ANG 1987 CONSTITUTION AY NAGBIBIGAY SA ATIN NG KARAPATAN SA INPORMASYON PAMPUBLIKO AT MGA PUBLIC RECORDS. ANG MGA PUBLIC OFFICIALS AY MAY OBLIGASYON NA IPAKITA ANG MGA PUBLIC RECORDS SA SINUMAN NA HUMILING NITO NG NAAYON SA BATAS AT ANG HINDI PAGBIBIGAY NITO AY PWEDENG MAKASUHAN, ADMINISTRATIBO MAN O KRIMINAL.
Usual na tanong sa E-Lawyers Online kung sila ba ay may karapatan na kumuha ng records sa National Statistics Office (NSO) upang makita nila kung ilan ang kasal na pinasok ng kanilang asawa. Marami kasi ang nag-aakala na ang records sa NSO ay limitado lamang at hindi pwede kumuha ng kopya ang publiko.
Ayon sa Section 7, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, ito ay nagbibigay ng karapatan sa mga mamamayan ng Pilipinas sa public information at access sa official records:
“The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, shall be afforded the citizen subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.”
Ayon sa R.A. 6713, Section 3, Rule IV of its Implementing Rules and Regulations, ang access sa public record ay hindi pwede sa mga sumusunod dahil ito ay exempted sa public disclosure: 1) National defense or security, or the conduct of foreign affairs; 2) Those which would put the life and safety of an individual in imminent danger; 3) Established privilege or recognized exceptions; 4) Drafts (not yet approved) of decisions, orders, rulings, policy decisions, memoranda, etc.; 5) Matters of a personal nature the disclosure of which would constitute clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; 6) Investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes; 7) Premature disclosure of which would be likely to lead to significant financial speculation in currencies, securities, commodities, or significantly endanger the stability of any financial institution, or significantly frustrate implementation of a proposed official action.
Kung ang isang mamamayan ng Pilipinas ay pinagkaitan ng isang public officer sa kanyang karapatan sa public information or access sa public records, ito ay paglabag sa Section 5 (e) of R.A. 6713 otherwise known as Code of Conduct and and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees” which states that “(a)ll public documents must be made accessible to, and readily available for inspection by, the public within reasonable working hours.” Ito ay may kaparusahan na pagkatanggal sa trabaho at pagkakakulong ayon sa Section 11 ng batas.
Section 11. Penalties. – (a) Any public official or employee, regardless of whether or not he holds office or employment in a casual, temporary, holdover, permanent or regular capacity, committing any violation of this Act shall be punished with a fine not exceeding the equivalent of six (6) months’ salary or suspension not exceeding one (1) year, or removal depending on the gravity of the offense after due notice and hearing by the appropriate body or agency. If the violation is punishable by a heavier penalty under another law, he shall be prosecuted under the latter statute. Violations of Sections 7, 8 or 9 of this Act shall be punishable with imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years, or a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000), or both, and, in the discretion of the court of competent jurisdiction, disqualification to hold public office.
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