Thursday, August 23, 2018

Becoming immortal - VPRO documentary - 2018

Humans, Gods and Technology

What Is Reality? The Human Brain - Fascinating Brain Documentary

The Nature of Reality: A Dialogue Between a Buddhist Scholar and a Theoretical Physicist

EU Parliament Artificial Intelligence Debate - Steven Pinker

Don't Trust The Promise Of Artificial Intelligence

Jaron Lanier on Digital Life

Jaron Lanier: You Are Not a Gadget

Stanford Seminar - Who Owns the Future. - "Who Owns the Future" -Jaron Lanier, Microsoft Research Colloquium on Computer Systems Seminar Series (EE380) presents the current research in design, implementation, analysis, and use of computer systems. Topics range from integrated circuits to operating systems and programming languages.

Philippines: World Call Center Capital

Phoning from the Philippines: Outsourcing to Manila's Call Centres

China | Broken Dreams | 101 East

Why is Chinese economy slowing? - Inside Story

The end of the Chinese miracle.

The End of China Inc?

China: Spies, Lies and Blackmail

Hacked: The Bangladesh Bank Heist. - "It was a daring raid. Tens of millions of dollars stolen from Bangladesh's central bank via the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, transferred to accounts in the Philippines and then laundered through the Philippine casino system."

China’s Next Financial Crisis: Shadow Banking

5 Countries That Have Fallen into China's Debt Trap

How China “Captures” US Officials

Aftermath of a crisis - "Shortly after the beginning of the financial crisis of 2008 sociologist Manuel Castells gathered a small group of international top intellectuals to ponder the crisis. While the crisis expanded, Castells named his group 'The Aftermath Network', a reference to the new world which according to him will emerge from the ashes of the crisis. Members of the Aftermath Network think there is not only a financial and economic crisis, but also a social and cultural crisis that brings a fundamental change in the European and American societies. "

The power of the credit rating agencies. - The financial markets tremble when the rating agencies disclose their ratings about the credit worth of a country. Government leaders lose their sleep over the rating of their country. But often the ratings of Moody's, S & P's and Fitch were incorrect. "It's just like making a rough estimate, giving a credit rating to a country is nothing but a board game." - Jerome Fons (Former Director of Moody's).

The race to space - "The colonization of space has only just begun. Numerous parties have great ambitions to explore outer space for tourism, transportation and raw materials. It’s a race, and slowly but surely it’s becoming clear that there is a need for clear rules concerning the entering and use of this space. Space lawyer Frans von der Dunk is currently one of the few people in the world who is trying to shed some light on this."

The rise of solar energy

Breakthrough in renewable energy

"The Nuclear Option" (2017 Documentary)

Regreening the desert with John D. Liu

Green Technology Documentary

Keynote "What AI can (and can't) do" / Toby Walsh

. - Keynote "What AI can (and can't) do" / Toby Walsh, UNSW Australia, Data61, TU Berlin

CEBIT | Keynote Lanier - Virtual Reality

CeBIT Global Conferences - 17 March 2016: Keynote Dr. Nick Bostrom, Director, Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford

Kevin Mitnick: Live Hack at CeBIT Global Conferences 2015. - He is the most famous hacker of the world - and at CeBIT Global Conferences 2015 he performs a hack live on center stage: Kevin Mitnick.

Keynote "Data Is The New Oil - The Internet revolution already started years ago and it isn't over yet", Mikko Hyppönen, Chief Research Officer, F-Secure

Panel "Trends in AI and Robotics"

Artificial Intelligence: Where are we at and where are we heading?

"Future of Mobile Commerce"

"The Future of Technology", Nolan Bushnell

Panel "Ethical issues of AI and New Technologies", Dr. Michal Kosinski

"The End of Privacy", Dr. Michal Kosinski

Ruby Wax meets Imelda Marcos - Will She Find the Shoes?

Imelda Marcos on Bio Channel (FULL Documentary)

Philippines: when the mountain rumbles (full documentary)

The dark side of the tea trade. - Why are Indian tea workers not benefiting from the global tea boom? Many tea workers live in bitter poverty, while others profit from their labor.

The rich, the poor and the trash. - The gap between the rich and poor is growing. The rich consume much more than the poor and produce much more waste. Trash has become a symbol of our times.

How the rich get richer – money in the world economy. - Exploding real estate prices, zero interest rate and a rising stock market – the rich are getting richer. What danger lies in wait for average citizens?

The deceptive promise of free trade. - Global trade is a hot topic of the G7 summit in Canada. Is free trade truly free - and fair? What roles do US President Trump, economic powerhouse China, and the EU play in global trade? When it comes to global trade, it would seem that trickery, threats and deception are the order of the day - yet all this takes place largely beyond the reach of the public eye. Donald Trump has made "America First” his agenda and rallying cry.

Is it time to rethink democracy? Liberal democracy is under siege and requires a radical overhaul.

A Threat to Global Democracy: How Facebook & Surveillance Capitalism Empower Authoritarianism

Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty & Implicates Trump as Paul Manafort Is Convicted. Is Impeachment Next?

Revealing the True Donald Trump: A Devastating Indictment. - "Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power" is a biography of Donald Trump, written by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher.

The Secrets Donald Trump Doesn't Want You to Know About: David Cay Boyle Johnston (born December 24, 1948) is an American investigative journalist and author, a specialist in economics and tax issues, and winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting.

Donald Trump's business links to the mob - BBC Newsnight

The dubious friends of Donald Trump; part 3: Will Donald Trump go down due to his dubious ties to the former Soviet Union? The president seems to be getting in deeper and deeper. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating if Trump colluded with Russia in order to win the elections, is also digging into Trump's past as a business man.

Trump/Russia: Part 3 – Moscow Rules. Four Corners investigates Russia’s endgame and the motivation behind its extraordinary interference in the US Presidential elections.

Trump/Russia: Trump biographer Tim O’Brien says the President is a liar

How Donald Trump Got Involved in a Global Fraud. - Adam Davidson follows the money trail in one of President Donald Trump's past deals all the way to Vladimir Putin.


Breaking Down The Trump Family’s Many Conflicts Of Interest | Velshi & R...

Trump’s fury following the report revealing the extent of White House counsel Don McGahn ‘s cooperation with the special counsel Mueller’s investigation

Paul Manafort found guilty on eight counts

The Rise of Populism and the Backlash Against the Elites

Trump: An American Tragedy? - Live Panel Discussion from the Emmanuel Ce...

Tony Schwartz: The Truth About Trump | Oxford Union Q&A

Pres. Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen pleads guilty, implicates the President

Cohen and Manafort crimes: President Trump’s “alternative world.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Role of lawyers during police raids and searches

See -

"x x x.

What did lawyers, police do wrong in Makati bar raid?

Lawyers present during police searches are guided by the following questions: Does the search team have a search warrant? If so, is it valid? If so, is the proper procedure being observed?

By Jodesz Gavilan and Rambo Talabong

Published 8:55 PM, August 20, 2018
Updated 9:10 PM, August 20, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The lawyers supposed to be representing one of the owners of a Makati bar now find themselves facing a complaint for alleged constructive possession of illegal drugs after they were arrested and detained for obstruction of justice.

While they were released on August 17, lawyers Jan Vincent Soliven, Lenie Rocel Rocha, and Romulo Bernard Alarkon of the Desierto & Desierto law firm now face complaints which include resistance and disobedience and violating an ordinance on crossing police lines.

The 3 lawyers, newly-hired by the Time in Manila bar, which was raided for allegedly selling party drugs, were documenting the police search of the bar on August 16. But cops claimed the lawyers intimidated the search team and prevented them from fully searching the bar premises.

Video obtained by Rappler showed the lawyers and policemen engaged in a confrontation.

Many groups condemned the arrests, saying that the lawyers were just doing their job. But what is the required procedure in situations like this? Are these charges too much?
Once on the site, what should cops and lawyers do first?

Upon arriving on the site, cops and lawyers agree that attorneys should seek out the leader of the police search team, introduce themselves, and identify who they are representing.

If police spot them first, PNP spokesperson Senior Superintendent Benigno Durana said that cops' first question should be: "Sino kayo (Who are you)?"

This is to ensure that the authorities know who they are and what their presence in the venue means.

Based on police accounts and the video obtained by Rappler, the 3 Makati lawyers refused to identify their client when the raid began. The lawyers only said they represented a "Mr Server" seconds before they were cuffed towards the end of the raid.

While it is “helpful to avoid misunderstanding,” Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL), said prior coordination can defeat the purpose of the lawyers as evidence “can be circumvented, contrived, or pre-empted.”

“Most searches are sudden and unannounced so there is no reasonable opportunity [for] prior coordination,” he explained.

If the raid has already started by the time lawyers arrive, Durana said they should coordinate with cops who are guarding the raided area. These cops are called the "perimeter/security team." As described by the PNP Manual on Anti-drug operations, these teams "determine those who would be allowed into the inner perimeter."

These cops hold the access pass of lawyers that allow them to go to the team leader of the searching party.

"All unauthorized persons shall stay outside the perimeter line," the manual reads, which Durana said, includes lawyers who don't have authority.

Do lawyers need to obtain written authority from their client?

What police say: PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said lawyers “should have explicit authority from the owner that he or she is appointing [the lawyer] as his or her legal counsel.”

What is explicit authority? PNP spokesperson Durana said there are only two cases that fall under this:
If owners of the establishment are personally there and identify the attorneys representing them
If the lawyers secure a written authorization from their clients

"Why does it have to be documented? Because if it's verbal (the lawyer identifying himself), it can be denied later. If it's in court proceedings, it's only hearsay," said Durana.

If lawyers could not present any, Durana said cops should promptly ask the lawyers to leave. If they refuse, cops should offer to escort them out, he added.

But if they continue to resist to the point of compromising the search operation, Durana said cops "have more than enough reason to arrest [them]." The PNP spokesman said cops can file obstruction of justice charges, precisely the cases thrown at the 3 Makati bar lawyers.

What lawyers say: Legal analyst and lawyer Tony La Viña said that lawyers just need to “show up and identify themselves as lawyers of the person who is being searched.”

“There is no need to show a retainer contract even. Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) identification cards can be requested to prove identity,” he said.

A written authorization may be best and helpful for convenience but lacking one should not hinder lawyers representing a client from observing the implementation of a search warrant.

There are different reasons why lawyers may not be immediately able to show a retainer or written authorization, according to Dean Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).

“May sitwasyon na wala ka talagang panahon kumuha ng retainer letter,” he said. “Wala ka nang choice kundi pumunta sa lugar at magpakilala bilang abogado. Dapat igalang iyan ng pulis.”

(There are really situations when there’s no time to get a retainer letter. You have no choice but to go to the place and introduce yourself as a lawyer. That should be respected by the police.)

Olalia, meanwhile, said there is a presumption that a person claiming to represent a client is duly authorized to do so.

“These things can be verified anyway and there are sanctions for misrepresentation if proven so,” he said.

Diokno echoed this, adding that lawyers are “supposed to be officers of the courts.”

“Kung sakaling binobola ko sila, puwede nila akong kasuhan sa IBP, kasi professional conduct iyan,” he said. "Di naman ako pupunta diyan kung hindi ako inatasan ng kliyente."

(If I’m purposely making misrepresentations to the police, they can file a complaint against me, maybe before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) because that involves professional conduct. I won't even go there if I'm not assigned by a client.)

Police appear to have been very rigid about the written authority requirement and glossed over the lawyers being officers of the courts. As the lawyers allegedly interfered in the raid without the authority, police regarded them as suspects.

What can lawyers do once allowed to join the raid?

What police say: Durana said that lawyers can ask for a copy of the search warrant, and cops should promptly hand one to the attorneys.

From there, Durana said, lawyers can monitor cops in their raid and remind them of the areas and objects covered by the search warrant.

If cops see illegal objects "in plain view", they can seize these objects even if they have not been specified in the warrant. These could include drugs or guns, for example.

During the whole operation, lawyers are not allowed to take videos and photos, Durana said.

Top cop Albayalde emphasized that the lawyers should not "intimidate" cops, but "guide" them in implementing the search warrant. Durana echoed this, admitting that policemen, especially the newbie cops, are easily "intimidated" by the presence of lawyers.

What lawyers say: Once lawyers introduce themselves to the team leader of the police, they can now observe the proceedings and make sure everything is being done in accordance with the law.

They can even "object and protest if warranted by standards and requirements," according to Olalia.

There is no law that prohibits lawyers from taking photos and videos of the proceedings, he added, "as long as the lawyer or owner of the searched premises does not interfere, obstruct, or prevent a valid search implemented in the correct manner."

Diokno, meanwhile, said that police should not be afraid of documentation.

"If the police are not doing anything illegal, why should the lawyers be prohibited from taking videos and photos? It's for their own protection as well as the lawyers," Diokno said.

To say that lawyers cannot document proceedings contradicts the PNP's goal to be transparent in anti-drug operations. This attempt at transparency was first made when police were encouraged to use body cameras.
Why are lawyers needed during a police search?

Olalia explained that the presence of lawyers during the implementation of a search warrant is important to ensure a “transparent and orderly search and seizure” procedure that respects the rights of the accused.

“Lawyers representing a client or responding to legal assistance must competently, carefully, and meticulously ascertain the protection of rights, avoid abuse, fabrication, manufacture, and tampering or contamination of evidence,” he told Rappler.

The lawyers are there to mostly find answers to questions including: Does the search team have a search warrant? If so, is it valid? If so, is the proper procedure being observed?

La Viña said that the presence of a lawyer to observe and document the proceedings is “a matter of right of the one subject to the search.”
The role of lawyers in the implementation of search warrants was affirmed by no less than PNP chief Albayalde himself, but he specified that the appreciation only covers law-abiding lawyers.

"We don't have problems with lawyers...It's their job to defend their client, and it's our job to implement and uphold the law," Albayalde said.

"If you already meddle or prevent us from implementing the law, you will be charged accordingly," Albayalde added.

In search warrants implemented under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, lawyers are one of the individuals required to “sign the copies of the inventory.”

Section 21.1 of the law states that:

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

x x x."

Wealth of Supreme Court Justices; En Banc A.M. No. 09-8-6-SC, the resolution that laid out strict guidelines when it comes to releasing justices’ SALNs.

See -

"x x x.

Why don't we know enough about Supreme Court justices’ wealth?

A group wants to nullify strict guidelines on releasing SALNs of justices, saying that they are not above the law

By Lian Buan
Published 9:04 PM, August 21, 2018
Updated 8:54 AM, August 22, 2018

WEALTH. The Supreme Court has strict guidelines on releasing the summaries of assets and net worth of the justices.

MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has postponed the vote on the short list of chief justice applicants because they need more time to examine documents, including Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs).

This is coming off two ousters of Philippine chief justices because of deficiencies in their SALNs.

What exactly can the public know about the wealth of Supreme Court justices?

Below are summaries of the justices’ net worth and their government salaries and allowances over the last 6 years, or since 2012 when the impeachment of the late Renato Corona prompted more public scrutiny of their SALN

Summaries of their net worth are released yearly by the Supreme Court, while the amounts of their government allowances and salaries are released yearly by the Commission on Audit.

Is this all we can and should know about their wealth?

Strict guidelines

Typically, SALNs of government officials can be released in full. For example, copies of SALNs of the President, Vice President, and heads of the constitutional bodies are released to media by the Office of the Ombudsman on a walk-in basis.

In the Supreme Court, it’s a little bit more difficult.

The Supreme Court releases summary reports of the justices’ SALNs. Compiled in one table, it shows only real properties, personal properties, total assets, liabilities, and net worth.

SUMMARY. Example of a summary released by the Supreme Court.

To see the full documents, you'd have to file a written request justifying it. It will then have to be approved by the Court en banc.

Also, a request can be made only for the latest SALN.

These rules came about in July 2012, months after Corona was impeached, when the en banc issued A.M. No. 09-8-6-SC, or the resolution that laid out somehow strict guidelines when it comes to releasing justices’ SALNs.
The Court noted an instance in 1989 when an aggrieved lawyer requested copies of justices’ SALNs after accusing some of them of partiality.

“Requests for SALNs must be made under circumstances that must not endanger, diminish or destroy the independence, and objectivity of the members of the Judiciary in the performance of their judicial functions, or expose them to revenge for adverse decisions, kidnapping, extortion, blackmail or other untoward incidents,” the court said.

In 2014, the SC denied the request of former tax commissioner Kim Henares to obtain 9 years' worth of SALNs of justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Court of Tax Appeals.

The SC said that Henares cannot just go on a “fishing expedition” if she has not yet established that the justices have tax deficiencies.

Other details

With such strict guidelines, there are missing details that are of public interest.

For example, during the JBC public interviews on August 16, member Milagros Fernan-Cayosa said that the assets of Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin had remarkable jumps, the highest being an P8-million increase from 2015 to 2016.

Our table above will not show that because we can only show general amounts.

Without a full document, we will not know what caused the increase in assets – whether it’s a newly-acquired property, or newly-acquired business shares, or just cash deposits that may have come from pension or somewhere else.

We will not know details of their liabilities, their stakes; and we also will not know who they owe, if any.

We also will not be able to scrutinize if justices filled out their SALNs correctly.

Bersamin was asked why he did not declare as part of his liabilities a condominium unit when he was still paying for it on an installment basis. Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr was asked why he did not declare his shares in a family-owned bake shop.

Remember that Maria Lourdes Sereno’s non-filing of SALNs was interpreted to be a violation of Republic Act 6713, and a constitutional violation that declared her to have never been qualified for the post.

Dissenters in the Sereno ouster warned against treating the SALN as an end-all-be-all of integrity.

“Since the majority of the Court has ruled that SALN filing is equivalent to the requirement of integrity, the Supreme Court is now required to be transparent with the SALNs of the incumbent justices,” said a letter sent to the Court last June by the Movement Against Tyranny, led by former senator Rene Saguisag.

The group added: "It cannot now pursue the same prohibitive rules on SALN disclosures as contained in A.M. Nos. 09-8-6-SC as it did prior to its ruling in Republic v. Sereno, as the Court itself has declared that Justices are not above the law."

The Court has yet to respond to the group’s request; it has also yet to release summaries for 2017.

With the selection of a new chief justice, the Supreme Court can and should expect more demands for transparency. –
x x x."

Judicial independence

"x x x.


Judicial brinkmanship

By: Artemio V. Panganiban - @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:18 AM August 19, 2018

Reacting to my column on Aug. 5 that President Duterte would be appointing a majority of the Supreme Court justices before reaching his midterm on June 30, 2019, many feared that the high court would lose its independence, succumb to political pressures and thereby ruin the system of checks and balances upon which our constitutional order is anchored.

They cited several “foreboding” cases, like the burial of President Ferdinand Marcos’ remains at Libingan ng mga Bayani, validation of martial law in Mindanao, ouster of CJ Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, etc., allegedly showing the Court’s tilt toward political accommodation. Worse, by the end of his term on June 30, 2022, the President would have named 13 of the 15 magistrates, including the chief justice.

Many also warned that the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which vets judicial appointments, also leans in favor of Palace favorites. Already, of its seven members, three are President Duterte’s allies: Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and JBC regular members Toribio Ilao Jr. and Jose Mendoza, both San Beda alumni.

Soon, he would be naming the new chief justice who will chair the Council, plus one more vacant regular membership slot. And even the sixth seat reserved for Congress is vulnerable to political pressure. Only the slot for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, now occupied by Maria Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, seems to be out of the President’s loop.

Should we all panic from a “presidential capture” of the judicial branch? Panic, no. But be vigilant, yes.

Historically, presidential attempts to dominate the judiciary are not really new. In fact, all presidents, not only here but

also in the United States and elsewhere, appoint justices who, in their view, will help propel their programs of government.

During the Marcos martial law era, the entire judiciary reeled from presidential pressure, producing black-hole cases like Javellana vs Executive Secretary (March 31, 1973) that validated the ratification of the 1973 Constitution by a raising of hands during barangay assemblies, not by secret ballots in a nationwide plebiscite.

Yet, in spite of Marcos’ cleverness, he could not prevent the rise of judicial heroes among his appointees, like CJ Roberto Concepcion, Justices Claudio Teehankee (who later became CJ), Cecilia Muñoz-Palma and Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera. Of course, judicial villains rose, too—too many to list in my limited space.

President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino appointed all the justices when she ascended to power. Yet, she did not always get what she wanted. The Court remained generally independent.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, during her nine-and-a-half-year incumbency that is second in length only to Marcos’ 21, named a majority and eventually the totality of the high tribunal, including three chief justices.

But she did not completely control the Court. For example, she failed to get the Court’s imprimatur in the people’s initiative to adopt the parliamentary system. Neither was her executive issuance granting herself emergency powers upheld.

In the final analysis, the ascendancy of the Court depends to a large measure on the justices’ adherence to the four constitutional standards of “proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.”

And this adherence is what public vigilance must insist on, given that, to help the justices protect the people’s rights against executive abuses, the Constitution gave the Court the extraordinary power to invalidate acts done with grave abuse of discretion.

At the same time, the Court is also duty-bound to observe, when appropriate, the prima facie presumption of the regularity and validity of executive actions designed to promote public welfare.

The Court’s brinkmanship in balancing its protection of the people’s rights vis-à-vis its axiomatic respect for executive actions is the ultimate test of its independence. In this sense, public vigilance insisting on the observance of the four constitutional standards will protect the people’s rights and also secure the justices’ place in history. While not all jurists will be hailed as judicial heroes, no one wants to be remembered as a judicial villain.

Comments to

x x x."

Read more:

PAL case; Duterte's fickle Court.

See -

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The PAL flip-flops of Supreme Court Justices Peralta, Bersamin

Two chief justice applicants change their votes to hand Philippine Airlines a victory. A dissenter says it besmirches the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.

By Lian Buan
Published 6:58 PM, August 20, 2018
Updated 7:04 PM, August 20, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin are close friends who are now vying for the post of chief justice.

The two have been observed to have the tendency to vote similarly.

In the labor case against Philippine Airlines or PAL, for example, their votes were so similar that they even flip-flopped together.

On October 2, 2009, Peralta and Bersamin concurred with the Special Third Division decision that declared invalid PAL’s retrenchment of 5,000 of its workers.

It was a unanimous decision among the 5 members of the division, penned by retired justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago. And in that decision, the SC said “no further pleadings will be entertained.”

Fast forward to 2018, or 9 years later, the SC en banc reversed two previous decisions of the Court, the Santiago decision being the latter one, and declared valid PAL’s retrenchment.

Despite their concurrences 9 years earlier to the decision that the retrenchment was invalid, Peralta and Bersamin made a sudden turn-around.

Bersamin was even ponente this last time.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, one of the two dissenters in the 2018 decision, said that PAL's victory “creates an ominous cloud that will besmirch our legitimacy.”

The case was resurrected through letters of PAL lawyer Estelito Mendoza. For Leonen, the resurrection was “highly irregular, suspect, and violative of due process of law.”

In his 2018 ponencia, Bersamin said Leonen has a “narrow view” of just what the en banc can do. (READ: #CJSearch: How did aspirants vote on key Supreme Court decisions?)

Substantial flip-flops

We look at the 2009 and 2018 decisions to see how both justices flip-flopped.

For example, in 2009, Peralta and Bersamin concurred with the decision that PAL did not submit proof of its financial losses, therefore they cannot use it as justification for the retrenchment. But in 2018, both voted that PAL was not obligated to submit proof.

The 2009 decision of the Special Third Division, concurred in by Peralta and Bersamin said:

Assuming that PAL was indeed suffering financial losses, the requisite proof therefor was not presented before the NLRC which was the proper forum.

The 2018 decision of the en banc, written by Bersamin and concurred in by Peralta said:

The Special Third Division should have realized that PAL had been discharged of its duty to prove its precarious fiscal situation in the face of FASAP's admission of such situation. Indeed, PAL did not have to submit the audited financial statements because its being in financial distress was not in issue at all.

In the 2018 decision, Bersamin said that it was the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) that brought up PAL’s financial losses.

In a position paper, FASAP said “it must be pointed out that complainant was never opposed to the retrenchment program itself, as it understands respondent PAL's financial troubles.”

So from 2009 when the division said that PAL should have submitted proof of its financial losses, Bersamin in 2018 used FASAP’s position paper to say that presenting proof was not PAL’s duty.

In 2009, both justices agreed PAL cannot easily retrench just because the pilots went on a labor strike, but in 2018, they decided that the strike crippled the operation so much that the retrenchment was "understandable."

The 2009 decision of the Special Third Division, concurred in by Peralta and Bersamin said:

In the instant case, PAL admitted that since the pilots strike allegedly created a situation of extreme urgency, it no longer implemented cost-cutting measures and proceeded directly to retrench. This being so, it clearly did not abide by all the requirements under Article 283 of the Labor Code. [The retrenchment] was brought about by and resorted to as an immediate reaction to a pilots strike which, in strict point of law and as herein earlier discussed, may not be considered as a valid reason to retrench, nor may it be used to excuse PAL for its non-observance of the requirements of the law on retrenchment under the Labor Code.

The 2018 decision of the en banc, written by Bersamin and concurred in by Peralta said:

Given PAL's dire financial predicament, it becomes understandable that PAL was constrained to finally implement the retrenchment program when the Association of Airline Pilots of the Philippines (ALPAP) pilots strike crippled a major part of PAL's operations. In Rivera v. Espiritu, we observed that said strike wrought "serious losses to the financially beleaguered flag carrier;" that "PAL's financial situation went from bad to worse;" and that “faced with bankruptcy, PAL adopted a rehabilitation plan and downsized its labor force by more than one-third." Such observations sufficed to show that retrenchment became a last resort, and was not the rash and impulsive decision that FASAP would make it out to be now.

On the topic of the quitclaims signed by the employees, the justices went from regarding them as reasons why PAL can afford to pay damages and backwages, to using them as further proof that the retrenchment was valid.

In the 2009 decision, the Special Third Division acknowledged the quitclaim and said it would reduce the amount that PAL has to pay in damages and back wages.

Likewise, a significant portion of these retrenched flight attendants have already received separation pay and signed quitclaim. All of these factors, to the mind of the Court, will greatly reduce the quoted amount of the money judgment that PAL will have to pay.

In the 2018 decision, the en banc ruled the quitclaims as valid and used it as added basis to declare the retrenchment valid.

The release and quitclaim signed by the affected employees substantially satisfied the aforestated requirements.

Before the 2009 decision, there was another decision by the 3rd division which declared the retrenchment invalid. That was the July 2, 2008 decision of the Third Division which was concurred in by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro.

In 2018, De Castro inhibited.

Cityhood flip-flop

The PAL case is not the only flip-flop that drew flak for the SC.

From 2009 to 2011, the en banc reversed its decision thriceon whether 16 municipalities can be recognized as cities, known as the Cityhood Laws. In its final decision in 2011, the en banc ruled the municipalities turning into cities as constitutional.

The League of the Philippine Cities (LCP) contested it because they would share the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) with more cities, which means they would lose an average of P20 million.

The LCP's argument is that the municipalities were unqualified to become cities because they do not meet the minimum income requirement.

The court flip-flopped because it allowed more proceedings after it denied a motion for reconsideration (MR). Typically, a 2nd MR is prohibited. In this case, the en banc tackled the case a total of 6 times.

The reason for the continued resurrection was allegedly letters from the municipalities' lawyer: none other than Mendoza. Letters were the same strategy employed in the PAL case.

Peralta and Bersamin did not flip-flop on their votes. Peralta consistently voted that the cityhood laws were unconstitutional, while Bersamin consistently voted they were constitutional.

It was actually Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr who changed votes. In 2008, he voted that cityhood laws were unconstitutional. But by 2009, on the first MR, Velasco joined the other team and voted that the cityhood laws were constitutional until finality.

Bersamin would come to write the 2011 final decision, in favor of Mendoza's clients. The cityhood case and the PAL case are two of SC cases where Bersamin favored Mendoza.

Among such cases are the bail grant to Juan Ponce Enrile and the plunder acquittal of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Bersamin and Peralta

Bersamin and Peralta have been friends for a really long time.

Peralta told the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) during the public interviews on August 16 that their friendship started when he and Bersamin were trial court judges in Quezon City. They took lunches together inside the courtroom.

“There were rumors, they would say, sino ba sa kanila, sa dalawa (who between the two of them...)? But when we meet on lunchtime, we discuss jurisprudence, because he is an expert on procedure and he considers me good in criminal procedures,” Peralta said.

Peralta only had good words for Bersamin during the JBC interview.

“I see him as competent and ready to assume the position [of] Chief Justice, I hope that is the same way he feels about me,” Peralta said.

At a lawyers' forum at the University of the Philippines (UP) last July, a member of the audience asked about perceived corruption in the Supreme Court, citing as example Mendoza's alleged influence on the Bench.

If either Peralta or Bersamin become chief justice, this is one of the issues they would have to address to win the full trust of the public they will serve. –

x x x."

Saturday, August 18, 2018


From the Facebook wall of Fr. Pablo Virgilio David aka Fr. Ambo.


(Following the literary form of the Prophetic Oracles of Judgment in the Old Testament)
San Roque Cathedral, August 17, 2018

If the Israelite prophet Amos or Ezekiel were to prophesy in the Philippines today, this is what he would say:

The word of the Lord came to me thus: ‘Son of Man, I appointed you as a watchman for my people. Proclaim this
oracle from housetops!’

Woe to you who call addicts "non-humans” deserving of death. Who gave you the right to pass judgment on people who are sick? You claim to care about the future of young people in this country. What future awaits them if they end up dead on a street alley after a "legitimate police operation"?

Woe to you who arrest and detain "drug suspects" without charges and extort ransom money from them and their relatives! You call yourselves "law enforcers " but have no regard for the law! You break into homes without search warrants; you arrest suspects without arrest warrants, you force "drug suspects" to work as assets and force them to point at other suspects for summary execution!

Woe to you who drive the poor victims of drugs more deeply into poverty and misery! You who neither respect human rights nor human lives. You who trample on people's dignity because they are poor and are unable to defend themselves! You who eliminate addicts like chickens infected with avian flu—do you not care at all that your victims have wives who are driven into despair and hopelessness, and children who end up like stray dogs and cats in the streets, sniffing solvents to forget their hunger?

Woe to you who indiscriminately submit names of alleged "drug suspects" to the police, or casually drop their names in drop boxes, knowing that the “drug watch list” is also used as a “kill list”? Do you even realize that in doing so you are practically pronouncing the death sentence of a fellow human being? Listen! The voice that cries “Where is your brother?” now confronts you and asks, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out from the ground!” (Genesis 4:10)

Woe to you who claim to be waging a war against illegal drugs but are killing its victims instead of saving them! You who order law enforcers to murder when their mandate is to protect the citizens and defend their right to a safe and secure environment. Woe to you who blindly follow unjust and unlawful orders! You who blindly obey the command to "kill drug suspects if they resist arrest!" Woe to you who plant evidences in order to justify murder!

Woe to you who pretend to care about the lives of your victims! You even bother to bring them to hospitals only to have them declared "dead on arrival"! Do you even get to sleep at night after writing a false police report, claiming that they had fought back when God knows they did not? Do you not have wives and children yourselves?

Woe to you funeral handlers who are in cahoots with the murderers. You shamelessly arrive at the crime scenes, way ahead of the police! You who circle around human carcasses like vultures, preying on their families while they are still in a state of shock, charging nonrefundable down-payments and exorbitant funeral services! You low creatures who take advantage of the helplessness of the widowed wives and orphaned children of the victims, pushing them more deeply into the mire of debts just so they could give their dead a decent burial.

Woe to you who just stand by and watch while the masked killers kill their targets in broad daylight! You who dismiss the murder quickly with a toxic whisper: “Must be another drug suspect!” You stare at them sprawled on cold pavement and note the brains spilling out of their shattered skulls. You stall the traffic by slowing down your vehicle to take a close look, shaking your heads as you go your way. “It’s just another one of those low lives anyway,” you reason within yourself. It’s just one criminal less, one of those elements your family is being “protected from”. You do not even bother to cover the cadaver with a blanket or some sheets of newspaper. How long has it been since your consciences died?

Woe to you who would give "due process" to influential people who flood the country with billion-pesos worth of illegal drugs, you rotten vermins who allow tons of shabu to pass through the green lanes of the Bureau of Customs, you who just sneer at your accusers because you have all the means to enjoy legal protection and remedy! Are not the poor who are hunted like rabid dogs and cats in the slums--citizens of this country as well? Are they not entitled to due process because they are poor?

Woe to you who cover your faces with bonnets, ski masks or helmets, and murder drug suspects like chickens! You who wrap up your victims in plastic bags and packaging tapes and leave them still gasping for their last breath. You who play god and even bother to hang on your victims' necks what you killed them for, not minding at all that you have acted as accuser, judge and executioner--rolled into one? God knows who you are!

Woe to you law enforcers who pretend not to know who these serial-killing death squads are! They pass by your police stations, walk through narrow alleys in big groups, drive vehicles with no plate numbers, abduct and murder "drug suspects". But you neither see them nor apprehend them; you neither pursue them nor engage them in a firefight; you neither investigate nor bring to a resolution any of the deaths resulting from their criminal operations. How will these criminals be caught if the ones who should be pursuing them are partners in crime?

Woe to you barangay captains who are in collusion with killers! You who turn off street lamps and CCTV cameras on cue, except when the killers have failed to "coordinate" properly with you! How often have the families of your constituents run to you asking for CCTV footages and you’ve given the standard reply, "CCTV not functioning?”

Woe to you boatmen who, for a fee, drop the corpses of victims into the North Harbor with weights tied around their bodies so as to keep them from floating? You who have no qualms about literally following orders to "fatten the fish of Manila Bay"? How can your consciences give you sleep at all?

Woe to you who call yourselves "Christians" but do not care an iota about the victims of extrajudicial killings, or even about priests who are being murdered. You who can still afford to laugh even when your faith is trampled upon and your God is called stupid! You blind fools!! You come to Church and hear the Word of God; you line up for communion to receive the Lamb of God who died for sinners, but you tolerate the murder of those whom he died for! Woe to you who call yourselves "shepherds" but allow your sheep to be slaughtered.

Because your crimes have reached the highest heavens, and the cries of the bereaved families of victims have been heard on the throne of Mercy, because you have been weighed and have been found wanting, therefore your names will be written on the walls of the deepest recesses of the underworld. You will stumble on the very swords you have used as weapons to bully the poor with. Your guilt will be borne by your children and your children's children down to the fourth generation!"

Lawyers of the Philipines, unite!

See -

"x x x.

[OPINION] Lawyers of the Philippines, unite!

Prof. Desierto is right about JV, Lenie, and RB: 'They could be you. They could be me. Today it's them. Just look in the mirror. Tomorrow it can be any of us.'

By Tony La Viña

Published 1:00 PM, August 17, 2018
Updated 7:09 PM, August 17, 2018

Last night, in the blog of the European Journal of International Law, I saw this disturbing headline – “Young Philippine Lawyers Arrested Today for “Obstruction of Justice” in the Philippines Drugs War”.

That the blog entry was written by an esteemed colleague, Dr Diane Desierto, a tenured Associate Professor of Human Rights Law and Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame in the United States, and a colleague in the University of the Philippines College of law, assured me that this was not fake but serious news. A fellow graduate of Yale Law School, I consider Professor Desierto as a one of the world’s top international lawyers and I always pay attention to her posts.

Attorneys Jan Vincent Sambrano Soliven, Lenie Rocel Elmido Rocha, and Romulo Bernard Bustamante Alarkonwork for the family law firm, Desierto and Desierto Law Firm. Last Thursday, August 14, they were arrested earlier in Makati City, “while they were monitoring the police’s implementation of a search warrant on the premises of the Times bar that the police have dubbed a “drug den”. The lawyers had identified themselves as legal counsels for the owner and were there to observe the search of the premise.

According to Prof. Desierto, “Because two cabinets were locked and could not be opened, the police got a search warrant to inspect the cabinets. Our client asked the firm to send lawyers to monitor and watch the search of those two cabinets to safeguard against any planting of evidence or theft. Standard procedure. The police opened the cabinets, took their inventory, and then turned to my three young lawyers and said they had no authority to be there. My lawyers respectfully said they were legal counsels of the owner and were just sent by the firm to take notes and photograph the opening of the cabinets. But instead, one of the police team members thought they were being “arrogant” and immediately arrested them on a charge of 'obstruction of justice' (punishable with minimum 6 months imprisonment, maximum 6 years imprisonment). The police did not explain why, and how, the passive and quiet acts of note-taking and phone camera photography of cabinets being opened amounted to an 'obstruction of justice' under Philippine law.

As of noon time Friday, August 15, the young lawyers are still detained and unless the Supreme Court asks fast on a petition that is being filed today will likely spend the weekend in detention.

Professor Desierto shared on Facebook the stories of her young colleagues. I share excerpts of her post below:

“JV Soliven is a talented young law professor at Lyceum of the Philippines College of Law, who initially left law practice to become in-house counsel, and later on rejoined law practice when he saw my call to hire lawyers under our banner of principled ethical lawyering and efficient, non-political problem-solving. JV is a proud alumnus of Pamantasang Lungsod ng Maynila Law School. He is stoic, has a quiet sense of humor, plays the guitar and sings very well, and when he thinks I'm not looking, is actually always looking out for his younger colleagues in the firm. He is also one of the best young lawyers I have ever worked with – capable of patiently combing through stacks of evidence to find solutions for our client's problems, never overpromising but instead always overdelivering on solutions. Last night, when I spoke with him before they were forced into the cell, he was pale, shocked, afraid of the officers who kept yelling at them – and it was the first time I saw his stoicism slip out of concern for his two younger colleagues and the prospect of spending the night with 200 other detainees and becoming a litigant for the first time....

Lenie Rocel Rocha is a vibrant, warm, intelligent, and kind 25-year-old – the youngest in my firm – and extremely talented in international law, legal writing, and articulate at oral advocacy. As one of University of San Carlos Law in Cebu's top grads, she represented the Philippines as our National Champion at the International Rounds of the Jessup Moot Competition in Washington DC. Lenie is the daughter of a policeman in the Visayas, and she came to Manila for the first time to work in our firm.... Lenie has a sunny smile, and last night when I spoke with her on video before they were forced into their shared cells with 200 other detainees, I saw Lenie's innocence and idealism falter. She had so many tears and was bravely trying to show me that she was okay....

Romulo Bernard Alarkon – RB for short – is the kindest humanitarian lawyer I have ever worked with, and one so suited to litigation. RB hails from the same law school as the President of the Philippines - the powerful San Beda Law . . . RB supports family and friends, and began his career as a nurse caring for others, teaching English to students, and generally ministering to others' needs. He is a golden kind soul and a rare find these days in an era of cynicism and despair . . . RB has been experiencing health problems recently, and just came back from medical leave when he even volunteered to help his colleagues on this routine monitoring of the implementation of a search warrant.... I am proud of RB and it is of his health that I am worried the most and why I have gone without sleep for the past 18 hours trying to get him released from illegal arbitrary detention...”

This is not the first and the last time lawyers have been arrested and harassed for doing their work. Some have even been killed in the line of duty. During the Marcos era, lawyers Larry Ilagan, Marcos Risonar, and Antonio Arellano were illegally arrested. The Supreme Court failed us then. I hope they will not do so now.

I make mine the statement of the Manananggol (Manlaban) sa EJK:

“The arrest of three young lawyers, who were monitoring the service of a search warrant, highlights the complete degradation of law enforcement and the collapse of order in the country. As counsel of the property owner, the three lawyers were legally entitled to be present during the search. Search by police of private premises, if with color of law, requires witnesses. . .

Lawyers while in the legitimate exercise of their profession are considered officers of the court and aides to the administration of justice. Hence, they are entitled to due courtesy and respect.

Arresting, detaining, and charging them, ironically, with obstruction of justice shows how police have become brutal and high-handed in their operations, especially in those involving drugs. What more can they be toward people who know nothing about the law?

We soundly denounce the arrest of lawyers while in the peformance of their duties. This blatant show of excess and abuse by the police is a clear disregard of the law and independence of the legal profession, a direct and inevitable result of Duterte's unrelenting anti-drug war. Police high on power have gone wild and senseless, with only the barest regard for law or order.

Manlaban demands the immediate release of the lawyers and the dropping of charges. And not only will we stand by our colleagues in the profession who are at the frontlines, we join them in battle for reason and sanity. Police should expect countersuits as lessons in law and pain of penalty so timely due.”

Lawyers of the Philipines unite! Professor Desierto is right about JV, Lenie, and RB: “They could be you. They could be me. Today it's them. Just look in the mirror. Tomorrow it can be any of us.” –

x x x."

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The indefinite detention of persons cited in contempt impairs their constitutional right to liberty

See -

"x x x.

SC limits Senate detention period for persons cited in contempt

'The indefinite detention of persons cited in contempt impairs their constitutional right to liberty,' rules the Supreme Court
Published 12:59 PM, August 14, 2018
Updated 1:07 PM, August 14, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has ruled that the Senate has no power to impose the indefinite detention of a person cited in contempt during its inquiries.

In a 21-page en banc decision penned by Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo, the SC said that the detention period should end upon the termination of the legislative inquiry.

In issuing the decision, the High Court said it has to “strike a balance” between the interest of the Senate and the rights of persons cited in contempt.

“Accordingly, as long as there is a legitimate legislative inquiry, then the inherent power of contempt by the Senate may be properly exercised. Conversely, once the said legislative inquiry concludes, the exercise of the inherent power of contempt ceases and there is no more genuine necessity to penalize the detained witness,” the SC said.

The Court said that a legislative inquiry ends upon the approval or rejection of the committee report and/or upon the expiration of one Congress.

Constitutional right to liberty

The SC set the precedent in its July 3 decision on the case of Aegis Juris fraternity leader Arvin Balag, one of the 11 fraternity members indicted for violation of Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law in connection with the fatal hazing of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio “Atio” del Castillo III.

Balag filed a petition before the SC on October 25, 2017, after senators ordered him detained in Senate premises for being uncooperative in the probe into the death of Castillo. During the Senate inquiry, Balag repeatedly invoked his right against self-incrimination when asked if he headed the fraternity.

The SC ordered Balag’s interim release in December 2017.

The Court declared as moot and academic Balag’s petition questioning the legality of his Senate detention but noted that the petition “presents a critical and decisive issue” that must be resolved.

“This issue must be threshed out as the Senate's exercise of its power of contempt without a definite period is capable of repetition,” it said, adding that “the indefinite detention of persons cited in contempt impairs their constitutional right to liberty.”

“Thus, paramount public interest requires the Court to determine such issue to ensure that the constitutional rights of the persons appearing before a legislative inquiry of the Senate are protected,” it said.

1950 SC ruling

The SC said the Court's ruling in Arnault v Nazareno in 1950 held that the Senate "is a continuing body and which does not cease to exist upon the periodical dissolution of Congress or of the House of Representatives.”

The Court also ruled then that there was no time limit on the Senate’s exercise of the power to cite a person in contempt and acknowledged the possibility that the Senate, being a continuing body, might detain a witness for life.

At the time, the SC refused to limit the period of imprisonment under the Senate's power of contempt. It said legislative functions may still be performed during recess by concered committees tasked with performing probes or conducting hearings on any proposed legislation.

In Balag’s case, the SC found “a genuine necessity” to limit the Senate’s imposition of a period of imprisonment, citing Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution which requires Congress to respect resource persons appearing in its inquiries.

“While there is a presumption of regularity that the Senate will not gravely abuse its power of contempt, there is still a lingering and unavoidable possibility of indefinite imprisonment of witnesses as long as there is no specific period of detention, which is certainly not contemplated and envisioned by the Constitution,” the SC said.

The SC said if Congress wants to supplement its power of contempt by extending the period of imprisonment beyond the conduct of its probe, it can enact a law or amend any existing law. –

x x x."

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The new Ombudsman: "He sounds like a lowly government employee, instead of the country’s chief graft buster and constitutionally designated protector of the people."

See -

"x x x.

Editorial - "Deeply Worrying".
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:36 AM August 10, 2018

The Office of the Ombudsman is of such importance it is only one of two government institutions that the Constitution describes with a special phrase.

In Article XI, Section 12, we read: “The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints…” That is an echo of the much more familiar (and controversial) phrase we find in Article II, Section 3, which reads in part: “The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State.”
The philosophy behind this principle of protection must be understood as having a dual, complementary nature. The military protects the people from threats arising from outside the government: invaders, insurgents, putschists. The Ombudsman and his Deputies protect the people from threats arising from within government: grafters, scammers, plunderers.

That is why the Ombudsman enjoys a range of powers that perhaps comes second only to the President’s own vast panoply. He needs all of those in his position as protector of the people. The Ombudsman is also granted, like a few other high constitutional offices, complete institutional independence: fiscal autonomy; presidential appointments without need for legislative confirmation; removability only through impeachment; plus a mandate that extends to the entire scope of government: “public officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations.”
It is not only disappointing, then, but deeply worrying, when an Ombudsman fails to defend the independence and integrity of his office.

The order issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea dismissing Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang is an unwarranted encroachment into the Ombudsman’s duties and responsibilities.

In the first place, the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Executive department has no jurisdiction over the Ombudsman and his Deputies. Secondly, the previous Ombudsman, Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, refused to heed an earlier order, also issued by the Palace, suspending Carandang for 90 days. Not least, the order of dismissal was issued only after Morales’ retirement had taken effect; it was deliberately timed, released during the week when the new Ombudsman, Justice Samuel Martires, had not yet taken his oath.

During that week, Martires already gave a safe, studiously neutral answer to repeated questions about the order of dismissal. He said he had not yet read the decision or assumed his new office.

Once he did, however, he started issuing statements favoring the presidential palace’s position rather than that of the office he now heads. “I cannot take the law into my hands. I cannot invoke this decision of the Supreme Court because I am not the respondent in this case. The respondent in this case is the Overall Deputy Ombudsman Carandang.”

This is technically true, but it is also mind-numbingly beside the point. The point is that Carandang is being taken to task for doing something that was well within his set of duties and responsibilities. The least Martires could do is defend his institution.

He also said: “It is not the Office of the Ombudsman who should invoke the decision. It should be Carandang. Otherwise, I would be lawyering for Carandang.” Another exceedingly strange statement, considering that it was the prerogatives of the Ombudsman as an office and an institution that the Supreme Court upheld — the very reason Morales refused to honor Malacañang’s suspension order.

The polite language was for the benefit of the congressmen asking questions. But to reporters asking about the Carandang case, Martires had a simpler, even more dismaying answer: “No comment, huwag niyo akong ipitin diyan (don’t put me in a bind).”

He sounds like a lowly government employee, instead of the country’s chief graft buster and constitutionally designated protector of the people.
x x x."

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Grave misconduct; penalty is dismissal from the service.


"'Yes, my dear, that's the system ng government . . . Ganito ang system, ano ako magmamalinis?' - Maria Rowena Regalado Immigration Officer.

Public officers who, in the course of performing their regulatory functions, brazenly extort money, incessantly haggle, bribe, knowingly use falsified copies of official issuances to justify extortion, threaten to withhold benefits and services, deny possession of official receipts to payors, profess undue influence over their colleagues, and unabashedly exclaim that extortion and bribery are standards in the government are guilty of grave misconduct. Their nefarious acts are an utter disservice to the public, and undermine the entire civil service, thereby warranting the termination of their stint in public service. The consummate atrocity of their ways should not be mollified by the convenient excuses of being caught only for the first time, and of solicited statements of support from supposedly satisfied clients that speak of their purported good performance."


Double jeopardy; acquittal is immediately final and executory.

See -

People vs. Sandiganbayan, et. al., GR 228494-96, March 21, 2018:

"Generally, a judgment of acquittal is immediately final and executory.25 The prosecution cannot appeal the acquittal lest the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy be violated.26 However, the rule admits of two exceptional grounds that can be challenged in a certiorari proceeding under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court: (1) in a judgment of acquittal rendered with grave abuse of discretion by the court; and (2) where the prosecution had been deprived of due process.27

A cursory reading of the present petition for certiorari demonstrates a prodding to review the judgment of acquittal rendered by the Sandiganbayan on account of grave abuse of discretion. However, though enveloped on a pretext of grave abuse, the petition in actuality aims to overturn the decision of Sandiganbayan due to perceived mistake in the appreciation of facts and evidence. Unfortunately for the petitioner, the correction of this mistake does not fall within the ambit of Rule. 65

In People v. Hon. Tria-Tirona,28 the Court emphasized the limitation of review in certiorari proceeding:

Any error committed in the evaluation of evidence is merely an error of judgment that cannot be remedied by certiorari. An error of judgment is one in which the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction. An error of jurisdiction is one where the act complained of was issued by the court without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion which is tantamount to lack or in excess of jurisdiction and which error is correctible only by the extraordinary writ of certiorari. Certiorari will not be issued to cure errors by the trial court in its appreciation of the evidence of the parties, and its conclusions anchored on the said findings and its conclusions of law. Since no error of jurisdiction can be attributed to Eublic respondent in her assessment of the evidence, certiorari will not lie. 9 (Citations omitted)

In this case, the prosecution was given adequate opportunity to present several witnesses and all necessary documentary evidence to prove the guilt of Sabio. However, Sandiganbayan warranted the acquittal of Sabio due to insufficiency of evidence engendering reasonable doubt on whether Sabio committed the offenses charged."

Statements of legislators in media interviews are not covered by the parliamentary "speech or debate" privilege. [Note: This ruling of the SC endangers the independence of the Legislative and the Free Press].

See -

Sen. Trillanes IV vs. Hon. Castillo-Marigomen, GR 223451, March 14, 2018:

"Petitioner admits that he uttered the questioned statements, describing private respondent as former VP Binay's "front" or "dummy" in connection with the so-called Hacienda Binay, in response to media interviews during gaps and breaks in plenary and committee hearings in the Senate. 44 With Jimenez as our guidepost, it is evident that petitioner's remarks fall outside the privilege of speech or debate under Section 11, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. The statements were clearly not part of any speech delivered in the Senate or any of its committees. They were also not spoken in the course of any debate in said fora. It cannot likewise be successfully contended that they were made in the official discharge or performance of petitioner's 40 duties as a Senator, as the remarks were not part of or integral to the legislative process. "

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Libel; proper venues.

See -

People vs. Macasaet, et. al., GR 196094, March 5, 2018:

"The rules on venue of criminal actions for libel were also restated m Agbayani, thus:

1. Whether the offended party is a public official or a private person, the criminal action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published.

2. If the offended party is a private individual, the criminal action may also be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province where he actually resided at the time of the commission of the offense.

3. If the offended party is a public officer whose office is in Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila.

4. If the offended party is a public officer holding office outside of Manila, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense."

Prescription of crime may be raised at any stage of the proceeding even for the first time on appeal. Prescription of the crime of falsification of public document is computed from the date of the registration of the forged/falsified public document, not from the date of the discovery thereof.

See - 

Lim, et. al. vs. People, GR 226590, April 23, 2018.

"This doctrine was affirmed in the more recent case of Syhunliong v. Rivera,45 where the defense of prescription was raised only in the comment to the petition filed before the Court. Despite this belated objection, the Court upheld the right of the accused to invoke the prescription of the crime at any stage of the proceeding.46 Under these judicial pronouncements, the petitioners are not deemed to have waived this defense, even if they failed to move for the quashal of the information prior to their an-aignment.

Article 90 of the RPC provides that the period for the prescription of offenses commences from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party, the authorities, or their agents.52 But if the offense is falsification of a public document punishable under Article 172 of the RPC, as in this case, the period for prescription commences on the date of registration of the forged or falsified document.53 As consistently applied in land registration proceedings, the act of registration serves as a constructive notice to the entire world, charging everyone with knowledge of the contents of the document. xxx."

Prescription of crime; how computed [2018 SC ruling].

See -

"Del Rosario vs. People", GR 199930, June 27, 2018.

"The guidelines summarized in Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Carpio-Morales34 already settled how to determine the proper reckoning points for the period of prescription. Whether it is the general rule or the exception that should apply in a particular case depends on the availability or the suppression of information relative to the crime should first be ascertained. If the information, data, or records from which the crime is based could be plainly discovered or were readily available to the public, as in the case of the petitioner herein, the general rule should apply, and prescription should be held to run from the commission of the crime; otherwise, the discovery rule is applied.

Secondly, when there are reasonable means to be aware of the commission of the offense, the discovery rule should not be applied. To prosecute an offender for an offense not prosecuted on account of the lapses on the part of the Government and the officials responsible for the prosecution thereof or burdened with the duty of making sure that the laws are observed would have the effect of condoning their indolence and inaction.

We fully concur with the observations of the RTC to the effect that the offenses charged against the petitioner were not susceptible of concealment. As such, the offenses could have been known within the eight-year period starting from the moment of their commission. Indeed, the Office of the Ombudsman or the CSC, the two agencies of the Government invested with the primary responsibility of monitoring the compliance with R.A. No. 6713, should have known of her omissions during the period of prescription.

Thirdly, the Sandiganbayan's opinion that it would be burdensome and highly impossible for the CSC, the Office of the Ombudsman and any other concerned agency of the Government to come up with a tracking system to ferret out the violators of R.A. No. 6713 on or about the time of the filing of the SALNs is devoid of persuasion and merit."

Major laws signed by Duterte as of July 2018.

See -

"x x x.

Laws passed during first two years of Duterte admin

Published July 20, 2018 4:04pm


Two years since he assumed office, President Rodrigo Duterte has already signed into law a total of 133 legislative measures, 38 of which are bills of national importance.

Most of these laws were in line with the Duterte administration's 10-point socioeconomic agenda, while some were in keeping with his campaign promises to address crime, corruption and poverty in the country.

In the House of Representatives alone, a total of 2,929 measures have been processed during the 183 session days from July 25, 2016 to July 11, 2018. On the part of the Senate, of the 1,843 bills filed, 483 have been acted upon and of which 19 have been enacted into law.

Out of the 133 laws enacted, 93 were local bills and while two measures are joint resolutions of the 17th Congress.

Among the most significant measures enacted during the Duterte's first two years of office are:

RA 10931 of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act. This law provides free tuition and miscellaneous fees for students enrolled in State Universities and Colleges, as well as in local colleges and technical-vocational school.

RA 10969 or the Free Irrigation Services Act. This law grants free irrigation to farmers who own not more than eight hectares of land, and condones unpaid irrigation fees by farmers who till the same size of property.

RA 10932 or An Act Strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law. This law increased the penalties for hospitals or clinics that refuse to treat patients in emergency or serious cases unless they could deposit a certain amount.

RA 11032 or East of Doing Business Act. This law requires government agencies to act on applications within three days for simpler transactions, seven days for complex ones, and 20 days for those that are highly-technical.

RA 10928 or An Act Extending the Validity of Philippine Passports. Under this law, validity of Philippine passports has been extended to 10 years from the previous five years.

RA 10930 or An Extending the Validity Period of Drivers’ Licenses. Under this law, motorists can now use their license for five years instead of three years.
RA 10963 or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN). This law reduced personal income taxes while raising duties on fuel, cars, coal and sugar-sweetened drinks.
After Congress adjourned its sessions sine die on June 3, Duterte has also signed into law various measures ratified by the bicameral conference committee, such as:

RA 11036 or Philippine Mental Health Act. This law aims to provide affordable and accessible mental health services for Filipinos.

RA 11035 or the Act Strengthening the Balik-Scientist Program. Under this law, incentives will be provided to Filipino scientists to encourage them to return to the country.

RA 11037 or National School Feeding Law. This law seeks to institutionalize a feeding program for undernourished children in public day care, kindergarten and elementary schools.

RA 11039 or Electric Cooperatives Resiliency Fund Law. This measure seeks to provide orderly and continuing means of financial assistance to electric cooperatives to mitigate the effects of calamities.

RA 11053 or Anti-Hazing Act of 2018. This law seeks to prohibit hazing and regulates other forms of initiation rites of fraternities, sororities, and other organizations, and provides penalties for violation thereof.
Both houses of Congress have also worked together to ease the plight of the poor and public servants receiving measly salaries, with the adoption of:

House Joint Resolution No. 15 and its counterpart Senate Joint Resolution No. 2. These mandate that the housing units intended for the uniformed personnel remain unused would be made available to qualified poor beneficiaries.

House Joint Resolution No. 18. This measure gave military and uniformed personnel an increase in their base pay.

Duterte has yet to sign the following bills, whose bicameral conference committee reports have already been ratified:

Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS). This measure imposes fines for non-compliance with OSHS and requires safety and health personnel to undergo the mandatory training on basic occupational safety and health as prescribed by the Department of Labor and Employment.

Filipino Identification System. This bill provides official identification for all Filipinos through ta national identification number and Filipino Identification Card.

Retirement Benefits System in the Office of Ombudsman. This measure seeks to increase the retirement benefits of officials and employees of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Strengthening Legal Framework for Creation, Perfection, Determination of Priority Rights and Enforcement of Security Interests in Personal Property.

Duterte will report about his administration's accomplishments, which may include laws passed under his term, during his third State of the Nation Address to be held on July 23 at the Batasang Pambansa Complex.

On that same day, he is also expected to sign the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is seen to bring just and lasting peace in Mindanao. — KBK, GMA News

x x x."




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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Appeals from decisions of quasi-judicial agencies; Rule 43 applies; appeals must be filed in CA, not RTC; National Water Resources Board [NWRB] decisions appealable to CA.

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G.R. No. 186450, April 8, 2010.

"In issue is whether Regional Trial Courts have jurisdiction over appeals from decisions, resolutions or orders of the National Water Resources Board (petitioner).


Petitioner maintains that the RTC does not have jurisdiction over a petition for certiorari and prohibition to annul or modify its acts or omissions as a quasi-judicial agency. Citing Section 4 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, petitioner contends that there is no law or rule which requires the filing of a petition for certiorari over its acts or omissions in any other court or tribunal other than the Court of Appeals.[8]

Petitioner goes on to fault the appellate court in holding that Batas Pambansa Bilang 129 (BP 129) or the Judiciary Reorganization Act did not expressly repeal Article 89 of Presidential Decree No. 1067 (PD 1067) otherwise known as the Water Code of the Philippines.[9]

Respondent, on the other hand, maintains the correctness of the assailed decision of the appellate court.

The petition is impressed with merit.

Section 9 (1) of BP 129 granted the Court of Appeals (then known as the Intermediate Appellate Court) original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction.[10]

Since the appellate court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over quasi-judicial agencies under Rule 43[11] of the Rules of Court, petitions for writs of certiorari, prohibition or mandamus against the acts and omissions of quasi-judicial agencies, like petitioner, should be filed with it. This is what Rule 65 of the Rules imposes for procedural uniformity. The only exception to this instruction is when the law or the Rules itself directs otherwise, as cited in Section 4, Rule 65.[12] The appellate courts construction that Article 89 of PD 1067, which reads:

ART. 89. The decisions of the [NWRB] on water rights controversies may be appealed to the [RTC] of the province where the subject matter of the controversy is situated within fifteen (15) days from the date the party appealing receives a copy of the decision, on any of the following grounds: (1) grave abuse of discretion; (2) question of law; and (3) questions of fact and law (emphasis and underscoring supplied),

is such an exception, is erroneous.

Article 89 of PD 1067 had long been rendered inoperative by the passage of BP 129. Aside from delineating the jurisdictions of the Court of Appeals and the RTCs, Section 47 of BP 129 repealed or modified:

x x x. [t]he provisions of Republic Act No. 296, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, of Republic Act No. 5179, as amended, of the Rules of Court, and of all other statutes, letters of instructions and general orders or parts thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act x x x. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The general repealing clause under Section 47 predicates the intended repeal under the condition that a substantial conflict must be found in existing and prior acts.[13]

In enacting BP 129, the Batasang Pambansa was presumed to have knowledge of the provision of Article 89 of P.D. No. 1067 and to have intended to change it.[14] The legislative intent to repeal Article 89 is clear and manifest given the scope and purpose of BP 129, one of which is to provide a homogeneous procedure for the review of adjudications of quasi-judicial entities to the Court of Appeals.

More importantly, what Article 89 of PD 1067 conferred to the RTC was the power of review on appeal the decisions of petitioner. It appears that the appellate court gave significant consideration to the ground of grave abuse of discretion to thus hold that the RTC has certiorari jurisdiction over petitioners decisions. A reading of said Article 89 shows, however, that it only made grave abuse of discretion as another ground to invoke in an ordinary appeal to the RTC. Indeed, the provision was unique to the Water Code at the time of its application in 1976.

The issuance of BP 129, specifically Section 9 (Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals, then known as Intermediate Appellate Court), and the subsequent formulation of the Rules, clarified and delineated the appellate and certiorari jurisdictions of the Court of Appeals over adjudications of quasi-judicial bodies. Grave abuse of discretion may be invoked before the appellate court as a ground for an error of jurisdiction.

It bears noting that, in the present case, respondent assailed petitioners order via certiorari before the RTC, invoking grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction as ground-basis thereof. In other words, it invoked such ground not for an error of judgment.

While Section 9 (3) of BP 129[15] and Section 1 of Rule 43 of the Rules of Court[16] does not list petitioner as among the quasi-judicial agencies whose final judgments, orders, resolutions or awards are appealable to the appellate court, it is non sequitur to hold that the Court of Appeals has no appellate jurisdiction over petitioners judgments, orders, resolutions or awards. It is settled that the list of quasi-judicial agencies specifically mentioned in Rule 43 is not meant to be exclusive.[17] The employment of the word among clearly instructs so.

BF Northwest Homeowners Association v. Intermediate Appellate Court,[18] a 1987 case cited by the appellate court to support its ruling that RTCs have jurisdiction over judgments, orders, resolutions or awards of petitioner, is no longer controlling in light of the definitive instruction of Rule 43 of the Revised Rules of Court.

Tanjay Water District v. Gabaton[19] is not in point either as the issue raised therein was which between the RTC and the then National Water Resources Council had jurisdiction over disputes in the appropriation, utilization and control of water.

IN FINE, certiorari and appellate jurisdiction over adjudications of petitioner properly belongs to the Court of Appeals.

WHEREFORE, the challenged Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The April 15, 2005 Order of the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City dismissing petitioners petition for lack of jurisdiction is UPHELD.

x x x."



[10] SEC. 9. Jurisdiction.The [Court of Appeals] shall exercise:

(1) Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction.;

(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of Regional Trial Courts; and

(3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or commissions, except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948.

x x x x.

[11] SECTION 1. Scope.This Rule shall apply to appeals from judgments or final orders of the Court of Tax Appeals* and from awards, judgments, final orders or resolutions of or authorized by any quasi-judicial agency in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions. Among these agencies are the Civil Service Commission, Central Board of Assessment Appeals, Securities and Exchange Commission,** Office of the President, Land Registration Authority, Social Security Commission, Civil Aeronautics Board, Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer, National Electrification Administration, Energy Regulatory Board, National Telecommunications Commission, Department of Agrarian Reform Under Republic Act No. 6657, Government Service Insurance System, Employees Compensation Commission, Agricultural Inventions Board, Insurance Commission, Philippine Atomic Energy Commission, Board of Investments, Construction Industry Arbitration Commission, and voluntary arbitrators authorized by law.

x x x x (underscoring supplied)

[12] SEC. 4. When and where to file the petition. x x x .

If the petition relates to an act or an omission of a municipal trial court or of a corporation, a board, an officer or a person, it shall be filed with the Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction over the territorial area as defined by the Supreme Court. It may also be filed with the Court of Appeals or with the Sandiganbayan, whether or not the same is in aid of the courts appellate jurisdiction. If it involves the acts of a quasi-judicial agency, unless otherwise provided by law or these rules, the petition shall be filed in and cognizable only by the Court of Appeals.

x x x x. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

[13] Mecano v. Commission on Audit, G.R. No. 103982, 216 SCRA 500, 505 (1992).

[14] Vide: Magno v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 147904, 390 SCRA 495, 500 (2002).

[17] Vide: United Coconut Planters Bank v. E. Ganzon, Inc, G.R. Nos. 168859 and 168897, June 30, 2009, 591 SCRA 321, 337; Land Bank of the Philippines v. De Leon, 437 Phil. 347, 357 (2002); Sy v. COSLAP, 417 Phil. 378, 393-394 (2001); and Metro Construction, Inc. v. Chatham Properties, Inc., 418 Phil. 176, 203 (2001).

[18] G.R. No. 72370, 234 Phil. 537 (1987).

[19] G.R. No. 63742, 254 Phil. 253 (1989).