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RAMIREZ v CA

September 28, 1995 | KAPUNAN, J. | Petition for Certiorari | Statutory Rules of Exclusion
PETITIONER: Socorro D. Ramirez
RESPONDENT: Court of Appeals and Ester Garcia
SUMMARY: Ramirez and Garcia had a disagreement which Ramirez made a recording and a transcript of. Upon filing a civil case against
Garcia, she presented the transcript. Garcia, upon finding that a recording has been made, filed a criminal case against Ramirez. Ramirez sought
the quash the information through a motion intially granted by the RTC but was annulled by the CA. Ramirez filed the petition to question the
decision of the CA. SC agreed with the CA and held that recording the confrontation constituted a violation of RA 4200, despite Ramirez being
party to the conversation.
DOCTRINE: Even a person privy to a communication who records his private conversation with another without the knowledge of the latter qualifies as
a violation of RA 4200.

FACTS:
1. A civil case for damages was filed by Ramirez in QC RTC against
Garcia, who allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a hostile
and furious mood and in a manner offensive to her dignity and
personality during a confrontation in Garcias office.
2. Ramirez presented a verbatim transcript of the event based on a
tape recording Ramirez did of the confrontation.
3. Because of Ramirez recording, Garcia filed a criminal case before
Pasay RTC for violation of RA 4200 (Anti- Wiretapping Act).
4. Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, Ramirez filed a MTQ
Information on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an
offense. RTC granted the motion holding that:
a) facts charged do not constitute an offense under RA 4200
b) violation punished by RA 4200 refers to the taping of a
communication by a person other than a participant to the
communication
5. Garcia filed a Petition for Review with the SC, was referred to the
CA. CA then promulgated its decision declaring the TCs decision
null and void and quashal of the information was done in grave abuse
of discretion.
6. Ramirez filed an MR and was denied. Hence, the petition. Ramirez
claims that RA 4200 does not apply to the taping of a private
conversation by one of the parties to the conversation. She contends
that the provision merely refers to the unauthorized taping of a
provate conversation by a party other than those involved in the
communication.
ISSUE/S:
1. WON Ramirez recording violated RA 4200 YES
RULING: CA decision AFFIRMED.
RATIO:
1. Section 1 of RA 4200 clearly and unequivocally makes it illegal
for any person, not authorized by all the parties to any private
communication to secretly record such communication by means of a
tape recorder. The law makes no distinction as to whether the
party sought to be penalized by the statute ought to be a party
other than or different from those involved in the private
communication. The statute's intent to penalize all persons,
unauthorized to make such recording is underscored by the use of the
qualifier "any".

CA was correct in concluding that "even a (person) privy to a


communication who records his private conversation with

another without the knowledge of the latter (will) qualify as a


violator.

2. The nature of the conversations is also immaterial to a violation of


the statute. The substance of the same need not be specifically alleged
in the information. What R.A. 4200 penalizes are the acts of secretly
overhearing, intercepting or recording private communications by
means of the devices enumerated therein. The mere allegation that an
individual made a secret recording of a private communication by
means of a tape recorder would suffice to constitute an offense under
Section 1 of R.A. 4200.

3. Ramirez contention that the phrase "private communication" in


Section 1 of R.A. 4200 does not include
"private conversations" narrows the ordinary meaning of the word
"communication" to a point of absurdity. The word communicate
comes from the latin word communicare, meaning "to share or to
impart." In its ordinary signification, communication connotes the act
of sharing or imparting signification, communication connotes the act
of sharing or imparting, as in a conversation, or signifies the "process
by which meanings or thoughts are shared between individuals
through a common system of symbols (as language signs or
gestures)". These definitions are broad enough to include verbal
or nonverbal, written or expressive communications of
"meanings or thoughts" which are likely to include the
emotionallycharged exchange, on February 22, 1988, between
ramirez and Garcia, in the privacy of the latter's office.

The right to the privacy of communication, among others, has


expressly been assured by our Constitution. Needless to state here,
the framers of our Constitution must have recognized the nature of
conversations between individuals and the significance of man's
spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They must have
known that part of the pleasures and satisfactions of life are to be
found in the unaudited, and free exchange of communication between
individuals free from every unjustifiable intrusion by whatever
means.

Section 1, RA 4200. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being


authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken
word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or
arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such
communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as
a dictaphone or dictagraph or dictaphone or walkie-talkie or tape
recorder, or however otherwise described:

It shall also be unlawful for any person, be he a participant or not in the


act or acts penalized in the next preceding sentence, to knowingly
possess any tape record, wire record, disc record, or any other such
record, or copies thereof, of any communication or spoken word

secured either before or after the effective date of this Act in the
manner prohibited by this law; or to replay the same for any other
person or persons; or to communicate the contents thereof, either
verbally or in writing, or to furnish transcriptions thereof, whether
complete or partial, to any other person: Provided, That the use of such
record or any copies thereof as evidence in any civil, criminal
investigation or trial of offenses mentioned in section 3 hereof, shall
not be covered by this prohibition.

Section 4, RA 4200 . Any communication or spoken word, or the


existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of the
same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained
obtained or secured by any person in violation of the preceding
sections of this Act shall not be admissible in evidence in any judicial,
quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation.