Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Witness; qualifications and disqualifications - The RTC clearly erred in ordering the dismissal of the subject application for land registration for failure to prosecute because petitioner’s witness did not possess an authorization to testify on behalf of petitioner.


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However, there is no substantive or procedural rule which requires a witness for a party to present some form of authorization to testify as a witness for the party presenting him or her. No law or jurisprudence would support the conclusion that such omission can be considered as a failure to prosecute on the part of the party presenting such witness.  All that the Rules require of a witness is that the witness possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided therein.  Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence provides:
SEC. 20. Witnesses; their qualifications.–Except as provided in the next succeeding section, all persons who can perceive, and perceiving, can make known their perception to others, may be witnesses.
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Cavili v. Judge Florendo⁠3 speaks of the disqualifications:
Sections 19 and 20 of Rule 130 provide for specific disqualifications. Section 19 disqualifies those who are mentally incapacitated and children whose tender age or immaturity renders them incapable of being witnesses. Section 20 provides for disqualification based on conflicts of interest or on relationship. Section 21 provides for disqualifications based on privileged communications. Section 15 of Rule 132 may not be a rule on disqualification of witnesses but it states the grounds when a witness may be impeached by the party against whom he was called.
x x x The specific enumeration of disqualified witnesses excludes the operation of causes of disability other than those mentioned in the Rules. It is a maxim of recognized utility and merit in the construction of statutes that an express exception, exemption, or saving clause excludes other exceptions. (In ReEstate of Enriquez, 29 Phil. 167) As a general rule, where there are express exceptions these comprise the only limitations on the operation of a statute and no other exception will be implied. (Sutherland on Statutory Construction, Fourth Edition, Vol. 2A, p. 90) The Rules should not be interpreted to include an exception not embodied therein. (Emphasis supplied.)
A reading of the pertinent law and jurisprudence would show that Ms. Aban is qualified to testify as a witness for the petitioner since she possesses the qualifications of being able to perceive and being able to make her perceptions known to others. Furthermore, she possesses none of the disqualifications described above.
The RTC clearly erred in ordering the dismissal of the subject application for land registration for failure to prosecute because petitioner’s witness did not possess an authorization to testify on behalf of petitioner.  The court a quo also erred when it concluded that the subject case was not prosecuted by a duly authorized representative of the petitioner.  The OSG and the court a quo did not question the Verification/Certification4  of the application, and neither did they question the authority of Mr. Azcueta to file the subject application on behalf of the petitioner. Case records would reveal that the application was signed and filed by Mr. Azcueta in his capacity as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the petitioner, as authorized by petitioner’s Board of Trustees.5   The authority of Mr. Azcueta to file the subject application was established by a Secretary’s Certificate⁠6 attached to the said application. The asseveration that the subject case was not prosecuted by a duly authorized representative of the petitioner is thus unfounded.
Interestingly enough, the respondent itself agrees with the petitioner that the dismissal of the subject application by the court a quo on the ground of failure to prosecute due to lack of authority of the sole witness of the petitioner is unfounded and without legal basis.7

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By: Oscar Franklin Tan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:08 AM May 30th, 2016

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Ironically, the #NonLibelousTweet campaign failed to emphasize that it cannot be libel to comment on public affairs in a democracy. It is not libel to comment on a matter of public interest or a public figure, someone who has voluntarily thrust himself into the limelight and attracts public discussion. On such topics, it is only libel if there is “actual malice,” if one knew statements were false or recklessly disregarded possible falsity. The bar is so high on such topics that even false or inaccurate statements are not libel, to make room for honest error.

A confidential disbarment case was filed against Ampatuan massacre lead defense lawyer Sigfrid Fortun for allegedly delaying the trial. In the 2013 Fortun case, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio refused to punish media, including the Inquirer, for reporting this after another lawyer leaked it.

First, we are free to discuss matters of public interest, such as a shocking case’s conduct. Such matters are no less public if a private person is intertwined, voluntarily or not. Second, we are free to discuss public figures. Fortun was a key player in the high-profile case and, previously, in former president Joseph Estrada’s impeachment.

On Election Day, Robin Padilla posted a picture of a ballot shaded with a vote for incoming President Rodrigo Duterte. Miss Krizzy (@krizzy_kalerqui) tweeted: “This is a clear violation of election law. Throw him in jail!”

Taking Carpio’s lead, this is not libel. First, a democracy must discuss election violations on Election Day. Actors Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla were accused of such violation. Second, Padilla is a public figure, a celebrity who campaigned for Duterte all the way to Hong Kong.

Robin Padilla astoundingly filed a libel case with the National Bureau of Investigation. He argued he posted a sample ballot and his 1994 conviction for illegal possession of firearms disqualifies him from voting. This is irrelevant; discussing his alleged election violation is still not libel.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. claimed that “numerous academicians” cited statistical irregularities in election results. Sen. Bam Aquino, a summa cum laude Ateneo management engineering graduate, countered that only two did. Contreras, a DLSU political science professor, and former Ateneo economics professor, Dave Yap, cried statistical irregularity from Facebook to mass media to an aborted University of the Philippines forum.

I doubt Contreras’ first assumption that election results were randomly transmitted. Certain regions transmitted first, and voting patterns per region are different. Arguments fall apart without this key randomness assumption, for reasons explained in the first week of a statistics class.

So many argued Contreras misapplied basic statistics. The Ateneo Mathematics Society launched a Facebook “crash course” on statistics on May 15. One hundred four scientists signed “Call for Responsible Data Science in National Discourse” on May 24.

UP physics professor Ian Vega reacted to this:

“[Contreras is] either slow, too proud or paid. Whatever the case, he’s a sorry excuse for an academic.”

The next day, Contreras publicly posted he would sue Vega for libel.

Rey Soriano posted after May 27’s canvass: “Academics like you… allowed falsities to gain currency by providing a semblance of ‘science’ to your madness.” Within half an hour, Contreras posted: “Another candidate for libel?”

Contreras posted on May 26 that “many people are now busy editing or even deleting their derogatory posts,” but he took pictures. “So the next question is who will be next,” he wrote. “I just hope your science will now be able to save you from jail.”

Academics are alarmed by these threats, including a Dec. 9, 2015, post where Contreras cited students “maligning” him on a website “Profs to Pick and Avoid.” He said if he sees a post “where you can be identified, then I promise you that I will make sure that DLSU will not only kick you out, but you will also land in jail.”

Vega and Soriano’s posts are not libel. First, Marcos and Aquino cited Contreras in the Senate. Any citizen may debate his credibility, even rudely, just as one is free to call Marcos or Aquino a sorry excuse for a senator or mad. Second, Contreras is a public figure. He so publicly pursued his accusations and previously sued Sen. Grace Poe over her citizenship.

The greatest evil is that Miss Krizzy and Vega actually deleted their original messages. Democracy dies when citizens hesitate to speak and cold silence replaces vibrant speech.

Our Constitution demands that speech be met with more speech. Cyberlibel is the weapon of the intellectual and moral coward, someone so bankrupt in the marketplace of ideas that he must dragoon law into silencing competitors. We must etch onto our culture that threatening libel is more despicable than posting “Game of Thrones” spoilers. We must make it socially unthinkable for someone to cry libel instead of simply replying— or for a prosecutor or judge not to immediately throw out a Facebook libel charge.

The next time you hesitate on Facebook, just cite Carpio. If he stares down the Chinese Navy with ancient maps, he can scare off internet trolls.

For more on libel’s limits, read “Articulating the Complete Philippine Right to Privacy,” 82(4) Phil., L.J. 78 (2008).

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React: oscarfranklin.tan@yahoo.com.ph, Twitter @oscarfbtan, facebook.com/OscarFranklinTan.

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Bill of rights to protect insurance policyholders issued | Inquirer Business

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Bill of rights to protect insurance policyholders issued

04:28 AM May 30th, 2016

THE INSURANCE Commission has come out with a bill of rights detailing an insurer’s obligations to consumers to better protect policyholders, specifying sanctions for noncompliance.

Circular No. 2016-30 issued by Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel F. Dooc last May 26 laid down the “Bill of Rights of Policyholders” that listed down the basic rights of the insured under the Amended Insurance Code as well as its implementing rules and regulations.

Policyholders refer to owners of insurance policies, who might be the insured or assured in a life or non-life insurance policy or the beneficiary, Dooc noted.

The bill of rights also protects insured members and covered dependent of mutual benefit associations as well as prospective clients or the insuring public as a whole.

The specific rights of policyholders are as follows: Right to a financially sound and viable insurance company; right to access insurance companies’ official financial information; right to be informed of the license status of insurance companies, intermediaries and soliciting agents; right to be offered a duly approved insurance product, and right to be informed of the benefits, exclusions and other provisions under the policy.

Also, planholders have the right to receive the policy; right to confidentiality of information; right to efficient service from insurance companies, intermediaries and soliciting agents; right to prompt and fair settlement of claims, as well as the right to seek assistance from the Insurance Commission.

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Republic Act No. 10844 - “Department of Information And Communications Technology Act of 2015”.


SECTION 1. Short. Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Department of Information And Communications Technology Act of 2015”.
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is hereby declared the policy of the State:
(a) To recognize the vital role of information and communication in nation-building;
(b) To ensure the provision of £ strategic, reliable, cost-efficient and. citizen-centric information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, systems and resources as instruments of good governance and global competitiveness;
(c) To ensure universal access to quality, affordable, reliable and secure Id’ services;
(d) To promote the development and widespread use of emerging ICT and foster and accelerate the convergence of ICT and ICT-enabled facilities;
(e) To ensure the availability and accessibility of ICT services in areas not adequately served by the private sector
(f) To foster an ICT sector policy environment that will promote a broad market-led development of the ICT and ICT-enabled services (1CT-ES) sectors, a level playing field, partnership between the public and private sectors, strategic alliance with foreign investors and balanced investments between high-growth and economically-depressed areas;
(g) To promote and assist the development of local ICT content, applications and services which may include support for ICT-based start-up enterprises through strategic partnerships;
(h) To promote the use of ICT for the enhancement of key public services, such as education, public health and safety, revenue generation, and socio-civic purposes;
(i) To encourage the use of ICT for the development and promotion of the country’s arts and culture, tourism and national identity;
(j) To promote digital literacy, ICT expertise, and knowledge-building among citizens to enable them to participate and compete in an evolving ICT age:
(k) To empower, through the use of ICT, the disadvantaged segments of the population, including the elderly, persons with disabilities and indigenous and minority groups;
(l) To ensure the rights of individuals to privacy and confidentiality of their personal information;
(m) To ensure the security of critical ICT infrastructures including information assets of the government, individuals and businesses; and
(n) To provide oversight over agencies governing and regulating the ICT sector and ensure consumer protection and welfare, data privacy and security, foster competition and the growth of the ICT sector.
SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. – As used in this Act the following terms are defined as follows:
(a) Information and Communications Technology or ICT shall mean the totality of electronic means to access, create, collect, store, process, receive, transmit, present and disseminate information:
(b) Convergence shall mean the interface between and among various telephony, radio, video, broadcasting and multimedia infrastructure, devices and services, enabling users or subscribers thereof to communicate with one another;
(c) Electronic Government or E-Government shall mean the use of ICT by the government and the public to enhance the access to and delivery of government services to bring about efficient, responsive, ethical, accountable and transparent government service:
(d) ICT Sector shall mean those engaged in providing goods and services primarily intended to fulfill or enable the function of information processing and communication by electronic means. The ICT sector includes telecommunications and broadcast information operators, ICT equipment manufacturers, multimedia content developers and providers, ICT solution providers, internet service providers, ICT training institutions, software developers and ICT-ES providers;
(e) ICT-Enabled Services or ICT-ES Sector shall mean those engaged in providing services that require the intrinsic use of Id’s including engineering or architectural design, informatics service providers, offshoring and outsourcing service providers such as call centers, back office processing, software development, medical or legal transcription, animation, game development, and other services that require the intrinsic use of a networked information infrastructure; and
(f) Chief Information Officer or CIO shall mean a senior officer in all national government agencies (NGAs), including constitutional offices, state universities and colleges (SUCs), government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), and government financial institutions (GFIs) responsible for the development and management of the agency’s ICT systems and applications.
SEC. 4. Creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). – There is hereby created the Department of Information and Communications Technology7, hereinafter referred to as the Department.
SEC. 5. Mandate. – The Department shall be the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, and administrative entity of the Executive Branch of the government that will plan, develop, and promote the national ICT development agenda
SEC. 6. Powers and Functions. – The Department shall exercise the following powers and functions:
I. Policy and Planning
(a) Formulate, recommend and implement national policies, plans, programs and guidelines that will promote the development and use of ICT with due consideration to the advantages of convergence and emerging technologies;
(b) Formulate policies and initiatives, in coordination with the Department of Education (DepED). the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), to develop and promote ICT in education consistent with the national goals and objectives., and responsive to the human resource needs of the ICT and ICT-ES sectors;
(c) Provide an integrated framework in order to optimize all government ICT resources and networks for the identification and prioritization of all E-Government systems and applications as provided for m the E-Government Masterplan and the Philippine Development Plan (PDP);
II. Improved Public Access
(d) Prescribe rules and regulations for the establishment, operation and maintenance of ICT infrastructures in unserved and underserved areas, in consultation with the local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations (CSOs). private sector, and the academe;
(e) Establish a free internet service that can be accessed in government offices and public areas using the most cost-effective telecommunications technology, through partnership with private service providers as may be necessary;
III. Resource-Sharing and Capacity-Building
(f) Harmonize and coordinate all national ICT plans and initiatives to ensure knowledge, information and resource-sharing, database-building and agency networking linkages among government agencies, consistent with E-Government objectives in particular, and national objectives in general;
(g) Ensure the development and protection of integrated government ICT infrastructures and designs, taking into consideration the inventory of existing manpower, plans, programs, software, hardware, and installed systems;
(h) Assist and provide technical expertise to government agencies in the development of guidelines in the enforcement and administration of laws, standards, rules, and regulations governing ICT;
(i) Assess, review and support ICT research and development programs of the government in coordination with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and other institutions concerned;
(j) Prescribe the personnel qualifications and other qualification standards essential to the effective development and operation of government ICT infrastructures and systems;
(k) Develop programs that would enhance the career advancement opportunities of ICT workers in government;
(l) Assist in the dissemination of vital information essential to disaster risk reduction through the use of ICT:
(m) Represent and negotiate for Philippine interest on matters pertaining to ICT in international bodies, in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and other institutions concerned;
IV. Consumer Protection and Industry Development
(n) Ensure and protect the rights and welfare of consumers and business users to privacy, security and confidentiality in matters relating to ICT, in coordination with agencies concerned, the private sector and relevant international bodies;
(o) Support the promotion of trade and investment opportunities in the ICT and ICT-ES sectors, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other relevant government agencies and the private sector;
(p) Establish guidelines for public-private partnerships in the implementation of ICT projects for government agencies; and
(q) Promote strategic partnerships and alliances between and among local and international ICT, research and development, educational and training institutions, to speed up industry growth and enhance competitiveness of Philippine workers, firms, and small and medium enterprises in the global markets for ICT and ICT-ES.
SEC. 7. Composition. – The Department shall be headed by a Secretary. The Department proper shall be composed of the Office of the Secretary, the Offices of the Undersecretaries and the assistant secretaries.
SEC. 8. Secretary of Information and Communications Technology. – The Secretary shall be appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. The Secretary shall have the following functions:
(a) Provide executive direction and supervision over the entire operations of the Department and its attached agencies,
(b) Establish policies and standards for the effective, efficient and economical operation of the Department, in accordance with the programs of government;
(c) Review and approve requests for financial and manpower resources of all operating offices of the Department:
(d) Designate and appoint officers and employees of the Department, excluding the undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and regional and assistant regional directors, in accordance with the civil service laws, rules and regulations;
(e) Exercise disciplinary powers over officers and employees of the Department in accordance with law, including their investigation and the designation of a committee or officer to conduct such investigation:
(f) Coordinate with IX5Us. other agencies and public and private interest groups, including nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) on Department policies and initiatives;
(g) Prepare and submit to the President through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) an estimate of the necessary expenditures of the Department during the next fiscal year, on the basis of the reports and estimates submitted by bureaus and offices under him/her;
(h) Serve as a member of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) as established by Republic Act No. 9184;
(i) Advise the President on the promulgation of executive and administrative orders and formulation of regulatory and. legislative proposals on matters pertaining to ICT development;
(j) Formulate such rules and regulations and exercise such other powers as may be required to implement the objectives of this Act: and
(k) Perform such other tasks as may be provided by law or assigned by the President.
SEC. 9. Undersecretaries. – The Secretary shall be assisted by three (3) undersecretaries, who shall be appointed by the President upon the recommendation of the Secretary: Provided, That two (2) of the undersecretaries shall be career officers.
SEC.10. Assistant Secretaries. – The Secretary shall be assisted by four (4) assistant secretaries who shall be appointed by the President upon the recommendation of the Secretary: Provided, That two (2) of the assistant secretaries shall be career officers: Provided, further, That at least one (1) of the assistant secretaries shall be a licensed Professional Electronics Engineer (PECE), or any suitably qualified person in accordance with Civil Service Commission (CSC) rules and regulations.
SEC.11. Qualifications. – No person shall be appointed Secretary, Undersecretary, or Assistant Secretary of the Department unless he or she is a citizen and resident of the Philippines, of good moral character, of proven integrity and with at least seven (7) years of competence and expertise in any of the following: information and communications technology, information technology service management, information security management, cybersecurity, data privacy. e-Commerce, or human capital development in the ICT sector.
SEC. 12. Regional Offices – The Department may establish, operate, and maintain a regional office in the different administrative regions of the country as the need arises. Each regional office shall be headed by a Regional Director, who may be assisted by one (1) Assistant Regional Director. The Regional Director and Assistant Regional Director shall be appointed by the President. The regional offices shall have, within their respective administrative regions, the following functions:
(a) Implement laws, policies, plans, programs, projects, rules and regulations of the Department:
(b) Provide efficient and effective service to the people:
(c) Coordinate with regional offices of other departments, offices, and agencies;
(d) Coordinate with the LG Us; and
(e) Perform such other functions as may be provided by law or assigned by the Secretary.
SEC. 13. Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council. – The Department shall facilitate the creation of the CIO Council, which shall consist of CIOs, with the Secretary serving as the Chairman, to assist the Department in the implementation of government ICT initiatives.
SEC. 14. Sectoral and Industry Task Forces. – The Department may create sectoral and industry task forces, technical working groups, advisory bodies or committees for the furtherance of its objectives. Additional private sector representatives, such as from the academe, CSOs, and federation of private industries directly involved in ICT, as well as representatives of other NGAs. LGUs and GOCCs may be appointed to these working groups. Government IT professionals may also be tapped to partake in the work of the Department through, these working groups.
SEC. 15. Transfer of Agencies and Personnel. –
(a) The following agencies are hereby abolished, and their powers and functions, applicable funds and appropriations, records, equipment, property, and personnel transferred to the Department:
(1) Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO);
(2) National Computer Center (NCC);
(3) National Computer Institute (NCI);
(4) Telecommunications Office (TELOF):
(5) National Telecommunications Training Institute (NTTT); and
(6) All operating units of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) with functions and responsibilities dealing with communications.
All offices, services, divisions, units and personnel not otherwise covered by this Act for transfer to the Department shall be retained under the DOTC which is hereby renamed the Department of Transportation.
(b) The following agencies are hereby attached, to the Department for policy and program coordination, and shall continue to operate and function in accordance with the charters, laws or orders creating them, insofar as they are not inconsistent with this Act:
(1) National Telecommunications Commission;
(2) National Privacy Commission; and
(3) Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC)
(i) All powers and functions related to cybersecurity including, but not limited to the formulation of the National Cybersecurity Plan, establishment of the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), and the facilitation of international cooperation on intelligence regarding cybersecurity matters are transferred to the Department; and
(ii) The CICC shall be chaired by the DICT Secretary.
(c) The laws and rules on government reorganization as provided for in Republic Act No. 6656, otherwise known as the Reorganization Law, shall govern the reorganization process of the Department.
SEC. 16. Separation and Retirement from Service. – Employees who are separated from service within six (6) months from the effectivity of this Act as a result of the consolidation and/or reorganization under the provisions of this Act shall receive separation benefits to which they may he entitled under Executive Order No. 366, s. 2004: Provided, That those who are qualified to retire under existing retirement laws shall be allowed to retire and receive retirement benefits to which they may be entitled under applicable laws and issuances.
SEC. 17. Structure and Staffing Pattern. – Subject to the approval of the DBM, the Department shall determine its organizational structure and create new divisions or units as it may deem necessary, and shall appoint officers and employees of the Department in accordance with the civil service law, rules, and regulations.
SEC. 18. Magna Carta. – Qualified employees of the Department and its attached agencies shall be covered by Republic Act No. 3439, which provides a magna carta for scientists, engineers, researchers and other science and technology personnel in tie government.
SEC. 19. Transition Period. – The transfer of functions, assets, funds, equipment, properties, transactions, and personnel of the affected agencies, and the formulation of the internal organic structure, staffing pattern, operating system, and revised budget of tin Department, shall be completed within six (6) months from the effectivity of this Act, during which time, the existing personnel shall continue to assume their posts in holdover capacities until new appointments are issued:Provided, That after the abolition of tie agencies as specified in Section 15(a) of this Act, the Department, in coordination with the DBM, shall determine and create new positions, the funding requirements of which shall not exceed the equivalent cost of positions abolished.
SEC 20. Appropriation,. – The amount needed for the initial implementation of this Act shall be taken from the current fiscal year’s appropriation of the ICTO and all agencies herein absorbed. by or attached to the Department. Thereafter, the amount needed for the operation and maintenance of the Department shall be included in the General Appropriations Act
SEC 21. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – The ICTC, the DBM, the CSC, and other government agencies concerned shall issue within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act. the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act.
SEC. 22. Separability Clause. – If any provision of this Act shall be declared unconstitutional or invalid, the other provisions not otherwise affected shall remain in full force and effect.
SEC. 23. Repealing Clause. – All laws, decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations and other issuances or parts thereof which are inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.
SEC. 24. Effectivtiy. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15; days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

Senate Bill 3211, or the proposed Anti-Distracted Driving Act, is primarily aimed at going after drivers who use their mobile phones while driving.

See - Senate approves 5 bills
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A bill seeking to prohibit distracted driving and four other bills have been approved on third and final reading at the Senate in what could be its last plenary session for the 16th Congress.

The Senate held a plenary session to approve the five remaining bills just before Congress reconvened as the National Board of Canvassers yesterday.

Senate Bill 3211, or the proposed Anti-Distracted Driving Act, is primarily aimed at going after drivers who use their mobile phones while driving.
Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, who sponsored the bill, said it would hopefully safeguard the public from the “ruinous and extremely injurious effects of vehicular accidents.”

“While the state recognizes the vital roles of information and communications technology in nation-building, the state also takes cognizance of the inimical consequences of the unrestrained use of electronic mobile devices on road safety as to cause its regulation,” he said.

Distracted driving would refer to any of the following acts while driving a vehicle in motion or stopped in red light: using a mobile communications to write, send or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls and using an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the Internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations and other similar acts.

A fine of P5,000 would be imposed on motorists for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense and P15,000 and a three-month suspension of the driver’s license for the third offense.

The law would not cover motorists using mobile phones for emergencies, including calls to a law enforcement agency, healthcare provider, fire department or other emergency services, agency or entity or those using mobile phones while operating vehicles providing emergency assistance, such as ambulances or fire trucks.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, principal author of the bill, saw a need to curb the escalating statistics on vehicular accidents brought about by driver’s error, particularly on cellular phone use where drivers often neglect the importance of full and undivided attention while driving their vehicles.

The Senate also approved Senate Bill 2948, which seeks to establish a national vision screening program.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, the sponsor of the bill, emphasized the need for a centralized and organized program for vision screening tests for schoolchildren nationwide, with the help of the Department of Health, the Department of Education and other institutions.

The NVSP would provide attention to kindergarten pupils found to be visually impaired, so that they could be checked and treated by eye care practitioners.

“It is important that vision screening tests be conducted at an early stage, precisely to prevent complications in the future,” Cayetano said.

Two other bills on education and healthcare, House Bills 4366 and 5746, were also approved by the Senate yesterday.

House Bill 4366 would establish the Science and Technology High School in Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City, Rizal, while House Bill 5746 would convert the old Mayor Hilarion Ramiro Sr. Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Misamis Occidental, into the Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Medical Center.

The fifth, House Bill 6080, would amend Presidential Decree 269 as amended by Republic Act 10531, or the National Electrification Administration Reform Act of 2013, to modify the qualifications for and create a screening committee in the election or appointment of directors and officers of electric cooperatives.

– Marvin Sy

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Palace: Lies on DAP must stop | Headlines | Philippine Star

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MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang scored yesterday the “lies and deception” being spread with regard to the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), saying only parts of the Supreme Court (SC) decision on the matter were being highlighted, apparently to put the administration in a bad light. 

While the next administration could look into the DAP, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said there seemed to be a “disinformation” going on because the SC ruling on the government’s motion for reconsideration upheld the operative fact doctrine that governed the DAP implementation. 

“In that decision, the high court categorically ruled on and upheld the presumption of regularity in the implementation of DAP,” Coloma said. 

“In other words, the program’s authors, sponsors and implementers must be presumed to have acted in good faith and with regularity in the performance of their official duties,” he added. 

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines or IBP has expressed support for the plan of incoming justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to look into the liabilities of officials of the outgoing administration for the alleged unconstitutional acts under the DAP. 

Coloma said over radio dzRB that as Chief Executive, Aquino faithfully followed the Constitution and the laws of the land. 

“When we say President Aquino, of course that includes the whole of the executive department,” Coloma said. 

The Palace official said the SC also recognized the positive impacts of DAP after it helped boost public spending and propped up the economy. 

“Maybe we should reiterate that fact, because it is quite obvious that when this issue is discussed, we only hear one side, only those against the DAP, those who continue to destroy the government despite the decision of the high court,” Coloma said. 

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- See more at: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/05/29/1588090/palace-lies-dap-must-stop#sthash.eNXryP32.dpuf


My mother is dead. She died today. She died peacefully in her sleep. She was 87. 

Nature took its course. 

She now touches the stars of the Universe on her way to the World of the Divine.

She died in the “Land Of The Brave And The Free”, 11, 736 kilometers away, a land that nourished her bravery and freedom.

She was born in 1929 in Palompon, Leyte. 

She was a twin of The Great Depression. They matured together. 

They faced the pain of economic survival together, with the rest of the world until World War II.

After the war, Manila was in her mind. It was the center of opportunity.

She worked as a domestic helper and a nanny of a rich family. While working, she finished a vocational course on dressmaking. 

She was destined to be a mother and an entrepreneurial home-based dressmaker.

My siblings and I grew up under her maternal protection and affection.

She was our first teacher and mentor. 

She taught us both the alphabet of writing and the alpha and omega of living.

She was our life coach. 

She taught us the value of freedom and responsibility. 

She was the treasurer of the household. 

She taught us the value of hard work, thrift, and modest living. 

She showed us the dignity of labor by her own example.

She was the light of our home. 

Nothing frightened us. Her brightness scared the darkness away.

She inspired my father. 

Together they faced the responsibilities of parenthood in a post-War jungle called Manila.

My father was a family driver of a rich family where he met my mother.

(The life of my father is a separate inspiring story altogether).

My mother was a natural charity worker.

She helped many relatives and friends navigate life in Manila (and in Los Angeles, for that matter).

They will forever remember her. Many of them have families of their own now.

My mother was a caring, kind, and thoughtful grandmother. 

She radiated love and inspiration to her grandchildren.

I am nothing without her.

I owe her what I am today.

She was my strength.

She taught me the meaning of genuine love that only a responsible parent can give -- a parent who is prepared to sacrifice everything for her family

Now she is gone.

Only the memories remain.

But the link between us is never cut. 

Death does not end love.

Death has no power over love.

My mother is Paulita Juanir Laserna.

To her I dedicate this essay.

I know God is with her now.

I rejoice.

As I write this essay, I order my pen not to cry.

It disobeys me.

Manuel J. Laserna Jr. 
Las Pinas City
May 29, 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016

How did Rodrigo Duterte fare as congressman?

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How did Rodrigo Duterte fare as congressman?

Duterte was representative of Davao City's 1st district from 1998 to 2001. How did he perform as a congressman?
Reynaldo Santos Jr
Published 11:24 AM, May 28, 2016
Updated 12:09 PM, May 28, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has already revealed a lot of controversial plans for his presidency, among them the abolition of Congress either to curb corruption or prevent alleged plans of impeaching him in the future.
While the newly-elected president is more known for his extensive experience as a city mayor, he also once was a member of the instutition that he now wants abolished.
Duterte was a congressman from 1998 to 2001, serving as representative of the first district of Davao City under the 11th Congress.
The 11th Congress was a memorable term then, as it led to the impeachment of former president Joseph Estrada. The House of Representatives was headed then by Speaker Manuel Villar (Las Piñas lone district).
Among Duterte’s batchmates at the time are outgoing President Benigno Aquino III (Tarlac 2nd district) and other 2016 national poll contenders Manuel "Mar" Roxas II (Capiz 1st district), Francis "Chiz" Escudero (Sorsogon 1st district), and Alan Peter Cayetano (Pateros-Taguig district).
But while much can be said about Duterte’s experience in the city capitol, there’s little information available about his short stint in Congress.
Just how did he do as congressman? Here's a glimpse.
Duterte ran and won as congressman under Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino (LAMMP)/PDP-Laban. The coalition party of the opposition at the time, LAMMP/PDP-Laban was the vehicle that then vice president Joseph Estrada used in the 1998 presidential elections. He went on to win as president.
Duterte was part of the majority, with 9 senators and 76 congressmen under LAMMP in the 11th Congress. He was made member of 5 House committees:
  • national defense
  • public order and security
  • health
  • transportation and communications
  • cooperative development
A big majority of the House – 171 congressmen – voted for Villar, also from LAMMP, as Speaker. Duterte, however, was one of the 31 representatives who voted instead for the independent Joker Arroyo (Makati 1st district).
When Villar gave up the House speakership after endorsing the impeachment of Estrada to the Senate, most of the congressmen turned to Arnulfo Fuentabella as replacement. Duterte again went against the majority, as he was among the few who manifested they wanted Villar to stay in the position.
Uninterested in Congress
While Duterte enjoyed being a mayor – as reflected in his long years of stay in the city capitol – it was the opposite for his congressional term.
Proof of how disinterested Duterte was in congressional work, he described his stay in Congress as "boring". So boring it was that he ended up going to the movies instead. According to a Philippine Daily Inquirerreport, he would go attend the flag ceremony in Congress then proceed to the canteen, after which he would watch movies when the opportunity presented itself.
Duterte was quoted as saying, “...When I became a congressman, I’d go to the mall, naglalakad-lakad ako, tapos magdadaldal, wala namang kakwenta-kwenta…kayo na diyan, uwi na ako.” (When I became a congressman, I'd go to the mall, I'd walk then chit-chat, which was a waste...I'm leaving you behind, I'm going home.)
Unlike the groundwork required of local government officials in their respective localities, congressmen are tasked to craft enabling laws through bills and resolutions in the confines of the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
Inactive solon
His disinterest in Congress showed itself in his performance as district representative.
Based on statistics provided by the archives section of the House of Representatives, Duterte got zero attendance on floor deliberations. These deliberations happened either for bill readings or for committee conferences.
And while most of the congressmen filed more than 100 measures in the House of Representatives, Duterte only had 64 – 45 House bills, 18 House resolutions, and one House joint resolution.
He was the main author of 11 House bills, with only one getting enacted into law – Republic Act 8969, which declared every third Friday of August a special holiday in Davao City.
Other bills that he authored, but which didn't become law, included those that would have implemented amendments in the revised penal code. The others covered police reorganization and reform, and judiciary reorganization.
The House journals retrieved from the archives section also showed that Duterte was mostly silent during sessions. Unlike some congressmen who were active in raising motions in the plenary, records showed that Duterte wasn't.
For one, he wasn’t present in some of the sessions of the 11th Congress.
Based on all 266 House journals for the 11th Congress – with one journal corresponding to one session – a roll call was made in only 163 sessions, where voting for bills was made. Duterte was present in only 94 of those 163 sessions, or roughly 58% of those sessions.
He was recorded as being on leave for “official mission” in one session, was absent with consent of the House in 61 sessions, and was absent without notice in 7 sessions.
There were 19 sessions without a roll call, but he was not included in the voting of bills, signifying that he also wasn’t in Congress during those days.
In all, Duterte skipped 87 sessions, excluding the absence due to an "official mission", in the 11th Congress.
Resignation plan
So intolerable perhaps was Congress for Duterte that he even attempted to resign at some point.
In early 1999, the representative of Davao City submitted a resignation letter following an incident that involved his son Paolo. The congressman's son was accused of mauling a hotel security guard.
Duterte was said to have filed for resignation to prove his intent not to use his position to help his son. But because President Estrada advised him not to push through with his resignation, he stayed on as congressman. – Rappler.com.
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