Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Heavy fines at NTC

If you are a practitioner at the National Telecommunications Commission, you will notice that administrative fines against communications entities who commit lapses are quite heavy.
For instance, for a broadcast station to fail to timely seek and extension of its expired provisional authority to operate its broadcast facility, the fine is P200 per day.
Imagine the amount of fine if the failure to seek and extension reaches several months or years...
I am handling an administative case for a client, whose fine may go beyond the hundred of thousand peso mark.
Pretty expensive...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Never Walk Away

As Journey is about to release their newest album "Revelation" in early June, some of the fresh cuts have been released to radio stations in North America. They have been uploaded in You Tube in anticipation of the public release of the album at Wallmart. The package comes with two cd's, the first containing their greatest hits, and the second, their new songs which include Never Walk Away, After All These Years and Wildest Dreams....On lead vocals of Journey is Filipino rock tenor Arnel Pineda.
Arnel sings together with the Journey main players Neil Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (piano), Ross Valory (bass guitar), and Deen Castranovo (drums).

Here's the Youtube upload of Never Walk Away...

Below is Journey's new rock ballad with high potential of turning into another Journey hit "Afer All These Years"....

I have been a long-time Journey fan since I was ten years old. Of course, I grew up enjoying Journey songs with Steve Perry on lead vocals. The present Journey is with Filipino Arnel Pineda. What Arnel Pineda has done is to bridge the generational gap of Journey enthusiasts. Now it is my nine year old son Joshua enjoying Journey songs sang by Arnel Pineda. We are both Journey fans, although my son and I are a generation apart. This, I think, is what makes Journey unique. The older Journey fans still can relate even with the new batch of young Journey fans. My son Josh and I, our favorite Journey song is "Only The Young"...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chronicle associate editor to speak on libel at PPI confab

Negros Chronicle associate editor Elmar Jay Martin I. Dejaresco will be among the speakers during the annual gathering of newspaper publishers, editors and reporters for the 12th National Press Forum (NPF) and Annual Membership Meeting on May 27-29, 2008 at Diamond Hotel Philippines.
Jay Dejaresco will discuss the recent decisions of the Supreme Court on libel and defamation involving the press.
Dejaresco, who practices media law, is has been speaking on the developments of libel and defamation in various gatherings of newspaper associations and students in the country.
He is director of the Publishers Association of the Philippines (PAPI) and has acted as legal counsel and adviser to several newspapers.
Other topics to be taken during the three-day activity will include the human security act, the bill on the right to information, transparency and good governance, the right of reply, the safety of journalists, and the conference theme “Building Better Communities Through Civic Journalism.”
For the first time, the annual event opens its doors to non-PPI members.
Journalism schools, media organizations, members of the diplomatic corps, government officials, NGOs and civil society groups have been invited to participate in some segments.
A seminar on media accountability and ethics will be conducted for the scholastic press associations.
An exhibit and a media bazaar will be added as new components to make the event more relevant and engaging. Special booths on Civic Journalism will underscore the best practices of some award-winning newspapers in the regions.
The PPI is the national association of newspapers whose mandate is to defend press freedom and promote media ethics for the professional and skills development of journalists in the country.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Perdices and prior restraint

Let me give an update of the defamation case filed by Mayor Perdices against the Australian Dindo P. Generoso.
Mayor Agustin Perdices has foreclosed any settlement of his defamation case against Dindo Generoso during last Thursday’s preliminary conference.
Perdices told the court there wasn’t any settlement because according to him, Dindo Generoso did not comply with his demand that Dindo submit to him a pre-publication draft of Dindo’s column where Dindo was to admit he was wrong.
When I heard this from the mayor, I almost choked.
I thought I would collapse in the courtroom.
Seriously, Perdices may not have realized this but, with all due respect to him, what he demanded was precisely what is abhorred by our constitution.
Our constitutional system prohibits what is called prior restraint.
Prior restraint is an official restriction on free speech prior to publication.
The state, which includes its officials, including mayor Perdices of course, is prohibited from exercising prior restraint.
But this is exactly what Perdices wanted to do. Censorship.
You may not believe it. I couldn’t. But it actually happened.
Perdices wanted a newspaper columnist to submit to him a draft of his article prior to publication!
My goodness.
Perdices wanted to play the role of newspaper editor, and attempted to take over the job editor-publisher publisher Ely P. Dejaresco.
Perdices wanted to make a pre-publication review of the draft of a columnist and see if it meets his approval.
The problem is, even if Perdices applies as editor of the Negros Chronicle., he will not be hired because he is not qualified.
Therefore Perdices, even if he is mayor, and no matter how mighty he thinks of himself, has no business making pre-publication reviews of any article in the Negros Chronicle.
Hands off, Mr. Mayor.
Frankly, I never realized the mayor’s ignorance of the role of a free press in our democratic system.
The last time the state imposed screening restrictions on the press, it was during martial law.
Back in the feudal days where kings ruled, if there had been newspaper men already, then it could have been allowed.
But we live in a different system now.
It is called democracy.
And a mayor is not king. He is supposed to be a “servant of the people” (This is how politicians inaccurately portray themselves during elections: sulugu-on sa haring lungsod ek ek nimo).
I don’t want to say this but I think Perdices’ battery of legal advisers should at least give him a crash lecture on the concept of prior restraint.
Perdices, the client, sounded so funny in court that day.
He did not know what he was talking about.
I really feel sorry for him.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vicente Sotto Memorial Center scandal

I feel outraged over this recent scandal in the Cebu medical profession involving doctors and medical personnel in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital.
As many may have already been informed through mainstream media, a homosexual was placed on the operating table after a canister was inserted into his anus.
As the gay patient narrated on radio, he picked up a person whom he bleieved was a call boy.
They has a sexual episode.
And becuase he was so drunk at that time, he no longer could ascertain what the call-boy did to him.
As it turned out, this cylindrical object was inserted into his anus.
He was rushed to the Vicente Memorial Center in Cebu and was attended to by the doctors and medical personnel there.
There was, obviously a medical procedure done to the gay patient immediately.
The procedure looked like a surgical intervention to remove the foreign cylindrical object.
The procedure was a success, and it turned out that it was a body spray (the brand is "Suede" or something) was inserted into the anus.
What outraged so many about this incident was that the medical procedure was recorded by cellphone videos, most probably by the medical personnel themselves.
The video revealed the circus atmosphere among the medical personnel surrounding the operating table, the video shows.
Worse, the video was uploaded to the internet, through You Tube.
The You Tube video post was subsequently removed. Here is an alternative video post can also be viewed.
This has been picked up even by the international press.
feel outraged at the unprofessional attitude of the medical people present during te procedure.
This is not only unprofessional. This is even a criminal act (unjust vexation would be the mildest charge here)
It was like they were witnessing some kind of etertaining event.
They were cheering, and making fun of the incident.
I thought that medical procedres, like surgey is supposed to be confidential.
If there is at all a video recording, it must be with the consent of the patient.
There are times when the a father would like to video tape the delivery of a newborn.
This can be allowed because there is consent.
The video recording, if it is done at all, must serve an overriding purpose, like for further scientific research.
A basic human right was violated here.
The right to privacy, and to human dignity is recognized not only in our municipal laws, but internationally, such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, that grants every person his right to privacy an dignity.
Now, because the scandalous video has been uploaded for the whole world to see, it has made it available literally for the entire global population.
What is tremendously unfortunate, and extremely ironic is that the Philippines is supposed to be known as among the best producers of talents in the medical profession.
This is something Filipino medical professionals abroad cerainly would not be proud of.
The highest officials of that hospital must answer for this.
They must answer why such a violation of human rights happened in their hospital.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stringrays in Pamilacan

The first time we went to Pamilacan island in Bohol we learned, apart from its virginity, that a lot of stingrays are hunted there and sold as edible meat int he local markets.

I took some video shots of these stingrays that were butchered to pieces.

But if you ask the locals, they will readily deny that they hunt for stingrays.

They will just advance the excuse that the stingrays were accidently caught in their nets and died naturally.

But later in the day, my attention was turned to a group of local fishers butchering the stingrays.

This has led me to think and believe that this is really a cottage industry in this quiet, island.

When you hear the word "stingray", one cannot but associate it with the late Steve Irwin, the famous Australian corcodile hunter who met his untimely death by that fatal puncture by a deadly stingray tail.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oldest functioning train?

There is an antiquated train that still traverses the major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.The train is one of the main mode of transport by commuters who live outside the Metropolis, like Laguna province.I think this rickety train is of world war II vintage.

Everytme it passes through a main street like Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., the motor vehicles are stoped by two bamboo poles. Everytime I pass this area, I feel swallowed into a time warp that takes me decades back.

Bangga an

One of the dangers of Metro Manila streets is the frequency of vehicular mishaps.
While on my way back to Makati from a hearing in Paranaque, I wondered why the traffic along Sucat road, heading towards the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) suddenly became heavy.
I later learned there was another vehicular accident between a Nissan Sentra and a cargo truck.
Vehicle mishaps like this have become a common sight in Metro Manila streets.
Metro Manila is perhaps one of the most dangerous streets.
I feel the policy is "to each his own". No one follows the street lanes.
The solution is to always drive defensively.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Searching for Christ the King

It is not difficult to search for Christ the King.
Unfortunately, it is we ourselves, who make it difficult to search and find Christ the King.
We open our eyes, yet we do not see.
There is an anecdote by Fr. Jerry Orbos, about the search for Christ the King.
Fr. Jerry relates the story about an elderly woman who asked him where Christ the King is.
Fr. Jerry said it just along E. Rodriguez Avenue, not far away from St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City.
Christ the King seminary, run by the SVD’s, is where Fr. Jerry Orbos holds office.
After a while, the elderly woman called Fr. Jerry again via cell phone to tell him that she searched, but still couldn’t find Christ the King.
The woman said, “Father, what I saw were Burger-King, Tapa King, Goto King, and Chow King. But I can’t find Christ the King.”
Fr. Jerry retorted, “Manang, in your sojourn, you seem to find all sorts of “kings” but you cannot find Christ the King, when it is just right there.”
Fr. Jerry added: “After you find all these “kings” there is a gate there with a man in white uniform. He is the security guard named Mang Pa-king. That, for sure is Christ the King.”
There is a parallelism about this anecdote with what happens in real life.
Father Jerry says, many of us living our lives, easily find different kinds of “kings.”
There are money-kings, material-kings, worldly-kings, vice-kings.
Yet it is so difficult to find the real “King” who is Christ the King.
Many of us are looking for the wrong “king.”
It is time to search the right King---Christ the King.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

2008 Nat'l Budget approved

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has recently signed into law the 2008 national budget.
It has been published in the official gazette, I think last March 16.
The national budget being a law, formally a Republic Act, No. 9498.
This year's national budget is the largest in the country's history.
This year's the budget reached the trillion peso mark.
The national budget is the most important single piece of legislation that the Congress passes every year.
It is also called the General Appropriations Act.
Each year the Executive department and Congress devote a lot of work time deliberating about the following year's budget.
In a small scale, national budgeting is no different from making and balancing the family budget.
In a family, mother usually budgets the family income so that it would be sufficient to cover the needs of the family.
In a family there must be enough for daily food sustenance, clothing, for vitamins and health needs of the children, maintenance of the household fixtures, etc.
The father who often works to generate income will have to report his income so that the family will know what are the resources that will be matched agasint the expenses to sustain the needs of the family.
That is basic budgeting.
Expand that to a larger scale, the nation is like one big family.
The government determines how much is the income, as derived from the the taxes paid, as well as other income generating resources, such as tourism revenues.
Then these revenues are matched against expenditures to sustain the needs of the people.
So budgeting by and for a single family and budgeting by and for the nation are not that different, except on the magnitude.
The members of the family have to make sure that money is not put to waste.
In the same manner every citizen, you and I, must make sure that none of the money for public expenditures must be put to waste or worse, to corruption.
Every citizen must be vigilant and be informed about the national budget.
We need to monitor what has been stipulated in the general appropriations act, and ultimately its implementation.
Admittedly though, the national budget is a very thick piece of law.
The printed version of the law is about two inches thick.
Nonetheless, we should learn to read and understand it, so that we can monitor how our taxes are being spent.
All of us a stakeholders in having an efficient budget that translates to services and benefits to our people.