Milestones Milestones are a funny thing, really. At any given time, they can stir in you an odd cocktail of human emotions—joy and relief, glory and hope, nostalgia and gratitude, maybe even a tinge of sadness and anger, sometimes humiliation. But almost always, the perpetual tug of war between glorious pride and quiet humility. To me, every story, every issue that we had painstakingly and lovingly churned out through the years had successfully allowed us to run this gamut of emotions. As we mark our fifth anniversary this year, I am reminded of how TheRedChronicles, from its inception during AY 2008-2009 under the helm of our first Editor-in-Chief, Atty. Pamela David, and the guidance of both of our advisers then, Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Atty. Rita Linda Jimeno, has evolved into a publication that is still deeply rooted to its relatively young existence, yet also bullish and hopeful for its future. From being driven by the passion to write and to deliver even without its office then, our editorial staff before us had gone from being coffee shop nomads and house-hoppers during presswork, into the mentors who continue to inspire us today. For three years, under the successive headship of editors-in-chief, Mary Sayeh Hassani and Aretha Eugenio, respectively, and our counselor, Atty. Rita Linda Jimeno, we had successfully featured the likes of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, Senator Pia Cayetano, Atty. Antonio Oposa, Jr., our very own Ambassador Amado Tolentino, Hubert Webb, and our first bar top notcher, Atty. Rodolfo Aquino. Each and every interview, like the one before it, was no mean feat. We were in the thick of events—Bedans first and foremost and journalists only second, during the tragic September 26, 2010 Bar Exam blast along Taft Avenue. In fact, a reading of Sayeh Hassani’s chilling recollection of the ordeal in our Special Bar Exam Blast Anniversary Issue, published last year, still brings goose bumps to this day.
In every story, both inside our home in SBCA-SOL, or outside, that same cocktail of emotions inebriate us. In every story—from its conception, research, request for interview, writing, photo shoot, layout, proofing, and printing, we were humbled by every rejection, every direction, every clash, every seemingly insurmountable challenge. From braving the erratic weather for beautiful photographs for Pluma, tirelessly looking for appropriate story angles, positively anticipating favorable responses and call-backs to taking leaps of faith in hotel lobbies, creating a commemorative official website and monogram—all these, fueled by prayers and passion, and largely, by faith. This very same issue that you are holding right now is no exception. It is another story, another chronicle, if you may. Another milestone. Our anniversary theme this year is Political Law. In this issue, we present to you the stories, issues and events which challenged, and continue to challenge, the fundamental law of the land. We tell you the stories which thrust the Office of the Chief Justice into the limelight, as well as the relevant issues which touched on our rights as individuals and as students. We tell you both sides of the story involving the Bangsamoro people, our Muslim brethren, and their struggle for the right to self-determination. As a new feature, we present to you a review of our very own Atty. Saul Hofilena’s beautifully-crafted book which tells our story as a Filipino people. We also present to you a new addition to our roster of columnists, and welcome a fresh opinion every issue in our new column, “Looking Glass”. Our Prefect of Student Affairs, Atty. Bruce Rivera, shares his thoughts to us. We share with you inspiring stories of humility before greatness, buoyed by brilliance, love for country and service to the nation, told through the lives of three of our history’s heavyweights. No less than our country’s constitutionalists and our beloved Bedan professors, Atty. Rene Saguisag and Commissioner Rene Sarmiento. Our cover story features the country’s revered Senate President, Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile and his fearless and candid thoughts on the issues that beset our nation. Finally, here in SBCA-SOL, we tell you stories of more milestones and celebrations through photographs. We tell you the story of the Bedistas in SBCA-SOL, future lawyers all. A gamut of emotions in every story. And every story, a milestone. A funny thing, really.
OFFICIAL EDITORIAL BOARD
Laisa Mae Aguila Editor-in-Chief Joey Alfonso Associate Editor Samantha Santos Managing Editor Atty. Rita Linda Jimeno Faculty Adviser Dugie Dela Cruz News Editor Rio Dizon Features Editor Rose Ann Reyes Literary Editor Miguel Llave Senior Photographer Staff Stephanie Dandal Ron Esquivel Mau Betita Robert Salao Suyen Dimanlig Benjamin Yu Roselle Jimeno Romeo Movido Angelo Murillo Arianne Pascual Tia Perfecto Mayan Saidamen Ann Padilla Christine Cruz Denn Tuvera James Ryan Villena Kelly Lao Lawrence Solis Margarita Rafols Heyde Talorong Design & Layout Luvimindo Balinang Jr. Carlo June Tibayan Carissa Barcena Photographers Ron Esquivel Miguel Llave Cartoonist Bradly Listones Web Design and Management Mike Catbagan William Eusores Lailani Blancaflor
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
Vincere Est Totum: To Win is Everything By Arianne Pascual
In line with San Beda College Alabang’s Ruby Anniversary Celebration, a campus-wide quiz bee dubbed as, “Vincere Est Totum: To Win is Everything” was held at the St. Maur Auditorium on July 21, 2012. The SBCA-SOL School of Law Government (SLG) organized the event. Members of the SBCA Administrative employees, the students from the Integrated Basic Education High School (IBED HS), the Grade School Department (IBED GS), and the School of Law (SOL) participated in the event. The participants were organized into four groups. Each group was subjected to three sets of eight questions during the elimination round. The level of difficulty of the questions was increased with each set. Questions were based on the following categories: Philippine history, science and technology, song lyrics, current events or pop culture, and fun facts about the Bedan community. At the end of the elimination round, the two teams who acquired the highest scores battled it out in the final round titled, “Bedan Henyo.”, patterned after the famous noontime game, Pinoy Henyo. The winning group, headed by Ms. Jihan Eson of the SOL Dean’s Office, together with her members: William Pamplona (SOL), Angie Saulog and Angelo Gabriel Naorbe (IBED HS and GS Department), reigned as worthy victors. Mr. Alfonso Orioste, Jr., the SBCA-SOL SLG Vice President for Internal Affairs, stated that credit should also be given to the volunteers, various offices and departments of SBCA who spared their time and resources to make the event a success. He said, “In behalf of the SLG, we would like to send our sincere gratitude to all the volunteers from the SOL, IBED – High School and Grade School Department, and most especially to the Office of our Rector-President Dom Clement Maria H. Roque, OSB. Without these individuals’ assistance and cooperation, this event may not have been possible.”
Bedan Pride: SBCA-SOL’s External Vice President Elected as President of ALSA By Christine Cruz and Suyen Dimanlig
The Bedan community is once again beaming with honor and pride as another Bedan was elected as President of the Asian Law Students Association (ALSA). It was another first for Melinda Lapus, current External Vice President of the SBCA-SOL School of Law Government. In the Annual General Conference of ALSA held in Bangkok, Thailand on August 15, 2012, she was elected as the new president of ALSA. She follows the term of the former ALSA President Dino Austria, also a former EVP of the SBCA-SOL SLG. “As the new president representing the Philippines, I feel honored to have the chance to be able to represent the country in a prestigious association,” Mia said. She added that being the ALSA president does not only mean representing the Philippines, but it also pertains to representing the members of other Asian nations.
international levels, since the term of Dino Austria as president of ALSA in 2011. She helped him initiate the first Study Trip in Manila, which was held from November 29 to December 4, 2011. The Study Trip in Manila was the very first of its kind in the history of ALSA Philippines. This year, ALSA is working on an international magazine for the sole purpose of strengthening the communication ties among its members. ALSA functions in the Philippines through the Association of Law Students of the Philippines (ALSP). The main goal of ALSP is to foster a strong network and relationship between law students in Asia through avenues of exchange and communication. Some of the activities include, but are not limited to, national and international conferences and symposia, international internships and exchange, and an international publication. Other member countries of ALSA include Brunei, China, Hongkong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam.
San Beda Alabang International Law Society Makes its Presence Felt By Romeo Movido
It was in 2009 when Atty. Joseph Argel Cabatbat, a former student of SBCA-SOL, started planting seeds that later on bore out to be San Beda College Alabang School of Law’s premier debate team. It was also during that year when he, together with Atty. Patrice Barron, a lawyer from the first batch of graduates of SBCA-SOL, and Jom Vibandor, hosted a debate tournament for the First Lex Celebracionis. The said tournament was the first activity of the San Beda Alabang Debate Society. In 2010, the San Beda Alabang Debate Society battled for legal aptness against the University of the East in the ANC Square-off: CVC Law Debates. The Debate Society argued in the affirmative to the proposition that Ombudswoman Merceditas Gutierrez must be impeached. Unfortunately, the team’s roar was not loud enough for the adjudicators to hear. In 2011, the team had its second taste of the ANC Square-Off stage. Unfortunately, the team had to bow down to San Beda Manila in the quarterfinals. That year, the Debate Society also participated in the Conflicts of Law debate organized by the Association of Law Schools of the Philippines (ALSP). This year, Jom Vibandor, the president of the Debate Society, decided to change the organization’s name to San Beda Alabang International Law Society (San Beda Alabang I.L.S.). Equipped with better training and a more expansive reach of the law, the San Beda Alabang I.L.S. vowed to uplift its eminence in legal flair. They did just that when Steven Gatacelo, Gian Carlo Garcia and Dino Austria won in the first round of the ANC Debate against St. Louis University on July 6, 2012. San Beda Alabang I.L.S. argued that the Scarborough Shoal is part of the Philippine Territory. Gian Carlo Garcia was awarded Best Speaker. One of the adjudicators commended San Beda Alabang’s debaters for passionately asserting their arguments and for not being lax even though the motion favored them. The team advanced to the quarterfinals, but for the second time around, they were prevented to advance by San Beda Manila.
Mia Lapus has been active with the ALSA, both in the national and 44
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
TheRedChronicles Launches Its Official Website and Monogram By Tia Perfecto In line with its vision to deliver news and relevant information to the SBCA-SOL community, TheRedChronicles is proud to announce the launch of its official website, www.theredchronicles.com, this October. Through the efforts of its AY 2012-2013 Editorial Board and its in-house web designer Lailani Blancaflor, the said site will highlight the news and features articles of The Red Chronicles, as well as unpublished photos and articles, and important announcements. The site will also contain an archive of articles from the past issues of The Red Chronicles. Along with the launch of the website, The Red Chronicles will also be introducing its official monogram to commemorate its fifth founding anniversary. The official monogram, designed by Luvimindo Balinang, the publication’s senior layout artist, will bolster the identity of the organization. In furtherance of the organization’s desire to be of service to the Bedan community, The Red Chronicles will continue to strive for a better evolution to achieve excellence. The organization’s move for innovation is rooted in its duty to deliver to the student body information that matters, and news as it happens.
Candlelight Vigil for Justice By Denn Reed B. Tuvera Jr.
White flowers for peace and violet ribbons for justice were offered by the San Beda Community when a prayer vigil was held on August 3, 2012 at the St. Placid Hall, San Beda College Manila, for the two hazing victims of fraternity violence in just a span of six months. First year law student Marc Andre Marcos lost his precious dream of becoming a lawyer when he died on July 31, 2012 due to the severe injuries he suffered from the alleged initiation rites of a fraternity. He is the second victim of fraternity violence following Marvin Reglos, who died of a similar incident earlier this year. “Violence is not brotherhood. Walang dapat na magkakahiwalay sa atin,” Fr. Aloysious Ma. Maranan, Rector and President of San Beda College Manila said in his homily. According to him, “Maaari tayong magkakasama sa iba’t-ibang adhikain, ngunit dapat ang ating mga adhikain ay iisa lamang upang ang buhay ay pahalagahan.” It was a significant moment when the rector asked the students if they wanted to have peace inside the school. Answering his query, the students shouted “yes” with energy and vigor. Thereafter, the Rector strongly advocated the renunciation of violence and hazing inside and outside the school. In an interview by GMA News after the vigil, Atty. Bruce V. Rivera, Prefect of Student Affairs of San Beda College Alabang School of Law, said that the notion of brotherhood is not about violence. “You do not accept a brother through pain, but you accept a brother because of your heart. And that is the reason why we could not accept them because our brotherhood is humanity of which everybody is a member.” The prayer vigil was a way for the San Beda Community to express its defiance to the kind of brotherhood promoted by such fraternities that bestow injustice, abuse, and death. OCTOBER 2012
Dean’s Review Program By Nastasia Anne C. Padilla
What was formerly just a vision of Dean Ulpiano Sarmiento III has now become concrete through the hardworking team of the Dean’s Review Program, headed by Jan Raphael Salud, in cooperation with the Academic Bar Operations. Dean Sarmiento and Atty. Eliza Yamamoto personally supervised the Review Program. This program aims to test the legal knowledge and progress of the Bedan bar candidates for the 2012 Bar Examinations. It is significantly different from the bar reviews conducted in other law schools, in that the team has made it possible to create an online review in order to make it more accessible and convenient to the schedules of the barristers. The current barristers of San Beda College Alabang- School of Law are now experiencing the first run of the Dean’s Review Program. In an interview with Mr. Salud, he spoke about how the vision of the Dean was made possible through his team’s efforts. He also talked about the challenges they had to face for the benefit of the barristers. The idea was proposed to him a few weeks before the graduation rites last March; and within that short span of time, the team was able to make this project possible. “The Dean wants a modular program for the barristers patterned after the modular program used in school. He wants to force the students to study and monitor their review. Primarily, Dean Ulan wants the barristers to go to school for review,”
according to Mr. Salud. However, they saw this as a problem as the barristers are enrolled in different review programs conducted by other law schools. After looking for several solutions to make it possible for the barristers to attend in their enrolled review centers and avail of the Dean’s Review Program at the same time, they found a compromise. They decided to launch the program online through www.classmarker.com, a website also used by Stanford University, Chevron, and Shell. As soon as the list of graduates had been released, the team started to work on the program. They provided a kit for each graduate, which contained instructions on how to register the access code for automatic registration, and schedule for the exams. The Dean’s Review Program consists of thirty “quizzlers” and eight mock bars which were dependent on the division of the current barristers, and based on the review centers they are enrolled in. These exams are encoded by the team to the website, with the questions coming from the professors of SBCASOL. Whenever the barristers answer completely the quizzlers online, they immediately get the result, the correct answers, and the legal basis. Dean Ulan Sarmiento is proud of this program; and there are talks with Dean Virgilio Jara of the San Beda College of Law- Manila campus to extend this online review to their own barristers. The team hopes to improve and continue the program in the following years.
SBC- Manila’s Legal Aid Bureau extends to SBCA-SOL By Nastasia Anne C. Padilla
Dean Ulpiano Sarmiento III, during the first Dean’s Assembly of the school year, introduced the idea of the Legal Aid Bureau in SBCA-SOL. According to him, it is an extension of San Beda Manila’s Legal Aid Bureau which will give selected students of San Beda College Alabang- SOL an opportunity to gain practical experience and skills in legal work. This program will give students a chance to represent indigent clients under the supervision and control of a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in any case before any trial court, tribunal, board, or officer, as provided in the Law Student Practice Rule of the Rules of Court. Aside from this, the students shall also participate in and spearhead activities intended for the promotion of legal rights within the community. Participation in this program will be in lieu of the prescribed courses, namely, Practice Court 1 and 2 in the current law school curriculum. The Legal Aid Bureau in San Beda College of Law in Manila has been in existence for seven years already; and now, the same program will be offered to students of SBCA-SOL, with Atty. Lauren Tanyag as its adviser. At present, the administration is in the process of making this program possible as it has already submitted a letter-proposal to the Legal Education Board, and has likewise proposed to the San Beda Manila Legal Aid Bureau, through its adviser, Atty. Peter Joey Usita, that selected students of SBCA-SOL be allowed to participate in its programs and activities. 6
In an interview with Atty. Tanyag, she shared the importance of having this program in the Alabang campus. “No legal aid office exists in the south (of Metro Manila). In fact, well-known legal aid offices in Metro Manila, such as that of San Beda College Manila and UP Diliman often refuse to accept cases in Rizal, Cavite, Muntinlupa, and Las Pinas, among others, due to limited resources and time constraints. SBCASOL hopes to address and solve this need. Further, there was an informal request from the Mayor of Muntinlupa for legal assistance, especially for those in the New Bilibid Prison.” When asked if it will become a mandatory program for the students she said, “LAB will be optional and participation therein shall be by application. The qualifications for application shall be announced on the launch of the program.” She further emphasized the vision and mission of SBCASOL in providing for the Legal Aid Bureau. “San Beda hopes to expand its means to provide free access to justice for the poor and unrepresented, and by doing so, build a stronger justice system. It has been said that lawyers strive to attain justice for their clients while great lawyers strive to attain justice for everyone. Through a clinical legal education program, wherein law students gain intensive legal education by providing free access to justice for the poor, justice is made available to all.”
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
Proposition Overruled: A Plebiscite on the Modification of the School of Law’s Curriculum By Kelly Lao
No to change! This was the stand of the student body on the proposed changes in the curriculum as discussed by Dean Ulpiano Sarmiento III. On the 27th of July 2012, the Election Commission held a plebiscite regarding the modification of the current curriculum in the School of Law at the 4th floor of the St. Maur Building. The purpose of the plebiscite is toz determine whether or not the students from the third and fourth year levels agree with the application of the changes in the curriculum. The modifications will include adjustments in the course units of some subjects. For Labor Review, which is currently a 2-unit subject, one unit will be added. For Taxation Review, the number of units will be doubled; hence, the proposed change is to make it a 4-unit subject. These were supposed to be applied to the current fourth year students and to the succeeding batches, but due to the result of the plebiscite, they will no longer take effect . However, there will be an absolute application of the proposed changes to the lower year levels for the coming academic years. The total number of votes casted was 172—four of which were invalid. Casted
votes included 52 votes from the fourth year and 124 votes from the third year. Third year students who were allowed to vote included those individuals in the official list of the third year level, as well as those who are not in the said list but is taking at least one major third year subject this semester.
School of Law Elections 2012 By Denn Reed B. Tuvera Jr.
The Election Commision (ELECOM) conducted a special election for the treasurer of the School of Law Government (SLG) on July 21, 2012. This was due to the vacancy in the position when Nicole Martir resigned and filed for a leave of absence. According to Section 12, Article IV of the Student Government Constitution, “Whenever there is a vacancy in any of the Student Council offices other than the President, the Election Commission shall call a special election to be held within 30 days after the vacancy occurs to elect the person to serve the unexpired term. Provided, that no special election may be called within 2 months from the next general elections.” The ELECOM declared Kathleen “Kayce” Clareza as the new treasurer. She received the following votes:
No of Votes
A general election for the first year batch representative was also held simultaneous with the holding of a special election. However, ELECOM declared a failure of elections for the said position. Ms. Eva Tasaki, head of ELECOM, said that Mara Sotto was not able to meet the 50+1% requirement, as stated in the ELECOM Resolution 2012-02. Said resolution provides that “Unopposed candidates must have 50+1% to avoid Failure of Elections.” Ms. Sotto received the following votes: No of Votes
Ms. Tasaki further explained that there are 231 first year students. For Mara to win, she needed at least 117 votes. There was an issue raised regarding the proclamation of Clareza as treasurer. Being an unopposed candidate, she was not able to meet the requirement embodied in Resolution 2012-02. However, Ms. Tasaki explained that, “There is a big difference between the election of Kayce and Mara. Kayce’s proclamation came from a special election. The position vacated must be occupied immediately. In the case of Mara, it was a regular election and she must get at least 50+1% votes of the total number of the first year to win.”
CD Asia Online and LexisNexis.com Aids Law Students By Denn Reed B. Tuvera Jr.
The company behind CD Asia Online and LexisNexis.com, in cooperation with the San Beda College Alabang School of Law, is proud to introduce a groundbreaking answer to the needs of the law students. Through the initiative of Dean Ulpiano Sarmiento III, the students, including the faculty members, have been granted access to CD Asia Online and LexisNexis.com. The database primarily aims to help subscribers research on the latest laws and jurisprudence, both in the local and international fields. “CD Asia Online is the fastest, most advanced Philippine legal research site on the web. Its search engine is unequalled by any legal database in the country today, enabling quick and ready access to the complete compilation of Philippine Jurisprudence and laws,” Mrs. Dinna Sarmiento said in an interview with TheRedChronicles. CD Asia is also a dispenser of the LexisNexis.com platform—one of the most heavily used databases in higher degree
education. At present, it is being used in over 1,500 libraries that service over 8 million students and faculty members. Its focus is more on international case laws, statutes and regulations, and secondary sources such as legal news or law reviews for background or analysis of a legal topic. Mrs. Sarmiento distinguished CD Asia Online and LexisNexis.com from other law related materials, and cited its advantages. “CD Asia developed an internal search engine with customized search templates that allows not only full-text searching, but also specific searches through different portions of the document. The customized search also allows for Boolean searches not available in free access sites. Lexis lets you find relevant cases more quickly. Lexis’ case summaries include procedural posture, overview and outcome. Lexis likewise offers you the analytical materials you need. There is a topical relevant case law, treatises, law reviews or legal news OCTOBER 2012
on your topic.” She further explained that the user can validate the authority of the researched case. LexisNexis.com has the Shepard’s Citation service which the researcher can use in determining the current status of a case. Similarly, CD Asia Online has the “cross reference” and “cited in” feature which allows the researcher to see related laws and jurisprudence in connection to what they are currently reading in the database. Moreover, the updates are on real-time. With regard to how its client may avail of the products, Mrs. Sarmiento said that the client can choose the most suitable product, in terms of subscription price and functionality. For instance, the CD Asia Online and LexisNexis.com subscription of the SBCA-SOL was acquired at the price offered for law schools. Both subscription sites have features that are not found in free access sites. 7
Putting You (Students) First!
By Arianne Pascual
In line with the School of Law Government’s (SLG) advocacy of “Putting You (Students) First,” a line-up of events have been carried out for the student body as a breather from the everyday stress of law school life. 2012 Freshmen Orientation This project’s goal is to welcome the new faces in school and to provide assistance for the freshmen students and transferees. The event was entitled, “Be A Lover of Law and Succeed! (B.A.L.L.S).” It was held at the St. Maur Building on July 11, 2012. The facilitators catered to the attendees by giving tips on how to survive law school in SBCA- School of Law. Upon registration, survival kits were distributed to the participants. The facilitators handed out a survival guide, which included some useful academic tips and the day’s agenda. One of the highlights of the half-day event was the Academic Workshop, wherein participants were taught how to write a case digest and to recite before a mock professor. Capping off the activity was a short assembly held at the St. Maur Auditorium. Rector-President Dom Clement Maria H. Roque, OSB gave his welcoming remarks. This was followed by a presentation of the house rules by the Prefect of Student Affairs, Atty. Bruce V. Rivera. Lastly, an inspiring message on how to survive law school was given by Atty. Rodolfo Aquino, the first bar top notcher of SBCA-SOL in the 2011 Bar Examinations. Organizations’ Recruitment Week The SBCA-SOL Organizations’ Recruitment Week was held at the 3rd Floor Hallway of the St. Maur Building from July 16 to 21, 2012. The purpose of this event was to give the student body a view of the wide array of school organizations which they can join. Eye-catching and colorful booths were set up by various organizations, namely: The Red Chronicles, San Beda Alabang International Law Society, Hotel Operations, Academic Bar Operations, School of Law Chorale, Sports Organization, Volunteer Corps and the School of Law Government Student Council. A week prior to this event, a recruitment video of the different organizations was made available for viewing at the school’s official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sanbedacollegealabangschooloflaw) to encourage students to join an organization that is recognized by the school.
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
The Pride of the Lion’s Roar: One Community, One Family By Robert Irvin Salao
The Annual Robing Ceremony marks the beginning of the journey of the freshmen and transferees into the Lion’s den. The event, which started with a 6:30PM mass, was held at the St. Benedict Chapel on August 25. Thereafter, Atty. Bruce V. Rivera, the Prefect of Student Affairs, commenced the program by introducing the “Red Robe.” According to him, the robe is a part of the academic regalia. It symbolizes the knowledge that shall clothe the new students as they embark on their new journey in this institution. Atty. Rivera also emphasized the oneness of the Bedan family—a big fraternity and sorority; and that this remarkable event is the only initiation that the members will have to undergo. Dean Ulpiano Sarmiento III addressed the crowd by welcoming the freshmen and the transferees. He narrated the Story of St. Martin and the Beggar and reiterated that the robe should remind every student of the virtues of humility and compassion. After giving his message, Dean Sarmiento III asked the participating students to approach the altar and wear their respective robes. Atty. Rivera then introduced Atty. Nicasio Cabaniero as the first speaker. In his speech, Atty. Cabaniero narrated his experience in the bar examinations. He concluded this by imparting a very important principle, “To study or work as if everything depends on you; and pray as if everything depends on God.” Atty. Marciano Delson also delivered a speech before the student body. He said that we should avoid doing anything that will divide us as one family. He also stressed that the SBCA-SOL does not recognize other fraternities and sororities, as there is only one fraternity or sorority recognized by the school—the Bedan Brotherhood. In closing, he emphasized that there is no need for the students to join fraternities other than the brotherhood that gave them the privilege to wear the Red Robe. According to him, the only continuing requirement that the students need to comply with is for them to love God, their parents, the school, and themselves. After the Robing event, the student body was asked to proceed to the open area at the back of the St. Maur building for the 2012 Barristers’ Sendoff. With a theme patterned after the reality show Survivor, the venue was transformed into a tribal setting. The crowd was entertained by the spectacular fire dancers and echoing drumbeats. The event would not have been a success without the efforts of all the organizations of SBCA-SOL. During the program, Atty. Rivera delivered a short message to the Barristers. He said, “Pass the bar, top the bar, and make SBCA-SOL and your parents proud of you.” Once again, the Bedan community roared as one family to brag the pride of the majestic Red Lion.
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
People In Glass Houses Recent events demonstrate the mind-numbing power of the Internet and its “netizens”. A ridiculously hilarious Asian dance video becomes viral in a matter of days, landing a spot on the evening news, after hundreds of wannabes and to some extent, celebrities, had posted their own versions on YouTube. A video clip of an irate motorist who gets off his Volvo and assaults an MMDA officer gains the collective scorn of the so-called “Twitterverse”, and soon enough, elicits the posting of his private information and the infamous video on Facebook. In a matter of hours, various Facebook pages have been put up, with page owners who apparently have tons of time on their hands and quite a healthy reservoir of hate in their systems, calling him “Barney”, the big purple dinosaur. A Senator comes under fire for thrice engaging in plagiarism and not owning up to a single damn thing. Although, let’s be honest. It may not have been the act of plagiarism which enraged the public--our money’s on his utter refusal to apologize for all three oversights. No less than the entire floor of legislators endures the fury of online hate they passed the flawed Cybercrime Prevention Act, rousing fears of “cybermartial law” and causing an uproar over the supposed death of freedom of speech and of expression. While the ease and speed in the transfer of information and ideas are freely enjoyed by anyone with access to the Internet, we may have lost sight of the fact that this right, as with all other freedoms, is not absolute. It is said that, “the right of one person ends where the right of the other begins.” By wittingly or unwittingly expressing our ideas through posts, tweets or blogs that may have sounded hilarious at one point or another, have we really just exercised a Constitutionally-protected right? Or have we exercised a right that inadvertently and unfairly caused damage to someone’s reputation, peace of mind and self respect, however laughable that may sound. Because to our mind, their ill-advised actions seem to justify their fate. Ika nga nila, “buti nga sa kanila.”. Then again, it is always so easy to hit “post” and “tweet” when we are on the outside, looking in. Because really, we have never been guilty of any kind of stupidity, however big or small, on or offline. 16
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
Clash of rights in perspective Courts will not be clogged with cases; judges and lawyers will be put out of business if there are clear boundaries delineating where one’s right ends and that of the other begins. Most rights, if carried out of bounds, whether willfully or negligently, clash with other people’s rights. Take the constitutionallyenshrined freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press. The Bill of Rights guarantees that no law shall be passed abridging and curtailing the right of a person to speak freely and the press to freely enjoy reportage without prior restraint or censorship.
Even a dead person or a corporate entity or a company could be a victim of libel as when the malicious imputation is meant to blacken the memory of a dead person or destroy the goodwill of a product or a company. When does an imputation become malicious? Malice is presumed on the basis of the defamatory character of an imputation. In Tessie’s case, for instance, while her dismay arose out of the insults her boss hurled at her in relation to her work, her letter contained imputations that her boss was the lover or mistress of a married man. Clearly it had no relevance to the issue at hand which was the insult or dressing down her boss gave her in relation to her work.
Yet why are there cases where one is made criminally accountable for his utterances; either orally or in print, as in the crimes of libel, slander, inciting to sedition and inciting to rebellion? Because rights are not without limit. If carried to extremes, they will clash with other right rights. Libel is one such result of a clash of rights. Libel is a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition or status tending to cause dishonor, discredit or contempt of a person. When one feels aggrieved about the actions of another, it is normal, even justified, for him to express his angst against his perceived offender. But when his speech or the expression of his angst is done in a way that will impute a vice, a defect or a crime unto someone, in a malicious manner and this is conveyed to one or more persons, then he could be held liable for libel. Tessie, for instance, was so hurt by the attitude and the insults she received from her lady boss in relation to her performance. In her anger, she wrote a letter to her boss denouncing her for being oppressive when in fact she (the lady boss) had no right to claim moral ascendancy due to her immorality, being the mistress or lover of a married man. If Tessie’s letter was meant only for her boss, Tessie would not have been liable for libel because there would have been no public imputation of an immoral status or illicit relationship with a married man. Of course, her boss would have had the right to be furious at her allegations and perhaps even subject her to disciplinary action but nonetheless, libel would not have been committed. Unfortunately, Tessie produced several copies of her letter by photocopying it and giving practically all the officers and employees of their company a copy. Her boss then hailed her court on the charge of libel because she made her malicious imputations public, as well. It is enough that third persons, or even just one third person, other than the subject of the malicious imputation herself, hears, reads or sees the malicious imputations that cause or tend to cause the dishonor, discredit or contempt of such person. As long as there is someone else that hears, reads or views it, then there is a public to speak of.
“Rights clash when one forgets that with the exercise of right comes the exercise of responsibility and respect for those of others.” Tessie had every right to feel angry and express her dismay to her boss. But, on the other hand, her boss had a right to her honor, privacy and integrity, as well. Hence, she could sue Tessie for libel for the transgression of her right to honor and a good name. Other criminal offenses that result out of an abuse of the freedom of speech and expression are the crimes of inciting to sedition or rebellion. In rallies, when a speaker delivers speeches that tend to incite or provoke others to rise publicly or tumultuously and to attain by force or intimidation any act which may be seditious, then the speaker, although he himself does not participate in the act of rising up publicly and tumultuously, will liable for the crime of inciting to sedition. Sedition is the act of preventing the implementation of a law; or preventing the national or local government units or public officers from freely exercising its or their functions; or inflicting any act of hate or revenge upon the property of any public officer or employee. Inciting to sedition is committed not only by speeches that tend to incite or provoke but also by posters, drawings (even cartoons) and presentations that tend to disturb the public peace. While it is thus perfectly within the bounds of our civil liberties to speak out and seek redress for grievances against the government, the government, on the other had and its public officers have a right to defend themselves against verbal and oral attacks that tend to provoke people to rise publicly and tumultuously against them. Hence, government and public officers have a right to file criminal charges against those who incite people to sedition, rebellion or insurrection against the duly constituted government authorities. Rights clash when one forgets that with the exercise of right comes the exercise of responsibility and respect for those of others.
A Family Affair Dynasty n. ˈdī-nə-stē 1. a succession of rulers of the same line of descent. 2. a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time. Last time I checked, the Philippines was still a democratic country. But over the years, it seems increasingly obvious that under the guise of democracy hides the hideous form of monarchial deceit. Enshrined in the 1987 Constitution is the ideal that there should be equal access to positions in the government. This provision allows for the possibility that a simple barrio lass or lad may become the President of the country or at least aspire to become one. However, almost as old as I am now, there has been no law espousing such ideal. It is, therefore, a mere dream or a type of utopian standard – unattainable and even unreachable. The Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism conducted a research in 2004 to map out the beginnings political clans. In this study, the emergence of such a phenomenon began during election proceedings in the early 20th century by the Americans1. Since then, there has been a proliferation of similar surnames among our public officials, whether elected or appointed. 1 2
Ching, B., (nd). As cited in Political Dynasties: The Bane of Democracy. Retrieved October 6, 2012, from http://http://kuro-kuro.org/archives/5201 Kerbo, H. (nd). Social Stratification. California Polytechnic State University.
House Bill No. 98 to Penalize Enforced Disappearances: Why Only Now? Following its acquisition of full independence after the Second World War, the Philippines was given the title of Asia’s first true democratic nation. However, despite being bestowed with such an honor, an undisclosed member of a human rights NGO begs the question, “Why is the problem of the desaparecidos in the country still rampant?” The term desaparecidos is a Spanish word for disappeared. The term was widely attributed to the enforced disappearances that occurred in Chile, which the government of Augusto Pinochet was held responsible for more than a thousand enforced disappearances. From a political perspective, the term describes persons who are victims of enforced disappearances usually made by government or state-affiliated groups or individuals. Usually, the targets of these acts are rebels or those opposed to organized government. Political activists, human and civil rights workers and journalists have also become common target as of late. Here in the Philippines, enforced disappearances became a serious issue during the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos. With the objective of defeating the communist insurgency in mind, government security agencies and the military used 18
Sociologist, Talcott Parsons, expressed his concern for the roles set by kinship. He explains that society puts a premium on the social standing of a person as determined by his hereditary reputation. This occurrence is known as ascription as opposed to meritocracy or the grant based on the merits or ability of a person. This is also similar to the principles set forth in Emile Durkheim’s dissertation entitled The Division of Labour in Society where he explained external or ascribed status and internal or achieved inequalities. Durkheim suggests that in an Industrial society such as ours, achieved status is the ideal for proper handling of society.2 So why, then, have we allowed a rampant disregard for ideals, principles, and fundamentals? We merely turn a blind eye, perhaps because of passivity. It is extremely disturbing that society has become relaxed in its quest for what is right and just when just a quarter of a century ago, lawmakers included such possibility in our Constitution. But let us shift our view and see another perspective to the story. Immediate dismissal of one’s capabilities just because of his lineage hardly seems fair either. If a person with a prominent surname would be chastised even if he were highly capable, then, he should opt to hide or change his true identity in order to serve the people. So you have to ask, does the advantage of hereditary succession of positions in government far outweigh the disadvantage of unfair competition? If so, then we might be doing something right after all. In the coming 2013 elections, how many sons, daughters, wives, and husbands of “used” personalities will we be voting for? In addition to that, the better question would be, who among them would actually be competent?
enforced disappearances against suspected communist supporters or sympathizers. However, this also led to local journalists, socio-civic volunteers, and even provincial teachers being taken against their will. The problem of the desaparecidos still rears its ugly head today, long after the fall of Marcos’ dictatorship. According to a local human rights magazine, there were about 206 enforced disappearances during the term of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Most of the victims are still missing and are presumed to be dead. Again, most of the targets of these disappearances were individuals suspected to be Leftist sympathizers and supporters, as well as NGO volunteers and workers from the human rights sector. These actions are frankly extrajudicial and are gross violations of Article III of the 1987 Constitution, specifically: the right to due process and equal protection of laws (Sec.1), the right against unreasonable searches and seizures (Sec.2), the rights of an accused under custodial investigation (Sec. 12), the right to criminal due process (Sec.14), and the right against non-detention by reason of one’s political beliefs and aspirations (Sec.18). The fact that hardly anything has been done to curb such a problem now puts into question the credibility of democracy in the Philippines. It does not mean, however, that nothing is being done about it. Social and political measures and awareness have been made. Recently, the House of Representatives presented House Bill No. 98., also known as the THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012. “Enforced or involuntary disappearance” refers to the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by government authorities or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of such persons in authority, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which places such person outside the protection of the law.” The same bill seeks to penalize those who commit enforced disappearances. Section 12 of House Bill No. 98 makes the Commanding Officer of the AFP unit, or the immediate senior official of the PNP unit concerned liable as principals, while Section 13 defines the acts deemed punishable. While House Bill No. 98 is welcomed largely by the human rights community, a member of a human rights organization whose identity does not wish to be disclosed asks, “Why only now? It has been years after the dictatorship, yet this problem persists.” One cannot blame the cynical tone of such inquiry. Despite the return of democracy after the fall of Marcos’ rule, little has been done by the government to stop the issue of the desaparecidos. Despite calls for attention by local and foreign human rights groups for the government to face the problems head on, only time will tell whether adherence to such constitutional rights will be made or not. If House Bill No. 98 is passed, will it work?
The crime of a Cybercrime Law? I fondly remember the times when actual gossiping entailed human interaction. When I was a little boy, the social networking arena was the local sari-sari store where housewives and even husbands traded sordid details of philandering and inadequacies. Those were the good times. The dawn of the computer age has forever changed the landscape of human interaction. Today, gossip is not traded in sari-sari stores. Sordid details of the juicy kind are brought in the open via the internet. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter hasten the delivery of information, true, false and everything in between. I have to admit that I was one of those who stood by and even silently supported the lynch mob that created infamous victims like Christopher Lao, Brian Gorrell and the other hapless souls. Sadly, the web was open territory and utterly unregulated. People stood in horror as reputations were destroyed by a mere status update or a posted video. As a lawyer, I thought I would relish the day when our lawmakers would find a way to police the internet. Thus, when the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10175) was published, I initially thought we have arrived in terms of policing the worldwide web. Until I read the provisions of the law…. Allow me to explain at the outset, this is not about whether or not the wisdom behind the cybercrime law is good or bad. That was never the debate. There is really no question that all the evils sought to be prevented by the law, that is, cybersex operations, child pornography, spam mails, etc., are valid and serious concerns that the state must regulate. However, just because the intentions are divine does not mean it makes it acceptable because clearly, the devil is in the details. I have three objections to the law. Please note that all these are musings of a humble law professor taking into account the little of what I know in law. The crime of cyber-libel is poorly defined. Just because in the definition of a crime, you referred to the Revised Penal Code does not make it a crime. The law provides that cyber-libel is defined as the libel as punished pursuant to Art. 355, RPC
committed through a computer system or any other similar means. Sadly, it miserably failed to define the parameters of the crime to the point of vagueness. The RPC is a creature of the 1930’s, an era where the even the rudimentary concept of a computer was not even created. To hodge-podge the RPC with cyberspace is a recipe for disaster. Allow me to illustrate. Territoriality is one of the general principles of criminal law. Libel under Art. 355 to be punishable in the Philippines must be committed within its territory. Let us say someone posted a libelous status in Facebook during his vacation in Bangkok, Thailand. Does RA 10175 punish this individual when clearly the act was committed outside of the Philippines even if it can be accessed here? If not punishable, how will we know if the posting of the libelous status is done within our territory? The law is mum on these matters.
“However, just because the intentions are divine does not mean it makes it acceptable because clearly, the devil is in the details.” The cybersex dilemma Cybersex is defined as “the willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration.” What the law failed to do is define two very basic terms in order to make it clearer and more acceptable. Sexual activity, taken in its normal signification, refers to the manner by which a person shows and expresses his or her sexuality. If that is what the law intents to punish, then this provision is ripe for a constitutional attack. For starters, even the most menial thing as eating a banana or twisting the hair is considered sexual activity. The act of bondage, for example, is sexual to others but abhorring to some people, myself included. In short, what is sexual activity to one may not be to another. Hence, the lack of a proper definition will open the law to a myriad of interpretation and in the long run, prone to be abused.
Worst, the act of cybersex considers as an essential element, when such is done for favor or consideration. Clearly, if one gets paid for brandishing his or her heavenly body in front of a web cam or those who patronize and operate the same, that can be validly regulated and punished. The proliferation of cybersex dens that prey on women and young children justify the need to penalize the act. But what do you mean by cybersex because of favor? Webster dictionary defines favor as a friendly regard shown toward another; approving attention; a gracious kindness, an act of kindness or even a token of love. Again, allow me to illustrate. Husband is an OFW who is working in Saudi Arabia for two years. The only way he can communicate with his wife and perhaps achieve connubial bliss is through their nightly webcam conversations where both spouses in the privacy of their own bedrooms would engage in cybersex. The law makes this punishable. Disturbingly, RA 10175 unwittingly went beyond the boundary of a person’s private life because it has now penalized acts that should be protected by the Bill of Rights. What a person does in the privacy of his bedroom, no matter how disgusting it may be, for as long as no other person is prejudiced, should be protected by the State. The matter on the traffic data The law defines traffic data or non-content data refers to any computer data other than the content of the communication including, but not limited to, the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type of underlying service. The law also provides that: “SECTION 12. Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data. — Law enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall be authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system. Traffic data refer only to the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type of underlying service, but not content, nor identities. All other data to be collected or seized or disclosed will require a court warrant. Service providers are required to cooperate and assist law enforcement authorities in the collection or recording of the above-stated information. EHTISC.”
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A Leap of Faith over the Bangsamoro Solution By Ramayana Saidamen
rust has been a major issue between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Bangsamoro faction. The bangsamoro, which literally means “moro nation”, refer to natives of Sulu, Palawan, Sabah and other parts of Mindanao, and who as a group have fought for peace and independence for Muslim Mindanao for several decades. Although Muslim rebellion can be traced back to the Spanish era, the term bangsamoro became popular after the Jabidah massacre incident on the island of Corregidor which occurred in the year 1968. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) killed a number of Muslim recruits aged 18-30 years old, who mutinied against the AFP after learning that they were being trained to fight fellow Muslims in Malaysia due to the Philippines’ claim over Sabah. The mass murder awakened repressed fury from all the years of discrimination, abuse and unfairness including land disputes. Student activism ensued and political organizations were created. On the other hand, trust is also an issue among the Bangsomoro as to who would lead the group in their quest for self-determination. From the Moro Islamic Movement (MIM), to Bangsa Moro Liberation Organization (BMLO), to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and now the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)—all these organizations prove how trust can be fickle when played with and abused by people. All the same, it also evinces that these groups and all possible groups that may emerge in the future like the current Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), will not stop until their grievances are properly heard and adequately addressed by the government. History reveals that the Spaniards had a hand on why distrust toward the Moro groups came about. The Spaniards were unsuccessful in conquering the Muslims south of the country, yet they relinquished sovereignty over these lands to the Americans during the signing of the Treaty of Paris in December 1889, even though their authority over it was truly questionable. With close to four centuries of reign over the islands, the Spaniards branded the incorrigible Muslims of the south as moros taken after the word “moors” of Morocco who were the Spaniards’ number one nemesis at that time. And because the Muslims refused to surrender Islam, the Spaniards managed to spread black propaganda against them thru Moro-Moro plays and zarzuelas that stuck in the minds of many. This was part of the legacy the Spaniards left behind for the succeeding invading forces and the current Filipinos to inherit.
But since life has to go on, the GRP and the Bangsamoro have to put aside their trust issues and must risk trusting one another in order to solve this unending problem and to save the real victims—the innocent people caught in between and displaced as a result of this dispute. Numerous peace talks were conducted between the negotiating panels, and in 2008 a Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was drafted. The MOA-AD proposed to discuss the means for restoring certain areas in Mindanao to MILF jurisdiction by creating a separate state under the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE). Other neighboring areas were planned to be included under the BJE subject to two plebiscites, one within twelve years from the signing of the MOA-AD and the other within twenty-five years from the signing of a “Comprehensive Compact Agreement.” It was planned that the BJE will have jurisdiction over some areas in Mindanao which will enable them to utilize the natural resources within. The BJE and the central government will exercise joint jurisdiction over certain minerals, activities and territorial waters, but the percentage of sharing in terms of total production over natural resources will be 75% and 25% in favour of the BJE. Furthermore, the BJE will be given ample powers to build, develop and maintain its own institutions, as well as to enter into economic cooperation and trade relations with foreign countries. Although apparently unconstitutional, the Solicitor General principally argued for the GRP that the MOA-AD was free of legal infirmities because they were merely proposals on “consensus points” and were subject to further negotiations, legislative enactments and constitutional processes. The provisions contained therein will not have any effect unless changes in the legal framework are made. The Supreme Court ruled by junking the MOA-AD when it voted 8-7 on the unconstitutionality of its provisions for lack of public consultations as required by law. The SC said that the people had a right to know that the MOA-AD will inevitably cause displacement to a great number of inhabitants, and that it was part of the GRP’s duty to disclose information to the public and to allow a feedback mechanism. There should be a continuing consultation, and not just a mere plebiscite. Moreover, the SC held that the provisions in the MOA-AD cannot all be accommodated under the law and the Constitution. The SC also objected to the extent of the powers conceded to the BJE. Leading Constitutionalist, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, in his blog, men-
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tioned that the BJE will have powers beyond the Local Government Code and the ARMM Charter, and implies an international relationship between the GRP and the BJE. He said, “The eight justices of the Court (who voted against) felt impelled to send a stern directive to an executive department which they could not trust. The message of distrust is embodied in the majority’s conviction that the MOAAD was ‘capable of repetition in the future.’” The SC’s ruling made sure the agreement will not resurface in the future in the guise of a similar covenant. And so it will take a whole lot of patience and persistence for the Bangsamoro to accomplish their dream of real autonomy. It is a dream based on their belief that Islam is a way of life by which they must completely surrender to the Will of Allah in all aspects of life and behaviour—in accordance with the moral, social, political and economic systems of Islam. This proves to be a challenge in a country where Muslims are considered as a minority. For over four decades, the MOA-AD is the third major agreement between the GRP and the Bangsamoro which had been stalled by the legalities required by the State, thru the decisions of the Supreme Court. For as long as the Bangsamoro maintains that the only solution to the problem is the “ancestral domain solution” which the GRP recognizes, and for as long as the Constitution would remain unchanged, then any agreement between the negotiating panels may very well be temporary if not scrapped the same way the other agreements had been in the past. The Bangsamoro issue will be a perennial problem that will generate disunity between the Filipino people. The Constitution plays a key role to crack this case. Perhaps it is high time the government considers amending the Constitution if it is truly sincere in its commitment to achieve a just and lasting peace for Mindanao and the whole country as well. Of course it is easier said than done. With the present problems on controlling floods, oil price hikes, apportioning basic services to an already bloated population, etc., notoriously bogging down on the national government, amending the charter may be far off the President’s radar. The Bangsamoro issue may be sidelined in this manner, but it will always recur until it is appropriately resolved. For this rea-
son, resorts to available means are entertained. In August 2012, the GRP and the MILF had their 30th round of negotiations at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which plays as the lead facilitator during the resumption of the peace talks between the GRP and the MILF. Former U.P. College of Law Dean, Atty. Marvic Leonen, is the chief negotiator for the government. He said, “the concept now for Muslim self-determination would be to improve the concept on the failed ARMM and surrender this territory to the MILF. Thus, it would likely be that a mere transfer of fiefdom from the MNLF, to which leaders the ARMM was handed over in the past, to the MILF.” The peace panel also eyed the creation of technical working groups to focus on power and wealth-sharing. President Simeon Benigno Aquino, III seemed earnest and committed to these exploratory talks. In an article, Leonen mentioned the government’s urgent goal to sign the peace pact within 2012 and that the national government was “poised” and “ready” to invest technically, politically, and financially to achieve the solution. Leonen adds, “As the President reminded me time and again: It is not the complexity of the agreement that will ensure its implementation or the achievement of its aims—it is the trust that is built in the process of negotiation and in the process of assessing its implementation. At the end of the day, we build on each other’s sincerity and we do this while we are implementing programs and projects than just simply talking for that perfect peace agreement at the negotiating table.” Since we are a people governed under the rule of law, the approach to solving the Bangsamoro problem would call for special measures still within the bounds of law, acceptable to both parties and made transparent for the Filipino people to participate in. But whether or not charter change pushes through during PNoy’s administration or in succeeding ones, trust is a vital act that should be earned, cared for and maintained between entities that embark on any political arrangement or implement government programs. But with our unique history, it would take a leap of faith and trust in order to achieve such goal.
“The SC’s ruling made sure the agreement will not resurface in the future in the guise of a similar covenant. And so it will take a whole lot of patience and persistence for the Bangsamoro to accomplish their dream of real autonomy.” OCTOBER 2012
The “B”- side: The Bangsamoro Struggle for Freedom BY MAUREEN BETITA
“The Right to Self-Determination has turned into a politics of avoidance, where the International Community has abandoned people who have claims on this principle” –Karen Parker, J.D. (Association for Humanitarian Lawyers, United Nations, Geneva 2000)
he Mindanao conflict has been a long dragging struggle for both the national government and the native inhabitants of Mindanao that began as early as the year 1578. The issue was internationalized in 1970, owing to emerging support from the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC).
Despite peace talk efforts, the direct negotiations between the Government and the MNLF was enveloped in complete distrust, exacerbated by the all-out-war ordered by Former President J. Estrada at the height of the peace negotiations. It was during the Arroyo administration that the Malaysian Government was invited to mediate and facilitate the GRP-MILF peace process. The peace process negotiations have yet to recommence in the current Aquino administration. Brief history Dr. Kamarulzaman Askandar and Ayesah Abubakar of Universiti Sains Malaysia narrates that, “the Bangsamoro people were never part of the controlled areas under the Spanish colonial government even up until the turnover to the American government. Therefore, the annexation of Mindanao was done illegally without the plebiscitary consent of the people who continue to maintain their own form of government, and a well defined territory, under the sultanate and datuship system.” The Philippine Government
integration policy, making Mindanao its major source for natural resource resulted in the consequential marginalisation of the native inhabitants in their own land, leading the Bangsamoro people to remain “suspicious of the government plans to integrate them in the new Filipino society. This marginalization together with various incidences of human rights violations fueled the strong support for revolutionary groups, namely the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and later on, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).”1 Malaysia and the International Monitoring Team (IMT)2 The Government of Malaysia is the chief facilitator of the peace talks and has been crucial in the negotiations of the Tripoli Agreement and the Implementing Guidelines on the Security Aspect, as well as the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development Aspect of the peace process. Abubakar further shared that former President Arroyo personally asked former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad to persuade MILF to return to peace negotiations. In Abubakar’s article for SEACSN.org, “the IMT is historically significant and unique as this is a non-UN initiative. It is not only tasked to monitor the upholding of a cease fire from both camps but is also mandated to monitor the implementation of the abovesigned agreements and ensure that the peace process progress to the stage of rehabilitation, reconstruction, and development of the conflict affected areas.” She adds that the respective governments of all IMT members are financially sponsoring them. However, operation costs are borne by the Philippine government. Today, the IMT is composed of Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, Japan, including representatives from the European Union and Indonesia. Observers of the peace process involved the governments of UK, Japan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and international organizations --The Asia Foundation (US), Humanitarian Dialogue Center (Geneva-based), and Conciliation Resources (UK). Defining the Bangsamoro Right to Self-Determination (RSD) The most significant development on the Bangsamoro struggle to freedom was the drafting of the Memorandum on the Ancestral Domain Aspect (MOA-AD) at Putrajaya, Malaysia. The MILF,
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Abubakar, A., Askandar, K. Defining the Bangsamoro Right to Self -Determination in the MILF Peace Process (Southeast Asian Human Rights Studies Network, October 2011) http://www.seacsn.usm.my/publications/bulletin/jan_june2005/mindanao1.asp
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as representatives of the Bangsamoro people hinges its RSD with the national government’s obligation towards Indigenous Peoples RSD under the Philippine Constitution and International Human Rights Declaration & Covenant, to which the Philippines iWith this limitation on the concept on RSD, Askandar and Abubakar, opined that “Whether this definition of RSD, short of secession or independence, is acceptable to groups like the MILF and the Bangsamoro, it is only them who can fully appreciate its meaning and relevance to their own aspirations as a distinct people who wants to be ensured of a future.” Challenges in the Peace Process The biggest challenge, according to Abubakar is the “political will in signing an agreement and resolving the conflict in Mindanao. The government peace panel may be duly assigned by the President of the Philippines to negotiate, but even the executive power of the President cannot be supported by the Senate, Congress and even by the Supreme Court.” It was also highlighted that there is one-sidedness in peace-building activities, where Christian groups dominate the Moro on NGO and inter-faith activities related to peace. In her article for the Mindanews, a local newspaper, she wrote, “Since the Moros are not fully involved and do not have their complete freedom in charting their own life and development, they are left to assimilate or settle in the periphery of the society. And because there is already a well-established structural and cultural violence since the Philippine governments started, it has constantly fed and nurtured the discriminatory attitude and behavior of the majority (Christians) towards the minority (Moros).3” Second, “the overlapping Moro social mosaic of established rebel groups, ‘terrorist’ groups, criminal gangs or private armies of politicians and warlords poses significant, complex challenges for civil peacebuilders and government peace negotiators. Another cause is the lack of coordination from the AFP in their pursuit operations of alleged Abu Sayyaf, Pentagon, and Jemaah Islamiah (JI) groups or individuals, especially when they are deployed in the MILF areas.”4
from Manila and Mindanao. The goal has been to“further discuss the peace talks and clarify the role of the local politicians in relation to a new government which the peace talks is trying to craft for the Bangsamoro communities in Mindanao. In this COP, no less than Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles and the late Sec. Jesse Robredo joined in the conference.” Final Thoughts In conclusion though, RSD, in terms of secession or independence does not find support in international law. Abubakar and Dr. Askandar, believes that RSD is something that can find realization in the creativity of leaders and communities through relevant human rights programs protecting the survival of indigenous people and cultures. The very process BDA transpires to establish is a “development intervention program in the name of values transformation training programs.”
As a response to the suspension of the peace talks and the Supreme Court invalidating the MOA-AD, Universiti Sains Malaysia, SEACSN.org and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had created the Consolidation for Peace Program (COP) as a peacebuilding initiative. Abubakar explained that the “COP provided the platform for the government, MILF representatives and the whole of the civil society from Manila and Mindanao to find ways to help in the resumption of the formal peace talks.” Accordingly, the last COP in 2011, they were able to bring together high-level representations from all sides, which included politicians and civil society groups
“The RSD should not be limited as having the potential threat of creating another independent state within a state. It must also include the expansion of freedom that communities must enjoy in order for them to fully participate in their development and future—for it is these that hold most value among people.” Dr. Askandar also argues that peace-building must be acknowledged as the foundation and integral part of the conflict resolution process, even before the conflict is resolved. With this, Abubakar emphasized that the three areas or processes in peacemaking, peacemaking at the executive level, peacekeeping, then peace-building, should not only include the official parties but also the civil society—the community as a whole.
_______________________ Ayesah Abubakar is the Mindanao Peace Program Coordinator of the Research & Education for Peace, Universiti Sains Malaysia (REPUSM). Dr. Kamarulzaman Askandar is the Regional Coordinator for Southeast Asian Conflict Studies Network (SEACSN) and Political Science Professor & Coordinator forResearch & Education for Peace, Universiti Sains Malaysia (REPUSM). He also served as the lead lecturer for the Conflict Management Program in the Philippines. Visit www. seacsn.usm.my or email them at email@example.com.
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Abubakar, A, : “In the Neighborhood: Anger,Violence & Reconciliation in Mindanao.” Mindanews 9/27/2011 Abubakar, Ayesah Uy, “The Philippines: challenges to peacebuilding in the GRP-MILF process”. In Islam and Violent Separatism: New Democracies in Southeast Asia, ed. Ashok Swain with Joop De Haan and Jonathan Hall, pp.31-64. 2007. London: Kegan Paul.
Cover Story Construing The Supreme
In the Eyes of a Legend Personified Written by angelo murillo Interview by Laisa aguila, Ron Esquivel and samantha santos Photos By Ron Esquivel
he times speak of the necessities to inquire, to construe, and to know.
An era plagued with circumstances beclouding laws leads to doubts and lessening confidence in the legal system. It henceforth becomes imperative to unearth truth by discerning the genuine rule of the supreme law, the Constitution. A Legend Personified The nation has long been a witness to his part in moulding history. He currently occupies the highest position in one arm of the legislature, albeit his overwhelming success as a legal crusader can be traced back from his humble beginnings. Coming from a family that struggled to meet three square meals a day, he took his chances in life. In 1953, he earned his law degree from the University of the Philippines and not too long thereafter did he finish 11th as a new member of the Bar. For roughly six decades now, he has been breathing legalisms in his struggle in the political arena. Within these years, he started heeding the call of public service and assumed a role crucial to the country’s 24
history. Among the notable positions he handled in the government were Chairman of several governmental bodies, Secretary of Justice, Secretary of National Defense, and Senate President, among other essential posts he held. As a politician, he had his share of battles won and lost. For more than a decade, he managed the internal conflicts and wars dividing the nation. Prior to this, thousands of lives were slaughtered by Japanese colonizers before his very eyes. To the historic shifting of the government’s gears, he was a witness himself. His slice in the raw drafting of the Martial Law was vitiated by the ferocious execution imposed by the dictator. He witnessed how the nation was silenced, how it was raped. This once impelled him into the brutal gauge of public opinion. The bastardization of democratic rights and the ordeal of a cruel dictatorship followed by the historical snap elections of 1986, however, made him cross the line. His, together with then Armed Forces Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos’ breakaway from the tyranny proved to be a pivotal point in the momentous EDSA Revolution of 1986. By opposing, he engaged; in engaging, he manifested his readiness for genuine change.
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Also fortifying his stance as a legend personified was the most recent saga of former Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment. The nation saw how the body under his presidency handled the controversies hounding the judiciary. At the turn of events, people were made aware of his crucial responsibility in ensuring the preservation of truth and justice. There were inevitable raised eyebrows after the whole trial; but these notwithstanding, he proved he delivered. The passing years must have intensively forged his wit and intellect. With his age already pushing 90’s, the extent and measure of his sharpness would still make any attempt to quantify be futile. He instinctively recalls even the very first case he, as a lawyer, handled which touched on Labor law. With a tad bit of humor, he discloses that memora-
ble trial when he inadvertently shifted from being a counsel to a pseudo court interpreter due to the absence of one, and due to his fluency in the client’s native tongue. Even in his early years, he already knew his ways to coping and adjustment. Apparently, this exhibits why he is where he is right now.
field of law and governance, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (JPE) shares in an exclusive interview with The Red Chronicles his views and insights regarding the supreme law of the land—the 1987 Philippine Constitution, as paralleled to various pressing issues the country presently faces.
His service to the public can gain no greater affirmation than the decades’ duration of his terms in offices which reflect the people’s will to continually seat him unto the helm of power. Ultimately, history will judge his lifetime’s worth of servitude. In the same vein, there can be no greater proof of his competence in Constitutional Law than his firsthand experiences which have accompanied him through different political eras in his resolve to obey the mandate of the people.
Certain and Critical
In remembrance of his perpetuity in the OCTOBER 2012
“There is an imperative need to revise the Constitution due to its many flaws.” It is an almost elementary principle that all laws bow to the mandate of the Constitution. According to Justice Malcolm, it is the written instrument enacted by direct action of the people by which the fundamental powers of the government are established, limited, and defined, and by which those powers are distributed among the several departments for their safe and useful exercise 25
for the benefit of the body politic. Associate Justice Isagani Cruz, in addition, stated that the Constitution is the basic and paramount law to which all other laws must conform and to which all persons, including the highest officials of the land, must defer. The distinctions made by various authorities only serve to underscore the importance of the Constitution. Inevitably, the supremacy bestowed upon it implies the crucial need for it to be responsive and efficient to the demands of its constituents. With a noticeable level of certainty and conviction, JPE meanwhile believes that the Constitution is replete with numerous flaws which would warrant the need for a Charter Change. On the Declaration of Principles and State Policies “Honestly, compared to our earlier constitutions, our present one is like a mere statute.” Clobbering the verbose and flowery rhetoric of the 1987 Constitution, JPE stressed that the Constitution should be brief, concise, and clear in its salient provisions. Contrary to what is presently enshrined, there must be a complete clarity of words used, absence of vaguely constructed clauses, and avoidance of catch-all phrases which may all lead to uncertainties. According to him, such uncertainties would be dangerous, and perhaps suggestive of anarchy, since it may entail rights which are unlimited. He adds that excessively ideal provisions do not necessarily translate to ideal results, particularly the desired effects of the law. On the Judiciary “The heightened powers of the Supreme Court are problematic.” With a polite disclaimer that he is not judging the capabilities of the Supreme Court (SC), JPE pointed out that the powers granted by the Constitution to the SC are quite unbounded, given that the justices of the SC are also human beings susceptible to mistake. “In the present case, the SC can easily tell the president that he abused his power and no one can argue anymore.” Particularly concerning issues about the exercise of power of the other branches of government and “grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,” he proposes that there be a Constitutional body which would review all decisions of the SC relating to such. The present set up, he opines, is contrary to the principle of checks and balances whereby the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government are equal, independent, but coordinate. On the Legislature “The marginalized are not well-represented.” JPE expresses his desire to revise the provisions on the party-list system in the legislature. For him, the people running under such scheme are not really immersed in the sector they are supposed to represent. Voices of the marginalized are still silenced. “I do not believe that the people who are holding these positions are really representatives of the people who elected them. Under this 26
system, if you just have money, you can win. What kind of system is that? In the allocation of budget for such sectors, the ones with larger influences and territories have a bigger voice. What we need is equal representation.” On the provisions concerning the legislative branch, JPE also finds some wordings to be ambiguous. The rules on the attendance and joint or separate meetings of the Congress contain manifest error in the language of the Constitution. He explains that such was the case because when the framers are railroading the Constitution, what they had in mind was a unicameral form of legislature. Thereafter at the time the country shifted back to a bicameral Congress, the framers were already forced to hasten the passage of the Constitution, leaving the supposed revision undone. There are senators who propose an added qualification for candidacy in the Senate: a college diploma. To this, JPE disagreed. “Lito Lapid, I’m sorry to say, is brighter than those who are claiming to be bright. Common sense and love for the country are what’s primarily important. Life itself is a source of education,” he stated. On the Balance of Powers “There are no limitless powers and limitless rights.” JPE also draws a lesson from the provisions of the Constitution regarding the three co-equal branches of the government and the recently concluded trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona. He quips that the whole trial only served to address the highest officials of the land, particularly the judiciary, that powers which are granted to be exercised are never absolute. Constantly attached to them are limitations which cannot be disregarded. Basing from his experience, he confessed that previously, there were members of the judiciary who thought they were beyond question. Such is clearly against the principles espoused by the Constitution since abuse of power has always been a nemesis to the framers of the fundamental law. For him, officials must not be blinded by the authority merely imposed upon them by the people. For it is only when the people speak – and whatever they express becomes implemented – , that there exists an honest translation of sovereignty. “We are exercising our powers only because of the people’s consent. We shall work together for the benefit of the public,” he said. In addition, the Constitution allegedly endows excessive, but misplaced, powers to the Chief Justice and the Senate President. In consonance with the Constitution, the former is made the ex officio chairman of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), while the latter is the ex officio chairman of the Commission on Appointments (CA). Incidentally, in case of the absence of the abovementioned officials, the JBC and the CA would cease to function properly.
On the Philippine Territory “We are being stepped upon by China. We have senators mouthing Chinese lines.” Upon inquiry on whether our country has been “aggressive” or “submissive” in claiming our territorial rights against neighbouring
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“Life itself is the source of education.”
-JPE OCTOBER 2012
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giants, JPE straightforwardly replied the latter.
On National Defense
It is his opinion that the Philippines has been very cautious in claiming its territorial rights. This clearly runs contrary to the provision of the Constitution which says that all territories upon which we have historical rights belong to our exclusive dominion.
“Our people can be the best kind of soldiers.”
On Human Rights “I’m neither concerned about religion nor morality. I’m concerned about reality.” Such was the strong statement of JPE on his stand against the Reproductive Health Bill. He claims that the perceived benefits of the bill will only be short-lived. In the long-run, the country will be in detriment. He says that to contract the population today is to diminish the workforce tomorrow. If the country is to use condoms, IUDs, and tinker with the fertility rate of the people, there will come a time that there will be an absence of the population chunk which is supposed to take over to produce the needs of the nation in the future. JPE proposes for the country to maintain the population growth and open up the country for foreign investments. Instead of being cautious about pregnancy, the nation must focus on educating the masses, generating employment, and prioritizing genuine development. Furthermore, JPE believes that the Freedom of Information Bill is a necessity and not a luxury. However, he qualified that there must be a brace in the exercise of such right. According to him, the law cannot be open-ended. It cannot interfere with the essential privacies enshrined in the Constitution.
Complementing this statement is JPE’s regret that the government failed to take the necessary steps to improve the military and national defense of the country. From his account, the Filipinos, in terms of capabilities as fighters, are one of the best in the world. “Our leaders did not attend to the basic requirement of nationhood which is to have a decent military organization to safeguard the sovereignty, national integrity, and interest of the country. That is why we are the doormat of China today. Military foreces are not merely for decoration. They are for security and peace maintenance,” he said. ***
The nation has this tendency to mask the undesirable. But deviating from this vice, no less than the Senate President aired his share of comments and criticisms regarding the Constitution. Like most of the Filipino people, the inquisitive and critical in JPE maintained the urgency to question and to propose. The magnitude of importance and utter respect demanded from us by the highest law of the land must never impede with the people’s right to strengthen what seems to be weak. Because in the first place, it is of, by, and for us that the Constitution operates. At the end of the day, what is important is that we do not sit in silence but we speak. We do not remain stagnant but we progress.
On the Right of Suffrage “The automation of elections brought some sanity to our election process.” As safeguarded by the Constitution, the right of suffrage is a fundamental right upon which the sovereignty of the people and the basic tenets of democracy reside. The automation of the May 2010 elections was a massive innovation in the battle of supremacy between aspiring elective officials.
References Public Relations and Information Bureau, Senate of the Philippines Speech of JPE at the launching of “JPE - A Memoir,” Manila Peninsula Hotel Juan Ponce Enrile official website Philippine Political Law, Isagani Cruz Constitutional Law, Isagani Cruz
Based on his past experiences, JPE has observed a considerable improvement in the country’s electoral system by virtue of the automation. This is notwithstanding the fact that numerous election experts still doubt the credibility of the election results as generated by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) Machines. On the Economy “I feel the pain that our people feel. I know the anger, the laments, and anxiety of the deprived.” JPE is in favor of relaxing certain economic provisions in the Constitution to better serve the Filipino people. With the current provisions, he surmises that the law seems to be confused on who it is supposed to protect – the elites or the masses. He further contends that the law must not forget the fisher folks, the laborers, the farmers, and ultimately the deprived citizens of their right and aspirations to a comfortable life. Their voices, he alleges, are kept unheard because their needs are not necessarily met due to restrictions on economic activities in the country.
TheRedChronicles Exclusive: Samantha Santos, Laisa Aguila and Ron Esquivel with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile at the Jeepney Cafe, Intercontinental Hotel Manila.
Office of the Chief Justice:
President’s Doberman or a Vanguard of Judicial Reform? By Stephanie Dandal
ustice and equity for all. Law, truth and fairness reign their hall.” –an excerpt from the hymn of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
A pivotal event swept across our nation when then Chief Justice of the Philippines, Renato C. Corona, was voted out of office by our senators—20 to 3. A proceeding sui generis—in a league of its own, it is dubbed by some journalists as the “Thrilla in Manila”, as it painted a caricature of our very own political culture. After the dramatic pronouncement that swept critiques from both ends of the spectrum, a new issue arose, “Who will be the Philippines’ next Chief Justice?” There were whispers of who will be appointed next: Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima, Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Atty. Rene Saguisag to name a few. The public’s guessing game ensued but it ultimately fell upon the shoulders of the Judicial Bar of the Philippines to produce a shortlist of capable candidates for the vacated position. After the public’s involvement, the public interviews, the Judicial Bar Council votes, and the submission of a final list to the President, Justice Maria Lopez Sereno was appointed as the new Chief Justice of the Philippines. Politics of the public sphere will remain sarcastically entertaining and men will always be the social animals they were meant to be. Critics feasted on the new appointment and debated on whether it was a promising future for the judiciary or one that secured President Aquino’s control over the third branch of the government One can only guess what the outcome will be for the next eighteen years unless another impeachment proceeding happens.
The adequacy of the impeachment process is questioned by some legal authorities. It has been described as a joke, a political maneuver against non-partisan individuals, and a purging process when the mob is jaded by the lack of transparency and action by certain high ranking government officials. On the other side of the coin, the impeachment process is seen as a mechanism of discipline— as a reminder that the officials still answer to and have a responsibility to the common people. The Office of the Chief Justice, still under heavy public scrutiny after the first CJ impeachment, is no stranger to impeachment threats. After the controversy over alleged abuses in the disbursement of the Judicial Development Fund, some politicians attempted to have former Chief Justice Hilario Davide impeached from his office. The former CJ Davide cried foul and asserted that the allegation was an attack to discredit the judiciary. Aside from impeachment controversies, the Supreme Court is still cleaning up its act after the release of a “plagiarized” ruling concerning comfort women. A short background: the Supreme Court penned a decision dismissing the petition of seventy (70) comfort women of the Malaya Lolas Organization in the case of Vinuya vs. Romulo. It was unjust, foul, perhaps bordering on a lack of empathy but the icing on the cake was Justice Mariano del Castillo’s alleged plagiarism. Of course, questions arose. Does it apply to decisions penned by the judiciary? If it does, what constitutes its commission? What are the steps or processes to discipline or penalize those who do? Should Justice Mariano del Castillo resign following this blunder? Plagiarism has its prevalence in respected institutions and the Supreme Court is no exception. Albeit being frowned upon, plagiarized work still finds its way into the vestiges of novelty. In response to this dilemma, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile recently suggested to study the possibility of crafting an anti-Plagiarism law.
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In a country where politics is a spectacle and where media moguls televise impeachment proceedings like reality television shows, highprofile political dramas enlighten the public of the corruption it so vehemently detests. But is this the best method to fight injustice? In light of recent events against the Office of the Chief Justice, PNoy critics call it a political maneuver to secure his government, even citing Justice Sereno as his batchmate in Ateneo de Manila University. It seems that he is building a panopticon of sorts but instead of a disciplining power, it is pervasive power that he seeks to develop. The minority of believers in the Supreme Court still hold that it is premature to judge whether or not CJ Sereno’s appointment is a political maneuver by the President. After all, political trials are cathartic. It can provide for political and legal knowledge but it can make a nation incredulous.
As all eyes draw to her and the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the public will not be forgiving. Scrutiny will be her friend and complacency her enemy. In this critical juncture of our judicial history, the President chose to appoint an outsider, perhaps to change the course of the judiciary with a new face without the baggage of the past, or as some critiques assert, solidify his political hold on all branches of the government with Dobermans ready to do his bidding. It is too early. Everything is premature. Doubt is a healthy companion but an unhealthy adversary at its peak.
“The high court should shun politics and go back to basics.” –Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno
In response to the criticisms against her and the Supreme Court, CJ Sereno stated in her first public speech before the Presidents of Law Association in Asia that “the high court should shun politics and go back to basics”. Following the constitutionally mandated separation of powers, the newly appointed CJ aims to take the court back to its original function: to reflect on the issues of law. Treading on this road of judicial reformation, CJ Sereno wishes to impose the “policy of dignified silence”. Officials will now be forbidden to discuss about official affairs to the media. Several senators are in favor of the policy so that, in the words of Senator Edgardo Angara, “the integrity of the court will remain intact and to prevent erroneous reporting”. CJ Sereno believes that, “we should look at ourselves as a young country in terms of our social and political interactions in the sphere of governance, and young as we are, we should be thankful for what we have thus accomplished. We have ushered into the world a unique phenomenon such as the People Power, and we have started introducing into governance structure manifestations of people power in different forms”.
Continuing along the path of judicial reformation and transparency, all the Supreme Court justices released their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). Following the release, the Supreme Court and its Chief Justice were once again placed under the spotlight for unexplained wealth. People are raising questions regarding her earnings from the NAIA 3 case. The CJ has not yet issued a statement and the Palace is defending her amidst the allegations of dubious wealth. These allegations existed before her appointment and only she can shed light on any of the allegations against her.
The stage is set, the players are all there. It is time for the Office of the Chief Justice to give us the show we yearn for. It is high time that they give us the highly romanticized epitome of justice we desperately seek.
As the hymn of the Supreme Court plays, may our justices be reminded that, “justice and equity for all, truth and fairness reign their hall”. It is not a threat but a challenge that the public has put on the shoulders of our magistrates. And at the receiving end of it all is our first female Chief Justice Maria Lopez Sereno.
“A proceeding sui generis – in a league of its own, it is dubbed by some journalists as the ‘Thrilla in Manila’, as it painted a caricature of our very own political culture.”
Dean Ulan Poses his Opposition to Fraternity Related Violence BY MARIA JOSEFINA ALFONSO, DUGIE DELA CRUZ, RIO DIZON and SAMANTHA SANTOS On August 1, 2012, the SBCA-SOL community gathered at the St. Maur Auditorium to offer mass for the recent victim of fraternity related violence, Marc Andre Marcos. Attended by students, professors, staff and media from different networks, this gathering also served as an opportunity for Dean Ulpiano Sarmiento III to release his statement at the wake of the recent tragedy. Dean Sarmiento’s message emphasized the misplaced use of freedom in the fraternity culture. “You ascertain that it is your freedom to organize,” he says. “I tell you, in a Christian community like ours, freedom is not your freedom to do anything…Freedom is for you to do what ought to be done, what ought to be good, what is correct and beneficial for others.” To the fraternities, he reiterated the message that they have no right to be recognized. Accordingly, they will only be recognized if first, they adhere to the rules; and second, if they show that they would pursue the same mission-vision and objectives of a Christian community. Dean Sarmiento decried these groups who practice exclusivity as they have not shown any of the requisites needed to be recognized. Instead, these brotherhoods, as the Dean states, “only promote selfishness -- totally not in accord with what we have in the community as Bedans.” The Dean further states that these fraternities “only brought about misery, sadness and disgust to the name of the institution.” As a challenge, Dean Sarmiento gave this message: “Now is the time to exercise your true freedom. Come out and let the truth prevail.” A Call to Action Dean Sarmiento, in an exclusive interview with The Red Chronicles, stated with firmness and conviction that he would do everything in his power to put a stop to fraternity related violence. He reiterated that SBCA-SOL does not, and will not, tolerate nor even recognize the existence of fraternities and sororities, as this is contrary to his vision of making SBCA-SOL one big family. As to the detractors, he defended the Bedan institution by stating that even before the unfortunate incident, deliberate acts were done to help curtail and prevent membership in these unrecognized organizations. For one, he actively participated in the drafting of the student handbook in order to make sure that sanctions await those students who will continue to join these fraternities and sororities, and participate in their activities. Due to the previous killing of neophytes from unrecognized school organizations, Dean Sarmiento intends to impose the following rules in school. First, the administration will pose a strict admission of students. Enrolling students would be asked to sign a waiver and commitment not to join any fraternity, sorority, or other unrecognized school organization. Second, he would like to remind the students that they are prohibited from wearing any shirt or jacket that would exhibit their affiliation to a certain fraternity or sorority. This would apply even if the student is outside the school premises, especially during the bar examinations month. Lastly, any form of recruitment into these groups, even if done 32
outside the school, is not allowed. He stressed that if a student would be caught joining an unrecognized organization or will be actively participating in the recruitment, he or she will be expelled from the institution. A violation of any of the mentioned prohibitions will have a corresponding administrative penalty. Dean Sarmiento admitted, however, that he can no longer require those who have been affiliated to certain fraternities and sororities to renounce their membership. Public Schools vs. Private Schools Dean Sarmiento explained that private schools are given mileage within reason in imposing different rules and regulations. Hence, entry to a school becomes a contractual relationship between the administration and the students. Non-compliance with the student handbook and other administrative rules shall merit non-admission or exclusion. Contrastingly, in public schools, students are not submitted to such rigid rules. The Education Act of 1982 enumerates the numerous rights of schools. Under Section 13 of the said law, schools enjoy the right “to provide for the proper governance of the school and to adopt and enforce administrative or management systems.” Based on this provision, Dean Sarmiento emphasized that a student freely submits himself to the rules of the educational institution that he enters. Thus, a prohibition on the creation of a fraternity is, therefore, held constitutional and it does not go against the right to freely associate. Dean Sarmiento also provided a legal basis for the issuance of a waiver upon enrollment. The waiver serves as a preventive measure for the institution to uphold the standard of diligence that is expected of educational institutions and to ensure that the ideals of the school are met. “There is no possibility of recognizing these sororities and fraternities since their ideals are not in accord with the principles of the institution. They only promote divisiveness, selfishness ,exclusivity, and detachment that is incompatible with the principle of oneness,” Dean Sarmiento strongly declared. With this message, let each student who entertains the thought of entering a fraternity or sorority be warned.
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RH Bill Debate ‘Closes: Is this the beginning of the end? By Margarita Rafols
Weary of the decade-old stalemate between the anti- and pro-Reproductive Health (RH) bill groups, members of the House of Representatives finally voted to end the debate on House Bill No. 4244 on August 6, 2012. Yet, the formal closure of the debate in the legislature did little to dampen the R.H. bill battle. In fact, discussions and recriminations between the two sides have intensified with both groups preparing for the last stand. Underlying the ongoing cross fire is the issue of the bill’s constitutionality. With the welfare of the unborn child and of the Filipino family itself at the heart of the heated debate, Section 12, Article II of the 1987 Constitution plays a starring role. Well-known constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. says that, according to the aforementioned section’s second sentence which provides, “it shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception”, life begins “from conception” or at the moment of fertilization. Hence, acts or methods which hinder the natural growth and development of the fertilized ovum are against life and in violation of Section 12. As such, opponents of the RH bill insist that it is “anti-life” and grossly unconstitutional. Convinced that majority, if not all, of artificial contraceptives foil the implantation of the fertilized ovum, Fr. Melvin Castro, executive director of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal (CBCP) Commission on Family and Life, totally rejects the bill for its advocacy of such “anti-life” devices. Former senators Jose Lina and Francisco Tatad, critics of Senate Bill No. 2378 (House Bill No. 4244’s counterpart in the Upper House), have voiced similar opinions with Lina going as far as saying that the RH bill clearly violates not only Section 12, Article II but also Section 1, Article III which states, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.” Bernas, however, begs to differ. His article, entitled “Back to the RH Bill”, published in his Philippine Daily Inquirer column, “Sounding Board”, dated February 7, 2011 emphasized that the second sentence of Section 12, Article II provides protection for the unborn only from conception. Yet, it says nothing of prohibitions prior to that. Thus, the use of contraceptive devices which only prevent fertilization is not reprehensible, because there is no life if there is no conception or fertilization. Since the RH Bill is already expressly hostile to abortion and contraceptive devices are only abortifacient
insofar as they expel a fertilized ovum from a woman’s womb, he claims that the RH Bill is not necessarily “anti-life” and unconstitutional on the said grounds. It appears, however, that Bernas concedes in a subsequent article entitled “RH Bill: Don’t burn the house to roast a pig” which was published in the same column. He says that the last sentence of Section 12 which says that, “the natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government”, may be basis for contesting the bill’s constitutionality. That is, if the bill’s provision on mandatory sexual education is not recast to require parental consent, the bill would violate the natural and primary right of parents to direct the development of their children. Staunch opponents to House Bill No. 4244 and to its corresponding Senate bill agree to this, even adding that, in denying the said right, there is also a breach of parents’ religious freedom which is protected by Section 3(1), Article XV. Still, apart from that seemingly lone point of concurrence with regard to Section 12, Article II, there remains a yawning divide between the anti- and pro-R.H. bill groups. Currently, anti-R.H. bill lawmakers, mostly from the majority party, have “stalled” the work on the proposed amendments by delivering long privilege speeches on other issues and questioning the quorum. The CBCP has vowed to make the RH Bill an election issue in the 2013 elections, too. In response, Senators Pia Cayetano and Miriam Defensor-Santiago of the pro-RH Bill group have questioned the delays faced by the measure, particularly those attributed to Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, principal author of House Bill No. 4244, has also disclosed that amendments to the RH Bill are being made even without input from the anti-RH Bill group. The great divide is further reflected in discussions of other provisions in the Constitution in relation to the RH Bill. For example, fearing that the bill would encourage a culture of premarital and permissive sex, opponents posit that the bill would also violate Section 15, Article II. But proponents of the bill assert otherwise, claiming that it would, in fact, improve healthcare and the public’s health-consciousness. They emphasize the bill’s key provisions which call for maternal death review in hospitals and health units; mobile health care service; efficient procurement, distribution, and usage monitoring of products for modern family planning methods etc. Most significantly, the free instruction and information service would also supposedly teach couples and the youth about proper sexual health, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant OCTOBER 2012
nutrition. Even now, there is uncertainty as to when the revisions to the bill will be ready for approval. The bill’s sponsors have their eye on the end of October. However, opponents of the bill are determined to block the bill’s passage during the current 15th Congress. Unless these points of contention are finally resolved, the bill’s fate is still anyone’s guess.
__________________________ An Update on House Bill No. 6052 By Roselle Jimeno
The House of Representatives approved, on final reading, House Bill No. 6052 on June 4, 2012. The purpose of the bill is to strengthen the Juvenile Justice System in the Philippines by amending, corollary, Republic Act No. 9344 or the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006” (JJWA). The house bill intends to address the increasing number of youthful offenders, or what we now call as “children in conflict with the law”. Pertinent provisions of House Bill No. 6052 include the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 12 years old; and the imposition of the joint responsibility on parents and/or those individuals who have custody of the child. It was also stated in the bill that for criminal liability to attach to a child offender aged 12 to 15, it is necessary to prove that he acted with discernment in committing an offense. In charges, however, punishable by more than 12 years of imprisonment such as murder, parricide, homicide, kidnapping, rape, robbery and drug trafficking—a child above 12 years of age is presumed to have acted with discernment. If he is found guilty, his sentence will be suspended until he reaches 18 years old. It is only until then that a pronouncement of judgment imposing the proper penalty shall be effected. House Bill No. 6052 is now pending in the Senate for its concurrence. Senator Miriam Santiago already expressed her opposition to the lowering of minimum age of criminal responsibility. Her opinion is that guilty children must not be penalized—they should be rehabilitated. She also added that, “When you promote children’s safety, then community safety is inherently achieved. If the community is safe for children, it is safe for all.” Senator Francis Pangilinan, who sponsored the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, has stated in a report that even before JJWA was enacted, he intended that 12 years should be the minimum age for criminally liability. 33
Under The Stacks A Book Review BY ROSELLE JIMENO The effort put in years of completing the book is possibly exemplified by the pressure on the part of the author to give his creation the most appropriate title. As they say, the title is the pendant to a necklace. Even so, we rarely find an author who will graciously give readers what the symbolic title means. In the dusk jacket of the book entitled Under the Stacks, written by Atty. Saul Hofileña Jr., there’s a very telling imagery which says, UNDER THE STACKS—a phrase which means buried under a pile or heap of books, papers, musty documents, unread volumes, and treasured ephemera bearing words embalmed by time. More than the picture it depicts, the phrase is a metaphor of our shared past as a race which is obscured by these forgotten, partly hidden accounts, events, and stories.
pated Filipino. Hofileña describes it as a “panoramic synopsis of the evolution of our race”—“a painted canvass set in stone...” Under the Stacks is a collection of historical essays, ranging from the pre-colonial Philippines to the court trials that followed after the fall of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. Its twenty-three chapters are likely arranged cautiously to cater to aesthetics more than chronology. And yet, its coherence is made up of landmarks which the author tries to lead us with—to treat us of what he calls our nation’s “collective amnesia”. Three hundred years in passing, Spain damns the believers of pre-colonial gods, Christianizes our forefathers, chastises Juan as a beast of burden whose abundant land becomes the milking cow, and sells them for a bargain price of $20 million to the empire of United States.
In the preface of the book, the author declares that if he were to be asked what he hopes his book will accomplish, he will speak of the artwork of Carlos “Botong” Francisco in the Manila City Hall. The three-panel artwork, called Filipino Struggles Throughout History, is a mural. It shows episodes of our history from the time of the Rajahs to the emanci34
The author recognizes that it is history books that made children to resent memory work, so he does not make Under the Stacks an ordinary addition to the recount of events, dates and names. He is able to mum the staccato of precision of the details by fusing it with the prose of storytelling. THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
Why Juan the Indio Cannot Read Spanish What did A Dash of Cinnamon mean to the conquistadores that they were lured to the islands in the Pacific? After we learned how to dress like our conquerors, how did we use their panuelito and abanico to convey the uncanny language of courtship in the paseos of churches?
Amidst these, we are told of the story of the Gardenias of Sampaloc. The narrative takes us for A Walk Around Pre-War Manila. The author puts us in an ambulatory travel to the time when Manila was described by travel books as “The Pearl of the Orient”. He directs us to open the veranda window, marvel at the calm waters of Manila Bay in 1944. With too many insights that the book has roused, it is almost impossible to put a finger on them on a piece of paper. Physically, the book is thick and hard-bound as it will be exuded by the magnanimity of its content. Its pages are of high-quality paper made to endure a thousand readings of the people whose history is painstakingly wrought in printed words.
Quoted in the book are the words of Rector Santiago Paya of the University of Santo Tomas in the 1899 Philippine Commission: “Filipinos have no great skill, only good memories.” When Japan conquered us in WWII, Filipinos suffered beyond imagination. Our women were raped, children were killed, and the men were tortured to death. A recorded interview of a surviving Japanese soldier, forty-seven years after the war, gives us an idea of the extent of what our countrymen had to endure during those trying times. A private in Lipa Airfield Battalion is quoted to have said that, “When I was in the Philippines, I did what I would never do in our normal life… During that time, we were ordered to kill any Filipino if we saw him.” Hofileña tells us that we have three monuments in the Philippine soil, erected to honor Japan. Apparently, one is of a kamikazee in Pampanga, an exact replica of a monument Japan has built on its land. The other two monuments are of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita and Gen. Masaharu Homma located in Los Baños, Laguna. The two Japanese generals commanded the massacres of thousands of civilians. In a closing of one of the chapters in the book, the author laments, “The existence of these monuments on Philippine soil is beyond comprehension to those who have read their history…”
The profiles of personages are complex and are given the benefit of the doubt which is their humanity. The descriptions of places make one want to visit them, open the caskets of the past, and know their secrets. If ever there are portions to find trite and tedious, it is for the lofty sake of accuracy. The author declares in his preface that he “withheld judgment and made no conclusion” when he thought he was uncertain. Cordial enough, the book comes with a bookmark to aid the reader in finding where he has left off. Our history, good and bad, is worthy of display in a humble bookshelf of every Filipino home—not ignored, forgotten and lost under the stacks. May the book be a stimulus to our collective nostalgia as nation. A painted canvass set in stone.
“Why we have forgotten our past so soon…”
Have we really resolved to forget our past or have we simply chosen to remember the good ones?
Published in 2011, Under the Stacks has 460 pages. It is sold at National Bookstore and Powerbooks stores nationwide.
Most foreign retelling of events in World War II mentions the Philippine Islands in passing, merely as a battle ground of empires. The accounts of our suffering are altogether left out to the eventual loss in the minds of generations. Is it so that the atrocities done to our people are forgotten because we, too, have chosen to forget?
Atty. Saul Hofileña, Jr. is a writer-historian who collects old documents, actual letters of correspondence, papers and other ephemera. He is a lawyer by profession and a teacher of Philippine International Law, Legal Ethics, and Criminal Law I in San Beda College Alabang- School of Law. OCTOBER 2012
Attorney Rene Saguisag: A Symbol of Excellence
BY LAWRENCE SOLIS o I pulled out my wallet and got one hundred pesos. I’ll gladly pay it, your honor. Can I say something more for another fifty pesos?” Attorney Rene Saguisag exclaimed to the judge, in a court room filled with military officials as his fellow defense lawyers
watched. Both his wit and bravery unflinching in the face of contempt.
Not by design, but rather destiny Born August 14, 1939 in the rural areas of Mauban, Quezon, Rene Augusto V. Saguisag was the second of seven offsprings. His father was a construction supervisor and his mother a devout Catholic. He studied in Makati Elementary school and in 1951, entered Rizal high school and finished in 1955. Upon graduation, he consulted the school guidance counselor on what he should take up in college. “I had better grades in history and in English,” he recalls “He said I might be for law.” On choosing his school, he recalls, “back then, in Rizal high, we were divided.” He continues “It was either Red Lions or Blue Eagles. Ako, talagang blue eagle noon. In time you learn to love your alma mater too with a kind of passion that whips the blood. Kaya ngayon, I’m 110% Bedan.” He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from San Beda College Manila in 1959 but hesitated to enter law school. “After two years of pre-law, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a lawyer,” He reminisces. He went to Bacolod where his father was working, and attended night-law school in University of Negros Occidental where he worked as a part-time security guard in the same school. “When I came back to second year law in San Beda, that’s when I started studying seriously.” He narrates. He owed his study habits to his colleagues in law school. “In law school, the competition was very intense,” He says. “My colleagues were very
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good too.” His time was not exclusively spent in school, as he worked during his off time. “I was a checker, and I also was a messenger so I studied any free time I could get while riding the bus. When I went home, I often was with Avelino Cruz who also lived in Pasig. We had discussions about legal issues.” His friend Avelino Cruz, was a fellow Bedan and the youngest bar topnotcher in Philippine history, having taken the bar exams at the age of 20 in 1961 via a special permit granted by the Supreme Court. Rene graduated cum laude in 1963, and out of roughly 5,500 examinees in the Bar examinations of the same year, he placed sixth in overall. “That’s how I really became a lawyer,” He points out. “Not by design, rather destiny.” Harvard: A ‘sweet’ deal Continuing to improve his craft, he immediately applied to the prestigious Harvard Law school after being sworn into the roll of attorneys. He wittingly remarks, “I wrote to Harvard law, ‘If you don’t take me, someday you’ll be sorry. So let me move and travel in the sacred precincts of Harvard yard.” Harvard accepted his letter of application and granted him a scholarship. He finished his Masters degree in Law in 1968. During his stay in Harvard, he met the love of his life, Dulce. Dulce, at that time was studying at Boston College through a scholarship grant. The relationship blossomed through the years and they eventually tied the knot. The couple had five children—two daughters and three sons.
ment in the Supreme Court,” he says, “Cory then said, ‘You’ll be one of our candidates in the election.” In his campaign, he says that he almost spent nothing. He received donations and sponsorships from his friends and family as well as his fellow party candidates. “One important vote I had was ending the presence of foreign soldiers in the Philippines.” He recalls his part in the casting off of US forces in the Philippines in 1992. “I ousted a Chief Justice. I coauthored RA 6713 (SALN Law) and sponsored it. How many can really say, that because of a law, a very powerful official was ousted?” The Accident: Acceptance and absolution After his term in the Senate, he returned to the legal practice. His career as a litigator flourished and while maintaining to be a loving husband and father to his children. But in a heartbreaking twist of fate, his seemingly auspicious life took a tragic turn. At about 2 o’clock in the morning of November 8, 2007, after burning up the dance floor with his beloved wife Dulce, they left Europa Dance bar. They rode a Toyota Grandia van with dance instructor Rhea Obong and their driver Felipe Calvario. While treading Osmena Highway on their way home, a speeding dump truck ran a red traffic light and struck the left side of the van. The accident spared him and the two others but unfortunately took his wife’s life after she bore the brunt of the impact. “I was in the ICU for a month,” He spoke in a faltering tone. He was not able to attend his wife’s funeral. “Up to the end, she was protecting me. Without her I might have been the one who might have gotten it. That was how I lost her.”
“I wrote to Harvard law, ‘If you don’t take me, someday you’ll be sorry. So let me move and travel in the sacred precincts of Harvard yard.” Harvard accepted his letter of application and granted him a scholarship.”
Activism and Politics: On the stump His name rose to prominence during the Marcos regime where he was part of Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism, Inc (MABINI), always on the opposing the Marcos Administration, defending political victims and prisoners. Because of his active participation in helping political victims, he and his fellow lawyers often spent nights in municipal jails for contempt. He also served as the spokesperson of former President Cory Aquino, before and during her term as President. He was nominated for the position of Chief Justice not only once, but three times. In all those instances he declined. “I was too old for the position.”, he says, implying his most recent nomination. “There were many more who were superior to me. I would not have considered it. I did not consider it in 1987. No reason for me to change my mind. I was not interested.”
In 1986, he was hesitant to run for Senate but was convinced by his wife, Dulce. He ran and won a seat. “After I turned down the appoint-
“I have never forgiven myself for that.”, he says. “If I had not hurried her, she would still be here. But do I understand God? The Infinite by finite me? I don’t. But I am accepting. So that was how it was--she was instantly gone.”
Today at the age of 73, he manages his time between law practice, writing his column, TGIF in the Manila Times, while being a loving and supportive father and lolo as well as being an avid sports fan. “I had always loved to write,” he remarks, “and I think that has taken me as far as I have gone because of my love for the language”. His column almost religiously discusses the nation’s top issues while comparing them to the hottest sports news. He also teaches constitutional law to San Beda and Arellano University law students. “Constitutional law was one of the subjects I took up in Harvard”, he notes. “I just always loved it. I had very good teachers. Yun ang hilig ko talaga, legal philosophy, jurisprudence and constitutional law. We got steeped in it. During the regime, we had challenged so many on constitutional grounds, kaya diyan lalo napalalim ang hilig ko.”
na sa akin. Mas cause-oriented na ang aking sasalihan.” After graduating magna cum laude in San Beda College with a degree in Political Science, he went to the University of the Philippines to pursue law. As a law student, Comm. Sarmiento described himself as average but very active in campus issues. He became the president of the student government and was asked to run for the Batasang Pambansa as a representative of the youth sector along with Ninoy Aquino. He failed to qualify as he was less than 25 years old that time. “Twenty-one or twenty-two lang ako noon. I just campaigned for them. Ako po yung nagsasalita during rallies. Yang si Kris (Aquino), maliit pa yan noon.” He reminisced.
BY JAMES RYAN VILLENA
agpapari ba ako o hindi?” It was the question that COMELEC Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento has been asking himself since he was a kid. He really wanted to be a priest that the dilemma revisited him when he became a lawyer. He took the entrance exam to the monastery to be a Benedictine monk. “I was already a lawyer when I took the exam. May girlfriend ako noon. Nung sinabi kong magpapari ako, naku iyak ng iyak yun. Until now I’m keeping that handkerchief na iniyakan niya.” He softly smiled and extended his hand as if he was holding the handkerchief. He stepped back from the monastery but priesthood really got a hold on him. He went on a retreat in Notre Dame de Vie in Novaliches and sought for guidance. The heavens responded through a French nun. “You could be a good Christian father, (but) not necessarily as a priest.” With those words, he chose the path to a married life. Ex Frat Man and a student leader Comm. Sarmiento joined a fraternity during his pre-law course in San Beda. On his fourth year, he realized that the fraternity is not the kind of brotherhood he desires. “May mga classmates akong nakick-out because of rumbles. Yung hazing ‘di ko na din matanggap yun.” In an assembly of the fraternity and before all his frat-brothers, he resigned. “It was a difficult and bold decision. My concept of brotherhood is different. When I was in law school, nire-recruit uli ako pero malinaw 38 38
The 1986 Constitutional Commission Even before he passed the bar, Comm. Sarmiento has been working as a legal assistant for the devoted human rights lawyer Jose W. Diokno who later became a senator and the founding chair of the Commission on Human Rights. During the Revolutionary Government, President Cory Aquino created a committee to screen judges and justices. Diokno was asked to sit in that committee but he declined. He requested his young associate to take the post. “Diokno was too busy at that time. He was the chair of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights so sabi niya, ‘Rene ikaw na ang umupo diyan.” He screened judges and justices of the Court of Appeals together with the former Senate President Neptali Gonzales, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and several others. “Nung sumulpot yung idea ng ConCom sabi ko magandang opportunity din ito.” Comm. Sarmiento was only 32 years old when he applied for membership in the 1986 Constitutional Commission. He was selected out of more than 2,000 applicants, and thereafter assumed membership together with 47 other commissioners. He took a leave of absence from the office of Jose W. Diokno and drafted the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines together with the best of legal minds such as Father Joaquin G. Bernas, former Chief Justices Hilario Davide, Jr. and Roberto Concepcion, former Senator Blas F. Ople, Florenz Regalado who remains to be the record holder for the highest average in the bar exam , and Cecilia MunosPalma, the first female Supreme Court Associate Justice Many criticized the 1987 Constitution for being verbose. The 1935 Constitution contains 8,594 words while that of the US Constitution has 8, 018 words including the 27 amendments. The 1987 Constitution contains 26, 100 words which is almost twice as long
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as that of China’s. But Comm. Sarmiento dismissed these criticisms as too traditional. “If we examine other constitutions today, they are also verbose and talkative. What is important is that it represents the aspirations of the people.” He cites the Constitution of India which contains 444 articles and 117, 369 words in its English language version. In response to the issue of representation of Congress in the Judicial Bar Council (JBC), Comm. Sarmiento said that each house of the Congress should be entitled to one vote in the spirit of bicameralism. “Initially, ang gusto ng komisyon ay unicameral legislature but in the plenary session unicameralism lost by one vote.” He also said that the same principle should apply in case that there would be amendment to the Constitution. “We might have overlooked that provision that it reflected the original intention of unicameralism.” Poker Face Lino Brocka, one of the greatest film directors in Philippine history, and Commissioner Sarmiento were colleagues in the 1986 Constitutional Commission. On one occasion, during the discussion on the article on national economy, the great film director gave Commissioner Sarmiento a piece of advice. “Rene, minsan poker face ka naman. ‘Wag ka naka-smile palagi.” It must have been the seemingly indelible smile of Comm. Sarmiento that caught the director’s attention. In his classes today, he would smile after almost every statement he makes—infecting everyone with his cheerfulness and positivity. “Ang ConCom hati yan sa progressive and conservative. Si Lino kasama namin yan sa progressive sector kasi bata kami. So minsan pa-smile smile ako, palabati. Sabi ni Lino dapat minsan seryoso ka din.” That was Brocka’s last advice to him before walking out of the ConCom. “The next time I saw him nasa coffin na siya but I cannot forget that piece of advice.” The tale of two professors and the study of Constitution As a professor of political law, Comm. Sarmiento would always inject stories and history in his classes. “In Harvard, shortly after the civil war, there were two known professors,” he says. “Yung isa ang style niya is strictly the subject matter. The other one who is a justice of the Supreme Court would correlate the subject matter and cases with stories. Mas loved siya ng mga students. Dun ko nakuha yung idea.” He believes that students will understand, retain and appreciate more if professors would correlate the law with stories. “Mas ma-iinspire sila because hindi lang naman intellect ang ginagamit natin.” He added that emotions play a big part in sharing the beauty of law. “Ang mga pinoy gusto ng istorya. Sa mass, mas natatandaan mo yung sermon pag may kwento. I think it’s universal. To me a teacher is effective if he can harmonize history and law.” While many students despise the amount of cases and readings in constitutional law, he encourages students to appreciate its beauty. “It is so full of insights and meaning.” He also believes that one good key of addressing our many national problems is good knowledge of our constitutional and political law. Bribes everywhere but not a single centavo Comm. Sarmiento stayed with his boss, Jose W. Diokno, for nine years until the latter’s death. He established his own law firm and engaged in private practice for another 16 years until he had to close his office to take the Commission on Elections Commissioner post in 2006. Despite initial objections from his wife and the controversies surrounding the COMELEC, an office which resolves power, Comm. Sarmiento accepted the challenge. “Kung
lahat tatanggi, anong mangyayari sa government niyan?” Seriousness momentarily replaced the cheerful aura of Comm. Sarmiento when the subject of bribery came up. He admitted receiving calls from people asking for his bank account number and making offers of astounding amounts in exchange for favorable decisions. “May nagbigay sa akin ng pera na nakalagay sa libro at nakapackage ng maganda.” But Comm. Sarmiento made it a point from day one—not a single centavo. “On the merits, yan ang lagi kong sinasabi. If I do it, bakit pa ko pumasok sa gobyerno? I talk about ethics, principles, and patriotism sa klase. How would I face my students?” At the end of the day, what matters to the Commissioner is the peace of mind brought by a clear conscience. A Figure of Serenity In class, Comm. Sarmiento is a figure of serenity and composure. He would always encourage students to polish their public speaking skills and to always be prepared to attain the same level of confidence and poise. He inspires students to dream big and would always attach titles, such as attorney, congressman, president and chief justice, to their names. Praying the rosary, going to church, and walking in the community shape his every day. “They help maintain my composure.” Through the years, he has been keeping notebooks of his thoughts, reflections, bad times, and moments of inspiration. “Nakasulat lahat yan. Yun siguro yung magandang outlet.” He has always been cool with criticisms and controversies but an imputation of anomaly in the 2007 Lanao Special Elections broke his equanimity. “Binigyan ng kulay yung pagdala ng election returns sa Christina Hotel. But it was the Comelec’s Official Station doon! Napakalinis ng election. Walang complaint from Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), National Citizen’s Movement for Free Election NAMFREL, Diocese of Marawi and the candidates. First time na uminit ako caught on television. Other than that wala na.”
“Ang mga Pinoy gusto ng istorya. Sa mass, mas natatandaan mo yung sermon pag may kwento. I think it’s universal. To me a teacher is effective if he can harmonize history and law.”
Nuggets of Wisdom The inspiring aura and credibility of Comm. Sarmiento resonated throughout the Philippines when he spoke before the Judicial bar Council (JBC) in vernacular. “Many congratulated me. I received calls (from) as far as Tawi-Tawi.” It was his way of reaching out to every Filipino so as to inform them of the process. He applied twice to become an associate justice of the Supreme Court. In his first application, he was shortlisted together with the present Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno. When he got nominated for the highest position in the judiciary, he knew he could carry the responsibility. His impressive resume in law practice and government service speaks for itself , “58 years old na ako. Chief Justice John Roberts of the US Supreme Court is about my age. Nakita ko naman yung mga applicants kilala ko naman sila.” Although he was not shortlisted this time, the Commissioner is very thankful for the memorable experience. He advised students to grab every opportunity that comes their way. “After the bar, kung may kaso na it will trail blaze, subukan niyo, ‘wag kayong mahiya.” He also encouraged his future pañeros to be pro-active in shaping legal issues. In Gamboa v. Cruz, a case he handled shortly after becoming a lawyer, Comm. Sarmiento contended that a counsel should be present in a police line-up. “Talo ako doon pero hati yung justices. It is now part of the SCRA and could open up new legal issues.” On the presence of numerous nuggets of wisdom in the study of Constitutional Law, he only had this to say to his students, “Kopyahin ninyo. You can use them in your pleadings. That was Thomas Jefferson’s and Abraham Lincoln’s style. Nagawa ni Thomas Jefferson ang Declaration of Independence kakabasa. ”
A Public Servant and a Champion Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento has dedicated more than twenty-six years of his life to public service. Aside from being a member of 1986 Constitutional Commission he was also a consultant to the Presidential Committee on Human Rights (1987) and a member of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (1991-1994). He became a member, and later vice-chairman of the government’s panel for talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP), New People’s Army (NPA), National Democratic Front (NDF) from February 1996 to March 2006. He was Deputy Presidential Adviser on the peace process, serving as an Undersecretary (2005-2006), and later serving as OIC Presidential Adviser on the peace process. He became a Comelec Commissioner in 2006 and is currently championing COMELEC Pillar Number 9, referring to Linkages with External Stakeholders. He chaired the Inter-agency and NGO Network to empower persons with disabilities, the Inter-agency to empower detainees, and the Inter-agency to empower indigenous people and vulnerable sectors. He continues to bring COMELEC closer to every sector so that each and every Filipino will be empowered as stakeholders of the state. In his Political Review class, Comm. Rene V. Sarmiento would call his students future senators, congressmen, commissioners and justices. The act never fails to generate smiles, laughter, and cheers. He speaks as if greatness has already landed upon them and the only thing they have to do is to believe. He sees worth in every student just as he sees the value of every Filipino voter, whether he be a detainee or a person with disability, to shape the future of this country.
“ On the merits, yan ang lagi kong sinasabi. If I do it, bakit pa ko pumasok sa gobyerno? I talk about ethics, principles, and patriotism sa klase. How would I face my students? ” Commissioner Rene Sarmiento in his younger years.
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A First of Firsts Lady Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Sereno
Lawyer-academician Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno was appointed on August 16, 2010 as the 169th Justice and on August 24, 2012 as the 24th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Born on July 2, 1960, she is the youngest to be so appointed to the SC in this century. She may also be one of the longest-serving ever, as she is to mandatorily retire in 2030 after serving a 20-year term. Despite her family’s humble means, Chief Justice Sereno’s parents were able to nurture in her a passion for learning and personal excellence during her formative years. Her father, a native of Siasi, Sulu, and her mother, a public school teacher, saved what little money they had to buy second-hand books that she would eagerly read. Her appetite for literature and reflection served her well during her primary schooling and enabled her to graduate with honors at the Kamuning Elementary School and Quezon City High School. She was then awarded generous scholarships by the government and several private institutions that allowed her to earn an Economics degree at the Ateneo de Manila University, and a Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of the Philippines. After graduating valedictorian from the UP College of Law in 1984, Chief Justice Sereno joined the largest law firm in the country. While she enjoyed her very challenging work in the law firm, her family started to grow. Choosing to spend more time with her two young children and her husband, she opted to leave the law firm in 1986. She joined the UP College of Law where she was able to mold young men and women in the principles of Civil and Commercial law. From being one of the youngest faculty members, she would eventually go on to lead and administer two institutions based in the UP Law Center – the Institute of International Legal Studies and the Information and Publication Division. She was a professor at the UP College of Law for nearly 20 years. At one point, she also became Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and was partly responsible for writing the organizational plans for the Commission. She has also taught at the Philippine Judicial Academy and several international academies. In 1992, Chief Justice Sereno was awarded a De Witte Fellowship and a Ford-Rockefeller Scholarship to pursue her Masters of Laws at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she developed her proficiency in law and economics and international trade law. When she and her family returned to the Philippines, she played a key role in developing those fields of law.
tee. Here, she helped the various sectoral committees identify key constitutional issues, and integrated their findings into a common framework for analysis of the various constitutional provisions. In the same year, together with Justice Jose Campos, Commissioner Haydee Yorac, and other professors from the UP College of Law, she co-founded Accesslaw, a corporation that provided the first annotated electronic research system in Philippine law. Access to justice is one of the centerpiece advocacies of Chief Justice Sereno. One of her earlier works in law school included a review of the interface between domestic laws and indigenous customary laws. The United Nations Development Program would commission her to write a paper on judicial reform, which would eventually become the basis for the first external reform program that was welcomed by the Supreme Court. Among the activities the project birthed was the first-ever dialogue between the Members of the Supreme Court and representatives of the basic sectors. She also assisted in the High Tribunal’s pilot projects on mediation and judicial case management systems, and wrote a widely-quoted survey-based paper on justice and the cost of doing business, together with professors from the UP School of Economics. Prior to her joining the engaged in major internaco-counsel for the Repubjoined the Asian Institute Executive Director of its Policy Center - where est in policy reform governance and the Believing in what for justice and President Benigno C. her his first appointCourt.
Court, she was tional litigation as lic, after which she of Management as think-tank - the AIM she pursued her interand its impact on economy. she could deliver judicial reform, Aquino III made ee to the Supreme
She is married to Mario Jose E. Sereno. They are blessed with two children, Maria Sophia and Jose Lorenzo.
Photo and profile from http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph
At the age of 38, she was appointed as legal counsellor at the World Trade Organizations’ Appellate Body Secretariat in Geneva. Her international experience and her pioneering achievements in the legal profession were recognized when she was selected as one of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) for law. At the age of 39, she was chosen as the only female member of the 1999 Preparatory Commission on Constitutional Reform where she was elected Chairperson of the Commission’s Steering CommitOCTOBER 2012
The Freedom of Information Bill:
What you need to know
BY HAYDE TALORONG
“W hat you don’t know is hurting you.” Even worse than being knowingly affected by national issues, is being unknowingly preju-
diced by them, as certain government transactions are being kept in the dark. Not too long ago, Christopher Lao, no less a law student then, achieved public notoriety when he invoked his right to be informed, if only belatedly, as a response to his dismay when asked why his vehicle ran afloat in knee-high floodwaters. And while the reactions to this incident have already been exhausted, and the more pertinent issues of flood management and notification have already subsided, it taught us of the difference it could make if and when we are informed, either actually or constructively. Sometimes, however, being informed or the lack thereof, is dictated by the availability of information. Constitutional lacuna To be informed on matters of public concern is a right particularly guaranteed by Section 7 of Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution. Ironically, however, despite the constitutional protection on the right to information, no enabling legislation has been passed. As a matter of fact, RA 6713 is the closest statute that gives burden to public officials to disclose public information. The passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill, as its proponents suggest, can provide the legal basis in asserting the right to access information and impose administrative or penal sanctions for its violation. It is an initiative to put teeth into a Constitutional promise that was ratified 25 years ago. However, as with any other rights enshrined in the Constitution, the right to information is not absolute, in that it is, “subject to such limitations as may be provided by law”. As elucidated by lead constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, in one of his columns, “Freedom of Information”, published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its October 17 issue, “the constitutional right does not mean that every day is open house in public office...thus, while access to official records may not be prohibited, it certainly may be regulated.” The bill should then be able to create the balance between the public’s assertion of such right and the discretion vested in public officers in maintaining a “reasonable confidentiality and sound administrative practice. “ One of the difficulties in enacting the bill lies in the determination of what constitutes public concern and the kind of information that should be made accessible to the public. In the post-1987 Constitution case of Aquino-Sarmiento v. Morato, it held that the “official acts of public officers done in pursuit of their official functions are public in character; hence, the records pertaining to such official acts and decisions are within the ambit of the constitutional right of access to public records.” However, jurisprudence also admits of the fact that matters of “public concern” or “public interest” are bereft of exact definition and encompass a broad subject which the public may inquire into. But Fr. Bernas commented that in case of ambiguities in the meaning of matters of public concern, judicial intervention may be used as a remedy. Lulled in the legislative The FOI Bill is not under the aegis of Malacañang which could ex
plain its lackluster pace in the legislature. In fact, it was never mentioned during PNoy’s Third SONA last July 23 even though it could have been the most appropriate agenda in his campaign towards daang matuwid. The executive’s ambivalence, coupled with the parliamentary maneuverings of unsympathetic forces in the lower house, has left the bill anchored in the committee level at the House of Representatives. The scheduled voting last August 7 has been cancelled to give way to another vote on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. With at least two issues remaining to be discussed, the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Information, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, has asked Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to schedule a caucus with the members of the majority coalition to discuss on the contentious points. Supporters of the bill, on the other hand, contend that there is enough support to put it to a vote at the committee level even without having to hold a caucus. The onus of passing the bill then depends on whether the Committee on Public Information will be able to submit a committee report by October. It is at this time that the supporters of the bill are adamant in avoiding a repeat of the bill’s fate in the 15th Congress since it almost succeeded in the 14th Congress but was foiled for lack of quorum. As of press time, at least 117 lawmakers have been named who have joined the signature campaign urging for its immediate passage. Leading the way Similar forms of legislations have been enacted in many other countries including the United States, and are used by the advocates as fodder for the promotion of the bill since it has succeeded in making its respective governments more accountable to its citizens. Idealistically, the FOI bill also promises to be a deterrent to corruption. In light of democratic ideals, one of its principal sponsors, Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III said that, “providing a uniform procedure in accessing information empowers the citizens to make more meaningful inputs in participating in government processes.” When critical information is withheld from the public, it creates a condition that perpetuates compromising practices and unscrupulous transactions among our public officials. That is why providing for a systematic access to government data may open the door to public scrutiny in their official acts. In a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations last December of 2011 on the FOI bill, 64% of the respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the process of obtaining documents from the government. And this is where the FOI bill is much appreciated—that while it is easy to pass this measure as trivial and redundant to transparency mechanisms already initiated by the government, the bill seeks to clarify the scope and limitations of making information available. “What you don’t know is hurting you,” cried its advocates. Clearly, a government that withholds information is hurtful on a national scale. It creates individuals who, because of lack of information, could create mistakes greater and much more embarrassing than plunging a car into deep floodwaters. It could be worse, like condoning a political climate of underhanded deals, plunging the nation into deep poverty and underdevelopment.
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
A New Facet of Lawyering:
The Brand New “Data Privacy Act” BY ROMEO JOSHUA MOVIDO
It almost comes as a surprise at times to realize that there are actually companies out there who hold very private and confiden-
it corrected if necessary. The Data Privacy Act is commendable as it further gives emphasis and strengthens the individual’s inviolable right to privacy in his communication and correspondence under Section 3, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. This law is also proving to be a friend of the media industry as the DPA dispenses with the need for journalists to disclose their news source. With this, the DPA breathes more life into one of the prime freedoms found in the 1987 Constitution, the freedom of the press.
“White collar fraud”, “phishing”, and “identity theft” are just some of the crimes that have plagued countries like the United States and India, costing companies billions of dollars and people their jobs and lives. Without a doubt, these are starting to manifest in our own soil. Just this April, a female call center agent was featured on national news for identity theft. After being able to trace a FilipinoNorwegian model’s personal information through Facebook, the call center agent used the model’s photos and personal details to befriend an Australian man who later on became her online boyfriend. The Australian, after falling for the agent’s ingenious ruse, was tricked into sending her money through Western Union.
BPO companies, which under the law, are considered as “personal information controllers”, are no longer rendered hamstrung by abusive agents or employees as the DPA gives them the power to create measures to prevent “unlawful access, fraudulent misuse, unlawful destruction, alteration and contamination” to the information collected. To give teeth to the law, Chapter VIII of the DPA provides penalties such as imprisonment of one to three years and a fine of not less Php 500,000 Php 2,000,000 for “unauthorized processing of personal information”. The same penalties also apply to the criminal act of “accessing personal information due to negligence”.
tial details about you. Your daily transactions with banks, insurance companies, healthcare providers and the like make you understand this. Needless to say, the safety of your private information, and in some cases, hard-earned funds, become vulnerable to the agent or employee who attends to your business.
According to President Benigno Aquino III, the business process outsourcing or BPO industry is set to become a $25 billion industry by 2016, and is projected to create four million jobs here in the Philippines. Unfortunately, it has been taking a bad hit. By virtue of the Doctrine of Vicarious Liability, the BPO companies become consequently liable for the growing number of computer-related frauds committed by their call center agents. These offenses, if unabated, shall continue to bruise and compromise one of the more auspicious industries the Philippine economy can capitalize on. While the BPO industry is vigorously clamoring for action from the government, it is discouraged to come out in the open for fear of losing integrity in the eyes of foreign companies who entrust confidential and sensitive data to our BPO companies. A laudable milestone for the PNoy administration and the 15th Congress careens into the picture when they recognized how these crimes can stifle the growing BPO industry. On August 15, 2012, President Aquino signed into law Republic Act 10173 or The Data Privacy Act of 2012, the primary proponents of which were Sen. Edgardo Angara and House of Representatives Information and Communications Technology Committee chairman Sigfrido Tiñga. Some of the notable features of RA 10173 include Section 16 which refers to the actions reserved for a “data subject” or a person whose personal information is processed, i.e. withdrawing his or her personal information from a company’s filing system and accessing the contents of personal information about him or her and having
The DPA also gives birth to the “Data Privacy Commission”, which shall be formed to faithfully implement the valiant efforts of the new law. The said Commission shall be composed of one privacy commissioner who will be the chairman, to be assisted by two deputy privacy commissioners. The Commission will be under the wing of the Office of the President. While Angara admits that the law is yet to be complemented by the Cybercrime Prevention Act which punishes crimes like illegal interception, data interference, child pornography, etc., the DPA itself already proves to hold much promise in the face of an aggressive technology boost. As of press time, a new Cabinet seat for Privacy Commissioner has been created. To complement this, positions requiring expertise in both the law and information technology are to be filled up. The enactment of the DPA just opened a whole new roadmap for law practitioners in the face of technology, a reminder that the practice of law always cuts across the spectrum. Soon, the cases that will be lodged in our courts will be of crimes committed not with knives or with slanderous invectives, but with keyboards, codes and software all committed in a cubicle, a desk or even in a computer shop in broad daylight. With an industry that shows no signs of slowing down, hundreds of cases relating to the DPA and future similar laws will soon await us. Now, the question to ask ourselves, future Bedan lawyers, is this: Are we “tech-law”-savvy just yet?’
Additions to the SBCA-SOL Rosterof Brilliant Professors Atty. Rodolfo Q. Aquino Unstoppable—the adjective seems to describe SBCA-SOL’s “Tito Ding” quite well. Atty. Aquino became a Certified Public Accountant in 1970 after having placed 12th in the licensure exams. He has a total of two doctorate degrees and four masteral degrees in the fields of Operations Research & Statistics, Economics, and Business Administration. He held several positions both in the private and public sectors, among them, the SSS and the Board of Investments. He was a professor in Accounting, Finance and Economics, and several courses in the undergraduate, MBA, MS Finance and PhD programs in his alma mater, UP Diliman, while he attended law school in SBCA-SOL. Tito Ding, the 2011 Class Valedictorian, placed 10th in the bar examinations and became SBCA-SOL’s first topnotcher that same year. Today, he imparts his searing love for knowledge with his fellow Bedans, teaching Negotiable Instruments Law and Corporate Law. He is also a partner in Bodegon, Estorninos, Guerzon, Borje, and Gozos Law Office.
Atty. John R. Jacome Atty. Jacome is a graduate of the Holy Rosary Seminary in Naga City. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sacred Theology from UST, where he received the 2002 UST Benavides Achievement and Quezon Leadership Award. He was also granted a merit scholarship for his Master’s Degree in Philosophy at the Ateneo de Manila University. He graduated from SBCA-SOL in 2010. At present, he is the Vice Dean of the SBCA College of Arts and Sciences (CAS); and a faculty member of the Legal Management and Philosophy Departments. He teaches Christian Morality (Seminar III) at SBCA-SOL. Aside from his work in the academe, he is also a legal practitioner. He does litigation work, handling Civil, Criminal, Labor, Intellectual Property, and Administrative cases. Despite the fact that he is juggling work as an educator and litigator, he still finds time to play basketball and tennis, and time to meditate. He reminds his students of the values that they need to observe as they traverse the path to becoming lawyers someday. He quoted Abraham Lincoln and said, “As a peacemaker, the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” 44
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
Atty. Lauren Rose Tanyag Atty. Tanyag, more commonly known as Atty. Oyen, obtained her AB Political Science degree from the University of Santo Tomas. Afterwards, she enrolled at San Beda College Manila and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree. During her days as a law student, Atty. Tanyag actively participated in many organizations. She was a senior staff of The Barrister, the official student publication of San Beda College of Law; and an assistant subject chair of the Centralized Bar Operations in Criminal Law. She was also a member of the SBC Legal Aid Bureau and Academic Bar Operations. Atty. Tanyag commenced her career even before she finished law school. She started as a legal researcher in the law firm, Sarmiento Delson Dakanay & Resureccion; and is now an associate lawyer in the same firm since 2010. She is currently teaching Statutory Construction and Legal Counseling at SBCA-SOL. When asked if she has any advice for her students, she said, “If you really want to be Bedan lawyers, do what you have to do. Give law school your all. Leave no stone unturned. Make sure you study in a manner that allows you to sleep at night with no regrets. Drink hard. Study harder.”
Atty. Myra Angeli GallardoBatungbakal Mediocrity is not a word that you can correlate with a woman who aims for excellence in everything that she does. Atty. Batungbakal earned her undergraduate degree, Magna Cum Laude, at UP Diliman. In 1994, she graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the same university. During her internship as a law student, she received the Best Law Intern award. She handles mostly Civil, Labor, and Corporate cases. She worked as a Foreign Legal Consultant in Aguiluz Law Office in Los Angeles, California, and became a Managing Partner in Elauria Batungbakal Law Office here in the Philippines. At present, she is the Assistant Legal Officer of the Tagaytay City Legal Office. Despite her success in the legal profession, Atty. Batungbakal is also a loving mother and wife to her family. Teaching and learning is one of Atty. Batungbakal’s greatest passions. She was given the Best Educator Award in Miami, Florida. She has also been in the academe since 1991. Currently, she teaches Corporation Law, Obligations and Contracts, and Sales and Lease at the Malayan Colleges, Laguna; and Wills and Succession at SBCA-SOL. According to her, teaching street children is one of her most unforgettable experiences as an educator. She would always tell her students that there are no shortcuts in learning. Hence, they should aim high and strive hard at all times as every day is not just a preparation for the bar examinations, but also for the legal profession.
Atty. Francesca Lourdes M. Señga Atty. Señga graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in Legal Management. She earned her Bachelor of Laws degree at San Beda College Manila where she graduated class valedictorian. In addition, she also received the Judge Agustin P. Montesa Memorial Award (Most Outstanding Law Graduate), the Dean’s Award, and the San Beda Alumni Association Academic Achievement Award. At present, she works as an associate lawyer at the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices. She focuses on litigation, dispute resolution, and intellectual property laws. Atty. Señga has been teaching in San Beda College Manila since 2011. Currently, she teaches Legal Research and Sales and Lease in San Beda College Manila; and Property and Sales and Lease in San Beda College Alabang. She gives this advice to her students, “Always strive for excellence in everything you do. Do your best and show that you are worthy of God’s grace. At the same time, make good use of God’s gifts; do not waste them. In so doing, you will be able to always strive for excellence in everything that you do. There is no such thing as burn out. You are the only one who will limit your capacity to succeed.” OCTOBER 2012
ELECOM Resolution No. 2012- 03-ET Re: Results of Election for: 1st Year Batch Representative A.Y. 2012- 2013
Resolution No. 2012- 03-ET Re: Results of Election for: TREASURER A.Y. 2012- 2013 (Special Election)
WHEREAS, the Election Commission (ELECOM, for brevity), its scopes, duties and responsibilities, as declared in the San Beda CollegeAlabang School of Law Constitution, are of the following:
WHEREAS, the Election Commission (ELECOM, for brevity), its scopes, duties and responsibilities, as declared in the San Beda CollegeAlabang School of Law Constitution, are of the following:
A. Election Commission Section 4. Duties and Responsibilities â€“ The ELECOM shall exercise the following duties and responsibilities:
A. Election Commission
6. Canvass the votes cast for Student Council elections and proclaim the duly-elected candidates. 7. To submit to the Student Council and to any interested member of the SLF a detailed and comprehensive report on the conduct of each election. WHEREAS, in the said election, the tallied votes are as follow: Mara Isabel Sotto -- 64 Abstain -- 25 Void Votes -- 5 TOTAL VOTERS: 94 B. That based on the tallied results, the duly-elected candidate was not able to garner the 50%+1 requirement as stated in the ELECOM Resolution 2012-02. The said resolution was based on the ruling of the 1st Year Batch Representative 2011 Election C. That based on the said results, ELECOM proclaims the Election for: 1st Year Batch Representative A.Y. 2012- 2013 as Failure of Election. D. That for the best interest of the 1st year student population, a Batch Representative will be appointed by the Student Council President, Ian Basconcillo, not later than 30 days after this resolution has been issued. Done this 22nd of September 2012.
Section 4. Duties and Responsibilities â€“ The ELECOM shall exercise the following duties and responsibilities: 6. Canvass the votes cast for Student Council elections and proclaim the duly-elected candidates. 7. To submit to the Student Council and to any interested member of the SLF a detailed and comprehensive report on the conduct of each election. WHEREAS, the ELECOM Commissioners, present in the Election for: TREASURER A.Y. 2012- 2013 (Special Election), held last September 21, 2012, constituted a quorum. Thus, pronouncement of a decision, resolution, order or ruling made on the said date is considered as concurrence of majority of the members of the Commission, as stated in the San Beda CollegeAlabang School of Law Constitution. A. Election Commission Section 5. Quorum- The ELECOM shall transact business in the following manner: 1. The ELECOM shall sit en banc. It shall promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite its proceedings. All questions, contests, protests relating to the conduct of elections, the qualifications of the candidates and voters, as well as the conduct of initiatives, petitions, plebiscites, and recall elections shall be decided en banc and shall be final and unappealable. 2.Five (5) members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. The concurrence of a majority of the
members of the Commission shall be necessary for the pronouncement of a decision, resolution, order or ruling. WHEREAS, the ELECOM RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to promulgate the following for the purpose of expediting the process of filling in the vacancy for the Treasurer position : A. That the Election for: TREASURER A.Y. 2012- 2013 was a special election as stated in the San Beda College- Alabang School of Law Constitution Article IV, Section 12: Section 12. SPECIAL ELECTIONS - Whenever there is a vacancy in any of the Student Council offices other than the President, the Election Commission shall call a special election to be held within 30 days after the vacancy occurs to elect the person to serve the unexpired term. Provided, that no special election may be called within 2 months from the next general elections. B. That being a special election, there is an urgent need to fill in the vacant position as soon as possible and thus, a duly-elected candidate must be proclaimed by the Commission, who C. That in the said election, the tallied votes are as follow: Kathleen May Clareza -- 290 Abstain -- 21 Void Votes -- 5 TOTAL VOTERS: 316 D. That based on the tallied results, ELECOM officially proclaims Kathleen May Clareza, as the duly-elected Treasurer of San Beda College Alabang School of Law A.Y. 2012- 2013. Done this 22nd of September 2012.
The crime of a Cybercrime Law? CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19
I mean no disrespect when I say that I have not reached that point of confidence in my life that I can honestly trust the police with any information about myself that they can just procure in the internet at their disposal. Call me paranoid but so many information can be gleaned even from traffic data that can be used by many of our enterprising policemen who make secondary careers are extortionists. Indulge me for the last time but I have to illustrate. For example, a religious person or a priest, in the privacy of his own home, would visit pornographic websites on a regular basis. Is that bad? Honestly, I am not here to judge. But what I know is the fact that someone visits such website, the size of data transferred and the times it is visited is traffic data and can be accessed by the police authorities without a court search warrant. Is this valuable information for the police? Of course not! But, to an extortionist, this is a gold mine. More recently, nine petitions calling for the declaration of unconstitutionality of RA 10175 are filed before the Supreme Court. Several of the Senators who earlier signed the law have now openly questioned the provisions of the law. As a sign of protest, hackers began attacking vital websites of the government while active social networkers flooded the net with black photos and inciting status updates. The future of the law is now in the hands of our highest court. It remains to be seen how our magistrates will decide on the petitions filed. My wish is simple: we need a cybercrime prevention law. That is a given. I just wish our lawmakers will draft one that actually makes sense.
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 6 NO. 1
SANGGUNIANG SABAW by Bradly Listones
What is your opinion regarding the revised law curriculum which will result in the adding of new subjects (i.e. Environmental Law, Human Rights Law, and ADR Law)?
A: “I think the new curriculum is an answer to the ever-evolving
study of law. The new curriculum can help with the issues we, as future lawyers, will one day handle.” –FET, 3rd year
“Hindi siguro dapat ihiwalay yung mga subjects na yun, sakop naman yung Human Rights and Environmental Law ng Political Law. Whereas yung ADR ay covered naman ng Civ Pro and Labor Law. Sayang ang tuition at oras kung one sem ang gugugulin sa new subjects na yun.” –JC, 2nd year “Since times have changed, we need to put more focus on what really matters, and that includes taking care of the environment, putting more importance to human rights, and having options in settling claims through alternative dispute resolution. These issues need to be given a particular importance since they are the “most susceptible” to abuse today. A comprehensive and dynamic discourse on these matters would arm law students with the working knowledge necessary in handling these cases.” –Mark, 1st year “Maybe these subjects should not be taught separately and extensively because they are already under the umbrella of our Constitution. I’m not saying na they are not important, pero parang time-consuming kasi. I guess it would be much better if professors in Political law covering these matters would instead conduct an interactive symposium attended by well-renowned persons as speakers in the respective fields. Magto-talk sila tapos it would be an avenue where students can participate and ask questions on what really matters.” -B. D.
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