Saturday, May 31, 2008

Take a Break: The Unfair Professor

Photo: Diabolic Preacher, Creative Commons, Flickr

A first year law student sulkily came out of his classroom. A friend, who was already a senior, saw him and asked what the problem was.

"My professor drilled me for thirty minutes while the others who were called recited for only two minutes," The freshman answered. "He's so unfair!"

"No, he's not unfair. He's arbitrary." Said the senior.

"What's the difference?"

"Arbitrary means he's unfair with a law degree."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law

Once a third-rate superhero, Harvey Birdman is now a third-rate lawyer trying like hell to get by in a fancy law firm. As an attorney, he represents his fellow former Hanna-Barbera cartoon stars, in a variety of strange cases. Here is one clip where he visits Shaggy and Scooby in jail.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Ten Commandments (For 1st Year Law Students)

Photo: Mickelodeon, Creative Commons, Flickr

1. Thou shalt always remember that thy teacher is a man of many moods. Be inconspicuous when he is angry, And laugh when he cracks jokes.

2. Thou shalt not be a wiseass when reciting.

3. Thou shalt not take a single subject for granted.

4. Thou shalt use thy cut wisely.

5. Thou shalt prepare for thy recitations, lest thou art mistaken for a fool when thou art called.

6. Thou shalt not cram for thy exams.

7. Thou shalt not brag that law school is easy until after thy midterm results cometh.

8. Thou shalt not bear false answers to thy neighbor.

9. Thou shalt covet thy beadle's friendship. It is he who holdeth much information.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's answers. Thrice cursed is he who gets caught cheating.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stuck on an escalator

We have already seen what happens if you get stuck in an elevator. Here is a video about getting stuck on an escalator.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Forfeiture of Bail Bond

Q: The accused in a criminal case failed to appear in person before the court. Accordingly, the trial court declared his bail forfeited. The trial court gave the bondsmen a 30-day period to produce the accused or a reasonable explanation for their non-production. However, two years had passed from the time the court ordered the forfeiture and still no judgment had been rendered against the bondsmen for the amount of the bail. Instead, an order of execution was issued and the property was put up for sale and was awarded to the highest bidders in good faith.

Can the bondsmen still go after the property, on the ground that the trial court did not render a judgment against them?


Section 21, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure clearly provides for the procedure to be followed before a bail bond may be forfeited and a judgment on the bond rendered against the surety. There are two requisites before the trial court judge may rule adversely against the bondsmen in cases when the accused fails to appear in court. First, the non-appearance by the accused is cause for the judge to summarily declare the bond as forfeited. Second, the bondsmen, after the summary forfeiture of the bond, are given 30 days within which to produce the principal and to show cause why a judgment should not be rendered against them for the amount of the bond.

It is only after this 30-day period (during which the bondsmen are afforded the opportunity to be heard by the trial court) that the trial court may render a judgment on the bond against the bondsmen. Judgment against the bondsmen cannot be entered unless such judgment is preceded by the order of forfeiture and an opportunity given to the bondsmen to produce the accused or to adduce satisfactory reason for their inability to do so.

In this case, no such judgment was ever issued and neither has an amount been fixed for which the bondsmen may be held liable. The law was not strictly observed and this violated the bondsmen’s right to procedural due process.

The issue of good faith in buying the property at the auction sale is not material. Since the execution and sale of the land was invalid, the basis for which title to the land had been issued has no more leg to stand on.

Case: Mendoza v. Alarma, G.R. No. 151970, May 7, 2008
Photo: Jackson West, Creati
ve Commons, Flickr

Friday, May 23, 2008

Handwriting Speaks Volumes (?)

Every elections, graphologists (people who study and analyze handwriting especially in relation to human psychology) take center stage in order to analyze handwriting of presidential wannabes. This year is no exception.

Here is an interesting article from LA Times about the presidentiables' signatures.

Mind you, graphology is not an exact science. But if you are interested about what your handwriting tells about you, you may want to check here:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Substitution" of Counsel

Q: ATTY RC, a party's original counsel of record, did not appeal the Labor Arbiter's decision. However, ATTY VS filed a notice of entry of appearance as the party's counsel of record and filed an appeal from the Labor Arbiter's Decision without complying with Section 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court (i.e. In case of substitution, the name of the attorney newly employed shall be entered on the docket of the court in place of the former one, and written notice of the change shall be given to the adverse party).

Was the substitution invalid, thereby making the Labor Arbiter's Decision final?

A: No.

A party may have two or more lawyers working in collaboration in a given litigation. Substitution of counsel should not be presumed from the mere filing of a notice of appearance of a new lawyer. The fact that a second attorney enters his appearance for the same party does not necessarily raise the presumption that the authority of the first attorney has been withdrawn. The entry of appearance of ATTY VS should not give rise to the presumption that ATTY RC withdrew his appearance as counsel in the absence of a formal withdrawal of appearance. ATTY VS should only be treated as collaborating counsel despite his appearance as “the new counsel of record.”

Case: San Miguel Corp. v. Pontillas, G.R. No. 155178, May 7, 2008.
Photo: · YeahjaleaH ·, Creative Commons, Flickr

Take a break: Lawyer's heaven

Photo: extranoise, Creative Commons, Flickr

"A lawyer's dream of heaven: every man reclaimed his property at the resurrection, and each tried to recover it from all his forefathers."

- Samuel Butler

Burma: It Can't Wait

I was searching for Ellen Page on Youtube and I came across this clip. I figured that I might as well do my civic duty and spread the word.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

News: "Celebrity Scandal Tests South Korean Adultery Law"

A Korean TV personality husband accused his actress wife of having an adulterous affairs with his singer friend and her Italian chef.

The husband accordingly filed an adultery case against the wife. The wife does not deny her relationship with her husband's friend, but she is questioning the constitutionality of the 55-year old adultery law.

In arguing for the scrapping of the law, the wife's lawyer said: "The state meddling in which sex partner we should have - that's too much. Such a time is gone."

In the Philippines, the issue is not on the decriminalization of adultery. Our morality conscious society will not allow such. The more pressing issue is the sexist view of the law with regard to the crimes adultery and concubinage.

The Revised Penal Code provides:
Art. 333. Who are guilty of adultery. — Adultery is committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void.

Adultery shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.

If the person guilty of adultery committed this offense while being abandoned without justification by the offended spouse, the penalty next lower in degree than that provided in the next preceding paragraph shall be imposed.

Art. 334. Concubinage. — Any husband who shall keep a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, or shall have sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife, or shall cohabit with her in any other place, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.

The concubine shall suffer the penalty of destierro.
You can clearly see the double standard here. A married woman can be jailed for having one sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband. It's as simple as that. On the other hand, a married man must have paraded to the world that he has a mistress before being jailed for concubinage.

Take note also of the penalty for both crimes. A guilty wife can be puniished by prision correcional in its medium and maximum periods; a guilty husband - prision correcional in its minimum and medium periods.

Thus, it is easier to prosecute adultery than concubinage. Yet, a wife (guilty of adultery) can be imprisioned a wee bit longer than a husband (guilty of concubinage). See the disparity?

Maybe it's also time to take a closer look at our adultery and concubinage laws.

News taken from IHT and NY Times.
Photo: kevindooley, Creative Commons, Flickr

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CLV's Recommended Books for the Bar

These are the authors of the books that you're supposed to read five time according to Dean CLV (If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here).

Political Law: Bernas
Civil Law: Jurado
Remedial Law: Regalado
Commercial Law: Villanueva
Criminal Law: Gregorio
Taxation: Sababan
Legal Ethics and Legal Forms: Paño

Monday, May 19, 2008

Raise the (Tax Exemptions) Roof! Part 3

I can't get House Bill 9371 out of my mind, but I promise that this will be the last post about it.

If the government really wants to alleviate the plight of the people by raising the tax exemptions, why not just lower rates of indirect taxes (i.e. excise and VAT)? The tax exemptions will surely be a big help to the laborers who are in the formal sector. But they will not at all benefit those in the informal sector (e.g your friendly neighborhood barker, DVD pirate, tricycle driver, sampaguita vendor, etc.), the very set of people who need a reprieve from the ricing prices of commodities. I don't understand why the government is eager to pass the said bill while it is so averse to the idea of suspending the EVAT.

Photo: wili_hybrid, Creative Commons, Flicker

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Take a Break: Blame Game

Photo: Omar Omar, Creative Commons, Flickr

And God said: 'Let there be Satan, so people don't blame everything on me. And let there be lawyers, so people don't blame everything on Satan.'

- George Burns

"California Court Affirms Right to Gay Marriage"

The New York Times reports:
The California Supreme Court, striking down two state laws that had limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman, ruled Thursday that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Click here for the complete story.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Word of the Week: Equipoise

Photo: Mario, Creative Commons,

If the evidence pertinent to a disputed fact is equally balanced or does not produce a rational belief of its existence, the party holding the affirmative as to such fact must fail (People v. Ordoña).


When there is nothing in the evidence which shall incline it to one side or the other, the court will find for the defendant(Municipality of Candijay v. CA)


Under this rule, where the evidence on an issue of fact is in equipoise or there is doubt on which side the evidence preponderates, the party having the burden of proof loses. The equipoise rule finds application if the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two or more explanations, one of which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other consistent with his guilt, for then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty, and does not suffice to produce a conviction. Briefly stated, the needed quantum of proof to convict the accused of the crime charged is found lacking. And in this case, the petitioner must be declared innocent and set free (Maria Tin v. People).

Note: The equipoise rule is also known as the equiponderance of evidence rule.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Book Review: Co Untian's Tax Digest

Admittedly, Taxation is a very hard subject to understand, since it is basically a mathematical subject crouched in undecipherable language known as the NIRC. This is where Crescencio Co Untian's book Tax Digest comes in handy.

Co Untian uses the Q&A format, ideal for exam reviews. The important concepts are organized into topics, which makes for easier reading. He also uses plain and clear language, in contrast to the convoluted language used in the NIRC. It is good for memorization, since enumerations are conspicuously presented. Moreover, some parts are explained with illustrative problems and solutions, to gauge the reader's understanding.

A word of caution, though. More often than not, the legal bases for the answers are not given. So it is hard to cross-refer to the codal provisions or case laws. And while this edition was published in 2005, R.A. 9337 (a law enacted on the same year) is not yet inlcuded. Thus, in the book, a corporation's income tax rate is still pegged at 32% (when it should be 35% for 2008 and 30% for 2009); and VAT rate is still at 10% (when it should be 12%). However, I noticed that in Rex Bookstore's website, the published date was 2005/06. *Maybe* the 2006 version has already included R.A. 9337. I'll have to check on that.

I don't this book should and can be used as a primary book for Tax I or II because it does not elaborate on the topics, it just gives the bare essentials. But precisely because the book presents Taxation at its simplest, it is ideal for the bar exam, or for your final reading for an upcoming exam, or as a reference just to refresh your memory.

Title: Tax Digest: A Compact Reviewer on Internal Revenue Taxes, Local Government and Real Property Taxes, Tariff and Customes Duties
Author: Crescencio P. Co Untian, Jr.
Edtion: 3rd
Year of Publication: 2005
Publisher: Rex Bookstore, Inc.
Number of Pages: 216

Image courtesy of

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Take a break: Income Taxes

Social Weather Station conducted a survey about income taxes. The SWS interviewer chanced upon a rice smuggler and his laborer.

The interviewer first asked the rice smuggler about income tax. The rice smuggler answered, "I know what income is. In fact, mine tripled during the past couple of months. But what is tax?"

When it was his turn to answer, the laborer said, "I know what taxes are, I've been paying them all my life. But what is this income that you speak of?"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Vatican says aliens could exist"

This is a post totally unrelated to law, but it's so interesting that I just can't resist.

BBC, Yahoo and WorldNetDaily report that the Pope's chief astronomer, Fr. Jose Gabriel Funes, said that the search for forms of extraterrestrial life, does not contradict belief in God.

"To say it with St. Francis, if we can consider some earthly creatures as 'brothers' or 'sisters,' why could we not speak of a 'brother alien'? He would also belong to the creation."

The Bible "is not a science book," Funes said, adding that he believes the Big Bang theory is the most "reasonable" explanation for the creation of the universe.
Now I wonder what the creationists have to say about this...

Image courtesy of jurvetson

Raise the (Tax Exemptions) Roof! Part 2

I'm not anti-labor. However, I believe that House Bill no. 3971 is just a band-aid solution, without addressing the country's real malady. Yes, it has a laudable purpose. But at what expense?

With less tax revenue coming in, where will the government get the money to import Thai rice? How can it buy Meralco? How will it fund a broadband deal? How can it make more overpriced boulevards?

In all seriousness, I think this Bill is compromising the country's fiscal situation. It was only four years ago that the Philippines was on the brink of an Argentina-like financial crisis. That's why the VAT and excise tax were raised. But despite these measures, we still have not achieved a budget surplus. Obviously, we are still not far off from a financial meltdown scenario.

The laborers may be appeased with the passing of this Bill. But again I ask: at what expense?

J. Tinga Hearsay

I heard that Justice Tinga is going to be a tougher nut to crack than Justice Azcuna. I heard that bar takers will have to read a greater breadth than before. For example, if the Nachura book was enough for the past Poli bar exams, that's not the case for J. Tinga (allegedly). You have to study Nachura and Cruz and/or Bernas. I also heard that he was a former dean of UE. So get reacquainted with your UE law student-friends and ask for some tips.

But you know what they say about hearsay: "... [it] can not be given credence for it has no probative value."

Stated differently: don't take my word for it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Raise the (Tax Exemptions) Roof!

Kudos to the Lower House for actually doing something! Hurrah!

Members of the House of Representatives yesterday voted to approve House Bill No. 3971, which seeks to grant a uniform personal tax exemption of P50,000. The bill also seeks to raise the exemption of each of four dependents to P25,000, from the current P8,000.

The current law also provides that single individual has an annual tax exemption of A P20,000; a head of the family has exemption of P25,000; and a married individual has a P32,000 exemption.

This all seems good on paper. After all, such tax relief is very much welcome amid rising prices of rice, gas and Caramel Macchiato.

I'm no economist, but where will the government get all the money to offset the expected revenue loss? According to the Inquirer news report:

At the same time, the bill seeks a simplified net income taxation (SNIT) scheme for the self-employed and professionals. XXX

Under the proposed SNIT, a 40 percent discount will be given to self-employed and professionals to encourage them to declare their income.

XXX the government is expected to raise an additional P14 billion pesos from this scheme or a net gain of P1 billion to P2 billion minus the expected losses from the higher tax exemptions.

Um, yeah...

Anyway, I have a feeling that we will not recognize this House Bill after the final Final Bill comes out of Bicam. So honest taxpayers all over the country, I hate to piss at your fun, but don't keep your hopes up just yet.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Take a Break: The Dregs of Society

Lawyer: I hate coming out here at seven in the morning and having to sit downstairs with a bunch of criminals.

Judge: I have to do the same thing every day.

Lawyer: Yeah, but you don't have to sit down in a holding tank with 'em.

Judge: Every day I come in and I meet the dregs of society, and then I have to meet their clients. Think of that.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Codal Provisions in Palm

I love Palm. They're versatile and handy. I can play games, read books, organize, schedule(or an attempt thereof) and store my files. What's more, I have the codal provisions stored in my Palm. So I don't have to bring my bulky codals, I just bring along my Palm with me for quick reference.

So if you have a Palm and the Isilo program, and you want to store your codals in your Palm, just click on the following links to download the provisions.

1987 Constitution
Civil Code
Rules of Court
Revised Penal Code
Labor Code
Corporate Code
Local Government Code

Caveat: some of the laws may not be updated since these were created back in 2005.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Congress is in Siesta

Have you heard the latest news? There are proposals that members House of Representatives be padlocked inside the session hall. The reason: some Congressmen start to disappear 30 minutes after the roll call. GMA News reported yesterday that out of the 240 or so Congressmen, an average of 160-180 attend a regular session. But that is not the shocking news. What is appalling is that only 40 or so Congressmen are still present at the end of the day! Only 1 out of 6!

What is this, highschool? The most delinquent class I've been in had an absence of 20% on the average. Only a select few left in the middle of a class and never came back again. And these are the students of the thick-faced, i-don't-give-a-damn-if-I-get-kicked-out-or-not-since-I'm-not-paying-for-my-
tuition-anyway variety.

But that is a poor analogy, you might say. There is no comparing between school and Congress. Congress is serious business.

But that is precisely the point. Congress IS serious business. It should not be taken lightly. Aren't we deep in sh*t enough for Congressmen not to care? Do the congressman have to be offered an envelope containing P500k every time just to lure them to Batasan? What callousness.

What's new, you ask? This is Congress, after all. Maybe it's not news after all.

Take a Break: I Resent That

"All lawyers are douche bags!" declared a man in a bar.

"I resent that!" someone replied.

"Why, are you a lawyer?"

"No, I'm douche bag!"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Book Review: Catindig's Notes on Selected Commercial Laws

Commercial Law is one of the harder subjects to study for the bar. Aside from the big four (Corporation, Transportation, Insurance and Negotiable Instruments), Commercial Law includes may special laws. In fact, the codal provisions of Commercial Law consist of two volumes, as opposed to the other bar subjects, which only have one each. And because of the number of special laws for Commercial Law, it won't be surprising if some bar takers have not yet encountered one (or two, or three) of these special laws.

This is where Atty. Tristan Catindig's book, Notes on Selected Commercial Laws, comes in handy.

Published in 2003, Atty. Catindig's book covers over 20 special laws, including banking laws; intellectual property; warehouse laws; letters of credits; trust receipts; mortgage; and special corporation laws.

This is not your ordinary law book. The author gives the basics of each law in simple fashion, to help readers understand the topics better - like Commercial Law for Dummies (as one lawyer puts it). The book is so well-written that it almost makes reading Commercial Law enjoyable.

Atty. Catindig favors the Q & A format. Case laws that are added give life to the laws, while sample questions gauge the reader if he has actually grasped the subjects or not.

One unique aspect of the book is that it has lawyer jokes section after the end of each chapter. The section is aptly entitled Take a Break.

But this does not in any way mean that this book does not mean business. Atty. Catindig understands the students' needs, which is a law book that is understandable. A law book does not have to be archaic to be taken seriously. Atty. Catindig is obviously well aware of this fact.

The bad news is that the book is already out of print (or so I heard).

The good news is that Atty. Catindig is reportedly releasing a 2008 edition in time for the bar.

Even better news, Atty Catindig is reportedly releasing two more books: A Tax Law book and another Commercial Law book, this time dealing with the major four.

I, for one, am eagerly anticipating their release.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way related to Atty. Catindig, nor am I connected with Verde Publications, which is the publisher of the Book.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Impeaching the Supreme Court

Atty. Elly Pamatong filed an impeachment complaint against all the members of the Supreme Court due to obstruction of justice (setting exhorbitant legal fees); conspiracy to subvert the Republic (swearing into office GMA); demonstration of impeachable mediocrity, negligence, and incompetence ("unlawfully changing his middle name from "Velez" to "Chavez"); and malicious delay in the administration of justice.

Hmmm... So where do I start?

First, all of the grounds stated by Pamatong are not impeachable offenses. He can stretch his arguments and say that the SC justices committed culpable violation of the Constitution or betrayal of public trust. And I emphasize, the operative word here is "stretch."

Second, you can impeach a person, but you cannot impeach an institution. Pamatong cited one of the grounds that the SC legitimized the presidency of Gloria in 2001. But this cannot be taken against the Supreme Court as a body. It must be noted that only a handful of the members of the 2001 body legitimizing the GMA presidency are still in the present SC. If Pamatong wants to overhaul the membership of the SC, he must file a separate complaint for each member, and cite the impeachable grounds committed by each member. Hindi pwedeng pakyaw dito sir, kung gusto niyong maseryoso.

Third, this is the same Pamatong who was declared a nuisance candidate in 2004, and rightly so. The same Pamatong who was named as a "Spike Boy" by scattering steel spikes on the streets of Metro Manila. The same Pamatong who was arrested in Laguna for carrying an M203 grenade launcher, an M-16 rifle, an Intratech machine pistol, two caliber .45 automatics and assorted ammunition. The same Pamatong who just recently filed a case against Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales for alleged human right violations, forcing people to believe catholic doctrines, swindling (tithes or offerings solely goes to the Pope based in Vatican) and for noise disturbance (loud speakers mounted in churches).

But then again, I haven't read the impeachment complaint in its entirety. Maybe he actually has valid arguments. Now all he needs is a Congressman to endorse his complaint.

Takers, anyone?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Concise Bks 4 U

These books are (relatively) short and concise, yet are comprehensive. Very useful for crammers and bar reviewers.

Outline Reviewer in Political Law, Antonio B. Nachura (2006), 686 pages

Everyone's Labor Code, C.A. Azucena (2006), 379 pages/649 pages with appendices

Reviewer on Commercial Law, Jose Sundiang and Timoteo Aquino (2006), 433 pages

Tax Digest, Crescencio Co Untian Jr. (2005), 215 pages

Remedial Law Reviewer, Ed Vincent S. Albano and Ed Vincent A. Albano (2004), 1384 pages

Notes and Cases on the Revised Penal Code (Books I & II) and Special Penal Laws, Leonor Boado (2004), 927 pages

Pointers in Criminal Law, Justice Edilberto Sandoval (2004), 195 pages

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Probationary Status and Minimum Wage

Q: An employer is of the position that since an employee was on probationary status, then the salary of the employee for the duration of six-month probationary period cannot be the same as the salary of a regular employee. Is this correct?

A: No. The probationary status of an employee and the wage or salary he is entitled to receive are two entirely distinct and disparate terms in labor law.

The first term is used in reference to security of tenure. A probationary employee is one who has a limited tenure, i.e. six (6) months; but such probationary employee is nevertheless entitled to security of tenure and can only be terminated for a just cause.

On the other hand, the “wage” or “salary” paid to any “employee” refers to the “remuneration or earnings” that are “capable of being expressed in terms of money, for work done or to be done, or for services rendered or to be rendered. Under Art. 97 (c) of the Labor Code, the term “employee” is simply defined as “any individual employed by an employer.”

While there are exceptions to the coverage of the law on minimum wage, these are limited to farm tenancy or leasehold, domestic service and persons working in their respective homes in needle work or in any cottage industry duly registered in accordance with law.

The employer probably had in mind “special workers” covered by “apprenticeship agreements” or “learnership agreements,” and “handicapped workers” who are entitled to wages, albeit lower than the minimum wage.

From Sentricom v. NLRC (CA-G.R. SP NO. 85505, January 25, 2005).

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