Saturday, July 30, 2016

Immutability of Final Judgments


“x x x.

Immutability of Final Judgments

The Court denies the petition. As correctly pointed out by the CA, the RTC’s order to implement carried substantial changes in a judgment that had become final and executory. These variations pertained to “(1) the date from which the double rate of interest on the principal amount of the claim, shall be computed; (2) up to when such interest shall run; and (3) the applicable rate of interest.”⁠2 Instead of “double the rate of interest [on the proceeds of insurance] from the date of demand until fully paid,”⁠3 the RTC’s computation for purposes of execution was limited to an interest rate of 6% per annum, resulting in a double rate of only 12% per annum, to be reckoned from the date of the trial court’s judgment until it became final and executory.

Clearly, the RTC’s issuances contravened a settled principle affecting execution of judgments. Time and again, courts have emphasized that a writ of execution must conform substantially to every essential particular of the judgment promulgated. An execution that is not in harmony with the judgment is bereft of validity. This applies because “once a judgment becomes final and executory, all that remains is the execution of the decision which is a matter of right. The prevailing party is entitled to a writ of execution, the issuance of which is the trial court’s ministerial duty.”⁠4 

While exceptions to the rule on immutability of final judgments are applied in some cases, these are limited to the following instances: (1) the correction of clerical errors; (2) the so-called nunc pro tunc entries which cause no prejudice to any party; and (3) void judgments⁠5 ] None of these exceptions attend Stronghold’s case.

Although some arguments advanced by Stronghold appeal to the substantive issues or merits of the RTC’s main judgment that favored Pamana, such matters have long been settled via the RTC decision that had become final and executory. Anent the computation of interest on Stronghold’s liability, it was explained that the notice of loss was promptly served upon Stronghold, but it took more than a year to reject the claim in violation of Section 243 of the Insurance Code.⁠6 Thus, double the applicable rate of interest on the principal award should be imposed.

X x x.”

Interest; in light of Circular No. 799 issued by the BSP on June 21, 2013 decreasing interest on loans or forbearance of money, the CA’s declared rate of 12% per annum shall be reduced to 6% per annum from the time of the circular’s effectivity on July 1, 2013.


“x x x.

Applicable Rate of Interest

A disagreement, however, concerns the question of whether an interest rate of 6% or 12% per annum should apply in the computation, as this subject was not specifically defined in the RTC judgment in the main case. The RTC, in the Order dated November 22, 2005, pegged the interest rate at 6% per annum by explaining that Stronghold’s obligation did not equate to a loan or forbearance of money. On the other hand, the CA explained that the double rate should be based on 12% per annum, as the Insurance Code pertained to a rate “twice the ceiling prescribed by the Monetary Board”⁠7 and thus could only refer to the rate applicable to obligations constituting a loan or forbearance of money.⁠8 

The Court agrees with the CA that given the provisions of the Insurance Code, which is a special law, the applicable rate of interest shall be that imposed in a loan or forbearance of money as imposed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), even irrespective of the nature of Stronghold’s liability. In the past years, this rate was at 12% per annum. However, in light of Circular No. 799 issued by the BSP on June 21, 2013 decreasing interest on loans or forbearance of money, the CA’s declared rate of 12% per annum shall be reduced to 6% per annum from the time of the circular’s effectivity on July 1, 2013. The Court explained in Nacar v. Gallery Frames⁠9 that the new rate imposed under the circular could only be applied prospectively, and not retroactively.⁠10

X x x.”

Estoppel must be proved


“x x x .

Issue of Estoppel

As regards the issue of estoppel raised by Stronghold in view of Pamanas’s receipt of checks issued by the former pursuant to the RTC’s order to implement, the Court rejects the argument in view of a failure to sufficiently establish that Pamana accepted the sums in full satisfaction of their claims.

X x x.”

No customary international law automatically confers nationality to foundlings | The Manila Times Online

"x x x.

No customary international law automatically confers nationality to foundlings
September 28, 2015 8:00 pm

THERE is no customary international law conferring a specific nationality to foundlings. In principle, it is the sovereign right of states to determine who are its citizens and the conditions for acquiring its nationality. However, states must respect their obligations under international law. In the case of the Philippines, the 1987 Constitution determines who are Philippine citizens.

The right to a nationality was one of the rights pronounced by the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), but not to a specific nationality. Its Article 15 (1) declares that “Everyone has a right to a nationality.”

This Declaration was a non-binding instrument consisting of 30 articles adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly with 44 for, none against, and 8 abstentions. The US Supreme Court in a case about arbitrary arrest asserted that because UDHR was not binding at its inception, it could not establish a relevant rule of international law.

The UDHR has served as a template for international agreements on human rights. Among them is the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCCPR), which provides in its Article 24 that:

“2. Every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name.

“3. Every child shall have the right to acquire a nationality.” (Emphasis supplied.)

Subsequently, the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child reiterated and expanded on this right in its Article 7:

“1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.”

Said Article 7 further provides in its Paragraph 2 that “States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particularly where the child would otherwise be stateless.”

Thus, this Convention of the Rights of the Child recognizes the need for legislation for the child to acquire the nationality of a Contracting Party, and also recognizes that if implementing legislation is not passed, a child could be stateless.

The Philippines is a Contracting Part to both the ICCPR and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Prior to the latter Convention, the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Stateless also recognizes that States maintain the right to elaborate the content of their nationality laws but obliges Contracting Parties to grant its nationality to persons born in its territory who would otherwise be stateless. The Philippines is not bound by this Convention because it is not a Contracting Party.

As a Contracting Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Congress of the Philippines has the responsibility to pass legislation to protect the rights of foundlings, referring to those whose father and mother are unknown, specially to acquire Philippine citizenship in accordance with our national law, i. e., the Philippine Constitution. This Convention recognizes that, without legislation passed by the Philippine Congress, a foundling in the Philippines would not be able to acquire Philippine citizenship.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution, like the previous 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, observes the principle of jus sanguinis and distinguishes between natural born citizens (born of Filipino parents) and naturalized citizens. The Philippine Constitutions do not contain any provision expressly granting Filipino citizenship to foundlings, or those whose parents are unknown.

In the case of Senator Grace Poe before the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the media reported that the Petitioner conceded that Senator Poe was a Filipino citizen but questioned whether she is a natural born citizen. A suggestion was made that she is a Filipino citizen by virtue of customary international law but not a natural born citizen because she is not a Filipino by blood (jus sanguinis) but by operation of law (naturalization). On the other hand, as there is no customary international law automatically granting nationality to foundlings, the question arises whether recognition that Senator Poe is a Filipino citizen would imply that she is a Filipino citizen by blood, not having been naturalized. In the end, the issue of whether Senator Poe is a natural born citizen of the Philippines will probably be decided by DNA tests.

The author is Professor-of-Law, Ateneo de Manila University and Pre-Bar Reviewer on International Law, Philippine Christian University.

x x x."

PH complied with UNCLOS to win arbitration | The Manila Times Online

"x x x.

PH complied with UNCLOS to win arbitration
July 29, 2016 10:08 pm

Now the country needs quiet negotiations in invoking rule of law

THE Philippines won in almost all its submissions against China in the South China Sea award by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNLOS) Arbitration Tribunal, including the main issues that compelled the Philippines to urgently file the arbitration complaint, namely: that China had prohibited Philippine fishermen from exercising their historic rights to fish in Scarborough Shoal, and that China had unlawfully interfered with Philippine petroleum exploration in the Reed Bank which is within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. The Tribunal ruled that the decision is final and binding.

The ruling, however, declined the Philippines’ submission that, following the decision, the Tribunal should issue a Declaration that China shall respect the rights and freedoms of the Philippines and comply with its duties under the Convention. The Tribunal “noted that both the Philippines and China have repeatedly accepted that the Convention and general obligations of good faith define and regulate their conduct.”

The Tribunal considered that “the root of the disputes at issue in this arbitration lies in fundamentally different understandings of their respective rights under the Convention in the waters of the South China Sea.” The Tribunal recalled that it is a fundamental principle of international law that bad faith is not presumed, noting that Article 11 of Annex VII provides that the “award … shall be complied with by the parties to the dispute.”

Even inside the Philippines, there was difference of opinion on the issue of historic rights and the effect of the UNCLOS provision on these rights. A group of Philippine lawyers opposed the enactment of Republic Act 9522 defining the archipelagic baselines of the Philippines. This law was passed, on the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs, to ensure that Philippine law conforms with UNCLOS, which the Philippines is bound to observe under the principle of pacta sunt servanda as a party to this Convention. This was necessary to enable the Philippines to come to the UNCLOS tribunals with clean hands in case of need to protect its rights under the Convention.

The petition before the Philippine Supreme Court to declare RA 9522 unconstitutional was based on the Philippines’ historic rights over waters passed by Spain to the United States. The petition alleged that the archipelagic baselines defined in the law reduced Philippine maritime territory in violation of Article 1 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. The petition argued that RA 9522 “dismembers a large portion of the Philippine territory because it discards pre-UNCLOS definition of national territory under the Treaty of Paris and related treaties, successively encoded under the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions.

The petition was based on the Treaty Limits doctrine, which declares that what Spain ceded to the US under the Treaty of Paris, of 1898, were the islands and all the waters found within the boundaries of the rectangular area drawn under the treaty. According to this theory, the territorial waters of the Philippines extend hundreds of miles around the Philippine archipelago, embracing the said rectangular area. However, under UNCLOS, the territorial sea cannot extend beyond 12 nautical miles from the baselines.

The Supreme Court understood that UNCLOS has nothing to do with the acquisition or loss of territory, which is governed by general international law on occupation, accretion, cession and prescription. The baselines are only statutory mechanisms for parties to UNCLOS to delimit with precision the extent of their maritime zones and continental shelves.

The petitioners further objected to the declaration in RA 9522 that the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) shall be determined as “Regime of Islands” because “this weakens our territorial claim” to KIG and results in a great loss of maritime area. However, RA 9522 issued this declaration to make our claim consistent with Article 121 of UNCLOS. The article enunciates the principle that the nature of the land, whether they are islands or rocks, determines its maritime entitlements.

The Supreme Court observed that the KIG was not included in the pre-UNCLOS baselines of the previous law, and that the inclusion of the KIG within the Philippines archipelagic baselines would have resulted in the breach of two provisions of UNCLOS. Consequently, the treatment of KIG within the “regime of islands” was a responsible observance of the Philippine pacta sunt servanda obligation under UNCLOS. Moreover, as noted above, under the UNCLOS “regime of islands,” land features generate their own maritime zones.

It may be noted that the Philippine government, with all the three branches taking part, prepared well to use the rule of law as a shield to protect the Philippines’ maritime zones. This is the first defense of countries against bigger powers. The second plank in the defense of our national territory and maritime zones would be the use of diplomacy and political alliances, and the third should be credible armed forces as a deterrent to unlawful use of force.

The legal strategy of the Philippines in the arbitration case was to question the basis of the nine-dash line because it cuts across and attempts to deprive the Philippines of two-thirds of its EEZ. The Philippines also needed to demonstrate that China has no maritime zones overlapping our EEZ or continental shelf. Once both of these were established, China would have no legal basis to remain in, or to threaten to occupy, any of the submerged features in our EEZ/continental shelf—such as Mischief Reef, Reed Bank or the Second Thomas Shoal—because these would clearly form part of our continental shelf.

It may be noted that the Treaty Limits doctrine is based on the theory of historic rights over waters in the high seas. The Arbitration Tribunal concluded that prior to UNCLOS, the waters of the South China Sea were legally part of the high seas. The Tribunal further concluded that the nine-dash line was a claim of historic rights to resources within the high seas, and that if such rights existed, it was extinguished by the Convention to the extent that they were incompatible with the Convention’s system of maritime zones because the Convention comprehensively allocates rights to maritime areas. China could not, therefore, claim historic rights to resources within the Philippines’ EEZ.

The provision in RA 9522 designating the KIG as within the “regime of islands” allowed the Philippines to maintain that all of the land features within the so-called group of Spratly Islands are rocks without any EEZ. As the land features in the so-called group of Spratly Islands would have only a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles, their maritime zones would not overlap with the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile EEZ/continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea.

The non-designation of baselines for the KIG likewise allowed the Philippine position to be in conformity with the Tribunal’s ruling that the Convention does not provide for a group of islands, such as the Spratly Islands, to generate maritime zones collectively as a unit.

With the absence of overlapping maritime zones between the Philippines and China, the Tribunal ruled that Mischief Reef, Second Thomas Shoal and the Reed Bank, being submerged at high tide, are neither islands nor rocks, and form part of the EEZ and continental shelf of the Philippines.

However, the Tribunal disagreed with the Philippine position that McKennan Reef, located within the Philippines’ EEZ, and Gaven Reef (North), located on the high seas, are submerged features, and ruled that both are high-tide features and are, therefore, rocks with their own 12-nautical-mile territorial sea.

The Philippines did not raise the issue of sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal, which is well within the Philippines’ EEZ, as this is outside the UNCLOS Arbitration Tribunal’s jurisdiction, which is limited to the interpretation or application of the UNCLOS Convention on maritime zones. Likewise, the Arbitration Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to decide which country has territorial sovereignty over McKennan Reef and Johnson Reef, both of which are also within the Philippines’ EEZ. These three rocks are enclaves within the Philippines’ EEZ, with a territorial sea of their own of 12 nautical miles. Unfortunately, the Philippines cannot bring the issue of sovereignty over these rocks to the International Court of Justice or some other tribunal without China’s consent.

This is unfortunate because the UN Charter, under its Art. 2 (3) requires member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace, security and justice are not endangered, and its Art. 2 (4) further provides that: “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

On the other hand, as can be appreciated, the compulsory settlement of disputes by arbitration under the UNCLOS regarding the interpretation and application of its provisions is an example of the progressive development of international law to rule out force in the settlement of international disputes. The state-parties to UNCLOS gave their prior consent to the compulsory settlement mechanism in UNCLOS by ratifying or acceding to the Convention. This innovation under UNCLOS makes it possible that such disputes are settled within a reasonable time in a peaceful manner.

Since the arbitration ruling in favor of the Philippines is a final and binding award, the Philippines has the rule of law firmly in its favor. China has the difficult task of opposing and maintaining its opposition to the rule of law. Although the arbitration case was between the Philippines and China, the arbitration ruling benefits the rest of the world. Vietnam has expressly recognized the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal, while the Tribunal’s decision that the nine-dash line has no legal basis also serves to defend the maritime claims of Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Since the Arbitral Tribunal has declared that the South China Sea, minus the maritime zones of the coastal states, is legally high seas, all the countries of the world enjoy the freedom of the high seas in the South China Sea, including the freedom of fishing. The corresponding deep seabed under the high seas and their resources also pertain to all countries under the concept of common heritage of mankind.

The Arbitration Tribunal noted that both China and the Philippines have repeatedly accepted that the Convention and general obligations of good faith define and regulate their conduct. China needs a little time to resolve its internal debate on the arbitration ruling. Skillful diplomacy and good faith on both sides may enable China to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and comply with the provisions of the UNCLOS Convention.

x x x."

Illegal arrest: when and how accused must question it.

"x x x.

Second, Roallos’ claim that he was denied due process since he was arrested without any warrant of arrest and that he was not afforded a preliminary investigation is likewise untenable. In Miclat, Jr. v. People, the Court emphasized that the accused is estopped from assailing any irregularity attending his arrest should he fail to move for the quashal of the information against him on this ground prior to arraignment, viz:

At the outset, it is apparent that petitioner raised no objection to the irregularity of his arrest before his arraignment. Considering this and his active participation in the trial of the case, jurisprudence dictates that petitioner is deemed to have submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court, thereby curing any defect in his arrest. An accused is estopped from assailing any irregularity of his arrest if he fails to raise this issue or to move for the quashal of the information against him on this ground before arraignment. Any objection involving a warrant of arrest or the procedure by which the court acquired jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be made before he enters his plea; otherwise, the objection is deemed waived. (Citations omitted and emphasis ours)

Similarly, in Villarin v. People, the Court stressed that the absence of a proper preliminary investigation must be timely raised. The accused is deemed to have waived his right to a preliminary investigation by entering his plea and actively participating in the trial without raising the lack of a preliminary investigation. 

Moreover, the absence of a proper preliminary investigation must be timely raised and must not have been waived. This is to allow the trial court to hold the case in abeyance and conduct its own investigation or require the prosecutor to hold a reinvestigation, which, necessarily “involves a re-examination and re-evaluation of the evidence already submitted by the complainant and the accused, as well as the initial finding of probable cause which led to the filing of the Informations after the requisite preliminary investigation.”

Here, it is conceded that Villarin raised the issue of lack of a preliminary investigation in his Motion for Reinvestigation. However, when the Ombudsman denied the motion, he never raised this issue again. He accepted the Ombudsman’s verdict, entered a plea of not guilty during his arraignment and actively participated in the trial on the merits by attending the scheduled hearings, conducting cross-examinations and testifying on his own behalf. It was only after the trial court rendered judgment against him that he once again assailed the conduct of the preliminary investigation in the Motion for Reconsideration. Whatever argument Villarin may have regarding the alleged absence of a preliminary investigation has therefore been mooted. By entering his plea, and actively participating in the trial, he is deemed to have waived his right to preliminary investigation. (Citations omitted and emphases ours)

It is undisputed that, at the time of his arraignment, Roallos did not raise any objection to the supposed illegality of his arrest and the lack of a proper preliminary investigation. Indeed, he actively participated in the proceedings before the RTC. Thus, he is deemed to have waived any perceived irregularity in his arrest and has effectively submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the RTC. He is likewise deemed to have waived his right to preliminary investigation.

x x x."



Land titles; correction of errors in entries in land titles.

"x x x.

At the outset, it bears to reiterate that the CA ruled on the basis of the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1529 (PD 1529), otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree. Specifically, the CA cited Sections 2 and 108 of the said law, which provide as follows:

Section 2. Nature of registration proceedings; jurisdiction of courts. Judicial proceedings for the registration of lands throughout the Philippines shall be in rem and shall be based on the generally accepted principles underlying the Torrens system.

Courts of First Instance shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all applications for original registration of title to lands, including improvements and interests therein, and over all petitions filed after original registration of title, with power to hear and determine all questions arising upon such applications or petitions. The court through its clerk of court shall furnish the Land Registration Commission with two certified copies of all pleadings, exhibits, orders, and decisions filed or issued in applications or petitions for land registration, with the exception of stenographic notes, within five days from the filing or issuance thereof. (emphasis supplied)

Section 108. Amendment, and alteration of certificates. No erasure, alteration, or amendment shall be made upon the registration book after the entry of a certificate of title or of a memorandum thereon and the attestation of the same be Register of Deeds, except by order of the proper Court of First Instance. A registered owner of other person having an interest in registered property, or, in proper cases, the Register of Deeds with the approval of the Commissioner of Land Registration, may apply by petition to the court upon the ground that the registered interests of any description, whether vested, contingent, expectant or inchoate appearing on the certificate, have terminated and ceased; or that new interest not appearing upon the certificate have arisen or been created; or that an omission or error was made in entering a certificate or any memorandum thereon, or, on any duplicate certificate; or that the same or any person on the certificate has been changed; or that the registered owner has married, or, if registered as married, that the marriage has been terminated and no right or interests of heirs or creditors will thereby be affected; or that a corporation which owned registered land and has been dissolved has not convened the same within three years after its dissolution; or upon any other reasonable ground; and the court may hear and determine the petition after notice to all parties in interest, and may order the entry or cancellation of a new certificate, the entry or cancellation of a memorandum upon a certificate, or grant any other relief upon such terms and conditions, requiring security or bond if necessary, as it may consider proper; Provided, however, That this section shall not be construed to give the court authority to reopen the judgment or decree of registration, and that nothing shall be done or ordered by the court which shall impair the title or other interest of a purchaser holding a certificate for value and in good faith, or his heirs and assigns, without his or their written consent. Where the owner’s duplicate certificate is not presented, a similar petition may be filed as provided in the preceding section. (emphasis supplied)

All petitions or motions filed under this Section as well as under any other provision of this Decree after original registration shall be filed and entitled in the original case in which the decree or registration was entered.

The Court notes that the petition was clearly one which was filed after original registration oi title, as provided under the abovequoted Section 2 of PD 1529. Moreover, respondent’s petition was filed with the RTC for the purpose of correcting supposed errors which were committed when entries were made in the subject TCTs, as contemplated under Section 108 of the same law.

However, under settled jurisprudence, the enumerated instances for amendment or alteration of a certificate of title under Section 108 of PD 1529 are non-controversial in nature.⁠1 They are limited to issues so patently insubstantial as not to be genuine issues. The proceedings thereunder are summary in nature, contemplating insertions of mistakes which are only clerical, but certainly not controversial issues.

As early as the case of Tangunan v. Republic of the Philippines⁠2 , which was later cited in Angeles v. Razon, et al.⁠3 , this Court, sitting en banc, ruled that:

x x x the lower court did not err in finding that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain the present petition for the simple reason that it involves a controversial issue which takes this case out of the scope of Section 112 of Act No. 496 [now Section 108 of PD 1529]. While this section, among other things, authorized a person in interest to ask the court for any erasure, alteration, or amendment of a certificate of title “upon the ground that registered interests of any description, whether vested, contingent expectant, or inchoate, have terminated and ceased”, and apparently the petition comes under its scope, such relief can only be granted if there is unanimity among the parties, or there is no adverse claim or serious objection on the part of any party in interest; otherwise the case becomes controversial and should be threshed out in an ordinary case or in the case where the incident properly belongs. Thus, it was held that “It is not proper to cancel an original certificate of Torrens title issued exclusively in the name of a deceased person, and to issue a new certificate in the name of his heirs, under the provisions of Section 112 of Act No. 496, when the surviving spouse claims right of ownership over the land covered by said certificate.” And, in another case, where there was a serious controversy between the parties as to the right of ownership over the properties involved, this court held, “that following the principle laid down in the decision above cited, the issues herein should be ventilated in a regular action x x x.”⁠4 (citations omitted)

In the present case, the Court notes that in a separate action for annulment of title and recovery of ownership filed by petitioner’s wife against respondent, the RTC of Makati City, Branch 137, in its decision in Civil Case No. 91-2648, dated July 5, 1993, made a categorical finding that petitioner and his wife are the lawful owners of the subject properties and ordering respondent to surrender possession thereof to the said spouses.⁠5 This RTC judgment was later affirmed by the CA in its Decision⁠6 in CA-G.R. CV No. 49446, dated April 29, 1997. Respondent, on the other hand, claims that she together with petitioner and his wife subsequently executed an amicable settlement dated June 22, 2000, which was approved by the RTC, wherein petitioner’s wife waived her rights and interests over the said properties. She also alleged that petitioner executed an Affidavit of Declaration Against Interest, dated January 22, 2007, indicating that he has no right or interest over the subject properties. Petitioner, nonetheless, claims that he executed a subsequent Affidavit of Non-Waiver of Interest, dated January 14, 2008, claiming that he was deceived by respondent into signing the said Affidavit of Declaration Against Interest and that he was seriously ill at the time that he affixed his signature.

From the foregoing, there is no question that there is a serious objection and an adverse claim on the part of an interested party as shown by petitioner’s subsequent execution of his Affidavit of Non-Waiver of Interest. The absence of unanimity among the parties is also evidenced by petitioner’s petition seeking the annulment of the RTC Decision which granted respondent’s petition for correction of entries in the subject TCTs. These objections and claims necessarily entail litigious and controversial matters making it imperative to conduct an exhaustive examination of the factual and legal bases of the parties’ respective positions. Certainly, such objective cannot be accomplished by the court through the abbreviated action under Section 108 of PD 1529. A complete determination of the issues in the present case can only be achieved if petitioner and his wife are impleaded in an adversarial proceeding.

In addition, the Court finds apropos to the instant case the ruling in the similar case of Martinez v. Evangelista⁠7 where the petitioner in the said case, being the registered owner of certain real properties, sought to strike out the words “married to x x x” appearing in the Transfer Certificates of Title covering the said properties on the ground that the same was so entered by reason of clerical error or oversight and in lieu thereof the word “single” be substituted, which according to the petitioner in the said case is his true and correct civil status. This Court held that:

x x x x changes in the citizenship of a person or in his status from legitimate to illegitimate or from married lo not married are substantial as well as controversial, which can only be established in an appropriate adversary proceeding as a remedy for the adjudication of real and justifiable controversies involving actual conflict of rights the final determination of which depends upon the resolution of issues of nationality, paternity, filiation or legitimacy of the marital status for which existing substantive and procedural laws as well as other rules of court amply provide.⁠8 

In the present case, it is now apparent that before the trial court can alter the description of the civil status of respondent in the transfer certificates of title in question, it will have to receive evidence of and determine respondent’s civil status. This requires a full dress trial rendering the summary proceedings envisaged in Section 108 of PD 1529 inadequate.

Finally, it is settled that a land registration case is a proceeding in rem, and jurisdiction in rem cannot be acquired unless there be constructive seizure of the land through publication and service of notice.⁠9 However, as found by the CA, respondent failed to comply with the said requirements. In all cases where the authority of the courts to proceed is conferred by a statute, and when the manner of obtaining jurisdiction is mandatory, it must be strictly complied with, or the proceedings will be utterly void.⁠10 It is wrong for the CA to rule in its Amended Decision that publication is not a jurisdictional requirement for the RTC to take cognizance of respondent’s petition. The appellate court’s reliance on the case ofChan v. Court of Appeals⁠11 is misplaced. In the said case, this Court considered the notice to the Register of Deeds as substantial compliance with the notice and publication requirements of the law simply because in the petition for correction filed by the petitioner therein, only the said petitioner and the Register of Deeds had an interest in the correction of titles sought for. This Court ruled that there is therefore no necessity to notify other parties who had no interest to protect in the said petition. This is not true, however, in the present case. As discussed above, on the bases of petitioner’s serious objection and adverse claim, it is apparent that he has an interest to protect. Thus, the ruling in Chan finds no application in the instant case.

x x x."



Consummated Acts Can No Longer Be Restrained By Injunction. - The Lawyer's Post

"x x x.

It is a well-established rule that consummated acts can no longer be restrained by injunction⁠8. When the acts sought to be prevented by injunction or prohibition have already been performed or completed prior to the filing of the injunction suit, nothing more can be enjoined or restrained;⁠9 a writ of injunction then becomes moot and academic,⁠10 and the court, by mere issuance of the writ, can no longer stop or undo the act. To do so would violate the sole purpose of a prohibitive injunction, that is, to preserve the status quo.

Moreover, the issuance of a preliminary injunction is not intended to correct a wrong done in the past, or to redress an injury already sustained, or to punish wrongful acts already committed, but to preserve and protect the rights of the litigant during the pendency of the case.⁠11 

In Philippine National Bank v. Court of Appeals,⁠12 the Court ruled that injunctive reliefs are preservative remedies for the protection of substantive rights and interests. When the act sought to be enjoined has become fait accompli, the prayer for provisional remedy should be denied.

The Court also ruled in Go v. Looyuko⁠13 that when events sought to be prevented by injunction or prohibition have already happened, nothing more could be enjoined or prohibited. It is a universal principle of law that an injunction will not issue to restrain the performance of an act already done. A writ of injunction becomes moot and academic after the act sought to be enjoined has already been consummated.

In the present case, the act sought to be restrained by the petitioners has already been partly accomplished. The actual suspension and expulsion of Co, Cruz, Alegado and Jester from PCCI rendered their prayer for injunctive relief moot. Evidently, it is no longer possible to grant the relief they were seeking – that is, to stop PCCI from implementing their suspension and expulsion – as the same has already been consummated. The status quo can no longer be restored.

Furthermore, Dayrit v. Delos Santos, the case cited by the petitioners is not squarely applicable to the present case. The factual circumstances in that case are clearly distinguishable from those in the present case.

In Dayrit, the party praying for an injunction alleged not only acts that were already committed or consummated, but also those acts that the defendant could still continue to execute unless restrained. Moreover, the acts sought to be restrained in that case (i.e., making excavations, opening a ditch, and construction of a dam) are capable of being continued or repeated. In other words, the defendant’s questioned acts, even if partly or initially executed, are capable of continuation, as these acts consist of several stages that are not consummated by a mere single act.

In the present case, the suspension and expulsion of petitioners Co, Cruz, Alegado and Jester are finished completed acts and which can only be restored depending on the final outcome of the case on the merits. This is different from the acts enjoined in Dayrit which consisted of the making of excavations, opening a ditch, and construction of a dam, which were all continuing.

Hence, we cannot apply the ruling that “not only the commission or execution of such acts, but also their continuation can be prevented or prohibited by an injunction.” Thus, we hold that the trial court’s issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction, insofar as petitioners Co, Cruz, Alegado and Jester, is improper, as the same may no longer be availed of.

x x x."


Well-settled is the rule that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. When supported by substantial evidence, the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are conclusive and binding on the parties and are not reviewable by this Court, unless the case falls under any of the following recognized exceptions

"x x x.

We find that the issues raised by petitioner concern pure questions of fact, which may not be the subject of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

The issues that petitioner is raising now i.e., whether or not the will was signed by the testator in the presence of the witnesses and of one another, whether or not the signatures of the witnesses on the pages of the will were signed on the same day, and whether or not undue influence was exerted upon the testator which compelled her to sign the will, are all questions of fact.

This Court does not resolve questions of fact in a petition for review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Section 1⁠1 of Rule 45 limits this Court’s review to questions of law only.

Well-settled is the rule that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. When supported by substantial evidence, the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are conclusive and binding on the parties and are not reviewable by this Court, unless the case falls under any of the following recognized exceptions:

(1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises and conjectures;

(2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible;

(3) Where there is a grave abuse of discretion;

(4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts;

(5) When the findings of fact are conflicting;

(6) When the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee;

(7) When the findings are contrary to those of the trial court;

(8) When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based;

(9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners’ main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; and

(10) When the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record.⁠2 

x x x."


Employee Embezzlement: 4 Tell-Tale Signs | Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C. - JDSupra

"x x x.

Look for These 4 Warning Signs.

Beyond making prudent accounting changes to match your business success—and avoiding placing trusted employees into a predicament tempting their violation of company trust—these warning signs should alert you to be more vigilant:

Significant Lifestyle Changes. Just like the Collin Street Bakery controller who spent millions on watches, cars and vacation homes, that were noticed and ignored for years, unexplained upgrades in automobiles, exotic vacations and expensive apparel merit close attention and perhaps investigation.

Financial Difficulties. Employees with constant financial troubles have a greater incentive to steal and can generally rationalize almost any behavior when faced with enough pressure from friends, family and creditors. Often not intending to commit fraud, many act out of desperation.

Never Wants to Take a Vacation. Certain types of fraud have to be monitored to maintain and remain undetected. The perpetrator will be unwilling to take a vacation and risk detection.

Constantly Works Overtime and Wants to Take Work Home.Embezzlers often avoid the watchful eyes of co-workers. They need privacy and might work late or take work home to eliminate unannounced visits from fellow employees when dealing with incriminating evidence.

Tilting the Scales in Your Favor.

Trust but verify. Be vigilant. And, be careful. Your self-indulging employee may have won the lottery or inherited from a rich uncle. It might be prudent to offer aid to an employee with a sudden death in the family. Cross-train employees so that trusted, dedicated employees can confidently go on vacation knowing that a competent co-worker is filling in. Consider re-arranging the workloads of those constantly working overtime to improve their work-life balance. Explore the value of both a periodic financial audit by your outside accounting company and their examination of your appropriate financial safeguards.

x x x."

Friday, July 29, 2016

SC reverses earlier ruling on Bt talong, GMOs

"x x x.

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, July 26, reversed its December 2015 ruling which temporarily stopped the field testing, propagation, commercialization, and importation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In a unanimous decision, the SC granted 9 motions for reconsideration filed by Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) talong (eggplant)proponents who earlier asked the High Court to set aside its December 2015 ruling on the ground of mootness. Among these proponents are:
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications Inc.
Environmental Management Bureau
Crop Life Philippines, Inc.
University of the Philippines Los Baños Foundation, Inc.
University of the Philippines

"These cases, which stemmed from respondents' petition for Writ of Kalikasan, were mooted by the expiration of the Biosafety Permits issued by the Bureau of Plant Industry and the termination of Bt talong field trials subject of the permits," the SC, in a media briefer released by spokesperson Theodore Te, said.

"These effectively negated the need for the reliefs sought by respondents as there was no longer any field test to stop."

Petitioners also argued the SC should not have resolved the case on its substantive merits due to mootness, and should not have acted on the constitutional question of whether Department of Agriculture (DA) Administrative Order 08-2002 was unconstitutional, as this matter was only "collaterally raised".

The SC in December 2015 not only permanently stopped the field testing for Bt talong and temporarily stopped any application for field testing, contained use, propagation and importation of GMOs.

It also declared null and void Administrative Order 08-2002, saying the order lacked the minimum safety requirements under Executive Order 514, which established the National Biosafety Framework.

The 2015 decision affirmed the Court of Appeals' (CA) May 2013 ruling which stopped the nationwide field testing of the Bt eggplant, based on the precautionary principle that "there is no full scientific certainty yet as to the effects of Bt talong field trials to the environment and to the health of the people."

In granting then the petition filed by Greenpeace and farmers' group Masipag against respondents UP Los Baños Foundation Inc, UP Mindanao Foundation Inc, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the CA noted that existing regulations of the DA and the Department of Science and Technology were not enough to ensure the safety of the environment and health of the people.

But the SC on its latest ruling noted that when the CA rendered its decision in 2013, "the relief sought and which were granted by the CA were no longer capable of execution". –

x x x."

Reprimand for barrister who encouraged client to seek out damaging information about fellow counsel - Legal Futures

"x x x.

Reprimand for barrister who encouraged client to seek out damaging information about fellow counsel
27 July 2016

Internet search: barrister told client to keep quiet

A barrister who encouraged a client to search online for damaging information about another member of the Bar, and then told her to deny that he had done so, has been reprimanded by a Bar disciplinary tribunal.

It is the second reprimand from a tribunal for Mohammed Omar Faruk, who was called 1996, in eight months.

The tribunal ruling said he was “found to have failed to act with integrity in that, in the course of a telephone conversation with Ms X a client whom he had previously represented and who had also previously been represented by Mr Y, a barrister and professional colleague, invited Ms X to look up the name of Mr Y on the internet well knowing that, when she did so, she would learn of matters which for Mr Y, had involved a matter of personal tragedy, but which Mr Faruk believed nonetheless would tend to damage his reputation in the eyes of Ms X and that Mr Faruk acted with the intention of causing such damage and laughed when doing so”.

Further, Mr Faruk “failed to act with honesty, alternatively failed to act with integrity, in that in the course of a telephone conversation with Ms X referred to above, having invited Ms X to look up the name of Mr Y on the internet, Mr Faruk told Ms X that the conversation was “confidential” and should you ever be asked about it, you would deny that it had taken place”.

Mr Faruk was reprimanded and fined £500, although the decision is still open to appeal.

Last November, Mr Faruk was reprimanded and fined £300 after admitting that he had talked to jurors at Basildon Railway Station after a trial where he had appeared before them, and asked them about the basis for their verdict.

However, though this was in breach of his duty to the court in the administration of justice, the tribunal heard that the conversation was unintentional.

x x x ."

17th Congress of the Philippines: Will laws remain unfunded?

"x x x.

MANILA, Philippines – In 2013, Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero landed in the headlines when he announced that some P500-billion worth of laws remain unfunded.

In a statement, Escudero said that the enactment of a law is meaningless if no budget is alloted for it. In effect, they would be nothing more than empty promises.

Data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) show that P125.1 billion ($2.65 billion) worth of laws remain either without funding or with insufficient sums.

A third of these laws are lodged under education and health sectors. Of those measures, most involve the creation of schools in Northern Mindanao and increasing bed capacities in hospitals.

It's a significant improvement from the way things were back in 2013. But as the 17th Congress convenes, will the list grow longer or shorter?

We examined laws passed since 1991 and give you the lowdown on types of measures that make it through the legislative mill without benefit of financial scrutiny.


According to the legal division of the DBM, a total of 133 laws remain either partially funded or not funded at all.

The table below shows the inventory of unfunded laws passed since 1991 up to October 2015.

To navigate, scroll left or right to see the rest of the columns. Click next to see the rest of the laws.

On the spreadsheet, you will find the features of each law, when each of them was passed, as well as the status of funding.

Of the unfunded measures, only 31 laws specified budgetary requirements. The rest were categorized either as laws with non-quantifiable requirements or with unspecified budgetary requirements.

Of those with specified requirements, the total funding deficiency totals P125.1 billion ($2.65 billion). This status already reflects actual funding releases and allocations under the 2015 and 2016 budgets.

In a statement by the DBM legal division, the 2015 funding deficiency was 18.9% lower than the 2014 figures at P154.2 billion ($3.27 billion).

Empty promises

If passing laws without financing sources is akin to making empty, meaningless promises, then one could say the Congress that has made the most number of empty promises is the 15th Congress.

According to the data, 88 of the 133 laws cited by the DBM were passed during the 15th Congress. Half of these fall under the education sector. Most involve the creation of new schools.

There are also quite a number of laws related to infrastructure which have no funding. Most of these pertain to the conversion of local roads to national roads.

These laws remain unfunded until their district public works offices propose funding requirement, the legal division said.

Meanwhile, those that fall under the health sector are mostly about increasing the bed capacities of hospitals. These were to be sourced from local government funds. (See spreadsheet above)

Fiscal responsibility

In an interview, former DBM Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad explained that lawmakers who introduce bills with a spending measure should always indicate where the funding will come from.

"You have to start from the principle of fiscal responsibility," said Abad. "If you propose a spending measure, because not all bills call for spending, fiscal responsibility dictates – you have to identify how you are going to fund that spending measure."

Without this, Abad said, laws without financing will accumulate.

Financing is typically sourced either from tax or non-tax sources. If current sources are not enough to cover the proposed measure, the lawmaker has to identify where he is going to borrow money, Abad said.

"When we submit a budget, 98% has a source, which are either tax or non-tax revenues. If it's not enough, then you have to be on deficit. Then you have to identify, how you are going to raise deficits by way of debt," he added. "Congress has to do that also."

From the list specified, 102 laws do not even specify funding requirements, while 22 were identified to have non-quantifiable requirements.

An example of laws where requirements are "non-quantifiable", according to the DBM, is RA No. 9994, which grants additional benefits and privileges to senior citizens.

Abad said that it all boils down to identifying where a spending measure should be sourced from and how much it costs. In an ideal world, he said, a lawmaker should propose an increase of taxes to provide for the proposed new spending measure.

He cited the amended Sin Tax law as an example of a law where programs for livelihood and health care have a definite source of funding – the revenue coming from sin tax.

Parochial interests

To a large extent, unfunded measures proliferate because legislators are typically driven by parochial interests and the need to woo their local constituencies.

In the case of schools which make up most of the unfunded laws, for instance, congressmen typically only want to be able to tell their constituents that the law has been passed. How to find money to fund the law is left up to the executive.

"They really don't think about the source of funding," Abad said.

Congress has also been prone to creating additional bureaucracies. This can be a problem, Abad said, because funds get eaten up by administrative expenses, which is not good use of money.

"The problem with creating bureaucracies is that it will be so hard to stop it. It will have a life of its own," said Abad.


The proliferation of unfunded laws is an issue which the proposedPublic Financial Management Accountability Act seeks to address, the legal division said.

The bill aims to strengthen Congress' power to scrutinize the executive agencies' budget performance. In that way, there is closer coordination between the legislative and executive.

In 2015, former Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senator Ralph Recto both introduced similars bills as part of the proposed budget reforms. The bills, however, were not passed during the 16th Congress.

Since July 4, the Bills and Index Service of the House of Representatives has started to accept bills.

Last Monday, July 25, marked the first joint session of Congress.

Will our lawmakers be more fiscally responsible or will they go back to bad habits of passing measures without thinking of where the money will come from?– with research by Ysh Nacino/

x x x."

Ateneo, La Salle presidents speak out vs extrajudicial killings, lament disregard for human life

"x x x.

MANILA - Ateneo de Manila University president Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ and De La Salle Philippines president Br. Jose Mari Jimenez FSC have issued statements to their respective communities, decrying the spate of extrajudicial killings that have hounded the country in relation to the fight against illegal drugs.

Villarin’s statement, published on the university’s Facebook page on Friday, comes after Ateneo High School teacher Emmanuel Jose “Em-J” Pavia was shot dead near his home in Marikina City on July 18.

Villarin described Pavia as a “young and dedicated teacher” whose death “brought untold pain” to the Ateneo community. He said Pavia’s death, as well as the recent proliferation of killings, “compel us to examine our situation and to respond in the light of our common faith in a loving God.”

Villarin acknowledged that the government was working to rid communities of the “drug menace”, which had destroyed the lives not just of individuals, but of families and the nation as a whole.

“However, Christian faith tells us that Jesus came so that all may have life and have it more abundantly (Jn 10,10),” Villarin said. “Because of the fundamental Gospel value and sanctity of each person’s life, the death of anyone regardless of virtue cannot but diminish us, and any society or culture that encourages and multiplies death cheapens life for everyone.”

He called on the Ateneo community to, among others, “promote reverence for life, respect for human rights, and restorative justice;” “espouse best practices in crime prevention and control;” and “address the root causes of violence, including all forms of addiction and bigotry, and help develop effective campaigns and programs against these.”

Authentic social change could not be achieved “with fear as primary motivation or retribution as auxiliary deterrent,” he said. “If real change is to happen, it can only come when we hold before us the value and sanctity of every person’s life.”

Villarin noted that Ateneo’s famed hard court rival La Salle shared the same sentiments, referring to Jimenez’s pastoral letter titled “Engaging Civil Authorities in Building an Inclusive and Life-Giving Society: A Call for Lasallians to Make a Stand against the Culture of Death”, published July 21 on the organization’s website.

Here, Jimenez expressed disturbance over the killings that followed President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against crime and illegal drugs.

What troubled Jimenez more than the number of the dead was “the absence of a significant public outcry against the blatant contempt for the human life and the rule of law that these extra-judicial killings represent.”

“This disregard for the inalienable value of human life and the public silence that gives tacit support for such disregard does not bode well for the vision of a just and humane society enshrined in our Constitution,” Jimenez said.

Such attitudes “undermine the fundamental respect for human dignity,” he added.

“We need to remind everyone that if we want a just and peaceful society, our means must partake of our ends. You cannot build a culture that respects life while relying principally on the instruments of death,” Jimenez stressed.

He quoted Pope Francis as saying in February this year, when calling for the abolition of the death penalty, “The commandment ‘You shall not kill’ has absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty.... It must not be forgotten that the inviolable and God-given right to life also belongs to the criminal.”

Jimenez added that it was a mistake to believe that a peaceful society could result from “denying those suspected of wrongdoing their fundamental rights to life and to due legal process.”

While he echoed the government’s desire to address crime, drug addiction, and corruption, Jimenez said that this should be done within the law and with respect for human dignity and the common good.

He urged the Lasallian educational community to “engage civil authorities, not as adversaries, but as partners in building communities that reflect the values of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality and peace enshrined in our Constitution,” and to teach the youth to “reflect critically and equip them with the values and skills they need to help create a society that upholds human dignity, solidarity and the common good.”

Read Jimenez’s pastoral letter, “Engaging Civil Authorities in Building an Inclusive and Life-Giving Society: A Call for Lasallians to Make a Stand against the Culture of Death” below.

Dear Lasallians,

As a Catholic and a Filipino, I am deeply disturbed by the spate of killings that have attended this administration's pronouncements regarding its anti-crime and illegal-drugs campaign. Media reports indicate that from 10 May to 15 July 2016, cases of drug and crime-related killings have risen to 408* casualties and continue to rise. While these figures are alarming in themselves, what troubles me even more as an educator is the absence of a significant public outcry against the blatant contempt for the human life and the rule of law that these extra-judicial killings represent.

This disregard for the inalienable value of human life and the public silence that gives tacit support for such disregard does not bode well for the vision of a just and humane society enshrined in our Constitution. What these extrajudicial killings demonstrate is how desperate many people have become in the face of the issues of drugs and criminality. The approval of so-called solutions that deny the sanctity of human life and respect for each person's right to due process amounts to a crisis of faith in the possibility of governing our nation by reason and the rule of law. These lethal acts and the attitudes that ground them undermine the fundamental respect for human dignity and the obligations of human solidarity which are the foundation of social life. We need to remind everyone that if we want a just and peaceful society, our means must partake of our ends. You cannot build a culture that respects life while relying principally on the instruments of death.

It is appropriate to recall here the much publicized pronouncement of Pope Francis on 21 February 2016 when he called for the abolition of the death penalty. “The commandment ‘You shall not kill’ has absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty.... It must not be forgotten that the inviolable and God-given right to life also belongs to the criminal." Behind these prophetic words is the vision of a God who refuses to give up on anyone, a God whose mercy embraces all without distinction. As Christians and Catholics, we give witness to the truth about God when we defend the right to life as unconditional. We give witness to the mercy we have received in Christ when we seek to rehabilitate rather than execute wrongdoers.

Furthermore, it is a mistake to believe that we can create a peaceful society by denying those suspected of wrongdoing their fundamental rights to life and to due legal process. The doctrine of the common good rejects any notion that the good of the majority may be attained by violating the fundamental rights of any member of society. It is a mistake to think the respect for the dignity of each individual and the pursuit of the common good are in competition or opposed to one another; indeed protecting and promoting the rights and welfare of each individual is constitutive of the common good. What is needed to create a better society is that all cooperate in insuring the promotion of each one's dignity, rights and responsibilities without exception (Solicitude Rei Socialis 1980).

Thus, while we resonate with our government's desire to address in a resolute way the problems of crime, drug-addiction and corruption, we need to insure that this is done within the framework of the law and the principles of human dignity and the common good enshrined in both our Constitution and in Catholic Social Teaching. To this end, our schools should critically engage civil authorities to insure that effective solutions to these social ills be pursued in the just and right way.

I urge our Lasallian educational communities - Brothers, faculty, students, personnel parents and alumni - to take up this urgent task. We need to engage civil authorities, not as adversaries, but as partners in building communities that reflect the values of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality and peace enshrined in our Constitution. In our various educational spaces, let us teach young people to reflect critically and equip them with the values and skills they need to help create a society that upholds human dignity, solidarity and the common good. Let us embed these three principles in our own school cultures, in our curricula, indeed in the understanding of the professions we educate our students towards. Furthermore, let us use the resources and influence of our schools to help create more life-giving conditions for those disadvantaged communities within our reach where often, the young and the poor become vulnerable to the machinations of corrupt and criminal elements.

Let us not allow violence to rule us but in every circumstance be vigilant and zealous in upholding the dignity and rights of all as befits responsible citizens and followers of Christ.


Br. Jose Mari Jimenez FSC

President, De La Salle Philippines

Auxiliary Visitor, De La Salle Brothers – Philippines

x x x."

Dating back to 1955, RA 1405 covers “all deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions in the Philippines.”

"x x x.

MANILA, Philippines -- Senator Panfilo Lacson has filed a bill that would remove government officials from the protection of the Bank Secrecy Law to aid efforts to stamp out graft and corruption.

“The avowed purpose of the law is meritorious in preserving the confidentiality of bank transactions. Unfortunately, this provision of the law prohibiting the disclosure of or inquiry to bank deposits had been exploited time and again to hamper and stall investigations of government officials and employees suspected of enriching themselves while in public office,” Lacson said, explaining why he filed Senate Bill No. 47.

By excluding government officials and employees, both elected and appointed, from the coverage of the law, Lacson said “authorities will be equipped with the tools needed to go after crooks in government.”

Dating back to 1955, RA 1405 covers “all deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions in the Philippines.”

Lacson’s bill will amend Section 2 of the law to exclude from its coverage all depositors who are elective or appointive officials or employees of the government, from the president down to the lowest-ranking employee, members of the uniformed services, and officers and employees of government-owned and controlled corporations.

Exceptions to this include the written permission of the depositor, cases of impeachment, or upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or in cases where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation.

x x x."

Non-profit, non-stock schools are tax-exempt | Inquirer News

"x x x.

MANILA — Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay has maintained that all revenues being generated by non-profit, non-stock educational institutions are tax-exempt, reversing yet another of his predecessor Kim S. Jacinto-Henares’ policies.

Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 44-2016 issued by Dulay last July 25 excluded such institutions from the coverage of RMO 20-2013 earlier issued by Henares.

Dulay said that paragraph 3, Section 4, Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution stated that: “All revenues and assets of non-stock, non-profit educational institutions used actually, directly and exclusively for educational purposes shall be exempt from taxes and duties.”

The BIR chief said this was supplemented by Section 30(H) of the 1997 National Internal Revenue Code or the Tax Code, which listed non-stock and non-profit educational institutions as exempt from tax on corporations.

“It is clear and unmistakable from the aforequoted constitutional provision that non-stock, non-profit educational institutions are constitutionally exempt from tax on all revenues derived in pursuance of its purpose as an educational institution and used actually, directly and exclusively for educational purposes. This constitutional exemption gives the non-stock, non-profit educational institutions a distinct character,” Dulay explained.

“[F]or the constitutional exemption to be enjoyed, jurisprudence and tax rulings affirm the doctrinal rule that there are only two requisites: the school must be non-stock and non-profit; and the income is actually, directly and exclusively used for educational purposes. There are no other conditions and limitations,” the BIR chief added.

Dulay said “the constitutional conferral of tax exemption upon non-stock and non-profit educational institutions should not be implemented or interpreted in such a manner that will defeat or diminish the intent and language of the Constitution.”

The Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP) earlier sought the repeal of RMO 20-2013, citing that the order “was already declared null and void in the case filed by St. Paul’s College of Makati.”

“The requirement for non-stock, non-profit educational institutions to secure certification from the BIR is considered unconstitutional,” TMAP had noted.

Last February, Henares issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 24-2016, which reiterated a Department of Finance order in 1995 requiring non-stock, non-profit educational institutions to submit, on an annual basis, documents detailing the state of their finances.

Henares had said that these institutions should be “subject to internal revenue taxes on income from trade, business or other activity, the conduct of which is not related to the exercise or performance by such educational institution of its educational purpose or function.” SFM

x x x."

Duterte's "Con-Ass"

The perrenially inconsistent Duterte has again changed his mind. The trapos-infested and dynasties-controlled Duterte Congress (with a Fake Minority) will convert itself into a "Constituent Assembly" or "Con-Ass" to railroad the revision of the Constitution to adopt Duterte's "Federal System" dream.

Duterte renegs on his campaign promise to call for a "Constitutional Convention" or "Con-Con" composed of independent-minded, non-partisan and scholarly Delegates elected by the people to revise the Constitution.

Although a "National Referendum" determines whether or not the people will ultimately ratify the revisions crafted by a "Con-Ass", nevertheless, it is risky and unwise to entrust to partisan trapos-warlords and their dynasties, at the first instance, the revision of the Basic Law of the land. Their vested political and economic interests are massive, entrenched and suspicious.

We, as a sovereign people, are mandated by "national interest" and "self-determination" to vigilantly move for a truly democratic method of revising our Constitution, that is, a "Con-Con", as Duterte himself expressly promised when he was actively courting our precious votes last election.

That is the best and the wisest way of protecting our future as a nation.

- Atty. Manuel J. Laserna Jr.