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.

No Money To Pay A Lawyer-What Should You Do?

Not everyone can afford a lawyer. This is a harsh but sad reality we are always confronted with. Although we want justice to be served, the lack of funds always gets in the way. While we do not ask for it, we can be in a situation where our rights as a human being are violated. We can choose to be mum about it, but sometimes, enough is enough.

There comes a time when we require legal services. Defending ourselves is not enough because we have to take the law into consideration. Unfortunately,  getting a lawyer is often easier said than done. We can fantasize about winning over our opponent, but without the money to spend for legal fees, all of these will remain a dream. Our chances of defending our rights will be reduced to a speck of dust.

What shall we do then? Should we wallow in self-pity just because we do not have the means to seek legal assistance? There are still ways we can seek affordable legal professional services.

1. Assess the gravity of the situation

There are instances when we let our emotions control us in situations that can be settled without taking matters to court. In fact, there are cases that can be settled at the barangay level, but most of us take the shorter and faster route. Remember that if it is only a minor problem, we should not let our emotions get the best of us. Use good judgment. It might save us money.

2. Seek legal advice from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines

Did you know that most law schools nowadays have offices intended to provide legal aid? This is where law students put their profession to practice. Student lawyers in the Philippines are required to undergo two semesters of legal training, provided it is supervised. They can also appear in court, but they must be supervised by a member of a Philippine Bar.

3. Seek help from non-governmental organizations

Even our OFWs can be faced with a difficult situation that requires the assistance of legal practitioners. These cases can be forwarded to NGOs, which are catering to migrant workers.

4. Go to Public Attorney's Office

Public Attorney's Office (PAO) has been known for providing free legal assistance to underprivileged clients. The lawyers will represent the client pro bono. They have nationwide offices or we can also visit their official website:www.pao.gov.ph.

5. Visit legal forums

The online community is another avenue for seeking free legal advice. Legal matters such as annulment, child support, child custody and property relations are often discussed in these forums. We might chance upon a lawyer that can provide a few legal tips. There is a caveat though: the cyberspace is breeding ground for scammers. We just need to be extra careful.

These are only suggestions. The success rate will still depend on many factors such as the case that will be handled or our qualification as a client. Have you sought free legal aid? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

House Approves Mental Health Bill

According to the Department of Health (DOH), there are more than 4.5 million cases of depression in the Philippines. This report was released in 2004 and the number is more likely to be much higher considering the fact that many are still suffering in silence because of the stigma associated with mental disorders. Severe cases can even lead to death as the person suffering from depression, schizophrenia and other mental disorders are not given proper care because family members are not fully aware of the signs and symptoms that they often dismiss it as mood swings. Depression is even misconstrued for laziness, not knowing that sufferers are experiencing more than just the blues and blahs. In most cases, it is already too late for family members to realize that the person is suffering from mental disorder. 

These mental disorders can lead to suicide and most parents will even claim that they do not see a change in behavior in their children prior to committing such an act. However, there is more to depression and other mental disorders than meets the eye. If someone considers these disorders as a mere figment of one's imagination and it is all in the mind, the Mental Health Bill approved by the house of representatives will somehow shed light on the matter and make people more conscious.

House Bill Number 6452 or the "Comprehensive Mental Health Act" ensures that every person gains access to the best available mental health care. 

Objectives of Mental Health Act:

a. Ensure a community of Filipinos who are mentally healthy, able to contribute to the development of the country and attain a better quality of life through access to an integrated, well-planned, effectively organized and efficiently delivered mental health care system that responds to their mental health needs inequity with their physical needs; 

b . Promote mental health, protection of the rights and freedoms of persons with mental health needs and the reduction of the burden and consequences of mental health, mental and brain disorders and disabilities;

c.  Provide the direction for a coherent, rational, and unified response and efforts to address the nation's mental health problems and concerns;

d.  Integrate mental health care in the general health delivery system, especially in the programs of the Department of Health and the Department of Interior and Local Government for the mentally disabled persons; and

e.  Integrate, introduce and promote the study of mental health in both elementary and secondary educational systems to prevent depression, obesity, and teenage pregnancy among students of this age group. 

The bill will be enacted into a law before the year ends. 

Forcible Abduction: The Elements And Penalties

Forcible abduction under Article 342 of the Revised Penal Code is defined as "abduction of any woman against her will and with lewd designs." The penalty for this will be reclusion temporal. The elements of forcible abduction are: (a) that the person abducted is a woman, regardless of her age, civil status, or reputation; (b) that the abduction is against her will; and, (c) that the abduction is with lewd designs. 

On 5 May 1999 the trial court rejected the defenses of accused Lito Egan and convicted him of forcible abduction with rape;[45] hence, this appeal.

The only issue before us is the calibration of the competing evidence for the prosecution and the defense - verily, our resolution would hinge on whose version is more credible, more plausible and more trustworthy considering the circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime charged.

Accused-appellant Lito Egan was charged with forcible abduction with rape of twelve (12)-year old Lenie T. Camad.  Although from the records it appears that Lenie was less than twelve (12) years old as shown by her birth certificate (Exh. "B")[46] when the abduction took place on 6 January 1997 and the alleged rape was perpetrated a day after, the criminal liability of accused-appellant would nevertheless be confined only to the crime alleged in the Information.   Hence, a judgment of conviction is proper only where the prosecution was able to prove the elements of the complex crime of forcible abduction with rape -

Article 342 of the Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes the crime of forcible abduction.  The elements of forcible abduction are (a) that the person abducted is a woman, regardless of her age, civil status, or reputation; (b) that the abduction is against her will; and, (c) that the abduction is with lewd designs.   On the other hand, Art. 335 of the same Code defines the crime of rape and provides for its penalty.  The elements of rape pertinent to this case are:  (a) that the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and, (b) that such act is accomplished by using force or intimidation.[47]

All the elements of forcible abduction were proved in this case.  The victim, who is a young girl, was taken against her will as shown by the fact that at knife-point she was dragged and taken by accused-appellant to a place far from her abode.  At her tender age, Lenie could not be expected to physically resist considering the fact that even her companion, Jessica Silona, had to run home to escape accused-appellant's wrath as he brandished a hunting knife.  Fear gripped and paralyzed Lenie into helplessness as she was manhandled by accused-appellant who was armed and twenty-four (24) years her senior.  What we held in People v. Rapisora[48] could be said in the case at bar -

Appellant would urge the Court to ignore the testimony of complainant for her alleged failure to call for help.  In People vs. Akhtar, similarly involving the crime of forcible abduction with rape, the same contention was raised.  This Court, rejecting the proposition made by the alleged offender, held that '[c]omplainant's failure to ask for help when she was abducted, or to escape from appellant's house during her detention, should not be construed as a manifestation of consent to the acts done by appellant.  For her life was on the line.  Against the armed threats and physical abuses of appellant, she had no defense.  Moreover, at a time of grave peril, to shout could literally be to court disaster.  Her silence was born out of fear for her safety, to say the least, not a sign of approval'  x x x x  This Court, in several cases, has observed that behavioral psychology would indicate that most people, confronted by unusual events, react dissimilarly to like situations.  Intimidation, more subjective than not, is peculiarly addressed to the mind of the person against whom it may be employed, and its presence is basically incapable of being tested by any hard and fast rule.  Intimidation is normally best viewed in the light of the perception and judgment of the victim at the time and occasion of the crime.

The evidence likewise shows that the taking of the young victim against her will was done con miras deshonestas or in furtherance of lewd and unchaste designs.   The word lewd is defined as obscene, lustful, indecent, lascivious, lecherous.   It signifies that form of immorality which has relation to moral impurity; or that which is carried on in a wanton manner.[49] Such lewd designs were established by the prurient and lustful acts which accused-appellant displayed towards the victim after she was abducted.   This element may also be inferred from the fact that while Lenie was then a naive twelve (12)-year old, accused-appellant was thirty-six (36) years old and although unmarried was much wiser in the ways of the world than she.[50]

Given the straightforward and candid testimony of Lenie and her father Palmones as well as the absence of any motive to testify falsely against accused-appellant, the logical conclusion is that there was no improper motive on their part, and their respective testimonies as to facts proving forcible abduction are worthy of full faith and credit.[51] We generally sustain the factual findings of the trial court on account of its strategic access to circumstances decisive of the question of credibility as it saw and heard the witnesses themselves and observed  their  behavior  and  manner  of  testifying.   In the instant case, there is no reason to depart from the rule since no fact or circumstance of weight and influence proving that accused-appellant had abducted Lenie against her will and with lewd designs has been overlooked or the significance of which has been misinterpreted by the court a quo.[52] Significantly, accused-appellant has not even challenged the unequivocal pronouncement of the trial court that the complainant testified in a spontaneous and straightforward manner which thus leaves no doubt in the mind of this Court that she was telling the truth and that her declarations were positive, clear and convincing.   The best that he could do to assail the conviction was, unfortunately, to state mere speculations of inconsistencies in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses without however substantiating by specific examples such conjecture.   We have no doubt that his studied silence on the evaluation of evidentiary matters unmistakably preserves the integrity of the decision of the trial court.

Accused-appellant would however insist that he and Lenie had been engaged under Manobo rituals to marry each other and that her companionship was willful and voluntary.  Proof of this, he said, was the alleged dowry of one (1) horse, two (2) pigs, ten (10) sacks of palay, and P2,000.00, with two (2) wild horses forthcoming, he had given her father in exchange for her hand in marriage.   In moving from one place to another to look for the horses which the old man Palmones had demanded, it was allegedly only his intention to realize his matrimonial aspiration with Lenie.

The testimony of the victim negated this contrived posture of accused-appellant which in reality is simply a variation of the sweetheart defense.  If they were, surely, Lenie would not have jeopardized their relationship by accusing him of having held her against her will and molesting her and, on top of it all, by filing a criminal charge against him.   If it had been so, Lenie could have easily told her father after the latter had successfully traced their whereabouts that nothing untoward had happened between her and the accused.   Her normal reaction would have been to cover-up for the man she supposedly loved and with whom she had a passionate affair.   But, on the contrary, Lenie lost no time in denouncing accused-appellant and exposing to her family and the authorities the disgrace that had befallen her.   If they had indeed been lovers, Lenie's father would not have shown so much concern for her welfare and safety by searching for the couple for four (4) months, desperately wanting to rescue her from captivity and seeking the intervention of the datus in resolving the matter.

Neither was accused-appellant able to present any convincing evidence to substantiate his claim, like love letters, notes and other symbols of affection attesting to a consensual relationship.[53] In fact, none of the persons he and Lenie supposedly lived with during the period that he was allegedly looking for two (2) wild horses could corroborate his claim of engagement under the traditions of the Manobos.  Imbing Camad was not summoned to testify and Datu Salimbag Paguyan who took the supposed couple under custody would even admit in his testimony that he knew nothing about the relationship  between them.[54] Furthermore, Exh. "2," the letter which allegedly details the matrimonial offer of accused-appellant to Lenie, is inadmissible and otherwise barren of probative value.  For one, the letter is hearsay being as it is an out-of-court statement of a person who did not testify; moreover, it was not authenticated during the trial by either its author or its recipient.  Nor is it in any manner conclusive of any wedding plans prior to the abduction of Lenie on 6 January 1997, as Exh. "2" is explicitly dated 4 February 1997 and significantly coincides with the attempts of the several datus to rescue Lenie from the hands of accused-appellant.  Indubitably, all that was done and said in the letter with reference to marrying the girl was clearly an afterthought.[55]

Verily it is evident that accused-appellant was a rejected suitor of Lenie with no hope of having her in marriage and whose persistent offers of love and marriage had been decidedly spurned.  It was in the sleepy mid-afternoon of 6 January 1997 when he took the girl by force and at that time no marriage was proved to have been offered by accused-appellant much less considered by Lenie or her elders.  The accused dragged the victim to walk with him and to proceed to unknown destinations by warning her of a present and grave danger to her life should she refuse.  In the night which followed, he forcibly embraced, kissed, and handled her against her will.  No protestation of noble intentions can obviate the conclusion that all these acts proved lewd designs.

To be sure, several acts of accused-appellant would betray his criminal intentions.   For one he offered in evidence, partly through Exh. "2" and to a degree by his testimony, the settlement which  he together with Datu Salimbag Paguyan tried to broker with the family of Lenie to suppress the criminal act he had done.  The putative agreement was for the accused to deliver a horse to Lenie's father to settle the matter amicably but the agreement did not push through.  Since this offer of compromise was sponsored by accused-appellant himself, it clearly amounts to an implied admission of guilt which remains uncontested.[56] Moreover, if he were truly engaged to marry the victim he would not have eluded arrest for one (1) year and dodged several warrants for his arrest.  The flight of accused-appellant indubitably proves an awareness of guilt and a consciousness that he had no tenable defense to the crime charged. [57]

Nonetheless even assuming that the accused and the complainant were engaged by virtue of the dowry he had offered, this fact alone would not negate the commission of forcible abduction.   An indigenous ritual of betrothal, like any other love affair, does not justify forcibly banishing the beloved against her will with the intention of molesting her.  It is likewise well-settled that the giving of money does not beget an unbridled license to subject the assumed fiancée to carnal desires.   By asserting the existence of such relationship, the accused seeks to prove that the victim willingly participated in the act.  But, as shown above, she certainly did not.  Lenie was a Manobo with whom the accused ardently fell in love but was never her lover.  The evidence clearly does not speak of consensual love but of criminal lust which could not be disguised by the so-called sweetheart defense or its variant as in the instant case.  Finally, as held in People v. Crisostomo,[58] the intention to marry may constitute unchaste designs not by itself but by the concurring circumstances which may vitiate such an intention, as in the case of abduction of a minor with the latter's consent, in which the male knows that she cannot legally consent to the marriage and yet he elopes with her.   In the case at bar, there is no denying the fact that Lenie was incapacitated to marry accused-appellant under Manobo or Christian rites since she was still a minor[59] thereby demonstrating the existence of lewd designs.

Insanity Plea: No Guarantee To Exempt An Individual From Criminal Liability

It is easy to use insanity plea as an escape from possible prosecution due to committing a criminal offense. Insanity is the best defense for an individual to avoid criminal liability. However, there are some conditions that must be taken into consideration. An insane person under Paragraph 1, Article 1 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, the person is exempt from criminal liability if he or she acted during lucid interval. There should be clear and convincing evidence to prove the defendant's insanity. 

Art. 12. Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability. — the following are exempt from criminal liability:

1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval.

When the imbecile or an insane person has committed an act which the law defines as a felony (delito), the court shall order his confinement in one of the hospitals or asylums established for persons thus afflicted, which he shall not be permitted to leave without first obtaining the permission of the same court.

Here's a court decision that did not accept insanity defense as a valid reason to absolve the perpetrator from the crime he committed: 

When insanity is used as a defense, the burden is on the defense as the appellant has to prove that the perpetrator is insane immediately before the commission of the crime or at the momen of its execution. There should be proof that the accused acted without discernment.

On November 26, 2002 at around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, Vicente Ringor was staying with his two-year old granddaughter, Maureen Joy Ringor, at the terrace of their house located at Villanueva, San Manuel, Isabela. Suddenly, Roger Ringor Umawid appeared and started attacking Vicente with a long bolo (panabas) without any reason. While Vicente was able to escape Umawid's blows, the latter nevertheless hit Maureen on her abdomen and back, causing her instant death. Upon seeing Maureen bloodied, Umawid walked away.

Thereafter, Umawid went to a nearby house which was only five meters away from Vicente's house where his nephew, Jeffrey Mercado, was sleeping. Awaken by the sudden noise, Jeffrey went outside only to see his uncle rushing to attack him with his panabas.

Jeffrey, along with his sister and cousin, rushed inside the house to seek for safety. However, Umawid was able to prevent Jeffrey from closing the door and the former barge into the house. Jeffrey crouched and covered his head with his arms to shield him from Umawid's impending attacks.

Umawid delivered fatal hacking blows to Jeffrey, causing the mutilation of the latter's fingers. Umawid only stopped upon seing Jeffrey, who was then pretending to be dead, leaning on the wall and blood-stained.

In court, Umawid set up the defense of insanity, but did not, however, take the witness stand to attest the same. Instead, he presented the testimonies of Dr. Arthur M. Quincina and Dr. Leonor Andres Juliana to support his claim. Dr. Quincina testifies that he evaluated Umawid's psychiatric condition in May 2002, February 2003, and on March 2003 and found that the latter was evident od psychotic symptoms. However, he could not tell with certainty whether Umawid was psychotic at the time of the commission of the crimes. On the other hand, Dr. Juliana failed to testify on Umawid's mental stare since she merely referred the latter to another doctor for further evaluation.


Whether or not the accused is exempted from criminal liablity due to insanity?


No. Under Article 12 of the RPC:

Article 12. Circumstances which exempt from criminal liabity - The following are exempt from criminal liability:

 1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval.

The defense of insanity is in the nature of confession and avoidance because an accused invoking the same admits to have committed the crime but claims that he or she is not guilty because of insanity. The presumption is in favor of sanity, anyone who pleads the said defense bears the burden of proving it with clear and convincing evidence. Considering the case, the evidence must relate to the time immediately before or during the commission of the offense/s with which one is charged. Also, to support the defense of insanity, it must be shown that the accused had no full and clear understanding of the nature and consequences of his or her acts.

In this case, Umawid relied solely on the defense of Dr. Quincina and Dr. Juliana to support his claim of insanity. However, Dr. Quincina only examined Umawid six months before he committed the crime and three months and four months thereafter. Her findings as she admitted did not include Umawid's mental disposition immediately before or during the commission of the crimes. Also, given that Dr. Juliana failed to testify in favor of the accused, Umawid's defense of insanity remained unsubstiantiated, hence, he was properly adjudged by the RTC and CA as criminally liable.

The Adverse Consequences Of Non-Appearance At The Pre-Trial

The pre-trial provides an opportunity for both the defendant and the plaintiff to air both sides. However, if the defendant fails to appear, the plaintiff is given a chance to present evidence, which will serve as the court's basis for rendering judgment. The non-appearance of the defendant without valid cause increases the likelihood that the court will decide in favor of the plaintiff. It also has other serious consequences:

Section 4.  Appearance of parties. −  It shall be the duty of the parties and their counsel to appear at the pre-trial. The non-appearance of a party may be excused only if a valid cause is shown therefor, or if a representative shall appear in his behalf fully authorized in writing to enter into an amicable settlement, to submit to alternative modes of dispute resolution, and to enter into stipulations or admissions of facts and of documents.   

Section 5. Effect of failure to appear. − The failure of the plaintiff to appear when so required pursuant to the next preceding section shall be cause for dismissal of the action. The dismissal shall be with prejudice, unless otherwise ordered by the court.  A similar failure on the part of the defendant shall be cause to allow the plaintiff to present his evidence ex parte and the court to render judgment on the basis thereof.

Pre-trial is an essential part of the legal process because it seeks to achieve the following: 

(a) The possibility of an amicable settlement or of a submission to alternative modes of dispute resolution;

(b) The simplification of the issues;

(c) The necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;

(d) The possibility of obtaining stipulations or admissions of facts and of documents to avoid unnecessary proof;

(e) The limitation of the number of witnesses;

(f) The advisability of a preliminary reference of issues to a commissioner;

(g) The propriety of rendering judgment on the pleadings, or summary judgment, or of dismissing the action should a valid ground therefor be found to exist;

(h) The advisability or necessity of suspending the proceedings; and

(i) Such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the action.

Are Poverty Alleviation Programs Successfully Implemented?

Poverty is one of the perennial problems plaguing the country. Various programs have been implemented to reduce the numbers of starving Filipinos. The system is said to target the poor by providing their basic needs such as food, water, shelter, education and more. However, poverty-stricken individuals are either unaware that such programs exist or they are not given proper assistance. For instance, a person would rather become an informal settler than be relocated in an area far from their source of income. Others will even resort to illegal means to provide food on their family's plate. They are well aware that their acts can land them in jail, but they do not have any choice but to bite the bullet. One step to alleviating poverty is to make people aware that these programs actually exist. The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) provides programs for the purpose of helping the poor improve their quality of life. Such programs are focused on providing free education for the deserving poor students, livelihood, microfinance services and more. NAPC shall:

(1) Source funds for the establishment of and augmentation to the Trust Fund; 

(2) Recommend to the appropriate government department or agency the accreditation of organizations and institutions that shall act as resource partners in conducting institutional development and capability building activities for accredited organizations and beneficiaries of microfinance and micro-enterprise programs;  

(3) Ensure that validation and monitoring activities are conducted for funded institutional development and capability building projects/programs/beneficiaries; and 

(4) Promote research and development work on livelihood and microfinance technology and publications/communications programs that assist the poor beneficiaries.

Sec. 11. Purposes of the People's Development Trust Fund (PDTF). — The earnings of the PDTF shall be utilized for the following purposes:

(1) Consultancy and training services for microfinance institutions and their beneficiaries on the establishment of the necessary support services, social and financial preparation of beneficiaries, preparation of plans and programs including fund sourcing and assistance, establishment of credit and savings monitoring and evaluation mechanisms; 

(2) Scholarships or training grants for microfinance staff and officers, and selected beneficiaries; 

(3) Community organizing for microfinance, livelihood and micro-enterprises training services; 

(4) Livelihood/micro-enterprise project/program feasibility studies and researches

(5) Savings mobilization and incentive programs, and other similar facilities; 

(6) Information and communication systems such as baseline surveys, development monitoring systems, socioeconomic mapping surveys, organizational assessments, and other similar activities; 

 (7) Legal and other management support services such as registration, documentation, contract review and enforcement, financial audit and operational assessment; 

 (8) Information dissemination of microfinance technology; and 

 (9) Other activities to support microfinance as approved by the designated agency administering the PDTF.

The PDTF may be accessed by the following:

(a) Registered microfinance organizations engaged in providing micro-enterprise services for the poor to enable them to become viable and sustainable; 

(b) Local government units providing microfinance and micro-enterprise programs to their constituents: Provided, That the PDTF shall not be used by the LGUs for personal services and maintenance and other operating expenses; and 

(c) Local government units undertaking self-help projects where at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the total earnings of the PDTF shall be used exclusively for the provision of materials and technical services.

Sec. 12. The role of Local Government Units (LGUs). — The local government units, through the local development councils of the province, city, municipality, or barangay shall be responsible for the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the National Anti-Poverty Action Agenda in their respective jurisdictions. The LGUs shall:

(a) Identify the poor in their respective areas based on indicators such as the minimum basic needs approach and the human development index, their location, occupation, nature of employment, and their primary resource base and formulate a provincial/city/municipality anti-poverty action agenda; 

 (b) Identify and source funding for specific social reform and poverty alleviation projects; 

(c) Coordinate, monitor and evaluate the efforts of local government units with the private sector on planning and implementation of the local action program for social reform and poverty alleviation; and 

(d) Coordinate and submit progress reports to the National Anti-Poverty Commission regarding their local action programs.

Nothing in this Act shall be construed as diminishing the powers granted to the local government units under the Local Government Code. 

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. 

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. 

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. 


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)

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.

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."

The Lawyer's Oath:Render Public Service And Serve The Ends Of Justice Part 3

Taking an oath is not just an admission to practice law. Since it is taken before the Supreme Court, lawyers are also expected to uphold principles and values expected from lawyers. An oath is not just a spoken word. It is not just something that you utter and forget the moment you step out of the Supreme Court. Once you take oath, you are tied to the duties and responsibilities of a lawyer and infringement will lead to suspension, disbarment and other disciplinary actions. The Supreme Court states that "If the practice of law is to remain an honorable profession and attain its basic ideal, those enrolled in its ranks should not only master its tenets and principles but should also, in their lives, accord continuing fidelity to them. Thus, the requirement of good moral character is of much greater import, as far as the general public is concerned, than the possession of legal learning. Lawyers are expected to abide by the tenets of morality, not only upon admission to the Bar but also throughout their legal career, in order to maintain one's good standing in that exclusive and honored fraternity. Good moral character is more than just the absence of bad character. Such character expresses itself in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right and the resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is wrong. This must be so because vast interests are committed to his care; he is the recipient of unbounded trust and confidence; he deals with his client's property, reputation, his life, his all."

Here is one case of disbarment/suspension of a lawyer:

In the administrative case, complainant Delia Murillo had written a letter to the Chief Justice, date April 1, 1958, alleging that Superable employed her in his office, took advantage of her status as an employee, made love to her and even proposed marriage; that although she had informed him that she was a married woman, still he assured her that he being a lawyer with the necessary connections, they could arrange the matter and still marry each other; that he finally convinced her and because he was her employer, she finally gave herself up to him and they cohabited for some time, as a result of which cohabitation, a child was born, who was named Nicolas Superable III, but that later on, he abandoned her, for which reason she filed the charges above-mentioned.

Upon receipt of her letter, this Court ordered Superable to file his answer. In the same, he admitted having employed Delia Murillo in his office. He claims that when she applied for the job, she introduced herself as an unmarried woman and because of that information, he really made love to her and even proposed marriage, but that some time in October, 1956, a friend of his informed and warned him that she was not single but was married to one Mr. Rosario, although they were living apart; that he also found out later Delia and had been maintaining intimate relations with other men, such as a certain Ricardo Macalla, an employee of the Tacloban Electric Light and Ice Company. He flatly denied that he was the father of the child named Nicolas Superable III. In his answer Superable also voiced his suspicion that the complaint of Delia Murillo was instigated by the Tacloban ElectricLight and Ice Company, which he had been attacking in his newspaper, the Eagle, a weekly paper published in Tacloban, Leyte, his attacks having as their target the exorbitant rates charged by the company, the harsh andunreasonable practice followed by the same, such as, disconnecting the electric line to houses whose owners failed to pay their accounts at the end of the month. Superable also presented in support of his answer the affidavits of Enrique Militante and Segundino Villablanca.

Apparently satisfied with his answer, this Tribunal by resolution of May 26, 1958, dismissed the complaint of Delia Murillo for lack of merit. However, this dismissal did not end the case. It had its sequel.

On May 19, 1958, about seven days before the dismissal of the administrative case, Superable also wrote a letter to the Chief Justice, requesting that some sort of action be taken against Dodong R. Herrera, Noning Susaya andFrank Morada, all of Tacloban City, the first being the owner, proprietor, publisher and editor of the tabloid Eastern Star, a weekly published in Tacloban City, the second and third being the business manager and circulation manager, respectively, of said paper; Delia Murillo, the same complainant in the administrative case, and Victoriano Chan, general manager of the Tacloban Electric Light and Ice Company. The burden of the letter was that on May 17, 1958, that is to say, two days before his letter and about nine days before the main case for disbarment or disciplinary action against him was dismissed, the persons above-mentioned had published in the Eastern Star the charges or complaint filed by Delia Murillo against him; that said publication was a violation of the Rules of Court, which considers private and confidential proceedings against an attorney; and that the publication had cause him mental anguish and suffering, besmirched his reputation and made him the object of public ridicule, besides reducing his clientele in his practice of law, at the same time causing him considerable embarrassment, both professionally and socially. Attached to said letter of Superable was a copy of the issue of the Eastern Star where the publication was made.

Acting upon the letter of Superable, this Tribunal by Resolution of June 9, 1958, ordered the five persons, Dodong Herrera, Noning Susaya, Frank Moraga, Delia Murillo and Victoriano Chan to show cause within ten from notice why they should not be declared in contempt of court and punished accordingly. Pursuant to our resolution, the five respondents filed their answer on July 8, 1958, the first three admitting the publication but claiming that it was done only to help the court in arriving at the sound and correct determination of the main case, namely, the administrative charges against Superable; that the news item or publication was devoid of any editorial comment; that they were not aware of Section 10 of Rule 128 of the Rules of Court. Delia Murillo and Victoriano Chan denied any connection with the publication. On July 10, 1958, Dodong Herrera, Noning Susaya and Frank Morada filed a supplemental answer, and by our resolution of July 14, 1958, complainant Superable was required to file a reply to the answer and supplemental answer, which he did on October 29, 1958.

The contempt incident was set for hearing on December 5, 1958. On December 3, 1958, the five respondents filed a motion for postponent of the hearing, and the following day, they filed a motion for the appointment of a commissioner to hear the case, for the reason that it required the reception of evidence from both parties, and that considering the distance from Tacloban City, where they resided, to Manila, it was convenient and proper to hold the hearing in Tacloban.

By resolution of December 5, 1958, we denied the motion for postponement of hearing and both parties were given a period of twenty days within which to submit simultaneously their respective memoranda in lieu of oral argument. But upon consideration of the motion praying for the appointment of a commissioner to receive evidence, the Court resolved to give the movants twenty days within which to submit a deposition.

On December 26, 1958, complainant Superable filed his memorandum with several annexes, consisting mostly of issues of the newspaper Eagle, which he edited and published, and of the Eastern Star, edited and published by Dodong Herrera. On January 2, 1959, respondents filed their memorandum.

On December 13, 1958, both parties filed with this Court a "Notice to Take Deposition", wherein they agreed that Judge Eugenio N. Brillo of the Municipal Court of Tacloban City take the deposition mentioned by us in our resolution of December 5, 1958. At the taking of the said deposition before Judge Brillo on December 18, 1958, the parties and their counsel appeared and several witnesses testified, such as, Superable on his own behalf and his witnesses Segundo Villablanca and Rene Tan, as well as Generoso (Dodong) Herrera and Hermogenes Susaya. Documentary evidence was also submitted. The transcript of the proceedings had before Judge Brillo, consisting of 69 pages, was filed with us by Judge Brillo on January 2, 1959.

On January 20, 1959, Delia Murillo wrote a letter to the Chief Justice, attaching thereto some affidavits, asking that the complaint against Atty. Superable which, as already stated, had been dismissed, be reinstated and that a formal investigation be made so that she may be able to present her proof against him. By resolution of January 26, 1959, her request was denied.

Lawyers do not only represent the law;they are the law as quoted in the article written by J.Jose L. Sabio. This is why when a lawyer takes oath, they are not merely attending a ceremony, but making a promise to become guardians of truth. 

The Lawyer's Oath:Render Public Service And Serve The Ends Of Justice Part 2

When an oath of office is taken, lawyers are expected to live with integrity as a great amount of trust is given to them. Being in the legal profession does not just mean performing your duties as a lawyer, you need to have good moral character because you will be dealing with the client's life, reputation and property. Lawyers are known to be the servant of the law and they are expected to administer justice in fair and efficient ways. As they uphold the constitution, lawyers must set an example by obeying laws and promoting respect for law and legal processes. They should adhere to the Code of Professional Responsibility:


Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.

Rule 1.03 - A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any man's cause.

Rule 1.04 - A lawyer shall encourage his clients to avoid, end or settle a controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement.


Rule 2.01 - A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid reasons, the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed.

Rule 2.02 - In such cases, even if the lawyer does not accept a case, he shall not refuse to render legal advice to the person concerned if only to the extent necessary to safeguard the latter's rights.

Rule 2.03 - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit legal business.

Rule 2.04 - A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than those customarily prescribed unless the circumstances so warrant.


Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services.

Rule 3.02 - In the choice of a firm name, no false, misleading or assumed name shall be used. The continued use of the name of a deceased partner is permissible provided that the firm indicates in all its communications that said partner is deceased.

Rule 3.03 - Where a partner accepts public office, he shall withdrawal from the firm and his name shall be dropped from the firm name unless the law allows him to practice law currently.

Rule 3.04 - A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of value to representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business.




Rule 6.01 - The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict but to see that justice is done. The suppression of facts or the concealment of witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible and is cause for disciplinary action.

Rule 6.02 - A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public position to promote or advance his private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere with his public duties.

Rule 6.03 - A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept engagement or employment in connection with any matter in which he had intervened while in said service.



Rule 7.01 - A lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly making a false statement or suppressing a material fact in connection with his application for admission to the bar.

Rule 7.02 - A lawyer shall not support the application for admission to the bar of any person known by him to be unqualified in respect to character, education, or other relevant attribute.

Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.


Rule 8.01 - A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.

Rule 8.02 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach upon the professional employment of another lawyer, however, it is the right of any lawyer, without fear or favor, to give proper advice and assistance to those seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful counsel.


Rule 9.01 - A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task which by law may only be performed by a member of the bar in good standing.

Rule 9.02 - A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to practice law, except:

(a) Where there is a pre-existing agreement with a partner or associate that, upon the latter's death, money shall be paid over a reasonable period of time to his estate or to persons specified in the agreement; or

(b) Where a lawyer undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased lawyer; or

(c) Where a lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer employees in a retirement plan even if the plan is based in whole or in part, on a profit sharing agreement. 



Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.

Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of a paper, the language or the argument of opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or authority, or knowingly cite as law a provision already rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact that which has not been proved.

Rule 10.03 - A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.


Rule 11.01 - A lawyer shall appear in court properly attired.

Rule 11.02 - A lawyer shall punctually appear at court hearings.

Rule 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behavior before the Courts.

Rule 11.04 - A lawyer shall not attribute to a Judge motives not supported by the record or have no materiality to the case.

Rule 11.05 - A lawyer shall submit grievances against a Judge to the proper authorities only.


Rule 12.01 - A lawyer shall not appear for trial unless he has adequately prepared himself on the law and the facts of his case, the evidence he will adduce and the order of its proferrence. He should also be ready with the original documents for comparison with the copies.

Rule 12.02 - A lawyer shall not file multiple actions arising from the same cause.

Rule 12.03 - A lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the same or offering an explanation for his failure to do so.

Rule 12.04 - A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case, impede the execution of a judgment or misuse Court processes.

Rule 12.05 - A lawyer shall refrain from talking to his witness during a break or recess in the trial, while the witness is still under examination.

Rule 12.06 - A lawyer shall not knowingly assist a witness to misrepresent himself or to impersonate another.

Rule 12.07 - A lawyer shall not abuse, browbeat or harass a witness nor needlessly inconvenience him.

Rule 12.08 - A lawyer shall avoid testifying in behalf of his client, except:

(a) on formal matters, such as the mailing, authentication or custody of an instrument, and the like; or

(b) on substantial matters, in cases where his testimony is essential to the ends of justice, in which event he must, during his testimony, entrust the trial of the case to another counsel.


Rule 13.01 - A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary attention or hospitality to, nor seek opportunity for cultivating familiarity with Judges.

Rule 13.02 - A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.

Rule 13.03 - A lawyer shall not brook or invite interference by another branch or agency of the government in the normal course of judicial proceedings.



Rule 14.01 - A lawyer shall not decline to represent a person solely on account of the latter's race, sex. creed or status of life, or because of his own opinion regarding the guilt of said person.

Rule 14.02 - A lawyer shall not decline, except for serious and sufficient cause, an appointment as counsel de officio or as amicus curiae, or a request from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any of its chapters for rendition of free legal aid.

Rule 14.03 - A lawyer may not refuse to accept representation of an indigent client if:

(a) he is not in a position to carry out the work effectively or competently;

(b) he labors under a conflict of interest between him and the prospective client or between a present client and the prospective client.

Rule 14.04 - A lawyer who accepts the cause of a person unable to pay his professional fees shall observe the same standard of conduct governing his relations with paying clients.


Rule 15.01. - A lawyer, in conferring with a prospective client, shall ascertain as soon as practicable whether the matter would involve a conflict with another client or his own interest, and if so, shall forthwith inform the prospective client.

Rule 15.02.- A lawyer shall be bound by the rule on privilege communication in respect of matters disclosed to him by a prospective client.

Rule 15.03. - A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.

Rule 15.04. - A lawyer may, with the written consent of all concerned, act as mediator, conciliator or arbitrator in settling disputes.

Rule 15.05. - A lawyer when advising his client, shall give a candid and honest opinion on the merits and probable results of the client's case, neither overstating nor understating the prospects of the case.

Rule 15.06. - A lawyer shall not state or imply that he is able to influence any public official, tribunal or legislative body.

Rule 15.07. - A lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with the laws and the principles of fairness.

Rule 15.08. - A lawyer who is engaged in another profession or occupation concurrently with the practice of law shall make clear to his client whether he is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity.


Rule 16.01 - A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client.

Rule 16.02 - A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by him.

Rule 16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon demand. However, he shall have a lien over the funds and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to his client. He shall also have a lien to the same extent on all judgments and executions he has secured for his client as provided for in the Rules of Court.

Rule 16.04 - A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the client's interest are fully protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client except, when in the interest of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the client.



Rules 18.01 - A lawyer shall not undertake a legal service which he knows or should know that he is not qualified to render. However, he may render such service if, with the consent of his client, he can obtain as collaborating counsel a lawyer who is competent on the matter.

Rule 18.02 - A lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without adequate preparation.

Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.

Rule 18.04 - A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client's request for information.


Rule 19.01 - A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his client and shall not present, participate in presenting or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper advantage in any case or proceeding.

Rule 19.02 - A lawyer who has received information that his client has, in the course of the representation, perpetrated a fraud upon a person or tribunal, shall promptly call upon the client to rectify the same, and failing which he shall terminate the relationship with such client in accordance with the Rules of Court.

Rule 19.03 - A lawyer shall not allow his client to dictate the procedure in handling the case.


Rule 20.01 - A lawyer shall be guided by the following factors in determining his fees:

(a) the time spent and the extent of the service rendered or required;

(b) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;

(c) The importance of the subject matter;

(d) The skill demanded;

(e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of the proffered case;

(f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of the IBP chapter to which he belongs;

(g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the service;

(h) The contingency or certainty of compensation;

(i) The character of the employment, whether occasional or established; and

(j) The professional standing of the lawyer.

Rule 20.02 - A lawyer shall, in case of referral, with the consent of the client, be entitled to a division of fees in proportion to the work performed and responsibility assumed.

Rule 20.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the full knowledge and consent of the client, accept any fee, reward, costs, commission, interest, rebate or forwarding allowance or other compensation whatsoever related to his professional employment from anyone other than the client.

Rule 20.04 - A lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients concerning his compensation and shall resort to judicial action only to prevent imposition, injustice or fraud.


Rule 21.01 - A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences or secrets of his client except;

(a) When authorized by the client after acquainting him of the consequences of the disclosure;

(b) When required by law;

(c) When necessary to collect his fees or to defend himself, his employees or associates or by judicial action.

Rule 21.02 - A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of his client, use information acquired in the course of employment, nor shall he use the same to his own advantage or that of a third person, unless the client with full knowledge of the circumstances consents thereto.

Rule 21.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the written consent of his client, give information from his files to an outside agency seeking such information for auditing, statistical, bookkeeping, accounting, data processing, or any similar purpose.

Rule 21.04 - A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client of the firm to partners or associates thereof unless prohibited by the client.

Rule 21.05 - A lawyer shall adopt such measures as may be required to prevent those whose services are utilized by him, from disclosing or using confidences or secrets of the clients.

Rule 21.06 - A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet conversation about a client's affairs even with members of his family.

Rule 21.07 - A lawyer shall not reveal that he has been consulted about a particular case except to avoid possible conflict of interest.


Rule 22.01 - A lawyer may withdraw his services in any of the following case:

(a) When the client pursues an illegal or immoral course of conduct in connection with the matter he is handling;

(b) When the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of these canons and rules;

(c) When his inability to work with co-counsel will not promote the best interest of the client;

(d) When the mental or physical condition of the lawyer renders it difficult for him to carry out the employment effectively;

(e) When the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for the services or fails to comply with the retainer agreement;

(f) When the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office; and 

(g) Other similar cases.

Rule 22.02 - A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged shall, subject to a retainer lien, immediately turn over all papers and property to which the client is entitled, and shall cooperative with his successor in the orderly transfer of the matter, including all information necessary for the proper handling of the matter.

In spite of taking an oath of office, there are lawyers who also went on trial due to misconduct. It costs them their profession. Disbarment is all too common for lawyers who break the promise they made before the Supreme Court.  This is when servants of the law break the law. It will be discussed in Part 3 of the article. 

The Lawyer's Oath:Render Public Service And Serve The Ends Of Justice Part 1

Knowing that you have finally made the cut after facing a series of challenges associated with the process of taking the Bar Exam is indeed a whiff of fresh air. There is nothing more reassuring than seeing your name in the list of Bar Exam passers. You know you deserve it. For sure, you can still vividly remember when you promised yourself you would do anything to ace the Bar Exam come hell or high water. 

Now comes the oath taking. Oath is defined as a "solemn appeal to God, or in a wider sense, to any sacred or revered person or sanction for the truth of an affirmation or declaration or in witness of the inviolability of a promise or undertaking." Webster

Why is there a need to take an oath of office before the Supreme Court? An oath is an attestation and a pledge to take on the duties and responsibilities proper of a lawyer. This is stated under Section 17 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. 

I___________ of ___________ do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines; I will support its Constitution and obey laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any court; I will not wittingly nor willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit, or give aid nor consent to the same; I will delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients; and I impose upon myself this voluntary obligations without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God.

The oath is not just about making promises to do your duty as a lawyer, but to perform them faithfully and truthfully. 

Section 20 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court also enumerates the duties of a lawyer:

(a) To maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to support the Constitution and obey the laws of the Philippines.

(b) To observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers;

(c) To counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings only as appear to him to be just, and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable under the law.

(d) To employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to him, such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and never seek to mislead the judge or any judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of fact or law;

(e) To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to preserve the secrets of his client, and to accept no compensation in connection with his client's business except from him or with his knowledge and approval;

(f) To abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which he is charged;

(g) Not to encourage either the commencement or the continuance of an action or proceeding, or delay any man's cause, from any corrupt motive or interest;

(h) Never to reject, for any consideration personal to himself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed;

(i) In the defense of a person accused of crime, by all fair and honorable means, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to present every defense that the law permits, to the end that no person may be deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of law.

It is expected from every lawyer to perform these duties based on a certain mode of behavior known as Code of Professional Responsibility. This code and the world of the legal practice will be discussed in the second part of this article. 

Increased Burial Assistance For War Veterans

War veterans fought for the country once upon a time. The government has recognized their efforts by giving them benefits including burial assistance. Prior to amending Republic Act No. 10649, the burial assistance for veterans amounted to P10,000.00. As amended, the assistance is increased to P20,000.00. The amendment is in relation to Republic Act No. 6948, otherwise known as An Act Of Standardizing And Upgrading The Benefits For Military Veterans And Their Dependents. 

Republic Act No. 10649

Section 1. Section 20 of Republic Act No. 6948, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:

“Sec. 20. Burial Assistance. – Unless the person who defrayed the expenses for the funeral of a deceased veteran is entitled to a similar benefit from the United States Government, he or she shall be given Twenty thousand pesos (P20.000.00) as burial assistance upon application therefor in due form which shall be filed within two (2) years from the death of the veteran concerned.”

Republic Act No. 6948

SEC. 3. Eligibility. — A veteran of the Philippine Army or of any recognized or deserving guerrilla organization who took active participation in the resistance movement and/or in the liberation drive against the enemy during World War II, or of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea, or of the Philippine Civic Action Group or Philippine Contingent in Vietnam, who has never heretofore enjoyed educational benefit under Philippine law nor under United States law, who desires to study; or one (1) child of a veteran in whose favor he renounces such right; or the surviving spouse or a child of a deceased veteran in whose favor the same is applied for by the surviving spouse, or legal guardian; shall, upon certification of the Administrator, be admitted to any school, college, university or institution authorized by the Government, with all school fees, including tuition, matriculation, athletic, library, laboratory, medical, military training, diploma and graduation fees, at the expense of the Government, subject to the rules and conditions promulgated by the Administrator.


SEC. 4. Eligibility. — The disability pension as Provided for in this Act shall apply to any veteran who was in the service of the Philippine Army or guerrilla forces between the eighth of December, Nineteen hundred and forty-one and the third of July, Nineteen hundred and forty-six; of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Constabulary who was in the active service on and after the fourth of July, Nineteen hundred and forty-six; of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea who was in the service overseas between the fifteenth of September, Nineteen hundred and fifty and the thirty-first of May, Nineteen hundred and fifty-five; and of the Philippine Civil Action Group or Philippine Contingent in Vietnam who was in the service overseas between the thirty-first of August, Nineteen hundred and sixty-four and the twentieth of December, Nineteen hundred and sixty-nine.

SEC. 5. Pension Rates. — A veteran who is disabled owing to sickness, disease, wounds, or injuries sustained in line of duty shall be given monthly pension in accordance with the rates prescribed hereunder, unless he is actually receiving a similar pension for the same disability from other government funds or from the United States Government:

(a) If and while the disability is rated anywhere from ten to thirty per centum (10%-30%), the monthly pension shall be Six hundred pesos (P600.00);

(b) If and while the disability is rated forty per centum (40%), the monthly pension shall be Six hundred seventy-five pesos (P675.00);

(c) If and while the disability is rated fifty per centum (50%), the monthly pension shall be Seven hundred fifty pesos (P750.00);

(d) If and while the disability is rated sixty per centum (60%), the monthly pension shall be Eight hundred twenty-five pesos (P825.00);

(e) If and while the disability is rated seventy per centum (70%), the monthly pension shall be Nine hundred pesos (P900.00);

(f) If and while the disability is rated eighty per centum (80%), the monthly pension shall be Nine hundred seventy-five pesos (P975.00);

(g) If and while the disability is rated ninety per centum (90%), the monthly pension shall be One thousand fifty pesos (P1,050.00); and

(h) If and while the disability is total or rated one hundred per centum (100%), the monthly pension shall be One thousand one hundred twenty-five pesos (P1,125.00) plus One hundred fifty pesos (P150.00) each for the spouse and unmarried minor children.

SEC. 6. Effectivity of Pension. — The date of effectivity of the pension that may be awarded to an applicant will be based on the conditions specified hereunder:

(a) As regards officers and enlisted personnel of the Philippine Army and guerrilla organizations of World War II, on the day the application is received but in no case earlier than the date of the approval of this Act; and

(b) As regards all other veterans:

(1) On the date immediately following the date of discharge if the application was filed within one (1) year after the veteran’s separation from the service; or

(2) On the day the application was received if the application was filed beyond one (1) year after the veteran’s separation from the service.

SEC. 7. Re-evaluation. — Periodic re-evaluation or redetermination of a veteran’s disability, in appropriate cases, shall be the responsibility of the Disability Rating Board of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office. The AFP Medical Center and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, upon request by the Board, shall make available the clinical records, disability work sheets and other pertinent papers and documents and shall conduct x-ray, laboratory test, and other examinations on the veteran concerned. Such medical examinations and tests may also be undertaken by any other government hospital nearest the residence of the veteran concerned, upon request by the Board. The Board shall formulate the procedures necessary to carry out its re-evaluation or redetermination activities.

SEC. 8. Exemption. — A disabled veteran shall be exempted from periodic examination and re-rating in the following cases:

(a) When the disability is considered as static;

(b) When the disability is permanent in nature or of such character that there is no likelihood of improvement; or

(c) When the veteran is already fifty-seven (57) years of age or over.



SEC. 9. Eligibility. — Any veteran who served in the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War any time during the period between the twenty-third of August, Eighteen hundred and ninety-six, and the sixth of May, Nineteen hundred and two, shall be entitled to a monthly pension of Six hundred pesos (P600.00) plus One hundred fifty pesos (P150.00) each for his spouse and unmarried minor children.


SEC. 10. Eligibility. — A veteran who is at least sixty-five (65) years old shall be paid an old-age pension of Five hundred pesos (P500.00) monthly unless he is actually receiving a similar pension for the same consideration from other government funds or from the United States Government.

SEC. 11. Entitlement of Surviving Spouse. — The surviving spouse of a veteran who died after having received old-age pension shall be paid a pension of Five hundred pesos (P500.00) monthly until she remarries or dies, and the surviving spouse of a veteran who died without having received old-age pension shall, if she does not remarry, be paid a pension of Five hundred pesos (P500.00) monthly when she reaches the age of sixty-five (65) and until she remarries or dies, unless she is actually receiving a similar pension for the same consideration from other government funds or from the United States Government.


SEC. 12. Eligibility. — For the death of a veteran in line of duty or at any time after honorable discharge or separation from the service as a result of wounds or injury received or sickness or disease incurred in line of duty or as a consequence of the performance of such duty, and of a political prisoner who died in prison or was killed by the enemy armed forces during World War II, the surviving spouse and unmarried minor children or, in default thereof, the indigent parents, except those who for the same reason are actually receiving a similar pension from other government funds or from the United States Government, may be given a pension of Five hundred pesos (P500.00) a month for the surviving spouse and Two hundred fifty pesos (P250.00) a month for each unmarried minor child until the surviving spouse remarries or dies, and until the minor child dies, marries, or reaches the age of eighteen (18), or Two hundred fifty pesos (P250.00) for each indigent parent, with the right of accretion, until they die: Provided, however, That only fifty per centum (50%) of the rates herein prescribed shall be awarded to the surviving spouse and minor children, or indigent parents of a veteran of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who, in line of duty, died of injury or ailment which was not incurred in war or in a military campaign against aggression, dissidence, rebellion or sedition nor as a direct result of such war or military campaign.

SEC. 13. Pension for the Surviving Spouse of a Veteran of the Revolution. — The surviving spouse of a veteran of the revolution against Spain or the Philippine-American War shall be entitled to a monthly pension of Six hundred pesos (P600.00) until she remarries or dies, the provisions of the next preceding section notwithstanding, unless she is actually receiving a similar pension from other government funds.

SEC. 14. Termination of Right of Death Gratuity and Entitlement to Death Pension in Lieu Thereof . — Without prejudice to the receipt of death gratuity benefits Provided for under the Employees’ Compensation Law, the right to death gratuity granted to the next of kin of military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who died in line of duty, pursuant to the provisions of Section Six of Republic Act Numbered Five hundred seventy-three and Sections Three and Four of Republic Act Numbered Six hundred ten, as amended, shall cease upon the approval of this Act and, in lieu thereof, they shall be eligible to death pension as Provided in this Act: Provided, however, That where the right to the said gratuity has already accrued prior to the approval of this Act, the next of kin concerned shall have the option to either waive the entitlement thereto or to receive the death pension: Provided, finally, That in the case of a next of kin who has already been paid the aforesaid gratuity, he may apply for death pension herein granted on condition that the death gratuity received shall be refunded from such future payments of death pension in a reasonable monthly amount as may be determined by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office until the death gratuity is fully refunded.

House Bill No. 6082: Reversion to Maiden Name Act

Our current law prohibits the use of the wife's maiden name unless the changes have undergone a judicial process after the court declares nullity of marriage. Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, also the former President of the Philippines proposed a bill that will entitle women to revert to her surname without court order. House Bill No. 6082 or the Reversion to Maiden Name Act seeks to bypass expensive court process in terms of surname revision. With this bill, a woman can revert to her maiden surname on the following circumstances: 

(1) after her marriage has been judicially declared null and void or after its annulment;

(2) After a judicial declaration of legal separation, provided that there has been no manifestation of reconciliation filed with the court;

(3) After a judicial declaration of separation of property, provided there has been no subsequent decree reviving the old property regime between the spouses;

(4) If the spouses stipulated in their marriage settlement that a regime of separation of properties shall govern their property relations;

(5) If the petitioner has been de facto separated from or abandoned by her husband for a period of not less than 10 years;

(6) If the petitioner’s husband may be presumed dead.

If this bill will be enacted into a law, the woman will no longer have to pay for the annulment proceedings, which usually range from P150,000 to P200,000. For the conversion of documents, the woman needs at least P50,000 to change the identification cards including Social Security System ID, telecommunications bills, postal ID and many others. 

The Republic Act 386 currently has the following conditions in terms of the use of surname: 

Art. 370. A married woman may use:

      (1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband's surname, or

      (2) Her maiden first name and her husband's surname or 

      (3) Her husband's full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as "Mrs."

Art. 371. In case of annulment of marriage, and the wife is the guilty party, she shall resume her maiden name and surname. If she is the innocent spouse, she may resume her maiden name and surname. However, she may choose to continue employing her former husband's surname, unless:

      (1) The court decrees otherwise, or

      (2) She or the former husband is married again to another person.

Art. 372. When legal separation has been granted, the wife shall continue using her name and surname employed before the legal separation.

Art. 373. A widow may use the deceased husband's surname as though he were still living, in accordance with Article 370.

Art. 374. In case of identity of names and surnames, the younger person shall be obliged to use such additional name or surname as will avoid confusion.