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G.R. No.

121087 August 26, 1999


FELIPE NAVARRO, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
FACTS:
Two local media men, Stanley Jalbuena, Enrique Lingan, in Lucena City wnet to the police station to report
alleged indecent show in one of the night establishment shows in the City. At the station, a heated confrontation
followed between victim Lingan and accused policeman Navarro who was then having drinks outside the
headquarters, lead to a fisticuffs. The victim was hit with the handle of the accused's gun below the left eyebrow,
followed by a fist blow, resulted the victim to fell and died under treatment. The exchange of words was recorded
on tape, specifically the frantic exclamations made by Navarro after the altercation that it was the victim who
provoked the fight. During the trial, Jalbuena, the other media man , testified. Presented in evidence to confirm his
testimony was a voice recording he had made of the heated discussion at the police station between the accused
police officer Navarro and the deceased, Lingan, which was taken without the knowledge of the two.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the voice recording is admissible in evidence in view of RA 4200, which prohibits wire
tapping.
HELD:
1. the tape is admissible in view of R.A. No. 4200, which prohibits wire tapping. The law provides: Sec. 1. It shall
be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word,
to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record
such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as dictaphone or dictagraph of
dectectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape-recorder, or however otherwise described:
It shall also be unlawful for any person, be he a participant or not in the act or acts penalized in the next preceding
sentence, to knowingly possess any tape record, wire record, disc record, or any other such record, or copies
thereof, of any communication or spoken word secured either before or after the effective date of this Act in the
manner prohibited by this law; or to replay the same for any other person or persons; or to communicate the
contents thereof, either verbally or in writing, or to furnish transcriptions thereof, whether complete or partial, to
any other person: Provided, That the use of such record or any copies thereof as evidence in any civil, criminal
investigation or trial of offenses mentioned in section 3 hereof, shall not be covered by this prohibition.
Sec. 4. Any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of
the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained obtained or secured by any person in violation
of the preceding sections of this Act shall not be admissible in evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or
administrative hearing or investigation.
Thus, the law prohibits the overhearing, intercepting, or recording of private communications.
29
Since the
exchange between petitioner Navarro and Lingan was not private, its tape recording is not prohibited.

G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995
SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and ESTER S. GARCIA, respondents.
Facts:
A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro Ramirez in the Quezon City RTC alleging that the private
respondent, Ester Garcia, in a confrontation in the latters office, allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a
hostile and furious mood and in a manner offensive to petitioners dignity and personality, contrary to morals,
good customs and public policy.
In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of the event and sought damages. The transcript
on which the civil case was based was culled from a tape recording of the confrontation made by petitioner.
As a result of petitioners recording of the event and alleging that the said act of secretly taping the confrontation
was illegal, private respondent filed a criminal case before the Pasay RTC for violation of Republic Act 4200,
entitled An Act to prohibit and penalize wire tapping and other related violations of private communication, and
other purposes.
Petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information, which the RTC later on granted, on the ground that the facts
charged do not constitute an offense, particularly a violation of R.A. 4200.
The CA declared the RTCs decision null and void and denied the petitioners MR, hence the instant petition.
Issue:
W/N the Anti-Wiretapping Act applies in recordings by one of the parties in the conversation
Held:
Yes. Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, An Act to Prohibit and Penalized Wire Tapping and Other Related Violations
of Private Communication and Other Purposes, provides:
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or
spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear,
intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or
dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or however otherwise described.
The aforestated provision 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. Consequently, as
respondent Court of Appeals correctly concluded, 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 this
provision of R.A. 4200.
A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records, moreover, supports the respondent courts conclusion that in
enacting R.A. 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.
The nature of the conversations is immaterial to a violation of the statute. The substance of the same need not be
specifically alleged in the information. What R.A. 4200 penalizes are the acts of secretly overhearing, intercepting
or recording private communications by means of the devices enumerated therein. The mere allegation that an
individual made a secret recording of a private communication by means of a tape recorder would suffice to
constitute an offense under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor General pointed out in his COMMENT before
the respondent court: Nowhere (in the said law) is it required that before one can be regarded as a violator, the
nature of the conversation, as well as its communication to a third person should be professed.
Petitioners contention that the phrase private communication in Section 1 of R.A. 4200 does not include
private conversations narrows the ordinary meaning of the word communication to a point of absurdity. The
word communicate comes from the latin word communicare, meaning to share or to impart. In its ordinary
signification, communication connotes the act of sharing or imparting signification, communication connotes the
act of sharing or imparting, as in a conversation, or signifies the process by which meanings or thoughts are
shared between individuals through a common system of symbols (as language signs or gestures)
These definitions are broad enough to include verbal or non-verbal, written or expressive communications of
meanings or thoughts which are likely to include the emotionally-charged exchange, on February 22, 1988,
between petitioner and private respondent, in the privacy of the latters office. Any doubts about the legislative
bodys meaning of the phrase private communication are, furthermore, put to rest by the fact that the terms
conversation and communication were interchangeably used by Senator Taada in his Explanatory Note to the
Bill.
Zulueta vs. Court of Appeals [GR 107383, 20 February 1996]
Second Division, Mendoza (J): 3 concur
Facts: Cecilia Zulueta is the wife of Dr. Alfredo Martin. On 26 March 1982, Zulueta entered the clinic of her
husband, a doctor of medicine, and in the presence of her mother, a driver and Martin's secretary, forcibly
opened the drawers and cabinet in her husband's clinic and took 157 documents consisting of private
Constitutional Law II, 2005 ( 5 )Narratives (Berne Guerrero)
correspondence between Dr. Martin and his alleged paramours, greetings cards, cancelled checks, diaries, Dr.
Martin's passport, and photographs. The documents and papers were seized for use in evidence in a case for
legal separation and for disqualification from the practice of medicine which Zulueta had filed against her
husband. Dr. Martin brought the action for recovery of the documents and papers and for damages against
Zulueta, with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch X. After trial, the trial court rendered judgment for
Martin, declaring him the capital/exclusive owner of the properties described in paragraph 3 of Martin's
Complaint or those further described in the Motion to Return and Suppress and ordering Zulueta and any
person acting in her behalf to a immediately return the properties to Dr. Martin and to pay him P5,000.00, as
nominal damages; P5,000.00, as moral damages and attorney's fees; and to pay the costs of the suit. On
appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court. Zulueta filed the petition for
review with the Supreme Court.
Issue: Whether the injunction declaring the privacy of communication and correspondence to be inviolable
apply even to the spouse of the aggrieved party.
Held: The documents and papers are inadmissible in evidence. The constitutional injunction declaring "the
privacy of communication and correspondence [to be] inviolable" is no less applicable simply because it is
the wife (who thinks herself aggrieved by her husband's infidelity) who is the party against whom the
constitutional provision is to be enforced. The only exception to the prohibition in the Constitution is if there
is a "lawful order [from a] court or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law." Any
violation of this provision renders the evidence obtained inadmissible "for any purpose in any proceeding."
The intimacies between husband and wife do not justify any one of them in breaking the drawers and cabinets
of the other and in ransacking them for any telltale evidence of marital infidelity. A person, by contracting
marriage, does not shed his/her integrity or his right to privacy as an individual and the constitutional
protection is ever available to him or to her. The law insures absolute freedom of communication between the
spouses by making it privileged. Neither husband nor wife may testify for or against the other without the
consent of the affected spouse while the marriage subsists. Neither may be examined without the consent of
the other as to any communication received in confidence by one from the other during the marriage, save for
specified exceptions. But one thing is freedom of communication; quite another is a compulsion for each one
to share what one knows with the other. And this has nothing to do with the duty of fidelity that each owes to
the other.
G.R. No. 169838 April 25, 2006

BAYAN, KARAPATAN, KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS (KMP), GABRIELA, Fr. Jose Dizon, Renato Constantino,
Jr., Froyel Yaneza, and Fahima Tajar, Petitioners,
vs.
EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, Manila City Mayor LITO ATIENZA, Chief of the Philippine
National Police, Gen. ARTURO M. LOMIBAO, NCRPO Chief Maj. Gen. VIDAL QUEROL, and Western Police District
Chief Gen. PEDRO BULAONG, Respondents.

Facts: The petitioners, Bayan, et al., alleged that they are citizens and taxpayers of the Philippines and that their
right as organizations and individuals were violated when the rally they participated in on October 6, 2005 was
violently dispersed by policemen implementing Batas Pambansa No. 880.
Petitioners contended that Batas Pambansa No. 880 is clearly a violation of the Constitution and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties of which the Philippines is a signatory. They
argue that B.P. No. 880 requires a permit before one can stage a public assembly regardless of the presence or
absence of a clear and present danger. It also curtails the choice of venue and is thus repugnant to the freedom of
expression clause as the time and place of a public assembly form part of the message which the expression is
sought. Furthermore, it is not content-neutral as it does not apply to mass actions in support of the government.
The words lawful cause, opinion, protesting or influencing suggest the exposition of some cause not
espoused by the government. Also, the phrase maximum tolerance shows that the law applies to assemblies
against the government because they are being tolerated. As a content-based legislation, it cannot pass the strict
scrutiny test. This petition and two other petitions were ordered to be consolidated on February 14, 2006. During
the course of oral arguments, the petitioners, in the interest of a speedy resolution of the petitions, withdrew the
portions of their petitions raising factual issues, particularly those raising the issue of whether B.P. No. 880 and/or
CPR is void as applied to the rallies of September 20, October 4, 5 and 6, 2005.
Issue: Whether the Calibrated Pre-emptive response and the Batas Pambansa No. 880, specifically Sections 4, 5, 6,
12, 13(a) and 14(a) violates Art. III Sec. 4 of the Philippine Constitution as it causes a disturbing effect on the
exercise by the people of the right to peaceably assemble.
Held: Section 4 of Article III of the Philippine Constitution provides that no law shall be passed abridging the
freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition
the government for redress of grievances. The right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances,
together with freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press, is a right that enjoys dominance in the sphere of
constitutional protection. For this rights represent the very basis of a functional democratic polity, without which
all the other rights would be meaningless and unprotected.
However, it must be remembered that the right, while sacrosanct, is not absolute. It may be regulated that it shall
not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the community
or society. The power to regulate the exercise of such and other constitutional rights is termed the sovereign
police power, which is the power to prescribe regulations, to promote the health, morals, peace, education,
good order or safety, and general welfare of the people.
B.P. No 880 is not an absolute ban of public assemblies but a restriction that simply regulates the time, place and
manner of the assemblies. B.P. No. 880 thus readily shows that it refers to all kinds of public assemblies that would
use public places. The reference to lawful cause does not make it content-based because assemblies really have
to be for lawful causes, otherwise they would not be peaceable and entitled to protection. Neither the words
opinion, protesting, and influencing in of grievances come from the wording of the Constitution, so its use
cannot be avoided. Finally, maximum tolerance is for the protection and benefit of all rallyist and is independent of
the content of the expression in the rally.
Furthermore, the permit can only be denied on the ground of clear and present danger to public order, public
safety, public convenience, public morals or public health. This is a recognized exception to the exercise of the
rights even under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights.
Wherefore, the petitions are GRANTED in part, and respondents, more particularly the Secretary of the Interior
and Local Governments, are DIRECTED to take all necessary steps for the immediate compliance with Section 15 of
Batas Pambansa No. 880 through the establishment or designation of at least one suitable freedom park or plaza
in every city and municipality of the country. After thirty (30) days from the finality of this Decision, subject to the
giving of advance notices, no prior permit shall be required to exercise the right to peaceably assemble and
petition in the public parks or plaza in every city or municipality that has not yet complied with section 15 of the
law. Furthermore, Calibrated pre-emptive response (CPR), insofar as it would purport to differ from or be in lieu of
maximum tolerance, is NULL and VOID and respondents are ENJOINED to REFRAIN from using it and to STRICTLY
OBSERVE the requirements of maximum tolerance, The petitions are DISMISSED in all other respects, and the
constitutionality of Batas Pambansa No. 880 is SUSTAINED


Francisco Chavez v. Raul M. Gonzales and National Telecommunications Commission, G.R. No. 168338, February
15, 2008
I. THE FACTS
As a consequence of the public release of copies of the Hello Garci compact disc audiotapes involving a
wiretapped mobile phone conversation between then-President Gloria Arroyo and Comelec Commissioner Virgilio
Garcillano, respondent DOJ Secretary Gonzales warned reporters that those who had copies of the CD and those
broadcasting or publishing its contents could be held liable under the Anti-Wiretapping Act. He also stated that
persons possessing or airing said tapes were committing a continuing offense, subject to arrest by anybody. Finally,
he stated that he had ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to go after media organizations found to have
caused the spread, the playing and the printing of the contents of a tape.
Meanwhile, respondent NTC warned in a press release all radio stations and TV network owners/operators that
the conditions of the authorization and permits issued to them by government like the Provisional Authority
and/or Certificate of Authority explicitly provides that they shall not use their stations for the broadcasting or
telecasting of false information or willful misrepresentation. The NTC stated that the continuous airing or
broadcast of the Hello Garci taped conversations by radio and TV stations is a continuing violation of the Anti -
Wiretapping Law and the conditions of the Provisional Authority and/or Certificate of Authority. It warned that
their broadcast/airing of such false information and/or willful misrepresentation shall be a just cause for the
suspension, revocation and/or cancellation of the licenses or authorizations issued to the said media
establishments.
Subsequently, a dialogue was held between the NTC and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) which
resulted in the issuance of a Joint Press Statement which stated, among others, that the supposed wiretapped
tapes should be treated with sensitivity and handled responsibly.
Petitioner Chavez filed a petition under Rule 65 against respondents Secretary Gonzales and the NTC directly with
the Supreme Court.
II. THE ISSUES
1. Will a purported violation of law such as the Anti-Wiretapping Law justify straitjacketing the exercise of
freedom of speech and of the press?
2. Did the mere press statements of respondents DOJ Secretary and the NTC constitute a form of content-based
prior restraint that has transgressed the Constitution?
III. THE RULING
1. NO, a purported violation of law such as the Anti-Wiretapping Law will NOT justify straitjacketing the exercise
of freedom of speech and of the press.
A governmental action that restricts freedom of speech or of the press based on content is given the strictest
scrutiny, with the government having the burden of overcoming the presumed unconstitutionality by the clear and
present danger rule. This rule applies equally to all kinds of media, including broadcast media.
Respondents, who have the burden to show that these acts do not abridge freedom of speech and of the press,
failed to hurdle the clear and present danger test. [T]he great evil which government wants to prevent is the airing
of a tape recording in alleged violation of the anti-wiretapping law. The records of the case at bar however are
confused and confusing, and respondents evidence falls short of satisfying the clear and present danger test.
Firstly, the various statements of the Press Secretary obfuscate the identity of the voices in the tape recording.
Secondly, the integrity of the taped conversation is also suspect. The Press Secretary showed to the public two
versions, one supposed to be a complete version and the other, an altered version. Thirdly, the evidence of the
respondents on the whos and the hows of the wiretapping act is ambivalent, especially considering the tapes
different versions. The identity of the wire-tappers, the manner of its commission and other related and relevant
proofs are some of the invisibles of this case. Fourthly, given all these unsettled facets of the tape, it is even
arguable whether its airing would violate the anti-wiretapping law.
We rule that not every violation of a law will justify straitjacketing the exercise of freedom of speech and of the
press. Our laws are of different kinds and doubtless, some of them provide norms of conduct which[,] even if
violated*,+ have only an adverse effect on a persons private comfort but does not endanger national security.
There are laws of great significance but their violation, by itself and without more, cannot support suppression of
free speech and free press. In fine, violation of law is just a factor, a vital one to be sure, which should be weighed
in adjudging whether to restrain freedom of speech and of the press. The totality of the injurious effects of the
violation to private and public interest must be calibrated in light of the preferred status accorded by the
Constitution and by related international covenants protecting freedom of speech and of the press. In calling for a
careful and calibrated measurement of the circumference of all these factors to determine compliance with the
clear and present danger test, the Court should not be misinterpreted as devaluing violations of law. By all means,
violations of law should be vigorously prosecuted by the State for they breed their own evil consequence. But to
repeat, the need to prevent their violation cannot per se trump the exercise of free speech and free press, a
preferred right whose breach can lead to greater evils. For this failure of the respondents alone to offer proof to
satisfy the clear and present danger test, the Court has no option but to uphold the exercise of free speech and
free press. There is no showing that the feared violation of the anti-wiretapping law clearly endangers the national
security of the State.
2. YES, the mere press statements of respondents DOJ Secretary and the NTC constituted a form of content-
based prior restraint that has transgressed the Constitution.
[I]t is not decisive that the press statements made by respondents were not reduced in or followed up with
formal orders or circulars. It is sufficient that the press statements were made by respondents while in the exercise
of their official functions. Undoubtedly, respondent Gonzales made his statements as Secretary of Justice, while
the NTC issued its statement as the regulatory body of media. Any act done, such as a speech uttered, for and on
behalf of the government in an official capacity is covered by the rule on prior restraint. The concept of an act
does not limit itself to acts already converted to a formal order or official circular. Otherwise, the non
formalization of an act into an official order or circular will result in the easy circumvention of the prohibition on
prior restraint. The press statements at bar are acts that should be struck down as they constitute impermissible
forms of prior restraints on the right to free speech and press.

Ayer Productions Pty. Ltd. Vs Capulong, 160 SCRA 861, G.R. NO. L-82380; 29 APR 1988

FACTS: Respondent Sen. Enrile files a case against private petitioners for the production and filming of the
projected motion picture The Four Day Revolution, which relates to the non-bloody change of government that
took place at EDSA, for its unlawful intrusion upon the formers right to privacy.
Petitioners contends that the freedom to produce and film includes in the freedom of speech and expression; and
the subject matter of the motion picture is one of public interest and concern and not on the individual private life
of respondent senator.

ISSUE: WON the projected motion picture is guaranteed under the right to free speech.

HELD: Yes. The EDSA revolution where private respondent is a major character is one of public interest. Private
respondent is a public figure due to his participation in the culmination of the change of government. The right of
privacy of a public figure is necessarily narrower than that of an ordinary citizen.
The Supreme Court said that: the right of privacy like freedom of expression is not an absolute right. A limited
intrusion into the persons privacy has long been regarded as permissible when the person is a public figure and
the information sought constitutes matters of public character. The right of privacy cannot be invoked to resist
publication and dissemination of matters of public interest.

G.R. No. L-12592 March 8, 1918
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
FELIPE BUSTOS, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
Facts:
In 1915, 34 Pampanga residents signed a petition to the Executive Secretary regarding charges against Roman
Punsalan, the justice of the peace of Macabebe. They wanted to oust him from his office.
Specific allegations against him included bribery charges, involuntary servitude, and theft.
The justice denied the charges. In the CFI, not all the charges were proved. But, the judge still found him guilty.
Punsalan filed charges alleging that he was the victim of prosecution and one Jaime, an auxiliary justice, instigated
the charges against him for personal reasons. He was acquitted.
The complainants filed an appeal to the Governor General but it wasnt acted upon.
Criminal action was instituted aganst the residents by Punsalan.
The CFI found almost all of the 34 defendants guilty and sentenced them to pay 10 pesos or suffer imprisonment in
case of insolvency.
The defendants filed a motion for a retrial to retire the objection made by Punsalan. The trial court denied the
motion. All except 2 of the defendants appealed. Making assignments of error.
1. The court erred in overruling motion for retrial.
2. Error in not holding that the libelous statement was not privileged
3. Error in not acquitting defendants
4. Evidence failed to show gult of defendants beyond reasonable doubt.
5. Erred in making defendants prove that the libelous statements were true.
6. Error in sustaining the prosecutions objection to the introduction in evidence by the accused of the affidavits
upon which the petition forming the basis of the libelous charge was based.
7. Erred in refusing to permit the defendants to retire the objection in advertently interposed by their counsel to
the admission in evidence of the expediente administrativo out of which the accusation in this case arose.
Issue:
Whether or not the defendants and appellants are guilty of a libel of Roman Punsalan, justice of the peace in
Pampanga.

Held: Yes. Defendants acquitted.
Ratio:
Freedom of speech was non existent in the country before 1900. There were small efforts at reform made by the
La Solidaridad. The Malolos Constitution, on the other hand, guaranteed freedom of speech.
During the U.S. period, President McKinley himself laid down the tenet Magna Charta of Philippine Liberty when he
wrote, that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the rights of the people
to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances." This was in the Philippine Bill.
In the Amrican cases it was held, there were references to public opinion should be the constant source of liberty
and democracy. It also said 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 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.
It is a duty which every one 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 bring the facts to the notice of those whose duty it is to inquire into and punish them.
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 has demanded protection for public opinion. The doctrine of privilege has been the result of this.
Privilged communications may in some instances afford an immunity to the slanderer. Public policy is the
unfettered administration of justice.
Privilege is either absolute or qualified. Qualified privilege is prima facie which may be lost by proof of malice. This
is apparent in complaints made in good faith against a public officials conduct having a duty in the matter. Even if
the statements were found to be false, the protection of privilege may cover the individual given that it was in
good faith. There must be a sense of duty and not a self-seeking motive.
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 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.
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.
It is true that the particular words set out in the information, if said of a private person, might well be considered
libelous per se. The charges might also under certain conceivable conditions convict one of a libel of a government
official. 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. But as suggested in the beginning we do not have present
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 surrounded their action. Probable cause for them to think that malfeasance or
misfeasance in office existed is apparent. The ends and the motives of these citizens to secure the removal from
office of a person thought to be venal were justifiable. In no way did they abuse the privilege. These respectable
citizens did not eagerly seize on a frivolous matter but on instances which not only seemed to them of a grave
character, but which were sufficient in an investigation by a judge of first instance to convince him of their
seriousness. No undue publicity was given to the petition. The manner of commenting on the conduct of the
justice of the peace was proper.

Estrada vs. Escritor
AM P-02-1651, August 4, 2003
FACTS:
Soledad Escritor is a court interpreter since 1999 in the RTC of Las Pinas City. Alejandro Estrada, the complainant,
wrote to Judge Jose F. Caoibes, presiding judge of Branch 253, RTC of Las Pinas City, requesting for an investigation
of rumors that Escritor has been living with Luciano Quilapio Jr., a man not her husband, and had eventually
begotten a son. Escritors husband, who had lived with another woman, died a year before she entered into the
judiciary. On the other hand, Quilapio is still legally married to another woman. Estrada is not related to either
Escritor or Quilapio and is not a resident of Las Pinas but of Bacoor, Cavite. According to the complainant,
respondent should not be allowed to remain employed in the judiciary for it will appear as if the court allows such
act.
Escritor is a member of the religious sect known as the Jehovahs Witnesses and the Watch Tower and Bible Tract
Society where her conjugal arrangement with Quilapio is in conformity with their religious beliefs. After ten years
of living together, she executed on July 28, 1991 a Declaration of Pledging Faithfulness which was approved by
the congregation. Such declaration is effective when legal impediments render it impossible for a couple to
legalize their union. Gregorio, Salazar, a member of the Jehovahs Witnesses since 1985 and has been a presiding
minister since 1991, testified and explained the import of and procedures for executing the declaration which was
completely executed by Escritor and Quilapios in Atimonan, Quezon and was signed by three witnesses and
recorded in Watch Tower Central Office.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent should be found guilty of the administrative charge of gross and immoral conduct
and be penalized by the State for such conjugal arrangement.
HELD:
A distinction between public and secular morality and religious morality should be kept in mind. The jurisdiction of
the Court extends only to public and secular morality.
The Court states that our Constitution adheres the benevolent neutrality approach that gives room for
accommodation of religious exercises as required by the Free Exercise Clause. This benevolent neutrality could
allow for accommodation of morality based on religion, provided it does not offend compelling state interests.
The states interest is the preservation of the integrity of the judiciary by maintaining among its ranks a high
standard of morality and decency. There is nothing in the OCAs (Office of the Court Administrator)
memorandum to the Court that demonstrates how this interest is so compelling that it should override
respondents plea of religious freedom. Indeed, it is inappropriate for the complainant, a private person, to
present evidence on the compelling interest of the state. The burden of evidence should be discharged by the
proper agency of the government which is the Office of the Solicitor General.
In order to properly settle the case at bar, it is essential that the government be given an opportunity to
demonstrate the compelling state interest it seeks to uphold in opposing the respondents position that her
conjugal arrangement is not immoral and punishable as it is within the scope of free exercise protection. The
Court could not prohibit and punish her conduct where the Free Exercise Clause protects it, since this would be an
unconstitutional encroachment of her right to religious freedom. Furthermore, the court cannot simply take a
passing look at respondents claim of religious freedom but must also apply the compelling state interest test.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the case is REMANDED to the Office of the Court Administrator. The Solicitor General is
ordered to intervene in the case where it will be given the opportunity (a) to examine the sincerity and centrality
of respondent's claimed religious belief and practice; (b) to present evidence on the state's "compelling interest"
to override respondent's religious belief and practice; and (c) to show that the means the state adopts in pursuing
its interest is the least restrictive to respondent's religious freedom. The rehearing should be concluded thirty (30)
days from the Office of the Court Administrator's receipt of this Decision.

G.R. No. 164785 March 15, 2010
ELISEO F. SORIANO, Petitioner,
vs.
MA. CONSOLIZA P. LAGUARDIA, in her capacity as Chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and
Classification Board, MOVIE AND TELEVISION REVIEW AND CLASSIFICATION BOARD, JESSIE L. GALAPON, ANABEL
M. DELA CRUZ, MANUEL M. HERNANDEZ, JOSE L. LOPEZ, CRISANTO SORIANO, BERNABE S. YARIA, JR., MICHAEL M.
SANDOVAL, and ROLDAN A. GAVINO, Respondents.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
G.R. No. 165636
ELISEO F. SORIANO, Petitioner,
vs.
MOVIE AND TELEVISION REVIEW AND CLASSIFICATION BOARD
Facts: On August 10, 2004, at around 10:00 p.m., petitioner, as host of the program Ang Dating Daan, aired on
UNTV 37, made obscene remarks against INC. Two days after, before the MTRCB, separate but almost identical
affidavit-complaints were lodged by Jessie L. Galapon and seven other private respondents, all members of the
Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), against petitioner in connection with the above broadcast. Respondent Michael M. Sandoval,
who felt directly alluded to in petitioners remark, was then a minister of INC and a regular host of the TV program
Ang Tamang Daan.
As a result, The MTRCB initially slapped Sorianos Ang Dating Daan, which was earlier given a G rating for general
viewership, with a 20-day preventive suspension after a preliminary conference. Later, in a decision, it found him
liable for his utterances, and was imposed a three-month suspension from his TV program Ang Dating Daan.
Soriano challenged the order of the MTRCB.
Issue: Are Sorianos statements during the televised Ang Dating Daan part of the religious discourse and within
the protection of Section 5, Art.III?
HELD:
The SC ruled that Sorianos statement can be treated as obscene, at least with respect to the average child, and
thus his utterances cannot be considered as protected speech. Citing decisions from the US Supreme Court, the
High Court said that the analysis should be context based and found the utterances to be obscene after
considering the use of television broadcasting as a medium, the time of the show, and the G rating of the show,
which are all factors that made the utterances susceptible to children viewers. The Court emphasized on how the
uttered words could be easily understood by a child literally rather than in the context that they were used.
The SC also said that the suspension is not a prior restraint, but rather a form of permissible administrative
sanction or subsequent punishment. In affirming the power of the MTRCB to issue an order of suspension, the
majority said that it is a sanction that the MTRCB may validly impose under its charter without running afoul of
the free speech clause. visit fellester.blogspot.com The Court said that the suspension is not a prior restraint on
the right of petitioner to continue with the broadcast of Ang Dating Daan as a permit was already issued to him by
MTRCB, rather, it was a sanction for the indecent contents of his utterances in a G rated TV program.

[G.R. No. 124382. August 16, 1999]
PASTOR DIONISIO V. AUSTRIA, petitioner, vs. HON. NLRC (Fourth Division), CEBU CITY, CENTRAL PHILIPPINE UNION
MISSION CORPORATION OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST, ELDER HECTOR V. GAYARES, PASTORS REUBEN
MORALDE, OSCAR L. ALOLOR, WILLIAM U. DONATO, JOEL WALES, ELY SACAY, GIDEON BUHAT, ISACHAR GARSULA,
ELISEO DOBLE, PROFIRIO BALACY, DAVID RODRIGO, LORETO MAYPA, MR. RUFO GASAPO, MR. EUFRONIO IBESATE,
MRS. TESSIE BALACY, MR. ZOSIMO KARA-AN, and MR. ELEUTERIO LOBITANA, respondents
Facts:Private respondent Central Philippine Union Mission Corporation of the Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) is a
religious corporationunder Philippine law and is represented by the other private respondents. Petitioner was a
pastor of SDA until 1991, when hisservices were terminated.Austria worked with SDA for 28 years.He started as a
literature evangelist in 1963 then got promoted several times. He became theAssistant Publishing Director in the
West Visayan Mission of the SDA in 1968 and Pastor in the West Visayan Mission in 1972.Finally in 1989, he was
promoted as District Pastor of the Negros Mission of the SDA.On various occasions from August to October 1991,
Austria received several communications from Mr. Ibesate, treasurer of theNegros Mission, asking the former to
admit accountability and responsibility for the church tithes and offerings collected by his wife,Thelma Austria, in
his district and to remit the same to the Negros Mission.In his answer, petitioner said that he should not be made
accountable since it was private respondent Pastor Buhat and Mr. Ibesatewho authorized his wife to collect the
tithes and offerings since he was very sick to do the collecting at that time.Thereafter, petitioner went to the office
of Pastor Buhat, president of the Negros Mission, and asked for a convention to settle thedispute between
petitioner and Pastor Rodrigo. Pastor Buhat denied the request of petitioner because there was no quorum. The
twoexchanged heated arguments until petitioner left the office. However, while on his way out, he heard Pastor
Buhat saying, "Pastor daw inisog na ina iya (Pador you are talking tough) which prompted him to go back and
overturn Pastor Buhats table, scatter booksin the office, bang Buhats attach case and throw the
phone.Petitioner received a letter inviting him and his wife to attend the meeting to discuss the non-remittance of
church collection and theevents that transpired between him and Pastor Buhat. A fact-finding committee was
created to investigate petitioner. Subsequently,petitioner received a letter of dismissal citing misappropriation of
denominational funds, willful breach of trust, serious misconduct,gross and habitual neglect of duties, and
commission of an offense against the person of employer's duly authorized representative,as grounds for the
termination of his services. 1) Petitioner filed a complaint with the Labor Arbiter for illegal dismissal. = decision
rendered in favor of petitioner 2) SDA appealed to NLRC = decision rendered in favor of respondent3) Petitioner
filed motion for reconsideration = reinstated decision of Labor Arbiter 4) SDA filed motion for reconsideration =
decision rendered in favor of respondent (grabe ang kulit!)Hence, this recourse to the court by the
petitioner.Issues:1) WON the Labor Arbiter/NLRC has jurisdiction to try and decide the complaint filed by
petitioner against the SDA;2) WON the termination of the services of petitioner is an ecclesiastical affair, and, as
such, involves the separation of church andstate.
Held:1) YES.2) NO.Ratio Decidendi:The principle of separation of church and state finds no application in this case.
The rationale of the principle of the separation of church and state is summed up in the familiar saying, "Strong
fences make good-neighbors."The idea advocated by this principle isto delineate the boundaries between the two
institutions and thus avoid encroachments by one against the other because of amisunderstanding of the limits of
their respective exclusive jurisdictions.The case at bar does not concern an ecclesiastical or purely religious affair
as to bar the State from taking cognizance of the same.An ecclesiastical affair is "one that concerns doctrine,
creed, or form of worship of the church, or the adoption and enforcement withina religious association of needful
laws and regulations for the government of the membership, and the power of excluding from suchassociations
those deemed unworthy of membership. Examples of this so-called ecclesiastical affaits are proceedings for
excommunication, ordinations of religious ministers, administration of sacraments and other activities with
attached religioussignificance. The case at bar does not even remotely concern any of the given examples. What is
involved here is the relationship of the church as an employer and the minister as an employee. It is purely secular
and has no relation whatsoever with the practice of faith, worship or doctrines of the church. The matter of
terminating an employee, which is purely secular in nature, is different fromthe ecclesiastical act of expelling a
member from the religious congregation
IDCPI vs. Executive Secretary
G.R. No. 153888 July 9, 2003

Facts: The office of the Executive Secretary issued EO 46 creating the Philippine Halal Certification Scheme and
designating respondent Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA) to oversee its implementation. Under the EO, respondent
OMA has the exclusive authority to issue halal certificates and perform other related regulatory activities.
Petitioner, lost revenues after food manufacturers stopped securing certifications from it, filed a complaint praying
to nullify the EO 46 and further implementation of it. The complaint contends that the EO 46 violate the
constitutional provision on the separation of Church and State. The function of exclusive issuance of halal
certificates is only for religious organization a food becomes halal only after the performance of Islamic religious
ritual and prayer.
Issue: Whether or not EO 46 is in violation of sec. 5 of art. 3 of the constitution, thus, null and void.
Held: Classifying a food product as halal is a religious function because the standards used are drawn from the
Qur'an and Islamic beliefs. Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA) deals with the societal, legal, political and economic
concerns of the Muslim community as a "national cultural community" and not as a religious group. By giving OMA
the exclusive power to classify food products as halal, EO 46 encroached on the religious freedom of Muslim
organizations thus transgressing the preferred status of the freedom of religion. Interpretation of what food
products are fit for Muslim consumption is vested exclusively on the conscience and belief of one person whether
muslim or non-muslim. The protection and promotion of the muslim Filipinos' right to health are already provided
for in existing laws and ministered to by government agencies charged with ensuring that food products released
in the market are fit for human consumption, properly labeled and safe. Unlike EO 46, these laws do not encroach
on the religious freedom of muslims. Therefore the EO 46 is null and void.
Exception: When there is an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community can justify
the infringement of religious freedom accorded preferred status.
NMIC [DA] - guarantees that the meat sold in the market has been thoroughly inspected and fit for consumption.
BFD - ensures that food products are properly categorized and have passed safety and quality standards.
DTI - through the labeling provisions


Taruc vs. Dela Cruz
G.R. No. 144801. March 10, 2005

Facts: Respondent Bishop de la Cruz petitioners expelled/excommunicated from the Philippine Independent
Church for disobedience to duly constituted authority in the Church; inciting dissension, resulting in division in the
Parish of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Socorro, Surigao del Norte when they
celebrated an open Mass at the Plaza on June 19, 1996; and for threatening to forcibly occupy the Parish Church
causing anxiety and fear among the general membership reasons
Petitioners filed a complaint contending that their expulsion was illegal because it was done without trial thus
violating their right to due process of law.

Issue: Whether or not the courts have jurisdiction to hear a case involving the expulsion/excommunication of
members of a religious institution.

Held: The case at bar is purely ecclesiastical matters which is considered to be outside the providence of the court
due to the form of government where the complete separation of civil and ecclesiastical authority is insisted upon.
Hence, the civil courts must not allow themselves to intrude unduly in matters of an ecclesiastical nature.
Civil Courts will not interfere in the internal affairs of a religious organization except for the protection of civil or
property rights. Those rights may be the subject of litigation in a civil court, and the courts have jurisdiction to
determine controverted claims to the title, use, or possession of church property.
Those who unite to an ecclesiastical body do so with implied consent to submit to the Church government and
they are bound to submit to it. The power to exclude membership from the church of those considered unworthy
lies solely to the Church thus it is outside the province of the civil court.
The expulsion of membership of the petitioners was legally made. They have not violated the due process of law
because they were given opportunity to be heard when they were also warned of the consequences of their
actions.