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Expression Case Digest Essay

1-a. IN RE: Ramon Tulfo

Facts: In Oct. 13, 1989, Tulfo wrote an article in his column in PDI ‘On Target’ stating that the Supreme Court rendered an idiotic decision in legalizing checkpoints, and again on Oct. 16, 1989, where he called the Supreme Court stupid and “sangkatutak na mga bobo justices of the Philippine Supreme Court”. Tulfo was required to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt. Tulfo said that he was just reacting emotionally because he had been a victim of harassmen in the checkpoints, and “idiotic” meant illogical and unwise, and “bobo” was just quoted from other attorneys, and since the case had been decided and terminated, there was not contempts. Lastly, the article does not pose any clear and present danger to the

Supreme court. Issue: Whether or not Tulfo is in contempt

Held: Yes.
1. At the time Tulfo wrote the article, the checkpoints case had not yet been decided upon, and the Supreme Court was still acting on an MR filed from the CA. 2. Power to punish is inherent as it is essential for self-preservation. Contempt of ocurt is defiance of the authority, justice and dignity of the courts. It brings disrepute to the court. There are two kinds of publications which can be punished for contempt: a. those whose object is to affect the decision in a pending case. b. those whose object is to bring courts to discredit.

Tulfo’s article constituted both.

3. It should have been okay to criticize if respectful language was used, but if its object is only to degrade and ridicule, then it is clearly an obstruction of justice. Nothing constructive can be gained from them. Being emotional is no excuse for being insulting. Quoting is not an excuse also, because at the end of his article, Tulfo said, “So you bobo justices, watch out!” Also, he said he was not sorry for having written the articles. Tulfo is found in contempt of court and is gravely censured. 1-b. In Re Emil P. Jurado | 243 SCRA 299 (1995)


Emiliano P. Jurado, a lawyer and a journalist who writes in a newspaper of generalcirculation (Manila Standard) wrote about alleged improprieties and irregularities in the judiciary over several months (from about October 1992 to March 1993). Other journalists had also been making reports or comments on the same subject. At the sametime, anonymous communications were being extensively circulated, by hand andthrough the mail, about alleged venality and corruption in the courts.What was particularly given attention by the Supreme Court was his column entitled “Who will judge the Justices?” referring to a report that six justices, their spouses and children and grandchildren (a total of 36 persons) spent a vacation in Hong Kong, andthat luxurious hotel accommodations and all their other expenses were paid by a publicutility firm and that the trip was arranged by the travel agency patronized by this publicutility firm.

This column was made amidst rumors that a Supreme Court decision favorable tothe public utility firm appears to have been authored by a lawyer of the public utility firm.The seed of the proceeding at bar was sown by the decision promulgated by this Courton August 27, 1992, in the so-ca lled “controversial case” of “Philippine Long DistanceTelephone Company v. Eastern Telephone Philippines, Inc. (ETPI),” G.R. No, 94374. Inthat decision the Court was sharply divided; the vote was 9 to 4, in favor of the petitionerPLDT. Mr. Justice Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., wrote the opinion for the majority.The Chief Justice issued an administrative order creating an ad hoc committee toinvestigate the said reports of corruption in the judiciary. A letter affidavit was alsoreceived from the public utility, denying the allegations in Jurado’s column. The SupremeCourt then issued a resolution ordering that the matter dealt with in the letter andaffidavit of the public utility company be docketed and acted upon as an official Courtproceeding for the determination of whether or not the allegations made by Jurado aretrue.


WON Jurado can invoke the principles of press freedom to justify the published writings.

NO. Although honest utterances, even if inaccurate, may further the fruitful exercise of the right of free speech, it does not follow that the lie, knowingly and deliberately published about a public official, should enjoy a like immunity. The knowingly false statement and the false statement made with reckless disregard of the truth, do not enjoy constitutional protection. The Civil Code, in its Article 19 lays down the norm for the proper exercise of any right, constitutional or otherwise, viz.: “ARTICLE 19.Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.” The provision is reflective of the universally accepted precept of “abuse of rights,” “one of the most dominant principles which must be deemed always implied in any system of law.”

1-C Burgos v. Chief of Staff 133 SCRA 800 (1984)

Illegal search of newspaper offices and press freedom

F: On the basis of two warrants issued by the RTC of QC, the offices of the Metropolitan Mail and the We Forum were search and printing machines, paraphernalia, motor vehicles and other articles used in the printing, publication and distribution of the newspapers as well as papers and other literature seized on the ground that they were used in the commission of the crime of subversion. Petitioners brought and action to annul the warrants and compel the return of the things seized.

HELD: Petitioners’ thesis is impressed with merit. Probable cause for a search is defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. When addressed to a newspaper publisher or editor, the application for a warrant must contain a specification stating with particularity the alleged subversive materials he has published or intending to publish. Broad statement in the application is a mere conclusion of law and does not satisfy the requirement of probable cause.

Another factor that makes the search warrants constitutionally objectionable is that they are in the nature of general warrants. In Stanford v. State of Texas, the US SC declared this type of warrant void. VV. HELD: As a consequence of the search and seizure, the premises of the “Metropolitan Mail” and”We Forum” were padlocked and sealed, with the further result that the printing and publicationof said newspapers were discontinued. Such closure is in the nature of previous restraint or censorship abhorrent to the freedom of the press guaranteed under the fundamental law andconstitutes a virtual denial of petitioner’s freedom to express themselves in print. This state of being is patenly anathematic to a democratic framework where a free, alert and even militant press is essential for the political enlightenment and growth of the citizenry.

2. Corro v. Lising 137 SCRA 341 (1985)

F: Respondent Judge issued a search warrant for the seizure of articles allegedly used by petitioner in committing the crime of sedition. Seized were printed copies of the Philippine Times, newspaper dummies, typewriters, mimeographing machines and tape recorders, video machines and tapes. The petitioner moved to quash the warrant but his motion was denied.

HELD: The statements made in the affidavits are mere conclusions of law and do not satisfy the requirement of probable cause. The language used is all embracing as to include all conceivable words and equipment of petitioner regardless of whether they are legal or illegal. The search warrant under consideration was in the nature of a general warrant which is objectionable. VV.

This was originally a petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction which was supersededby the amended and supplemental petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction filed bypetitioners on March 3, 1983, seeking to prohibit the respondents (a) from issuing subpoenasor letters of invitation to petitioners and interrogating them, and (b) from filing libel suits onmatters that have been the subject of inquiry by respondent National Intelligence Board (NIB).Petitioners are columnists, feature article writers and reporters of various local publications. Atdifferent dates since July, 1980, some of them have allegedly been summoned by militaryauthorities who have subjected them to sustained interrogation on various aspects of theirworks, feelings, sentiments, beliefs, associations and even their private lives.

Typical of theletters received by the petitioners from respondent NIB is that addressed to petitioner ArleneBabst, dated December 20, 1982, this reads: Madam:Pursuant to the authority vested in me by law, you are hereby requested to appear before thisSpecial Committee at Philippine Army Officer’s Clubhouse, Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila (sketchattached), 9:00 A.M., December 22, 1982, to shed light on confidential matters being looked into bythis Committee.

4. Elizalde vs. Gutierrez

Elizalde vs. Gutierrez,76 SCRA 448 (In order that any news item relating to a judicial proceeding will not be actionable, the same must be [a] a true and fair report of the actual proceedings; [b] must be done in good faith; and [c] no comments nor remarks shall be made by the writer}

A publication of a dispatch coming from the Philippine News Agency by thesensationalist newspaper Evening News about the Maggie dela Riva rape case involving prominent individuals is not libelous. Courts must be careful not to unnecessarily prosecute members of the press if it finds the prosecution to be baseless, they should immediately dismiss the case and not allow the editor and publisher to be derailed from their work by being dragged into trial.

5. Policarpio Vs. manila Times

Whether or not the defendant is guilty of having publishedlibelous/defamatory articles? FACTS:
Policarpio was executive secretary of UNESCO Nat’l Commission.As such, she had filed charges against Herminia Reyes, one of her subordinates in the Commission, & caused the latter to beseparated from the service. Reyes, in turn, filed counter-charges which were referred for investigation. Pending completion, Reyes filed a complaint against Policarpio for alleged malversation of public funds & another complaint for estafa thru falsification of public documents. Policarpio filed a libel suit to Manila Times Publishing Co. for publishing two defamatory, libelous and false articles/news items in Saturday Mirror of August 11, 1956 and in the Daily Mirror of August 13, 1956.

6. . Lopez vs. CA, 34 SCRA 116
o January 1956 – Front-page story on the Manila Chronicle à Fidel Cruz, sanitary inspector assigned to the Babuyan Islands, sent distress signals to US Airforce planes which forwarded such message to Manila o An American Army plane dropped emergency sustenance kits on the beach of the island which contained, among other things, a two way radio set. Using the radio set Cruz reported to the authorities in Manila that the locals were living in terror due to a series of killings committed on the island since Christmas of 1955. o Philippine defense forces (scout rangers) were immediately deployed to the babuyan claro. They were led by Major Wilfredo Encarnacion who discovered that Cruz only fabricated the story about the killings to get attention. Cruz merely wanted transportation home to Manila. o Major Encarnacion branded the fiasco as a “hoax” à the same word to be used by the newspapers who covered the same o January 13, 1956 – This Week Magazine of the Manila Chronicle, edited by Gatbonton devoted a pictorial article to it.

It claimed that despite the story of Cruz being a hoax it brought to light the misery of the people living in that place, with almost everybody sick, only 2 individuals able to read and write and food and clothing being scarce o January 29, 1956 – This Week Magazineà in the “January News Quiz” made reference to Cruz as “a health inspector who suddenly felt “lonely” in his isolated post, cooked up a story about a murderer running loose on the island of Calayan so that he could be ferried back to civilization.” à Called it “Hoax of the year” o In both issues photos of a Fidel Cruz were published but both photos were of a different person of the same name à Fidel G. Cruz former mayor, business man, contractor from Santa Maria, Bulacan o January 27, 1957 à published statements correcting their misprint and explained that confusion and error happened due to the rush to meet the Jan 13th issue’s deadline o Cruz sued herein petitioners for libel in CFI Manila. Cruz won and was awarded P11,000 in damages (5k actual, 5k moral, 1k attorney’s fees) o CA affirmed CFI decision hence this case

o WON petitioners should be held liable for their error in printing the wrong Fidel Cruz’s photo in relation to the “hoax of the year”? o WON such error is sufficient ground for an action for libel to prosper?

Yes they are liable but damages awarded to Cruz is reduced to P1,000.00

1. Mistake is no excuse to absolve publishers because libel is harmful on its face by the fact that it exposes the injured party to more than trivial ridicule, whether it is fact or opinion is irrelevant. o Citing Lu Chu Sing v. Lu Tiong Gui à libel is “malicious defamation, expressed either in writing, printing, or by signs or pictures, or the like, …, tending to blacken the memory of one who is dead or to impeach the honesty, virtue, or reputation, or publish the alleged or natural defects of one who is alive, and thereby “pose him to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule,” o Citing standard treatise of Newell on Slander and Libel à “Publication of a person’s photograph in connection with an article libelous of a third person, is a libel on the person whose picture is published, where the acts set out in the article are imputed to such person.” o In this case à 3rd person was Cruz à his picture being published beside the article imputes him as the purveyor of the hoax of the year

2. Libel cannot be used to curtail press freedom however it also cannot claim any talismanic immunity form constitutional limitations o State interest in press freedom à citing Justice Malcolm: Full discussion of public affairs is necessary for the maintenance of good governance… “Public officials must not be too thin-skinned with reference to comments on official acts”…”of course criticism does not authorize defamation. Nevertheless, as an individual is less than the state, so must expected criticism be born for the common good.”

 So long as it was done in good faith, the press should have the legal right to have and express their opinions on legal questions. To deny them that right would be to infringe upon freedom of the press. o “Last word on the subject” à Citing Quisumbing v. Lopez: Press should be given leeway and tolerance as to enable them to courageously and effectively perform their important role in our democracy o Freedom of the press ranks high in the hierarchy of legal values o TEST of LIABLITY à must prove there was actual malice in publishing the story/photo! (Note: but this was not done in this case)

4. Citing Concepcion, CJ. à Correction of error in publishing does not wipe out the responsibility arising from the publication of the original article o Correction = Mitigating circumstance not a justifying circumstance!

Dissent: Dizon, J.
o Manila Chronicle should be absolved because:
o No evidence of actual malice
o The article does not ascribe anything immoral or any moral turpitude to Cruz
o The negligence performed by Manila Chronicle is this case should be considered “excusable negligence”

7. New York Times Co vs Sullivan

Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Sullivan (Plaintiff) sued the Defendant, the New York Times Co. (Defendant), for printing an advertisement about the civil rights movement in the south that defamed the Plaintiff.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The constitutional guarantees require a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice – that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.

Facts. The Plaintiff was one of three Commissioners of Montgomery, Alabama, who claimed that he was defamed in a full-page ad taken out in the New York Times. The advertisement was entitled, “Heed Their Rising Voices” and it charged in part that an unprecedented wave of terror had been directed against those who participated in the civil rights movement in the South. Some of the particulars of the advertisement were false. Although the advertisement did not mention the Plaintiff by name, he claimed that it referred to him indirectly because he had oversight responsibility of the police.

The Defendant claimed that it authorized publication of the advertisement because it did not have any reason to believe that its contents were false. There was no independent effort to check its accuracy. The Plaintiff demanded that the Defendant retract the advertisement. The Defendant was puzzled as to why the Plaintiff thought the advertisement reflected adversely on him. The jury found the ad libelous per se and actionable without proof of malice. The jury awarded the Plaintiff $500,000 in damages. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed.

The Defendant appealed.

Issue. Is the Defendant liable for defamation for printing an advertisement, which criticized a public official’s official conduct? Held. No. Reversed and remanded.
* Safeguards for freedom of speech and of the press are required by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution (Constitution) in a libel action brought by a public official against critics of his official conduct. * Under Alabama law, a publication is libelous per se if the words tend to injure a person in his reputation or to bring him into public contempt. The jury must find that the words were published of and concerning the plaintiff. Once libel per se has been established, the defendant has no defense as to stated facts unless he can persuade the jury that they were true in all their particulars. * Erroneous statement is inevitable in free debate and it must be protected if the freedoms of expression are to have the breathing space that the need to survive.

* The constitutional guarantees require a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice – that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. * The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) holds that the Constitution delimits a State’s power to award damages for libel in actions brought by public officials against critics of their official conduct. In this case, the rule requiring proof of actual malice is applicable. * The Defendant’s failure to retract the advertisement upon the Plaintiff’s demand is not adequate evidence of malice for constitutional purposes.

Likewise, it is not adequate evidence of malice that the Defendant failed to check the advertisements accuracy against the news stories in the Defendant’s own files. Also, the evidence was constitutionally defective in another respect: it was incapable of supporting the jury’s finding that the allegedly libelous statements were made of and concerning the Plaintiff. Concurrence. Justice Hugo Black (J. Black) argued that the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution do not merely “delimit” a State’s power to award damages, but completely prohibit a State from exercising such a power. The Defendant had an absolute, unconditional right to publish criticisms of the Montgomery agencies and officials.

Discussion. In order for a public official to recover in a defamation action involving his official conduct, malice must be proved. Without the showing of malice, the Supreme Court felt that a defamation action in this case would severely cripple the safeguards of freedom speech and expression that are guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution and applicable to the States via the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. 8. Liwayway Publishing vs PCGG

Adiong vs. Comelec, March 31, 1992 (putting of decals and stickers in one’s car is within the protected freedom of expression)

1-A National press club vs. COMELEC
National Press Club vs. Comelec, March 5, 1992. Real also the dissenting and separate opinions of the justices. (Preventing campaigns through radio, TV and newspapers is valid in order to even the playing field between rich and poor candidates)

3 consolidated petitions, with the common question: the constitutionality of§11(b), of RA6646Petitoners: representatives of mass media which are prevented from sellingor donating space and time for political advertisements; 2 candidates for office (1national, 1 provincial) in the coming May 1992 elections; taxpayers and voters whoclaim that their right to be informed of election issues and of credentials of thecandidates is being curtailed. (I will refer to these folks as Petitoners (P)) Facts:

Petitioners’ argument:

•That §11(b), of RA6646 invades and violated theconstitutional guarantees comprising freedom of expression; •That the prohibition imposed by §11(b) amounts tocensorship, because it selects and singles out for suppression andrepression with criminal sanctions, only publications of a particularcontent, namely, media-based election or political propaganda duringthe election pd. of 1992; •That the prohibition is in derogation of media’s role,function and duty to provide adequate channels of public informationand public opinion relevant to election issues; •That §11(b) abridges the freedom of speech ofcandidates, and that the suppression of media-based campaign orpolitical propaganda except those appearing in the Comelec space ofthe newspapers and on Comelec time of radio and tv broadcasts,would bring about a substantial reduction in the quantity or volume ofinfo concerning candidates and issues in the election, therebycurtailing and limiting the right of voters to info and opinion.

WON §11(b) of RA 6646 has gone beyond the permissible supervision orregulation of media operations so as to constitute unconstitutional repression offreedom of speech & freedom of the press SC says:

Nope. It has not gone outside the permissible bounds of supervision orregulation of media operations during election periods

1-B Zaldivar vs. Sandiganbayan
Petitioner filed Resolution including Motion to Cite in Contempt Special Prosecutor (formerly Tanodbayan) Raul M. Gonzalez. Gonzalez in: (1) having caused the filing of the information against petitioner in criminal case before the Sandiganbayan, and (2) issuing certain allegedly contemptuous statements to the media in relation to the proceedings in where respondent is claiming that he is acting as Tanodbayan-Ombudsman. A Resolution from the Supreme Court required respondent to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt and/or subjected to administrative sanctions for making certain public statements. Portion of the published article from Philippine Daily Globe in his interview: What I am afraid of (with the issuance of the order) is that it appears that while rich and influential persons get favorable actions from the Supreme Court, it is difficult for an ordinary litigant to get his petition to be given due course. Respondent has not denied making the above statements; indeed, he acknowledges that the newspaper reports of the statements attributed to him are substantially correct.


Whether or not respondent Atty. Gonzales is entitled to invoke freedom of speech as a defense.
NO. Respondent indefinitely suspended from the practice of law.
The Court concludes that respondent Gonzalez is guilty both of contempt of court in facie curiae and of gross misconduct as an officer of the court and member of the Bar.(Section 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court) [F]reedom of speech and of expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interests.

Zaldivar vs. Gonzales

Zaldivar was the governor of Antique. He was charged before the Sandiganbayan for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Gonzales was the then Tanodbayan who was investigating the case. Zaldivar then filed with the Supreme Court a petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus assailing the authority of the Tanodbayan to investigate graft cases under the 1987 Constitution. The Supreme Court, acting on the petition issued a Cease and Desist Order against Gonzalez directing him to temporarily restrain from investigating and filing informations against Zaldivar. Gonzales however proceeded with the investigation and he filed criminal informations against Zaldivar.

Gonzalez even had a newspaper interview where he proudly claims that he scored one on the Supreme Court; that the Supreme Court’s issuance of the TRO is a manifestation theta the “rich and influential persons get favorable actions from the Supreme Court, [while] it is difficult for an ordinary litigant to get his petition to be given due course”. Zaldivar then filed a Motion for Contempt against Gonzalez. The Supreme Court then ordered Gonzalez to explain his side. Gonzalez stated that the statements in the newspapers were true; that he was only exercising his freedom of speech; that he is entitled to criticize the rulings of the Court, to point out where he feels the Court may have lapsed into error. He also said, even attaching notes, that not less than six justices of the Supreme Court have approached him to ask him to “go slow” on Zaldivar and to not embarrass the Supreme Court. ISSUE: Whether or not Gonzalez is guilty of contempt.

HELD: Yes. The statements made by respondent Gonzalez clearly constitute contempt and call for the exercise of the disciplinary authority of the Supreme Court. His statements necessarily imply that the justices of the Supreme Court betrayed their oath of office. Such statements constitute the grossest kind of disrespect for the Supreme Court. Such statements very clearly debase and degrade the Supreme Court and, through the Court, the entire system of administration of justice in the country. Gonzalez is entitled to the constitutional guarantee of free speech. What Gonzalez seems unaware of is that freedom of speech and of expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interests.

One of these fundamental public interests is the maintenance of the integrity and orderly functioning of the administration of justice. There is no antinomy between free expression and the integrity of the system of administering justice. Gonzalez, apart from being a lawyer and an officer of the court, is also a Special Prosecutor who owes duties of fidelity and respect to the Republic and to the Supreme Court as the embodiment and the repository of the judicial power in the government of the Republic.

The responsibility of Gonzalez to uphold the dignity and authority of the Supreme Court and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice is heavier than that of a private practicing lawyer. Gonzalez is also entitled to criticize the rulings of the court but his criticisms must be bona fide. In the case at bar, his statements, particularly the one where he alleged that members of the Supreme Court approached him, are of no relation to the Zaldivar case. The Supreme Court suspended Gonzalez indefinitely from the practice of law.

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