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Zulueta vs. Court of Appeals 253 SCRA 699 Gr No.

107383, February 20, 1996 FACTS: Petitioner, Cecilia Zulueta is married to private respondent, Dr. Alfredo Martin. That petitioner accused her husband of infidelity. That on March 26, 1982, petitioner went to the clinic of private respondent, who is a doctor of medicine, without the consent of the latter. That on the same date mentioned, petitioner opened the drawers and cabinet of her husband and took 157 documents and papers consisting of private correspondence between Dr. Martin and his alleged paramours. The documents found by petitioner were seized for use as evidence in a case for legal separation filed by Zulueta. Dr. Martin brought this action below for recovery of the documents and papers and for damages against petitioner. The RTC, decided in favor of private respondent, declaring him the capital/exclusive owner of properties described and ordering petitioner to return the properties to Dr. Martin and pay him nominal and moral damages and attorneys fees, and cost of the suit. Furthermore, petitioner and her attorneys and representatives were enjoined from using or submitting/admitting as evidence the documents and papers in question. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision made by the Regional Trial Court. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: W/N the documents and papers in question are admissible in evidence. HELD: NO. The Supreme Court held that the documents and papers in question are inadmissible in evidence. The constitutional injunction declaring the privacy of communication and correspondence [to be] inviolable (Sec.3, Par.1, Art.III, 1987 Constitution) is no less applicable simply because it is the wife (who thinks herself aggrieved by her husbands infidelity) who is the party against whom the constitutional provision is to be enforced. The only exception to the provision in the constitution is if there is a lawful order [from a] court or when public safety or order requires otherwise as provide by law. (Sec.3, Par.1, Art.III, 1987 Constitution) Any violation of this provision renders the evidence obtained inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. (Sec.3, Par.2, Art.III,1987 Constitution) A person, by contracting marriage does not shed his/her integrity or his right to privacy as an individual and the constitutional protection is ever available to him or to her. The law ensures absolute freedom of communication between the spouses by making it privileged. Neither husband nor wife may testify for or against the other without consent of the affected spouse while the marriage subsists. (Sec.22, Rule130, Rules of Court). Neither maybe examined without the consent of the other as to any communication received in confidence by one from the other during the marriage, save for specified exceptions. (Sec.24, Rule 130, Rules of Court)PETITION DENIED