Friday, September 30, 2005
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A disgrace

I was shocked when I watched a certain Manny Salgado, assistant manager of the Green Archers, hack Arwind Santos at the back of the head with a closed fist. Talk about unsportsmanlike conduct.

Is that what you teach your kids (or grandkids)? Loose a game, hit the players? Did you loose a huge bet because of this game?

IMHO, that guy should not only be banned from the UAAP. We should see to it that characters such as these don't even lead mosquito league teams. Or even mosquitos. Just get bitten by one.

I would have more words to say to that guy in Tagalog but, Tatang, nakakahiya ka! (Old man! You're a disgrace!)

Thursday, September 29, 2005
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Why switch back to a PC?

This video is slowly convincing me to come back to the PC...

This is by way of this post.

Anyway, the hearings are over (the Senate inquiry was postponed because they had to tackle "other" things) and so is this week's pressure. Tomorrow, I'll spend a "relatively relaxing" day in my consultancy job.

Some lawyers are thinking of challenging EO 464 in court, according to this news account. And they also think issuing this is an impeachable offense. Good.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
This day in history from:

WTF? Part 2

What is this new baloney called Executive Order No. 464?

According to news reports, it bars key government officials, including those from the military and the police, from appearing in any Congressional inquiry without her consent.

This EO can be challenged on two grounds:

1. The Constitution (Section 22, Article VI) is quite clear that this prior consent only applies to heads of departments (Department Secretaries) only. It states:

The heads of departments may upon their own initiative, with the consent of the President, or upon the request of either House, as the rules of each House shall provide, appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments. Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least three days before their scheduled appearance. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover matters related thereto. When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session.

The above-quoted provision clearly mentions heads of departments only. This is because of inter-branch courtesy, as a department secretary is the alter ego of the President.

By no stretch of the imagination can this restriction be expanded to cover those lower than them. Take note that even the AFP chief of staff and the PNP director-general are not department secretaries (as they still are under the secretaries of defense and interior and local government, respectively), which leads me to the second ground.

2. Putting restrictions on who shall appear before congressional inquiries is an afront to congress' plenary power to legislate. Part and parcel of this power is the likewise plenary power conduct investigations in aid of legislation. And part of this power to conduct investigations is the compulsory processes to subpoena anyone, except those with constitutional qualifications.

How can a mere executive order curtail such constitutional power?

If this goes on, the Senate may just ignore this order and subpoena (or even arrest) those they want to appear. Then the poor government official(s) will be caught between an irresistible force and an immovable object. This will be a constitutional crisis in the making (or of the administration's undoing, if we are to be technical about it).

Of course, I have to see the actual executive order (it is not available online as of posting) to see how they have squirmed around the grounds I stated above.

So let's just see. I will blog about it again when I see the order...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
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All sorts of weirdness today...

In today's headlines, over 100 of the 200 ballot boxes in the House of Representative's custody were "stolen."

That's weird. There's no real value to those beat-up ballot boxes, the ones repainted every election time the way we repaint our crypts come November 1.

And who would benefit from the loss of those seemingly worthless things? Hmmmmmm.

On the personal front, my celfone rang while I was driving out of Greenhills after rewarding myself with an aluminum casing for my Nokia 9500. Had a couple of successful meetings before that and I was feeling good.

My casing was just about 10 minutes old and the caller ID said "Private Line." I always get these calls from clients who used landlines to call me. Besides, my new casing was a mere 10 minutes old so I was eager to take the call... So I eagerly answered.

Guess who was on the other line? It was "that girl..."

She claimed there was a certain "Bea" who called her and she was asking for confirmation if it was her daughter. I said Bea would never call her, simply because we don't even know her office number. Then she proceeded to ask token questions about the kids, to which I gave the standard answers, "They're fine," and "You don't even have to ask that."

She asked if I was having a party for Nico's birthday. I said probably not because Bea's tuition was due about the same time and I was still scrounging around for the money. It was a good opportunity to slam that right down her throat.

Irritated by the way the conversation was going, I finished the conversation quickly (and I was driving at the time also). I failed to see any sincerity in the way she asked about her kids so I was not about to patronize her any longer.

For the life of me, I did not even recognize her voice until she introduced herself. A human girl would have been hurt by that, but I know she's not even qualified to claim that so I'm not expecting any reaction to that.

That's weird. Been married to the girl for 6 years and I thought I was talking to a stranger... or that's probably the way it is now... I don't know.

Brushed that aside and proceeded to my third meeting. Another successful one.

Tomorrow: some more loose ends for my "hell" Thursday. That day with two hearings and a senate inquiry...

Guess I'll rest now.

Monday, September 26, 2005
This day in history from:

An eventful week ahead...

Sorry for the tardiness of this entry.

If this first day is any indication, this will be a very busy week for me.

First off, a friend got me into a meeting at 8:00 a.m. I thought it was concerning his business, but it was personal. But it's been a long time since I got off to work that early.

Then off to my government consultancy for more work that lasted until after lunch.

Then, a client for which I wrote this entry will undergo a grueling senate inquiry this week, because of the flak it got from this incident. Up for discussion is Senate Bill No. 1714 or the proposed "Billboard Blight Act." So we had to prepare for the rest of the day with a board and membership meeting, held consecutively in Makati. While the venue had free WiFi, I have difficulty in blogging from my phone. Jessica is still in the shop.

As a matter of fact, I just got home...

Tomorrow and the day after will be more of the same, with more preparation for that Senate inquiry, with tying up of loose ends.

You'll probably get wind of what will happen in the Senate in the news. But before that, I have two hearings to attend to for that day.

Then another hearing on Friday and an excom meeting with the government consultancy that afternoon.

If I blog intermittently, my apologies.

Anyway, wish me luck for this week...

Sunday, September 25, 2005
This day in history from:

Blog Lecture No. 44: Right To Peaceful Assembly

Ok class! Prepare for a long lecture this time.

What is the basis of the right to peaceful assembly in the Philippines?

Its foundation is found in Section 4, Article III of the 1987 Constitution that says:

SEC. 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances.

What is the law that implements/regulates it?

It is Batas Pambansa Bilang 880, otherwise known as the "Public Assembly Act of 1985." I have qouted it in its entirety below:



Section 1. Title - This Act shall be known as "The Public Assembly Act of 1985."

Section 2. Declaration of policy - The constitutional right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances is essential and vital to the strength and stability of the State. To this end, the State shall ensure the free exercise of such right without prejudice to the rights of others to life, liberty and equal protection of the law.

Section 3. Definition of terms - For purposes of this Act:

(a) "Public assembly" means any rally, demonstration, march, parade, procession or any other form of mass or concerted action held in a public place for the purpose of presenting a lawful cause; or expressing an opinion to the general public on any particular issue; or protesting or influencing any state of affairs whether political, economic or social; or petitioning the government for redress of grievances.

The processions, rallies, parades, demonstrations, public meetings and assemblages for religious purposes shall be governed by local ordinances: Provided, however, That the declaration of policy as provided in Section 2 of this Act shall be faithfully observed.

The definition herein contained shall not include picketing and other concerted action in strike areas by workers and employees resulting from a labor dispute as defined by the Labor Code, its implementing rules and regulations, and by the Batas Pambansa Bilang 227.

(b) "Public place" shall include any highway, boulevard, avenue, road, street, bridge or other thoroughfare, park, plaza, square, and/or any open space of public ownership where the people are allowed access.

(c) "Maximum tolerance" means the highest degree of restraint that the military, police and other peace keeping authorities shall observe during a public assembly or in the dispersal of the same.

(d) "Modification of permit" shall include the change of the place and time of the public assembly, rerouting of the parade or street march, the volume of loud-speakers or sound system and similar changes.

Section 4. Permit when required and when not required - A written permit shall be required for any person or persons to organize and hold a public assembly in a public place. However, no permit shall be required if the public assembly shall be done or made in a freedom park duly established by law or ordinance or in private property, in which case only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required, or in the campus of a government-owned and operated educational institution which shall be subject to the rules and regulations of said educational institution. Political meetings or rallies held during any election campaign period as provided for by law are not covered by this Act.

Section 5. Application requirements - All applications for a permit shall comply with the following guidelines:

(a) The applications shall be in writing and shall include the names of the leaders or organizers; the purpose of such public assembly; the date, time and duration thereof, and place or streets to be used for the intended activity; and the probable number of persons participating, the transport and the public address systems to be used.

(b) The application shall incorporate the duty and responsibility of applicant under Section 8 hereof.

(c) The application shall be filed with the office of the mayor of the city or municipality in whose jurisdiction the intended activity is to be held, at least five (5) working days before the scheduled public assembly.

(d) Upon receipt of the application, which must be duly acknowledged in writing, the office of the city or municipal mayor shall cause the same to immediately be posted at a conspicuous place in the city or municipal building.

Section 6. Action to be taken on the application -

(a) It shall be the duty of the mayor or any official acting in his behalf to issue or grant a permit unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the public assembly will create a clear and present danger to public order, public safety, public convenience, public morals or public health.

(b) The mayor or any official acting in his behalf shall act on the application within two (2) working days from the date the application was filed, failing which, the permit shall be deemed granted. Should for any reason the mayor or any official acting in his behalf refuse to accept the application for a permit, said application shall be posted by the applicant on the premises of the office of the mayor and shall be deemed to have been filed.

(c) If the mayor is of the view that there is imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil warranting the denial or modification of the permit, he shall immediately inform the applicant who must be heard on the matter.

(d) The action on the permit shall be in writing and served on the application within twenty-four hours.

(e) If the mayor or any official acting in his behalf denies the application or modifies the terms thereof in his permit, the applicant may contest the decision in an appropriate court of law.

(f) In case suit is brought before the Metropolitan Trial Court, the Municipal Trial Court, the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, the Regional Trial Court, or the Intermediate Appellate Court, its decisions may be appealed to the appropriate court within forty-eight (48) hours after receipt of the same. No appeal bond and record on appeal shall be required. A decision granting such permit or modifying it in terms satisfactory to the applicant shall, be immediately executory.

(g) All cases filed in court under this Section shall be decided within twenty-four (24) hours from date of filing. Cases filed hereunder shall be immediately endorsed to the executive judge for disposition or, in his absence, to the next in rank.

(h) In all cases, any decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court.

(i) Telegraphic appeals to be followed by formal appeals are hereby allowed.

Section 7. Use of public thoroughfare - Should the proposed public assembly involve the use, for an appreciable length of time, of any public highway, boulevard, avenue, road or street, the mayor or any official acting in his behalf may, to prevent grave public inconvenience, designate the route thereof which is convenient to the participants or reroute the vehicular traffic to another direction so that there will be no serious or undue interference with the free flow of commerce and trade.

Section 8. Responsibility of applicant - It shall be the duty and responsibility of the leaders and organizers of a public assembly to take all reasonable measures and steps to the end that the intended public assembly shall be conducted peacefully in accordance with the terms of the permit. These shall include but not be limited to the following:

(a) To inform the participants of their responsibility under the permit;

(b) To police the ranks of the demonstrators in order to prevent non-demonstrators from disrupting the lawful activities of the public assembly;

(c) To confer with local government officials concerned and law enforcers to the end that the public assembly may be held peacefully;

(d) To see to it that the public assembly undertaken shall not go beyond the time stated in the permit; and

(e) To take positive steps that demonstrators do not molest any person or do any act unduly interfering with the rights of other persons not participating in the public assembly.

Section 9. Non-interference by law enforcement authorities - Law enforcement agencies shall not interfere with the holding of a public assembly. However, to adequately ensure public safety, a law enforcement contingent under the command of a responsible police officer may be detailed and stationed in a place at least one hundred (100) meter away from the area of activity ready to maintain peace and order at all times.

Section 10. Police assistance when requested - It shall be imperative for law enforcement agencies, when their assistance is requested by the leaders or organizers, to perform their duties always mindful that their responsibility to provide proper protection to those exercising their right peaceably to assemble and the freedom of expression is primordial. Towards this end, law enforcement agencies shall observe the following guidelines:

(a) Members of the law enforcement contingent who deal with the demonstrators shall be in complete uniform with their nameplates and units to which they belong displayed prominently on the front and dorsal parts of their uniform and must observe the policy of "maximum tolerance" as herein defined;

(b) The members of the law enforcement contingent shall not carry any kind of firearms but may be equipped with baton or riot sticks, shields, crash helmets with visor, gas masks, boots or ankle high shoes with shin guards;

(c) Tear gas, smoke grenades, water cannons, or any similar anti-riot device shall not be used unless the public assembly is attended by actual violence or serious threats of violence, or deliberate destruction of property.

Section 11. Dispersal of public assembly with permit - No public assembly with a permit shall be dispersed. However, when an assembly becomes violent, the police may disperse such public assembly as follows:

(a) At the first sign of impending violence, the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall call the attention of the leaders of the public assembly and ask the latter to prevent any possible disturbance;

(b) If actual violence starts to a point where rocks or other harmful objects from the participants are thrown at the police or at the non-participants, or at any property causing damage to such property, the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall audibly warn the participants that if the disturbance persists, the public assembly will be dispersed;

(c) If the violence or disturbances prevailing as stated in the preceding subparagraph should not stop or abate, the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall audibly issue a warning to the participants of the public assembly, and after allowing a reasonable period of time to lapse, shall immediately order it to forthwith disperse;

(d) No arrest of any leader, organizer or participant shall also be made during the public assembly unless he violates during the assembly a law, statute, ordinance or any provision of this Act. Such arrest shall be governed by Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended:

(e) Isolated acts or incidents of disorder or branch of the peace during the public assembly shall not constitute a group for dispersal.

Section 12. Dispersal of public assembly without permit - When the public assembly is held without a permit where a permit is required, the said public assembly may be peacefully dispersed.

Section 13. Prohibited acts - The following shall constitute violations of this Act:

(a) The holding of any public assembly as defined in this Act by any leader or organizer without having first secured that written permit where a permit is required from the office concerned, or the use of such permit for such purposes in any place other than those set out in said permit: Provided, however, That no person can be punished or held criminally liable for participating in or attending an otherwise peaceful assembly;

(b) Arbitrary and unjustified denial or modification of a permit in violation of the provisions of this Act by the mayor or any other official acting in his behalf.

(c) The unjustified and arbitrary refusal to accept or acknowledge receipt of the application for a permit by the mayor or any official acting in his behalf;

(d) Obstructing, impeding, disrupting or otherwise denying the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly;

(e) The unnecessary firing of firearms by a member of any law enforcement agency or any person to disperse the public assembly;

(f) Acts in violation of Section 10 hereof;

(g) Acts described hereunder if committed within one hundred (100) meters from the area of activity of the public assembly or on the occasion thereof;

1. the carrying of a deadly or offensive weapon or device such as firearm, pillbox, bomb, and the like;

2. the carrying of a bladed weapon and the like;

3 the malicious burning of any object in the streets or thoroughfares;

4. the carrying of firearms by members of the law enforcement unit;

5. the interfering with or intentionally disturbing the holding of a public assembly by the use of a motor vehicle, its horns and loud sound systems.

Section 14. Penalties - Any person found guilty and convicted of any of the prohibited acts defined in the immediately preceding Section shall be punished as follows:

(a) violation of subparagraph (a) shall be punished by imprisonment of one month and one day to six months;

(b) violations of subparagraphs (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), and item 4, subparagraph (g) shall be punished by imprisonment of six months and one day to six years;

(c) violation of item 1, subparagraph (g) shall be punished by imprisonment of six months and one day to six years without prejudice to prosecution under Presidential Decree No. 1866;

(d) violations of item 2, item 3, or item 5 of subparagraph (g) shall be punished by imprisonment of one day to thirty days.

Section 15. Freedom parks - Every city and municipality in the country shall within six months after the effectivity of this Act establish or designate at least one suitable "freedom park" or mall in their respective jurisdictions which, as far as practicable, shall be centrally located within the poblacion where demonstrations and meetings may be held at any time without the need of any prior permit.

In the cities and municipalities of Metropolitan Manila, the respective mayors shall establish the freedom parks within the period of six months from the effectivity of this Act.

Section 16. Constitutionality - Should any provision of this Act be declared invalid or unconstitutional, the validity or constitutionality of the other provisions shall not be affected thereby.

Section 17. Repealing clause - All laws, decrees, letters of instructions, resolutions, orders, ordinances or parts thereof which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended, or modified accordingly.

Section 18. Effectivity - This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Approved, October 22, 1985.

Wait a minute! This was before the 1987 Constitution. How come it is still in force?

For as long as the law is consistent with the new constitution, it is not repealed. Following your logic would mean the Civil Code and the Revised Penal Code should have been repealed long ago, but still enforced now.

This law was based on the Supreme Court ruling in JBL Reyes vs. Bagatsing (125 SCRA 665 [1983]).

In summary, it set down the basic principles by stating:

"xxx The applicants for a permit to hold an assembly should inform the licensing authority of the date, the public place where and the time when it will take place. If it were a private place, only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required. Such application should be filed well ahead in time to enable the public official concerned to appraise whether there may be valid objections to the grant of the permit or to its grant but at another public place. It is an indispensable condition to such refusal or modification that the clear and present danger test be the standard for the decision reached. If he is of the view that there is such an imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil, the applicants must be heard on the matter. Thereafter, his decision, whether favorable or adverse, must be transmitted to them at the earliest opportunity. Thus if so minded, then, can have recourse to the proper judicial authority. Free speech and peaceable assembly, along with the other intellectual freedoms, are highly ranked in our scheme of constitutional values. It cannot be too strongly stressed that on the judiciary, — even more so than on the other departments — rests the grave and delicate responsibility of assuring respect for and deference to such preferred rights. No verbal formula, no sanctifying phrase can, of course, dispense with what has been so felicitiously termed by Justice Holmes "as the sovereign prerogative of judgment." Nonetheless, the presumption must be to incline the weight of the scales of justice on the side of such rights, enjoying as they do precedence and primacy."

So what are the salient features of this law for holding a peaceful rally or assembly?

Take note of all of these, class:

1. The general rule is indeed, "No Permit, No Rally," in a public place. The exemptions are if it is held in a freedom park established by law or ordinance, on private property (with the owner's consent, of course), or on government campuses subject to school regulations.

2. THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CANNOT DENY ISSUANCE OF A PERMIT, unless there is CLEAR and CONVINCING EVIDENCE that the public assembly will create a clear and present danger to public order, public safety, public convenience, public morals or public health.

No intelligence reports, please. These cannot be considered evidence. Besides, you know what the joke says: Military/Police intelligence is even lower that human and animal intelligence.

3. If the local government does not act on the application for permit within 2 working days from filing, it is deemed granted. So the rallyists can even present its application for permit and show it was filed two days before.

4. In case of denial of application, the applicant should be immediately informed, so it can resort to judicial remedies.

5. The applicant may contest this decision of the local government, and the decision should be rendered 24 hours after filing.

6. There is also the right to appeal such court decision within 48 hours. This is likewise exempt from the usual appeal bond and fees. Telegraphic appeals (arguably fax and email forms also) followed by the formal appeal shall be allowed.

7. Law enforcement is limited to 100 meters away.

8. Isolated acts or incidents of disorder or breach of peace shall not be grounds for dispersal.

9. The "calibrated response" should be governed by Sections 11 and 12 of this law, any police/military memorandum inconsistent with this is illegal and can be dealt with through its penal provisions.

10. Every city and municipality should have at least one freedom park.

Let's eat!

Saturday, September 24, 2005
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The Final Week

Blogging about the bar exams has already been a Saturday habit for me. Unfortunately, this should end today because, folks, this is the last week of the grueling "Hell Month" of September.

From experience, the test in Remedial Law has been the longest and the hardest. This exam counts more than any other single exam in the bar (it's 20% compared to 15% for the other major exams). Also, expect a long exam. During my time, they even gave a one-hour extension, which I did not take, as usual, just because I really work fast.

For tips, I'd say focus on the provisional remedies. You know what I mean: Injunction, Attachment, etc. And also give time for the Special Civil Actions and know the definition of "grave abuse of discretion" by heart. Did I mention Criminal Procedure and how it differs from Civil? Finally, my blog lectures on some rules on evidence may come in handy.

Remember, your Bar Chairman is a known for procedure so I guess this test will have his signature written all over it.

But please, don't neglect the final exam (Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises). I know you're tired and this test does not count much (5% compared to 10% for the other "minor" subjects. I know you're already tired and the drums are blaring outside with people jeering you to come out already. I know you're already salivating about that French or German beverage (or cuisine, tobacco, or whatever your vice is) you have so deprived yourself just to take this exam.

But fight all temptations to breeze through this exam and to give it scant consideration. Get below 50% in this exam and you're still disqualified from becoming a lawyer. I know some honor students who did not pass because of this exam.

For this exam focus on verification and jurat. Given recent events, this may be asked. Also, concentrate on the new notarial law and requirements and how it compares to the old one. Despite this, I guess the test will be long simply because the document drafting portion takes a considerable amount of time and notebook space.

I think I already mentioned that I took these final exams with a sprained right wrist (I write right-handed). So you can imagine the extra handicap I had going into this final day. From what I remember I did not do well here. I guess the pain was too much or the tests were that hard.

If you're taking the Bar exams for the first time, you can look forward to the feeling of extreme relief because it's all over. Personally, when a friend and I were walking away from DLSU that final Sunday, we were surprised how everything (those great and tough times in law school and bar exams) were by so fast.

You have spent about five years of your life (make that 8 to 9 if you decided to become a lawyer since college) preparing for this Bar month.

Now it's all over. Pray you do not do it again.

Spend the day after unconscious. That's what I did.

Then look for work to pass the time waiting for the results. This way, you get a head start on your legal career. Also, you earn some money for Christmas...

Again, good luck to all this final Sunday...

Friday, September 23, 2005
This day in history from:

An Honor...

Twenty four hours on the road, with nary an internet connection, driving a manual vehicle fighting traffic, drowsiness (due to utter lack of sleep) and depression (as we buried my aunt yesterday), I am deeply and pleasantly honored because my small corner of the internet has been featured this week as
PinoyBlog of the Week. I like to express my sincerest thanks to the people behind PinoyBlog. And of course, to my readers, thanks. Took the fatigue right off...

Can't blog too much again today. After that grueling 24 hours, I still have a hearing to attend to. I'll get to this more extensively tomorrow, I promise.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005
This day in history from:

The Bill of Rights, Annotated

As this country commemorates the 33rd anniversary of Proclamation 1081, otherwise known as the Proclamation of Martial Law, I will deem it best to make a list of rights we enjoy per Article 32 of the Civil Code and see how far these have been slowly stripped away from us given recent events. Let's just call this portion: "The Bill of Rights, Annotated"

So let's start.

(1) Freedom of religion;

Join the wrong religion and you don't get anywhere, worse, you're branded a terrorist.

(2) Freedom of speech;

Say the wrong things and you're charged with sedition or inciting to sedition or the fictitious crime of "destabilization." If you can point to me where this crime is defined, I will be extremely grateful.

(3) Freedom to write for the press or to maintain a periodical publication;

See comment above. Now it may even spill over to blogs.

(4) Freedom from arbitrary or illegal detention;

If nobody asserts this right for you, then you don't get to enjoy it, sadly.

(5) Freedom of suffrage;

Well, the whole "Hello Garci!" affair screwed that one up.

(6) The right against deprivation of property without due process of law;

See comment on no. 4. Also, look at the activities of squatting syndicates to see how due process is abused to deprive people of the property they worked hard to acquire.

(7) The right to a just compensation when private property is taken for public use;

Just compensation is paid in "Land Bank Bonds" or if paid in cash, minus the 20% S.O.P.

(8) The right to the equal protection of the laws;

Again, see comment on no. 4. You can also say the rich are more equal in the law than the poor.

(9) The right to be secure in one's person, house, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures;

One word: Tabayoyong.

(10) The liberty of abode and of changing the same;

Well, some smart aleck people would say to you, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the Philippines."

(11) The privacy of communication and correspondence;

This one is still being enforced, especially if it will get you out of an impeachment rap.

(12) The right to become a member of associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law;

The opposition may have something to say about this.

(13) The right to take part in a peaceable assembly to petition the government for redress of grievances;

Ever notice that the City of Manila will never give permits to any rallies? Unless if it's organized by the Administration or the City of Manila itself. That mayor should be sued.

(14) The right to be free from involuntary servitude in any form;

"Any form" should include "for less than minimum wage."

(15) The right of the accused against excessive bail;

Given the hard times, any amount of bail is excessive.

(16) The right of the accused to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witness in his behalf;

Yeah right, if you can afford it...

(17) Freedom from being compelled to be a witness against one's self, or from being forced to confess guilt, or from being induced by a promise of immunity or reward to make such confession, except when the person confessing becomes a State witness;

Yeah right, if you can afford it...

(18) Freedom from excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishment, unless the same is imposed or inflicted in accordance with a statute which has not been judicially declared unconstitutional; and

Again, any fine these days is excessive.

Pay a visit to our jails to see what cruel and unusual punishment means...

(19) Freedom of access to the courts.

Again, if you can afford the increased filing fees.

Some may even call it a "Creeping Martial Law..."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005
This day in history from:

Blogging from Megamall

Here I am blogging from Megamall. Brought in my Jessica to Digital Playground because the hard disk died again...

Probation's over! Now it's to the principal's office...

Good thing I did not depend on this baby anymore. I have Lindsay for that.


Monday, September 19, 2005
This day in history from:

Why are we taking this sitting down?

Read this first.

Then ask yourself, "Why are we taking this sitting down?"

Those people. Steal our money. F*ck around with our right of suffrage. Worse, they even approach robbing us blind with a sense of entitlement! The nerve!


But the Congressman said that an unliquidated cash advance “does not mean that the money was spent illegally, but that there's just some delay in explaining how it was spent .” “It could be a reporting delay. The judgment on whether the money was rightfully spent or not is suspended until the supporting documents are in. A mammoth bureaucracy that spends nearly P1 trillion a year is bound to encounter these reportorial glitches,” the he added.

But then check this news item out from almost a year ago... Some delay!

Sunday, September 18, 2005
This day in history from:

Just a short entry...

Can't blog too much today. I have to go to Laguna because my aunt died. I'll write her a proper eulogy soon.

Catch you later...

Saturday, September 17, 2005
This day in history from:

The Bar's Third Week and other stuff...

Again, this post is dedicated to those who still have what it takes to plod on through the third week of the bar.

The exams for the third week covers Commercial Law (some call it Mercantile Law) and Criminal Law. Surprisingly, Criminal Law's only 10% of one's bar grade but is one of the core subjects in law school (and the law practice in general).

The coverage for commercial law is mostly corporation law, with splashes of the laws on securities and securities transactions and insolvency. The focus may be on these subjects.

In criminal law, you could focus on laws such as treason, espionage, sedition, bribery and all those I have lectured on.

(For those who cannot relate, please bear with me on this one.)

Again, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of attending your pre-week review classes. Remember, your reviewers have spent time and effort to determine the possible questions that could come up in the bar exams and their expertise helps them make educated guesses on predicting these questions. And most of the time, they are right. From personal experience, these pre-week review classes have more good tips than any piece of paper can provide.

In my case, the third week was my second wind. Apparently, I had a good third week because I scored in the 90s here. Then, there was the leakage controversy a few years back that led to the scrapping of the Commercial Law portion of the bar and disciplinary action for two lawyers of the Balgos and Perez law office. I personally think the proposed "retake" of that exam and the eventual scrapping was unfair. They were punishing the entire batch for the sins of a few who benefitted. What if Commercial law was the one exam that could spell the difference between passing and failing? Given my bar grades, had I took the exams that year, I might have failed because of the sins of a few who benefitted.

But on the other hand, I could understand the need to preserve the integrity of the bar and how far the Supreme Court is willing to go to ensure it. With these extreme measures, the bar exams remains the only credible professional licensure exam left in the country, unlike the others, which have repeatedly been the subject of controversies.

Anyway, good luck again to the bar examinees. And again, don't give up. You've come this far.

In some other personal/professional news, I just got my MCLE (Mandatory Continuing Legal Education) Clearance just this Thursday. I had a disciplinary hearing in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines office in Pasig (no, I'm not the one being accused, I'm representing a client who was complaining against another lawyer because of misconduct) so I just scooted by the MCLE department to claim my certificate.

FYI, my MCLE Compliance Number is I-0002313. I just wanted to tell you just in case you still doubt that I'm really a lawyer.

There is a mix-up, however, in my roll number, though. In my certficate of title, my roll number is one thing but in the IBP records and the Supreme Court 2003 List Book, it's another. I have to go there one day to straighten it out.

Finally, good luck to those who will taking the ACET today and tomorrow. I hope you get the chance to enter a fine, fine school, despite Atty. Lacierda's claims to the contrary. Heheheheheheh!

Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2005
This day in history from:

Rockstar: INXS

Like some of you, I've been following Rockstar: INXS, another Burnett reality-based TV show about INXS looking for a new lead singer to replace Michael Hutchence (their dead lead singer).

The bright note here is Fil-Australian Mig Ayesa has made it to the final three. And rightfully so. He deserved it because he's very good.

I don't know how the new INXS front man will be chosen by the band but I assume the final decision will be with INXS.

That decision will depend on where INXS wants to go in the future.

If they want to continue Hutchence's legacy, J.D. Fortune is the choice because he sounds similar to their former lead guy. He sings INXS songs well.

They may want to select Mig simply because he's Australian. But we know he's more than capable for fronting the band. And he has proven it today, with he rendition of "What You Need."

They may select Marty Casey. But I personally think his style does not go well with INXS. Perhaps in choosing him, INXS want to take the band in another direction. He should change his name, though. I think it's kind of lame-o.

I know it would still depend on their performances next week.

Of course, being Filipino, I want Mig to win.

But assuming INXS wants to continue on the same direction, they should pick JD. Anyway, they could loose him later on if things don't work out and promptly go to a Rockstar: INXS Season 2.

Thursday, September 15, 2005
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Blog Lecture No. 43: Government Procurement

Good morning class! This lecture I give in the real world because this is the only thing I actually learned when I was chief legal of a very large government corporation.

What law governs government procurement in the Philippines?

It is Republic Act No. 9184, otherwise known as the "Government Procurement Reform Act."

So what is the general rule as regards the way the government procures goods and services.

According to Section 10 of this law, all procurement must be done through competitive bidding, unless exempted also under this law.

What procurement does this law cover?

It covers procurement of goods, consulting services and infrastructure projects.

What is the coverage of goods?

According to this law, goods "refer to all items, supplies, materials and general support services, except consulting services and infrastructure projects, which may be needed in the transaction of public businesses or in the pursuit of any government undertaking, project or activity, whether in the nature of equipment, furniture, stationery, materials for construction, or personal property of any kind, including non-personal or contractual services such as the repair and maintenance of equipment and furniture, as well as trucking, hauling, janitorial, security, and related or analogous services, as well as procurement of materials and supplies provided by the procuring entity for such services."

Can you break that down?


Goods covers:

1. all items,
2. supplies,
3. materials and
4. general support services, except consulting services and infrastructure projects,

which may be needed in the transaction of public businesses or in the pursuit of any government undertaking, project or activity,

This includes:

1. Equipment,
2. Furniture,
3. Stationery,
4. Materials for construction, or
5. Personal property of any kind,
6. Non-personal or contractual services such as the repair and maintenance of equipment and furniture
7. Trucking,
8. Hauling,
9. Janitorial,
10. Security,
11. Related or analogous services,

and procurement of materials and supplies provided by the procuring entity for such services.

What about services?

Of course, the services stated above are still considered goods. But services for this law is concerned with consulting services.

These refer to services for Infrastructure Projects and other types of projects or activities of the Government requiring adequate external technical and professional expertise that are beyond the capability and/or capacity of the government to undertake such as, but not limited to: (i) advisory and review services; (ii) pre-investment or feasibility studies; (iii) design; (iv) construction supervision; (v) management and related services; and (vi) other technical services or special studies.

You can include the US lobby services the Philippines entered into here. This means the procurement of lobbying services should have been bidded out.

What about infrastructure projects?

The law did not define it but made a non-exclusive enumeration.

This include the construction, improvement, rehabilitation, demolition, repair, restoration or maintenance of roads and bridges, railways, airports, seaports, communication facilities, civil works components of information technology projects, irrigation, flood control and drainage, water supply, sanitation, sewerage and solid waste management systems, shore protection, energy/power and electrification facilities, national buildings, school buildings, hospital buildings and other related construction projects of the government.

What is competitive bidding?

It refers to a method of procurement which is open to participation by any interested party and which consists of the following processes: advertisement, pre-bid conference, eligibility screening of prospective bidders, receipt and opening of bids, evaluation of bids, post-qualification, and award of contract, subject specific requirements and mechanics under the law and its implementing rules.

Simply, it is bidding conducted and following a process in accordance with law. Please note that it should likewise be open to the public and any interested party could participate in this budding.

Are there penalties for not following this law?

Yes. There are criminal and administrative sanctions for violating this rule, aside from possible sanctions for malversation and plunder, if applicable.

In the case of the lobby contract, a possible plunder case may be filed because the amount involved is One Million US Dollars. It breaches the plunder threshold given the present exchange rate.

Are there exemptions?

Of course there are and they are found in the law. I will not enumerate them here because I don't want to give free legal advise to Secretary Norberto Gonzales.

Let's just take a break for now...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005
This day in history from:

Define Irony

This Steve Buscemi line from Con Air has always been a favorite of mine...

So let's define irony.

Irony is taking out full page ads and going on air asking government employees for their support and at the same time implementing Executive Order 366, essentially firing a lot of them.

Irony is implementing an all-out conservation program, but at the same time blowing ONE MILLION US DOLLARS to lobby for Philippine charter change IN THE US!

It seems like the government's right hand does not know what its left hand is doing. They better get their acts together because sooner or later the people will be fed up with all their crap.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005
This day in history from:

Mark this day!

On this day: Nico learned how to say "Love you" to his dad... Woooohhooooh!

Haydee Yorac, 64

Once again, another good one dies. And their species is becoming endangered.

Haydee Yorac, a person who exemplifies integrity, competence and excellence in public service passed away in Chicago after losing her battle with cancer.

She has shown us that it is still possible to enter and leave government with your principles and morality intact. That is her legacy.

And I quote from her citation in the 2004 Magsaysay Awards for Government Service:

Democracy has deep roots in the Philippines, yet its authority continues to be tested. Years of dictatorship, graft in high places, and the corruption of the electoral process by "goons, guns, and gold" have left many Filipinos cynical not only about democracy but about government itself—all the more so because government seems repeatedly to fall short of its promises and goals. In such a climate, serving in government can be thankless. Yet, Haydee Yorac, a lawyer and professor of law, has repeatedly answered the call to serve. In doing so, she has confounded the cynics and shown that even the most intractable problems can yield to solutions if they are attacked honestly and with vigor.

Haydee Yorac hails from a small Visayan town where her father was mayor and her mother taught school. She moved on to the University of the Philippines and its College of Law and passed the bar in 1963. As a young law instructor at her alma mater, she became politically active and opposed the Vietnam War. When Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, she was jailed for over three months and, afterwards, moved to the forefront of the legal fight to restore democracy. People came to know her as outspoken, incorruptible, and fearless.

After the People Power Revolution, Yorac served seven years as a national election commissioner, organizing elections in contested, far-flung areas of the country and lending her considerable reputation to the hopeful project of restoring integrity to the country’s electoral process. As chair of the National Unification Commission in 1992 and 1993, she met face-to-face with the government’s armed opponents and astutely identified grounds for negotiation and peace; her commission’s insightful report became a trusted blueprint for the country’s peace process. Yorac then shifted to private practice until, in 2001, she was named chair of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, or PCGG.

In 1986, President Corazon Aquino created the PCGG in her very first executive order. Its mandate was to restore to the Philippines vast amounts of wealth stolen by Marcos and his family and friends. This was a difficult task. The commission launched case after case and the years passed. By the time Yorac was named its eleventh chair, it had recovered only two billion out of an estimated ten billion dollars of the Marcos hoard. Many people said that the PCGG was on a fool’s errand. Yorac proved them wrong.

Advancing on all fronts, she strengthened the commission’s staff with talented young lawyers. She cultivated good working relations with the commission’s collaborating agencies. She brought order to its chaotic files, computerizing them for the first time. And she stoked the fires under hundreds of stalled cases and long-running legal battles.

Stunning victories followed. On her watch, the PCGG recovered for the national treasury $683 million from Marcos’s Swiss bank accounts. It also secured court decisions favorable to the government regarding shares worth billions of pesos in the United Coconut Planters Bank and San Miguel Corporation. These are the commission’s largest gains since its establishment, a boon both for the Philippine agrarian reform program and, not incidentally, for the country’s faith in justice.

Even so, many hundreds of PCGG cases remain unresolved. Yorac continues to move them through the courts impatiently. Slowed by recent illnesses, the feisty, sixty-three-year-old Yorac has had to work from her sickbed. She knows she will not complete the task herself. Others will rise to it. "No one is indispensable," she reminds us all. "Making a difference is enough."

In electing Haydee Yorac to receive the 2004 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the board of trustees recognizes her building confidence in government through service of exceptional integrity and rigor and her unwavering pursuit of the rule of law in the Philippines.

May she rest in peace.

Monday, September 12, 2005
This day in history from:

Blog Lecture No. 42: Bouncing Checks

For today, let's discuss what the government, thanks to the massive deals brought about by last weeks' fiasco, is now vulnerable to.

The law on bouncing checks can be found in Batas Pambansa Blg. (National Law No. 22). It states:

Any person who makes or draws and issues any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment, which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than thirty days but not more than one (1) year or by a fine of not less than but not more than double the amount of the check which fine shall in no case exceed Two Hundred Thousand Pesos, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.

The same penalty shall be imposed upon any person who, having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank when he makes or draws and issues a check, shall fail to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if presented within a period of ninety (90) days from the date appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee bank.

Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or entity, the person or persons who actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer shall be liable under this Act.

What are the acts punished under this law?

1. Drawing and issuing any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds, then the check bounced.

Here, the person issued the check to pay for something, knowing fully well that he has no sufficient funds to cover the issued check. As a separate crime, this likewise constitutes estafa under Article 315 (2) (d) of the Revised Penal Code.

2. Failing to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if presented within a period of ninety (90) days from the date appearing thereon, but at the time of issuance, there were sufficient funds.

Here, the issued check initially can be covered with sufficient bank funds. But when encashed within 90 days from the date in the check, it bounced. Here the offender is punished for failing to maintain sufficient funds and not for issuing an empty check per se.

Who are the one punished under this law?

1. Any person who draws or issues the bum check

2. If the check is drawn by a corporation, company or entity, the person or persons who actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer. This includes government checks.

What are some of the defenses for this offense?

They are:

1. Prescription (simply means the expiration of the right to prosecute the offense)

Here the prescription period if four years from five-day notice of dishonor (notice to drawer that the check bounced and giving him/her 5 days to make good the check) (Act 3326, as amended)

2. Payment within the five day notice of dishonor

Breakfast time!

Sunday, September 11, 2005
This day in history from:

Results of the Fifth Visit

Again, more of the same.

Zero. Nada. Ziltch. Nil. Not even a text message.

Anyway, my kids had a good time. It's their cousin's birthday today and they celebrated it at our house.

Are you taking the ACET?

ACET stands for the Ateneo College Entrance Tests.

This is a half-day exam that forms part of a prospective applicant's entrance requirement to the Ateneo College (now called Loyola Schools). I don't remember how much, though. Is it 50-50 (high school grades to test) or 1/3 1/3 1/3 (grades to test to application form and recommendations)?

Anyway, I used to be a regular examiner for this exam (because GT was working then for the Ateneo Office of Admission and Aid). And I can easily become one again (they gave an honorarium during our time, per session) because I still know a few people there. Just don't have time for it anymore.

Please note that examiner does not equal proctor in the ACET because the procter merely assists the examiner in distributing/collecting papers, etc. The examiner is the one actually administering the exam. He/she is the one the reads the instructions (for the exams and how to fill the details) and keeps time.

While passing the time between exams, I used to browse the sample exam given provided the examiners. I was thinking if I took it at that time, I would not pass. That test was so darn hard!

I used to do something cruel to my examinees. I brought this kitchen timer with a loud "tick-tock" sound like a time bomb... I imagine that put undue pressure on them... heheheheh!

A few tips are in order, assuming it will still be the same type of exam they are still giving:

1. Of course, I would not remember the questions the tests contain. Besides, they may use different sets every year. So I won't bother giving you actual questions.

2. As in all exams, be very conscious of the time. Time management is the key in this exam. Do not dwell on any question too long or you'll lose time to answer the ones you can easily answer. Make an estimate on how much time you have to spend per question (of course, by dividing the number of questions by the time alloted) and try to stick by it.

3. There are some parts of the exams that you have to answer the entire booklet. I'm telling you this now so you won't get shocked when you're actually taking the exams.

4. Watch out for what I call the "five minute specials." These are the traditional exams (logic, vocabulary, etc.) with a twist... you have to finish them in only five minutes. Talk about a speed round!
That's about it. Good luck and I hope you pass...

High School Memories

Bea and I attended the wedding of a high school classmate yesterday. He was one of the last to get married.

I was close to this particular one because we used to go out regularly with my law partner (and likewise high school classmate, who will likewise marry next year). He got the benefit of learning from my experience because I have told them everything that happened to me the past years.

I have always told my story to those who cared to listen, not because I'm a kiss-and-tell person but because I want people to learn from my experience. I want to tell them that yes, there are people like "that girl" and yes, there are still those who, despite people like "that girl" who can come out of the situation with their dignities intact.

Anyway, it was a dream wedding and as in all dream weddings, it was all about the bride. And the thing was really organized. They were thoughtful enough to put out the "traditional" things (like the cake-cutting, etc.) out of the way before we had dinner. The fact the they had us ahead of the line at the buffet table was a plus.

That wedding also turned to be a mini high school reunion, as several high school classmates arrived, capped off by our adviser honoring us with her presence. Our class turned out well. Five lawyers, six doctors, a few engineers, businessmen, a Jesuit scholastic, etc. and we're almost 20 years out of high school...

Bea had a good time. She even went for seconds...

It's fun to relive our high school memories and I even attempted to rejoin them when they resolved to resume the reunion in Libis. Trouble was there have been reports of numerous "carjacking" incidents in that area, so I was prevailed upon to just stay at home.

Anyway, it was a good day, eventhough I sacrificed playing in the Saturday anticipated Mass. I'll just play in this afternoon's Mass.

I hope we can have another reunion soon...

Saturday, September 10, 2005
This day in history from:

The Second Week of Bar

Thank you Atty. Lacierda for reminding me. I went to Bea's school early today to get her report card. Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised at her grades. At least she did not get her mother's recessive genes...

So you made it through the first Sunday of the bar exams. If you didn't I guess there is no point in reading this.

Anyway, the second Sunday is actually more of the same. The advantage is you've been through the first week so you must be more comfortable about it right now. You may want to review my tips last week in taking the exams in general.

What subjects are your going to take? Civil law and Taxation?

Oooooohhhhh! In my personal experience, I concentrated more on Civil law since I was weak in Taxation.

In Civil law, I guess the bulk will be in Persons and Family Relations. Article 26 of the Family Code on foreign obtained divorce is a good bet to be there... but I'm just guessing...

For tax, however, you better just brush up on jurisprudence on the VAT (and EVAT). I know the recent case will not be included but there are old cases upholding its constitutionality. Also local taxation (again, a guess...)

I only have a few things to tell you from this point on.

1. Don't give up.

You've come this far. What's another three Sundays?

2. Pray/hope for a fair exam.

I mean for questions that are in the syllabus and not from another planet.

So at least if you don't know the answer, you can only blame yourself for not covering it.

3. Again, relax


Friday, September 09, 2005
This day in history from:

Phantom of the Opera DVD released

The Phantom 2-Disc DVD set has just been released here 2 days ago and I got my copy yesterday.

Along with the reduced prices (now originals sell for almost half of what it was before), the original has a second disc with the story and making of the movie. I particularly like the interviews with Weber because they showed parts of the original London cast performance.

This definitely has advantages over buying the DiBiDi... sure glad I bought this one...

Thursday, September 08, 2005
This day in history from:

Happy Birthday Mama Mary!

Fr. Jason's anecdote during his homily tonight, on Mama Mary's birthday, got to me...

"In some cultures (I don't know if this is actually true but bear with me on this one), old, invalid people at the end of their lives are carried by one of the children to the top of a mountain. There, the child leaves the old person to die, either of starvation or other causes.

A son was carrying his mother on his back up the mountain for such rite. All the while, the mother was picking up leaves and throwing them along their way. At the top of the mountain, the son asked the mother when he was about to say goodbye why she scattered those leaves along the way.

The mother answered, "So you would not get lost on your way back."
Happy Birthday, Mama Mary!

Next up on the legislative agenda

With the overwhelming majority enjoyed by the House of Representatives and their current feeling of euphoria and invincibility, they have lined up the following bills and resolutions that they will unanimously pass into law:

1. House Bill No. 007: A bill repealing the law on supply and demand

2. House Bill No. 0210: A bill outlawing and criminalizing violations of the laws of nature, physics, science and mathematics

3. House Resolution No. 010: A resolution declaring one plus one equals eleven (1+1=11)

4. House Bill No. 349: A bill legalizing corruption (since we can't stop it anyway, might as well make it legal so we can tax them)

5. House Resolution No. 69: A resolution designating a list of certain attorneys who would file impeachment complaints same time next year until 2010 (the list includes Attys. Matalo (for 2006), Dehado (2007), Mahina (2008), Sablay (2009), and Makaw (2010))*

6. House Bill No. 123: A bill repealing the law of averages

7. House Resolution No. 456: A resolution declaring Hurricane Katrina persona non grata and promptly deporting her.

8. House Bill No. 000: Amending Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code by Instituting an additional justifying circumstance (read: a circumstance that excuses all liability) of saying "I'm sorry" when caught.

Please feel free to call, write or text your representative on the bills and resolutions you want them to pass and he/she will surely do the opposite...or you can just put them as your comment here...

*coincidental only if such surnames really exist

Wednesday, September 07, 2005
This day in history from:

New Legal Principles introduced by the Impeachment Proceedings

Looking back from the marathon impeachment hearings and the entire proceedings in general, it's wonderful that we have discovered new legal principles to add to my legal treasure chest.

To summarize, they are as follows:

1. A new set of synonyms, that is, complaint is equal to proceedings. Before I thought proceedings refers to a process (sorry for the circular definition) while complaint refers to some piece of paper were one person complains for what another has done. Now, they are the same. But which definition will we follow?

2. Virtual Verification- Thanks to Congress, we lawyers have gained a new privilege. Now, when we swear by something, it is already considered a verification. Another name for it can be the "Lagman Touch" where everything a lawyer touches gets verified.

3. The Congressional Filing Clerk gets the recognition he truly and rightfully deserves. He/she now holds the key to what will be the one and only complaint gets considered by congress in any given impeachment proceeding.

4. Two or more wrongs will now be right. More specifically, 158 wrongs make a right.

5. Honorable people can easily be convinced as long as you give them several million reasons why.

6. Dura lex sed lex (The law may be hard but that is the law) has been repealed in favor of Dura lex sed flex (The law may be hard but it is bendable).

Tuesday, September 06, 2005
This day in history from:


A victory? Yes!

A vindication? No!

Oh Cheez, what did I miss?

Not much but caught up through Manolo Tacitus' chronicle.

Voting has begun. I'm worried more over the consequences than the results.

May God have mercy on us all.

Monday, September 05, 2005
This day in history from:


Congressman Rodolfo W. Antonino is objecting to the opposition's obvious tactic of delaying the proceedings by using technicalities and their alleged misuse of the House Rules.

Here's a rule for you, sir, "Don't dish it out if you cannot take it." If you went at it all night to finish the Justice Committee hearing, what's another day of the same?

Current tactic of the opposition: Wear the old... I mean veteran lawmakers down with their youth. They seem to be saying, "I can go at it all night. How about you?"

The question is, who is the designated filibuster?

Just thinking...

I know that is a very dangerous pastime, indeed.

But if we follow the logic of the Justice Committee when it ruled that the first impeachment complaint filed bars all others (a variation of the latin maxim prior tempore prior jure, "priority in time, priority in right") aren't they delegating the power to impeach to their filing clerk?

Will this be a case where the first one handed to that clerk bar the others?

Are they really serious in handing to that filing clerk the responsibility of shaping this country's history?

Well, they better stock the qualifications of that filing clerk with qualifications other than what we require of a President of the Republic. He/she should have more than the ability to read and write, I guess...

Just thinking aloud...

Blog Lecture No. 41: Plenary Session

Fasten your seatbelts, class! This is going to be a bumpy ride!

How does Congress proceed during plenary sessions?

According to Rule 11 of the House Rules, if they still follow it, this is the order of business (or agenda) during plenary sessions:

Section 70. Order of Business. - The daily Order of Business shall be as follows:

  1. Roll call;
  2. Approval of the Journal of the previous session;
  3. First Reading and Referral to Committees of Bills, Proposed Resolutions, Messages, Communications, Petitions and Memorials;
  4. Unfinished Business;
  5. Business for the Day;
  6. Business for a Certain Date;
  7. Committee Reports;
  8. Business for Thursday and Friday;
  9. Bills and Joint Resolutions for Third Reading; and
  10. Unassigned Business

What constitutes a quorum of the House in plenary?

It is majority of all the members (Section 73, Rule 11 of House Rules)

What happens if the quorum is not achieved?

The House shall not transact business without a quorum (Section 73, as above). If there is no quorum, the House may resort to measures to achieve a quorum, even effect the arrest of absent Congressmen. (Section 74, Rule 11 of House Rules)

What is unfinished business?

This is business being considered by the House at the time of its last adjournment. Its consideration shall be resumed until it is disposed of. The Unfinished Business at the end of a session shall be resumed at the commencement of the next session as if no adjournment has taken place. At the end of the term of a Congress, all Unfinished Business are deemed terminated.

For example, if the House, during the last session, was debating on how many angels can sit on the head of a pin, and did not finish it, the will resume the on the next session day.

What is business of the day?

These are bills, resolutions and other measures set in the Calendar for the Day by the Committee on Rules. They shall be considered, as far as practicable, in the order in which they are listed in the Calendar and after the business mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

What is business for a certain date?

No, this does not refer to the business of certainly getting dates for our dapper congressmen.

This is business set for consideration on a certain date. It shall be considered in chronological order until disposed of on the date set and on subsequent days unless the continuation of the consideration of any business therein included is set for another day. No business in this Calendar shall be set for consideration unless it has been placed therein two (2) session days prior to such consideration.

What is business on a Thursday or a Friday?

Bills of local application shall be included in the Calendar for Thursday and Friday.

Such bills shall be arranged and considered in the order set by the Committee on Rules. No local bill shall be set for consideration unless it has been placed in this Calendar two (2) session days prior to such consideration.

Classic examples of bills of local application are bills turning a certain place into a city (city charters) and bills to rename local roads and highways.

What is unassigned business?

Bills, resolutions, and other measures reported out by the committees but not calendared for Second Reading by the Committee on Rules may be included in the Calendar of Unassigned Business.

Any business included in this Calendar may be set for consideration on motion of a Member with the unanimous approval of the House; Provided, That it shall be included in the Calendar of Business at least two (2) days prior to such consideration.

The more common term for this is "other matters." But, according to the rules, there must be a unanimous vote and inclusion in the calendar before they are considered.

(These were taken mostly from Section 78, Rule 11 of the House Rules, with some annotations.)

Time to Take a Stand

Statement of Unity
Bukluran Para sa Katotohanan

We come from all walks of life, from different political, cultural, and economic persuasions, different points of view. But in diversity, we find a cause for unity. That cause for unity is our common objective to secure the truth.

We all seek the truth. We want the truth to come out. And yet every means for seeking the truth has been frustrated; every avenue for arriving at the truth has been blocked; and every opportunity to find the truth is being closed.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s response to our call for the truth has been to suppress evidence, hide her accomplices, engage in a grand cover-up, sow fear, foment distrust and use every instrument at her disposal to encourage division among our people.

We will not be divided in these critical times.

We say with one voice, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must go. For the good of the country, she must go. For the sake of our nation’s future, she must go. For the preservation of hope as a motive force in our national life, she must go.

We are united by the belief that this crisis must be resolved in a manner that is peaceful and democratic. Without the truth, there cannot be peace; without the truth, there is no genuine democracy. The truth must set our nation free.

Unite for the truth. Demand the truth. Defend the truth.

Kami ay ang Bukluran Para sa Katotohanan.

AKBAYAN Citizen’s Action Party
Ateneo Concerned Faculty and Youth
Bangon, Pilipinas
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)
Be Not Afraid
Black & White Movement
Citizens for TRUTH (Transparency, Responsibility, Unity, Trust, Hope)
Citizens for Truth, Resignation, Impeachment, or Ouster (C4T)
Coalition for National Solidarity
Counsels for the Defense of Civil Liberties (CODAL)
De La Salle
FPJP Movement
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Interfaith Movement for Truth, Justice and Genuine Change (IFM)
Kilusan ng Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME)
Laban ng Masa
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
Peoples Assembly for Genuine Alternatives to Social Apathy (PAG-ASA)
Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)
Union of Muslims for Morality and Truth (UMMAT)
United Opposition (UNO)
Unity for Truth and Justice
UP Diliman Student Council (UPD USC)
White Ribbon Movement
Women March
Youth DARE

Sunday, September 04, 2005
This day in history from:

More than anything

At least for me personally, music triggers more emotional responses from me than anything else. Let's just say I'm more moved by music and it triggers more memories than pictures, etc.

Just now, I was going through some "burned" cd's I made when I was still in my own house, before I moved back to my parent's house.

Emotions and memories are mixed. Some good (such as the Josh Groban Live! album I managed to burn before the original disc got destroyed).

Some, however, are the CDs I burned for "that girl." And yes, the memories came back. Admittedly, both good and bad.

Come to think of it, I have not given myself time to mourn the failure of my marriage (or to put is more dramatically, the "loss of a love"). I was so caught up defending my legal position regarding the break-up and our separation (I will blog about how I came back to my parent's house sometime. Trust me, my life could be the stuff of Filipino teleseryes) and getting on with our lives that I have not really given myself time to really reflect on what happened to us.

But let me focus on the music I just scanned through just now. Yes, I said the memories were both good and bad. But the songs the stuck out were the songs that were her favorites during our turbulent last two years.

The most painful thing is they were mostly love songs. And listening to them now, I'm pretty sure she did not mean these songs for me.

Call me corny but the song Broken Vow, then sung by Josh Groban was my favorite (before popularized in Meteor Garden). In hindsight, that was the perfect song at the time...

Philippines sending help to the United States

Just watching GMA's press conference about us sending a medical mission to the United States due to Hurricane Katrina... visa permitting of course.

Hey! Do I they need a legal team there? Can I sign up for that?

Only problem is, once I set foot in the States I will never go back... heheheheh!

Things I plan to do today

1. Play with my kids
2. Read some magazines and ebooks
3. Play the flute and keyboard (while test driving Lindsay's MIDI player)
4. Catch up on some paperwork
5. Sleep
6. Eat
7. Finish a pleading later on today

Hope I can do all of them today...

Saturday, September 03, 2005
This day in history from:

The Bar Exams

Well, bar reviewees, this is it. We're not even talking pre-week anymore.

We're talking tomorrow, you'll be taking the one test that would define your career, your destiny, your life. The bar exams.

Again, whatever you did or did not learn this past months you cannot possibly cram between today and tomorrow morning. So don't.

For today, take care of your self. Your mind and body. If you have the resources, go to the spa. You have to be relaxed as possible tomorrow because...

To the first-timers (hopefully you won't go through this again), I will give you an idea of what it will be like tomorrow.

Taft Avenue will be closed to traffic so you have to approach DLSU from the parallel roads. I'm pretty sure you'll have to walk at a certain point unless you come way early, like 2:00 a.m. But they may have closed Taft even at that time.

You start with the line going into the main gate of DLSU and the sounds of your well wishers cheering you on. You may even see streamers wishing you (or probably the school they are from) luck. It's a fun day, if you're not taking the bar. The sounds of drums, of school cheers (and jeers) certainly brightens up the spirit... again if you're not taking the exams.

I know when I was in bar operations, there was this one streamer from a particular law school ( I won't tell you what) saying "WE WILL TOPS THE BAR!" I don't know what happened to their examinees. Probably one or two "will have been passing" the bar.

If you're taking it, you'll hardly notice all the activities while lining up at the entrance gate.

Oh, by the way, be sure you are not bringing anything electronic (except probably your watch). They'll be checking for cellphones, etc. When I took it, they did not even allow a pocket fluorescent light. If you have one, you'll have to check them in at the gate. If you have one during the last exam on the last day (Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises), you can only claim them back in the Supreme Court the day after.

Find your room at once. I'm pretty sure they have clearly marked the buildings by now so even bar examinees could not miss the names (believe me, with all the tension, you'll even have problems remembering your own name). My building was the Gokongwei Building, conveniently located fronting Taft Avenue, where you can set your clock by the sounds of the MRT trains passing by...

The only good here is DLSU classrooms are air-conditioned so you don't have to literally sweat it, unlike those who came before us.

Make sure you have your permits and sit according to the seat plan. The proctors will (if I remember correctly) will even have you sign a seat plan sheet.

Make sure all your writing instruments (before, only fountain pens are allowed but now they allow sign pens) are in good writing condition. And carry spares (not a spare). You don't want to fail these exams on the very least technicality, of course.

If you can and have one, read your tips as discretely as you can. To those who want to borrow our tips and think the examinees are selfish, please understand them. Letting someone else read them is cause for forfeiture of these tips for the rest of the exams. Sorry, we did not make these rules up...

Then there will be a period of time (about 10 to 15 minutes) where all your stuff is in front of the room and you cannot read anything anymore.

For me, this was the longest 10 to 15 minutes of my life. And here, I really felt all the tension. Imagine, all those years of preparation all came down to this. And poliical law (the very first exam) being my weakest subject did not ease my tensions.

But it helped (and I'm serious here) me a lot when I prayed during this period. Believe me, it eased my tensions from then on. From that point on, I used that period to say my prayers. As my Muslim friend said at that time, "Tawagin mo na lahat ng Santo, pati si Santa Claus!" (Time to call all your saints, even Santa Claus!)

The exams and the other collaterals will be handed to you after this period and all of you open them at the same time.

Take a deep breath and begin.

Remember, the first question is, almost always, a shock question, because it it designed to shock you. You'll wonder what planet that question came from...

But don't be daunted, the rest of the questions you can already answer according to what you have studied. Attend to them first and attempt that shock question if you have the time.

Time management is the key. Be mindful of the time and just allocate the right time for each question. Don't dwell on one question too long because there may be other, easier questions there where you can reap more points.

There will be 20 questions, each with 2 to 3 sub-questions. Each question is 5 points each, distributed among the sub-question. I guess you know that by now since you've seen past bar exams already.

I have no idea on how that "multiple choice" thing will go. If I would venture a guess, all the choices would either be equally correct or equally wrong. They're that cruel.

Remember, minimum points you have to get is 50 on any exam. But getting 50 on all exams is not a passing grade. You have to average 75 for all 8 exams, so if you're weak in one or more subjects, try to make up for it in subjects you feel you are stronger.

Bar tips, you ask? Again, just look at my lectures, conveniently located in the side bar.

Good luck. I'll be praying for all of you.

Memo from the LAN Administrator

Memorandum No. 001-I-2005

To: All concerned
From: The Punzi Network Administrator

Re: Proposed change in reference names to Workstations

For convenience, the following are the proposed reference names to the workstations in the network:

1. Workstation Description: iMac G5 1.6 Ghz Desktop
Reference name: "Lindsay"

2. Workstation Description: Neo Qnote Celeron 1.3 Ghz Laptop
Reference name: "Jessica"

3. Workstation Description: AMD Duron 850 Mhz Desktop
Reference name: "Mandy"

4. Workstation Description: Acer Celeron 433 Mhz Laptop
Reference name: "Amber" (semi-retired)

5. Workstation Description: Remote Pentium II-350 Mhz Desktop
Reference name: "Britney" (retired)

6. Workstation Description: MacBook white 2.0 Ghz Core Duo
Reference name: "Scarlett"

Unless there are objections, these reference names shall be deemed final on Monday, 05 September 2005.

For comments and/or objections, kindly use the convenient forms found below.

Please be guided accordingly.

(Sgd.) The LAN Administration

Friday, September 02, 2005
This day in history from:

15 Minutes of Fame

With the opposition scrambling to gather the 79 votes to impeach the President, that Congressman from Nueva Viscaya withdrew his for a flimsy reason that since he indorsed the second complaint that was thrown out but the Committee on Justice. Of course he also said he would be out of the country during plenary...

A few questions come to mind...

1. Why all the media hoopla surrounding his withdrawal? Is this just to claim your 15 minutes of fame or for maximum damage to the pro-impeachment solons' morale?

2. What is his real motive for withdrawing his signature because based on his logic, all those who endorsed the amended complaint should withdraw their signatures already? Does this mean he has given up? Or did someone finally "convince" him to do just that?

3. Why did he schedule a trip aboad when Congress is still in session? His main job is to make laws, serve his constituents and attend sessions and hearings, and NOT attend affairs abroad.

His constituents better take note of this so that they could either vote for his opponent next election or charge him more.

Again, this is another prime example of the people getting the leaders they deserve.

Disaster relief, sustainable development & community service

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Side Prayers

Lord Jesus,
Teach me to be generous,
Teach me to serve You as You deserve
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labor and not to ask for reward,
except that of knowing
That I do Your Holy Will. Amen

May every word I speak be from Your Truth...
I ask come from Your Wisdom...
May every case I handle receive Your Guidance...
May every heart, every life I touch, feel Your Love.

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
"Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your Hand be with me,
that You would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain."

So God granted him what he requested.

Side Oath

The Lawyer's Oath
I do solemnly swear that
I will maintain allegiance to
the Republic of the Philippines,
I will support its Constitution
and obey the laws as well as
the legal orders of the
duly constituted authorities therein;
I will do no falsehood,
nor consent to the doing of any in court;
I will not wittingly or willingly
promote or sue any groundless,
false or unlawful suit,
nor give aid nor consent to the same;
I will delay no man for money or malice,
and will conduct myself as a lawyer
according to the best of my knowledge
and discretion with all good fidelity
as well to the courts as to my clients;
and I impose upon myself this voluntary obligation
without any mental reservation
or purpose of evasion.
So help me God.

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