Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Just a while ago, a Malaysian friend called up to inquire as to how to be able to get the passport number of a Filipina.
My friend reported that this Filipina went to Malaysia as a tourist, and entered the labor sector there to earn Malaysian Ringgit.
What happened was that this Filipina allegedly stole jewelries worth hundreds of thousands of pesos from her employer, and is now nowhere to be found.
My friend believes though that the Filipina is still in Malaysia.
My friend said they have reported the matter to the Malaysian authorities and to the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
However, the Malaysian authorities were asking for the passport number of the Filipina so appropriate action can be taken against her, perhaps to blacklist or to arrest her in case she attempts to travel requiring the use of a passport.
Being familiar with the Philippines, my Maylasian friend I guess is open minded enough about compatriots committing an offense in a foreign land.
After all, every nation has its set of thieves, or 'bad eggs,' so to speak.
But I still feel embarrassed about being told that a fellow Filipino committed something wrong in another land.
So, as to the inquiry of my friend I gave reference to the Department of Foreign Affairs which is the agency of the government that issues passports, and certainly has the database of all Filipino passports.
I am one who strongly encourages my compatriots to go out to foreign lands if they wish, and search for their destiny, the greener pastures.
But this encourangement in no way includes condoning the commission of illegal acts because every Filipino always brings along the honor and dignity of their nation wherever they roam in this globe.
That is why I think there is a huge responsibility for every Filipino wanderer to be careful and always strive to do the right things whenever they are abroad.
It is not only their reputation that will be tarnished if they commit illicit acts.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New book released on corporate law

Jesus E.G. Martinez, commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission has authored and published a very informative and practical book on corporate law, entitled "Random Writings on Corporate Law."
I feel honored to be given a copy of this book.
I find the book very pratical because it explains the essentials of corporate law from the perspective of experience and practice, and not mainly on theoretical discussions.
In law school, corporate law was one of the heaviest and toughest subjects, and we read so many court decisions on this subject.
But reading Commissioner Martinez' book, we can be adequately guided in dealing with corporate matters.
It is very useful not only for law practitioners, but also for businessmen, and law students.
Commissioner Martinez is a Silliman law alumnus.
He has provided copies of his book to different law schools.
In the 1980's Jess Martinez was a much younger, visible and vibrant voice in the anti-Marcos activistism in Dumaguete.
I remember other local anti-Marcos fighters from Dumaguete like Meniong Teves (congressman), his son Gary (Finance Secretary), lawyers Saleto Erames, the late Dodong Beltran, Elpidio Unto of Valencia, Jose Ancheta. It was a different time.
Later Jess Martinez re-located in Manila and immersed himself in corporate law practice.
He was appointed in 2002 by President Gloria Arroyo as one of five comissioners of the SEC.
Commissioner Martinez lives with his family, with wife Che, in Paranaque.
They have three children, Mikki my batchmate since kindergarten who also serves as administrative assistant to her dad, Tweety, and Choo-choo, and grandchildren.
The book is now available at National Bookstore outlets.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Repollo Tolentino wedding

Imelda Repollo and Noel Tolentino were married in religious-military wedding January 7, 2007.
Imelda is a longtime friend, back to our high school days at Silliman, all through college at the business administration department.
She is the sister of batch-mate Cenon Voltaire Repollo. They are from Tanjay, children of the late Atty. Felimon Momong Repollo.
They tied the knot at the Saint Ignatius Church at Camp Aguinaldo. Reception followed at the AFP Officer Club nearby.
Imelda is a tax lawyer connected with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT).
Her husband is a captain in the Armed Forces, Noel Tolentino, an Ilocano graduate from the Philippine Military Academy.
He is now deployed in tension gripped Abra province, in prepration for the coming elections.
Abra, if you recall was the province of the late congressman Bersamin who was assasinated at the Mount Carmel Church in Quezon City.
Tagged as the principal suspect by the victim's heirs is the current governor.
Imelda and Noel were introduced a year ago by a common friend who was Imelda's high school classmate and Noel's classmate at the PMA.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

10 Commandments for Responsible Voting

The national and local elections are just around the corner.
The country will once again be in festive mood as politicians will shower the electorate with their routine promises which will never be fulfilled.
As an incentive and in keeping with dirty tradition, many candidates will be distributing to the voters rice, canned goods pre-packed and placed in plastics bearing the candidates names.
Its going to be the usual funfare.
After all politics---after perhaps cockfighting---is the country's favorite pastime.
But there are other conscience-driven sectors which earnestly appeal to the voters to vote responsibly, and treat the elections seriously
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting has issued guidelines for our voters in choosing the right leaders.
The following are the Ten Commandments for Responsible Voting from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

1. Thou shalt vote according to the dictate of your conscience.
2. Thou shalt respect the decision of others in choosing their candidates.
3. Thou shalt seek to know the moral integrity, capabilities and other personal qualities of the candidates you will vote for.
4. Thou shalt strive to understand the issues, platform and programs of candidates and parties seeking your vote.
5. Thou shalt not sell your vote.
6. Thou shalt not vote for candidates using guns, goons and gold.
7. Thou shalt not vote for candidates with records of graft and corruption.
8. Thou shalt not vote for candidates just because of "utang na loob" (debt of gratitude) , popularity, or pakikisama (camaraderie).
9. Thou shalt not vote for candidates living an immoral life.
10. Thou shalt put the welfare of the country above all else in choosing the candidate you will vote for.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Recent birthday celebrants

I am reminded of two recent birthday celebrants. They are my younger brother Anton I. Dejaresco and first cousin Nina Kristine Dejaresco Araneta (Ating).
Ating is the second daughter of Tito Tony Araneta and Tita Charito, based in Mandaue, Cebu.
They have the same birthdays, January 23, although I am not sure whether they were born on the same year.
I was able to send them a birthday greeting through text message, as I was in Isabela province attending a hearing yesterday.
Anton is currently based in Dumaguete and is looking for a job, after he resigned from his work in Manila.
Ating likewise has signified her plan to resign from Petron Cebu in a month.
She plans to help in the family business in Tagbilaran City Bohol, while preparing for her plans to take up masters in business in Singapore.
We are, I think, tens years apart in age.
But we cousins remain close as we regularly get together at least once in a year in Bohol to spend the holidays with other cousins, uncles. aunts and our grandmother.

Fire report disputed

The Dumaguete Fire report on the fire that occured last January 15, 2007 in downtown Dumaguete is being questioned and disputed.
The fire report has stated that a certain Bernadette Tan Pastor allegedly called up by telephone the fire department and reported that "there was fire at Marjories Boutique"
However, this same Bernadette Tan Pastor, whose apartment unit was among those razed in the same fire, vehemently denied having told the fire department that "there was fire at Marjories' Boutique."
This is according to my brother Em-em who personally met with Bernadette Tan Pastor. The latter went to the fire department to make this correction and clarification.
Bernadette Tan Pastor said she told the fire department over the telephone that "there was fire at Body and Sole" a spa that occupied the fire unit of the Flores Apartment along Silliman Avenue.
Tan Pastor was occupying the fourth unit of the same apartment.
Tan Pastor also corrected the fire report which wrongly stated they were occupying the third door of the apartment.
Tan Pastor said she was willing to execute an affidavit to this effect, in order to correct the false entries in the fire report.
The subject fire report apparently used the phone call of Bernadette Tan Pastor to bolster their finding that the fire could have started at Marjories' Boutique.
This is not the first time that fire probers have entangled themselves in such a controversy.
The investigation into the fire along Locsin St. Dumaguete City more than a year ago was likewise placed under question as the origin of the fire was likewise disputed.
Also, the fire department faced stern criticism when it failed to immediately contain the fire that engulfed the old city prosecutors' office along Colon St. when it was just beside the fire station.
The fire chief Arnulfo Sayson placed the blame on everybody else except themselves.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Killing stingrays

Stingrays gained more popularity after the death of world-renowned conservationist Steven Erwin of Australia. He was killed by a puncture of a stingray's tail.
Recently we visited Pamilican island in Bohol.
It is one of the virgin islands in this part of the country, still unspoiled by commercial exploitation.
There are two rather small islands off Bohol province, smaller than popular tourist island Panglao, yet to be discovered.
They are Pamilacan and Balicasag, both tourist potentials.
Pamilacan is four times bigger than Balicasag.
It is less than an hour via motorized banca trip from mainland Bohol, from the town of Loay.
Guests who go Dolphin watching often drop by Balicasg and Pamilacan.
We arrived a few hours after sunrise, and were able to catch-up with the fisherfolks of the island who have just arrived from their daily fishing activities in deep sea.
We encountered two stingrays among marine catch they brought.
The stingrays were already dead when we saw them.
The fishermen from the island denied they were stingray-hunting.
They claimed that the stingrays were just entangled with the nets they set out at sea.
But I noticed that the stingrays had fresh red cuts and burises in parts of their black skins.
The fishermen also said that they never include stingrays among their targets, although they admitted that they command a price in the local market.
The stingrays are heavy. I tried to lift one of the dead stingrays but it was so heavy.
Fishermen said that the stingray they caught wighed at least 70 kilos.
Later, the stingrays were sliced and mutilated, and distributed among the fisherfolks for sale in mainland Bohol.
I was able to capture the mutilattion by video. You can view it at :
There really is no effective regulation in the preservation of our marine life.
No government entity monitors these activites.
It is hurting our own marine life.
Something has to be done about this.
Effective regulation, education of the locals, and impressing on them the importance of preserving life in our seas, are urgently needed

Friday, January 19, 2007

What it used to be...

I have just reported about the latest fire that razed the northern part of the commercial center in Dumaguete which is that strip of stores leading to the corner of Silliman Avnue and Perdices Street.
It is a location that one can never miss, if one is from Dumagtuete, or was a student of Silliman.
The site of the fire is just a few meters away from the Gate of Opportunity, which is the welcome monument of Silliman University.
The establishments that were gutted down were part of the city's history.
It had been the structures that greeted student-passers by, or just ordinary visitors who just arrived from the Dumaguete pier.
Those razed were Rosante, a restaurant that used to offer snacks for students like pizza, and siopao.
Also razed were Marjories Boutique, owned by the Yee family and run by Marjorie (my sister-in-law) and Em-em (my brother).
On the Silliman Avenue side, razed to the ground was the Flores apartment. The unit fronting the road was a spa, Body and Sole.
Spared was Jo's Chicken Inato because of the space that divided the apartment from the chicken restaurant, plus the high protective firewall which prevented the fire from spreading further east.
By fate, not long ago, I went around the city with my camera and took pictures of these historic sites of the city where I grew up.
I took shots of commercial establishments, including those that were victimized by the latest fire.
So, for posterity, I am placing photos of these historic structures here in my blog because it will forever remain a memory.
For certain, there will be new buildings that will replace them, but it will never be the same as that which gave Dumaguetenos so much memories of their lives when they used to pass and stroll along these stores.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Another Fire razes downtown Dumaguete

Fire of still undetermined origin razed the the northern part of downtown Dumaguete at the corner of Silliman Avenue and Perdices Street, burning down some of the old commercial stores of the city.
The fire gutted down Rosante restaurant along Perdices Avenue (formerly Alfonso XIII), a popular hangout among Silliman students for many years.
Also razed were Marjories' boutique and another snack bar beside it which was supposed to have opened in two weeks.,
Also burned down was the row of apartments along Silliman Avenue where a local franchised spa, Body and Sole was also operating, beside Jo's Chicken Inato.
This location had been a landmark commercial center of the city, way back in the 1970's.
When I was a kid, my family lived on the third door of the Flores apartment.
We resided there for about six years. It is gone now.
Marjories' Boutique used to be Marjories' Drug store, a pharmacy, in the 1970s.
Rosante used to be Sahara snack bar in the 1970s.
During those days, Cang's General Supply was located right accross Marjories.
I am very familiar with this area. I used to sell The Negros Chronicle newspaper there on these streets---P.15 centavors per copy.
The site of the present Scooby's (corner Silliman Ave. and Perdices St. west part) used to be Foodarama (if you recall) owned by retired Judge Terry Chiu, whose Texas-based son Ricky is now my law partner in our Dumaguete office.
Anyway, I was one of the first who was informed of the latest of a series of fires to have hit the city.
I received a text message less than thirty minutes after the fire started, at around 4:30 a.m. Monday January 15, 2007.
The reason why I received such an early call was because it was my sister who sent the text message.
Marjories' Boutique was run by my sister in law, Marjorie Yee Dejaresco.
The snack bar that was yet to open in two weeks was supposed to be run by Marjorie and her husband Em-em, who is my younger brother.
Now everything is gone.
The fire reportedly started at around 4 a.m. Monday, and was contained before 8 a.m.
It could be that Dumaguete is so unlucky with fires because there's no stopping these fires razing parts of commercial downtown Dumaguete.
Or it is possible that someone or some people are playing with fire and rake in profits out of it.
Let us later analyze the string of fires that have hit downtown Dumaguete lately.
The area where the defunct Hassaram's Department Store used to operate had been razed to the ground. It is now replaced by a newly refurbished store.
Uymatiao building, where a mall now has been errected, Mart One, had also been burned.
The city prosecutor's office, the very next building eastward adjacent to the fire department was also totally burned.
That fire in the city prosecutor's office is really one for the books.
It happened right at the very noses of our fire department, yet it was razed to the ground as the response was too late.
There is more to that latest Monday fire.
I'll blog on it later.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Dumaguete mayorship: A Three cornered fight?

The battle for the mayorship of Dumaguete could likely be a three cornered fight.
Contrary to speculations, the incumbent Mayor Agustin Perdices may be contested by formidable opponents in the May elections.
Provincial board member and lawyer Arturo Umbac is reportedly set to gun for the mayorship of the city.
Board member Umbac, garnered the highest number of votes in Dumaguete City among candidates for board members in the last elections.
Reports say Umbac will be backed by Rep. Emilio C. Macias II, who is set to make a comeback for the Capitol's top post.
The probable third candidate for mayor is former mayor Felipe Ipe Remollo.
Remollo is also said to be eyeing the mayorship and will regain city hall from the incumbent mayor who has already been mayor of Dumaguet for seventeen years.
Remollo was mayor of Dumaguete in 1998. He lost to Perdices in 2001.
Should a three cornered fight emerge for the mayorship, it will be a hotly contested election since all three candidates have their own respective political strengths.
Mayor Perdices is expected to be hounded with various issues on peace and order, the extrajuidicial vigilante killings which have remained unsolved, the problem of illegal drugs.
Board member Umbac, while having a sterling public service record as provincial board member and as a former general manager of the electric cooperative, will have to answer questions about his age.
The 45-year old Remollo meanwhile, lost the mayorship on the issues pertianing the controversial purchase of heavy equipment.
Perdices, who challenged Remollo in 2001 claimed that heavy equipment purchased from China were made to appear as brand new when allegedly they were not brand new.
A complaint was filed before the offic eofthe ombudsman against Remollo.
Remollo has been cleared by the ombudsman.
A three cornered fight would be seen as a welcome development by the Duamguete electorate since it would accord more choices for the voters.

Corrpution in Singapore

Here's a rare story you would ever hear about Singapore: Corruption.
I picked up a news item from the Philipine Star about a young former immigration officer in Singapore who was charged with corruption.
The officer was charged with granting 14 day social visit visas to women for a fee.
I checked The Strait Times of Singapore, since it was the source of the story that was printed in the Philippine Star.
It was dubed as the "U-Turn Scam."
It was called as such because many of these women after being granted a 14 day social visit upon first entering Singapore, would go to Malaysia and then immediately make a "U-Turn" and re-enter Singapore.
The purpose is to get another fresh 14 day social visit and extend their stay in Singapore.
This has been uncovered by Singapore authorities so they have been tight against this scheme.
One Singaporean immigiration officer, who was assigned to stamp social visit visas near Johor Baru (Malaysia's border city with Singapore), apprently couldn't resist the temptation and acceded to give a stamp in exchange for fifty dollars for each re-entering person.
The story in the Strait Time reported:

AN IMMIGRATION officer was charged with 24 counts of corruption involving a total of $2,150. Siti Sarina Mohamed Kassim, 28, was an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) specialist at Woodlands checkpoint in 2004 when she allegedly agreed to accept bribes from two men in return for giving 14-day social visit passes to female foreigners

The Philippine Star reported that those who avail of this illegal "U-Turn" scheme were Filipina hostesses who seek to extend their stay in Singapore.
It is unfortunate that the culture of corruption in the Philippines has become contagious and has affected one poor lady immigration officer in Singapore.

We experienced this "U-Turn" scheme in Singapore because we went for a one-day tour to Kuala Lumpur.
Technically that was a "U-Turn" activity since we departed Singapore late in the evening.
We arrived Kuala Lumpur the following day, and came back to Singapore late in the day.
We were given a fresh 14-day social visa.
But of course, we didn't have any intention of extending our stay in Singapore.
In such situations, it would be advisable to bring along your return plane ticket to convince the Sinapore immigiration that indeed you are going back to the Philippines on a particuar day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ipe Remollo: I'm inclined to run

Former Dumaguete mayor Felipe Antonio "Ipe" Remollo has bared he definitely does not discount the possibility of making a comeback in local politics in the May elections.
“I’m inclined to run,” the 45 year-old told the Chronicle in an exclusive interview.
He said he is seriously weighing certain factors before he makes his final decision.
Remollo did not categorically disclose the position he prefers to participate in the coming elections, saying he is eligible to either comeback as mayor, run for governor, or even for congressman.
“Everything is fluid in politics,” Remollo said.
He added that in politics, the only thing permanent is change.

Conditions to run for mayor

Remollo confirmed that he took some time off his Manila law practice last December to test the waters, quietly feeling the pulse of the people.
He said he will continue to consult other sectors, and hear their sentiments.
He recognized that regaining the mayorship of Dumaguete was pushed by some quarters he talked with during the holidays.
He however cited stern conditions before he will consider running for city hall again.
First, he said is lack of any alternative.
He said if there is no one who will step forward and present a viable and credible alternative to the present administration, then that would be a signal for him to present himself.
“I can present an alternative,” Remollo said.
“I was mayor once. The people can gauge my three-year performance. I have a master-plan for the city which can be re-implemented and continued if I comeback. That is an alternative,” he said.
His second condition is that there must be no other credible alternative.
He explained that those who would run for mayor must not have been associated with, nor have helped the present administration in past elections.
If contenders are associated with the local leadership, then they are not really alternatives, he said.

Governorship or Congressman?

The governorship and a congressional seat are also interesting challenges, the former mayor said. Remollo confirmed that he has been approached by some mayors in the province urging him to run against Rep. Emilio Macias who is touted to regain capitol.

Others are also pushing him to run for congress, since he has also established ties with Manila politicans considering that he has been practicing in Manila for a long time.
As matter of fact, he recalls that in 2004 he was personally urged by President Arroyo to run for Congress. But he politely he declined and instead worked for the President's election.

Gauging Perdices’ performance

Remollo said for the last six years he has never criticized nor posed any obstruction to the administration of mayor Perdices to give him a chance to develop the city.
He was hoping that the masterplan he started during his administration would be pursued.
Unfortunately, the conditions of the city, particularly the peace and order, traffic, the drug problem have gone from bad to worse.

A failure of leadership

Tuting epitomizes a failure of leadership, Remollo said.
He has served as mayor of Dumaguete for seventeen years. What has he done for this city in seventeen years?
“Where is Dumaguete now, after his seventeen years as mayor?” Remollo asked.

Mayor Perdices first became mayor in 1988 until 1998. Remollo was elected in 1998-2001. Perdices came back as mayor in 2001 until th present.
"When senseless killings of the young and innocent, extrajudicial executions happen right at your very nose and remain unsolved; when corruption by local officials are unabated, that is nothing short of a total failure of leadership," Remollo said.

“The problem with Tuting is that he is losing focus,” he said.
“Tuting is salivating to be governor like his father, yet he always wants to play safe,” he explained.
Because of Perdices’ ambition to be governor, he is not concentrating on making Dumaguete a safe and better place, Remollo added.
That is unfair and prejudicial to Dumaguetenos, he said.

But to change Perdices has to be a collective and resolute effort of all stakeholders, he said.
Sacrifices have to be made, he added.
Remollo said he will announce his decision on whether to throw his hat into the political ring in the coming days.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A multi million columbarium in NegOr

A multi-million peso privately-run columbarium is quietly being constructed right in the church grounds of Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish in the town of Valencia, Negros Oriental.
From the reports that we received, the construction of this spanking columbarium resulted from a memorandum of agreement between the Diocese of Dumaguete and a private group headed by Constancio Sia.
The Diocese of Dumaguete is involved because it owns the land where the columbarium is to be constructed, which is located within the premises of the Valencia parish church.
I have to admit, I was ignorant about what a columbarium is until I stumbled into this in Valencia.
A columbarium has been defined a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns (i.e. urns holding a deceased’s cremated remains).
So after the remains of a dead person is cremated, it is reduced into ashes, and has to be stored in some placed where the living would pay respects.
The ashes are placed in what is called a columbarium.
In Valencia, aside from the columbarium, what are to be contructed are usuary park, plus adoration chapel.
The idea is to offer these mini "memorial plots" commercially to private persons who may be interested.
Apparently, it is on "pre-selling" mode because the columbarium has not yet been completed.
As of this writing what has been done on the land area is levelling of the ground, and the construction of the cemented fence.
There is only one columbarium that I know that exists in Negros Oriental, and that is the one inside the Dumaguete Cathderal, and is being run by the diocese.
The one in Valencia is in partnership with a private entity.
When I was in Valencia during the holidays, the residents have no idea what is being done on the parish premises, although there is a big board showing the proposed construction of the columbarium, usuarry park and adoration chapel.
Obviously, the columbarium caters to the well-to-do families, and those who have relatives working abroad because each plot costs thousands of pesos.
What I noticed about this columbarium in Valencia is that it will take up much physical space out of the parish.
The land lays idle, and being church property, is exempt from tax.
But when it becomes income generating, someone has to pay the government its due.