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Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

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

When Does An Individual Commit The Crime Of Acts Of Lasciviousness?

Living in a conservative country such as the Philippines feels as though you are walking on eggshells as you need to be very careful with your actions. For instance, making a physical contact would mean an innocuous gesture to some, but a serious offense to others. It may seem very subjective, but the crime of acts of lasciviousness is already a serious mater and this is when touching means something. However, many choose to keep silent because in a country where sex is a taboo topic, some victims are the ones being blamed for the crime committed. Like rape, acts of lasciviousness can be very traumatic to the hapless victim and it is not just about sex but taking advantage of the victim’s weakness. So what exactly are acts of lasciviousness?

As defined in the Republic Act No. 7610, “Lascivious conduct” means the intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or public area of a person.”

Elements of the Crime of Acts of Lasciviousness

“1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct.

2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to sexual abuse.

3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age.”

Attempted Rape Versus Acts Of Lasciviousness

"Like rape, the acts of lasciviousness are committed by intimidation or force, grave abuse of authority or fraudulent machinations. The victim is deprived of reason, unconscious, demented or under 12 years of age. The offended party in both rape and acts of lasciviousness can be a person of either sex.

However, the act will be considered as an attempted or frustrated rape if the offender clearly demonstrated that his purpose for performing the act is to lie with the offended woman. Lascivious acts are deemed preparatory acts in case of attempted rape. On the other hand, acts of lasciviousness are considered as the offender’s final objective. If the offender does not intend to have sexual intercourse, it will not be considered to be attempted rape. "

If the victim is under 12, it is child abuse under Republic Act No. 7610 and the penalty is one degree higher. Under Art. 339, acts of lasciviousness with the offended party’s consent are committed against a female under circumstance of seduction. Under Art. 336 Acts of lasciviousness are committed against a male or a female under the circumstance of rape.

Facebook Post: When Do Users Cross The Line?

Social networks have been considered a boon of everyone’s existence as they provide an electronic avenue for expressions and a way to connect with friends and loved ones. Facebook in particular has billions of users and because of its powerful impact, anyone can be exposed to cybercrimes. A private individual can become an instant celebrity if another person recognizes either his good or bad deed, thanks to your mobile phone’s ability to capture the pleasant and not-so-pleasant moments. Due to Facebook’s vast reach, it is easy to build or destroy one’s reputation at the drop of a hat. Sadly, exercising your right to free speech often blurs the line between expression and imputation. Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette? Do we really have to exercise our freedom of speech regardless of the consequences?

Libeling a public official versus libeling a private individual

Mudslinging has been part of the country’s political culture and when the public officials or public figures have been dragged into shame, most of them will cry foul and resort to filing a libel case to the person behind the malicious statement. However, before a public official can file a case, the libel needs to hold water. The burden of proof will definitely lie with the offended party as he needs to prove that there is indeed a “higher standard of actual malice”. If the offended party is a private individual, the burden of proof is with the accused. This means the accused needs to prove that he has justifiable reason for the defamatory statement even if there is truth to it.

Although truth can be used as a defense, it does not necessarily exempt the accused from the crime of libel. The Supreme Court requires the accused to show “good motives and justifiable ends” for truth to become a valid defense.  For libel committed online, the author of the offending article will be held liable. When a libelous statement is posted on Facebook, the acts of liking, sharing or commenting do not fall under cyber libel. Does that mean an individual can share a libelous post without facing any legal consequences? It is interesting to note that sharing a post and creating a new story to support the statement of the original post can still hold a person liable. For instance, the original author posts “ John is a wife beater” and another person shares the post with a new story that says “he is also a murderer”, this can be considered as another libelous statement despite the fact that he was not the original author.

Aside from libel, there are other ways a person can get sued on Facebook:

•    Copyright Infringement-when a copyrighted material is posted by others without permission from the original author, the individual who posted the content can be liable for copyright infringement.  It is considered an infringement even if it was only shared with a few Facebook friends.

•    Privacy-posting private information of others such as photos can be considered a violation especially when such posts have enabled others to tag or share.

•    Harassment-when someone behaves in a manner that is deemed threatening or intrusive, the person can be sued for harassment. Facebook is a viable platform for harassment and if a person breaks into another person’s account and pretends as the real account user, this act can pass itself off as Facebook harassment.  Unfortunately, harassment can be subjective as one person may believe he has been harassed and another might not.

•    Breach of Contract-although this violation has a very broad area, an individual who talks about work on Facebook even if he has agreed to company rules and regulations may also be liable for breaching the contract.

Verbal Agreement: Is It Legally Binding?

What are the nature and effects of a contract? Does it necessarily have to be written to support legal disputes in the event one of the agreements has not been performed by the contracting parties? A contract is simply a meeting of minds between two persons. A contract can either be implicitly done or expressly made. Once both parties have entered into an agreement, it is imperative that both are bound to an obligation to fulfil the conditions stipulated on the contract. While a written contract is a concrete evidence of the agreement made by two parties, the real challenge begins with express contracts.

Nature and Effect of Obligations

“ARTICLE 1163. Every person obliged to give something is also obliged to take care of it with the proper diligence of a good father of a family, unless the law or the stipulation of the parties requires another standard of care. (1094a)

ARTICLE 1164. The creditor has a right to the fruits of the thing from the time the obligation to deliver it arises. However, he shall acquire no real right over it until the same has been delivered to him. (1095)

ARTICLE 1165. When what is to be delivered is a determinate thing, the creditor, in addition to the right granted him by article 1170, may compel the debtor to make the delivery.

If the thing is indeterminate or generic, he may ask that the obligation be complied with at the expense of the debtor.

If the obligor delays, or has promised to deliver the same thing to two or more persons who do not have the same interest, he shall be responsible for any fortuitous event until he has effected the delivery. (1096)

ARTICLE 1166. The obligation to give a determinate thing includes that of delivering all its accessions and accessories, even though they may not have been mentioned. (1097a)

ARTICLE 1167. If a person obliged to do something fails to do it, the same shall be executed at his cost.
This same rule shall be observed if he does it in contravention of the tenor of the obligation. Furthermore, it may be decreed that what has been poorly done be undone. (1098)

ARTICLE 1168. When the obligation consists in not doing, and the obligor does what has been forbidden him, it shall also be undone at his expense. (1099a)

ARTICLE 1169. Those obliged to deliver or to do something incur in delay from the time the obligee judicially or extrajudicially demands from them the fulfillment of their obligation.

However, the demand by the creditor shall not be necessary in order that delay may exist:

(1) When the obligation or the law expressly so declare; or

(2) When from the nature and the circumstances of the obligation it appears that the designation of the time when the thing is to be delivered or the service is to be rendered was a controlling motive for the establishment of the contract; or

(3) When demand would be useless, as when the obligor has rendered it beyond his power to perform.

In reciprocal obligations, neither party incurs in delay if the other does not comply or is not ready to comply in a proper manner with what is incumbent upon him. From the moment one of the parties fulfills his obligation, delay by the other begins. (1100a)

ARTICLE 1170. Those who in the performance of their obligations are guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those who in any manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for damages. (1101)

ARTICLE 1171. Responsibility arising from fraud is demandable in all obligations. Any waiver of an action for future fraud is void. (1102a)

ARTICLE 1172. Responsibility arising from negligence in the performance of every kind of obligation is also demandable, but such liability may be regulated by the courts, according to the circumstances. (1103)

ARTICLE 1173. The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the place. When negligence shows bad faith, the provisions of articles 1171 and 2201, paragraph 2, shall apply.

If the law or contract does not state the diligence which is to be observed in the performance, that which is expected of a good father of a family shall be required. (1104a)

ARTICLE 1174. Except in cases expressly specified by the law, or when it is otherwise declared by stipulation, or when the nature of the obligation requires the assumption of risk, no person shall be responsible for those events which could not be foreseen, or which, though foreseen, were inevitable. (1105a)

ARTICLE 1175. Usurious transactions shall be governed by special laws. (n)

ARTICLE 1176. The receipt of the principal by the creditor without reservation with respect to the interest, shall give rise to the presumption that said interest has been paid.

The receipt of a later installment of a debt without reservation as to prior installments, shall likewise raise the presumption that such installments have been paid. (1110a)

ARTICLE 1177. The creditors, after having pursued the property in possession of the debtor to satisfy their claims, may exercise all the rights and bring all the actions of the latter for the same purpose, save those which are inherent in his person; they may also impugn the acts which the debtor may have done to defraud them. (1111)

ARTICLE 1178. Subject to the laws, all rights acquired in virtue of an obligation are transmissible, if there has been no stipulation to the contrary. (1112)”

Pointing A Dirty Finger: Is It Slander By Deed?

Regardless of our emotional state, our actions speak volumes. In the throes of anger, non-verbal cues can be considered to be an expression, but when you go overboard and carry your anger to extremes, you can be held liable for a crime of slander by deed. There is completely nothing wrong with expressing one’s emotional state so long as the actions are not aimed at someone. Slander by deed may seem like a new legal concept as oral defamation is commonly used to describe an individual who has spoken defamatory words which can affect another person’s reputation. What if a person pokes a dirty finger at another person, can the act be deemed as slander by deed?

As defined in Art. 359, “Slander by deed. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 1,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall perform any act not included and punished in this title, which shall cast dishonor, discredit or contempt upon another person. If said act is not of a serious nature, the penalty shall be arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos.”

A person cannot be considered guilty of committing slander by deed without taking the nature of the complaint into consideration. If there was provocation on the part of the complainant, slander by deed has a lesser magnitude. Pointing a dirty finger is not held to be libelous. It is considered as a common expression used for expressing displeasure, turmoil, discontentment or anger. However, a person may be found guilty of grave oral defamation or slander by deed if the complainant did not contribute to the offender’s anger.

“Art. 361. Proof of the truth. — In every criminal prosecution for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the court and if it appears that the matter charged as libelous is true, and, moreover, that it was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the defendants shall be acquitted.
Proof of the truth of an imputation of an act or omission not constituting a crime shall not be admitted, unless the imputation shall have been made against Government employees with respect to facts related to the discharge of their official duties.
In such cases if the defendant proves the truth of the imputation made by him, he shall be acquitted.

Art. 362. Libelous remarks. — Libelous remarks or comments connected with the matter privileged under the provisions of Article 354, if made with malice, shall not exempt the author thereof nor the editor or managing editor of a newspaper from criminal liability.”

The Restoration Of Death Penalty

History has already proven the existence of capital punishment. People have mixed reactions and opinions regarding death penalty. Some consider death penalty to be a way to curb crimes while others are sceptical with the idea especially as the fact remains that the law still appears toothless. During the pre-Spanish era, Filipinos have already practiced the death penalty. However, it was only an infrequent practice limited to flogging, fines and slavery. The most common form of death sentence at the time was hanging and decapitation. Prior to abolishing death penalty, the Philippines had the world’s largest death row population.

Although the Pangilinan Law puts an exemption to minors who commit crimes with impunity, there was a time when the country could legally execute a minor. This is due to the belief that minors were considered adults at the time. The minor offender who earned death sentence was Marcial “Baby” Ama who was only 16 years old when he was sentenced to death via electric chair. The legal ages for men and women at the time were 16 and 14 respectively.

The death penalty was abolished during former President Corazon Aquino’s administration and restored in 1993 during the Ramos administration. Under Republic Act No. 7659, there are 46 crimes considered to be punishable by death. The death sentence would be carried out through lethal injection. In 1998, Leo Echegaray was executed for raping his step daughter. The execution was followed by six executions for heinous crimes. Death penalty was abolished by the Arroyo administration in 2001.

Death penalty was on hiatus for more than two decades and presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte considers re-imposing it. The restoration of death penalty has sparked endless debates especially when it comes to improving judicial system.

"Art. 81. When and how the death penalty is to be executed. -  The death sentence shall be executed with preference to any other and shall consist in putting the person under sentence to death by electrocution.  The death sentence shall be executed under the authority of the Director of Prisons, endeavoring so far as possible to mitigate the sufferings of the person under the sentence during electrocution as well as during the proceedings prior to the execution.

 "If the person under sentence so desires, he shall be anaesthesized at the moment of the execution.

"As soon as facilities are provided by the Bureau of Prisons, the method of carrying out the sentence shall be changed to gas poisoning.

"The death sentence shall be carried out not later than one (1) year after the judgment has become final."

Sec. 25. Article 83 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Art. 83. Suspension of the execution of the death sentence. -  The death sentence shall not be inflicted upon a woman while she is pregnant or within one (1) year after delivery, nor upon any person over seventy years of age.  In this last case, the death sentence shall be commuted to the penalty of reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalties provided in Article 40.

 "In all cases where the death sentence has become final, the records of the case shall be forwarded immediately by the Supreme Court to the Office of the President for possible exercise of the pardoning power."

Sec. 26. All laws, presidential decrees and issuances, executive orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Sec. 27. If, for any reason or reasons, any part of the provision of this Act shall be held to be unconstitutional or invalid, other parts or provisions hereof which are not affected thereby shall continue to be in full force and effect.

Buyers, Beware Of These Real Estate Scams

It is every hardworking Filipino’s dream to own a home. However, there are instances when their hard-earned money goes to waste because of falling victim to real estate scams. While buyers are hoping to provide a decent shelter that their families can roost in, there are people who are after their money. The good news is, buyers can still avoid these scams. Here are some of the common real estate scams that buyers need to avoid.

1.    Double Sale

Double sale of property refers to selling one property to two different people. This scam happens when the first buyer has not registered and transferred the title to their name. The owner will take advantage of the situation by reselling the property. As a result, both buyers will hold the same title under their own names.

2.    Insufficient Disclosure

Real estate agents or developers intentionally provide incomplete information to the prospective buyer. With this scam, the developer may appear to have an attractive offer but due to the insufficient information, prospects will think twice in committing to buying the property.  However, there are buyers who still fall prey to this scam and suffer from hidden charges, title complications and unsatisfactory structural facts.

3.    Fake Agents

Real estate agent posers will use the Internet to trick buyers into believing that they are selling affordable properties. More often than not, fake agents will create a website where listings are copied from a legitimate site. They will provide believable information to prospects and once buyers agree to paying the initial deposit, these fake agents will mysteriously disappear.

4.    Property Title Fraud

Everybody wants to get a great value for money and an agent that offers an affordable property will surely be appealing to prospects. Unfortunately, these affordable properties are non-existent. Once the security deposit is given to the fake agents, buyers will get fake property title in return.

How to avoid real estate scams?

•    Be sure that the developer or agent has a license to sell. This can be verified through Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

•    Ask the agent to visit the project site and the materials used to build the property.

•    Never attempt to sign blank Contract to Sell forms.

•    If still in doubt, consult a trusted lawyer to help you with accomplishing paperwork and signing any contract.

•    Purchase a property from a reputable developer with solid history of delivering properties in a timely manner and without compromising on quality.

•    For developers financing through Pag-Ibig Fund, buyers can verify if the property has been mortgaged with the Fund.

•    The buyer can also verify authenticity of the land title with the Register of Deeds.

•    It is safe to enter into a contract if the project already has a License to Sell.

•    Engage services of a licensed broker especially for pre selling projects.

•    Ask for official receipts when dealing with the owner or developer.

How To Prevent Falling Prey To Lending Schemes?

When you are faced with financial difficulties and you have already exhausted all of your financial resources, the next step you are going to take is to turn to lending companies. When it comes to taking out a loan, the process can be long, tedious and stressful. You do not get the money right off the bat as you have to secure essential documents. Once you have complied with the requirements, you have to wait for the final verdict and the effort will pay off if your loan application has been approved. However, you need to start from scratch if your loan application has been declined. While it is not easy to get the approval of legitimate lending company, resorting to loan sharks (5-6) that leave you with no choice but to agree to excessive interest rates is not going to be a good option either.

Although micro financing has already extended a “helping hand” to people who are in need of instant cash, the thought of shouldering 20% interest is way too much. Due to the fact that not all businesses or small entrepreneurs earn reasonable income, a huge chunk of their money is intended for paying the loan’s interest. Even if the borrowers have the right to file charges due to unconscionable interest rates, they still decide to accept the situation.  One of the requirements for getting an approval for your bank loan applications is by building your credibility. It might seem like a simple step but it will not be difficult for banks to approve your loan application if you have the ability to pay them. What better way to start building your credibility than opening your own savings account.

It also pays off to be keen on selecting the lending company you should put your trust in. Just because you need extra spending money does not necessarily mean you should continue to tread upon an unfamiliar territory without arming yourself with information. You can drown yourself in a cesspool of debt if you just allow yourself to be tricked into believing that these financial trolls are indeed your “savior” in times of need. As for lending companies, RA 9474 or Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007 provides information on the minimum requirements and standards they need to comply with.

“SEC. 6. Citizenship Requirements. - Upon the effectivity of this Act, at least a majority of the voting capital stock shall be owned by citizens of the Philippines.

The percentage of foreign-owned voting stock in any lending company existing prior to the effectivity of this Act, if such percentage is in excess of forty-nine percent (49%) of the voting stock, shall not be increased but may be reduced and, once reduced, shall not be increased thereafter beyond forty-nine percent (49%) of the voting stock of the lending company. The percentage of foreign-owned voting stocks in any lending company shall be determined by the citizenship of the individual stockholders. In the case of corporations owning shares in a lending company, the citizenship of the individual owners of voting stock in such corporations shall be the basis in the computation of the percentage.

No foreign national may be allowed to own stock unless the country of which he is a national accords reciprocal rights to Filipinos.

SEC. 7. Amount and Charges on Loans. - A lending company may grant loans in such amounts and reasonable interest rates and charges as may be agreed upon between the lending company and the debtor: Provided, That the agreement shall be in compliance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 3765, otherwise known as the "Truth in Lending Act" and Republic Act 7394, otherwise known as the "Consumer Act of the Philippines": Provided, further, That the Monetary Board, in consultation with the SEC and the industry, may prescribe such interest rate as may be warranted by prevailing economic and social conditions.

SEC. 8. Maintenance of Books of Accounts and Records. - Every lending company shall maintain books of accounts and records as may be required by the SEC and prescribed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and other government agencies. In case a lending company engages in other businesses, it shall maintain separate books of accounts for these businesses.

The Manual of Accounts prescribed by the BSP for lending investors shall continue to be adopted by lending companies for uniform recording and reporting of their operations, until a new Manual of Accounts shall have been prescribed by the SEC.

It shall issue the appropriate instruments and documents to the parties concerned to evidence its lending and borrowing transactions.”

When Can An Individual Be Found Guilty Of The Crime Of Serious Physical Injuries?

Although we try to leave a peaceful and trouble-free life as much as possible, there are times when we reach our boiling point causing us to explode at the slightest provocation. When you go overboard and cross lines, it is easy to use self-defense as an excuse for losing your temper. However, there is a law that corresponds to such violations. Whether it is a simple argument or suppressed anger and hate between parties, there is a consequence for the person who has inflicted physical pain to another person.

We may already be familiar with serious physical injuries, but how serious is serious? Is there supporting and tangible evidence that must be presented in order to support such claims? Article 262 to 266 tackles issues that physical injuries encompass.

PHYSICAL INJURIES

"Art. 262. Mutilation. — The penalty of reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall intentionally mutilate another by depriving him, either totally or partially, or some essential organ of reproduction.

Any other intentional mutilation shall be punished by prision mayor in its medium and maximum periods.

Art. 263. Serious physical injuries. — Any person who shall wound, beat, or assault another, shall be guilty of the crime of serious physical injuries and shall suffer:

1. The penalty of prision mayor, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the injured person shall become insane, imbecile, impotent, or blind;

2. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the person injured 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, or shall have become incapacitated for the work in which he was therefor habitually engaged;

3. The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the person injured shall have 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 of the work in which he as habitually engaged for a period of more than ninety days;

4. The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, if the physical injuries inflicted shall have caused the illness or incapacity for labor of the injured person for more than thirty days.

If the offense shall have been committed against any of the persons enumerated in Article 246, or with attendance of any of the circumstances mentioned in Article 248, the case covered by subdivision number 1 of this Article shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods; the case covered by subdivision number 2 by prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period; the case covered by subdivision number 3 by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods; and the case covered by subdivision number 4 by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.

The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not be applicable to a parent who shall inflict physical injuries upon his child by excessive chastisement.

Art. 264. Administering injurious substances or beverages. — The penalties established by the next preceding article shall be applicable in the respective case to any person who, without intent to kill, shall inflict upon another any serious, physical injury, by knowingly administering to him any injurious substance or beverages or by taking advantage of his weakness of mind or credulity.

Art. 265. Less serious physical injuries. — Any person who shall inflict upon another physical injuries not described in the preceding articles, but which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor for ten days or more, or shall require medical assistance for the same period, shall be guilty of less serious physical injuries and shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor.

Whenever less serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted with the manifest intent to kill or offend the injured person, or under circumstances adding ignominy to the offense in addition to the penalty of arresto mayor, a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed.

Any less serious physical injuries inflicted upon the offender’s parents, ascendants, guardians, curators, teachers, or persons of rank, or persons in authority, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, provided that, in the case of persons in authority, the deed does not constitute the crime of assault upon such person.

Art. 266. Slight physical injuries and maltreatment. — The crime of slight physical injuries shall be punished:

1. By arresto menor when the offender has inflicted physical injuries which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor from one to nine days, or shall require medical attendance during the same period.

2. By arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 20 pesos and censure when the offender has caused physical injuries which do not prevent the offended party from engaging in his habitual work nor require medical assistance.

3. By arresto menor in its minimum period or a fine not exceeding 50 pesos when the offender shall ill-treat another by deed without causing any injury.”

The Legal Impact Of Notarized Documents

People enter into an agreement for various reasons such as buying, selling or rendering services. Contracts contain relevant agreements which both parties should perform. However, there are instances when one of the contracting parties ends up dealing with legal disputes because of one essential element that has been taken for granted: notarization.  Does notarization bear any weight on the contract? While merely signing a contract binds a person into an agreement, a contract that bears the signature of contracting parties may not suffice in spite the presence of consent elements. 

The importance of notarization

Notarization has a legal impact on the contract as it converts a private document to a public instrument. Agreements on the contract are enforceable once the document is notarized because it is a strong proof of the document’s authenticity. However, basic requirements must also be observed in notarizing documents. The document is also rendered admissible in court as tangible evidence once it is notarized. Notarization also prevents fraud among legal documents and contracts. The documents that often require notarization are Power of Attorney, medical documents, sworn statements, affidavits, deeds, wills and trusts.

It is stated under Section 1 of Public Act No. 2103, known as the Notarial Law that, ““An instrument or document shall be considered authentic if the acknowledgment is made before a notary public or an officer duly authorized by law of the country to take acknowledgments of instruments or documents in the place where the act is done. The notary public or the officer taking the acknowledgment shall certify that the person acknowledging the instrument or document is known to him and that he is the same person who executed it, and acknowledged that the same is his free act and deed. The certificate shall be made under his official seal, if he is by law required to keep a seal, and if not, his certificate shall so state.”

The process

1.    The unsigned document must be brought to the notary public. It is important to note that the document must not be signed in advance as the notary public will not entertain signed documents without their presence. Proper identification must be secured to ensure that notary public can verify your identity.  Proofs of identity include TIN, NBI Clearance and SSS ID.

2.    Upon verifying your identity, the notary public will also check your documents. There are instances when notary publics prepare document for you to sign. This step is usually required in the case of affidavits.

3.    Once identification and document are clear, you will be asked to sign the document. You will also be observed if you are signing under duress or if another person is forcing you to sign the document against your will.

4.    You should also have one credible witness who is personally known to either the individual signing the document or the notary public.

5.    The transaction will be recorded on the notary’s journal. The record will show the date, place and other essential details of the transaction.

6.    If the requirements and process have been fulfilled, the notary will stamp the document with an official public seal or stamp to prove that your document is notarized. The payment for notarization will vary from location to location.

Important Things To Remember When Dealing With A Broker

Whether you are selling your home or purchasing a new one, it pays to transact with a licensed real estate broker for a smoother transaction. It might not seem like a big deal but there are people who have their own share of horror stories due to dealing with real estate brokers who are not licensed.

A broker can either make your life easier or a living hell once transactions go wrong. Buying and selling a real property entails risks when a real estate broker is not licensed. With a professional license, a buyer or seller is protected because these real estate brokers have a license to protect. The real estate brokers who fail to abide by the law will have their license revoked. A buyer or seller can verify if a real estate broker is licensed by visiting PRC’s official website.

“Section 29. Prohibition Against the Unauthorized Practice of Real Estate Service. - No person shall practice or offer to practice real estate service in the Philippines or offer himself/herself as real estate service practitioner, or use the title, word, letter, figure or any sign tending to convey the impression that one is a real estate service practitioner, or advertise or indicate in any manner whatsoever that one is qualified to practice the profession, or be appointed as real property appraiser or assessor in any national government entity or local government unit, unless he/she has satisfactorily passed the licensure examination given by the Board, except as otherwise provided in this Act, a holder of a valid certificate of registration, and professional identification card or a valid special/temporary permit duly issued to him/her by the Board and the Commission, and in the case of real estate brokers and private appraisers, they have paid the required bond as hereto provided.

Section 30. Positions in Government Requiring the Services of Registered and Licensed Real Estate Service Practitioners. - Within three (3) years from the effectivity of this Act, all existing and new positions in the national and local governments, whether career, permanent, temporary or contractual, and primarily requiring the services of any real estate service practitioner, shall be filled only by registered and licensed real estate service practitioners.
All incumbent assessors holding permanent appointments shall continue to perform their functions without need for re appointment and without diminution of status, rank and salary grade, and shall enjoy security of tenure. However, they may not be promoted to a higher position until they meet the qualification requirements of that higher position as herein prescribed. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to reduce any benefit, interest, or right enjoyed by the incumbents at the time of the enactment of this Act. The appointing authority shall exercise his power to appoint the assessor in accordance with the provisions of this Act only when a vacancy occurs.”

What Does An Anti-Duterte Ad Reveal?

When you decide to aspire for the highest political seat in the country, expect people to put you under the microscope for public scrutiny. Smear campaigns and black propaganda are all part of the political culture in the country. While we are only a few days away from the Presidential Election happening on May 9, word war never ceases. As they say, "it ain't over 'til it's over". Criticisms are hurled up against a presidential candidate who tops the pre-election survey. A blunt example is the anti-Duterte ad involving children. The 30-second ad highlights the negative side of Rodrigo Duterte and the reasons why he is unworthy of becoming the next President of the Philippines. We get it. It is obvious that the TV ad is against Duterte's presidency. However, as we dissect the TV ad, it slowly unravels who we are as voters, as Pinoys. While the ad is deemed to be cringe-worthy, it does not necessarily take a Duterte supporter to realize that something is really wrong with it. Is it simply because the children were used in the making of the video? Is it due to the fact that the campaign was putting Duterte in a bad light? No. The TV ad slowly uncovers what we are as a person. It can be a Freudian slip, a revelation of our subconscious feelings, but one thing is for sure: we reveal our true selves without even knowing it. It is purely paradoxical.Sure this ad does not necessarily change voter perception, but it reveals the values that shaped us as humans. A Duterte supporter might be surprised by his or her reaction to the TV ad not because it is the exact opposite of the dominant qualities of the presidential candidate they are supporting, but it is even more surprising to know that a supporter cheering or clapping for Duterte's cuss words is also against indecency of the TV ad. With Duterte's popularity, we already know what this ad is all about, but the mixed reactions clearly show both our negative and positive traits as Pinoys. We are unified because we are against the idea of using children to fulfill a politician's self-serving biases. On the other hand, we also have double standards of morality. While political goals may be accomplished eventually, nobody can have their cake and eat it too. (credits to the owner of this video)

Is The Philippines Ready For Automated Elections?

With just a few days away from 2016 Presidential Election, Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is still dealing with minor glitches. Although Smartmatic International has already assured of an election free of technical issues, there are still some doubts on the effectiveness of vote counting machines in terms of delivering the fast and accurate results.

Smartmatic General Manager Elie Moreno assures voters that it’s all systems go after conducting a mock election on May 3, 2016. All of the vote counting machines have already been delivered and each machine has undergone an international certification review. A hardware acceptance test and local source code review have been put in place. There is a total of 92,509 VCMs, which will be used in the elections. In the event of technical failures, there are additional 5000 machines on standby, which will be used as backup.

The ballots are ready and the technology, which will be used for verifying votes has been checked. The final testing was conducted on Monday and even teachers who will serve as the inspectors of board of election have tested the machines. Although COMELEC encountered a problem with cyber security due to hacking of voter’s personal data, both COMELEC and Smartmatic gave an assurance that the machines are hack-free.

The VCMs are not connected to the Internet and with that said, Lawyer Karen Jimeno assures that hackers do not have access to the information. Jimeno also added that the level of encryption of VCM is 256 bits and this is much higher than the security used for banking programs. Aside from the high encryption level, Smartmatic also use an encrypted SD (Secure Digital) card. The card is intended for preventing tampering of election results.

The preparation of these vote counting machines is said to be in compliance with Republic Act No. 9369:

"SEC.14. Examination and Testing of Equipment or Device of the AES and Opening of the Source Code for Review. - The Commission shall allow the political parties and candidates or their representatives, citizens' arm or their representatives to examine and test.

"The equipment or device to be used in the voting and counting on the day of the electoral exercise, before voting start. Test ballots and test forms shall be provided by the Commission.

"Immediately after the examination and testing of the equipment or device, parties and candidates or their representatives, citizen's arms or their representatives, may submit a written comment to the election officer who shall immediately transmit it to the Commission for appropriate action.
"The election officer shall keep minutes of the testing, a copy of which shall be submitted to the Commission together with the minute of voting."

"Once an AES technology is selected for implementation, the Commission shall promptly make the source code of that technology available and open to any interested political party or groups which may conduct their own review thereof."

Minimum Wage Increase In Central Luzon And Cagayan Valley In Effect

Aside from putting an end to contractualization, workers who consider themselves as minimum wage earners are also hoping for an increase in their wage rates. On May 1, which also happened to be the celebration of Labor Day, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon finally got pay increases. Rosalinda Baldoz, labor secretary said that the provinces of Isabela, Quirino, Batanes, Cagayan and Nueva Viscaya currently have the minimum wage of P264 to P300.

The previous rates of Cagayan Valley provinces ranged from P219 to P255. According to the head of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Cagayan Valley, Pacifico Moralit, the said pay hike was the highest increase the region got for over two decades. Aside from Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon will also receive an increase of P7 in their wage.

“ART. 123. Wage Order. — Whenever conditions in the region so warrant, the Regional Board shall investigate and study all pertinent facts; and based on the standards and criteria herein prescribed, shall proceed to determine whether a Wage Order should be issued. Any such Wage Order shall take effect after fifteen (15) days from its complete publication in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the region.

“In the performance of its wage determining functions, the Regional Board shall conduct public hearings/consultations, giving notices to employees’ and employers’ groups, provincial, city and municipal officials and other interested parties.

“Any party aggrieved by the Wage Order issued by the Regional Board may appeal such order to the Commission within ten (10) calendar days from the publication of such order. It shall be mandatory for the Commission to decide such appeal within sixty (60) calendar days from the filing thereof.

“The filing of the appeal does not stay the order unless the person appealing such order shall file with the Commission an undertaking with a surety or sureties satisfactory to the Commission for the payment to the employees affected by the order of the corresponding increase, in the event such order is affirmed.”

“ART. 124. Standards/Criteria for Minimum Wage Fixing. — The regional minimum wages to be established by the Regional Board shall be as nearly adequate as is economically feasible to maintain the minimum standards of living necessary for the health, efficiency and general well-being of the employees within the framework of the national economic and social development program. In the determination of such regional minimum wages, the Regional Board shall, among other relevant factors, consider the following:

“(a) The demand for living wages;

“(b) Wage adjustment vis-a-vis the consumer price index;

“(c) The cost of living and changes or increases therein;

“(d) The needs of workers and their families;

“(e) The need to induce industries to invest in the countryside;

“(f) Improvements in standards of living;

“(g) The prevailing wage levels;

“(h) Fair return of the capital invested and capacity to pay of employers;

“(i) Effects on employment generation and family income; and

“(j) The equitable distribution of income and wealth along the imperatives of economic and social development.

“The wages prescribed in accordance with the provisions of this Title shall be the standard prevailing minimum wages in every region. These wages shall include wages varying within industries, provinces or localities if in the judgment of the Regional Board conditions make such local differentiation proper and necessary to effectuate the purpose of this Title.

“Any person, company, corporation, partnership or any other entity engaged in business shall file and register annually with the appropriate Regional Board, Commission and the National Statistics Office an itemized listing of their labor component, specifying the names of their workers and employees below the managerial level, including learners, apprentices and disabled/handicapped workers who were hired under the terms prescribed in the employment contracts, and their corresponding salaries and wages.

Enactment Of IP Rights Protection Law: The Answer To Digital Piracy

On Tuesday, April 26, the world celebrated Intellectual Property (IP) Day. Since the Philippines is not spared from digital piracy, several groups demand for the enactment of IP rights protection law. Although there are currently two laws covering digital piracy, Republic Act 10175 is one of them, the country does not have specific legislation that will penalize those who violate anti-piracy law.

Aside from the two existing laws, there is another bill being proposed that can be fused into the current laws covering digital piracy. House Bill 6187 or better known as the Anti-Online Piracy Act was waiting for enactment. It has been filed in 2012 and the bill puts more emphasis on the protection of IP rights.

Due to the access of Internet users to various sources of information, anything can be copied in a few clicks.  Even though the violation of the current laws is evident, the agencies’ hands are tied because there are no formal complaints being filed. As of 2011, there are only 15 digital piracy convictions made. For five years, there are only a total of 15 cases of digital piracy and this is because of the lack of stricter enforcement of anti-piracy law. Here’s an overview of the laws covering digital piracy:

Republic Act No. 8293

“Sec. 2. Declaration of State Policy. - The State recognizes that an effective intellectual and industrial property system is vital to the development of domestic and creative activity, facilitates transfer of technology, attracts foreign investments, and ensures market access for our products. It shall protect and secure the exclusive rights of scientists, inventors, artists and other gifted citizens to their intellectual property and creations, particularly when beneficial to the people, for such periods as provided in this Act.

The use of intellectual property bears a social function. To this end, the State shall promote the diffusion of knowledge and information for the promotion of national development and progress and the common good.

It is also the policy of the State to streamline administrative procedures of registering patents, trademarks and copyright, to liberalize the registration on the transfer of technology, and to enhance the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the Philippines.”

Republic Act No. 10175

“SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. — The State recognizes the vital role of information and communications industries such as content production, telecommunications, broadcasting electronic commerce, and data processing, in the nation’s overall social and economic development. The State also recognizes the importance of providing an environment conducive to the development, acceleration, and rational application and exploitation of information and communications technology (ICT) to attain free, easy, and intelligible access to exchange and/or delivery of information; and the need to protect and safeguard the integrity of computer, computer and communications systems, networks, and databases, and the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and data stored therein, from all forms of misuse, abuse, and illegal access by making punishable under the law such conduct or conducts. In this light, the State shall adopt sufficient powers to effectively prevent and combat such offenses by facilitating their detection, investigation, and prosecution at both the domestic and international levels, and by providing arrangements for fast and reliable international cooperation.”

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

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

SECURITY OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psychological Incapacity: A Common Ground For Annulment?

Annulment is the only option available to married couple in the Philippines. When filing for a petition to nullify marriage, the grounds for annulment must be taken into consideration. One of the grounds used for nullity of marriage is psychological incapacity. According to Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, “A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with his obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.”

How can a person identify if his or her spouse does not have an ability to assume basic marital obligations?

“(a)   A true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of marriage;

(b)   The inability must refer to the essential obligations of marriage, that is, the conjugal act, the community of life and love, the rendering of mutual help, and the procreation and education of offspring; and

(c)    The inability must be tantamount to a psychological abnormality.”

The person who files must also establish that there is indeed Psychological incapacity in his/her marriage.

“a)      The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity.

b)      The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision.

c)      The incapacity must be proven to be existing at “the time of the celebration” of the marriage.

d)      Such incapacity must be also shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable.

e)      Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume essential obligations of marriage.

f)       The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221, and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children.

g)      Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts.

h)      The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in the decision, briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as the case may be, to the petition.”

Although it is one of the commonly used grounds for annulment, there are still some processes that must be put in place. For instance, a husband who is not getting along with his wife cannot allege psychological incapacity as a ground for annulment. Even if there are conflicting personalities or irreconcilable differences, a spouse cannot use these as a ground for filling an annulment case against his wife. The children will also remain legitimate even if the petition for nullity of marriage has been granted.

Septuagenarian Charged For Carrying A Bullet In Her Bag

On Apri 19, Tuesday a 75-year old passenger bound for the US was stopped by the airport security officers to undergo investigation due to a suspected bullet in her handbag. The tanim-bala scheme has been laid to rest for a few months, but the incident that happened on Tuesday has resurrected this issue once again and clouded the minds of passengers regarding the efficiency of the government and the officials in NAIA in resolving this issue. There are nagging suspicions due to the fact that most of the victims are older people who can easily be easily persuaded.

The victim of the allegation is Salvacion Cortabista of Antipolo City. She said that one person also allegedly asked her for 50,000. According to Pablo Francisco Balagtas, the Director of Avsegroup, who is conducting an investigation to shed light on this issue, they are waiting for Cortabista to file a formal complaint and validate claims. If evidences can satisfy claims, the airport security officials violate Section 3 of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:

(a) Persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.

(b) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other part, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law.

(c) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person for whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or will secure or obtain, any Government permit or license, in consideration for the help given or to be given, without prejudice to Section thirteen of this Act.

(d) Accepting or having any member of his family accept employment in a private enterprise which has pending official business with him during the pendency thereof or within one year after its termination.

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.

(f) Neglecting or refusing, after due demand or request, without sufficient justification, to act within a reasonable time on any matter pending before him for the purpose of obtaining, directly or indirectly, from any person interested in the matter some pecuniary or material benefit or advantage, or for the purpose of favoring his own interest or giving undue advantage in favor of or discriminating against any other interested party.

(g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.

(h) Director or indirectly having financing or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest.

(i) Directly or indirectly becoming interested, for personal gain, or having a material interest in any transaction or act requiring the approval of a board, panel or group of which he is a member, and which exercises discretion in such approval, even if he votes against the same or does not participate in the action of the board, committee, panel or group. Interest for personal gain shall be presumed against those public officers responsible for the approval of manifestly unlawful, inequitable, or irregular transaction or acts by the board, panel or group to which they belong.

(j) Knowingly approving or granting any license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor of any person not qualified for or not legally entitled to such license, permit, privilege or advantage, or of a mere representative or dummy of one who is not so qualified or entitled.

(k) Divulging valuable information of a confidential character, acquired by his office or by him on account of his official position to unauthorized persons, or releasing such information in advance of its authorized release date.
The person giving the gift, present, share, percentage or benefit referred to in subparagraphs (b) and (c); or offering or giving to the public officer the employment mentioned in subparagraph (d); or urging the divulging or untimely release of the confidential information referred to in subparagraph
(k) of this section shall, together with the offending public officer, be punished under Section nine of this Act and shall be permanently or temporarily disqualified in the discretion of the Court, from transacting business in any form with the Government.”

Two Essential Laws To Know Before Purchasing A Land In The Philippines

When it comes to purchasing a piece of land in the Philippines, a buyer needs to arm himself with sufficient knowledge, which includes knowing the essential laws. There are two laws that a buyer must keep in mind to ensure smooth and stress-free transaction.

The Subdivision and Condominium Buyer’s Protective Decree or Presidential Decree No. 957:

“17: Registration
All contracts to sell, deeds of sale and other similar instruments relative to the sale or conveyance of the subdivision lots and condominium units, whether or not the purchase price is paid in full, shall be registered by the seller in the office of the Register of Deeds of the province or city where the property is situated.

18: Mortgages
No mortgage on any unit or lot shall be made by the owner or developer without prior written approval of the authority . Such approval shall not be granted unless it is shown that the proceeds of the mortgage loan shall be used for the development of the condominium or subdivision project and effective measures have been provided to ensure such utilization. The loan value of each lot or unit covered by the mortgage shall be determined and the buyer thereof, if any, shall be notified before the release of the loan.

The buyer may, at his option, pay his installment for the lot or unit directly to the mortgage who shall apply the payments to the corresponding mortgages indebtedness secured by the particular lot or unit being paid for with a view to enabling said buyer to obtain title over the lot or unit promptly after full payment thereof.

19: Advertisements
Advertisements that may be made by the owner or developer through newspaper, radio, television, leaflets, circular or any other form about the subdivision or the condominium or its operations or activities must reflect the real facts and must be presented in such manner that will not tend to mislead or deceive the public.

The owner or developer shall be answerable and liable for the facilities, improvements, infrastructures or other forms of development represented or promised in brochures advertisements and other sales propaganda disseminated by the owner or developer or his agents and the same shall form part of the sales warranties enforceable against said owner or developer, jointly and severally. Failure to comply with these warranties shall also be punishable in accordance with the penalties provided for in this Decree.

24: non-forfeiture of payments
No installment payment made by a buyer in a new or existing subdivision or condominium project for the lot or unit he contracted to buy shall be forfeited in favor of the owner or developer when the buyer, after due notice to the owner or developer and clearance from the Board desists from further payment due to the failure of the owner or developer to develop the project according to the approved plans and within the time limit for complying with the same.

Such buyer may at his option be reimbursed the total amount paid including amortization interests but excluding delinquency interests, with interest thereon at the legal rate.”

The Realty Installment Buyer Act or Republic Act 6552:

“Section 3. In all transactions or contracts involving the sale or financing of real estate on installment payments, including residential condominium apartments but excluding industrial lots, commercial buildings and sales to tenants under Republic Act Numbered Thirty-eight hundred forty-four, as amended by Republic Act Numbered Sixty-three hundred eighty-nine, where the buyer has paid at least two years of installments, the buyer is entitled to the following rights in case he defaults in the payment of succeeding installments:

(a) To pay, without additional interest, the unpaid installments due within the total grace period earned by him which is hereby fixed at the rate of one month grace period for every one year of installment payments made: Provided, That this right shall be exercised by the buyer only once in every five years of the life of the contract and its extensions, if any.

(b) If the contract is canceled, the seller shall refund to the buyer the cash surrender value of the payments on the property equivalent to fifty per cent of the total payments made, and, after five years of installments, an additional five per cent every year but not to exceed ninety per cent of the total payments made: Provided, That the actual cancellation of the contract shall take place after thirty days from receipt by the buyer of the notice of cancellation or the demand for rescission of the contract by a notarial act and upon full payment of the cash surrender value to the buyer.”

The Truth Behind Rodrigo Duterte’s Rape Remark

A rape remark (regarded by some as a bad joke) by presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte earned the ire of netizens. The video clip of the April 12 campaign rally at the Amoranto Sports Complex in Quezon City was posted on Saturday, April 16. In the video, Duterte is in the middle of a speech and due to the remark, the video went viral. The statement was: “Ang nagpasok sa isip ko, nirape nila, pinagpilahan nila doon. Nagalit ako kasi nirape, oo isa rin 'yun . Pero napakaganda, dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna. Sayang. There are mixed reactions, most of which are negative. Is the bad remark enough to pass judgment to Rodrigo Duterte? Is this really the truth? The speech was about an incident that dates back in 1989. It was a hostage-taking by Felipe Pugoy, a Davao City Police office inmate. The missionaries who visited the DCPO were held hostage and one of the missionaries was Jacquelline Hamill, an Australian woman. The video clip of the speech drew flak and it was focused on the rape joke! Was it really a joke? “The truth is the truth even if no one believes it. A lie is a lie, even if everyone believes it”. On Sunday, April 17, Duterte was interviewed to clarify what had really transpired during the 1989 hostage-taking incident. Here’s the video of the full interview (credits to the owner of the video):

Ex-Benguet Mayor And Municipal Treasurer Serve 18 Years In Prison For Malversation Of Public Funds

There is only a thin line that separates genuine public servants from those who are just putting up a front. Some would resort to extreme measures just to win a seat in the public office, not because of the pure intention to serve, but the “perks” they get from it.  There are ghost projects that cost millions and when these public officials have nothing to present when asked for supporting documents, they seem to make up an excuse to maintain their innocence.

Malversation of public funds is a serious offence and should not be tolerated even if the violation is committed by a public official. Now, if holding public office gives you immunity and power to steal public funds, which could have been used for more useful projects, this is an obvious example of corruption at its finest.

Ex-Benguet mayor Bartolome Sacla Sr. and former municipal treasurer Manuel Bagayao were found guilty of misusing public funds, which amounted to P5 million. According to Commission on Audit (COA), there are two factors that demonstrate irregularity in this transaction: 1. there wasn’t any supporting document that will justify the issuance of the check; 2. an accountant’s advice was not issued, which is one of COA’s requirements.

This is a clear violation of Republic Act No. 1090:

“Section 1.     Article two hundred seventeen of the Revised Penal Code is amended to read as follows:

"Art. 217.     Malversation of public funds or property. — Presumption of malversation. — Any public officer who, by reason of the duties of his office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same, or shall take or misappropriate shall consent, or through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take such public funds or property, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of the misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property, shall suffer:

"1.     The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved in the misappropriation or malversation does not exceed two hundred pesos.

"2.     The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the amount involved is more than two hundred pesos but does not exceed six thousand pesos. 

"3.     The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its minimum period, if the amount involved is more than six thousand pesos but is less than twelve thousand pesos.

"4.     The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved is more than twelve thousand pesos but is less than twenty-two thousand pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

"In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the funds malversed or equal to the total value of the property embezzled.

"The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal uses."  



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