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SUBJECT: TOPIC: Date Made: Digest Maker:

Freedom of Expression - Art. 3 Sec. 4 May 4, 2016 Francis Subido


PRESS
CASE NAME: In the Matter of the Allegations Contained in the Columns of Mr. Amado P.
Macasaet
PONENTE: J. R.T. Reyes Case Date: Aug. 8, 2008
Case Summary:
Amado Macasaet, publisher of Malaya, newspaper of general circulation, had articles in the Business
Circuit column about an alleged bribery incident in the SC involving a lady Justice. Assistant Court
Administrator Marquez noticed it, but since it was vague, didnt really act on it. The next few articles
though, mentioned the Supreme Court, calling for impeachment or resignation of the lady justice. Marites
Vitug faxed a letter to J. Ynares-Santiago asking for information on 1) Her alleged reversal of her initial
decision in the case of Henry Go (led to the dismissal of graft case) 2) alleged 10M cash gift after said
decision 3) Secretary that opened this gift-wrapped box but found cash inside was removed after.

J. Ynares-Santiago then showed this letter to Marquez, denying all the statements there. Marquez told
Vitug this. Vitug then faxed another letter, almost the same as the 1 st one., the following day, Macasaet
named the secretary who was allegedly fired, Cecilia Delis, picked up last five boxes(w/ the cash) in March
columns added to agenda of Court en banc.

Macasaets story: a Chinese-Filipino businessman who was acquitted of a crime supposedly left P10 million
in five different boxes with the security guard at the Supreme Court guardhouse, which was picked up by
Cecilia Muoz Delis who was forthwith fired for opening one of the boxes.

Cecilia got copies of the letters from Santiago, wrote letter to Macasaet saying that she wasnt a secretary
but a Judicial Staff Officer, her resignation was voluntary and that his story is false (she would not have
been tasked to receive boxes, as such was a duty assigned to their utility personnel; that it was highly
unlikely for something as blatant as [a] bribery attempt to have been done right in the doors of the Court.)
Her letter also said that she and her family was suffering from his articles, her name being drawn into
controversy, asked him to stop. affidavit that she had no knowledge of or had anything to do with
bribery + correcting erroneous info of Macasaet.

Newsbreak (Vitug) posted online article about suspected bribery case with picture of J. Santiago.
Categorically denied by her, blatant lies aimed at smearing her character/person, served judiciary faithfully
for 34 years. Also gave copies of the affidavit by Cecilia. Marquez held press conference, releasing to
media copies of Cecilias letter to respo + the affidavit and written statement of J. Santiago. SC issued
resolution, Macasaet made to explain why he should not be held in indirect contempt. J. Santiago took no
part in the resolution.

Investigation done, gathered affidavits/testimonies from parties involved.


By his own conclusion, the boxes of money were delivered on different dates because I dont think a bribe
giver will deliver five boxes at the same time. Also said his source was not relative nor govt employee but
that hes known him for 10-15 years, etc
Essentially, the Investigating Committee finds the stories of Macasaet and Vitug as being all
sourced from hearsay. Vitug herself admitted that there is no paper trail to support the bribery
allegation + her sources that come from Cecilia are 2 nd/3rd hand since she never talked to her
herself. Macasaets story is full of inconsistencies, holes, contradictions. He did not exercise due
diligence in checking veracity of information
The amount is also questionable, he said it was based on his calculation (he asked how much
money a box that size could hold if its all 1K bills. Lol) + Committee says, why risk delivery in Court
where it would be checked by security guards, etc. Why not her home instead? recommended
indirect contempt

SC in discussing this case goes into a long ass discussion on the nature and history of freedom of press
(basta they repeat everything all the cases weve read so far says) they mention hierarchy of liberties.

Rule of Law:
Article 3 Section 4 of the Philippine Constitution:
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No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the
people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances

Detailed Facts:
1) I pretty much wrote everything up there na. lol kinda hard to summarize it coz daming facts
(fucking long case jesus Christ basta plagiarism/integrity case shit ng justice dami nila
nasasabi hahaha)
Issue:
W/N Macasaets right to freedom of expression free press was violated? NO.
Holding:
Freedom of the press must yield to overarching interests, such as the independence of the
judiciary. In case the press oversteps its boundaries in criticizing the judiciary, the judiciary may
resort to its contempt power, since the press may unduly influence the judiciary and cause
problems in the administration of justice.
Zaldivar v Gonzales: freedom of speech and expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is not
absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and
accommodated with 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. For the protection and maintenance of freedom of expression
itself can be secured only within the context of a functioning and orderly system of dispensing
justice, within the context, in other words, of viable independent institutions for delivery of
justice which are accepted by the general community.
Aggravating respondents affront to the dignity of the Court is his unwillingness to show any
remorse or repentance for his contemptuous acts. In fact, as he made clear in his testimony
before the Investigating Committee when asked what his thoughts were about his having
published the instant articles, he replied that he was happy in the sense that [he] did a job in
[his] best lights and the effort ended up in the creation of [the investigating panel]
If he had no malice toward the Court, if, as he professes, the purpose of his columns was to save
the integrity and honor of the Court, Macasaet should, and could, have reported the rumored
bribery directly to the Chief Justice and asked for its investigation. He should have refrained
from calling the Court names, before giving it a chance to act on his report and on his
suggestion to investigate the matter. Since he knew the name of the Court employee who
allegedly discovered the bribe money, the Court could have begun its investigation with her to
ascertain the identity of the nameless Lady Justice and the veracity of the rumored bribery. His
disparaging remarks about the Court and jurists in conjunction with his unverified report on the
alleged bribery were totally uncalled for and unjustified.
The role of the press in relation to the judiciary needs to be regulated.
Criticism at every level of government is certainly welcome. After all, it is an essential part of
the checks and balances in our republican system of government. However, criticisms should
not impede or obstruct an integral component of our republican institutions from discharging its
constitutionally-mandated duties.

Carpio Dissent and how this decision disagrees: 1) presumption of regularity for the proceedings of the
Committee. Macasaet has to prove otherwise 2) Macasaet not being able to cross-examine witnesses =/=
denial of due process. He never asserted his right to do so 3) Court is bereft of any power to invoke the
right to cross-examine the witnesses against respondent, for and in his behalf. Otherwise, the Court will be
acting as his counsel, which is absurd.

Ruling:
Macasaet guilty of indirect contempt

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