A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro D. Ramirez in the RTC of Quezon City alleging that the private respondent, Ester S. Garcia, in a confrontation in the latter’s office, allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a “hostile and furious mood” and in a manner offensive to petitioner’s dignity and personality,” contrary to morals, good customs and public policy.” In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of the event and sought moral damages, attorney’s fees and other expenses of litigation in the amount of P610,000.00, in addition to costs, interests and other reliefs awardable at the trial court’s discretion. The transcript on which the civil case was based was culled from a tape recording of the confrontation made by petitioner.
As a result of petitioner’s recording of the event and alleging that the said act of secretly taping the confrontation was illegal, private respondent filed a criminal case before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City for violation of Republic Act 4200, entitled “An Act to prohibit and penalize wiretapping and other related violations of private communication, and other purposes.”
Petitioner filed a motion to quash the complaint of the Respondent on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense. The RTC granted the motion. The Respondent raised the issue to the SC which it referred the case to the CA. The CA then reverse the decision of the RTC in favor of the Respondent. Consequently, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which respondent Court of Appeals denied. Hence, the instant petition.
Whether that the applicable provision of Republic Act 4200 does not apply to the taping of a private conversation by one of the parties to the conversation and the provision merely refers to the unauthorized taping of a private conversation by a party other than those involved in the communication
No, Sec. 1. states that 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 detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or however otherwise described.
The aforestated provision 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”. Consequently, as respondent Court of Appeals correctly concluded, “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” under this provision of R.A. 4200.