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THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS radio/television time, it is still a restriction on his choice of the forum where
he may express his view. This form of regulation is tantamount to a
[G.R. No. 90878. January 29, 1990.]
restriction of petitioner's freedom of expression for no justifiable reason.
Facts: Therefore, Section 19 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2167 is unconstitutional
Republic Act No. 6766 entitled "An Act Providing for an Organic
Act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region was enacted into law, and
2.1 In Re Ramon Tulfo
pursuant to it, the City of Baguio and the provinces comprising the
Cordillera Autonomous Region, shall take part in a plebiscite for the AM 90-4-1545-0, April 17, 1990
ratification of the Organic Act. COMELEC promulgated Resolution No.
2167 to govern the conduct of the plebiscite on the said Organic Act for the
Cordillera Autonomous Region. Petitioner filed a petition, assailing the In Oct. 13, 1989, Tulfo wrote an article in his column in PDI 'On Target'
constitutionality of Section 19 of said resolution because it violates the stating that the Supreme Court rendered an idiotic decision in legalizing
constitutional guarantees of the freedom of expression and of the press checkpoints, and again on Oct. 16, 1989, where he called the Supreme Court
enshrined in the Constitution. Section 19 provides that during the plebiscite stupid and "sangkatutak na mga bobo justices of the Philippine Supreme
campaign period, on the day before and on plebiscite day, no mass media Court". Tulfo was required to show cause why he should not be punished for
columnist, commentator, announcer or personality shall use his column or contempt. Tulfo said that he was just reacting emotionally because he had
radio or television time to campaign for or against the plebiscite issues. been a victim of harassment in the checkpoints, and "idiotic" meant illogical
COMELEC maintains that the questioned provision of COMELEC and unwise, and "bobo" was just quoted from other attorneys, and since the
Resolution No. 2167 does not violate the freedom of expression and of the case had been decided and terminated, there was not contempt. Lastly, the
press. Rather, it is a valid implementation of the power of the COMELEC to article does not pose any clear and present danger to the Supreme court.
supervise and regulate media during election or plebiscite periods as Issue: Whether or not Tulfo is in contempt
enunciated in Article IX-C, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution.
Held: Yes.
1. At the time Tulfo wrote the article, the checkpoints case had not yet
Whether or not Section 19 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2167 is been decided upon, and the Supreme Court was still acting on an MR
unconstitutional. filed from the CA.
Held: 2. Power to punish is inherent as it is essential for self-preservation.
Contempt of ocurt is defiance of the authority, justice and dignity of
The Court held that Section 19 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2167
the courts. It brings disrepute to the court. There are two kinds of
is unconstitutional. Article IX-C, Section 4 of the Constitution provides that
publications which can be punished for contempt:
what was granted to the COMELEC was the power to supervise and
regulate the use and enjoyment of franchises, permits or other grants issued
a. those whose object is to affect the decision in a pending case.
for the operation of transportation or other public utilities, media of
b. those whose object is to bring courts to discredit.
communication or information to the end that equal opportunity, time and
space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for
Tulfo's article constituted both.
public information campaigns and forums among candidates are ensured.
However, it does not grant the COMELEC the power to supervise
3. It should have been okay to criticize if respectful language was used,
and regulate the exercise by media practitioners themselves of their right to
but if its object is only to degrade and ridicule, then it is clearly an
expression during plebiscite periods. While Section 19 of COMELEC
obstruction of justice. Nothing constructive can be gained from them.
Resolution 2167 does not absolutely bar petitioner-columnist from
Being emotional is no excuse for being insulting. Quoting is not an
expressing his views and or from campaigning for or against the organic act
excuse also, because at the end of his article, Tulfo said, "So you
because he may do so through the COMELEC space and/or COMELEC
bobo justices, watch out!" Also, he said he was not sorry for having other. One such public interest is in the maintenance of the integrity and
written the articles. orderly functioning of the administration of justice. There is no antinomy
between free expression and the integrity of the system of administering
justice. For the protection and maintenance of freedom of expression itself
Tulfo is found in contempt of court and is gravely censured.
can be secured only within the context of a functioning and orderly system of
dispensing justice, within the context, in other words, of viable independent
2.1-a. IN RE: ATTY. EMIL JURADO institutions for delivery of justice which are accepted by the general
community. As Mr. Justice Frankfurter put it: ". . . A free press is not to be
JULY 12, 1990 preferred to an independent judiciary, nor an independent judiciary to a free
Facts: press. Neither has primacy over the other; both are indispensable to a free
society." Mr. Justice Malcolm of this Court expressed the same thought in the
Emiliano P. Jurado, a lawyer and journalist who writes in a newspaper of following terms: 'The Organic Act wisely guarantees freedom of speech and
general circulation wrote about alleged improprieties and irregularities in the press. This constitutional right must be protected in its fullest extent. But
judiciary over several months. What was particularly given attention by the license or abuse of liberty of the press and of the citizens should not be
Supreme Court his column entitled, "Who will judge the Justices?" referring confused with liberty in its true sense. As important as the maintenance of an
to a report that six justices, their spouses, children and grandchildren (a total unmuzzled press and the free exercise of the rights of the citizens is the
of 36 persons) spent a vacation in Hong Kong, and that luxurious hotel maintenance of the independence of the Judiciary. Respect for the Judiciary
accommodations and all their other expenses were paid by a public utility cannot be had if persons are privileged to scorn a resolution of the court
firm and that the trip was arranged by the travel agency patronized by this adopted for good purposes, and if such persons are to be permitted by
public utility firm. This column was made amidst rumors that a Supreme subterranean means to diffuse inaccurate accounts of confidential
Court decision favorable to the public utility firm appears to have been proceedings to the embarrassment of the parties and the court.' (In Re
authored by a lawyer of the public utility firm. The Chief Justice issued an Severino Lozano and Anastacio Quevedo, 54 Phil. 801 at 807 [1930])."
administrative order creating an ad hoc committee to investigate the said
reports of corruption in the judiciary. A letter affidavit was also received from Excercise of freedom of speech not to be abused.
the public utility, denying the allegations in Jurado's column. The Supreme The Civil Code, in its Article 19 lays down the norm for the proper exercise
Court then issued a resolution ordering that the matter dealt with in the letter of any right, constitutional or otherwise, viz.: "ARTICLE 19. Every person
and affidavit of the public utility company be docketed and acted upon as an must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act
official Court proceeding for the determination of whether or not the with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith." The
allegations made by Jurado are true. provision is reflective of the universally accepted precept of "abuse of
Held: rights," "one of the most dominant principles which must be deemed always
implied in any system of law."
Jurado's actuations, in the context in which they were done, demonstrate
gross irresponsibility, and indifference to factual accuracy and the injury that Requirement to exercise bona fide care in ascertaining the truth of the
he might cause to the name and reputation of those of whom he wrote. They statements when publishing statements which are clearly defamatory to
constitute contempt of court, directly tending as they do to degrade or abase identifiable judges or other public officials.
the administration of justice and the judges engaged in that function. The Judges, by becoming such, are rightly regarded as voluntarily subjecting
Court declares Atty. Jurado guilty of contempt of court and sentences him to themselves to norms of conduct which embody more stringent standards of
pay a fine of one thousand pesos (P1,000.00) honesty, integrity, and competence than are commonly required from private
Free press not to be preferred to an independent judiciary. The court persons. Nevertheless, persons who seek or accept appointment to the
underscores the importance of both the constitutional guarantee of free Judiciary cannot reasonably be regarded as having forfeited any right to
speech and the reality that there are equally important public interests which private honor and reputation. For to so rule will be to discourage all save
need on occasion to be balanced against and accommodated with one and the those who feel no need to maintain their self-respect from becoming judges.
The public interest involved in freedom of speech and the individual interest Section 3 provides that no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue
of judges (and for that matter, all other public officials) in the maintenance of except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, or such other
private honor and reputation need to be accommodated one to the other. And responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after examination under oath
the point of adjustment or accommodation between these two legitimate or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
interests is precisely found in the norm which requires those who, invoking particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to
freedom of speech, publish statements which are clearly defamatory to be seized. Probable cause for a search is defined as such facts and
identifiable judges or other public officials to exercise bona fide care in
circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to
ascertaining the truth of the statements they publish. The norm does not
believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in
require that a journalist guarantee the truth of what he says or publishes. But
the norm does prohibit the reckless disregard of private reputation by connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. In
publishing or circulating defamatory statements without any bona fide effort mandating that no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be
to ascertain the truth thereof. determined by the judge, after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce; the Constitution requires no
2.1-b. BURGOS vs CHIEF OF STAFF less than personal knowledge by the complainant or his witnesses of the facts
upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified. Herein, a
Facts: statement in the effect that Burgos is in possession or has in his control
printing equipment and other paraphernalia, news publications and other
On 7 December 1982, Judge Ernani Cruz-Pao, Executive Judge of the then documents which were used and are all continuously being used as a means
CFI Rizal [Quezon City], issued 2 search warrants where the premises at 19, of committing the offense of subversion punishable under PD 885, as
Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City, and 784 Units C & D, RMS Building, amended is a mere conclusion of law and does not satisfy the requirements
Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, business addresses of the Metropolitan Mail of probable cause. Bereft of such particulars as would justify a finding of the
and We Forum newspapers, respectively, were searched, and office and existence of probable cause, said allegation cannot serve as basis for the
printing machines, equipment, paraphernalia, motor vehicles and other issuance of a search warrant. Further, when the search warrant applied for is
articles used in the printing, publication and distribution of the said directed against a newspaper publisher or editor in connection with the
newspapers, as well as numerous papers, documents, books and other written publication of subversive materials, the application and/or its supporting
literature alleged to be in the possession and control of Jose Burgos, Jr. affidavits must contain a specification, stating with particularity the alleged
publisher-editor of the We Forum newspaper, were seized. A petition for subversive material he has published or is intending to publish. Mere
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with preliminary mandatory and generalization will not suffice.
prohibitory injunction was filed after 6 months following the raid to question
the validity of said search warrants, and to enjoin the Judge Advocate 2.2. CORRO VS LISING
General of the AFP, the city fiscal of Quezon City, from using the
articles seized as evidence in Criminal Case Q-022782 of the RTC Quezon
City (People v. Burgos). FACTS: Respondent Judge issued a search warrant for the seizure of
articles allegedly used by petitioner in committing the crime of sedition.
Issue: Seized were printed copies of the Philippine Times, newspaper dummies,
typewriters, mimeographing machines and tape recorders, video machines
Whether allegations of possession and printing of subversive materials may and tapes. The petitioner moved to quash the warrant but his motion was
be the basis of the issuance of search warrants. denied.
HELD: The statements made in the affidavits are mere conclusions of law
Held: and do not satisfy the requirement of probable cause. The language used is all
embracing as to include all conceivable words and equipment of petitioner
regardless of whether they are legal or illegal. The search warrant under
A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with
consideration was in the nature of a general warrant which is objectionable.
one specific offense to be determined by the judge or justice of the peace
Respondent RTC Judge Esteban Lising, upon application filed by Lt. Col. after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
Berlin Castillo of the Philippine Constabulary Criminal Investigation witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
Service, issued a search warrant authorizing the search and seizure of articles searched and the persons or things to be seized.
allegedly used by petitioner in committing the crime of inciting to sedition.
1. Printed copies of Philippine Times;
2. Manuscripts/drafts of articles for publication in the Philippine Times;
3. Newspaper dummies of the Philippine Times;
2.3. Babst vs. National Intelligence Board
4. Subversive documents, articles, printed matters, handbills, leaflets,
[GR L-62992, 28 September 1984]
5. Typewriters, duplicating machines, mimeographing and tape recording
machines, video machines and tapes Arlene Babst, Odette Alcantara, Ceres P. Doyo, Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon,
Domini Torrevillas-Suarez, Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, Cielo Buenaventura, Sylvia
Mayuga, Sheila S. Coronel, et al. are columnists, feature article writers and
Petitioner filed an urgent motion to recall warrant and to return reporters of various local publications. At different dates since July 1980,
documents/personal properties alleging among others that the properties some of them have allegedly been summoned by military authorities who
seized are typewriters, duplicating machines, mimeographing and tape have subjected them to sustained interrogation on various aspects of their
recording machines, video machines and tapes which are not in any way, works, feelings, sentiments, beliefs, associations and even their private lives.
inanimate or mute things as they are, connected with the offense of inciting Aside from the interrogations, a criminal complaint for libel was filed by
to sedition. Respondent Judge Lising denied the motion. Hence, this petition Brig. Gen. Artemio Tidier, Jr. on 9 February 1983 with the Office of the City
praying that the search warrant issuedby respondent Judge Esteban M. Lising Fiscal, Manila, against Domini Torrevillas-Suarez, editor of the Panorama,
be declared null and void ab initio that the padlocked office premises of the and Ma. Ceres Doyo based on an article written by Doyo and published in
Philippine Times be reopened. Respondents would have this Court dismiss the 28 March 1982 issue of the Panorama, on which the author had been
the petition stating that probable cause exists justifying the issuance of a interrogated by Brig. Gen. Wilfredo Estrada (Ret.), Col. Renato Ecarma, NBI
search warrant, the articles seized were adequately described in the search Asst. Director Ponciano Fernando, Col. Balbino Diego, Col. Galileo
warrant, a search was conducted I n an orderly manner and the padlocking of Kintanar, Col. Eustaquio Peralta, et. al. The complaint included an staggering
the searched premises was with the consent of petitioner's wife. P10 million claim for damages. (An information for libel has since been filed
with the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Region against Suarez
and Doyo.) On 3 March 1983, Babst, et. al. filed a petition for prohibition
Held: Section 3, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution provides: SEC. 3. with preliminary injunction, which was superseded by the amended and
search warrant or warrant of arrest issue except upon probable cause to be supplemental petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction, seeking to
determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be prohibit the respondents (a) from issuing subpoenas or letters of invitation to
authorized by law, after examination under oath or affirmation of the Babst, et. al. and interrogating them, and (b) from filing libel suits on matters
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing that have been the subject of inquiry by the National Intelligence Board
the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized and, Section 3, (NIB).
Rule 126 of the New Rules of Court, states that:
SEC. 3.Requisites for issuing search warrant.
Whether the issuance by the NIB of letters of invitation to Babst, ISSUE:, their subsequent interrogation, and the filing of libel suits against Whether or not the defendant is guilty of having
Suarez and Dayo, are illegal and unconstitutional as they are violative of the publishedlibelous/defamatory articles?
constitutional guarantee on free expression since they have the effect of
imposing restrictive guidelines and norms on mass media.
Policarpio was executive secretary of UNESCO Natl Commission.As such,
Held: she had filed charges against Herminia Reyes, one of her subordinates in the
Commission, & caused the latter to beseparated from the service. Reyes, in
Prohibition will not issue in respect of the libel charges now pending
turn, filed counter-charges which were referred for investigation. Pending
in court against Suarez and Doyo and similar suits that might be filed. The
completion, Reyes filed a complaint against Policarpio for alleged
writ of prohibition is directed against a tribunal, board or person acting
malversation of public funds & another complaint for estafa thru falsification
without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion vis-a-vis
of public documents. Policarpio filed a libel suit to Manila Times Publishing
certain proceedings pending before it. The libel cases adverted to are not
Co. for publishing two defamatory, libelous and false articles/news items in
pending before the NIB or any other respondent. Further, the issue of validity
Saturday Mirror of August 11, 1956 and in the Daily Mirror of August 13,
of the libel, charges by reason of their alleged collision with freedom of
expression, is a matter that should be raised in the proper forum, i.e., before
the court where the libel cases are pending or where they may be filed. The 2.6. Lopez vs. Court of Appeals
same rule applies to the issue of admissibility as evidence of matters that
[GR L-26549, 31 July 1970]
have been elicited in the course of an inquiry or interrogation conducted by
the NIB, which Babst, et. al. claim to have been illegally obtained. Finally, Facts: In the early part of January 1956, there appeared on the front page of
the right to seek redress when libeled is a personal and individual privilege of The Manila Chronicle, of which Eugenio Lopez was the publisher, as well as
the aggrieved party, and no one among the officials has the authority to on other dailies, a news story of a sanitary inspector assigned to the Babuyan
restrain any of his subordinates who has been libeled from vindicating his Islands, Fidel Cruz by name, sending a distress signal to a passing United
right by instituting a libel suit. Brig. Gen. Tadiar has filed the libel case States Airforce plane which in turn relayed the message to Manila. He was
against Suarez and Doyo in his personal capacity. Moreover, he is not even a not ignored, an American Army plane dropping on the beach of an island an
member of the NIB. And the NIB does not appear to have anything to do emergency-sustenance kit containing, among other things, a two-way radio
with Gen. Tadiar's private right to complain of libel. set. He utilized it to inform authorities in Manila that the people in the place
were living in terror, due to a series of killings committed since Christmas of
2.4. Elizalde vs. Gutierrez
1995. Losing no time, the Philippines defense establishment rushed to the
Elizalde vs. Gutierrez,76 SCRA 448 (In order that any news item relating to a island a platoon of scout rangers led by Major Wilfredo Encarnacion. Upon
judicial proceeding will not be actionable, the same must be [a] a true and arriving at the reported killermenaced Babuyan Claro, however, Major
fair report of the actual proceedings; [b] must be done in good faith; and [c] Encarnacion and his men found, instead of the alleged killers, a man, the
no comments nor remarks shall be made by the writer} same Fidel Cruz, who merely wanted transportation home to Manila. In view
of this finding, Major Wilfredo Encarnacion branded as a "hoax," to use his
A publication of a dispatch coming from the Philippine News Agency by
own descriptive word, the report of Fidel Cruz. That was the term employed
thesensationalist newspaper Evening News about the Maggie dela Riva rape
by the other newspapers when referring to the incident. This Week Magazine
case involving prominent individuals is not libelous. Courts must be careful
of the Manila Chronicle, then edited by Juan T. Gatbonton, devoted a
not to unnecessarily prosecute members of the press if it finds the
pictorial article to it in its issue of 15 January 1956. Mention was made that
prosecution to be baseless, they should immediately dismiss the case and not
while Fidel Cruz story turned out to he false, if brought to light the misery of
allow the editor and publisher to be derailed from their work by being
the people living in that place, with almost everybody sick, only two
dragged into trial.
individuals able to read and write, food and clothing being scarce. Then in
2.5. Policarpio Vs. Manila Times the 29 January 1956 issue of This Week Magazine, the "January News Quiz"
included an item on the central figure in what was known as the Calayan
Hoax, who nevertheless did the country a good turn by calling the provision in such legislation for a tort or a quasi-delict action arising from
government's attention to that forsaken and desolate corner of the Republic. libel. There is reinforcement to such a view in the new Civil Code providing
Earlier in its Special Year End Quiz appearing in its issue of 18 January 1956, for the recovery of moral damages for libel, slander or any other form of
reference was made to a health inspector who suddenly felt "lonely" in his defamation. According to the standard treatise of Newell on Slander and
isolated post, cooked up a story about a murderer running loose on the island Libel: "Publication of a person's photograph in connection with an article
of Calayan so that he could be ferried back to civilization. He was given the libelous of a third person, is a libel on the person whose picture is published,
appellation of "Hoax of the Year." The magazine on both occasions carried where the acts set out in the article are imputed to such person." Why libel
photographs of the person purporting to be Fidel Cruz. Unfortunately, the law has both a criminal and a civil aspect is explained by Hale in his Law of
pictures that were published on both occasions were that of Fidel G. Cruz, a the Press thus: "On the one hand, libeling a person results in depriving him of
businessman-contractor from Santa Maria, Bulacan. It turned out that the his good reputation. Since reputation is a thing; of value, truly rather to be
photographs of Cruz and that of Fidel Cruz, sanitary inspector, were on file, chosen than great riches, an impairment of it is a personal wrong. To redress
in the library of the Manila Chronicle in accordance with the standard this personal wrong money damages are awarded to the injured person. On
procedure observed in other newspaper offices, but when the news quiz the other hand, the publication of defamatory statements tends strongly to
format was prepared, the two photographs were inadvertently switched. As induce breach of the peace by the person defamed, and hence is of peculiar
soon, however, as the inadvertent error was brought to the attention of Lopez moment to the state as the guardian of the public peace. Viewed from this
and Gatbonton, the following correction was immediately published in This angle, libel is a crime, and as such subjects the offender to a fine or
Week Magazine on January 27, 1957: "While we were rushing to meet the imprisonment." No inroads on press freedom should be allowed in the guise
deadline for January 13th issue of This Week, we inadvertently published the of punitive action visited in what otherwise could be characterized as libel
picture of former Mayor Fidel G. Cruz of Sta. Maria, Bulacan, businessman whether in the form of printed words or a defamatory imputation resulting
and contractor, in 'Our Own Who's Who feature in the Year End Quiz' of This from the publication of Cruz's picture with the offensive caption as in
Week in lieu of the health inspector Fidel Cruz, who was connected with a complained of. This is not to deny that the party responsible invites the
story about a murderer running loose on Calayan Island. We here express our institution either of a criminal prosecution or a civil suit. It must be admitted
profound regrets that; such an error occurred." Together with the foregoing that what was done did invite such a dire consequence, considering the value
correction, Lopez and Gatbonton published the picture of Fidel Cruz; the the law justly places on a man's reputation. This is merely to underscore the
photographs and the correction moreover were enclosed by four lines, the primacy that freedom of the press enjoys. It ranks rather high in the hierarchy
type used was bolder than ordinary, and the item was placed in a conspicuous of legal values. If the cases mean anything at all then, to emphasize what has
place in order to call the attention of the readers to such amends being made. so clearly emerged, they call for the utmost care on the part of the judiciary
The businessman Fidel G. Cruz sued Lopez and Gatbonton in the Court of to assure that in safeguarding the interest of the party allegedly offended, a
First Instance of Manila for the Constitutional Law II, 2005 ( 14 ) Narratives realistic account of the obligation of a news media to disseminate
(Berne Guerrero) recovery of damages alleging the defamatory character of information of a public character and to comment thereon as well as the
the above publication of his picture. After trial duly had, he was awarded conditions attendant on the business of publishing cannot be ignored.
P5,000 as actual damages, another P5,000 as moral damages, and P1,000 for However, the correction promptly made by Lopez and Gatbonton would thus
attorney's fees. That judgment was affirmed on appeal to the appellate Court. call for a reduction in the damages awarded. It should be noted that there was
Lopez and Gatbonton filed the petition for certiorari. no proof of any actual pecuniary loss arising from the above publication. It is
worthwhile to recall what Justice Malcolm referred to as the tolerant attitude
Issue: Whether the claim of freedom of the press negates Lopez and
on the part of appellate courts on this score, the usual practice being "more
Gatbontons liability arising from libel.
likely to reduce damages for libel than to increase them."
Held: A libel was defined as a "malicious defamation, expressed either in
writing, printing, or by signs or pictures, or the like, tending to blacken the
memory of one who is dead or to impeach the honesty, virtue, or reputation, 2.7. New York Times vs. Sullivan
or publish the alleged or natural defects of one who is alive, and thereby
[376 US 254, 9 March 1964]
expose him to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule." There was an express
Facts: L. B. Sullivan is one of the three elected Commissioners of the City of 'speeding,' 'loitering' and similar 'offenses.' And now they have charged him
Montgomery, Alabama. He was "Commissioner of Public Affairs and the with `perjury' - a felony under which they could imprison him for ten years."
duties are supervision of the Police Department, Fire Department, A jury in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County awarded him damages of
Department of Cemetery and Department of Scales." He brought the civil $500,000, the full amount claimed, against all the petitioners, and the
libel action against the four individual petitioners, who are Negroes and Supreme Court of Alabama affirmed. Background on Alabama laws on the
Alabama clergymen, and against the New York Times Company, a New York matter: Under Alabama law, a publication is "libelous per se" if the words
corporation which publishes the New York Times, a daily newspaper. "tend to injure a person in his reputation" or to "bring [him] into public
Sullivan's complaint alleged that he had been libeled by statements in a full- contempt"; the trial court stated that the standard was met if the words are
page advertisement that was carried in the New York Times on 29 March such as to "injure him in his public office, or impute misconduct to him in his
1960. Entitled "Heed Their Rising Voices," the advertisement began by office, or want of official integrity, or want of fidelity to a public trust." The
stating that "As the whole world knows by now, thousands of Southern jury must find that the words were published "of and concerning" the
Negro students are engaged in widespread non-violent demonstrations in plaintiff, but where the plaintiff is a public official his place in the
positive affirmation of the right to live in human dignity as guaranteed by the governmental hierarchy is sufficient evidence to support a finding that his
U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights." It went on to charge that "in their reputation has been affected by statements that reflect upon the agency of
efforts to uphold these guarantees, they are being met by an unprecedented which he is in charge. Once "libel per se" has been established, the defendant
wave of terror by those who would deny and negate that document which the has no defense as to stated facts unless he can persuade the jury that they
whole world looks upon as setting the pattern for modern freedom." were true in all their particulars. His privilege of "fair comment" for
Succeeding paragraphs purported to illustrate the "wave of terror" by expressions of opinion depends on the truth of the facts upon which the
describing certain alleged events. The text concluded with an appeal for comment is based. Unless he can discharge the burden of proving truth,
funds for three purposes: support of the student movement, "the struggle for general damages are presumed, and may be awarded without proof of
the right-to-vote," and the legal defense of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., leader pecuniary injury. A showing of actual malice is apparently a prerequisite to
of the movement, against a perjury indictment then pending in Montgomery. recovery of punitive damages, and the defendant may in any event forestall a
The text appeared over the names of 64 persons, many widely known for punitive award by a retraction meeting the statutory requirements. Good
their activities in public affairs, religion, trade unions, and the performing motives and belief in truth do not negate an inference of malice, but are
arts. Below these names, and under a line reading "We in the south who are relevant only in mitigation of punitive damages if the jury chooses to accord
struggling daily for dignity and freedom warmly endorse this appeal," them weight. Further, Alabama law denies a public officer recovery of
appeared the names of the four individual petitioners and of 16 other persons, punitive damages in a libel action brought on account of a publication
all but two of whom were identified as clergymen in various Southern cities. concerning his official conduct unless he first makes a written demand for a
The advertisement was signed at the bottom of the page by the "Committee public retraction and the defendant fails or refuses to comply.
to Defend Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Freedom in the South,"
Issue: Whether printed allegations or criticism against official conduct
and the officers of the Committee were listed. Of the 10 paragraphs of text in
should be supported by actual facts, to free persons from liabilities attendant
the advertisement, the third and a portion of the sixth were the basis of
to libel.
Sullivan's claim of libel. Third paragraph read as "In Montgomery, Alabama,
after students sang `My Country, 'Tis of Thee' on the State Capitol steps, their Held: The general proposition that freedom of expression upon public
leaders were expelled from school, and truckloads of police armed with questions is secured by the First Amendment has long been settled by the
shotguns and tear-gas ringed the Alabama State College Campus. When the Court's decisions. The constitutional safeguard was fashioned to assure
entire student body protested to state authorities by refusing to re-register, unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social
their dining hall was padlocked in an attempt to starve them into changes desired by the people. The maintenance of the opportunity for free
submission," while the sixth paragraph reads "Again and again the Southern political discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will
violators have answered Dr. King's peaceful protests with intimidation and of the people and that changes may be obtained by lawful means, an
violence. They have bombed his home almost killing his wife and child. opportunity essential to the security of the Republic, is a fundamental
They have assaulted his person. They have arrested him seven times - for principle of our constitutional system. It is a prized American privilege to
speak one's mind, although not always with perfect good taste, on all public They tend to make only statements which "steer far wider of the unlawful
institutions, and this opportunity is to be afforded for "vigorous advocacy" no zone." The rule thus dampens the vigor and limits the variety of public
less than "abstract discussion." The First Amendment presupposes that right debate. It is inconsistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues, than
through any kind of authoritative selection. Against the background of a
profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues 2.8 LIWAYWAY PUBLICATIONS v. PCWU
should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include 108 SCRA 16
vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government
and public officials. The present advertisement, as an expression of grievance FACTS: The picket held by defendant-appellant union against their
and protest on one of the major public issues of our time, would seem clearly employer prevented herein plaintiff-appellee's truck from loading and
to qualify for the constitutional protection. Authoritative interpretations of the unloading of its products inside the premises of Permanent Concrete
First Amendment guarantees have consistently refused to recognize an Products, where the plaintiff-appellee was occupying as a sub-lessee. Hence,
exception for any test of truth - whether administered by judges, juries, or the latter sought to enjoin the picket.
administrative officials - and especially one that puts the burden of proving ISSUE: May a picket be enjoined at the instance of a third party?
truth on the speaker. The constitutional protection does not turn upon "the
truth, popularity, or social utility of the ideas and beliefs which are offered." HELD: Yes. Peaceful picketing, while being allowed as a phase of freedom
Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of everything; and of expression guaranteed by the Constitution and could not be curtailed even
in no instance is this truer than in that of the press. That erroneous statement in the absence of employer-employee relationship, is not an absolute right.
is inevitable in free debate, and that it must be protected if the freedoms of The courts are not without power to localize the sphere of demonstration,
expression are to have the "breathing space" that they "need to survive." whose interest are foreign to the context of the dispute. Thus the right may be
Injury to official reputation affords no more warrant for repressing speech recognized at the instance of an "innocent bystander" who is not involved in
that would otherwise be free than does factual error. Where judicial officers the labor dispute if it appears that the result of the picketing is create an
are involved, the Court has held that concern for the dignity and reputation of impression that a labor dispute exists between him and the picketing union.
the courts does not justify the punishment as criminal contempt of criticism
of the judge or his decision. This is true even though the utterance contains
"half-truths" and "misinformation." Such repression can be justified, if at all, 3.a ATTY. PHILIP SIGFRID A. FORTUN vs. ATTY. PRIMA JESUSA
only by a clear and present danger of the obstruction of justice. If judges are B. QUINSAYAS, et. al.
to be treated as "men of fortitude, able to thrive in a hardy climate," surely G.R. No. 194578, February 13, 2013, 690 SCRA 623
the same must be true of other government officials, such as elected city FACTS: Atty. Fortun is the counsel for the Ampatuans, the principal accused
commissioners. Criticism of their official conduct does not lose its in the Maguindanao Massacre.
constitutional protection merely because it is effective criticism and hence
diminishes their official reputations. A rule compelling the critic of official Atty. Quinsayas filed a disbarment complaint against Atty. Fortun for
conduct to guarantee the truth of all his factual assertions - and to do so on misleading the prosecution and trial court under the rules and muddled the
pain of libel judgments virtually unlimited in amount - leads to a comparable issues and diverted the attention away from the main subject matter of the
"self-censorship." Allowance of the defense of truth, with the burden of case.
proving it on the defendant, does not mean that only false speech will be
deterred. Even courts accepting this defense as an adequate safeguard have Atty. Fortun filed an indirect contempt against Atty. Quinsayas and the media
recognized the difficulties of adducing legal proofs that the alleged libel was group for active dissemination of the details of the disbarment complaint
true in all its factual particulars. Under such a rule, would-be critics of against him in violation of Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court on confidential
official conduct may be deterred from voicing their criticism, even though it nature of disbarment proceedings.
is believed to be true and even though it is in fact true, because of doubt
whether it can be proved in court or fear of the expense of having to do so. The media group denied the posting and publication of the articles about the
disbarment complaint. It would appear that only Atty. Quinsayas was cases because the Constitution also gives specific authority to the
responsible for the distribution of copies of the disbarment complaint to the Commission on Elections to supervise the conduct of free, honest, and
members of the media. 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
ISSUE: Whether Atty. Quinsayas is guilty of indirect contempt in violation electorate are invoked against actions intended for maintaining clean and free
of Section 18, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court. elections, the police, local officials and COMELEC, should lean in favor of
freedom. The regulation of election campaign activity may not pass the test
HELD: YES. Atty. Quinsayas is bound by Section 18, Rule 139-B of the of validity if it is too general in its terms or not limited in time and scope in
Rules of Court both as a complainant and as a lawyer in the disbarment case its application, if it restricts one's expression of belief in a candidate or one's
against Atty. Fortun. 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.
As a lawyer and an officer of the Court, Atty. Quinsayas is familiar with the
confidential nature of disbarment proceedings. However, instead of
preserving its confidentiality, she disseminated copies of the disbarment
The posting of decals and stickers in mobile places like cars and other
complaint against Atty. Fortun to members of the media which act constitutes
moving vehicles does not endanger any substantial government interest. There is no
contempt of court.
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
3.b BLO UMPAR ADIONG vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS candidate but once the car owner agrees to have it placed on his private
Citation : G.R. No. 103956 March 31, 1992 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
Facts : A Resolution No. 2347 was promulgated by the COMELEC which provides that should be posted is so broad that it encompasses even the citizen's private
decals and stickers may be posted only in any of the authorized posting areas, property, which in this case is a privately-owned vehicle. In consequence of
prohibiting posting in "mobile" places, public or private. Petitioner Blo this prohibition, another cardinal rule prescribed by the Constitution would be violated.
Umpar Adiong is a senatorial candidate in the May Section 1, Article III of the Bill of Rights provides that no person shall be
11, 1992 elections. Adiong is assailing the Resolution. In addition, Adiong deprived of his property without due process of law.
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. [201 SCRA 1; G.R. NO. 1026653; 5 MAR 1992]
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 Facts: Petitioners in these cases consist of representatives of the mass media
of interests individual freedom on one hand and substantial public which are prevented from selling or donating space and time for political
interests on the other is made even more difficult in election campaign advertisements; two (2) individuals who are candidates for office (one for
national and the other for provincial office) in the coming May 1992 Section 11 (b) is limited in the duration of its applicability and enforceability.
elections; and taxpayers and voters who claim that their right to be informed By virtue of the operation of Article IX (C) (4) of the Constitution, Section
of election Issue and of credentials of the candidates is being curtailed. It is 11 (b) is limited in its applicability in time to election periods. Section 11 (b)
principally argued by petitioners that Section 11 (b) of Republic Act No. does not purport in any way to restrict the reporting by newspapers or radio
66461 invades and violates the constitutional guarantees comprising freedom or television stations of news or news-worthy events relating to candidates,
of expression. Petitioners maintain that the prohibition imposed by Section their qualifications, political parties and programs of government. Moreover,
11 (b) amounts to censorship, because it selects and singles out for Section 11 (b) does not reach commentaries and expressions of belief or
suppression and repression with criminal sanctions, only publications of a opinion by reporters or broadcasters or editors or commentators or
particular content, namely, media-based election or political propaganda columnists in respect of candidates, their qualifications, and programs and so
during the election period of 1992. It is asserted that the prohibition is in forth, so long at least as such comments, opinions and beliefs are not in fact
derogation of media's role, function and duty to provide adequate channels of advertisements for particular candidates covertly paid for. In sum, Section 11
public information and public opinion relevant to election Issue. Further, (b) is not to be read as reaching any report or commentary other coverage
petitioners contend that Section 11 (b) abridges the freedom of speech of that, in responsible media, is not paid for by candidates for political office.
candidates, and that the suppression of media-based campaign or political Section 11 (b) as designed to cover only paid political advertisements of
propaganda except those appearing in the Comelec space of the newspapers particular candidates.
and on Comelec time of radio and television broadcasts, would bring about a
substantial reduction in the quantity or volume of information concerning The limiting impact of Section 11 (b) upon the right to free speech of the
candidates and Issue in the election thereby curtailing and limiting the right candidates themselves is not unduly repressive or unreasonable.
of voters to information and opinion.
Issue: Whether or Not Section 11 (b) of Republic Act No. 6646
3.d. Zaldivar vs. Sandiganbayan [GR 79690-707, 1 February 1989];
also Zaldivar vs. Gonzales [GR 80578]
Held: Yes. It seems a modest proposition that the provision of the Bill of
Rights which enshrines freedom of speech, freedom of expression and Facts: [Acquired from 27 April 1988 decision] Enrique A. Zaldivar, governor
freedom of the press has to be taken in conjunction with Article IX (C) (4) of the province of Antique, sought, through a petition for Certiorari,
which may be seen to be a special provision applicable during a specific Prohibition, and Mandamus, to restrain the Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan
limited period i.e., "during the election period." In our own society, Raul Gonzalez from proceeding with the prosecution and hearing of Criminal
equality of opportunity to proffer oneself for public office, without regard to Cases 12159 to 12161 and 12163-12177 on the ground that said cases were
the level of financial resources that one may have at one's disposal, is clearly filed by said Tanodbayan without legal and constitutional authority, since
an important value. One of the basic state policies given constitutional rank under the 1987 Constitution which took effect on 2 February 1987, it is only
by Article II, Section 26 of the Constitution is the egalitarian demand that the Ombudsman (not the present or incumbent Tanodbayan) who has the
"the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and authority to file cases with the Sandiganbayan. Similarly, Enrique A.
prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law." The essential question Zaldivar, on substantially the same ground as the first petition, prays that
is whether or not the assailed legislative or administrative provisions Tanodbayan Gonzalez be restrained from conducting preliminary
constitute a permissible exercise of the power of supervision or regulation of investigations and filing similar cases with the Sandiganbayan. The Supreme
the operations of communication and information enterprises during an Court granted the consolidated petitions filed by Zaldivar and nullified the
election period, or whether such act has gone beyond permissible supervision criminal informations filed against him in the Sandiganbayan; and ordered
or regulation of media operations so as to constitute unconstitutional Raul Gonzalez to cease and desist from conducting investigations and filing
repression of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The Court criminal cases with the Sandiganbayan or otherwise exercising the powers
considers that Section 11 (b) has not gone outside the permissible bounds of and functions of the Ombudsman. [Present case] Tanodbayan Gonzales
supervision or regulation of media operations during election periods. allegedly made contumacious acts or statements in a pleading filed before the
Court and in statements given to the media. In its Resolution dated 2 May
1988, the Supreme Court required Tanodbayan Gonzales to explain "why he palpable as a threat of public disorder or rioting but is certainly no less
should not be punished for contempt of court and/or subjected to deleterious and more far reaching in its implications for society.
administrative sanctions" and in respect of which, Gonzales was heard and
3.e Eastern Broadcasting Corporation vs. Dans
given the most ample opportunity to present all defenses, arguments and
evidence that he wanted to present for the consideration of this Court. The [GR L-59329, 19 July 1985]
Court did not summarily impose punishment upon Gonzales which it could Facts: Radio Station DYRE was closed on the ground that the radio station
have done under Section 1 of Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court had it was used to incite people to sedition. A petition was filed by Eastern
chosen to consider Gonzales' acts as constituting "direct contempt." In the per Broadcasting to compel the Minister of Transportation and Communications,
curiam resolution dated 7 October 1988, the Court found Tanodbayan Ceferino S. Carreon (Commissioner, National Telecommunications
Gonzalez to be "guilty both of contempt of court in facie curiae and of gross Commission), et. al. to allow the reopening of Radio Station DYRE which
misconduct as an officer of the court and member of the bar." Gonzales filed had been summarily closed on grounds of national security; alleging denial
a motion for reconsideration. Issue: Whether the statements made by of due process and violation of its right of freedom of speech. On 25 March
Tanodbayan Gonzales transcended the permissible limits of free speech. 1985, before the Court could promulgate a decision squarely passing upon all
Held: The "clear and present danger" doctrine is not a magic incantation the issues raised, Eastern Broadcasting through its president, Mr. Rene G.
which dissolves all problems and dispenses with analysis and judgment in the Espina suddenly filed a motion to withdraw or dismiss the petition. Eastern
testing of the legitimacy of claims to free speech, and which compels a court Broadcasting alleged that (1) it has already sold its radio broadcasting station
to exonerate a defendant the moment the doctrine is invoked, absent proof of in favor of Manuel B. Pastrana as well as its rights and interest in the radio
impending apocalypse. The "clear and present danger" doctrine has been an station DYRE in Cebu including its right to operate and its equipment; (2)
accepted method for marking out the appropriate limits of freedom of speech the National Telecommunications Commission has expressed its willingness
and of assembly in certain contexts. It is not, however, the only test which to grant to the said new owner Manuel B. Pastrana the requisite license and
has been recognized and applied by courts. Although the prevailing doctrine franchise to operate the said radio station and to approve the sale of the radio
is that the clear and present danger rule is such a limitation; another criterion transmitter of said station DYRE; (3) in view of the foregoing, Eastern
for permissible limitation on freedom of speech and of the press, which Broadcasting has no longer any interest in said case, and the new owner,
includes such vehicles of the mass media as radio, television and the movies, Manuel B. Pastrana is likewise not interested in pursuing the case any further.
is the "balancing-of interests test." The principle requires a court to take Issue: Whether radio broadcasting enjoys a more limited form Held: The case
conscious and detailed consideration of the interplay of interests observable has become moot and academic. However, for the guidance of inferior courts
in a given situation or type of situation' Still, under either the "clear and and administrative tribunals exercising quasi-judicial functions, the Court
present danger" test or the "balancing-of-interest test" the Corut believes that issues the following guidelines: (1) The cardinal primary requirements in
the statements made by Gonzalez are of such a nature and were made in such administrative proceedings laid down by the Court in Ang Tibay v. Court of
a manner and under such circumstances, as to transcend the permissible Industrial Relations (69 Phil. 635) should be followed before a broadcast
limits of free speech. This conclusion was implicit in the per curiam station may be closed or its operations curtailed; (2) it is necessary to
Resolution of October 7, 1988. It is important to point out that the reiterate that while there is no controlling and precise definition of due
"substantive evil" which the Supreme Court has a right and a duty to prevent process, it furnishes an unavoidable standard to which government action
does not, in the present case, relate to threats of physical disorder or overt must conform in order that any deprivation of life, liberty, or property, in
violence or similar disruptions of public order. What is here at stake is the each appropriate case, may be valid (Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel
authority of the Supreme Court to confront and prevent a "substantive evil" Operators Association v. City Mayor, 20 SCRA 849); (3) All forms of media,
consisting not only of the obstruction of a free and fair hearing of a particular whether print or broadcast, are entitled to the broad protection of the freedom
case but also the avoidance of the broader evil of the degradation of the of speech and expression clause. The test for limitations on freedom of
judicial system of a country and the destruction of the standards of expression continues to be the clear and present danger rule - that words are
professional conduct required from members of the bar and officers of the used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and
courts. The "substantive evil" here involved, in other words, is not as present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils 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 utterance. Still, the government has a right to be protected against broadcasts
applicable to all utterances in all forums. Broadcasting has to be licensed. which incite the listeners to violently overthrow it. Radio and television may
Airwave frequencies have to be allocated among qualified users; (5) The not be used to organize a rebellion or to signal the start of widespread
clear and present danger test must take the particular circumstances of uprising. At the same time, the people have a right to be informed. Radio and
broadcast media into account. The supervision of radio stations whether television would have little reason for existence if broadcasts are limited to
by government or through self-regulation by the industry itself calls for bland, obsequious, or pleasantly entertaining utterances. Since they are the
thoughtful, intelligent and sophisticated handling; (6) the freedom to most convenient and popular means of disseminating varying views on
comment on public affairs is essential to the vitality of a representative public issues, they also deserve special protection.
democracy; and (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. A broadcast corporation cannot simply appropriate a certain
frequency without regard for government regulation or for the rights of Nature of the Case:
others.All forms of communication are entitled to the broad protection of the
freedom of expression clause. Necessarily, however, the freedom of - Special action for certiorari, prohibition with preliminary injunction seeking
television and radio broadcasting is somewhat lesser in scope than the to annul the decision of the IAC sustaining the Order of CFI Bacolod
freedom accorded to newspaper and print media. Radio broadcasting, more denying petitioner's Motion to Dismiss the complaint for libel led by private
than other forms of communications, receives the most limited protection respondents
from the free expression clause, because: First, broadcast media have Facts:
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 - Private respondents, incorporated associations of sugarcane planters in
the privacy of his home. Second, broadcasting is uniquely accessible to Negros Occidental led a case in their own behalf and/or as a class suit in
children. Bookstores and motion picture theaters may be prohibited from behalf of all sugarcane planters in the province against Newsweek Inc. and
making certain material available to children, but the same selectivity cannot two of their non-resident correspondents/reporters, Fred Bruning and Barry
be done in radio or television, where the listener or viewer is constantly Came.- The complaint alleged that petitioner committed libel against them by
tuning in and out. Similar considerations apply in the area of national the publication of the article "An Island of Fear" in their magazine. The
security. The broadcast media have also established a uniquely pervasive article supposedly portrayed the island as a place dominated by big
presence in the lives of all Filipinos. Newspapers and current books are landowners or sugarcane planters who exploited the impoverished sugarcane
found only in metropolitan areas and in the poblaciones of municipalities laborers and brutalized and killed them with impunity. They claim that the
accessible to fast and regular transportation. Even here, there are low income article showed a malicious use of falsehood, slanted presentation and
masses who find Constitutional Law II, 2005 ( 46 ) Narratives (Berne misrepresentation of facts, putting them in a bad light- Petitioner argues that
Guerrero) the cost of books, newspapers, and magazines beyond their humble private respondents' complaint failed to state a cause of action because the
means. Basic needs like food and shelter perforce enjoy high priorities. On complainant made no allegation that anything contained in the article referred
the other hand, the transistor radio is found everywhere. The television set is specically to any one of them--and libel can be committed only against
also becoming universal. Their message may be simultaneously received by a individual reputation OR, if is claimed to be directed at a group, there i
national or regional audience of listeners including the indifferent or defamation only if the libel can be said to reach beyond the mere collectivity
unwilling who happen to be within reach of a blaring radio or television set. to do damage to a specic, individual group member's reputation.
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 whose reactions to inflammatory or Ruling:
offensive speech would be difficult to monitor or predict. The impact of the - Decision of the IAC is reversed and the respondents' complaint is
vibrant speech is forceful and immediate. Unlike readers of the printed work, dismissed.
the radio audience has lesser opportunity to cogitate, analyze, and reject the
-The case at bar is not a class suit. It is not a case where one or more may sue
for the benefit of all.
- We have here a case where each of the plaintiffs has a separate and distinct
- There is no cause of action.
reputation in the community. They do not have a common or general interest
- Corpus v Cuaderno, Sr.: In order to maintain a libel suit, it is essential that in the subject matter of the controversy.
the victim be identiable, although it is not necessary that he be named
.- Defamatory matter which does not reveal the identity of the person upon
whom the imputation is case affords no ground of action unless it be shown
that the readers could have identied the personality of the individual
defamed. 111 SCRA 478
- This principle is important especially where a group or class of persons
claim to have been defamed because the larger the collectivity, the more
FACTS: Petitioner Ramos was suspended for writing the phrase "under
difcult it is for the individual member to prove that the defamatory remarks
protest" in the company payroll to object to the P1.0 deduction made by the
apply to him.
respondent for allegedly getting P500 worth of lumber in 1964. The
- Where the defamatory is alleged to have been directed at a group or lass, it deduction started only in 1969, at the peak of union activities of the petitioner
is essential that the statement must be so sweeping or all-embracing as to when several complaints of unfair labor practices were filed by the union
apply to every individual in the that group OR sufciently specic so that against the respondent.
each individual prove the defamatory statement specically pointed to him so
that he can bring action separately.
ISSUE: Is the action of the petitioner a lawful exercise of freedom of
- The case is NOT a class suit. It is not a case where one or more may sue for
the benet of all or where the representation of class interest affected by the
decree is indispensable to make each member an actual party.
- The plaintiffs here have a separate and distinct reputation in the community. HELD: Yes. The freedom of expression is available to individual workers
They do not have a common or general interest in this controversy. subject to legal limitation of industrial peace to air valid grievances. It is thus
too clear from the foregoing that petitioner Ramos was justified in airing his
- The disputed portion of the article that they claim is libelous never singled
grievances against the unauthorized and illegal deductions made by
out plaintiff Sola as a sugar planter. The report merely stated that the victim
respondent company. By writing "under protest" on the company payroll,
has been arrested by members of a special police unit brought into the area
petitioner Ramos was well within the ambit of his constitutional freedom of
by Sola, the mayor of Kabankalan. The report, referring as it does to an
expression as well as the right to petition against what was obviously a
ofcial act performed by an elective public ofcial, is within the real of
calculated undue harassment amounting to unfair labor practice perpetuated
privilege and protected by the constitutional guarantees of free speech and
by respondent employer herein.
press.- The article in question is not libelous in nature.- The complaint
contains a recital of the favorable working conditions of the agricultural 3.h. IN RE ATTY. EMMANUEL S. TIPON, 79 SCRA 372
workers in the sugar industry and various foundations and programs
supported by planters' associations for the benet of the workers.-
Undoubtedly, the statements in the article are sweeping and exaggerated, but Facts:
these articles may also serve to prick the consciences of those who have but The Postmaster General in a first indorsement to the Chief Justice
are not doing anything or enough for those who do not have. dated May 17, 1965 transmitted certain papers purporting to show that Atty. Emmanuel
S. Tipon (admitted to the bar in 1956) might have violated the lawyer's oath
for having imported the magazine Playboy, which was considered as non- Lacsa is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) by profession. As such,
mailable matter. he offered his services pro bono to serve as auditor of the Philippine
Columbian Association (having previously been a former member of its
Board of Directors, and, then, a representative of one of its institutional
Held: members).
In that indorsement Secretary Raquiza rendered the opinion that Lacsa accessed the personal folder of Marquez, then-President of the
Playboy magazine cannot be character as obscene and that it can be carried Assoc. He found out that Marquez was a mere associate of the association:
and deposited in Philippine mails. The Secretary concluded that "there is he questioned Marquezs qualification to hold the presidency, when only
absolutely no to show that Atty. Tipon had violated or intended to violate the proprietary members can be voted to that position.
postal laws, the lawyer's oath or the Canons of Legal Ethics. Secretary Raquiza
Thus, he wrote a letter to the BoD (21 December 1978) wherein he
requested that the Postmaster General's complaint of May 17,1965 be
impugned the status of Marquez as president and proprietary member. He
contended that the issuance of a proprietary membership to Marquez, w/o the
withdrawn. WHEREFORE, this case is considered closed for having become
authority of the Assoc.s BoD, was erroneous.
moot andacademic.
He also wrote a letter (2 January 1979) to Marquez, asking the latter
to relinquish the presidency, and referring to the latter as a de facto
3.i PEDRO S. LACSA, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE president. The grounds he cited for such a request were the same as the ones
APPELLATE COURT and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, he gave in his letter to the BoD.
He cced the latter letter to a number of people including some
G.R. No. 74907, 23 May 1988 SARMIENTO, J. familiar names: Justice Claudio Teehankee, Jorge Vargas, and Prof. Renato
Constantino. Eventually, hecaused the letter to be published and circulated
among the member of the Assoc. He also caused the publication, in a
Important Doctrine: newsletter circulated to the members of the Assoc., an item entitled Doubts
An incendiary utterance, where the libelous allegations are expressly laid As to the Legitimacy of the Incumbent President. Marquez instituted
out, is not the only possible ground for conviction. Following US v. separate criminal and civil actions against Lacsa, claiming to have been
OConnell , speech where the readers/hearers are merely induced to be maligned, defamed, and exposed to public ridicule by the latters actions.
suspicious of the victims merit/honor may suffice. Explanations of the The CFI of Manila found Lacsa guilty of Libel, and this judgment was later
accused as to the meaning of the assailed utterances are, in a way, affirmed by the IAC.
immaterial: what matters is the meaning of the utterances as understood by Thus, this petition to SC.
the readers, taking the material as a whole, and reading it in its plain and
ordinary meaning. (US v. Sotto; Jimenez v. Reyes)

Information (charge): *not specified* 1.Did the appellate court err in affirming Lacsas conviction for Libel?

CFI of Manila: Libel (complainant: Ponciano Marquez) NO.

Guilty (P2,000)
DEFENSE (de facto president is not libelous, per se):
Intermediate Appellate Court: Affirmed, in toto, Judgment of CFI
SC: Sol Gen correct in saying that calling Marquez a de facto president tasked to implement the terms and conditions of MOA w/ Permaline, Inc. for
is equivalent to saying that the latter is a pretender/fraud/impostor who the construction of the Philippine Columbian Sports Complex worth
arrogated unto himself powers/rights/privileges to which he is not entitled. P30M) was not extended; he was only give chairmanship of the finance
committee: the latter position Lacsa rejected, and Marquez, as President,
Exposed Marquez to public contempt and ridicule
accepted the rejection
Created an impression in the minds of the readers of the libelous
materials Lacsa felt aggrieved and thus began looking for ways to criticize

DEFENSE (even presuming de facto president is libelous, the letter and

newsletter constitute privileged communication): Dispostion: Petition DENIED. Questioned decision AFFIRMED.
To be classified as privileged comm.., the material must be absolutely free Additional Notes:
from any taint of malice not the case here Test of Libelous Meaning, US v. OConnell, in cases where nothing wrong is
Lacsa knew beforehand that Marquez was already a proprietary member imputed in certain and express terms:
of the association, as evidenced by the issuance of the certificate for the Words calculated to induce suspicion are sometimes more
latters proprietary membership. effective to destroy reputation than false charges directly made. Ironical and
Evidenced by the accuseds initials, PSL, dated 28 metaphorical language is a favored vehicle for slander. A charge is sufficient
(i) if the words are calculated to induce the hearers to suppose and
September 1978, in a document containing the minutes of a 22 April 1968 understand that the person/s against whom they were uttered were guilty
meeting. (His initials signified that he had examined the document.) of certain offenses, (ii) if the words are sufficient to impeach the victims
Thus, there was no sufficient ground to claim that there was no basis honesty, virtue, or reputation, or (iii) hold the victim up to public
for the conversion of Marquezs associate membership into a ridicule.
proprietary one.
On how to analyze allegedly libelous material (US v. Sotto, citing Jimenez v.
Even assuming that the January 1979 letter was in fact privileged Reyes):
communication, its status as such was lost upon Lacsas publishing and The published matter must be construed as a whole. The court
circulation of the matter in a newsletter. will disregard any subtle/ingenious explanation offered by the publisher: the
SC noted that, as an auditor, Lacsa was under an obligation to keep question is what the effect of the publication had upon the minds of the
readers giving the matter such a meaning as is natural and obvious in the
his findings in strict confidence bet. Him and the BoD.
plain and ordinary sense in which the public would naturally understand what
The BoD is the only body that can make the necessary correction in
was uttered.
case there was a mistake in the membership records.
Immediately going public with is alleged findings is unpardonable.
3. j. Kapunan v de Villa

Trial Courts Finding of Malice: Facts: prohibition and/or habeas corpus, petitioners, who were implicated in
the unsuccessful coup d'etat of August 28, 1987 and relieved of their duties in
the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), seek the issuance of the writs of
Lacsas appointment as certiorari and prohibition (1) to set aside, as null and void, the "pre-trial
investigation" report finding a prima facie case against them and
member of the steering committee (
recommending their trial for mutiny and conduct unbecoming an officer and Issue: Whether or not the house arrest or confinement of Kapunan is illegal
the denial of their motion for reconsideration, and (2) to enjoin respondent
Ruling: the Court Resolved to DISMISS the Petition . The Court finds that
General Court Martial No. 8 from further proceeding in the case of "People v.
petitioner Kapunan's continued confinement is not tainted with illegality.
Lt. Col. Eduardo Kapunan, et al."Further, petitioner Kapunan seeks the
Among the grounds for the disallowance of the writ of habeas corpus is that
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus to procure his release from confinement.
the applicant has been charged with or convicted of in offense [Sec. 4, Rule
In the aftermath of the failed August 28,1987 coup d'etat where cadets of the
102, Rules of Court]. In the instant case, petitioner Kapunan had been
Philippine Military Academy reportedly openly supported the plotters and
charged with mutiny, a serious offense punishable by death or such other
issued statements to that effect. PMABoard of Officers to investigate the
punishment as a court-martial may direct. There is a legal cause of his
alleged involvement of officers and cadets of the PMA [Rollo,p. 187]. A fact-
confinement. Art. 70. Arrest or confinement.Any person subject to military
finding investigation was conducted bythe PMA Board from September 1 to
law charged with crime or with a serious offense under these Articles shall be
11, 1987 and on September 23, 1987 it submitted its findings to theAFP
placed in confinement or in arrest, as circumstances may require; but when
Chief of Staff. Charge sheets were filed against petitioners for mutiny and
charged with a minor offense only, such person shall not ordinarily be placed
conduct unbecoming an officer and a "pre-trial investigation" was conducted
in confinement. Any person placed in arrest under the provisions of this
by respondent Maj. Baldonado. Kapunan was allegedly summoned to the
article shall thereby be restricted to his barracks, quarters, or tent, unless such
General Headquarters of the AFP fora dialogue, but upon his arrival thereat
limits shall be enlarged by proper authority. ...It cannot be gainsaid that
on September4, 1987 he was ordered confined under "house arrest" by then
certain liberties of persons in the military service, including the freedom of
Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel Ramos. On February19, 1988, the arrest of
speech, may be circumscribed by rules of military discipline. Thus, to a
petitioner Kapunan, together with three (3) others, was ordered by respondent
certain degree, individual rights may be curtailed, because the effectiveness
Chief of Staff De Villa in connection with the killing of Atty. Rolando Olalia
of the military in fulfilling its duties under the law depends to a large extent
and Leonore Alay-ay
on the maintenance of discipline within its ranks