Category Archives: LawThoughts

Electronic Evidence for Criminal Cases

Ang vs. Court of Appeals, GR 182835, 20 April 2010; Second Division, Abad [J], provided:

Besides, the rules he cites do not apply to the present criminal action. The Rules on Electronic Evidence applies only to civil actions, quasi-judicial proceedings, and administrative proceedings. [A.M. No. 01-7-01-SC, Rule 1, Section 2]

On the other hand, eight years prior to the Ang case, an En Banc Resolution of the Court of 24 September 2002 (AM 01-7-01-SC “RE Expansion of the Coverage of the Rules on Electronic Evidence”), was signed by then Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. (retired 20 December 2005); Associate Justices Josue Bellosillo (retired 13 November 2003), Reynato S. Puno (subsequently Chief Justice [8 December 2006], retired 17 May 2010), Jose C. Vitug (retired 15 July 2004), Artemio V. Panganiban (subsequently Chief Justice [20 December 2005], retired 7 December 2006), Leonardo A. Quisumbing (retired 6 November 2009), Consuelo Ynares-Santiago (retired 5 October 2009), Antonio T. Carpio, Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez (resigned due to health reasons, 30 April 2009), Renato C. Corona (subsequently Chief Justice [17 May 2010], impeached 29 May 2012), Conchita C. Morales (retired 19 June 2011), and Romeo J. Callejo Sr. (retired 28 April 2007) Associate Justices Vicente V. Mendoza (retired 5 April 2003) and Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez (retired 28 February 2008) took no part therein.

The En Banc Resolution of 24 September 2002 appears to have been published in Manila Bulletin, at page 4, on 27 September 2002.

This was previously discussed in a previous post entitled “Phantom Resolution.” Proof of publication of the 2002 resolution was not yet available at the time the previous post was published, and hence, the following portion in the previous article:

C. One possible option

Thus, it would appear that the only way that the matter may be resolved, whether the Resolution has been made applicable in 2002, would lie upon the availability of proof of publication in a newspaper of general circulation or the Official Gazette. Ultimately, is there a copy of a 2002 issue of the Philippine Star (since its applicability was reported therein), containing the Resolution itself that would resolve the matter altogether?

Proof of publication was submitted by one of my students (from current Batch 16) who is enrolled in the “Technology and the Law” subject (Saturday). It appears that a copy of published Resolution is available at the Manila Bulletin Library at Muralla corner Recolletos Streets, Intramuros, Manila, Philippines.

HB3841 and SB2842 #RepublicAct10372

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative 3.0 Philippine license.
[ Download PDF of original article ]

Senate Bill 2842,[1] and its counterpart House Bill 3841,[2] were passed by Congress. It would appear that the consolidated bill [3] was transmitted to the President on 29 January 2013. [4] The consolidated bill has not been signed into law yet, as of writing, [5] [6] but sentiments against the legislation were made public on 14 February 2013,[7] and responded to by the Philippine Intellectual Property Office. [8]

Update: The consolidated bills were signed into law (Republic Act 10372) on 28 February 2013.

I. Development
II. Organizational matters: Sections 6, and 7; and proposed Section 9-A, RA 8792
    A. Warrantless Search
III. Definitions: Sections 171.3, and 171.9; and proposed Sections 171.12 and 171.13, RA 8792
    A. Communication to the public
    B. Reproduction
    C. Technology Measures, and Rights Management Information
IV. Assignment, Licensing, and Transfer: Sections 180, 181, and 183, RA 8792
    A. Statement of Accounts under the proposed Section 180.5
    B. Collecting Society accreditation
V. Limitations of copyright: Sections 184, 185, 188, and 190, RA 8792
    A. Limitation for the benefit of the blind, visually or reading-impaired persons
    B. Fair Use
    C. Reprographic reproduction of copies for libraries
    D. Removal of the allowance of limited importation under Section 190.1, RA 8293
    E. Rules relevant to importation and exportation
VI. Deposit: Section 191, RA 8792
VII. Term of Moral Rights: Section 198, RA 8792
VIII. Neighboring Rights: Sections 203, 204, 208, and 212, RA 8792
    A. Performers’ Rights
    B. Rights of Producers of Sound Recordings
C. Limitations on other rights (Section 212)
IX. Infringement and Institution of Actions: Sections 216, 217, 218, and 226; and the proposed Section 220A, RA 8792
    A. Technology Circumvention as Aggravating circumstance (Sections 216 and 217)
    B. Safe harbor (Sections 216 and 217, RA 8293; in relation to Sections 30 and 33, RA 8792)
    C. Disclosure of Information (Section 220A)
        1. Valid search and seizure; reasonable suspicion
        2. Public funds for public purpose, not for private gain
X. IP Policies for academic institutions: Proposed new Section 230
XI. Conclusion

Continue reading

Article 133 Revised Penal Code #DAMASO

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative 3.0 Philippine license.

I. Introduction
II. Article 133 as a crime against the Fundamental Laws of the State
III. Religious Freedom
    A. Provision(s) on the religious clauses
    B. Provision(s) on the Separation of Church and State
    C. Jurisprudence
IV. Discussion on Article 133 RPC
    A. Article 133, Act 3815 [1930]: Offending the religious feelings (Ofensa a los sentimientos religiosos)
    B. Is Article 133 RPC still operative?
        1. The end of theocracy at the advent of American colonization
        2. Origin of Article 133 RPC
            a. El Código Penal de 1870 (Spain)
            b. Penal Code of 1884 (Philippine Islands)
        3. Articles 233 and 571 of the Penal Code of 1884 in relation to the 1930 Revised Penal Code
        4. Reenactment of previously inoperative provisions of the Penal Code of 1884, through Articles 131 and 132 RPC
    C. Should “Crimes against religious worship” even be in Philippine penal statutes?
    D. Could Freedom of Speech be claimed as a defense for violation of a subsisting penal provision?
    E. Has Article 133 been challenged for its constitutionality?
    F. Are the elements of Article 133, without doubt, present?
        1. Elements of Article 133 RPC
            a. Acts complained of were performed in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony
                i. Place devoted to religious worship
                ii. During the celebration of any religious ceremony
                iii. Alternative scenarios in the clauses of the first element
            b. Act was notoriously offensive to the religious feelings of the faithful
                i. Notoriously offensive
                ii. Religious feelings of the faithful
    G. Act punishable under Article 133 RPC or under some other RPC provision?
        1. Acts not within purview of Article 133 RPC
        2. Was the act really punishable under Article 133 RPC?
V. Miscellaneous Issues
    A. Priests and Article 133 RPC
    B. Church interference on political matters
    C. Personal matters

I. Introduction

I cannot speak for or against the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila [1] relating to the case of Carlos Celdran, who was found guilty of offending religious feeling under Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), or Act 3815 [1930], on 28 January 2013, as it is an ongoing case. [2] [3] I can only look into legal precepts which may be relevant in appreciating the controversy. [4], and maybe stray once in a while on political matters incidental to the controversy.

Continue reading

A test of the Senate’s ethical standards

The issue on the alleged plagiarism of Philippine Senators have been lingering for months now. Complaints have been filed with the Senate’s Ethics Committee recently. Will the Senate deemed the Senators’ acts as acceptable, else justifiable, within the Senate’s ethical standards? Will the Senate assert a standard more lenient than what is required in the academe, else less than the norms under Republic Act 6713?

I. Background
    A. Senator Sotto’s “Turno en contra” speeches
    B. Senator Pia Cayetano’s Breast Cancer-awareness speech
II. Implications of one’s articulation (Plagiarism viz Copyright infringement)
    A. Plagiarism
        1. Definition of plagiarism
        2. Academic Standards, and the determination of academic plagiarism
        3. Outside of academe: Judiciary
        4. Outside of acadame: Others
    B. Copyright infringement
        1. Copyright and copyright infringement
        2. The mechanics of Philippine copyright
    C. Plagiarism and Copyright infringement differ
III. Parliamentary immunity
    A. “No Member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place”
    B. Rationale of parliamentary immunity
    C. Relevant Senate Rule on Unparliamentary Acts and Language
    D. When no Rule applicable to a specific case
IV. Public’s continuing reservations in the conduct of public officials

Continue reading

Decriminalizing Philippine Libel Laws?

I made reference to the move to decriminalize Philippine libel laws in “¿Para qué estáis en el gobierno?” and Republic Act 10175: Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. I use this opportunity to articulate my thoughts on the matter more extensively.

I. Current Libel Provisions
    A. Libel Provisions under Revised Penal Code (Act 3815)
    B. Libel Provision under the Cybercrime Prevention Law (Republic Act 10175)
II. The Legislative Proposal (House Bill 6391 and Senate Bill 3244)
III. Decriminalization of libel
    A. “Crime”
    B. Effect of decriminalization of libel
IV. Should we decriminalize libel completely?
    A. Agreement with the move to remove imprisonment as penalty
    B. Fine as a deterrent
    C. Absudity of decriminalizing libel but maintaining criminalization of slander
V. Other matters under HB 6391 and SB 3244

Continue reading

2 October 2012 Blackout

On 2 October 2012, Philippine netizens who are opposed to the Cybercrime Law started to censor their comments in Facebook and Twitter, and use black images as profile pictures therein, as a form of protest. I cannot blackout this blog since I am not under paid hosting. In lieu thereof, this is what I wish to say on the matter:

I █████ ████ ██ █████████ ██ ████████████ ██ ████████ ██ ███ ██ ██ ██ ██████ ██ █ believe that ███████ ██ ██ ███ ████████ █████ ██ ██ ██ ██ █████ ██████████ ██ █████ █████ ██ ███████ ███ ████ ███████ ██ ████████ ██ ███████████ █████ ██ the Philippine ██████████ ██ ███████ ████ █████ ████████ ████ ███ ██████████████ █████ ██ ███ ████████ ███ ██████████ ██ ███ ███████ █████ ████ ██████ ████ ██ ███████ ██ ██ ██ ██████ ████ ████ ██ ██ ██ ██████ ████████ ███ ████ ██ ██████ ██ ██ ██████ ████████ ██ █ █████ ███████ ██ █████████ ███████ ███ government█ ██ ██ ██ █████████ ██████ ████ ███████ █ ███ ████ ██ ███ ███████ █████ ██ █████ can ████████ ████ ██████ ███ █████████ ███████ ███████ ████ ██████████ █████ ███████ ███ do ████████ ███████ █ ██████████ ████████ ██ ████████ █████ ██ █████ ██ no ███ ██████ ████ ███████ ██ ████ ████████████ ██████ ██ ███ ██████ ███ ██████ ███████████████ ██ ██████████ ██ ███████ ██ ██████ █████████ ████ ███████ ██ █████ █████ ██ █████████ wrong. █ ████ ██ ███████ ████ █ ████ ██ █ ██████████ ████████

Continue reading

Republic Act 10175: Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative 3.0 Philippine license.

I. Introduction
    > Past proposals for an Anti-CyberCrime Law
II. Offenses under RA 10175
    > Child pornography under RA 9775, viz Section 4(c)(2) of RA 10175
    > Section 33 (a) of RA 8792, viz Section 4(a)(1) to (5) of RA 10175
    > New offenses under RA 10175
    > Other offenses under Section 5, RA 10175
    > Applicability to other penal laws, when crime committed using ICT, under Section 6, RA 10175
III. Contentious issue: Libel viz Freedom of Expression
    > Libel under Chapter 1, Title XIII of the Revised Penal Code (Act 3815 [RPC], 8 December 1930)
    > Libel under Section 4(c)(4), RA 10175
    > Freedom of Expression viz libel
    > Doctrine of privileged communication
    > ICCPR and General Comment No. 34
IV. Contentious issue: Privacy
    > Right to privacy
    > Section 12 to 17, RA 10175
    > Privacy in relation to Section 12, RA 10175
    > International Cooperation
V. Jurisdiction
VI. Admissibility of Evidence
VII. Takedowns
VIII. Conclusion


There has been a lot of discussions observed days subsequent to the promulgation of Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, on 12 September 2012. There are some who assail the law to be unconstitutional as it acts as a prior restraint to freedom of speech, or that it provides undue expanded interference of private activities in the Internet by the Philippine Government, among others. Let me form my opinion herein, without providing legal advice, regarding the present law in its final form.

Past proposals for an Anti-CyberCrime Law

The Anti-Cybercrime law was not a recent proposal. Prior versions have been introduced in previous Congresses but which have been archived when the previous Congresses adjourned, including the 14th Congress. It appears that prior versions were being pushed to meet (1) the urgency to penalize child pornography; (2) rectify the perceived weakness of provision(s) on computer-related crimes in Republic Act 8792, or the Electronic Commerce Act (2000); (3) the necessity of expanding the coverage of the applicability of electronic documents, or ITC-enable acts, to criminal/penal laws, especially those in the Revised Penal Code, where documents, or in which a computer may be used in the commission thereof, are involved; (4) the necessity to provide an efficient legal procedure/allowance in the acquisition of evidence by government agencies when crimes are being committed, or have been committed, through electronic means; and (5) arrangement towards international cooperation, as acts may be transnational.

Continue reading

Phantom resolution

This article looks into the applicability of the Rules on Electronic Evidence on criminal cases, in light of the promulgation of the Ang vs. Court of Appeals decision in 2010.

I. The Rules on Electronic Evidence
II. The declaration in Ang vs. Court of Appeals
    A. Impact of and musings about the Ang declaration
III. Does it really exist?
    A. Online copy from the Office of the Court Administrator
    B. The impact of Garciliano vs. House of Representatives Committees on Public Information
    C. One possible option

Continue reading