Decoding the Constitution: The Right to Privacy in the Philippines
Mr. A has this estafa case and the case reached the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, he lost the case. As we all know, when a case reaches the Supreme Court, the same is published in every website discussing Philippine jurisprudence. Now, every time someone key-in his name in the web search engines, the estafa case is displayed as one of its results. Due to such, Mr. A suffered humiliation and embarrassment from people, who chanced upon such search result of his name. Because of this, he wants his name be removed from such websites and he therefore invokes his Constitutional right to privacy.
Can a person request that his name be removed from such websites pertaining to SC decided cases as the same is a violation of his right to privacy? Why? Why not?
No. A person cannot ask for such removal as the same does not constitute as a violation of his right to privacy.
The Philippineshas no specific law on privacy. However, the 1987 Constitution tried to provide under its Article III (Bill of Rights) provisions for the right to privacy, namely:
Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
1)The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.
Basically we can draw out what the Constitution guarantees, as with regard to right to privacy, are (1) the rights against unreasonable searches and seizures; and (2) the privacy of communication and correspondence. The situation brought up by such facts neither falls in the said classification.
Note also that under Section 7, Article III of the Constitution, the right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. A citizen has the right to access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, subject to the limitations provided by law. Hence, the case being jurisprudence, one has the right to access such information.
Given the situation, a person cannot invoke that his right to privacy has been violated because of the publication of his name along with the case he was in as the right to privacy does not prohibit the publication of matter which is of public or general interest.