Gonzales v COMELEC; G.R. No. L-27833; 18 Apr 1969; 27 SCRA 835

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The Revised Election Code under RA 4880 was amended to include two new sections which prohibits the too early nomination of candidates and limiting the period of election campaign or partisan political activity. Petitioners alleges that RA 4880 is unconstitutional because its enforcement would prejudice basic rights, such as the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly and the right to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law, guaranteed under the Constitution.

Whether or not the freedom of expression may be limited.

YES. Freedom of expression is not absolute. Two tests may supply an acceptable criterion for permissible restriction. These are the “clear and present danger” rule and the “dangerous tendency” rule. The scope of the curtailment to which freedom of expression may be subjected is not foreclosed by the recognition of the existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil, the debasement of the electoral process.

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