Sunday, November 3, 2019

Mitch McConnell | How the Legislative Branch Can Restore the Constitution

"The Rule of Law and Administrative Law" - Edith Jones

Globalization: Pro and Con

Artificial intelligence and its ethics | DW Documentary - "Are we facing a golden digital age or will robots soon run the world? We need to establish ethical standards in dealing with artificial intelligence - and to answer the question: What still makes us as human beings unique?"

Slaves today | DW Documentary - "There are over 45 million slaves worldwide today - more than ever before in human history. Modern slavery has many faces: workers, sex slaves, household servants and child soldiers. But some people are fighting this trade in human misery."

Thailand and the fallout from mass tourism | DW Documentary - "Plastic garbage and the death of the coral reefs show the downside of mass tourism in Thailand, which hosted 36 million visitors in 2018. The documentary looks at the effects on tourist resorts above and below water."

Works of government - "Republic Act No. 8293, or the Philippine Intellectual Property Code IP Code, specifically states, under Section 175, that “any official text of a legislative, administrative, or legal nature” is not protected by copyright. Section 176 of the IP Code also explicitly declares that “no copyright shall subsist in any work of the Government of the Philippines.”



See - https://www.bworldonline.com/copyright-protection-over-the-works-of-the-government/


"x x x.

Copyright protection over the works of the Government
October 15, 2019 | 9:19 pm
Amicus Curiae
By Mary Erica D. Manuel


x x x.

Republic Act No. 8293, or the Philippine Intellectual Property Code IP Code, specifically states, under Section 175, that “any official text of a legislative, administrative, or legal nature” is not protected by copyright. Section 176 of the IP Code also explicitly declares that “no copyright shall subsist in any work of the Government of the Philippines.” However, despite these provisions generally removing works of the government from the scope of copyright protection, Section 176 allows the works of the government to be exploited for profit provided that there is prior approval of the government agency or office wherein the work is created and that such agency or office may impose, among other things, the condition of the payment of royalties. A similar provision may be found in Title 17 of the United States Code that codified US Copyright laws.

In the dissenting opinion of Justice Carpio in the Philippine case of In re Del Castillo (2011), Mr. Carpio finds that although works of the government may not be copyrightable in general, the arrangement or presentation of passages copied from works of the government may be subject to copyright pursuant to Section 1731.1 (b) of the IP Code.

In the Philippines, there are various compilations of laws and annotations commercially available to the public which are prepared by both public and private entities. Regardless of the outcome of the proceedings before the US Supreme Court, a definitive Decision clarifying the scope of copyright law in the context of works of the government could, at the very least, open the discussion on whether similar works in the Philippines should be subject to copyright protection under Philippine law.

This article is for general informational and educational purposes only and is not offered and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion.

Mary Erica D. Manuel is an Associate of the Intellectual Property Department of the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW).

x x x."

Interpol - Red Notices



See - https://www.interpol.int/How-we-work/Notices/Red-Notices



"x x x.

Red Notices
About Notices
INTERPOL–United Nations Security Council Special Notices



Criminals can flee to another country to try to evade justice. A Red Notice alerts police worldwide about internationally wanted fugitives.

What is a Red Notice?

A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.

It contains two main types of information:
Information to identify the wanted person, such as their name, date of birth, nationality, hair and eye colour, photographs and fingerprints if available.
Information related to the crime they are wanted for, which can typically be murder, rape, child abuse or armed robbery.

Red Notices are published by INTERPOL at the request of a member country, and must comply with INTERPOL’s Constitution and Rules. A Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant.
A Red Notice is an international wanted persons notice, but it is not an arrest warrant.
How many Red Notices are there?

There are currently approximately 58,000 valid Red Notices, of which some 7,000 are public.

The majority of Red Notices are restricted to law enforcement use only.

In some cases, for example where the public’s help is needed to locate an individual or they pose a threat to public safety, a public extract of the Red Notice is published on this website.
In 2018, INTERPOL issued 13,516 Red Notices.
Who are the subjects of Red Notices?

Red Notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence. This follows judicial proceedings in the country issuing the request. This is not always the home country of the individual, but the country where the crime was committed.

When a person is sought for prosecution, they have not been convicted and should be considered innocent until proven guilty. A person sought to serve a sentence means they have been found guilty by a court in the issuing country.
What checks are done before a Red Notice is issued?

Every Red Notice request is checked by a specialised task force to ensure it is compliant with our rules. This review takes into account information available at the time of publication.

Whenever new and relevant information is brought to the attention of the General Secretariat after a Red Notice has been issued, the task force re-examines the case.

Red Notice
Are the individuals wanted by INTERPOL?

No, they are wanted by a country or an international tribunal.

INTERPOL cannot compel the law enforcement authorities in any country to arrest someone who is the subject of a Red Notice.

Each member country decides what legal value it gives to a Red Notice and the authority of their law enforcement officers to make arrests.
Why are Red Notices important?

They are used to simultaneously alert police in all our member countries about internationally wanted fugitives. Police in other countries can then be on the watch for them and use the Red Notice to support extradition proceedings.

Red Notices help bring fugitives to justice, sometimes many years after the original crime was committed.
What should I do if I have information on an individual?

Please inform your local police authorities and/or the INTERPOL General Secretariat.
Can I find out if a Red Notice has been issued for me?

You can contact the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF), an independent body. Applications to the CCF are free of charge and treated confidentially.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

INTERPOL Rules on the Processing of Data4.17MB
ENFRESAR

Constitution of the ICPO-INTERPOL851.01KB
ENFRESAR

Statute of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files

x x x."

A Public Address by Michelle Bachelet -global human rights.

Recent revision of the Corporation Code



See - https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/10/19/1961320/flexible-tax-treatment



"x x x.

Flexible tax treatment
HIDDEN AGENDA 
- Mary Ann LL. Reyes 
(The Philippine Star) - October 19, 2019 - 12:00am

As a corporate lawyer specializing in setting up business entities and as a commercial law professor, at least two questions are often asked of me following the recent revision of our Corporation Code.

The Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines, which took effect last February, allowed for the creation of a one-person corporation or OPC. Prior to the revision, a corporation must have at least five but not more than 15 incorporators. Now, a corporation can have at least two incorporators but not more than 15, except for OPCs which can have one and other cases provided for under the Code.

The first question is whether it is better to set up an OPC or a sole proprietorship while the second question deals with the similarities and differences between our OPC and the existing corporate structures available in the United States like the limited liability company and the S corporation.

To answer the first question, allow me to discuss the differences between an OPC and a sole proprietorship. An OPC, just like any corporation, is a juridical entity that has a legal personality that is separate and distinct from its shareholders. An OPC’s assets and liabilities are separate from the assets and liabilities of its single shareholder and incorporator, and is given the limited liability characteristic of a corporation.

A sole proprietorship, on the other hand, is in reality not a juridical entity. Its legal personality is the same as that of the proprietor or owner, which means that the assets and liabilities of the sole proprietorship are also those of the owner and vice versa. The creditor of the sole proprietorship can therefore go after the assets of the owner to satisfy his claim because the owner does not have limited liability. This is not the case for the stockholder in a corporation, or an OPC for that matter, whose liability is limited only to his shareholding in the corporation. A creditor cannot go after the stockholder for the liabilities of the corporation unless it is warranted to pierce the so-called veil of corporate fiction in cases when the corporation is used by the stockholder to perpetuate fraud, defeat public convenience, justify a wrong, or defend a crime. When the corporation’s separate legal entity is set aside, the law will regard the corporation and the persons composing it as one and the same.


How does one create an OPC and a sole proprietorship? Any natural person (except those engaged in the practice of a profession), trust, or estate must file the OPC’s articles of incorporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the OPC is created following the issuance by the SEC of a certificate of incorporation. A sole proprietorship in the Philippines, on the other hand, not being a business and legal entity, is not required to be registered to be created. But before the Bureau of Internal Revenue authorizes the printing of official receipts, then the proprietor must register a business name with the Department of Trade and Industry, get a business permit from the local government unit after submission of a copy of the certificate of business name registration, among other requirements,

Assuming that both the OPC and the sole proprietorship commence business operations, then the OPC is required by the SEC to submit periodic reportorial requirements such as the annual financial statements and other reports that the SEC may require. No such reports are required of the sole proprietorship. This makes it easier to maintain a sole proprietorship in the long run.

Then more importantly, an OPC is not subject to what is referred to as pass-through taxation and it is the OPC, not the single shareholder, who is subject to the corporate income tax rate of 30 percent. On the other hand, a sole proprietorship is a pass-through entity, which means that the owner is the one who pays the income tax on the business through his own personal tax return. Under the TRAIN Law, self-employed individuals with annual gross sales or income not exceeding the VAT threshold of P3 million have the option to choose between two tax rates: eight percent of gross sales or receipts and other income, in excess of P250,000; or graduated income tax rates of zero to 35 percent of net taxable income).

This brings us to the matter as to why OPCs have no choice but be subject to the corporate income tax (CIT) rate of 30 percent (or the minimum corporate income tax of two percent on gross income is applicable).

If the purpose of creating OPCs is to encourage the formation of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), then OPCs should have the benefit of limited liability but should not be treated like corporations for tax purposes, but should instead be subject to a graduated income tax rate based on the amount of taxable income just like the one applied to self-employed individuals or be given the flexibility to choose how they should be treated tax-wise.

Let us take the case of limited liability companies or LLCs.

An LLC is a type of corporate structure in the United States that combines the characteristics of a corporation with those of a sole proprietorship or partnership. In an LLC, the owners have limited liability which means that they are not personally liable for the company’s debts or liabilities which makes an LLC similar to a corporation. But unlike a corporation and like a partnership, pass-through taxation is available to an LLC which means that profits and losses are listed on the personal tax returns of the owners.

An LLC can choose to be taxed like a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a C or regular corporation, or an S or small business corporation if it qualifies as such (only corporations with 100 shareholders or less can be an S corporation but be taxed like a partnership and it must have only one class of stock; S corporation shareholders must be individuals, specific trusts and estates or certain tax-exempt organizations; but both C and S corporations may have only one shareholder).

By default, an LLC with one member is treated as a sole proprietorship and is disregarded as an entity. An LLC with more than one member is treated as a partnership which means that it is the individual partners who pay taxes based on their share of ownership in the partnership.

However, an LLC can elect to be treated as an association taxable as a corporation, whether as a regular one or as an S corporation. Unlike a C corporation, an S corporation is a pass-through entity for tax purposes. But while an S corporation has this pass-through feature just like a sole proprietorship and a partnership thereby avoiding double taxation, the three are not taxed the same way.

But unlike a corporation which may or may not exist in perpetuity or an OPC which has a perpetual existence, an LLC like a partnership may be dissolved upon the death or bankruptcy of a members.

Some of our legislators wanted to allow the formation of LLCs in the Philippines earlier but did not push through with filing a proposed legislation. If our legislators want OPCs to thrive, then they better take a look at how other countries give LLCs the flexibility to choose how they want to be treated for tax purposes.

For comments, e-mail at mareyes@philstarmedia.com

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/10/19/1961320/flexible-tax-treatment#uhDdztjPRVj12cUg.99

x x x."

Short-term chief justices - "THEY SERVE for just a few days or at most two years, but get fat payouts when they retire. Unto their dying days they are assured of progressively increasing “survivorship” benefits and perks. And upon their death, these monies will pass on to their surviving spouses. "



See- - https://pcij.org/article/2412/big-payout-bagful-of-treats-for-short-term-cjs



"x x x.


Big payout, bagful of treats for short-term CJs
BY MALOU MANGAHAS
October 23, 2019 | 03:15:00 PM


Whoever steps down among “the Gods of Padre Faura” – and all judges and justices in the Philippines, in fact – gets to take home a stash of cash and a bagful of fancy tokens. But the recent parade of short-term Supreme Court justices is costing taxpayers a lot more in terms of payable retirement benefits.


THEY SERVE for just a few days or at most two years, but get fat payouts when they retire. Unto their dying days they are assured of progressively increasing “survivorship” benefits and perks. And upon their death, these monies will pass on to their surviving spouses.
Recent appointees to the posts of chief justice and associate justice who are retireables have ushered in a revolving-door scenario at the Supreme Court. The series of line-change events in the high court has not only interrupted efforts to address issues or launch reforms, its financial cost is just as worrisome. Magistrates entering and exiting at a quick pace are costing taxpayers a lot more in terms of payable retirement benefits.

For starters, when a chief justice or associate justice bows out of the high court, s/he gets to bring home a bagful of goodies: the Philippine flag; the SC flag, timepiece, ring, seal, pin, pen, brass shingle, gavel, and judicial robe; a photo album; a “Book of Decisions”; a “Statuette of Judicial Excellence”; a plaque of recognition; and The Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos Award.

Up to PhP2 million is reportedly allotted to pay for his/her farewell party, and a separate amount, for an anthology of his/her ponencias or decisions is printed, at the high court’s expense. Recent retirees have opted, however, to publish more expensive hard-cover coffee-table books, and host fabulous goodbye gigs.

In the case of just-retired chief justice Lucas P. Bersamin, about a thousand guests attended a dinner organized in his honor last Oct. 15 at the posh Solaire Resort & Casino, and received copies of the book Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin: His Enduring Legacy. Last Friday, yet another farewell party for Bersamin was held at the Supreme Court for friends and employees.

Lumpsum millions

More than the mementos or “tokens,” though, whoever steps down among “the Gods of Padre Faura” – and all judges and justices in the Philippines, in fact – gets to take home a stash of cash, according to a package of generous retirement benefits that Congress passed into law in 2010, and which the high court enhanced further in a 2017 en banc resolution.

The law has allowed recent and earlier retirees from the Supreme Court, including chief justices who had served for only a few weeks or years, to take home from PhP8 million to PhP30 million in lumpsum cash gratuity, a retired high court justice told PCIJ. This amount represents five years’ worth of the last monthly salary, plus the value of leave credits that the retiree had earned from the beginning of his or her service in government.

Should they survive until five years later or longer, they will continue to receive monthly pension or “survivorship benefits equivalent to the current salary rate for the position and rank” they had last held. Upon their death, the same benefits will pass on to their surviving spouses.

On taxpayers’ account, too, a retired chief justice is entitled to receive an allowance “for communication and the services of a secretary and a driver,” while a retired associate justice, just a secretary or a driver, according to a retired high court jurist.

By government’s salary standardization scale, the chief justice, Vice President, Senate President, and Speaker of the House of Representatives share the same pay rank (Salary Grade 32).

In money terms, depending on their length of service, that means a gross monthly pay of PhP233,857 to PhP264,721.

The President gets more, or about PhP300,000 gross salary a month, as the nation’s sole Salary Grade 33 employee. This is, of course, even much less than what senior executives receive in the Bangko Sentral and some government-owned and -controlled banks and corporations.

Pension, more perks

But what better paid public officials do not get are other pension and survivorship benefits that all retired justices and judges, or their spouses, could collect unto their final days.

Getting appointed to a higher post a few years or even months before retirement can even be almost like winning the lotto. For sure, rising from associate justice to chief justice rank has always been a much-coveted goal for those sitting in the Supreme Court. In recent years, however, aside from the honorific value of the promotion, there has also been the significant increase in retirement benefits for the upgraded jurist.

TWO YEARS, THREE CHIEF JURISTS. Retired Chief Justice Leonardo-Castro, retired Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, and acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio (who is retiring on Oct. 25, 2019). Photos from Supreme Court website.

The case of retired chief justice Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro who served as the country’s top jurist for only 46 calendar days (Aug. 25 to Oct. 10, 2018) is most instructive. In that brief period, she rose to Salary Grade 32 rank (PhP233,000 to PhP264,000 in monthly salary) and retired in greater financial bliss.

As associate justice with Salary Grade 31 rank in 2017, the Commission on Audit’s Report on Salaries and Allowances (ROSA) said, de Castro annually received PhP1.9 million in basic salary (PhP147,000 divided by 13 months), apart from PhP744,000 in honoraria as a member of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal; PhP2.2 million in allowances; PhP1.3 million in incentives; and PhP628,000 in discretionary fund.

The same uptick in pay will be the good fortune of anyone of the three short-listed candidates to the post of chief justice, who are now all serving as associate justices: Diosdado M. Peralta, Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe, and Andres B. Reyes Jr. All long-termers in the judiciary, a promotion to the post of chief jurist will mean a financial windfall for all three nominees.

A retired Supreme Court justice insists, though: “The difference in pay is substantial, but of course, there is the honor attached to the post.” The justice also says that the total payout varies depending “on how long you have been in the judiciary, longer more because of longevity. It amounts to PhP8 million to PhP30 million per justice.”



Expanded, retroactive

It was in September 2017 that the Supreme Court, in Administrative Matter No. 17-08-01-SC ruled, on the implementation of Republic Act No. 9946 or “An Act Granting Additional Retirement. Survivorship, and Other Benefits to Members of the Judiciary” for all retiring and retired but still surviving justices and judges.

Approved by the 14th Congress and signed into law by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in January 2010, R.A. No. 9946 amended Republic Act No. 910 that was enacted in 1954 and which provided for retirement and death benefits on compulsory or optional basis for justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals only.

The high court, in its September 2017 resolution on the implementation of R.A. No. 9946, granted broader and more generous retirement and pension benefits for all retiring justices and judges, and allowed the retroactive coverage of benefits for those who had retired or for retirees who had died before the effectivity of the law. The standard retirement package for a justice or judge includes thus:
A lumpsum gratuity equivalent to five years of the retiree’s last monthly pay, plus accrued unused leave credits across their tenure in government service;
After five years, monthly pension and survivorship benefits pegged on their last service rank but adjusted to the same salary rate that judges or justices still in the service are receiving; and
Upon their death, their pension and survivorship benefits will be paid to their surviving spouses.

Yet even before retirement, for every three years of service in judiciary, justices, judges, and court personnel receive a percentage increase in their basic salary.



Unanimous vote

The high court’s resolution penned by then Associate Justice Samuel R. Martires, who is now Ombudsman, also approved the retroactive application of the “survivorship” benefits for judges and justices who had retired before the effectivity of R.A. No. 9946 on Feb. 11, 2010.

(Martires was Supreme Court associate justice only for 17 months from March 6, 2017 to July 31, 2018. Days ahead of his retirement, on July 26, 2018, President Rodrigo R. Duterte appointed him as Ombudsman for a full seven-year term.)

The retroactive benefits will be computed from the date of retirement and until the death of the justice or judge, and his or her spouse, said the retired high court justice. All 15 justices led by then Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes P. Sereno concurred in the 22-page resolution.

In the resolution, the high court resolved to:

“Grant applications for survivorship pension benefits of the legitimate spouses of justices and judges, who retired or were eligible to retire optionally and died prior to the effectivity of Republic Act No. 9946, subject to adjustment by virtue of the 1st and 2nd tranche salary increases under Executive Order No. 201, series of 2016, effective 1 January 2016, chargeable against the amount allotted for pension benefits under the General Appropriations Act;

“Grant pro rata pension benefits to surviving spouses of justices and judges who died in actual service, but were not eligible to retire due to lack in length of service, prior to the effectivity of Republic Act No. 9946, subject to adjustment, by virtue of the 1st and 2nd tranche salary increases under EO No. 201; and

“Direct the payment of adjustments in the pension benefits of the surviving spouses of justices and who presently receive survivorship pension benefits, by virtue of the 1st and 2nd tranche salary increases under EO No. 201.”

Foil vs. temptation?

Presumably, the generous pensions and perks are meant in large part to keep members of the bench away from temptation during their time in the judiciary.

A justice who had served in the Judicial and Bar Council also says that the generous retirement package for judges and justice draws from this rationale: “To make us very independent even after retirement. Sa judiciary, lahat ng judges covered ng benefits kahit medyo marami iyan.”

“At a certain age, you retire at 70, many will not last for long,” the justice observes as well. “They would incur costs for medical expenses, maintenance medicines. I know of one who has cancer and is now on chemo.”

A retired justice meanwhile estimates that 20 surviving retired justices and judges, and 20 surviving spouses of deceased justices and judges are likely to benefit from retroactivity clause of the high court’s resolution. The real number of beneficiaries among retired judges could be a lot more, though.

As of 2018, the Department of Budget and Management’s “Judiciary Staffing Summary” listed a total of 1,685 judges (regional, city, circuit, municipal, Shari’a courts).

In addition, the high court’s 2017 annual report listed 64 justices in the Court of Appeals, 20 justices in the Sandiganbayan, and nine justices in the Court of Tax Appeals.

— With additional reporting by Karol Ilagan, PCIJ, October 2019

x x x."

Las Piñas City Hall Telephone Directory - Courts and related offices



See - https://laspinascity.gov.ph/directory



"x x x.

Las Piñas City Hall Telephone Directory

NATIONAL OFFICE
Telephone No.Department0921-465-7061 RD
802-2753 / 802-3037 BIR
873-8545 COA
839-0695 COMELEC
822-3840/835-9030 DEPED (Division Office)
241-9709 DILG LAS PINAS
873-1887 / 873-0557 DISTRICT HOSPITAL
552-7694 / 242-5836 LPDRRMO
478-2161 / 874-6177 BUREAU OF FIRE PROTECTION (F/SUPT. ARTHUR L. SAWATE, PH.D.,DSC )
779-8728 Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (JCInsp. Castle H. Masip) FEMALE WARDEN (J/Sr. Insp. Aubrey R. Gutierez) 869-1958
875-3200 / 875-2864 LTO
823-6902 NBI (MS.EVELYN VIRREY)
551-4601 / 808-7395 POLICE (PCOL. SIMNAR S. GRAN)
873-0829 / 873-5529 POST OFFICE (PM CESAR A. FELICITAS)

COUNCILORS - DISTRICT II
Telephone No.Department869-4683 LORD LINLEY R. AGUILAR
843-20-41 DANILO V. HERNANDEZ
776-3515 LUIS I. BUSTAMANTE
772-8030 / 871-4348 RUBEN C. RAMOS
618-56-60 BONIFACIO C. RIGUERA
808-9994 / 519-7404 IGNACIO B. SANGGA

OTHERS
Telephone No.Department873-0533 ACCOUNTING
519-5687 AGRICULTURE
874-6781 ASSESSORS
779-8017 BOC
817-44-60 BPLO
253-4370 CIVIL REGISTRY
403-7045 CSWD
511-84-02 / 831-3681 DFCAITTI
478-8671 / 403-1985 DFCAMCLP
776-32-14 EMDO
873-30-04 ENGINEERING
800-3191 / 779-8695 CENRO
871-6195 GSO
824-5764 / 874-6408/776-7268 HEALTH
847-0739 LAS PIÑAS MANPOWER (TESDA)
871-4360 LEGAL
952-7481 LIBRARY
829-5572 LYING-IN CLINIC (CAA)
871-4343 / 871-4345 MAYOR'S OFFICE
873-0765 MAYOR'S GREENCARD
836-4366 MEDIA
541-6382 NUTRITION
842-6066 OSCA
256-5198 PERSONNEL/HR
873-8540 PESO
872-0921 PLANNING
824-5764 SANITATION
816-0901/403-3116 SECRETARIAT
856-31-32 (Not in service at the moment) TRAFFIC
871-4339 TREASURY
874-61-76 EDP
875-3218 LAND TAX
871-43-48 TRU
836-4797 UPAO
- VICE MAYOR APRIL AGUILAR
511-07-79 BUDGET
873-0765 MAYOR'S OFFICE ADMIN

COUNCILORS - DISTRICT I
Telephone No.Department872-01-05 ALFREDO L. MIRANDA
998-78-36 FLORANTE S. DELA CRUZ
777-35-60 FILEMON A. AGUILAR III
832-5653 OSCAR C. PENA
833-35-61 REX H. RIGUERA
- JULIO L. BALANAG

COURT OFFICE
Telephone No.Department
869-1396 / 403-7001 FISCAL
519-3064 OCC
873-9886 PAO
815-1331 PAROLE & PROBATION
403-7001 / 869-1396 PROSECUTOR

RTC BRANCH
Telephone No.Department
801-1170 HON. ISMAEL T. DULDULAO/BR.197
552-1661 HON. PIA CRISTINA BERSAMIN-EMBUSCADO/BR.198
873-5394 HON. JOSELITO DJ. VIBANDOR/BR.199
779-8739 HON. LEOPOLDO E. BARAQUIA/BR.200
886-3129 HON. LORNA N. DOMINGO/BR.201
- HON. ELIZABETH YU-GURAY/BR.202
552-1703 HON. SALVADOR V. TIMBANG,JR./BR.253
- HON. MILDRED JACINTO MARQUEZ/BR.254
556-9176 HON. RAINELDA H. ESTACIO-MONTES/BR.255
871-4357 HON. PHOEVE C. MEER/BR.275

MTC BRANCH
Telephone No.Department-
HON. AIDA C. ROMERO/BR.122
551-8767 HON. TEODORO S. CARBONERA/BR. 121
873-8764 HON. JEAN SUSAN DESUASIDO-GILL/BR.79
- HON. KAREN C. ARMADABR.123

x x x."

The Supreme Court has issued En Banc Resolution AM 18-01-05-SC on October 25, 2018, creating the Judicial Integrity Board and the Corruption Prevention and Corruption Office.



See - https://businessmirror.com.ph/2019/10/28/hoodlums-in-robes/



"x x x.

Hoodlums in robes
By Atty. Lorna Patajo-Kapunan
-October 28, 2019




Our Supreme Court has administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof and has the power to discipline judges of lower courts, or order their dismissal by a vote of a majority of the members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon (Article VIII, Section 6 & 7, 1987 Constitution).

Pursuant thereto, the SC issued its En Banc Resolution (AM 18-01-05-SC) on October 25, 2018, creating the Judicial Integrity Board and the Corruption Prevention and Corruption Office, a permanent body with exclusive jurisdiction to investigate judicial misconduct and to recommend appropriate sanctions when proper. The JIB is composed of a chairman, and vice chairman who must be retired justices of the SC, and three regular members, who must be retired justices of the Court of Appeals (CA), Sandiganbayan or Court of Tax Appeals (CTA). The JIB serves for a term of three years without reappointment.

Proceedings for the discipline of Justices of the Sandiganbayan, CTA and judges and personnel of the lower courts, including the Sharia Courts, and the officials and employees of the Office of the Jurisconsult, Court Administrator, Deputy Court Administrator, Assistant Court Administrator and their personnel, may be instituted, motu proprio,by the SC, in the JIB. It may also be instituted by way of a verified complaint, supported by affidavits of persons who have personal knowledge of the facts alleged therein; or, by authentic documents which may substantiate said allegations, or upon an anonymous complaint, supported by public records of indubitable integrity (Section 1, AM 15-01-05 SC).

Complaints involving graft and corruption, and violations of ethical standards, including anonymous complaints, filed against members of the SC shall be referred to the Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards which shall have the task of preliminarily investigating and of submitting its findings and recommendations to the SC en banc, in accordance with the Internal Rules of the SC (AM 10-4-20-SC).

Disciplinary actions or proceedings initiated by the SC, motu proprio, or on the basis of a verified or anonymous complaint, records or documents/papers filed with or submitted to the SC or, on the basis of newspaper or media reports, shall be docketed, in the SC, as a regular administrative matter, for appropriate final action of the SC in the absence of substantial factual issues (Section 4, AM 18-01-05-SC).

Disciplinary actions shall be instituted, motu proprio,by the JIB, in the SC, against any of those mentioned in Section 1 (1) on account of a conviction, of any of them, by the Sandiganbayan, or by the regular or special courts, or on account of any charge in the Sandiganbayan, or in a regular or special court for a felony or a crime defined by a speciallaw. The JIB shall submit a report of such conviction or criminal action to the SC, within 10 days from knowledge thereof, with a recommendation that the report be deemed, by the SC, as an administrative complaint against the said court official, and docketed as a regular administrative case and for the JIB to conduct an administrative investigation thereof.

Administrative charges that may be filed with the JIB may be serious, less serious, and light charges under Rule 140, Sections 21 to 24 entitled, “Discipline of Judges of Regular and Special Courts, Justices of the CA, Sandiganbayan, CTA, Court Administrator, Deputy Court Administer and Assistant Court Administrator.” These include the following:

Serious charges:

1. Bribery, direct or indirect;

2. Dishonesty and violations of the anti-graft and corrupt practices law (RA 3019);

3. Gross misconduct constituting violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct;

4. Knowingly rendering an unjust judgment or order as determined by a competent court in an appropriate proceeding;

5. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;

6. Willful failure to pay just debt;

7. Borrowing money or property from lawyers and litigants in a case pending before the court;

8. Immorality;

9. Gross ignorance of the law or procedure;

10. Partisan political activities; and

11. Alcoholism and/or vicious habits.

Less serious charge:

1. Undue delay in rendering a decision or order, or in transmitting the records of a case;

2. Frequently and unjustified absences without leave or habitual tardiness;

3. Unauthorized practice of law;

4. Violation of Supreme Court rules, directives, and circulars;

5. Receiving additional or double compensation unless specifically
authorized by law;

6. Untruthful statements in the certificate of services; and

7. Simple Misconduct

Light charges:

1. Vulgar and unbecoming
conduct;

2. Gambling in public;

3. Fraternizing with lawyers and litigants with pending case/cases in his court; and

4. Undue delay in the submission of monthly reports.

Rule 140 (ibid) provides the following sanctions:

A. If the respondent is guilty of a serious charge, any of the following sanctions may be imposed:

1. Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may determine, and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office, including government-owned or controlled corporations. Provided, however,that the forfeiture of benefits shall in no case include accrued leave credits;

2. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more than three but not exceeding six months; or

3. A fine of more than P20,000 but not exceeding P40,000.

B. If the respondent is guilty of a less serious charge, any of the following sanctions shall be imposed:

1. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one month nor more than three months; or

2. A fine of not more than P10,000 but not exceeding P20,000.

C. If the respondent is guilty of a light charge, any of the following sanctions shall be imposed:

1 A fine of not lessthan P1,000 but not exceeding P10,000 and/or

2. Censure;

3. Reprimand;

4. Admonition with warning

In support of the initiative of the SC of creating the JIB to ensure that “members of the Judiciary must be of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence” the private sector has responded “in kind” by the creation in 2012 and officially established in 2015, of its own Judicial Reform Initiative, a multi-organization group composed of such business organizations as Management Association of the Philippines, Institute of Corporate Directors, Financial Executives of the Philippines, Makati Business Club Foreign Chambers, law schools and other advocacy NGOs. The JRI “aims to be the voice of the private sector in seeking an effective and efficient justice system.”

I am now on my 40th year of law practice. Hopefully, I will see the day when hoodlums in robes get the justice they deserve.

With the Supreme Court’s Judicial Integrity Board and the Private Sector’s Judicial Reform Initiative, there is reason to hope!!!

x x x."

Lucas Bersamin leaves an indelible mark of subservience to the powers that be - Oscar P. Lagman.



See - https://www.bworldonline.com/lucas-bersamin-leaves-an-indelible-mark-of-subservience-to-the-powers-that-be/



Oscar P. Lagman, Jr., a columnist of Business World, is a retired corporate executive, business consultant, and management professor. He has been a politicized citizen since his college days in the late 1950s. In his column Musings, dated October 28, 2019 , and entitled “Lucas Bersamin leaves an indelible mark of subservience to the powers that be”, he made the following hard-hitting points about recently retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin:

1. “The Supreme Court has been known to decide specific cases according to the justices’ loyalty to the appointing authority, or their prior personal or political relations, and Mr. Bersamin had long been battling a perception of subservience to the presidents responsible for his rise in the judiciary. He was a trial court judge in Quezon City in 2003 when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo elevated him to the Court of Appeals. She appointed him to the Supreme Court in 2009.”


2. “Justice Bersamin as well as the other associate justices appointed to the Court by President Arroyo voted to:

• uphold President Arroyo’s midnight appointment of Renato Corona as chief justice;

• strike down as unconstitutional President Noynoy Aquino’s executive order creating the Truth Commission because it limited its scope only to the previous Arroyo administration;

• uphold Congress’ creation of a new congressional district to allow President Arroyo’s son Dato to run in a district where there was no formidable opponent;

• dismiss the disqualification complaint against President Arroyo’s son Mikey, who ran as a nominee of the party list of tricycle drivers and security guards;

• stop the impeachment proceedings against then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, the Arroyos’ friend;

• uphold Romulo Neri’s invocation of executive privilege, thereby preventing the Senate from extracting from him Arroyo’s involvement in the NBN-ZTE bribery case.”

3. “In August 2015, he declared that ‘Bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, regardless of the crime charged, should be allowed independently of the merits of the charge, provided his continued incarceration is clearly shown to be injurious to his health or to endanger his life.’ Consequently, the Court ruled that the fragile state of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s health justified his admission to bail.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen dissented, saying the decision would “usher in an era of truly selective justice not based on clear legal provisions, but one that is unpredictable, partial and grounded on the presence or absence of human compassion.” I saw the ruling as Justice Bersamin’s scheme of providing justification for the grant of bail to Mrs. Arroyo who was then under hospital arrest for plunder and electoral fraud. She was confined in a hospital supposedly because of a life-threatening spinal disorder. All photos of her in the hospital showed her wearing a neck brace and in a wheelchair.

The ruling was rendered inutile in July 2016 when Mrs. Arroyo was set free by the Court without the Bersamin doctrine being invoked. Mrs. Arroyo was acquitted because the Supreme Court ruled, for the first time, that in a prosecution for plunder, the “main plunderer” must be identified in the information and proven during the trial before any alleged conspirator can be convicted. The ruling was written by Justice Bersamin and is now jurisprudence in plunder cases.”

4. “It is said that Supreme Court justices are to interpret the law, not make the law. In the cases of the granting of bail to Mr. Enrile and in the acquittal of Mrs. Arroyo, there were no laws to interpret. Justice Lucas Bersamin simply wrote his own opinions, which recognizably were favorable to his patron Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and his complaisant colleagues in the Supreme Court endorsed those opinions willingly and gladly to become laws of this afflicted land.

It will be recalled that during the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Duterte said he would support the call for Arroyo’s release from hospital arrest. Just two weeks after Mr. Duterte was sworn in as president, Arroyo walked free, sans neck brace and wheelchair. After all, their patron is now an ally of the President.

In a function honoring her, Mrs. Arroyo, addressing President Duterte, said: “I thank you that when you became President, you provided the atmosphere in which the Court had the freedom to acquit me of the trumped up charges of my successor and your predecessor, so that the Court voted 11-4 in my favor, including half of those who were appointed by my successor.” In effect, she admitted publicly and formally that the Supreme Court of the Philippines acts on the basis of the president’s directions and wishes.”

5. “Mr. Bersamin’s also showed a tendency to vote in favor of President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies and actions. He voted to:

• allow the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, in compliance with President Duterte’s wish;

• uphold the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima, rabid critic of President Duterte, over alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade;

• force Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who had blocked President Duterte’s orders to judges, to go on leave;

• uphold President Duterte’s imposition of martial law in Mindanao;

• uphold his extension of martial law in Mindanao to the end of the year;

• give cognizance to the quo warranto petition against Sereno;

• nullify Sereno’s appointment as chief justice.”

6. “President Duterte named Justice Bersamin chief justice on Nov. 26, 2018. It is the time-honored tradition to name the chief justice of the Supreme Court from the most senior among the associate justices. But Justice Bersamin was only the third most senior justice among the four nominees for the top post of the high tribunal. Justice Carpio was senior to him by eight years and Justice Peralta by a couple of months. In the case of Justice Bersamin, the President defined seniority in terms of service in the entire judiciary instead of service in the Supreme Court. Justice Bersamin had served in the judiciary the longest, having been a judge since 1986.”

The Rules and Procedures Governing Foreign Nationals Intending to Work in the Philippines - By Baker McKenzie - Miguel Antonio H. Galvez and Rafael Roman T. Cruz



See - https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=70eeff71-e8ac-4afb-8c99-27e7eb295a8e&utm_source=Lexology+Daily+Newsfeed&utm_medium=HTML+email&utm_campaign=Lexology+subscriber+daily+feed&utm_content=Lexology+Daily+Newsfeed+2019-11-01&utm_term=



"x x x.

The Rules and Procedures Governing Foreign Nationals Intending to Work in the Philippines
By Baker McKenzie - Miguel Antonio H. Galvez and Rafael Roman T. Cruz


The Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) has recently issued Joint Memorandum Circular No. 001, s. 2019 or "The Rules and Procedures Governing Foreign Nationals Intending to Work in the Philippines" (Joint MC).

The Joint MC may be found here.

The Joint MC aims to harmonize the various regulations and guidelines governing the issuance of the following to foreign nationals intending to work in the Philippines:
Alien Employment Permit (AEP) by the DOLE;
Special Temporary Permit (STP) by the PRC;
Special Work Permit (SWP), Provisional Work Permit (PWP) and 9(g) visa by the BI;
9(g) and 47(a)(2) visa by the DFA;
Authority to Employ Alien (AEA) and 47(a)(2) visa by the DOJ;
Authority to Hire Foreign National (AHFN) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB).

A. 9(g) Visa

The Joint MC outlines the process for applying for a 9(g) visa within or outside the Philippines.

i. Application for 9(g) visa in the Philippines

Consistent with existing regulations, all foreign nationals are required to obtain the proper work visa and/or permit through a local petitioner or sponsor. The Joint MC now expressly requires that the foreign national must enter into an employment contract with the local sponsor. This appears to align with the new rules on the issuance of an SWP, which is applicable when no employment relationship exists between the foreign national and the sponsor.

The Joint MC also reiterates the requirement for the sponsor to obtain (a) an AEP; (b) an AEA, when it is engaged in a partially nationalized industry; and (c) an AHFN, if it is engaged in mining. The foreign national must also acquire an STP, if he/she intends to practice a regulated profession in the Philippines (i.e. doctor, architect, accountant).

ii. Application for 9(g) visa outside the Philippines

The Joint MC provides the option of applying for a 9(g) visa in the foreign national's home country through the DFA / Philippine Embassy or Consulate.

We are familiar with this process and can assist you, if necessary.

B. Certificate of No Objection from DOLE

All government agencies issuing work-related permits, visas and authorities are now required to secure Certificates of No Objection (CNO) from the DOLE, prior to the issuance of said work permits. This requirement does not apply to the DOJ in issuing an AEA and the BI in issuing an SWP.

Should there be an objection, the DOLE will conduct a labor market test to determine whether a Philippine person is competent, able, and willing to perform the job.

C. Technical Working Group (TWG) / Joint Inspection Team (JIT)

A TWG composed of representatives from the government offices who are signatories to the Joint MC, was created to develop an inter-agency database system accessible to all members. The DOLE will be the administrator of the database.

A JIT was also created, composed of the DOLE, BI, and BIR, to conduct joint inspection of establishments employing foreign nationals to ensure compliance with labor, immigration, and tax laws.

The Joint MC will be effective on 1 November 2019.

Baker McKenzie - Miguel Antonio H. Galvez and Rafael Roman T. Cruz

x x x."

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Donation of subdivision roads, parks and open spaces under Section 31, PD 957 - "Section 31's compulsion to donate (and concomitant compulsion to accept) cannot be sustained as valid. Not only does it run afoul of basic legal concepts; it also fails to withstand the more elementary test of logic and common sense. As opposed to this, the position that not only is more reasonable and logical, but also maintains harmony between our laws, is that which maintains the subdivision owner's or developer's freedom to donate or not to donate. This is the position of the 1998 White Plains Decision. Moreover, as this 1998 Decision has emphasized, to force this donation and to preclude any compensation-is to suffer an illegal taking."


G.R. No. 194190, January 25, 2017
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS (DPWH), Petitioner
vs.
SPOUSES FRANCISCO R. LLAMAS and CARMELITA C. LLAMAS, Respondents



"x x x.

In insisting on a compulsion on subdivision owners and developers to cede open spaces to government, the Department of Public Works and Highways references Presidential Decree No. 957, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1216, otherwise known as the Subdivision and Condominium Buyer's Protective Decree.

The first paragraph of Section 31 of Presidential Decree No. 957 spells out the minimum area requirement for roads and other open spaces in subdivision projects. Its second paragraph spells out taxonomic or classification parameters for areas reserved for parks, playgrounds, and for recreational use. It also requires the planting of trees. The last paragraph of Section 31 requires-note the use of the word "shall"-subdivision developers to donate to the city or municipality with territorial jurisdiction over the subdivision project all such roads, alleys, sidewalks, and open spaces. It also imposes upon cities and municipalities the concomitant obligation or compulsion to accept such donations:

SEC. 31. Roads, Alleys, Sidewalks and Open Spaces. - The owner as developer of a subdivision shall provide adequate roads, alleys and sidewalks. For subdivision projects one (1) hectare or more, the owner or developer shall reserve thirty percent (30%) of the gross area for open space. Such open space shall have the following standards allocated exclusively for parks, playgrounds and recreational use:

a. 9% of gross area for high density or social housing (66 to 100 family lot per gross hectare).

b. 7% of gross area for medium-density or economic housing (21 to 65 family lot per gross hectare).

c. 3.5 % of gross area low-density or open market housing (20 family lots and below per gross hectare).

These areas reserved for parks, playgrounds and recreational use shall be non-alienable public lands, and non-buildable. The plans of the subdivision project shall include tree planting on such parts of the subdivision as may be designated by the Authority.

Upon their completion as certified to by the Authority, the roads, alleys, sidewalks and playgrounds shall be donated by the owner or developer to the city or municipality and it shall be mandatory for the local governments to accept; provided, however, that the parks and playgrounds may be donated to the Homeowners Association of the project with the consent of the city or municipality concerned. No portion of the parks and playgrounds donated thereafter shall be converted to any other purpose or purposes. (Emphasis supplied)

The last paragraph of Section 31 is oxymoronic. One cannot speak of j a donation and compulsion in the same breath.

A donation is, by definition, "an act of liberality." Article 725 of the Civil Code provides:

Article 725. Donation is an act of liberality whereby a person disposes gratuitously of a thing or right in favor of another, who accepts it.
To be considered a donation, an act of conveyance must necessarily proceed freely from the donor's own, unrestrained volition. A donation cannot be forced: it cannot arise from compulsion, be borne by a requirement, or otherwise be impelled by a mandate imposed upon the donor by forces that are external to him or her. Article 726 of the Civil Code reflects this commonsensical wisdom when it specifically states that conveyances made in view of a "demandable debt" cannot be considered true or valid donations.49

In jurisprudence, animus donandi (that is, the intent to do an act of liberality) is an indispensable element of a valid donation, along with the reduction of the donor's patrimony and the corresponding increase in the donee’s patrimony.50

Section 31's compulsion to donate (and concomitant compulsion to accept) cannot be sustained as valid. Not only does it run afoul of basic legal concepts; it also fails to withstand the more elementary test of logic and common sense. As opposed to this, the position that not only is more reasonable and logical, but also maintains harmony between our laws, is that which maintains the subdivision owner's or developer's freedom to donate or not to donate. This is the position of the 1998 White Plains Decision. Moreover, as this 1998 Decision has emphasized, to force this donation and to preclude any compensation-is to suffer an illegal taking.
III

The Court of Appeals correctly stated that a "positive act"51 must first be made by the "owner-developer before the city or municipality can acquire dominion over the subdivision roads."52 As there is no such thing as an automatic cession to government of subdivision road lots, an actual transfer must first be effected by the subdivision owner: "subdivision streets belonged to the owner until donated to the government or until expropriated upon payment of just compensation."53 Stated otherwise, "the local

government should first acquire them by donation, purchase, or expropriation, if they are to be utilized as a public road."54

This Court's 2014 Decision in Republic v. Ortigas55 succinctly captures all that we have previously stated:

Delineated roads and streets, whether part of a subdivision or segregated for public use, remain private and will remain as such until conveyed to the government by donation or through expropriation proceedings. An owner may not be forced to donate his or her property even if it has been delineated as road lots because that would partake of an illegal taking. He or she may even choose to retain said properties. 56

The Department of Public Works and Highways makes no claim here that the road lots covered by TCT No. 179165 have actually been donated to the government or that their transfer has otherwise been consummated by respondents. It only theorizes that they have been automatically transferred. Neither has expropriation ever been fully effected. Precisely, we are resolving this expropriation controversy only now.

Respondents have not made any positive act enabling the City Government of Parafiaque to acquire dominion over the disputed road lots. Therefore, they retain their private character (albeit all parties acknowledge them to be subject to an easement of right of way). Accordingly, just compensation must be paid to respondents as the government takes the road lots in the course of a road widening project.

x x x."

Expropriation of subdivision roads - "Section 50 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 does not apply in a case that is the proper subject of an expropriation proceeding. Respondent Ortigas may sell its property to the government. It must be compensated because its property was taken and utilized for public road purposes."




G.R. No.171496 March 3, 2014
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS (DPWH), Petitioner,
vs.
ORTIGAS AND COMPANY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, Respondents.


"x x x.

In any event, we resolve the substantive issue on whether respondent Ortigas may not sell and may only donate its property to the government in accordance with Section 50 of Presidential Decree No. 1529.

Section 50 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 does not apply in a case that is the proper subject of an expropriation proceeding
Respondent Ortigas may sell its property to the government. It must be compensated because its property was taken and utilized for public road purposes.

Petitioner Republic of the Philippines insists that the subject property may not be conveyed to the government through modes other than by donation. It relies on Section 50 of the Property Registration Decree, which provides that delineated boundaries, streets, passageways, and waterways of a subdivided land may not be closed or disposed of by the owner except by donation to the government. It reads:

Section 50. Subdivision and consolidation plans. Any owner subdividing a tract of registered land into lots which do not constitute a subdivision project as defined and provided for under P.D. No. 957, shall file with the Commissioner of Land Registration or the Bureau of Lands a subdivision plan of such land on which all boundaries, streets, passageways and waterways, if any, shall be distinctly and accurately delineated.

If a subdivision plan, be it simple or complex, duly approved by the Commissioner of Land Registration or the Bureau of Lands together with the approved technical descriptions and the corresponding owner’s duplicate certificate of title is presented for registration, the Register of Deeds shall, without requiring further court approval of said plan, register the same in accordance with the provisions of the Land Registration Act, as amended: Provided, however, that the Register of Deeds shall annotate on the new certificate of title covering the street, passageway or open space, a memorandum to the effect that except by way of donation in favor of the national government, province, city or municipality, no portion of any street, passageway, waterway or open space so delineated on the plan shall be closed or otherwise disposed of by the registered owner without the approval of the Court of First Instance of the province or city in which the land is situated. (Emphasis supplied)

Petitioner Republic of the Philippines’ reliance on Section 50 of the Property Registration Decree is erroneous. Section 50 contemplates roads and streets in a subdivided property, not public thoroughfares built on a private property that was taken from an owner for public purpose. A public thoroughfare is not a subdivision road or street.

More importantly, when there is taking of private property for some public purpose, the owner of the property taken is entitled to be compensated.48


There is taking when the following elements are present:

1. The government must enter the private property;

2. The entrance into the private property must be indefinite or permanent;

3. There is color of legal authority in the entry into the property;

4. The property is devoted to public use or purpose;

5. The use of property for public use removed from the owner all beneficial enjoyment of the property.49

All of the above elements are present in this case. Petitioner Republic of the Philippines’ construction of a road — a permanent structure — on respondent Ortigas’ property for the use of the general public is an obvious permanent entry on petitioner Republic of the Philippines’ part. Given that the road was constructed for general public use stamps it with public character, and coursing the entry through the Department of Public Works and Highways gives it a color of legal authority.

As a result of petitioner Republic of the Philippines’ entry, respondent Ortigas may not enjoy the property as it did before. It may not anymore use the property for whatever legal purpose it may desire. Neither may it occupy, sell, lease, and receive its proceeds. It cannot anymore prevent other persons from entering or using the property. In other words, respondent Ortigas was effectively deprived of all the bundle of rights50 attached to ownership of property.

It is true that the lot reserved for road widening, together with five other lots, formed part of a bigger property before it was subdivided. However, this does not mean that all lots delineated as roads and streets form part of subdivision roads and streets that are subject to Section 50 of the Property Registration Decree. Subdivision roads and streets are constructed primarily for the benefit of the owners of the surrounding properties. They are, thus, constructed primarily for private use — as opposed to delineated road lots taken at the instance of the government for the use and benefit of the general public.

In this case, the lot was reserved for road widening at the instance of petitioner Republic of the Philippines. While the lot segregated for road widening used to be part of the subdivided lots, the intention to separate it from the delineated subdivision streets was obvious from the fact that it was located at the fringes of the original lot51 — exactly at petitioner Republic of the Philippines’ intended location for the road widening project. Moreover, petitioner Republic of the Philippines’ intention to take the property for public use was obvious from the completion of the road widening for the C-5 flyover project and from the fact that the general public was already taking advantage of the thoroughfare.

Delineated roads and streets, whether part of a subdivision or segregated for public use, remain private and will remain as such until conveyed to the government by donation or through expropriation proceedings.52 An owner may not be forced to donate his or her property even if it has been delineated as road lots because that would partake of an illegal taking.53 He or she may even choose to retain said properties.54 If he or she chooses to retain them, however, he or she also retains the burden of maintaining them and paying for real estate taxes.

An owner of a subdivision street which was not taken by the government for public use would retain such burden even if he or she would no longer derive any commercial value from said street. To remedy such burden, he or she may opt to donate it to the government. In such case, however, the owner may not force the government to purchase the property. That would be tantamount to allowing the government to take private property to benefit private individuals. This is not allowed under the Constitution, which requires that taking must be for public use.55

Further, since the Constitution proscribes taking of private property without just compensation,56 any taking must entail a corresponding appropriation for that purpose. Public funds, however, may only be appropriated for public purpose.57 Employment of public funds to benefit a private individual constitutes malversation.58 Therefore, private subdivision streets not taken for public use may only be donated to the government.

In contrast, when the road or street was delineated upon government request and taken for public use, as in this case, the government has no choice but to compensate the owner for his or her sacrifice, lest it violates the constitutional provision against taking without just compensation, thus:

Section 9. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.59

As with all laws, Section 50 of the Property Registration Decree cannot be interpreted to mean a license on the part of the government to disregard constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The right to compensation under Article III, Section 9 of the Constitution was put in place to protect the individual from and restrain the State’s sovereign power of eminent domain,60 which is the government’s power to condemn private properties within its territory for public use or purpose.61 This power is inherent and need not be granted by law.62 Thus, while the government’s power to take for public purpose is inherent, immense, and broad in scope, it is delimited by the right of an individual to be compensated. In a nutshell, the government may take, but it must pay.

Respondent Ortigas, immediately upon the government’s suggestion that it needed a portion of its property for road purposes, went so far as to go through the process of annotating on its own title that the property was reserved for road purposes. Without question, respondent Ortigas allowed the government to construct the road and occupy the property when it could have compelled the government to resort to expropriation proceedings and ensure that it would be compensated. Now, the property is being utilized, not for the benefit of respondent Ortigas as a private entity but by the public. Respondent Ortigas remains uncompensated. Instead of acknowledging respondent Ortigas’ obliging attitude, however, petitioner Republic of the Philippines refuses to pay, telling instead that the property must be given to it at no cost. This is unfair.

In the parallel case of Alfonso v. Pasay City63 wherein Alfonso was deprived of his property for road purposes, was uncompensated, and was left without any expropriation proceeding undertaken, this court said:

When a citizen, because of this practice loses faith in the government and its readiness and willingness to pay for what it gets and appropriates, in the future said citizen would not allow the Government to even enter his property unless condemnation proceedings are first initiated, and the value of the property, as provisionally ascertained by the Court, is deposited, subject to his disposal. This would mean delay and difficulty for the Government, but all of its own making.64

"There is nothing that can more speedily and effectively embitter a citizen and taxpayer against his Government and alienate his faith in it, than an injustice and unfair dealing like the present case."65

Title to the subject lot remains under respondent Ortigas’ name. The government is already in possession of the property but is yet to acquire title to it. To legitimize such possession, petitioner Republic of the Philippines must acquire the property from respondent Ortigas by instituting expropriation proceedings or through negotiated sale, which has already been recognized in law as a mode of government acquisition of private property for public purpose.66

In a negotiated sale, the government offers to acquire for public purpose a private property, and the owner may accept or reject it. A rejection of the offer, however, would most likely merely result in the commencement of an expropriation proceeding that would eventually transfer title to the government. Hence, the government's offer to acquire for public purpose a private property may be considered as an act preparatory to an expropriation proceeding. Therefore, a private owner's initiative to segregate a property to accommodate government needs saves the government from a long and arduous expropriation proceeding. This is a commendable act on the part of the owner. It must be encouraged, not dampened by threats of property deprivation without compensation.

Respondent Ortigas, which merely accommodated petitioner Republic of the Philippines' request, remains uncompensated for the taking of its property. Respondent Ortigas could have brought action to recover possession of the property, but it instead chose to sell its property to petitioner Republic of the Philippines. This is both fair and convenient as the road construction had long been completed, and the road is already being utilized by the public.

Taking of private property without just compensation is a violation of a person's property right.1âwphi1 In situations where the government does not take the trouble of initiating an expropriation proceeding, the private owner has the option to compel payment of the property taken, when justified. The trial court should continue to proceed with this case to determine just compensation in accordance with law.

x x x."

Appeals - "Section 2 of Rule 50 of the Rules of Court provides that appeals taken from the Regional Trial Court to the Court of Appeals raising only pure questions of law are not reviewable by the Court of Appeals. In which case, the appeal shall not be transferred to the appropriate court. Instead, it shall be dismissed outright."



G.R. No.171496 March 3, 2014
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS (DPWH), Petitioner,
vs.
ORTIGAS AND COMPANY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, Respondents.


"x x x.

Appeals from the Regional Trial Court to the Court of Appeals under Rule 41 must raise both questions of fact and law

Section 2 of Rule 50 of the Rules of Court provides that appeals taken from the Regional Trial Court to the Court of Appeals raising only pure questions of law are not reviewable by the Court of Appeals. In which case, the appeal shall not be transferred to the appropriate court. Instead, it shall be dismissed outright.
Appeals from the decisions of the Regional Trial Court, raising purely questions of law must, in all cases, be taken to the Supreme Court on a petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45.37 An appeal by notice of appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals is proper if the appellant raises questions of fact or both questions of fact and questions of law.38

There is a question of law when the appellant raises an issue as to what law shall be applied on a given set of facts.39 Questions of law do "not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented."40 Its resolution rests solely on the application of a law given the circumstances.41 There is a question of fact when the court is required to examine the truth or falsity of the facts presented.42 A question of fact "invites a review of the evidence."43

The sole issue raised by petitioner Republic of the Philippines to the Court of Appeals is whether respondent Ortigas’ property should be conveyed to it only by donation, in accordance with Section 50 of Presidential Decree No. 1529. This question involves the interpretation and application of the provision. It does not require the Court of Appeals to examine the truth or falsity of the facts presented. Neither does it invite a review of the evidence. The issue raised before the Court of Appeals was, therefore, a question purely of law. The proper mode of appeal is through a petition for review under Rule 45. Hence, the Court of Appeals did not err in dismissing the appeal on this ground.

Nevertheless, we take time to emphasize that Rule 41, Section 1, paragraph (a) of the Rules of Court, which provides that "[n]o appeal may be taken from [a]n order denying a x x x motion for reconsideration," is based on the implied premise in the same section that the judgment or order does not completely dispose of the case. The pertinent portion of Rule 41, Section 1 provides:

Section 1. Subject of appeal. – An appeal may be taken from a judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case, or of a particular matter therein when declared by these Rules to be appealable.

In other words, what Section 1 of Rule 41 prohibits is an appeal taken from an interlocutory order. An interlocutory order or judgment, unlike a final order or judgment, does "not completely dispose of the case [because it leaves to the court] something else to be decided upon."44 Appeals from interlocutory orders are generally prohibited to prevent delay in the administration of justice and to prevent "undue burden upon the courts."45

Orders denying motions for reconsideration are not always interlocutory orders. A motion for reconsideration may be considered a final decision, subject to an appeal, if "it puts an end to a particular matter,"46 leaving the court with nothing else to do but to execute the decision.

"An appeal from an order denying a motion for reconsideration of an order of dismissal of a complaint is effectively an appeal of the order of dismissal itself."47 It is an appeal from a final decision or order.

The trial court’s order denying petitioner Republic of the Philippines’ motion for reconsideration of the decision granting respondent Ortigas the authority to sell its property to the government was not an interlocutory order because it completely disposed of a particular matter. An appeal from it would not cause delay in the administration of justice. Petitioner Republic of the Philippines’ appeal to the Court of Appeals, however, was properly dismissed because the former used the wrong mode of appeal.

x x x."

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Section 21(1), Article II of R.A. No. 9165 - chain of custody of evidence in drug cases



G.R. No. 231989, September 4, 2018
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee
vs.
ROMY LIM y MIRANDA, Accused-Appellant



"x x x.

Our Ruling

The judgment of conviction is reversed and set aside, and Lim should be acquitted based on reasonable doubt.

At the time of the commission of the crimes, the law applicable is R.A. No. 9165. 10 Section 1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002, which implements the law, defines chain of custody as -

the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory equipment of each stage, from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. Such record of movements and custody of seized item shall include the identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of the seized item, the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence, and the final disposition. 11

The chain of custody rule is but a variation of the principle that real evidence must be authenticated prior to its admission into evidence. 12 To establish a chain of custody sufficient to make evidence admissible, the proponent needs only to prove a rational basis from which to conclude that the evidence is what the party claims it to be. 13 In other words, in a criminal case, the prosecution must offer sufficient evidence from which the trier of fact could reasonably believe that an item still is what the government claims it to be. 14 Specifically in the prosecution of illegal drugs, the well-established federal evidentiary rule in the United States is that when the evidence is not readily identifiable and is susceptible to alteration by tampering or contamination, courts require a more stringent foundation entailing a chain of custody of the item with sufficient completeness to render it improbable that the original item has either been exchanged with another or been contaminated or tampered with. 15 This was adopted in Mallillin v. People, 16 where this Court also discussed how, ideally, the chain of custody of seized items should be established:

As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same. 17

Thus, the links in the chain of custody that must be established are: (1) the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; (2) the turnover of the seized illegal drug by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; (3) the turnover of the illegal drug by the investigating officer to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and ( 4) the turnover and submission of the illegal drug from the forensic chemist to the court. 18

Seizure and marking of the illegal
drug as well as the turnover by the
apprehending officer to the
investigating officer


Section 21(1), Article II of R.A. No. 9165 states:

Sec. 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. - The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:

(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof[.]19

Supplementing the above-quoted provision, Section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 9165 mandates:


(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DO.T), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that noncompliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. 20

On July 15, 2014, R.A. No. 10640 was approved to amend R.A. No. 9165. Among other modifications, it essentially incorporated the saving clause contained in the IRR, thus:


(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, conduct a physical inventory of the seized items and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, with an elected public official and a representative of the National Prosecution Service or the media who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, That the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless seizures: Provided, finally, That noncompliance of these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures and custody over said items.

In her Sponsorship Speech on Senate Bill No. 2273, which eventually became R.A. No. 10640, Senator Grace Poe admitted that "while Section 21 was enshrined in the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act to safeguard the integrity of the evidence acquired and prevent planting of evidence, the application of said section resulted in the ineffectiveness of the government's campaign to stop increasing drug addiction and also, in the conflicting decisions of the courts."21 Specifically, she cited that "compliance with the rule on witnesses during the physical inventory is difficult. For one, media representatives are not always available in all comers of the Philippines, especially in more remote areas. For another, there were instances where elected barangay officials themselves were involved in the punishable acts apprehended."22 In addition, "[t]he requirement that inventory is required to be done in police station is also very limiting. Most police stations appeared to be far from locations where accused persons were apprehended."23

Similarly, Senator Vicente C. Sotto III manifested that in view of the substantial number of acquittals in drug-related cases due to the varying interpretations of the prosecutors and the judges on Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165, there is a need for "certain adjustments so that we can plug the loopholes in our existing law" and "ensure [its] standard implementation."24 In his Co-sponsorship Speech, he noted:


Numerous drug trafficking activities can be traced to operations of highly organized and powerful local and international syndicates. The presence of such syndicates that have the resources and the capability to mount a counter-assault to apprehending law enforcers makes the requirement of Section 21(a) impracticable for law enforcers to comply with. It makes the place of seizure extremely unsafe for the proper inventory and photograph of seized illegal drugs.

x x x x

Section 21(a) of RA 9165 needs to be amended to address the foregoing situation. We did not realize this in 2002 where the safety of the law enforcers and other persons required to be present in the inventory and photography of seized illegal drugs and the preservation of the very existence of seized illegal drugs itself are threatened by an immediate retaliatory action of drug syndicates at the place of seizure. The place where the seized drugs may be inventoried and photographed has to include a location where the seized drugs as well as the persons who are required to be present during the inventory and photograph are safe and secure from extreme danger.

It is proposed that the physical inventory and taking of photographs of seized illegal drugs be allowed to be conducted either in the place of seizure or at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending law enforcers. The proposal will provide effective measures to ensure the integrity of seized illegal drugs since a safe location makes it more probable for an inventory and photograph of seized illegal drugs to be properly conducted, thereby reducing the incidents of dismissal of drug cases due to technicalities.

Non-observance of the prescribed procedures should not automatically mean that the seizure or confiscation is invalid or illegal, as long as the law enforcement officers could justify the same and could prove that the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are not tainted. This is the effect of the inclusion in the proposal to amend the phrase "justifiable grounds." There are instances wherein there are no media people or representatives from the DOJ available and the absence of these witnesses should not automatically invalidate the drug operation conducted. Even the presence of a public local elected official also is sometimes impossible especially if the elected official is afraid or scared.25

We have held that the immediate physical inventory and photograph of the confiscated items at the place of arrest may be excused in instances when the safety and security of the apprehending officers and the witnesses required by law or of the items seized are threatened by immediate or extreme danger such as retaliatory action of those who have the resources and capability to mount a counter-assault.26 The present case is not one of those.

Here, IO1 Orellan took into custody the ₱500.00 bill, the plastic box with the plastic sachet of white substance, and a disposable lighter. IO1 Carin also turned over to him the plastic sachet that she bought from Lim. While in the house, IO1 Orellan marked the two plastic sachets. IO1 Orellan testified that he immediately conducted the marking and physical inventory of the two sachets of shabu.27 To ensure that .they were not interchanged, he separately marked the item sold by Lim to 101 Carin and the one that he recovered from his possession upon body search as BB AEO 10-19-10 and AEO-RI 10-19-10, respectively, with both bearing his initial/signature.28

Evident, however, is the absence of an elected public official and representatives of the DOJ and the media to witness the physical inventory and photograph of the seized items. 29 In fact, their signatures do not appear in the Inventory Receipt.

The Court stressed in People v. Vicente Sipin y De Castro: 30


The prosecution bears the burden of proving a valid cause for noncompliance with the procedure laid down in Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165, as amended. It has the positive duty to demonstrate observance thereto in such a way that during the trial proceedings, it must initiate in acknowledging and justifying any perceived deviations from the requirements of law. Its failure to follow the mandated procedure must be adequately explained, and must be proven as a fact in accordance with the rules on evidence. It should take note that the rules require that the apprehending officers do not simply mention a justifiable ground, but also clearly state this ground in their sworn affidavit, coupled with a statement on the steps they took to preserve the integrity of the seized items. Strict adherence to Section 21 is required where the quantity of illegal drugs seized is miniscule, since it is highly susceptible to planting, tampering or alteration of evidence.31

It must be alleged and proved that the -presence of the three witnesses to the physical inventory and photograph of the illegal drug seized was not obtained due to reason/s such as:


(1) their attendance was impossible because the place of arrest was a remote area; (2) their safety during the inventory and photograph of the seized drugs was threatened by an immediate retaliatory action of the accused or any person/s acting for and in his/her behalf; (3) the elected official themselves were involved in the punishable acts sought to be apprehended; (4) earnest efforts to secure the presence of a DOJ or media representative and an elected public official within the period required under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code prove futile through no fault of the arresting officers, who face the threat of being charged with arbitrary detention; or (5) time constraints and urgency of the anti-drug operations, which often rely on tips of confidential assets, prevented the law enforcers from obtaining the presence of the required witnesses even before the offenders could escape.32

Earnest effort to secure the attendance of the necessary witnesses must be proven. People v. Ramos33 requires:


It is well to note that the absence of these required witnesses does not per se render the confiscated items inadmissible. However, a justifiable reason for such failure or a showing of any genuine and sufficient effort to secure the required witnesses under Section 21 of RA 9165 must be adduced. In People v. Umipang, the Court held that the prosecution must show that earnest efforts were employed in contacting the representatives enumerated under the law for "a sheer statement that representatives were unavailable without so much as an explanation on whether serious attempts were employed to look for other representatives, given the circumstances is to be regarded as a flimsy excuse." Verily, mere statements of unavailability, absent actual serious attempts to contact the required witnesses are unacceptable as justified grounds for noncompliance. These considerations arise from the fact that police officers are ordinarily given sufficient time - beginning from the moment they have received the information about the activities of the accused until the time of his arrest - to prepare for a buy-bust operation and consequently, make the necessary arrangements beforehand knowing full well that they would have to strictly comply with the set procedure prescribed in Section 21 of RA 9165. As such, police officers are compelled not only to state reasons for their non-compliance, but must in fact, also convince the Court that they exerted earnest efforts to comply with the mandated procedure, and that under the given circumstances, their actions were reasonable. 34

In this case, IO1 Orellan testified that no members of the media and barangay officials arrived at the crime scene because it was late at night and it was raining, making it unsafe for them to wait at Lim's house.35 102 Orcales similarly declared that the inventory was made in the PDEA office considering that it was late in the evening and there were no available media representative and barangay officials despite their effort to contact them.36 He admitted that there are times when they do not inform the barangay officials prior to their operation as they might leak the confidential information.37 We are of the view that these justifications are unacceptable as there was no genuine and sufficient attempt to comply with the law.

The testimony of team-leader IO2 Orcales negates any effort on the part of the buy-bust team to secure the presence of a barangay official during the operation:


ATTY. DEMECILLO:

xx xx

Q x x x Before going to the house of the accused, why did you not contact a barangay official to witness the operation?

A There are reasons why we do not inform a barangay official before our operation, Sir.

Q Why?

A We do not contact them because we do not trust them. They might leak our information. 38

The prosecution likewise failed to explain why they did not secure the presence of a representative from the Department of Justice (DOJ). While the arresting officer, IO1 Orellan, stated in his Affidavit that they only tried to coordinate with the barangay officials and the media, the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses failed to show that they tried to contact a DOJ representative.

The testimonies of the prosecution witnesses also failed to establish the details of an earnest effort to coordinate with and secure presence of the required witnesses. They also failed to explain why the buy-bust team felt "unsafe" in waiting for the representatives in Lim's house, considering that the team is composed of at least ten (10) members, and the two accused were the only persons in the house.

It bears emphasis that the rule that strict adherence to the mandatory requirements of Section 21(1) of R.A. No. 9165, as amended, and its IRR may be excused as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the confiscated items are properly preserved applies not just on arrest and/or seizure by reason of a legitimate buy-bust operation but also on those lawfully made in air or sea port, detention cell or national penitentiary, checkpoint, moving vehicle, local or international package/parcel/mail, or those by virtue of a consented search, stop and frisk (Terry search), search incident to a lawful arrest, or application of plain view doctrine where time is of the essence and the arrest and/or seizure is/are not planned, arranged or scheduled in advance.

To conclude, judicial notice is taken of the fact that arrests and seizures related to illegal drugs are typically made without a warrant; hence, subject to inquest proceedings. Relative thereto, Sections 1 (A.1.10) of the Chain of Custody Implementing Rules and Regulations directs:


A. I. I 0. Any justification or explanation in cases of noncompliance with the requirements of Section 2I (1) of R.A. No. 9I65, as amended, shall be clearly stated in the sworn statements/affidavits of the apprehending/seizing officers, as well as the steps taken to preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized/confiscated items. Certification or record of coordination for operating units other than the PDEA pursuant to Section 86 (a) and (b), Article IX of the IRR of R.A. No. 9I65 shall be presented.39

While the above-quoted provision has been the rule, it appears that it has not been practiced in most cases elevated before Us. Thus, in order to weed out early on from the courts' already congested docket any orchestrated or poorly built up drug-related cases, the following should henceforth be enforced as a mandatory policy:


1. In the sworn statements/affidavits, the apprehending/seizing officers must state their compliance with the requirements of Section 21 (1) of R.A. No. 9165, as amended, and its IRR.

2. In case of non-observance of the provision, the apprehending/seizing officers must state the justification or explanation therefor as well as the steps they have taken in order to preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized/ confiscated i terns.

3. If there is no justification or explanation expressly declared in the sworn statements or affidavits, the investigating fiscal must not immediately file the case before the court. Instead, he or she must refer the case for further preliminary investigation in order to determine the (non) existence of probable cause.

4. If the investigating fiscal filed the case despite such absence, the court may exercise its discretion to either refuse to issue a commitment order (or warrant of arrest) or dismiss the case outright for lack of probable cause in accordance with Section 5,40 Rule 112, Rules of Court.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the February 23, 2017 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 01280-MIN, which affirmed the September 24, 2013 Decision of Regional Trial Court, Branch 25, Cagayan de Oro City, in Criminal Cases Nos. 2010-1073 and 2010-1074, finding accused-appellant Romy Lim y Miranda guilty of violating Sections 11 and 5, respectively, of Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, accused-appellant Romy Lim y Miranda is ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt, and is ORDERED IMMEDIATELY RELEASED from detention, unless he is being lawfully held for another cause. Let an entry of final judgment be issued immediately.

Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Superintendent of the Davao Prison and Penal Farm, B.E. Dujali, Davao del Norte, for immediate implementation. The said Director is ORDERED to REPORT to this Court within five (5) days from receipt of this Decision the action he has taken.

Let copies of this Decision be furnished to the Secretary of the Department of Justice, as well as to the Head/Chief of the National Prosecution Service, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Public Attorney's Office, the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for their information and guidance. Likewise, the Office of the Court Administrator is DIRECTED to DISSEMINATE copies of this Decision to all trial courts, including the Court of Appeals.

SO ORDERED.

x x x."