Sunday, April 26, 2009

Report: 90% of Cops Can't Fire Guns Properly

Click here for the full story.

Kaya pala tutukan kung tumira...Joke!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The New Party List Rule: Painting the Town Red, in More Ways Than One?

The Supreme Court recently rendered a major decision (Banat v. COMELEC ), setting forth a new doctrine (for the nth time) regarding the party list system in our country. The Court abolished the two percent rule (wherein only those parties who garner at least two percent of the votes cast shall be allowed a seat), thereby allowing more parties to participate in the circus that we know as the House of Representatives.
The decision has yielded mixed reactions. The resounding nay comes from speaker Prospero Nograles himself, who said that increasing the number of representatives is going to be a logistical nightmare. Also (and ironically), some incumbent party list representatives bemoan the decision, since an increase in the number of congressmen would necessarily lead to increase in government expenditures, by way of pork barrel.
Those who applaud the decision point to the fact that an increase in the number of congressmen will mean that it would be harder to get the required number for a charter change. That, it is argued, is good enough a reason  to give kudos to the Supreme Court.
The increase in the number of representatives will benefit "The Butcher" Jovito Palparan  and a sister of the "first" "gentleman", among others. But it will also give seats to somewhat deserving party list groups.
Evidently, the Supreme Court decision is a double-edged sword. At present, party list representatives are some of the more active members of the house. They point out every inequity and illegality committed by the government and their peers, despite the perception that their acts are futile. But the party list system can also be abused. It can be infiltrated by incompetent or undeserving people. Or it can be taken advantage of by some groups, who are not at all marginalized (thereby defeating the purpose of the party list scheme), but who can easily win seats by their clout alone. 
We may have a good thing going with the party list system. But in five or ten years, who knows? In the Philippines, anything can happen,especially when it comes to politics.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bar Matter: Two Examiners per Subject

Republic of the Philippines
B.M. No. 1161             February 3, 2009
Re: Proposed Reform in the Bar Examinations
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated February 3, 2009.

"Bar Matter No. 1161.- Re: Proposed Reform in the Bar Examinations. - The Court Resolved, upon the recommendation of the Committee on Legal Education and Bar Matters, to APPROVE, the proposal of Atty. Ma, Cristina B. Layusa, Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar Confidant, regarding the (1) implementation of Paragraph 4 Part B of Bar Matter No. 1161, or the designation of two (2) examiner per Bar subject; and (2) increase in the honorarium of the examiners from P130.00 to P200.00 per booklet.

Hence, every Bar subject shall be divided into two (2) parts - Part I and Part II. Each examiner shall be assigned a specific scope from which to formulate his/her questions. The time allotted for each Bar subject of four (4) hours for the morning subjects and three (3) hours for the afternoon subjects shall not change. In answering the questions, the Bar examinees have the discretion in utilizing the time allotted for answering. Thus they may opt to begin answering a particular part of the examination which he or she feels is relatively easier that the others.

As with the previous Bar examinations, only one set of test questionnaire and one examination booklet for each Bar subject shall be given to each Bar examinee. Each examination booklet shall also be divided into two (2) parts, marked as Part I and Part II, where the answers are to be written corresponding to Part I and Part II of the questionnaire, respectively. A separated card for the grades or rating received by the Bar examinee for each part of the examination shall be attached to the front cover of the booklets marked as Part I and Part II. Upon review and correction of the two examiners' respective part of the examination, the attached card shall be detached immediately thereafter before transmittal to the other examiner for review and correction of the other part of the examination. This is to ensure that the other examiner would not be influenced by the grade or rating given by the other.

In this connection, there shall be an increase in the honorarium of the Bar examiners from P130.00 to 200.00 per booklet per Bar subject or P100 per booklet per examiner." (adv132)
Very truly yours,
      Clerk of Court

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Another Look at Philosophy and Morality

I read an interesting article in New York Times by David Brooks, entitled the end of Philosophy.
Socrates talked. The assumption behind his approach to philosophy, and the approaches of millions of people since, is that moral thinking is mostly a matter of reason and deliberation: Think through moral problems. Find a just principle. Apply it.
But the problem with this approach is that “it has been hard to find any correlation between moral reasoning and proactive moral behavior, such as helping other people. In fact, in most studies, none has been found.” Instead, a new view likens moral thinking to aesthetics. "As we look around the world, we are constantly evaluating what we see. Seeing and evaluating are not two separate processes. They are linked and basically simultaneous."

Think of what happens when you put a new food into your mouth. You don’t have to decide if it’s disgusting. You just know. You don’t have to decide if a landscape is beautiful. You just know.

Moral judgments are like that. They are rapid intuitive decisions and involve the emotion-processing parts of the brain. Most of us make snap moral judgments about what feels fair or not, or what feels good or not. We start doing this when we are babies, before we have language. And even as adults, we often can’t explain to ourselves why something feels wrong.

In other words, reasoning comes later and is often guided by the emotions that preceded it. Or as Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia memorably wrote, “The emotions are, in fact, in charge of the temple of morality, and ... moral reasoning is really just a servant masquerading as a high priest.”

The article reminds me of Yano's opus, which goes:
Nangangaral sa kalye ang isang lalake/
Hiningan ng pera ng batang pulubi/
Pasensya na para daw sa templo/
Pangkain lang po sabi ng paslit/
Talagang di ba pupwede?
Lumipat ng pwesto ang lalake.

Banal na aso, santong kabayo/
Natatawa ako hihihihi.

Photo: Ben Crowe, Flickr, Creative Commons

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Of Corruption Surveys

The survey that said that Philippines was the most corrupt country in Asia last year has "downgraded" the country to "only" sixth place.
Is this reason to celebrate? 
Not just yet.
While it is welcome news, there is no real movement to curb corruption in the country. The sudden dip in the rankings may be attributable to many factors, e.g. corruption in the Philippines may have paled in comparison to massive corruption in other countries, or small-time corruption in the country may not have been reported with as much zeal as high-profile corruption. But the bare fact is that corruption is still present in the country, with no reprieve in sight. A quick look at the newspaper headlines this past year reveals that corruption is still a very big issue. And with our guard dog - the honorable Ombudsman - sleeping on her job, would anyone be faulted if he takes the survey with a grain of salt?

And I hope that corrupt officials do not take this as a sign that they aren't robbing enough.
Photo: watchsmart, Flickr, Creative Commons
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