Friday, May 22, 2009

Succession Bill: Massive Failure

Trust our solons to make the most inane and opportunistic suggestions.

I had to laugh when I read about the suggestion of some of our lawmakers to pass a Succession Bill in case of a failure of elections next year. The proposed bill will give powers to Congress to appoint a temporary president.

First off, if you were disgusted/appalled/turned off by this suggestion, then the parliamentary form of government is not for you. The set-up that our lawmakers are proposing is akin to a parliamentary form of government. The parliamentary system, in a nutshell, is when we vote for the legislators, and the legislators vote for the prime minister. So when the issue of the parliamentary system in charter change comes up, remember your reaction when you first heard of the Succession Bill, and base you decision with that in mind.

Second, I don't know if the proponents of the bill know their law (as they should, they are the ones who make them in the first place), then it would be patently clear to them that what they are proposing is unconstitutional. The Constitution provides that the president should be voted at large. An exception to this is if in case president resigns, dies, becomes permanently disabled or is removed from office. in such a case, the line of succession will apply i.e. Vice President (gasp!), Senate President (double gasp!), House Speaker (triple gasp!). Another exception is when there is an extra-constitutional move to replace the president (e.g. EDSA, but this will not likely happen in the near future). So there is no way for congressmen to give themselves the power to choose who the president would be, whether acting or not, and whether there is a failure of elections or not. 

Photo: fireflythegreat , Flickr, Creative Commons

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Extreme Disbarment Case

We have some shady lawyers in this part of the globe, but the story of a Florida lawyer is one for hte books.

AP reports about a Florida lawyer who had sex with his clients. But it's not just some simple, consensual sex. The report goes:
[T]he man admitted having sex with his 18-year-old client and another woman in exchange for credits toward her $2,300 fee for handling an assault case.
He agreed to take off $200 every time he had sex with her and $400 when she arranged sex with another woman.
 The end result? Disbarment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Case Digest: Ormoc Sugar Company v. Treasurer of Ormoc


G.R. No. L-23794,  February 17, 1968

Ormoc city passed an ordinance which provides: 

"There shall be paid to the City Treasurer on any and all productions of centrifugal sugar milled at the Ormoc Sugar Company, Incorporated, in Ormoc City, a municipal tax equivalent to one per centum (1%) per export sale to the United States of America and other foreign countries."
Ormoc Sugar Company filed a complaint against the city of Ormoc, alleging that the afore-stated ordinance is unconstitutional for being violative of the equal protection clause (Sec. 1[1], Art. III, Constitution) and the rule of uniformity of taxation (Sec. 22[1]), Art. VI, Constitution)

ISSUE: W/N the ordinance violates the equal protection clause and the uniformity of taxation/


The equal protection clause applies only to persons or things identically situated and does not bar a reasonable classification of the subject of legislation, and a classification is reasonable where (1) it is based on substantial distinctions which make real differences; (2) these are germane to the purpose of the law; (3) the classification applies not only to present conditions but also to future conditions which are substantially identical to those of the present; (4) the classification applies only to those who belong to the same class.

A perusal of the requisites instantly shows that the questioned ordinance does not meet them, for it taxes only centrifugal sugar produced and exported by the Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. and none other. At the time of the taxing ordinance's enactment, Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc., it is true, was the only sugar central in the city of Ormoc. Still, the classification, to be reasonable, should be in terms applicable to future conditions as well. The taxing ordinance should not be singular and exclusive as to exclude any subsequently established sugar central, of the same class as plaintiff, for the coverage of the tax. As it is now, even if later a similar company is set up, it cannot be subject to the tax because the ordinance expressly points only to Ormoc City Sugar Company, Inc. as the entity to be levied upon

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Philippine Economy from the Outside Looking In

If there is one thing that the Pacquiao-Hatton match has shown us, it's that middle class Filipinos still have money to burn. Last Sunday, cinemas and restaurants showing the match were still filled with Pinoys wanting to watch the fight live (instead of waiting until  3pm to see the knockout punch on free tv). And it's not cheap - prices range from P250-P750 per person.
So it is a paradox called the Philippines, wherein almost every country in the world is feeling the effects of global financial crunch, and yet the Filipinos' lives go on. 
Philip Bowring of the New York Times gives his take on the Philippine economy, and explains why the very things that keep us afloat are the very reasons why we have not advanced, and will not  advance, economically. Click here for the article.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pacquiao and the Congressmen, distinguished.

One of my favorite columnists, Conrado de Quiros, always has a way with words. In his column yesterday , he illustrated how Congressmen differ from Manny Pacquiao. Here's the best one: 
When Pacquiao left for Vegas, he did so using his own money. Or whoever it is that pays for the travel expenses of prizefighters when they fight in strange shores. As soon as he got to Vegas, he went straight to the gym and got to business. A thing that alarmed his trainer, Freddie Roach: Pacquiao was so determined to work Roach feared he might overdo it. Pacquiao himself knew he was playing for very high stakes, his nation’s honor being on the line, and didn’t want to gamble with it wantonly.
When the congressmen left for Vegas, they used our money, except that they said they were using their own money. In their minds at least they weren’t lying—they have always assumed our money to be theirs. As soon as they got there, they hit the bars and the casinos, determined not to lose any time sleeping. A thing that much elated the managers of those joints. At the rate the Filipino congressmen were spending, they thought, they could bail America out of its recession. The congressmen knew they were playing for very high stakes, their personal fortunes being on the line, and they gambled in wild abandon.

Funny stuff.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Baring the Consequences of the Naked Truth

Last week, four scantily clad members of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) held a mini-demonstration in front of Manila Zoo, bearing placards which read, "Have a Heart, Boycott the Zoo."
Here's a snippet of a news report by ABS-CBN:
"We need to do what it takes to get people to pay attention, and if it means showing some skin, that's what we'll do. We think it's important to raise awareness on a very serious issue, and we thought using a fun, attention-grabbing way would be the best way to draw attention to the issue of these suffering animals in Manila Zoo," said Rochelle Regodon, PETA campaign manager.

The trick worked, Regodon said, because their office phones were ringing off the hook from people eager to get more information about the Manila Zoo campaign and help their cause.
It elicited more than double takes from the crowd. It drew the attention of the Bureau of Immigration, holding that the foreigners who took part in the demonstration (3 of the 4 were caucasians) could face deportation.  A GMA news report reads
Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said the country’s immigration laws do not allow foreigners to join mass actions.

"We welcome them here as visitors. They cannot just protest here, especially if it violates the culture of Filipinos," he said.
I'm not familiar with all the immigration and deportation laws, but is there a ground (a statute or a administrative regulation) for doing so?
And even assuming that there is a ground, wouldn't it run counter to the Constitution? Our most fundamental law guarantees full civil rights even to aliens (Vera v. Avelino), which includes the right to free speech (Simon v. CHR).
Oh sure, the mode of expression may be shocking for some, but there were more demonstrations which were more shocking to the senses (remember the sexy starlet in her birthday suit who said "Yes to War, No to Peace!" instead of the other way around?). And besides, the cause PETA is fighting for is definitely legit. 
I haven't heard about this issue again, but surely, it was merely a knee-jerk reaction of the honorable BID Commissioner?   

Photo: Bob Kramer, Flickr, Creative Commons

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Running for the Wrong Reasons

The campaign season hasn't officially started. But some politicians are already making moves which, by all indications short of saying that they are running, proclaim to the whole nation that they are running. While they are in their right to burn their OWN money (note the emphasis) by buying primetime TV ad spots, the whole thing is kind of crass.

Anyway, here's a Dilbert comic strip that I archived months ago, knowing fully well that it will come in handy in the future. How right I was.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

When Pacquiao Fights, You Do Not Blink

You should not take your eyes of the screen, you should not do anything else.

That being said, as the 2nd round of his fight with Hatton was coming to a close, I reached for my cellphone and WHAM! The fight was over. I didn't see the knockout punch.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

2009 Bar Examniations Coverage

Note: I just checked the Supreme Court website , but the coverage for the 2009 Bar exams has not been posted. However, I got this from an email, and I think this is the real deal.

*Decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2008, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2007.
1.     Constitutional Law
2.     Political Law
3.     Administrative Law and Law on Public Officers
EXCLUDE: Implementing Rules and Regulations of different agencies
4.     Laws on Suffrage
5.     Local Government Code (R.A. 7160) (Basics)
EXCLUDE: Provisions Relating to Local Taxation
6.     Public Corporations
7.     Public International Law

* Decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2008, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2007.

I.               Labor Laws (Labor Standards Law and Labor Relation Law)
a)     Labor Code of the Philippines (P.D. No. 442, as amended)

Books I, II, III, V, VI, and VII
b)    Thirteenth (13th) Month Pay Law (P.D. No. 851, as amended)
c)     The Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code of the Philippines
d)    Guidelines for the Exercise of the Right to Organize of Government Employees, etc. (Executive Order No. 180, June 1, 1987)
II.             Social Legislation
a)     Social Security Act of 1997 (R.A. No. 8282)
b)    Government Service Insurance Act of 1997 (R.A. No. 8291)
c)     Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 (R.A. No. 7877)
d)    Agrarian/Land Reform Laws
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law
Employees Compensation and State Insurance Fund
* Decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2008, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2007.
1.     Civil Code of the Philippines
INCLUDE: The Law on Sale of Subdivision Lots and Condominium (P.D. No 957) and the Condominium Act (R.A. No. 4726)
EXCLUDE the following:
a) Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (P.D. No. 1067)
b) The Rental Law (B.P. Blg. 25 and amendments)
c) Intellectual Property Law
2.     The Family Code of the Philippines
EXCLUDE: Child and Youth Welfare Code (P.D. 603)
3.     Domestic Adoption Act of 1998 (R.A. No. 8552)
4.     Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995 (R.A. No. 8043)
5.     Property Registration Decree (P.D. No. 1529)
INCLUDE: Public Land Law (C.A. No. 141, as amended)
6.     Conflict of Laws (Private International Law)
* Decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2008, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2007.
1.     General Principles of Taxation
2.     National Internal Revenue Code
a)     Comprehensive Tax Reform Act of 1997 (R.A. No. 8424) – Provisions in effect
b)    All Value Added Tax (VAT) laws in effect
3.     Tarriff and Customs Code
 EXCLUDE: Arrastre and Classification of Commodities
4.     Republic Act No. 1125, Creating the Court of Tax Appeals, as amended
5.     The Local Government Code on Taxation
* Decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2008, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2007.
1.     Code of Commerce
a)     Merchants and Commercial Transactions, Articles 1-63
b)    Letters of Credit Under the Code of Commerce (Articles 567-572)
INCLUDE the ff:
i)               Bulk Sales Law (Act No. 3952)
ii)             The Warehouse Receipts Law (Act No. 2137 in relation to the General Bonded Warehouse Act [Act No. 3893])
iii)            Presidential Decree 115 on Trust Receipts
2.     Negotiable Instruments Law
3.     Insurance Code
INCLUDE: Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation Act (R.A. 3591)
4.     Transportation Laws
a)     Common Carriers (Civil Code, Arts. 1732 to 1766)
b)    Commercial Contracts for Transportation Overland
(Code of Commerce, Arts. 349 to 379)
c)     Maritime Commerce (Code of Commerce, Arts. 673 to 736; also Arts. 580-584 of Code of Commerce, as superseded by R.A. No. 6106; Arts. 806 to 845 of Code of Commerce; Paragraph 6 of section 3 of Carriage of Goods by Sea Act ([Com. Act. 65])
d)    Public Service Act (Com. Act No. 146), as amended
e)     The Warsaw Convention of 1929 (Limited to the Carrier’s Liability)
5.     Corporation Law
a)     The Corporation Code (B.P. Blg. 68
b)    Securities Regulation Code (R.A. 8799)
c)     Banking Laws (General Terms and Provisions)
i)               The New Central Bank Act (R.A. No. 7653) (Basics)
ii)             Law on Secrecy of Bank Deposits (R.A. No. 1405, as amended)
6.     Intellectual Property Code (R.A. No. 8293) (Basics)
EXCLUDE: Implementing Rules and Regulations
7.     Special Laws
a)     The Chattel Mortgage Law (Act 1508 in Relation to art. 1484, 1485, 2140, and 2141 of the Civil Code)
b)    Real Estate Mortgage Law (Act. No. 3135, as amended by R.A. No. 4118)
c)     Truth in Lending Act (R.A. No. 3765)
EXCLUDE the following:
1)    Omnibus Investment Code of 1987 (E.O. No. 226)
2)    Foreign Investment Act of 1991 (R.A. No. 7042)
* Decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2008, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2007.
1.     Revised Penal Code (Books I and II), as amended
EXCLUDE:            Penalties for Specific Felonies           
2.     Indeterminate Sentence Law
3.     Probation Law
4.     Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019, as amended)
5.     Anti-Fencing Law (P.D. No. 1612)
6.     Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22)
7.     Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (R.A. No 9165, as amended)
8.     Heinous Crimes Act (R.A. No. 7659, as amended)
9.     Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (R.A. No. 9160)
EXCLUDE: Civil Forfeiture Rules
* Decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2008, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2007.
1.     The Rules of Court, as amended
a)     1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
b)    Revised Rules of Criminal Procdure (effective December 1, 2000)
c)     Rules on Evidence
d)    Rules on Special Proceedings
2.     The 1991 Revised Rules on Summary Procedure
3.     Local Government Code on Conciliation Procedures
(Book III, Title I, Chapter 7)
4.     The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P. Blg. 129), as amended by R.A. No. 7691 and rules issued thereunder (emphasis on jurisdiction excluding purely administrative provisions)
5.     Judiciary Act of 1948
EXCLUDE the following:
a)     P.D. No. 946 (Reorganizing the CAR)
b)    Military Justice
6.     Jurisdiction of Sandiganbayan
a)     R.A. No. 7975
b)    R.A. No. 8249
7.     The Rule on the Writ of Amparo (A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC)
8.     The Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data (A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC)a

* Decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2008, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2007.
1.     Code of Judicial Conduct
2.     Code of Professional Responsibility
3.     Grievance Procedures (Rule 139-B, Rules of Court)
4.     Legal Forms
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