Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Does new Chief Justice's gender matter? | Opinion | GMA News Online | The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere

Does new Chief Justice's gender matter? | Opinion | GMA News Online | The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere

"x x x.

Does new Chief Justice's gender matter?

 August 28, 2012 11:09am
Should women's rights advocates celebrate with the appointment of the first woman  Supreme Court Chief Justice? 
This is definitely good news even just from the standpoint of women's substantive political participation. Another glass ceiling has been broken and another woman has the opportunity to prove that gender is not as important as one's qualifications and capability to do the required work.
The appointment of CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno is good for other women who are in the running for top government positions.
However, the more important question is, will CJ Sereno, the youngest in the high tribunal at 52 years of age, make a difference in the lives of ordinary Filipino women?
This is difficult to answer. A lesson women activists have learned is that sometimes, women can be more macho than some males in their approach to gender issues.
While generally, women are more understanding and sympathetic to women who are abused or discriminated against, there are also those who are insensitive, even oppressive against victims of gender inequity.
Moreover, the Supreme Court is unknown to ordinary people. Its relevance is barely understood.
To answer the second question, I did two things: first, I studied CJ Sereno's profile. I believe that perspectives on things are shaped by our experiences, our exposure.
While the profile made no mention of any direct involvement in gender issues, what I learned made me hopeful.
CJ Sereno's previous work with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UP Institute of Legal Studies, and even the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) made me think that the new CJ is not only an academic, she has some familiarity with social issues.
The thought that we have a CJ who knows the real world beyond the courts is encouraging. It is possible that she has developed some progressive thinking, and this should include an understanding of gender issues.
Also, two of those who endorsed her candidacy for the CJ, Bishop Efraim Tendero and the UP Women's Circle, are progressives as far as women's issues are concerned.
Lastly, it is said that CJ Sereno's core advocacy is access to justice and she was instrumental in the very first dialogue between the SC and basic sectors, women included.
Second, I looked at what the SC has already done on gender issues and what I found got me excited.
Unknown to many, the SC since 2003 has had a Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the Judiciary! Further, the Committee has developed a Strategic Gender and Development (GAD) Mainstreaming Plan for the Philippine Judicial System.
Records show that the Committee has decided on strategies that would:
"1. Transform paradigm and enhance the commitment of the judicial system to gender equality through training and capability building;
2. Review or conduct gender audit of policies, programs and practices to make these more gender-responsive;
3.  Establish a gender-responsive database on the judicial system;
4.  Promote the use of gender-fair language, core gender messages and rituals for higher gender awareness;
5.  Enhance partnerships and networking with other GAD advocates;
6.  Organize regular Family Courts throughout the country; and
7.  Create Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) in each court and train CODI members."
A gender-responsive SC will indeed benefit ordinary women who find themselves in need of court protection or who seek justice for being wronged.
I checked for more information on the committee but it seems that it has barely started to work on what it set out to do.
Thus, we have a situation where the CJ lacks a track record on gender issues BUT may be considered progressive enough to take them on. And she leads a Supreme Court that has already started some work on gender-responsiveness.
If CJ Sereno decides to champion women's access to justice as part of her over-all judicial reforms, she can indeed make a difference in the lives of ordinary women.

Elizabeth Angsioco is National Chairperson of Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines.

– GMA News

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PHILIPPINES: Obstacles concerning access to justice and protection for indigenous people — Asian Human Rights Commission

PHILIPPINES: Obstacles concerning access to justice and protection for indigenous people — Asian Human Rights Commission

"x x x.

PHILIPPINES: Obstacles concerning access to justice and protection for indigenous people

August 28, 2012
Language(s): English only
Twenty-first session, Agenda Item 3, half-day discussion on indigenous peoples: access to Justice
A written statement submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organisation with general consultative status
The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) welcomes the range of reports concerning the human rights of indigenous people during the upcoming 21st session of the Human Rights Council, being held from September 10 to 28, 2012. In view of the discussion on indigenous people and access to justice, to be held by the Council on September 18, the organisation wishes to highlight some specific issues of concern relating to such access to justice in the Philippines in particular. The ALRC wishes to inform the upcoming debate by providing concrete challenges that it has documented, which mirror many other challenges to access to justice for indigenous people witnessed across the Asian region.
It is important to note that despite existing legislation, the rights of indigenous people are routinely being ignored. This is only made possible by the lack of effective institutions to receive complaints, investigate allegations of violations of rights, and provide remedies. In the Philippines, such institutions are either weak or dysfunctional to the point that members of the country's population in general rarely enjoy effective access to justice, let alone indigenous people who face even greater obstacles in this regard. The ALRC therefore hopes that such fundamental questions concerning the wider institutional failings will be included in the discussions relating to indigenous people's access to justice.
The ALRC has documented cases that speak to the systemic deprivation of due process rights and protection for indigenous people under the Philippines criminal justice system. The country's 1987 Constitution and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, contain no effective or adequate clauses with regard to providing indigenous people with the required protection within criminal justice processes.
Deprivation of due process rights: While, concerning indigenous people, Chapter V, section 21 of the IPRA, stipulates that the State has "due recognition of their distinct characteristics and identity," the equal protection and the non-discrimination clause within this law has been shown to be grossly insufficient in protecting the rights of indigenous people in criminal prosecutions.
Although section 15 of the IPRA stipulates the State's recognition of indigenous people's "right to use their own commonly accepted justice systems," in situations in which the criminal prosecution one of the parties involved chooses not to submit to the indigenous system of justice, or is denied the opportunity to do so, the State has been systemically failing to uphold the indigenous person's fundamental rights to due process, as provided for under the equal protection clause concerning "rights and privileges available to every member of the society."
Take the case of Iladio Laydan, an indigenous man belonging to the Manobo tribe. Laydan is presently detained in North Cotabato Provincial Jail, Kidapawan City, following his arrest on charges of rape and homicide on September 23, 2004. For three years, Laydan was in jail without any news as to when his trial would begin. It took three years for the Regional Trial Court (RTC) 12 in Kidapawan City to conclude he had a case to answer.
Laydan was arraigned on July 24, 2007. However, when the court began to try his case on September 27, 2007, he had to appear in court without a lawyer. For almost a year, the court could not proceed with the trial because he had no lawyer. The court finally appointed a counsel-de-officio for Laydan, supposedly for one day, although this lawyer was then tasked with defending him for his entire case. The court, however, later had to replace him because of his apparent disinterest in appearing in court.
When a lawyer from the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) was appointed in July 2008, for the following two years, Laydan complained that "his lawyer has not been adequately informing and giving him regular updates about the progress of his case." It was only after the ALRC started writing appeals in October 2010, particularly to the PAO, that some adequate attention has been given to his case.
Lack of protection: Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution clearly guarantees the protection of indigenous people's ancestral lands, to "ensure their economic, social, and cultural well-being." However, in practice, when the indigenous people take action to protect their communities and ancestral lands, they face threats, attacks and extrajudicial killings. Following such violations, there is typically no adequate complaint, investigation and protection mechanism through which indigenous people can seek effective remedies. The absence of such a mechanism has been shown to place the lives, security and livelihoods of indigenous people at increased risk.
In the recent past, leaders of indigenous tribes and members of their communities who, for example, supported campaigns against intrusions by large foreign corporations in their communities, particularly those engaged in large scale mining operations, which threaten the distinct nature of their communities, including their means of subsistence, livelihood and culture, have been subjected to various forms of human rights abuse including extra-judicial killings.
Indigenous leader Jimmy Liguyon was murdered on March 5, 2012 in San Fernando, Bukidnon. Jimmy resisted the entry of a large-scale mining operation that threatened the small-scale mining operation that is the main source of income of his community. His murder is evidence of the lack of adequate and effective protection mechanisms that operate for indigenous leaders who act to protect the rights and interests of their people. He was killed despite his having made public the threats to his life that were being made by members of a paramilitary group.
This lack of protection is also evident in the case of four indigenous villagers from the Taga-Kaulo tribe - Mylen Cambo and her husband Loreto, Arnel Cambo and Reynaldo Libay - in Malalag, Davao del Sur. The Barangay (village) Intelligence Network (BIN), which is controlled by the police, started threatening them when they began filing petitions as claimants to ancestral land in their community. The BIN members labelled them as members of a rebel group, which is often a convenient excuse used to justify attacks against persons or to deny persons with protection.
The four villagers had to find sanctuary, with the help of non-governmental organisations helping them in their claims for ancestral land, in the absence of government-sponsored protection mechanism. Although the group made a complaint to the local police station to have the threats against them investigated, the police did nothing to investigate their complaints or provide them with any security and protection. They limited themselves to simply recording the complaint. This is an extremely important point, as it must be highlighted that when we speak about access to justice, the initial contact point that indigenous people, or indeed any other complainants regarding human rights violations, have with the authorities concerns the registering of complaints. It is often at this initial stage that access to justice is blocked, with the police either refusing to record complaints, or by not taking any credible action to investigate them. Without proper investigations, the process of accessing justice is effectively nipped in the bud.
In the above case concerning the four villagers, the absence of protection concerning threats and intimidation not only placed them at risk of abuse, but also prevented them from claiming their lands and pursuing criminal prosecutions against those who made threats against them. This illustrates how a lack of access to protection by the state and access to justice delivery mechanisms places victims at risk, enables violations to take place and participates in shielding the perpetrators.
Additionally, it should be noted that human rights defenders who support and campaign for protection in favour of indigenous people, are also being targeted and are not being afforded adequate protection by the state. In the case of Francisco Canayong, a mining activist in Salcedo, Eastern Samar, who was stabbed on May 1, 2012, even after his killing, his colleagues Nenita Lacasa and Carolyn Borja were also threatened and attacked.
On May 6, 2012 at 4pm, armed men open fired at the house of Lacasa, also in Salcedo, Eastern Samar. It is alleged that Lacasa's mother died of shock in relation to the attack. On May 23, 2012 at 11pm, armed men also shot at the house of Borja. Due to a lack of protection, Borja and her family were forced into hiding. Such attacks against those who work to assist indigenous persons in accessing justice and remedies greatly undermine indigenous people's efforts in this regard.
The ALRC therefore urges the Human Rights Council to include the issues of protection of complainants and the widespread problem of the lack of credible investigations into abuses against indigenous people in its discussions concerning this issue. The ALRC welcomes the work of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people and his report and focus on extractive industries. It also recalls the findings in the report that resulted from a visit to the Philippines by the mandate in December 2002 (E/CN.4/2003/90/Add.3), which indentified concerns relating to the "slow pace of implementation of the provisions of IPRA," and a "loss of confidence among indigenous organizations in the ability or willingness of government agencies to proceed actively with its effective implementation. Then-Special Rapporteur also spoke of a human rights "protection gap" for indigenous peoples in paragraph 61 of the report, which remains as relevant today as it was a decade ago. Furthermore, the report expresses concern about "numerous reports of harassment of indigenous human rights defenders and their organizations, who, together with responsible government agencies, are the cornerstone for the protection, promotion and realization of the human rights of indigenous peoples," which also remains an issue of grave concern for the ALRC to date, as highlighted above.
It is of particular concern that many key recommendations made by the mandate following this country visit have still not been implemented by the government, including:
i. Paragraph 67 (c) That the Philippine judiciary fully respect the legislative intent and spirit of IPRA and ensure that maximum favour be accorded to indigenous peoples in resolving the issue of conflicts of law between IPRA and other national legislation such as the 1995 Mining Act. Moreover, special training programmes should be designed for judges, prosecutors and legal defenders regarding indigenous peoples' rights and cultures;
ii. Paragraph 67 (f) That the Government of the Philippines carry out a prompt and effective investigation of the numerous human rights violations committed against indigenous peoples, which have been documented by human rights organizations and special fact-finding missions. The Special Rapporteur further urges the Government to take all necessary measures to prevent a recurrence of human rights violations;
iii. And, paragraph 67 (i) That maximum protection be afforded to human rights defenders in carrying out their legitimate human rights work;
With this in mind, it is important to note that without effective state institutions that can register, investigate and prosecute cases of violations against indigenous people, a climate of impunity for even the gravest of violations such as extra-judicial killings, will undermine attempts to secure from large, possibly trans-national companies an approach that involves consultation and free, prior and informed consent, or the "protect, respect and remedy" framework, which is incorporated into the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as recalled in Special Rapporteur James Anaya's report to this session of the Council.
Only with sufficient deterrents in place against violations of civil and political rights, will it be realistic to expect effective protection of indigenous people's economic and cultural rights in practice. While the Philippines does have some provisions under its constitution and domestic laws that may appear to comprise such a deterrent, in reality, what is witnessed is the lack of implementation of these provisions, and the acquiescence and even complicity of state actors in violations against indigenous people. It is imperative for such elements to be included in any discussions by the Council, if these are to be relevant concerning indigenous people's access to justice and protection with regard to extractive industries and other external forces that threaten their way of life, livelihoods and rights.
x x x."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Murder convict says he left with Rolito Go to do a hit | Inquirer News

Murder convict says he left with Rolito Go to do a hit | Inquirer News

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ILAGAN CITY—The recapture of a missing convict has revealed yet another sordid activity at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) aside from kidnapping for ransom—ferrying out convicts to do hit jobs.

After he was rearrested by agents of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the provincial police on Sunday in Naguilian, Isabela, murder convict Rommel Laciste had quite a tale to tell.

A maximum security prisoner who disappeared from the national penitentiary last week at about the same time prisoner Rolito Go claimed he was kidnapped, Laciste told reporters at the provincial police headquarters here on Sunday noon that he had left the NBP compound on board the same truck that carried Go and the latter’s nephew.

But while Go, who resurfaced the next day, claimed he was brought to a place in Batangas and forced to pay for his release, Laciste said he was let off in Baclaran. He said he took a bus to Isabela the next day because he had been hired to kill a lumber dealer in San Mariano for P300,000. Another job was to kill a businesswoman in Santiago City, he said.

Laciste did not name the person who allegedly asked him to kill the business owners.

Police said his claims had yet to be investigated.

Changing details

Senior Superintendent Franklin Moises Mabanag, Isabela police director, has ordered investigators to retrace Laciste’s steps based on the information he gave about his escape because “details in his testimony keep changing.”

“We cannot determine if he really was with Rolito Go at that time… We have to check all the information,” Mabanag said.

Laciste, 34, is serving a life sentence for the 2006 murder of Concepcion Lumanglas, assistant parole and probation officer in the province.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who has personally taken over the reins of the NBP after BuCor Chief Gaudencio Pangilinan went on leave after the Go incident, later formally announced Laciste’s capture. “Documentation at the PNP-Naguilian police station is ongoing,” she said.

Rice delivery truck

She also disclosed that a closed circuit security video showed a rice hull delivery truck, which might have been used to carry Laciste, leaving the NBP’s Gate 4 at 2:30 p.m. on August 15.

De Lima said the video showed that the truck was “haphazardly inspected” when it exited the NBP compound.

She has since issued memos to 10 custodial officers and personnel asking them to explain why administrative sanctions should not be imposed on them following the disappearance of Laciste.

Laciste had told reporters the truck he boarded had several passengers whom he described as “Chinese-speaking.” He identified another passenger only as “Rodriguez.”

Laciste said he never spoke to the passengers.

Hitched with Chinese

“Simmabitak lang kadagidiay Chinese. Imbabadak idiay Baclaran. Pinagpagnak Baclaran aginggana Sampaloc ta awan kuartak agingga nakiluganak Dalin liner agpa-Isabela idi. (I just hitched a ride with the
Chinese. They dropped me off at Baclaran. I walked from Baclaran to Sampaloc because I had no money. I later rode a Dalin Liner bus bound for Isabela),” Laciste said.

Mabanag said Laciste’s relatives first saw him in Barangay (village) Palutan in San Mariano on the night of August 15. Laciste is from Barangay Santa Filomena, a nearby village.

He was captured in a warehouse allegedly owned by one Jefrey Yap in Barangay Roxas, Naguilian town, De Lima disclosed.

Change of heart

On his hit job, Laciste’s story was that he had a change of heart and was about to warn the targets about the plot when he was arrested by policemen.

Last week, De Lima admitted there could have been a “semblance of truth” to Go’s claim that he was abducted by four men from inside the NBP compound.

Go, who is sickly and scheduled for release next year, was reportedly asked for P100 million but was released after paying only P40,000. Go’s relatives had raised the alarm about the kidnapping on August 14.

De Lima said she had since discovered that some wives of well-off prisoners had also been threatened and made to cough up money after visiting their husbands at the NBP. The sting operation is referred to as “hulidap,” a combination of huli (arrest) and holdup.—With Christine O. Avendaño

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SC urged to resolve petition vs Aurora economic zone - Home » Other Sections » Breaking News

SC urged to resolve petition vs Aurora economic zone - Home » Other Sections » Breaking News

"x x x.

MANILA, Philippines - Aurora-based farmer and fisherfolk groups on Monday asked the Supreme Court to decide on a 10-month old petition, urging the Supreme Court to declare laws creating the controversial Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port (APECO) unconstitutional.

Petitioners, fisherfolk alliance Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list, filed on Oct. 11, 2011 an 88-page petition urging the SC to declare unconstitutional the controversial Republic Act 9490 or the ASEZA (Aurora Special Economic Zone Authority) Act of 2007 and its amendatory law—Republic Act 10083 or the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port Act of 2010.

The groups also asked the high tribunal to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction against the Apeco project.

"There is a paramount need for the high tribunal to settle the score on Apeco. But the case is dragging before the highest court of the land for best kept reasons only the court could disclose at this point in time," the groups said.
Pamalakaya wrote a letter of appeal to SC last May 21 urging the speedy resolution of the case questioning the constitutionality of APECO, but the SC has yet to reply on their follow up letter.

The petitioners noted that the provisions of RA 9490 and RA 10083 make no explicit mention of fishermen, but the areas these laws subject to the establishment of ecozone cover the residences of subsistence fishermen and their fishing grounds.

The petitioners said pursuant to Section 3 of RA 9490 and RA 10083, several land areas of Aurora are subject for conversion into a free port but are currently lands that adjoin the fishing grounds of fisherfolk, including the shorelines, bays and inland rivers of barangays Esteves, San Ildefonso, Cozo and Dibet.

They argued that the stretch of land bordering the shorelines of saltwater fishing of Aurora affected with the creation of ASEZA starting from the Southern tip of the peninsula of San Ildefonso going to Casiguran Bay to the opposite shore of the Casiguran sound is around 57.4 kilometers.

The petitioners also said another sector of poor people to be affected by ASEZA and Apeco is the indigenous people whose rights are also violated by the ecozone project.
They said RA 10083 covers the areas being claimed by the Agtas and Dumagats in barangays San Ildefonso, Culat and Cozo as part of their ancestral domain.

They said Apeco will cover around 11,900 hectares of the indigenous people’s claim for ancestral domain in Casiguran.
The petitioners added that RA 9490 and RA 10083 also violated the due process and the non-impairment clauses guaranteed under the 1987 Philippine constitution.
In their petition, they said the people of Casiguran who are directly and unduly affected by the creation of ASEZA and Apeco were not consulted or heard before these laws were passed by Congress.

"The railroading of the laws creating ASEZA and APECO at the House of Representatives and the Senate therefore is another violation of their right to due process,” the petitioners maintained.
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

IMPEACHMENT issues - Special Issue 1.pdf Special Issue 1.pdf

March 2012. 

For academic legal research purposes.

Visit the link above.

Roberto A. Abad, Associate Justice, Supreme Court -  VISION, COURAGE & ACCOUNTABILITY, Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, Associate Justice, Supreme Court  -  JUDICIAL REFORM IN THE PHILIPPINES
[Speech delivered during the Central Luzon Regional Convention of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, June 29, 2012], Antonio T. Carpio, Senior Associate Justice, Supreme Court  -  FROM HUBRIS TO HUMBLE SERVICE:
A LAWYER'S CHOICE [Speech delivered during the convention of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Central Luzon Region, June 28, 2012, Mimosa Convention Hall,  Clark Field, Pampanga.], Leila M. De Lima, Secretary, Department of Justice  -   THE RULE OF LAW: PILLAR AND BULWARK
OF SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRACY, Queen Margarette Hotel, Diversion Road, Lucena City, 25 May 2012, KEYNOTE ADDRESS: IBP Southern Luzon Regional Convention
HON. ARTURO D. BRION, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines

Public Attorney's Office - Persons Qualified for Legal Assistance

Public Attorney's Office - Persons Qualified for Legal Assistance

"x x x.


Under R. A. 9406, the PAO shall independently discharge its mandate to render, free of charge, legal representation, assistance and counselling to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases. In the exigency of the service, the PAO may be called upon by proper government authorities to render such service to other persons, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations.”
The Merit Test

Under PAO M.C. No. 18 series of 2002, a case shall be considered meritorious if an assessment of the law and evidence on hand discloses that the legal services of the office will assist or be in aid of or in the furtherance of justice, taking into consideration the interests of the party and those of the society.  In such cases, the Public Attorney should agree to represent the party concerned.  On the other hand, a case is deemed unmeritorious if it appears that it has no chance of success, or is intended merely to harass or injure the opposite party or to work oppression or wrong.  In such situation, the Public Attorney must decline the handling of the case.

A Public Attorney may represent an indigent client even if his cause of action is adverse to a public officer, government office, agency or instrumentality provided the case is meritorious.   Caution should however be exercised that the office be not exposed to charges of harassment, unfairness or undue haste in the filing of suits.

In criminal cases, the accused enjoys the constitutional presumption of innocence until the contrary is proven. Hence, cases of defendants in criminal actions are considered meritorious.
The Indigency Test

Pursuant to PAO MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 02 Series of 2010 dated January 27, 2010 and entitled as "AMENDING SECTIONS 3, 4, and 5, ARTICLE II OF MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 18, S. 2002 (Amended Standard Office Procedures in Extending Legal Assistance)" in relation to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 9406 enacted by Congress and approved by Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on March 23, 2007 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations dated July 14, 2008, the Indigency Test set forth in Section 3, Article II, MC No. 18, S. 2002, is hereby amended to read as follows:
Indigency Test. – Taking into consideration recent surveys on the amount needed by an average Filipino family to (a) buy its “food consumption basket” and (b) pay for its household and personal expenses, the following applicant shall be considered as an indigent person:
           1.      If residing in Metro Manila, whose net income does not exceed Php14,000.00 a month; 
           2.      If residing in other cities, whose net income does not exceed Php13,000.00 a month;
           3.      If residing in other places, whose net income does not exceed Php 12,000.00 a month.
 The term “net income” as herein employed shall be understood to refer to the income of the litigant less statutory deductions.
Statutory deductions shall refer to withholding taxes, GSIS, SSS, Pag-Ibig, Health Insurance and Philhealth premiums as well as mandatory deductions. 
For purposes of this Section, ownership of land shall not per se constitute a ground for disqualification of an applicant for free legal assistance in view of the ruling in Juan Enaje vs. Victorio Ramos, et al. (31 SCRA 141, G.R. No. L-22109, January 30, 1970) that the determinative factor for indigency is the income of the litigant and not his ownership of real property.
To ensure that only those qualified shall be extended free legal assistance, the applicant shall be required to execute an Affidavit of Indigency and to submit any of the following documents:
1.      Latest Income Tax Return or pay slip or other proofs of income; or
2.      Certificate of Indigency from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, its local District Office, or the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office having jurisdiction over the residence of the applicant; or
3.      Certificate of Indigency from the Barangay Chairman having jurisdiction over the residence of the applicant.
PAO lawyers and personnel shall exercise diligence in ascertaining the indigency qualification of said applicant/s.
Cases Which May be Provisionally Accepted
Cases Which May be Provisionally Accepted by PAO lawyers pending verification of the applicant’s indigency and an evaluation of the merit of his/her case in the following instances:
1.      When a warrant of arrest has been issued and assistance is needed in filing a Motion to Post Bailbond or Reduction thereof for his/her provisional liberty;
2.      When a person is arrested and/or detained, and appropriate immediate legal action is necessary to protect his/her rights (Sec. 3, Art. 2, MC No. 003, S.2008) ;
3.      When a pleading has to be filed immediately to avoid adverse effects to the applicant;
4.       When an appeal or petition for certiorari or prohibition has to be perfected or filed immediately;
5.      When the PAO lawyer is appointed by the court as counsel de oficio to represent the defendant during the trial of the case, provided, however, that if a subsequent investigation discloses that the client is not an indigent, the lawyer should respectfully request the court to relieve him/her by filing a Motion for Withdrawal of Appearance from the case;
6.      When the PAO lawyer is designated on the spot as counsel de oficio for the purpose only of arraignment, pre-trial or promulgation of decision;
7.      In cases involving violence against women and their children under Republic Act No. 9262, where immediate preparation and filing of pleading/s is necessary to avoid adverse effects to the victims, except when there is conflict of interest (Sec. 2, Art. IV, MC No. 08, S. 2007) ;
8.       In cases involving Children In Conflict with the Law (CICLs), where there is an immediate need of counsel (Sec. 2, Art. IV, MC No. 07, S. 2007);
9.      In cases involving credit card holder/s considered as “delinquent” by the credit card company, and immediate action is necessary; and
10. Cases which require provisional assistance pursuant to Section 3 of R.A. 9406 (Section 14-A Chapter 5, Title III, Book IV of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the “Administrative Code of 1987”), to wit:
                “SEC. 14-A. Powers and Functions. – The PAO shall independently discharge its mandate to render, free of charge, legal representation, assistance and counselling to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases. In the exigency of the service, the PAO may be called upon by proper government authorities to render such service to other persons, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations.”
11. Other similar urgent cases.
Persons Qualified for Assistance Pursuant to MOAs and DOJ Directives
Persons qualified for assistance pursuant to existing Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) and Department of Justice(DOJ Directives, as set forth under Section 5, Article II, MC No. 18, S. 2002, is hereby amended to read as follows:
  1.          Department of Agrarian Reform lawyers against whom criminal and administrative complaints have been filed for acts in connection with the performance of their official duties (Directive of the Minister of Justice);
  2.          Farmer-beneficiaries of the Agrarian Reform Law,
           (a)       in agrarian-related civil or criminal cases pending before the courts and
           (b)       in cases against fellow beneficiaries pending before the courts or the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) where one of the parties is already represented by a lawyer from the Department of Agrarian Reform (Memorandum of Agreement, dated May 8, 1991, between DAR and DOJ); 
 3.          Indigent laborers in meritorious labor cases (Memorandum Order of the Secretary of Justice, dated May 19, 1988);
4.          Indigent aliens (2nd Indorsement of the Undersecretary of Justice, dated March 25, 1974);
5.          Qualified overseas contract workers in all cases within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (Memorandum of Agreement between PAO, DOLE, POEA, OWWA and some NGOs, dated April 2, 1993); 
6.          Barangay Health Workers (Sec. 16, Rule II, and Part 5, Rule VII of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7883); 
7.          Department of Social Welfare and Development in the filing of petitions for the involuntary commitment of minors, as well as the filing of petitions for the declaration that a child is abandoned or neglected (Directive of Minister of Justice Neptali Gonzales, dated February 10, 1987);
8.          Members of the Association of Local Social Welfare and Development Officers of the Philippines, Incorporated (ALSWDOPI) in criminal and administrative complaints/cases related to or in connection with the exercise of their profession or performance of duties, unless there is a conflict of interest or when a member does not qualify under the PAO’s Indigency Test, in which case, a provisional assistance shall beafforded to him/her (Memorandum of Agreement between the ALSWDOPI and the Public Attorney’s Office, dated August 27, 2009);  
9.         Qualified Print and Broadcast Media Practitioners, as well as their staff and crew, who are harassed into incarceration (Memorandum Circular No. 01, S. 2009, dated January 5, 2009 in relation to Memorandum of Agreement between the National Press Club (NPC) and PAO dated May 29, 2009);
 10.      Dangerous Drugs Board, its authorized representatives and drug offenders, in the filing of petitions for voluntary confinement, except when there is conflict of interest (Memorandum of Agreement between the Dangerous Drugs Board and the Public Attorney’s Office, dated July 15, 2008); 
11.      Filipino complainants against foreigners for violations of immigration, alien registration and other local laws; respondent foreigners in deportation cases; Bureau of Immigration clients in the notarization of applications; and such other legal services assigned by the Commissioner (Memorandum of Agreement between the Bureau of Immigration and the Public Attorney’s Office, dated February 4, 2009); 
12.      Members of the Press Photographers of the Philippines (PPP) under investigation for a complaint or on trial for a case, including cases under inquest proceedings, related to or in connection with the exercise of profession or performance of duties, and to the families of PPP members who are victims of media killings   (Memorandum of Agreement between the Press Photographers of the Philippines and the Public Attorney’s Office, dated May 25, 2009); 
13.      Officials of the Philippine National Police holding the ranks of Police Officer I (POI) to Senior Police Officer 4 (SPO4) when sued in the performance of their police duties (DOJ Department Circular No. 78, dated October 26, 2009 and Memorandum, dated November 9, 2009)
 Other Persons Qualified for Assistance

Immediate members of the family and relatives within the 4th civil degree of consanguinity or affinity of Public Attorneys may avail of the latter’s services regardless of qualification under the indigency test, with the approval of the Regional Public Attorney, if the case is within his region or the Chief Public Attorney, if the case is outside of his region and provided further that the said lawyer files a leave of absence on the day of the hearing.

PAO personnel may also avail of the legal services of PAO lawyers in criminal cases: Provided, that the PAO is not the adverse party.   
(PAO Memorandum Circular No. 18, Series of 2002, Article II, Section 6)
Public Attorneys are prohibited from assisting the following parties:
  1. Juridical persons; except those juridical entities which are non-stock, non-profit organization whose individual members will pass the indigency test of the office, provided their cases involve land disputes and that they are not the lessor thereof;
  2. Parties who do not pass the Merit and Indigency Tests, unless appointed as counsel de oficio in criminal cases only under existing laws, rules and regulations;
  3. Parties represented by de parte counsel; and
  4. Landlords of residential lands and building with respect to the filing of collection or unlawful detainer suits against their tenants.

    (PAO Memorandum Circular No. 18, Series of 2002, Article II, section 7)
  1. PAO lawyers shall not handle cases where they would be representing conflicting interests. Neither shall they handle the prosecution of criminal cases in court.
  2. As a matter of office policy, PAO lawyers should, likewise, refrain from undertaking the defense of persons accused of violating BP 22, unless they are appointed by the court as counsel de oficio under existing laws, rules and regulations.PAO lawyers shall, likewise, not handle Adoption cases, except when either parent of the person to be adopted is the petitioner-adopter and provided that he/she passes the indigency test.

x x x."

Better Know a Justice! A Supreme Court Cheat Sheet - Andrew Cohen - The Atlantic

Better Know a Justice! A Supreme Court Cheat Sheet - Andrew Cohen - The Atlantic

In the PHL, I have a feeling almost 90% of Filipinos cannot name a single SC justice. In the USA, the rate is two-thirds.

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Better Know a Justice! A Supreme Court Cheat Sheet

Share4AUG 21 2012, 1:46 PM ET 5
According to a new poll, two thirds of Americans can't name a single member of the Court. Meanwhile, these people are more powerful than they've been in a long time.

It's the second half of August, which means it's the time for vacations, political scandals, and polls about how ignorant hundreds of millions of Americans are about even the most basic questions of modern governance. As to topic three, this week's leader in the clubhouse is a new poll that reveals thattwo-thirds of all Americans can't name a single justice of the United States Supreme Court. This after a Court term which was one of the most profound and contentious of its generation.

Chief Justice John Roberts led the way in name recognition -- but only one in five respondents could name him. At the bottom of the list was Justice Stephen Breyer, the Clinton appointee identified by only 3 percent of those surveyed. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote who decides so many of those critical 5-4 cases? Only one in ten could identify him. Do yourself a favor. Right after you read the piece about the poll, read Adam Liptak's interesting piece from Monday in The New York Times. Itsessence?
An overlooked consequence of the current polarization and gridlock in Congress, a new study found, has been a huge transfer of power to the Supreme Court. It now almost always has the last word, even in decisions that theoretically invite a Congressional response.
"Congress is overriding the Supreme Court much less frequently in the last decade,' Richard L. Hasen, the author of the study, said in an interview. "I didn't expect to see such a dramatic decline. The number of overrides has fallen to almost none."
The Court is still the most reactive branch of government. But it's no secret that the justices, like everyone else in America, understand that Congress has crippled itself. This explains why so many people laughed in court in March when Justice Antonin Scalia, on his way to voting against the Affordable Care Act, suggested tongue-in-cheek that the easiest answer would be for federal lawmakers to go back to the drawing board and fix the legislation. Good one, Justice Scalia!

If you are reading this, you are likely in the one-third of the populace that can name at least one justice. But chances are you know a great many people who cannot. With attention spans being what they are, especially in the weeks leading up to Labor Day, I thought I would offer a brief primer on the men and women who wield so much power in such an anonymous way in this country. If you only have the time and brain space to read just one thing about each justice, here they are....

Chief Justice John Roberts, 20 Percent: Forget about his vote to save the Affordable Care Act. Focus instead upon his reactionary analysis of the Commerce Clause. Jeffrey Toobin's May 2009 New Yorker piece, "No More Mr. Nice Guy," remains the standard in assessing the "stealth" conservatism of the man who replaced his mentor and idol, William Rehnquist, at the helm of the Court.

Justice Clarence Thomas, 16 Percent: Forget about his lingering silence from the bench. Forget about how he got his job. Just read his dissent in Safford United School District v. Redding, the 2009 case in which all of his eight colleagues on the Court agreed that middle school administrators had violated the constitutional rights of a 13-year-old student when they strip-searched her looking for Ibuprofen. Only Justice Thomas declared that such a search did not violate the 14th Amendment.

Justice Antonin Scalia, 16 Percent: Sometimes right. Sometimes wrong. But never in doubt. Justice Scalia frequently wins the "funniest justice" contests that spring up from time to time. But there was nothing funny about his concurrence in Kansas v. Marsh, a 2006 case about aggravating and mitigating factors in a state's death penalty statute. Justice Scalia infamously declared that there was no proof that America had recently executed an innocent man. We now know this to be false.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 13 Percent: The Clinton appointee is nearing her 20th year on the Court, and as it has moved endlessly toward the right, she's become the progressive that conservatives love to hate. Read her passionate dissent in the Affordable Care Act case from June, National Federal of Independent Business v. Sebelius. Her view of the Commerce Clause is diametrically opposed to the view held by the Chief Justice. Both can't be correct. Check back in 20 years to see who won.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 13 Percent: She's a diehard fan of the New York Yankees, but America shouldn't hold that against her. Instead, read her relentless dissent in Cullen v. Pinholster, a 2011 case out of California in which the Court's majority limited the ability of a capital defendant to have effective assistance of counsel at the sentencing phase of his trial. Why is this dissent more searing than most? Alone among her colleagues, Justice Sotomayor worked as a trial judge. She knew bad judging when she saw it.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, 10 Percent: The Reagan appointee is at the center of the Court, a fact which explains both how conservative it has become and why so many people on both sides can't stand him. Read Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 decision which struck down anti-sodomy laws. A snippet: "When sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring."

Justice Samuel Alito, 5 Percent: He's probably most famous for his dramatic State of the Union moment with President Barack Obama back in January 2010. I like to remember him for his speech at the Manhattan Institute in which he railed upon "editorial writers" and proclaimed that "ordinary people" understand the Constitution better than the pundits. But if you are going to read one thing about Justice Alito, read his stirring dissent in the 2011 military funeral case, Snyder v. Phelps.

Justice Elena Kagan, 4 Percent: She wasn't yet on the Court, so she can't be blamed for its January 2010 Citizens United ruling. But one year later, in a campaign-finance case styled Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett, she penned an epic dissent. A few months earlier, she also was in dissent in another case out of Arizona, a case involving the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. She's already mastered what most of her colleagues have not: the art of writing about technical matters in an accessible way.

Justice Stephen Breyer, 3 Percent: If you are going to read one thing about Justice Breyer, stay away from his published work about administrative law. Instead, read the transcript of his 2005 on-air conversation with CNN's Larry King. Or, better yet, read the transcript of his 2010 appearance. Of the first amendment, Justice Breyer told King: "We protect expression we hate. When you have a country of 300 million different people who think different things, it is helpful. It is helpful to everyone."

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