Social Cohesion ARETHA EUGENIO Editor in Chief
Theta Epsilon Theta Alpha You figured it out. Narcissistic and self-centered, yes, those Greek words form my name; but no, I am not affiliated. I do not know much about fraternities and sororities. Some would probably argue that I am not in the position to write about something I have little information of, or do not belong to. They have a valid point. I must admit that my knowledge about these things is very limited. All I know is that one becomes a member after the so-called initiation rites—where all the brotherhood/ sisterhood ties begin. My friends who are affiliated say hazing has existed for too long, that it has become not only a tradition, but an obligatory custom. When asked about what happens during these rites, none of them could tell me. Apparently, their respective organizations prohibit them from talking about their rituals. And so I asked the more intelligent question, at least in my opinion: What is the purpose of such? The top answer I got was praxis. Others would say necessity. Some would tell me about the theory that when you work hard and get hurt for something, the reward would be more fulfilling and meaningful. And what reward were they referring to? Affiliation, acceptance, and a sense of belonging. What did they mean when they said “work hard and get hurt”? That I did not know. Not until the recent death of a hazing victim. How violent can these rites become? I figured it out as quickly as the rumors spread out on a Monday afternoon about Marvin Reglos, a fellow Bedan law student. He was just like each one of us. He was young and he had dreams of becoming a lawyer. He was an ordinary student who wanted to belong and did something about it. However, his dreams faltered with each hit of the paddle that led him to his demise. It is a sad reality that brotherhood has now been associated with violence. Over a year ago, there was the bar exam blast where the suspect belonged to one of the Greek-lettered organizations. And now, a death during one of the initiation rites of a fraternity. These events have caused the development of stereotypes. The respect that people have for these organizations has diminished. The reputation of members of fraternities has been tainted; people who belonged to these groups have been judged. And whether or not one has actively participated in the activity which caused the death or injury of a person is immaterial. The fact of his membership alone has exposed him to disparaging looks and atrocious comments. All these, because of one night. One wrong judgment call, one instance—a mistake, if I may call it that. With the reputation of the organization tarnished, that of the school of its origin followed. Criticism and foul statements have been thrown at our institution because of this single occasion. Some of the critics may be speaking based on emotions, and some based on facts and personal belief—it does not matter. The fact remains that this single act of senseless violence has brought about numerous detrimental repercussions that not only reflect on those behind it, but on the entire Bedan community as well. Unfortunately, violence has subjugated the idea that brotherhood is based on indivisible principles, of respected bonds that transcend differences and disagreements. Then again, one question still remains: who is to blame?
The Red Chronicles Official Statement
he tragedy that befell our Bedan brother, Marvin Reglos, speaks volumes about how violence permeates and destroys even the noblest of intentions of brotherhood and fraternization. The motivation behind the respective customs and traditions which had formed part of these rock-solid institutions, whether divulged or denied, cannot be questioned. No one talks about it, but no one believes that these rituals do not exist either. There is just a silent acceptance and acknowledgment from the public that this is a reality. Until a tragic death breaks the silence. Marvin’s ill-fated death came as a shock, but it was not the first. Even so, this certainly does not make it any less appalling or dreadful. A young man’s dreams of becoming a lawyer had been snuffed out even before it was realized. Senseless. Premature. The Red Chronicles, along with the entire Bedan community rebukes and denounces such travesty of life, such mockery of the real sense of brotherhood. It is not that young men and women of law are members of these institutions. It is the lack of sensitivity, the lack of accountability and, the audacity of the perpetrators to still hold their heads up high and wash their hands clean of Marvin’s blood despite the presence of damning circumstances. No pride should thrive in such debauchery. OFFICIAL EDITORIAL BOARD
Aretha Eugenio Editor-in-Chief Ma. Katerina Santiago Associate Editor Laisa Mae Aguila Managing Editor Mary Sayeh Hassani EIC Emeritus Atty. Rita Linda Jimeno Faculty Adviser Joey Alfonso News Editor Rio Dizon Features Editor Dugie Dela Cruz Literary Editor Exequiel Valerio Senior Photographer Staff Alel Auxillos Bunny Bañaria Carissa Barcena Stephanie Dandal Ron Esquivel Raymond Santos Estrella Laida Isidro Roselle Jimeno Michael Lorico Magic Movido Angelo Murillo Arianne Pascual Tia Perfecto Rose Ann Reyes Mayan Saidamen Layout Luvimindo Balinang Jr. Samantha Santos Carlo June Tibayan Photographers Maureen Betita Miguel Llave Cartoonists Bradly Listones Jonathan Vitug Logistics Mike Catbagan William Eusores Ian Silva
Red and Luvin’ It 3 BY TIA PERFECTO
he San Beda College Alabang-School of Law held the annual Red and Luvin’ It 3 Family Fun Run last Sunday, January 22, 2012. The fun run is part of the Bedan celebration of the Feast of Sto. Nino. In addition, the aim of this event is to raise funds for the SBCA-SOL student body. Before the race started, the SBCA-SOL Mr. and Ms. Lex 2011, namely Carlos Romulo (3rd year) and Suyen Dimanlig (1st year), led the warm up exercises. The marathon, staged over three distances, specifically 3-kilometer, 5-kilometer, and 10-kilometer courses, began at 5:30 AM. The 10K runners opened the race, followed by the 5k and 3k runners respectively, 5 minutes after the other. 10k runner Gerald Amoranto crossed the finish line first, clocking in at 0:49:24, followed by Gerard Mejor and Juno Ramos in second and third place. The other top finishers are Ronald Pasamba for the 5-kilometer race, and George Ambas for the 3-kilometer race. Cash prizes were given to the top three finishers of each race. The Red and Luvin’ It 3 Family Fun Run saw around six hundred runners crossing the finish line. The SBCA-SOL Dean Ulpiano Sarmiento III, Vice Dean Marciano Delson, and Prefect of Student Affairs, Atty. Bruce Rivera also attended the event.
PHOTOS BY RINO REYES
The Red Chronicles’ Second Annual Writing Workshop BY JOEY ALFONSO
shop at the Jimeno rest house in Lobo, Batangas. The Red Chronicles’ Faculty Adviser, Atty. Rita Linda V. Jimeno, and her husband, Atty. Nicanor Jimeno, hosted the one-day workshop. Upon arrival, the TRC staff was welcomed by the scenic beachfront view and the humble but uniquely-built abode of the Jimeno’s. After roaming the staff was served a gastronomically satisfying kare-kare and other viands. After everyone settled in, Atty. Jimeno gave various writing exercises to the editors, writers, and layout artists. She stressed the importance of proper usage of prepositions, conjunctions, and pronouns, which are basic in writing. She also gave the participants sentence construction exercises, and a short lecture on basic proofreading rules. She encouraged the writers to continue developing their writing skills while avoiding fundamental writing errors. The Red Chronicles staff spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach and at the cozy open areas and rooms of the house. At nightfall, everyone enjoyed a tasty meal of sinigang before departing for Manila. Despite scorching weather and the lack of time, the members left with heartwarming and unforgettable memories of the gracious hosts, and significant lessons in writing.
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 5 NO. 2
PHOTOS BY CARLO TIBAYAN
On October 22, 2011, the Red Chronicles held its second writing work-
PHOTOS BY RINO REYES
SBCA-SOL Holds Annual Lex Celebracionis BY ANGELO MURILLO
Underscoring the importance of sportsmanship and athletic prowess, the San
Beda College Alabang- School of Law held its annual Lex Celebracionis from December 10-13, 2011. The Lex Celebracionis is a culmination of sports and other activities which deviate from the usual academic undertakings of SBCA-SOL students. Such tradition serves as an effective venue to encourage camaraderie, and at the same time, prove that law students hold supremacy over these sporting events. For this year, the activities included were Basketball (men’s and women’s divisions), Volleyball (mixed division), Futsal (mixed division), Badminton (doubles), Table Tennis, Sumo, Wall Climbing (men’s and women’s divisions), and Swimming (men’s and women’s divisions). The awarding ceremony was conducted during the Mr. and Ms. Lex 2011 program on December 14, at the St. Maur Auditorium. The intramurals was spearheaded by Paul Claudio, Internal Vice President of the School of Law Government. List of Winners: Basketball (M) 2nd year Basketball (W) 4th year Volleyball 3rd year Futsal 2nd year Badminton 1st year (Doubles- Maureen Therese Agosila, Steven Gatacelo) Table Tennis 3rd year (Aizelle Espiritu) Wall Climbing (M) 2nd year (Miguel Rigor) Wall Climbing (W) 3rd year (Aleli Espleta) Swimming (M) 1st year (Juan Miguel Talatala) Swimming (W) 3rd year (Aleli Espleta) MARCH 2012
ALSP’s 22nd Conflicts of Law T
BY ANGELO MURILLO
he Association of Law Students of the Philippines (ALSP) National Capital Region Board, in cooperation with the De La Salle University Manila - Law Student Government, organized and held the annual Conflicts of Law. The Conflicts of Law is an annual inter-law school sports fest which aims to cultivate the spirit of cordiality and camaraderie among law students in the country; honing not only educational skills, but contributing as well to the students’ social and recreational development. In the event, delegates from member schools of the ALSP meet to compete for supremacy in various sports and activities throughout the four Sundays of January and February. This year’s line-up of sports activities include basketball, volleyball, football, badminton, tennis, table tennis, track events, and swimming. Moreover, other activities also include team debate, chess, billiard, bowling, DOTA, golf, party games decathlon, and Mr. and Ms. Conflicts of Law. Said activities are held in the DLSU-Manila campus. The opening ceremony, inspired by the Chinese New Year was held on January 22, 2012. The finals for several games were held on the last weekend of February, followed by the closing ceremony and awards night on March 3, 2012. As of press time, San Beda College Alabang-School of Law has won 1 gold medal, yielding a total of 4 points in the score system. DLSU-Manila College of Law, the leading team, already obtained a total of 130 points.
Building Scare at St. Maur’s BY JOEY ALFONSO
ews of the building possibly collapsing spread like wildfire in the early evening of February 16, 2012. While students from various levels were practicing inside the St. Maur Auditorium on the 4th floor, the tiles outside the hall suddenly cracked, causing parts of the floor to appear as if it rose up because of an unexplained opening in the surface. Immediately after the detection of the cracked flooring on the 4th floor, more cracked tiles were found on the third floor directly below it. According to Kuya Leo, one of the school’s maintenance personnel, the tiles snapped one after the other. Asked if there was an earthquake prior to such occurrence, “parang wala naman”, he shares. By 7:20pm, approximately forty minutes after the discovery of the incident at the uppermost level of the building, the SLG, together with The Red Chronicles, advised the students and employees to evacuate. When interviewed shortly after the incident, Rector-President Dom Clement Ma. Roque, OSB said that, “the structural engineers will inspect the building by early morning.” he also said that the students should not worry since the building has a good foundation; thus, it will not easily collapse. In addition to this, he stressed that in case the engineers declare the building unsafe, students will be promptly informed of suspension of classes. As of press time, the engineers have already inspected the St. Maur Building. They found no serious and alarming damage to the structure. The Rector’s Office has announced that the building is safe, and students and employees need not worry. The necessary repairs have also been started immediately after the incident. As to what caused the adhesive of the tiles to suddenly give way can only be left to speculation.
#iMonitor Impeachment Forum BY MAGIC MOVIDO
The #iMonitor held its first impeachment
forum on February 4, 2012 at the Abbot Hall, San Beda College Mendiola. The guest speakers in the forum were representatives from the prosecution and defense panel, specifically Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara from the prosecution, and Atty. Karen Jimeno and Atty. Rico Quicho from the defense. The audience was mainly comprised of law students from San Beda College Mendiola and Alabang, University of the East, University of the Philippines, and Ateneo de Manila University. Formed as an impeachment watchdog, the #iMonitor is the brainchild of the Ang Kabataan Party List, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), and the Association of Law Students of the Philippines (ALSP). According to Dino Austria, ALSP National President and SBCA-SOL External
Vice President, the #iMonitor was formed “to act as a monitoring body on the impeachment proceedings with the goal of ensuring that the current administration will not lose focus on key issues.” With regard to the impeachment proceedings, Atty. Quicho said that it is a trial by publicity and that the defense decries the insistence of the prosecution in introducing documents that are of no relevance to the articles submitted before the impeachment court. Atty. Quicho was pertaining to the photocopy of a document purportedly coming from Philippine Savings Bank, which the defense calls an “anomaly.” They also reiterated that, “the document was illegally obtained, hence inadmissible in evidence.” Atty. Jimeno further added, “Ang SALN, Statement of Bank Deposits- Ending Balance, Titulo ng mga lupa, at ITR, ay hindi
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dapat ipinagtatabi-tabi lang. Ito’y masusi muna dapat pag-aralan bago ipresinta sa korte. May instances na ang isang tao ay nag-iissue ng post dated checks. Halimbawa ito ay inissue para sa April 2012, eh chineck ang ending balance ni CJ ng January 2012. Kung titingnan mo, mas malaki nga naman ang ending balance ngayon. Pero sa totoo lang, bawas na ito, sa Abril pa nga lang makikita.” As to where to appeal the decision in case Chief Justice Corona is impeached, she said, “The decision of the Impeachment Court is final. However, in case there is grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, a petition for certiorari in the SC under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court may be filed. Article 8 section 1 of the Constitution, questions of law, or those pertaining to grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction- it is the SC which decides.”
ALSP Spearheads Study Trip in Manila BY ROSE ANN P. REYES
With the theme, “Uniting the Voice of
Asia: A Legal Response to Unveil the Tools Against Human Trafficking”, the Association of Law Students of the Philippines (ALSP) gathered student delegates from the Asian Law Students Association for a study trip in Manila from November 29 to December 4, 2011.
It commenced with a hat party held at the A. Venue Hotel in Makati for the representatives from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. The SBCA- School of Law Chorale serenaded the delegates with songs such as “Today My Life Begins” and “The Climb”. Dino Austria, ALSP National President and SBCA- SOL External Vice President, elaborated that, “the desire to put an end to human trafficking has led to the organization of the forum to identify the problems encountered by governments in Asia through submission of reports regarding current status of human trafficking in their jurisdiction, the steps taken by their government to curb it, and measures to strengthen their government’s campaign.” During the forum, each delegation presented their research work and exchanged ideas to identify the common problem areas and craft solutions to this international problem. The forum was conducted in different universities, particularly at the University of Sto. Tomas, San Beda College Alabang, De La Salle University Manila, and Ateneo de Manila University. The speakers were Commissioner Cecilia “Coco” Quisumbing of the Commission on Human Rights, Prosecutor Jedrek Ng from the Department of Justice, Atty. Andy Lamb from the International Justice Mission, Undersecretary Barry Gutierrez from the Office of the Political Adviser, and Atty. Filbert Flores III from the Office of the Vice President of the Philippines. The study trip included visits to the Supreme Court, Malacañang Palace, the Coconut Palace, Philippine Senate, Corregidor, and Intramuros.
ALSP Law Student’s Congress BY RON ESQUIVEL
On December 2, 2011, the Law Students’ Congress on Legal
sponse to the Results of the Convocation on Legal Education, Feedback on the Recently Concluded Bar Examination, Best Practices in Bar Operations, and Career Options: A Guide Towards Responsible and a Globally Sensitive Practice of the Legal Profession. Among the notable guests who contributed to the congress were Justice Hilarion Aquino, Chairman of the Legal Education Board; Justice Roberto A. Abad, Supreme Court Justice and Chairman of the 2011 Bar Examinations; Mr. Ezekiel Joshua L. Villena,
Education was held at the Ateneo Professional Schools, Rockwell, Makati City. The event was a collaboration between The Joaquin Bernas Center Student Volunteer Corps (Bernas Center), a student arm of the Joaquin Bernas Center for Continuing Legal Education and Research, and The Association of Law Students of the Philippines (ALSP), a federation of more than sixty law student governments whose members are bonafide law students all over the country. Bar Operations Head of San Beda College of Law (Manila); and Atty. The Congress had four sessions, each specifically geared toward Agnes Devanadera, Former Secretary of the Department of Justice. an important aspect of legal education. These sessions were: ReMARCH 2012
Charivari 3 and Mr. & Ms. Lex 2011 BY CARISA BARCENA
an Beda College Alabang- School of Law celebrated its Christmas Party last December 14, 2011, at the St. Maur Auditorium. This year’s affair not only celebrated the victors of Lex Celebracionis, but also crowned SOL’s new Mr. and Ms. Lex. Law students and faculty in attendance were dressed to the nines in suits, dresses and gowns, tending to the party the feel of a senior prom night in a winter wonderland. The celebration opened with a prayer of thanks from the Rector President, Dom Clement Ma. H. Roque, OSB. The Mr. & Ms. Lex pageant itself began with the introduction of the candidates. Guest judge and renowned fashion designer Rene Salud then explained the criteria for judging. The winners were chosen based on popularity votes (online votes and tickets), talent, evening wear and a question and answer portion. The candidates impressed the audience with their skills, charm, and intellect. Various awards were given to the following candidates for each category: Best in Evening Wear: Mr. Clint D. Lumberio (1st year) and Ms. Elaine Hernando (1st year) Best in Talent: Mr. Juan Miguel Talatala (1st year) and Ms. Loralyn Anne Resuello Lazaro (1st year)
Best in Costume: Mr. James Michael Ventura (2nd year) and Ms. Suyen Dimanlig (1st year) Mr. and Ms. Congeniality: Mr. Joj Gaskell (1st year) and Ms. Dianne Liz Ngo (2nd year) Mr. and Ms. Photogenic: Mr. Miko Alivia (4th year) and Ms. Jay Behrouzi (1st year) People’s Choice Award: Mr. Carlos Romulo (3rd year) and Ms. Suyen Dimanlig (1st year) After the tally of votes, Mr. Carlos Romulo (3rd year) and Ms. Suyen Dimanlig (1st year) were crowned as the 2011 Mr. and Ms. Lex, followed by the 1st runner-up winners Mr. James Michael ventura (2nd year) and Ms. Elaine Hernando (1st year), and by the 2nd runner-up winners Mr. Juan Miguel Talatala (1st year) and Ms. Loralyn Anne Resuello Lazaro (1st year).
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 5 NO. 2
THE YEAR-END BENCHMARK: AN SLG’S REPORT CARD As this school year draws to a close, the term of the incumbent officers is also
at its waning phase. The Red Chronicles offers a look back at the Student Law Government’s promises, accomplishments and shortcomings. Last semester, we conducted a mild sizing up of the officers by checking how far they have gone. However, for this issue, we are grading their performance more boldly. We asked straight up questions. More importantly, to give voice to the student body, we have carried out a non-probability sampling technique employing a convenience and accidental sampling method. The subjects were picked randomly in order that a fair representation of the student body may be obtained. Out of 602 students in the school of law, 192 have participated in this survey. These students were asked to rate their satisfaction regarding the performance of each of the SLG officers – stating whether it is poor, fair, or excellent. The highest number from the ratings that were obtained determines the verdict on their performance. To ensure a balanced delivery of information, The Red Chronicles has also interviewed the officers to ask them the status of their promised platforms during their campaign. In addition, some of the students who served as volunteers for the activities this academic year, were also interviewed in order to give their comments on the SLG’s performance. Competent? Average? Or Sugar-coated? We lay all the cards for you to decide intelligently. May this serve as a challenge to the next set of student leaders. JOM GONZALES PRESIDENT His Promises • Bedan Empowerment • Efficient Services and Facilities • Student-Centered Agenda • Team Based, No Left Behind Institution The Red Chronicles (TRC): Your projects are mostly collaborative with other SLG officers. Perhaps you can give an overview of your performance as President and the performance of the SLG as a whole. Were you successful? He said: “As the president of school year 2011-2012, I am pleased to have
been a part of a magnificent team of officers; their passion and dedication has proven to be invaluable in the accomplishment of a number of projects. Among these projects include: the Org Recruitment Week under the Office of the IVP, the various talks and symposia and international linkages established by our EVP, the student hotline and blog of our Secretary General, and the efficient fiscal management of our treasurer. Our 1st to 3rd year batch representatives should also be commended for their tireless efforts in ensuring the steady flow of communication and coordination with their fellow batchmates; without their support, it would have been impossible to gain the support for the students for the different projects. In the midst of all our progress, we recognize that only so much can actually be accomplished in a span of ten months; as such, I am hopeful that the incoming SLG officers will continue other proposed projects that have already been approved and are merely pending execution for the next administration” Student’s verdict: FAIR 97 votes DINO AUSTRIA EXTERNAL VICE PRESIDENT His Promises • San Beda Alabang integration and leadership in the National Capital Region law school community. • Improved student exposure and involvement through symposiums and talks on pertinent legal issues. • Provide work experience for underbar Alabang San Bedans through partnerships with law firms for summer internship. • Provide better support and assistance to San Beda Alabang law students who compete in various sports and moot court competition. TRC: Were you successful in representing and integrating SBCA-SOL to the NCR law school community? He said: “I’m proud to say that as EVP and as National President of ALSP, San Beda Alabang has successfully led (not just integrate into) the law school community. We’ve led so many collaborative projects with various law student governments from different universities.” TRC: Were you able to provide enough support to SBCA-SOL’s athletes?
He said: “Yes. I, together with our officers, have personally ensured that our players are well taken care of. From their uniforms to Gatorade, we’ve been there for them to cater to their needs.”
• • •
TRC: Were you able to find ways to make the students of SBCA-SOL be exposed to moot court competitions? He said: “As much as I would want San Beda Alabang to obtain a monopoly on International Moot Court Competitions, we do not have the capacity to compete internationally. To remedy this, I’ve met with the officers of the current debate club and have prodded them to make a constitution and fix the processes for their recruitment so my office and their members can collaborate in their training and eventual foray into moot courting abroad. This remains to be a dream that both I and the club president share.”
TRC: Were you able to fully realize the publication and distribution of all quarterly newsletters? She said: “Those were approved by the student council but there were budget constraints. It was also approved by Dean and Sir Bruce, it’s just that there were constraints with regard to the cost. We can only do so much. For the newsletter, we tried, we really tried. Actually, I still have on file all our articles from the SLG. They were supposed to update (the student body) on existing projects that we did. We canvassed also but the cost of printing would cost us Php 18,000 to 20,000. So if we do it quarterly, times two per semester. There was a budget constraint. On my end, if there were any activities of the school or somebody got recognized, I updated people as much as I can through Facebook and inform the professors and dean.”
TRC: Were you able to successfully establish the internship program that you promised to the student body? He said: “Throughout my term, I’ve broached the idea to various offices of taking on our law students as interns. Thus far I’ve had an assistant secretary, a congressman, a senator, and the solicitor general commit to take in interns from our school this summer.” Student’s verdict: FAIR 81 votes PAUL CLAUDIO INTERNAL VICE PRESIDENT His Promises • Buddy system • Enrolment System: One ID, One number • Accessible short-cuts • Proper information dissemination • Creation of Organizations TRC: Were you successful in providing for a Notes Bank? He said: “No, under the new student handbook, it is illegal to produce copy of professors’ lectures and exams.” TRC: Were you able to establish the buddy system? He said: “Yes, I personally became the buddy of the first year students feeding or receiving information through their beadles.” TRC: Were you able to provide an improved enrolment system? He said: “Yes, improved in a sense that number hoarding was removed; but in terms of speed, I do not think so.” TRC: Were you successful in initiating a recruitment week for the new organizations? He said: “Yes, in the first semester we had an organization recruitment week which all organizations benefitted from.” TRC: Were you able to form committees that would be of help during school activities? He said: “Yes, in every event I tried to divide the labor between committees created to support SLG in organizing different school activities.” Student’s verdict: FAIR 86 votes MIA LAPUS SECRETARY GENERAL Her Promises • SLG Quarterly Publication
Develop and Upgrade SLG Website Student Activity Corner Coordination with Year Representatives and Class Beadles
TRC: Was the official SLG website put in place? She said: “We put that first on hold. We have the materials already. That was the purpose of the blog, to test run how many people will look into it aside from Facebook. That’s why we put it on hold because you have to pay for the domain and web hosting. And the function of the office of the SecretaryGeneral, is to inform the students, to answer if they have any question or inquiries. It is also a given that the budget of the student council is also allotted to different officers. So if the Facebook thing is able to accomplish those functions, in my perspective, and if it’s not cost efficient, but there’s something here that’s able to do it and more. It’s already there and free, it’s more of internet traffic. Mas marami parin talagang through FB, Twitter or text. Hopefully, the next student council SecGen can use it or maybe incorporate it like an online newsletter thing. So that they’ll really have something to read.” “The blog was established but my observation was that after the first semester, more people would inquire through Facebook, more than the blog. Or, if not through Facebook, they’d either text me or call me. So, in terms of providing them an option, I tested it (during the) first semester. I mean it was there but people really go through Facebook. In terms of internet communication, they still go through Facebook or text.” TRC: Were you able to develop a proper system for coordinating with beadles and batch representatives? She said: “If Jom or whoever texts to me, I coordinate it to the batch rep and then the batch rep coordinates that to the beadle. That’s really how the flow of information should go. Even in the roles of the batch rep, their role is to communicate to each beadle of each batch. I also don’t want to overstep the function of the batch representatives. Aside from texting, Facebook groups were also used.” TRC: Were the two laptops, one desktop computer, one laser printer, SmartBro Internet connectivity stick delivered as promised? She said: (No definite answer) TRC: When did you request/purchase these? She said: “Before classes(sic) started.” TRC: If you had to rate yourself, how do you think you faired? She said: “If I were to rate myself, I would generally rate my performance as good. After two years in office, you realize that each school year brings about new challenges to each and every SLG, and setbacks within as span of ten months are sometimes unavoidable. Yet despite all this, I would like to believe that the commitment to serve, and the accomplishment of my fundamental vision of student accessibility is another foundation that can be
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strengthened and further built on by future officers who will sit as Secretary General.” Student’s verdict: FAIR 80 votes MYRON GUTIERREZ TREASURER His Promises • The Treasurer’s Corner/ Semestral Financial Report • Sound Financial Budgeting and Management TRC: Was the intended Treasurer’s Corner established? He said: The Treasurer’s Corner was intended to be released at the end of every semester. Unfortunately, I have not released a financial report in the First Semester because some organizations and volunteer committees failed to submit to me their receipts. Because of this, I could not make an accurate financial report during the First Semester. However, by the end of the school year, I will release a financial report for all the activities throughout the year. TRC: How were you able to address the matters concerning the release of funds? He said: “All the requests submitted to me ahead of time by the students and organizations incurred no delays in the release of funds. If there were instances that there were delays in the release of funds, the organization or committee did not request ahead of time. It is established that the process in obtaining funds from the Accounting Department usually takes one to two weeks or even more, and the only way to overcome delays is to request for funds ahead of time.” TRC: Were you able to execute sound financial management with respect to the needs of the student organizations? He said: “I have provided a sound financial management wherein the organizations and the students were not forced to shell out their own money. If there were instances wherein the organizations or students’ own money were used for an activity, it was either they did not submit to me a request on time, or did not submit a request at all. And they opted to be reimbursed after they have incurred the necessary expenses for the activity. All the requests for funds that were timely submitted to me were granted, and the students need not shell out their own money for such activity.”
however, is not steady as it loses connection to the Internet most of the time. I continue to ask and update such issue with the IT department. As for the printers, I have consistently asked the administration, particularly our head librarian and Fr. Alberic in setting up printers for us to use. Unfortunately, their answer remained the same, saying that there were still internal issues to be resolved to do such. As of this time, I continue to ‘nag’ them regarding these issues.” TRC: Were the immersion trips to the Senate and the Malacanang Palace organized? He said: “No. But my projects, particularly to get my batchmates involved, included the San Beda Centralized Bar Operations Training Exercise, in cooperation with our own Academic Bar Operations. The seminar was primarily organized for us to be familiar in making our own memory aids. The 3rd year now will benefit from this as they will be seniors next school year. As of this time also, I have compiled number of law firms available in accepting interns for the next school year. I shall turnover such to the upcoming SLG officers.” TRC: In a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your performance? He said: “I rate my performance with 7/10, a fair grade. With still lot of room for improvement, should I be elected as IVP next school year.” Student’s verdict: FAIR 29 votes IAN BASCONCILLO 2ND YEAR BATCH REPRESENTATIVE His Promises • Intensify Batch Integration and ensure inclusive involvement o establish a batch council o hold general assemblies o culminating activity • Achieve shared excellence in academics and promote social awareness o efficient information dissemination o maximize tuition fees • Nurture the Bedan Spirit through active participation • Introduce activities and programs • Actualize the Bedan Mission Statement • Empower students through Pro-Student Services TRC: Were you able to establish a batch council? He said: “With the approval of those who attended the first General Assembly, we have decided not to establish a batch council.”
Student’s verdict: FAIR 101 votes PONCHING ORIOSTE 3RD YEAR BATCH REPRESENTATIVE
TRC: Were you able to conduct general assemblies? He said: “Yes. The first General Assembly was held last May 2011. It served as an avenue for the sophomores to discuss pertinent matters about the Freshmen Orientation. A Central Committee was created composed of volunteers from incoming sophomores and juniors. The said Committee was responsible for the success of the annual Freshmen Orientation which was held on June 14, 2011.”
His Promises • Three I’s: Involvement, Improvement & Immersion • Involvement: Freedom Corner near the Bulletin Board • Improvement: Printing and photocopying services • Immersion: Trips to the Senate and Malacanang Palace TRC: Was the Freedom Board realized during the school year? He said: “Yes. In a way, the bulletin board has been maximized such that the announcements, reminders and assignments were organized by each year level. The students also were able to voice out their concerns through the hotline/s posted on the board.” TRC: Was the improvement of the printing, computer and photocopying services provided for? He said: “Yes and no. The administration was able to provide four more computers and installed Wi-fi connection this year. The Wi-fi connection,
TRC: Were you able to carry out culminating activities? He said: “No. As part of my commitment to integrate and foster camaraderie among sophomores, I’m planning to organize a Food Eating Contest which aims to raise funds for the batch. This will be held at the end of this semester.” TRC: Through your efforts, was there an efficient system for the dissemination of information in your batch? He said: “Yes. The first thing I did when I was elected as batch repre-
Through the Looking Glass:
Hubert Webb on The Other Side of The Mirror
He belonged to a tale of justice and injustice, of a fall and redemption, and perhaps of a reversal of fortunes. Two years after his freedom from incarceration, Hubert Webb continues to shape what is left of his life and to make good of the second chance he never even really asked for in the first place.
WORDS Rio Dizon INTERVIEW Rio Dizon Aretha Eugenio Sam Santos PHOTOS Chuck Valerio Miguel Llave
e know the story all too well. It was 1991. The Philippines was shaken by news of the massacre of a young lady, her mother and her little sister right in their home at the heart of a posh subdivision. The suspects were ‘spoiled rich kids’ of a politician and business men. The Vizconde Massacre – so chilling, so fascinating. The trial was a theatrical exhibition abounding with colorful characters: The grieving widower who cried a river of tears, the golden-tongued witness who poured out honey-sweet testimonies that the court and the public readily accepted and the knights and the phantoms who swore to help solve the mysterious crime. To this circus, then 27 year-old Hubert Webb, along with others, was forced to play the role of the damned, the accused, the murderous villain. His jury? The media who convicted him even before the case was tried. A decade and a half later, he has finally been exonerated but the intricate tangle of lies and mysteries seems to have ended on a cliffhanger. And some who cast stones upon Webb, remain to judge him. The story, though artful, seems conventional for a crime thriller. Formulaic, almost like a myth narrative. But every story has its cracks and crevices. Hubert Webb lets us in on the other side of the story to have a closer look at those things that we might have missed.
Strap the Scapegoat Nervous of the first meeting, we sat and waited at the lobby of the condominium, where he stays with his parents, with our imaginations getting the better of us. We were expecting Hubert Webb to come to us channeling The Count of Monte Cristo, in all his vengeful, hair-raising and intimidating aura. We were wrong. He walked up to us just as normally as any person would do. He is thin and rather frail. He has traces of age on him but quite perplexingly also of youth. His features are soft. And most unexpectedly, he is fond of smiling. He greeted us and excused himself for shaking hands with his left hand. He said he was feeling pain on the right. I assumed it was the wear and tear of the prison years that caused his rather impaired health. This he acknowledged later on saying that, as of the moment, his health and finding a job are his main concerns. This probably wasn’t how he pictured his life to be seventeen years ago. Once upon a time, Hubert Webb lived a normal, though privileged, life. He goes to work at his father’s office, and by 5 pm, goes to the College of St. Benilde for his classes. He was taking up Management. Nothing deviant. Pretty ordinary. Until the case sprung to life. “180 degrees yun,” he recounts the beginning of his ordeal. “From freedom to no freedom, from friends to sudden missing friends…so talagang it was a big change in the lifestyle.” He lively goes on talking about the first time his camp learned of the accusations. “At first, we found it really crazy…kakaiba,” he says. “ How could this happen? Sabi ko, this girl must be crazy. There’s no way that her testimony is gonna stand for where I was. Sabi nila, alibi daw is the weakest defense. Only if you can’t establish it… but if you can establish it, it’s pretty strong.” The girl he calls crazy is none other than the prosecution’s star witness, Jessica Alfaro. And wasn’t she the darling of this case. Her straightforward and detailed narration of the crime wowed the nation and provided them the satisfaction of designating the fall guy. Never mind that she was an admitted drug user. Her words were so golden, they thrust Webb into a world he never imagined he would be in. “Kasi pagkakaintindi ko,” Webb begins, “ [it was] her word against my word. So sa credibility pa lang, pagkakaintindi ko, which is a vital law in our system or the US system originally, dapat ‘di na pumapasa [yung testimony] eh. So nagtaka ako, bakit pumapasa pa?” The trial went on and the scale was not tipped in their favor. The defense presented witnesses but those were attacked by controversies. “They would say na we paid for them,” Webb stresses. “Of course!
With all the documents I presented, if one can be proven to be falsified or fake, I will go back to bilibid.
Some of the witnesses were not even my relatives. So why would they disrupt their work, go here with their own money? It’s crazy. Ultimo dun talo kami.” While his lawyers and family remained optimistic until the end, Webb already had ominous forebodings of his future. “So when it [the case] has been dragging on for a year or two years, sabi ko, ah wala na ‘to. They’re going to convict na for sure.” If he already felt in his bones what lay ahead of him, how did he prepare for what’s coming next? With this question, he became somber. As he tries to remember, his voice becomes tinged with melancholy. “Those times were magulo for me,” he says in a low voice. “I think I was just trying to pray, get strength from my family and believe that eventually, the truth will come out.”
Life Inside The Fortress While Webb becomes sober in answering some questions, he was cheerful, animated, and unflinching in recounting his memories in prison. He even jokes about their fear of the “guy to guy thing,” which never happened, to his relief. “Okay lang yung first day kasi surreal pa,” he says. “I voluntarily surrendered on a Friday, so yung first time, surreal lang. Sinasabi ko, ito na ‘yon.” and then he tries to find a metaphor for it. “It’s like having a doctor’s shot. Wala kang ilag, alam mong it’s gonna happen.” Webb then describes the lifestyle there. “Yung sa Parañaque, horrible yun.” He talks of the confined spaces where inmates sleep, sardines-style. “In Bilibid, it got better kasi it was open eh. In Parañaque kasi, we were allowed sunning pero nakaposas ka…you can’t walk around freely. So in Maximum, it was bigger. There were basketball courts, tennis courts, things to do.” Webb says life inside is not that difficult but it’s also not that easy -- an ambiguity. But he later gives a clear statement. “One thing is for sure. It’s hard to go to prison for something you did not do.” In a way, you can hold Webb at arm’s length; he was born affluent, a son of a politician. It makes you wonder, being him, did he get bullied inside? “Hindi naman,” He answers. “Sa [Camp] Ricardo Papa hindi naman. Sa Parañaque hindi naman. Kasi I stood my ground eh. I had a lot of angst. Therefore, hindi na ‘ko tatanggap ng maski ano from anybody else. I felt that inapi na ‘ko. Tapos magpapaapi pa ‘ko? Hindi na ‘ko papayag. Ganon na lang ‘yon. It’s up to you to think what it means.” So let’s picture a prison’s stereotype: an isolated world, a population filled with society’s “deviants,” a cut-throat culture, a division of different gangs. But such stereotype cannot fit one notion that Webb reveals to us: the philosophical demarcation between those who really committed their crimes and those who were wrongly put in jail. “Yung prinsipyo ko, I’m here for something I didn’t do. So I guess ‘pag ganon ang prinsipyo mo versus their prinsipyo, mapapaaway ka minsan.” While he has forged friendships in prison, he still had bouts of loneliness and anger. In those times, he says, he turns to God. He says this about being in jail: “wala ka nang ibang pupuntahan kung ‘di ang Diyos.” A practicing Christian, he didn’t curse the heavens when he was battered by life. Was he “blaming God? No. Blaming people? Yes.” Webb reveals that in his days and nights of solitude, he does two things: “I do a lot of praying. I do a lot of reading.” He says that in prison, “you tend to read more, which turned out to be good in a certain way.”
A Moveable Feast The sacrifice of those fifteen years was not only on the part of Webb. His family took the load as well during those difficult times. They never left his side and they accommodated a practice to adjust to a kind of life they shouldn’t even be having. It is on Sundays when Webb is reunited with them. “’Sus, ang sarap ng pagkain namin pag Sunday,” he says with obvious nostalgia. “The whole week dinadalhan ako from the house. Pero iba pa rin ‘pag kasama mo yung family mo. Saka ‘pag Sunday, it’s my mom who
does the cooking. So it’s different.” That Sunday family feast went on for ten to eleven years. Quite a lot of Sundays if you count it. So when asked if he ever felt guilty for thinking he was a burden to his family, he admits, “At one point, yeah. Sometimes I’d tell them ‘wag na sila pumunta.” They always did anyway.
The Odyssey The journey home took Webb fifteen years. And the last of those desolate days came to his knowledge quite surreptitiously. “Nakita ko lang sa TV,” he says, all smiles. “Mga 10:30 ata ‘yon or 11 [in the morning] sa TV lumabas.” It was December 14, 2010. Webb, along with five other accused, was finally released from the Bilibid Penitentiary. The belated justice, on his part, was a walk in a hazy dream. Flashes of cameras hounded him. Questions were ringing left and right. A caucus of people were crowding him as he walks out. “Lalong surreal yung paglabas ko kasi yung interview ko non-stop,” he recounts. “Hanggang pag-uwi ko dito mga ilang days pa ‘ko ininterview…Even yung pag shopping ko may sumusunod.”
On Fashion, Technology and Lifestyle Walking out into the world and savoring the air as a free man is hand in hand with some serious work: reintegration into society. A no longer active and fake twitter account even paid comic tribute to Webb’s comeback. One of @iamhubertwebb’s tweets read,“Wait, how do you put a CD into this iPod thing?” A good sport, Webb revealed in an interview with Arnold Clavio that he actually finds those tweets witty and funny. The change in fashion and trends did not seem daunting for Webb to beat. He’s a man of simplicity; he just likes his shirt, jeans and sneakers. Exactly what he was wearing as we spoke. “Although wala pa ‘kong suit,” he comments unabashedly. “Wala pa rin akong dress shoes. So kailangan ko bumili nun… necessity daw ‘yon.” As for technology? “That’s really easy for me,” he says. “You just have to spend a lot of time with anything you want. And then you get good at them naman because they’re supposed to be user-friendly.” At some point, Webb admits that he has gotten lazy. But he has caught up well enough. He has a Facebook account. And he is quite fond of using the Internet on his mobile phone. We asked about places he likes to hang out in. “I don’t go out at night,” he answers. “I don’t enjoy drinking as much as I’d thought I would. So mabibilang mo sa daliri yung ilang beses ako lumabas in two years.” But with all the fuss and buzz of the new world he is now encountering, there is actually one thing that he has always been excited about upon walking out of prison: “Driving my own car,” he immediately answers. “Eh wala pa.” he laughs.
Haters To The Left Webb amused us with anecdotes of his shopping experiences. He said there were those who asked to take pictures with him. And then there were those who gave him the thumbs up. He also mentioned JFW – Justice For Hubert Webb, a Facebook page that champions…justice for Hubert Webb. The man clearly has supporters. But just as there are supporters, there will always be detractors -- those who judged and continue to judge, those who still exercise every kind of pride and prejudice. At the mention of these people, he begins to wear a frustrated look. “Oo nga, may mga tumatawag pa nga saamin na ‘susunugin ko ang bahay mo…patayin ka namin,’” he reveals. “You know, these people piss me off.” When asked how he now deals with these people, he gives a big sigh. “You know,” he begins. “I try to commune with God to give me the strength not to mind these people.” Haters clearly tick him off, but his discipline and self-restraint are ap-
“I’ve always believed that in the end of days, all things will be revealed.”
parent. “Why do you believe it was me?” he asks, still quite calmly. “Because the newspaper said it? Okay, how many newspapers have been telling the truth in all our lives? Questionable na ‘yon. Second, kasi sinabi ni Jessica Alfaro? Eh ‘di mas lalong questionable ‘yon.” To those who ring him, throwing threats of setting his house on fire or killing him, and to those who continue to flash him hate glares, he only has this to say,“God will judge you the same.”
The Battle with The Wordsmiths “Gusto ko pantay.” Those are Webb’s words for the media, the boon and bane of his life (but mostly, bane). The alchemy of this field – the power to transmute words into a weapon or landscapes and the power to bend lies into facts -- made Webb’s life, for the most part, utterly difficult. He said he was an easy target: “Anak ng congressman. Spoiled brat daw ako. Takaw-away daw ako…aminado naman ako dun eh.” He was the perfect character to cast in a stage they were creating. “The sad thing about media is,” he adds, “ayaw nila ilabas yung dumi nung isang tao. Pero saakin, maski hindi ko dumi nilalabas nila. Kasi daw kawawa yung naapi.” The sorcery of words indeed can be a business. Webb hints at their need to sensationalize, their need to sell. He singles out one newspaper though: The Philippine Daily Inquirer whom they are suing now. “They basically can put anything,” he says, referring to the media as a whole. “Ruin your name to millions of readers and then apologize.” And again, his propensity for metaphors: “So parang sinuntok kita tapos nag-sorry ako…Quits ba ‘yon?” But ultimately, what was Webb asking for? “In the fifteen years,” he says “Tignan mo if it has been played well by the media. If you guys read, you guys should know what I’m asking for. If you guys don’t know then it wasn’t played up that well by the media. All I’m asking for is for Jessica to be brought back.” But he knows of the road blocks to this situation. “’Pag binalik siya dito,” he begins his mysterious hint, “there are many people who will do many things to prevent the truth from coming out. Yun ang problema.” As an antidote to the spell cast by the media over the prejudice and belief of the people, Webb has two challenges. Challenge number one: go through the lie detector test. “Gusto ko yung ama, yung sinungaling, tapos ako.” Challenge number two: “With all the documents I presented, if one can be proven to be falsified or fake, I will go back to Bilibid.” But perhaps the best cure to the poison unleashed by the media is the poison itself. Webb plans to fight words with words. This he will
“Too late the hero.”
- Hubert Webb
do by writing a book. He says that such is definitely on the plans. “I have to tell the world what really happened.” But the words are not ripe and the time has not yet come. “Kailangan maganda yung ending mo,” he says. That happy, climactic, vindicating ending is still in the works.
To The Man On The Other Side Talking about Lauro Vizconde makes Webb a little bit reticent. You see the restraint. You hear of sighs but not much of words. “Why wasn’t he ever a suspect?” Webb asks. “Eh in the States…una laging suspect is within [the family]. Eh bakit ‘di naging suspect? Dahil nasa States siya? Tapos ako suspect eh nasa States rin ako.” He laughs. Surprisingly, he is lighthearted about this. He even engaged us in a game of trivia. He asks us what notable event happened in 1991. Rummaging through our memories, we say, Pinatubo. We got a “Very good!” He then tells us how difficult it was to get a plane back to the Philippines at that time. So how did Mr. V do it? We read between the lines. Continuing his puzzling aura, he then poses an intriguing question: “Sino ba kumita?” Again, we read between the lines. But so much for the nuances and hints. I asked him to tell me: What does he have to say to Lauro Vizconde? “Nothing,” he simply says. “I feel sorry for him.” For the longest time they have been pitted against each other. Does he see Vizconde as his nemesis? “No,” he answers firmly. “I see him as a pain. As a thorn. He’s not my nemesis. My only nemesis is myself.”
Ships Ready To Set Sail There already is a seventeen-year distance between now and the crime. And as we move further and further away from it, memories blur, the veil of haze thickens, and people move on with their lives. Will we ever know who really did it? Will we ever know who really is lying and who is the telling the truth? Webb believes we will. “I’ve always believed that…in the end of days,” he says, “all things will be revealed. Kung hindi man dito, which I hope sana dito para malaman ng mga tao, meron namang after life eh. Yun na lang.” He then adds pensively, “Wala na eh, di na ako maka-establish ng sarili ko dito ng maigi. Too late the hero.” He repeats the idea and almost whispers to himself, “It’s a little bit late.” But the man who forgives the slow grind of justice later adds, “Though I can still make something.” And so we know the story all too well. Or so we thought.
The Plot Against the Crown: The Tumultuous Days of Chief Justice Corona
AS FORMER PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGALARROYO STEPPED DOWN FROM POWER, THE PURGING FRENZY RALLIED BY PRESIDENT AQUINO SETS IN. BOUNDARIES ARE CROSSED AND LINES ARE BLURRED AS HE WAGES AN ATTACK AGAINST THE CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA. THE DIE IS CAST AND THE GAME OF THRONES BEGINS.
BY STEPHANIE DANDAL, ARIANNE PASCUAL, AND MAYAN SAIDAMEN
here was a secret plan to oust me from office by any means, fair or foul.”
The indignant Chief Justice Renato C. Corona revealed such statement during a flag-raising ceremony in the Supreme Court. It has been more than a month since the start of the impeachment of Chief Justice Corona. It was December 12, 2011 when the impeachment proceedings against him began. Corona is the country’s third official subjected to this process. He was preceded by former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada in 2000 and Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in 2011. Weeks prior to the impeachment, CJ Corona and other fellow Justices appointed by then President GMA, have been the tar-
get of several criticisms by President Aquino and his allies. They are, in a nutshell, being accused of hindering the anti-corruption agenda which our President obsessively quests for. The tension between the President and the Chief Justice became more so evident during the 1st National Criminal Justice Summit where President Aquino berated Corona’s designation as Chief Justice in his keynote address. In the same speech, the President criticized the issuance of a temporary restraining order which would have allowed the Arroyo’s to travel before a case could be filed against them. The people watch the Senate sit as an impeachment court from Mondays to Thursdays at 2 p.m. onwards. This causes a great divide among the nation as pro-Corona and anti-Corona camps are being formed.
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 5 NO. 2
THE GAME AND THE ARENA
The impeachment has sent the media feasting and diving into thorough blow by blow accounts. In the process, the nation gets to know the quirks and personalities of the colorful characters involved in this political soap opera.
Senator Franklin Drilon believes that the impeachment proceeding is in a league of its own, and the collegiate body agreed to go about it with caution. The main purpose of an impeachment is to inquire into the demeanor of the public official in order to know the truth and to impose penalties of removal and disqualification to hold office if found guilty. It has its own rules of procedure, with the Rules of Court applying suppletorily.
The prosecution team is composed of members of the majority bloc of the House of Representatives, assisted by private practitioners. The team is headed by Iloilo Rep. Neil Tupas, Jr, a lawyer product of the University of the Philippines. The other members include Representatives from Ilocos Norte; Isabela; two from Cavite; Quezon; Marikina; Oriental Mindoro; Bayan Muna Party List; CIBAC Party List; and Akbayn Party List. Rep. Miro Quimbo, Rep. Lorenzo Tanada, III and Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara act as the spokespersons of the group. In the other corner lies the defense, dubbed as a “powerhouse legal team,” led by the sharp former Supreme Court Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas. The defense is composed of eight (8) other counsels: Jacinto Jimenez, professor at the Ateneo Law School, Jose Roy III, former dean and president of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Eduardo delos Angeles, former dean of the Ateneo Law School, German Lichauco II and Dennis Manalo, partners of the Siguion Reyna Montecillo Ongsiako law firm, Ramon Esguerra, general counsel of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Tranquil G.S. Salvador III, former dean of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay and the lovely lady lawyer who created quite a stir among men: Atty. Karen Jimeno, Harvard graduate and formerly from the Quisumbing Torres Evangelista firm. Some critics hit on the Chief Justice’s announcement that his team of lawyers work for him pro bono. They say that the Chief Justice does not deserve pro bono work for he is neither poor nor powerless. Accepting such favor, in their opinion, is against the Canons of Ethical Responsibility. In the middle are the Senator-Judges, the most notable and entertaining of which is Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago who, with eloquence and ferocity, constantly schools and berates the prosecution for its legal flops.
Senator Santiago recommends the use of “overwhelming” preponderance of evidence; the prosecution suggests substantial evidence; while the defense advised proof beyond reasonable doubt. The court held that the quantum of evidence to be used should be decided in a separate caucus. According to Tupas, there are three grounds to impeach the Chief Justice specifically: betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution and graft and corruption. These three grounds are expanded in eight articles of impeachment. Among the issues raised was Corona’s failure to file his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth, and his wife’s appointment to a government corporation despite the prohibition because he was already a member of the Supreme Court. The complaint also raised the issues of his alleged subservience to former President Arroyo as part of her roster of midnight appointees; betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution when he issued a status quo ante order that resulted in the suspension of the hearings of the House Justice Committee on the impeachment case against previous Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez; voting on the 16 cityhood cases and the creation of the province of Dinagat; the creation of an ethics committee in lieu of the plagiarism case against SC Justice Mariano Del Castillo; the issuance of a temporary restraining order against the travel ban of the Arroyos and; the refusal to account for Judicial Development Funds, special allowances and other court collections. A MYRIAD OF OPINIONS Some of Corona’s critics are calling for him to take a leave from office during the trial. Some believed that he should just resign.
Corona is very badly damaged goods today. - Rene Saguisag
Some aver his innocence. Some argue that this is yet another plot targeting the“friends” of the Arroyo administration. While others think it is just an exciting afternoon soap opera. Constitutional expert Fr. Joaquin Bernas, Dean Emeritus of the Ateneo Law School, believes that it is unnecessary for Corona to take a leave from office. “He is not obliged to attend the hearing as in a criminal case,” he says. “so he could just keep doing his job.” There have been rumors circulating that the Chief Magistrate will be filing his resignation once he gets acquitted. Former Senator Rene Saguisag mentioned such fact during the Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel held on 6 February 2012. “Corona is very badly damaged goods today,” he states. “He is merely floating on the waters of the law. There is a scuttlebutt that once he is acquitted, he probably will resign anyway. The rumor is going around because he could be charged again.” Saguisag further suggests that a reform should be done within the judiciary after the impeachment trial. Fr. Bernas thinks otherwise. For him, amending the Constitutional provisions relating to the Judicial Bar Council would be an option. As the proceeding progresses, a war of words continue to ensue between PNoy and the Chief Justice. The proceeding drains government funds. Unnecessary strain in the relations between the three branches of government is created. While so much drama and comedy are created enough to entertain the nation, the country is silently being crippled by this long, arduous and seemingly circular venture. Legal crystal balls and prophetic tongues say different forecasts on how this will all end. But whatever it will be, at the end of the day, this will definitely be seen: Politics indeed shows human folly at its finest.
THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 5 NO. 2
From Here to Eternity:
Reviewing The Revised Penal Code of the Philippines It’s been said that good things come to those who wait. In the field
of criminal law and justice, the Filipino people have something truly exciting to look forward to: the drafting of a new Criminal Code, more than 80 years after the enactment of the Revised Penal Code.
The Department of Justice, under the leadership of Secretary Leila M. De Lima, has seen the “urgent need to craft a truly organic, Filipino criminal code attuned to our values and norms”. An apt observation, as the Revised Penal Code is actually one of the oldest compendiums of Philippine laws, having been enacted way back in December 8, 1930. It hasn’t aged well; some of its provisions are obsolete, outdated or lack teeth to deter crime, or at the very least, evoke fear in today’s rapidly evolving landscape of crime and punishment. There is no denying that the crooks have become bolder and more masterful, often finding clever ways to circumvent the law. And the law enforcers and judicial authorities, bless them, are limited by the archaic provisions of the RPC and other penal statutes. Ironically, in some cases, the culprit even goes scot-free when there is no law that penalizes the wrong he has committed. While there is an obvious effort by the Legislature to keep up with the times through the enactment of piecemeal legislations such as various Republic Acts, there is still a need to review the whole gamut of the country’s penal laws and embody these in a comprehensive and modernized code that could truly aid in the effective administration of criminal justice. This need has spurred the creation of The Criminal Code Committee (CCC), by virtue of the issuance of DOJ Department Circular No. 019. At the forefront of this Herculian endeavor are the DOJ and various government agencies such as the Supreme Court, Public Attorney’s Office, Office of the Solicitor General, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Immigration. Other public and private institutions such as The Philippine Judges Association, The Regional Prosecutors Council, The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Association of Law Schools in the Philippines, have also been tapped. Experts from different disciplines such as national security, medicine, business, and humanitarian and social welfare will contribute to the “multi-disciplinary approach” of the project. Foreign penal codes and jurisprudence, as well as global issues and international best practices in criminal law, are also being studied. The project is sponsored by Hans Seidel Stiftung Foundation, a German non-profit and non-government organi-
BY LAISA AGUILA
zation that has been extending technical assistance in research and human resource and project development to the Philippines since 1979. You can’t get any more dynamic than that. As expected, the Senate has echoed its support for DOJ’s gamechanging initiative to review the penal code and submit its recommendations to the Office of the President for further endorsement to Congress. In its Legislators’ Forum last July 2011, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile expressed confidence that the committee would successfully identify the reforms needed to improve criminal justice in the country. During the First National Criminal Justice Summit in the Philippines last December 2011, (incidentally the same forum made notorious by the criticism President Aquino hurled at Chief Justice Renato Corona), DOJ Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy emphasized three major areas of concern that were in dire need of action: “(1) the updating of the penal code; (2) the revision of the rules of criminal procedure and; (3) the rethinking of the ‘five pillars’ of criminal justice.” From these alone, there are enough reasons to remain optimistic that indeed, reforms will materialize. Criminal laws in the Philippines will not remain cocooned and stagnant, as mere statutes with amendments or an archive of legal intellect and bravado that was once adopted from the Spanish authorities. But when will these changes be realized? When will this new criminal code become a reality? DOJ Circular No. 019 provides that: “The Criminal Code Committee is expected to commence its work in April 2011 and for one (1) year thereafter”. That deadline is two months from this writing. But let’s be realistic. There is still that big affair in the Senate every two o’clock in the afternoon, and the incoming workload in the Lower House for another impeachment. Given the formidable task of drafting a new criminal code, other pending bills that demand equal attention, the constant politicking and mudslinging that headline the evening news, and the amusing detail of how time “flies” in the Philippine government, we can all do the math. And perhaps wait a little longer. Or a lot.
PHOTO CREDITS DOJ.GOV.PH AND HSS.DE
Paved With Good Intentions At one point or another, every road gets its share of potholes. Down
his flaunted daang matuwid, President Aquino has found one in the judiciary, personified by Chief Justice Renato Corona. The Court, a GMAappointed majority under Corona’s leadership, has come under fire for its flip-flopping decisions. Corona himself has been branded as a midnight appointee of GMA, and is currently suffering through the ongoing impeachment trial. The President has promised his constituents a better government, one free from the widespread corruption that characterized his predecessor’s term, and has taken steps to repair the damage done and fix the mess of a system he inherited. One such move is his insistence on the imposition of the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) on the budget of the judiciary. The MPBF impounds funds for unfulfilled positions, and can only be accessed with presidential approval. It was designed to prevent an affected agency from repurposing the unused portion of its budget; this becomes all the more relevant in light of complaints about the lack of judges and court personnel, and the World Bank report on ineligible expenditures of the Supreme Court. Never mind that it is contrary to the 2012 General Appropriations Act, which gives the Chief Justice the authority “to augment any item of the appropriations herein authorized for the SC of the Philippines and the lower courts from savings in other items of its appropriations.” Or that it conflicts with Sec. 3, Art. VIII of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that: “The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.” (Because even the fundamental law of the land may be bent for what one man believes is the public good, of course.) Another is the impeachment trial itself. The impeachment process is
continued from page 11 sentative was to devise a Contact Form. It is a costumized online data application asking for a student’s personal information and contact details. The goal was to reach as many sophomores as possible, especially the transferees, so that they can get the latest School of Law Government (SLG) announcements. Aside from text-brigade, we have also maximized the use of Facebook through our official batch page “SBCALAW2014”. Assignments, notes and reviewers are likewise posted in our batch YahooGroup.” TRC: Were you able to provide means for your batch mates to maximize their tuition fees? He said: “Yes. A student shells out Php 406 every semester for the use of athletic facilities. The opportunity to push for optimal use of campus facilities came last December 2011 during the annual Lex Celebrationis. An effort was also made to encourage my batch mates to use the Wi-fi access provided by the school. TRC: Were you able to follow through on your
supposed to preserve public trust in the system by removing an officer who has betrayed such trust. Unfortunately, with the haphazard preparation and approval of the impeachment complaint, the improper publicity that surrounded the presentation of evidence, and other supposedly incriminating documents with dubious origins, and the dogged insistence by the prosecution that Corona is guilty despite being unable to indubitably prove their accusations (without the help of “clarificatory questions” from certain senator-judges), the trial plays out like a vendetta instead. Not to mention the addition of another impeachment case against another Supreme Court justice – as if impeachment were a simple matter of filing one complaint after another. And while so much time and effort is being given to ousting Corona (since all evil in the government is surely rooted in one person), an Aquino appointee is still out and about buying pirated DVDs and driving a mobile armory (as he should only be removed for committing an actual crime instead of wanton disregard for the dignity of his office, obviously). The other appointee shamelessly accepts ‘gifts’ from certain gaming tycoons, because, really, the appointing power believes these cannot, in any way, be construed as bribes. Aiming for good governance is admirable and just, but achieving it at any cost is not. Firm convictions do not vindicate bypassing the constraints put in place by law, and PNoy is running too close to the railings with his heavy-handed steering. A man’s personal beliefs and principles alone cannot reasonably measure what is within or outside of his power to do; these are unquantifiable, indefinable and subjective, fully understood by and utterly justifiable to him and him alone. The exacting standards of law equalize the field, seeking to bind those who abide by it to rules that are recognized by and may apply to all. One so powerful as PNoy cannot allow himself to be led by just his passion and opinions, and leave due process or fair play by the wayside. What kind of road would he be leading us down, otherwise?
promise of nurturing the Bedan Spirit through active participation? He said: “Yes. The sophomores have embarked on a gift-giving project last December 16, 2011 called BIDA (Bigay Pabuya para sa Mga Kawani ng San Beda). It was a way of making Christmas more meaningful to San Beda’s contractual personnel and their families. The project was participated in by students from the first year to fourth year levels.”
in the event. I have been also trying my best to unite our batch. TRC: Do you think that you have been an effective batch representative He said: “As I have said, I exerted best efforts to do the job that was entrusted to me. I am hoping that my batch mates are satisfied with my performance.” Student’s verdict: EXCELLENT 25 votes
Student’s verdict: EXCELLENT 37 votes CHARLES BACULI 1ST YEAR BATCH REPRESENTATIVE TRC: What are your accomplishments as first year batch representative. He said: “As an appointed batch representative, I encouraged my batch mates to participate actively during the bar operations month. I was also given the chance to help Kuya Ian and the committee during the Mr. and Ms. Lex Pageant by asking my batch mates to be the man power THE RED CHRONICLES VOL. 5 NO. 2
The clock has struck twelve and the time is up. The SLG officers have served their term. And it is up to the student body to evaluate whether their selected leaders have delivered or not. Has it all been genuinely good and responsive? Or were the shortcomings, big or small, properly addressed? You decide. The clock will start again and elections for next year’s SLG officers are upon us. Will you be an intelligent and discerning voter?
We are not even halfway through the impeachment trial, but what an
experience it has been. We are witnessing history in the making: this is the first time a Chief Justice has been successfully put on trial, and if this trial actually meets a natural end (instead of getting cut short), it will become the standard by which future proceedings will be compared to. The Constitution is being tested in various thought-provoking ways, particularly on its provisions regarding the separation of powers. There’s also the anxiety of facing a constitutional crisis every time the Senate and the Supreme Court lock horns. For law students, there is the opportunity to see the principles we learn in the classroom applied to very real and very significant problem areas, through which we re-evaluate our understanding of what we have read and been taught. For the non-legal minds, however, it has also been an exercise in patience. The past weeks must have been trying for those in the peanut gallery who have been expecting headway to be made in the trial. It is the wait, particularly, that is the worst part. The viewing public has no direct involvement in either the proceedings or the judgment; the closest they can get is through their duly elected representatives, who are expected to act in the best interests of their constituents. Unfortunately, there’s been very little to inspire such confidence in people. The prosecution, emboldened and eager, has taken to the impeachment trial like a drunkard with a sledgehammer: loud, sloppy, clumsy and, worst of all,
The Damning Truth “Stoop and you’ll be stepped on; stand tall and you’ll be shot at.” –Carlos A. Urbizo n the study of law, there are at least two elementary concepts that are, unquestionably, every law student’s favorite safeguards—the right to due process, and the presumption of innocence. Be that as it may, to elaborate on the meaning and significance of these concepts is, to my mind, highly unnecessary. No student of law in his right mind dares to call himself as such without these two having been ingrained into his psyche, thanks largely in part to Constitutional Law and every other law subject in the curriculum. Following this assertion, logic would then dictate that no man or woman would claim to be a member of the legal profession worthy of the hard-earned title without ever having encountered such fundamental terms. In the legal sphere, there is no doubt that these two exist. The amusing and oftentimes frustrating part comes, however, in trying to reconcile the reality of these legal concepts in situations, controversies and even in relationships, beyond the printed pages of your thousandpeso law books and beyond the hallowed walls of the courts of justice. In fact, the environments in which we could “test” the existence of these ideals could very well range from something as nationwide in scope as the hottest ticket in town, The Corona-vela, or something as personal (or not) as your latest Facebook status or Twitter update. In a perfect world, all members of a society live and breathe these ideals, walking around, going about their business, and giving each and every single individual the right to be notified, the opportunity to be heard and defend one’s cause, and the benefit of the doubt. However, out here in the imperfect world, and outside the courtroom for that matter (which is not to say that court proceedings are at all times perfect), the moment you are “accused” of doing or not doing a particu-
reckless. Presenting evidence to the public before the court in its bid to sway public opinion, accepting potentially incriminating evidence from persons whose sources and identities cannot be traced, and attempting to expand the coverage of the impeachment complaint, all reek of utter disregard for the rules of due process and fair play. They can complain all they want about being put down for (and consequently, bogged down by) their non-observance of process, but it would not be an issue if they had taken steps to organize themselves and present their case properly (i.e. above board) in the first place. The prosecution has its heart in the right place, but its head appears otherwise. PNoy’s own determination to create a clean government is commendable, but his aggressive and overzealous approach to achieving it is reminiscent of a mission against Corona himself rather than as a sincere pursuit against corruption. Their opponents have not offered any conclusive proof of Corona’s innocence. What the defense appears to be doing thus far is dancing around the charges, and deflecting the prosecution with procedure and technicalities. It pokes at the flaws of opposing counsel’s attacks, without quite plugging the holes in its own armor. (Perhaps this will change as the trial progresses, and make for a change of pace). The embattled Chief Justice has already taken a huge hit to his credibility, and his engaging in a juvenile word war with his number one detractor does him no favors. (Gentlemen, save the mudslinging and hair-pulling for election period, please). At the rate the proceedings are going, the outcome of the trial may very well be a matter of politics or details, when it should be about getting the truth. It feels as if the legalese is getting in the way. The trial has only just started, but however it plays out, one can hope it ends as it had begun: as a step towards change, as a means to restore confidence in the law, as an end towards a justice neither mired in shifting loyalties nor borne out of technicality alone. lar thing, regardless of the absence or lack of supporting evidence, much less the credibility of the source of accusation, you could be adjudged guilty in the minds of those who barely utilize their critical wits. Yes, guilty even before you can open your mouth to protest. Worse, you could be adjudged guilty before you are even notified that such accusation exists. Never mind that there could be a hundred or so reasons that would explain why or why not you claim innocence. Forget your “day in court”. In reality, and more often than not, everyone automatically assumes the roles of both judge and jury, without necessarily being open to your side of the story. In the court of public opinion, these ideals often amount to a big, fat zero. This is the damning truth. To add insult to injury, the situation usually allows spectators to join in the fray. They point their grubby little fingers in your direction, acting as if everyone comes to “court” with squeaky clean hands. On the other hand, you could have successfully explained your side, proven your innocence and cleared your name, but could that have had the effect of undoing what has been done? Of erasing the preconceived notions and biases that have long been formed in the sad narrowness of their judging minds? More importantly, could that have freed you from the stigma of being labeled? You can observe the complexities of the impeachment trial every two o’clock in the afternoon, or you can choose to examine the minute intricacies of your very own human relationships and our society on a day to day basis. Either way, you could “test” these ideals as they apply to our real, imperfect world. I guess the challenge for every would-be lawyer is to bring to life every individual’s right to due process and the presumption of innocence in matters not just limited to the legal context. Common sense dictates that these ideals were not meant to be confined in courtroom cases and hypothetical exam questions. Our inner sense of being and our human capacity to do what is good and just should be enough to propel us to practice these within the legal sphere and beyond it. After all, at the appointed hour, every single one of us would eventually state our appearances and plead our own cases before the one true Judge and Jury. This is not necessarily the damning truth. It’s just the Truth, plain and simple. And for the record, I don’t think anyone wants to be convicted in that Court. Nothing further, your honor.
The First of Firsts:
SBCA-SOL Sends Its First Batch and Produces Its First Topnotcher BY RIO DIZON AND TIA PERFECT0
February 29,2011, a day filled with anticipation and tension, turned out to be a joyous occasion for the San Beda College Alabang-School of Law community. A day to celebrate many firsts: the first set of barristers under the name and seal of SBCA-SOL, the first time SBCA-SOL cements its name on the topnotcher’s list, and the first time the school nabs the third highest passing percentage, closely tailing San Beda College Mendiola and Ateneo Law School. This year, SBCA-SOL produced forty seven (47) new lawyers resulting in an 89.58% passing rate. It seems to have been decided by fate. Rodolfo Q. Aquino, lovingly called Tito Ding,
who formerly placed 12TH in the CPA Licensure exam, now brings pride to the SBCA-SOL as he places 10th in the 2011 Bar Exams, getting a score of 83.7275%. He is the first to place the school’s name on the pedestal. Tito Ding, 64, who only learned of the news through a phone call, says he feels happy and “relieved that it’s over.” This triumph took years in the making. “I had planned to be a lawyer when I was younger,” he says. But the hands of destiny did not find it fitting at that time. He had taken up law when he was younger but was not able to continue because of the financial constraints. But at his wife’s urging, he decided to pick up what he had left behind. His age was never an issue. He decided to take up law again “while I can still talk, read, write…still of use in the country.” As advice to students, he states with much pride, “choose your law school well.” He further advises students to start preparing from day one and to read the books at least three times. Silently beaming with pride is his wife who was beside him the entire interview. “I’m so happy especially for him,” she says. “I know that he would pass…There’s no doubt.” The present is bright but the question of the future looms: until when does he plan to work? “Until I drop,” he laughs. When asked if he finds it too late, he says, “(I have) no regrets in the life I have chosen.”
2011 SBCA-SOL SUCCESSFUL BAR EXAMINEES
1. AQUINO, Rodolfo Q. 2. ARQUERO, Josef Bertrand L. 3. BACULIO, Carmelita Rita R. 4. BAUTISTA, Ma. Nessa M. 5. BENDIJO, Chris Noel A. 6. CABASA, Theo Joseph N. 7. CABATBAT, Argel Joseph T. 8. CAEG, Caterina Isabel C. 9. CARONONGAN, Tanya Pamela C. 10. CHAVENTE, Aldy V. 11. CONCEPCION, John Ray C. 12. CRUZ, Romina A. 13. DALISAY, Sannet Yves Janet P. 14. DIMALANTA, Adrian Rex C. 15. DU, General D. 16. EBORA, Arianne Rose R. 17. FRANCISCO-REDIMANO, Cecille L 18. FULGENCIO, Jessica Divina E. 19. GAVINO, Noelle S. 20. GOZOS, Jonas Patrick M. 21. GUZMAN, Maria Anna Irene B. 22. HERRERA, Miguel Cornelius C. 23. IMPERIAL, Hazel O. 24. JANDAYAN, Jofred Paul P. 25. JIMENEZ, Charity L. 26. JOSON, Andrea S 27. MABOLO, Rene Paolo G. 28. MAITIM, Melquisedic L. 29. MARCAIDA, Edward John D. 30. MENDOZA, P. Winston B. 31. MIOLE, JR., Hector M. 32. OPERARIO, Rhenelle Mae O. 33. PABLO, Homer L 34. PACETE, Johanna B. 35. PAMALOY, Sittie Raifah M. 36. PEREZ, Richard V. 37. POSTRADO, Realyn M. 38. RODRIGO, Roberto Rey S. 39. SANCHEZ, Janice C. 40. TOLENTINO, Francisco Paolo Rafael G. 41. YAP, Niquee Louise A. 42. YU, Daphne E. 43. ZAMBALES, John Michael U