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VIBAREZ vs. ST.

THERESA’s COLLEGE by substantial evidence, of an actual or threatened violation of the right to


privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim are indispensable before the
privilege of the writ may be extended.

Constitutional Law; Habeas Data Rule (A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC); Writ of Same; Same; Same; Informational Privacy; The writ of habeas data
Habeas Data; The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person can be availed of as an independent remedy to enforce one’s right to
whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by privacy, more specifically the right to informational privacy.—Had the
an unlawful act or omission of a public of icial or employee, or of a private framers of the Rule intended to narrow the operation of the writ only to
individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or cases of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances, the above
information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the underscored portion of Section 2, reflecting a variance of habeas data
aggrieved party.—The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any situations, would not have been made. Habeas data, to stress, was designed
person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or “to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the information age.” As
threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, such, it is erroneous to limit its applicability to extralegal killings and
or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or enforced disappearances only
storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and
correspondence of the aggrieved party. It is an independent and summary In fact, the annotations to the Rule prepared by the Committee on the
remedy designed to protect the image, privacy, honor, information, and Revision of the Rules of Court, after explaining that the Writ of Habeas
freedom of information of an individual, and to provide a forum to enforce Data complements the Writ of Amparo, pointed out that: The writ of habeas
one’s right to the truth and to informational privacy. It seeks to protect a data, however, can be availed of as an independent remedy to enforce one’s
person’s right to control information regarding oneself, particularly in right to privacy, more specifically the right to informational privacy. The
instances in which such information is being collected through unlawful remedies against the violation of such right can include the updating,
means in order to achieve unlawful ends. rectification, suppression or destruction of the database or information or
files in possession or in control of respondents. (emphasis ours) Clearly
Same; Same; Same; The existence of a person’s right to informational then, the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Data may also be availed of in
privacy and a showing, at least by substantial evidence, of an actual or cases outside of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. Same;
threatened violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of Same; Same; Nothing in the Rule would suggest that the habeas data
the victim are indispensable before the privilege of the writ may be protection shall be available only against abuses of a person or entity
extended.— In developing the writ of habeas data, the Court aimed to engaged in the business of gathering, storing, and collecting of data.—
protect an individual’s right to informational privacy, among others. A Nothing in the Rule would suggest that the habeas data protection shall be
comparative law scholar has, in fact, defined habeas data as “a procedure available only against abuses of a person or entity engaged in the business
designed to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the information of gathering, storing, and collecting of data.
age.” The writ, however, will not issue on the basis merely of an alleged
unauthorized access to information about a person. Availment of the writ As provided under Section 1 of the Rule: Section 1. Habeas Data.—
requires the existence of a nexus between the right to privacy on the one
hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other. Thus, the The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to
existence of a person’s right to informational privacy and a showing, at least privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful
act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or and with wisdom.” Consistent with this, the Court, by developing what may
entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information be viewed as the Philippine model of the writ of habeas data, in effect,
regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved recognized that, generally speaking, having an expectation of informational
party. privacy is not necessarily incompatible with engaging in cyberspace
activities, including those that occur in OSNs.
Same; Same; Same; Habeas data is a protection against unlawful acts
or omissions of public of icials and of private individuals or entities Same; Same; Same; Online Social Networks; The purpose of an Online
engaged in gathering, collecting, or storing data about the aggrieved Social Networks (OSN) is precisely to give users the ability to interact
party and his or her correspondences, or about his or her family.—The and to stay connected to other members of the same or dif erent social
provision, when taken in its proper context, as a whole, irresistibly conveys media platform through the sharing of statuses, photos, videos, among
the idea that habeas data is a protection against unlawful acts or omissions others, depending on the services provided by the site.—Briefly, the
of public officials and of private individuals or entities engaged in purpose of an OSN is precisely to give users the ability to interact and to
gathering, collecting, or storing data about the aggrieved party and his or stay connected to other members of the same or different social media
her correspondences, or about his or her family. Such individual or entity platform through the sharing of statuses, photos, videos, among others,
need not be in the business of collecting or storing data. To “engage” in depending on the services provided by the site. It is akin to having a room
something is different from undertaking a business endeavour. To “engage” filled with millions of personal bulletin boards or “walls,” the contents of
means “to do or take part in something.” It does not necessarily mean that which are under the control of each and every user. In his or her bulletin
the activity must be done in pursuit of a business. What matters is that the board, a user/owner can post anything –– from text, to pictures, to music
person or entity must be gathering, collecting or storing said data or and videos –– access to which would depend on whether he or she allows
information about the aggrieved party or his or her family. Whether such one, some or all of the other users to see his or her posts. Since gaining
undertaking carries the element of regularity, as when one pursues a popularity, the OSN phenomenon has paved the way to the creation of
business, and is in the nature of a personal endeavour, for any other reason various social networking sites, including the one involved in the case at
or even for no reason at all, is immaterial and such will not prevent the writ bar, www.facebook.com (Facebook), which, according to its developers,
from getting to said person or entity. people use “to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s
going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”
Same; Same; Same; The Court saw the pressing need to provide for judicial
remedies that would allow a summary hearing of the unlawful use of data or Same; Same; Same; Same; Facebook; Facebook connections are
information and to remedy possible violations of the right to privacy.—The established through the process of “friending” another user.—Facebook
Court saw the pressing need to provide for judicial remedies that would connections are established through the process of “friending” another user.
allow a summary hearing of the unlawful use of data or information and to By sending a “friend request,” the user invites another to connect their
remedy possible violations of the right to privacy. In the same vein, the accounts so that they can view any and all “Public” and “Friends Only”
South African High Court, in its Decision in the landmark case, H v. W, posts of the other. Once the request is accepted, the link is established and
promulgated on January 30, 2013, recognized that “[t]he law has to take both users are permitted to view the other user’s “Public” or “Friends Only”
into account the changing realities not only technologically but also socially posts, among others. “Friending,” therefore, allows the user to form or
or else it will lose credibility in the eyes of the people. x x x It is imperative maintain one-to-one relationships with other users, whereby the user gives
that the courts respond appropriately to changing times, acting cautiously
his or her “Facebook friend” access to his or her profile and shares certain reasonably expect. Messages sent to the public at large in the chat room or
information to the latter. Same; Same; Same; e-mail that is forwarded from correspondent to correspondent loses any
semblance of privacy.”
Same; Same; Informational Privacy; Before one can have an
expectation of privacy in his or her Online Social Networks (OSN) Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Setting a post’s or profile detail’s privacy
activity, it is first necessary that said user, in this case the children of to “Friends” is no assurance that it can no longer be viewed by another user
petitioners, manifest the intention to keep certain posts private, who is not Facebook friends with the source of the content.— That the
through the employment of measures to prevent access thereto or to photos are viewable by “friends only” does not necessarily bolster the
limit its visibility.— Before one can have an expectation of privacy in his petitioners’ contention. In this regard, the cyber community is agreed that
or her OSN activity, it is first necessary that said user, in this case the the digital images under this setting still remain to be outside the confines of
children of petitioners, manifest the intention to keep certain posts private, the zones of privacy in view of the following: (1) Facebook “allows the
through the employment of measures to prevent access thereto or to limit its world to be more open and connected by giving its users the tools to interact
visibility. And this intention can materialize in cyberspace through the and share in any conceivable way”; (2) A good number of Facebook users
utilization of the OSN’s privacy tools. In other words, utilization of these “befriend” other users who are total strangers; (3) The sheer number of
privacy tools is the manifestation, in cyber world, of the user’s invocation “Friends” one user has, usually by the hundreds; and (4) A user’s Facebook
of his or her right to informational privacy. friend can “share” the former’s post, or “tag” others who are not Facebook
friends with the former, despite its being visible only to his or her own
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Considering that the default setting Facebook friends. It is well to emphasize at this point that setting a post’s or
for Facebook posts is “Public,” it can be surmised that the photographs profile detail’s privacy to “Friends” is no assurance that it can no longer be
in question were viewable to everyone on Facebook, absent any proof viewed by another user who is not Facebook friends with the source of the
that petitioners’ children positively limited the disclosure of the content. The user’s own Facebook friend can share said content or tag his or
photograph.— Considering that the default setting for Facebook posts is her own Facebook friend thereto, regardless of whether the user tagged by
“Public,” it can be surmised that the photographs in question were viewable the latter is Facebook friends or not with the former. Also, when the post is
to everyone on Facebook, absent any proof that petitioners’ children shared or when a person is tagged, the respective Facebook friends of the
positively limited the disclosure of the photograph. If such were the case, person who shared the post or who was tagged can view the post, the
they cannot invoke the protection attached to the right to informational privacy setting of which was set at “Friends.”
privacy. The ensuing pronouncement in US v. Gines-Perez, 214 F. Supp.
2d, is most instructive: [A] person who places a photograph on the Internet Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; There can be no quibbling that the
precisely intends to forsake and renounce all privacy rights to such imagery, images in question, or to be more precise, the photos of minor students
particularly under circumstances such as here, where the Defendant did not scantily clad, are personal in nature, likely to af ect, if indiscriminately
employ protective measures or devices that would have controlled access to circulated, the reputation of the minors enrolled in a conservative
the Web page or the photograph itself. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; institution.—In sum, there can be no quibbling that the images in question,
Messages sent to the public at large in the chat room or e-mail that is or to be more precise, the photos of minor students scantily clad, are
forwarded from correspondent to correspondent loses any semblance of personal in nature, likely to affect, if indiscriminately circulated, the
privacy.—Also, United States v. Maxwell, 45 M.J. 406, held that “[t]he reputation of the minors enrolled in a conservative institution. However, the
more open the method of transmission is, the less privacy one can records are bereft of any evidence, other than bare assertions that they
utilized Facebook’s privacy settings to make the photos visible only to them allege to have been violated. These are indispensable. We cannot afford
or to a select few. Without proof that they placed the photographs subject of protection to persons if they themselves did nothing to place the matter
this case within the ambit of their protected zone of privacy, they cannot within the confines of their private zone. OSN users must be mindful
now insist that they have an expectation of privacy with respect to the enough to learn the use of privacy tools, to use them if they desire to keep
photographs in question. the information private, and to keep track of changes in the available
privacy settings, such as those of Facebook, especially because Facebook is
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; As a cyberspace community member, notorious for changing these settings and the site’s layout often
one has to be proactive in protecting his or her own privacy.—It has
been said that “the best filter is the one between your children’s ears.” This
means that self-regulation on the part of OSN users and internet consumers
in general is the best means of avoiding privacy rights violations. As a Facts
cyberspace community member, one has to be proactive in protecting his or
her own privacy. It is in this regard that many OSN users, especially Minors Nenita Julia V. Daluz and Julienne Vida Suzara, along with several
others, took pictures of themselves in their underwear, smoking cigarettes
minors, fail. Responsible social networking or observance of the
and drinking hard liquor. A third minor, Angela Tan, uploaded them onto
“netiquettes” on the part of teenagers has been the concern of many due to Facebook. A computer teacher at minors’ school, Mylene Rheza T.
the widespread notion that teenagers can sometimes go too far since they Escuedro, discovered the pictures. The photos were reported to the
generally lack the people skills or general wisdom to conduct themselves Discipline in Charge and the girls were found to have violated the Student
sensibly in a public forum. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Considering Handbook.
the complexity of the cyber world and its pervasiveness, as well as the
dangers that these children are wittingly or unwittingly exposed to in view The students were sent to the Principal’s office where they were chastised
of their unsupervised activities in cyberspace, the participation of the and verbally abused. They were also banned from commencement.
parents in disciplining and educating their children about being a good Angela’s mother filed a Petition for Injunction and Damages asking that the
school be denied from prohibiting the girls from attending commencement.
digital citizen is encouraged by these institutions and organizations.—
A TRO was granted allowing the girls to attend graduation and the
Considering the complexity of the unwittingly exposed to in view of their Plaintiffs filed a writ of habeas data alleging an invasion of their children’s
unsupervised activities in cyberspace, the participation of the parents in privacy by the Defendant.
disciplining and educating their children about being a good digital citizen
is encouraged by these institutions and organizations. In fact, it is believed The Regional Trial Court dismissed the petition for habeas data because
that “to limit such risks, there’s no substitute for parental involvement and “petitioners failed to prove the existence of an actual or threatened violation
supervision.” Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; It is, thus, incumbent upon of the minors’ right to privacy.”Decision Overview
internet users to exercise due diligence in their online dealings and activities
and must not be negligent in protecting their rights.—It is, thus, incumbent The primary issue was “whether or not there was indeed an actual or
upon internet users to exercise due diligence in their online dealings and threatened violation of the right to privacy in the life, liberty, or security of
activities and must not be negligent in protecting their rights. Equity serves the minors involved in the case.” A writ of habeas data protects an
individual’s right against invasion of informational privacy, and a nexus
the vigilant. Demanding relief from the courts, as here, requires that
between the right to privacy and the right to life, liberty or security must be
claimants themselves take utmost care in safeguarding a right which they proven.
In this case, the core issue was the right to informational privacy, defined as THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, THE CHIEF OF STAFF,
“the right of individuals to control information about themselves.” To what ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners, vs. RAYMOND
extent should the right to privacy be protected in online social networks MANALO and REYNALDO MANALO, respondents.
whose sole purpose is sharing information over the web? The petitioners
argued that the privacy settings on Facebook limit who can see what Writ of Amparo; Supreme Court; Words and Phrases; “Extralegal
information. This gives users a subjective expectation of privacy. The Court
Killings” and “Enforced Disappearances,” Defined; The promulgation of
agreed. However, the Court also ruled that before one can have an
expectation of privacy in her Facebook information, he or she must the Amparo Rule was an exercise for the first time of the Supreme Court’s
manifest an intention to keep that information private by utilizing privacy expanded power to promulgate rules to protect our people’s constitutional
tools. If someone posts something on Facebook and does not limit who can rights, which made its maiden appearance in the 1987 Constitution in
see that information, there is no expectation of privacy. The photos in the response to the Filipino experience of the martial law regime; The Amparo
case at hand were all viewable by the friends of the girls or by the general Rule was intended to address the intractable problem of “extralegal
public. Therefore, the Court ruled that the Defendants did not violate the killings” and “enforced disappearances”; “Extralegal killings” are “killings
minors’ privacy rights by viewing and copying the pictures on the
committed without due process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or
minors’ Facebook pages.
judicial proceedings,” while enforced disappearances” are “attended by the
following characteristics: an arrest, detention or abduction of a person by a
government of icial or organized groups or private individuals acting with
the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the
State to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned or a
refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which places such persons
outside the protection of law.”—On October 24, 2007, the Court
promulgated Amparo Rule “in light of the prevalence of extralegal killing
and enforced disappearances.” It was an exercise for the first time of the
Court’s expanded power to promulgate rules to protect our people’s
constitutional rights, which made its maiden appearance in the 1987
Constitution in response to the Filipino experience of the martial law
regime. As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable
problem of “extralegal killings” and “enforced disappearances,” its
coverage, in its present form, is confined to these two instances or to threats
thereof. “Extralegal killings” are “killings committed without due process
of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial proceedings.” On the other
hand, “enforced disappearances” are “attended by the following
characteristics: an arrest, detention or abduction of a person by a
government official or organized groups or private individuals acting with
the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the
State to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned or a
refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which places such persons of peasants’ rights derived from the agrarian reform process. In Latin
outside the protection of law.” American countries, except Cuba, the writ of Amparo has been
constitutionally adopted to protect against human rights abuses especially
Same; Words and Phrases; The writ of Amparo originated in Mexico committed in countries under military juntas. In general, these countries
and “Amparo” literally means “protection” in Spanish.—The writ of adopted an all-encompassing writ to protect the whole gamut of
Amparo originated in Mexico. “Amparo” literally means “protection” in constitutional rights, including socio-economic rights. Other countries like
Spanish. In 1837, de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America became Colombia, Chile, Germany and Spain, however, have chosen to limit the
available in Mexico and stirred great interest. Its description of the practice protection of the writ of amparo only to some constitutional guarantees or
of judicial review in the U.S. appealed to many Mexican jurists. One of fundamental rights.
them, Manuel Crescencio Rejón, drafted a constitutional provision for his
native state, Yucatan, which granted judges the power to protect all persons Same; Grave Abuse Clause; Habeas Corpus; While constitutional
in the enjoyment of their constitutional and legal rights. This idea was rights can be protected under the Grave Abuse Clause through
incorporated into the national constitution in 1847, viz.: The federal courts remedies of injunction or prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of
shall protect any inhabitant of the Republic in the exercise and preservation Court and a petition for habeas corpus under Rule 102, these remedies
of those rights granted to him by this Constitution and by laws enacted may not be adequate to address the pestering problem of extralegal
pursuant hereto, against attacks by the Legislative and Executive powers of killings and enforced disappearances—the swiftness required to resolve a
the federal or state governments, limiting themselves to granting protection petition for a writ of amparo through summary proceedings and the
in the specific case in litigation, making no general declaration concerning availability of appropriate interim and permanent reliefs under the Amparo
the statute or regulation that motivated the violation. Rule of ers a better remedy to extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances and threats thereof; The writ of amparo serves both
Same; Purposes of the Writ of Amparo; In Latin American countries, preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of extralegal
except Cuba, the writ of Amparo has been constitutionally adopted to killings and enforced disappearances—preventive in that it breaks the
protect against human rights abuses especially committed in countries expectation of impunity in the commission of these of enses, and, curative
under military juntas.—The writ of amparo then spread throughout the in that it facilitates the subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will
Western Hemisphere, gradually evolving into various forms, in response to inevitably yield leads to subsequent investigation and action.—
the particular needs of each country. It became, in the words of a justice of
the Mexican Federal Supreme Court, one piece of Mexico’s self-attributed While constitutional rights can be protected under the Grave Abuse Clause
task of conveying to the world’s legal heritage that institution which, as a through remedies of injunction or prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of
shield of human dignity, her own painful history conceived.” What began as Court and a petition for habeas corpus under Rule 102, these remedies may
a protection against acts or omissions of public authorities in violation of not be adequate to address the pestering problem of extralegal killings and
constitutional rights later evolved for several purposes: (1) amparo libertad enforced disappearances. However, with the swiftness required to resolve a
for the protection of personal freedom, equivalent to the habeas corpus writ; petition for a writ of Amparo through summary proceedings and the
(2) amparo contra leyes for the judicial review of the constitutionality of availability of appropriate interim and permanent reliefs under the Amparo
statutes; (3) amparo casacion for the judicial review of the constitutionality Rule, this hybrid writ of the common law and civil law traditions—borne
and legality of a judicial decision; (4) amparo administrativo for the judicial out of the Latin American and Philippine experience of human rights abuses
review of administrative actions; and (5) amparo agrario for the protection —offers a better remedy to extralegal killings and enforced disappearances
and threats thereof. The remedy provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes come from the victims themselves, and the veracity of their account will
of a summary proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to make depend on their credibility and candidness in their written and/or oral
the appropriate reliefs available to the petitioner; it is not an action to statements. Their statements can be corroborated by other evidence such as
determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or physical evidence left by the torture they suffered or landmarks they can
liability for damages requiring preponderance of evidence, or administrative identify in the places where they were detained. Where powerful military
responsibility requiring substantial evidence that will require full and officers are implicated, the hesitation of witnesses to surface and testify
exhaustive proceedings. The writ of Amparo serves both preventive and against them comes as no surprise.
curative roles in addressing the problem of extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation of impunity Same; Right to Security; Searches and Seizures; The right to security
in the commission of these offenses; it is curative in that it facilitates the or the right to security of person finds a textual hook in Article III,
subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads to Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, and at the core of this guarantee is
subsequent investigation and action. In the long run, the goal of both the the immunity of one’s person, including the extensions of his/her
preventive and curative roles is to deter the further commission of extralegal person—houses, papers, and ef ects—against government intrusion.—
killings and enforced disappearances. Let us put this right to security under the lens to determine if it has indeed
been violated as respondents assert. The right to security or the right to
Same; Evidence; With the secret nature of an enforced disappearance security of person finds a textual hook in Article III, Section 2 of the 1987
and the torture perpetrated on the victim during detention, it logically Constitution which provides, viz.: Sec. 2. The right of the people to be
holds that much of the information and evidence of the ordeal will secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable
come from the victims themselves, and the veracity of their account will searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be
depend on their credibility and candidness in their written and/or oral inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except
statements.—In Ortiz v. Guatemala, Case 10.526, Report No Human upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge. . . At the
Rights, the Commission considered similar evidence, among others, in core of this guarantee is the immunity of one’s person, including the
finding that complainant Sister Diana Ortiz was abducted and tortured by extensions of his/her person—houses, papers, and effects— against
agents of the Guatemalan government. In this case, Sister Ortiz was government intrusion. Section 2 not only limits the state’s power over a
kidnapped and tortured in early November 1989. The Commission’s person’s home and possessions, but more importantly, protects the privacy
findings of fact were mostly based on the consistent and credible and sanctity of the person himself. The purpose of this provision was
statements, written and oral, made by Sister Ortiz regarding her ordeal. enunciated by the Court in People v. CFI of Rizal, Branch IX, Quezon City,
These statements were supported by her recognition of portions of the route 101 SCRA 86 (1980), viz.: The purpose of the constitutional guarantee
they took when she was being driven out of the military installation where against unreasonable searches and seizures is to prevent violations of
she was detained. She was also examined by a medical doctor whose private security in person and property and unlawful invasion of the security
findings showed that the 111 circular second degree burns on her back and of the home by officers of the law acting under legislative or judicial
abrasions on her cheek coincided with her account of cigarette burning and sanction and to give remedy against such usurpation when attempted.
torture she suffered while in detention. With the secret nature of an enforced
disappearance and the torture perpetrated on the victim during detention, it (Adams v. New York, 192 U.S. 858; Alvero v. Dizon, 76 Phil. 637 [1946]).
logically holds that much of the information and evidence of the ordeal will The right to privacy is an essential condition to the dignity and happiness
and to the peace and security of every individual, whether it be of home or
of persons and correspondence. (Tañada and Carreon, Political Law of the a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity or security, and,
Philippines, Vol. 2, 139 [1962]). The constitutional inviolability of this Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of
great fundamental right against unreasonable searches and seizures must be one’s rights by the government.—A closer look at the right to security of
deemed absolute as nothing is closer to a man’s soul than the serenity of his person would yield various permutations of the exerc body cannot be
privacy and the assurance of his personal security. Any interference searched or invaded without a search warrant. Physical injuries inflicted in
allowable can only be for the best causes and reasons. the context of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances constitute
more than a search or invasion of the body. It may constitute
Same; Due Process Clause; While the right to life under Article III, dismemberment, physical disabilities, and painful physical intrusion. As the
Section 1 of the Constitution gurantees essentially the right to be alive, degree of physical injury increases, the danger to life itself escalates.
the right to security of person is a guarantee of the secure quality of Notably, in criminal law, physical injuries constitute a crime against
this life; In a broad sense, the right to security of person “emanates in a persons because they are an affront to the bodily integrity or security of a
person’s and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his person. Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of
health, and his reputation, including the right to exist, and the right to one’s rights by the government. In the context of the writ of Amparo, this
enjoyment of life while existing, and it is invaded not only by a deprivation right is built into the guarantees of the right to life and liberty under Article
of life but also of those things which are necessary to the enjoyment of life III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution and the right to security of person (as
according to the nature, temperament, and lawful desires of the freedom from threat and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity)
individual.”—While the right to life under Article III, Section 1 guarantees under Article III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third
essentially the right to be alive—upon which the enjoyment of all other sense is a corollary of the policy that the State “guarantees full respect for
rights is preconditioned—the right to security of person is a guarantee of the human rights” under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. As the
secure quality of this life, viz.: “The life to which each person has a right is government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the Constitutional
not a life lived in fear that his person and property may be unreasonably guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered
violated by a powerful ruler. Rather, it is a life lived with the assurance that ineffective if government does not afford protection to these rights
the government he established and consented to, will protect the security of especially when they are under threat. Protection includes conducting
his person and property. The ideal of security in life and property. . . effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend
pervades the whole history of man. It touches every aspect of man’s protection to victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or
existence.” In a broad sense, the right to security of person “emanates in a threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of
person’s legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, justice. Same; Same; Words and Phrases; In the Amparo context, it is more
his health, and his reputation. It includes the right to exist, and the right to correct to say that the “right to security” is actually the “freedom from
enjoyment of life while existing, and it is invaded not only by a deprivation threat”—“freedom from fear” is the right and any threat to the rights to life,
of life but also of those things which are necessary to the enjoyment of life liberty or security is the actionable wrong.—In the context of Section 1 of
according to the nature, temperament, and lawful desires of the individual.” the Amparo Rule, “freedom from fear” is the right and any threat to the
rights to life, liberty or security is the actionable wrong. Fear is a state of
Same; Right to Security; Permutations of the Right to Security; A
mind, a reaction; threat is a stimulus, a cause of action. Fear caused by the
closer look at the right to security of person would yield various
same stimulus can range from being baseless to well-founded as people
permutations of the exercise of this right: First, the right to security of
react differently. The degree of fear can vary from one person to another
person is “freedom from fear,” Second, the right to security of person is
with the variation of the prolificacy of their imagination, strength of not a protection of the government from the demand of the people such as
character or past experience with the stimulus. Thus, in the Amparo context, respondents. Instead, the Amparo production order may be likened to the
it is more correct to say that the “right to security” is actually the “freedom production of documents or things under Section 1, Rule 27 of the Rules of
from threat.” Viewed in this light, the “threatened with violation” Clause in Civil Procedure. Same; The writ of amparo is a tool that gives voice to
the latter part of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of the preys of silent guns and prisoners behind secret walls.—In blatant violation
right to security mentioned in the earlier part of the provision. Same; Same; of our hardwon guarantees to life, liberty and security, these rights are
There need not necessarily be a depravation of liberty for the right to snuffed out from victims of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.
security of person to be invoked.—This third sense of the right to security The writ of amparo is a tool that gives voice to preys of silent guns and
of person as a guarantee of government protection has interpreted by the prisoners behind secret walls.
United Nations’ Human Rights Committee in not a few cases involving
Article 9 of the ICCPR. While the right to security of person appears in
Facts:
conjunction with the right to liberty under Article 9, the Committee has
ruled that the right to security of person can exist independently of the right The brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, farmers from Bulacan who
to liberty. In other words, there need not necessarily be a deprivation of were suspected of being members of the New People’s Army, were forcibly
liberty for the right to security of person to be invoked. taken from their home, detained in various locations, and tortured by
CAFGU and military units. After several days in captivity, the brothers
Same; Production Orders; Searches and Seizures; The production order Raymond and Reynaldo recognized their abductors as members of the
under the Amparo Rule should not be confused with a search warrant for armed forces led by General Jovito Palparan. They also learned that they
law enforcement under Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution— this were being held in place for their brother, Bestre, a suspected leader of the
Constitutional provision is a protection of the people from the unreasonable communist insurgents. While in captivity, they met
other desaperacidos (including the still-missing University of the
intrusion of the government, not a protection of the government from the
Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan) who were also
demand of the people such as respondents; The amparo production order suspected of being communist insurgents and members of the NPA. After
may be likened to the production of documents or things under Section 1, eighteen months of restrained liberty, torture and other dehumanizing acts,
Rule 27 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.—In the case at bar, however, the brothers were able to escape and file a petition for the writ of amparo.
petitioners point out that other than the bare, self-serving and vague
allegations made by respondent Raymond Manalo in his unverified Issue: Whether or not the right to freedom from fear is or can be protected
declaration and affidavit, the documents respondents seek to be produced by existing laws.
are only mentioned generally by name, with no other supporting details.
Held: Yes. The right to the security of person is not merely a textual hook
They also argue that the relevancy of the documents to be produced must be in Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution. At its core is the immunity of
apparent, but this is not true in the present case as the involvement of one’s person against government intrusion. The right to security of person is
petitioners in the abduction has not been shown. Petitioners’ arguments do “freedom from fear,” a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity and
not hold water. The production order under the Amparo Rule should not be security.
confused with a search warrant for law enforcement under Article III, To whom may the oppressed, the little ones, the desaperacidos, run
to, if the Orwellian sword of the State, wielded recklessly by the military or
Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. This Constitutional provision is a
under the guise of police power, is directed against them? The law thus
protection of the people from the unreasonable intrusion of the government, gives the remedy of the writ of amparo, in addition to the rights and
liberties already protected by the Bill of Rights. Amparo, literally meaning
“to protect,” is borne out of the long history of Latin American and
Philippine human rights abuses—often perpetrated by the armed forces
against farmers thought to be communist insurgents, anarchists or brigands.
The writ serves to both prevent and cure extralegal killings, enforced
disappearances, and threats thereof, giving the powerless a powerful remedy
to ensure their rights, liberties, and dignity. Amparo, a triumph of natural
law that has been embodied in positive law, gives voice to the preys of
silent guns and prisoners behind secret walls.
MARYNETTE R. GAMBOA, petitioner, vs. P/SSUPT. MARLOU C. right to privacy of ordinary financial transactions. In that case, we declared
CHAN, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE PNP-PROVINCIAL DIRECTOR OF that the right to privacy is not absolute where there is an overriding
ILOCOS NORTE, and P/SUPT. WILLIAM O. FANG, IN HIS CAPACITY compelling state interest. Employing the rational basis relationship test, as
AS CHIEF, INTELLIGENCE DIVISION, PNP PROVINCIAL OFFICE, laid down in Morfe v. Mutuc, there is no infringement of the individual’s
ILOCOS NORTE, respondents. right to privacy as the requirement to disclosure information is for a valid
purpose, in this case, to ensure that the government agencies involved in
Constitutional Law; Right to Privacy; Liberty in the regulating banking transactions adequately protect the public who invest in
constitutional sense must mean more than freedom from unlawful foreign securities. Suffice it to state that this purpose constitutes a reason
governmental restraint; it must include privacy as well, if it is to be a compelling enough to proceed with the assailed legislative investigation.
repository of freedom. The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning
of all freedom.—The right to privacy, as an inherent concept of liberty, has Same; Writ of Habeas Data; The writ of habeas data is an
long been recognized as a constitutional right. This Court, in Morfe v. independent and summary remedy designed to protect the image,
Mutuc, 22 SCRA 424 (1968), thus enunciated: The due process question privacy, honor, information, and freedom of information of an
touching on an alleged deprivation of liberty as thus resolved goes a long individual, and to provide a forum to enforce one’s right to the truth
way in disposing of the objections raised by plaintiff that the provision on and to informational privacy.—The writ of habeas data is an independent
the periodical submission of a sworn statement of assets and liabilities is and summary remedy designed to protect the image, privacy, honor,
violative of the constitutional right to privacy. There is much to be said for information, and freedom of information of an individual, and to provide a
this view of Justice Douglas: “Liberty in the constitutional sense must mean forum to enforce one’s right to the truth and to informational privacy. It
more than freedom from unlawful governmental restraint; it must include seeks to protect a person’s right to control information regarding oneself,
privacy as well, if it is to be a repository of freedom. The right to be let particularly in instances in which such information is being collected
alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.” As a matter of fact, this right through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends. It must be
to be let alone is, to quote from Mr. Justice Brandeis “the most emphasized that in order for the privilege of the writ to be granted, there
comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.” The must exist a nexus between the right to privacy on the one hand, and the
concept of liberty would be emasculated if it does not likewise compel right to life, liberty or security on the other.
respect for his personality as a unique individual whose claim to privacy
and interference demands respect. Same; Private Armies; The Constitution explicitly mandates the
dismantling of private armies and other armed groups not recognized
Same; Same; The right to privacy is considered a fundamental by the duly constituted authority.—The Constitution explicitly mandates
right that must be protected from intrusion or constraint.—Clearly, the the dismantling of private armies and other armed groups not ecognized by
right to privacy is considered a fundamental right that must be protected the duly constituted authority. It also provides for the establishment of one
from intrusion or constraint. However, in Standard Chartered Bank v. police force that is national in scope and civilian in character, and is
Senate Committee on Banks, that the right to privacy is not absolute, viz.: controlled and administered by a national police commission.
With respect to the right of privacy which petitioners claim respondent has
violated, suffice it to state that privacy is not an absolute right. While it is
true that Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution, guarantees respect for FACTS:
the rights of persons affected by the legislative investigation, not every
invocation of the right to
privacy should be allowed to thwart a legitimate congressional inquiry. Gamboa alleged that the Philippine National Police in Ilocos Norte (PNP–
In Sabio v. Gordon, we have held that the right of the people to Ilocos Norte) conducted a series of surveillance operations against her and
access information on matters of public concern generally prevails over the
her aides, and classified her as someone who keeps a Private Army Group
(PAG). Purportedly without the benefit of data verification, PNP–Ilocos the criminal cases in which she was implicated. As public officials, they
Norte forwarded the information gathered on her to the Zeñarosa enjoy the presumption of regularity, which she failed to overcome. [T]he
Commission, thereby causing her inclusion in the Report’s enumeration of state interest of dismantling PAGs far outweighs the alleged intrusion on the
individuals maintaining PAGs. Contending that her right to privacy was private life of Gamboa, especially when the collection and forwarding by
violated and her reputation maligned and destroyed, Gamboa filed a Petition the PNP of information against her was pursuant to a lawful mandate.
for the issuance of a writ of habeas data against respondents in their Therefore, the privilege of the writ of habeas data must be denied.
capacities as officials of the PNP-Ilocos Norte.

ISSUE
Whether or not the petition for the issuance of writ of habeas data is proper
when the right to privacy is invoked as opposed to the state’s interest in
preserving the right to life, liberty or security.

RULING
NO.

The writ of habeas data is an independent and summary remedy designed to


protect the image, privacy, honor, information, and freedom of information
of an individual, and to provide a forum to enforce one’s right to the truth
and to informational privacy. It seeks to protect a person’s right to control
information regarding oneself, particularly in instances in which such
information is being collected through unlawful means in order to achieve
unlawful ends. It must be emphasized that in order for the privilege of the
writ to be granted, there must exist a nexus between the right to privacy on
the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other.

In this case, the Court ruled that Gamboa was unable to prove through
substantial evidence that her inclusion in the list of individuals maintaining
PAGs made her and her supporters susceptible to harassment and to
increased police surveillance. In this regard, respondents sufficiently
explained that the investigations conducted against her were in relation to