Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stare Decisis

The congressional race in the first district is heating up.
The contest is between incumbent Jocelyn S. Limkaichong and former Rep. Jacinto Paras.
The camp of Paras has filed a disqualification case against Rep. Limkaichong.
The ground is essentially the same as the disqualification case filed in the previous election: that Rep. Limkaichong is not a natural born Filipino.
The constitution requires that a member of the house of representatives must be a natural born Filipino.
The Supreme Court has said that a congressman must be a natural born citizen not only on the day of the election, but must be so, during the entire tenure of office (Limkaichong v Comelec, G.R. 178831-32, April 1, 2009) .
What is important is that when it comes to citizenship of a member of congress, or any elective official for that matter, it can be questioned anytime, according to the Supreme Court.
For instance, in Frivaldo v Comelec, the Supreme Court ruled that a petition to disqualify an elective official, on the ground that he is not a Filipino citizen, may be file at anytime
Thus, legally raising again the issue of the citizenship of Rep. Limkaichong comes not as a surprise.
But what is surprising is the manner of questioning her citizenship
The Supreme Court has already ruled in the Limkaichong case (Limkaichong v Comelec July 30, 2009) that Rep. Limkaichong’s qualification cannot be attacked before any tribunal or government institution.
“It is not enough that one's qualification, or lack of it, to hold an office requiring one to be a natural-born citizen, be attacked and questioned before any tribunal or government institution,..” the Court said.
There must be proper proceedings required by law.
The proper proceeding, as the Supreme Court itself has spelled out, is denaturalization proceedings.
The Supreme Court cited Section 18 Commonwealth Act 473.
The basis for questioning Rep. Limkaichong’s citizenship is the alleged defects in the naturalization of her father Julio Ong Sy a long time ago.
Under the law, the Solicitor general, his representative or the provincial fiscal can file a motion in court to cancel the naturalization certificate of a naturalized person, in this case Rep. Limkaichong’s father Julio Ong Sy.
The Supreme Court has already ruled that not even private persons, in an election contest, can seek a declaration of Rep. Limkaichong’s non-qualification.
Denaturalization “is plainly not a matter that may be raised by private persons in an election case involving the naturalized citizen’s (Juilo Sy’s) descendant (Rep. Limkaichong)”, said the Supreme Court.
This is decision of the Supreme Court .
It is the law of the case.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A true Caballero

By Pia Y. Dejaresco (Guest writer)

It was just two Thursdays ago (December 10) when my Physicial Education (P.E.) teacher taught his last.
I was told by my homeroom advisers that our P.E. teacher, Mr. Miguel ‘Mike’ Caballero, was diagnosed with lung cancer.
The fear was that the illness may not allow him to live very long, we were told.
Our class was devastated by the news.
Most of my classmates cried. I did, too.
I could remember our last lesson. It was about soccer. How goals are scored, fouls, what happens after a foul and whether the ball is in play our not. Unexpectedly, he asked us “Kinsay chada ug agi diri? Kanang taason” We pointed to a tall girl-classmate.
He asked her to write on the board for him because his arm was too painful for him to write. We could see.
After our teacher told us the news about Sir, we remembered our moments with him. Especially the times when he calls someone to answer a simple question.
If that someone gets it wrong he would say “Ah, kingkoy ka!”
Everyone would laugh.
He would always use the word “kingkoy” as a funny expression.
My father, Em-em Dejaresco, couldn’t forget that in 1983, Sir Caballero gave him a chance to play for the SUES Soccer Team.
He was the only 5th grader in the first team.
The rest were 6th graders.
Because of that chance, he went on to become a varsity player during his High School days and all the way to college.
Even playing for NORFA in national-level competitions.

Tribute to a true Caballero

My uncle Jay Dejaresco, too, has fond memories of Sir Mike Caballero.
“I have so much to thank Mr. Miguel ‘Mike’ Caballero for,” he said
Uncle Jay was Mr. Caballero’s student more than twenty five years ago.
“What I am today, an unforgettable part of it was because of Mr. Caballero’s influence, Mr. Caballero was my P.E. teacher in the elementary days," uncle Jay recalled.
"I saw in Mr. Caballero a remarkable desire to involve his students in sports.” he said.
My uncle saw Sir’s consistency— day-in and day-out--- in trying to mold students, and impart the importance of being fit not only mentally, but also physically.
“As an elementary student, I chose to engage in the sport of soccer football.” uncle recalled.
That was because Mr. Caballero welcomed any student who wanted to learn football, to join his after-school practice games in that crude soccer field, in front of the Silliman President’s White House, starting every 4 p.m.
Uncle Jay rcounted that everytime Mr. Caballero left the school in the afternoon and walked towards their playing field, wearing those trade-mark short pants, they would trail him like his disciples, not far behind.
“I learned to love soccer football because of Mr. Caballero.” He added.
He was very consistent in those afternoon games. He would act as referee and coach at the same time. He taught us the fundamentals of the game, uncle Jay remembered.
When my uncle graduated from grade school, he continued with his afternoon soccer practice. He became a varsity player in high school.
He trained with the best soccer trainers in the province.
Because of this passion and persistence, he became part of that elite team of high school players privileged to play in the national football games at the Ultra in Pasig.
“I was able to compete against the best soccer players in the country, at our age level then," he said.
"And for all the sweat, hard work, challenges, the triumphs in the football field, I share it with him," uncle said.
Looking back, uncle Jay said he could have ended up a bum in high school, wasting his afternoons.
“I could have been easily hooked in various vices, like drinking, drugs, were it not for those afternoon grinds that drove me daily to the football field,” he recalled.
“So, I am thankful to Mr. Caballero for igniting that love and passion for sports at a young age," uncle Jay said.
Young students must not only strive to do good in academics, uncle stressed.
They should also do as well in their physical development, he added.
My uncle is sure that many of Sir Caballero’s former students will agree that he played well this important role in successfully transforming kids into young, passionate sports enthusiasts.
Uncle Jay described Sir Mike Caballero as one dedicated man who has made a tremendous, positive impact to many of his students.
A true Caballero, indeed.
Somebody up there is happy for Sir Mike, for doing such a wonderful job.
God bless you, Sir Mike Caballero!
Keep fighting!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas is hope

Christmas is five days away, so let me greet our friends a Merry and peaceful Christmas.
Let us reflect on the significant events that happened the past year.
This year was filled with tragedies and calamities.
Killer typhoons were raging.
Evil drew first blood in Maguindanao, killing our fellow journalists and women, even lawyers.
Yet, despite the sufferings, hardships, and difficulties, we have all the reason say thank to Good Lord for his presence in our lives.
We overcame.
We look forward to another year.
We hope it will not be tumultuous, bloody, or violent, specially with the coming elections.
We pray for sobriety among warring politicians.
Hopefully they will be enlightened that the political positions they aspire for are not really the important things in life.
These are temporary, and they will not attain permanent title over it.
So relax.
There are far more important and exciting things that life has to offer.
Instead we urge politicians to fill the air with the Christmas spirit.
Be in mindful you have already filed your certificates of candidacies.
Be generous, so you will be remembered come May next year.
Hopefully our politicians will not be missing in action this Christmas season.
Otherwise, your names will be ‘missing’ in the ballots next year.
Seriously, this Christmas week, let us focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
We commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior.
We are sinners. We incorrigibly commit wrong. We err.
But we have reason to hope that somehow, there is one who will cleanse us of our sins.
He will overlook our transgressions and assure us that everything is ok.
So let us pause this Christmas, and focus on its meaning in each of our lives.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why rebellion?

I find it hard to believe that the government filed rebellion against the members of the Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao.
Even with the advent of modern technology no iota of evidence---not a photograph, not a video--- has been shown of any actual public uprising and taking up of arms against the government, against any of those charged with rebellion.
The Ampatuans are fiercely loyal to the Arroyo government because of their mutual, “complementary” interests.
But why did the government have to charge the Ampatuans with rebellion, so as to justify the imposition of martial in Maguidnao province?
My gut feeling tells me that this rebellion charge against the Ampatuans are a concoction, a figment of one’s imagination.
We are going back to the Marcos era martial law, where people are made to rely on military “intelligence reports” about a rebellion or insurrection.
So the civilians are---as before---made to place their faith in the military’s word, or the military’s ”intelligence,” that there indeed exist grounds for the declaration of martial law.
But as to actual physical evidence, like simple photographs and videos, there is no evidence of any actual public uprising or the taking up for arms.
This is dangerous.
My feeling tells me that declaring martial law gives the government several key, tactical advantages, both legally and politically.
Let me venture into one probable motivation why the government declared martial law.
The government declared martial law, because it was a means of justifying warrantless arrests on the Ampatuans.
Except for Andal Ampatuan Jr., the first clan member to be arrested, there is hardly any legal justification for any warrantless arrests on the other clan members.
A warrantless arrest can only be justified if the murder has just been committed.
But in the November 23 massacre, several days had already lapsed since the incident.
The laspe of many days served to negate the validity of further warrantless arrests for the crime of murder.
So what did the government do?
Accusing the Ampatuans of rebellion is a convenient tactic, because by so doing, it would justify the continued warrantless arrests on the other members of the Ampatuan clan.
Warrantless arrests upon persons charged with rebellion are justified because rebellion is considered a “continuing” crime.
So the government is hitting several birds with one stone with these imaginary rebellion theory.
First, it gave justification for the declaration of martial law.
Second, it justified the warrantless arrests, which otherwise would already be legally defective if the charge were merely murder.
But what I fear is that this rebellion charge against the Ampatuans may not stand in court.
Yet I feel, that may precisely be the whole point.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shocking Supreme Court decision

I am truly shocked at the decision of the Supreme Court which effectively held that appointive government personnel who run for public office need not resign their positions.
To my mind, this is a decision that rubs salt on the wounds of Juan dela Cruz.
The decision adds insult to injury.
The decision means that an Comelec election supervisor can run for mayor, councilor, board member governor, or any elective position, and still continue to supervise the elections of which he is among the candidates.
This also means that a provincial fiscal can run for any elective post, and end up in the board of canvassers which will canvass the votes of candidates, including his own, most probably.
This means that the chief of police can run for mayor, and then, continue to be the chief of police.
While being chief of police, he can set up checkpoints as mode of harassment in areas he believes are sympathetic to his political adversaries.
This is what the Supreme Court refers to as “equal” protection of the law.
I must have missed a lot in law school.
Last Tuesday The Supreme Court promulgated an extremely strange ruling in Eleazar P. Quinto versus Commission on Elections (GR 189698)
The full text of the decision, including the dissenting opinions can be accessed from the Supreme court website at: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2009/december2009/189698.htm
The Supreme Court laid down a bizarre concept of “equal protection of the law”.
In simple terms, the Supreme Court is saying that there is inequality if elective officials are not deemed resigned when they run for office, while appointive officials are compelled to resign.
The Supreme Court’s "equalizing" solution: allow appointive government personnel to run for office without resigning, just like elective officials when they run for office.
Dios ko dai!
Let me put it straight: This Supreme Court decision all the more fosters greater inequality in our electoral processes.
It puts ordinary citizen-candidate Juan dela Cruz at a far greater disadvantage
Let me explain why.
The main reason why government officials and personnel (those who have access to public resources) should resign if they run for public office, is that this will prevent them from having undue advantage over an ordinary citizen Juan dela Cruz, who may also want to seek an elective post, but does not have the same access to public resources
By public resources I mean the government vehicles, the intelligence funds, pork barrel, the casuals, the office budget, etc.
There was a time (in the election code) when both government appointive and elective officials (running for a different position) are deemed resigned upon the filing of their certificates of candidacies.
But this has been gradually eroded.
First, Congress removed elective officials from the ambit of compelled resignations, when they run for public office (self-serving)
Now, the Supreme Court has removed appointive public officials from the ambit compelled resignations too, when they run for office.
If we, ordinary private citizens run for public office, we are put at a tremendous disadvantage not only by elective officials-candidates, but now also by appointive officials-candidates.
Nisamot ang pagkadehado ni Juan dela Cruz. (Juan dela Cruz’ disadvantage has been aggravated).
To my mind, to equalize matters, we should go back to the old rule that both elective and appointive officials should be deemed resigned when they file their certificates of candidacies.
This will genuinely level the playing field, with the ordinary private citizen-candidates who run for public office.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court, instead of equalizing matters, worsened the inequality.
Where is the equality for ordinary citizen-candidate Juan dela Cruz?
Where is the equal protection of the law here?
Lets go to the fundamentals: Is a private citizen-candidate a second class candidate?
Are public officials-candidates a special breed?
The majority of the Supreme Court justices only looked at the equality between elective and appointive officials who run for public office.
They did not bother to look at the equality between a public official candidate (elective or appointive) vis-a-vis an ordinary citizen -candidate.
Where will the ordinary citizen-candidate Juan dela Cruz petition for equality before the law, now?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Journalists in the brutal frontline

Journalism is one of the most dangerous profession.
There is no harder evidence than the recent massacre in Maguindanao where at least eighteen of the more than fifty slain victims were journalists.
The killing of journalists was literally an assault---in the deadliest fashion---on press freedom.
Journalists were deliberately killed so they cannot report what was to transpire last Monday, which was to kill the women on their way to file the certificate of candidacy of a gubernatorial candidate Esmael “Toto” Mangundadatu.
It is sad that journalists were placed in the frontline of violence.
In this case, I fully agree that the journalists were asked to accompany the groups in a bid to hopefully dissuade the rival powerful political faction from executing their planned violence.
In a way, the slain journalists were made as human shields.
It was wrong calculation.
But the killers were out to kill, whether or not they were journalists.
The killers had no respect for human dignity.
How would you expect them to have respect for the profession?
This act is condemnable.
It was inhuman.
I am not sure if the powerful people behind the mass slayings will be brought to justice.
Maguindanao is in the spotlight of election cheating.
So many of our national leaders owe tons to powerful politicians running the province of Maguindano.
As a matter of fact, Maguindanao single-handedly produced a senator.
That is why the Philippines has a senator from the province of Maguindanao, even if that senator is not from that place.
He was supposed to have lost in the last senatorial elections, but Maguindanao made him a winner.
Those who are suspected to be the brains behind the massacre last Monday may have an ace up their sleeves.
National leaders owe them a debt of gratitude (utang na loob).
That is why bringing them to justice may not be that easy.
Elections in Maguidnao is so unique.
The reason it is unique is because during elections, everything happens except the elections.
And what is magical, winners are proclaimed.
Those election cheating you witness in your locality, they are peanuts compared to the magic of elections in Maguindanao.
In that province, you witness fake ballots, lost election returns, disappearance of certificates of canvass.
Why, even their election supervisor disappears (where is Lentang Bedol?)
Yet, winners are proclaimed by the Comelec.
It’s a different kind of democracy there.
Now that the powerful politicians are being threatened by a former ally, they resort to violence.
And kill the innocent.
Journalists who sought to witness the filing of certificates of candidacies would have wanted to cover the initial salvo of the unique electoral process in Maguindanao.
The journalists did not even reach first base.
They were brutally silenced by people who kill in the name of politics.
By the way, one of those killed was a lawyer and sister in the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP).
Last Tuesday I received a forwarded text message from Bro Pepot Fortich (BCBP Cagayan de Oro), coming from Bro Jun Dacut (BCBP GenSan):
"Let us pray for the repose of the soul of SIS CYNTHIA AYON who was included in the SENSELESS n BRUTAL MASSACRE in MAGUINDANAO. Let us also pray for her bereaved family in this very sad moment of their lives..."
We join the call to bring the perpetrators to justice.
We should not settle for anything less.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Great article on Manny Pacquiao

I have read scores of articles about Manny Pacquiao in the internet.
But this one caught my attention.
Good read.
It was written by Springs Toledo and published on the sweetscience website

By Springs Toledo

Manny Pacquiao: I’m just [an] ordinary fighter...

Freddie Roach (interrupting): –You’re not ordinary.

Manny Pacquiao: Sorry about that, master.

“He finds gaps,” said Emanuel Steward after Manny Pacquiao stopped Miguel Cotto in the twelfth round. Those three words mirror the words of a far older, far more legendary war tactician: Sun Tzu. “Strike at their gaps,” The Art of War asserted two thousand years ago, “attack when they are lax, don’t let the enemy figure out how to prepare.” The second knockdown of Cotto illustrated this theory. Cotto, a conventional boxer-puncher, was hit in the fourth round by an uppercut from the left side that went inside and underneath his guard. Pacquiao found a gap, capitalized on the momentary carelessness of an onrushing opponent, and spent the rest of the fight exploding every potential solution Cotto thought he had.

“When you are going to attack nearby make it look as if you are going to go a long way,” Sun Tzu said, “when you are going to attack far away, make it look as if you are going just a short distance.” Pacquiao seems to be moving out when he’s coming in and coming in when he’s moving out. He exploits expectations with illusions. He “draws them in” and then “takes them by confusion.” Trainer Freddie Roach, himself a former professional boxer, agrees that Pacquiao is “very hard to read.” Pacquiao continues punching when his opponent expects a pause, his angles are bizarre, and he is often not where he is expected to be after a combination. Due to such unorthodoxies, this southpaw is a master of destroying the timing and rhythm of a conventional fighter. He is similar to Joe Calzaghe in that regard. Mikkel Kessler said that Calzaghe “ruins your boxing.” Indeed, Pacquiao does worse than that.

While a disruptive boxer like Calzaghe spills ink all over your blueprint and laughs about it, Pacquiao ruins your blueprint, but then adds injury to insult by crashing the drafting table over your head.

Pacquiao has athletic gifts that translate well in the ring: disruptive rhythm, timing, and speed, all financed by shocking power that belies his featherweight frame. As if this weren’t enough, his whiskers safely absorbed the shock of Cotto’s left hooks. He was never hurt, which raises eyebrows. Manny, we must remember, was exchanging punches in a division forty pounds north of the one he began in. And he reveled in it, he invited it, even snarling at times and standing disdainfully in the final stanzas to challenge the manhood of the retreating Puerto Rican. Roberto Duran, 58, watched from the crowd. His coal-black eyes remembering the night he dethroned another welterweight who thought he could outgun a smaller man. Duran watched Pacquiao’s black hair flying with the force of his blows, his beard paying unintentional tribute. A smile, once sinister, betrayed his lips.

Despite the glory heaped on him by a celebrity-starved public and an island nation eager for eminence, Pacquiao is not the flawless fighter that Duran was when he handed Sugar Ray Leonard his first defeat. Pacquiao’s humanity can be sensed if not seen in his nervousness as battle commences. It takes him a round or two to find his rhythm and gauge his distance and timing. Before that happens he is prone to reach in, get off balance in range, and will often leave windows open for counters. After that happens, his opponent, any opponent, is in peril.

He can be controlled, particularly by welterweights, but it will take a trainer and a fighter who are willing to give up conventional strategies and think out of the box. Convention is broken down by revolution, and Manny Pacquiao fights like a revolution.

Alas, even the trainer who recognizes the need for a counter-revolutionary strategy is faced with another problem –the trainer in the other corner:

Freddie Roach. The formidable Freddie Roach.

Roach has Parkinson’s disease, which has burdened him with tremors, slurring, and odd pauses during conversations. Its symptoms can be as disconcerting to conventional conversationalists as Manny Pacquiao’s style is to conventional fighters; but his disability also gives him an aura of alien brilliance like Stephen Hawking.

It has had no effect on his knack for strategy.

Roach did well not to tamper with Pacquiao’s unorthodoxy. He streamlined it and added balance, deliberate feints, angles, defense, and a two-fisted attack. Like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao has a foundation in fundamentals. Unlike Mayweather, Pacquiao’s lessons occurred later in his career, while Floyd’s were drilled into him as a small child. Also unlike Mayweather who claims to disdain strategy, Manny enters the ring with a master plan or three. Sun Tzu emphasized this: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war.” Roach spends hours and days and weeks and months in study. He deconstructs his opponent and finds patterns –“habits” as he calls them, to exploit. Then he teaches Manny to “see it as [he] sees it.”

At times, the eyes of Freddie Roach seem to focus on a higher plane inaccessible to anyone else. Perhaps he communes with the ghost of Eddie Futch. Futch was his mentor, and was among the greatest trainers of the 20th century. Futch sparred with Joe Louis and learned his trade in the company of master boxers like Holman Williams. He was the strategist behind the first defeat of Muhammad Ali by Joe Frazier, the second defeat of Ali by Ken Norton, Riddick Bowe’s defeat of the undefeated Evander Holyfield, and Montell Griffin’s disqualification win over the undefeated Roy Jones. Freddie Roach learned at his knee. Manny Pacquiao learned at Freddie’s.

The most popular boxer in the world today was catapulted into stardom after he defeated Oscar De La Hoya and then Ricky Hatton. Serious boxing fans know the truth. De La Hoya and Hatton were simply two candles on a cake already baked between 2003 and 2008 by great Mexicans from the lower weight divisions: Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Juan Manuel Marquez. These are the men who tried him in fire much like Murderers' Row tried Archie Moore in the 1940s and Philadelphia tried Marvelous Marvin Hagler in the 1970s. Pacquiao has evolved bloodily into a complete fighter and then some. He is an experienced, natural athlete with power that exponentially rises with weight. He has a style that is as confusing as a hall of mirrors and as difficult to solve as Chinese math. He is a willing student with an expanding set of skills. Behind him stands a trainer with a direct link to Eddie Futch who was a product of boxing’s golden decade and rubbed shoulders with many gods of war. Manny’s pugilistic pedigree summons the gold of yesterday to overcome the iron of today.

Boxing is a character sport first and a skills sport second. Manny’s character was formed in a background that is ideal for a fighter –a background set in the kind of third world poverty that Americans have not known for seventy years, but a background known to spawn fighters in back alleys amid broken bottles and broken dreams. Manny ran away from home at fourteen to spare his mother one more mouth to feed. He exchanged real poverty for worse poverty –in an act of sacrifice. This fighter has not only suffered, he also understood and embraced self-denial at early adolescence.

The toughest sport in the world is easy for someone like him. Pacquiao has something to fight for as only a poor man can, for self, for family, for country. He has the discipline to do it, and he has the perspective to transcend it. The Sweet Science is meaningful to him; his participation in it is an expression of love and loyalty, of self-actualization. So he approaches battle with joy.

And that isn’t all.

Manny believes that the hand of God himself is on his shoulder. Cynical secularism may scoff at such ancient notions, but irreverence is irrelevant here. Manny believes this –utterly. And it gives him an edge in that he is completely self-possessed and palpably unconcerned with the risks of the ring. He goes not only willingly, but happily. Throughout history, like-minded people have strode confidently into lion’s dens, climbed into kamikaze cockpits, blown themselves up at market places, sang while burning at a stake, and volunteered to die first at Nazi death camps to spare strangers. Pacquiao’s religiosity is that kind of powerful. It is a major reason why he smiles and waves on his way to battle dragons.

Boxing fans take note: his frame of mind was shared by Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali.

Emanuel Steward’s assertion that the thirty-year-old welterweight champion, now 50-3-2, belongs “up there” with Ali and Robinson was half-wrong. When Robinson was thirty, he was defeated once in 131 bouts and went on to finish his career with the scalps of eighteen world champions hanging from his belt. Manny isn’t near that. He is a typhoon blowing over structures less sturdy than those built in the golden era of boxing. But remember, he isn’t finished yet.

Like the legends before him, Manny Pacquiao sees himself as a man of destiny… a patriot fighting for a flag, a Christian laughing at lions… Such men are rarely taken down by anything except time and hubris. They are larger than their foes even when they are not.

Such men are larger than themselves.


Springs Toledo can be contacted at scalinatella@hotmail.com.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What elective position is Pacquiao qualified to run for?

Manny Pacquiao’s systematic demolition of Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto last Sunday came at the onset of the national elections.
This early, many political parties and politicians are egging Manny Pacquiao to run for a national elective office.
It seems Manny has been asked to run for all national elective position except perhaps, the presidency.
Is Manny Pacquiao qualified to run for any of the national elective positions in the coming May elections?
The answer is no, due to his age.
Manny Pacquiao will only be thirty one years old later this year.
Manny Pacquiao’s listed birthdate is December 17, 1978.
Manny Pacquiao is neither qualified to run for President, Vice President or Senator.
But Manny Pacquiao is right on the dot, in his quest to become congressman.
He is qualified to run for congressman
It think this is what he intends to do.
I also think he has better chances of winning, this time.

Constitutional qualifications 101.

Not for President (yet) for Manny Pacquiao.
Under the constitution Section 2 Article VII, it says No person may be elected President unless he is forty years of age on the day of the election.
Not for Vice President either.
I have already heard some quarters publicly endorsing Manny Pacquiao to run for vice president.
But Manny Pacquiao is also not yet qualified to run for vice president in the coming May elections.
Under Section 3, Article VII of the constitutional, it says “there shall be a vice president who shall have the same qualifications and term of office and be elected with and in the same manner as the president.”
It is clear that the candidate for vice president must have the same qualifications as that of the candidate for president.
That means, the vice president must also be forty years of age on the day of the election.
With these constitutional qualifications, Manny Pacquiao cannot run for president or vice president. Not until 2022.
Neither for senator (yet) for Manny.
Manny Pacquiao also cannot run for senator in next years elections.
Despite this, I saw many Pacquiao named flashed as one of the possible senatorial candidates for the administration party.
Under Section 3 Article VI of the constitution, it says no person shall be a senator unless he is, on the day of the election, at least thirty five years of age.
Since Manny will only be thirty one years old in May 2010, he cannot run for senator yet. Not even in 2013.
But Manny is qualified to run for congressman.
Under Section 6, Article VII, it says no person shall be a member of the house of representatives unless he is, on the day of the election, at least twenty-five years of age.
I guess Manny will be running for congressman.
This could be another victory for the boxing champ.
But it is his victory against Floyd Mayweather Jr. that excites me.
Better still, I'm would also be excited to see if Pacman get survive that knock-out wallop by Jinkee, because of Krista.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Defying court orders is bad

Recently, I wrote about a Supreme Court directive to the Ombudsman to file formal criminal charges in the Sandiganbayan against Valencia Mayor Rodolfo V. Gonzales, Jr., and his treasurer, Rolando Obanana and two private contractors.
This came after the Supreme Court ruled there is sufficient basis to hold Gonzales and company for trial for violating the anti graft and corrupt practices act.
They are to be charged because Gonzales ordered the release of public funds to a private contractor despite a previous attachment order issued by the regional trial court prohibiting such release.
Subsequently, comments were raised defending Gonzales.
Defenders of Mayor Gonzales argue that it was a damn-if-you-do-damn-if-you-don’t situation.
They said that Gonzales would have been sued either way, anyway.
If Gonzales did not release the public funds to the contractor, he would have been sued by the contractor for contractual breach, it was argued.
If Gonzales released the public funds to the contractor, he was sued for graft.
So either way, Gonzales faced lawsuits, defenders said.
This is such a tricky argument.
First. Under the rules of court, if there is an attachment order issued by the court against a certain property, there are legal ways to discharge this attachment.
The person against whom the attachment is issued, can file what is called counter-attachment bond.
The purpose of this counter attachment bond is to provide a security, to ensure that the judgment in favor of the person seeking the attachment, is satisfied.
The question now is: Did Gonzales file a counter-attachment bond to discharge the attachment? (Its not in the Supreme Court decision) If not, why not?
Why did he take the law into his own hands, and proceeded to defy the court order by releasing public funds to a private contractor despite a court prohibition?
There is no excuse to defy a lawful court order.
The real issue here is the observance of the rule of law.
If we advocate defiance of court orders, as Gonzales did, there will be chaos and anarchy in society.
Second. Why should Gonzales be afraid of a civil suit for contractual breach? Gonzales has a complete defense against a civil suit for breach of contract.
His Exhibit “1” would have been the court attachment order.
In other words, Gonzales’ ready defense is that, he couldn’t pay the contractor because he was prevented by a lawful order of the court.
Third. Which would Gonzales prefer to face, a mere civil suit for contractual breach (of which he has a ready defense), or a criminal action for graft?
Isn’t the answer clear?
Fourth. If Gonzales was not agreeable with the court attachment order, did he question the attachment order in a higher court by certiorari?
If not, why not?
He could even have asked for a T.R.O./injunction in the higher court to prevent the attachment order from being enforced. Was this done?
Fifth. By defying a lawful court order, Gonzales' behavior is contumacious.
He can be held in contempt of court for disobeying a lawful court order.
Sixth. Gonzales cannot claim good faith by alleging that he was merely following an opinion by the provincial attorney.
Which should be followed: a mere opinion by a provincial attorney, or a court order?
Is the answer still debatable, or is the answer clear?
So why did he insist in paying the private contractor, in the face of a court prohibition?
What could be the reason?
That is a 64-dollar question.
This (damn-if-you-do-damn-if-you-don’t) “dilemma-defense” being peddled to excuse Gonzales’ defiance of a court attachment order, does not hold water.
It is even insulting to the mind.
Elected officials should lead by example as followers---not violators---of court orders.
Elected public officials, should lead in the observance of the rule of law.
For if they don't, what's the use of electing them into office?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Odol Gonzales Jr. faces criminal raps in Sandiganbayan

Sayang. Bad timing.
Just as the elections are up and coming, the venerable and honorable Valencia mayor Rodolfo “Odol” V. Gonzales, Jr. will be facing criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan for graft and corruption.
This came through a now-irreversible order of the Supreme Court.
Together with Gonzales, also facing the same criminal raps are his municipal treasurer Rolando B. Obanana and two private contractors Alex and Dominador Abelido.

The nature of the criminal raps

The criminal charges against Gonzales and company, stems from his release of what is called “retention money” (peoples’ money) to a private contractor, even if this was prohibited by the regional trial court, through an order called a writ of preliminary attachment.
Under the anti-graft and corrupt practices act, the penalty for corruption is only ten years maximum imprisonment, and perpetual disqualification from public office.
Procedurally, after the criminal information is filed, a warrant of arrest would likely be issued.
But not to worry.
This crime is bailable.
Just as we hear that the promising Valencia mayor, is being talked about to be a vice-gubernatorial candidate in next years elections, he now has this impending criminal charge in the graft court, the Sandiganbayan.
But we still hope, that whoever the gubernatorial candidate picking mayor Gonzales as running–mate will be, would overlook the fact that he will be having a vice-gubernatorial partner with a pending criminal case before the Sandiganbayan for graft and corruption.
Hopefully, voters would not see mayor Gonzales as “political baggage”, with the pendency of his corruption charge.

The parties to the case

What is this criminal case involving Rodolfo “Odol” Gonzales Jr.?
The facts of the case can be gathered from the Supreme Court website in this address: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2009/jan2009/169338.htm
The case (G.R. No. 169338) is entitled New Bian Yek Commercial, Inc. versus Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas), Rodolfo V. Gonzales Jr., Rolando B. Obanana (municipal treasurer of Valencia) and Erwin Vergara, the provincial attorney, Alex and Domindor Abelido, the private contractors.
This was decided last January 20, 2009.
A motion for reconsideration was filed, but was denied in March.

The facts of the case

The writer of the decision, Justice Renato Corona, narrated the facts like a news item.
Very simple.
On August 13, 2000, the municipality of Valencia Negros Oriental awarded to Legacy Construction (Legacy), a corporation owned by respondents Alex Abelido and Dominador Abelido, the P14.6-million, 300-day-contract for the improvement of its waterworks system (Valencia project).
In connection with the Valencia project, Legacy, the contractor , through its project engineer, Jaime Lu, bought from petitioner New Bian Yek Commercial, Inc. pipes worth P2.8-million.
As payment for the pipes, Lu issued two personal checks to Bian Yek, which bounced or were dishonored.
Because Legacy had already received a significant portion of the contract price from the municipality, Bian Yek demanded payment for the pipes (amounting to P1,766,950) on December 11, 2002.
Legacy, however, ignored petitioner’s demand.
On April 15, 2002, Bian Yek requested mayor Rodolfo V. Gonzales, Jr., to pay for Legacy’s obligation using the retention money withheld by the municipality for the Valencia project.
Unsure (kuno) of what to do, Gonzales referred the matter to Negros Oriental provincial attorney, respondent Erwin B. Vergara.
On January 29, 2003, Bian Yek filed a complaint for sum of money with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment against Legacy, Alex Abelido, Lu and the municipality of Valencia in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dumaguete City, Branch 44.
On February 4, 2003, Vergara issued an opinion to Gonzales’ query favoring the release of the retention money by the municipality to Legacy.
Meanwhile, after conducting the requisite hearing, the RTC found that Alex Abelido had left the country.
There was a balance of the contract price (amounting to P3 million) which was the only fund Bian Yek could run after to recover Legacy’s liability.
Thus, in its February 7, 2003 order, the RTC ordered the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment.
The court prohibited Gonzales or his agents or representatives from releasing any payment (including the retention money) to Legacy.

But what did Gonzles do?

Despite the prohibition by the court, Gonzales adopted Vergara’s recommendation and instructed the municipal treasurer Rolando Obañana, to release the retention money to Legacy on March 12, 2003.
This prompted Bian Yek, on November 19, 2004, to file a criminal complaint against mayor Gonzales, his treasurer Obanana, and the provincial attorney Erwin Vergara, and the contractor in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Bian Yek alleged that Gonzales, Vergara and Obañana allegedly violated Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019) when they released the retention money to Legacy in spite of the February 11, 2003 writ of preliminary attachment
It was alleged that they conspired with the Abelidos in depriving Bian Yek of payment for Legacy’s just obligation.

Ombudsman dismissed complaint

Surprisingly, on March 10, 2005, the Ombudsman dismissed the complaint against Gonzales and others because they were acting in good faith in following the opinion of the provincial attorney Vergara.
So Bian Yek went to the Supreme Court to question the Ombudsman dismissal.

Ruling of the court

The Supreme Court reversed the dismissal by the Ombudsman.
Contrary to the ombudsman’s view, the Supreme Court said there is basis to believe that mayor Gonzales and treasurer Obanana unduly injured Bian Yek when they released the retention money despite a prohibition by the regional trial court.
In effect, by releasing the retention money even with the prohibition by the regional trial court, Gonzales and Obanana gave unwarranted benefits to the contractor Legacy and the owner Abelido.

Ombudsman: grave abuse of discretion

The ombudsman committed a grave abuse of its discretion in dismissing the complaint of Bian Yek, the Supreme Court ruled.
As a result mayor Rodolfo Gonzales Jr, treasurer Obanana, and the contractors Alex and Dominador Abelido will have to face corruption charges.
The provincial attorney was absolved, because he rendered his opinion favoring the release of the retention money, before the prohibition for its release issued by the regional trial court

The accused triumvirate ---the mayor, the treasurer and the contractors---are entitled to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
In the meantime, Gonzales, as an accused, can still run for public office while the criminal case is pending before the Sandiganbayan.
We wish the accused well, and the best of luck, and the best of health.
They will need it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Past bar questions: Things to note

This week I had occassion to read the questions that came out in the last bar examinations held in September until October.
For future bar examinees, there is something very important to be learned in studying or analyzing this year’s bar examination questions.
It is very important for future bar examinees to get hold of the latest decisions of the Supreme Court.
I saw some bar questions, whose answers can readily be provided by the very recent decisions of the high court.
This is where bar operations become handy.
The main task of bar operations is to try to make “analyzed guesses” as to possible questions that may come out in the bar.
I read for instance, the second bar question in political law.
The answer to the second bar question/s in political law is answered in the case of Rep. Jocelyn S. Limkaichong which was decided by the Supreme Court last April 1, 2009 [G.R. Nos. 1788831-32].
The second bar question in political law involved both constitutional law and election law.
To recall, there were a series of petitions seeking to disqualify Josy Limkaichong on account of her citizenship.
Notably, a sideshow, which became the main show of the Limkaichong case was the suspension of a recently retired Supreme Court justice from the practice of law.
The Limkaichong case became bar question no. 2 in political law.
The situational (bar) question (with sub-questions) goes:
“Despite lingering questions about his Filipino citizenship and
his one-year residence in the district, Gabriel filed his certificate of candidacy for congressman before the deadline set by law. His
opponent, Vito, hires you as lawyer to contest Gabriel’s candidacy.”
Question [A]: [a] Before election day, what action or actions will you institute against Gabriel, and before which court, commission or tribunal will you file such action/s? Reasons.

Even if the bar examinee forgot the election law provision and procedure, if the examinee read the Limkaichong case, the examinee would at least be able to answer by stating that the action to be taken is a petition for disqualification before the Comelec.
This was what Josy’s opponents did prior to the 2007 elections.
Question [c]: “If the action/s instituted should be dismissed with finality before the election, and Gabriel assumes office after being
proclaimed the winner in the election, can the issue of his
candidacy and/or citizenship and residence still be questioned? If
so, what action or actions may be filed and where? If not, why
Again this question can be answered with the guidance of the Limkaichong case.
The suggested answer would be 'yes'.
The issue of Gabriel’s candidacy , and/or citizenship and residence can still be questioned.
The action to be filed would be either be an election protest or quo warranto before the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal.
This should be the short and simple answer to the particular bar question.
If the bar examinee wants to beautify his answer, he can of course state that under Section 17 Article VI of the Constitution, the House Electoral Tribunal (HRET) shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, qualifications of their respective members.
In fact, this is the express ruling by the Supreme Court in the Limkaichong case.
The Court ruled: “after the proclamation of the winning candidate in the congressional elections, the remedy of those who may assail one’s eligibility/ineligibility/qualification/disqualification is to file before the HRET a petition for an election protest, or a petition for quo warranto”Also in the Supreme Court decision, the Court emphasized that the issue of citizenship is a 'continuing requirement'.
This means that a congressman must be a natural-born citizen not only during his election, but continues until the end of his tenure, the court ruled.
“Being a continuing requirement, one who assails a member's citizenship or lack of it may still question the same at any time”, the court added.
By the way the Supreme Court has ruled with finality that Josy Limkaichong shall continue to sit as representative of the first district of Negros Oriental, notwithstanding any pendency of HRET proceedings challenging her citizenship.
The Supreme Court said: “The unseating of a Member of the House of Representatives should be exercised with great caution and after the proper proceedings for the ouster has been validly completed.”“For to arbitrarily unseat someone, who obtained the highest number of votes in the elections, and during the pendency of the proceedings determining one’s qualification or disqualification, would amount to disenfranchising the electorate in whom sovereignty resides,” the court said.
Thus, if there is any thing to be learned from reviewing these bar questions, it is the importance of keeping track of the latest rulings of the Supreme Court.
For all you know, the questions may just be derived from these recent rulings.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our OFWs legal woes

I had lunch with Karl B. Miranda, the Assistant Solicitor General, and our conversation ranged from one topic to another.
Karl, was my legislative supervisor when I worked full time in government in the office of Senator Nene Pimentel in the nineties.
Karl, a graduate from the Harvard Kennedy School of government is a passionate public servant.
We were guided under the leadership of Nene Pimentel, who we all look up to when it comes to tireless, dedicated public service.
Anyway, our lunch ventured into the plight of overseas Filipino workers.
You might have heard of the names Flor Contemplacion, and Sarah Balabagan.
Flor Contemplacion, was the Filipina OFW who was executed by hanging in Singapore for "supposed" murder, during the Ramos Administration.
Sarah Balabagan was an under-aged Filipina who killed her employer who raped her in the United Arab Emirates.
Their Filipino government lawyer during their time of legal crisis was Karl Miranda.
Karl therefore, knows a lot about the legal woes of our bothers and sisters working in other countries, many in less acceptable conditions.
Karl said the government is hard put in extending legal assistance to many OFWs who get into trouble with the laws of the foreign country.
I was shocked when he told me that the P100-million budget for legal assistance to OFWs was “wiped out” handling just four cases involving Filipinos.
Virtually, when Filipinos get into legal trouble abroad, they are on their own.
The government simply does not have enough funds to provide each legally-distressed OFW with legal assistance.
Remember that in a foreign country, Filipino lawyers cannot practice law.
The Philippine government can only hire the “local lawyers” in the foreign country.
The Philippine government is left leaning upon the shoulders of these “local lawyers,” who are the ones familiar with the laws of their own country.
In the course of our conversation, we came up with an idea on how to effect long term legal help to Filipino OFWs.
Our OFWs are the true heroes of our nation.
Because of their billion dollar remittances annually, the Philippines is kept afloat.
Yet, OFWs do not receive the assistance they deserve when they get into trouble.
One suggestion we came up with is for our government to make an “investment” where we will send and fund Filipino students to study law in those countries where we have the most number of Filipinos.
Let’s take for example, Hongkong, where we have one of the largest population of OFWs, many working as domestic helpers.
Instead of paying Hongkong lawyers to take up the cases of Filipino OFWs, why don’t we send young Filipinos scholars to law schools in Hongkong?
Just like the Philippine Military Academy, these public-funded legal scholars will be made to sign a contract where they will have to serve at least eight years taking up cases of OFWs for free in the country where they are able to practice law.
That would be their way of “paying back” the people’s money paid for their foreign legal education.
Of course there could be stumbling blocks.
There may be countries, which only allow their own nationals to practice law, just like the Philippines.
In the U.S., one can practice law even if he/she is not a U.S. citizen, as long as they pass the state bar exams.
We suggest that there be a government-to-government mutual arrangement where exceptions can be made.
This can be made under an executive agreement or treaty.
Another stumbling block is the language barrier.
The laws of another country may not be in English.
The legal proceedings may not be in English, like perhaps, China.
Our suggestion is that if learning the local language is imperative, then our government should invest in teaching our international legal scholars the foreign language, aside from studying law.
My point is, let us do for the OFWs all that it takes to accord them legal assistance, when they get into trouble abroad.
I think in the long run, this investment will be less expensive, rather than budgeting P100-million yearly for legal assistance for only four cases.
We are not suggesting that we send Filipino law scholars in every country.
We suggest sending scholars only to those countries that have many Filipino OFWs.
Aside from Hongkong, we can send scholars to Singapore, Japan, Saudi Arabia.
For Saudi Arabia, we can send Filipino muslim scholars from Mindanao, who would no longer have major religious adjustments to make.
We suggest the government do a pilot project in nearby Hongkong.
Then later, let’s replicate this in other countries.
It is different when it is a Filipino lawyer advocating for an OFW abroad.
There is a built-in desire, if not passion, to help a countryman, rather than hiring a foreign advocate.
We hope the next president of this country, will have that heart for our OFWs, and will do everything to provide genuine, meaningful legal assistance our OFWs truly deserve.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Act of God: Defending God

Whoever invented the phrase “act of God” must hate God.
The inventor refers the phrase “act of God” to natural calamities, disasters, mayhem, perils, damages.
This is unfair because it creates a mis-impression that everytime there is a natural disaster, it is a result from God’s intervention.
We--- as Christians--- believe that God does not desire to harm His own children.
Besides, if there is a natural calamity, there is no evidence, nay eyewitness, that God really was principal by direct participation in causing such calamity.
Neither can there be evidence that God masterminded the perpetration of such calamity.
So by blaming natural disasters, and human sufferings to “acts of God” is a product of human imagination.
It is hearsay.
It is a conclusion that has no basis.
So I do not know why human sufferings resulting from natural causes like volcanic eruption, lightning, landslides, flooding, are attributable to “acts of God”.
The phrase “acts of God” is even accepted as part legal language.
The Supreme Court recognizes the phrase acts of God.
For example, the case Philippine Bar Association versus Court of Appeals (October 3, 1986) defines an act of God this way:
“An act of God has been defined as an accident, due directly and exclusively to natural causes without human intervention, which by no amount of foresight, pains or care, reasonably to have been expected, could have been prevented”.
I disagree with this.
In the first place, if it is an accident, then how could it be an act of God?
To legally recognize the phrase “act of God” is, to my mind, illegal.
Even the Bible clearly states that God's plans are not for man to suffer but to prosper.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)
On the other and, and to be fair, I think reference to an “act of God” is equated with an event caused by natural causes, as opposed to events attributable to acts of man.
But this is no excuse.
We should not bring God into the picture as a cause, when natural disasters occur.
There are other more appropriate words like “force majeure” (fuerza mayor) for “fortuitous events”.
Kawawa naman si Lord.
The Supreme Court should be the one to remove the phrase “acts of God” from the annals of jurisprudence.
God must be rolling in anger everytime a natural disaster happens, and people refer to it as an “act of God”
It’s unfair to God.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Scrap VAT on imported goods for relief

Congress should scrap the imposition of value added tax on goods imported to the Philippines for humantarian and relief purposes.
This comes in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy, which has ravaged Metro Manila, and rendered thousands homeless, and in need of relief from all over the world.
The problem is, if relief goods are donated and brought to the Philippines, there is a VAT imposed, which is ten percent of the value of the goods imported.
The law, under Section 107 of the National Internal Revenue Code prevents the release of the goods unless the importer pays the VAT.
This happened recently in Dumaguete City.
Imported goods to be donated for the less fortuntate were left almost rotting and destroyed in the customs because of the VAT requirement.
Sayang, there are many from abroad who want to donate, but are dissuaded.
Nag-donate ug motabang na, bu-buwisan pa.
We note that the law imposes the tax on the "importer," meaning the Pinoy recipient, but in reality, it is still the donor abroad who pays the tax, because if it is for relief, you do not expect the recipient of the relief items (the typhoon victims or NGO relief distributors, for instance) to pay the tax.
We drafted a bill to change this provision.
Our thinking is not a blanket eradication of VAT on donated items from abroad.
Since government also needs the revenues.
But only those donated items for humantarian and relief purposes are to be exempt from VAT.
We hope the law will be changed soonest.
There are countless, generous hearts out there.
Government should make it easier for them to give.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brownouts: An election issue

I fear that brownouts will mar next years automated elections.
Accurate, computerized elections will depend on the stability of electricity supply.
In Negros Oriental for instance, brownouts are a regular, common, scheduled occurrence.
Elections are held on the second Monday of May.
In Negros Oriental, brownouts are scheduled usually on Sunday.
So it is not unexpected that Sunday before the elections, there will be brownouts.
I can’t imagine a scenario of brownouts during elections.
But it is a reality.
In previous elections here in Dumaguete and Negros Oriental, brownouts are a part of the elections.
I recall, in the 2007 elections, a brownout was reported in city hall.
I was in Dumaguete at that time, and there was no brownout except at city hall.
Brownouts traditionally have been old electoral fraud tactics.
Power outages are resorted to by political camps to suppress the will of the people.
When there are power failures, it will be too hot to count the ballots.
Election canvassers will have to resort to candle-light ballot counting.
This will be susceptible to error, or worse, to fraud.
When there is brownout, there is darkness.
Out votes, our ballots, and our country’s future, will be hostaged by deliberate darkness.
I have yet to hear our local officials, who have been sitting in power for many many years, explain how these power outages will be resolved.
They have been in power for so long.
But they have never solved the brownout problems.
Power supply is a very basic service.
Once in Hongkong, I asked whether there are brownouts in Hongkong.
I was laughed at.
“Mister, if Hongkong has brownouts, Hongkong will collapse,” I was told bluntly.
But in Dumaguete and Negros Oriental, brownouts is like its part of our lives.
Brownouts are experiences that we have to endure.
We just have to grin and bear it.
Local officials seemingly don’t like to have it resolved.
Brownouts benefit politicians, specially during elections.
Besides, they have their own generators.
They don’t feel the urgency of eliminating brownouts.
But to me, brownouts should be a local election issue.
The officials who again seek our votes should be made to explain how they are going to resolve the perennial power outages.
What are they going to do with Noreco, which conveniently releases prepared reasons everytime there is a brownout.
Reasons range from falling branches of trees, to “regular maintenance” procedures.
I was still in short pants, and “regular maintenance” procedures already has been the predictable reason.
There should be some variety in giving out reasons for brownouts.
When will these brownouts end?
When will we be free from the bondage of power failures?
The coming elections should be our chance.
As the electorate, we should make these brownouts an election issue.
Electricity is a very important utility, next perhaps to water supply.
If we continue to vote for these officials who have not ensured the delivery of very basic services, then we deserve the kind of officials we elect.

American bad manners

This week, the whole world saw the American version of “bad manners.”
First, a South Carolina congressman Joe Wilson, shouted “You Lie” while their head of state, President Barack Obama was delivering a speech in Congress.
America is the model of democracy.
Their congress is the greatest hall where democracy is practiced.
But Joe Wilson brought to the ultimate extreme, their democratic value of freedom of speech.
Not that it is wrong to express ourselves against the President.
What was wrong was the absence of civility because it was done right in the President’s face while giving a speech, not just to America but live for the whole world to see.
American bad manners.
The next was Kanye West. He went up the stage while Taylor Swift was making a speech after the young lady was given the top country singer award.
Kanye West, went up the stage in the middle of the acceptance speech, and said Beyonce, another female artist, had the greatest video of all time, rebuking the choice to award Taylor Swift.
The U.S. Preisdent was heard to have made an off-mike comment summing up Kanye West’s behavior: “He’s a jackass”.
If translated to our Filipino language, it would have been “tarantado,” or better still, “gago”
America is the ultimate model of democracy.
One of the greatest values they hold is the freedom to speak.
But some people there brought democracy to the ultimate low extreme, way beyond the bounds of civility.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Loosing Jingle

The last time I saw him, we had so much fun, it seemed there was no tomorrow.
That last I heard of him, he was gone like being snatched by a thief in the night.

I am talking about my high school friend Jay Glenn “Jingle” Dizon.
Jingle died early morning yesterday from severe fractures at the back of his head after colliding fatally with another motorcycle in Dumaguete city
It was totally unexpected.
Still at the prime of his life, Jingle ended it without saying goodbye.
I received the shocking news from classmate Voltaire who sent me a text message.
“We lost a friend, Jingle”
The story was that he had a night out in the home of his parents in Daro.
He went home aboard his motorcycle.
Somewhere in Banilad, he crossed path with another motorcycle, a male and a female back rider.
Both motorcycles collided head-on.
Jingle ended up dead.
The back of his skull was cracked, said Voltaire and Alex who saw Jingle’s body in the morgue.
How tragic. How sudden. How painful.

Good memories.

Last year, our high school batch had our twentieth reunion.
We had so much fun.
Jingle is the musically talented in our batch.
He modulates like Nonoy Zuniga.
He can give Raymond Lauchengco a run for his money.
Naturally, Jingle led the pack during our sing-along evening.
He held the microphone in one hand, beer on the other.
It was classic Jingle.
Definitely one of the best memories I have of him.
Then Christmas came.
Karl Bambi brought his family for a visit from Australia.
Jingle and I had a long talk about what he was doing with life.
Never did I think, it was the last time I would be talking to him.
Jingle sang in our high school graduation at Silliman twenty years ago.
He rendered the song “Farewell”

Farewell to you my friends.
We’ll see each other again.
Don’t worry cause its not the end of everything.

Truly, we’ll be seeing Jingle again, in the afterlife.
Farewell for now Jingle.
Rest in peace.

SC ruling final: Josy sits in House

Jocelyn S. Limkaichong shall continue to sit as member of the House representing the first district of Negros Oriental.
This is the outcome of the Supreme Court resolution of July 30, 2009, after it denied “with finality” the motion for reconsideration seeking to disqualify and unseat Limkaichong.
At the same time, the Supreme Court recognized that legal efforts to question Limkaichong’s qualifications shall now be in the House Electoral Tribunal (HRET).
The core issue in the various petitions is the qualification of Josy to run for, be elected to, and assume and discharge the position of first district representative.
The contention of those seeking Josy's disqualification is simple: Josy is not a natural born citizen. Not being a natural born citizen, she lacks the constitutional qualifications for membership in the lower house.
In the last elections, Josy garnered the highest number of votes for first district representative. She was eventually proclaimed, and has since discharged the office as member of the lower house.
According to the petitions to disqualify Josy, she is not a natural born Filipino because her parents were Chinese citizens at the time of her birth.
The petitions went on to claim that the proceedings for naturalization of Josy’s father, Julio Ong Sy, never attained finality due to procedural and substantial defects.
The supreme court rejected the petitions.
The supreme court has ruled that it is not enough that Josy’s qualification be attacked and questioned before any tribunal or government institution.
There must be proper proceedings required by law.
“First things first” said the supreme court.
If Josy’s qualification is assailed because her father’s citizenship is in question, then the first thing to do is to cancel the father’s naturalization certificate.
This is laid down in Section 18 Commonwealth Act 473.
Under the law, the solicitor general, his representative or the provincial fiscal can file a motion in court to cancel the naturalization certificate of a naturalized person, in this case Josy’s father Julio Ong Sy.
This is what the supreme court meant when it said “First things first”
Not even private persons, in an election contest, can seek a declaration of Josy’s non-qualification, said the court.
Denaturalization “is plainly not a matter that may be raised by private persons in an election case involving the naturalized citizen’s (Juilo Sy’s) descendant (Josy)”, said the supreme court.
Finally, the supreme court ruled that in seeking Josy’s disqualification on account of her citizenship, the rudiments of fair play and due process must be observed.
In observing due process, the Court said, Josy is not deprived of the right to hold office as member of the house of representatives.
Also by observing due process, her constituents would not be deprived of a leader whom they have put their trust on, through their votes, the court said.

Edgar Teves: I feel emancipated

September 9, 2009

Mr. Ely Dejaresco
Atty. Elmar Jay Dejaresco
The Negros Chronicle
Dumaguete City

Dear Ely and Jay,

I would like to convey to you my thanks for publishing last Sunday, September 6, 2009, the Supreme Court’s decision regarding my case.

It had been a burden really for the past few years as it hampered some of my ventures. I felt that your segment had in some way provided me a sense of emancipation. There is nothing next than to have cleared my name at last.
Once again, thank you.


Edgar Y. Teves.

Edgar Teves: I feel emancipated

September 9 2009

Mr. Ely Dejaresco
Atty. Elmar Jay Dejaresco
The Negros Chronicle
Dumaguete City

Dear Ely and Jay,

I would like to convey to you my thanks for publishing last Sunday, September 6, 2009, the Supreme Court’s decision regarding my case.

It had been a burden really for the past few years as it hampered some of my ventures. I felt that your segment had in some way provided me a sense of emancipation. There is nothing next than to have cleared my name at last.
Once again, thank you.


Edgar Y. Teves.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Governor's reply

Let me print the reply of the governor to last week's query on the on-going road construction along Negros Oriental highways:

24 August 2009

Director, Dr. Jovito R. Salonga
Center for Law and Development
Silliman University

Dear Atty. Maxino:

Thank you for your letter of 19 August 2009 re the on-going road constructions in the province.

May I inform you that even before this was brought to my attention, I have discussed the same questions you raised in your letter with the District Engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways, District II, and later with the Congressman of the Second District and I am basically satisfied with their explanations.

Please know that since there are nationally-funded projects, the undersigned was not involved nor notified in the implementation of these projects, hence I have no control over the same.

However, I took the initiative of getting the cooperation of Mayors and the Barangay Captains in areas where there are on-going road construction to monitor compliance of the Contractors and to be ready to render assistance to the commuting public when necessary. Moreover, the Provincial Government also assisted contractors by identifying quarry areas nearest the project sites where the Contractors can source materials to speed up completion.

Should you need a more detailed answers to your questions, may I refer you to the Office of the District Engineer, DPWH-Dumaguete. With the inconveniences we are all experiencing at present because of the government’s efforts to provide wider and better roads for everyone, may I request our motorists driving up North to be careful and patient while on the road. These are only temporary delays that we have to bear in the name of progress.

Once again, thank you for bringing the matter to our attention and God bless us all!

Yours in service,


Meanwhile, my Canada-based former classmate Grace Lim gave her observations when there are infrastructure projects in her place:

"Everyone I know in Dumaguete are complaining about this gyud!
Allow me to share one thing I admire about this place where I am now in terms of infrastructure projects: when the sidewalk near our house was being fixed, houseowners got notices detailing the job and time-frame around 2 weeks before the actual start of the project.
When the job started, all means of ensuring public safety and convenience were in place. They did what they had to do on schedule.
And one thing ako gi believe-ban, they even replanted the grass which was affected by the project.. gitagaan pa mi ug instructions on how to care for the sod!
That's it...

But for all the quirks, Dumaguete is still where my heart is!
Best regards

Thursday, August 20, 2009

NegOr.'s delayed road building

Let me re-print this letter asking our government officials to explain the delayed road construction projects, which is affecting not only the economy but the daily affairs of ordinary Negrenses.

August 19, 2009

The Honorable Dr. Emilio C. Macias II
Provincial Governor
Negros Oriental
Capitol Building, Dumaguete City

The Honorable Sangguniang Panlalawigan
Capitol Compound
Dumaguete City


We write to express the concerns and even the indignation of many over the on-going road constructions in the province. Although we heard that these constructions are national projects, the affected local government units have the legal obligation to see to it that the welfare of their inhabitants are not unduly compromised. Thus, we ask the Honorable Governor to immediately address the following concerns, and for the Honorable Sangguniang Panlalawigan to summon the concerned contractors and project managers and inquire into these concerns, in aid of legislation so that the appropriate ordinance may be passed to govern future road constructions.

1. We are told that that these government projects are not to be delayed. Yet why are these road constructions taking too long to the prejudice of the public? Why is there no work during rainy days, and at night which is the best time to work? Why don’t these projects hire shift workers who can work at night?

2. Why are personnel not assigned to facilitate traffic at certain times of the day, particularly at night? This failure raises concerns of public safety and convenience.

3. Why are there no or insufficient early warning devices at the project sites? We hear reports of accidents due to the absence of early warning devices or personnel to facilitate traffic or to warn on-coming vehicles.

4. Why are the contractors allowed to undertake many road projects at the same time? Are they not overstretching their resources and equipment? Isn’t this one of the major causes of delay?

5. Why are portions of road destroyed, abandoned, and unattended for some time? Shouldn’t we require existing road projects to be completed first before other portions of the road are destroyed?

6. Who are the contractors and what are their respective time-frames? What are their respective plans to mitigate public inconvenience and ensure public safety?

These and many other questions need to be satisfactorily answered. There is the general impression that the current road constructions are being undertaken without regard to public convenience or safety. The public can no longer tolerate such callousness. We earnestly ask our public officials to take up the public’s cause.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,

M. Mikhail Lee L. Maxino
Director, Dr. Jovito R. Salonga
Center For Law and Development
Silliman University

SC: Edgar Teves can run

The enduring former mayor of Valencia Edgar Teves can now wear his running shoes after he was recently permitted to re-engage in politics by no less than the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court last April 28, 2009 declared Edgar Teves can run for public office in the 2010 elections….if it happens.
Edgar was convicted of violating Section 3(h), Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for possessing pecuniary or financial interest in a cockpit when he was mayor of Valencia, which is prohibited under the local government code.
Edgar Teves was sentenced to pay a fine of P10,000.00.
Former Rep. Herminio G. Teves, Edgar’s uncle, but political adversary, filed a petition to disqualify Edgar Teves in the 2007 elections.
The argument was that since Edgar Teves was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, he should be disqualified.
The Comelec disqualified Edgar Teves, and cancelled his certificate of candidacy for congressman.
Edgar appealed to the Supreme Court.
The issue raised in the Supreme Court is whether or not the conviction of Edgar Teves was of a crime involving moral turpitude.
Moral turpitude, according to the court, implies something immoral in itself, regardless as to whether or not it is punishable by law.
The act, to be one involving moral turpitude, must be immoral in itself.
The Supreme Court found that Edgar’s conviction did not involve moral turpitude.
The Supreme Court found that Edgar Teves , then Mayor of Valencia, did not use his influence, authority or power to gain such pecuniary or financial interest in the cockpit.
Neither did he intentionally hide his interest in the subject cockpit by transferring the management thereof to his wife, the court added.
The Supreme Court ruled that while possession of business and pecuniary interest in a licensed cockpit is prohibited, however, its illegality does not mean that violation thereof necessarily involves moral turpitude.
Neither does it makes such possession of interest inherently immoral, the court said.
Since the crime for which Edgar Teves was convicted did not involve any moral turpitude, the implication is that Edgar Teves is not disqualified to run for public office.
Let me simplify the rules.
If one is convicted of a crime, it does not mean automatic disqualification to run for public office.
It must first be determined whether the crime for which one was convicted, involved moral turpitude.
If not, then the convict cannot be disqualified.
If the crime involved moral torpitude, then the five year ban (to run for public office) applies.
Welcome back to politics, Edgar!

Friday, August 14, 2009

P1.2-B Presidential plane eyed

We hear Malacanang is eyeing the purchase of a P1.2-Billion presidential plane, akin to that of Airforce One.
Ten percent of P1.2-Billion is P120-million.
Assuming that President Arroyo is stepping down in June next year, why on Earth would she be interested in purchasing a new plane that will cost taxpayers P1.2-billion.
How many foreign trips will she be taking with less than one year left in her term?
That is if, she really is stepping down.
What could be a more enticing reason to engage in a billion peso sale transaction using taxpayers' money, at the end of her term?
This doesn't look like a bad midnight sale transaction, does it?

Who died? Aquino or Arroyo?

Reputable news publications committed the “greatest” sin in journalism when they announced to the world that a living person was dead.
It didn’t help that the person attributed to have died was the President, the highest government officer of the land, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
This happened during the burial of former President Cory Aquino.
Some publications, among them the Manila Bulletin, wrote that the casket about to be buried was that of President Arroyo, instead of former President Aquino.
This monumental mistake highlights the fact that journalists, are only humans.
They too commit mistakes.
Indeed, to err is human.
Good thing, Malacanang, nay the President, the one who was published to have “died”, is not planning to take legal action.
In fact the Palace was magnanimous.
Malacanang said this should have been an “honest mistake,” devoid of any with malice whatsoever.
Case closed.
However, if journalists mistakenly think there can be no legal action on these kinds of mistakes, they could be wrong.
Legal history tells us that when a publication is negligent with their facts, particularly then it wrongly/erroneously casts a person in a bad light, they can be liable for damages.
Let us re-visit the case of Eugenio Lopez versus court of appeals, decided by the Supreme Court in 1970.
This story gets us back to 1956.
A sanitary inspector named Fidel Cruz assigned to the Babuyan Islands sent a distress signal to a passing United States Airforce plane.
This US airforce plane relayed the message to Manila.
Fidel Cruz was not ignored.
An American Army plane dropping on the beach of an island an emergency-sustenance kit containing, among other things, a two-way radio set.
Fidel Cruz, the sanitary inspector, utilized the two-way radio to inform authorities in Manila that the people in the place were living in terror, due to a series of killings committed since Christmas of 1995.
Losing no time, the Philippines defense establishment rushed to the island a platoon of scout rangers led by Major Wilfredo Encarnacion.
Upon arriving at the reported killer-menaced Babuyan islands, however, Major Encarnacion and his men found, instead of the alleged killers, a man, the same Fidel Cruz the sanitary inspector, who merely wanted transportation home to Manila.
In view of this finding, Major Wilfredo Encarnacion branded as a "hoax," to use his own descriptive word, the report of Fidel Cruz.
That was the term employed by the other newspapers when referring to the above-mentioned incident

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A question of values

Report: Arroyo dined in New York for P1M.
Palace responds: No taxpayer's money spent.
Commentary: I think somebody's missing the point here. It's a question of values. Thoughtless extravagance in expenses for pleasure or display, during a period of acute public want, is not only immoral. Its illegal---if I still recall my civil code correctly.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Cory's Legacy

The nation will principally remember Cory as the restorer of Philippine democracy.
Being the nation’s, and Asia’s first female head of state, her ascension to political power was so dramatic when she, a mere housewife, toppled a regime that ruled using the barrel of the gun.
In my perspective Cory left a political legacy that ought to be a lesson for all politicians.
More than a political lesson, it is a moral lesson.
To my mind, I have yet to know a political leader other than Cory Aquino, who voluntarily relinquished power when her term of office was over.
Cory Aquino was never power hungry.
For all of Cory Aquino’s political deficiencies, as she was not perfect, political greed was never one of them.
When her presidential term was over, she eagerly relinquished power to her political successor.
Then she gracefully and quietly faded, and returned to ordinary civilian life.
In this day and age of our political history, most if not all, politicians practice opposite the example shown by Cory Aquino.
When a politician’s full, allowable term ends, he starts to think of ways to circumvent our laws so he and his clan will remain in power.
They will let their wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, run for office to maintain their grip on power, only to go back after the political interregnum.
If this is not feasible, politicians will engage in horse-trading, and switch political places with other politicians, just so they can remain their hold on power.
To these politicians, it is plain stupidity to give away political power.
For political power translates to economic power.
This is the norm in Philippine politics today.
But I don’t believe this is the spirit and intention of our laws.
That is why you see the same faces over and over again every election time.
The problem is, you can’t see any visible progress with these rotating and recurring faces.
I cannot yet see in the horizon that day when politicians will emulate the example of selflessness of Cory Aquino.
Today, it is selfishness, not selflessness.
But Cory is different.
A distinct breed, indeed.
Perhaps, she lived ahead of the times.
God bless Cory Aquino.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Towing blues

Towing services provide assistance to vehicles that are distressed, as well as those who violate parking ordinances.
Today my distressed vehicle was towed.
I don't know what went wrong but the vehilce stalled even as I pressed on the gas.
I called my friend who runs a repair shop, who then called towing services.
Since the vehicle was "automatic transmission", the vehicle had to be carried entirely by a tow truck.
Around Metro Manila, towing services charge P1,500.00
Price though vary, depending on the distance.
For Subic-Manila towing, the price would be around P7,500.
The other towing services are those that tow your vehicle, in the event your car violates parking ordinances in Makati.
If your vehicle is parked on the sidestreet, you only have until five in the afternoon to park.
At five o'clock sharp, tow trucks will be dispatched around Makati like wolves preying on stalled lambs.
The tow people are quick to the draw.
Once they spot an "over-parked" vehicle at five p.m. They alight from the truck, and in a moment would hook the car to the tow truck.
In a few seconds, the car is drawn immediately to the impounding area.
One has to pay P1,500 to redeem the vehicle.
Its a good money-making racket in Makati.
It has sparked controversy.
Many are complaining against the sneaky scheme of towing vehicles.
However, vehicles can not be towed if there is somebody on the driver's seat. The driver will just be commanded to leave.
Be careful in Makati.
Before 5 p.m., be sure you are already seated on the driver's seat if you are parked on the sidestreet.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Atorvastatin rings a bell for those with high cholesterol.
I have been told that this is one of the medicines the prices of which will be sliced to as much as fifty percent.
This is a result of the cheap medicines law.
Atorvastatin calcium is the generic name.
In the market, it is commonly known as Lipitor.
In the Philippines, Lipitor costs P60 to P70 per 20mg.
This is quite an expensive medicine.
Thus, its good to hear that atorvastatin is among the medicines whose prices will have to be reduced.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jabez' prayer

Last Saturday, I had the privilege of acquainting with a person named Jabez.
Fr. Mario Bije, SVD introduced me to Jabez’ prayer.
Fr. Mario told me, he thinks he has been given the gift of prayer-healing.
Jabez, the priest says, is peculiarly special.
Among his brothers, Jabez was more honorable.
Yet, Jabez was born from pain.
I don’t know how many mothers would name a son, Jabez.
Jabez means giving birth to a child in pain.
I am not sure if the “pain” that Jabez brought was labor pain at the time of his birth that his mother suffered.
Or it could have been the pain of shame brought about by his birth, perhaps due to having been born without a known father, or out of wedlock.
Jabez is special because he petitioned the Lord in a prayer.
And the Lord granted his petitions.
If the Lord grants your prayer, you must be special.
The prayer of Jabez has become a model prayer for many.
To many, the prayer has done wonders.
As a matter of fact, Jabez’ simple prayer was even subject of a book that became a best seller.
The prayer of Jabez goes this way:
Oh, that you would bless me, and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”
In this two-sentence prayer of twenty nine words, Jabez prays for four things, that the Lord generously granted.
First: prayer for blessing. Jabez asked the Lord to bless him.
Oh that you would bless me,” asked Jabez in his prayer.
Second: prayer for influence.
Jabez then asked the Lord to “enlarge my territory
This is not a request for physical territory like expanding land ownership, for that is the work of land-grabbers.
Jabez’ request was that the Lord grant him greater influence among others.
Third: prayer for power.
Then Jabez asked the Lord “Let your hand be with me”.
This is a prayer seeking God’s hand that is all-powerful.
Fourth: prayer for protection.
Jabez asked the Lord for protection by asking, “keep me from harm so I will be free from pain
So Jabez’ short prayer is a prayer for blessing, influence, power and protection.
The Lord granted these requests to Jabez.
I like the prayer of Jabez.
Its simple, crisp, direct, frank, straight-forward.
Why don’t you make Jabez’ prayer, your prayer too?
(The prayer of Jabez is found in 1 Chronicles chapter 4 verse 9).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

McKenzie Rex

There is that taste of delicious, home-cooked food at McKenzie Rex in Singapore.
Memories of Mckenzie Rex popped up while thinking of that tasty, crunchy little squid, that is their specialty.

We enjoyed all the food that we ordered at Mckenzie Rex.
It's an unassuming restaurant at No. 66 Prinsep Street, nearby Raffles Hotel.
It was introduced to us by our cousins Ella and Marnie who also told us they frequent the place because of the food they serve.

It was a full meal for us when we were there.
In fact, we visited the place twice.
Prices were reasonable, and depended on the size of the order (small, medium, large).

Crabs are served, as well as vegatables, that resembled our own chop suey.
I hope to be back in this fine city.
I sure won't miss to drop by Mckenzie Rex.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Unbelievable brownouts

I am shocked at the reality that in Negros Oriental and Dumaguete City, brownouts are an ordinary occurrence.
Residents are simply made to accept the reality that day-long brownouts are experiences that people just have to accept.
How pathetic.
No wonder Negros Oriental and Dumaguete City remains to be one of the poorest provinces in the country.
When brownouts occur, everything is in a standstill.
The greatest adverse effect of these day-long brownouts is on the economy.
Who will invest here in the province when investors would have to contend with the problems of brownouts?
Can you imagine a call center being disturbed by frequent brownouts that would hamper their operations?
These brownouts are the source of breach of commercial agreements.
Take for example radio stations.
Broadcast facilities have signed contracts to air commercials.
If there are occasional brownouts, these commercials/advertisements are not aired.
Technically that is a breach.
What about the hospitals?
If there are important surgeries, hospitals would have to contend with perrenial power outages.
Not to mention the impact brownouts have on department stores, and ordinary traders.
Yet it seems that these brownouts in Dumaguete and Negros Oriental are things that people accept as a fact of life.
The irony of it all is that Negros Oriental is one of the principal sources of geothermal energy in the country.
Yet, economically this province remains at the tail end.
No wonder.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Marry me, judge?

You can't choose which judge should officiate a marriage.
Under our family law, judges are authorized to solemnize marriages.
There are practical reasons why couples would prefer judges to solemnize their marriages.
Most noticeable are those couples where one is a foreigner.
They usually tie the knot before a judge.
It's mainly because of facility and convenience.
Less hassle.
If couples want a religious marriage, they would have to contend with scheduling of the church availability, for instance.
There are instances where couples have to schedule as early as one year before the intended date.
There are religions that impose other requirements besides personal presence of the parties during the marriage ceremony.
Requirements include attending seminars and indoctrinations, in case the other spouse-to-be does not belong to the religion of the solemnizing authority.
If there are religious impediments, then having a civil marriage would be a viable alternative.
However, if couples want to be married before a judge, they can no longer choose which judge should officiate the marriage.
There is a Supreme Court circular (Admin.Circular.125-2007) which requires applications for marriages to be raffled, just like ordinary civil cases.
The reason mainly, is to prevent civil marriages from becoming a business enterprise.
The Supreme Court is aware of "package deals" in civil marriages, by enterprising fixers.
Before, there were those who would offer to procure all the marriage requirements, like marriage license, filing fees, the officiating judge, the reception, the menu, even the honeymoon venue, for a single fee.
One-stop-shop. No hassle.
But the danger is that because this is a quickly-arranged marriage, chances are, the documents wouldn't be processed and procured properly and legally.
Worse, there may be legal impediments which are purposely overlooked.
The supreme court averted this by requiring that marriage applications be raffled to a pool of judges.
There are judges who are strict, meticulous, and do not tolerate cutting-corners---which is good.
Marriage cannot be likened to asking for police or fiscal's clearance.
It is an inviolable social institution, the preservation of which is very much a state concern. Photo above shows Dumaguete judge Cenon Voltaire Repollo officiating a marriage. Marriage outside the court room is allowed, upon request or sworn application. Judges are authorized to marry only within their territorial jurisdiction. A Dumaguete judge cannot go to Cebu and officiate a marriage. It is not required that the officiating judge be also married.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

PLDT wireless landline

I availed of the PLDT landline plus promo of PLDT.
The promo provides existing PLDT landline subcsribers of another telephone line.
This second line is wireless like an ordinary cell phone.
You can call from anywhere.
Anywhere you make a call, as long as the called party is in Metro Manila area, there will be no long distance charges.
For instance, if I bring my wireless landline to Cebu or Dumaguete and call a Metro Manila land line number, there will be no long distance charges.
Long distance charges will be billed if I use the wireless land line to contact a landline outside Manila.
If I am in Cebu, and I use my wireless PLDT phone to call a Cebu land line, it would be considered a long distance call.
The PLDT land line plus entails an additional cost of P250 only in addition to my existing PLDT billings.
When I applied at the PLDT main office in Makati, I was given a SIM.
I had an old cellphone to which I inserted the PLDT SIM, and it was operational already, having its own telephon number.
I am using my PLDT wireless (second) land line to make professional calls to land line telephones in Metro Manila.
It's making a lot of difference.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Morbid Matters

Michael Jackson has died, but there is yet no final resting place for him.
There is talk about having the global pop icon buried in his erstwhile Neverland Ranch, which Michael Jackson owned and transformed into a fantasy land.
It is private property.
There are rules to be followed before one can be buried in a place other than cemetery.
In Santa Barbara California , there is an application to be filed, and payment of four hundred dollars.
The other requirement is the approval by the local county, or the governing local council.
With these thoughts, I sought to learn the rules in the Philippines on burying our dead.
Our country forbids burying the dead in places other than those designated by law.
The governing law on burial of the dead, I learned, is Presidential Decree No. 856, known as the Sanitation Code.
The implementing rules of this law was promulgated in 1996.
The specific question in my mind is: can a body or remains be buried in a private place, other than a cemetery, like in a backyard?
The answer is yes, it is possible.
There are of course, certain requirements.
Keep in mind that disposal of the dead is a health issue, as far as the state is concerned.
That is why the law that governs it is the “sanitation code.”
First, any burial ground must be 25 meters away from any dwelling house.
The law also requires that no burial ground shall be located within 50 meters from either side of a river, or within 50 meters from any source of water supply.
So you cannot have a private burial ground near the Banica or Okoy rivers.
Those who wish to have a private burial ground must have clearance from the Department of Health.
To secure this clearance, there are many documentary requirements to be submitted.
First, there must be a resolution by the city council permitting the establishment of such private burial ground.
Aside from the city council, there must be certifications to be issued by the city planning, and the city engineers office.
The size of the private burial ground should be at least 1.2 hectares.
It must have a 50 meter-buffer zone around the niche, or the space for interment.
The law requires that burial shall be limited to 10 niches.
The niches should occupy an area not more than 30 square meters, to be located at the center of the proposed site.
These are just some of the requirements in order to have a private burial ground, other than a cemetery.
Here in the Philippines , to have a private burial ground would virtually take eternity.
Considering the usual government red tape, the soul of the deceased would perhaps already be at St. Peter’s gates, and the private burial ground would still be awaiting approval.
It is good Michael Jackson is not to be buried in the Philippines .
For in such case, perhaps his remains would have already decomposed in “Thriller”-like form, and the permit would still be hanging.