Aquino-Sarmiento v Morato; G.R. No. 92541; 13 Nov 1991; 203 SCRA 515

in Legal Chyme by

Petitioner, a member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), was denied access to the voting slips accomplished by the individual board members after a review of the movies and television productions. Consequently, the Board issued Resolution No. 10-89 declaring as confidential, private and personal, the decision of the reviewing committee and the voting slips of the members.

Whether or not the decisions of the Board are private and personal.

NO. The decisions of the Board and the individual voting slips accomplished by the members concerned are acts made pursuant to their official functions, and as such, are neither personal nor private in nature but rather public in character. They are, therefore, public records access to which is guaranteed to the citizenry by no less than the fundamental law of the land. Being a public right, the exercise thereof cannot be made contingent on the discretion, nay, whim and caprice, of the agency charged with the custody of the official records sought to be examined. The constitutional recognition of the citizen’s right of access to official records cannot be made dependent upon the consent of the members of the board concerned, otherwise, the said right would be rendered nugatory.

Petition is GRANTED. Assailed resolutions are declared NULL and VOID.

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