Saturday, December 18, 2010

Divorce recognition expanded in PH

It is not correct to say there is an absolute ban on divorce in the Philippines.
Truth is, there are instances where divorce is recognized here.
The trend seems to expand divorce recgonition.
This is contained in Article 26 of the Family Code.
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law”.
The family code justifies that if the foreigner is able to procure a divorce abroad, and as a consequence of the divorce the foreigner is allowed to re-marry, then it is only fair that the divorced Filipino spouse left behind should also be allowed to re-marry.
Lately, the Supreme Court has expanded and made this law applicable even to former Filipinos who become naturalized in another country and subsequently procures a divorce.
This was the ruling of the Supreme Court in Republic versus Cipriano Orbecido (G.R. 154380)
In that case, Cipriano and Lady Myros, both Filipinos were married in Ozamis City.
Later Lady Myros left for the United States.
While in the United States, Lady Myros became a naturalized American.
Thereafter, as an American, lady Myros procured a divorce from her marriage to Cipriano.
In this case, the Supreme Court said the Family Code provision on divorce can be applicable.
The point of reckoning is the citizenship of the divorcing spouse when the divorce was procured, and not the time of marriage.
Thus, the Supreme Court expanded the application of Article 26 of the Family Code, this time covering former Filipinos who are naturalized abroad.
If you look at the letter of the law, it only applies to foreigners who were such at the time of the marriage.
But the Supreme Court examined the spirit, not the letter of the law.
Let’s tweak the facts a little bit.
What if the divorce was obtained by the Filipino spouse abroad, BEFORE the Filipino spouse became naturalized abroad?
The answer to this question, applying simple logic, is that Article 26 will not apply.
Therefore, the Filipino spouse left behind cannot remarry, even if the Filipino spouse abroad obtained a divorce (before being naturalized), and then re-marries there.
The explanation is that since the divorce was obtained while the Filipino spouse was still a Filipino, then the spouse abroad is still subject to Philippine laws, which does not recognize the divorce.
But what if the Filipino spouse abroad, after obtaining a divorce and then re-marrying, subsequently becomes naturalized (becomes a foreigner) ?
Will the naturalization have a retroactive, and curative effect on the previously obtained divorce, such that the Filipino spouse left behind can also re-marry?
There is no case on this yet.
But if the Filipino spouse left behind is not allowed to re-marry, because the divorce procured by the Filipino spouse abroad cannot be recognized in the Philippines---having procured the divorce while still a Filipino---the same unfairness persists.
The Filipino spouse left behind will suffer eternally and cannot re-marry
It can be suggested that if a Filipino spouse abroad obtains a divorce there, such a divorce should be recognized once that Filipino spouse abroad becomes naturalized.
Otherwise, the Filipino spouse left behind cannot remarry and will be in an unfair situation.
Such unfairness is precisely what the Court has tried to remove.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hubert Webb: Not guilty verdict is not innocence?

I really pity Hubert Webb.
After the Supreme Court acquitted him of the crime of rape with homicide, he is still vilified by the disgruntled.
Some people, legal observers, maintain that a “not guilty” verdict is not tantamount to innocence.
Some say the supreme court merely declared that the prosecution was not able to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
This does not mean the accused were innocent, they add.
While the statement is generally true, it is not true in all cases.
In acquitting an accused the supreme court looks at the prosecution’s
evidence to see if the evidence proves the guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
It is not for the accused in a criminal case to prove his innocence.
It is for the prosecution to establish with moral certainty, beyond any reasonable doubt, that indeed, the accused committed the crime.
However, the case of Hubert Webb is far different.
In Hubert Webb’s case, the supreme court not only found reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s evidence.
Not only was the court convinced of the unreliability of the prosecution’s star witness Jessica Alfaro.
Apparently, Jessica Alfaro got tangled in a web of lies (No pun intended).
Hubert Webb was also able to prove his innocence.
The Supreme Court said Hubert's alibi impeached Jesicca Alfaro's testimony.
If one reads the supreme court decision closely, it will readily be seen that the supreme court tackled Hubert Webb’s “documented alibi”.
With unassailed, unrebutted authenticated documents (by no less than two U.S. secretaries of state), Hubert Webb was able to establish that he was 8,000 miles away at the time the Vizconde massacre happened on June 30, 1991.
So for people to say that Hubert Webb’s acquittal does not mean he did not commit the crime, the same people must explain how Hubert Webb could have been in two places at the same time on June 30,1991.
The weakness of the prosecutions case, to my mind, is its failure to rebut the “documented alibi” of Hubert Webb.
And it is too late now to be producing rebuttal witnesses.
The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts.
Litigation has to have an end.
The prosecution should have proved, on rebuttal evidence during the trial in the lower court, that the alibi documents of Hubert Webb were false, fake, forged, or fabricated.
Alternatively, the prosecution should have proved, on rebuttal evidence, that it is physically possible for a human being to be in two places at the same time.
What the prosecution successfully did, was to offer conjectures, i.e. that it was possible that Hubert Webb could have sneaked into the Philippines on June 30, 1991, rape and kill three persons, and then sneak out of the country thereafter.
Can this scenario be possible without being tracked by the immigration authorities of two countries?
Yet as to how this could be possible, the prosecution did not offer any proof.
But conjecture is not proof.
Conjecture is nothing but a polluted allegation.
For those who maintain that Hubert Webbs acquittal does not mean he did not commit the crime, it would do well if they can provide a rational and convincing explanation to Hubert Webb’s unrebutted, documented alibi that he was in the United States on June 30, 1991.
Otherwise, Hubert Webb is not merely “not guilty”.
He is also innocent.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Speechwriter legally liable

The controversial speech writer of the President, Maria Carmen Mislang (an assistant secretary), can be held liable for violating Republic Act No. 6713, known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for public officials.

While being part of a presidential delegation to Vietnam recently, the presidential speech writer made unsavory, embarrassing comments on her Twitter account by saying the Vietnam “wine sucks”.
As if the presidential visit was also a mate-hunting spree, the speech writer also publicly commented that there are no good looking men in Vietnam.
Worse, as if the Manila traffic is not as bad, Mislang comment that being in the motorcycle-laden streets of Vietnam is one of the easiest ways to die.
As a Filipino, I am very embarrassed because this was made by an official who was part of a high level delegation representing the entire Filipino nation.
When the president goes abroad on official visit, there is no moment that he or any of his officials are on private time.
This is because it is the taxpayers’ money, our hard-earned money, that is being used to fund their trip.

The law’s policy

The statement of policy of the Republic Act No. 6713 is very clear:
“It is the policy of the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service. Public officials and employees shall at all times be accountable to the people and shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives, and uphold public interest over personal interest.”
The policy is self-explanatory

Norms of conduct

Public officials are held to observe certain norms while in office.

Commitment to public service

Section 4 (a) requires commitment to public service. It states:
“Public officials and employees shall always uphold the public interest over and above personal interest. All government resources and powers of their respective offices must be employed and used efficiently, effectively, honestly and economically, particularly to avoid wastage in public funds and revenues.”
While part of the presidential delegation, did the speechwriter uphold public interest?
Did she use government resources (taxpayers’ money) efficiently, effectively?
If the answers are not “yes” then she is liable under this provision.

Section 4(a) of the law requires, utmost professionalism.
“Public officials and employees shall perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill. They shall enter public service with utmost devotion and dedication to duty. They shall endeavor to discourage wrong perceptions of their roles as dispensers or peddlers of undue patronage.”
While in Vietnam is the speech writer discharge her duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill?
Did she comport herself with utmost devotion and dedication to duty?
Again, if the answers to these questions are not “yes”, then there is a violation of the law.

Justness, sincerity

Section 4© requires public officials to observe justness and sincerity:
“Public officials and employees shall remain true to the people at all times. They must act with justness and sincerity and shall not discriminate against anyone, especially the poor and the underprivileged. They shall at all times respect the rights of others, and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public interest.”
While in Vietnam as part of the presidential delegation, and posting humiliating twitter comments in between, did the speech writer remain true to the people?
As a public official, did she act with justness and sincerity?
Was she not discriminating against the Vietnamese people where she said their “wine sucks”
Was she not discriminating when she publicly degraded the physical attributes of Vietnamese males?
Did she respect the rights of the Vietnamese people with her publicly degrading twitter posts?
Was she doing acts in accordance with ‘good morals’ and ‘good customs’ with her Twitter posts?

I think, if we base her acts with the high standards required of public officials under Republic Act 6713, she should be held liable.


Under Section 11 the law provides penalties for violations:
“Any public official or employee, …committing any violation of this Act shall be punished with a fine not exceeding the equivalent of six (6) months' salary or suspension not exceeding one (1) year, or removal depending on the gravity of the offense after due notice and hearing by the appropriate body or agency. “

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How to say "NO" to corruption

After more than forty years in government service, former Senator Nene Pimentel is embarking on a crusade to impart to fellow citizens his core values, his wisdom and experience as a public servant.
He has established the Pimentel Institute of Leadership and Governance (PILG), which serves as his springboard in spreading his crusade all over the country.
The Institute launched its pilot program in the University of Makati, which has hosted and linked with the institute in holding seminars on governance.
The institute is also trying to link with other schools all over the country who are willing to host the Pimentel Institute as a center for academic advancement or enrichment in the field of government leadership and service.
Because the barangay elections are up coming, the Pimentel Institute is holding seminars to prospective and incumbent barangay officials on the affairs of barangay governance.
The seminar aims to give insights and equip participants with the necessary tools to guide them when they embark in a career in public service.
One of the highlights of the seminar was the discussion by former senator Pimentel on the issue of corruption.
The subject of his talk was: As a public official, how do you say “no” to corruption?
Let me relay the main points of his discussion.
If you are a public official, the people who will try to corrupt you are your own family members, relatives, and friends.
You do not expect your political adversaries to attempt to corrupt you because they are not in a position to even come near you.
Pimentel advised that in the beginning one’s term of office, it is best to immediately declare publicly, that you are not going to allow any anomalous, illegal or corrupt transaction from anyone while you are in office.
But even after you have made this declaration, people will still come to you to corrupt you.
How do you say “no” to corruption?
Pimentel advised that to say no to corruption is simply to say it straight, verbally, clearly to persons who attempt to corrupt you.
“Simply say no,” Pimentel says.
And say it clearly.
“Huwag paligoy-ligoy (Do not beat around the bush),” he stressed.
Do not entertain the thought of creating justifications.
Do not give the serpent a window of opportunity, he said.
Never discuss in your mind how you can go around the law.
If you start entertaining these kind of thoughts, tapos na ang istorya.
A corrupt transaction will ensue.
Before the situation becomes complicated, it is best to immediately declare “Ayaw ko” or “Hindi puwede.”
Pimentel also advised that it would be good to accompany your rejection of corruption with a prayer---the Lord’s prayer which says “Lord, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Pimentel reminded that corruption is something that is against the law of God, particularly the ten commandments which mandates that “Thou shalt not steal.”
If the corruptor does not believe in the Bible (because God cannot put one to prison) at least remind him (the corruptor) to believe in the revised penal code which imposes jail penalties to people who corrupt public officials.
Pimentel cited the reasons why people should say “no” to corruption.
Corruption is against the law of God and the laws of man.
Corruption destroys your self in manner that you cannot realize right away.
Corruption destroys your dignity as a human being.
Corruption destroys the name that your children carry.
Corruption erodes the confidence people entrust in you when they voted you in office.
We recognize that corruption is very hard to resist because of the material and worldly gains it brings.
But rejecting corruption can be done.
You need not be a saint to do it.
Just say “no” and mean it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Manny Pacquiao coming to Silliman University

It's good to hear Manny Pacquiao, the country's national boxing pride is going to Silliman University in Dumaguete City.
He is not going to continue his studies there.
He will be guest during the Silliman U's Founder's Day festivities.
According to Marv Dumon in his article in Pacquiao, who represents the province of Saranggani in the House of Representatives, will be guest of Silliman Univesity's College of Law founding anniversary on
Auguest 26.
I got this confirmation also from Atty. Lester Nuique, president of the Silliman University College of Law Alumni (SULAW).
On August 26, 2010 at 10 o'clock in the morning, Rep. Manny Pacquiao will be the speaker in the University convocation at the Luce Auritorium.
In the afternoon, Pacquiao will be the inspirational speaker during the Silliman law alumni fellowship at 4:00 p.m. at the Villareal Hall.
Pacquiao is slated to spend the night in Dumaguete.
He visits Silliman before he leaves for the United States, Dumon in his article added.
It's good to hear Pacquiao is coming to Dumaguete City.
He will learn that Duamguete City has a rich boxing history.
Development of young amateur boxing potentials goes a long way back, spearheaded by the Amateur Boxing Association of Negros Oriental (ABANO).
One boxing local has already fought in the international scene, Jimrex Jaca, who hails from Sibulan.
There are quite a number of boxing potentials in Dumaguete City.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Justice on Wheels rolls in Dumaguete

August 8 , 2010---One of the most successful, innovative solutions to declog the court dockets is the Supreme Court’s Justice on Wheels program.
Yesterday, Justice on Wheels rolled in Dumaguete and conducted hearings at the premises of the Hall of Justice.
Yesterday, there were thirteen promulgation of cases, and nine mediated cases.
A total of twenty two cases were immediately acted upon, under the Justice on Wheels program.
This is according to Atty. Cory Perez, branch 41 clerk, and acting assistant clerk of court.
The Justice on Wheels program was supervised no less than by the project’s chief implementer Senior Deputy Court Administrator Nimfa Cuesta--Vilches.
Vilches was Vice Chair of the committee on Justice on Wheels of the Supreme Court.
She is also a former judge having been first appointed at age 32 in Leyte.
She graduated law from the Ateneo de Manila in 1982.
Also on hand to facilitate the conduct of Justice on Wheels was Dumaguetena judge who is now assistant court administrator Jenny Lind Aldecoa-Delorino.
Jenny Lind, a former judge in Dumaguete and Makati City, graduated from Silliman University.
The Justice on Wheels came from Ilo-ilo, Bacolod and will proceed to Cebu.
Under the Justice on Wheels program, court hearings can now be held in busses that move from one place to another.
These moving court salas will conduct court proceedings specially on those areas where movement of cases are dragging for one reason or another.
There are places where there are not enough judges, prosecutors, public defenders.
There are places where cases actually need only to be mediated to be resolved, including problems about domestic relations.
There are places where many of the people need basic information on their rights.
This is where the Justice on Wheels can fill the gap, and bring justice closer to the people and the marginalized.
The Justice on Wheels program, implemented during the stewardship of retired Chief Justice Renato S. Puno, fulfills a constitutional guarantee that “adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.”
The main components of the Justice on wheels are: (1) docket and jail decongestion through mobile court hearings; (2) mobile court-annexed mediation; (3) free legal aid; (4) information dissemination about the rights of the marginalized.
Believe it or not, the Justice on Wheels also offers medical and dental missions, aside from dispensing justice.
I’ve been to these busses before.
They are air conditioned. The interior resembles a court sala.
The Justice on Wheels program was adopted after it was showcased in Guatemala.
There was a big bus, partitioned into an office of the judge, a room for clerical staff, and rooms for prosecution and mediation.
It was seen as a practical solution to speed up case disposition.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Mercury Drug strikes three

I don’t know what’s with my favorite drug store, Mercury Drug Corporation, owner of the country’s largest drug store chain.
For three times it has been penalized by the courts for endangering peoples’ lives when its employees negligently gave the wrong drug to its customers.

Most recent incident

Very recently Mercury Drug Corporation was fined by the court of appeals P100,000 when its employee in its Sucat branch gave a customer an anti-convulsion drug “Dilantin”, instead of “Benadryl”, an anti-alergy medicine.
The customer Alma Garcia said she purchased six Benadryl capsules from the concerned branch for her daughter Amanda Hazel, who later complained of abdominal discomfort, irregular bowel movement, and inability to sleep.
Amanda was later diagnosed as suffering from toxicity due to Dilantin intake, and was forced to quit school.
This is not the first time that Mercury Drug Corporation was found negligent by the courts for issuing a wrong drug to its customers.

First incident

The first time almost claimed the life of its customer.
On November 25, 1993 Sebastian Baking was prescribed by his doctor the drug called “Diamicron” (for his blood sugar).
When Baking went to Mercury drug to buy the medicine, he was given instead “Dormicum”, a potent sleeping tablet.
On the third day that Baking took the wrong medicine, he drove his car.
He fell asleep while driving.
As a result he met an accident when his car collided with another vehicle.
Baking suspected that his medicine may have had an effect in his physical state while driving.
To the shock of his doctor, it was discovered that Baking has been taking the wrong medicine.
Baking sued Mercury Drug Corp and its employee.

Second incident

Apparently unperturbed, the next victim of Mercury Drug’s negligence was no less than a judge.
Judge Raul De Leon, presiding judge of Paranaque, had red eyes in 1999. He had difficulty reading.
His doctor prescribed him “Cortisporin Opthalmic” and “Ceftin” to relieve his eyes.
The following morning, judge De Leon went to the Betterliving, ParaƱaque, branch of Mercury Drug Store Corporation to buy the prescribed medicines.
At his chambers, De Leon requested his sheriff to assist him in using the eye drops.
As instructed, the sheriff applied 2-3 drops on the judge's left eye. Instead of relieving his irritation, the judge felt searing pain.
He immediately rinsed the affected eye with water, but the pain did not subside.
Only then did he discover that he was given the wrong medicine, “Cortisporin Otic Solution.”
De Leon returned to the same Mercury Drug branch, with his left eye still red and teary. When he confronted the sales lady Ganzon why he was given ear drops, instead of the prescribed eye drops, she did not apologize and instead brazenly replied that she was unable to fully read the prescription.
In fact, it was her supervisor who apologized and informed De Leon that they do not have stock of the needed Cortisporin Opthalmic.
De Leon wrote Mercury Drug, through its president, Ms. Vivian K. Askuna, about the day’s incident. It did not merit any response.
Instead, two sales persons went to his office and informed him that their supervisor was busy with other matters. Having been denied his simple desire for a written apology and explanation, De Leon filed a complaint for damages against Mercury Drug.
Denying that they were negligent, Mercury Drug and Ganzon pointed out that De Leon’s own negligence was the proximate cause of his injury.
They argued that any injury would have been averted had De Leon exercised due diligence before applying the medicine on his eye.
Had he cautiously read the medicine bottle label, he would have known that he had the wrong medicine, Mercury Drug argued.

Ruling of the court

The Supreme Court ruled that Mercury Durg Corporation is liable together with its employees.

Presumption of employer’s negligence

There was a presumption that Mercury Drug Corp. did not exercise the proper diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees.
In cases where an injury is caused by the negligence of an employee, there instantly arises a presumption of law that there has been negligence on the part of the employer, either in the selection or supervision of one’s employees. This presumption may be rebutted by a clear showing that the employer has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of the family.
Mercury Drug failed to overcome such presumption.
In the Baking case, the Court ruled that obviously, Mercury Drug’s employee was grossly negligent in selling to Baking “Dormicum”, instead of the prescribed “Diamicron”.
Considering that a fatal mistake could be a matter of life and death for a buying patient, the said employee should have been very cautious in dispensing medicines, the court said
She should have verified whether the medicine she gave respondent was indeed the one prescribed by his physician, the court said.
The care required must be commensurate with the danger involved, and the skill employed must correspond with the superior knowledge of the business which the law demands, the court said.

Proximate cause

The proximate cause of the accident was the gross negligence of the pharmacist who gave the wrong medicine to the customer, according to the court.

Pharmacy: Imbued with public interest
The Supreme Court ruled: “It is generally recognized that the drugstore business is imbued with public interest. This can not be more real for Mercury Drug, the country’s biggest drugstore chain”.
“This Court can not tolerate any form of negligence which can jeopardize the health and safety of its loyal patrons,” the Supreme Court said.
“Moreover, this Court will not countenance the cavalier manner it treated judge De Leon. Not only does a pharmacy owe a customer the duty of reasonable care, but it is also duty-bound to accord one with respect,” the court said.

My comments: tort or contract?

No question, the Supreme Court ruled correctly in holding Mercury Drug and its employee liable.
But I cannot agree with the court’s basis for holding Mercury drug liable.
In holding Mercury Drug liable in the Baking case, the Supreme Court invoked the law on torts.
The court cited Article 2176 of the civil code which states: “Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict…”
How the court implied the absence of a “pre-existing contractual relation” escapes me.
Does this not involve a contract of sale between Mercury Drug Corp. and the curtomer?
To my mind, the ruling should have be based on contractual breach, not quasi-delict or tort.


What alarms me is that this is the third time that the court has to rule over the negligence of a drug store for giving the customer a wrong medicine.
The drug store apparently hasn’t learned its lesson.
Why? Because the penalty is miniscule.
The maximum award is only P100,000.00 despite the seriousness of the damage.
The Supreme Court merely awarded P50,000 moral damages and P25,000. exemplary damages.
This penalty is too small for such a serious damage.

Legislation needed.

To promote the public interest, may I kindly call on our congressmen/senators to enact a law that would criminalize the reckless giving of wrong medicines by drugs stores to its customers.
Lawmakers should look at the welfare of hapless citizens, specially senior citizens, and the not-very-literate, who may have difficulty reading ant-sized letters in medicine bottles.
The law should impose not only jail time, but in addition, a hefty penalty--- no less than P500,000, if I may suggest.
Perhaps, a local ordinance should be enacted also to immediately protect the locality.
The giving by a drug store of a wrong medicine is no less dangerous, and just as serious as a nurse administering or injecting the wrong drug to a patient.
Piligro ni

Saturday, July 24, 2010

If gay teacher sexually molests student, school is primarily liable

A fourteen year old male student in one prominent Catholic school (name begins with "S") was sexually molested by a gay teacher.
The sexual molestation happened in the student’s bedroom while the teacher was conducting after-class tutorials.
The mother became uncomfortable when she noticed the child’s bedroom was locked while tutorial session were being conducted.
Mother’s instinct told her to command the house-helps to check from the window outside to see what was happening inside the bedroom.
The two house-helps came running back to the mother, shell-shocked as they actually witnessed the teacher’s mouth sucking the child’s penis while seated on the bed.
The teacher was reported to the police and was arrested and jailed.
The innocent child confessed that this had been happening several times already.
The mother’s question is whether the school---aside of course, from the teacher--- has any liability for what happened to the child.
The school was trying to explain to the mother that it had nothing to do with the incident because it happened outside the school premises.
Is the school correct?
The school can be held civilly liable, even if it was done outside the school premises.
The fact that the incident happened outside the school is even irrelevant.
Article 218 of the Family Code provides that the school, its administrators and teachers, shall have special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody.
Authority and responsibility shall apply to all authorized activities whether inside or outside the premises of the school.
The school likewise can be liable under the civil code.
The teacher is under the employ of the school.
The civil code provides that employers (in this case, the school) shall be liable for the damage caused by their employees (the teacher) acting within the scope of their assigned tasks.
The clause “within the scope of their assigned tasks” includes those acts by the teacher-employee, in furtherance of the interests of the school.
The crucial question is whether or not the teacher was, at the time of the incident, performing act in furtherance of his mater’s business.
It can hardly be debated that, conducting tutorial lessons by the teacher, is something in furtherance of the schools interest of providing quality education.
The fact that the teacher was merely conducting after-class tutorials, and not classroom instruction, does not relieve the school of the burden of rebutting the presumption that there was negligence in the selection and supervision of its teachers.
The complainants, the parents of the child-victim, need only establish the existence of the employer-employee relationship between the school and the erring teacher.
Also the complainants merely need to prove that the teacher was in an act not for an independent purpose of his own (tutorial), but in furtherance of the business of the school.
However, what merely arises is a presumption of negligence on the part of the school.
The school can rebut this presumption by proving that it observed the proper diligence under the circumstances.
The civil code provides that the responsibility of the employer (school) shall cease when it proves that it observed the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage.
The school’s proper diligence would mean diligence in the selection and supervision of its teachers.
Supervision includes formulation of suitable rules and regulation for the guidance of its teachers in conducting tutorials.
It also includes issuance of proper instructions intended for the protection of the public and persons with whom the school has contractual relations, through its teachers.
The school is expected to impose upon its employees the necessary discipline called for, in the performance of any act indispensable to the business and beneficial to the school.
If the school fails to rebut the presumption of negligence, the school will be primarily and solidarily liable with the teacher.
Needless to say, additionally, the teacher will be liable criminally under child abuse law (Republic Act 7610).
Imprisonment under the law ranges from 14 years to 40 years.
It is very important for parents to monitor the activities of their teenage children, even right in their own bedrooms.

Friday, May 21, 2010

LA Times features Dumagueteno’s pastry shop in US

A Dumagueteno family enterprise has successfully exported their local pastry business in the United States.
After thirty years, House of Silvanas, maker of the tastiest crunchy silvanas has reaped rave reviews from discriminating taste buds of American consumers.
The Los Angeles Times recently featured House of Silvanas bakeshop which has opened branches in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The popular pastries traces its origins in a quiet kitchen at the corner of San Jose Street and Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete.
It was the late Trinidad Teves-Sagarbarria (founder of San Rival) who crafted the recipe of the widely popular silvanas and other pastry products.
Trinidad then shared the recipes to daughter-in-law Mary Ann Demandante Sagarbarria, wife of Martin ‘Cholong’ Sagarbarria to make the delightful pastry products like silvanas and sans rival.
After a while, MaryAnn made some experiments and adjustments to the Silvanas products and added other cake products.
Mary Ann recalls she just baked cakes and made silvanas to close friends while they were living in Manila.
Friends enjoyed Mary Ann’s products and prodded her to open up a pastry shop.
Not long after, in 1978, Mary Ann Sagarbarria opened House of Silvanas in their home in San Lorenzo Makati.
Mary Ann was assisted in Manila by daughter Tricia Abregana.
Through the years, their home became the go-to pastry shop and was frequented by celebrities including Sharon Cuneta, Juan Miguel Salvador, who bought pastries in bulk.
Mary Ann later opened branches in malls in Metro Manila.
Soon, Mary Ann with daughter Kay and sons Manu and Don, with only US$15,000 capital, ventured to the United States and opened the first international branch of House of Silvanas in the city of Torrance.
Since, then House of Silvanas has received rave reviews from the American community.
Early this year, the Los Angeles Times ran a feature of House of Silvanas bakeshop, in its January 16 issue.
Here is that article by Miles Clements

The Find: House of Silvanas offers colorful, classic Filipino cookies

Crisp, impossibly airy cookies served straight from the freezer, their centers stuffed with slick buttercream, seem almost Space Age. They're somehow both sturdy and weightless. They dissolve the second they touch your tongue. These otherworldly treats are silvanas, colorful and classic Filipino cookies that could easily be mistaken for oversized French macarons.
They're the namesake of House of Silvanas, a months-old sweets shop at the confluence of Silver Lake and Little Armenia. You won't find the place without some confusion -- it's but one of many stalls located inside Kusina, a surprisingly spacious cafeteria-style turo-turo joint where buffet trays are loaded with ruddy links of longganisa sausage and steaming cups of sinigang, a sour tamarind soup, serve as makeshift palate cleansers.
Never mind its humble surroundings -- House of Silvanas has a long, multi-generational history. Its cream-filled tradition began a world away in the Philippines, where Trining Teves-Sagarbarria's pastries were so popular that a business bloomed to satisfy demand. Those renowned recipes became heirlooms, passed down to daughter-in-law Mary Ann, who has now bestowed them upon her daughter Kathryn.
The first branch of House of Silvanas, like Teves-Sagarbarria's L.A. shop, was born out of necessity: Mary Ann launched it in 1995 after neighbors complained of the flood of customers overwhelming her metro Manila home.
An extended network of the Sagarbarria family tends to House of Silvanas' stateside branches, with dessert-driven relatives operating outposts in the Bay Area and the South Bay. Stand-alone stores in Torrance and Carson have come and gone, but the new stall inside Kusina marks a milestone: the bakery's first foray into Los Angeles proper.
Silvanas remain the bake shop's hallmark. The mystery of the cookies is revealed in their deconstruction: a layer of flavored buttercream is sandwiched between a pair of cashew-meringue wafers that are coated in microscopic cookie crumbs. The puck-sized indulgences are available in seven color-coded flavors: ube, buko-pandan, chocolate, strawberry, mango, mocha and plain buttercream.
House of Silvanas in LA is at 4716 Fountain Ave ( )

In the photo above: Daughter Kay and Mery Ann Sagarbarria personally manage the US branches of House of Silvanas

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Write simply

In our mandatory continuing legal education, the importance of writing good, correct English was highlighted.
The correct way to write and communicate effectively is to write in very simple English (emphasis on "very").
The legal profession is not insulated from people who fail to communicate effectively.
I am not even referring to lawyers.
There are even judges who cannot communicate their decisions effectively.
As a result, their decisions cannot be understood.
One example discussed in the continuing legal education, is that judge whom the court took to task for his manner of writing a decision.
The Supreme Court was apparently pissed of with the judge's writing style, to the extent that the high court quoted verbatim a significant portion of the judge's decision.
It was indeed, horrific.
In the case of Leonor versus Court of Appeals [256 SCRA 69 (1996)], a horrified Supreme Court noted the following portion of a lower court decision:

"This is an action for 'Cancellation of Entry in the Civil Registry' particularly on the marriage contract of one Mauricio Leonor, Jr. and Virginia Amor supposedly to have taken place in a long distance past on March 13, 1960 and after a Rip Van Winkle sleep and dormancy liken to a Mt. Pinatubo explosion that rocked the peace and quiet in the lives of the supposedly participants to this drama in Calatrava and San Carlos City, Negros Occidental when out of the blue one party in the person of an aggrieved left-behind spouse revived and revealed an ancient piece of marital bond between her and a reluctant spouse."

The high court did not mince words in describing the decision.
It described the lower court decision as a "crude attempt at literary sophistication."
The high court criticized its "jarring syntax and grammatical inconsistencies."
It decried the use of "convoluted language."
Need I say more?
Its nice to go back to the basic advice in writing well: K.I.S.S.
Keep It Simple...Stupid.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Change v status quo

The cat is now out of the bag.
Loose talks that Nacionalista Party standard bearer Manny Villar is the secret candidate of Malacanang have gradually been confirmed.
The governor of Cebu Gwendolyn Garcia, an administration ally, has confided that first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo had called up other members of the Garcia clan to back Villar over the official administration standard bearer Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro.
Contrary to perceptions that the political landscape has been muddled, actually it has become clearer.
Leading to next months elections, it now turns out to be a one-on-one contest between Manny Villar, the candidate backed by the Arroyo administration, against Noynoy Aquino, of the Liberal party, who personifies the opposition.
What happens to Gibo Teodoro?
Sorry to say, he will end up bigo.
He will be junked by his own administration partners in favor of Villar.
Politics is cruel. But that is politics.
The people now have a clearer choice.
If you are for the status quo, then vote for Villar.
If you want change , because you do not like how this country is run, vote for Noynoy.
If you want to go back to the past, vote for Erap.
By the way, I really find funny Villar’s posturing that he swam in a sea of garbage.
For me, anybody who swims in a sea of garbage has some psychiatric issues.
Who is in right mind will even wade in a sea of garbage?
If you think that the Arroyo administration policies should be continued in the next six years, then vote for Villar.
If you want these policies to be recalled and rejected, then vote for Noynoy.
So as we head nearer to the elections, our choice as voters have become simpler and clearer.
Manny Villar for status quo.
Noynoy Aquino for change.
Pick your choice.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Who is this?

Are we looking at the face of a president after June 30?
"God forbid," said one friend.
Is this who Mar Roxas described as "Villarroyo"?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Meaning of M.U.

I just learned the meaning of M.U.
I attended an action group session with brothers and sisters of the BCBP last night.
I am not actually in the same age bracket with my brods and sis.
I was amused at how my brods and sis, couples, shared their anxities as they deal with raising their teen-age children.
Their young children come home so early already---early in the morning.
Chlidren don;t respond to their text messages.
It keeps them (parents) awake all night, waiting for son or daughter to come home.
Sometimes, they just fall asleep while waiting for eternity.
In the morning, their favorite question would be "What time did Mike come home last night?"
Another teen age child of another couple is known to have a girlfried.
But in an elevator, a sis saw the teen age son having a lips-to-lips session with another girl in the elevator.
Then for the first time I learned the meaning of M.U.
Another teen age child was teased about having a relationship.
The teen ager said she is not in a relationship.
They are just "M.U."
What is M.U.?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hiatus in presiential succession?

The Constitutions provides a temporary succession to the Presidency in the event that no president-elect and vice-president elect shall have been chosen and qualified.
From my vantage point, no hold-over President is allowed after noon of June 30.
But, judging the kind of decisions coming from the Supreme Court these days, you’ll never know.
There are loose talks from several quarters of a “failure of elections.”
The Commission on Elections has debunked such failed election scenarios.
But the Constitution is clear that when no President and vice president shall have been chosen or shall have qualified, or where both shall have died or become permanently disabled, the president of the Senate is next in line as acting president.
In case of the senate president’s inability, the house speaker acts as president.
In case of the inability of the senate president and the house speaker to act as president, the congress shall enact a law providing the manner which one is to act as president.
The problem is that the current senate president, Juan Ponce Enrile, is one whose term will expire also on June 30.
Enrile is running for re-election.
Nonetheless, by noon of June 30, Enrile will no longer be Senate President.
Enrile’s current term of office ends at noon on June 30.
With it ends his being Senate president.
There are suggestions that the Senate should already replace senator Enrile with a senate president whose term won’t end on June 30, but in 2013.
Unfortunately, the senate cannot just meet by itself, because it needs the lower house to convene also.
The constitution established a congress that is bicameral.
These days however, the house cannot muster a quorum because congressmen are busy for the elections.
There is one time where the constitution requires the congress to convene after the May elections.
The constitution requires congress to convene not later than thirty day after the May 10 elections to canvass the votes for president and vice president.
I see this as an opportunity for the senate to place in its agenda, the election of a new senate president whose term will not end on June 30.
If this will not happen, there can be a potential problem on temporary succession in case no president and vice president shall have been chosen and qualified, by June 30.
Let us assume there is no senate president because Enrile’s term also ends on June 30, and the senate hasn’t elected a new senate president.
The house also cannot elect a new speaker by July 1 because under the constitution, congress convenes only on the fourth Monday of July for its regular session.
Since congress convenes only on the fourth Monday of July (July 26), it cannot set up a manner of choosing an acting president.
Under such a scenario, who will be acting president from noon of June 30 to July 25?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Training for effective law enforcement

To intensify the investigation of cases in the City, the Dr. Jovito Salonga Center for Law and Development conducted a training for members of the Philippine National Police-Dumaguete City (PNP-Dgte).
The one-day training-seminar held at the Moot Court of the Silliman University (SU) College of Law last February 26, 2010 provided the participants with new insights on case investigation following recent jurisprudence, legislative enactments, and legal issuances.
Assistant City Prosecutor Angela Charina M. Cortes lectured on the New Rules of Inquest Proceedings and Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Atty. Ramon Nakao, a faculty member of the SU Law and a known lawyer in criminal law, handled the session on the Preparation of Affidavits of Complaint. On the other hand, City Prosecutor Eliezer P. Escorial talked about the Handling and Processing of Evidence.
At the end of the training, student volunteers of the Salonga Center facilitated the Role Playing wherein the participants were confronted with cases on buy-bust operation, kilum-kilum, and children in conflict with the law and were given the chance to apply their newly-acquired knowledge. City Prosecutor Escorial gave his comments and insights based on the law and jurisprudence.
Salonga Center Director, Atty. Mikhail Lee L. Maxino expressed his sincerest thanks to the participants and guest speakers for being part of a necessary step in ensuring crime prevention and proper prosecution in the city. He also lauded the PNP-Dgte and the Dumaguete City Peace and Order Council, co-sponsors of the event, and the organizers for the ideas and flow of the program.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Another wrong decision

The Supreme court keeps on making wrong decisions.
I am not sure if again, the Supreme Court will back track and take an about face on their latest ruling.
I am already noticing that in our day and age, the present Supreme Court keeps on reversing its own decisions.
An example is that decision on cityhood.
Another is the decision considering as resigned appointed government officials who run for public office.
Recently the Supreme has ruled that President Arroyo can appoint a new chief justice once the current chief justice retires on his birthday on May 17, even with the constitutional ban on midnight appointments..
According to the Supreme Court the constitutional ban against midnight appointments only applies to the executive appointments and not to members of the Supreme Court.
The court reason is placements.
According to the court , since the ban against midnight appointments is found in the chapter on the executive department, then the ban must only cover executive appointments.
I could not control but laugh and shake my head when I read this portion of the decision.
I can have an analogy on the court’s weird argument.
If a newspaper editor places an ad about a missing person in the obituary section of the paper, then the interpretation must be that the missing person must already be dead.
For what reason could there be for the editor to consciously place the missing-person ad in the obituary section, other than the suggestion that such missing person has died?
Funny argument isn’t it?
I don’t know how the Supreme Court came up with such ruling, when there is nothing in the constitutional ban that exempts the Supreme Court from being covered by the ban on midnight appointments.
The Supreme Court made additions to the wordings of the constitution.
The Supreme court resorted to interpretation on the pretext of a conflict, or ambiguity.
There is no ambiguity.
And when there is no ambiguity, you are not supposed to create confusion.
The appointment of the next chief justice should be properly left to the incoming president, not to an outgoing president who will become merely a virtual caretaker, in transition to the incoming administration.
Not a few law students are now scratching their heads.
I say to our law students: Don’t despair.
To paraphrase a Chinese saying: We are living in interesting times.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Arnel Pineda has nothing to be sorry for

Arnel Pineda should not have said 'sorry'.
Nevertheless, the lead star of Journey decided to be just diplomatic by being apologetic .
There is nothing to be sorry for.
Arnel Pineda sang the national anthem during the Pacquiao-Clottey fight in Arlington, Texas.
The National Historical Institute (NHI) didn't like it.
Arnel Pineda, lead star of the rock band Journey, is a world superstar now in the musical arena.
The National Historical Institute has already initiated moves to prosecute Arnel Pineda for violating the law that prescribes how the national anthem is to be sang.
By singing the national anthem the way he did, Arnel Pineda was exercising his basic human right to free expression.
It is guaranteed by our constitution.
You do not say sorry for following the constitution.
Forgive me for saying this, but I think this is one of the stupid laws enacted.
It commands us how to sing the national anthem.
Here are the reasons why the National historical Institute is wrong in initiating this prosecution against Arnel Pineda.
First, the law is unconstitutional.
It is unconstitutional because it violates the fundamental right to free expression guaranteed in the bill of rights.
It is not justified for the NHI to claim that there is a law and they are bound to enforce it.
With all due respect, the NHI should not waste its energies and waste people’s taxpayer’s money by enforcing a law of doubtful constitutionality.
I am sure the NHI has better things to do.
Second. The law is unconstitutional because it deprives every Filipino citizen their right to due process of law.
The law prescribes that the national anthem should be sang or rendered they way it was done by Julian Felipe.
Now tell me, how many of the ninety million Filipinos have ever heard of the Julian Felipe version of the national anthem?
I haven’t.
The government has not publicized the version of Julian Felipe of the national anthem.
For instance, the government should have enforced the requirement that movie houses, radio and television stations use the version of Julian Felipe when they air the national anthem, so that the people will hear the official version.
That is one way of publicizing.
But the government hasn’t.
So how can we follow a law requiring a manner of rendering the national anthem, when we haven’t heard the prescribed version at all?
In other words, the Julian Felipe version cannot be followed for lack of audio publication.
That is government’s fault. It’s failure.
Third. Arnel Pineda cannot be criminally prosecuted.
If there was ever a crime committed by Arnel Pineda by not singing the national anthem as prescribed by law, it was not committed within Philippine territory.
Penal laws are territorial in nature.
Fourth. The NHI should go around schools during early morning flag raising ceremonies.
The NHI will discover how the national anthem is “mangled” as it is sang lazily by students who are most probably still half-asleep.
Are we going to send the students to jail, too?
For me, how the national anthem is sang is not important.
What is important is that it is sang with sincerity, from the heart.
I notice almost everytime there is a rendition of the national anthem during Pacquiao fights, the NHI people spring into action and make themselves visible.
I am driven to feel these people are just K.S.P.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Message on Josh's first Retreat

As parents we were made to write a message to our son Joshua, who is attending his first retreat. It was to be in a sealed envelope to be opened and read aloud by Josh in one session of the retreat. This is what we wrote:

March 11, 2010

Our Dearest Joshua.

If God were to ask us to name a gift, besides our Lord Jesus Christ, that we are most thankful for, it is God’s gift of bringing you to our lives.
We have become so happy a thousand times over because God gave you to us, Josh.
So we take this opportunity to tell you, that we are eternally thankful that you are our son.
You are God’s blessing to us, your papa and mama.
As your parents, we recognize our role is striving to make you the best that you can be.
We want you to know that as your parents, we will provide you the basic tools for you to succeed in life.
Your teachers too, are there to guide you, to give you the needed instruments to achieve God’s purpose for you.
Eventually, you will be the one to make good use of these tools as you follow God’s instructions.
To us you are like a young carpenter who would one day build a house.
As parents will will just provide you with tools like hammer, saw, chisel, etc.
We, your parents and your teachers, will try to teach you how to use these tools.
But ultimately, it will be you who will build the house.
We hope you will make good use of these tools, learn to use it the right way, so you will build a beautiful house.
We wish to tell you that for us, your success will be measured on how faithful you will be in following the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Success isn't fame, nor fortune. It is not professional titles attained, nor public accolades received.
Success is much more than that.
So our prayer is that each day, you strive to become a better Christian.
It is hard, because many times, you will make mistakes.
We all do.
But it is ok.
Treat these mistakes as a chance to correct your wrongs.
Always do good to your classmates, to your friends, your teachers. Do good to those who will need your help, even those you haven't met.
By doing good, you are following God’s desires.
By doing good, you will make God happy.
You will make us happy.
Don’t forget to thank the Lord for all the blessings that He has given you.
Thank Him everyday when you wake up each morning.
Once again, we say thank you, son, for being who you are.
May God continue to shower you with bountiful blessings.
We love you very much, Josh.


Papa and Mama

Friday, March 05, 2010

Defective CoCs may cause disqualification

I had the opportunity to examine the certificates of candidacy of the aspirants for top provincial positions in Negros Oriental.
This is courtesy of a newly-launched election website that had the initiative of publishing on pdf the certificates of candidacy of candidates vying for top positions like governor, vice governor and member of congress, in Negros Oriental.
This is good public service for the electorate.

Certificates taken seriously

I was amused examining the candidates’ certificates of candidacy, having myself prepared the certificates of candidacy of those seeking national positions.
Preparing and filing of certificates of candidacy is a very serious matter, because any haphazard, careless preparation and filing can lead to a candidate’s disqualification.
I noticed many legal defects in the certificates of candidacy of candidates for top provincial positions.
These defects created legal grounds for their disqualification.
One of the important things candidates must take note is that their certificates of candidacies must be “legally clean” and in order, so it cannot be taken advantage of by rivals.

Not duly sworn

One of the major defects I noted is that many of the certificates of candidacy were not sworn in accordance with law.
As a legal requirement, a certificate of candidacy must be sworn in accordance with the law.
Otherwise, this can be a ground for disqualification for having filed a certificate of candidacy that is not sworn in accordance with law.
I noted many certificates of candidacy were defectively sworn before notaries public because they used cedula which is not competent evidence of identity.
The Supreme Court has long ruled against the legality of using cedulas as evidence of identity.
In fact, there have been petitions dismissed by the Supreme Court outright, solely for failing to use competent evidence of identity in the verifications.
Other certificates of candidacy are worse because no competent evidence of identity was presented before the notary public.
Other certificates of candidacy I noted were false entries in the certificates themselves.
The following candidates for top positions which used (defective) community tax certificates are:
Emilio C. Macias II (for governor), Raul S. Aninon (for congress), Henry Pryde Teves (for congressman).
Those who used evidence of identity which looked ostensibly like cedulas are Agustin Ramon M. Perdices (for vice-gov), Marcelo G. Adanza (for congress), Telesforo Diao Jr. (for congress).
Those who did not present any evidence of identity before the notary public are: Samuel B. Torres (for vice gov), Mariant-Escano Villegas (for vice-gov), German P. Sarana (for vice gov).
Those who used competent evidence of identity are Petit A. Baldado (for governor) used his government I.D. card, George Arnaiz (for congress) who used his driver’s license, Jocelyn S. Limkaichong (for congress) who used her passport, Jacinto V. Paras (for congress) who used his passport, Hector C. Villanueva (for congress) who used his driver’s license.

Factually impossible entries

There are also candidates who wrote factually impossible entries in their certificates.
They can be considered false entries.
For example George P. Arnaiz candidate for congressman, listed his birthday as 2-21-1955 meaning February 21, 1955. He listed his age as 54 (at the time he filed his certificate).
For the entry requiring the “period of residence in the Philippines before May 10, 2010”, Arnaiz listed 55 years and 9 months.
This appears factually impossible since on May 9, 2010 (a day before the election) Arnaiz’ period of residence in the Philippines, and on this Earth for that matter, would yet be 55 years, 2 months and 18 days (to be exact)
The entry for period of residence placed by Arnaiz in his certificate means he was already a resident in the Philippines even before he was born.
This needs an explanation because I don’t quite get it, specially with my deficiency in mathematics.
His rival for second district congressman, Hector C. Villanueva is no better, technically speaking.
Villanueva listed his birthday as April 15, 1945.
For the entry “period of residence in the Philippines before May 10, 2010”, Villanueva listed “65 years and 1 month”.
This is also not accurate because on May 9, 2010 ( a day before the election) Villanueva would have been residing in the Philippines only for 65 years and 24 days only.
In the civil code, one month means 30 days.
Like Arnaiz, Villanueva also claims he has been a resident in the Philippines even before he was born.
The third rival, Mr. Aninon is worst.
He did not write any entry for the period of residence in the Philippines.
There is no way of knowing whether he complied with the constitutional requirement for residency, for congressional aspirants.

Other data

From the certificates of candidacy among aspirants for top provincial posts, we gather that the oldest candidate is Emilio C. Macias at 76.
Perdices is second oldest at 75 years old.
There is no age limit to be a candidate.
As long as one is still breathing, he can run for office.
We can also gather that all the candidates (for top posts) except one, are fifty years old and above.
No candidate for top provincial posts, is in his forties.
The youngest is Henry Pryde Teves who is thirty seven.
If you want to access the certificates of candidacy for Negros Oriental aspirants, go to

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Odol V. Gonzalez Jr.: Admission by silence?

An old, established principle in criminal law is that an offer of compromise can be seen as an implied admission of guilt.
This principle is well-entrenched, and scribbled in the rules of evidence, as well as in a stream of decisions of the supreme court.
There have been reports, sourced from the side of New Bian Yek Commercial, that the camp of the honorable Valencia mayor Rodolfo V. Gonzalez, Jr. has offered to effect an out of court settlement with New Bian Yek Commercial.
As we know, the supreme court has directed the Ombudsman to file criminal charges against Gonzalez for violation of the anti graft and corrupt practices act.
This stemmed from the illegal release by Gonzalez of retention money which is public funds, even after he was already prohibited by a court from so doing.
By releasing retention money, it injured primarily the people of the Philippines, who owned that money, as well as New Bian Yek Commercial, who was banking on that retention money for satisfaction of its unpaid credit, arising from its sale of pipes.

Deafening silence
What is very telling is the deafening sound of silence by mayor Gonzalez over this report that his side is trying to compromise with Bian Yek Commerical.
I think, personally, as a friendly advice to Gonzalez---whom we consider our friend—this is not the time to keep mum.
If he has been adviced to remain silent, such advice is misplaced.
Gonzalez is not under custodial investigation, so to invoke the right to remain silent is out of place.

Incriminating silence

On the contrary, silence here can be incriminating.
By keeping silent, Gonzalez can be taken to be making an admission.
In law, it is called “admission by silence
The act, declaration or OMMISSION of a party as to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against him, the rules of evidence say.
Gonzalez’ omission to react or deny declarations that he is trying to offer a compromise can be taken against him and be viewed as an admission.
Admission by silence” under our rules, is clearly defined.
A declaration made within the observation of a party who does or says nothing when the declaration is such as naturally to call for action or comment if not true, and when proper and possible for him to do so, may be given in evidence against him,” says the rule.
One who never comes out to deny a particular declaration when, by natural instinct or reaction the situation calls for a denial, is likely to have affirmed such declaration.
As a candidate he needs to address this, specially to his constituents, from whom he courts precious votes in the coming May elections.

Implied admission of guilt

This reported offer of compromise is very serious because it can be received in evidence in the Sandiganbayan as an admission of guilt of the Valencia mayor.
Under the rules of evidence it provides that: “In criminal cases, except those involving quasi-offenses (criminal negligence) or those allowed by law to be compromised, an offer of compromise by the accused may be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt.”
In numerous cases the supreme court also has affirmed this rule.
For instance, in Dr. Ma. Cristina B. Seares versus Hon Rosita B. Salazar (A.M. No. MTJ-98-1160. November 22, 2000) the court ruled: “a criminal act is a violation against the State. The conviction of the perpetrators thereof is a concern of the State… in cases expressly allowed by law, crimes are not subject to amicable settlement
To my mind, the offer of compromise, followed by an eerie yet deafening silence, plus the absence of any denial, but instead supplying a “no comment” response, completes the recipe for an implied admission of guilt.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Melimore Saycon, 69

Dumaguete PRESS Club,Inc
mourns Melimore’s demise

It’s another sad day for MEDIA in Dumaguete. It was only a few weeks ago that we mourned the demise of media icon Press Sec. Cerge Remonde.

At about noon of Feb 22, 2010, just a few days after vernacular media icon Board Member Melimore “Bokal” Saycon gave thanks to God and people for his speedy recovery, he unexpectedly succumbed to a sudden relapse and died of cardiac arrest in the operating room of the Holy Child Hospital.

“Bokal” Mel’ Saycon’s demise has left a void in the news media industry in Negros Oriental. For Bokal Mel Saycon has aroused the imagination of thousands of his radio listeners in articulating in flawless Cebuano parlance the issues of the day every morning.

His consistent, aggressive and articulate ventilation of burning issues of the day in the Vernacular, has placed Bokal Mel Saycon in a special media pedestal because no doubt about it, he has become the No.l Cebuano radio commentator in this part of the country. Indeed he has filled the void vacated by another vernacular media icon Gerry Olis in the 80s. Yet now, the void is back with Melimore’s demise at the age of 69.
For those left behind, we shall pledge to carry the torch of FREEDOM of the Press which Mel has whole heartedly espoused. We can only approximate but cannot be at par with his brand of public service to the masses for which he has been known, and for which he has lived and died for.

So long, our dear colleague and big brother in media, BOKAL MEL SAYCON, until we resume our coverage of the NEWS, in the Great Beyond.

Your Colleagues in the MEDIA

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Slain beauty’s FB pals air grief, anger, post possible leads

Facebook (FB) friends of slain former Miss Dumaguete (2007) Ann Rosefe Bernadeth Neri have aired expressions of grief, sadness, disbelief and even outright anger over her gruesome killing just before Valentines day.
Others have also posted innocent facts which could develop as possible leads in solving the killing.
Others continued to comment and marvel at her natural beauty, both in life, and even in death.
One Facebook poster who came to her wake commented: “She looks lyk sleeping beauty lng lying in her casket...our dear anrose..”
Facebook is a popular social networking site in the internet, with millions of users the world over.
The former beauty titlist had disclosed information, chatted with friends, and posted several of her striking photos on her Facebook profile for the world to see.
Ann Rose, as she was called, was shot and killed by a still unidentified gunman, at the Dumaguete plaza right in front of city hall, while conducting a rehersal for a show.
Dumaguete was kept abuzz about the killing, noting the brazenness of the way the murder was executed.
In Dumaguete City, different personalities have been killed in similar fashion.
A doctor, businessman, lawyer, student, city government treasurer, and now a beauty title holder have become part of a growing statistic of unsolved killings in Dumaguete City.
However, what kept this murder story buzzing is her apparent connections with certain high-profile personalities, as noted by their attendance of slain beauty’s wake and burial.
One newspaper (Visayan Daily Star) has reported that a prominent politician is linked to the crime, stating that police is focusing on him as a “suspect,” citing police statements.
When one is considered a suspect, it is commonly considered that the person may possibly have a hand in the commission of the crime.
However, the police has not disclosed any credible or established chain of events that would validate their “suspicions.”

Facebook friends express grief and anger

One FB poster shouted: “GRABE talaga! may Ann Rose rest in peace and may the culprits burn in hell!”
Another stated: “may you rest in peace... we look forward for justice to reign...”
“Sana mabigyan ng katarungan
,” said one poster.
Sana Mahuli Na Ang Tunay Na May Sala!” said another.
Sayang.........kaayo .......,” posted another.
One FB poster reported that she and Ann Rose were texting each other just before she was killed.
Another poster couldn’t hide his disbelief and said they were supposed to have met Ann Rose earlier that day she was killed.
Other posters who apparently are not based in Dumaguete posted questions, hoping that answers would be reported on FB.

Ann Rose had boyfriend?

One curious poster’s question was inquiring about Ann Rose’s family and asked whether her “bf” was also there.
Kumusta man ya family dai? naa sad ya bf didto? (How is her family? Was her bf also there?”
BF” is commonly understood to be an abbreviation of “boyfriend”
Apparently, Ann Rose, who listed her birthday as April 2, 1987, had a “bf” or boyfriend.
Other posters also publicly recognized the sensitivity of the death of Ann Rose.
One poster said he took pictures of the wake of Ann Rose, but would not post them publicly “for security reasons

Who was Ann Rose?

One poster apparently had some knowledge of Ann’s vulnerabilities and humanity.
He said: “nobody is perfect bya..kung nkasala mn gni si ann pero two rata....(Nobody is perfect. If Ann sinned, but were just human)”
One of Ann’s friends was just grafeful for Ann’s life: “ate ann,,thank you for everything,for the friendship, and for being there for me when i need you, your one of the GODs gift, i will never forget you ate ann, i love you, i know your resting now in peace with GOD..”

Cursing the culprit

One of Ann Rose’s distraught Facebook friends voiced expectedly harsh words for killer:
For the one took Ann Rosefe's life, may you have unsleepy life,
as the chill shall be upon your back, may the footsteps of dead give you a shock
,” he said
As long as you live, as long as you breathe, the spirit of guilt
shall haunt your conscience
,” he added
As every rise of the moon the sky, may you have a troubled life,” he concluded.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tears for Fears

Today, I shed tears for fears.
I went to the dentist to have one of my lower molars extracted.
I was already experiencing unbearable pain.
I couldn't eat.
Because of the excruciating pain, I wanted to "shout, shout, and let it all out."
I always shed tears when I go to the dentist.
I don't cry.
Tears just roll down my side cheeks, by themselves.
I have dental trauma.
After the extraction, the dentist noticed the tears.
"They're tears for fears, doc," I said.
I wouldn't know if it is the anxiety or the tension I feel, that draws tears from my eyes.
When I seat in the chair, I imagine sitting in an electric chair.
I tremble, even without any electricity.
I then embark on episodes of anticipated fear.
I anticipate horrific pain.
When a small tinge of pain comes, I imagine it getting worse, my whole body becomes stiff.
At one point, I felt the dentist already removing the molar, using what I envisioned was a Philips screw driver.
"I'm screwed(literally)!" I said to myself.
Then suddenly a nerve-wracking pain streamed all over my head.
"Oh, it's the nerve," the dentist said.
"We'll inject more anisthetic," he said.
Good thing the dentist was patient, calm, and reassuring.
I have had at least two traumatic experiences with dentists in the past.
One was during grade school.
The second was in college when I experienced a severely painful extraction.
The trauma hasn't left.
Going to the dentist, to me, is like embacing a necessary evil, although there is nothing evil about it.
I hope someday I will overcome this fear...hopefully before I run out of teeth.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CoCs must be sworn in accordance with law

Certificates of Candidacy are required to be sworn in accordance with existing laws.
A certificate of candidacy that is not sworn in accordance with law renders the candidate ineligible for election.

CoCs must be sworn, to be eligible as candidate

Section 1, of Comelec Resolution No. 8678 mandates that No person shall be elected President, Vice-President, Senators, Member of the House of Representatives, Provincial, City or Municipal officials unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy in the form prescribed by the Commission.
Sec. 73, of the Omnibus Election Code provides that “No person shall be eligible for any elective public office unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy within the period fixed herein.”
By being “sworn” means the certificate of candidacy must be notarized in accordance the news rules on notarization.
Six years ago, the supreme court laid down the new rules on notarization of documents in Administrative Matter No. 02-8-13-SC dated July 6, 2004.
(This is not exactly "new" because it is a six-year old rule.)
Certificates of candidacy must be sworn or duly notarized to transform it into a public document.
A candidate is required to swear and subscribe to the truth of the contents of his certificate of candidacy before a notary public.
This is what the Comelec rules and omnibus election code require.

Competent Evidence of Identity

Under the new notary rules, a candidate must present what is called “competent evidence of identity”.
Competent evidences of identity are those identification cards of a person swearing before a notary public.
Under the new rules on notarization, a competent evidence identity must be a government-issued card, bearing a photograph.
The supreme court has listed down these identification cards that are sufficient to become competent evidence of identity (with photograph) .
They are drivers licenses, passports, SSS cards, GSIS cards, Senior citizens cards, Tax identification cards, IBP, PRC cards, among others.
If ID’s are government-issued, and bear a photograph, it should be competent evidence of identity.

Cedula is not competent evidence of identity

A community tax certificate or a cedula was once commonly used as evidence of identity before a notary public.
But it no longer is---since 2004, the promulgation of the new supreme court notary rules.
The Supreme Court in cases has categorically ruled that community tax certificates are no longer competent evidence of identity because they are unreliable for purposes of identification.
In a case, the Supreme Court said: “As a matter of fact, recognizing the established unreliability of a community tax certificate in proving the identity of a person who wishes to have his document notarized, we did not include it in the list of competent evidence of identity that notaries public should use in ascertaining the identity of persons appearing before them to have their documents notarized”(Charles B. Baylon v. Jose A. Almo A.C. 6969 June 25, 2008)

Similarly, the Supreme Court imposed sanction against notarizing documents without using competent evidence of identity (Dolores L. Dela Cruz, et. al. v. Jose R. Dimaano, A.C. 7781 September 12, 2008).

Effect on certificates of candidacy

If certificates of candidacy executed by candidates for the coming May 2010 elections did not make use of competent evidence of identity, this would affect their eligibility for election in May.
A certificate of candidacy that did not make use of competent evidence of identity----example: using a cedula---is a document that is NOT SWORN in accordance with law.
Thus, such a defective certificate of candidacy renders the candidate ineligible for election in the May 2010 elections.
The Comelec rules and the omnibus election code require certificates of candidacy must be sworn in accordance with law.
If you would notice, the prescribed form for certificates of candidacy issued by the Comelec is already updated in accordance with the new notary rules.
Instead of using "CTC" for communicty tax certificate, the Comelec forms indicate "identification card" already.
This only means that the proper identification card, or competent evidence of identity must be presented, and not the "CTC" or community tax certificate or cedula.

Ground for disqualification

Candidates who filed defective certificates of candidacy, or those who filed CoCs which are not sworn in accordance with law, face disqualification because they are no longer eligible for election.
Candidates who filed defective CoCs have just acquired grounds for their disqualification under existing law, i.e. the omnibus election code and comelec rules.
So candidates, please review the certificates of candidacy you filed before the Comelec last November .
Did you use cedula when you swore before a notary public for your CoC?
If you did, you can be disqualified and rendered ineligible for election, for having filed a CoC that is NOT SWORN in accordance with law.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Difference between campaign and reality

Now that it is poltical season in the Philippines, it is quite important for us voers to know the difference between the camapign period and reality. Being aware of this distinction can speel the difference between heaven and hell.
Here is a widely circulated anecdote on camapaigns and reality:

While walking down the street one day, a politician is tragically
hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at
the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before
you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around
these parts, you see, so we're not sure what todo with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the senator.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules."

And with that, St.Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down,
down, down to hell.

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course.
In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all
his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake
his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having
a good time dancing and telling jokes.

They are all having such a good time that before the politican realizes it,
it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter
is waiting for him, "Now it's time to visit heaven."

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls
moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing.

They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by
and St. Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose
your eternity."

The politician reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never
have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down,down, down to

Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land
covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags,
picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from
above. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.

"I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there
was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar,
drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a
wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.
What happened?!"

The devil smiles at him and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning ......
Today, you justed voted!”

"So, welcome to reality."

The lesson is, know the difference between campaign and reality.
Better still, one lection day, choose wisely

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Happy B-day Tiya Teneng...from Michigan!

A rejoinder on Lola Tining......


When I called up Tiya Teneng via long distance call from my place Michigan, USA last January 18,2010 to greet her an advance happy birthday, she was so smart to answer me immediately not typical for a 100 years old Tiya.
Tiya Teneng is still a very healthy woman and has a good memory,she immediately remember me despite of being 100 years old.

Annie Saavedra Tan Anderson
Michigan,United States

Thursday, February 04, 2010

“Orpan’s” Lola Tining marks her 100th

An old saying goes: You are what you eat.
That is perhaps the reason for this old Chinese belief that eating pancit will bring you the blessing of long, sturdy and exciting life.
Pancit is a popular Asian culinary fixture, made up of long sturdy noodles, mixed with all kinds of other spices and slices of food like pork and chicken, vegetable cuts of carrots and cabbage.
Eat pancit, they say, specially on your birthday, and you will live a long sturdy, and exciting life.
No wonder, birthday celebrations never miss having pancit on the dining table.
May I pay tribute to a grand old lady, who perhaps concocted the most delicious and unforgettable pancit in the history of Dumaguete.
Anastacia Palad Tan Vda. De Wong, or simply Lola Tining, has lived a hundred years.
She marked her centennial year last January 29, 2010 with close family members, relatives and friends.
Not very long ago Lola Tining opened up a “panciteria” (noodle store) in Dumageute called Oriental Panciteria.
Dumaguetenos simply called her widely popular snack center as “Orpan” for short.
When Dumaguete was young then, office workers would drop by Orpan after a days work to savor Lola Tining’s tasty pancit.
Young students would walk downtown to buy pancit at Orpan, paired with hot pandesal.
Orpan is part of Dumaguete history now. Lola Tining has long retired and is enjoying her “bonus” years with a still growing family.
Last January 29, 2010 Anastacia “Tining” Palad Tan Vda. de Wong marked her special day with family members, and children scattered as far away as the middle east.
Lola Tining started her 100th year with a simple morning thanksgiving mass officiated by Father Sagun, together with daughters Rosalina “Rose” Wong-Sun, and Perlita “Meta” Wong-Patero, son in-laws: Antonio “Tony” Patero and Rufino “Dodo” Sun, Jr; grandchildren Joel Wong-Patero, with wife Eleanor, former Dumaguete city councilor Rufino “Chubby” Wong-Sun, Jr II , Jacqueline Wong-Patero, Anna Grace “Hearty” Wong Sun; grandchild Ella Dawn “DJ” Gloria Patero and great great grandchild: Raphael Joshua “Dreamboy” Sun .
Later in the afternoon, Lola Tining’s party continued with a Kasaulugan Sa Pulong (Dry Mass) officiated by Lay Minister Boboy Roda.
Other family members came to honor Lola Tining like sons Villejo Tan-Wong who is based in Cebu, Bayawan based Antonio Tan Wong who came with his son Junior, grandchildren Bais-based Anna Lourd Wong Villanueva with husband and eldest daughter Sarah, and Manila-based Lucky Wong Villanueva, great grandchildren Lovely Sun Mapili based in Valencia who came with her husband Constancio “Yok Yok” Mapili and daughter Trixie Sun Mapili and Dianne Sun.
It has been said that those who live beyond 70 years are living the “bonus years.”
Lola Tining is truly blessed.
Lola Tining lends credence to the old Chinese belief.
Pancit, indeed, means long life.
But in Lola Tining's case, its a hundred years...and counting!
It's probably not because she ate pancit.
It's because she made it.
God bless Lola Tining.
May the bonus years keep coming!

Caption: Standing l to r: Hearty Sun, Jacqueline Patero, Tony Patero, Villejo Wong, Lucky Villanueva, Meta Patero, Rose Sun, Ann-Ann Villanueva, Pastor Tata and Sarah. Sitting l to r: Sweety Patero, DJ Patero, Joel Patero, Lola Tining, Dodo Sun, Dreamboy Sun, Trixie Mapili and Dianne Sun

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Parsely for kidney cleansing?

Here is a brief write up about the benefits of Parsely (Tanglad) in cleansing our kidneys, :


Years pass by and our kidneys are filtering the blood by removing salt, poison and any unwanted entering our body. With time, the salt accumulates and this needs to undergo cleaning treatments and how are we going to overcome this?

It is very easy, first take a bunch of parsley and wash it clean. Then cut it in small pieces and put it in a pot and pour clean water and boil it for ten minutes and let it cool down and then filter it and pour in a clean bottle and keep it inside refrigerator to cool.

Drink one glass daily and you will notice all salt and other accumulated poison coming out of your kidney by urination, also you will be able to notice the difference which you never felt before.

Parsley is known as best cleaning treatment for kidneys and it is natural!

The write-up is attributed to a certain Dr. Abdullah Q. Turkistani.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Serious problems with hybrid elections

Talks are rife that pragmatically there will be "hybrid" elections in May.
There might be partial automated elections and partly manual elections.
Some say the automated elections will only be limited in the urban areas, but the remote areas may have to conduct the elections mannually.
I am not sure of the legality of conducting hybrid elections.
But certainly it poses serious problems.
The law says nationwide automated polls.
If it is nationwide, then it must be the entire nation that should hold automated elections.
To my mind, holding hybrid elections will not reflect the true will of the electorate.
If some of the paper ballots will be counted manually, by human discretion, instead of using the machines, then there will be significant differences in the appreciation of the paper ballots.
Humans differ from machines in the matter of appreciation of ballots.
Under Comelec guidelines there is a threshold in the shading of the spaces in the balot that would manifest a voter's choice.
If there is a fifty percent (50%) shading (or beyond), the machine can still count it as a vote.
But a machine appreciates the degree of shading differently from a human eye.
A certain shade may be acceptable by the machine as a legitimate vote.
But the same shade may not be acceptable if evaluated by a human eye.
And vice versa.
There will be as many appreciations of a particular shade in a ballot as there are human evaluators.
Remember, in automated elections, voters will no longer write the names of candidates, but will only shade those spaces corresponding to the candidate.
There will be differences in appreciation of the shading of the ballots.
If there are different instruments used in evaluating the threshold of shading (machine vs. human eye) then the elections may not reflect true voice of the electorate.
Hybrid elections will really pose serious problems.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is HDO lawful in a contempt case?

I recently encountered a question: Can a hold departure order (HDO) be lawfully issued in a contempt case?
A hold departure order is a directive issued by a regional trial court in a criminal case preventing an accused from leaving the country.
Once, a judge was asked to explain by the Supreme Court why he issued a hold departure order against a doctor who was respondent in a case for support.
In the case for support the doctor-husband failed to comply with the court’s decision to give support to the wife.
So the wife asked the court to issue a hold departure order against the doctor (husband).
The wife apparently found the hold departure order useful because the doctor-husband was hired by an airline to fly and assist ailing passengers when traveling. (The wife sought to paralyze the husband’s source of income, for failing to provide her support)
The judge issued a hold departure order upon the doctor
The doctor, filed an administrative complaint in the Supreme Court against the judge for issuing a hold departure order against him, when there was no pending criminal case against the doctor.
In his explanation to the Supreme Court, the judge said that the doctor’s failure to give support (as commanded by a court decision) may give rise to an action for contempt which is in the nature of a criminal action against the doctor.
Hence, the hold departure order was deemed justified, the judge explained.
The Supreme Court did not buy the judge’s explanation.
The Supreme Court ruled that a hold departure order may be issued only in criminal cases.
An indirect contempt proceeding is not a criminal case. Hence no hold departure order can be lawfully issued.
The Supreme Court said “Indeed, contempt is in the nature of a criminal action, but only with regard to its procedural aspect.”
“A contempt proceeding is sui generis. While it has elements both of a civil and a criminal proceeding, it is not a criminal proceeding even though the contemptuous act involved could be a crime,” the Supreme Court explained.
Contempt is remedial and civil in nature, emphasized the court.
”Contempt is a special civil action that cannot be converted into a criminal action”.
Supreme Court circular no. 39-97 provides clearly a hold departure order may be issued only in criminal cases.
The judge was found administratively liable.
(A.M. No. RTJ-04-1836, July 14, 2004)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Disclose source code now!

What makes the coming May elections interesting is its unwitting attempt to follow plots of fiction movies.
The May elections remind me of the notoriously controversial fantasy film "The Da Vinci Code".
In that movie, it was suggested that the famous works-of-art of Leonardo Da Vinci contained cryptic codes, which became the subject of analysis by a Harvard symbologist (character played by Tom Hanks).
In the movie, viewers are led to to a series of decoding of "hidden" codes purportedly left behind by Da Vinci in his works.
But that is fantasy.
Yet reality---I learn--- is not too far away.
In the coming May elections, there are also a set of "codes" which the Commssion on elections is keeping secret from the public.
The operation of election counting machines is controlled by what is called a "source code".
What is baffling is that the commission on elections is apparently leaving the Filipino public to play the role of a symbologist, in order to decipher the source code, and find out how the election machines will function in May.
Many are wondering why up to this time the commission on elections still refuses to reveal this “source code” of the election machines to the public, even as this is mandated by law.
Comelec’s refusal to publicize the source code of the election machines is casting a dark cloud on the integrity of the process and results of the coming May elections.

What is this “source code”?

This is a new legal term in the election law which many lawyers, including myself, are even unfamiliar with.
This is because the phrase “source code” is an IT terminology.
The law defines a “source code” as: “human readable instructions that define what the computer equipment will do
An analogy advanced by IT experts to understand a source code is a food recipe.
A recipe is to food preparation, as a source code is to automated elections.
A recipe contains specific, step-by-step , chronological instructions on how to prepare a particular food from start to finish product.
If you want to know the step-by-step process in preparing a particular food, then an IT expert similarly wants to know the step-by-step process in the operation of the election machines.
There are at least thirty IT groups and institutions, including Ateneo, La Salle, UP who are volunteering for free to review the source code for the election machines, to ensure the integrity of the election process.
The problem is that time is running out.
It would take at least two months to be able to review the source code from start to finish.
To review a source code, an IT expert says, they would have to read literally millions of "human-readable" lines and characters of instructions or commands.
Until now the Comelec still refuses to reveal to the public the source code or the specific instructions of the election machines.
Republic Act 9369, the new election law which specifically mandates transparency in the electoral process, states in Section 12:
"Once an AES [Automated Election System] technology is selected for implementation, the Commission shall promptly make the source code of that technology available and open to any interested political party or groups which may conduct their own review thereof."
The law is very clear.
The AES has long been selected.
It has long been the duty of the Comelec to PROMPTLY reveal the source code (the instructions for the machines) to anyone capable of making a review thereof.
As a member of the voting public, it is to our interest to know exactly how these machines work, and how it counts, and how it comes up with the results.
This is very important.
We don’t just place our ballots to the machines, and then sing hallelujah, and accept as gospel truth what the machines will report.
We want to know HOW IT WORKS, HOW IT COUNTS.
This is precisely the reason why the law commands the Comelec to reveal the source code.
Without the source code revealed, are we the electorate to remain ignorant as to precisely how the election process will work?
Are we going to again cast a blind trust on the agency who will administer the elections?
God help us.