Monday, July 24, 2006

Renewing my passport

I just renewed my passport, after realizing it had long expired.
Renewing passports has now been made a lot more convenient.
If you pay around P1,600, you can commission a private courier to facilitate the renewal process.
The documents will be fetched by the courier either in your office or home, and the new passport will be delivered to wherever you want them delivered.
However, I renewed my passport the traditional way, which was to go to the Department of Foreign Affairs at Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.
Here is how to renew a passport the traditional way.
Proceed and enter Gate No. 2 of the DFA compound.
You will read a sign which says "application starts here" pointing to the direction of the DFA basketball court.
You should be ready with the expired passport, a filled up application form with two passport size pictures. Another requirement is the photocopies of pages one and two, the last page and the page containing the last departure of the expired passport.
The first thing is to have the application verified. Thre are two windows attending to this.
The application will be stamped indicating that it has already been verified.
Then you proceed to the building accross, where the application papers will once again be scrutinized to ensure the integrity of the data indicated in the application.
There are so many counters so the queing will not take long.
Thereafter, the person at the counter will punch the expired passport before returning it, to indicate that it is no longer usable.
Then the person at the counter will issue sort of an invoice or a receipt or claim paper, which will have to be brought to the cashier for payment.
The payment if you personally renew the passport is only P500. If you need it immediately, there is a rush payment of P750.
If you want the renewed passpoprt delivered, the private couriers will deliver it for a fee of P180 per passport.
If you don't want to pay delilvery fees, you can just come back on the date designated to claim the new passport which takes about ten days.
If you don't want to experience the hassles of having to go to the DFA to renew your passport, just avail of the services of the private courier services.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Modus Operandi of petty thieves

There is an effective modus operandi executed by petty thieves in Dumaguete City.

By petty theft we mean snatchers, pick pockets.

The modus operandi is to take undue advantage of the constitutional guarantee to an accused of speedy trial.

According to our sources, these local petty thieves like snatchers and pick-pockets target visitors and transients temporarily staying in Dumaguete City.

For instance there are invitation games, professional convention hostyed by various groups in Dumaguete City.

It is during these activities that the thieves have a heyday.

There is a sensible reason why local thieves operating in Dumaguete target the visitors.

The reason is that if they get caught, chances are great that the petty criminals get a criminal conviction.

The victims, being merely visitors and trancients, temporarily staying in Dumaguete will not bother to attend the court proceedings agasint the apprehended snatchers.

It makes a lot of sense for the criminal.

By victimizing visitors to the city, if ever the criminal are caught and a formal complaint is lodged, the case will not see any conviction.

This is because not long after filing the complaint- that is if the visiting victim will press charges--- the complainant will have to leave town and return home.

When this happens, there will not longer be any principal witness against the accused.

Without the testimony of hte victim, there is a slim chance that the accused will get a conviction.

It is more likely that the case will have to be dismissed for lack of evidence, or failure to prosecute.

Our source said that if ever the criminals are caught, they just stay in jail and turn down bail (to save money) and wait for their complaining victim to leave.

Our source said that during scheduled hearing, the accused would always ask: "Is the complainant present?"

It is likely that eventually, the complaining victim will not pursue the case as he or she shall have left the city already.

After that, the accused will invoke their right to speedy trial.

As to how these snatchers and pickpockets were able to devise such a brilliant legal strategy is beyond us.

I don't suppose any lawyer gave such an advise to the criminals (to target visitors).

I would rather think it was devised through sheer experience in their adventures with the legal system.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

DOJ junks libel vs Negros Chronicle

One of the libel cases I am handling is the case against my father Ely P. Dejaresco, the editor-publihser of the Negros Chronicle, a 33-year old weekly newspaper in Negros Oriental (

Last June 26, the Department of Justice granted the appeal of the Negros Chronicle which had sought a review of the resolution of the Dumaguete city prosecutor finding probable cause against the Chronicle editor-publisher.

In 2004, the city prosecution had recommended the filing in court of an Information for libel.

The DOJ resolution upheld the constitutional right of citizens to freedom of the press.

Here is the news article published in the Negros Chronicle in its July 9 2006 issue:

DOJ junks Dicen libel,
upholds press freedom

The Department of Justice has dismissed the libel complaint filed by city councilor Samuel Dicen against Ely P. Dejaresco, editor-publisher of the Negros Chronicle.

In a resolution dated June 26, 2006 penned by Undersecretary Ernesto L. Pineda, the justice department reversed the resolution of assistant city prosecutor Edna Villamil dated June 17 2004, who had earlier found probable cause, and recommended that the Chronicle publisher be tried in court for the crime of libel (I.S. No. 2004-223).

The origin: tigbakay

The libel complaint filed by Dicen stemmed from the criticisms published in the Negros Chronicle against the city council for legalizing tigbakay and allowing to proliferate through a provision surreptitiously placed in the city tax ordinance.

Because of this anomaly, there was a proposal in the city council to repeal this tigbakay provision in the tax ordinance, but which proposal was killed by the city council.

Dicen was one of the councilors who voted to kill the proposal to repeal the tigbakay provision.

City councilor Dicen filed a complaint for libel claiming the Chronicle article defamed him.

Assistant city prosecutor Edna Villamil agreed with Dicen and found probable cause to hold the Chronicle editor-publisher for trial

The chronicle publisher elevated the matter to the Department of Justice for review, which found merit in his appeal.

Villamil rebuked

The Department of Justice rebuked assistant prosecutor Villamil’s findings that the element of malice was “presumed to exist.”

The DOJ explained that in order for a publication to be libelous, the writer of the article must be actuated by malice.

“We find the element of malice wanting in this case.,” the DOJ resolution stated.

Privileged character of the article

The DOJ ruled: “While, as a general rule, malice is presumed from defamatory words, the privileged character of a communication destroys the presumption of malice.”

The justice department also ruled that the burden of proving actual malice lies in Samuel Dicen, the complainant.

“He must clearly show the existence of malice when as the true motives of the respondent in his news articles,” the resolution said.

No malice

On the contrary, the department of justice found that the Chronicle editor did not act with malice when he caused the publication of the news articles as he merely reported the manner of the passage and approval of a tax ordinance by the city council of Dumaguete.

A matter of public concern

“Certainly, a tax ordinance is a matter of public concern and interest as it imposes a duty and financial burden on anyone,” the DOJ ruled.

Nothing extrinsic

“Verily , a fair comment on matters of public concern is not libelous, especially in this case when there is no showing that respondent reported anything that was extrinsic to the passage of the tax ordinance in question,” the DOJ said.
Villamil debunked

The justice department also debunked assistant prosecutor Villamil who wrote in her junked resolution, that a finding of malice can be derived from false statements in the publication.

In her resolution, Villamil had written:

“The defamatory imputation that complainant was one of five councilors who hoodwinked the provincial board has no basis and is therefore false.

For which reason when a defamatory imputation is false and is not based on actual facts, there can certainly be no justifiable motives. In writing and publishing the said articles, the element of malice is therefore presumed.”

In rejecting Dumaguete prosecutor Villamil, the department of justice ruled: “To be considered malicious, the libelous statements must be shown to have been written or published with the knowledge that they are false or in “reckless disregard of what is false or not”.

Actual malice

The Department of Justice upheld the argument of the Chronicle publisher that the standard to be applied in defamation complaints initiated by public officials is the “actual malice” standard.

Actual malice means that the writer of an article complained against wrote it with knowledge that it was false or with “reckless disregard of what is false or not”

Meaning of actual malice

The DOL explained the meaning of actual malice invoking Arturo Borjal versus Court of Appeals (G.R. 126446, January 14, 1999): “Reckless disregard of what is false or not” means that the defendant entertained serious doubt as to the truth of the publication, or that he possesses a high degree of awareness of their probable falsity.

Falsity is not the standard

The DOJ also rejected prosecutor Villamil’s erroneous use of the “falsity standard” in determining the existence of probable cause.

Undersecretary Pineda, who penned the DOJ resolution said: “Even assuming that the contents of the articles are false, mere error, inaccuracy or even falsity alone does not prove actual malice.”

“Errors or misstatements are inevitable in any scheme of truly free expression and debate. Consistent with good faith and reasonable care, the press should not be held to account, to a point of suppression, for honest mistake or imperfections in the choice of language.” The DOJ said, citing the Borjal decision.

Chronicle commended

The DOJ commended the Chronicle’s performance of its duty as a watchdog of government affairs by saying that the Chronicle editor was merely moved by his sense of civic duty and, prodded by his moral responsibility as a newspaperman, proceeded to report what he believed to be in good faith, matters of public concern and or general interest.”

Citing Bulletin Publication Corp. versus Court of Appeals, the DOJ concluded: “A newspaper should be free to report on events in which the public has a legitimate interest, with minimum fear of being hurled in court in criminal or civil actions for libel, so long as the newspaper respects and keeps within the standards of morality and civility prevailing within the general community.”

Dicen had filed a series of libel complaints Negros Chronicle none of which prospered.

The city prosecutor has been ordered bv the DOJ to enforce the resolution and report the action taken in ten days.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Ling Ling in Manila

My classmate since kinder school days at Silliman, Jennifer Ling Ling Jornales-Cinco came home from Virginia for a month long vacation.

She came with her family, her husband Jun Jun Cinco a nurse, and son RJ.

Ling Ling treated us for dinner at the Golf club of Camp Aguinaldo where she was staying.
Her sister Jo Anne is based in Camp Aguinaldo with her husband who is an officer in the Armed Forces.

Present at the dinner were Bobord and wife Marsha, Alex Abregana and me and my wife Ruby and son Joshua.

Every balikbayan always says if only the compensation here was sufficient, they would prefer to stay in the Philippines.

Ling Ling said that if you have a good paying job here, better stay because it is not that easy abroad.

Ling ling is an old classmate. I think we were classmates in kindergarter at Silliman.

We were classmate in the elemntary school days, high school and even in college also at Silliman, at the College of Business Administration.

She has a teenage son RJ who is in the second year high school equivalent.

She hails from Canlaon City, north of Negros Oriental, where the famous Canlaon Volcano sits.

However, I think her family skipped Canlaon City because their mother is based here in Manila.

Her husband meanwhile comes from Leyte province.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Superman returns

It was more than twenty years ago that I first encountered on the silver screen the comic book hero Superman which starred Christopher Reeves.

In 1983 Supreman the movie, hit the local box office in Dumaguete City. It was an instant hit, with Dumaguetetenos flocked to Ever theatre at the Escolta.

Now, two decades after, Supreman returns and it is now my son who is looking forward to watching it, this time at the IMAX at the newly SM Mall of Asia.

I am excited as well, as this would be the first time I would watch a movie at IMAX

I am looking forward to seeing a film with hi-tech effects, better than its earlier versions.

Last Thursday, we hoped to have watched Supreman. To our dismay, all seats have already been taken for the week.
The ticket we bought was for the Monday screening.

It was a long que at the ticket counters, as a lot of people were also buying tickets for later showings.

We contented ourselves with much of the mechandising activities outside the IMAX.

There were Supreman t-shirts, costumes, lots of memorabilia, chocolates being sold at the different kiosks just outside the moviehouse.