Thursday, January 19, 2017

“I cannot keep quiet in the face of evil. I cannot. This is an option I made even when I was young, that the most important thing in my life is about loving God and my fellow man. So being silent in the face of evil is not an option for me.” - Atty. Ted Laguatan, San Francisco, CA, USA




"x x x.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Rumors of a plot that a group Filipinos overseas in the US are actively trying to oust Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and elevate Vice-President Leni Robredo to assume power, continue.

An online discussion board, as well as the US Pinoys for Good Governance, have been linked as evidence to the plot.

San Francisco-based Fil-Am human rights lawyer and member of the US Pinoys for Good Governance, Ted Laguatan, has been named as a conspirator to oust Duterte — due to his articles in online news site, The Inquirer.

Laguatan continues to deny such allegations.

“In those emails that they chose, we were discussing legitimate protest rallies against the extrajudicial killings, and the hero’s burial of [Ferdinand] Marcos. So they cherry picked these emails,” Laguatan said. “They created a story that because of this, it is proof that we want to oust Duterte, which is not true.”

Because of this, Laguatan has been facing increased backlash via online comments, emails, and phone calls.

However, the attorney is not backing down.

“I cannot keep quiet in the face of evil. I cannot,” he said. “This is an option I made even when I was young, that the most important thing in my life is about loving God and my fellow man. So being silent in the face of evil is not an option for me.”

Laguatan says that he is simply exercising his freedom to openly discuss the issue of human rights violations that is happening, due to Duterte’s war on drugs.

“Free speech is important in the marketplace of ideas, so the theory is that the best ideas come out when there’s widespread discussion of issues,” he adds. “The best ideas are promoted and becomes part of policy. But by creating a climate of fear of speaking out; then you don’t have a vibrant democracy.”

Laguatan reiterates that intimidation will not stop him from writing more articles that criticize President Duterte — or from organizing and participating in protests — but he does say he has hope for the Philippines.

“I pray for the Philippines. I pray for the Filipino people. I even pray for Duterte and his men — I don’t hate them. I hate the evil that they do. I hate the sins that they do. Clearly, mass murder is against the commandment of God.

x x x."

Philippine Economy - The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency



"x x x.


The economy has been relatively resilient to global economic shocks due to less exposure to troubled international securities, lower dependence on exports, relatively resilient domestic consumption, large remittances from about 10 million overseas Filipinos.

Efforts to improve tax administration and expenditures management have helped ease the Philippines' debt burden and tight fiscal situation. The Philippines received investment-grade credit ratings on its sovereign debt under the former AQUINO administration.

Economic growth has accelerated, averaging 6.0% per year from 2011 to 2016, compared with 4.5% under the MACAPAGAL-ARROYO government; and competitiveness rankings have improved. FDI to the Philippines has continued to lag regional peers.

Although the economy grew at a faster pace under the AQUINO government, challenges to achieving more inclusive growth remain. The unemployment rate has declined somewhat in recent years but remains high, hovering at around 6.5%; underemployment is also high.

2016 saw the election of President Rodrigo DUTERTE, who has pledged to make poverty reduction his top policy priority. Duterte believes that illegal drug use, crime and corruption are key barriers to economic development among the lower class. 


$801.9 billion (2016 est.)
$753.7 billion (2015 est.)
$711.6 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
country comparison to the world: 30


$311.7 billion (2015 est.)


6.4% (2016 est.)
5.9% (2015 est.)
6.2% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16


$7,700 (2016 est.)
$7,400 (2015 est.)
$7,100 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
country comparison to the world: 154


25.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
24.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45


household consumption: 72.9%
government consumption: 10.9%
investment in fixed capital: 22.3%
investment in inventories: -0.3%
exports of goods and services: 24.8%
imports of goods and services: -30.6% (2016 est.)


agriculture: 9.7%
industry: 30.5%
services: 59.8% (2016 est.)


sugarcane, coconuts, rice, corn, bananas, cassava (manioc, tapioca), pineapples, mangoes; pork, eggs, beef; fish


electronics assembly, garments, footwear, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wood products, food processing, petroleum refining, fishing


6.8% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20


42.8 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16


agriculture: 29%
industry: 16%
services: 55% (2015 est.)


6.6% (2016 est.)
6.3% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74


25.2% (2012 est.)


lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 30.5% (2012 est.)


46 (2012)
46.4 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 34


revenues: $45.54 billion
expenditures: $48.76 billion (2016 est.)


14.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192


-1% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49


42.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
44.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: data cover debt issued by the national government, and excludes debt instruments issued by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data exclude debt issued by social security institutions,
country comparison to the world: 111


calendar year


1.7% (2016 est.)
1.3% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101


6.13% (31 December 2015)
6.13% (31 December 2014)
country comparison to the world: 64


6% (31 December 2016 est.)
5.58% (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126


$66.03 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$56.56 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46


$187.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$171 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42


$187.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$166.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47


$238.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$261.8 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$217.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30


$5.542 billion (2016 est.)
$8.396 billion (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24


$38.2 billion (2016 est.)
$43.28 billion (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51


semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, fruits


Japan 21.1%, US 15%, China 10.9%, Hong Kong 10.6%, Singapore 6.2%, Germany 4.5%, South Korea 4.3% (2015)


$60.95 billion (2016 est.)
$64.97 billion (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43


electronic products, mineral fuels, machinery and transport equipment, iron and steel, textile fabrics, grains, chemicals, plastic


China 16.2%, US 10.8%, Japan 9.6%, Singapore 7%, South Korea 6.5%, Thailand 6.4%, Malaysia 4.8%, Indonesia 4.4% (2015)


$79.99 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$80.67 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29


$77.46 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$77.46 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55


$62.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$59.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55


$44.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$41.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46


Philippine pesos (PHP) per US dollar -
47.08 (2016 est.)
45.503 (2015 est.)
45.503 (2014 est.)
44.395 (2013 est.)
42.23 (2012 est.)

x x x."

Duterte wants a totally unhampered one-man rule. Only a revolutionary government can give him that satisfaction.




"Revolutionary government" is the ultimate hidden target of Duterte and his legal and security teams. Not martial law.

The Constitution constricts the martial law powers of the Executive in reaction to the dark, violent, corrupt and hypocritical regime of The Dictator Marcos.

Duterte wants a totally unhampered one-man rule. Only a revolutionary government can give him that satisfaction.

His lame excuses -- war on drugs, ISIS, Abu Sayyaf, and others that he might soon invent -- do not constitute invasion and rebellion, the two limited grounds allowed by the Constitution to declare martial law.

What Duterte really wants is a revolution and coup d'etat from the Center/Executive, the very same philosophy that Marcos peddled to the people in the 1970s to justify his dictatorship.

This time, though, Duterte is unsure as to whether the Military and the Sovereign Filipino People would obey him and as to whether America and world opinion would support his move.

He bids his time.

Meanwhile, he conditions the minds of the people by his outrageous threats, by the fake news of his his social media trolls and spin doctors, and by promoting sensationalized police operations against criminals --- the same old tactics of Marcos and Hitler.

Duterte is Marcos and Hitler reborn.

To him, the Democratic System is a necessary evil within which he is constrained to work.

He is fed up with Democracy.

Inside Controversial President of the Philippines' Bloody Drug War




"President Rodrigo Duterte has called on police and citizens to kill drug dealers and users, and there have been thousands of killings."

The Philippines' Drug Problem: Hitmen, Dealers And Duterte’s War On Addicts





"Thousands of people have been dragged from their homes and executed on the streets since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared a new war on drugs. Police are allegedly playing both sides of the war, while contract killers do the dirty work and users surrender to jail cells, in fear of their lives. Follow along with photojournalists on the front lines of the murder beat, where killings are a daily occurrence and the streets run with blood."

50,000 prisoners to gain from penal code reform





Proposed amendments to the more than 80-year-old Revised Penal Code may set free or reduce the sentence of 50,000 poor inmates.


On Death Penalty: viewpoints of the Philippine Constitution, the Bible, the Catholic Church, and the United Nations.



Manny Pacquiao on death penalty:

(1) “God allows governments to use capital punishment. Even Jesus Christ was sentenced to death because the government imposed the rule then.”

(2) “Ano ba basis mo to oppose? Because of your religious beliefs or because of the Constitution? Siguro naman the Constitution allows death penalty for heinous crimes."

(3) "And then sa Panginoon, biblically, binibigyan ng Panginoon ng karapatan ang government to use capital punishment. Even Jesus Christ nga nasentensyahan nang kamatayan dahil ang government nag-impose talaga ng kamatayan."

(4) "You are not a good leader if you are making decisions with your own conscience.”

(5) "Bible says, 'Thou shall not kill.' We are not talking individuals here, meaning kung nagkasala ka sa 'kin, 'di puwede ilagay batas sa akin na patayin kita.”

MY NOTES:


(a) Excessive fines shall not be imposed, NOR CRUEL, DEGRADING OR INHUMAN PUNISHMENT BE INFLICTED. 

(b) NEITHER SHALL DEATH PENALTY BE IMPOSED, UNLESS, FOR COMPELLING REASONS INVOLVING HEINOUS CRIMES, THE CONGRESS HEREAFTER PROVIDES FOR IT. 

© ANY DEATH PENALTY ALREADY IMPOSED SHALL BE REDUCED TO RECLUSION PERPETUA.

(2) WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

(a) The OLD TESTAMENT prescribed the death penalty for an extensive list of crimes including (http://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_CapitalPunishment.htm):

· Murder (Exodus 21:12-14; Leviticus 24:17,21)
· Attacking or cursing a parent (Exodus 21:15,17)
· Disobedience to parents (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
· Kidnapping (Exodus 21:16)
· Failure to confine a dangerous animal, resulting in death (Exodus 21:28-29)
· Witchcraft and sorcery (Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 20:27, Deuteronomy 13:5, 1 Samuel 28:9)
· Human sacrifice (Leviticus 20:2-5)
· Sex with an animal (Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 20:16)
· Doing work on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14, 35:2, Numbers 15:32-36)
· Incest (Leviticus 18:6-18, 20:11-12,14,17,19-21)
· Adultery (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22)
· Homosexual acts (Leviticus 20:13)
· Prostitution by a priest's daughter (Leviticus 21:9)
· Blasphemy (Leviticus 24:14,16, 23)
· False prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:20)
· Perjury in capital cases (Deuteronomy 19:16-19)
· Refusing to obey a decision of a judge or priest (Deuteronomy 17:12)
· False claim of a woman's virginity at time of marriage (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)
· Sex between a woman pledged to be married and a man other than her betrothed (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).

(b) NEW TESTAMENT

“The Old Testament ideas of punishment became secondary to Jesus' message of LOVE AND REDEMPTION. Both reward and punishment are seen as properly taking place in eternity, rather than in this life.

LOVE is the principle that must guide all our actions (Matthew 5:43-48, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28, Romans 13:9-10, Galatians 5:14). Christians are bound by Jesus' commands to "Love the Lord your God" and "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:34-40). WE ARE NO LONGER BOUND BY THE HARSH OLD TESTAMENT LAW (John 1:16-17, Romans 8:1-3, 1 Corinthians 9:20-21).

JESUS FLATLY REJECTED THE OLD TESTAMENT PRINCIPLE OF TAKING EQUAL REVENGE FOR A WRONG DONE. (Matthew 5:38-41, Luke 9:52-56). He also said that we are all sinners and do not have the right to pass judgment on one another (Matthew 7:1-5). In the case of a woman caught in adultery (a capital offense), Jesus said to those who wanted to stone her to death,

"Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, sir." And Jesus said, "NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU. GO YOUR WAY, AND FROM NOW ON DO NOT SIN AGAIN." (NRSV, John 8:7-11)

The apostle Paul also warned against taking revenge for a wrong done (Romans 12:17-21, 1 Thessalonians 5:15). Likewise, the apostle Peter warned us NOT TO REPAY EVIL WITH EVIL (1 Peter 3:9).” (Id.).

(c) CATHOLIC CHURCH CATHECHISM.

2267. Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm-without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself-the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent."

From Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, copyright © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc., http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt3sect2chpt2art5.htm.” (Id.)

(3) UNITED NATIONS; INTERNATIONAL LAW ON DEATH PENALTY.

“x x x.

SECOND OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS. - Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 44/128 of 15 December 1989. 

(Note: The Philippines is a signatory to the Covenant and the Second Optional Protocol).

"X x x.

Believing that abolition of the death penalty contributes to enhancement of human dignity and progressive development of human rights,

Recalling article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on 10 December 1948, and article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted on 16 December 1966,

Noting that article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights refers to abolition of the death penalty in terms that strongly suggest that abolition is desirable,

Convinced that all measures of abolition of the death penalty should be considered as progress in the enjoyment of the right to life,

Desirous to undertake hereby an international commitment to abolish the death penalty,

X x x . 

Article 1

1. No one within the jurisdiction of a State Party to the present Protocol shall be executed.

2. Each State Party shall take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty within its jurisdiction.

Article 2

1. No reservation is admissible to the present Protocol, except for a reservation made at the time of ratification or accession that provides for the application of the death penalty in time of war pursuant to a conviction for a most serious crime of a military nature committed during wartime.

2. The State Party making such a reservation shall at the time of ratification or accession communicate to the Secretary-General of the United Nations the relevant provisions of its national legislation applicable during wartime.

3. The State Party having made such a reservation shall notify the Secretary-General of the United Nations of any beginning or ending of a state of war applicable to its territory.

Article 3

The States Parties to the present Protocol shall include in the reports they submit to the Human Rights Committee, in accordance with article 40 of the Covenant, information on the measures that they have adopted to give effect to the present Protocol.

X x x.

(See - http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/2ndOPCCPR.aspx).

20 years for stealing P251? Penal Code overhaul starts | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com



"x x x.

Senators are now moving to rewrite outdated provisions in the RPC – a move expected to benefit mostly poor persons subjected to what is deemed cruel and unusual punishment.
The Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revisions of codes and laws conducted its first and only public hearing on the proposed amendments to the RPC yesterday, the report of which would be presented in plenary within the month.
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“Even the finest pieces of legislation are rendered obsolete by the passage of time. In this case, 80 years. Today, beyond obsolescence, the RPC may even be attacked as inflicting cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment, which is, as we all know, in violation of our Bill of Rights, Section 19, Article 3 of our Constitution,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, head of the committee.
“For is it not clearly cruel, degrading and inhuman to imprison for 12 years and 1 day to 20 years one who is found guilty of robbery in a public building, such as the Senate, or a church, where the value of the property is only P251. Isn’t that cruel?” he added.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Drilon also said that due to the outdated provisions of the RPC, a significant number of people in prison were convicted of petty crimes or property-related crimes such as theft.
x x x."

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Filipinos will always prefer the noise and clatter of a democratic country than the silence of cemeteries."





"x x x.

Presently, fear stalks the land under the draconian program of President Duterte to stop illegal drugs. More than 6,000 Filipinos have already been killed so far as President Duterte aims for his goal of 3 million drug users dead until he folds up his tent at the end of his six-year term.

This method is totally abhorrent in the eyes of God who is the author of life. We should hang our heads in shame as decent societies brand the Philippines “the murder capital of the world.” Can we be proud of our country’s improving economy if its citizens cower in fear for being the next target of Mr. Duterte’s brutality?

President Duterte has promised good things during his six-year term as president. But those promises will just be “like paper roses that will exude no fragrance” if the citizens are not guaranteed judicial process that will safeguard them from arbitrary arrests and death?

The Inquirer editorial did not emphasize this factor enough. For while the Duterte administration may deliver on some of his election promises, his success can only be measured by one important indicato—the preservation of the life of its citizens.

Filipinos will always prefer the noise and clatter of a democratic country than the silence of cemeteries.

- CARLOS D. ISLES, carlosisles@gmail.com

x x x ."

"...what are the chances of Bongbong becoming the next vice president...?"





"x x x.

In his Jan. 15, 2017 column (“Will SC oust Leni and other LPs,” Opinion), former chief justice Artemio Panganiban wrote: “My column ‘Will Bongbong replace Leni?’ (12/18/16) concluded that, in the normal course… the election protest filed by Bongbong Marcos against Leni Robredo… will take a few more years before we see any light.” He seemed to tell us not to worry, Bongbong’s ascendancy to an office just a heartbeat away from the presidency can wait. He assumed, of course, that events would take their “normal course.”

Panganiban opined that what the Supreme Court may resolve earlier is the alleged violation committed by the Liberal Party of the law on “statement of contributions and expenses,” which could result in the disqualification of the winning candidates it nominated for election last year. However, any decision in that case would not result in Bongbong being proclaimed (as second placer) in lieu of Robredo. Her replacement can only come from Congress, of which Bongbong is no longer a member. Hence, no alarm bells there.

With due respect, we think that given the prevailing political conditions we are in presently, anything can happen. When the entire nation put its guard down, President Duterte ordered a “hero’s burial” for the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, in blatant defiance of history which has long laid the issue to rest: Marcos was a scoundrel; he has no place in a “cemetery for heroes”! And just as the nation thought the Court would have the greater wisdom to knock some sense into DU30’s head, it decided to yield to executive privilege despite the manifest mockery staring it in the face.

And now this scary scenario: By 2019 alone, DU30 will have enjoyed the prerogative of appointing 10 justices to the Supreme Court (in lieu of those retiring) who, as members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), will have the opportunity to render judgment on Bongbong’s protest against Robredo. That, by itself, will already be a supermajority in DU30’s pocket. As in the case of his Cabinet, there is no question that Mr. Duterte will pack that Court with schoolmates and friends eager and willing to do his capricious bidding.

This is by no means discounting the possibility that the current majority in the Supreme Court, which had no problem treating the late dictator a virtual “hero,” may simply brazen it out and go all the way—fast-track Bongbong’s protest against Robredo and deliver the vice presidency to him on a silver platter sooner. Having become so impervious to public outrage, could they really care less if the whole country went to the dogs?

So, again, what are the chances of Bongbong becoming the next vice president, as Duterte already announced for all and sundry to hear during his visit to China last year—with Bongbong in tow and grinning from ear to ear? Any which way one may look at it, it’s a foregone conclusion. And to prepare the country for Bongbong’s succession to the presidency, Duterte has already made it known that he is too sick to finish his term and may hand the reins of power over to the vice president.

Even in a mid-term or last-minute succession, Bongbong will be a sitting president boning up for a presidential election in 2022 and in command of all the resources of government. No rocket science is needed to see who is going to sit on the Malacañang throne next. A reprise of “Imeldificalifragilisticexpialidocious” reign coming up, anyone?

God save us!

- GEORGE DEL MAR, gdmlaw111@gmail.com

x x x."

"...the power to reorganize the uncooperative out of bureaucratic existence..."





"x x x.

An offer no bureaucrat can refuse
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:05 AM January 18, 2017


How do you leave a lasting mark on the system? You engage in a Great Reorganization. Such reorganization has happened only five times since the modern presidency began in 1935.

The first was enacted at the start of the Commonwealth in 1935, implemented in 1936, and concluded by 1938. The second was enacted in 1946 at the start of the Third Republic; a committee set up accordinglyfinished its work by 1947. The third was enacted in 1950, with a commission, set up the same year, concluding its work in 1951. The fourth was enacted in 1968, in the twilight of the Third Republic, but despite attempts to move it on in 1970 and to accomplish it by 1971, it required martial law and the first assertion of decree-making powers by President Marcos to make it finally take place.

Notably, in contrast to the previous reorganizations, Marcos’ reorganization was decreed and accompanied by his assertion of his powers as commander in chief to assume control not just of executive offices, but also of all local governments—and putting every official on notice that “[they] shall continue to function under their present officers and employees and in accordance with existing laws, until otherwise ordered by me or by my duly designated representative.” Which essentially meant: Cooperate, or else.

The process was declared completed in 1973, but the commission set up for the purpose was allowed to pursue reorganization plans. Not wanting to be limited by parliament, in 1978 Marcos granted himself continuing authority to reorganize the government, which he decreed he could do in 1981 (setting up a permanent committeeto do it) and 1985.

The fifth, and most recent, reorganization took place under Cory Aquino in 1986, for which she used her revolutionary powers. With the Administrative Code of 1987 of the Fifth Republic, she retained the power to reorganize as far as the executive department was concerned, and a law was introduced in 1988, authorizing early retirement for the affected employees.

Since then, presidents have asserted the continuing authority granted by the Administrative Code to tinker with the executive department’s setup, but not in a cohesive way.

President Duterte began his term with an assertion (Executive Order No. 1) of the continuing power to reorganize the executive. Interesting, because aside from citing the Constitution and the Administrative Code of 1987, the order referred to the Marcos decrees of 1978 and 1981 (which you would think would have been rendered obsolete by now). I wrote about the implications of this issuance last Dec. 14.

So when the President’s Budget Message (pp. 23-24), submitted after his first State of the Nation Address last July, contained a statement of intent to propose the enactment by Congress of a reorganization law, I was surprised no one took notice. If it happens, it will be the first large-scale revamp of the executive in over a generation. The term used was “government rightsizing.” The President seeks “authority from Congress to eliminate redundant, duplicative, and overlapping functions in the Executive Branch.” He intends to file “a proposed Streamlining the Government Act that empowers the Executive to conduct a comprehensive review of… functions and organizational structures, to merge or abolish agencies, and to implement other measures. . . . The proposed law will also provide a reasonable separation package for the personnel who may be affected.”

Considering that a reorganization of the entire government would be required if a new Constitution is adopted, you have to wonder why a reorganization is being contemplated now. To be sure, a reorganization is overdue, but even administrative matters can be highly political. A reorganization law in 2017 would be like a reorganization decree in 1972: Cooperate, or else. Which would be a good warning to make as the administration confronts the problem all its predecessors faced: Political parties are unreliable.

What you want is a movement. But such movement requires official cooperation. What better way to stimulate enthusiasm than the power to reorganize the uncooperative out of bureaucratic existence?

Twitter: @mlq3; FB: www.facebook.com/mlquezon3

x x x."



President vs. Supreme Court -- "The President’s expression of blithe indifference, then, to the role of the Supreme Court in the imposition of martial law represents a new low in our history: It marks the first time that the chief executive has threatened to use his commander-in-chief powers against the Court itself."




"x x x.

And once again, unprompted and unprovoked, President Duterte has raised the specter of martial law. “Kung gusto ko [If I want], and if it [the illegal drugs problem] will deteriorate into something really very virulent, I will declare martial law if I want to. Walang makapigil sa akin (No one can stop me),” he told the Davao City Chamber of Commerce last Saturday.

Unlike previous occasions, when he seemed respectful of the limits the Constitution placed on the president’s commander-in-chief powers, this time he substituted his own understanding of national survival for the Constitution’s express provisions. To prevent abuse, the Charter’s framers had allowed the use of martial law only when at least one of two specific conditions existed, either rebellion or invasion, and additionally only when one of these conditions constituted a danger to public safety.

On Saturday, President Duterte offered a new reason. “If I have to declare martial law, I will declare it, not because of invasion, insurrection, I will declare martial law to preserve my nation, period.”

Aware that the other branches of government had essential roles to play in the imposition of martial rule, he told his audience he couldn’t care less what the Supreme Court did. “Wala akong pakialam diyan sa [I don’t care about the] Supreme Court because of the right to preserve one’s life and my nation. My country transcends everything else, even the limitation.” It is telling that he did not mention Congress; perhaps he thinks he already controls it and it will do his bidding.

But even though the President used two qualifiers to soften the blow (“If I want,” “if it becomes very virulent”), his raising of the specter of martial law was meant as a warning and must still be understood as a threat.

In the first place, the Philippine National Police has called the unfortunately named war on drugs an ongoing success; we have joined our voice to the chorus of protest over the thousands of mere suspects killed in the war, and we include ourselves among those skeptical of claims of success when supposed drug addicts are not rehabilitated but merely warned off. But if the police are right, why is the President even talking about the possibility that the problem will grow worse?

Secondly, the President has not explained how deploying the Armed Forces in the so-called war on drugs would solve the problem—if the PNP, a larger force, cannot solve it. Without this explanation, or indeed a credible definition of the true state of the problem, the declaration of martial law would only mean he would have fewer restrictions to worry about, in prosecuting the war.

Thirdly, for a lawyer who says he has no choice but to follow the rule of law in general and the Supreme Court decision in particular in the matter of the Marcos burial, the President certainly speaks like a politician who does not care about the law or the Court when it suits him. Of all the statements that he unburdened himself of on Saturday, his outright dismissal of the Supreme Court is the most worrying.

There is a reason why the third branch of government is the weakest by design. It does not have a coercive force to ensure that its own decisions are followed, especially by the legislature or by the sprawling executive, because its wisdom is supposed to be compelling enough to guarantee enforcement. If Congress holds the power of the purse, and the instruments of state violence are in the safekeeping of the presidency and his alter egos, the Court is meant to be the apolitical seat of reason.

For its decisions to be followed, the Court must depend on the willing cooperation of the executive. (It must also ensure that its rulings are driven by the Holmesian ideal of the logic of experience, rather than political accommodation.)

The President’s expression of blithe indifference, then, to the role of the Supreme Court in the imposition of martial law represents a new low in our history: It marks the first time that the chief executive has threatened to use his commander-in-chief powers against the Court itself.


x x x."


Motion for cease and desist order (CDO) in HLURB; sample.

Our law office had prepared a motion for issuance of a cease and desist order which was filed in the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) in connection with an election conflict between two contesting sets of elected leaders in a subdivision. We are sharing the motion for legal research purposes of our readers and followers.


Republic of the Philippines
Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council
HOUSING AND LAND USE REGULATORY BOARD
7/F Sunnymede IT Center, Quezon Avenue Quezon City


(CASE CAPTION ommitted...)


URGENT MOTION FOR ISSUANCE OF CEASE AND DESIST ORDER
    
THE COMPLAINANTS, pro se, respectfully state:

I.                 INTRODUCTION.

In the Petition filed by the Complainants on xxx, they sought to restrain the Respondents from intervening in the internal administrative, organization, leadership and other affairs and activities of the xxx Subdivision Homeowners Association Inc. (xxx).

The HLU Arbiter, xxx issued an Order, directing both parties to appear on xxx to hear the application for the Cease and Desist Order (CDO).

After a short discussion on the CDO issue, the HLU Arbiter ordered the complainants to elaborate the acts of the respondents to be restrained giving the complainants five (5) days or until xxx to submit the necessary motion and since the xxx is Saturday, this motion would be submitted on xxx.

II.            STATEMENT OF FACTS 

1.      The HLURB Board of Commissioners had issued a DECISION, dated xxx, in HLURB Case No. NCRHOA-A-xxx  (NCRHOA-xxx) reversing the earlier DECISION, dated xxx, of Housing and Land Use Arbiter xxx in the underlying case docketed as HLURB NCRHOA – xxx,

2.    The herein Complainants questioned the Decision of the Board of Commissioners by filing a seasonable Petition for Review with the Court of Appeals, CA Case No. G. R. xxx, entitled “xxx, et. al. vs. xxx, et. al.”, praying for the following reliefs, to wit:

x x x.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed that:

1.       A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) be immediately issued upon filing of this petition, restraining the respondents and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and any and all of its officers, personnel, agents, and units, offices and departments from implementing and enforcing the questioned HLURB BOARD Decision, dated xxx, pendente lite in the interest of justice;

2.      A Writ of Preliminary Injunction (WPI) be issued pendente lite against the respondents and the HLURB prior to the expiration of the TRO prayed for above, in the interest of justice.

3.      The questioned HLURB BOARD Decision, dated xxx be REVERSED AND SET ASIDE and a new one be issued making perpetual the TRO and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction and ordering the HLURB BOARD and its implementing arms, units, offices, and personnel;

1)                  To immediately call, hold, supervise, control, direct, and administer the regular annual election of the members of the Board of Directors of the XXX SUBDIVISION HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION (XXX) as soon as possible and without further delay upon the finality of the Decision of this Honorable Court in the instant petition, in accordance with its By-Laws, R.A. 9904 (Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners Associations), and its Implementing Rules and Regulations;

2)    To immediately create a 3-man HLURB Election Committee to be composed of three (3) duly authorized officials/staff thereof, the most senior of whom shall serve as the Chairman, with the sole power and authority to call, hold, control, administer, direct and supervise the said Election;

3)    To appoint one (1) duly authorized representative each from the sides of the petitioners and the respondents, as sitting observers in all the hearings, activities, meetings, dealings, and transactions of the said HLURB Election Committee.

4)    To order the Provincial Commander of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of xxx Province, with headquarters at xxx, to act as the duly authorized peace-keeping force during the said HLURB-supervised election until the said election process is terminated and the winning candidates proclaimed by the HLURB Election Committee.

FURTHER, the petitioners respectfully pray for such and other reliefs as may be deemed just and equitable in the premises.

X x x.

3.    The respondents had voluntarily submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals (CA) by filing of their Counter Memorandum and other pleadings praying for affirmative reliefs in the aforecited CA case.

4.    On xxx, the CA issued a Resolution (Annex “A”, supra) quoted hereunder as follows;

     “With the filing of the required pleadings, the petitioner with prayer for injunctive relief is now deemed submitted for decision”

5.      The said CA case is still pending and unresolved as of today.

5.1.          The aforecited questioned Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners has not attained finality.


5.2.         There is no Writ of Execution either from the CA or the HLURB empowering and authorizing the herein Respondents to conduct any and all kinds of elections or organizational acts and activities.

6.    The “election” conducted on xxx by the herein Respondents was actually an undemocratic, fraudulent, illegal, unauthorized and ultra vires  “selection” in complete disregard of the will and the voice of the homeowners of Xxx Subdivision.

6.1.          It was unethically, contemptuously, and illegally intended to preempt the future judgment of the CA.

6.2.        It was maliciously intended to render the future decision of the CA moot and academic and ineffectual.

6.3.        It violated the judicial doctrine and tradition of difference to a higher court”, pursuant to the spirit of Rule 65 (Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus) of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

7.     In the interest of justice, due process and fair play, the herein Respondents should be immediately restrained from committing any and all acts of organizational leadership and administration with respect to the Xxx Subdivision Homeowners Association, Inc. (XXX), while the instant case is pending before the CA and the HLURB.

8.    For the record, the herein Complainants hereby adopt into this Supplemental Motion for CDO, by incorporation and reference, all the allegations, arguments and supporting documents stated in or annexed to the main Petition that they had filed in the instant case.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed that a Cease and Desist Order be issued restraining the herein Respondents from:

1.      Performing, exercising, and doing any and all acts, functions or activities, pursuant to and arising from the illegal, unauthorized, ultra vires and contemptuous “selection” maliciously conducted by the herein Respondents on xxx to “select” the xxx directors and officers of the Xxx Subdivision Homeowners Association, Inc. (XXX);

2.    Interfering, meddling, participating and involving themselves in the organizational leadership, management, administration, and operations of the Xxx Subdivision Homeowners Association, Inc. (XXX) and/or performing any and all acts and activities for and on behalf of XXX, such as, but not necessarily limited to, the following;

2.1.          The forcible collection and expenditure of association dues and fees in any manner whatsoever, such as by including the said dues and fees in the water bills of the Xxx Subdivision Multi-Purpose Cooperative (xxx);

2.2.        The forcible collection and expenditure of “construction permit” fees and  “association clearances;  

2.3.  Misrepresenting themselves to the General Public and the Government that they are the legitimate directors of XXX for the year 2017;

2.4.   Issuing resolutions, circulars, or orders to the homeowners of the Xxx Subdivision or to any and all personnel, security guards, or agents of XXX;

2.5.   Soliciting foods and drinks for the meetings and other activities of the herein Respondents from fast food chains, like Jollibee, and soliciting any and all kinds of donations from any and all sources and donors in behalf of XXX;

2.6.   Calling the next election of the XXX Board scheduled by its By-Laws in December 2017.

2.7.    Performing and doing any and all acts and activities that would, directly and indirectly, preempt and render moot and academic and ineffectual the future Decision of the Court of Appeals in the aforecited pending case between the herein parties in CA GR No. xxx entitled “xxx, et. al. vs. xxx, et. al”.

FURTHER, the Complainants hereby respectfully pray that after notice and hearing, the foregoing CDO be made permanent and perpetual.

FINALLY, the Complainants hereby pray for such and other reliefs as may be deemed just and equitable in the premises. 

Xxx, xxx.


SIGNED BY THE COMPLAINANTS-MOVANTS.
                    

NOTICE

                   Hon. Xxx
                   HLU Arbiter
                   HLURB NCR Field Office
                   7/F Sunnymede IT Center
                   Quezon Ave., Quezon City

                   Greetings

                        We are submitting the foregoing “Urgent Supplemental Motion for the Issuance of a CDO”, for your kind and URGENT consideration and approval immediately upon receipt, subject to your discretion to require the Respondents to file their Comment/Opposition thereon. The herein Respondents, through the lead Respondent, xxx, are duly furnished copy of this urgent motion via registered mail.

                             SIGNED BY THE LEAD COMPLAINANTS.

Copy Furnished:

XXX, et. al.
            Respondents
c/o XXX
Lead Respondent
No. XX, XXX Street
Xxx Subdivision, XXX
          Reg. Rec. No.
          Date                               PO

                                                EXPLANATION

          Copies of this urgent supplemental motion are served on the herein respondents via registered mail due to the urgency of filing the same.

                   Signed by the lead complainants.


                    Enclosed :   Annex “A”, supra.