Human Rights Education

Classes of Rights

1. Natural Rights - those possessed by every citizen without being granted by the State for they are given to man by God as a human being created in his image that he may live a happy life.

2. Constitutional Rights - conferred and protected by the Constitution.

3. Statutory Rights - provided by law, promulgated by the law-making body and consequently may be abolished by the same body.

Classification of Constitutional Rights

1. Political Rights - the power to participate directly or indirectly in the establishment or administration of the government.

2. Civil Rights - a law that secures private individuals to secure enjoyment for their means of happiness.

3. Social and Economic Rights - Intended to ensure the well-being and economic security of an individual.

4. Rights of the Accused -  intended to protect a person accused of any crime.

Bill of Rights (Article III, 1987 Philippine Constitution)

Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

What is Due Process?

Any deprivation of life liberty and property by the State is with due process if it is done:

1. Under the authority of the law that is valid under the Constitution itself;

2. After compliance with fair and reasonable methods of procedure required by law.

What constitutes Deprivation?

1. Deprivation of life - the loss of any of the various physical and mental attributes that man must have to live as a human being. It is the very foundation of human rights.

2. Deprivation of liberty - that one is duly prevented from acting as he wishes.

3. Deprivation of property - when its value is destroyed or its adaptability to some legislation should be treated alike under circumstances and conditions both in the privileges conferred and liabilities imposed.

What is the meaning of equal protection of the law?

It signifies that all persons subject to legislation should be treated alike under the circumstances and conditions both in the privileges conferred and liabilities imposed.

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. 

What is a search warrant and warrant of arrest?

Search Warrant - is an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines, signed by a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to search for personal property described therein and bring it before the court.

Warrant of Arrest - Arrest is the taking of a person into custody so that he may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense.

What is its scope of protection? 

1. Persons - applies to every citizen of the Philippines including aliens whether accused of crime or not.

2. Houses - not limited to the dwelling but extend to a garage, warehouse, shop, store, and even a safety deposit vault.

3.  Papers and effect - including sealed letters and packages in the mail which may be opened and examined only in pursuance of a search warrant.

when is search and seizure unreasonable?

In general, all illegal searches and seizures are unreasonable while lawful ones are reasonable.

Requisites for a Valid Search Warrant or Warrant of Arrest

1. Issued upon probable cause.

2. The probable cause must be determined personally by the judge himself.

3. Such determination of the existence of probable cause must be made after examination by the judge of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce.

4. Must particularly describe the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

When search and seizure may be made without a warrant?

1. Where there is consent or waiver.

2. Where there is an incident to a lawful arrest.

3. In the case of contraband or forfeited goods being transported.

4. The possession of articles prohibited by law is disclosed to plain view or is open to the eye and hand.

5. As an incident of inspection, supervision, and regulation in the exercise of police power.

6. Routinary searches are usually made at the border or a port of entry in the interest of national security and for proper enforcement of customs and immigration laws.

When arrest may be made without a warrant?

1. When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

2. When an offense has in fact just been committed and has been personal knowledge of facts indicating that a person to be arrested has committed it;

3. when a person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred.

Section 3. 

(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.

(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.

Meaning of Right to privacy - The right to be left alone.

Limitations on the Right of Privacy of Communications

1. Permissible interference

a. Upon lawful order of the courts or

b. When public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.

2. Intervention of the court.

Writ of Habeas Data Meaning:

It is a judicial remedy available to any individual whose right to privacy in life, liberty, or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official, employee, or a private individual or entity engaged in gathering, collecting, or storing data or information regarding the person, family, home, and correspondence of the aggrieved party.

Purpose of the Writ - to secure the privacy of an individual by way of regulating the processing of personal information or data about him.

How Writ Operates - Any aggrieved party may file a petition in court for the writ of habeas data. The court shall issue the writ which shall be served upon the respondent who shall file a written return under oath with supporting affidavits.

Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress or grievances.

Freedom of Speech, and Expression, and the Press - the rights to freely utter and publish whatever one pleases without previous restraint, and to be protected against any responsibility for so doing as long as it does violate the law, injure someone's character, reputation, or business.

Scope of Freedom of Expression - the rights of assembly and petition, the right to form associations or societies not contrary to the law, and the right to religious freedom.

Scope of Terms, Speech, Expression, And Press

1. Speech and expression cover any form of oral utterances such as protests and expression of opinion about subjects of public concern.

2. The Press covers any sort of publications as instruments for mass communication.

Freedom of Expression Not Absolute

1. Subject to regulation by the state.

2. Subject one to liability when abused.

Meaning of Right of Assembly and Right of Petition

1. The right of assembly means the right on the part of the citizens to meet peaceably for consultation concerning public affairs.

2. The right of petition means the right of any person or group of persons, to apply without fear of penalty to the appropriate branch or office of government for regress of grievances. 

Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

Meaning of Religious Freedom - The right of a man to worship God, and to entertain such religious views as appeal to his individual conscience, without dictation or interference by any person or power, civil or ecclesiastical.

Meaning of Religion - all forms of belief in the existence of superior beings exercising power over human beings and imposing rules of conduct with future state of rewards or punishments.

Aspects of Religious Freedom

1. The separation of Church and State.

2. The freedom of religious profession and worship

Religious Test Prohibited

1. Meaning of terms

a. religious test is one demanding the avowal or repudiation of a certain religious belief before the performance of any act.

b. The expression of civil political rights (supra) is to be understood as including the individual rights safeguarded by the Constitution and statutory laws.

Reason for Provision - without such prohibition, religious freedom becomes meaningless. The State without such a bar, notwithstanding the doctrine of its separation from the Church, could in fact accord preference to a religious organization.

Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.

Meaning of Liberty of Abode and Travel - It is the right of a person to have his home in whatever place chosen by him and thereafter to change it at will, and to go where he pleases, without the interference of any source.

Limitations on The Right

1. Permissible interference - The right is qualified by the clauses except upon lawful order of the court and except in the interest of the national security, and public safety or public health as may be provided by law.

2. Intervention of the court - Note that under the second limitation, a court order is not necessary. The determination of the proper executive officer (President) is subject to judicial reviews. A person whose liberty of abode is violated may petition for a writ of habeas corpus against another holding him in detention.

Section 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers about official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as a basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

Right to Information on Matters of Public Concern

1. Access to official records for the exercise of right.

2. Arguments in support of right.

3. Constitutionality or validity of implementing law.

Section 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged.

Meaning of the Right to Form Associations - is the freedom to organize or to be a member of any group or association, union, or society, and to adopt the rules that the members judge most appropriate to achieve their purpose.

Section 9. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

Purpose of Guarantee

1. Undoubtedly, the purpose of the constitutional guarantee is to encourage the formation of voluntary associations so that through the cooperative activities of individuals, the nation's welfare may be advanced and the government may thereby receive assistance in its ever-increasing public service activities.

2. By enabling individuals to unite in the performance of tasks, which singly they would be unable to accomplish, such associations relieve the government of vast burden.

Essential or inherent powers of government

1. Totality of governmental power - It is contained in three (3) great powers,

namely: the power of an eminent domain, police power, and power of taxation.

2. Similarities - These powers are similar in the following respects:

a. They all rest upon necessity because there can be no effective government without them;

b. They are inherent in sovereignty; hence, they can be exercised even without being expressly granted in the Constitution although the conditions for their exercise may be regulated and limited by the Constitution and bylaw;

c. They are ways by which the State interferes with private rights and property;

d. They are all legislative in character; and

e.They all presuppose an equivalent compensation received, directly or indirectly, by the person affected by the exercise of these powers by the government.

Meaning of Eminent Domain - is the right or power of the State or of those to whom the power has been lawfully delegated to take private property for public use upon paying to the owner a just compensation to be ascertained according to law.

Conditions for or limitations upon its exercise

1. Existence of public use.

2. Payment of just compensation

3. Observance of due process of law in the taking.

Meaning of taking

1. Actual physical seizure is not essential.

2. The taking must be direct.

Meaning of Police Power - has been referred to as the power of the State to enact such laws or regulations about persons and property as may promote public health, public morals, public safety, and the general welfare and convenience of the


Basis of police power

Based on two Latin maxims, salus populi suprema est lex (the welfare of the people is the supreme law), and sic utere to ut alienum non laedas (so use your own as not to injure another's property).

A. Police power laws

1. Public health

2. Public morals

3. Public safety

4. Public welfare and convenience

Section 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.

Meaning of obligation of a contract - is the law or duty which binds the parties to perform their agreement according to its terms or intent, if it is not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy.

Scope of terms - law and contract

1. The law, the enactment of which is prohibited, includes executive and administrative orders of the President, administrative orders issued by heads of departments, and ordinances enacted by local governments.

2. The contract, the obligation of which is secured against impairment under the Constitution, includes contracts entered into by the government.

Purpose of non-impairment prohibition

The prohibition is intended to protect creditors, assure the fulfillment of lawful promises, and guard the integrity of contractual obligations.

Freedom to contract not absolute

The freedom of contract is necessarily limited by the exercise of the police power of the State in the interest of general welfare especially given the explicit provisions in the Constitution concerning the promotion of social justice.

Section 11. Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person because of poverty.

Constitutional rights of the accused in criminal cases

1. The right to adequate legal assistance.

2. The right, when under investigation for the commission of an offense to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have counsel.

3. The right against the use of torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation any other means that vitiates free will

4. The right against being held in secret, incommunicado, or similar forms of solitary detention.

5. The right to bail and against excessive bail.

6. The right to due process of law.

7. The right to presumption of innocence.

8. The right to be heard by himself and counsel.

9. The right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

10. The right to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial.

11. The right to meet the witnesses face to face.

12. The right to have a compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence on his behalf.

13. The right against self-incrimination.

14. The right against detention because of political beliefs and aspirations.

15. The right against excessive fines.

16. The right against cruel, degrading, or inhuman punishment.

17. The right against infliction of the death penalty except for heinous crimes; and

18.  The right against double jeopardy.

Reasons for constitutional safeguards

1. A criminal case, an unequal contest.
2. Criminal accusation, a very serious matter.
3. Protection of the innocent, the underlying purpose.
A. Right to free access to the courts of quasi-judicial bodies.
B. Right to adequate legal assistance.

Section 12. 
(1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person
cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.
(4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violations of this section as well as compensation to and rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices, and their families.

Rights of person under investigation

1. To be informed of his right to remain silent
2. To have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice or to be provided with one.
3. Against the use of torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates free will.
4. Against being held in secret, incommunicado, or similar forms of solitary detention.

Effect of violation of the rights.
1. when rights can be invoked
2. Waiver of right of silence and to counsel.

Section 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.

Meaning of Bail - is the security required by a court and given for the provisional or temporary release of a person who is in the custody of the law conditioned upon his appearance before any court as required under the conditions specified.

Purpose and form of Bail

1. The purpose of requiring bail is to relieve the accused from imprisonment until his conviction and yet secure his appearance at the trials.
2. It may be in the form of a cash deposit, property bond, bond secured from a surety company, or recognizance.

Meaning of Capital offense - for purposes of the above provision, is an offense which, under the law existing at the time of its commissions, and at the time of the application to be admitted to bail, may be punished with reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment, or death.

Section 14. 

(1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.

(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a

speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, the trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.

Section 15. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion when public safety requires it.

Meaning of writ of habeas corpus

The writ of habeas corpus is an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, directed to the person detaining another, commanding him to produce the body of the prisoner at a designated time and place and to show sufficient cause for holding custody of the individual so detained.

Purpose of the writ

It has for its purpose to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint or detention as distinguished from voluntary and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is found illegal. The writ is the proper remedy court to release in each and every case of detention without legal cause or authority. Its principal purpose then is to set individual liberty.

Writ of Amparo

The writ of habeas corpus is not to be confused with the writ of Amparo. Now, families of victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances (or any qualified person or entity) can invoke the writ when the right to life, liberty, or security of a person is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee or of a private individual or entity.

Section 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies.

Right to speedy disposition of cases

(1) The above provision upholds the time-honored tradition of speedy justice for as stated in the old dictum - "Justice delayed is justice denied.' " Its express inclusion was in response to the common charge against the perennial delay in the

administration of justice which in the past has plagued our judicial system.

(2) The right to a speedy disposition of cases can be invoked only after the termination of the trial or hearing of the case.

(3) Under the present Constitution, the Supreme Court, all lower collegiate courts, and all other lower courts are required to decide or resolve cases within a certain period.

(4) The provision contemplates the disposition of cases involving private interests not only before judicial bodies but also before quasi-judicial.

Section 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. 

Right against self-incrimination

No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. This is a protection against self-incrimination which may expose a person to a criminal liability. It is founded on grounds of:
(1) Public Policy, because 1f the party is thus required to testify he would be placed under the strongest temptation to commit the crime of perjury; and
(2) Humanity, because it prevents the extortion of confession by duress. The constitutional guarantee protects as well the right of the accused to silence, and his silence, meaning, his failure or refusal to testify may not be used as presumption of guilt or taken as evidence against him.

Scope of Guarantee

The right against self-incrimination applies in criminal cases as well as in civil, administrative, and legislative proceedings where the fact asked for is a criminal one. It protects one whether he is a party or a witness.

Section 18. 
(1) No person shall be detained solely because of his political beliefs and aspirations.
(2) No involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

Right Against Detention Solely because of Political Beliefs and Aspirations
1. Incarceration without charges of political prisoners
2. Suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus even after lifting of martial law.
3. Prohibition is a guarantee against having prisoners of conscience.

Meaning of Involuntary Servitude - A condition of enforced, compulsory service of one to another.
It includes:
1. Slavery
2. Peonage - is the use of laborers bound in servitude because of debt.

Exceptions of Prohibitions
1. When involuntary servitude is imposed as a punishment for a crime.
2. when personal military or civil service is required of citizens.
3. To injunctions requiring striking laborers to return to work.
4. To exceptional service.
5. To exercise parents of their authority.
6. when there is a proper exercise of the police power of the State.

Section 19. 
(1) Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading, or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall the death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it. Any death penalty already imposed shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
(2) The employment of physical, psychological, or degrading punishment against any prisoner or detainee or the use of substandard or inadequate penal facilities under subhuman conditions shall be dealt with by law.

Section 20. No person shall be imprisoned for debt or non-payment of a poll tax.

Meaning of Debt - as intended to be covered by the constitutional guarantee, means any liability to pay money arising out of a contract, express or implied.

Meaning of Poll Taxes - a tax of a fixed amount imposed on individuals residing within a specified territory, whether citizens or not, without regard to their property or the occupation in which they may be engaged.

Section 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.

Meaning of Rights Against Double Jeopardy - means that when a person is charged with an offense and the case is terminated either by acquittal or conviction or in any other manner without the express consent of the accused, the latter cannot again be charged with the same or identical offense.

Section 22. No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted.

Meaning of Ex Post Facto Law
1. Makes an act done before the passage of the law, innocent when done, criminal, and punishes such act; or
2. Aggravates a crime or makes it greater than when it was committed; or
3. Changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than what a law annexed to the crime when committed; or
4. Alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less testimony than or different testimony from what the law required at the time of the commission of the offense, to convict the offender.

Characteristics of Ex Post Facto Law
They are:
1. Ex-post facto laws relate to penal or criminal matters only.
2. They are retroactive in their operation; and
3. They deprived persons accused of crime of some protection or defense previously available, to their disadvantage.

Meaning of Bill of Attainder - is a legislative act that inflicts punishment without a judicial trial.

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