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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.

Rude Cab Driver In A Viral Video Refuses To Take A Drug Test

The reported cases of passengers being harassed by rude taxi drivers are increasing and while some passengers choose to keep silent, one passenger posted a video of an enraged cab driver who went ballistic when the passenger refused to give in to the amount he demanded. Joanne Garcia expressed her discontentment and anger by posting the video she took herself. The video that Garcia took went viral but this is just a snippet of the altercation that took place. According to her, the cab driver asked her to pay a fixed rate of P250 but she insisted on using a taxi meter.

Garcia assumed that she and the cab driver have already agreed to use the taxi meter instead of paying a fixed rate. However, upon the passengers’ arrival at POEA, the meter is at P140. She paid P200 and asked for her change. That was when the cab driver started cursing at Garcia and her companion demanding a much higher amount. The part when Catipay curses at Garcia and her companion have been caught in the video.

She also suspects Catipay of taking drugs during that time. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) had served summon for the cab driver and the operator, Ariel Gamboa on January 5. They appeared before LTFRB on January 6 and required to explain why the franchise should not be cancelled in spite of the violations they committed to the passenger such as harassment, overcharging of fare, contracting passenger and threatening of passenger. The video only revealed a portion of the altercation and according to Garcia, Catipay threatened to hurt her if she did not leave the cab. Catipay also refused to take a drug test and denied being high on drugs when the incident happened. The matter will be discussed on January 12 to dig deeper into Garcia’s complaint.

Bill of Rights 2152 aims to put a stop on cab drivers who unscrupulously prey on unsuspecting passengers:

“this bill seeks to clearly enumerate and establish the rights of taxi passengers and the responsibilities of taxi drivers and operators. Moreover, it also seeks to support current provisions of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in determining the system and proper avenue for passengers to file their complaints with regard to their rights that are violated. “

Drivers and operators who violate any of the provisions Under Section 3 shall be meted a fine and/or a penalty, depending on the degree of offense:

“a. First Offense. - A minimum fine of Five Hundred Pesos (P500,00) but not to exceed Two Thousand pesos (P2,000.00);

b. Second Offense. -  A minimum fine of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) but not to exceed Five Thousand pesos (P5,000.00);

c. Third and Succeeding Offenses. -   A minimum of Three Thousand pesos (P3,000.00) but not to exceed Ten Thousand pesos (10,000.00) and the suspension of the driver's license and/or the Certificate of public Convenience for a period of one (1) week. “

A Proposed Amendment To Put A Lid On Smoke Belching Vehicles

Aside from the worsening traffic condition in Metro Manila, air pollution is another problem that continues to plague city dwellers. In answer to the growing concern on air pollution, a lawmaker proposed House Bill 6298, which will be in conjunction with Section 46 of Republic Act 8749 or better known as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999. The current version aims to penalize both operators and drivers of smoke belching vehicles. The proposed amendment shifts its focus to the operators since the drivers are just employees and they do not have access or proper means for vehicle repairs according to Quezon City Rep. Alfredo Vargas lll.

Vargas also emphasizes the role of operators in repairing or replacing parts that can be detrimental to passing the emission standards. The fines range from 2000 to 6000, and an additional one-year suspension of the motor vehicle registration (MVR) once offense has been committed for the third time. In the proposed amendment, the fines will range from 6000 to 10000 and a one-year suspension of MVR. Vargas also cited that one of the biggest factors Metro Manila continues to have poor air quality is the air pollution from the motor vehicles.

Here’s an overview Sec. 46 of the Philippine Clean Air Act:

SEC. 46. Violation of Standards for Motor Vehicles.- No motor vehicle shall be registered with the DOTC unless   it meets the emission standards set by the Department as provided in Sec. 21 hereof.

Any vehicle suspected of violation of emission standards through visual signs, such as, but not limited to   smoke-belching, shall be subjected to an emission test by a duly authorized emission testing center. For this   purpose, the DOTC or its authorized testing center shall establish a roadside inspection system. Should it be   shown that there was no violation of emission standards, the vehicle shall be immediately released. Otherwise, a testing result indicating an exceedance of the emission standards would warrant the continuing custody of   the impounded vehicle unless the appropriate penalties are fully paid, and the license plate is surrendered to the DOTC pending the fulfillment of the undertaking by the owner/operator of the motor vehicle to make the   necessary repairs so as to comply with the standards. A pass shall herein be issued by the DOTC to authorize   the use of the motor vehicle within a specified period that shall not exceed seven (7) days for the sole purpose   of making the necessary repairs on the said vehicle. The owner/operator of the vehicle shall be required to   correct its defects and show proof of compliance to the appropriate pollution control office before the vehicle   can be allowed to be driven on any public or subdivision roads.

In addition, the driver and operator of the apprehended vehicle shall undergo a seminar on pollution control   management conducted by the DOTC and shall also suffer the following penalties:

    a) First Offense - a fine not to exceed Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00);

    b) Second Offense - a fine not less than Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) and not to exceed Four
    Thousand Pesos (P4,000.00); and

    c) Third offense - one (1) year suspension of the Motor Vehicle Registration (MVR) and a fine of not less than   Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000.00) and not more than Six thousand pesos (P6,000.00).

Any violation of the provisions of Sec. 21 paragraph (d) with regard to national inspection and maintenance   program, including technicians and facility compliance shall penalized with a fine of not less than Thirty   Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) or cancellation of license of both the technician and the center, or both, as   determined by the DTI.

All law enforcement officials and deputized agents accredited to conduct vehicle emissions testing and   apprehensions shall undergo a mandatory training on emission standards and regulations. For this purpose,   the Department, together with the DOTC, DTI, DOST, Philippine National Police (PNP) and other concerned   agencies and private entities shall design a training program.

Fake Annulment In The Philippines

Since divorce is not yet legalized in the Philippines, annulment is the only option for couples who want to go separate ways. However, annulment is a long, tedious and expensive process. This is why there are couples who choose to stay married even when they are no longer living under one roof. However, some anomalies have recently surfaced revealing bogus court decisions. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) considered this issue a cause for alarm.

The PSA is responsible for changing the status of the petitioner once a court decision has been made. Once the civil registry files have been updated, an annotated marriage certificate will be issued and the details of the proceedings can be found on the right-hand side of the document. The annotated marriage certificate is used for processing various documents including a fiancée visa or a passport.

Among 100 documents that have been verified, only five of them are considered correct. Aurelia Alido, a registration officer of PSA court urges the courts to ensure that all decisions are authentic. It should bear the civil case number and registered in court dockets. The judge should be the one to issue the decision according to Alido. If the annotated marriage certificate does not have the judge’s signature, it only means that the case does not exist. When applying for a fiancée visa, the embassies also verify the applications with the PSA and the process involves checking the civil registry documents’ transaction code.

There are also cases when marriage certificates are being pulled out from civil registry files as though marriage never happened. Fixers continue to prey on potential victims who want to end an unsuccessful marriage. Since everything has gone digital, the files have already been stored in a database and deleting or pulling out marriage certificates is not going to nullify marriages.

People who are found guilty of faking court documents violate Article 171 and 172  of the Revised Penal Code:

Art. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastical minister. – The penalty of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:

4.  Making untruthful statements in narration of facts;

Art. 172. Falsification by private individual and use of falsified documents. – The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than P5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon:

1.      Any private individual who shall commit any of the falsifications enumerated in the next preceding article in any public or official document or letter of exchange or any other kind of commercial document; and

2.      Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with the intent to cause such damage, shall in any private document commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in the next preceding article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Latest Bilibid Prison Raid Discovers Rooftop Swimming Pool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Friendly Reminder To People With A Penchant For Firecrackers

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

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

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

 A. Firecrackers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B. Pyrotechnic Devices:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(12) Other types equivalent to the foregoing devices.

Supreme Court Rejects Petition Against No Bio, No Boto Policy

Comelec has implemented “No Bio, No Boto” policy in order to ensure that each and every voter has completed a verification process in line with the Comelec’s efforts to reduce if not totally eradicate flying voters and other issues involved in voter registration. The Supreme Court junks petition vs No Bio, No Boto policy filed by leftist group leaders on November 25. Due to the petition, the court was prompted to issue a temporary restraining order, deterring Comelec from implementing the policy. The reason for junking the petition is that the policy is based on a law. The poll body also took time needed for preparation for the 2016 elections into great consideration.

The biometrics required by Comelec is based on Republic Act 10367:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
Section 1. Declaration of Policy. – It is the policy of the State to establish a clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters through the adoption of biometric technology.

Section 2. Definition of Terms. – As used in this Act:

(a) Commission refers to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

(b) Biometrics refers to the quantitative analysis that provides a positive identification of an individual such as voice, photograph, fingerprint, signature, iris and/or such other identifiable features.

(c) Data Capture Machine (DCM) is the device which captures the biometrics of an individual.

(d) Validation is the process of taking the biometrics of registered voters whose biometrics have not yet been captured.

(e) Deactivation refers to the removal of the registration record of the registered voter from the corresponding precinct book of voters for failure to comply with the validation process as required by this Act.

(f) Reactivation refers to the reinstatement of a deactivated voter.

Section 3. Who Shall Submit for Validation. – Registered voters whose biometrics have not been captured shall submit themselves for validation.

Section 4. Who Shall Conduct the Validation. – The City or Municipal Election Officer shall conduct the validation.

Section 5. Commencement of Validation. – The Commission shall conduct validation beginning July 1, 2013, consistent with the continuing registration under Republic Act No. 8189.

Section 6. Publication and Notice Requirement. – The Commission shall cause the publication of the commencement of the validation in two (2) newspapers of general circulation. The City or Municipal Election Officer shall serve individual written notices by registered mail with return card to the voters concerned at their latest address in the voter’s registration record and post the list of the voters concerned in the city or municipal bulletin board and in the local COMELEC office.

Section 7. Deactivation. – Voters who fail to submit for validation on or before the last day of filing of application for registration for purposes of the May 2016 elections shall be deactivated pursuant to this Act.

Section 8. Reactivation. – Those deactivated under the preceding section may apply for reactivation after the May 2016 elections following the procedure provided in Section 28 of Republic Act No. 8189.

Section 9. Database Security. – The database generated by biometric registration shall be secured by the Commission and shall not be used, under any circumstance, for any purpose other than for electoral exercises.

Section 10. Mandatory Biometrics Registration. – The Commission shall implement a mandatory biometrics registration system for new voters.

Section 11. Prohibited Acts. – The following shall be election offenses punishable under Sections 263 and 264 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881, as amended, otherwise known as the "Omnibus Election Code":

(a) Any person who shall prohibit, impede, obstruct or prevent a registered voter or a new voter from submitting his or her biometrics for capture through the use of force, intimidation or monetary consideration; and

(b) Any public official or person who, under the guise of implementing this Act, shall unjustifiably and without due process, cause the deactivation or reactivation of any registered voter.

Comelec Gun Ban Starts In January

The oft-quoted statement, “start the year with a bang” should not be taken literally since COMELEC gun ban is almost in effect. As 2016 presidential election draws near, you can almost sense crimes lurking around the corner and some of which are politically motivated.  During the election period, which starts from January 10, 2016 to June 8, 2016, carrying or transporting firearms and deadly weapons are prohibited.

James Jimenez, COMELEC Spokesman also welcomes application for gun ban exemption. Those who are eligible for exemption can simply visit www.comelec.gov.ph to file their applications.

The rules and regulations can also be found in Resolution No. 10015:

“SECTION 1. Prohibited Acts. - During the Election Period:

No person shall bear, carry or transport Firearms or Deadly Weapons outside his residence or place of business, and in all public places, including any building, street, park, and in private vehicles or public conveyances, even if he is licensed or authorized to possess or to carry the same, unless authorized by the Commission, through the CBFSP, in accordance with the provisions of this Resolution;

No person shall employ, avail himself or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguards, whether or not such security personnel or bodyguards are regular members or officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), other law enforcement agency of the government or from a private security service provider, unless authorized by the Commission, through the CBFSP, in accordance with the provisions of this Resolution;
No person or entity shall transport and deliver Firearms and/or its parts, Ammunition and/or its components, and Explosives and/or its components, unless authorized by the Commission, through the CBFSP, in accordance with the provisions of this Resolution.”

Section 261. Prohibited Acts. - The following shall be guilty of an election offense:

(q) Carrying firearms outside residence or place of business. - Any person who, although possessing a permit to carry firearm/s, carries any firearm/s outside his residence or place of business during the election period, unless authorized in writing by the Commission: Provided, That a motor vehicle, water or air craft shall not be considered a residence or place of business or extension hereof.

This prohibition shall not apply to cashiers and disbursing officers while in the performance of their duties or to persons who by nature of their official duties, profession, business or occupation habitually carry large sums of money or valuables."
The complete details of Resolution No. 10015 can be found on COMELEC’s official website.

Taxikick: A Convenient Way Of Lodging A Complaint Against Abusive Taxi Drivers

When the temporary restraining order (TRO) was served to Uber and GrabCar for new applications, the commuting public was left with a few transportation options. While this is the season for giving and sharing, there are corrupt and abusive taxi drivers who choose to seize the opportunity and commuters who only want to reach their destination in the most convenient way are not spared from falling prey to these taxi drivers’ schemes.
 
These taxi drivers collect fares in excess of the actual amount charged to the passengers. They have lots of lame excuses to deter passengers from getting the exact change. While it is the passenger’s prerogative to give a tip, a taxi driver cannot just prey on these unsuspecting passengers to collect more than the amount due to them.

In response to the perennial complaints from passengers against these unconscionable practices, TaxiKick has been created. The site accepts complaints from passengers who have been scammed by taxi drivers. Once complaints are lodged, the site will forward them to the LTFRB, which takes action on each complaint. The LTFRB will contact complainants to get more information.

The passengers also have the option to follow up on any report they file by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text/call the LTFRB at 459-2129 or 0921-448-7777.

Proposed acts HB 4016, 2346, 2669, 5107 and 3503 are intended to address growing concerns on taxi drivers’ abusive treatment to passengers.

Here is an overview of one of the house bills being pushed:

“Jurisprudence reveals that a contract of transport of passengers is quite different from any other contractual relationship since it is imbued with public interest. Moreover, it is a policy of the State to protect the interest of passengers, promote their general welfare and establish the strictest standards of conduct for the transportation industry.

Several laws and ordinances have been enacted to safeguard the safety of the commuting public. Traffic enforcers have been deployed in strategic locations to ensure the efficient flow of various forms of public transportation and more importantly, the safety of our commuters.

In relation to this, it is the right of every person to choose whatever means of public transportation he/she prefers. Most of our commuters would choose to take the bus, jeepney, tricycle but for convenience sake, they have also opted to take our railway system (LRT and MRT) to avoid the horrendous traffic in most of our major thoroughfares. Still some for the sake of expediency, have chosen to take the taxi because it saves on time and gets them to their place of disembarkation much faster.

However, passengers are most often than not victims of abusive taxi drivers. Rampant abusive practices by these taxi drivers include the collection of fare in excess of what is due to them. In the event a passenger asks for his/her exact change, the common answer is that they do not have enough coins or this was their first trip.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think Twice When Posting Offensive Photos On Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

Red Light As Courts Stop Uber And Grabcar

It is going to be bad news for the commuting public as the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) orders two government agencies DOTC and LTFRB to stop accepting applications or approving applications from motor vehicles, which are considered public utility vehicles under the Transport Network Vehicle Services scheme. Uber and GrabCar are two of the companies that are greatly affected when the temporary restraining order (TRO) was issued. 

When Uber and GrabCar operated, taxi operators and drivers are affected due to the decrease in their income. The 20-day TRO intends to stop accepting, processing and approving applications of those who want to establish partnership with GrabCar and Uber. 

Transport advocate groups are not happy with the fact that Uber and GrabCar are allowed to operate without franchises. The group wishes to protect the rights of public utility vehicles with franchises. Taxi drivers also cry foul as dissatisfied and ripped off customers have suddenly preferred Uber, Grab and other ride sharing or app-based services.

These services are a huge help in terms of meeting transport demands and with the issuance of TRO, the efficiency in transportation becomes a difficult thing to achieve. The TRO does not apply to on-going operations of Uber and GrabCar. Its sole purpose is to stop various government offices from accepting applications while TRO is still being served. 

The replete definition and purpose of Temporary Restraining Order can be found in administrative Circular No. 20-95:

“[1] Where an application for Temporary Restraining Order [TRO] or writ of preliminary injunction is included in a complaint or any initiatory pleading filed with the trial court, such complaint or initiatory pleading shall be raffled only after notice to the adverse party and in the presence of such party or counsel. 

[2] The application for a TRO shall be acted upon only after all parties are heard in a summary haering conducted within twenty-four [24] hours after the records are transmitted to the branch selected by raffle. The records shall be transmitted immediately after raffle. 

[3]  If the matter is of extreme urgency, such that unless a TRO is issued, grave injustice and irreparable injury will arise, the Executive Judge shall issue the TRO efective only for seventy-two [72] hours from issuance but shall immediately summon the parties for conference and immediately raffle the case in their presence. Thereafter, before the expiry of the seventy-two [72] hours, the Presiding Judge to whom the case is assigned shall conduct a summary hearing to determine whether the TRO can be extended for another period until a hearing in the pending application for preliminary injunction can be conducted. In no case shall the total period of the TRO exceed twenty [20] days, including the original seventy-two [72] hours, for the TRO issued by the Executive Judge.

[4] With the exception of the provisions which necessarily involve multiple-sala stations, these rules shall apply to single-sala stations especially with regard to immediate notice to all parties of all applications for TRO.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Careful What You Post On Facebook, You Might Go To Court For It

In this modern day and age, raves and rants are taken to social media and when your post is made available to the public, any defamatory statement can spread like wild fire in just a few clicks. While one can use freedom of speech as an excuse to post anything, it does not give you a license to say something offensive to another person. Libellous statements that can ruin a person’s reputation or image can make you guilty of the crime of libel. 

Just recently, a woman was found guilty of the crime of libel and ordered to pay the sum of 100,000 to the offended party due to malicious posts. Ramada Vallespin admitted to posting defamatory statements and since the posts were set to public, it seems easy for everyone to gain access to the post and hit like, share or comment. 

According to the three witnesses of the aggrieved party, they were able to read Vallespin’s Facebook posts and said the posts where ‘false and highly defamatory’.  The accused did not present any substantial evidence that would vindicate her. The accused party has violated Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code.

"Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following cases:

1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral or social duty; and

2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions."

President Aquino also enacted Republic Act No. 10175, or also referred to as Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The cybercrime offenses mentioned include cybersquatting, child pornography, identity theft, cybersex, libel and illegal access to data.

These cybercrime offenses can be found under Section 4 of Republic Act No. 10175. Now that the law has been implemented, the case of Vallespin definitely serves as a warning to those whose fingers are itching to post on Facebook for the purpose of humiliating and destroying a person’s reputation. While Facebook can provide a perfect avenue for expressions, you are still held responsible for what you post. You may still want to think before you type because you might end up in court for your posts.

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 12 Of 15 Family Members Who Commit Theft Are Not Criminally Liable

Filipinos are known for being family-oriented and this dominant quality is probably one of the reasons a law that exempts family who commit theft, swindling and malicious mischief from criminal liability exists. While it is a dead give-away that Filipinos value their family more than anyone or anything else, can this law be a good reason to promote solidarity in spite of criminal liability of a loved one?

Under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code, "No criminal liability, but only civil liability shall result from the commission of the crime of theft, swindling, or malicious mischief committed or caused mutually by the following persons:

1.Spouses, ascendants and descendants, or relatives by affinity in the same line;

2.The widowed spouse with respect to the property which belonged to the deceased spouse before the same shall have passed into the possession of another; and

3.Brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, if living together.

The exemption established by this article shall not be applicable to strangers participating in the commission of the crime."

However, there are still some exceptions to the rule. A family will not be criminally liable for the aforementioned crimes, but the person will still be subject to civil liability. A complex crime will also be treated as one and will be subject to a single criminal prosecution. The exception only applies to a complex crime and not a crime of simple estafa. As mentioned under Article 332 the law only applies to the felonies of theft, malicious mischief and swindling. However, if the crimes that are included in Article 332 are perpetrated with another crime such as estafa, extension will not be applied.  A person still has a criminal liability regardless of his relationship to the offended party. 

The provision’s coverage is only for estafa, simple theft and malicious mischief. This means complex crimes are not covered by such provisions. In one case involving an accused who did not only commit simple estafa but estafa through falsification of public document, the offense’s real nature was identified by the facts presented. As a result, the accused was not given the ability to avail himself of the absolutory cause that is only provided under the exempting law. The law still brings confusion when it comes to exception and if promoting solidarity and harmony is the only reason to deter the offended party from pursuing criminal charges, then it is no longer surprising this law has been considered strange and absurd.

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 11 Of 15 Observing 301-Day Rule Before Marrying Again

Marriage is more than just a contract as it also involves fulfilling the promise to stand by each other through thick or thin. However, there are situations which are beyond the married couples' control and one of which is death. The vows can be broken because of death. Widows have to undergo grieving process before gaining full acceptance of the loss. 

It can take years before a woman can be on the road to recovery. This is where remarrying another person comes in. Unfortunately, if a woman decides to remarry, there are still some rules to follow based on Article 351 of Republic Act 3815. 

“Any widow who shall marry within three hundred and one day from the date of the death of her husband, or before having delivered if she shall have been pregnant at the time of his death, shall be punished by arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos.

The same penalties shall be imposed upon any woman whose marriage shall have been annulled or dissolved, if she shall marry before her delivery or before the expiration of the period of three hundred and one day after the legal separation.”

The reason for the implementation of this law is to “prevent confusion as to the paternity and filiation of the child,” but due to the advancements in technology, paternity testing is considered unnecessary as DNA test serves as a strong proof. 

A bill that repeals premature marriages has already been approved without further amendments by the committee on woman, family, relations and gender equality. The bill is already up for plenary deliberations. According to Senator Nancy Binay, who proposed the bill, the law is considered antiquated and an instrument to discriminating women. She added that there were series of proposals that aim to amend the anti-women provision specified in the Revised Penal Code, but none of them had been enacted into law. 

APEC: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

This year, the Philippines hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and while it aimed to foster camaraderie and unity among participating nations, it continues to torment Juan Dela Cruz as though a daily dose of traffic woes is not enough to show the worsening traffic situation in the country.  People has taken their litany of complaints to social media with hashtags #APECfail, #APECtado, #APECtraffic and you do not need a regular update of the traffic situation because the status updates you get in rapid succession are enough to describe the horrifying truth that Leaders are so desperate to hide. 

It was a week filled with pretense as the government leaders tried to put their best foot forward. It only takes a week to hide the vicious cycle and the harsh truth,  that is poverty. It continues to plague the country, but in just a matter of weeks, the homeless families were taken off the streets of Metro Manila. They were provided with a dingy shelter to roost in so the city will look “pleasing” to the eyes of foreign visitors. 

This goes to show that everyone in the government office has an active participation in the preparation for APEC meeting from November 17 to 20 and with that said, the government claimed they have not ordered flight cancellations as it was the ‘call of the airlines’. According to Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo, flight cancellations can be detrimental to the economy. Acting Metro Manila Authority head Emerson Carlos said that measures will be put in place to ensure that major roads are passable for APEC delegates. From a bird’s eye view, you can clearly see the huge difference between the roads intended for APEC delegates and the roads for the locals. 

November 18 and 19 has also been declared special non-working days and the following pay rules are observed upon issuing Labor Advisory No. 14 of 2015 by Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.

“If the employee did not work:

He/she will not be paid, unless there is a favourable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) grantingpayment of wages on 17-20 November; and

When the employee has accrued leave credits, he/she may be allowed to utilize such leave so that he/she will have compensation on said days.

If the employee worked:

No additional pay is given to the employee, but only their salary on said day.”

“The following pay rules shall apply for private sector workers in NCR from 18 to 19 November 2015:

If the employee did not work, the “no-work, no-pay” principle shall apply, unless there is a favorable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment on a special day;

If the employee worked, he or she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his or her daily rate on the first eight hours of work [(daily rate x 130 percent) + COLA];

If the employee worked in excess of 8 hours (overtime work), he or she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his or her hourly rate on said day (hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 130 percent x 130 percent x number of hours worked);

If the employee worked during a special day that also falls on his or her rest day, he or she shall be paid an additional 50 percent of his or her daily rate on the first 8 hours of work [(daily rate x 150 percent) + COLA];

If the employee worked in excess of 8 hours (overtime work) during a special day that also falls on his or her rest day, he or she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his or her hourly rate on said day (hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 150 percent x 130 percent x number of hours worked).”

The Aguinaldo Condonation Legal Doctrine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Persons likely to become, public charge;

6. Paupers, vagrants, and beggars;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Alarming Truth On Bullet Planting Scheme In NAIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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