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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.

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 9 Of 15 Anti-Marital Infidelity Law

If you happen to come across Article 333 and 334 of the Revised Penal Code, you will realize that gender inequality is evident even in our Penal Law. Proving women of committing a crime of adultery is not a daunting task as proof of sexual intercourse between the married woman and another man will suffice. Once the husband charges the offending parties with adultery, they can carry a penalty of two to six years if found guilty. 

“Art. 333. Who are guilty of adultery. — Adultery is committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void.

Adultery shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.

If the person guilty of adultery committed this offense while being abandoned without justification by the offended spouse, the penalty next lower in degree than that provided in the next preceding paragraph shall be imposed.”

“Art. 334. Concubinage. — Any husband who shall keep a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, or shall have sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife, or shall cohabit with her in any other place, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.

The concubine shall suffer the penalty of destierro.”

The husband can only get convicted for a crime of concubinage if and only if the wife has proven that her husband has been keeping a mistress in the conjugal dwelling or if he has been found to have sexual intercourse with a woman other than his wife under scandalous circumstances. The wife can also file charges if the husband has been cohabiting with the mistress in any other place.

However, the husband will only serve a sentence of six months to four years when convicted while his mistress would only receive banishment, which is also referred to as destierro. When a mistress is sentenced to destierro, she will be prohibited from entering the place or places designated in the sentence, or within the radius designated. She should keep a distance of at least 25 kilometers, and 250 kilometers at most from the place designated. 

If the offended spouse has pardoned the offenders, the criminal charge cannot prosper. Pardon can either be expressed or implied. An expressed pardon refers to writing an affidavit that the offended party is pardoning his or her spouse for his or her act. If the offended spouse chooses to continue living with the offender even after the offense has been committed, this will be considered an implied pardon.

Republic Act No.10611 Or The Food Safety Act Of 2013

Fast food has become a staple diet for busy people especially when time is not enough for food preparation. What could be worse than sinking your teeth into your favorite food, unperturbed to the fact that it is crawling with germs? You have already consumed and digested your meal before discovering that there is an additional “ingredient”, which is, without a doubt, a recipe for disaster. A person will more likely choose to starve to death than eat contaminated food. There have been several complaints about food poisoning and unsafe food handling practices. While some complainants are already well-aware of the steps to take, others still need guidance so their complaints will not end up falling on deaf ears. 

The Republic Act No. 10611 otherwise known as the “Food Safety Act of 2013” strengthens food safety regulatory system in our country. The law provides protection to consumers so they will have access to local foods and food products that have undergone thorough and rigid inspection. 

Under Section 3 of the Republic Act, the objectives are as follows:

“(a) Protect the public from food-borne and water-borne illnesses and unsanitary, unwholesome, misbranded or adulterated foods;

(b) Enhance industry and consumer confidence in the food regulatory system; and

(c) Achieve economic growth and development by promoting fair trade practices and sound regulatory foundation for domestic and international trade.”

The food safety regulatory system combines various processes to ensure that food safety standards are met. Food safety standards refer to the formal documents, which contain the food requirements that the food processors need to comply with so human health is safeguarded. These safety standards are implemented by law and authorities. Some of the processes that are under the regulatory system include inspection, testing, data collection, monitoring and other activities, which are carried out by various food safety regulatory agencies. 

Under Section No. 37, these acts are prohibited:

(a) Produce, handle or manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the Philippines any food or food product which is not in conformity with an applicable food quality or safety standard promulgated in accordance with this Act.

(b) Produce, handle or manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the Philippines any food or food product which has been declared as banned food product;

(c) Refuse access to pertinent records or entry of inspection officers of the FSRA;

(d) Fail to comply with an order relating to notifications to recall unsafe products;

(e) Adulterate, misbrand, mislabel, falsely advertise any food product which misleads the consumers and carry out any other acts contrary to good manufacturing practices;

(f) Operate a food business without the appropriate authorization;

(g) Connive with food business operators or food inspectors, which will result in food safety risks to the consumers; and

(h) Violate the implementing rules and regulations of this Act

 

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

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

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

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

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

Under Section 16 of the Republic Act:

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

(a) Must be a Filipino citizen; 

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

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

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

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 7 Of 15 Drawing Of Lots Breaks An Election Tie

Elections provide voters a unique form or element of entertainment not only due to the list of candidates filing for certificate of candidacy, but also due to the complexities of the electoral system. Before the results are released, voters need to wait for several weeks as the canvassing of election results can be a long and tedious process. There will be disputes, which can delay the declaration process. 

The Philippine elections give voters some sort of confusion and excitement when two candidates have tied. Instead of undergoing another voting process, the tie is simply broken by drawing of lots. While this method may appear to be tongue-in-cheek, it is covered by Resolution No. 9648. “In case there are candidates receiving the same number of votes for the same position, the Board immediately notify the said candidates to appear before them for the drawing of lots to break the tie. The drawing of lots should be conducted within one (1) hour after issuance of notice by the Board of candidates concerned.” 

“The candidate who won in the drawing of lots and so proclaimed shall have the right to assume office in the same manner as if he had been elected by plurality of votes.”

This electoral system is also under Section 240 of the Omnibus Election Code: “Whenever it shall appear from the canvass that two or more candidates have received an equal and highest number of votes, or in cases where two or more candidates are to be elected for the same position and two or more candidates received the same number of votes for the last place in the number to be elected, the board of canvassers, after recording this fact in its minutes, shall by resolution, upon five days notice to all the tied candidates, hold a special public meeting at which the board of canvassers shall proceed to the drawing of lots of the candidates who have tied and shall proclaim as elected the candidates who may be favored by luck, and the candidates so proclaimed shall have the right to assume office in the same manner as if he had been elected by plurality of vote.”

During the 2013 general elections, San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro mayoralty candidates tossed a coin to break the tie. Although this is considered an unconventional electoral system, it is not considered unique as there are states in the US that also follow the same method. 

Filing For Certificates Of Candidacy For Presidency And The 2016 National Elections

As you rivet to the TV screen, political campaign ads seem to remind voters that a few months from now, another person will lead the country. As the 2016 national elections approach, political aspirants are also making necessary preparations. On October 12, Commission on Elections (COMELEC) welcomed candidates who wished to pursue political seats. The filing for the Certificates of Candidacy (COC), has also been a source of entertainment for the nation. 

Aside from the familiar faces in Philippine government, there are also ordinary citizens who wish to give the presidential seat a try. These presidential hopefuls have platforms that are out of the ordinary. 

Under the Constitution, an individual can only aspire for the highest seat in the government if they meet the following criteria: 

1. natural born citizen of the Philippines

2. registered voter

3. able to read and write

4. at least 40 years of age on the day of election

5. resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding the election.

However, not everyone who files for certificate of candidacy for presidency is considered an official candidate. After filing, all of the candidates are subject for deliberation and it is then that the official candidates will be announced. 

Under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code, “The Commission may motu proprio or upon a verified petition of an interested party, refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy if it is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate.”

Under Section 72, “Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless, if for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding sections shall not prevent his proclamation and assumption to office.”

According to COMELEC, an independent candidate can also be considered nuisance if they do not have the capacity to support a national campaign. While these independent candidates can be a form of entertainment considering the fact that national elections are filled with tension, stringent laws weed them out when the number of candidates filing for candidacy becomes out of control.

Should Marijuana Be Legalized In The Philippines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a. Through force, threat, or intimidation;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 5 of 15 Bank Secrecy Law

The Bank Secrecy Law really rings a bell and it is just a great reminder of the significant event  that ousted one of the Philippine presidents from his office in 2001. People clamored and took their turmoil to the streets of EDSA, hence EDSA 2 came to existence. The Filipino people were compared to a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode due to the refusal of the former president to open "the envelope". 

The refusal was enough to create social mayhem and endless outburst, which were appeased when the impeachment trial finally pushed through. Former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada was charged with plunder and perjury. While he was not guilty of perjury, he was found guilty of plunder and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. Well, being an actor and protagonist that he was, there was not even the slightest element of surprise when the "plot" worked in his favor, placing him on house arrest. 

Juan dela Cruz should not wonder when a politician charged of a crime, suddenly becomes ill. When politicians are plagued with diseases after being found guilty of a crime,  you know what is going to happen next: the politician will be sent home on vacation or words to that effect. 

Under Section 2 of the Republic Act No. 1405 or An Act Of Prohibiting Disclosure Of Or Inquiry Into, Deposits With Any Banking Institution And Providing Penalty Therefor, "all deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions in the Philippines including investments in bonds issued by the Government of the Philippines, its political subdivisions and its instrumentalities, are hereby considered as of an absolutely confidential nature and may not be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office, except upon written permission of depositor, or in cases of impeachment or upon order of a competent court..."

Under Section 2 of the Republic Act No. 6426 or An Act Instituting Foreign Currency Deposit System In The Philippines, And For Other Purposes, "any person, natural or juridical, may, in accordance with the provisions of this Act, deposit with such Philippine banks in good standing, as may, upon application, be designated by the Central Bank for the purpose, foreign currencies which are acceptable as part of the international reserve, except those which are required by the Central Bank..."

With this law, any politician accused of plunder or perjury stands a chance of getting out of this situation scot-free. They can simply put up a facade as though nothing happened and after which, they are back to business. 

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 4 Of 15 The State Is Responsible For Protecting Marriage

The absence of divorce in the Philippines no longer comes as a surprise and for married couples who have already lost the spark of romance that used to ignite their way, this is bad news. Imagine the ordeal you have to go through just to file for petition for marriage annulment. Aside from the emotional difficulties you experience, the process is undoubtedly costly. 

The State mandates that “ marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.” The statement can be found in Section 2, Article XV of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. 

In Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, the State shall defend:

1. The right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions, which are considered preducial to their development;

2. The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood;

3. The right of the family to a family living wage and income; and 

4. The right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them. 

In addition, the high court also requires inferior courts for a fiscal or an agent to appear from the Solicitor General’s office, representing himself as a counsel during hearings for annulment. The representative must also write whether annulment is approved or not.

To put it simply, the State will be the third party in any marriage. Everything must be done to save one’s marriage and annulment will be the couple’s last resort. Considering the tight bond of Filipino families, this law is indeed a clear indicator of how lawmakers put great importance to marriage. This is a challenge for married couples who have already decided to go on separate ways due to individual differences and other conflicts that cannot be settled through marriage counseling or other similar means. 

Bureau Of Customs And The Tighter Rules Being Imposed On Balikbayan Boxes

For Pinoys who have family members or relatives abroad, balikbayan boxes make up for the absence of the person working abroad. It takes months before the boxes can be filled with the family member’s favorite things. Without a doubt, the balikbayan boxes are a tangible sign of the Overseas Filipino Workers’ love for the family members. With the most recent announcement on the stricter rules and regulations imposed by Bureau of Customs, OFWs and their families could not help but go ballistic on the revised rules.

The BOC’s rules and regulations subject balikbayan boxes to 100% physical examination. However, not all balikbayan boxes will be placed under alert. The boxes that have been deemed to have violated the law on importing articles will be brought to the authorized area for examination or inspection. 

Under Section 105 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), the following items cannot be brought into the Philippines:

• Coffee

• Used clothing and rags

• Toy guns

• Onions, potatoes, cabbages, garlic

The following commodities are prohibited to be brought into the Philippines:

• Marijuana, opium or any type of synthetic drugs or narcotics;

• Roulette wheels, loaded dice, marked cards, gambling outfits, apparatus, machines or mechanical devices used in gambling;

• Opium pipes;

• Tickets for lottery and sweepstakes except those authorized by the Philippines government, advertisement thereof, and list of drawings therein;

• Dynamite, ammunition, gunpowder and other explosives such as fire-arms and weapons of war, and parts thereof, except when they are authorised by law;

• Articles, drugs, instruments, substances designed, intended or adapted for producing unlawful abortion, or any printed matter which describes or advertises or gives directly or indirectly information regarding where, how or by whom unlawful abortion produced;

• Written or printed articles in any form containing any matter advocating or inciting treason, or rebellion, insurrection, sedition or subversion against the government of the Philippines, or forcible resistance to any law of the Philippines;

• Written or printed articles, negatives or cinematographic film, photographs, engravings, lithographs, paintings, objects, drawings or other representation of an obscene or immoral character;

• All other articles or part thereof, the importation of which is prohibited by law or rules and regulation issued by competent authority.

The physical examination of balikbayan boxes are in accordance with Section 3604 of the TCCP. The revised rules and regulations are also said to put a lid on violations made by individuals who use balikbayan boxes to break the law such as bringing thousands of anti-anxiety drugs, misdeclared as food supplements into the Philippines. 

All boxes are expected to undergo mandatory x-ray and K-9 examination at no cost to the person who sent it. Once there are derogatory findings, the physical inspection of goods will be considered. 

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 3 Of 15 Cybercrime Prevention Act

The modern technology provides us a much easier way to rave and rant or so we thought. While turmoil and discontentment can be expressed in more ways than one, taking everything to social media may not be a good idea due to the existence of cybercrime prevention law or the Republic Act No. 10175. 

Social networking sites are now the modern avenue for expressions. Views and opinions can spread like wild fire, thanks to the ‘share’ button of an immensely popular social networking site. However, you may need to think before you click because there are corresponding penalties for people who break rules and cross lines. 

The penalties are outlined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code. This is quite interesting because the provision has been ruled out since the Spanish era. While critics were apprehensive about the degree of penalty, the government officials rejoiced. Need I say more?

Let’s have a look at what the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is all about.

As highlighted in Sec. 4 of the Republic Act No. 10175, the following acts are considered punishable:

a. Offenses made against the integrity, availability and confidentiality of computer systems and data:

• Data Interference: When a person deletes or damages computer data, or electronic data message, without permission including transmission or introduction of viruses, he or she is guilty of committing data interference. Reckless alteration and deterioration of computer data also fall under this category.

• Illegal Access: An unauthorized access to the whole or any part of a computer system.

• Illegal Interception: If an interception is made without right of any non-public transmission of computer data to, from, or within a computer system, a person commits illegal interception. 

• Misuse of Devices: A person violates the law if devices are sold, distributed, imported or made available without right. These devices include computer program, access code and computer password.

• System Interference: Any intentional alteration or reckless interference or hindering with the functioning of a computer network or a computer by damaging, inputting, deleting, deteriorating or altering computer program or data are considered system interference. This also includes transmission or introduction of viruses.

• Cyber-squatting: If a domain name is acquired over the internet to mislead, profit, deprive others from registering the same domain name and destroying reputation, the crime of cyber-squatting is committed. Some examples include identical or existing trademark, the name is similar or identical with a person other than the registrant and domain name acquired without permission or right. 

b. Computer-related Offenses:

• Computer-related forgery: This includes deletion, input or alteration of any computer data without permission resulting in inauthentic data with the intent of making them available for legal purposes as if it were authentic. Dishonest and fraudulent designs are also considered computer-related forgery.

• Computer-related fraud: This crime refers to the unauthorized alteration, deletion or input of computer program or data which cause interference in the functioning of a computer system  or damage.

• Computer-related identity theft: If a person intentionally acquire, transfer, use, misuse, alter, possess or delete identifying information belonging to another, whether judicial or natural without permission or right, he or she commits the crime.

c. Content-related Offenses

• Cybersex: The control, operation, maintenance or willful engagement directly or indirectly of any lascivious exhibition of sexual activity or sexual organs with the help of a computer system in exchange of consideration or favor.

• Child Pornography: The prohibited or unlawful acts, which are also punishable by RA No. 9775 or also known as the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed with the use of a computer system.

• Unsolicited Commercial Communications: The offense refers to transmission of commercial electronic communication using a computer system, which seek to sell, advertise or offer for sale services and products without consent.

• Libel: As defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, libel can be committed through a computer system or any other similar means. 

The Cybercrime Law has a broad scope and the hopes are still high that it will soon be abolished. While this law is still at work, make sure you don’t commit any of these offenses.

The Criminal Law On Abortion

In a country where moral standards are high, the mere mention of abortion is considered a taboo topic. There are mixed views on abortion, but most of which are against the idea of legalizing the act. If a medical practitioner is found guilty of carrying out abortion, he or she has to face criminal charges. 

Not only does the Philippine law deter women from considering abortion but religious sectors as well. Is it really about time law makers consider the merits of legalizing abortion? 

There are countries that are still not open to the legalization of abortion, and Philippines is one of them. Due to the social stigma, women resort to self-induced abortion, which is considered unsafe and dangerous. 

There are cases when abortion is considered necessary especially if the pregnant woman’s health is at risk. For instance, ectopic pregnancy requires surgery as a means of saving a woman’s life. So long as therapeutic abortion is banned in the country, more and more women continue to subject themselves to dangerous measures. 

For instance, pregnant women who are well aware of the criminal law on abortion refuse to be hospitalized for the fear of getting imprisoned if found that they have undergone unsafe abortion. This is why there is a dramatic increase in the number of women who choose to risk their health and lives.

These women continue to receive moral punches and will be stigmatized for the rest of their lives because of the country’s legal and moral boundaries.

Other countries allow therapeutic abortion when:

• pregnancy is the result of incest or rape;

• the pregnant woman suffers from a medical condition that is life or health threatening such as eclampsia, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. 

• pregnancy is at risk of fetal impairment causing the baby to develop mental or physical defects or die after birth.

Under the Philippine law, abortion has been considered a crime since 1930. Whether abortion is intentional or unintentional, anyone who carries out abortion is said to commit the crime. Even physicians and midwives who perform abortions in the Philippines may be charged of a crime, which can result in six years in prison under the Revised Penal Code. They are still going to be subject for criminal punishments. These are also supplemented by separate laws, prescribing sanctions if medical practitioners including doctors, pharmacists and midwives participated in the process of abortion.

Legalizing abortion in the Philippines is far from happening as there are still various factors that need to be taken into consideration. While the country is still firm in banning abortion, women will continue to endure life-threatening pregnancies and resort to measures that deviate from the medical standards.

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 2 of 15 Number Coding Scheme

One thing that will sure serve as a reminder you are residing in Manila is the heavy traffic, which has become a regular part of a Filipino commuter's life. The dreaded peak hour and the heavily congested roads in Metro Manila have caused such a hooha. The number of vehicles that are lined up like ants, are longer than the patience adhering to your nerves. 

Without a doubt, the worsening traffic situation in Manila can make you want to sing "Welcome to the Jungle". Then came the Number Coding Scheme, which was referred to as the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program. It was previously mistaken as the Color Coding Scheme and drivers in Metro Manila are pretty much aware of this ordinance. 

The Number Coding Scheme came to existence to address the problems with the traffic situation in Metro Manila. The scheme took effect in March 2003 and it is said to manage traffic situation by means of reducing the number of vehicles on the street. A certain plate number is barred from traveling in Metro Manila in a particular day. For instance, plates ending in 1 and 2 are prohibited on the streets on Monday between 7 AM to 7 PM. Window hours may also apply depending on the city. 

The Number Coding Scheme can make or break your day. For a regular commuter, it can either be relieving or traumatizing. The scheme does not apply during weekends and holidays. Any rule has an exception and the Number Coding Scheme also applies some especially on special cases and emergencies. If a vehicle has a passenger that requires immediate medical attention, the Number Coding Scheme will no longer be necessary.

Even doctors and other medical practitioners can also apply to be excused from the Number Coding Scheme. There are also cities in Metro Manila that exempt senior citizens from following the scheme. In Makati, senior citizens with BLU card no longer need to adhere to this rule. If caught, all they need to do is to present the BLU card. 

Guidelines on this scheme have already been updated, but until now, the problems with traffic in Metro Manila remain the same. Now, if you don't want to get stuck in a nightmarish peak-hour routine, stay cooped up in your room if it is unnecessary to go out. Unfortunately, people who need to go to work have to bear with the endless and torturous toing and froing. 

It's going to be a normal routine for you unless you decide to escape the concrete jungle and choose to live in a place away from the distractions and demands of a modern city. Indeed, it is a love-hate relationship with Metro Manila due to heavy traffic. Manila: love it, leave it. 

 

Get To Know The Philippine Government Agencies

In the Philippines, the government agencies are divided into three branches: the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch. We are already familiar with some of the National Agencies, but others may seem foreign to us. These agencies can become part and parcel of our lives. We may get ourselves into a situation that require assistance from them. This is why obtaining some information about government agencies pays off. 

We may not have the luxury of time to read deep as we often find ourselves skimming through the web pages, but getting quick access to these agencies can make a huge difference. 

The Legislative Department

The Congress of the Philippines which consists of the Senate and House of the Representatives has legislative power. It is composed of sectoral and district representatives who are elected for a term of three years. Although these representatives can be re-elected, they are not allowed to run for a fourth consecutive term. 

The Executive Department 

The President of the Philippines has executive power. At present, it is headed by President Benigno Aquino lll of the Liberal Party. The President is also considered the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Vice President Jejomar Binay is second highest official of the United Alliance, catapulted to his current position by popular vote. As a  general rule, the Vice President is the first in line in terms of succession in the event the President resigns, dies or is impeached. 

The Judicial Department 

The Supreme Court of the Philippines and the lower courts established by law have judicial power. The Supreme Court has a Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices. The President appoints the justices on the recommendation of the Judicial Bar and Council of the Philippines. 

 

Can You Be Imprisoned For Non-Payment Of Debt?

Have you been screening your phone calls to avoid collectors who are constantly nagging you to settle your unpaid credit card balance? Have you been threatened to face a lawsuit if you fail to repay a lender? If incessant calls from creditors caused you to be allergic to phone calls, being armed with the basic principles of the consequences for non-payment of debt can give you greater peace of mind. In fact, it can be a whiff of fresh air if you heard the statement that no one will end up in jail for non-payment of debt. 

Before you allow paranoia to feast on you, know more about the laws associated with unsettled debt.

Some common laws that are said to violate the constitutional prohibition against non-imprisonment of debt:

Credit Cards

The Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998 (RA. 8484) states that any person who obtains the money or anything that is valuable with the use of an access device with the sole intent to defraud or with intent to gain and fleeing once motive has been executed will be held liable for a crime punishable with a fine and imprisonment. In addition, a cardholder who intentionally abandons the residence, place of employment or business that was declared on the application or credit card without informing the credit card company of the current place where he could be reached will also be liable for a crime. If during the abandonment, the person has outstanding and unpaid balance which is past due for at least 90 days and is more than P10,000.00, the individual shall be prima facie presumed to have used his access device or credit card with intent to defraud.

Bouncing Checks 

Bouncing Checks Law (BP22) has also been viewed as a violation of constitutional prohibition against non-imprisonment for debt. In the context of this law, the non-payment of an obligation is not its main concern. The law is not designed to force a debtor to settle his debt. The main purpose of the law is to prevent anyone with the gumption to make checks that don’t have any value with the intention of putting them in circulation. Checks have become a substitute for cash and widely accepted as a medium of payment especially in trade and commerce and when the confidence of using these checks are marred due to its misuse, its value and usefulness will also be diminished. 

Trust Receipts

Trust receipts and bouncing checks share the same argument based on the Trust Receipts Law (PD 115), which states, if a person fails to turn over the proceeds of the sale of goods which are considered covered by a trust receipt or if the person fails to return said goods if they have not been sold, penal sanctions shall be imposed. The punishment is due to the abuse of confidence and dishonesty in the handling of goods or money.

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 1 of 15 Violation Of The Freedom Of Religion

Imagine a country without laws. It will surely be a land full of chaos and disarray as people can do as they please. No stern guidelines, no rules to follow, no restrictions etc. However, the laws, no matter the complexities, are considered a chain that binds our sanity so we continue to be law abiding citizens. 

Some laws may not work in our favor as they can be odd in every sense of the word, but they still have that element of surprise and entertainment. Unfortunately, entertaining as they may sound, these laws still come with a caveat. Some laws may appear to be out of the ordinary, but just like other laws, you can still get incarcerated once you are found guilty of violating them.

Sure laws, are rigid and formal, but they can be twisted sometimes. Even in this modern day and age, laws that are weird, wacky and obscure still exist. These strange laws can bring laughter, but can also bring you to court once you break them. Well, color me surprised. Although some of them are already obsolete, it is still worth knowing them. 

Now, let's start with number 1....

1. You can end up in jail for violating religious freedom.

The violation of the freedom of religion is covered in ART 132 and ART 133 of the Revised Penal Code, which states that interruption of religious worship and offending against religious feelings can charge a person of a crime in violation of the freedom of religion. This penal law has been in existence since the Spanish era. 

Can you still vividly remember Carlos Celdran who was dressed as Jose Rizal? Apparently, he was found guilty of violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code. During a mass at the Manila Cathedral, Celdran stood in front while raising a placard bearing the word "DAMASO". Damaso is an oppressive character from Jose Rizal's novel Noli Me Tangere. 

The Iglesia ni Cristo's brouhaha over Justice Secretary Leila de Lima's decision of dealing with the case of serious illegal detention filed against INC leaders recently became the subject of controversy. The issue was taken to social media and there were mixed reactions. To some, it was a violation of INC's religious freedom while others were supportive of the decision and it's not quite surprising that some politicians also came to INC's defense. INC urged De Lima to resign but the Justice Secretary remains unfazed. 

So what's the moral of the story? Stay away from an unfamiliar territory and you'll be fine. 

Law On Employment Of Night Workers

With the prevalence of BPO industries, more and more people are working at night. In the past nurses, cops and doctors were the only ones who are known for working during nighttime. If you are a night worker or you know someone who is, a knowledge on the law on night workers can help you understand your rights as an employee. 

Who are considered night workers?

Any employed individual whose job requires rendering substantial number of hours of night work is considered a night worker. More often than not, the night work exceeds a specified limit, which the Secretary of Labor shall fix after the labor organizations and employers have been consulted. 

The coverage of the amendments under R.A. 10151

The amendments apply to all individuals, who are permitted or employed to work at night, except the ones who are employed in stock raising, agriculture, maritime transport, fishing and inland navigation. It should be during a period of not less than seven consecutive hours. This includes the interval from midnight until five o’clock in the morning. The coverage will also be determined by the Secretary of Labor and Employment and the labor organizations and employers must be consulted. 

Health assessment

If workers request to undergo free health assessment, the request needs to be granted. The health assessment must be given before taking a job as a night worker and it should also be performed at regular intervals. They should also undergo health assessment if they are experiencing health problems during such an assignment, which is not due to the factors involved in night work. If the employee is deemed unfit for night work, the findings will not be transmitted without the worker’s consent. Furthermore, the findings will not be used to their detriment. 

Employees Who Are Deemed Unfit For Night Work 

• Night workers who are unfit for night work due to health reasons will be transferred to a similar job practicable, which they are considered suitable to work. 

• When transfer to a similar job is not practicable, the employees will be granted the same benefits as other employees who are unable to work. 

• If the night worker has been diagnosed to be temporarily unfit for night work, they will be given protection against termination or dismissal due to health reasons. 

Women can be employed as night workers, but measures must be taken to ensure that there is an alternative to night work for women workers. Nursing mothers and pregnant women are also allowed to work if a competent physician has provided a certification that they are indeed fit to render night work. It should be certified by a physician other than the company physician. 

The Essential Elements Of Contracts

Although a contract is just a piece of paper that you sign to seal the deal, you can still end up in court due to misinterpretation. A poorly written contract is not necessarily the reason a person can face a lawsuit. Even if your contract has been prepared by one of the biggest law firms in the country, it is still not immune to criminal charges if the obligations that are stated have not been fulfilled. There are basic elements in a contract, which need to be present before any deals can be made. 

A contract refers to an agreement of two or more contracting parties on a particular venture whereby one person binds himself, with respect to the other, to render services or give something. 

The contract must not be obtained through undue influence, coercion, misrepresentation and fraud. As a general rule, the party who has suffered due to breach of contract can claim money damages from the other. The breaching party will also be ordered by the court to perform obligations that are stipulated in the contract.  

Contracts cannot completed without the following requisites:

(1) Contracting parties' consent; 

(2) subject matter of the contract; and 

(3) the cause of the obligation. 

The Basic Elements of Contracts

Consent

In general, when a consent is given, the contract is considered perfected. It can be deemed an oral contract that binds both contracting parties. One person must have a definite offer and the other must have an absolute acceptance of the offer. 

Object of the Agreement

The subject matter refers to the object of the contract. If a thing is deemed outside the commerce of man, it will not be accepted as the object of the contract. Contracts are made to transfer the rights of property, render services and others. However, the object of the contract must not be contrary to law, good customs, morals and public order. 

Consideration

The cause of the contract will be based on the type of contracts. For instance, onerous contract's cause is the promise of service or thing by the other person. Remunatory contract's cause is the benefit or service, which is being remunerated. For contracts of pure beneficence, the cause is the benefactor's liberality. The cause can only be defined based on the nature of the contract. 

An oral contract may not suffice even if both parties have made an agreement. A written contract is a strong proof that a deal or agreement has been made. It includes the necessary details that can be used in court when the obligations have not been met. 

Premature Campaigning: No Longer A Violation

As 2016 election approaches, more and more political hopefuls are going the extra mile to win more votes. You can see a plethora of political ads and various campaign strategies, which are clear signs that election is just around the corner.  In the past, premature campaigning is considered a violation but based on the country’s statute books, it is no longer a violation. It was used to be a criminal offense that can result in disqualification of the candidate. 

Under Section 68 of the Election code, any candidate who in a protest or action in which he is a party is declared, based on the final decision of a competent court is considered guilty of violating any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261. This leads to the disqualification of candidate from holding the office or running for election. If you see political ads on TV, they are not considered as a violation of the election code. 

Premature Campaigning And Its Considerations

An act will only be considered as election campaigning when it intends to promote the election or defeat of a person who has already filed a certificate for candidacy. Even if the person deemed most qualified for public office appears to be campaigning, he still does not violate any laws unless he has officially filed his COC. 

No one can be punished for prematurely campaigning under Section 80 of the Election Code if the person is not yet legally a candidate. In the past elections, the voting and counting process were still manual and a timeline must be observed for filing a COC. It should not be later than one day before the start of the campaign period. This is to ensure that the opportunity to campaign is maximized without breaking the law. 

However, when automated election was introduced by RA 8436 in 1997, the deadline for filing COCs has also changed. It should not be later than 120 days before the election. If candidates file their COCs earlier than the said deadline, they will be punished for premature campaigning especially if campaigns took place between the date of COC filing and the start of the campaign period.

With the most recent amendment, Section 11 of the law states that even if COCs are filed before the campaign period, the candidates will not be liable for violating laws on campaigning. The law takes effect on the start of the campaign period. In the simplest term, no one can be charged for premature campaigning if there are no candidates yet.

Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero On The Trends In Family Law [Video]

The family law in the Philippines has significantly changed over the years. While marriage's definition was used to be a simple union between a man and a woman, it is considered a special contract at present. A contract that prevents either parties from changing partners at the same rate they change their clothes. Revisions and additions on the family code are inevitable especially in this modern day and age when same sex marriage has also stirred a web of controversy. Perhaps, the family law in the country has once lain dormant and only awakened by the prevalence of domestic abuse, infidelity, etc. The video provides an overview of the recent changes and trends in family law. The changes benefit both traditional and modern families. They provide more options to couples who wish to seek legal assistance or advice. Are you also aware of the changes and trends in family law? How do you feel about them? Let us know your thoughts.



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