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Title

Citation

BLO UMPAR ADIONG vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


:

G.R. No. 103956

March 31, 1992


Ponente

Facts

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:

A Resolution No. 2347 was promulgated by the COMELEC which provides that
decals and stickers may be posted only in any of the authorized posting areas,
prohibiting posting in "mobile" places, public or private.
Petitioner Blo Umpar Adiong is a senatorial candidate in the May 11, 1992
elections. Adiong is assailing the Resolution. In addition, Adiong believes that with
the ban on radio, television and print political advertisements, he, being a neophyte
in the field of politics stands to suffer grave and irreparable injury with this
prohibition.

Issue

:
Whether or Not the COMELECs prohibition is unconstitutional.

Held

The prohibition unduly infringes on the citizen's fundamental right of free


speech. The preferred freedom of expression calls all the more for the utmost
respect when what may be curtailed is the dissemination of information to make
more meaningful the equally vital right of suffrage. The so-called balancing of
interests individual freedom on one hand and substantial public interests on the
other is made even more difficult in election campaign cases because the
Constitution also gives specific authority to the Commission on Elections to
supervise the conduct of free, honest, and orderly elections. When faced with
border line situations where freedom to speak by a candidate or party and freedom
to know on the part of the electorate are invoked against actions intended for
maintaining clean and free elections, the police, local officials and COMELEC, should
lean in favor of freedom. The regulation of election campaign activity may not pass
the test of validity if it is too general in its terms or not limited in time and scope in
its application, if it restricts one's expression of belief in a candidate or one's opinion
of his or her qualifications, if it cuts off the flow of media reporting, and if the

regulatory measure bears no clear and reasonable nexus with the constitutionally
sanctioned objective.

The posting of decals and stickers in mobile places like cars and other moving
vehicles does not endanger any substantial government interest. There is no clear
public interest threatened by such activity so as to justify the curtailment of the
cherished citizen's right of free speech and expression. Under the clear and present
danger rule not only must the danger be patently clear and pressingly present but
the evil sought to be avoided must be so substantive as to justify a clamp over
one's mouth or a writing instrument to be stilled. The regulation strikes at the
freedom of an individual to express his preference and, by displaying it on his car, to
convince others to agree with him. A sticker may be furnished by a candidate but
once the car owner agrees to have it placed on his private vehicle, the expression
becomes a statement by the owner, primarily his own and not of anybody else. The
restriction as to where the decals and stickers should be posted is so broad that it
encompasses even the citizen's private property, which in this case is a privatelyowned vehicle. In consequence of this prohibition, another cardinal rule prescribed
by the Constitution would be violated. Section 1, Article III of the Bill of Rights
provides that no person shall be deprived of his property without due process of law.