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Monday, April 4, 2011

Moral Turpitude Issue: the law is unyielding

 SC:One who losses his money or property by knowingly engaging in a contract or transaction which involves his own moral turpitude may not maintain an action for his losses. To him who moves in deliberation and premeditation, the law is unyielding.  The law will not aid either party to an illegal contract or agreement; it leaves the parties where it finds them.  
Frezel vs. Catito 406 vs. 55.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Small Claims helps alot to de-clogging court dockets of civil cases and a helping hand to the poor

On Septembet 30 ,2009, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, officially launched the Small Claims Court Pilot Project at the SC New Session Hall.

The Chief justice added that the designation of the small claims courts has “shortened the distance between our dream of justice for the poor and the cruel reality on the ground.” As laid down by the Court administrator Perez, 70% of the caseloads of the first-level courts in Metro Manila consist of small claims cases, and that many of the litigants in these cases are poor.

The procedure for Small Claims Cases paved the way to inexpensive and expeditious means to settle actions before first-level courts (excluding Shari’ah Circuit Courts) for money claims not exceeding PhP100,000.00.

The procedure requires no appearance for attorneys in court and user-friendly forms are provided for every step of the proceeding.

This was promulgated to shortened the tedious process in court procedure since the decisions are also required to be rendered on the first day of hearing. The decision in a small claims case shall be final and unappealable, which assures immediate and swift justice. However, extra-ordinary appeals through a special civil action

The A.M. No. 08-8-7-SC or otherwise known as Rule of Procedure for Small Claims cases.  This rule shall govern the procedure in actions before the Metropolitan Trial courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial court and Municipal Circuit trial Courts for payment of money where the value of the claims does not exceed One Hundred thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) exclusive of interest and costs. These claims or demands may be: (a) For money owed under any of the following: 1. Contract of Lease; 2. Contract of Loan; 3. Contract of Services; 4. Contract of Sale; or 5. Contyract of Mortgages; (b) For damages arising from any of the following: 1. Fault or negligence; 2. Quasi-contract; 3. Contract; (c) The enforcement of a barangay amicable settlement or an arbitration award involving a money claim covered by this Rule pursuant to Sec. 417 of the Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the local Government Code of 1991.
This Small Claims pilot project was promulgated by the Philippine Supreme Court ascribed  to the remarks of the Chief justice"this is to shortened the distance between our dream of justice for the poor and the cruel reality on the ground.

Pursuant to its Increasing Access to Justice Program with support from the United States Agency for International Development and the American Bar Association-Rule of Law Initiative.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Uncompromising Exponent of Free Speech

The interest of society and the maintenance of good government demand a full discussion of public affairs, complete liberty to comment on the conduct of public men is a scalpel in the case of free speech. The sharp incision of its probe relives the abscesses of officialdom. Men in public life may suffer under a hostile and an unjust accusation; the wound can be assuaged with the balm of a clear conscience. A public officer must not be too thin-skinned with reference to comment upon his official acts.
Only thus can the intelligence and dignity of the individual be exalted. Of course, criticism does not authorized defamation.
Nevertheless, as the individual is less thatn State, so must expected criticism be borne for the common good. Rising superior to any official or set of officials, to the Chief Executive, to the Legislature, to the Judiciary - to any or all agencies of Government - public opinion should be the constant source of liberty and democracy. ( U.S vs. BUSTOS, 37 Phil. 739-742)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tunel Cave-ins and Chaos: A sword of Damocles for Abanteros

By Ivy Leomen B. Codilla

Published by KASIKAS on November 2000, Compostela Valley Province.

The Mine tunnel workers popularly known as abanteros struggle to cope with economic hardships. It's not the rich mineral deposits in the gold-rush in Mt. Diwata that matter to them; it's their willingness to take the risk. It is the need to feed their stomachs that made them venture into this hazardous occupation.

For nearly 20 years of mining exploration in Mt. Diwata, the abantero sector is a major force in extracting gold from ore. From the use primitive tools, they now use advance implements, making them, despite the changes in equipment used, as the lifeblood of production in the mining industry.

Historically, hundreds of abanteros have died from tunnel bar-down and landslides, let alone those who have become victims of violence, from ambush, murder, to toxic poisoning. Bypassing the rights of the other mining operators is a source of chaos and wanted to accumulate wealth and ultimately perpetuate economic dominance in unjust way. These people do not think that they're oppressing the basic working force, the abanteros who were always the victims. Eventually, Mt. Diwata endowed with blessings and richness in gold is contemporarily known as the center battlefield of Monkayo, Compostela Valley because of the war-outbreak among rivals in mining exploration.

For as long as miners are not willing to put an end to their dispute and continue to promote greed, they will always face the dangers that their occupation carry. The natural risks they face from cave-ins are even ominous for digging tunnels resembles the sword of Damocles that hangs over the head. These are the hard facts for them (mineworker) whose lives depended on the kind of work they could offer them. Aware that they need to live a decent and meaningful life.

In upholding the integrity of creation and procreation, ideals are our guide. But when reality steps-in it demands us to be just, fair, and civilized. Idealism is doing what you think is right. Being fair and just is doing what needs to be done right to create peaceful atmosphere in mining industry of Mt.Diwata.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

CULTURE OF IMPUNITY: Criminals Are proud

By: Ivy Leomen B. Codilla

Published by The Nexus, the official publication of MSU College of Law,June-September 2006

Death be not proud, because it cannot conquer our soul. Death cannot set out fearlessness; it may end our mortal body but not our hopes, dreams and principles. Ergo: death cannot really be proud.

The scale and madnitude of the so-called "extrajudicial killings" is not happening in one isolated area, nor in one region alone, but has become a nationwide occurrence. The magnitude of the same is such that one militant is reported lost or abducted every two days. The people are so used to hearing about reports of abductions by the military that it is not anymore shocking to their senses.

We wonder, therefore, why the perpetrators of these exyra judicial killings and involuntary disappearance continue to be free from the reins of the law.

The extra judicial killings or summary executions are said to be politically-motivated. The victims are civilians, unarmed, ordinary people, although some are identified activist, leaders, members and supporters of caused-oriented groups. Church leaders, priests, pastors, lawyers, judges, human rights advocates have also been killed. Some of the victims have no known political affiliations and are simply living in a community labeled as "New People's Army" sympathizers.
Palparan has labeled human rights advocates, progressive legal organizations and even religious personalities as mere communist fronts and are therefore enemies of the state. The summary execution being practiced upon these individuals and organizations without due process of law is sneak or stealth attack and an undeclared Martial Law.
Records show that there are now over 745 victims of extra judicial killings and more than 180 enforced disappearances by the latest count (Alliance for Advancement of People's Rights, And Asia Human Rights Commissions). Yet, what is left to the bereaved families, relatives, friends and colleagues of victims is the government's suspicious and delayed action over this spate of killings.
In legal parlance, we have parens patriae, which means the state is the guardian of the people. The same is true with what the Commission on Human Rights has cited that it is the state which should be responsible in protecting its people.
This is where the liability of the present administration comes in because of its tacit approval. The State has failed to stop the killings. Worse, GMA even lauded Palparan, the butcher himself, in her State of the Nation Address. Despite his retirement, GMA initially offered him a position in her cabinet, but had to back off due to the adverse reaction of the international community. It took years and more than 500 victims before the President ordered an investigation through the formation of Task Force Usig. Recently, the Arroyo administration also created the Melo Commision, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo amidst the pressure of the local and international human rights groups and the Amnesty International (AI). However, the Melo Commission has to prove its existence and worth as an investigative body to address the problem.
The public doubts the credibility of the Melo Commission because it includes the Chief State Prosecutor and National Bureau of Investigation Director to man the body. Worse, its budget is said to be taken from the military. These may compromise the administration and they can be biased. But the Commission on Human Rights chairperson substantially said that the public should give the commission the benefit of the doubt as it looks into the problem.
In such a way, Human Rights groups in its analysis assailed that the present government is responsible for promoting a culture of impunity.
This reality is being watched and struggled. The trend shows that it rakes up slaughter or carnage inflicted in many regions by perpetrators passionately scorned for its arrogant bloodshed campaign.
This culture of impunity is totally inconsistent with our standards of morality. History could be our guiding light. No empire has ever stood against the tensions of time if morality standards are violated.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


By: Ivy Leomen B. Codilla

Published by KAYLAP-Official Publication of the Catholic Community-Mindanao State University,Marawi city, October-December 1997

"The inn that shelters for the night is not the journey's end; the Constitution like any living law, must move with the moving society it is supposed to govern. A law that has ceased to grow has cease to be, and this is true especially of the supreme and fundamental law" (I. Cruz, Philippine Political Law.

Legally speaking, the Constitution must also be guarded against capricious change dictated by illegitimate needs i.e. by the passing fancies, temporary passions on occasional infatuation tampered to suit political expediency, personal ambitions or ill-advised agitation for change. Expediency must not be allowed to sap the strength of the Constitution nor greed for power debase its rectitude for it is the basic and the paramount law of the land (Ibid).

Pro charter change took an obvious stand since they're directly benefited by the proposed change by removing the term limits and extending all incumbent elected public officials. This is a clear self-serving motive as well as a driven dynamic of self absuolutizing power. These create a crisis that would divide the nation and distract as from pressing basic national concerns.
Those who proposed "peoples initiative", getting signatures to overturn the Constitution to a bad law, failed to foresee the danger in politics. They thought that cha-cha would lead to genuine and sustainable development. Contrary to that, it would only expose ourselves to a new horror.
However, the sharter change is to institutionalize globalization. This globalization process would mean the continuity of the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization and peso devaluation. In conformity with the program of Philippine 2000 that doesn't give the country's development.
The proposed constitutional change is to eliminate the remaining provision of the 1987 Constitution that protected the nations economy and pattimony. Thereby charter-change has been viewed as an attack of civil and political rights of the Filipino masses.
While it is true that the Constitution needs improvement it shouldn't be done at this moment when the 1998 election is just around the corner.
Under this scheme, the paper presents a serious objection raised on cha-cha. The constitution must be guarded from capricious change which is not dictated by the legitimate needs but only by passing fancies temporary passion or occassional infatuation of the people with ideas and personalities. Hence, people should remain vigilant to any machinations against the Constitution.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

MINING ACT OF 1995: A Sword of Damocles to the Lumads

By: Ivy Leomen B. Codilla

With the comprehensive industrialization program of the Philippines 2000, the Ramos administration open areas for investments and economic development. The concrete manifestations are the passing of Republic Act 7942 which provides the mechanism and dynamism for mineral resource exploration, development and utilization of land areas. While it is true that development is the absolute necessity in our midst today, however, this could not be restricted. Foreign mining is real decadent that could only threat the live of the lumads.

The R.A. 7942 vehemently displaced the Lumads and worsened their hardsip in claiming the ancestral domain and their right to self determination. Just like the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads, forging the threats of violence, letting the Lumads to suffer unto death.

These are the hard times for them whose lives depended on the land could offer them. As long as these minority people continue to be deprived of access and control over their resources, their living condition will remains. The government clearly failed to protect these people. Governments projects are deemed failure and unable to respond the needs of our people. The imposition of this law inherently brought question: is development for the people or people for development.

This article was published by RESIST, an Official Newsletter of DIOPIMwide Conference on Mining, Environment and People's Access to Resources. Dipolog City. November 23, 1997