I. Introduction. These are crimes against personal security because they likewise result to irritation, consternation and similar mental disturbance.


A. These crimes may be referred to as involving the revelation of private secrets by private persons. The secrets involved are private secrets in that they do not pertain to matters affecting the government and only private persons are the accused. However, public officers are also liable if they did not acquire the secrets in their official capacity.


B. The constitution protects several Zones of Privacy one of which is the privacy of correspondence and communication. These crimes intrude into this zone.


C. They are classified into:


1. Discovering secrets through seizure of correspondence (Art. 290)

2. Reveling Secrets with abuse of office (291)

3. Revelation of industrial secrets ( Art. 292)


II. Discovery through Seizure of Correspondence.


A. The gist of the crime is the act of seizing the papers or letters of a private individual in order to discover the contents thereof.

B. The penalty depends on whether the accused revealed the contents or not.

C. The crime is committed even if it turns out the papers are blank

D. Persons exempt: (i) parents, guardians, or persons in custody of minors in respect to the letters of said minors and (b) spouses with respect to the correspondence of either of them. However, in Zulueta vs. Zulueta, it was held that a married person has a right to the privacy of letters in his private office and if these are seized by his spouse without his consent, the documents are inadmissible as evidence.

E. If the seizure is not to know the contents but to prevent the addressee from receiving the letter, the crime may be malicious mischief.


III. Revealing Secrets with Abuse of Office


A. This is the crime committed by a manager, employee, or servant, who in such capacity, learns the secrets of his principal or master, and shall reveal such secrets.

B. Secrets refer to any matter which ought not to be known. It need not destroy the reputation of the principal. Example: the fact that the husband and wife do not sleep together; or that the husband is irresponsible. 

C. If the secrets pertain to illicit matters, such as the principal being a jueteng lord, there is no liability if the revelation is made to the proper authorities.


D. Question: Why is there no corresponding penal provision if they were the masters who reveal the secrets of their employees or servants?


IV. Revelation of Industrial Secrets. This was already superseded by the Intellectual Property Code


Discovery and Revelation of Secrets