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Republic of the Philippines


G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995
SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner,
GARCIA, respondents.

civil case da!a"es #as $led b% petitioner Socorro D. Ra!ire&
in the Re"ional Trial 'ourt of (ue&on 'it% alle"in" that the
private respondent, )ster S. *arcia, in a confrontation in the
latter+s o,ce, alle"edl% ve-ed, insulted and hu!iliated her in a
.hostile and furious !ood. and in a !anner o/ensive to
petitioner+s di"nit% and personalit%,. contrar% to !orals, "ood
custo!s and public polic%..
In support of her clai!, petitioner produced a verbati!
transcript of the event and sou"ht !oral da!a"es, attorne%+s
fees and other e-penses of liti"ation in the a!ount of
P012,222.22, in addition to costs, interests and other reliefs
a#ardable at the trial court+s discretion. The transcript on #hich
the civil case #as based #as culled fro! a tape recordin" of the
confrontation !ade b% petitioner.
The transcript reads as
Plainti/ Soccoro D. Ra!ire&
4'huchi5 6 *ood fternoon
Defendant )ster S. *arcia
4)S*5 6 no ba an"
nan"%ari sa +%o, na7ali!ot
7a na 7un" paano 7a
napunta rito, por7e !e!ber
7a na, !a"su!bon" 7a 7un"
ano an" "a"a#in 7o sa +%o.
'89'8I 6 :asi, na7a dut%
a7o noon.
)S* 6 Tapos ini#an no. 4Sic5
'89'8I 6 8indi !+a!, pero
ilan beses na nila a7on"
binali7an, sabin" "anoon 6
)S* 6 Ito and 4sic5
!asasabi 7o sa +%o, a%a#
7un" 4sic5 !a" e-plain 7a,
7asi han""an" 12322 p.!.,
7inabu7asan hindi 7a na
pu!aso7. N"a%on a7o an"
babali7 sa +%o, na";aapl% 7a
sa States, na";aapl% 7a sa
revie# !o, 7un"
7a7ailan"anin an"
certi$cation !o, 7ali!utan
!o na 7asi hindi 7a sa a7in
'89'8I 6 8indi M+a!. :asi
an" ano 7o tala"a noon i;
cocontinue 7o up to 12322
)S* 6 Bastos
ka, na7ali!utan !o na 7un"
paano 7a pu!aso7 dito sa
hotel. Ma"su!bon" 7a sa
9nion 7un" "usto !o.
Na7ali!utan !o na 7un"
paano 7a na7apaso7 dito
.Do %ou thin7 that on %our
o#n !a7a7apaso7 7a 7un"
hindi a7o. Panunu!b%o%an
na 7ita 4Sinusu!batan na
'89'8I 6 Itutulo% 7o na
M+a! sana an" dut% 7o.
)S* 6 :aso ilan" beses na
a7on" binabali7an doon n"
!"a no 4sic5 7o.
)S* 6 Na7ali!utan !o na
ba 7un" paano 7a pu!aso7
sa hotel, 7un" on %our o#n
!erit ala! 7o na!an 7un"
"aano 7a .7a bobo. !o.
Mara!i an" na";aapl% ala!
7on" hindi 7a papasa.
'89'8I 6 :u!uha 7a!i n"
e-a! noon.
)S* 6 Oo, pero hindi 7a
'89'8I 6 )h, ba7it a7o an"
na7uha ni Dr. Ta!a%o
)S* 6 :u7unin 7a 7asi a7o.
'89'8I 6 )h, di sana 6
)S* 6 8u#a" !on"
ipa"!ala7i na !a% uta7 7a
7asi wala kang utak. 7ala
!o ba !a7u7uha 7a dito
7un" hindi a7o.
'89'8I 6 Ma";ee-plain
)S* 6 8u#a" na, hindi a7o
!a";papa;e-plain sa +%o,
!a7aalala 7a 7un" paano 7a
pu!a;rito. .Putang-ina.
sasabi;sabihin !o 7a!a";
ana7 n" nana% at tata% !o
an" !"a !a"ulan" 7o.
)S* 6 <ala na a7on"
pa7iala!, dahil nandito 7a
sa loob, nasa labas 7a
pu#ede 7a n" hindi
pu!aso7, o7e% %an nasaloob
7a u!alis 7a doon.
'89'8I 6 :asi M+a!,
binbali7an a7o n" !"a ta"a
)S* 6 Nandi%an na rin a7o,
pero hu#a" !on" 7ali!utan
na hindi 7a !a7a7apaso7
7un" hindi a7o. :un" hindi
!o 7ini7ilala %an o7e% lan"
sa a7in, dahil tapos 7a na.
'89'8I 6 Ina;ano 7o !+a!
na utan" na loob.
)S* 6 8u#a" na lan", hindi
!o utan" na loob, 7asi 7un"
ba"a sa no, nilapastan"an
!o a7o.
'89'8I 6 Paano 7ita
)S* 6 Mabuti pa lu!abas
7a na. 8indi na a7o
!a7i7ipa"usap sa +%o.
>u!abas 7a na.
Ma"su!bon" 7a.
s a result of petitioner+s recordin" of the event and alle"in"
that the said act of secretl% tapin" the confrontation #as ille"al,
private respondent $led a cri!inal case before the Re"ional Trial
'ourt of Pasa% 'it% for violation of Republic ct ?@22, entitled
.n ct to prohibit and penali&e #ire tappin" and other related
violations of private co!!unication, and other purposes.. n
infor!ation char"in" petitioner of violation of the said ct, dated
October 0, 1ABB is Cuoted here#ith3
The 9ndersi"ned ssistant 'it% Fiscal ccusses
Socorro D. Ra!ire& of Violation of Republic ct
No. ?@22, co!!itted as follo#s3
That on or about the @@nd
da% of Februar%, 1ABB, in
Pasa% 'it% Metro Manila,
Philippines, and #ithin the
Durisdiction of this honorable
court, the above;na!ed
accused, Socorro D. Ra!ire&
not bein" authori&ed b%
)ster S. *arcia to record the
latter+s conversation #ith
said accused, did then and
there #illfull%, unla#full%
and feloniousl%, #ith the use
of a tape recorder secretl%
record the said conversation
and thereafter co!!unicate
in #ritin" the contents of the
said recordin" to other
'ontrar% to la#.
Pasa% 'it%, Metro Manila,
Septe!ber 10, 1ABB.
sst. 'it% Fiscal
9pon arrai"n!ent, in lieu of a plea, petitioner $led a Motion to
(uash the Infor!ation on the "round that the facts char"ed do
not constitute an o/ense, particularl% a violation of R.. ?@22. In
an order Ma% E, 1ABA, the trial court "ranted the Motion to
(uash, a"reein" #ith petitioner that 15 the facts char"ed do not
constitute an o/ense under R.. ?@22F and that @5 the violation
punished b% R.. ?@22 refers to a the tapin" of a co!!unication
b% a personother than a participant to the co!!unication.
Fro! the trial court+s Order, the private respondent $led a
Petition for Revie# on Certiorari #ith this 'ourt, #hich forth#ith
referred the case to the 'ourt of ppeals in a Resolution 4b% the
First Division5 of Gune 1A, 1ABA.
On Februar% A, 1AA2, respondent 'ourt of ppeals pro!ul"ated
its assailed Decision declarin" the trial court+s order of Ma% E,
1ABA null and void, and holdin" that3
HTIhe alle"ations su,cientl% constitute an
o/ense punishable under Section 1 of R..
?@22. In thus Cuashin" the infor!ation based
on the "round that the facts alle"ed do not
constitute an o/ense, the respondent Dud"e
acted in "rave abuse of discretion correctible
b% certiorari.
'onseCuentl%, on Februar% @1, 1AA2, petitioner $led a Motion for
Reconsideration #hich respondent 'ourt of ppeals denied in its
dated Gune 1A, 1AA2. 8ence, the instant petition.
Petitioner vi"orousl% ar"ues, as her .!ain and principal
that the applicable provision of Republic ct ?@22 does
not appl% to the tapin" of a private conversation b% one of the
parties to the conversation. She contends that the provision
!erel% refers to the unauthori&ed tapin" of a private
conversation b% a part% other than those involved in the
In relation to this, petitioner avers that the
substance or content of the conversation !ust be alle"ed in the
Infor!ation, other#ise the facts char"ed #ould not constitute a
violation of R.. ?@22.
Finall%, petitioner a"ues that R.. ?@22
penali&es the tapin" of a .private co!!unication,. not a
.private conversation. and that conseCuentl%, her act of secretl%
tapin" her conversation #ith private respondent #as not ille"al
under the said act.
<e disa"ree.
First, le"islative intent is deter!ined principall% fro! the
lan"ua"e of a statute. <here the lan"ua"e of a statute is clear
and una!bi"uous, the la# is applied accordin" to its e-press
ter!s, and interpretation #ould be resorted to onl% #here a
literal interpretation #ould be either i!possible
or absurb or
#ould lead to an inDustice.
Section 1 of R.. ?@22 entitled, . n ct to Prohibit and Penali&ed
<ire Tappin" and Other Related Violations of Private
'o!!unication and Other Purposes,. provides3
Sec. 1. It shall be unla#full for an% person, not
bein" authori&ed b% all the parties to an%
private co!!unication or spo7en #ord, to tap
an% #ire or cable, or b% usin" an% other device
or arran"e!ent, to secretl% overhear,
intercept, or record such co!!unication or
spo7en #ord b% usin" a device co!!onl%
7no#n as a dictaphone or dicta"raph or
detectaphone or #al7ie;tal7ie or tape
recorder, or ho#ever other#ise described.
The aforestated provision clearl% and uneCuivocall% !a7es it
ille"al for an% person, not authori&ed b% all the parties to an%
private co!!unication to secretl% record such co!!unication
b% !eans of a tape recorder. The la# !a7es no distinction as to
#hether the part% sou"ht to be penali&ed b% the statute ou"ht
to be a part% other than or di/erent fro! those involved in the
private co!!unication. The statute+s intent to penali&e all
persons unauthori&ed to !a7e such recordin" is underscored b%
the use of the Cuali$er .an%.. 'onseCuentl%, as respondent
'ourt of ppeals correctl% concluded, .even a 4person5 priv% to a
co!!unication #ho records his private conversation #ith
another #ithout the 7no#led"e of the latter 4#ill5 Cualif% as a
under this provision of R.. ?@22.
perusal of the Senate 'on"ressional Records, !oreover,
supports the respondent court+s conclusion that in enactin" R..
?@22 our la#!a7ers indeed conte!plated to !a7e ille"al,
unauthori&ed tape recordin" of private conversations or
co!!unications ta7en either b% the parties the!selves or b%
third persons. Thus3
--- --- ---
Senator TaJada3 That Cuali$ed onl%
Senator Padilla3 So that #hen it is intercepted
or recorded, the ele!ent of secrec% #ould not
appear to be !aterial. No#, suppose, Kour
8onor, the recordin" is not !ade b% all the
parties but b% so!e parties and involved not
cri!inal cases that #ould be !entioned under
section E but #ould cover, for e-a!ple civil
cases or special proceedin"s #hereb% a
recordin" is !ade not necessaril% b% all the
parties but perhaps b% so!e in an e/ort to
sho# the intent of the parties because the
actuation of the parties prior, si!ultaneous
even subseCuent to the contract or the act
!a% be indicative of their intention. Suppose
there is such a recordin", #ould %ou sa%, Kour
8onor, that the intention is to cover it #ithin
the purvie# of this bill or outside=
Senator TaJada3 That is covered b% the
purvie# of this bill, Kour 8onor.
Senator Padilla3 )ven if the record should be
used not in the prosecution of o/ense but as
evidence to be used in 'ivil 'ases or special
Senator TaJada3 That is ri"ht. This is
a comlete !an on tae recor"e"
con#ersations taken without the authori$ation
o% all the arties.
Senator Padilla3 No#, #ould that be
reasonable, %our 8onor=
Senator TaJada3 I believe it is reasonable
because it is not sorting to recor" the
o!ser#ation o% one without his knowing it an"
then using it against him. It is not %air, it is not
sortsmanlike. If the purposeF Kour honor, is to
record the intention of the parties. I believe
that all the parties should 7no# that the
observations are bein" recorded.
Senator Padilla3 This !i"ht reduce the utilit% of
Senator TaJada3 <ell no. For e-a!ple, I #as to
sa% that in !eetin"s of the board of directors
#here a tape recordin" is ta7en, there is no
obDection to this if all the parties 7no#. It is but
fair that the people #hose re!ar7s and
observations are bein" !ade should 7no# that
the observations are bein" recorded.
Senator Padilla3 No#, I can understand.
Senator TaJada3 That is #h% #hen #e ta7e
state!ents of persons, #e sa%3 .Please be
infor!ed that #hatever %ou sa% here !a% be
used a"ainst %ou.. That is fairness and that is
#hat #e de!and. No#, in spite of that
#arnin", he !a7es da!a"in" state!ents
a"ainst his o#n interest, #ell, he cannot
co!plain an% !ore. But i% &ou are going to
take a recor"ing o% the o!ser#ations an"
remarks o% a erson without him knowing that
it is !eing tae" or recor"e", without him
knowing that what is !eing recor"e" ma& !e
use" against him, I think it is un%air.
--- --- ---
4'on"ression Record, Vol. III, No. E1, p. LB?,
March 1@, 1A0?5
Senator Dio7no3 Do %ou understand, Mr.
Senator, that under Section 1 of the bill as
no# #orded, i% a art& secretl& recor"s a
u!lic seech, he #ould be penali&ed under
Section 1= Mecause the speech is public, but
the recordin" is done secretl%.
Senator TaJada3 <ell, that particular aspect is
not conte!plated b% the bill. It is the
communication !etween one erson an"
another erson ' not !etween a seaker an"
a u!lic.
--- --- ---
4'on"ressional Record, Vol. III, No. EE, p. 0@0,
March 1@, 1A0?5
--- --- ---
The una!bi"uit% of the e-press #ords of the provision, ta7en
to"ether #ith the above;Cuoted deliberations fro! the
'on"ressional Record, therefore plainl% supports the vie# held
b% the respondent court that the provision see7s to penali&e
even those priv% to the private co!!unications. <here the la#
!a7es no distinctions, one does not distin"uish.
Second, the nature of the conversations is i!!aterial to a
violation of the statute. The substance of the sa!e need not be
speci$call% alle"ed in the infor!ation. <hat R.. ?@22 penali&es
are the acts of secretl% o#erhearing, interceting or
recor"ing private co!!unications b% !eans of the devices
enu!erated therein. The !ere alle"ation that an individual
!ade a secret recordin" of a private co!!unication b% !eans
of a tape recorder #ould su,ce to constitute an o/ense under
Section 1 of R.. ?@22. s the Solicitor *eneral pointed out in his
'OMM)NT before the respondent court3 .No#here 4in the said
la#5 is it reCuired that before one can be re"arded as a violator,
the nature of the conversation, as #ell as its co!!unication to a
third person should be professed..
Finall%, petitioner+s contention that the phrase .private
co!!unication. in Section 1 of R.. ?@22 does not include
.private conversations. narro#s the ordinar% !eanin" of the
#ord .co!!unication. to a point of absurdit%. The #ord
co!!unicate co!es fro! the latin #ord communicare, !eanin"
.to share or to i!part.. In its ordinar% si"ni$cation,
co!!unication connotes the act of sharin" or i!partin"
si"ni$cation, co!!unication connotes the act of sharin" or
i!partin", as in a con#ersation,
or si"ni$es the .process b%
#hich !eanin"s or thou"hts are shared bet#een individuals
throu"h a co!!on s%ste! of s%!bols 4as lan"ua"e si"ns or
These de$nitions are broad enou"h to include
verbal or non;verbal, #ritten or e-pressive co!!unications of
.!eanin"s or thou"hts. #hich are li7el% to include the
e!otionall%;char"ed e-chan"e, on Februar% @@, 1ABB, bet#een
petitioner and private respondent, in the privac% of the latter+s
o,ce. n% doubts about the le"islative bod%+s !eanin" of the
phrase .private co!!unication. are, further!ore, put to rest b%
the fact that the ter!s .conversation. and .co!!unication.
#ere interchan"eabl% used b% Senator TaJada in his )-planator%
Note to the bill Cuoted belo#3
It has been said that innocent people have
nothin" to fear fro! their con#ersations bein"
overheard. Mut this state!ent i"nores the
usual nature of con#ersations as #ell the
undeniable fact that !ost, if not all, civili&ed
people have so!e aspects of their lives the%
do not #ish to e-pose. Freecon#ersations are
often characteri&ed b% e-a""erations,
obscenit%, a"reeable falsehoods, and the
e-pression of anti;social desires of vie#s not
intended to be ta7en seriousl%. The ri"ht to
the ri#ac& o% communication, a!on" others,
has e-pressl% been assured b% our
'onstitution. Needless to state here, the
fra!ers of our 'onstitution !ust have
reco"ni&ed the nature
of con#ersations bet#een individuals and the
si"ni$cance of !an+s spiritual nature, of his
feelin"s and of his intellect. The% !ust have
7no#n that part of the pleasures and
satisfactions of life are to be found in the
unaudited, and free e-chan"e
of communication bet#een individuals 6 free
fro! ever% unDusti$able intrusion b% #hatever
In (aanan #s. Interme"iate Aellate Court,
a case #hich
dealt #ith the issue of telephone #iretappin", #e held that the
use of a telephone e-tension for the purpose of overhearin" a
private conversation #ithout authori&ation did not violate R..
?@22 because a telephone e-tension devise #as neither a!on"
those .device4s5 or arran"e!ent4s5. enu!erated
follo#in" the principle that .penal statutes !ust be
construed strictl% in favor of the accused..
The instant case
turns on a di/erent note, because the applicable facts and
circu!stances pointin" to a violation of R.. ?@22 su/er fro! no
a!bi"uit%, and the statute itself e-plicitl% !entions the
unauthori&ed .recordin". of private co!!unications #ith the
use of tape;recorders as a!on" the acts punishable.
<8)R)FOR), because the la#, as applied to the case at bench
is clear and una!bi"uous and leaves us #ith no discretion, the
instant petition is hereb% D)NI)D. The decision appealed fro! is
FFIRM)D. 'osts a"ainst petitioner.
Pa"illa, )a#i"e, *r+ an" Bellosillo **+, concur+
,ermosisima, *r+, *+, is on lea#e+
Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 1+*383 #ebr-$r. 2+, 199)
CECI"IA ZU"UETA, petitioner,
COURT O# APPEA"S $%& A"#REDO MARTIN, respondents.
This is a petition to revie# the decision of the 'ourt of ppeals,
a,r!in" the decision of the Re"ional Trial 'ourt of Manila
4Mranch N5 #hich ordered petitioner to return docu!ents and
papers ta7en b% her fro! private respondent+s clinic #ithout the
latter+s 7no#led"e and consent.
The facts are as follo#s3
Petitioner 'ecilia Oulueta is the #ife of private respondent
lfredo Martin. On March @0, 1AB@, petitioner entered the clinic
of her husband, a doctor of !edicine, and in the presence of her
!other, a driver and private respondent+s secretar%, forcibl%
opened the dra#ers and cabinet in her husband+s clinic and too7
1LP docu!ents consistin" of private correspondence bet#een
Dr. Martin and his alle"ed para!ours, "reetin"s cards, cancelled
chec7s, diaries, Dr. Martin+s passport, and photo"raphs. The
docu!ents and papers #ere sei&ed for use in evidence in a case
for le"al separation and for disCuali$cation fro! the practice of
!edicine #hich petitioner had $led a"ainst her husband.
Dr. Martin brou"ht this action belo# for recover% of the
docu!ents and papers and for da!a"es a"ainst petitioner. The
case #as $led #ith the Re"ional Trial 'ourt of Manila, Mranch N,
#hich, after trial, rendered Dud"!ent for private respondent, Dr.
lfredo Martin, declarin" hi! .the capitalQe-clusive o#ner of the
properties described in para"raph E of plainti/+s 'o!plaint or
those further described in the Motion to Return and Suppress.
and orderin" 'ecilia Oulueta and an% person actin" in her behalf
to a i!!ediatel% return the properties to Dr. Martin and to pa%
hi! PL,222.22, as no!inal da!a"esF PL,222.22, as !oral
da!a"es and attorne%+s feesF and to pa% the costs of the suit.
The #rit of preli!inar% inDunction earlier issued #as !ade $nal
and petitioner 'ecilia Oulueta and her attorne%s and
representatives #ere enDoined fro! .usin" or
sub!ittin"Qad!ittin" as evidence. the docu!ents and papers in
Cuestion. On appeal, the 'ourt of ppeals a,r!ed the decision
of the Re"ional Trial 'ourt. 8ence this petition.
There is no Cuestion that the docu!ents and papers in Cuestion
belon" to private respondent, Dr. lfredo Martin, and that the%
#ere ta7en b% his #ife, the herein petitioner, #ithout his
7no#led"e and consent. For that reason, the trial court declared
the docu!ents and papers to be properties of private
respondent, ordered petitioner to return the! to private
respondent and enDoined her fro! usin" the! in evidence. In
appealin" fro! the decision of the 'ourt of ppeals a,r!in"
the trial court+s decision, petitioner+s onl% "round is that in
lfredo Martin v. lfonso Feli-, Gr.,
this 'ourt ruled that the
docu!ents and papers 4!ar7ed as nne-es ;1 to G;P of
respondent+s co!!ent in that case5 #ere ad!issible in
evidence and, therefore, their use b% petitioner+s attorne%,
lfonso Feli- did not constitute !alpractice or "ross !isconduct,
For this reason it is contended that the 'ourt of ppeals erred in
a,r!in" the decision of the trial court instead of dis!issin"
private respondent+s co!plaint.
Petitioner+s contention has no !erit. The case a"ainst tt%. Feli-,
Gr. #as for disbar!ent. !on" other thin"s, private respondent,
Dr. lfredo Martin, as co!plainant in that case, char"ed that in
usin" the docu!ents in evidence, tt%. Feli-, Gr. co!!itted
!alpractice or "ross !isconduct because of the inDunctive order
of the trial court. In dis!issin" the co!plaint a"ainst tt%. Feli-,
Gr., this 'ourt too7 note of the follo#in" defense of tt%. Feli-F Gr.
#hich it found to be .i!pressed #ith !erit3.
On the alle"ed !alpractice or "ross !isconduct of
respondent Hlfonso Feli-, Gr.I, he !aintains that3
. . . .
?. <hen respondent re$led 'ecilia+s case for le"al
separation before the Pasi" Re"ional Trial 'ourt, there
#as ad!ittedl% an order of the Manila Re"ional Trial
'ourt prohibitin" 'ecilia fro! usin" the docu!ents
nne- .;1 to G;P.. On Septe!ber 0, 1ABE, ho#ever
havin" appealed the said order to this 'ourt on a
petition for certiorari , this 'ourt issued a restrainin"
order on aforesaid date #hich order te!poraril% set
aside the order of the trial court. 8ence, durin" the
enforceabilit% of this 'ourt+s order, respondent+s
reCuest for petitioner to ad!it the "enuineness and
authenticit% of the subDect anne-es cannot be loo7ed
upon as !alpractice. Notabl%, petitioner Dr. Martin
$nall% ad!itted the truth and authenticit% of the
Cuestioned anne-es, t that point in ti!e, #ould it
have been !alpractice for respondent to use
petitioner+s ad!ission as evidence a"ainst hi! in the
le"al separation case pendin" in the Re"ional Trial
'ourt of Ma7ati= Respondent sub!its it is not
Si"ni$cantl%, petitioner+s ad!ission #as done not thru
his counsel but b% Dr. Martin hi!self under oath, Such
veri$ed ad!ission constitutes an a,davit, and,
therefore, receivable in evidence a"ainst hi!.
Petitioner beca!e bound b% his ad!ission. For 'ecilia
to avail herself of her husband+s ad!ission and use the
sa!e in her action for le"al separation cannot be
treated as !alpractice.
Thus, the acCuittal of tt%. Feli-, Gr. in the ad!inistrative case
a!ounts to no !ore than a declaration that his use of the
docu!ents and papers for the purpose of securin" Dr. Martin+s
ad!ission as to their "enuiness and authenticit% did not
constitute a violation of the inDunctive order of the trial court. M%
no !eans does the decision in that case establish the
ad!issibilit% of the docu!ents and papers in Cuestion.
It cannot be overe!phasi&ed that if tt%. Feli-, Gr. #as acCuitted
of the char"e of violatin" the #rit of preli!inar% inDunction
issued b% the trial court, it #as onl% because, at the ti!e he
used the docu!ents and papers, enforce!ent of the order of
the trial court #as te!poraril% restrained b% this 'ourt. The TRO
issued b% this 'ourt #as eventuall% lifted as the petition
for certiorari $led b% petitioner a"ainst the trial court+s order
#as dis!issed and, therefore, the prohibition a"ainst the further
use of the docu!ents and papers beca!e e/ective a"ain.
Indeed the docu!ents and papers in Cuestion are inad!issible
in evidence. The constitutional inDunction declarin" .the privac%
of co!!unication and correspondence Hto beI inviolable.
is no
less applicable si!pl% because it is the #ife 4#ho thin7s herself
a""rieved b% her husband+s in$delit%5 #ho is the part% a"ainst
#ho! the constitutional provision is to be enforced. The onl%
e-ception to the prohibition in the 'onstitution is if there is a
.la#ful order Hfro! aI court or #hen public safet% or order
reCuires other#ise, as prescribed b% la#..
n% violation of this
provision renders the evidence obtained inad!issible .for an%
purpose in an% proceedin"..
The inti!acies bet#een husband and #ife do not Dustif% an% one
of the! in brea7in" the dra#ers and cabinets of the other and in
ransac7in" the! for an% telltale evidence of !arital in$delit%.
person, b% contractin" !arria"e, does not shed hisQher inte"rit%
or his ri"ht to privac% as an individual and the constitutional
protection is ever available to hi! or to her.
The la# insures absolute freedo! of co!!unication bet#een
the spouses b% !a7in" it privile"ed. Neither husband nor #ife
!a% testif% for or a"ainst the other #ithout the consent of the
a/ected spouse #hile the !arria"e subsists.
Neither !a% be
e-a!ined #ithout the consent of the other as to an%
co!!unication received in con$dence b% one fro! the other
durin" the !arria"e, save for speci$ed e-ceptions.
Mut one
thin" is freedo! of co!!unicationF Cuite another is a
co!pulsion for each one to share #hat one 7no#s #ith the
other. nd this has nothin" to do #ith the dut% of $delit% that
each o#es to the other.
<8)R)FOR), the petition for revie# is D)NI)D for lac7 of !erit.
Regala"o, Romero an" Puno, **+, concur.
Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 121+8* A-0-1t 2), 1999
#E"IPE NA,ARRO, petitioner,
PI"IPPINES, respondents.
This is a petition for revie# on certiorari of the decision
of the
'ourt of ppeals, dated Dece!ber 1?, 1AA?, #hich a,r!ed the
Dud"!ent of the Re"ional Trial 'ourt, Mranch L, >ucena 'it%,
dated Gul% @P, 1AA@, $ndin" petitioner Felipe Navarro "uilt%
be%ond reasonable doubt of ho!icide and sentencin" hi! to ten
4125 %ears of rision ma&or, as !ini!u!, and fourteen 41?5
%ears and ei"ht 4B5 !onths, and 415 da% of reclusion temoral,
as !a-i!u!, but increased the death inde!nit% a#arded to the
heirs of the victi!, )nriCue .I7e. >in"an, fro! PE2,222.22 to
The infor!ation a"ainst petitioner alle"ed 6
That on or about the ?th da% of Februar%, 1AA2, in the
ni"htti!e, in the 'it% of >ucena, Province of (ue&on,
Philippines, and #ithin the Durisdiction of this 8onorable
'ourt, the said accused, bein" then a !e!ber of the
>ucena Inte"rated National Police, #ith intent to 7ill, did
then and there #illfull%, unla#full% and feloniousl%
assault one I7e >in"an inside the >ucena police
headCuarters, #here authorities are supposed to be
en"a"ed in the dischar"e of their duties, b% bo-in" the
said I7e >in"an in the head #ith the butt of a "un and
thereafter #hen the said victi! fell, b% ban"in" his
head a"ainst the concrete pave!ent, as a
conseCuence of #hich said I7e >in"an su/ered cerebral
concussion and shoc7 #hich directl% caused his death.
The evidence sho# that, at around B3?2 in the evenin" of
Februar% ?, 1AA2, Stanle% Galbuena and )nriCue .I7e. >in"an,
#ho #ere reporters of the radio station D<TI in >ucena 'it%,
to"ether #ith one Mario Ila"an, #ent to the )ntertain!ent 'it%
follo#in" reports that it #as sho#in" the nude dancers. fter the
three had seated the!selves at a table and ordered beer, a
scantil% clad dancer appeared on sta"e and be"an to perfor! a
strip act. s she re!oved her brassieres, Galbuena brou"ht out
his ca!era and too7 a picture.
t that point, the Roor !ana"er, Dante >iCuin, #ith a securit%
"uard, le- Sioco, approached Galbuena and de!anded to 7no#
#h% he too7 a picture.
Galbuena replied3 .<ala 7an" pa7iala!,
because this is !% Dob..
Sioco pushed Galbuena to#ards the
table as he #arned the latter that he #ould 7ill hi!.
Galbuena sa# that Sioco #as about to pull out his "un, he ran out
of the Doint follo#ed b% his co!panions.
Galbuena and his co!panions #ent to the police station to report
the !atter. Three of the police!an on dut%, includin" petitioner
Navarro, #ere havin" drin7s in front of the police station, and
the% as7ed Galbuena and his co!panions to Doin the!. Galbuena
declined and #ent to the des7 o,cer, S"t. Jonuevo, to report
the incident. In a #hile, >iCuin and Sioco arrived on a
Sioco and >iCuin #ere !et b% petitioner Navarro #ho tal7ed #ith
the! in a corner for around $fteen !inutes.
petitioner Navarro turned to Galbuena and, pushin" hi! to the
#all, said to hi!3 .Putan" ina, 7ina7alaban !o si :abo >iCuin,
ana7 %an ni :abo >iCuin, hindi !o ba 7ilala=.
Petitioner Navarro
then pulled out his $rear! and coc7ed it, and, pressin" it on the
face of Galbuena, said .no, uutasin na 7ita=.
t this point, >in"an intervened and said to petitioner Navarro3
.8u#a" na!an" "an%an pu!arito 7a!i para !a"pa;blotter, I
a! here to !ediate..
Petitoner Navarro replied3 .<alan" press,
press, !a";sa!pu pa 7a%o..
8e then turned to S"t. Jonuevo
and told hi! to !a7e of record the behavior of Galbuena and
This an"ered >in"an, #ho said3 .O, di ila"a% !o
Petitioner Navarro retorted3 .Tala"an" ilala"a% 7o..
t#o then had a heated e-chan"e.
Finall%, >in"an said3
.Mas%ado 7an" abusado, alisin !o %an" baril !o at
!a"suntu7an na lan" ta%o..
Petitioner Navarro replied3 .h,
s >in"an #as about turn a#a%, petitioner Navarro hit hi! #ith
the handle of the pistol above the left e%ebro#. >in"an fell on
the Roor, blood Ro#in" do#n his face. 8e tried to "et up, but
petitioner Navarro "ave hi! a $st blo# on the forehead #hich
Roored hi!.
Petitioner Navarro turned to Galbuena and said3 .:ita !o %an ha,
buha% 7an" testi"o, si I7e >in"an and na"ha!on..
8e said to
S"t. Jonuevo3 .Ila"a% !o di%an sa blotter sa harap ni le-
Sioco at Dante >iCuin, na si I7e >in"an an" na"ha!on..
then po7ed his "un at the ri"ht te!ple of Galbuena and !ade
hi! si"n his na!e on the blotter.
Galbuena could not a,- his
si"nature. 8is ri"ht hand #as tre!blin" and he si!pl% #rote his
na!e in print.
'apt. 'oronado, the station co!!ander, called petitioner
Navarro to his o,ce, #hile a police!an too7 >in"an to the
(ue&on Me!orial 8ospital. The station !ana"er of D<TI, Mo%,
'asaJada, arrived and, learnin" that >in"an had been ta7en to
the hospital, proceeded there. Mut >in"an died fro! his
9n7no#n to petitioner Navarro, Galbuena #as able to record on
tape the e-chan"e bet#een petitioner and the deceased.
follo#in" is an e-cerpt fro! the tape recordin"3
>in"an3 Pare, %ou are abusin" %ourself.
Navarro3 <ho is that abusin"=
>in"an3 I+! here to !ediate. Do not include !e in the
proble!. I+! out of the proble!.
- - - - - - - - -
Navarro3 <ala sa a7in %an. n" 7aso lan" . . .
>in"an3 :alaban !o an" !edia, pare, 7o at si Stanle%,
dala#a 7a!i. O7a%. Do not $"ht #ith !e. I Dust ca!e
here to a%usin thin"s. Do not sa% bad thin"s a"ainst
!e. I+! the nu!ber one lo7o sa !edia. I+! the best
!edia !an. . . .
Navarro3 8u#a" ta%on" !a";lo7ohan sa "an%anS
8u#a" na ta%on" !a";ta7otanS 8u#a" !on" sabihin"
lo7o 7aS
>in"an3 I+! brave also.
Navarro3 % lalo na a7o. Tahi!i7 lan" na!an a7o. <ala
7a na!an" !asasabi sa a7in dahil na";tatrabaho lan"
a7o n" a%on sa serbis%o 7o.
>in"an3 Kou are challen"in" !e and hi!. . . .
Navarro3 % #alasti7 7a na!an I7eS Pa" !a% proble!a
7a dito sinasabihan 7ita na !a% balita ta%on"
!a"anda. Pa!bihira 7a I7e. 8u#a" !on" sabihin
na . . . Paran" !ino!onopol% !o eh.
>in"an3 Pati a7o 7alaban nin%o.
Navarro3 Tala"an" 7alaban na!in an" press. >ahat,
hindi lan" i7a#S
>in"an3 Kou are #ron". Ma7it 7alaban n%o an" press=
Navarro3 Pulis itoS baS
>in"an3 lisin !o an" baril !oS lisin !o an" baril !oS
Suntu7an ta%o, si"e.
Navarro3 Ma%aban" 7a ahS
4Sounds of a scuTe5
Navarro3 8ina!on a7o n%anS Pare hina!on a7o n%anS
Pare hina!on a7o n%an, testi"o 7a%o. lisin 7o da# an"
baril 7o. 8ina!on a7o n%an. Pare, ila"a% !o di%an,
hina!on a7o sa harap ni Stanle%. Testi"o 7a%o,
hina!on a7o. Pulis ta%o eh. Puta, buti n"a, sunto7 lan"
an" inabot n%an. Sa harap ni le-, ni Goe, ni Stanle%,
hina!on a7o. Pare, hina!on a7o, 7ini" n%o ha.
8ina!on a7o n%an. Si"e, dalhin n%o sa hospital %an.
Petitioner Felipe Navarro clai!s that it #as the deceased #ho
tried to hit hi! t#ice, but he 4petitioner5 #as able to duc7 both
ti!es, and that >in"an #as so drun7 he fell on the Roor t#ice,
each ti!e hittin" his head on the concrete.
In "ivin" credence to the evidence for the prosecution, the trial
court stated3
fter a thorou"h and in;depth evaluation of the
evidence adduced b% the prosecution and the defense,
this court $nds that the evidence for the prosecution is
the !ore credible, concrete and su,cient to create that
!oral certaint% in the !ind of the court that accused
herein is cri!inall% responsible.
The defense+s evidence #hich consists of outri"ht
denial could not under the circu!stance overturn the
stren"th of the prosecution+s evidence.
This court $nds that the prosecution #itnesses, !ore
particularl% Stanle% Galbuena, lac7ed an% !otive to
!a7e false accusation, distort the truth, testif%
falsehood or cause accusation of one #ho had neither
brou"ht hi! har! or inDur%.
*oin" over the evidence on record,
the ostmortem report issued b% Dra. )va Ka!a!oto
con$r!s the detailed account "iven b% Stanle%
Galbuena on ho# >in"an sustained head inDuries.
Said ost-mortem report to"ether #ith the testi!on% of
Galbuena su,cientl% belie the clai! of the defense that
the head inDuries of deceased >in"an #ere caused b%
the latter+s fallin" do#n on the concrete pave!ent
head $rst.
The 'ourt of ppeals a,r!ed3
<e are far fro! bein" convinced b% appellant+s
aforesaid disCuisition. <e have carefull% evaluated the
conRictin" versions of the incident as presented b%
both parties, and #e $nd the trial court+s factual
conclusions to have better and stron"er evidentiar%
In the $rst place, the !ere fact that Galbuena #as
hi!self a victi! of appellant+s a""ression does not
i!pair the probative #orth of his positive and lo"ical
account of the incident in Cuestion. In fact, far fro!
provin" his innocence, appellant+s un#arranted assault
upon Galbuena, #hich the defense has virtuall%
ad!itted, clearl% betra%s his violent character or
disposition and his capacit% to har! others. pparentl%,
the sa!e !otivation that led hi! into assailin"
Galbuena !ust have provo7ed hi! into also attac7in"
>in"an #ho had interceded for Galbuena and hu!iliated
hi! and further challen"ed to a $st $"ht.-.whi-+n/t
- - - - - - - - -
On the other hand, appellant+s e-planation as ho#
>in"an #as inDured is too tenuous and illo"ical to be
accepted. It is in fact contradicted b% the nu!ber,
nature and location of >in"an+s inDuries as sho#n in
theost-mortem report 4)-h. D5. ccordin" to the
defense, >in"an fell t#o ti!es #hen he #as
outbalanced in the course of bo-in" the appellant. nd
%et, >in"an su/ered lacerated #ounds in his left
forehead, left e%ebro#, bet#een his left and ri"ht
e%ebro#s, and contusion in the ri"ht te!poral re"ion of
the head 4)-h. ).5. 'ertainl%, these inDuries could not
have been resulted fro! >in"an+s accidental fall.
8ence, this appeal. Petitioner Navarro contends3
T8) 8ONORM>) 'O9RT OF PP)>S 8S D)'ID)D
T8) 'S) NOT IN ''ORD <IT8 >< ND <IT8 T8)
IN T8) R)'ORD.
The appeal is #ithout !erit.
First. Petitioner Navarro Cuestions the credibilit% of the
testi!on% of Galbuena on the "round that he #as a biased
#itness, havin" a "rud"e a"ainst hi!. The testi!on% of a
#itness #ho has an interest in the conviction of the accused is
not, for this reason alone, unreliable.
Trial courts, #hich have
the opportunit% observe the facial e-pressions, "estures, and
tones of voice of a #itness #hile testif%in", are co!petent to
deter!ine #hether his or her testi!on% should be "iven
In the instant case, petitioner Navarro has not sho#n
that the trial court erred in accordin" #ei"ht to the testi!on% of
Indeed, Galbuena+s testi!on% is con$r!ed b% the voice recordin"
had !ade. It !a% be as7ed #hether the tape is ad!issible in
vie# of R.. No. ?@22, #hich prohibits #ire tappin". The ans#er
is in the a,r!ative. The la# provides3
Sec. 1. It shall be unla#ful for an% person, not bein"
authori&ed b% all the parties to an% private
co!!unication or spo7en #ord, to tap an% #ire or
cable, or b% usin" an% other device or arran"e!ent, to
secretl% overhear, intercept, or record such
co!!unication or spo7en #ord b% usin" a device
co!!onl% 7no#n as dictaphone or dicta"raph of
dectectaphone or #al7ie;tal7ie or tape;recorder, or
ho#ever other#ise described3
It shall also be unla#ful for an% person, be he a
participant or not in the act or acts penali&ed in the
ne-t precedin" sentence, to 7no#in"l% possess an%
tape record, #ire record, disc record, or an% other such
record, or copies thereof, of an% co!!unication or
spo7en #ord secured either before or after the e/ective
date of this ct in the !anner prohibited b% this la#F or
to repla% the sa!e for an% other person or personsF or
to co!!unicate the contents thereof, either verball% or
in #ritin", or to furnish transcriptions thereof, #hether
co!plete or partial, to an% other person3 Pro#i"e", That
the use of such record or an% copies thereof as
evidence in an% civil, cri!inal investi"ation or trial of
o/enses !entioned in section E hereof, shall not be
covered b% this prohibition.
- - - - - - - - -
Sec. ?. n% co!!unication or spo7en #ord, or the
e-istence, contents, substance, purport, e/ect, or
!eanin" of the sa!e or an% part thereof, or an%
infor!ation therein contained obtained or secured b%
an% person in violation of the precedin" sections of this
ct shall not be ad!issible in evidence in an% Dudicial,
Cuasi;Dudicial, le"islative or ad!inistrative hearin" or
Thus, the la# prohibits the overhearin", interceptin", or
recordin" of private co!!unications.
Since the e-chan"e
bet#een petitioner Navarro and >in"an #as not private, its tape
recordin" is not prohibited.
Nor is there an% Cuestion that it #as dul% authenticated. voice
recordin" is authenticated b% the testi!on% of a #itness 415 that
he personall% recorded the conversationsF 4@5 that the tape
pla%ed in the court #as the one he recordedF and 4E5 that the
voices on the tape are those of the persons such are clai!ed to
In the instant case, Galbuena testi$ed that he
personall% !ade the voice recordin"F
that the tape pla%ed in
the court #as the one he recordedF
and that the spea7ers on
the tape #ere petitioner Navarro and >in"an.
foundation #as thus laid for the authentication of the tape
presented b% the prosecution.
Secon". The voice recordin" !ade b% Galbuena established3 415
that there #as a heated e-chan"e bet#een petitioner Navarro
and >in"an on the placin" in the police blotter of an entr%
a"ainst hi! and GalbuenaF and 4@5 that so!e for! of violence
occurred involvin" petitioner Navarro and >in"an, #ith the latter
"ettin" the #orst of it.
Further!ore, Dr. )va Ka!a!oto, #ho perfor!ed the autops% on
the bod% of >in"an, issued the !edical certi$cate,
Februar% L, 1AA2, containin" the follo#in" $ndin"s3
Post Mortem Findin"s3
U Dried blood, forehead V face
U No blood oo&ed fro! the ears, nose V !outh
U S#ellin", E c! - @ c!, te!poral re"ion, head, ri"ht
U >acerated #ound, @ c! in len"th, 1;@ in depth,
lateral e%ebro#, >eft
U >acerated #ound, 2.L c! in len"th, super$cial,
bet#een the left V ri"ht e%ebro#
U >acerated #ound, @ c! in len"th, 1 c! in depth,
forehead, >eft
U '%anosis of the tips of $n"ers V toes
'9S) OF D)T83
U ')R)MR> 'ON'9SSION V S8O':
U M>O< ON T8) 8)D
Dr. Ka!a!ato testi$ed3
( *ive %our opinion as to #hat #as the possible cause of this
$ndin"s nu!ber one, #hich is oo&in" of blood fro! the
It !a% be due to a blo# on the forehead or it bu!ped to a
hard obDect, sir.
( 'ould a !etal li7e a butt of a "un have caused this #ound
No. 1.=
It is possible, sir.
( nd in the alternative, could have it been caused b%
bu!pin" on a concrete Roor=
Possible, sir.
<hat could have been the cause of the contusion and s#ellin"
under %our $ndin"s No. @ doctor=
It !a% be caused b% bu!pin" to a hard obDect, sir.
( 'ould a butt of a "un have caused it doctor=
The s#ellin" is bi" so it could have not been caused b% a butt
of a "un because the butt of a "un is s!all, sir.
( 8o# about this $ndin"s No. ?=
M% a bu!p or contact of the bod% to a hard obDect, sir.
( nd $ndin"s No. L #hat could have caused it=
Sa!e cause, sir.
( This $ndin"s No. 0 #hat could have caused this #ound=
Sa!e thin" sir.
( 8o# about the last $ndin", c%anosis of tips of $n"ers and
toes, #hat could have caused it doctor=
It indicates there #as cardiac failure, sir.
In this sa!e ost mortem report and under the headin" cause of
death it states3 'ause of Death3 'erebral concussion and Shoc7,
#ill %ou e-plain it=
'erebral concussion !eans in Ta"alo" .naalo" an" uta7. or
Darrin" of the brain, sir.
( <hat could have been the cause of Darrin" of the brain=
It could have been caused b% a blo# of a hard obDect, sir.
( <hat about the shoc7, #hat could have caused it=
It #as due to peripheral circulator% failure, sir.
( 'ould an% one of both caused the death of the victi!=
Kes, sir.
( 'ould cerebral concussion alone have caused the death of
the deceased=
Ma% be, sir.
<hich of these t#o !ore li7el%, to cause death=
Shoc7, sir.
( Please e-plain further the !eanin" of the !edical ter!
It is caused b% peripheral circulator% failure as I have said
earlier sir.
- - - - - - - - -
'ould a bu!pin" or pushin" of one+s head a"ainst a concrete
Roor have caused shoc7=
Possible, sir.
8o# about stri7in" #ith a butt of a "un, could it cause shoc7=
Possible, sir.
The above testi!on% clearl% supports the clai! of Galbuena that
petitioner Navarro hit >in"an #ith the handle of his pistol above
the left e%ebro# and struc7 hi! on the forehead #ith his $st.
Thir". It is ar"ued that the !iti"atin" circu!stances of su,cient
provocation or threat on the part of the o/ended part%
i!!ediatel% precedin" the act should have been appreciated in
favor of petitioner Navarro. Provocation is de$ned to be an%
unDust or i!proper conduct or act of the o/ended part%, capable
of e-citin", incitin" or irritatin" an%one.
The provocation !ust
be su,cient and should i!!ediatel% precede the act.
To be
su,cient, it !ust be adeCuate to e-cite a person to co!!it the
#ron", #hich !ust accordin"l% be proportionate in "ravit%.
it !ust i!!ediatel% precede the act so !uch so that there is no
interval bet#een the provocation b% the o/ended part% and the
co!!ission of the cri!e b% the accused.
In the present case, the re!ar7s of >in"an, #hich i!!ediatel%
preceded the act of petitioner, constituted su,cient
provocation. In Peole #. Macaso,
#e appreciated this
!iti"atin" circu!stance in favor of the accused, a police!an,
#ho shot a !otorist after the latter had repeatedl% taunted hi!
#ith de$ant #ords. 8ence, this !iti"atin" circu!stance should
be considered in favor of petitioner Navarro.
Further!ore, the !iti"atin" circu!stance that the o/ender had
no intention to co!!it so "rave a #ron" as that co!!itted
should also be appreciated in favor of petitioner. The frantic
e-cla!ations of petitioner Navarro after the scuTe that it #as
>in"an #ho provo7ed hi! sho#s that he had no intent to 7ill the
latter. Thus, this !iti"atin" circu!stance should be ta7en into
account in deter!inin" the penalt% that should be i!posed on
petitioner Navarro. The allo#ance of this !iti"atin"
circu!stance is consistent #ith the rule that cri!inal liabilit%
shall be incurred b% an% person co!!ittin" a felon% althou"h
the #ron"ful act done be di/erent fro! that #hich he
In Peole #. Castro,
the !iti"atin" circu!stance of
lac7 of intent to co!!it so "rave a #ron" as that co!!itted
#as appreciated in favor of the accused #hile $ndin" hi! "uilt%
of ho!icide.
8o#ever, the a""ravatin" circu!stance of co!!ission of a
cri!e in a place #here the public authorities are en"a"ed in the
dischar"e of their duties should be appreciated a"ainst
petitioner Navarro. The o/ense in this case #as co!!itted ri"ht
in the police station #here police!en #ere dischar"in" their
public functions.
The cri!e co!!itted as found b% the trial court and the 'ourt of
ppeals #as ho!icide, for #hich the penalt% under rt. @?A of
the Revised Penal 'ode is reclusion temoral. s there #ere t#o
!iti"atin" circu!stances and one a""ravatin" circu!stances,
the penalt% should be $-ed in its !ini!u! period.
the Indeter!inate Sentence >a#, petitioner Navarro should be
sentenced to an indeter!inate penalt%, the !ini!u! of #hich is
#ithin the ran"e of the penalt% ne-t lo#er de"ree, i.e., rision
ma&or, and the !a-i!u! of #hich is reclusion temoral in its
!ini!u! period.
The inde!nit% as increased b% the 'ourt of ppeals fro!
PE2,222.22 to PL2,222.22 is in accordance #ith the current
<8)R)FOR), the decision of the 'ourt of ppeals is FFIRM)D
#ith the !odi$cation that petitioner Felipe Navarro is hereb%
S)NT)N')D to su/er a prison ter!s of 1B %ears of rision
ma&or, as !ini!u!, to 1? %ears and B !onths of reclusion
temoral, as !a-i!u!.
SO ORD)R)D.-.whi-+n/t
Bellosillo, 0uisum!ing an" Buena, **+, concur+
Republic of the Philippines
)N MN'

G.R. No. 12*)85 3-4. 23, 1998
!"AS #. OP"E, petitioner,
ON AUDIT, respondents.

The petition at bar is a co!!endable e/ort on the part of
Senator Mlas F. Ople to prevent the shrin7in" of the ri"ht to
privac%, #hich the revered Mr. Gustice Mrandeis considered as
.the !ost co!prehensive of ri"hts and the ri"ht !ost valued b%
civili&ed !en..
Petitioner Ople pra%s that #e invalidate
d!inistrative Order No. E2B entitled .doption of a National
'o!puteri&ed Identi$cation Reference S%ste!. on t#o
i!portant constitutional "rounds, #i$3 one, it is a usurpation of
the po#er of 'on"ress to le"islate, and t#o, it i!per!issibl%
intrudes on our citi&enr%+s protected &one of privac%. <e "rant
the petition for the ri"hts sou"ht to be vindicated b% the
petitioner need stron"er barriers a"ainst further erosion.
.O. No. E2B #as issued b% President Fidel V. Ra!os On
Dece!ber 1@, 1AA0 and reads as follo#s3
<8)R)S, there is a need to provide Filipino
citi&ens and forei"n residents #ith the facilit%
to convenientl% transact business #ith basic
service and social securit% providers and other
"overn!ent instru!entalitiesF
<8)R)S, this #ill reCuire a co!puteri&ed
s%ste! to properl% and e,cientl% identif%
persons see7in" basic services on social
securit% and reduce, if not totall% eradicate
fraudulent transactions and
<8)R)S, a concerted and collaborative
e/ort a!on" the various basic services and
social securit% providin" a"encies and other
"overn!ent intru!entalities is reCuired to
achieve such a s%ste!F
NO<, T8)R)FOR), I, FID)> V. RMOS,
President of the Republic of the Philippines, b%
virtue of the po#ers vested in !e b% la#, do
hereb% direct the follo#in"3
Sec. 1. 1sta!lishment o% a National
Comoteri$e" I"enti2cation Re%erence
S&stem. decentrali&ed Identi$cation
Reference S%ste! a!on" the 7e% basic
services and social securit% providers is
hereb% established.
Sec. @. Inter-Agenc& Coor"inating Committee.
n Inter;"enc% 'oordinatin" 'o!!ittee
4I''5 to dra#;up the i!ple!entin" "uidelines
and oversee the i!ple!entation of the
S%ste! is hereb% created, chaired b% the
)-ecutive Secretar%, #ith the follo#in" as
8ead, Presidential Mana"e!ent Sta/
Secretar%, National )cono!ic Develop!ent
Secretar%, Depart!ent of the Interior and
>ocal *overn!ent
Secretar%, Depart!ent of 8ealth
d!inistrator, *overn!ent Service Insurance
d!inistrator, Social Securit% S%ste!,
d!inistrator, National Statistics O,ce
Mana"in" Director, National 'o!puter 'enter.
Sec. E. Secretariat. The National 'o!puter
'enter 4N''5 is hereb% desi"nated as
secretariat to the I'' and as such shall
provide ad!inistrative and technical support
to the I''.
Sec. ?. 3inkage Among Agencies. The
Population Reference Nu!ber 4PRN5 "enerated
b% the NSO shall serve as the co!!on
reference nu!ber to establish a lin7a"e
a!on" concerned a"encies. The I''
Secretariat shall coordinate #ith the di/erent
Social Securit% and Services "encies to
establish the standards in the use of
Mio!etrics Technolo"% and in co!puter
application desi"ns of their respective
Sec. L. Con"uct o% In%ormation )issemination
Camaign. The O,ce of the Press Secretar%,
in coordination #ith the National Statistics
O,ce, the *SIS and SSS as lead a"encies and
other concerned a"encies shall underta7e a
!assive tri;!edia infor!ation disse!ination
ca!pai"n to educate and raise public
a#areness on the i!portance and use of the
PRN and the Social Securit% Identi$cation
Sec. 0. Fun"ing. The funds necessar% for the
i!ple!entation of the s%ste! shall be sourced
fro! the respective bud"ets of the concerned
Sec. P. Su!mission o% Regular Reorts. The
NSO, *SIS and SSS shall sub!it re"ular
reports to the O,ce of the President throu"h
the I'', on the status of i!ple!entation of
this underta7in".
Sec. B. 14ecti#it&. This d!inistrative Order
shall ta7e e/ect i!!ediatel%.
DON) in the 'it% of Manila, this 1@th da% of
Dece!ber in the %ear of Our >ord, Nineteen
8undred and Ninet%;Si-.
4S*D.5 FID)> V. RMOS
.O. No. E2B #as published in four ne#spapers of "eneral
circulation on Ganuar% @@, 1AAP and Ganuar% @E, 1AAP. On
Ganuar% @?, 1AAP, petitioner $led the instant petition a"ainst
respondents, then )-ecutive Secretar% Ruben Torres and the
heads of the "overn!ent a"encies, #ho as !e!bers of the
Inter;"enc% 'oordinatin" 'o!!ittee, are char"ed #ith the
i!ple!entation of .O. No. E2B. On pril B, 1AAP, #e issued a
te!porar% restrainin" order enDoinin" its i!ple!entation.
Petitioner contends3
SKST)M R)(9IR)S >)*IS>TIV) 'T. T8)
T8) 'ON*R)SS OF T8) R)P9M>I' OF T8)
SKST)M <8I'8 <I>> VIO>T) T8) MI>> OF
Respondents counter;ar"ue3
G9STI'IM>) 'S) S <O9>D <RRNT
M. .O. NO. E2B H1AA0I <S ISS9)D <IT8IN
)N'RO'8IN* ON T8) >)*IS>TIV) PO<)RS
'. T8) F9NDS N)')SSRK FOR T8)
T8) M9D*)TS OF T8) 'ON')RN)D *)N'I)SF
<e no# resolve.
s is usual in constitutional liti"ation, respondents raise the
threshold issues relatin" to the standin" to sue of the petitioner
and the Dusticiabilit% of the case at bar. More speci$call%,
respondents aver that petitioner has no le"al interest to uphold
and that the i!ple!entin" rules of .O. No. E2B have %et to be
These sub!issions do not deserve our s%!pathetic ear.
Petitioner Ople is a distin"uished !e!ber of our Senate. s a
Senator, petitioner is possessed of the reCuisite standin" to
brin" suit raisin" the issue that the issuance of .O. No. E2B is a
usurpation of le"islative po#er.
s ta-pa%er and !e!ber of
the *overn!ent Service Insurance S%ste! 4*SIS5, petitioner can
also i!pu"n the le"alit% of the !isali"n!ent of public funds and
the !isuse of *SIS funds to i!ple!ent .O. No. E2B.
The ripeness for adDudication of the Petition at bar is not
a/ected b% the fact that the i!ple!entin" rules of .O. No. E2B
have %et to be pro!ul"ated. Petitioner Ople assails .O. No. E2B
as invalid er se and as in$r!ed on its face. 8is action is not
pre!ature for the rules %et to be pro!ul"ated cannot cure its
fatal defects. Moreover, the respondents the!selves have
started the i!ple!entation of .O. No. E2B #ithout #aitin" for
the rules. s earl% as Ganuar% 1A, 1AAP, respondent Social
Securit% S%ste! 4SSS5 caused the publication of a notice to bid
for the !anufacture of the National Identi$cation 4ID5
Respondent )-ecutive Secretar% Torres has publicl%
announced that representatives fro! the *SIS and the SSS have
co!pleted the "uidelines for the national identi$cation
ll si"nals fro! the respondents sho# their
uns#ervin" #ill to i!ple!ent .O. No. E2B and #e need not #ait
for the for!alit% of the rules to pass Dud"!ent on its
constitutionalit%. In this li"ht, the dissenters insistence that #e
ti"hten the rule on standin" is not a co!!endable stance as its
result #ould be to throttle an i!portant constitutional principle
and a funda!ental ri"ht.
<e no# co!e to the core issues. Petitioner clai!s that .O. No.
E2B is not a !ere ad!inistrative order but a la# and hence,
be%ond the po#er of the President to issue. 8e alle"es that .O.
No. E2B establishes a s%ste! of identi$cation that is all;
enco!passin" in scope, a/ects the life and libert% of ever%
Filipino citi&en and forei"n resident, and !ore particularl%,
violates their ri"ht to privac%.
Petitioner+s sedulous concern for the )-ecutive not to trespass
on the la#!a7in" do!ain of 'on"ress is understandable. The
blurrin" of the de!arcation line bet#een the po#er of the
>e"islature to !a7e la#s and the po#er of the )-ecutive to
e-ecute la#s #ill disturb their delicate balance of po#er and
cannot be allo#ed. 8ence, the e-ercise b% one branch of
"overn!ent of po#er belon"in" to another #ill be "iven a
stricter scrutin% b% this 'ourt.
The line that delineates >e"islative and )-ecutive po#er is not
indistinct. >e"islative po#er is .the authorit%, under the
'onstitution, to !a7e la#s, and to alter and repeal the!..
'onstitution, as the #ill of the people in their ori"inal, soverei"n
and unli!ited capacit%, has vested this po#er in the 'on"ress of
the Philippines.
The "rant of le"islative po#er to 'on"ress is
broad, "eneral and co!prehensive.
The le"islative bod%
possesses plenar% po#er for all purposes of civil
n% po#er, dee!ed to be le"islative b% usa"e
and tradition, is necessaril% possessed b% 'on"ress, unless the
'onstitution has lod"ed it else#here.
In $ne, e-cept as li!ited
b% the 'onstitution, either e-pressl% or i!pliedl%, le"islative
po#er e!braces all subDects and e-tends to !atters of "eneral
concern or co!!on interest.
<hile 'on"ress is vested #ith the po#er to enact la#s, the
President e-ecutes the la#s.
The e-ecutive po#er is vested in
the Presidents.
It is "enerall% de$ned as the po#er to enforce
and ad!inister the la#s.
It is the po#er of carr%in" the la#s
into practical operation and enforcin" their due observance.
s head of the )-ecutive Depart!ent, the President is the 'hief
)-ecutive. 8e represents the "overn!ent as a #hole and sees
to it that all la#s are enforced b% the o,cials and e!plo%ees of
his depart!ent.
8e has control over the e-ecutive
depart!ent, bureaus and o,ces. This !eans that he has the
authorit% to assu!e directl% the functions of the e-ecutive
depart!ent, bureau and o,ce or interfere #ith the discretion of
its o,cials.
'orollar% to the po#er of control, the President
also has the dut% of supervisin" the enforce!ent of la#s for the
!aintenance of "eneral peace and public order. Thus, he is
"ranted ad!inistrative po#er over bureaus and o,ces under his
control to enable hi! to dischar"e his duties e/ectivel%.
d!inistrative po#er is concerned #ith the #or7 of appl%in"
policies and enforcin" orders as deter!ined b% proper
"overn!ental or"ans.
It enables the President to $- a unifor!
standard of ad!inistrative e,cienc% and chec7 the o,cial
conduct of his a"ents.
To this end, he can issue ad!inistrative
orders, rules and re"ulations.
Prescindin" fro! these precepts, #e hold that .O. No. E2B
involves a subDect that is not appropriate to be covered b% an
ad!inistrative order. n ad!inistrative order is3
Sec. E. A"ministrati#e Or"ers. 6 cts of the
President #hich relate to particular aspects of
"overn!ental operation in pursuance of his
duties as ad!inistrative head shall be
pro!ul"ated in ad!inistrative orders.
n ad!inistrative order is an ordinance issued b% the
President #hich relates to speci$c aspects in the
ad!inistrative operation of "overn!ent. It !ust be in
har!on% #ith the la# and should be for the sole
purpose of i!ple!entin" the la# and carr%in" out the
le"islative polic%.
<e reDect the ar"u!ent that .O.
No. E2B i!ple!ents the le"islative polic% of the
d!inistrative 'ode of 1ABP. The 'ode is a "eneral la#
and .incorporates in a uni$ed docu!ent the !aDor
structural, functional and procedural principles of
and .e!bodies chan"es in
ad!inistrative structure and procedures desi"ned to
serve the
The 'ode is divided into seven 4P5 Moo7s3
Moo7 I deals #ith Soverei"nt% and *eneral
d!inistration, Moo7 II #ith the Distribution of Po#ers
of the three branches of *overn!ent, Moo7 III on the
O,ce of the President, Moo7 IV on the )-ecutive
Mranch, Moo7 V on 'onstitutional 'o!!issions, Moo7 VI
on National *overn!ent Mud"etin", and Moo7 VII on
d!inistrative Procedure. These Moo7s contain
provisions on the or"ani&ation, po#ers and "eneral
ad!inistration of the e-ecutive, le"islative and Dudicial
branches of "overn!ent, the or"ani&ation and
ad!inistration of depart!ents, bureaus and o,ces
under the e-ecutive branch, the or"ani&ation and
functions of the 'onstitutional 'o!!issions and other
constitutional bodies, the rules on the national
"overn!ent bud"et, as #ell as "uideline for the
e-ercise b% ad!inistrative a"encies of Cuasi;le"islative
and Cuasi;Dudicial po#ers. The 'ode covers both the
internal ad!inistration of "overn!ent, i.e, internal
or"ani&ation, personnel and recruit!ent, supervision
and discipline, and the e/ects of the functions
perfor!ed b% ad!inistrative o,cials on private
individuals or parties outside "overn!ent.
It cannot be si!plisticall% ar"ued that .O. No. E2B !erel%
i!ple!ents the d!inistrative 'ode of 1ABP. It establishes for
the $rst ti!e a National 'o!puteri&ed Identi$cation Reference
S%ste!. Such a S%ste! reCuires a delicate adDust!ent of
various contendin" state policies 6 the pri!ac% of national
securit%, the e-tent of privac% interest a"ainst dossier;"atherin"
b% "overn!ent, the choice of policies, etc. Indeed, the dissent of
Mr. Gustice Mendo&a states that the .O. No. E2B involves the all;
i!portant freedo! of thou"ht. s said ad!inistrative order
rede$nes the para!eters of so!e basic ri"hts of our
citi&enr% #is-a-#is the State as #ell as the line that separates the
ad!inistrative po#er of the President to !a7e rules and the
le"islative po#er of 'on"ress, it ou"ht to be evident that it deals
#ith a subDect that should be covered b% la#.
Nor is it correct to ar"ue as the dissenters do that .D. No. E2B
is not a la# because it confers no ri"ht, i!poses no dut%, a/ords
no proctection, and creates no o,ce. 9nder .O. No. E2B, a
citi&en cannot transact business #ith "overn!ent a"encies
deliverin" basic services to the people #ithout the conte!plated
identi$cation card. No citi&en #ill refuse to "et this identi$cation
card for no one can avoid dealin" #ith "overn!ent. It is thus
clear as da%li"ht that #ithout the ID, a citi&en #ill have di,cult%
e-ercisin" his ri"hts and enDo%in" his privile"es. *iven this
realit%, the contention that .O. No. E2B "ives no ri"ht and
i!poses no dut% cannot stand.
"ain, #ith due respect, the dissentin" opinions undul% e-pand
the li!its of ad!inistrative le"islation and conseCuentl% erodes
the plenar% po#er of 'on"ress to !a7e la#s. This is contrar% to
the established approach de$nin" the traditional li!its of
ad!inistrative le"islation. s #ell stated b% Fisher3 .. . . Man%
re"ulations ho#ever, bear directl% on the public. It is here that
ad!inistrative le"islation !ust he restricted in its scope and
application. Re"ulations are not supposed to be a substitute for
the "eneral polic%;!a7in" that 'on"ress enacts in the for! of a
public la#. lthou"h ad!inistrative re"ulations are entitled to
respect, the authorit% to prescribe rules and re"ulations is not
an independent source of po#er to !a7e la#s..
ssu!in", ar"uendo, that .O. No. E2B need not be the subDect
of a la#, still it cannot pass constitutional !uster as an
ad!inistrative le"islation because faciall% it violates the ri"ht to
privac%. The essence of privac% is the .ri"ht to be let alone..
the 1A0L case of *ris#old v. 'onnecticut,
the 9nited States
Supre!e 'ourt "ave !ore substance to the ri"ht of privac%
#hen it ruled that the ri"ht has a constitutional foundation. It
held that there is a ri"ht of privac% #hich can be found #ithin
the penu!bras of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth
Speci$c "uarantees in the Mill of Ri"hts have
penu!bras for!ed b% e!anations fro! these
"uarantees that help "ive the! life and
substance . . . various "uarantees create
&ones of privac%. The ri"ht of association
contained in the penu!bra of the First
!end!ent is one, as #e have seen. The
Third !end!ent in its prohibition a"ainst the
Cuarterin" of soldiers .in an% house. in ti!e of
peace #ithout the consent of the o#ner is
another facet of that privac%. The Fourth
!end!ent e-plicitl% a,r!s the ++ri"ht of the
people to be secure in their persons, houses
and e/ects, a"ainst unreasonable searches
and sei&ures.. The Fifth !end!ent in its Self;
Incri!ination 'lause enables the citi&en to
create a &one of privac% #hich "overn!ent
!a% not force hi! to surrender to his
detri!ent. The Ninth !end!ent provides3
.The enu!eration in the 'onstitution, of
certain ri"hts, shall not be construed to den%
or dispara"e others retained b% the people..
In the 1A0B case of Mor%e #+ Mutuc,
#e adopted the
*ris#old rulin" that there is a constitutional ri"ht to
privac%. Spea7in" thru Mr. Gustice, later 'hief Gustice,
)nriCue Fernando, #e held3
--- --- ---
The *ris#old case invalidated a 'onnecticut
statute #hich !ade the use of contraceptives
a cri!inal o/ence on the "round of its
a!ountin" to an unconstitutional invasion of
the ri"ht of privac% of !arried personsF
ri"htfull% it stressed .a relationship l%in"
#ithin the &one of privac% created b% several
funda!ental constitutional "uarantees.. It has
#ider i!plications thou"h. The constitutional
ri"ht to privac% has co!e into its o#n.
So it is li7e#ise in our Durisdiction. The ri"ht to
privac% as such is accorded reco"nition
independentl% of its identi$cation #ith libert%F
in itself, it is full% deservin" of constitutional
protection. The lan"ua"e of Prof. )!erson is
particularl% apt3 .The concept of li!ited
"overn!ent has al#a%s included the idea that
"overn!ental po#ers stop short of certain
intrusions into the personal life of the citi&en.
This is indeed one of the basic distinctions
bet#een absolute and li!ited "overn!ent.
9lti!ate and pervasive control of the
individual, in all aspects of his life, is the
hall!ar7 of the absolute state. In contrast, a
s%ste! of li!ited "overn!ent safe"uards a
private sector, #hich belon"s to the individual,
$r!l% distin"uishin" it fro! the public sector,
#hich the state can control. Protection of this
private sector 6 protection, in other #ords, of
the di"nit% and inte"rit% of the individual 6
has beco!e increasin"l% i!portant as !odern
societ% has developed. ll the forces of a
technolo"ical a"e 6 industriali&ation,
urbani&ation, and or"ani&ation 6 operate to
narro# the area of privac% and facilitate
intrusion into it. In !odern ter!s, the capacit%
to !aintain and support this enclave of private
life !ar7s the di/erence bet#een a
de!ocratic and a totalitarian societ%..
Indeed, if #e e-tend our Dudicial "a&e #e #ill $nd that the ri"ht
of privac% is reco"ni&ed and enshrined in several provisions of
our 'onstitution.
It is e-pressl% reco"ni&ed in section E 415 of
the Mill of Ri"hts3
Sec. E. 415 The privac% of co!!unication and
correspondence shall be inviolable e-cept
upon la#ful order of the court, or #hen public
safet% or order reCuires other#ise as
prescribed b% la#.
Other facets of the ri"ht to privac% are protectad in
various provisions of the Mill of Ri"hts, #i$3
Sec. 1. No person shall be deprived of life,
libert%, or propert% #ithout due process of la#,
nor shall an% person be denied the eCual
protection of the la#s.
Sec. @. The ri"ht of the people to be secure in
their persons, houses papers, and e/ects
a"ainst unreasonable searches and sei&ures of
#hatever nature and for an% purpose shall be
inviolable, and no search #arrant or #arrant of
arrest shall issue e-cept upon probable cause
to be deter!ined personall% b% the Dud"e after
e-a!ination under oath or a,r!ation of the
co!plainant and the #itnesses he !a%
produce, and particularl% describin" the place
to be searched and the persons or thin"s to be
--- --- ---
Sec. 0. The libert% of abode and of chan"in"
the sa!e #ithin the li!its prescribed b% la#
shall not be i!paired e-cept upon la#ful order
of the court. Neither shall the ri"ht to travel be
i!paired e-cept in the interest of national
securit%, public safet%, or public health as !a%
be provided b% la#.
--- --- ---
Sec. B. The ri"ht of the people, includin" those
e!plo%ed in the public and private sectors, to
for! unions, associations, or societies for
purposes not contrar% to la# shall not be
Sec. 1P. No person shall be co!pelled to be a
#itness a"ainst hi!self.
Oones of privac% are li7e#ise reco"ni&ed and protected in our
la#s. The 'ivil 'ode provides that .HeIver% person shall respect
the di"nit%, personalit%, privac% and peace of !ind of his
nei"hbors and other persons. and punishes as actionable torts
several acts b% a person of !eddlin" and pr%in" into the privac%
of another.
It also holds a public o,cer or e!plo%ee or an%
private individual liable for da!a"es for an% violation of the
ri"hts and liberties of another person,
and reco"ni&es the
privac% of letters and other private co!!unications.
Revised Penal 'ode !a7es a cri!e the violation of secrets b% an
the revelation of trade and industrial secrets,
trespass to d#ellin".
Invasion of privac% is an o/ense in special
la#s li7e the nti;<iretappin" >a#,
the Secrec% of Man7
Deposits ct
and the Intellectual Propert% 'ode.
The Rules
of 'ourt on privile"ed co!!unication li7e#ise reco"ni&e the
privac% of certain infor!ation.
9nli7e the dissenters, #e prescind fro! the pre!ise that the
ri"ht to privac% is a funda!ental ri"ht "uaranteed b% the
'onstitution, hence, it is the burden of "overn!ent to sho# that
.O. No. E2B is Dusti$ed b% so!e co!pellin" state interest and
that it is narro#l% dra#n. .O. No. E2B is predicated on t#o
considerations3 415 the need to provides our citi&ens and
forei"ners #ith the facilit% to convenientl% transact business
#ith basic service and social securit% providers and other
"overn!ent instru!entalities and 4@5 the need to reduce, if not
totall% eradicate, fraudulent transactions and
!isrepresentations b% persons see7in" basic services. It is
debatable #hether these interests are co!pellin" enou"h to
#arrant the issuance of .O. No. E2B. Mut #hat is not ar"uable is
the broadness, the va"ueness, the overbreadth of .O. No. E2B
#hich if i!ple!ented #ill put our people+s ri"ht to privac% in
clear and present dan"er.
The heart of .O. No. E2B lies in its Section ? #hich provides for
a Population Reference Nu!ber 4PRN5 as a .co!!on reference
nu!ber to establish a lin7a"e a!on" concerned a"encies.
throu"h the use of .Mio!etrics Technolo"%. and .co!puter
application desi"ns..
Mio!etr% or bio!etrics is .the science of the applicatin of
statistical !ethods to biolo"ical factsF a !athe!atical anal%sis
of biolo"ical data..
The ter! .bio!etrics. has evolved into a
broad cate"or% of technolo"ies #hich provide precise
con$r!ation of an individual+s identit% throu"h the use of the
individual+s o#n ph%siolo"ical and behavioral
ph%siolo"ical characteristic is a relativel%
stable ph%sical characteristic such as a $n"erprint, retinal scan,
hand "eo!etr% or facial features. behavioral characteristic is
inRuenced b% the individual+s personalit% and includes voice
print, si"nature and 7e%stro7e.
Most bio!etric iden$cation
s%ste!s use a card or personal identi$catin nu!ber 4PIN5 for
initial identi$cation. The bio!etric !easure!ent is used to
verif% that the individual holdin" the card or enterin" the PIN is
the le"iti!ate o#ner of the card or PIN.
!ost co!!on for! of biolo"ical encodin" is $n"er;scannin"
#here technolo"% scans a $n"ertip and turns the uniCue pattern
therein into an individual nu!ber #hich is called a biocr%pt. The
biocr%pt is stored in co!puter data ban7s
and beco!es a
!eans of identif%in" an individual usin" a service. This
technolo"% reCuires one+s $n"ertip to be scanned ever% ti!e
service or access is provided.
nother !ethod is the retinal
scan. Retinal scan technolo"% e!plo%s optical technolo"% to
!ap the capillar% pattern of the retina of the e%e. This
technolo"% produces a uniCue print si!ilar to a $n"er
nother bio!etric !ethod is 7no#n as the .arti$cial
nose.. This device che!icall% anal%&es the uniCue co!bination
of substances e-creted fro! the s7in of people.
The latest on
the list of bio!etric achieve!ents is the ther!o"ra!. Scientists
have found that b% ta7in" pictures of a face usin" infra;red
ca!eras, a uniCue heat distribution pattern is seen. The
di/erent densities of bone, s7in, fat and blood vessels all
contribute to the individual+s personal .heat si"nature..
In the last fe# decades, technolo"% has pro"ressed at a
"allopin" rate. So!e science $ctions are no# science facts.
Toda%, bio!etrics is no lon"er li!ited to the use of $n"erprint to
identif% an individual. It is a ne# science that uses various
technolo"ies in encodin" an% and all biolo"ical characteristics of
an individual for identi$cation. It is note#orth% that .O. No. E2B
does not state #hat speci$c biolo"ical characteristics and #hat
particular bio!etrics technolo"% shall be used to identif% people
#ho #ill see7 its covera"e. 'onsiderin" the banCuest of options
available to the i!ple!entors of .O. No. E2B, the fear that it
threatens the ri"ht to privac% of our people is not "roundless.
.O. No. E2B should also raise our antennas for a further loo7
#ill sho# that it does not state #hether encodin" of data is
li!ited to biolo"ical infor!ation alone for identi$cation
purposes. In fact, the Solicitor *eneral clai!s that the adoption
of the Identi$cation Reference S%ste! #ill contribute to the
."eneration of population data for develop!ent
This is an ad!ission that the PRN #ill not be used
solel% for identi$cation but the "eneration of other data #ith
re!ote relation to the avo#ed purposes of .O. No. E2B. 'learl%,
the inde$niteness of .O. No. E2B can "ive the "overn!ent the
rovin" authorit% to store and retrieve infor!ation for a purpose
other than the identi$cation of the individual throu"h his PRN.
The potential for !isuse of the data to be "athered under .O.
No. E2B cannot be undarpla%ed as the dissenters do. Pursuant to
said ad!inistrative order, an individual !ust present his PRN
ever%ti!e he deals #ith a "overn!ent a"enc% to avail of basic
services and securit%. 8is transactions #ith the "overn!ent
a"enc% #ill necessaril% be recorded 6 #hether it be in the
co!puter or in the docu!entar% $le of the a"enc%. The
individual+s $le !a% include his transactions for loan avail!ents,
inco!e ta- returns, state!ent of assets and liabilities,
rei!burse!ents for !edication, hospitali&ation, etc. The !ore
freCuent the use of the PRN, the better the chance of buildin" a
hu"e for!idable infor!atin base throu"h the electronic lin7a"e
of the $les.
The data !a% be "athered for "ainful and useful
"overn!ent purposesF but the e-istence of this vast reservoir of
personal infor!ation constitutes a covert invitation to !isuse, a
te!ptation that !a% be too "reat for so!e of our authorities to
<e can even "rant, ar"uendo, that the co!puter data $le #ill be
li!ited to the na!e, address and other basic personal
info!ation about the individual.
)ven that hospitable
assu!ption #ill not save .O. No. E2B fro! constitutional
in$r!it% for a"ain said order does not tell us in clear and
cate"orical ter!s ho# these infor!ation "athered shall he
handled. It does not provide #ho shall control and access the
data, under #hat circu!stances and for #hat purpose. These
factors are essential to safe"uard the privac% and "uarant% the
inte"rit% of the infor!ation.
<ell to note, the co!puter
lin7a"e "ives other "overn!ent a"encies access to the
infor!ation. Ket, there are no controls to "uard a"ainst lea7a"e
of infor!ation. <hen the access code of the control pro"ra!s of
the particular co!puter s%ste! is bro7en, an intruder, #ithout
fear of sanction or penalt%, can !a7e use of the data for
#hatever purpose, or #orse, !anipulate the data stored #ithin
the s%ste!.
It is plain and #e hold that .O. No. E2B falls short of assurin"
that personal infor!ation #hich #ill be "athered about our
people #ill onl% be processed for uneCuivocall% speci$ed
The lac7 of proper safe"uards in this re"ard of .O.
No. E2B !a% interfere #ith the individual+s libert% of abode and
travel b% enablin" authorities to trac7 do#n his !ove!entF it
!a% also enable unscrupulous persons to access con$dential
infor!ation and circu!vent the ri"ht a"ainst self;incri!inationF
it !a% pave the #a% for .$shin" e-peditions. b% "overn!ent
authorities and evade the ri"ht a"ainst unreasonable searches
and sei&ures.
The possibilities of abuse and !isuse of the
PRN, bio!etrics and co!puter technolo"% are accentuated
#hen #e consider that the individual lac7s control over #hat can
be read or placed on his ID, !uch less verif% the correctness of
the data encoded.
The% threaten the ver% abuses that the Mill
of Ri"hts see7s to prevent.
The abilit% of sophisticated data center to "enerate a
co!prehensive cradle;to;"rave dossier on an individual and
trans!it it over a national net#or7 is one of the !ost "raphic
threats of the co!puter revolution.
The co!puter is capable
of producin" a co!prehensive dossier on individuals out of
infor!ation "iven at di/erent ti!es and for varied purposes.
can continue addin" to the stored data and 7eepin" the
infor!ation up to date. Retrieval of stored date is si!ple. <hen
infor!ation of a privile"ed character $nds its #a% into the
co!puter, it can be e-tracted to"ether #ith other data on the
Once e-tracted, the infor!ation is putt% in the hands
of an% person. The end of privac% be"ins.
Thou"h .O. No. E2B is undoubtedl% not narro#l% dra#n, the
dissentin" opinions #ould dis!iss its dan"er to the ri"ht to
privac% as speculative and h%pothetical. "ain, #e cannot
countenance such a laidbac7 posture. The 'ourt #ill not be true
to its role as the ulti!ate "uardian of the people+s libert% if it
#ould not i!!ediatel% s!other the spar7s that endan"er their
ri"hts but #ould rather #ait for the $re that could consu!e
<e reDect the ar"u!ent of the Solicitor *eneral that an
individual has a reasonable e-pectation of privac% #ith re"ard to
the Natioal ID and the use of bio!etrics technolo"% as it stands
on Cuic7sand. The reasonableness of a person+s e-pectation of
privac% depends on a t#o;part test3 415 #hether b% his conduct,
the individual has e-hibited an e-pectation of privac%F and 4@5
#hether this e-pectation is one that societ% reco"ni&es as
The factual circu!stances of the case deter!ines
the reasonableness of the e-pectation.
8o#ever, other
factors, such as custo!s, ph%sical surroundin"s and practices of
a particular activit%, !a% serve to create or di!inish this
The use of bio!etrics and co!puter technolo"% in
.O. No. E2B does not assure the individual of a reasonable
e-pectation of privac%.
s technolo"% advances, the level of
reasonabl% e-pected privac% decreases.
The !easure of
protection "ranted b% the reasonable e-pectation di!inishes as
relevant technolo"% beco!es !ore #idel% accepted.
securit% of the co!puter data $le depends not onl% on the
ph%sical inaccessibilit% of the $le but also on the advances in
hard#are and soft#are co!puter technolo"%. .O. No. E2B is so
#idel% dra#n that a !ini!u! standard for a reasonable
e-pectation of privac%, re"ardless of technolo"% used, cannot be
inferred fro! its provisions.
The rules and re"ulations to be b% the I'' cannot re!ed% this
fatal defect. Rules and re"ulations !erel% i!ple!ent the polic%
of the la# or order. On its face, .O. No. "ives the I'' virtuall%
infettered discretion to deter!ine the !etes and bounds of the
ID S%ste!.
Nor do %our present la#s prvide adeCuate safe"uards for a
reasonable e-pectation of privac%. 'o!!on#ealth ct. No. LA1
penali&es the disclosure b% an% person of data furnished b% the
individual to the NSO #ith i!prison!ent and $ne.
ct. No. 1101 prohibits public disclosure of SSS e!plo%!ent
records and reports.
These la#s, ho#ever, appl% to records
and data #ith the NSO and the SSS. It is not clear #hether the%
!a% be applied to data #ith the other "overn!ent a"encies
for!in" part of the National ID S%ste!. The need to clarif% the
penal aspect of .O. No. E2B is another reason #h% its
enact!ent should be "iven to 'on"ress.
Ne-t, the Solicitor *eneral ur"es us to validate .O. No. E2B+s
abrid"!ent of the ri"ht of privac% b% usin" the rational
relationship test.
8e stressed that the purposes of .O. No.
E2B are3 415 to strea!line and speed up the i!ple!entation of
basic "overn!ent services, 4@5 eradicate fraud b% avoidin"
duplication of services, and 4E5 "enerate population data for
develop!ent plannin". 8e cocludes that these purposes Dustif%
the incursions into the ri"ht to privac% for the !eans are
rationall% related to the end.
<e are not i!pressed b% the ar"u!ent. In Mor%e #+ Mutuc,
upheld the constitutionalit% of R.. E21A, the nti;*raft and
'orrupt Practices ct, as a valid police po#er !easure. <e
declared that the la#, in co!pellin" a public o,cer to !a7e an
annual report disclosin" his assets and liabilities, his sources of
inco!e and e-penses, did not infrin"e on the individual+s ri"ht
to privac%. The la# #as enacted to pro!ote !oralit% in public
ad!inistration b% curtailin" and !ini!i&in" the opportunities for
o,cial corruption and !aintainin" a standard of honest% in the
public service.
The sa!e circu!stances do not obtain in the case at bar. For
one, R.. E21A is a statute, not an ad!inistrative order.
Secondl%, R.. E21A itself is su,cientl% detailed. The la# is clear
on #hat practices #ere prohibited and penali&ed, and it #as
narro#l% dra#n to avoid abuses. IN the case at bar, .O. No. E2B
!a% have been i!pelled b% a #orth% purpose, but, it cannot
pass constitutional scrutin% for it is not narro#l% dra#n. nd #e
no# hod that #hen the inte"rit% of a funda!ental ri"ht is at
sta7e, this court #ill "ive the challen"ed la#, ad!inistrative
order, rule or re"ulation a stricter scrutin%. It #ill not do for the
authorities to invo7e the presu!ption of re"ularit% in the
perfor!ance of o,cial duties. Nor is it enou"h for the
authorities to prove that their act is not irrational for a basic
ri"ht can be di!inished, if not defeated, even #hen the
"overn!ent does not act irrationall%. The% !ust satisfactoril%
sho# the presence of co!pellin" state interests and that the
la#, rule or re"ulation is narro#l% dra#n to preclude abuses.
This approach is de!anded b% the 1ABP 'onstitution #hose
entire !atri- is desi"ned to protect hu!an ri"hts and to prevent
authoritarianis!. In case of doubt, the least #e can do is to lean
to#ards the stance that #ill not put in dan"er the ri"hts
protected b% the 'onstitutions.
The case of 5halen #+ Roe
cite" b% the Solicitor *eneral is
also o/;line. In <halen, the 9nited States Supre!e 'ourt #as
presented #ith the Cuestion of #hether the State of Ne# Kor7
could 7eep a centrali&ed co!puter record of the na!es and
addresses of all persons #ho obtained certain dru"s pursuant to
a doctor+s prescription. The Ne# Kor7 State 'ontrolled Substance
ct of 1AP@ reCuired ph%sicians to identif% parties obtainin"
prescription dru"s enu!erated in the statute, i.e., dru"s #ith a
reco"ni&ed !edical use but #ith a potential for abuse, so that
the na!es and addresses of the patients can be recorded in a
centrali&ed co!puter $le of the State Depart!ent of 8ealth. The
plainti/s, #ho #ere patients and doctors, clai!ed that so!e
people !i"ht decline necessar% !edication because of their fear
that the co!puteri&ed data !a% be readil% available and open
to public disclosureF and that once disclosed, it !a% sti"!ati&e
the! as dru" addicts.
The plainti/s alle"ed that the statute
invaded a constitutionall% protected &one of privac%, i.e., the
individual interest in avoidin" disclosure of personal !atters,
and the interest in independence in !a7in" certain 7inds of
i!portant decisions. The 9.S. Supre!e 'ourt held that #hile an
individual+s interest in avoidin" disclosuer of personal !atter is
an aspect of the ri"ht to privac%, the statute did not pose a
"rievous threat to establish a constitutional violation. The 'ourt
found that the statute #as necessar% to aid in the enforce!ent
of la#s desi"ned to !ini!i&e the !isuse of dan"erous dru"s.
The patient;identi$cation reCuire!ent #as a product of an
orderl% and rational le"islative decision !ade upon
reco!!!endation b% a speciall% appointed co!!ission #hich
held e-tensive hearin"s on the !atter. Moreover, the statute
#as narro#l% dra#n and contained nu!erous safe"uards
a"ainst indiscri!inate disclosure. The statute laid do#n the
procedure and reCuire!ents for the "atherin", stora"e and
retrieval of the infor!atin. It ebu!erated #ho #ere authori&ed
to access the data. It also prohibited public disclosure of the
data b% i!posin" penalties for its violation. In vie# of these
safe"uards, the infrin"e!ent of the patients+ ri"ht to privac%
#as Dusti$ed b% a valid e-ercise of police po#er. s #e discussed
above, .O. No. E2B lac7s these vital safe"uards.
)ven #hile #e stri7e do#n .O. No. E2B, #e spell out in neon
that the 'ourt is not er se a"ains the use of co!puters to
accu!ulate, store, process, retvieve and trans!it data to
i!prove our bureaucrac%. 'o!puters #or7 #onders to achieve
the e,cienc% #hich both "overn!ent and private industr% see7.
Man% infor!ation s%ste! in di/erent countries !a7e use of the
co!puter to facilitate i!portant social obDective, such as better
la# enforce!ent, faster deliver% of public services, !ore
e,cient !ana"e!ent of credit and insurance pro"ra!s,
i!prove!ent of teleco!!unications and strea!linin" of
$nancial activities.
9sed #isel%, data stored in the co!puter
could help "ood ad!inistration b% !a7in" accurate and
co!prehensive infor!ation for those #ho have to fra!e polic%
and !a7e 7e% decisions.
The bene$ts of the co!puter has
revolutioni&ed infor!ation technolo"%. It developed the
introduced the concept of c%berspace
and the
infor!ation superhi"h#a% #here the individual, ar!ed onl% #ith
his personal co!puter, !a% surf and search all 7inds and
classes of infor!ation fro! libraries and databases connected to
the net.
In no uncertain ter!s, #e also underscore that the ri"ht to
privac% does not bar all incursions into individual privac%. The
ri"ht is not intended to stiRe scienti$c and technolo"ical
advance!ents that enhance public service and the co!!on
"ood. It !erel% reCuires that the la# be narro#l% focused
a co!pellin" interest Dustif% such intrusions.
Intrusions into
the ri"ht !ust be acco!panied b% proper safe"uards and #ell;
de$ned standards to prevent unconstitutional invasions. <e
reiterate that an% la# or order that invades individual privac%
#ill be subDected b% this 'ourt to strict scrutin%. The reason for
this stance #as laid do#n in Mor%e #+ Mutuc, to #it3
The concept of li!ited "overn!ent has al#a%s
included the idea that "overn!ental po#ers
stop short of certain intrusions into the
personal life of the citi&en. This is indeed one
of the basic disctinctions bet#een absolute
and li!ited "overn!ent. 9lti!ate and
pervasive control of the individual, in all
aspects of his life, is the hall!ar7 of the
absolute state. In contrast, a s%ste! of li!ited
"overn!ent safe"uards a private sector,
#hich belon"s to the individual, $r!l%
distin"uishin" it fro! the public sector, #hich
the state can control. Protection of this private
sector 6 protection, in other #ords, of the
di"nit% and inte"rit% of the individual 6 has
beco!e increasin"l% i!portant as !odern
societ% has developed. ll the forces of a
technolo"ical a"e 6 industriali&ation,
urbani&ation, and or"ani&ation 6 operate to
narro# the area of privac% and facilitate
intrusion into it. In !odern ter!s, the capacit%
to !aintain and support this enclave of private
life !ar7s the di/erence bet#een a
de!ocratic and a totalitarian societ%.
The ri"ht to privac% is one of the !ost threatened ri"hts of !an
livin" in a !ass societ%. The threats e!anate fro! various
sources 6 "overn!ents, Dournalists, e!plo%ers, social scientists,
In th case at bar, the threat co!es fro! the e-ecutive
branch of "overn!ent #hich b% issuin" .O. No. E2B pressures
the people to surrender their privac% b% "ivin" infor!ation
about the!selves on the prete-t that it #ill facilitate deliver% of
basic services. *iven the record;7eepin" po#er of the co!puter,
onl% the indi/erent fail to perceive the dan"er that .O. No. E2B
"ives the "overn!ent the po#er to co!pile a devastatin"
dossier a"ainst unsuspectin" citi&ens. It is ti!el% to ta7e note of
the #ell;#orded #arnin" of :alvin, Gr., .the disturbin" result
could be that ever%one #ill live burdened b% an unerasable
record of his past and his li!itations. In a #a%, the threat is that
because of its record;7eepin", the societ% #ill have lost its
beni"n capacit% to for"et..
Oblivious to this counsel, the
dissents still sa% #e should not be too Cuic7 in labellin" the ri"ht
to privac% as a funda!ental ri"ht. <e close #ith the state!ent
that the ri"ht to privac% #as not en"raved in our 'onstitution for
IN VI)< <8)R)OF, the petition is "ranted and d!inisrative
Order No. E2B entitled .doption of a National 'o!puteri&ed
Identi$cation Reference S%ste!. declared null and void for
bein" unconstitutional.