Mercado, Generson Paul

SY 2011-2012, First Semester


One day, you got yourself sued on a civil case involving non-payment of debt. It is actually a small case of money claim that revolved mainly on misunderstanding and non-compromise. It reached the Supreme Court, but with strong evidence against you, (possibly, a better lawyer from your creditor) you were ordered to pay. A small amount (P1,000,000.00 maybe?) which destroyed your reputation. You won’t get imprisoned (its a civil case, after all) but your name is on the internet published by a website on Supreme Court decisions.

You are pissed. You wanted to change, but because of the ready information regarding your case, nobody in the business community trusts you.

So, can a private party compel repositories of jurisprudence to remove his/her name in the decision in the internet involving right to privacy?

At least, there is no law that gives a right to do so, or jurisprudence or case law that could give us a definite answer. Congress has yet to pass a law regarding the subject matter.

As of the present, I do not think any private party may compel to such repositories to erase names. The essence of privacy or the Right of Privacy is the “right to be let alone.” (Cooley on Torts, Sec. 135, vol. 1, 4th ed., [1932] ) In law school classes, Right of Privacy is invoked against the intrusion of the government to individual persons. As the subject, the repositories of the data are private individuals maintaining records for public consumption, hence, could not be invoked such. As for the Supreme Court’s maintenance of the website, this cannot also be invoked because such are of public records – but only available regarding to the case alone. It does not give important information such as address, occupation, or other vital information that may be intrusive to the party of the case unless material to the case.

However, an exceptional case of People of the Philippines vs. Melchor Cabalquinto G.R. No. 167693 (formerly G.R. Nos 147678-87) September 19, 2006, stated “It is worth mentioning in this connection that the Court has resolved to refrain from posting in its Internet Web Page the full text of decisions in cases involving child sexual abuse in response to a letter from a mother of a child abuse victim addressed to the Chief Justice expressing anxiety over the posting of full text decisions of the Supreme Court on its Internet Web Page. The mother submitted that confidentiality and the best interest of the child must prevail over public access to information and pleaded that her daughter’s case, as well as those of a similar nature, be excluded from the Web Page.” The case mentioned the resolution dated February 14, 2006, A.M. No. 99-7-06-SC In Re Internet Web Page of the Supreme Court. This is the exception.

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