Thursday, May 28, 2009

Senate hears stars in sex video

Senators Jamby Madrigal, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla Jr. appeared very excited in holding the Senate hearing on the Katrina Halili-Jayden Kho sex scandal.
I don't know if these three senators are now the faces of the "new" Philippine Senate.
The quality of our new crop of senators can immediately be assessed by the questions they raised during the hearing.
Anyway, I was amused at many things I heard in the hearing over the car radio.
I heard that when Dr. Vicki Belo learned that Hayden has sex videos with other women, Vicki immeidately sought to access Hayden's "hard drive".
According to a friend, Hayden doesn't have a hard drive.
He only has a software.
Question: What do you call the video that secretly records two people having sex?
Answer: Hayden camera.
Seriously, I think there is no need for that Senate hearing because it is obviously not in aid of legislation.
There are already pending bills against voyeurism.
They have long been gathering dust.
I do not know why you have to invite a Katrina Halili or Hayden Kho to discuss the merits or demerits of a pending bill against voyeurism.
The committee hearing ventured on illegal drugs.
What legislation is needed on illegal drugs, when we have enough laws against it already?
The problem with the campaign against illegal drugs is not legislation.
The problem is law enforcement.
The senate hearing was in aid of re-election, nothing else.
Waste of time.
Waste of taxpayers' money.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Binay's Band

It seems Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, one of the early presidentiables is indeed ready for next years elections.
He has his own band to make noise during the campaign period.
I attended a hearing at the Makati City Hall this morning.
What greeted me was the march of a band, with members wearing a uniform of yellow-green combination.
Binay's the consummate boy scout.
Ever ready.
Fight, Rambotito.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Playboy senator vs. maniac doctor

Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. has called a doctor "maniac".
This doctor happens to be that young celebrity boyfriend of Vicki Belo, the one who runs that medical company that alters, mangles, human body parts mainly---or solely---for "public works".
Circulating around the internet are the video of sexual encounters of this doctor, named Hayden Kho (some pronounce it "Hidden" Kho, others "Hiding" Kho).
I have seen the explicit video clips and it really is very demeaning to women, specially to the persons involved.
What is supposed to be a private act, whether or not done in accordance with contemporary norms or morals, has been scandalously exposed.
However, the good senator made use of the senate podium, under the mantle of "privileged speech", in hurling venomous accusations against the doctor.
I am not defending the doctor. I don't intend to.
By my question is, do ordinary citizens also have the right to reply to scathing, spiteful unparliamentary senate privilege speeches, also in the same podium, venue, with equal space and prominence?
I think this is what lawmakers want to do with newspapers.
How will ordinary citizens be able to reply to senate verbal attacks, done under the cloak of "privielge speech"?
What is striking is that the good senator appeared to be in a "lolipop" moment, relishing the libelous words, he spewed in untempered fashion against the doctor, conscious that he is hiding under the skirt of parliamentary privilege.
The senator mentioned the words predator, "buwang", etc.
I surmised Sen. Revilla was not interpellated by his peers, because his speech was sprinkled with what is called unparliamentary language.
I also think the good senator should be the last to pontificate about sex and morality.
If you have a wife, and you have sexual encounters with other women, even if done in private, are you not also demeaning your own wife, who is also a woman?
I don't know.
I am just playing with simple logic here.
Perhaps, it's better to keep quiet na lang, senator.
It's never in good taste for a pot to publicly call a kettle black.
Besides, by keeping your mouth shut, you'd be doing a better job.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Return of the leaking lawyer

It was a bit of a surprising news when the Supreme Court scrapped the disbarment of the lawyer who was responsible for leaking the 2003 bar exam questions in Mercantile Law.
Instead, the court commuted the "death sentence" down to a seven-year suspension upon Danilo De Guzman (beginning 2004).
So the leaking-lawyer will re-join the bar by 2011, thanks to a compassionate high court.
While not a few may frown at this decision, there is wisdom in second chances.
Besides, respect should be accorded the court's verdict and vantage view that indeed, Atty. De Guzman truly belongs to the bar.
Let me recall the story of the leakage because it involved some cast that were friends of mine.
It was two of my former law school classmates that sparked a full-dress investigation into the bar leakage.
Cecilia Delgado-Carbajosa, my freshman classmate at the Ateneo de Manila Law School took the bar in 2003.
"BG", as Cecilia was called by classmates, finished her law studies at fellow Jesuit school Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro.
After taking the bar on the subject of Mercantile Law, she felt disturbed.
Cecilia, "BG", felt that something was wrong with the examination in mercantile law.
She recalled that previous to the examination, i.e., on Saturday afternoon, the eve of the examination, she received a copy of the test questions in that subject.
Cecilia did not pay attention to the test questions because no answers were provided.
Besides she was hard-pressed to finish her review of that subject, using other available bar review materials.
However, upon perusing the questions after the examinations, Cecilia noticed that many of them were the same questions that were asked in the just-concluded examination.
What Cecilia did was to confide this disturbing matter to another classmate of ours, Atty. Marlo Magdoza who at that time, was a law clerk at the office of then Associate Justice Jose Vitug, that year's chair of the bar examinations.
(Atty. Marlo is now a presiding judge in Manila)
Justice Jose Vitug requested Atty. Marlo to invite Cecilia to his office in the Supreme Court.
But Cecilia declined the invitation.
So, Justice Vitug suggested that Marlo invite Cecilia to meet them at Robinson's Place, Ermita.
Cecilia agreed.
Cecilia arrived at Robinson's Place at the appointed time and showed the test questions to Atty. Marlo and Justice Vitug's secretary Rose Kawada.
Rose obtained a xerox copy of the leaked questions and compared them with the bar questions in mercantile law.
On the back of the pages, she wrote, in her own hand, the differences she noted between the leaked questions and the bar examination questions.
Rose and Marlo delivered the copy of the leaked questions to Justice Vitug who compared them with the bar examination questions in mercantile law.
Justice Vitug found the leaked questions to be the exact same questions which the examiner in mercantile law, Attorney Marcial O. T. Balgos, had prepared and submitted to him as chairman of the Bar Examinations Committee.
However, not all of those questions were asked in the bar examination.
According to Justice Vitug, only 75% of the final bar questions were questions prepared by Atty. Balgos; 25% prepared by Justice Vitug himself, were included in the final bar examination.
The questions prepared by Justice Vitug were not among the leaked test questions.
These events, led to a full blown investigation by a committee formed by the Supreme Court.
It was found that the mercantile bar questions were obtained by Atty. Danilo De Guzman who was working in the law office of Atty. Marcial Balgos.
De Guzman downloaded the questions from Atty. Balgos' computer, and shared it with his fraternity brods at the MLQU.
De Guzman was a member of the Beta Sigma Lambda fraternity.
From there, the test questions spread like virus and tsismis.
The Supreme Court, after the investigation, resolved to disbar Atty. De Guzman and reprimanded Atty. Marcial O.T. Balgos.
The court also directed the NBI to conduct an investigation on the involvement of other persons like staff members of the law office of Atty. Balgos.
However, lately, after finding that De Guzman since then has somewhat redeemed himself, like working with the Peoples' Law Enforcement Board, the high court reduced his sentence to a seven-year suspension.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Competent Evidence of Identity

In 2004, the Supreme Court modified the rules on notarization.
Before, residence certificates were the usual evidence of identity of a person who swears before a notary public.
Under the 2004 modified rules, a residence certificate is no longer allowed.
This is because the notarial rules require what is called "competent evidence of identity".
In other words, the identity of a person who comes to a notary and swears before him must be competent (reliable).
To be a competent evidence of identity, it must be a government-issued ID, bearing a photograph.
A residence certificate does not have a photograph.
A practical reason why a residence certificate is not competent evidence of identity is because it is unreliable in ascertaining a person's identity these days.
Anyone can actually get a residence certificate, even in behalf of another person.
So the next time you go to a notary public to have a document notarized, don't bring a residence certificate.
Examples of competent evidence of identity are passport, driver's license, tax identification number (TIN) I.D., SSS I.D., GSIS I.D., postal I.D., voter's I.D., senior citizen's I.D., real estate broker's I.D., professional license I.D., Senate I.D., House of Representatives I.D., among others.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Jess Martinez, 60

Former Securities and Exchange Commissioner Jesus Enrique “Jess” Martinez died last Wednesday afternoon at the Makati Medical Center after a bout with cancer.
He was 60.
He is survived by wife Che, children Michelle “Mikki”, Monica “Tweetie” and Jesus Gian Paolo III “Chu-chu,” daughter and son in law, and grandchildren the eldest of whom is Nikka, Mikki’s daughter.
After Tito Jess’ remains were cremated, friends and relatives came to offer sympathies to the bereaved family at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque.
Although Jess had been suffering an illness more than a year ago, and had been undergoing cancer treatment, his passing on was not expected.
According to the family, Jess had been in the hospital for three days and was scheduled to go home that Wednesday afternoon.
In a talk before friends at the wake, Jess’ daughter Tweetie said they were all expecting their dad to be back home in their house in Paranaque that day.
He appeared upbeat to come home, she said.
Little did they know that their dad was going back to a different, more peaceful home.
We have been longtime close friends with Tito Jess (as I called him) and family, even during the time when they were living in Dumaguete.
Daughter Mikki was a classmate since kindergarten.
Recently, Tito Jess was dragged unfairly in the so-called Legacy mess at the tail-end of his stint at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
I know for a fact, he had been very determined to refute the charges against him.
But many in Dumaguete remember Jess to be that highly spirited and eloquent debater and speaker at Silliman.
During his younger and active days in politics (he was former Dumaguete vice mayor), he used his debating skills in fighting the the Marcos dictatorship in rallies, and over the airlanes.
I had a phone conversation with Tito Jess exactly a week before he died, which I never thought would be our last.
And I will not forget his last words to me over the phone, which were: “God bless you more….bye.”
What a way to say goodbye.
But we know it isn’t goodbye, really.
He merely went ahead.
Rest in peace, Tito Jess.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Pacquiao makes history

Manny Pacquiao's spectacular 2nd round knock of Ricky Hatton has certainly sealed his legendary status as one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Manny has had so many opponents who were champions in their own right, all sent to their demolishing defeats.
But this one is the clincher.
This Filipino boxer will be remembered in boxing history.
The unexpectedly brief boxing bout against British brawler Ricky Hatton showcased the unmatched, pulverizing punching powers of Manny Pacquiao.
I am referring to the speed-defying killer right, and hammering left hooks.
These are punches that can knockdown a carabao.
The fight has erased all questions, dispelled all doubts of Pacquiao's supremacy in the boxing ring.
Manny Pacquiao's place in boxing history is already secured.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Thoughts on world press freedom day

Today is World Press Freedom day.
There is not much to celebrate.
There is much to worry.
There is more to mourn.
Early this week, in a chat with Jose Pavia, executive director of the Philippine Press Institute, with so much passion he ranted "press freedom is non-negotiable!"
He lamented after meeting with House Speaker Prospero Nograles, together with other press groups to discuss the right-of-reply bills pending in the House.
Politicians are toying with the idea of pushing through with the right-of-reply bills, so long as there is an accompanying move to scrap the criminal libel law.
It's the usual quid-pro-quo, a craft which politicans are masters of.
Horse-trading, in other words.
According to Joe Pavia, "you cannot negotiate press freedom."
It's either you have it, or you don't.
Unfortunately for politicians, they just don't get it.
In a democracy, can a person be "half-free" and "half-shackled"?
On another front, reporters from the Chicago Tribune are "roiling", complaining, about a move by their marketing department which raises ethical questions.
A marketing strategy adopted was to survey readers which stories they would like to get published in the newspaper.
Apparently, some written, unpublished stories were used as reference.
The news reporters sent an email complaining against this strategy.
"It is a fundamental principle of journalism that we do not give people outside the newspaper the option of deciding whether or not we should publish a story, whether they be advertisers, politicians or just regular readers," the email read.
Here in the Philippines, legislators too, now want to become journalists.
With the right-of-reply bills, they want to intrude into the newsroom, and participate in deciding what stories get to be published.
I don't know what is in journalism, that even politicians now want to tinker.
Politicans are fond of tinkering with everything.
They fiddle around with peoples' money.
They want to bungle the constitution.
Now they want to meddle with newspapers.
As the Chinese saying goes: "May you live in interesting times."
For journalists, they do.