Husband allowed by law to seize, read wife's sealed letters

The act of reading letters to discover secrets and to reveal them is a punishable crime under our laws. The Revised Penal Code (RPC) of the Philippines provides that: “Art. 290. Discovering secrets through seizure of correspondence.—The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods and a fine not exceeding P500 shall be imposed upon any private individual who in order to discover the secrets of another, shall seize his papers or letters and reveal the contents thereof. If the offender shall not reveal such secrets, the penalty shall be arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding P500. The provision shall not be applicable to parents, guardians, or persons entrusted with the custody of minors with respect to the papers or letters of the children or minors placed under their care or study, nor to spouses with respect to the papers or letters of either of them.”
In order to qualify as a crime under the above cited provision, the reading of a letter must be done in order to discover a secret which implies that the content of the letter read must be confidential in nature. Thus, the reading of open letters such as postcards is not punishable under this provision because of the absence of confidentiality or secrecy of such letters (Leonor D. Boado, Notes and Cases on the Revised Penal Code, 2008 Edition). Note that while the law penalizes the said act of reading private letters to discover secrets, a higher penalty is imposed when the discovered secrets from a confidential letter is revealed. It is also important to note that the aforementioned law exempts certain individuals from criminal liability based on their relationship with the owner of the letter. As provided by law, parents, guardians and spouses can seize and discover the secrets in the papers and letters of their children, ward, and spouses, respectively, without criminal liability. (SOURCE: Husband can seize, read letters of spouse; BY THE MANILA TIMES ON MAY 28, 2015; Dear PAO with Persida Acosta;

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