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Habeas Data as a Legal Notion

“The writ of habeas data is a relatively new legal

notion compared to the traditional writ of habeas
corpus and the recently promulgated writ of
Habeas data literally means ‘you should have the
data,’ and is defined by Latin American legal
scholars as a writ ‘designed to protect through a
petition or complaint, the image, privacy, honor,
information self-determination and freedom of
information of a person.”
The Philippine Habeas Data

The Rule on Habeas Data, promulgated by the

Supreme Court on January 22, 2008 through AM
08-1-16 was born in the midst of worsening human
rights condition in the country through extra-
judicial killings, enforced disappearance and
torture (Annotation to the Rule on the Writ of
Nature and Scope

Section 1 of the Rule on the

Writ of Habeas Data
provides that:

“The writ of habeas data is a remedy

available to any person whose right to
privacy in life, liberty or security is
violated or threatened by an unlawful
act or omission of a public official or
employee, or a private individual or
entity engaged in the gathering,
collecting or storing of data or
information regarding the person, family,
home and correspondence of the
aggrieved party.”
Nature and Scope

The writ of habeas data is an INDEPENDENT and


It seeks to protect a person’s right to control

information regarding oneself, particularly in
instances in which such information is being
collected through unlawful means in order to
achieve unlawful ends.
 Image
 Privacy
 Honor
 Information; and
 Freedom of
information of an
individual; and
 To provide a
forum to enforce
one’s right to the
truth and to
Gamboa v. Chan
G.R. No. 193636, 24 July 2012.
FACTS: Former President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo issued AO no. 275
“Creating an Independent Commission
to Address Existence of Private Armies in
the Country.” Its goal is to eliminate
private armies before May 10, 2010
Gamboa, a mayor of Dingras Ilocos
Norte, then filed a petition alleging that
the PNP – Ilocos Norte conducted
surveillance operations against her and
her aides and classified her as someone
who keeps private armies without the
benefit of data-verification.
Gamboa v. Chan
G.R. No. 193636, 24 July 2012.

Issue: Whether the RTC rightfully dismissed the


Ruling: Case dismissed. It must be emphasized

that in order for the privilege of the writ to be
granted, there must exist a nexus between the
right to privacy on the one hand, and the right
to life, liberty or security on the other.
Nature and Scope

Note that under the Rule, the respondent may be:

 A public official or employee; or
 A private individual or entity, who is engaged in the gathering,
collecting, or storing of data “regarding a the person, family,
home and correspondence.”
The writ of habeas data cannot be invoked in labor disputes
where there is no unlawful violation of the right to life, liberty, or
Habeas data cannot be invoked when respondents in the petition
for issuance of the writ are not gathering, collecting, or storing
data or information.
Who has standing to file the
Any aggrieved party may file a petition for the
writ of habeas data. However, in cases of
extra-judicial killings and enforced
disappearance, the petition may be filed by:
 any member of the immediate family of the
aggrieved party, namely: the spouse, children
or parents; or
 any ascendant, descendant or collateral
relative of the aggrieved party within the
fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity,
in default of those mentioned in the
preceding paragraph.
Under Section 3, the petition may be
filed, at the “option of the petitioner”,
 The “regional trial court where the
respondent or petitioner resides.”
 The regional trial court which has
jurisdiction over the place “where
the data or information is gathered,
collected or stored.”
 The Supreme Court, Court of Appeals
or the Sandiganbayan when the
action “concerns public data files of
government offices.’
Docket Fees

Section 5 states that,

“(N)o docket and other lawful
fees are required from an
indigent petitioner. The petition
of the indigent shall be
docketed and acted upon
immediately without prejudice
to the subsequent submission of
proof of indigency not later than
15 days from the filing of the
When is a writ issued ?


Upon the filing of the petition, the CJJ

shall immediately order the issuance
of the writ
if on its face it ought to issue.
The clerk shall issue the writ under the seal of the
court and cause it to be served within three (3)
days from its issuance

in case of urgent necessity, the justice or judge
may issue the writ under his or her hand, and
may deputize any officer or person to serve it.
The writ shall set the date and time for
summary hearing of the petition
which shall not be later than ten (10)
work days from the date of issuance.
How is the writ served?


… served upon the respondent by a judicial

by a person deputized by the court, justice or
by substituted service

A clerk of court who refuses to issue the writ
a deputized person who refuses to serve the
shall be punished for contempt
without prejudice to other disciplinary
May a petition for habeas data be filed if
there is a pending criminal action?


When a criminal action has been

no separate petition for the writ shall be filed.
The reliefs under the writ shall be available to the aggrieved
party by motion in the criminal case. The procedure under
this rule shall govern
the disposition of the reliefs available under the writ of habeas
What if a criminal and a separate civil
action is filed after the petition is filed?


The filing of a petition for the writ

of habeas data
shall not preclude the filing of separate
criminal, civil or administrative actions.
When a criminal action is filed subsequent to the filing of a
petition for the writ,
the latter shall be consolidated with the criminal action.

When a criminal action & a separate civil action are filed

subsequent to a petition for the writ,
the petition shall be consolidated with the criminal action.
In any case, the procedure under the
rule on habeas data shall govern the
disposition of the reliefs prayed for in
a “habeas data motion” filed before
the court hearing the criminal case.
Castillo v. Cruz
(G.R. No. 182165)

WON Habeas Data is proper

when there is a criminal case
already filed
Castillo v. Cruz
(G.R. No. 182165)

“…respondents’ filing of the petitions for

writs of amparo and habeas data should
have been barred, for criminal
proceedings against them had
commenced after they were arrested in
flagrante delicto and proceeded
against …”
Castillo v. Cruz
(G.R. No. 182165)

“Validity of the arrest or the proceedings

conducted thereafter is a defense that
may be set up by respondents during trial
and not before a petition for writs of
amparo and habeas data. The reliefs
afforded by the writs may, however, be
made available to the aggrieved party
by motion in the criminal proceedings.”
Respondent’s Return


The respondent shall file a verified

written return together with
supporting affidavits within five work
days from service of the writ
What should the respondent’s
Return contain?
(a) The lawful defenses;
(b) If the respondent is in charge, in possession or in control of
the data or information subject of the petition:
(i) a disclosure of the data or information about the
petitioner, the nature of such data or information, and the
purpose for its collection;
(ii) the steps or actions taken by the respondent to ensure
the security and confidentiality of the data or information;
(iii) the currency and accuracy of the data or information
held; and,
(c) Other allegations relevant to the resolution of the
A general denial of the
allegations in the petition
shall not be allowed.
How will the hearing be conducted
in cases of ‘sensitive’ data?


Hearing in Chambers
a. the release of the data or information in question
shall compromise national security or state secrets
b. when the information cannot be divulged to the
public due to its nature or privileged character
What if the respondent fails to
make a return?

Sec. 14— CJJ shall proceed to hear the petition ex

parte, granting the petitioner such relief as the
petition may warrant unless the court in its
discretion requires the petitioner submit
No return filed within the period allowed: the court
may hear the petition ex parte and may
immediately grant the relief prayed for.
Is there a penalty for refusing to
make or making a false return?

Yes. Sec. 11 Contempt—The court, justice or

judge may punish with imprisonment or fine a
respondent who commits contempt by
making a false return, or refusing to make a
return or any person who otherwise disobeys
or resists a lawful process or order of the
Can the respondent file a pleading
other than a return?

No. Section 13 enumerates prohibited

pleadings such as, inter alia, motions “to
dismiss, for extension of time, dilatory motion
for postponement, bill of particulars, motion
to declare respondent in default,
intervention, motion for reconsideration of
interlocutory orders, Memorandum, counter
claim, or reply”.
Is there a period within which the court
must decide the petition?

The rule requires the immediate issuance of

the writ possibly in recognition of the
urgency of remedy particularly in cases
involving threat to life or liberty. However,
there is no period set for the resolution of the
petition except that it should be resolved
within ten (10) days from the time the
petition is submitted for decision. (Sec. 16)
How should the court
adjudge the case?

Sec. 16 - If the allegations in the petition are proven

by substantial evidence, the court shall:
1) ENJOIN the act
2) ORDER the DDR (deletion, destruction or
rectification) of the erroneous data or
information and GRANT reliefs as may be just
and equitable
Otherwise (no substantial evidence)
 The privilege of the writ shall be DENIED.
How is a decision appealed?

Sec. 19 - Any party may appeal from the

judgment or final order to the Supreme Court
under Rule 45. The appeal may raise
questions of fact or law or both. The period
of appeal shall be five (5) days from the date
of notice or judgment or final order. The
appeal shall be given the same priority as
habeas corpus or amparo cases.
G.R. No. 183533 (2012)

 Petition to be granted the privilege of the writs
of amparo and habeas data
 Court issued writ of amparo, commanding
return, referred the case to the CA (hearing &
 Being followed by “Joel”; afraid of Pvt. Osio in
Calapan pier
G.R. No. 183533 (2012)

CA’s Ruling
 CA denied on formal and substantial grounds
the reliefs prayed for in the petition and
dropping former President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo as a respondent.
 Section 16, Rule on the WHB - the parties shall
establish their claims by substantial evidence.
 This, the petitioner failed to do
G.R. No. 183533 (2012)

 Petition for Review filed before the SC was, at

first, denied
 Upon MR, the Court took cognizance of
salient matters

Whether there were substantial evidence to
prove petitioner’s claims
G.R. No. 183533 (2012)

 Section 19 of both the Rules on the Writ of
Amparo and Habeas Data is explicit that
questions of fact and law can be raised before
the Court in a petition for review on certiorari
under Rule 45.
 The Court agrees with the CA that the petitioner
failed to discharge the burden of proof imposed
upon him by the rules to establish his claims.