Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Yearender: SC tussles with Palace anew over DAP, ‘pork’ | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com

See - Yearender: SC tussles with Palace anew over DAP, ‘pork’ | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com

"x x x.

MANILA, Philippines - In 2014 the Supreme Court (SC) again asserted its supremacy over a co-equal branch of government, with no less than President Aquino on the receiving end.
After striking down the pork barrel funds of lawmakers, the SC declared unconstitutional certain acts and practices under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) last July.
The SC justices unanimously held in a 92-page decision that the DAP violated the constitutional provision on the separation of powers and prohibition on inter-branch transfer of appropriations.
The court held that while recipients cannot be held liable for benefiting from programs, activities and projects done in good faith under the DAP, the proponents and those who implement it could not be instantly cleared of culpabilities.
The ruling angered the President, who even issued an indirect threat of impeachment against the justices. Aquino’s allies in the House also initiated moves to abolish the Judicial Development Fund.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, however, stressed judicial independence in her public engagements. “I don’t serve presidents,” she told foreign correspondents in one forum.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Cybercrime Law
Apart from the DAP, Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act and RA 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act went through scrutiny of the SC.
Last February, the SC watered down the Cybercrime Law when it voided some provisions for being unconstitutional.
The high court also voided section 7 of the law, which allows prosecution of online libel and child pornography under RA 10175 and the Revised Penal Code, saying it violates the constitutional right against double jeopardy.
The SC also struck down as unconstitutional three other provisions of the law – Section 4 (c) (3), which penalizes unsolicited commercial communication; Section 12, authorizing the collection or recording of traffic data in real time; and Section 19, authorizing the Department of Justice to restrict or block access to suspected computer data.
RH Law
In its summer session in Baguio City last April, the SC settled the debate on the legality of RH Law when it voted unanimously to uphold most of the provisions in the law.
Eight provisions and its implementing rules and regulations were, however, declared unconstitutional, including penalizing health workers who fail or refuse to disseminate information on RH programs regardless of religious beliefs, healthcare providers who refuse to refer non-emergency patients to another facility regardless of religious beliefs, health workers who require parental consent from minors in non-emergency cases, and public officials who refuse to support RH programs regardless of religion.
The high court also voided provisions that require private hospitals owned by religious groups to refer patients to other health facilities and allow minors who suffered miscarriage to access modern family planning methods without the consent of parents.
Tax collections
Last April, the High Court stopped the Bureau of Internal Revenue from implementing Regulation 4-2014, which requires self-employed professionals to submit affidavit indicating their rates and register their official appointment books.
In September, the SC stopped the government from requiring companies to disclose the names and tax records of their shareholders.
Another temporary restraining order stopped the submission of the tax identification number of the shareholders of companies with their complete names and corresponding amounts of income and withholding tax.
Relocation of oil depots
The oil sector also had its share of the SC’s cracking the whip when it voted 10-2 in November, ordering the Manila city government to implement the relocation of the oil depot in Pandacan within six months.
The SC ruled as unconstitutional a Manila city ordinance that reclassified the area as a heavy industrial zone.
RP-US relations
The SC also weighed in on cases involving relations between the Philippines and the United States.
It heard in two-part oral arguments petitions assailing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
Petitioners led by former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada said the EDCA is a treaty, which requires legislative concurrence for entry of foreign troops and facilities in the country.
The SC justices dismissed a writ of Kalikasan petition for the review of the Visiting Forces Agreement over the grounding of US Navy minesweeper USS Guardian on Tubbataha Reef in January last year.
The SC also denied the plea of groups led by Puerto Princesa, Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo for higher penalties against the US government and criminal prosecution of US Navy officials liable for the incident.
The SC applied the principle of state immunity from suit in junking the petition against US Seventh Fleet commander Scott Swift, Guardian commanding officer Mark Rice and US Marine Corps Forces head for Pacific region Lt. Gen. Terry Robling.
Gregory Ong
The high tribunal dealt with cases involving the judiciary, among them the dismissal of Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong over alleged links with suspected pork barrel fund mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
The high court found Ong guilty of gross misconduct, dishonesty and impropriety, making him the first justice of the anti-graft court to be dismissed.
The administrative case against Ong involved the sale of 500 Kevlar helmets to the Philippine Marines in 1998. The Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division handled the case, where Ong sat as member.
The SC cited the finding that Ong met with Napoles twice at her office after the anti-graft court division acquitted her in the case.
In November, the SC granted the request of BIR Commissioner Kim Henares for the certified copies of the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of justices of the anti-graft court.
The BIR requested copies of the SALNs for 2003 to 2012, but the high court allowed the bureau to only get copies for the last three years.
The SC also released the SALNs of its justices last July, which showed that Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo is the richest magistrate with a net worth of over P122.21 million, up by over P12 million from P109.74 million in the previous year.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen had the smallest net worth at P1.81 million last year, slightly up from his P1.67 million in 2012.
Ma’am Arlene
Last July, the SC ordered an investigation of four regional trial court judges implicated in the controversy involving alleged case fixing and influence peddling in the judiciary by a certain “Ma’am Arlene.”
It was The STAR that broke the story, describing “Ma’am Arlene” as judiciary’s version of Napoles.
Investigated were Judge Rommel Baybay of Makati City of RTC Branch 132; Judge Ralph Lee, Quezon City RTC Branch 83; Judge Marino Rubia of Biñan, Laguna RTC Branch 24, and Judge Lyliha Aquino of Manila RTC Branch 24.
The high court had initially traced the source of the reports to a supposed smear campaign in the electoral contest in the Philippine Judges Association, whose officers had denied involvement in the controversy.
Voting 7-4 last August, the justices reversed the decision of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to exclude Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza as a nominee to the high tribunal due to alleged “integrity issues.”
The JBC excluded Jardeleza in the shortlist for the vacancy left by the retirement of Associate Justice Roberto Abad even if he garnered enough votes to make it to the shortlist.
Reports attributed the exclusion to a rivalry between Jardeleza and Sereno, who belonged to opposing blocs in the University of the Philippines College of Law.
The year that passed also witnessed the SC working to institute lasting reforms in the judiciary, including speeding up the resolution of cases in the high tribunal.
“Before promulgation, we make sure our decisions are consistent with previous rulings of the court,” Sereno told The STAR.
In the new system, the justices would check a decision in relation to previous rulings to determine if there are inconsistencies.
The SC also implemented new programs this year to speed up court processes through electronic systems, including the e-subpoena system launched last April.
Two Quezon City trial courts are now using automated hearings system where orders and resolutions are issued in real time and on the same day.
The Court also launched the continuous trial system in 24 pilot courts.
x x x."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Fix the Criminal Justice System | Jessica S. Henry

See - Top 10 Ways to Fix the Criminal Justice System | Jessica S. Henry

"x x x.

10. Return to Community Policing. If the police personally know the folks they are tasked to serve, then they get a sense of who lives in the neighborhood, who is dealing drugs, and who is going to school. With knowledge, comes trust. With knowledge, police are better able to make informed, life-and-death, split second decisions. Just look at Camden, New Jersey - one of the poorest cities in New Jersey, with a stunning crime problem. The recently formed Camden County police force has implemented a new community policing program, and homicides have dramatically declined. There's still much to be done, but community policing has had an important impact. Advocate for its return.
9. Stop the Use of Solitary Confinement in Prisons, Particularly for Juveniles in Detention Facilities. Solitary confinement has become a widespread prison management tool where people are held, in extreme isolation, sometimes for years or decades. But it does more harm than good. People locked up in solitary often come out more psychologically and physically damaged than when they went in.Solitary confinement is fundamentally inhumane, extremely costly, contrary to the public good, and often unnecessary.
8. Reduce Violence in Prison by Improving Prison Accountability and Leadership. People are sent to prison because they were convicted of a crime. Their punishment is the prison sentence itself. Yet, thousands of prisoners - including those who are incarcerated for non-violent crimes - become the victims of sexual assault and other violent attacks while serving prison sentences. When their sentence is over, they return to society more damaged, traumatized and maladjusted then when they entered in the first place. If you want to reduce high rates of recidivism, then make prisons safer and hold administrators accountable for the devastating violence that occurs under their watch.
7. Support Alternatives-to-Arrest and -Incarceration Programs. Too many people wind up in the criminal justice system. Some people are arrested who shouldn't be. And once an arrest is made, a cycle of incarceration begins that is often skewed against the poor and poor people of color. Support initiatives that offer alternatives to the justice system, such as after school programs, mental health centers, and drug treatment options. These programs require funding and are costly in the short term. But a healthier community is better -and safer - in the long run than an incarcerated one.
6. Support Public Defender Offices and Other Organizations that Fight for Equality in the Criminal Justice system. Public defenders serve poor people accused of crimes. It is a hard and often heart-breaking job, involving far too many cases and far too little resources to do the job required of them by the Constitution. A good public defender is the best defense against any governmental overreaching that may occur in the system, and offices need financial support to address today's indigent defense crisis.
5. Support the Passage of Laws That Reduce Overly Harsh Sentences. People are serving life sentences for non-violent drug offenses or for certain felonies under habitual offender laws. These sentences are unnecessary and are overly punitive. They often fall on the backs of the poor and people of color. And they cost a fortune. Support bills such as the Smarter Sentencing Act, and other laws that may be pending in your state.
4. End the Death Penalty. The death penalty is racist, expensive and outdated.White victims appear to matter the most, and black defendants and black victims appear to matter the least. Not only is the death penalty discriminatory, but it's expensive. Death penalty cases cost millions more than non-capital cases ending in a life sentence. We could take those savings and do a whole lot of good, for a whole lot of people. And dare I say it? The death penalty is just flat out wrong. Europe and most of the Americas have abolished it, leaving the United States in the company of China, North Korea and Pakistan on the list of countries who retain the punishment. Come on, now. It's time. Get rid of it.
3. Hold Prosecutors and Police Responsible for Deliberate Misconduct.Police and prosecutors who deliberately engage in misconduct are rarely held liable for their actions. I'm talking about serious misconduct that lands innocent people in jail, such as hiding or destroying evidence that could clear the accused of charges, or fabricating evidence to make a defendant appear guilty, or relying on testimony that is known to be false, or obtaining and then using coerced confessions. That needs to change. And fast. A policy of liability for deliberate misconduct could make those state actors think twice before they play fast and loose with people's lives.
2. Require All States to Provide Compensation to the Exonerated. I cannot imagine anything worse than a person being wrongly convicted for a crime they did not commit. Only 30 states, plus Washington D.C., have laws that provide compensation to the wrongly convicted. Some of these laws provide only token support to the exonerated, while 20 states provide no compensation at all. When the criminal justice system makes a grievous mistake by sending an innocent person to prison, the state has a moral and ethical responsibility to make amends by providing adequate financial support, counseling, educational and job training, and housing. If your state doesn't have a law, ask your legislator to pass one.
1. Pay Attention to -- and Speak Out -- About Injustice Whenever You See It. The criminal justice system is desperately in need of reform. But reform will only occur when people speak with unified conviction about a more just and equitable system that focuses more on public safety than on a person's skin color or class status. When people in large numbers speak out for justice, policymakers will have no choice but to respond.
The time is ripe for change. Here's to making it happen in 2015.

Friday, December 19, 2014

US legal system; Lawyers Stage 'Die-Ins' To Call Out Broken Legal System

See - Lawyers Stage 'Die-Ins' To Call Out Broken Legal System

"x x x.

Hundreds of lawyers and members of the legal community are staging “die-ins” outside courthouses around the country in a mass effort to speak out against the legal system that employs them.

More than 250 lawyers, law students, law professors and others lay outside Los Angeles’ Stanley Mosk Courthouse in the pouring rain and blocked one lane of traffic on Tuesday, while about 200 public defenders did the same outside the criminal court building in Brooklyn, New York, on Wednesday. The protests aimed to call attention to a legal system they say has failed people of color and those victimized by police brutality.
x x x."

Due diligence to protect one's privacy rights - gr 202666.pdf

See - 202666.pdf

"x x x.

It is, thus, incumbent upon internet users to exercise due diligence in their online dealings and activities and must not be negligent in protecting their rights. Equity serves the vigilant. Demanding relief from the courts, as here, requires that claimants themselves take utmost care in safeguarding a right which they allege to have been violated. These are indispensable. We cannot afford protection to persons if they themselves did nothing to place the matter within the confines of their private zone. OSN users must be mindful enough to learn the use of privacy tools, to use them if they desire to keep the information private, and to keep track of changes in the available privacy settings, such as those of Facebook, especially because Facebook is notorious for changing these settings and the site's layout often. 

x x x."

Facebook; privacy issues - gr 202666.pdf

See - 202666.pdf

"x x x.

It is well to emphasize at this point that setting a post’s or profile detail’s privacy to “Friends” is no assurance that it can no longer be viewed by another user who is not Facebook friends with the source of the content. The user’s own Facebook friend can share said content or tag his or her own Facebook friend thereto, regardless of whether the user tagged by the latter is Facebook friends or not with the former. Also, when the post is shared or when a person is tagged, the respective Facebook friends of the person who shared the post or who was tagged can view the post, the privacy setting of which was set at “Friends.” 

x x x."

BP 22 cases; when notice of dishonor is deemed substantively comlied with - GR 187401.pdf

See - 187401.pdf

"x x x.

Campos argues that the crime’s element requiring her knowledge at the time of the check’s issuance that she did not have sufficient funds with the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon presentment was not established by the prosecution. She denies having received a notice of dishonor from FWCC. Insisting on an acquittal, Campos discredits the MeTC’s reliance on a supposed notice of dishonor that was sent to her by FWCC through registered mail. She also invokes good faith as she allegedly made arrangements with FWCC for the payment of her obligation after the subject checks were dishonored.

 The petition lacks merit.

To be liable for violation of B.P. 22, the following essential elements must be present: (1) the making, drawing, and issuance of any check to apply for account or for value; (2) the knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its presentment; and (3) the subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or dishonor for the same reason had

not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop payment.11

The presence of the first and third elements is undisputed. An issue being advanced by Campos through the present petition concerns her alleged failure to receive a written demand letter from FWCC, the entity in whose favor the dishonored checks were issued. In a line of cases, the Court has

emphasized the importance of proof of receipt of such notice of dishonor,12 although not as an element of the offense, but as a means to establish that the issuer of a check was aware of insufficiency of funds when he issued the check and the bank dishonored it, in relation to the second element of the

offense and Section 2 of B.P. 22. Considering that the second element involves a state of mind which is difficult to establish, Section 2 of B.P. 22 creates a presumption of knowledge of insufficiency of funds,13 as it reads:

Sec. 2. Evidence of knowledge of insufficient funds. – The making, drawing, and issuance of a check payment of which is refused by the drawee because of insufficient funds in or credit with such bank, when presented within ninety days from the date of the check, shall be prima facie evidence of knowledge of such insufficiency of funds or credit unless such maker or drawer pays the holder thereof the amount due thereon, or makes arrangements for payment in full by the drawee of such check within five (5) banking days after receiving notice that such check has not been paid by the drawee.

In the instant case, both the RTC and the CA affirmed the MeTC’s finding that the required notice of dishonor from FWCC was received by Campos. Campos, nonetheless, still maintains that her personal receipt of the notice was not sufficiently established, considering that only a written copy of the letter and the registry return receipt covering it were presented by the prosecution.

The Court has in truth repeatedly held that the mere presentation of registry return receipts that cover registered mail was not sufficient to establish that written notices of dishonor had been sent to or served on issuers of checks. The authentication by affidavit of the mailers was necessary in order for service by registered mail to be regarded as clear proof of the giving of notices of dishonor and to predicate the existence of the second element of the offense.14

In still finding no merit in the present petition, the Court, however, considers Campos' defense that she exerted efforts to reach an amicable settlement with her creditor after the checks which she issued were dishonored by the drawee bank, BPI Family Bank. Campos categorically declared in her petition that, "[she] has in her favor evidence to show that she was in good faith and indeed made arrangements for the payment of her obligations subsequently after the dishonor of the checks." 15 Clearly, this statement was a confirmation that she actually received the required notice of dishonor from FWCC. The evidence referred to in her statement were receipts 16 dated January 13, 1996, February 29, 1996, April 22, 1998 and May 26, 1998 issued by FWCC to Campos for payments in various amounts ranging from P2,500.00 to PlS,700.00. Campos would not have entered into the alleged arrangements beginning January 1996 until May 1998 if she had. not received a notice of dishonor from her creditor, and had no knowledge of the insufficiency of her funds with the bank and the dishonor of her checks.

Campos could have avoided prosecution by paying the amounts due on the checks or making arrangements for payment in full within five ( 5) days after receiving notice. Unfortunately for Campos, these circumstances were not established in the instant case. She failed to sufficiently disclose the terms of her alleged arrangement with FWCC, and to establish that the same had been fully complied with so as to completely satisfy the amounts covered by the subject checks. Moreover, documents to prove such fact should have been presented before the MeTC during the trial, yet Campos opted to be tried in absentia, and thus waived her right to present evidence.

While Campos blamed her former counsel for alleged negligence that led to her failure to be present during the trial, 17 it is settled that the negligence of counsel binds his or her client. Given the circumstances, the Court finds no cogent reason to reverse the ruling of the CA which affirmed the conviction of Campos.

x x x."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Land registration; action in rem - 203560.pdf

See - 203560.pdf

"x x x.

The trial court properly acquired jurisdiction over the case. We find without error the CA’s characterization of the petition for registration as an action in rem, as well as its ruling on the petition’s compliance with the rules on notice and publication. The CA correctly held that the RTC properly acquired jurisdiction over the res, i.e. the subject property. As the CA found, the names of the owners of the adjoining lots were indicated in respondents’ Amended Petition on April 28, 1999, and these persons have been properly notified of the proceedings. Moreover, there was proper publication of the Notice of Initial Hearing, along with the technical description of the property. Given that this is an action in rem, the publication of the notice is sufficient notice to all claimants to the property. 

The amendment of the technical description of the property, or the reduction of the area from 12,896 to 12,776 square meters, does not require a republication of the technical description, because the amended area was already included during the first publication. As this Court held in Republic

v. CA and Heirs of Luis Ribaya: 17

x x x only where the original survey plan is amended during the registration proceedings, by the addition of land not previously included in the original plan, should publication be made in order to

confer jurisdiction on the court to order the registration of the area added after the publication of the original plan. Conversely, if the amendment does not involve an addition, but on the contrary, a

reduction of the original area that was published, no new publication is required.

x x x."

Death of accused pending appeal; legal effects - 192912.pdf

See - 192912.pdf

"x x x.

Under Article 89, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, the death of an accused pending his appeal extinguishes both his criminal and civil liability ex delicto. Said provision reads: 

Art. 89. How criminal liability is totally extinguished. – Criminal liability is totally extinguished: 

1. By the death of the convict, as to the personal penalties; and as to pecuniary penalties, liability therefore is extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment[.]

 The Court, in People v. Bayotas,11 enunciated the following guidelines construing the above provision in case the accused dies before final judgment:

1. Death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his criminal liability as well as the civil liability based solely thereon. As opined by Justice Regalado, in this regard, “the death of the accused prior to final judgment terminates his criminal liability and only the civil liability directly arising from and based solely on the offense committed, i.e., civil liability ex delicto in senso 


2. Corollarily, the claim for civil liability survives notwithstanding the death of accused, if the same may also be predicated on a source of obligation other than delict. Article 1157 of the Civil Code enumerates these other sources of obligation from which the civil liability may arise as a result of the same act or omission:

a) Law

b) Contracts

c) Quasi-contracts

d) x x x

e) Quasi-delicts

3. Where the civil liability survives, as explained in Number 2 above, an action for recovery therefor may be pursued but only by way of filing a separate civil action and subject to Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended. This separate civil action may be enforced either against the executor/administrator or the estate of the accused, depending on the source of obligation upon which the same is based as explained above.

4. Finally, the private offended party need not fear a forfeiture of his right to file this separate civil action by prescription, in cases where during the prosecution of the criminal action and prior to its extinction, the private-offended party instituted together therewith the civil action. In such case, the statute of limitations on the civil liability is deemed interrupted during the pendency of the criminal case, conformably with provisions of Article 1155 of the Civil Code, that should thereby avoid

any apprehension on a possible privation of right by prescription. (Citations omitted; emphasis ours.)

x x x."

Oppression; abuse of authority - 188066.pdf

See - 188066.pdf

"x x x.

Oppression is also known as grave abuse of authority, which is a misdemeanor committed by a public officer, who under color of his office, wrongfully inflict upon any person any bodily harm, imprisonment or other injury. It is an act of cruelty, severity, or excessive use of authority.23 To be held administratively liable for Oppression or Grave Abuse of Authority, there must be substantial evidence presented proving the complainant’s allegations.24 Substantial evidence is that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.25 In this case, the CA correctly overturned the Ombudsman’s findings and conclusions, and explained the reasons for exculpating Caberoy, as follows: x x x."

Process server; neglect of duty - sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2014/october2014/P-14-3271.pdf

See - sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2014/october2014/P-14-3271.pdf

"x x x.

The Court finds the respondent liable for simple neglect of duty for failure to serve court notices promptly. Simple neglect of duty is failure to give proper attention to a required task. It signifies disregard of duty due to carelessness or indifference. 8

Section 52(B)(l) of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19, s. 1999) classifies simple neglect of duty as a less grave offense punishable by one ( 1) month and one ( 1) day to six ( 6) months suspension for the first offense.

At the same time, Section 53 of the same Rules provides that in the determination of the penalties to be imposed, mitigating, aggravating and alternative circumstances attendant to the commission of the offense shall be considered. The respondent's heavy workload and the fact that he attended to the service of summons and that the defendant was clearly evading service of summons should work to mitigate the respondent's culpability.

WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Elmer S. Azcueta, Process Server, Regional Trial Court, Branch 22, Imus, Cavite GUILTY of simple neglect of duty. He is hereby REPRIMANDED and WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

x x x."

Conflict of interest; lawyer suspended - 9395.pdf

See - 9395.pdf

"x x x.

Based on the established facts, it is indubitable that respondent transgressed Rule 15.03 of Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. It provides:

Rule 15.03 -A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. 

"A lawyer may not, without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person whose interest conflicts with that of his present or former client." 11 

The prohibition against representing conflicting interests is absolute and the rule applies even if the lawyer has acted in good faith and with no intention to represent conflicting interests. 12 In Quiambao v. Atty. Bamba, 13 this Court emphasized that lawyers are expected not only to keep inviolate the client's confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice. 14

Respondent argues that while complainant is a client of Davis & Sabling Law office, her case is actually handled only by his partner Atty. Sabling. He was not privy to any transaction between Atty. Sabling and complainant and has no knowledge of any information or legal matter complainant entrusted or confided to his law partner. He thus inveigles that he could not have taken advantage of an information obtained by his law firm by virtue of the Retainer Agreement.

We are not impressed. In Hilado v. David, 15 reiterated in Gonzales v. Atty. Cabucana, Jr., 16 this Court held that a lawyer who takes up the cause of the adversary of the party who has engaged the services of his law firm brings the law profession into public disrepute and suspicion and undermines the integrity of justice. Thus, respondent's argument that he never took advantage of any information acquired by his law firm in the course of its professional dealings with the complainant, even assuming it to be true, is of no moment. xxx.

The penalty for representing conflicting interests may either be reprimand or suspension from the practice of law ranging from six months to two years. 17 We thus adopt the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors. 

x x x."

Sheriff; dishonesty - P-14-3272.pdf

See - P-14-3272.pdf

"x x x.

WHEREFORE, we find respondent Roberto C. Esguerra, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, Davao City GUILTY of dishonesty, gross neglect of duty and gross inefficiency in the performance of official duties. Accordingly, he is DISMISSED from the service, with forfeiture of all his retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits, if any, and with prejudice to re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations. 

x x x."

Prescription of crime - 206357.pdf

See - 206357.pdf

"x x x.

An evaluation of the foregoing jurisprudence24 on the matter reveals

the following guidelines in the determination of the reckoning point for the

period of prescription of violations of RA 3019, viz:

1. As a general rule, prescription begins to run from the date of the

commission of the offense.

2. If the date of the commission of the violation is not known, it shall

be counted form the date of discovery thereof.

3. In determining whether it is the general rule or the exception that

should apply in a particular case, the availability or suppression of

the information relative to the crime should first be determined.

If the necessary information, data, or records based on which the

crime could be discovered is readily available to the public, the

general rule applies. Prescription shall, therefore, run from the date

of the commission of the crime.

Otherwise, should martial law prevent the filing thereof or should

information about the violation be suppressed, possibly through

connivance, then the exception applies and the period of

prescription shall be reckoned from the date of discovery thereof.

In the case at bar, involving as it does the grant of behest loans which

We have recognized as a violation that, by their nature, could be concealed

from the public eye by the simple expedient of suppressing their

documentation,25 the second mode applies. We, therefore, count the running

of the prescriptive period from the date of discovery thereof on January 4,

1993, when the Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee reported to the

President its findings and conclusions anent RHC’s loans. This being the

case, the filing by the PCGG of its Affidavit-Complaint before the Office of

the Ombudsman on January 6, 2003, a little over ten (10) years from the date

of discovery of the crimes, is clearly belated. Undoubtedly, the ten-year

period within which to institute the action has already lapsed, making it

proper for the Ombudsman to dismiss petitioner’s complaint on the ground

of prescription.

Simply put, and as correctly held by the Ombudsman, prescription has

already set in when petitioner PCGG filed the Affidavit-Complaint on

January 6, 2003.

x x x."

Republic Act No. 10646 - “Charter of the Quezon City Development Authority”.

See - Republic Act No. 10646 | Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
SECTION 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Charter of the Quezon City Development Authority”.
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – The State recognizes the vital role of government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) in social and economic development. Thus, it is hereby declared the policy of the State to authorize the creation of GOCCs that may be used to implement certain programs of local government units (LGUs) without violating their autonomy. The GOCCs may also assist LGUs in providing their constituents access to socialized housing, health, education and the other basic services. Towards this end, the State shall allow LGUs, with their available resources, to venture with GOCCs to accomplish the purpose of this Act.
SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. – As used in this Act:
(a) Areas for priority development refer to those areas declared as such under existing statutes, ordinances, and pertinent executive issuances.
(b) Blighted urban communities refer to the areas where the structures are dilapidated, obsolete and unsanitary, tending to depreciate the value of the land and prevent normal development and use of the area.
(c) Consultation refers to the constitutionally mandated process whereby the public, on their own or through people’s organizations, is provided an opportunity to be heard and to participate in the decision-making process on matters involving the protection and promotion of their legitimate collective interest, which shall include appropriate documentation and feedback mechanisms.
(d) Idle lands refer to nonagricultural lands in urban and urbanized areas on which no improvements, as herein defined, have been made by the owner, as certified by the city assessor.
(e) Improvements refer to all types of buildings and residential units, walls, fences, structures and constructions of all kinds of a fixed character or which are adhered to the soil but shall not include trees, plants and growing fruits except for urban community vegetable and fruit gardens maintained by the landowner, an existing homeowner, a neighborhood association, the barangay and the landowner’s authorized representative.
(f) Marginal and low-income families refer to individuals or families residing in urban and urbanized areas whose income or combined household income falls within the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority and who do not own any housing facility or home lot. These shall include those who live in makeshift dwelling units and do not enjoy security of tenure.
(g) Monitoring refers to the collection, analysis, reporting and use of information about the progress of resettlement, and focuses on physical and financial targets and delivery of entitlements to people.
(h) On-site development refers to the process of upgrading and rehabilitation of blighted urban areas with a view of minimizing displacement of dwellers in said areas, and with provisions for basic services.
(i) Professional squatters refer to individuals or groups who occupy lands without the expressed consent of the landowner and who have sufficient income for legitimate housing. The term also applies to persons who were previously awarded home lots or housing units by the government but who sold, leased or transferred the same to settle illegally in the same place or in another urban area and non-bona fideoccupants and intruders of land reserved for socialized housing. The term shall not apply to individuals or groups who simply rent land and housing from professional squatters or squatting syndicates.
(j) Resettlement areas refer to areas identified by the local government unit which shall be used for the relocation of the underprivileged and homeless families.
(k) Socialized housing refers to the housing programs and projects covering real properties with or without existing houses undertaken by the government or the private sector for underprivileged and homeless citizens which shall include sites and services development, long term financing, liberalized terms on interest payments, and such other benefits in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 7279, otherwise known as the “Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992″.
SEC. 4. Creation. – There is hereby created a government-owned or -controlled corporation to be known as the Quezon City Development Authority (QCDA), which shall have its principal office in Quezon City.
The QCDA shall be governed by the provisions of Republic Act No. 10149, otherwise known as the “GOCC Governance Act of 2011″, and be subject to the regulatory jurisdiction of the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG).
SEC. 5. Objectives. – The QCDA shall have the following objectives:
(a) To provide adequate and affordable housing to marginal and low-income families in Quezon City;
(b) To encourage the participation of the private sector in housing ventures and urban renewal;
(c) To promote greening and development of vacant, blighted and underutilized lands in Quezon City owned by the local government; and
(d) To provide to the constituency of Quezon City projects that will improve their quality of life, such as affordable means and schemes of transportation, energy, telecommunication, information technology and manufacturing.
SEC. 6. Socialized Housing Development as Primary Mandate. – The QCDA shall maintain as its primary focus the development of socialized housing and urban renewal to be accomplished in any of the following ways:
(a) Development of new settlement areas in the following order of priority: on-site, near site, in-city, and near city;
(b) Upgrading of blighted areas or renewal of areas for priority development, environmental improvement and resettlement program; and
(c) Relocation of urban residents, including informal settlers who are involuntarily displaced due to the housing and urban renewal program.
For this purpose, the QCDA shall be required to develop an area for socialized housing equivalent to at least sixty percent (60%) of its total landholding.
SEC. 7. Capitalization and Funding. – The QCDA shall have an authorized capital stock of Two billion pesos (P2,000,000,000.00) divided into two billion (2,000,000,000) shares having a par value of One peso (P1.00) each, which may be available for subscription by the Quezon City government.
SEC. 8. Powers and Functions of the QCDA. – The QCDA shall have the following powers and functions in accordance with the established urban development and housing plan prepared by the Quezon City government:
(a) Develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated urban renewal program for Quezon City;
(b) Promote urban housing communities development in Quezon City with due consideration to ecological balance and geohazard assessment;
(c) Acquire, develop, and manage lands and buildings of every kind and character whether belonging to or to be acquired by the QCDA;
(d) Invest its funds as it may deem proper, in bonds and securities issued and guaranteed by the city government or the national government;
(e) Promote housing development by providing technical assistance to any related development project;
(f) Receive donations, grants and bequests for the resettlement of displaced families and development of socialized housing;
(g) Enter into joint ventures and partnerships to allow investments;
(h) Review for possible implementation the recommendations of the Quezon City Local Housing Board;
(i) Plan, implement and monitor urban renewal programs, in coordination with the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to protect and conserve unique, vital and sensitive ecosystems, watershed areas, scenic landscapes, cultural sites and provide resources and funding support for that purpose;
(j) Develop, improve, administer, subdivide or lease any lands, buildings, estates and other forms of real property acquired by the QCDA;
(k) Invest in various proprietary ventures to earn income to pursue its primary objective of urban renewal;
(l) Exercise all necessary corporate powers under Batas Pambansa Blg. 68, or the Corporation Code of the Philippines; and
(m) Perform such other acts necessary to effect the policies and achieve the objectives herein declared.
SEC. 9. Board of Directors. – The QCDA shall be governed by a board of directors, hereinafter referred to as the “Board”, which shall be composed of nine (9) members, who shall be the following:
(a) The Quezon City Administrator as Chairperson;
(b) The head of the Quezon City Department of Housing;
(c) The head of the Quezon City Planning Department;
(d) One (1) representative from the Quezon City Local Housing Board who stall not be an elected public official, to be nominated by tire Local Housing Board members themselves;
(e) Four (4) representatives from the private sector, all bona fide residents of Quezon City; and
(f) One (1) representative from the City Development Council who shall not be an elected public official and who shall be nominated by the officers of the City Development Council.
Appointive members of the Board must be qualified by the Fit and Proper Rule as determined by the GCG in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 10149. They shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines from a shortlist submitted by the GCG in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 10149:Provided, That in all Board positions, the GCG shall give utmost consideration to the nominees recommended by the City Mayor and the City Council of Quezon City, recommending at least three (3) names for every vacant position.
The members of the Board may receive per diems, allowances, and incentives in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the GCG.
The Board shall meet regularly at least once a month, but special meetings may be called either by the Chairperson or by five (5) members of the Board, when necessary. Five (5) members of the Board shall constitute a quorum and any approval of business shall require the concurrence of at least five (5) members.
The Board may hire from time to time up to a maximum of two (2) consultants from the private sector who are known professionals in the urban renewal and housing industry, with proven track record. They shall be entitled to receive honoraria to be determined by the Board.
SEC. 10. Powers and Duties of the Board. – The Board shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) Formulate policies, develop programs and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out the powers and functions of the QCDA;
(b) Act upon the annual budget and such supplemental budgets of the QCDA submitted by the General Manager: Provided, That the Board may reduce but may not increase any item proposed by the General Manager;
(c) Approve the organizational structure of the QCDA as well as its staffing pattern, the salaries of the personnel and their powers and duties as submitted by the General Manager: Provided, That the QCDA shall be covered by Republic Act No. 6758, as amended by Joint Resolution Nos. 1, series of 1994, and 4, series of 2009, the Compensation and Position Classification System for GOCCs under Republic Act No. 10149, as approved by the President of the Philippines: Provided, further,That prior approval from the GCG shall be obtained therefor;
(d) Formulate and enforce general and specific policies for housing development, resettlement and urban renewal and other policies that the QCDA may require for the effective discharge of its duties which are not contrary to existing laws;
(e) Order, authorize, direct and coordinate with offices and task forces of the Quezon City government in areas important to the implementation of its projects;
(f) Enter into contracts or agreements as may be necessary for the attainment of the objectives of this Act with parties other than members of the Board, Quezon City officials and employees and their relatives up to the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, or any judicial entity where such persons mentioned have pending cases or interest;
(g) Acquire by purchase privately owned lands for purposes of urban renewal, housing development, resettlement and related services and facilities: Provided,That the acquisition is with consent of the City Council through a resolution;
(h) Design, formulate, negotiate, and implement financial or investment schemes;
(i) Enable private sector assistance and participation in the achievement of the goals of the QCDA and in carrying out its operations;
(j) Render annual reports and special reports, as may be requested, in relation to Section 20 of this Act; and
(k) Enter into and execute memoranda of agreements, joint ventures, long-term leases and management contracts with private sector entities, to include real estate developers or construction companies with dependable repute and proven track record in developing and managing real estate ventures.
SEC. 11. Duties and Powers of the Chairman of the Board. – The Chairman shall:
(a) Call and preside at the meetings of the Board and shall see to it that the policies, programs, and rules and regulations developed and promulgated by it are implemented properly;
(b) Present for approval by the Board:
(1) The annual budget of the QCDA;
(2) The rules and regulations needed to carry out the provisions of this Act and the amendments thereto;
(3) Other matters which he deems necessary or proper for the effective implementation of this Act; and
(4) The annual report on the activities and finances of the QCDA, pursuant to Section 20 of this Act; and
(c) Performs such other functions, which the Board may direct to carry out the provisions of this Act.
SEC. 12. General Manager. – The General Manager shall be elected by the Board from the appointive members. The General Manager must possess either:
(a) A career service executive eligibility (CSEE) or career executive service officer (CESO) eligibility;
(b) A post-graduate degree related to law, management or public administration; or
(c) A minimum of ten (10) years of management experience and must be a recognized authority in housing or related field.
The General Manager shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the QCDA and shall be entitled to receive a salary in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the GCG, and shall serve for a fixed term of one (1) year, unless sooner removed by the Board for cause.
SEC. 13. Duties and Responsibilities of the General Manager. – The General Manager, as the Chief Executive Officer of the QCDA, shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
(a) Execute, administer and implement the policies and measures approved by the Board;
(b) Directly supervise the operation and internal affairs of the QCDA. The General Manager may delegate certain administrative responsibilities to other officers subject to the rules and regulations promulgated by the Board;
(c) Recommend the number and salaries of, appoint the subordinate officers and personnel of the QCDA, and remove or otherwise discipline for cause any officer or employee: Provided, That the QCDA shall be covered by Republic Act No. 6758, as amended by Joint Resolution Nos. 1, series of 1994, and 4, series of 2009, the Compensation and Position Classification System for GOCCs under Republic Act No. 10149, as approved by the President of the Philippines: Provided, further, That prior approval from the GCG shall be obtained therefor;
(d) Represent the QCDA in all dealings with other offices, agencies, and instrumentalities of the government and with all persons and entities, public or private, domestic or foreign; and
(e) Exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may be vested by the Board.
SEC. 14. Organizational Structure of the QCDA. – The General Manager shall prepare the organizational structure of the QCDA that would best carry out its powers and functions, and attain the objectives of this Act and shall present the same to the Board for its approval.
Subject to approval of the Board, the General Manager shall likewise determine the rates of allowances, honoraria and other additional compensation, which the QCDA is hereby authorized to grant its officers, technical staff, consultants and personnel detailed to it.
In all cases, the QCDA shall be covered by Republic Act No. 6758, as amended by Joint Resolution Nos. 1, series of 1994, and 4, series of 2009, the Compensation and Position Classification System for GOCCs under Republic Act No. 10149, as approved by the President of the Philippines: Provided, That prior approval from the GCG shall be obtained therefor.
SEC. 15. Inventory of Lands. – Within three (3) months from the effectivity of this Act, an inventory of all kinds of lands and improvements thereon within the territorial jurisdiction of Quezon City shall be conducted by three (3) reputable independent appraisers as chosen by the Board. The inventory shall include the following:
(a) Lands owned by the national government in Quezon City;
(b) Lands owned by the Quezon City government;
(c) Unregistered or abandoned and idle lands; and
(d) Other lands which may be of use to the Quezon City government in pursuit of the objectives of this Act.
In conducting the inventory, the independent appraisers shall indicate the type of land use, the degree of land utilization and other data or information necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act. They shall submit their report on the appraisal and inventory of lands to the Board, the Quezon City Mayor and the Quezon City Council.
SEC. 16. Identification of Sites for Socialized Housing. – After the inventory, the QCDA, in coordination with the Quezon City Council, shall identify lands for socialized housing and resettlement areas suited for the immediate and future needs of marginal and low income families in Quezon City, taking into consideration the availability of basic services and facilities, their accessibility and proximity to job sites and other economic opportunities, and the actual number of registered beneficiaries.
Lands for socialized housing may be identified from:
(a) Those owned by the Quezon City government;
(b) Alienable lands of the public domain;
(c) Unregistered or abandoned and idle lands;
(d) Those within the declared areas for priority development Zonal Improvement Program sites, and Slum Improvement and Resettlement Program sites which have not yet been acquired;
(e) Donated privately owned lands;
(f) Private lands offered for sale by the owners; and
(g) Any other manner provided for by law.
The QCDA shall give budgetary priority to on-site development of government lands.
SEC. 17. Completed Projects: Management and Disposition. – The QCDA shall determine, establish and maintain the most feasible and effective program for the management or disposition of specific urban renewal, housing or resettlement projects. Unless otherwise decided by the Board, completed housing or resettlement projects of the Quezon City government shall be managed and administered by the QCDA: Provided, That the communities and residents have been fully consulted on such arrangements.
SEC. 18. Eligibility Criteria for Socialized Housing Program Beneficiaries. – The following shall qualify for the socialized housing program:
(a) A Filipino citizen;
(b) Members of the marginal and low-income families in Quezon City;
(c) Those who do not own any real property in the urban area; and
(d) Those who are not professional squatters or members of squatting syndicates.
Beneficiaries may also include employees of government entities with offices situated in Quezon City whose salaries are not higher than salary grade 18 or its equivalent as certified by their offices’ respective personnel department: Provided,That they are not yet beneficiaries of any housing program.
In coordination with the Quezon City Council, the QCDA shall design a system for the identification and registration of qualified program beneficiaries in accordance with the objectives of this Act.
SEC. 19. Issuance of Bonds and Power to Borrow. – The QCDA may be authorized to issue bonds and other securities and enter into any form of indebtedness to finance the implementation of its urban renewal and housing program: Provided,That only so much of such bonds and securities as the annual project implementation would require shall be issued and sold: Provided, further, That no bonds and securities shall be issued unless eighty percent (80%) of those already issued have been sold: Provided, furthermore, That the total amount of the bonds or securities and long-term debts issued shall in no case exceed twenty (20) times the paid-up capital and surplus of the QCDA: Provided, finally, That in no instance shall the sovereign guarantee of the Republic of the Philippines be required or allowed.
The QCDA, in consultation with the Secretary of Finance and the Monetary Board, shall prescribe the form, the rate of interest and denomination, maturities, negotiabilities, call or redemption features and all other terms and conditions for the bonds and securities to be issued.
The bonds and securities issued under this Act, including the income thereof shall be exempted from all kinds of local taxes and from attachment, execution and seizure which facts shall be stated on the face thereof.
SEC. 20. Reports. – The QCDA shall submit an annual report to the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines, both Houses of Congress, the Representatives of Quezon City, the Quezon City Mayor and the Quezon City Council indicating,, among others, the urban renewal and housing program being implemented, the stages of implementation and the financial position of the QCDA. It shall likewise submit such periodic and other reports as may be required by the GCG, the Quezon City Mayor and the Quezon City Council:
The Quezon City Council shall undertake the internal and external monitoring of the housing and urban development of the QCDA to ensure complete and objective information about the progress of resettlement and shall also:
(a) Assess whether resettlement objectives have been met and specifically whether livelihoods and living standards have been restored or enhanced;
(b) Assess resettlement efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability; and
(c) Ascertain whether the resettlement entitlements were appropriate in meeting the resettlement objectives and whether the resettlement objectives were suited to the conditions.
SEC. 21. Dissolution. – In the event the QCDA is dissolved for any reason, all of its properties and other assets remaining at the time of such dissolution shall revert to the Quezon City government.
SEC. 22. Applicability of the Corporation Code. – The provisions of the Corporation Code, insofar as these are not inconsistent with the provisions and policies provided in this Act, shall be applicable and suppletory.
SEC. 23. Separability Clause. – Should any section or provision of this Act be declared by the courts to be unconstitutional, the validity of this Act or any part hereof other than the part so declared to be unconstitutional or invalid shall not be affected. Any portion hereof not affected by such declaration shall remain in full force and effect.
SEC. 24. Repealing Clause. – All laws, ordinances, executive orders, administrative orders, rules, regulations, decrees.- and other issuances or parts thereof which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby revoked, repealed or modified accordingly.
SEC. 25. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.