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Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

Welcome to our legal news pages. Here is where we provide updates about what's happening in Philippines legal news, and publish helpful articles and tips for Pinoys researching legal matters.

Suspended Employee Is Not Entitled To Pay

An employee who has been cited for violating the code of conduct will be placed under preventive suspension while the investigation is ongoing. One question raised is if the suspended employee will still receive his/her salary during the suspension. Preventive suspension temporarily removes an employee who has violated company rules from his or her position. An employer has the right to suspend an employee while the incident is still being investigated. This is in accordance with the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code of the Philippines. 

Section 8. Preventive suspension. The employer may place the worker concerned under preventive suspension only if his continued employment poses a serious and imminent threat to the life or property of the employer or of his co-workers.

Section 9. Period of suspension. No preventive suspension shall last longer than thirty (30) days. The employer shall thereafter reinstate the worker in his former or in a substantially equivalent position or the employer may extend the period of suspension provided that during the period of extension, he pays the wages and other benefits due to the worker. In such case, the worker shall not be bound to reimburse the amount paid to him during the extension if the employer decides, after completion of the hearing, to dismiss the worker.

Under the rule, the maximum period of preventive suspension is 30 days. The employee must be reinstated to his former position, but if the employer does not want to reinstate the employee, they can choose to extend the suspension period provided the employer agrees to pay the wages and other benefits during the entire period of extension. 

It must also be noted that a suspended employee is not entitled to payment of wages. However, the validity of the suspension must also be taken into account. In case the suspension has been perceived to be illegal or invalid, the employee will still be entitled to payment of wages during the entire duration of the illegal suspension. 

Can The Use Of Marijuana For Medical Purposes Be Finally Legalized?

A bill legalizing marijuana for medical use has been passed, but it has not yet been approved due to several reasons and one of which is that the drug is classified as a prohibited substance and may violate Republic Act 9165  or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 as the country's war on drugs continues to intensify.

Section 4. Importation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals.- .The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall import or bring into the Philippines any dangerous drug, regardless of the quantity and purity involved, including any and all species of opium poppy or any part thereof or substances derived therefrom even for floral, decorative and culinary purposes.

The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall import any controlled precursor and essential chemical.

The maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized under this Act, shall import or bring into the Philippines any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical through the use of a diplomatic passport, diplomatic facilities or any other means involving his/her official status intended to facilitate the unlawful entry of the same. In addition, the diplomatic passport shall be confiscated and canceled.

The maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed upon any person, who organizes, manages or acts as a "financier" of any of the illegal activities prescribed in this Section.

The penalty of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who acts as a "protector/coddler" of any violator of the provisions under this Section.

Section 5. Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. - The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions.

The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any controlled precursor and essential chemical, or shall act as a broker in such transactions.

If the sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution or transportation of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical transpires within one hundred (100) meters from the school, the maximum penalty shall be imposed in every case.

For drug pushers who use minors or mentally incapacitated individuals as runners, couriers and messengers, or in any other capacity directly connected to the dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemical trade, the maximum penalty shall be imposed in every case.

If the victim of the offense is a minor or a mentally incapacitated individual, or should a dangerous drug and/or a controlled precursor and essential chemical involved in any offense herein provided be the proximate cause of death of a victim thereof, the maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed.

The maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed upon any person who organizes, manages or acts as a "financier" of any of the illegal activities prescribed in this Section.

The penalty of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who acts as a "protector/coddler" of any violator of the provisions under this Section.

Section 6. Maintenance of a Den, Dive or Resort. - The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person or group of persons who shall maintain a den, dive or resort where any dangerous drug is used or sold in any form.

The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person or group of persons who shall maintain a den, dive, or resort where any controlled precursor and essential chemical is used or sold in any form.

The maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed in every case where any dangerous drug is administered, delivered or sold to a minor who is allowed to use the same in such a place.

Should any dangerous drug be the proximate cause of the death of a person using the same in such den, dive or resort, the penalty of death and a fine ranging from One million (P1,000,000.00) to Fifteen million pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed on the maintainer, owner and/or operator.

If such den, dive or resort is owned by a third person, the same shall be confiscated and escheated in favor of the government: Provided, That the criminal complaint shall specifically allege that such place is intentionally used in the furtherance of the crime: Provided, further, That the prosecution shall prove such intent on the part of the owner to use the property for such purpose: Provided, finally, That the owner shall be included as an accused in the criminal complaint.

The maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed upon any person who organizes, manages or acts as a "financier" of any of the illegal activities prescribed in this Section.

The penalty twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who acts as a "protector/coddler" of any violator of the provisions of this Section.

Although FDA grants compassionate permit, the medical device, food product and unregistered drug should only be obtained from a licensed importer with specific volume and period taken into consideration. Medical cannabis will only be allowed to be imported if it is in processed form and the active ingredients must be measured to ensure that the side effects and risks are minimized. 

Paolo Tonolete, FDA regulation officer allows doctors or hospitals to secure for a permit on behalf of a patient with HIV-AIDS, cancer, and other diseases considered to be life-theatening. On average, FDA is receiving 50 applications for compassionate special permits on a monthly basis. Most of these applications are for cancer medication. In fact, in 2016 alone 558 of 565 applications had been approved. 

Foreign Telcos Interested In The Philippine Market

Globe Telecom and PLDT are the two internet service providers dominating the Philippine market. If you check their social media pages,  you will see that both providers are not spared from the raves and rants of consumers, hoping to get faster connection and better customer service. The plea has fallen on deaf ears for decades. Unless you subscribe for a more expensive plan, you will not get a decent connection. However,  upgrading your plan does not guarantee stable connection either. 

The government eyes foreign telcos such as Telstra and China Telecommunications as part of the solution to the problem. Presently, the government allocates P77.9 billion for the National Broadband Project. Although no official statement from foreign telcos has been released, President Duterte believes that a third telco player can provide consumer better mobile and internet service. 

The case on allowing third player is still pending on Supreme Court. At the moment the consumers have one privilege to enjoy which is free public internet access program as mandated by Republic Act No. 10929. 

Section 3 of the said Act states that:

a) No fees shall be collected from users to connect to the public internet access points;

b) The free internet service provided shall be separate from the internet service used for backend computer systems and programs, databases, and/or management and information systems in government offices; Provided, that the shared use of infrastructure shall not be prohibited; and

c)Technical solutions that may limit or restrict access shall only be employed when there is clear and present technical risk or breach that cannot be remedied through ordinary technical solutions: Provided, that technical solutions that can likewise maintain or promote ease of access shall be prioritized and pursued. 

Missing P1000 from Jack Lam's Bribery Still Remains A Mystery

President Duterte is very vocal about putting an end to graft and corruption. Stringent policies have been rolled out to ensure that government agencies do not cross the line. However, it appears that the case of the missing P1000 bill only proves that justice can be selective at times. Why is everyone making a fuss over the missing P1000? 

Section 12 of Republic Act No. 7659 defines plunder as "Any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof in the aggregate amount or total value of at least Fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State."

If you could still remember, Jack Lam, a Chinese tycoon offered bribe money with the amount of P50 million. However, a recent investigation revealed that the money was P1000 short. With the funds having a total of P49,999,000, the case of plunder filed against Jack Lam will not prosper. Two former commissioners from the Bureau of Immigration, who happened to be the fraternity brothers of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and President Rodrigo Duterte may have skirted the P1000 bill to manipulate the consistency of evidence. 

The issue was brought up during the Senate deliberations on the proposed P17.43 billion budget of the Department of Justice. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon wanted to know the status of the P50 million bribe money and also the status of the two former commissioners, Al Argosino and Michael Robles. 

Although the two were already sacked, the missing P1000 stirred controversy considering the fact that Aguirre denies participation in the counting of bribe money. He even claimed that there was a CCTV when the counting happened. Some members of the committee thought at first that the missing bill was a joke. Due to losing the P1000, the plunder case will likely be reduced to charges with lower penalties. 

How Does A Person Get Compensated For Moral Damages?

There are things we often say or do that can hurt a person's feelings. Hurtful remarks can even destroy a person's reputation and it will take time to heal a wounded soul. This is why some people who have experienced serious anxiety,social humiliation and fright because of moral damages choose to take matters to court. You will only be awarded moral damages if such claims are supported by evidence. It is imperative for the claimant to establish the factual basis for claims to be considered valid. Article 2217 of the Civil Code of the Philippines refer to moral damages as "physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendant's wrongful act for omission." Moral damages can be recovered if it meets the following conditions:

Art. 2218. In the adjudication of moral damages, the sentimental value of property, real or personal, may be considered.

Art. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:

(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;

(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;

(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts;

(4) Adultery or concubinage;

(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;

(6) Illegal search;

(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;

(8) Malicious prosecution;

(9) Acts mentioned in Article 309;

(10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.

The parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped, or abused, referred to in No. 3 of this article, may also recover moral damages.

The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers and sisters may bring the action mentioned in No. 9 of this article, in the order named.

Art. 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral damages if the court should find that, under the circumstances, such damages are justly due. The same rule applies to breaches of contract where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith. 

The Code Of Conduct And Ethical Standards For Public Officials And Employees

Being a public official is both a privilege and a responsibility. More often than not, you become the subject for public scrutiny when you fail to meet expectations or perform your duty. Even in the past administrations, many public officials and employees have been criticized because of grave misconduct, displaying a lavish lifestyle, using power to intimidate others and more. Let Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6713 be a gentle reminder of how a public official or employee should behave. 

Section 4. Norms of Conduct of Public Officials and Employees. - (A) Every public official and employee shall observe the following as standards of personal conduct in the discharge and execution of official duties:

(a) Commitment to public interest. - Public officials and employees shall always uphold the public interest over and above personal interest. All government resources and powers of their respective offices must be employed and used efficiently, effectively, honestly and economically, particularly to avoid wastage in public funds and revenues.

(b) Professionalism. - Public officials and employees shall perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill. They shall enter public service with utmost devotion and dedication to duty. They shall endeavor to discourage wrong perceptions of their roles as dispensers or peddlers of undue patronage.

(c) Justness and sincerity. - Public officials and employees shall remain true to the people at all times. They must act with justness and sincerity and shall not discriminate against anyone, especially the poor and the underprivileged. They shall at all times respect the rights of others, and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public interest. They shall not dispense or extend undue favors on account of their office to their relatives whether by consanguinity or affinity except with respect to appointments of such relatives to positions considered strictly confidential or as members of their personal staff whose terms are coterminous with theirs.

(d) Political neutrality. - Public officials and employees shall provide service to everyone without unfair discrimination and regardless of party affiliation or preference.

(e) Responsiveness to the public. - Public officials and employees shall extend prompt, courteous, and adequate service to the public. Unless otherwise provided by law or when required by the public interest, public officials and employees shall provide information of their policies and procedures in clear and understandable language, ensure openness of information, public consultations and hearings whenever appropriate, encourage suggestions, simplify and systematize policy, rules and procedures, avoid red tape and develop an understanding and appreciation of the socio-economic conditions prevailing in the country, especially in the depressed rural and urban areas.

(f) Nationalism and patriotism. - Public officials and employees shall at all times be loyal to the Republic and to the Filipino people, promote the use of locally produced goods, resources and technology and encourage appreciation and pride of country and people. They shall endeavor to maintain and defend Philippine sovereignty against foreign intrusion.

(g) Commitment to democracy. - Public officials and employees shall commit themselves to the democratic way of life and values, maintain the principle of public accountability, and manifest by deeds the supremacy of civilian authority over the military. They shall at all times uphold the Constitution and put loyalty to country above loyalty to persons or party.

(h) Simple living. - Public officials and employees and their families shall lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income. They shall not indulge in extravagant or ostentatious display of wealth in any form.

(B) The Civil Service Commission shall adopt positive measures to promote (1) observance of these standards including the dissemination of information programs and workshops authorizing merit increases beyond regular progression steps, to a limited number of employees recognized by their office colleagues to be outstanding in their observance of ethical standards; and (2) continuing research and experimentation on measures which provide positive motivation to public officials and employees in raising the general level of observance of these standards.

The Fundamentals Of Succession

Succession as defined under Art. 774 of the New Civil Code is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance, of a person are transmitted through his death to another or others either by his will or by operation of law

There are two kinds of successors:

Compulsory heirs refer to the legitime reserved by law, and who succeed whether the testator likes it or not. 

Voluntary heirs refer to the person other than the compulsory heirs. 

Art. 775. In this Title, "decedent" is the general term applied to the person whose property is transmitted through succession, whether or not he left a will. If he left a will, he is also called the testator. (n)

Art. 776. The inheritance includes all the property, rights and obligations of a person which are not extinguished by his death. (659)

Art. 777. The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent. (657a)

Art. 778. Succession may be:

(1) Testamentary;

(2) Legal or intestate; or

(3) Mixed. (n)

Art. 779. Testamentary succession is that which results from the designation of an heir, made in a will executed in the form prescribed by law. (n)

Art. 780. Mixed succession is that effected partly by will and partly by operation of law. (n)

Art. 781. The inheritance of a person includes not only the property and the transmissible rights and obligations existing at the time of his death, but also those which have accrued thereto since the opening of the succession. (n)

Art. 782. An heir is a person called to the succession either by the provision of a will or by operation of law.

Devisees and legatees are persons to whom gifts of real and personal property are respectively given by virtue of a will. (n) 

TESTAMENTARY SUCCESSION

Art. 783. A will is an act whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the disposition of this estate, to take effect after his death. (667a)

Art. 784. The making of a will is a strictly personal act; it cannot be left in whole or in part of the discretion of a third person, or accomplished through the instrumentality of an agent or attorney. (670a)

Art. 785. The duration or efficacy of the designation of heirs, devisees or legatees, or the determination of the portions which they are to take, when referred to by name, cannot be left to the discretion of a third person. (670a)

Art. 786. The testator may entrust to a third person the distribution of specific property or sums of money that he may leave in general to specified classes or causes, and also the designation of the persons, institutions or establishments to which such property or sums are to be given or applied. (671a)

Art. 787. The testator may not make a testamentary disposition in such manner that another person has to determine whether or not it is to be operative. (n)

Art. 788. If a testamentary disposition admits of different interpretations, in case of doubt, that interpretation by which the disposition is to be operative shall be preferred. (n)

Art. 789. When there is an imperfect description, or when no person or property exactly answers the description, mistakes and omissions must be corrected, if the error appears from the context of the will or from extrinsic evidence, excluding the oral declarations of the testator as to his intention; and when an uncertainty arises upon the face of the will, as to the application of any of its provisions, the testator's intention is to be ascertained from the words of the will, taking into consideration the circumstances under which it was made, excluding such oral declarations. (n)

Art. 790. The words of a will are to be taken in their ordinary and grammatical sense, unless a clear intention to use them in another sense can be gathered, and that other can be ascertained.

Technical words in a will are to be taken in their technical sense, unless the context clearly indicates a contrary intention, or unless it satisfactorily appears that he was unacquainted with such technical sense. (675a)

Art. 791. The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every expression some effect, rather than one which will render any of the expressions inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting a will, that is to be preferred which will prevent intestacy. (n)

Art. 792. The invalidity of one of several dispositions contained in a will does not result in the invalidity of the other dispositions, unless it is to be presumed that the testator would not have made such other dispositions if the first invalid disposition had not been made. (n)

Art. 793. Property acquired after the making of a will shall only pass thereby, as if the testator had possessed it at the time of making the will, should it expressly appear by the will that such was his intention. (n)

Art. 794. Every devise or legacy shall cover all the interest which the testator could device or bequeath in the property disposed of, unless it clearly appears from the will that he intended to convey a less interest. (n)

Art. 795. The validity of a will as to its form depends upon the observance of the law in force at the time it is made. (n) 

 

 

 

The Elements And Nature Of Eminent Domain

Eminent domain refers to the inherent right of the state to condemn private property to public use upon payment of just compensation. Before the property can be taken for purposes of eminent domain, the following elements must be present:

(1) the expropriator must enter a private property;

(2) the entrance into private property must be for more than a momentary period;

(3) the entry into the property should be under warrant or color of legal authority;

(4) the property  must be devoted to a public use or otherwise informally appropriated or injuriously affected; and

(5) the utilization of the property for public use must be in such a way as to oust the owner and deprive him of all beneficial enjoyment of the property.

Just compensation is determined according to the following rules stated by Presidential Decree No. 1533 otherwise known as ESTABLISHING A UNIFORM BASIS FOR DETERMINING JUST COMPENSATION AND THE AMOUNT OF DEPOSIT FOR IMMEDIATE POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY INVOLVED IN EMINENT DOMAIN PROCEEDINGS.

Section 1. In determining just compensation for private property acquired through eminent domain proceedings, the compensation to be paid shall not exceed the value declared by the owner or administrator or anyone having legal interest in the property or determined by the assessor, pursuant to the Real Property Tax Code, whichever value is lower, prior to the recommendation or decision of the appropriate Government office to acquire the property.

Sec. 2. Upon the filing of the petition for expropriation and the deposit in the Philippine National Bank at its main office or any of its branches of an amount equivalent to ten per cent (10%) of the amount of compensation provided in Section 1 hereof, the government or its authorized instrumentality agency or entity shall be entitled to immediate possession, control and disposition of the real property and the improvements thereon, including the power of demolition of necessary, notwithstanding the pendency of the issues before the courts.

Sec. 3. Presidential Decree No. 42, Section pars. 2 and 3 of PD No. 76, Sec. 92 of PD No. 464, PD 794, Sections 2 and 3 of PD 1224, Sections 2 and 3 of PD 1259 and Section 1 of PD 1313 and all other acts, decrees, letters of instructions, orders, ordinances or rules and regulations which are inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.

Can Grandparents Be Obliged To Provide Financial Support? 

Children feel caught in the middle between parents' decision. Child support is the most common issue being raised. Although it is common knowledge that a husband or father is compelled to provide financial support to his children, the role of grandparents when it comes to augmenting support has not been openly discussed. 

However, there are laws that shed light on this matter. Article 194 of the Family Code states that, "Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family."

This means that parents are not the only ones compelled to give support but the legitimate ascendants and descendants as well. If grandparents have means to augment support, given the fact that the father has no ability to provide sufficient support, the obligation will be passed on to them. 

SUPPORT

Art. 105. Subject to the provisions of the succeeding articles, the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:

(1) The spouses;

(2) Legitimate ascendants and descendants;

(3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

(4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and

(5) Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood (291a)

Art. 196. Brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full or half-blood, are likewise bound to support each other to the full extent set forth in Article 194, except only when the need for support of the brother or sister, being of age, is due to a cause imputable to the claimant's fault or negligence. (291a)

Art. 197. In case of legitimate ascendants; descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate; and brothers and sisters, whether legitimately or illegitimately related, only the separate property of the person obliged to give support shall be answerable provided that in case the obligor has no separate property, the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, if financially capable, shall advance the support, which shall be deducted from the share of the spouse obliged upon the liquidation of the absolute community or of the conjugal partnership. (n)

Art. 198. During the proceedings for legal separation or for annulment of marriage, and for declaration of nullity of marriage, the spouses and their children shall be supported from the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. After the final judgment granting the petition, the obligation of mutual support between the spouses ceases. However, in case of legal separation, the court may order that the guilty spouse shall give support to the innocent one, specifying the terms of such order. (292a)

Art. 199. Whenever two or more persons are obliged to give support, the liability shall devolve upon the following persons in the order herein provided:

(1) The spouse;

(2) The descendants in the nearest degree;

(3) The ascendants in the nearest degree; and

(4) The brothers and sisters. (294a)

Art. 200. When the obligation to give support falls upon two or more persons, the payment of the same shall be divided between them in proportion to the resources of each.

However, in case of urgent need and by special circumstances, the judge may order only one of them to furnish the support provisionally, without prejudice to his right to claim from the other obligors the share due from them.

 

When two or more recipients at the same time claim support from one and the same person legally obliged to give it, should the latter not have sufficient means to satisfy all claims, the order established in the preceding article shall be followed, unless the concurrent obligees should be the spouse and a child subject to parental authority, in which case the child shall be preferred. (295a)

Lenders Have 10 Years To Collect Payment From Debtors

In times of financial difficulties, we turn to our relatives, friends and even colleagues for assistance. Once they extend a loan, we agree to pay the money we borrowed within the agreed period. If we borrow a large amount of money, a written agreement is created to ensure that money will be collected. However, not all of us can meet our payment obligations. Once we fail to pay, within the period agreed upon, the lender will be forced to impose penalties. When it comes to the lender's right to demand payment, it is essential to keep the prescriptive period into consideration. 

The New Civil Code of the Philippines states that:

Art. 1144. The following actions must be brought within 10 years from the time the right of action accrues:

(1) Upon a written contract;

(2) Upon an obligation created by law;

(3) Upon a judgment.”

Art. 1423. Obligations are civil or natural. Civil obligations give a right of action to compel their performance. Natural obligations, not being based on positive law but on equity and natural law, do not grant a right of action to enforce their performance, but after voluntary fulfillment by the obligor, they authorize the retention of what has been delivered or rendered by reason thereof. Some natural obligations are set forth in the following articles.

A written agreement serves as evidence of the lender's right to demand payment. If the debtor fails to pay the debt within one year as agreed upon, it is imperative for lenders to put pressure on the debtor to make a payment. 

Article 1155 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines also states that, "The prescription of actions is interrupted when they are filed before the court, when there is a written extrajudicial demand by the creditors, and when there is any written acknowledgment of the debt by the debtor."

What Are The Penalties For Hazing?

On September 17, another student became a hapless victim of hazing due to traumatic injuries. Horacio Castillo III joined the initiation rites by a fraternity known as the Aegis Juris, but the violent acts claimed his life. Castillo is not the only victim of hazing. There are other victims who died in the past because of this violent initiation rite. Law makers are looking into creating stiffer penalties to put a lid on this barbaric act. 

Section 4 of Republic Act No. 8049 indicates the penalty that will be imposed upon a person found guilty of committing hazing or other forms of initiation rites, which can lead to physical injury or death. 

Section 4. If the person subjected to hazing or other forms of initiation rites suffers any physical injury or dies as a result thereof, the officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be liable as principals. The person or persons who participated in the hazing shall suffer:

1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua (life imprisonment) if death, rape, sodomy or mutilation results there from.

2. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period (17 years, 4 months and 1 day to 20 years) if in consequence of the hazing the victim shall become insane, imbecile, impotent or blind.

3. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period (14 years, 8 months and one day to 17 years and 4 months) if in consequence of the hazing the victim shall have lost the use of speech or the power to hear or to smell, or shall have lost an eye, a hand, a foot, an arm or a leg or shall have lost the use of any such member shall have become incapacitated for the activity or work in which he was habitually engaged.

4. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its minimum period (12 years and one day to 14 years and 8 months) if in consequence of the hazing the victim shall become deformed or shall have lost any other part of his body, or shall have lost the use thereof, or shall have been ill or incapacitated for the performance on the activity or work in which he was habitually engaged for a period of more than ninety (90) days.

5. The penalty of prison mayor in its maximum period (10 years and one day to 12 years) if in consequence of the hazing the victim shall have been ill or incapacitated for the performance on the activity or work in which he was habitually engaged for a period of more than thirty (30) days.

6. The penalty of prison mayor in its medium period (8 years and one day to 10 years) if in consequence of the hazing the victim shall have been ill or incapacitated for the performance on the activity or work in which he was habitually engaged for a period of ten (10) days or more, or that the injury sustained shall require medical assistance for the same period.

7. The penalty of prison mayor in its minimum period (6 years and one day to 8 years) if in consequence of the hazing the victim shall have been ill or incapacitated for the performance on the activity or work in which he was habitually engaged from one (1) to nine (9) days, or that the injury sustained shall require medical assistance for the same period.

8. The penalty of prison correccional in its maximum period (4 years, 2 months and one day to 6 years) if in consequence of the hazing the victim sustained physical injuries which do not prevent him from engaging in his habitual activity or work nor require medical attendance.

The responsible officials of the school or of the police, military or citizen's army training organization, may impose the appropriate administrative sanctions on the person or the persons charged under this provision even before their conviction. The maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed in any of the following instances:

(a) when the recruitment is accompanied by force, violence, threat, intimidation or deceit on the person of the recruit who refuses to join;

(b) when the recruit, neophyte or applicant initially consents to join but upon learning that hazing will be committed on his person, is prevented from quitting;

(c) when the recruit, neophyte or applicant having undergone hazing is prevented from reporting the unlawful act to his parents or guardians, to the proper school authorities, or to the police authorities, through force, violence, threat or intimidation;

(d) when the hazing is committed outside of the school or institution; or

(e) when the victim is below twelve (12) years of age at the time of the hazing.

The owner of the place where hazing is conducted shall be liable as an accomplice, when he has actual knowledge of the hazing conducted therein but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring. If the hazing is held in the home of one of the officers or members of the fraternity, group, or organization, the parents shall be held liable as principals when they have actual knowledge of the hazing conducted therein but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring.

The school authorities including faculty members who consent to the hazing or who have actual knowledge thereof, but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring shall be punished as accomplices for the acts of hazing committed by the perpetrators.

The officers, former officers, or alumni of the organization, group, fraternity or sorority who actually planned the hazing although not present when the acts constituting the hazing were committed shall be liable as principals. A fraternity or sorority's adviser who is present when the acts constituting the hazing were committed and failed to take action to prevent the same from occurring shall be liable as principal.

The presence of any person during the hazing is prima facie evidence of participation therein as principal unless he prevented the commission of the acts punishable herein.

Any person charged under this provision shall not be entitled to the mitigating circumstance that there was no intention to commit so grave a wrong.

This section shall apply to the president, manager, director or other responsible officer of a corporation engaged in hazing as a requirement for employment in the manner provided herein.

Crimes Against Public Morals

Gambling becomes a form of recreation to some people, but when there is money involved, it's going to be a different story. A person who is caught committing crimes against public morals such as gambling, betting and cockfighting will be fined or even be sent to prison depending on the gravity of the crime. Here are the details of the law:

GAMBLING AND BETTING

Art. 195. What acts are punishable in gambling. — (a) The penalty of arresto mayor or a fine not exceeding two hundred pesos, and, in case of recidivism, the penalty of arresto mayor or a fine ranging from two hundred or six thousand pesos, shall be imposed upon:

1. Any person other than those referred to in subsections (b) and (c) who, in any manner shall directly, or indirectly take part in any game of monte, jueteng or any other form of lottery, policy, banking, or percentage game, dog races, or any other game of scheme the result of which depends wholly or chiefly upon chance or hazard; or wherein wagers consisting of money, articles of value or representative of value are made; or in the exploitation or use of any other mechanical invention or contrivance to determine by chance the loser or winner of money or any object or representative of value.

2. Any person who shall knowingly permit any form of gambling referred to in the preceding subdivision to be carried on in any unhabited or uninhabited place of any building, vessel or other means of transportation owned or controlled by him. If the place where gambling is carried on has the reputation of a gambling place or that prohibited gambling is frequently carried on therein, the culprit shall be punished by the penalty provided for in this article in its maximum period.

(b) The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum degree shall be imposed upon the maintainer, conductor, or banker in a game of jueteng or any similar game.

(c) The penalty of prision correccional in its medium degree shall be imposed upon any person who shall, knowingly and without lawful purpose, have in his possession and lottery list, paper or other matter containing letters, figures, signs or symbols which pertain to or are in any manner used in the game of jueteng or any similar game which has taken place or about to take place.

Art. 196. Importation, sale and possession of lottery tickets or advertisements. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court, shall be imposed upon any person who shall import into the Philippine Islands from any foreign place or port any lottery ticket or advertisement or, in connivance with the importer, shall sell or distribute the same.

Any person who shall knowingly and with intent to use them, have in his possession lottery tickets or advertisements, or shall sell or distribute the same without connivance with the importer of the same, shall be punished by arresto menor, or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court.

The possession of any lottery ticket or advertisement shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to sell, distribute or use the same in the Philippine Islands.

Art. 197. Betting in sports contests. — The penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who shall bet money or any object or article of value or representative of value upon the result of any boxing or other sports contests.

Art. 198. Illegal betting on horse race. — The penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who except during the period allowed by law, shall be on horse races. The penalty of arresto mayor or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who, under the same circumstances, shall maintain or employ a totalizer or other device or scheme for betting on horse races or realizing any profit therefrom.

For the purposes of this article, any race held in the same day at the same place shall be held punishable as a separate offense, and if the same be committed by any partnership, corporation or association, the president and the directors or managers thereof shall be deemed to be principals in the offense if they have consented to or knowingly tolerated its commission.

Art. 199. Illegal cockfighting. — The penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court, shall be imposed upon:

1. Any person who directly or indirectly participates in cockfights, by betting money or other valuable things, or who organizes cockfights at which bets are made, on a day other than those permitted by law.

2. Any person who directly or indirectly participates in cockfights, at a place other than a licensed cockpit.

The Conditions And Requirements Of Bail

When a person is arrested, posting bail is the usual way to get out. Bail is a bond that compels a person to appear in court once they are ordered to do so. In the event the defendant fails to show up, the court may keep the bail and issue a warrant of arrest to the defendant. Not everyone is entitled to post bail. Here are the conditions or requirements of the bail:

SEC. 2. Conditions of the Bail; Requirements. – All kinds of bail are subject to the following conditions:

[a] The undertaking shall be effective upon approval and remain in force at all stages of the case, unless sooner cancelled, until the promulgation of the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, irrespective of whatever the case was originally filed in or appealed to it;

[b] The accused shall appear before the proper court whenever so required by the court or these Rules;

[c] The failure of the accused to appear at the trial without justification despite due notice to him or his bondsman shall be deemed an express waiver of his right to be present on the date specified in the notice. In such case, the trial may proceed in absentia; and

[d] The bondsman shall surrender the accused to the court for execution of the final judgment.

The original papers shall state the full name and address of the accused, the amount of the undertaking and the conditions herein required. Photographs (passport size) taken recently showing the face, left and right profiles of the accused must be attached thereto. (2a)

SEC. 9 Amount of Bail; Guidelines. – The judge who issued the warrant or granted the application shall fix a reasonable amount of bail considering primarily, but not limited to the following guidelines:

[a] Financial ability of the accused to give bail;

[b] Nature and circumstances of the offense;

[c] Penalty of the offense charged;

[d] Character and reputation of the accused;

[e] Age and health of the accused;

[f] The weight of the evidence against the accused;

[g] Probability of the accused appearing in trial;

[h] Forfeiture of other bonds;

[i] The fact that accused was a fugitive from justice when arrested; and 

[j] The pendency of other cases in which the accused is under bond.

Excessive bail shall not be required. (6)

Capital offense or an offense punishable by life imprisonment is non-bailable. 

SEC.7 Capital Offense or an Offense Punishable by Reclusion Perpetua or Life Imprisonment, Not Bailable. – No person charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, when evidence of guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution. (n)

Can You Use Chat Messages As Evidence?

Chat messages or text messages are often used as evidence in court. However, presenting these electronic evidences has to meet  the following requirements stipulated on Republic Act No. 8792 otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000. 

RULE 3

ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS   

SECTION 1. Electronic documents as functional equivalent of paper-based documents. – Whenever a rule of evidence refers to the term of writing, document, record, instrument, memorandum or any other form of writing, such term shall be deemed to include an electronic document as defined in these Rules. 

SEC. 2. Admissibility. – An electronic document is admissible in evidence if it complies with the rules on admissibility prescribed by the Rules of Court and related laws and is authenticated in the manner prescribed by these Rules. 

SEC. 3. Privileged communication. – The confidential character of a privileged communications is not solely on the ground that it is in the form of an electronic document.  

RULE 4 

BEST EVIDENCE RULE    

SECTION 1. Original of an electronic document. – An electronic document shall be regarded as the equivalent of an original document under the Best Evidence Rule if it is a printout or output readable by sight or other means, shown to reflect the data accurately. 

SEC. 2. Copies as equivalent of the originals. – When a document is in two or more copies executed at or about the same time with identical contents, or is a counterpart produced by the same impression as the original, or from the same matrix, or by mechanical or electronic re-recording, or by chemical reproduction, or by other equivalent techniques which is accurately reproduces the original, such copies or duplicates shall be regarded as the equivalent of the original. 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, copies or duplicates shall not be admissible to the same extent as the original if: 

(a) a genuine question is raised as to the authenticity of the original; or 

(b) in the circumstances it would be unjust or inequitable to admit a copy in lieu of the original.   

RULE 5 

AUTHENTICATION OF ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS  

SECTION 1. Burden of proving authenticity. – The person seeking to introduce an electronic document in any legal proceeding has the burden of proving its authenticity in the manner provided in this Rule. 

SEC. 2. Manner of authentication. – Before any private electronic document offered as authentic is received in evidence, its authenticity must be proved by any of the following means: 

(a) by evidence that it had been digitally signed by the person purported to have signed the same; 

(b) by evidence that other appropriate security procedures or devices as may be authorized by the Supreme Court or by law for authentication of electronic documents were applied to the document; or 

(c) by other evidence showing its integrity and reliability to the satisfaction of the judge. 

SEC. 3. Proof of electronically notarized document. - A document electronically notarized in accordance with the rules promulgated by the Supreme Court shall be considered as a public document and proved as a notarial document under the Rules of Court.      

RULE 6 

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES      

SECTION 1. Electronic signature. – An electronic signature or a digital signature authenticate din the manner prescribed hereunder is admissible in evidence as the functional equivalent of the signature of a person on a written document. 

SEC. 2. Authentication of electronic signatures. – An electronic signature may be authenticate in any of the following manner: 

(a) By evidence that a method or process was utilized to establish a digital signature and verity the same; 

(b) By any other means provided by law; or 

(c) By any other means satisfactory to the judge as establishing the genuineness of the electronic signature. 

SEC. 3. Disputable presumptions relation to electronic signature. – Upon the authentication of an electronic signature, it shall be presumed that: 

(a) The electronic signature is that of the person to whom it correlates; 

(b) The electronic signature was affixed by that person with the intention of authenticating or approving the electronic document to which it is related or to indicate such person’s consent to the transaction embodied therein; and 

(c) The methods or processes utilized to affix or verity the electronic signature operated without error or fault. 

SEC. 4. Disputable presumptions relating to digital signatures. – Upon the authentication of a digital signature, it shall be presumed, in addition to those mentioned in the immediately preceding section, that: 

(a) The information contained in a certificate is correct; 

(b) The digital signature was created during the operational period of a certificate; 

(c) The message associated with a digital signature has not been altered from the time it was signed; and 

(d) A certificate had been issued by the certification authority indicated therein 

RULE 7 

EVIDENTIARY WEIGHT OF ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS 

SECTION 1. Factors for assessing evidentiary weight. - In assessing the evidentiary weight of an electronic document, the following factors may be considered: 

(a) The reliability of the manner or method in which it was generated, stored or communicated, including but not limited to input and output procedures, controls, tests and checks for accuracy and reliability of the electronic data message or document, in the light of all the circumstances as well as any relevant agreement; 

(b) The reliability of the manner in which its originator was identified; 

(c) The integrity of the information and communication system in which it is recorded or stored, including but not limited to the hardware and computer programs or software used as well as programming errors; 

(d) The familiarity of the witness or the person who made the entry with the communication and information system; 

(e) The nature and quality of the information which went into the communication and information system upon which the electronic data message or electronic document was based; or 

(f) Other factors which the court may consider as affecting the accuracy or integrity of the electronic document or electronic data message. 

SEC. 2. Integrity of an information and communication system. – In any dispute involving the integrity of the information and communication system in which an electronic document or electronic data message is recorded or stored, the court may consider, among others, the following factors: 

(a) Whether the information and communication system or other similar device was operated in a manner that did not affect the integrity of the electronic document, and there are no other reasonable grounds to doubt the integrity of the information and communication system; 

(b) Whether the electronic document was recorded or stored by a party to the proceedings with interest adverse to that of the party using it; or 

(c) Whether the electronic document was recorded or stored in the usual and ordinary course of business by a person who is not a party tot he proceedings and who did not act under the control of the party using it. 

Are Donated Properties Part Of Community Property?

Executing any marriage settlement is not common among married couples unless the situation really calls for it. This is why issues involving properties create conflict as far as the law on property relations is concerned. The problem arises once the couple is annulled. Case in point: The spouse of Mr. X was given a parcel of land by his employer with a Certificate of Title issued in his name. The wife was surprised to discover that the donated property is excluded from their community properties. This means that the donated property is not considered to be part of the conjugal properties. Should the donated property be divided equally? 

The law on property relations states that: 

Art. 75. The future spouses may, in the marriage settlements, agree upon the regime of absolute community, conjugal partnership of gains, complete separation of property, or any other regime. In the absence of a marriage settlement, or when the regime agreed upon is void, the system of absolute community of property as established in this Code shall govern.

Art. 92. The following shall be excluded from the community property:

(1) Property acquired during the marriage by gratuitous title by either spouse, and the fruits as well as the income thereof, if any, unless it is expressly provided by the donor, testator or grantor that they shall form part of the community property;

(2) Property for personal and exclusive use of either spouse. However, jewelry shall form part of the community property;

(3) Property acquired before the marriage by either spouse who has legitimate descendants by a former marriage, and the fruits as well as the income, if any, of such property. (201a)

Art. 93. Property acquired during the marriage is presumed to belong to the community, unless it is proved that it is one of those excluded therefrom. 

The property was donated to Mr.X during marriage, but it remains to be his exclusive property because the title was issued only in his name. It is not deemed to be part of the community property. This is why it is excluded from the community property.

Know The Rights Of Arrested Individuals

Our country's current state only proves that anyone can fit the profile for a druggie or a criminal. You can be subject for interrogation or execution. You choose. With the recent brouhaha over CHR's meager budget, you will be confronted with a realization that no one can defend you at this point but yourself. As reality looks you straight in the eye, knowledge is the only thing that can save you from the inevitable. What does Article 3, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution otherwise known as the Bill of Rights have to say about a person under investigation? 

"the person shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice."

Now, what if you can't afford a lawyer? The state will provide you with one. Have you ever wondered why you have the right to remain silent? It's because any statement you give can be used against you in court. You also have the right to have access to lawyer at all times. These rights can only be waived in "writing and in the presence of counsel."

Your rights as an arrested person:

  • Know the reason you were arrested. It should also be via an arrest warrant.
  • Obtain the arresting officer's identity and authority
  • Be "entitled to a trial within a reasonable time"
  • Should you undergo physical examination, ensure that it is done by an independent and competent doctor of your choice

If authorities have invited you for questioning, tell them that you will first consult a lawyer, who will be the one to arrange a time, date and place for questioning. They cannot insist on taking you as this will be equivalent to an arrest. 

Note that his type of investigation is not similar to custodial investigation where you are taken into police custody for interrogation. More often than not, "custodial investigation follows warrantless arrest." 

Warrantless Arrest

Under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, a peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.

Presidential Decree No. 1563: Mendicancy Law Of 1978

How do you feel about people on the streets begging for money or food? Does your generous nature tell you to give or do you believe that they should also work hard to earn a living? Mendicants are the faces of poverty. They are the reality that the world is trying to hide. You will see them carrying infants, no one can tell if those are really theirs. Some towns turn them over to development centers so they can have temporary shelter especially during special events. However, they consider the streets their home. Although the law has been in existence for decades, President Rodrigo Duterte seeks to abolish anti-mendicancy law. 

Sec. 4. Apprehension Of And Services For Persons Found Begging. Any infants or child 8 years old and below who is found begging or is being utilized by a mendicant for purposes of begging shall be apprehended as a neglected child under Article 141 of PD 603 and shall be committed to the custody and care of the Department of Social Services and Development or to any duly licensed child placement agency or individual.

Any minor over 9 years of age under 15 found begging or is being utilized for purposes of begging and who acted without discernment shall be apprehended as a neglected child under Article 141 of Presidential Decree No. 603 and shall be committed to the custody and care of the Department of Social Services and Development or to any duly licensed placement agency or individual.

Any minor over 9 years of age and under 15 who is found begging or is being utilized for the purpose of begging and who acted with discernment shall be proceeded against in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 3, Title VIII of Presidential Decree No. 603.

Any person not otherwise covered in the preceding paragraph of this Section who is found begging and who is physically or mentally incapable of gainful occupation shall be provided the integrated package of services by the Department of Social Services and Development, the Welfare units of local governments and other cooperating agencies.

Sec. 5. Criminal Liability. A mendicant as defined in Paragraph (a) Sec. 3 hereof, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not exceeding P500.00 or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 2 years or both at the discretion of the court.

A habitual mendicant shall be punished by a fine not exceeding P1,000.00 or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 4 years or both at the discretion of the court.

Parents of exploited infants or minors under Sec. 4 of this Decree shall be proceeded against in accordance with Articles 59 and 60 of Presidential Decree No. 603, unless they are themselves mendicants.

Any person who abets mendicancy by giving alms directly to mendicants, exploited infants and minors on public roads, sidewalks, parks and bridges shall be punished by a fine nor exceeding P20.00.

Marcial "Baby" Ama: A Minor Executed Via Electric Chair

On October 4, 1961, back in the day when the Pangilinan Law was not yet in existence, the legal age for men and women were 16 and 14 respectively. The new generation may no longer be familiar with Marcial "Baby" Ama. However, earlier generations can recognize this notorious person, who ironically, gain folk hero status when his biography was turned into a movie in 1976.  Baby Ama was a minor executed via electric chair. He was nicknamed "Baby" because of his youthful good looks. The nickname may sound innocuous, but Marcial Perez (Baby Ama) did not fit the definition. 

Perez was imprisoned due to stealing money. It was said that he stole money to help a friend. When Perez was incarcerated, life became much harder for him. Aside from being the subject of abuse and ridicule, his wife also committed suicide due to being sexually abused by a prison guard. This is when Perez became fiercer than he was. Aside from being a hitman inside the Bilibid prison he was also the leader of a notorious gang, Sige-Sige Gang. 

He earned his notoriety when he spearheaded the biggest riot in Bilibid Prison. It was considered to be the deadliest as well with 9 inmates killed  and one of them beheaded. Perez was found guilty of stabbing a man to death. Hence, he was sentenced to death by electric chair. 

Under Section 6 of the Republic Act No. 9344 otherwise known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, "A child fifteen (15) years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant to Section 20 of this Act.

A child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen (18) years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless he/she has acted with discernment, in which case, such child shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in accordance with this Act.

The exemption from criminal liability herein established does not include exemption from civil liability, which shall be enforced in accordance with existing laws."

The bill lowering age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 9 has not received a positive response from lawmakers. Even 55% of Filipinos according to a survey conducted by Pulse Asia on May 5, 2017 are not in favor of the bill reducing the age of criminal liability. Although the age of criminal responsibility remains subjective, the fact cannot be denied that there are still minors who do not even undergo any type of due process, guilty or not guilty. That said, one cannot simply dismiss untimely death by random execution as collateral damage or worse, another "isolated case".  Once an epitome of notoriety, Baby Ama is now a case study. His behavior used to make people cringe, but in the era of war pigs, violence is the new normal. 

A Stiffer Penalty For Publishing False News

Nowadays, people have instant access to information by just turning to social media. Your newsfeed can be flooded by all types of news including those that are unverified. Sharing or liking a post regardless of its source, seems like the norm these days. It can't be wrong when everyone is doing it right? Wrong. Just because we are living in the digital age does not mean that everything we stumble upon the Internet is 100% true.

Some of them are half-baked facts (if it could still be called a fact). For instance, there are many warnings circulating around SocMed about products with deadly ingredients, insane people who are spreading diseases and whatnot. Some who are not completely aware of the sources of these articles or hoax for that matter, will share it in the hopes of raising awareness. I myself have received a lot of false news, but it does not hurt to verify before you click the 'share' button. 

Since sharing or publishing false news can endanger the public, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the new law imposing a stiffer penalty to any person who publishes false news by means of printing, lithography and any other means of publication. The President has signed Republic Act (RA) 10951, amending fines and amounts under the Revised Penal Code, which has been in existence for 87 years. 

Aside from a fine of P200,000, those who violate the law will face imprisonment for up to six months. The amendment can be found under Section 18, Article 154 of RA 10951 otherwise known as An Act Adjusting The Amount Or The Value Of Property And Damage Which A Penalty Is Based And The Fines Imposed Under The Revised Penal Code Amending For The Purpose Act No. 3815.

Art. 154. Unlawful us of means of publication and unlawful utterances. -The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine ranging from Forty thousand pesos (P40,000) to Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000) shall be imposed upon:

"1. Any person who by means of printing, lithography, or any other means of publication shall publish or cause to be published as news any false news which may endanger public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State;

"2. Any person who by the same means, or by words, utterances or speeches shall encourage disobedience to the law or to be constituted authorities or praise justify, or extol any act punished by law;

"3. Any person who shall maliciously publish or cause to be published any official resolution or document without proper authority, or before they have been published officially; or 

"4. Any person who shall print, publish, or distribute or cause to be printed, published, or distributed books, pamphlets, periodicals, or leaflets which do not bear the real printer's name, or which are classified as anonymous."

Authorized Causes For The Dismissal Of An Employee

The illegal dismissal of an employee is one of the most common labor cases filed in the Philippines. Termination of employment should undergo due process. The processes include notice of dismissal, which requires employers to furnish a written notice stating grounds for the employees' dismissal. The employee will be given a chance to answer the allegations within a reasonable period. Once the employer receives the answer from the employee, the employer may provide an opportunity to the employee to defend themselves. After the hearing, the notice of decision will be released stating reasons for the dismissal. The notice of decision will be in writing. The final step will be the submission of the  report on dismissal to the regional office. 

Just Causes For The Dismissal Of An Employee

As stated under 282 of the Labor Code, an employer has the right to terminate an employment for the following reasons:

(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;

(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;

(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;

(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representatives; and

(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.

Aside from the aforementioned causes, employment may also be terminated due to  "installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by serving a written notice on the workers and the Ministry of Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof. In case of termination due to the installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the worker affected thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to at least his one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year."

Dismissed employees are not entitled to separation pay if the cause for dismissal falls under any of the five circumstances stated under Article 282. However, if termination of employment was due to the installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the employee shall be entitled to a separation pay. 



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