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G.R. No. 128959 September 30, 2005

Cirser Torralba is a radio broadcaster of DYLA and DYFX based in Cebu City, filed a libel
complaint against Guingguing and Lim. Lim published a paid article at Sunday Post and
published the records and pictures of estafa cases filed against Torralba, that according to the
latter placed him in public contempt and ridicule and was designed to degrade his person and
destroy him as a broadcaster.
Lim, in defense said that Torralba makes scurrilous attacks against him and his family
over his programs, he opted for paid advertisements to answer the attacks.
The lower court concluded that the publication complained of was indeed libelous. On
appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC’s decision finding of guilt.

Whether or not finding of guilt against Guingguin constitutes an infringement of his
constitutional right o freedom of speech and of the press.

No. Libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect,
real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the
dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of
one who is dead.

Two major propositions in the prosecution of defamatory remarks were stablished: first,
that libel against a public person is a greater offense than one directed against an ordinary man,
and second, that it is immaterial that the libel be true. The Supreme Court has accepted the
proposition that the actual malice standard governs the prosecution of criminal libel cases
concerning public figures.

As it has been established that complainant was a public figure, it was incumbent upon
the prosecution to prove actual malice on the part of Lim and Guingguing when the latter
published the article subject matter of the complaint. It should thus be proceed, that if the
statements made against the public figure are essentially true, then no conviction for libel can
be had.

From the foregoing, it is clear that there was nothing untruthful about what was
published in the Sunday Post . The criminal cases listed in the advertisement as pending against
the complainant had indeed been filed.

To this end, the publication of the subject advertisement by Guingguing and Lim cannot
be deemed by this court to have been done with actual malice. Aside from the fact that the
information contained in said publication was true, the intention to let the public know the
character of their radio commentator can at best be subsumed under the mantle of having been
done with good motives and justifiable ends.

The Petition is granted and the decision of CA and RTC is reversed and set aside.
Guingguin is acquitted.
White light corp., et al., vs. city of manila G.R. 122846, Jan. 20, 2009

The petitioners of this case questions the validity of the City Ordinance No. 7774 entitled
“An Ordinance Prohibiting Short-Time Admission, Short-Time Admission Rates, and Wash-Up
Rate Schemes in Hotels, Motels, Inns, Lodging Houses, Pension Houses, and Similar
Establishments in the City of Manila” (the Ordinance).” The ordinance sanctions any person or
corporation who will allow the admission and charging of room rates for less than 12 hours or
the renting of rooms more than twice a day.
RTC declared Ordinance No. 7774 null and void as it “strikes at the personal liberty of
the individual guaranteed and jealously guarded by the Constitution.”
CA, reversed the decision of RTC and affirmed the constitutionality of the ordinance. First,
it held that the ordinance did not violate the right to privacy or the freedom of movement, as it
only penalizes the owners or operators of establishments that admit individuals for short time
stays. Second, the virtually limitless reach of police power is only constrained by having a lawful
object obtained through a lawful method. The lawful objective of the ordinance is satisfied since
it aims to curb immoral activities. There is a lawful method since the establishments are still
allowed to operate. Third, the adverse effect on the establishments is justified by the well-being
of its constituents in general.

Whether the Ordinance is constitutional.

No. Ordinance No. 7774 cannot be considered as a valid exercise of police power, and as
such, it is unconstitutional. As the purpose of the constitutional guaranty is to prevent arbitrary
governmental encroachment against the life liberty and property of the individuals.

The ordinance in this case prohibits two specific and distinct business practices, namely
wash rate admissions and renting out a room more than twice a day. The ban is evidently sought
to be rooted in the police power as conferred on local government units by the Local Government
Code through such implements as the general welfare clause. Its well intention was to effect an
arbitrary and whimsical intrusion into the rights of the establishments as well as their patron.
It needlessly restrains the operation of the businesses of the petitioners as well as restricts the
rights of their patrons without suffivcient justification.

SC contended that if they were to take the myopic view that an ordinance should be
analyzed strictly as to its effect only on the petitioners at bar, then it would seem that the only
restraint imposed by the law that they were capacitated to act upon is the injury to property
sustained by the petitioners. Yet, they also recognized the capacity of the petitioners to invoke
as well the constitutional rights of their patrons – those persons who would be deprived of
availing short time access or wash-up rates to the lodging establishments in question. The rights
at stake herein fell within the same fundamental rights to liberty. Liberty as guaranteed by the
Constitution was defined by Justice Malcolm to include “the right to exist and the right to be free
from arbitrary restraint or servitude. The term cannot be dwarfed into mere freedom from
physical restraint of the person of the citizen, but is deemed to embrace the right of man to enjoy
the facilities with which he has been endowed by his Creator, subject only to such restraint as
are necessary for the common welfare.

The petition was granted by the Supreme Court and held the Ordinance unconstitutional.
CIPRIANO P. PRIMICIAS, General Campaign Manager of Coalesced Minority
Parties, vs. VALERIANO E. FUGOSO, Mayor of City of Manila, G.R. No. L-1800 January
27, 1948
Primicias, campaign manager of Coalasced Minority Parties, applied for a permit for the
holding of a peaceful public meeting at Plaza Miranda for the purpose of petitioning the
government for redress to grievances. Mayor Fugoso refused to issue permit for the reason that
here is a reasonable ground to believe, basing upon previous utterances and upon the fact that
passions, especially on the part of the losing groups, remains bitter and high, that similar
speeches will be delivered tending to undermine the faith and confidence of the people in their
government, and in the duly constituted authorities, which might threaten the breaches of the
peace and disruption of public order.
Mayor Fugoso based his refusal to the revised ordinances of 1927 prohibiting as an
offense against public peace, and penalizes as a misdemeanor,
"any act, in any public place, meeting, or procession, tending to disturb the peace or excite a
riot; or collect with other persons in a body or crowd for any unlawful purpose; or disturb or
disquiet any congregation engaged in any lawful assembly." Included in the said Ordinance is
Sec. 1119, Free Use of Public Place.

Whether or not the freedom of speech was violated.

Yes. Dealing with the ordinance, specifically, Sec. 1119, it provides for two constructions:
(1) the Mayor of the City of Manila is vested with unregulated discretion to grant or refuse, to
grant permit for the holding of a lawful assembly or meeting, parade, or procession in the streets
and other public places of the City of Manila; (2) The right of the Mayor is subject to reasonable
discretion to determine or specify the streets or public places to be used with the view to prevent
confusion by overlapping, to secure convenient use of the streets and public places by others,
and to provide adequate and proper policing to minimize the risk of disorder. The court favored
the second construction, that it does not confer upon the Mayor the power to refuse to grant the
permit, but only the discretion, in issuing the permit, to determine or specify the streets or public
places where the parade or procession may pass or the meeting may be held.

The contention of Mayor Fugoso is untenable. As stated in the portion of the decision in
Hague vs. Committee on Industrial Organization, supra, "It does not make comfort and
convenience in the use of streets or parks the standard of official action. It enables the Director
of Safety to refuse the permit on his mere opinion that such refusal will prevent riots,
disturbances or disorderly assemblage. It can thus, as the record discloses, be made the
instrument of arbitrary suppression of free expression of views on national affairs, for the
prohibition of all speaking will undoubtedly 'prevent' such eventualities." To this we may add the
following, which we make our own, said by Mr. Justice Brandeis in his concurring opinion in
Whitney vs. California, 71 U. S. (Law. ed.), 1105-1107: "Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify
suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the
function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. To justify suppression of free
speech there must be reasonable ground to fear that serious evil will result if free speech is
practiced. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the danger apprehended is imminent.
There must be reasonable ground to believe that the evil to be prevented is a serious one.
The petition for mandamus is granted and Mayor Fugosos is ordered to issue the
corresponding permit, as requested.