtain information concerning government
conduct, to learn the fate of disappeared persons, and to exact accountability.

WRIT OF HABEAS DATA VIS--VIS WRIT OF HABEAS AMPARO


The Writ of Habeas Data is not complimentary to the writ of amparo. It is an
independent remedy to enforce the right to informational privacy. All persons have
the right to access information about themselves, especially if it is in the hands of
the government. Any violation of this right ought to give the aggrieved person the
remedy to go to court to modify, remove or correct such misinformation. The right
to access and control personal information is essential to protect ones privacy,
honor and personal identity, even as it underscores accountability in information
gathering.

A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC


WRIT OF HABEAS DATA
NATURE AND SCOPE OF THE PHILIPPINE HABEAS DATA
SEC. 1. Habeas Data. - The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person
whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or
entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information
regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party.

Interpreted to refer to an act or omission which violates or threatens the right to


privacy of an individual which in turn, results in violating or threatening his or her
right to life, liberty or security.
Habeas data essentially allows families of victims of enforced disappearance to
petition the courts to compel government and security officials to allow access to
documents about the missing person.
The rule requires that the act or omission causing the violation must be unlawful. It
is best that the petition must allege the unlawfulness of an act or omission to fulfill
this required element.
Any gathering, collecting, storing or using of data on an individual, without that
individuals consent, is presumed unlawful UNLESS the respondent proves that the
data is current, accurate, its confidentiality assured, and was legally acquired or
gathered for a legitimate or legal purpose.
The media may be a respondent in a habeas data petition, but it can raise as a
defense the confidentiality of its sources, and therefore privileged, as the habeas
data rule provides.

BASIS OF THE WRIT


It is based on the principle that the privacy of ones person, family and home is a
sanctified right in the history of constitutional law. (Irene Cortes, The Constitutional
Foundations of Privacy, in Emerging Trends, UP Press, 1983). It has been said that a
mans home is his kingdom, which even the king has to respect. (Morfe v. Mutuc,
130 Phil. 415; 22 SCRA 424).

INAPPLICABILITY TO COMMERCIAL CONCERNS


The writ of habeas data will NOT issue to protect purely property or commercial
concerns nor when the grounds invoked in support of the petitions therefor are
vague or doubtful.

CASE: The writ of habeas data cannot be invoked in labor disputes where there is no
unlawful
violation of the right to life, liberty, or security.
Employment is a property right in the due process clause. Lim was concerned with
her employment, one that can be solved in the NLRC. There was no violation of
respondents right to privacy. Respondent even said that the letters were mere jokes
and even conceded the fact that the issue was labor related due to references to
real intent of management.(MERALCO ET AL VS. ROSARIO GOPEZ LIM GR No.
184769, October 5, 2010)

Habeas data cannot be invoked when respondents in the petition or issuance of the
writ are not gathering, collecting, or storing data or information.
The coverage of the writs is limited to the protection of rights to life, liberty and
security. And the writs cover not only actual but also threats of unlawful acts or
omissions.
To thus be covered by the privilege of the writs, respondents must meet the
threshold requirement that their right to life, liberty and security is violated or
threatened with an unlawful act or omission. Evidently, the present controversy
arose out of a property dispute between the Provincial Government and
respondents. Absent any considerable nexus between the acts complained of and
its effect on respondents right to life, liberty and security, the Court will not delve
on the propriety of petitioners entry into the property.
Oddly, respondents also seek the issuance of a writ of habeas data when it is not
even alleged that petitioners are gathering, collecting or storing data or information
regarding their person, family, home and correspondence. (Felixberto Castillo, et al
vs Amanda Cruz, et al GR No. 182165, November 25 2009)

DOCTRINE OF COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY ON HABEAS DATA PROCEEDING


Command responsibility pertains to the responsibility of commanders for crimes
committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to
their control in international wars or domestic conflict.

Although originally used for ascertaining criminal complicity, the command


responsibility doctrine has also found application in civil cases for human rights
abuses. This development in the use of command responsibility in civil proceedings
shows that the application of this doctrine has been liberally extended even to
cases not criminal in nature. Thus, the doctrine may likewise find application in
proceedings seeking the privilege of the writ of habeas data. (IN THE MATTER OF
THE PETITION FOR THE WRIT OF AMPARO AND HABEAS DATA IN FAVOR OF NORIEL
H. RODRIGUEZ, NORIEL H. RODRIGUEZ VS. GMA, G.R. No. 191805 November 15,
2011)

EVIDENCE REQUIRED IN HABEAS DATA PROCEEDINGS


Substantial evidence of an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in
life, liberty or security of the victim is an indispensable requirement before the
privilege of the writ may be extended.
In the case at bar, Roxas failed to show that there is an actual or threatened
violation of such right. Verily, until such time that any of the public respondents
were found to be actually responsible for the abduction and torture of the petitioner,
any inference regarding the existence of reports being kept in violation of the
petitioners right to privacy becomes farfetched, and premature. The Court must, at
least in the meantime, strike down the grant of the privilege of the writ of habeas
data. (IN RE ROXAS VS. GMA et al)

WHO MAY FILE THE PETITION


SEC. 2. Who May File. - Any aggrieved party may file a petition for the writ of
habeas data. However, in cases of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances,
the petition may be filed by:
(a) Any member of the immediate family of the aggrieved party, namely: the
spouse, children and parents; or
(b) Any ascendant, descendant or collateral relative of the aggrieved party within
the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, in default of those mentioned in
the preceding paragraph.

Any Aggrieved Party


Third parties - in cases of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.
In this situation, it is important to allege the threat of extrajudicial killing or enforced
disappearance in the petition in order to grant third parties the standing to file the
petition.
Unlike in Amparo, human rights organizations or institutions are no longer allowed
to file the petition, possibly in recognition of the privacy aspect of a habeas data
petition.

WHERE TO FILE THE PETITION


(i) The Regional Trial Court where the respondent or petitioner resides

(ii) The Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the place where the data or
information is gathered, collected or stored.

(iii) The Supreme Court, Court of Appeals or the Sandiganbayan when the action
concerns public data files of government offices. (Section 3)

WHERE THE WRIT IS RETURNABLE AND ENFORCEABLE


SEC. 4. Where Returnable; Enforceable. - When the writ is issued by a Regional Trial
Court or any judge thereof, it shall be returnable before such court or judge.

When issued by the Court of Appeals or the Sandiganbayan or any of its justices, it
may be returnable before such court or any justice thereof, or to any Regional Trial
Court of the place where the petitioner or respondent resides, or that which has
jurisdiction over the place where the data or information is gathered, collected or
stored.

When issued by the Supreme Court or any of its justices, it may be returnable
before such Court or any justice thereof, or before the Court of Appeals or the
Sandiganbayan or any of its justices, or to any Regional Trial Court of the place
where the petitioner or respondent resides, or that which has jurisdiction over the
place where the data or information is gathered, collected or stored.

The writ of habeas data shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines.

PAYMENT OF DOCKET FEES


SEC. 5. Docket Fees. - No docket and other lawful fees shall be required from an
indigent petitioner. The petition of the indigent shall be docked and acted upon
immediately, without prejudice to subsequent submission of proof of indigency not
later than fifteen (15) days from the filing of the petition.

CONTENTS OF THE PETITION


SEC. 6. Petition. - A verified written petition for a writ of habeas data should contain:
(a) The personal circumstances of the petitioner and the respondent;
(b) The manner the right to privacy is violated or threatened and how it affects the
right to life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party;
(c) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to secure the data or
information;
(d) The location of the files, registers or databases, the government office, and the
person in charge, in possession or in control of the data or information, if known;
(e) The reliefs prayed for, which may include the updating, rectification, suppression
or destruction of the database or information or files kept by the respondent.
In case of threats, the relief may include a prayer for an order enjoining the act
complained of; and
(f) Such other relevant reliefs as are just and equitable.

DANIEL MASANGKAY TAPUZ vs. HON. JUDGE ELMO DEL ROSARIO, ET ALG.R. No.
182484 June 17, 2008

In the present case, Support for the habeas data aspect of the present petition only
alleges that:
1. Similarly, a petition for a WRIT OF HABEAS DATA is prayed for so that the PNP
may release the report on the burning of the homes of the petitioners and the acts
of violence employed against them by the private respondents, furnishing the Court
and the petitioners with copy of the same;

66. Petitioners apply for a WRIT OF HABEAS DATA commanding the Philippine
National Police [PNP] to produce the police report pertaining to the burning of the
houses of the petitioners in the land in dispute and likewise the investigation report
if an investigation was conducted by the PNP.

These allegations obviously lack what the Rule on Writ of Habeas Data requires as a
minimum, thus rendering the petition fatally deficient. Specifically, we see no
concrete allegations of unjustified or unlawful violation of the right to privacy
related to the right to life, liberty or security. The petition likewise has not alleged,
much less demonstrated, any need for information under the control of police
authorities other than those it has already set forth as integral annexes. The
necessity or justification for the issuance of the writ, based on the insufficiency of
previous efforts made to secure information, has not also been shown.

SEC. 7. Issuance of the Writ. - Upon the filing of the petition, the court, justice or
judge shall immediately order the issuance of the writ if on its face it ought to issue.
The clerk of court shall issue the writ under the seal of the court and cause it to be
served within three (3) days from the issuance; or, in case of urgent necessity, the
justice or judge may issue the writ under his or her own hand, and may deputize
any officer or person serve it.
The writ shall also set the date and time for summary hearing of the petition which
shall not be later than ten (10) work days from the date of its issuance.

WHEN IS THE WRIT ISSUED


The rule requires courts to immediately issue a writ if, from the face of the
petition, it ought to issue. Although no period was provided, it is expected that the
writ should issue forthwith since all the court is required to look into is simply if it
ought to issue on its face.

If there is utmost urgency, Petitioner has the option of asking the court, through the
Petition, to deputize petitioners counsel or representative to serve the writ on
respondents.

PENALTY FOR REFUSING TO ISSUE OR SERVE THE WRIT


SEC. 8. Penalty for Refusing to Issue or Serve the Writ. - A clerk of court who refuses
to issue the writ after its allowance, or a deputized person who refuses to serve the
same, shall be punished by the court, justice or judge for contempt without
prejudice to other disciplinary actions.

SEC. 9. How the Writ is Served The writ shall be served upon the respondent by a
judicial officer or by a person deputized by the court, justice or judge who shall
retain a copy on which to make a return of service. In case the writ cannot be
served personally on the respondent, the rules on substituted service shall apply.

HOW WILL THE WRIT BE SERVED


SEC. 10. Return; Contents. - The respondent shall file in a verified written return
together with supporting affidavits within five (5) working days form service of the
writ, which period may be reasonably extended by the Court for justifiable reasons.
The return shall, among other things, contain the following:
(a) The lawful defenses such as national security, state secrets, privileged
communications, confidentiality of the source of information of media and others;
(b) In case of respondent in charge, in possession or in control of the data or
information subject of the petition;
(i) a disclosure of the data or information about the petitioner, the nature of such
data or information, and the purpose for its collection;
(ii) the steps or actions taken by the respondent to ensure the security and
confidentiality of the data or information; and,
(iii) the currency and accuracy of the data or information held; and,
(c) Other allegations relevant to the resolution of the proceeding.
A general denial of the allegations in the petition shall not be allowed.

UPON RECEIPT OF THE WRIT, WHAT SHALL THE RESPONDENT FILE?


Firstly, the return must also be verified by the respondent.
Secondly, the return must specify its lawful defenses to the Petition.
Thirdly, the return must state the currency and accuracy of the data or
information.
This could be the focal point of the petition since if respondent fails to prove that
the data is current and accurate, the prayer for its rectification or destruction should
be granted.
The collection and storage of data on an individual, without that individuals
consent, should be presumed a violation of his or her constitutional right to privacy.

UPON RECEIPT OF THE WRIT, WHAT SHALL THE RESPONDENT FILE?


WHAT IS THE CONSEQUENCE IF RESPONDENT FILES A FALSE RETURN OR REFUSES
TO MAKE A RETURN?
SEC. 11. Contempt. - The court, justice or judge may punish with imprisonment or
fine a respondent who commits contempt by making a false return, or refusing to
make a return; or any person who otherwise disobeys or resist a lawful process or
order of the court
HOW WILL BE THE HEARING CONDUCTED IN CASES OF SENSITIVE DATA?
SEC. 12. When Defenses May be Heard in Chambers. - A hearing in chambers may
be conducted where the respondent invokes the defense that the release of the
data or information in question shall compromise national security or state secrets,
or when the data or information cannot be divulged to the public due to its nature or
privileged character.

Can the respondent file a pleading other than a return? NO.


SEC. 13. Prohibited Pleadings and Motions. - The following pleadings and motions
are prohibited:
(a) Motion to dismiss;
(b) Motion for extension of time to file return, opposition, affidavit, position paper
and other pleadings;
(c) Dilatory motion for postponement;
(d) Motion for a bill of particulars;
(e) Counterclaim or cross-claim;
(f) Third-party complaint;
(g) Reply;
(h) Motion to declare respondent in default;
(i) Intervention;
(j) Memorandum;
(k) Motion for reconsideration of interlocutory orders or interim relief orders; and
(l) Petition for certiorari, mandamus or prohibition against any interlocutory order.

WHAT IS THE EFFECT IF RESPONDENT FAILS TO FILE A RETURN?


SEC. 14. Return; Filing. - In case the respondent fails to file a return, the court,
justice or judge shall proceed to hear the petition ex parte, granting the petitioner
such relief as the petition may warrant unless the court in its discretion requires the
petitioner to submit evidence.
NATURE OF THE HEARING
SEC. 15. Summary Hearing. - The hearing on the petition shall be summary.
However, the court, justice or judge may call for a preliminary conference to
simplify the issues and determine the possibility of obtaining stipulations and
admissions from the parties.

Is there a period within which the court must decide the petition? What should the
decision contain?
SEC. 16. Judgment. - The court shall render judgment within ten (10) days from the
time the petition is submitted for decision. If the allegations in the petition are
proven by substantial evidence, the court shall enjoin the act complained of, or
order the deletion, destruction, or rectification of the erroneous data or information
and grant other relevant reliefs as may be just and equitable; otherwise, the
privilege of the writ shall be denied.
Upon its finality, the judgment shall be enforced by the sheriff or any lawful officers
as may be designated by the court, justice or judge within five (5) working days.
GRANT OF THE WRIT OF HABEAS DATA vs. GRANT OF THE PRIVILEGE OF THE
WRIT OF HABEAS DATA
SEC. 17. Return of Service. The officer who executed the final judgment shall,
within three (3) days from its enforcement, make a verified return to the court. The
return shall contain a full statement of the proceedings under the writ and a
complete inventory of the database or information, or documents and articles
inspected, updated, rectified, or deleted, with copies served on the petitioner and
the respondent.

The officer shall state in return how the judgment was enforced and complied with
by the respondent, as well as all objections of the parties regarding the manner and
regularity of the service of the writ.

What shall the Sheriff do after enforcement of the writ?


CONTENTS of the Return of Service

Full statement of the proceedings under the writ;


Complete inventory of the database or information or documents or
articles inspected, updated, rectified, or deleted, with the copies served
on the petitioner and respondent;
Statement by the officer how the judgment was enforced and complied
with by the respondent; and
All the objections of the parties regarding the manner and regularity of
the service of writ.

HEARING ON OFFICERS RETURN


SEC. 18. Hearing on Officers Return. The court shall set the return for
hearing with due notice to the parties and act accordingly.
REMEDY of an Aggrieved Party after judgment is rendered
SEC. 19. Appeal. Any party may appeal from the final judgment or order to the
Supreme Court under Rule 45. The appeal may raise questions of fact or law or
both.
The period of appeal shall be five (5) working days from the date of notice of the
judgment or final order.
The appeal shall be given the same priority as in habeas corpus and amparo cases.

EFFECT of the filing of the Petition in relation to the Right to file other action
SEC. 20. Institution of Separate Actions. The filing of a petition for the writ of
habeas data shall not preclude the filing of separate criminal, civil or administrative
actions.

EFFECT of the filing of a Criminal Action AFTER the filing of the Petition
SEC. 21. Consolidation. When a criminal actions is filed subsequent to the filing of
a petition for the writ, the latter shall be consolidated with the criminal actions.
When a criminal action and a separate civil action are filed subsequent to a petition
for a writ of habeas data, the petition shall be consolidated with the criminal action
After consolidation, the procedure under this Rule shall continue to govern the
disposition of the reliefs in the petition.

May a petition for habeas data be filed if there is a pending criminal action? NO
SEC. 22. Effect of Filing of a Criminal Action. When a criminal action has been
commenced, no separate petition for the writ shall be filed. The relief under the writ
shall be available to an aggrieved party by motion in the criminal case.
The procedure under this Rule shall govern the disposition of the reliefs available
under the writ of habeas data.

SUBSTANTIVE RIGHTS
SEC. 23. Substantive Rights. This Rule shall not diminish, increase or modify
substantive rights.

SUPPLETORY APPLICATION OF THE RULES OF COURT


SEC. 24. Suppletory Application of the Rules of Court. The Rules of Court shall
apply suppletorily insofar as it is not inconsistent with this Rule.

EFFECTIVITY
SEC. 25. Effectivity. This Rule shall take effect on February 2, 2008, following its
publication in three (3) newspapers of general circulation.

Marynette R. Gamboa vs. P/SSUPT.Marlou C. Chan GR No. 193636, July 24, 2012
The writ of habeas data may not be granted.
The writ of habeas data is an independent and summary remedy designed to
protect the image, privacy, honor, information, and freedom of information of an
individual, and to provide a forum to enforce ones right to the truth and to
informational privacy.
It seeks to protect a persons right to control information regarding oneself,
particularly in instances in which such information is being collected through
unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends. It must be emphasized that in
order for the privilege of the writ to be granted, there must exist a nexus between
the right to privacy on the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the
other.

RECENT JURISPRUDENCE
Gamboa was unable to prove through substantial evidence that her inclusion in the
list of individuals maintaining PAGs made her and her supporters susceptible to
harassment and to increased police surveillance. In this regard, respondents
sufficiently explained that the investigations conducted against her were in relation
to the criminal cases in which she was implicated. As public officials, they enjoy the
presumption of regularity, which she failed to overcome.

It is clear from the foregoing discussion that the state interest of dismantling PAGs
far outweighs the alleged intrusion on the private life of Gamboa, especially when
the collection and forwarding by the PNP of information against her was pursuant to
a lawful mandate. Therefore, the privilege of the writ of habeas data must be
denied.

SAEZ VS GMAG.R. No. 183533, September 25, 2012


Petitioner failed to adduced substantial evidence to prove his claims
It cannot be overemphasized that Section 1 of both the Rules on the Writ of Amparo
and Habeas Data expressly include in their coverage even threatened violations
against a persons right to life, liberty or security. Further, threat and intimidation
that vitiate the free will although not involving invasion of bodily integrity
nevertheless constitute a violation of the right to security in the sense of "freedom
from threat".
It must be stressed, however, that such "threat" must find rational basis on the
surrounding circumstances of the case. In this case, the petition was mainly
anchored on the alleged threats against his life, liberty and security by reason of his
inclusion in the militarys order of battle, the surveillance and monitoring activities
made on him, and the intimidation exerted upon him to compel him to be a military
asset. While as stated earlier, mere threats fall within the mantle of protection of
the writs of amparo and habeas data, in the petitioners case, the restraints and
threats allegedly made allegations lack corroborations, are not supported by
independent and credible evidence, and thus stand on nebulous grounds.

Doctrine of Command Responsibility is applicable in Habeas Data proceedings


In Noriel Rodriguez v. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, et al., the Court stated:
a. Command responsibility of the President
The president, being the commander-in-chief of all armed forces, necessarily
possesses control over the military that qualifies him as a superior within the
purview of the command responsibility doctrine.

Pursuant to the doctrine of command responsibility, the President, as the


Commander-in-Chief of the AFP, can be held liable for affront against the
petitioners rights to life, liberty and security as long as substantial evidence exist to
show that he or she had exhibited involvement in or can be imputed with
knowledge of the violations, or had failed to exercise necessary and reasonable
diligence in conducting the necessary investigations required under the rules.

The petitioner, however, is not exempted from the burden of proving by substantial
evidence his allegations against the President to make the latter liable for either
acts or omissions violative of rights against life, liberty and security.

In the instant case, the petitioner merely included the Presidents name as a party
respondent without any attempt at all to show the latters actual involvement in, or
knowledge of the alleged violations.