Monday, May 24, 2010

SWS vs Comelec

Facts:
Petitioner SWS and KPC states that it wishes to conduct an election survey throughout the period of the elections and release to the media the results of such survey as well as publish them directly. Petitioners argue that the restriction on the publication of election survey results constitutes a prior restraint on the exercise of freedom of speech without any clear and present danger to justify such restraint.

Issue:
Are the Comelec Resolutions prohibiting the holding of pre-polls and exit polls and the dissemination of their results through mass media, valid and constitutional?

Ruling:
No. The Court held that Section (5)4 is invalid because (1) it imposes a prior restraint on the freedom of expression, (2) it is a direct and total suppression of a category of expression even though such suppression is only for a limited period, and (3) the governmental interest sought to be promoted can be achieved by means other than suppression of freedom of expression.
It has been held that "[mere] legislative preferences or beliefs respecting matters of public convenience may well support regulation directed at other personal activities, but be insufficient to justify such as diminishes the exercise of rights so vital to the maintenance of democratic institutions.”


Pharma vs. Duque
Facts:
Before the Court is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking to nullify A.O No. 2006-0012 otherwise known as the "Milk Code," RIRR. Petitioner posits that the RIRR is not valid as it contains provisions that are not constitutional and go beyond the law it is supposed to implement.

Issue:
Is the absolute ban on advertisements of breast milk substitutes violative of freedom of speech?

Ruling:
No. It does not violate freedom of speech because there is no absolute ban. The Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) will evaluate some advertising and promotional materials subject to the standards provided for by the Milk Code. The IAC can allow if the advertising and promotions will not undermine breast milk and breastfeeding. It is recognized that the IAC has that power to evaluate promotional materials.


Jalandoni vs Drilon

Facts:
Private respondent Ledesma filed an administrative complaint for violation of the RPC and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against the petitioner with the PCGG. Exactly a year thereafter, petitioner Jalandoni filed a complaint for the crime of libel against officials/directors of OPMC. Herein is a petition for certiorari seeking to nullify and set aside the orders of the Honorable Secretary of Justice withdrawing the information in I.S. Nos. 93-6228 and 93-6422 and denying the motion for reconsideration filed by herein petitioner Jalandoni.


Issue:
Can malice be presumed from defamatory words? Who has the burden of proving malice?

Ruling:
No. Under Article 361 of the Revised Penal Code, in libel cases against public officials, for liability to arise, the alleged defamatory statement must relate to official conduct, even if the defamatory statement is false, unless the public official concerned proves that the statement was made with actual malice, that is, with knowledge that it was false or not. The subject of the defamatory statement has the burden of proving malice on the part of the author of such statement.
The same was not written to cast aspersion on the good name of the petitioner. The paid advertisement merely served as a vehicle to inform the stockholders of the going-ons in the business world and only exposed the irregularities surrounding the PCGG and RCBC deal and the parties involved.

JAL vs Simangan

Facts:
In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioner JAL appeals the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) ordering it to pay respondent Jesus Simangan moral and exemplary damages; and Resolution of the same court denying JAL's motion for reconsideration. JAL contends that they are entitled to recover damages from the published defamatory commentaries of respondents regarding the incident.

Issue:
Are commentaries on public officials and on matters of public interests, privileged?

Ruling:
Yes. The constitutional guarantee of freedom of the speech and of the press includes fair commentaries on matters of public interest. The privilege applies not only to public officials but extends to a great variety of subjects, and includes matters of public concern, public men, and candidates for office. In order that such discreditable imputation to a public official may be actionable, it must either be a false allegation of fact or a comment based on a false supposition. If the comment is an expression of opinion, based on established facts, then it is immaterial that the opinion happens to be mistaken, as long as it might reasonably be inferred from the facts. Even though JAL is not a public official, the rule on privileged commentaries on matters of public interest applies to it.





Fermin vs People

Facts:
On complaint of spouses Annabele and Eduardo Gutierrez, two criminal informations for libel were filed against Fermin and Tugas before the RTC of Quezon City. After trial on the merits, the trial court in its Joint Decision, found petitioner and Tugas guilty of libel. Aggrieved, petitioners filed a petition before the CA where the CA affirmed the trial court’s decision. Hence, this petition for review on certiorari of the Decision and the Resolution of the CA in People v. Fermin and Tugas was filed.

Issue:
What are the standards to be adopted on those in the entertainment business, media and intrigue columns?

Ruling:
Media practitioners have the responsibility to uphold the high ethical standards attached to and demanded by their noble profession. While it is true that there is a freedom of the press, such freedom is not absolute as to utterly disrespect he rights of others and willfully disregarding the cumbrous responsibilities inherent in it. it is also worth keeping in mind that the press is the servant, not the master, of the citizenry, and its freedom does not carry with it an unrestricted hunting license to prey on the ordinary citizen.
While complainants are considered public figures for being personalities in the entertainment business, media people, including gossip and intrigue writers and commentators such as petitioner, do not have the unbridled license to malign their honor and dignity by indiscriminately airing fabricated and malicious comments, whether in broadcast media or in print, about their personal lives.


Tulfo vs People

Facts:
On the complaint of Atty. Carlos So of the Bureau of Customs, four (4) separate informations were filed RTC of Pasay City charging petitioners Erwin Tulfo, et.al., with the crime of libel in connection with the publication of the articles in the column “Direct Hit”. CA affirmed the RTC’s decision finding defendants guilty. Tulfo brought this petition seeking to reverse the Decision of the CA which affirmed the decision of the RTC. Petitioners Cambri, Salao, Barlizo, and Pichay brought a similar petition seeking the nullification of the same CA decision.

Issue:
Were Tulfo’s commentaries fair and reasonable?

Ruling:
No. The trial court found that the allegations against Atty. So were false and that Tulfo did not exert effort to verify the information before publishing his articles. Tulfo offered no proof for his accusations. Although wider latitude is given to defamatory utterances against public officials in connection with or relevant to their performance of official duties such defamatory utterances do not automatically fall within the ambit of constitutionally protected speech. Journalists still bear the burden of writing responsibly when practicing their profession, even when writing about public figures or matters of public interest.



GMA vs Bustos

Facts:
On February 10, 1988, a certain Abello and over 200 other unsuccessful examinees filed a Petition for Mandamus before the RTC of Manila to compel the PRC and the board of medical examiners to re-check and reevaluate the test papers. As news writer and reporter of petitioner GMA Network, Inc. assigned to gather news from courts, among other beats, its co-petitioner Rey Vidal covered the filing of the mandamus petition. After securing a copy of the petition, Vidal composed and narrated the news coverage for the ten o’clock evening news edition of GMA’s Channel 7 Headline News. Respondents filed an action against GMA for recklessly disregarding the truth, defaming them by word of mouth and simultaneously presenting it in Channel 7.

Issue:
Was malice and ill will duly established by evidence?

Ruling:
No. In this case the respondents had failed to substantiate by preponderant evidence that petitioners were animated by a desire to inflict them unjustifiable harm or at least to place them in a discomforting light. It has been said that if the matter is not per se libelous, malice cannot be inferred from the mere fact of publication. And as records tend to indicate, the petitioners, particularly Vidal, do not personally know or had dealings with any of the respondents. The Court thus perceives no reason or motive on the part of either petitioner for malice.

Pobre vs Sen. Santiago

Facts:
Pobre asks that disbarment proceedings or other disciplinary actions be taken against Sen. Santiago on her speech she delivered in the discharge of her duty as member of the Congress on the Senate floor insulting the Judicial Bar Council and Chief Justice Panganiban.

Issue:
Was the speech of Sen. Santiago within constitutional bounds of freedom of speech?

Ruling:
Yes. Although she has not categorically denied making such statements, she has unequivocally said making them as part of her privilege speech. For the above reasons, the plea of Senator Santiago for the dismissal of the complaint for disbarment or disciplinary action is well taken. Indeed, her privilege speech is not actionable criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court.
The Court, however, wishes to express its deep concern about the language Senator Santiago, a member of the Bar, used in her speech and its effect on the administration of justice. To the Court, the lady senator has undoubtedly crossed the limits of decency and good professional conduct. It is at once apparent that her statements in question were intemperate and highly improper in substance.







Bayan vs Ermita

Facts:
All petitioners assail Batas Pambansa No. 880, some of them in toto and others only Sections 4, 5, 6, 12, 13(a), and 14(a), as well as the policy of CPR. They seek to stop violent dispersals of rallies under the "no permit, no rally" policy and the CPR policy recently announced.
Issue:
Is the calibrated preemptive response valid and constitutional? Is BP 880 valid and constitutional?

Ruling:
The Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR), insofar as it would purport to differ from maximum tolerance, is NULL and VOID. The truth of the matter is the policy of "calibrated preemptive response" is in consonance with the legal definition of "maximum tolerance" under BP 880. However, the phrase "maximum tolerance" has acquired a different meaning over the years. Many have taken it to mean inaction on the part of law enforcers even in the face of mayhem and serious threats to public order. More so, other felt that they need not bother secure a permit when holding rallies thinking this would be "tolerated."
BP 880 is valid and constitutional as it does not curtail or unduly restrict freedom. It merely regulates the use of public places as to the time, place and manner of assemblies. Far from being insidious, "maximum tolerance" is for the benefit of rallyists, not the government. The delegation to the mayors of the power to issue rally "permits" is valid because it is subject to the constitutionally-sound "clear and present danger" standard.

3 comments:

  1. Karissa, thank you for sharing these case digests! It's really a big help to law students. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. ...hi guys can you help me i dont have any idea about sws vs comelec. help???

    ReplyDelete