No matter the situation, recording any conversation without the consent of the person speaking is against the law in the Philippines.
Even those in heated exchanges (including landlord disputes, spousal disputes and more) are not allowed to record. On a side note, there is also a law against yelling at someone in the Philippines, but more on that later in a different context.
Even in instances where your record someone committing an offence, or using it in a court case in the Philippines, Article III, Section #3 of the Philippine Constitution (of 1987) states: “The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law…..”
The protection on private communications is noted in Republic Act Ra-4200 known as “An Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wire Tapping And Other Related Violations of the Privacy Of Communication, and for Other Purpose,” which enumerates and specifies acts that are considered as violations of private communications and the penalties for such acts.
According to RA-4200 it says as follows:
Section 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as a Dictaphone or dictographs or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or however otherwise described:
The law goes on to say:
It shall also be unlawful for any person, be he a participant or not in the act or acts penalized in the next preceding sentence, to knowingly possess any tape record, wire record, disc record, or any other such record, or copies thereof, of any communication or spoken word secured either before or after the effective date of this Act in the manner prohibited by this law; or to replay the same for any other person or persons; or to communicate the contents thereof, either verbally or in writing, or to furnish transcriptions thereof, whether complete or partial, to any other person: Provided, That the use of such record or any copies thereof as evidence in any civil, criminal investigation or trial of offenses mentioned in section 3 hereof, shall not be covered by this prohibition.
In short, you are prohibited from recording any type or form of communication without the consent of the conversing parties (whether written or verbal).
Even if the party you are recording involves more than one, and one is giving consent, that does not give you the right to record for any reason, as stated above.
This law also covers reproduction, distribution, and replay (even if it is a transcript of such) of any type of communication that is not authorised.
Possessing such an item that has been recorded even borders on the act, and is punishable by law.
Owning, keeping or any other act to hold an unauthorised recording against someone by threat of violence or retaliation, or for the simple fact of using it in court to support your case, is in fact, illegal.
Section 4 of the RA-4200 says: “Section 4. Any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained obtained or secured by any person in violation of the preceding sections of this Act shall not be admissible in evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation.”
In short, any unauthorized recording of a private conversation is illegal and is of no use in a court hearing. The simple possession of such a recording can expose you to criminal liability, should you record someone.