SY 2011-2012, Second Semester
- A Sad Day in AUSL
- My name is on the internet, therefore, I am famous
- May I see your personal world inside your laptop?
It was one of the saddest days of my law school life. It was a day with Fiscal Macababad, our professor in Persons and Family Relations. It was not the fact that it was a day with Fiscal Macababad, but it was because she called my name out of the classcards and asked me to discuss Tanada vs Tuvera. It was sad not because I didn’t know the case but it was sad because I was in the classroom to take the challenge. I was prepared but I was sick.
As a result, I got a 60, the first ever failing grade that I received. Starting that day, Tanada vs Tuvera became a special part of my law school life. A case which provides that publication is indispensable. A case that turned around the Marcos regime when the Supreme Court said that all legislations should be published. A case that will be forever remembered.
Just recently, a website with a domain name of http://www.gov.ph/ was made available to the public by the government. It is the website for the Official Gazette. The publication which according to our law should be the official publication of our laws.
The question is, would the internet may now replace the physical paper which our law was talking about?
My answer would be a No. I am saying this as internet is not yet reaching the prdinary people who can afford to buy a newspaper. It is not yet reaching the lampshade of a sari-sari store in Sagada, the pocket of an ordinary manlalatik when he goes to the Bayan to sell his products and buy a newspaper, the arms of an ordinary jeepney driver during his past times, the tables of our lolos and lolas during their breakfasts, and most importantly, the arms of newspaper vendors every morning to sell it to the public.
The internet is not yet capable of replacing the publication in physical papers in which our law was talking about.
Internet is a useful tool for lawyers, students, professional, and other people who were lucky enough to buy a computer and connect to the internet. But the law is not just for those who can afford such luxury. It is for the general public who are presumed to know the law and for the public who should be rich in law in case they are poor in life.
Have you ever thought seeing the name of Sarah Geronimo at online Supreme Court decisions being accused and convicted of drug pushing ? How about KC Concepcion, accused and convicted of killing another person? It would be very shocking and at the same time, their images would be forever ruined by these things.
Just a thought: If this would happen to me, can I ask the Supreme Court a favor to have my name removed from their decisions and have it not published,especially on websites that publish Supreme Court decisions?
I never thought of myself being on newspapers telling about the details of the decision about a rape case filed against me. It would be very disgraceful and shameful. Especially when all the peoplewho will read it will also learn that I am a son of a church pastor and an elementary teacher which is at the same time a church worker.
I wish I could ask the Supreme Court to have my name striken out from their decision but that will only be a forever wish because of the following reasons:
First. I know that decisions of courts form part of the law of the land as what Article 8 of the Civil Code says. Article 8 provides:
Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines.
A convicted person’s name becomes a part of the decision and it logically follows that it should also be published,
Having a convicted person’s name not written on the a decision will deprive the public of the truth pertaining to a person’s being.
Second. My name being on the decision serves as a warning to the public that I am dangerous. That I committed something against the law, and that the Supreme Court was convinced that the information filed against me is true.
Third. It is one of the unwritten consequences of the wrong done by that convicted person. An unwritten rule which maybe the highest toll that he has to pay.
Lesson: Think before you act.
I can still remember the first time I boarded an airplane. It was one of the most stressful yet most thrilling days of my life.
It was stressful as I needed to undergo a lot of security checks. There was frisking at the entrance of the the airport, my bag was scanned by an x-ray machine, and there was another frisking at the boarding area. I was even asked to remove my shoes and believe it or not, I was surprised when I was asked to have my umbrella surrendered to the guard. It may sound exaggerated but I actually lost count of how many times I have been checked by the airport security before I was actually able to board the plane.
I did not bring a laptop that time that is why I was not able to ask myself what would I feel if ever the security people will ask me to open my laptop and have them check it. If ever that would happen, I would think and feel that my privacy is being violated.
I believe that checking the contents of my laptop is a gross violation of my right to privacy as what is being inspected there are my personal documents like my virtual diary, photos of me and my girlfriend, scratches of the book that I am currently writing, and other stuff that only I am allowed to see. There is no imminent danger posed by me bringing a laptop.
Unless there would be other valid reasons why my laptop should be checked, I believe that checking what is inside one’s laptop as a routine would be a gross violation of one’s right to privacy.
If it would be really necessary to check a person’s laptop, a law may be passed allowing such action. It should be founded, of course, on valid reasons, the same as other laws regulating one’s right.