Monday, March 31, 2008

Bloody labor unrest at Dumaguete pier

The labor unrest at the Dumaguete pier has turned bloody.
I read from news reports that the violent scuffle has resulted in injuries between the police and the picketing laborers.
There is a photo of one member of the picketing labor force bloodied, and accosted, perhaps for treatment.
It pains me to see such situations where laborers, have to experience such violent controntations in defense of their rights and interests.
One has to emphatize, in order to feel the greivances sentiments of the poorer sector of our society.
They are natural victims of social inequities.
The laborers have simple wants.
They merely want to have the basic necessities in life---food, clothing and shelter.
Yet, they have to experience violent confrontations to achieve their ends.
Those who have less in life must have more in law, according to one of the greatest presidents of this country, President Ramon Magsaysay.
He was a president who exemplified the meaning of true public service, which is service to the poor first, not to the capitalists, the rich, who can afford all the luxuries in life.
That is why we have a constitution that seeks to protect the interests of labor.
But these constitutional precepts are so difficult to uphold in day-to-day practice.
Blood, sweat, tears have to flow in defense of these social justice provisions.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Carnapping industry

Carnapping has become a cottage industry in Metro Manila.
Here is one of the schemes of carnap syndicates.
When an insured car suffers a total loss, the insurance company pays the insured.
The insruance company seeks to salvage whatever losses it suffered out of paying the insured.
To salvage, the insurance company sells through public bidding the "total loss" car.
Here come the carnappers.
They buy these "total loss" cars sold by the insurance company.
These "total loss" cars are complete with legal papers.
The carnappers then steal another car of the same make and model.
The carnappers will use the engine of the "total loss" car they bought from the insurance company, and replace the engine of the stolen car.
As a result, they will now have a car complete with legal papers.
Authorities will not be able to determine that it is a hot car.
Meanwhile, the engine of the carnapped car, will be chopped into bits and sold in pieces.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Dent on Democracy

The decision of the Supreme Court favoring Secretary Romulo Neri by allowing him to invoke executive privilege, has been seen as creating a dent in our democracy.
It is a dangerous decision because it would encourage the furtherance corruption in the highest position of government.
It pounces on the principle of checks and balances between the three main branches of government.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cory has colon cancer

The news today that former President Corazon Aquino has colon cancer came as a shock.
Immediately, what came to my mind was the battle that our family faced when our late grandfather Zoilo D. Dejaresco was struck by the Big C more than five years ago.
It is a stressful, agonizing exercise because cancer is a very serious ailment.
With my grandfather, I learned at very close range, how a person and a family cope with cancer.
I learned what chemotherapy is, and how it mauls both the flesh and the spirit of the patient.
That is why I offer prayers for the former President, and all those who are similarly facing such difficult trial.
I pray for full recovery.
I pray for the surrounding loved ones, that they may have strength in their times of suffering.
As an icon of Philippine democracy, Cory's place in Philppine history has long been secured.
It was so dramatic to witness a plain houswife Cory, fight the politically skilled dictator not long ago.
But as she faces her latest battle, we join in prayers that she would achieve yet another victory.
She will overcome.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Messages

Happy Easter!
Today My cellphone kept on buzzing with Easter Messages.
The messages are warm, well crafted, and its impact is distrbed only by the thought that probably this was just a message forwarded already a hundred times.
Worse, the thought that probably these beautifulm poetic Easter messages emanated from the telecom giants themselves and broadcast for the gulible subscribers to forward to their friends.
In short, its actually, the Easter test messages is another innovative commercialization of the commemoration of the Lord's ressurection.
In any event, I force myself to think these were genuined Easter greetings sent from one brethren to another.
If thought this way, the Easter text message bring greater meaning.
Here are some of the Easter text messages I received today, messages which you yourself might have received also:

Holy Week Reflections:
1.) Sometimes, God breaks our spirit to save our soul.
2.) Sometimes, He sends us pain so we can be stronger.
3.) Sometimes, He sends us failure so we can be humble.
4.) Sometimes, He sends us illness so we can take better care of ourselves.
5.) Sometimes, he takes "EVERYTHING" away so we can learn thevalue of 'EVERYTHING: we have.

He is Risen. May the blessings of the Risen Christ remain with you and loved ones always.
Happy Easter!

Like birds, let us leave behind what we don;t need to carry - grudges, sadness, pain, fears, & regrets. Fly light. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL by design...Happy Easter!

Happy Easter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Glorietta blast: Insurable or not?

There is a brewing controversy over insurance matters with respect to the fatally tragic Gloreitta blast in Makati last year.
Aside from the Ayala-owned properties that were adversely affected by the Glorietta explosion, there were spaces in the buildings that were leased by private third parties, and covered by insurance.
Now, these lessees are trying to claim their respective insurance proceeds as a result of the explosion.
The trouble is that there are two diverse theories that arose, pointing to the probable cause of the explosion.
The official theory of the Philippine National Police is that the explosion was caused by methane gas and probably diesel that was stored in the basement of the Glorietta II building.
This is being disputed by the Ayala property owner which advanced the theory that it was caused by explosives, raising the possibility of a terrorist attack.
Both theories are backed--supposedly--by international experts.
The position of insurance companies is a wait-and-see attitude pending the determinative outcome as to the real cause of the explosion.
So, insurance claims are at a standstill.
If the explosion indeed was casued by some explosive or bomb, and therefore likely a terrorist act, do the insurance policies cover perils arising out of terrorist acts?
Most policies exclude terrorist coverage, unless there is aggravated premium.
If the explosion was not done by an act of terror, is methane gas excluded or included among the covered causes of explosion?
Some fire insurance policies may or may not cover explosion caused by domestic gas like LPG, and sources of illumination.
But what about explosion caused by methane gas?
Aha! Better check the terms of the insurance policy.
The exclusions there are very specific.
So the finding by the Philippine National Police that the explosion was caused by methane gas, may not be helpful to insurance claimants.
Very interesting....

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. led the anti-color coding movement

Neither Bayani Fernando nor the MMDA invented "color-coding."
"Color-coding" dates back to the days of the civil rights movement.
I just remembered one of my favorite words, spoken by the late Martin Luther King Jr. at the height of the civil rights movement.
He said: It is better to walk in dignity, than to ride in humiliation.
These words were spoken after a black woman riding on a bus, refused to give her seat to a white passenger.
Rosa Parks was arrested because of her refusal.
It was the law then that blacks must give up their bus seats to whites.
Then, there were toilets for blacks, and separate toilets for whites, even if the color of urine was the same.
Schools for white, and schools for blacks, despite the equal intellectual capacities and potentials.
It was the darks days of segregation, a period in American history better left forgotten.
Those days people were segragated based on skin-color.
The Rosa Parks incident ignited a burning movement for equality.
The angered blacks, mounted a peaceful protest by deciding to just walk to work and refuse to ride the "color-coded" bus seats.
They prefered to experience the daily discomforts of walking in dignity.
What about you?
Are you, today, walking in dignity?
Or are you riding in humiliation?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Can the truth be compromised?

I am much confused with the end result of the petition before the Supreme Court filed by CHED Chairman Romulo Neri, who had asked that the Senate be prevented from compelling him to testify on the ground of executive privilege.
During the orgal arguments, the Supreme Court apparently issued a solomonic solution by urging the parties to come up with a compromise.
As I write this, the compromise was that Romulo Neri will go back to the Senate and testify, but the Senate cannot ask three questions.
These forbidden questions, according to news reports (since I was not able to attand the oral arguments at the Supreme Court), are: (1) Whether President Arroyo approved the NBN-ZTE project inspite of the bribery disclosure, (2) whether she had dictated on Neri to approve the project, and (3) whether the President had followed up on her directive.
To, me this is a highly unusual result in the highest court of the land.
It is my impression that the truth after all, is subject to compromise.
So the people will not know the answers to the forbidden questions from the very lips of Romulo Neri.
But of course, the answers are already out, mainly from secondary sources like Rodolfo Lozada, Jr.
Lozada has testified that Neri had told him that the President instructed Neri to approve the monumentally anomalous NBN ZTE broadcband deal.
In fact, I recall Neri had already testified in the Senate that the President had told him to reject the P200-million bribe offer of Benjamin Abalos, but approve the NBN deal just the same.
But I am very uncomfortable about this proposed compromise deal to be struck in the Supreme Court.
I know as a lawyer that almost everything can be subject to compromise.
Under the rules of court, the few things that cannot be subject of compromise are support, civil status of persons, among others.
But never did I ever think that the search for truth, or the truth itself, is subject to compromise.
The reason why I think the truth is not subject to compromise is that one is supposed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
With this looming compromise deal, it is my undertantding that when one testifies, he may testifiy about 90% of the truth only.
So when Neri goes back to the Senate, he will be asked to tell the truth, most-but-not-all of the truth, and nothing but most-of-the-truth.
I was expecting a landmark, historic decision by the Supreme Court on the issue of executive privilege, in the same way that the United States Supreme Court decided executive privilege in United States versus Nixon.
During the politically tumultuous times of the Nixon presidency, Nixon had wanted to prevent the White House tape-recordings of presidential conversations revealed to the public.
Nixon failed in his bid.
Eventually, he resigned from office.
I had also wanted to know whether Neri can invoke executive privilege, when he is not the president.
Who has the privilege to invoke executive privilege?
Who decides what is covered by executive privilege?
Can executive privilege be invoked, even if raising it would effectively conceal a crime?
Can anybody, who might just happen to have talked with the president, be allowed to invoke executive privilege?
If the President talks to a Malacanang gardener, can the gardener refuse to disclose his/her conversations with the President on the ground that in his personal judgement, the conversations were matters of executive privilege?
Is it the garderner who decides what is covered by executive privilege?
In short, what are the parameters of executive privilege?
The Supreme Court is the court of last resort.
With this compromise agreement (if executed), there will be no definitive ruling on the matter of executive privilege.
For the Supreme Court, it would have been a defining moment.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Prior restraint

The order of the Air Transportation Office (A.T.O.) to impose a no-fly zone over the Makati business district during the mammoth interfaith gathering on Friday Febraury 29 is patently unconstitutional.
It infringes on the constitutional right to press freedom, abridging newsmen's basic and fundamental right to legitimate news-gathering.
Because of the no-fly zone, no aerial photo shots of the gathering could be done, thus depriving the public of getting a bird's eye-view of the extent of the crowd that participated.
We are left with building-top photo, like the one taken by Voltaire Domingo.
It is clearly a form of prior restraint.
It is no different from that directive of the National Telecommunications Commission intruding on the news content, and editorial prerogatives of the press, particuarly broadcast media.
The NTC directive was done in the guise of regulation.
The ATO diective imposing a no-fly zone over Makati last Friday was also done in the guise of safety concerns.
Many typhoons have swept across Makati the past years.
The ATO was never heard imposing any no-fly zone.
This is the first time I have ever heard of Makati being declared a no-fly zone from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., coincidentally the time during which the interfaith gathering took place.