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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.

The Use Of Leaked Poll Data: A Violation Of Data Privacy Act

It has been recently reported that the voter’s data had been stolen by hackers from the Comelec’s database.  There unlawful use of stolen data is considered a violation of Data Privacy Act according to the acting Justice Secretary Emmanual Caparas. The Comelec is the rightful owner of the stolen information and the unauthorized individuals who use the information will face the consequences for the violation. Although the   leaked poll data is a serious issue, Caparas assured that it should not be a cause for alarm as the integrity of May 9 election will not be compromised. The Department of Justice together with the foreign agencies are also doing their best to hunt down the person/s responsible for hacking the Comelec’s database system.

SECURITY OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

“SEC. 20. Security of Personal Information. – (a) The personal information controller must implement reasonable and appropriate organizational, physical and technical measures intended for the protection of personal information against any accidental or unlawful destruction, alteration and disclosure, as well as against any other unlawful processing.

(b) The personal information controller shall implement reasonable and appropriate measures to protect personal information against natural dangers such as accidental loss or destruction, and human dangers such as unlawful access, fraudulent misuse, unlawful destruction, alteration and contamination.

(c) The determination of the appropriate level of security under this section must take into account the nature of the personal information to be protected, the risks represented by the processing, the size of the organization and complexity of its operations, current data privacy best practices and the cost of security implementation. Subject to guidelines as the Commission may issue from time to time, the measures implemented must include:

(1) Safeguards to protect its computer network against accidental, unlawful or unauthorized usage or interference with or hindering of their functioning or availability;

(2) A security policy with respect to the processing of personal information;

(3) A process for identifying and accessing reasonably foreseeable vulnerabilities in its computer networks, and for taking preventive, corrective and mitigating action against security incidents that can lead to a security breach; and

(4) Regular monitoring for security breaches and a process for taking preventive, corrective and mitigating action against security incidents that can lead to a security breach.

(d) The personal information controller must further ensure that third parties processing personal information on its behalf shall implement the security measures required by this provision.

(e) The employees, agents or representatives of a personal information controller who are involved in the processing of personal information shall operate and hold personal information under strict confidentiality if the personal information are not intended for public disclosure. This obligation shall continue even after leaving the public service, transfer to another position or upon termination of employment or contractual relations.

(f) The personal information controller shall promptly notify the Commission and affected data subjects when sensitive personal information or other information that may, under the circumstances, be used to enable identity fraud are reasonably believed to have been acquired by an unauthorized person, and the personal information controller or the Commission believes (bat such unauthorized acquisition is likely to give rise to a real risk of serious harm to any affected data subject. The notification shall at least describe the nature of the breach, the sensitive personal information possibly involved, and the measures taken by the entity to address the breach. Notification may be delayed only to the extent necessary to determine the scope of the breach, to prevent further disclosures, or to restore reasonable integrity to the information and communications system.

(1) In evaluating if notification is unwarranted, the Commission may take into account compliance by the personal information controller with this section and existence of good faith in the acquisition of personal information.

(2) The Commission may exempt a personal information controller from notification where, in its reasonable judgment, such notification would not be in the public interest or in the interests of the affected data subjects.

(3) The Commission may authorize postponement of notification where it may hinder the progress of a criminal investigation related to a serious breach.”

3 Policemen Involved In Kidnap-Slay Case

It is no secret that policemen have been involved in a series of crimes and while there are cops who continue to exude exemplary behaviour, bad still outnumbers the good. Due to the growing number of policemen involved in crimes, their tainted reputation no longer comes as a surprise. Some cops will take these in their stride, but an ordinary citizen will consider these issues a cause for alarm. Another reason for disappointment is the death of Adora Lazatin, found floating in the Pasig River on April 8, 2016, Friday. The perpetrators were nabbed for the victim’s kidnap-slay, and three of them are policemen.

PO1 Mark Jay de los Santos, Inspector Eljie Jacobe and PO1 Edmon Gonzales were arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) over the weekend.  According to NBI, the perpetrators have withdrawn at least P200,000 from the victim’s savings account. Before Lazatin’s disappearance, Ryan, her son informed him that she was going to meet a prospective buyer and the prospect turned out to be PO1 Mark Jay de los Santos. Lazatin and De los Santos agreed to meet at a mall. Ryan reported his mother missing when she failed to answer text messages.  Aside from kidnapping with homicide, the five suspects are also facing charges for violating the access devices regulation law. 

“Sec. 10. Penalties. — Any person committing any of the acts constituting access device fraud enumerated in the immediately preceding Sec. shall be punished with:

(a) a fine of Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) or twice the value obtained by the offense, whichever is greater and imprisonment for not less than six (6) years and not more than ten (10) years, in the case of an offense under Sec. 9 (b)-(e), and (g)-(p) which does not occur after a conviction for another offense under Sec. 9;

(b) a fine of Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) or twice the value obtained by the offense, and imprisonment for not less than ten (10) years and for not more than twelve (12) years, in the case of an offense under Sec. 9 (a), and (f) of the foregoing Sec., which does not occur after a conviction for another offense under Sec. 9; and

(c) a fine of Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) or twice the value obtained by the offense, or imprisonment for not less than twelve (12) years and not more than twenty (20) years, or both, in the case of any offense under Sec. 9, which occurs after a conviction for another offense under said subSec., or an attempt to commit the same. “

What Should You Do When You Get Into Road Accidents?

When panic attacks take precedence over presence of mind, it is hard to gather your thoughts and pull yourself together during road accidents. For sure, the steps to take if you have gotten yourself into road accidents have not crossed your mind unless you are involved. While going to driving school provides you the dos and don’ts of driving, experience is somehow the best teacher. The basic laws of driving are covered under the Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. The Act provides motorists with the information on provisions and traffic laws.

Section 5 of the RA 4136 tackles the processes of registration of motor vehicles. It states that “all motor vehicles and trailer of any type used or operated on or upon any highway of the Philippines must be registered with the Bureau of Land Transportation for the current year in accordance with the provisions of this Act.”

A fee of fifty pesos (P50.00) will be collected by the Bureau of Land Transportation and this fee is intended for the annotation of a mortgage and other encumbrances.

Section 55 outlines the duty of the driver in case of accident:

“SECTION 55. Duty of Driver in Case of Accident. – In the event that any accident should occur as a result of the operation of a motor vehicle upon a highway, the driver present, shall show his driver’s license, give his true name and address and also the true name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle.

No driver of a motor vehicle concerned in a vehicular accident shall leave the scene of the accident without aiding the victim, except under any of the following circumstances:

1. If he is in imminent danger of being seriously harmed by any person or persons by reason of the accident;

2. If he reports the accident to the nearest officer of the law; or

3. If he has to summon a physician or nurse to aid the victim.”

For the driver, it is important to ensure safety of people who are involved in the accident. Taking pictures of the accident is also necessary because this will serve as evidence especially if the other person denies the incident that has taken place. When taking pictures of both vehicles, the license plates and the area where the accident occurred must be included.

If it is possible, your vehicle must be moved off to the side of the road and let the investigator get all the details related to the accident. The information will be reviewed later on. If the accident involves another driver, an exchange of information must be considered. The essential details that you need to gather are name, phone number, address, policy number, insurance company, driver’s license number and license plate number. Do not forget to include the make and model of the vehicle.

After the exchange of information, contact your insurance company so you will be able to find out about the coverage of your insurance. An accident report must also be filed with the police department. A police report can speed up the process of filing for insurance claims. The report can be filed at your local police station.

Identity Theft: A Gateway To Another Crime

Crimes come in many forms these days. This is why people take necessary security measures to increase the level of protection and decrease the possibility of crimes. Unfortunately, vigilance may not be enough if culprits have a way of committing a crime without getting caught. A few weeks ago, a robbery-homicide case in Laguna has left fear to many especially to homeowners who are often left alone with their kids. In a country where alarm systems and other security devices are not yet considered a necessity, the only weapon a homeowner can arm himself with is vigilance.

In the Laguna robber-homicide case, the victim has taken some necessary precautions to protect herself and her one-year-old child from harm. An exchange of text messages with her spouse is proof that she followed best practices in letting a stranger inside her house. Unfortunately, the cunning suspects had better plans, and those were something that the victims were unprepared for.

While the information about the supposed suspect was obtained by the spouse, a shocking revelation just turned the spouse’s world upside down. During the earlier investigation, it was revealed, through the victim’s text message, that David Dela Cruz was the primary suspect of the heinous crime. It was all over the news and a hefty reward awaits those who can give leads to the suspect’s whereabouts. A few days later, a senior specialist from a telecom company named Christopher Oliveros said he was the person on the Identification card of the suspect.

Colleagues have attested that the specialist was in a different location when the incident happened. As the story unfolds, the truth becomes more and more alarming because Oliveros himself was a victim of identity theft. The picture shown on the ID card was stolen from his Facebook account.  Although the suspects have documents to show, those were fake documents. The job order taken from the victims’ residence was merely fabricated. The suspects were captured by a nearby CCTV in the area, and further investigations will be conducted to solve the puzzle. With this robbery-homicide case, vigilance may not be enough to stay protected against unscrupulous criminals.

The crimes related to identity theft are covered under the Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and the Republic Act 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act. The robbery-homicide suspects are still out in the streets. It may take weeks or months to consider this crime solved, but one thing is for sure, there are still predators, waiting for another victim to fall into their evil schemes. With the craftiness of these identity thieves, one could only hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

DOJ Supports Senate Bills Making Hazing A Crime

Fraternities, sororities and other organizations in and out of the campus consider hazing as an initiation rite. Whoever survives becomes a full-fledged member of an organization. Unfortunately, hazing has affected the lives of neophytes and their families due to the numerous cases of death. The bill, if enacted into a law will impose stiffer penalties against all kinds of hazing activities. Fraternities and sororities will also be closely monitored to ensure that this unacceptable initiation rite will be prevented from taking place. The Department of Justice (DOJ) supports House Bill 5760 and shares the same intention of putting a stop of fraternity violence, which is prevalent in the campus.

If this house bill will be enacted into a law, Republic Act No. 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law will be repealed. The bill will also provide restriction of community-based fraternities and the penal provisions will be more rigid. If the members and officers of the organization have been found guilty of committing a crime of hazing, they will pay a fine of P1 million and serve a sentence of 12 to 20 years in prison.  Members and officers who are under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol will pay a fine of P2 million. Life imprisonment will also be imposed upon them. There will be greater penalties if the hazing rite resulted in the death, mutilation, rape of any individual. There are several proposals related to the regulation of hazing and other forms of initiation rites. Two of which have been proposed by Senator Tito Sotto and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Here’s the summary of the current anti hazing law (R.A. 8049:

“Section 1. Hazing, as used in this Act, is an initiation rite or practice as a prerequisite for admission into membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization by placing the recruit, neophyte or applicant in some embarrassing or humiliating situations such as forcing him to do menial, silly, foolish and other similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him to physical or psychological suffering or injury. 

The term "organization" shall include any club or the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Military Academy, or officer and cadet corp of the Citizen's Military Training and Citizen's Army Training. The physical, mental and psychological testing and training procedure and practices to determine and enhance the physical, mental and psychological fitness of prospective regular members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police as approved ny the Secretary of National Defense and the National Police Commission duly recommended by the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Director General of the Philippine National Police shall not be considered as hazing for the purposes of this Act. 

Sec. 2. No hazing or initiation rites in any form or manner by a fraternity, sorority or organization shall be allowed without prior written notice to the school authorities or head of organization seven (7) days before the conduct of such initiation. The written notice shall indicate the period of the initiation activities which shall not exceed three (3) days, shall include the names of those to be subjected to such activities, and shall further contain an undertaking that no physical violence be employed by anybody during such initiation rites. 

Sec. 3. The head of the school or organization or their representatives must assign at least two (2) representatives of the school or organization, as the case may be, to be present during the initiation. It is the duty of such representative to see to it that no physical harm of any kind shall be inflicted upon a recruit, neophyte or applicant.”

It Is The Season For Mudslinging: Online Bashers May Face Legal Liability

If there is one routine that most people are stuck in, it is taking rants to social media at the same rate an individual changes clothes. During a social-media induced hysteria, your fingers seem to have a mind of their own. They think for themselves carrying one sole mission: to win the cyber word war. Online bashing or cyber bullying has become prevalent during the election period. Just visit one of the electoral candidate’s Facebook page and you will realize how a die-hard supporter can dominate the comments section.

Social media users enjoy basking in the glory of anonymity that it becomes an addiction like a druggie to cocaine. Online bashers can easily get out of this situation scot-free because they can create fake accounts and comment as they please. Unfortunately, these internet trolls just do not know when to stop because they know no limitations. They can post rude comments in rapid succession and get away with it.

These social media platforms have become an avenue for no-holds-barred expressions and a passive-aggressive way of venting out. Employees who are against their employer may choose to create a Facebook Group where they can freely express their turmoil and discontentment. These individuals can put up a façade and report to work as though everything is perfectly fine. Cyber bullying comes in many forms, but it yields the same negative result.

A bill that may soon put a stop to cyber bullying has been proposed by Camarines Sur Representative Rolando Andaya. Anti-Cyber Bullying Act of 2015, if enacted into a law cyberbullies will receive a penalty between six months and six years imprisonment. They will also pay a fine of not less than P50,000 to a maximum of 100,000.

The following offenses are considered to be a violation of anti-cyber bullying act of 2015:

“a) Repeatedly sending offensive, rude and insulting message;

b) Distributing derogatory information about the victim;

c) Posting or sending offensive photos of the victim, whether these are digitally altered or not, or were taken with or without consent, with the intention to humiliate and embarrass the victim;

d) Breaking into an email, social networking or any electronic account and using the victim’s virtual identity to send, upload or distribute embarrassing materials to or about others;

e) Sharing the victim’s personal information or any embarrassing information, or tricking the victim into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sharing it to others; and

f) Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or engaging in online activities that cause fear on the victim’s safety.”

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 15 Of 15 You Can Legally Kill People

You can lose your temper once you reach your boiling point. It can be due to a number of reasons such as betrayal. What would you do if your spouse commits adultery? Some can easily forgive a person and start a new life, but there are those who just cannot bury the hatchet. This means they can put matters into their own hands by killing the person responsible for committing such a crime.

Article 247 states:

“ Death or physical injuries under exceptional circumstances. — Any legally married person who, having surprised his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person, shall kill any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon them any serious physical injuries, shall suffer the penalty of destierro.

If he shall inflict upon them physical injuries of any other kind, he shall be exempt from punishment.

These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to parents with respect to their daughters under eighteen years of age, and their seducers, while the daughters are living with their parents.

Any person who shall promote or facilitate the prostitution of his wife or daughter, or shall otherwise have consented to the infidelity of the other spouse, shall not be entitled to the benefits of this article.”

The law only applies if the following elements are present:

“1. The offender is any legally married person;

2. The offender surprises his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person;

3. The offender kills or seriously injures any or both of them;

4. The offender kills or seriously injures during the act of sexual intercourse or immediately thereafter.”

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 14 Of 15 Anti-Pana Law

Anti-pana law is one of the strangest laws that still exist up to this day. Perhaps, this law came to existence due to the number of “pana” incidents. This is still considered a deadly weapon and can be as dangerous as firearms. Now, there are people who use pana or arrow for livelihood and in this case, all they need to do is to secure a permit from the mayor in his city.

This law was made during the 1960s and this is referred to as the Republic Act No. 3553, or an Act to Prohibit the Possession of Deadly Arrow.

“Section 1. Any person who possesses a deadly arrow or "pana" without permit from a city, municipal, or municipal district mayor, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of not less than thirty days nor more than six months. The phrase "deadly arrow or 'pana'" as used in this Act means any arrow or dart that when shot from a blow or slingshot can cause injury or death of a person.

Section 2. Any city, municipal or municipal district mayor may issue a permit to any individual to possess a deadly arrow or "pana" if such is to be used to earn a livelihood for such individual.

Section 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Approved: June 21, 1963”

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 13 Of 15 Unjust Vexation

Have you already come across one law that allows a person to file charges to annoying people? This law, aside from being tongue-in-cheek, is rather ambiguous as it lacks specific definition. Unlike other laws that prohibit a person to do this and that, unjust vexation seems to send mixed signals that only bring confusion to people. It is considered a catch-all provision, because it has no specific meaning that will clearly provide laymen a deeper and better understanding of the law.

For instance, if you find your neighbour annoying and what he/she does violates this law, he will be “punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging from 5 pesos to 200 pesos, or both.” There are various cases in which this ambiguous law has been applied, but its lack of specific definition will make one wonder whether they are already crossing the lines or not. For instance, a person can be convicted of unjust vexation for simply interrupting or disturbing a ceremony of a religious character.

This law can be found in Article 287 of the Revised Penal Code:

" Art. 287. Light coercions. — Any person who, by means of violence, shall seize anything belonging to his debtor for the purpose of applying the same to the payment of the debt, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period and a fine equivalent to the value of the thing, but in no case less than 75 pesos.

Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging from 5 pesos to 200 pesos, or both."

The Latest Bilibid Prison Raid Discovers Rooftop Swimming Pool

A raid was conducted on December 21, 2015 on New Bilibid Prison’s maximum security compound. This is already the ninth raid conducted at the Bilibid Prison, but the premise never fails to provide more surprises. While being incarcerated can be very depressing as prisoners are deprived of the freedom that only the outside world offers, discovering two swimming pools and a hidden lounge within New Bilibid Prison’s premise will make you think otherwise. However, the luxurious lifestyle and lavish spending are only experienced by prisoners who have vast amounts of cash.

The raid is a blunt reminder that something needs to be done and while these prisoners continue to enjoy unlimited supply of contraband, people just cannot help but wonder where justice really went or if such really existed. Who wouldn’t be surprised to discover huge quantities of illegal drugs, firearms electronic gadgets, air conditioners, flat-screen TV and other facilities that can provide convenience? The kind of lifestyle that some of these prisoners continue to enjoy is tantamount to staying in a luxurious hotel and other types of accommodation.  How can these be possible when the persons who were appointed to impose discipline are not doing their job? High-profile inmates continue to enjoy luxurious lifestyles while the rest turn green with envy.

The Bureau of Corrections also confiscated hamsters and aquarium fish. According to Rainier Cruz, director of Bureau of Corrections, the BuCor employees are the ones who file requests for the appliances and this is the reason why some of the televisions, freezers and refrigerators bore BuCor equipment stickers.  The New Bilibid Prison violates a vast range of laws including Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The definition of this Act can be found in Section 3.

(a) Administer. – Any act of introducing any dangerous drug into the body of any person, with or without his/her knowledge, by injection, inhalation, ingestion or other means, or of committing any act of indispensable assistance to a person in administering a dangerous drug to himself/herself unless administered by a duly licensed practitioner for purposes of medication.

(b) Board. - Refers to the Dangerous Drugs Board under Section 77, Article IX of this Act.

(c) Centers. - Any of the treatment and rehabilitation centers for drug dependents referred to in Section 34, Article VIII of this Act.

(d) Chemical Diversion. – The sale, distribution, supply or transport of legitimately imported, in-transit, manufactured or procured controlled precursors and essential chemicals, in diluted, mixtures or in concentrated form, to any person or entity engaged in the manufacture of any dangerous drug, and shall include packaging, repackaging, labeling, relabeling or concealment of such transaction through fraud, destruction of documents, fraudulent use of permits, misdeclaration, use of front companies or mail fraud.

(e) Clandestine Laboratory. – Any facility used for the illegal manufacture of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical.

(f) Confirmatory Test. – An analytical test using a device, tool or equipment with a different chemical or physical principle that is more specific which will validate and confirm the result of the screening test.

(g) Controlled Delivery. – The investigative technique of allowing an unlawful or suspect consignment of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical, equipment or paraphernalia, or property believed to be derived directly or indirectly from any offense, to pass into, through or out of the country under the supervision of an authorized officer, with a view to gathering evidence to identify any person involved in any dangerous drugs related offense, or to facilitate prosecution of that offense.

(h) Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. – Include those listed in Tables I and II of the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances as enumerated in the attached annex, which is an integral part of this Act.

(i) Cultivate or Culture. – Any act of knowingly planting, growing, raising, or permitting the planting, growing or raising of any plant which is the source of a dangerous drug.

(j) Dangerous Drugs. – Include those listed in the Schedules annexed to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and in the Schedules annexed to the 1971 Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances as enumerated in the attached annex which is an integral part of this Act.

(k) Deliver. – Any act of knowingly passing a dangerous drug to another, personally or otherwise, and by any means, with or without consideration.

(l) Den, Dive or Resort. – A place where any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical is administered, delivered, stored for illegal purposes, distributed, sold or used in any form.

(m) Dispense. – Any act of giving away, selling or distributing medicine or any dangerous drug with or without the use of prescription.

(n) Drug Dependence. – As based on the World Health Organization definition, it is a cluster of physiological, behavioral and cognitive phenomena of variable intensity, in which the use of psychoactive drug takes on a high priority thereby involving, among others, a strong desire or a sense of compulsion to take the substance and the difficulties in controlling substance-taking behavior in terms of its onset, termination, or levels of use.

(o) Drug Syndicate. – Any organized group of two (2) or more persons forming or joining together with the intention of committing any offense prescribed under this Act.

(p) Employee of Den, Dive or Resort. – The caretaker, helper, watchman, lookout, and other persons working in the den, dive or resort, employed by the maintainer, owner and/or operator where any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical is administered, delivered, distributed, sold or used, with or without compensation, in connection with the operation thereof.

(q) Financier. – Any person who pays for, raises or supplies money for, or underwrites any of the illegal activities prescribed under this Act.

(r) Illegal Trafficking. – The illegal cultivation, culture, delivery, administration, dispensation, manufacture, sale, trading, transportation, distribution, importation, exportation and possession of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical.

(s) Instrument. – Any thing that is used in or intended to be used in any manner in the commission of illegal drug trafficking or related offenses.

(t) Laboratory Equipment. – The paraphernalia, apparatus, materials or appliances when used, intended for use or designed for use in the manufacture of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical, such as reaction vessel, preparative/purifying equipment, fermentors, separatory funnel, flask, heating mantle, gas generator, or their substitute.

(u) Manufacture. – The production, preparation, compounding or processing of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical, either directly or indirectly or by extraction from substances of natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and shall include any packaging or repackaging of such substances, design or configuration of its form, or labeling or relabeling of its container; except that such terms do not include the preparation, compounding, packaging or labeling of a drug or other substances by a duly authorized practitioner as an incident to his/her administration or dispensation of such drug or substance in the course of his/her professional practice including research, teaching and chemical analysis of dangerous drugs or such substances that are not intended for sale or for any other purpose.

A Friendly Reminder To People With A Penchant For Firecrackers

It has been a yearly tradition for most Pinoys to celebrate New Year using firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices. The celebration is not enough without the presence of firecrackers. Unfortunately, there are people who do not know their limitations in spite of repetitive reminders on televisions and radios on the responsible use of firecrackers. While firecrackers are only dangerous if in the wrong hands, there are still people who prefer prohibited firecrackers over safer ones, unperturbed to the fact that they could hurt another person due to their irresponsible use.

The Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7183 or An Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and Other Pyrotechnic Devices outlines the types of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices that are prohibited:

Sec. 2. Types of Firecrackers and Pyrotechnic Devices Allowed in this Act. — The following common types of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices may be manufactured, sold, distributed and used:

 A. Firecrackers:

(1) Baby rocket — A firecracker with a stick so constructed that lighting of the wick will propel the whole thing to lift a few meters before  exploding. The firecracker is about 1 ½ inches in length by 3/8 inch in diameter while the stick is about a foot in length; 

(2) Bawang — A firecracker larger than a triangulo with 1/3 teaspoon of powder packed in cardboard tied around with abaca strings and wrapped in shape of garlic;

(3) Small triangulo — A firecracker shaped like a triangle with powder content less than the bawang and usually wrapped in brown paper measuring ¾ inch length in its longest side;

(4) Pulling of strings — A firecracker consisting of a small tube about an inch in length and less than ¼ of an inch in diameter with strings on each end. Pulling both strings will cause the firecracker to explode;

(5) Paper caps — Minute amount of black powder spread in either small strips of paper on a small sheet used for children's toy guns;

(6) El diablo — Firecrackers tubular in shape about 1 ¼ inches in length and less than ¼ inch in diameter with a wick; also known as labintador;

(7) Watusi — Usually reddish in color about 1 ½ inches in length and 1/10 inch in width usually ignited by friction to produce a dancing movement and a crackling sound;

(8) Judah's belt — A string of firecrackers consisting of either diablos or small triangulos that can number up to a hundred or thereabout and culminating in large firecracker usually a bawang;

(9) Sky rocket (kwitis) — A large version of a baby rocket designed to be propelled to a height of forty (40) to fifty (50) feet before exploding;

(10) Other types equivalent to the foregoing in explosive content.

B. Pyrotechnic Devices:

(1) Sparklers — Pyrotechnic devices usually made of black powder on a piece of wire or inside a paper tube designed to light up and glow after igniting;
    
(2) Luces — Any of several kinds of sparklers;

(3) Fountain — A kind of sparkler conical in shape which is lighted on the ground and designed to provide various rising colors and intermittent lights upon being ignited;

(4) Jumbo regular and special — A kind of sparkler similar to a "fountain" but bigger in size;

(5) Mabuhay — Sparklers bunched into a bundle of a dozen pieces;

(6) Roman candle — A sparkler similar to a "fountain" but shaped like a big candle;

(7) Trompillo — A pyrotechnic device usually fastened at the center and designed to spin first clockwise and then counter-clockwise and provides various colored lights upon being ignited;

(8) Airwolf — A kind of sky rocket shaped like an airplane with a propeller to rise about forty (40) or fifty (50) feet and provide various kinds of light while aloft;

(9) Whistle device — Any of the various kinds of firecrackers or pyrotechnic designed to either simply emit a whistle-like sound or explode afterwards upon being ignited;

(10) Butterfly — Butterfly-shaped pyrotechnic device designed to lift above ground while providing light;

(11) All kinds of pyrotechnic devices (pailaw); and

(12) Other types equivalent to the foregoing devices.

Is The Philippines Among The Countries With The Highest Human Rights Violations?

The extra-judicial killings are one of the reasons why human rights violations in the country continue to increase. Perpetrators continue to roam the streets as killings go unpunished.  Although the Philippines does not have a large-scale armed conflict, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) considers the Philippines as one of the countries with the worst offenders. Until now, the perpetrators have not paid for the crime they committed. Based on 2015 Global Impunity Index, the Philippines has the highest impunity rates. Human rights groups and advocates also put the blame on the present administration for the lack of urgency in addressing this concern.

Extrajudicial killings have been so rampant that it becomes an ordinary yet sickening scenario. Some of the killings are said to be politically motivated, but one thing is for sure, the victims’ cries for justice continue to fall on deaf ears. A perfect example of sluggish justice system in the country is the trial of the retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan. 

He currently faces kidnapping and illegal detention charges. The two missing farmers and University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno were suspected to be members of the New People’s Army, a communist group. General Palparan’s trial is still ongoing and the two students are still missing. There are still other cases of extrajudicial killings, in which justice has not been served. The family members of the victims of Maguindanao massacre and Lumad killings continue to seek elusive justice. These human rights violations continue to bring fear since they day the country has been placed under Martial Law courtesy of Marcos regime. 

Human rights violation is defined in Section 3 of the Republic Act No, 10368:

“(b) Human rights violation refers to any act or omission committed during the period from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986 by persons acting in an official capacity and/or agents of the State, but shall not be limited to the following:

(1) Any search, arrest and/or detention without a valid search warrant or warrant of arrest issued by a civilian court of law, including any warrantless arrest or detention carried out pursuant to the declaration of Martial Law by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos as well as any arrest., detention or deprivation of liberty carried out during the covered period on the basis of an “Arrest, Search and Seizure Order (ASSO)”, a “Presidential Commitment Order {PCO)” or a “Preventive Detention Action (PDA)” and such other similar executive issuances as defined by decrees of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, or in any manner that the arrest, detention or deprivation, of liberty was effected;

(2) The infliction by a person acting in an official capacity and/or an agent of the State of physical injury, torture, killing, or violation of other human rights, of any person exercising civil or political rights, including but not limited to the freedom of speech, assembly or organization; and/or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, even if such violation took place during or in the course of what the authorities at the time deemed an illegal assembly or demonstration: Provided, That torture in any form or under any circumstance shall be considered a human rights violation;

(3) Any enforced or involuntary disappearance caused upon a person who was arrested, detained or abducted against one’s will or otherwise deprived of one’s liberty, as defined in Republic Act No. 10350 {{1}}, otherwise known as the “Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012”

(4) Any force or intimidation causing the involuntary exile of a person from the Philippines;

(5) Any act of force, intimidation or deceit causing unjust or illegal takeover of a business, confiscation of property, detention of owner/s and or their families, deprivation of livelihood of a person by agents of the State, including those caused by Ferdinand E. Marcos, his spouse Imelda R. Marcos, their immediate relatives by consanguinity or affinity, as well as those persons considered as among their close relatives, associates, cronies and subordinates under Executive Order No. 1, issued on February 28, 1986 by then President Corazon C. Aquino in the exercise of her legislative powers under the Freedom Constitution;

(6) Any act or series of acts causing, committing and/or conducting the following:

(i) Kidnapping or otherwise exploiting children of persons suspected of committing acts against the Marcos regime;

(ii) Committing sexual offenses against human rights victims who are detained and/or in the course of conducting military and/or police operations; and

(iii) Other violations and/or abuses similar or analogous to the above, including those recognized by international law.”

Think Twice When Posting Offensive Photos On Facebook

Are Filipinos completely aware of on-line laws and etiquette when using various social networking sites including Facebook? When cybercrime law was implemented in the Philippines, it earned the ire of netizens as it is said to deny freedom of speech.  The law is defined in the Republic Act No. 10175. Without a doubt, Facebook has been a substitute to the old-fashioned journal where you can simply write your thoughts away. In this era of mouse potatoes, you no longer keep a secret in your journal. You share your views, opinions, angst, pains or any challenges that life throws at you on Facebook. 

Yes, Facebook is your very own version of cyber counselling and it does not take long enough to earn sympathy from your “friends”.  While Facebook users consider this social networking site a great relief to stress, it can breach confidentiality once you hit post or share. It does not guarantee secrecy when you know for a fact that there is already an intrusion to your privacy. The million dollar question is: Are we completely aware of what we post on Facebook?

The thesis “The Unintelligent Facebook Users” authored by a Filipino-American graduate school student from Harvard University, Genevieve Molina shows Pinoy Facebook users’ carelessness when it comes to posting status updates, sharing videos and uploading photos. According to Molina’s research, there are 6,020,958 horrific images shared around the world on Facebook on a daily basis and 951,311 are shared by Pinoy users. 

An irresponsible and unintelligent use of Facebook and other social networking sites gets users into serious trouble. Sharing or uploading offensive photos is still part of the cybercrime law umbrella. Although it is an unusual crime, the damage can still be considered irreparable especially when photos become viral. Nela Llamas is just another perfect example that you really need to think twice when uploading videos or photos on your Facebook wall. This 19-year old Nursing Junior at Manila Doctor’s College faces criminal liability because of posting a photo of the late Pete Rogas, who was killed due to a vehicular accident at C5. The incident happened two months ago. 

The family of the victim is still seeking justice for their son and sharing the offensive photo does more harm than good. This is another reminder to Facebook users who are fond of posting offensive photos for the belief that it will alleviate the family members’ emotional pain but it only takes a turn for the worse. Llamas’ case is still on progress and can serve as another warning for Facebook users to be more careful when sharing or posting photos. 

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil: Jesuits Face Sexual Abuse Case

In a country where Catholics made up the majority of the population, the priests and other religious leaders often become a moral compass and the proverbial principle: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil is tailored to what the priests project.  However, a moral compass can still spin wildly and be out of control. While Padre Damaso is deemed a figment of Jose Rizal’s imagination, any news of sexual abuse involving priests will sure remind you of this fictional character’s omnipresence.  

A few weeks ago, sexual abuse cases involving priests have surfaced and they were made more interesting when 2016 presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte claimed he was also sexually abused. The sexual abuse cases are a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Aside from Duterte, a former student breaks his silence after 30 years and he said he was sexually abused from 1984 to 1987. Without a doubt, the alleged victim dropped a bombshell. 

The country embraces religious diversity as it is also home to various religious sectors, but Roman Catholics are the most vocal when it comes to issues they consider to be a violation of their so-called moral standards. They are against RH bill, abortion and god-knows-what-else. Unfortunately, discovering Jesuits involved in sexual abuse scandal is indeed a living mockery and avid followers just keep a stiff upper lip while the issue is still being investigated. While this case does not put you into situation where you will be damned if you do and you will still be damned if you don't, the society has the right to know the truth. In the past, cases of sexual abuse have never been put on record, but there are already reported cases in 2002 according to Wikipedia. The Society of Jesus in the Philippines has yet to conduct an investigation on the abuses. 

If proven guilty, the Jesuits involved in sexual abuse scandal commit a violation of Republic Act 7610 or better known as the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. 

“Sec. 5. Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse. - Children, whether male or female, who for money, profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse.

The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon the following:

(a) Those who engage in or promote, facilitate or induce child prostitution which include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Acting as a procurer of a child prostitute;

(2) Inducing a person to be a client of a child prostitute by means of written or oral advertisements or other similar means;

(3) Taking advantage of influence or relationship to procure a child as prostitute;

(4) Threatening or using violence towards a child to engage him as a prostitute; or

(5) Giving monetary consideration goods or other pecuniary benefit to a child with intent to engage such child in prostitution.

(b) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse of lascivious conduct with a child exploited in prostitution or subject to other sexual abuse; Provided, That when the victims is under twelve (12) years of age, the perpetrators shall be prosecuted under Article 335, paragraph 3, for rape and Article 336 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious conduct, as the case may be: Provided, That the penalty for lascivious conduct when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age shall be reclusion temporal in its medium period; and

(c) Those who derive profit or advantage therefrom, whether as manager or owner of the establishment where the prostitution takes place, or of the sauna, disco, bar, resort, place of entertainment or establishment serving as a cover or which engages in prostitution in addition to the activity for which the license has been issued to said establishment.”

The Aguinaldo Condonation Legal Doctrine

Anti-corruption advocates were quite disappointed when Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. invoked the Aguinaldo doctrine, questioning his order of suspension last March. The decision was made by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. The Makati Mayor claimed that he was no longer held responsible nor liable for the construction of Makati Science High School Building (MSHSB) because such liability has already been rendered ineffective by his reelection in 2013.  The same doctrine was used for defending himself against anomalous and shady transaction involved in the construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II. Perhaps, the existence of Aguinaldo Doctrine has been misused and abused by politicians who still aspire to run for 2016 elections in spite of pending administrative cases. 

The Aguinaldo doctrine removes the elected officials’ liabilities for administrative offenses that were committed in previous terms once they are reelected. It is so easy for elected officials to evade liabilities so long as they are reelected into office. The doctrine also emphasizes that the law only applies to administrative cases. If elected official has a pending criminal case, the acts will not be pardoned and the judicial processes will push through. Anti-corruption advocates believe that scrapping this doctrine can reduce graft and corruption in the country. 

As stated in the doctrine: “Offenses committed, or acts done, during a previous term are generally held not to furnish cause for removal and this is especially true were the Constitution provides that the penalty in proceeding for removal shall not extend beyond the removal from office, and disqualification from holding office for a term for which the officer was elected or appointed.”

“The Court should ever remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When a people have elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically overrule the will of the people. (Lizares v. Hechanova, et al., 17 SCRA 58, 59-60 [1966]) (See also Oliveros v. Villaluz, 57 SCRA 163 [1974])”

“Equally without merit is petitioner's claim that before he could be suspended or removed from office, proof beyond reasonable doubt is required inasmuch as he is charged with a penal offense of disloyalty to the Republic which is defined and penalized under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code. Petitioner is not being prosecuted criminally under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, but administratively with the end in view of removing petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Cagayan Province for acts of disloyalty to the Republic where the quantum of proof required is only substantial evidence.”

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 10 Of 15 Obsolete Immigration Law

In the Philippines some laws are undeniably out dated and further amendments need to be made. One of the laws that require amendment and expansion is the immigration law or the Commonwealth Act No. 613. The law was made and implemented in 1940 and the outdated sections of this law including Section 29-A is an indicator that necessary changes must be made. 

“Sec. 29. (a) The following classes of aliens shall be excluded from entry into the Philippines:

1. Idiots or insane persons and persons who have been insane;

2. Persons afflicted with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease, or epilepsy:

3. Persons who have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;

4. Prostitutes, or procurers, or persons coming for any immoral purposes;

5. Persons likely to become, public charge;

6. Paupers, vagrants, and beggars;

7. Persons who practice polygamy or who believe in or advocate the practice of polygamy;

8. Persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow by force and violence of the Government of the Philippines, or of constituted lawful authority, or who disbelieve in or are opposed to organized government, or who advocate the assault or assassination of public officials because of their office, or who advocate or teach principles, theories, or ideas contrary to the Constitution of the Philippines or advocate or teach the unlawful destruction of property, or who are members of or affiliated with any organization entertaining or teaching such doctrines;

9. Persons over fifteen years of age, physically capable of reading, who cannot read printed matter in ordinary use in any language selected by the alien, but this provision shall not apply to the grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, wife, husband or child of a Philippine citizen or of an alien lawfully resident in the Philippines;

10. Persons who are members of a family accompanying an excluded alien, unless in the opinion of the Commissioner of Immigration no hardship would result from their admission;

11. Persons accompanying an excluded person who is helpless from mental or physical disability or infancy, when the protection or guardianship of such accompanying person or persons is required by the excluded person, as shall be determined by the Commissioner of Immigration;

12. Children under fifteen years of age, unaccompanied by or not coming to a parent, except that any such children may be admitted in the discretion of the Commissioner of Immigration, if otherwise admissible;

13. Stowaways, except that any stowaway may be admitted in the discretion of the Commissioner of Immigration, if otherwise admissible;

14. Persons coming to perform unskilled manual labor in pursuance of a promise or offer of employment, express or implied, but this provision shall not apply to persons bearing passport visas authorized by Section Twenty of this Act;

15. Persons who have been excluded or deported from the Philippines, but this provision may be waived in the discretion of the Commissioner of Immigration: Provided, however, That the Commissioner of Immigration shall not exercise his discretion in favor of aliens excluded or deported on the ground of conviction for any crime involving moral turpitude or for any crime penalized under Sections Forty-Five and Forty-Six of this Act or on the ground of having engaged in hoarding, black-marketing or profiteering unless such aliens have previously resided in the Philippines immediately before his exclusion or deportation for a period of ten years or more or are married to native Filipino women;

16. Persons who have been removed from the Philippines at the expense of the Government of the Philippines, as indigent aliens, under the provisions of section forty-three of this Act, and who have not obtained the consent of the Board of Commissioners to apply for readmission; and

17. Persons not properly documented for admission as may be required under the provisions of this Act.”

Some of the proposed amendments of the Commonwealth Act No. 613 include the expansion of the classification of disqualified aliens and the penalties that will be imposed for aliens who have involvement in syndicated criminal activities. The purpose of the amendments is to enhance national security and ensure safety in the country. 

Lawmakers seek support so major changes can be made, making the law responsive to the current immigration concerns of the country. 

The Alarming Truth On Bullet Planting Scheme In NAIA

The alarming increase of bullet planting scam cases is indeed an unsettling news knowing the fact that anyone can be caught carrying bullets in their bags. A plethora of speculations have been heard but the truth remains in the dark. It is just another blame game that almost everyone can play at. While authorities are investigating on this matter, people just cannot help putting the blame on anyone who has access to their luggage. Anyone can be a suspect: the guards, taxi drivers, airport security personnel and porters. 

While the case remains unsolved, the livelihood of those who are working in and around the airport is also at risk. Passengers are also creating their own safety measures to avoid falling prey to the bullet planting scheme. Without a doubt, the luggage wrapping services at NAIA are becoming a lucrative business considering the fact that many passengers have become more vigilant.

Passengers who are caught carrying live bullets or ammunition in their bags violate Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, which states that “It is the policy of the State to maintain peace and order and protect the people against violence. The State also recognizes the right of its qualified citizens to self-defense through, when it is the reasonable means to repel the unlawful aggression under the circumstances, the use of firearms. Towards this end, the State shall provide for a comprehensive law regulating the ownership, possession, carrying, manufacture, dealing in and importation of firearms, ammunition, or parts thereof, in order to provide legal support to law enforcement agencies in their campaign against crime, stop the proliferation of illegal firearms or weapons and the illegal manufacture of firearms or weapons, ammunition and parts thereof.”

The bullet planting cases in 2015 has a total of 1394 and still counting. While there are some passengers who admit to carrying live bullets in their bags due to superstition, others are completely clueless how the bullets got in their bags.  There are lingering questions that remain unanswered and this issue will continue to be a guessing game for everyone unless the people who are responsible for this bullet planting scheme is incarcerated. 

There are political figures who have already offered legal aid to the victims. If abuse of power and extortion are the reasons for the prevalence of bullet planting, the passengers must also consider safety measures for their protection. 

In the event an official claims to find a bullet in a passenger's bag, the passenger has the right to delay immediate opening of the bag, summon presence of the official’s supervisor and obtain lawyer’s presence or third party witnesses.  Keep in mind that no officer can force you to be a witness against yourself. If you are coerced into admitting ownership of the planted bullet, you have the right to remain silent. Any admission without the presence of a lawyer is considered inadmissible in court. If you are required to pay in exchange of your freedom, simply refer to Section 9 of the Republic Act No. 3019 or Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“Penalties for violations. (a) Any public officer or private person committing any of the unlawful acts or omissions enumerated in Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, perpetual disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture in favor of the Government of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income.”

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 8 Of 15 Squatting Is Not Considered A Crime

In a country where poverty is one of the biggest challenges that the government faces, you just cannot turn a blind eye on squatters, which are clear and undeniable proof that something needs to be done when it comes to finding these individuals a better place to roost in. Past and present administrations have continued to delve deeper into the root cause of the growing numbers of squatters in and around Metro Manila. 

It constantly ignites a spark of controversy and many fingers have been pointed at the present administration. In the hopes of giving equal rights to the less fortunate, Republic Act 8368 or better known as the “Anti-Squatting Law Repeal Act of 1997” repealed Presidential Decree No. 772. The Presidential Decree penalized squatting and with the repeal act, squatting is deemed a non-crime due to the fact that the squatters themselves are also victims of injustice and unequal social system. 

Under Section 2 of Presidential Decree No. 772, “Any person who, with the use of force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner, succeeds in occupying or possessing the property of the latter against his will for residential commercial or any other purposes, shall be punished by an imprisonment ranging from six months to one year or a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than five thousand pesos at the discretion of the court, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.”

Land owners may slightly have a clue which side this Republic Act is on and as a consolation the act does not exempt the so-called professional syndicates and squatters. The squatting syndicates refer to groups of people who are engaged in squatting housing business for their personal gain or profit. Professional squatters are individuals or groups who occupy the land without permission from the landowner. They are referred to as professional squatters because they have sufficient income for legitimate housing. People who have sold their housing units or homelots awarded by the government and chosen to settle illegally in the same place are also considered professional squatters. This law can be found in Republic Act 7279 or the “ Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.” 

Under Section 16 of the Republic Act:

“Sec.  16. Eligibility Criteria for Socialized Housing Program Beneficiaries. — To qualify for the socialized housing program, a beneficiary: 

(a) Must be a Filipino citizen; 

(b) Must be an underprivileged and homeless citizen, as defined in Section 3 of this Act; 

(c) Must not own any real property whether in the urban or rural areas; and 

(d) Must not be a professional squatter or a member of squatting syndicates.”

Should Marijuana Be Legalized In The Philippines

In some States in the US, marijuana has already been legalized. One of the merits for its legalization is its ability to provide relief for various neuropathic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. It can also treat epileptic seizures and loss of appetite after a person with AIDS or HIV undergoes chemotherapy or following treatment. 

Selling or using marijuana is a criminal offense under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. However, it is also highlighted in Section 2 of the Act that:The government shall however aim to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.

It is further declared the policy of the State to provide effective mechanisms or measures to re-integrate into society individuals who have fallen victims to drug abuse or dangerous drug dependence through sustainable programs of treatment and rehabilitation.”

The bill that seeks to legalize the use of cannabis or marijuana for medical treatment is known as the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. 

Section 2 of this act states thatthe State shall legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis which has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those associated with multiple sclerosis.”

Before marijuana can be prescribed to a patient, it is necessary that a licensed physician provides a complete assessment of the patient’s medical history. The patient’s current medical condition will also be examined and this includes personal physical examination and diagnostic. This is to determine if the patient’s medical condition is debilitating. This is stated on SEC 3 of the Act under Definition of Terms.

The main concern of those who oppose the legalization of marijuana in the Philippines is its ability to provide easy and quick access to those who use and sell it.

The author of this bill has seen this coming. This is why Section 5 outlines the Act’s Power and Functions. One of the powers and functions of this act include: “Approve the recommendation made by the certifying doctor who has a bona fide relationship with the patient that, after completing a medical assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including an appropriate personal physical examination, in his professional medical opinion, a patient is suffering from a debilitating medical condition, and is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of cannabis.”

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 6 Of 15 Criminal Liability Of Rape Is Extinguished Through Marriage

When a man is liable for a crime of rape, forgiveness can be obtained through marriage. This can be found in Article 266 of the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 or the Republic Act No. 8353. Now, if your head is in the clouds, let us first take a good look at what the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 is all about. 

Chapter 3, Article 266-A defines when and how a crime of rape is committed. 

1. By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

a. Through force, threat, or intimidation;

b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;

c. By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and

d. When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present. 

Pardon or forgiveness can be given to the offender once marriage takes place. Under Article 266-C, Effect of Pardon, in case it is the legal husband who is the offender, the subsequent forgiveness by the wife as the offended party shall extinguish the criminal action or the penalty: Provided, that the crime shall not be extinguished or the penalty shall not be abated if the marriage is void ab initio.

With this law, it is a case of forgive and forget. Unfortunately, forgiveness can be elusive especially when the criminal act has left a very deep wound, that scars become a reminder of such an unpleasant experience. As they say, it is easier said than done. 

Rape becomes a violent crime not only because of the force applied but also due to the fact that sexual act is committed against the will of the offended party. The problem with this law is that it sets aside other issues associated with rape. One important point is missing and the fact that a vast range of abuses such as physical, psychological and sexual can take place over a period of time while the offender and the offended party are living under one roof makes the law more open to question. 

Women who are victims of rape become held prisoner of repeated abuse and violence. Marriage only makes the situation worse for women by allowing them to be trapped in such a vicious cycle. Rape victims are traumatized and have difficulty coping. Filing criminal charges against their offenders is difficult let alone marrying the offender.  Sadly, myths about rape have not yet been completely debunked. 



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