May a person ask his name to be stricken off from an SC decision, SC website, SCRA and other repositories by invoking his right to privacy?
A person cannot ask his name be stricken off from any Supreme Court Decisions, Supreme Court website, SCRA and other repositories by invoking the right to privacy provided for by the Constitution and other laws considering the striking off of a name is not among the rights protected by the said Constitution and other laws.
The essence of privacy is the “right to be let alone.” (Cooley on Torts, Sec. 135, vol. 1, 4th ed., (1932), or to live a life of seclusion, or to be free from unwarranted publicity, or to live without unwarranted interference by the public about matters with which the public is not necessarily concerned, or to be protected from any wrongful intrusion into an individual’s private life which would outrage or cause mental suffering, shame, or humiliation to a person of ordinary sensibilities (Cordero v. Buigasco, 34130-R, 17 April 1972).
Zones of privacy are recognized and protected in our laws as the right of privacy is enshrined in several provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Section 3(1) of the Bill of Rights as follows:
“Sec. 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.”
The right to privacy is also heavily protected in various provisions of the Bill of Rights in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, namely:
“Sec. 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.
Sec. 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, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/116041/the-right-to-privacy)
Furthermore, there are four different kinds of torts which arise from the violation of the right to privacy: 1) appropriation for the defendant’s advantage of plaintiff’s name or likeness, 2) intrusion upon plaintiff’s seclusion; 3) public disclosure of private information; and 4) publicity which places defendant in a false or objectionable light. (Jaworski v Jadwani, CV-66405, 15 December 1983)
The first kind of violation as mentioned above best fit to the issue at hand, violation of the right to privacy by appropriation of name or likeness.
However, the right of privacy to be invoked by a person in asking that his name be stricken off from any SC Decisions, SC websites, SCRA and other repositories does not again qualify as a ground for this kind of violation. Appropriation of name or likeness, the oldest and most widely recognized branch of the invasion of privacy tort, imposes liability for unauthorized use of another’s name, likeness, or other identifying characteristics. Although the tort applies whenever the defendant, for his or her benefit (pecuniary or otherwise), appropriates the plaintiff’s identity, the great majority of appropriation cases involve ‘‘commercial’’ uses like advertising or merchandising. (http://american-business.org/3138-appropriation-of-name-or-likeness.html)
To make out a publicity rights claim under law, a plaintiff must plead and prove that a defendant “(1) used plaintiff’s identity; (2) appropriated plaintiff’s name and likeness to defendant’s advantage, commercial or otherwise; (3) lack of consent; and (4) resulting injury.” Eastwood v. Super. Ct., 149 Cal. App. 3d 409, 417 (1983).
Supreme Decisions, websites, SCRA and the like formed part already of public records which are documents or pieces of information that are not considered confidential. There are bases from which the name of a person became part of it. These are based on facts and are not fabricated. The use of a person’s name in the mentioned documents is a matter of public interest and not merely for commercial or advertising advantage. No violation of right of privacy can be invoked to speak of.