Thursday, April 17, 2014

Taking civic initiative: Where every citizen is a lawmaker

See - Taking civic initiative: Where every citizen is a lawmaker

"x x x.

Are you frustrated with community policies (or the lack of them)? Are you irritated at the glacial delivery pace of local government services? Were your ideas at the Barangay Assembly given a deaf ear by those present?
Fear not! You can still turn your ideas into reality! This can be done through the mechanism known as Local Initiative.
Section 120 of Republic Act 7160, “The Local Government Code of 1991," as amended, defines it clearly:
“Local initiative is the legal process whereby the registered voters of a local government unit may directly propose, enact, or amend any ordinance.”
This power may be exercised by any registered voter, and may affect local law at the provincial, city, municipal, and even the barangay level. This is provided under Sections 120 to 127 of the Local Government Code, as amended, and does not require prior approval of the provincial, city, municipal, or barangay council. (READ: Rule XX of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7160)
Under Section 122 of the same law, the following minimum number of petitioners are needed:
  • at least one thousand (1,000) registered voters, for provincial and city ordinances
  • at least one hundred (100) registered voters, for municipal ordinances
  • at least fifty (50) registered voters, for barangay ordinances
This process begins with the filing of a written petition, proposing the adoption, repeal, or amendment of an ordinance with the local sanggunian (council) concerned. (Section 8 of Republic Act 9485, “The Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007" provides that submitted documents shall be acted upon by the assigned official not longer than ten (10) days from receipt. Where an extension is needed, the official must notify the requesting party in writing of the reason for the extension and the final date of action.)
If no favorable action is taken by the sanggunian concerned within 30 days from presentation, the proponents (personally, or through representatives), may, by giving written notice to the sanggunian concerned, invoke their power of initiative. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), through the local election officer, is mandated to extend assistance in the formulation of the proposition. Each proposition must be numbered serially, starting with the Roman numeral I, and two or more propositions may be submitted.
The proponents have the following time periods, from the notice of initiative, to collect the required number of signatures:
  • 90 days, for provincial and city ordinances
  • 60 days, for municipal ordinances
  • 30 days, for barangay ordinances
The following minimum number of signatures are needed:
  • at least 10% of all registered voters, where at least 3% of each legislative district is represented, for provincial and city ordinances, where the province or city has more than one legislative district
  • at 10% of all registered voters, where at least 3% of each municipality in the province is represented, for provincial ordinances, where the province has only one legislative district
  • at least 10% of all registered voters, where at least 3% of each barangay in the city or municipality is represented, for city and municipal ordinances
  • at least 10% of all registered voters, for barangay ordinances
The petitions shall be signed in public places within the local government unit, in the presence of the election registrar, the proponent, and the members of the sanggunian concerned (or their designated representatives).
The local COMELEC official then certifies the result. If the required minimum number of signatures is not met, the proposition is defeated. If the required minimum number of signatures is met, the COMELEC then sets a voting date, where the proposition is put to a general vote:
  • 60 days hence (for provincial and city ordinances)
  • 45 days hence (for municipality ordinances)
  • 30 days hence (for barangay ordinances)
If the proposition is approved by a simple majority of the votes cast, it takes effect 15 days after certification by the COMELEC. If it fails to garner a simple majority of the votes cast, it is defeated.
If the sanggunian concerned enacts the proposition as presented as an ordinance, the initiative is cancelled, however, those against that action may continue with the initiative process as provided by the Local Government Code.
Citizen empowerment
The power of local initiative cannot be exercised more than once a year, and propositions must be within the legal powers of the sanggunian to enact, as provided by the Local Government Code.
Any proposition approved through initiative cannot be repealed, modified, or amended by the sanggunian concerned within 6 months from the date of approval (18 months, for barangays). After this prescriptive period, the proposition approved through initiative can only be repealed, amended, or modified by the sanggunian concerned by a vote of 3/4ths of all its members.
Residents of Barangay Milagrosa in Quezon City made history last May 2011 by being the first to successfully enact a barangay ordinance in this manner, with a vote of 465 in favor and 384 against, thereby setting a precedent.
You might just be that change your community seeks. Champion your ideas! Take the initiative! -
Lou Gepuela is a Filipino citizen who believes that sustained public engagement with government and continued community empowerment is the missing link in fixing a significant portion of society's ills. He spent five years learning and applying process improvement, people management, and customer care skills in the local BPO industry.
x x x.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘Ruling vs RH provisions a dangerous precedent’ | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star |

See - ‘Ruling vs RH provisions a dangerous precedent’ | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star |

"x x x.

The Supreme Court (SC) has set a dangerous precedent in striking down key provisions of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Law or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, according to Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.
In his dissenting opinion, Leonen said the SC decision empowers the dominant Catholic Church to impose its doctrines over other religions.
The youngest member of the SC contested the majority ruling declaring as unconstitutional the mandatory referral systems in Section 17 and Section 23, paragraph (a) (3) of the law.
Leonen believes that the ruling, which cited as basis the right of religion of the doctor or health care provider, “implicitly imposes a religious belief on the patient.”
“It is also not clear in the ponencia whether the provisions on referral by conscientious objectors are declared unconstitutional for all religions or only for specific ones... If the declaration is for all religions, then this might just result in violation of the non-establishment clause. A dominant majoritarian religion is now aided in imposing its beliefs not only on patients but also on all those who have different faiths,” he explained.
“This is the natural result for speculative cases. This is dangerous constitutional precedent,” he added.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Leonen said the majority should have considered the impact of their ruling on a religion that is not the minority.
“Invocations of religious freedom can be a disguised way of imposing the dominant faith on others,” he said.
Leonen also dissented from the majority decision to declare unconstitutional Section 23(a)(2)(i), which allows married individuals to undergo reproductive health procedures without the consent of the spouse.
“The majority interprets the privacy and autonomy of the family as also providing insulation of patriarchal or sexist practices from state scrutiny. This is not what the Constitution intends,” he said.
He said the ruling was based on “speculative facts.”
x x x."

Monday, April 14, 2014

Guidelines and Policies for the Monitoring of Service fees of Professionals

Quezon City

March 3, 2014 


SUBJECT : Guidelines and Policies for the Monitoring of Service fees of Professionals 

TO : All Internal Revenue Officers and Others Concerned

Section 1. Background —

In line with the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) campaign to promote
transparency and to eradicate tax evasion among self-employed professionals, the BIR has consistently enjoined them to comply with the BIR’s requirements on registration pursuant to Section 236 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) of 1997, as amended and issuance of official receipts and invoices under Sections 113 and 237 of the same Code. In order to complement these efforts, there is a pressing need to monitor the service fees charged by self-employed professionals.

Pursuant to Section 244 of the NIRC of 1997, as amended, these regulations are
issued for the purpose of monitoring the fees charged by the professionals, aid the BIR personnel in conducting tax audit and boost revenue collections in such sectors.

Section 2. Policies and Guidelines —

1. Self-employed professionals shall register and pay the annual registration fee
(ARF) with the RDO/LTDO having jurisdiction over them. In addition to the
requirements for annual registration, all self-employed professionals shall
submit an affidavit indicating the rates, manner of billings and the factors they
consider in determining their service fees upon registration and every year
thereafter on or before January 31.

2. Self-employed professionals are obligated to register the books of accounts and official appointment books of their practice of profession /occupation/calling
before using the same. The official appointment books shall contain only the
names of the client and the date/time of the meeting. They are likewise
obligated to register their sales invoices and official receipts (VAT or non-VAT)
before using them in any transactions.

3. In cases when no professional fees are charged by the professional and paid
by client, a BIR registered receipt, duly acknowledged by the latter, shall be
issued showing a discount of 100% as substantiation of the “pro-bono’ service.

SECTION 3. Transitory Provision. — All existing and registered self-employed
professionals at the time these Regulations became effective are required to submit the required affidavit and register its official appointment books within thirty (30) days from date of effectivity of these Regulations.

SECTION 4. Penalty Clause. — Any violation of the provisions of these Regulations shall be subject to the penalties provided for in Sections 254 and 275, and other pertinent provisions of the NIRC of 1997, as amended.

SECTION 5. Repealing Clause. — Any rules and regulations or parts thereof
inconsistent with the provisions of these Regulations are hereby repealed, amended, or modified accordingly.

SECTION 6. Effectivity. —The provisions of these Regulations shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following publication in any newspaper of general circulation.

 Secretary of Finance 

Recommending Approval:

Commissioner of Internal Revenue 

IBP seeks TRO vs new BIR regulation | Inquirer News

See -  IBP seeks TRO vs new BIR regulation | Inquirer News

 "x x x.

MANILA, Philippines – Saying the Bureau of Internal Revenue was encroaching on the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines has asked the high court to void a new tax regulation requiring self-employed professionals like them to disclose their service fees and client information.

In a petition asking for a temporary restraining order filed April 8, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, an association of all lawyers in the country, assailed Revenue Regulation 4-2014 titled “Guidelines and Policies for the Monitoring of Services Fees of Professionals” as unconstitutional.

RR 4-2014, dated March 3, requires all self-employed professionals to submit an “affidavit indicating the rates, manner of billings, and the factors they consider in determining their service fees upon registration and every year thereafter on or before Jan. 31.”

They were also required to submit their books of accounts and official appointment books, containing the names of their clients and the dates and time of the meetings.

Even in pro bono cases when no fee is charged, RR 4-2014 also requires lawyers to issue a BIR-registered receipt showing that a 100 per cent discount was given.

The IBP said the regulation issued by the BIR and the Department of Finance “encroaches upon the court’s exclusive authority and jurisdiction to regulate and prescribe rules” for the legal profession.

“The power to promulgate rules on the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleadings and practice and the law profession is lodged exclusively in the Supreme Court, not in any other agency of government, least of all the Department of 
Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue,” the IBP said.

The IBP also said that both the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Rules of Court state that the lawyer-client relationship should be “strictly personal, fiduciary and highly confidential.”

“One rule adopted to serve this purpose is the rule on attorney-client privilege. Under the operation of this privilege, an attorney is mandated to keep inviolate his client’s secrets or confidences,” the IBP said.

x x x.


Professionals ordered to disclose rates

BIR chief: 90% of PH professionals tax evaders

Read more:
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The lawyer's creed...

Law is not livelihood....

I discovered the law again....

A good lawyer....

On immigration law...

Knowing the judge....

The law-making process...

Just someone's opinion...

When is justice served?

Courts of conscience....

How republics fall...

When equality is unjust....

Social justice....

Trial by jury.

True justice....

Seek justice....

Critical thinking.

On injustice...

On being neutral....

The truth....

When the law is unjust....

On stealing...

To restrain the government...

What the people cannot delegate....

Rightful masters....

On power...

When the wrong thing is legal

On Congress

SC declares RH law constitutional

See  - SC declares RH law constitutional

"x x x.

The following are the 8 provisions of the law struck down by the SC in full or partially:
1.) Section 7, only insofar as it: (a) requires private health facilities, non-maternity specialty hospitals, and hospitals owned by religious groups to refer patients not in an emergency or life-threatening situation to another health facility which is conveniently accessible (b) provides access to family planning and RH services to minors who have been pregnant or had a miscarriage without a parental consent
The rest of Section 7, however, which provides access to family planning, was upheld by the court, notably this line: "All accredited public health facilities shall provide a full range of modern family planning methods, which shall also include medical consultations, supplies and necessary and reasonable procedures for poor and marginalized couples having infertility issues who desire to have children." (READ: The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012)
2.) Section 23-A-1, which punishes RH providers, regardless of their religious belief, who fail or refuse to dissiminate information regarding RH services and programs
3.) Section 23-A-2-i, which allows a married individual not in a life-threatening case to access RH procedures without the consent of the spouse
4.) Section 23-A-3, insofar as it punishes an RH provider who fails to refer any non-life-threatening case to another RH provider
5.) Section 23-B, insofar as it punishes any public officer who refuses to support RH programs
6.) Section 17, which mandates a 40-hour pro bono service by private and nongovernment RH service providers, including gynecologists and obstetricians, as a prerequisite for PhilHealth accreditation.
7.) Section 3.01-A and J of the RH law Implementing Rules and Regulations, which defines abortifacients as "primarily" inducing abortion instead of simply inducing abortion.
8.) Section 23-A-2-ii, which prohibits RH service providers from refusing to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on minors in non-life-threatening situations without parental consent.
These stuck-down provisions do not diminish the law, according to former and incumbent lawmakers who helped craft it. Former Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, the principal author of the RH bill in the 15th Congress, cited 6 "core" provisions that the SC left "untouched." (READ: Struck-down provisions do not diminish RH law)
x x x."

When is a Rock Not a Rock?

See -  When is a Rock Not a Rock?


When is a Rock Not a Rock?

A small court in the Hague wrestles with an existential question that could put a stop to China's maritime power grab.

Jail the corrupt