They say gossip travels fast but it may just bring you to jail. You may not know it but sharing secrets is a crime punishable under the Revised Penal Code if you are a manager, employee or servant.
“ARTICLE 291. Revealing secrets with abuse of office. — The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed upon any manager, employee, or servant who, in such capacity, shall learn the secrets of his principal or master and shall reveal such secrets.”
One wonders why only managers and employees are covered. Does that mean higher ranking officers are exempt from penalty when they should be the ones in a position to know and reveal more? Household help should also be forewarned that their employer’s private lives have to remain private, details of which may not travel beyond the clotheslines and walls of the house.
Naturally, revealing industrial secrets carries a higher penalty. Though the fine is not at all high.
“ARTICLE 292. Revelation of industrial secrets. — The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed upon the person in charge, employee or workman of any manufacturing or industrial establishment who, to the prejudice of the owner thereof, shall reveal the secrets of the industry of the latter.”
However, the violation of intellectual property rights is a totally different matter and obviously subject to severe punishment.
For the benefit of Piolo and Sam, “intriga” is actually a crime too. Unfortunately, though, Lolit can just forego a short cab ride to cough up the fine -
“ARTICLE 364. Intriguing against honor. — The penalty of arresto menor or fine not exceeding 200 pesos shall be imposed for any intrigue which has for its principal purpose to blemish the honor or reputation of a person.”
To add some bite and attempt to make up for the measly penal punishment, damages may be claimed for violations of privacy, and intriguing as well, under the New Civil Code:
“ARTICLE 26. Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons. The following and similar acts, though they may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a cause of action for damages, prevention and other relief:
(1) Prying into the privacy of another’s residence;
(2) Meddling with or disturbing the private life or family relations of another;
(3) Intriguing to cause another to be alienated from his friends;
(4) Vexing or humiliating another on account of his religious beliefs, lowly station in life, place of birth, physical defect, or other personal condition.”
The following general principles under the Civil Code may also be used:
“Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify the latter for the same.
Art. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.”
Of course, when you spread something that tends to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead, then the provisions on libel apply And we need a whole new post to tackle that topic.
With the wider and faster variety of present-day communication tools, the penalties prescribed barely offset the damages done to the victims who may find themselves ready subjects of careless and harmful text messages, Photoshop-ed pictures or videos over the internet, or easy tabloid fodder. We hope the laws can be amended as soon as possible to reflect modern times.
 The duration of arresto mayor shall be from 1 month and 1 day to 6 months.(Art. 27, Revised Penal Code).
 The duration of prision correccional shall be from 6 months and 1 day to 6 years. (ibid)
 The duration of arresto menor shall be from 1 day 30 days. (ibid) Art. 353, ibid.