FULL TEXT: Supreme Court addresses calls for action on attacks on lawyers, judges

Below is a copy of the statement read by SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka on Tuesday afternoon:.....»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarMar 23rd, 2021

SC to release results of 2023 Bar exams before Christmas 

The Supreme Court disclosed that the results of the 2023 online Bar examinations will be released before Christmas while the oath-taking of new lawyers will be held before New Year. Yesterday, the three-day Bar exams started in 14 local testing centers (LTCs) nationwide. The SC said the last two days of the exams are on 20 and 24 of September. Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando, chairperson of the 2023 Bar exams committee, said: “For the longest time, Bar examinees have had to endure several months of perceived agony of waiting before the results of the professional licensure exams for future lawyers are released. “This year, however, following the examples of my recent predecessors as Bar Chair, the time spent by the examinees waiting in agony for the results of the exams will be cut short: my team and I are eyeing the release of the results of the 2023 Bar Examinations in early December before Christmas day. “Moreover, there will be simultaneous oath-taking and signing of the Roll of Attorneys in December also before Christmas day so that we will have our new batch of full-fledged lawyers before the year ends. “It will be an additional reason for those who will hurdle the Bar Exams to celebrate the Holiday Season.” Hernando added that as of 17 September, a total of 10,791, instead of 10,816 as earlier announced, will take the six-subject examinations spread over three days. The change in the number was a result of the withdrawal of 25 examinees who had earlier registered.  As in previous examinations, they may still withdraw from the exams after the first day. Hernando said the conduct of the examinations by the SC will be assisted by 2,571 Bar personnel deployed in the 14 LTCs. The SC headquarters for the exams is at the San Beda College Alabang in Muntinlupa City is the appointed SC headquarters for the exams. “The 2,571-strong 2023 Bar workforce—which includes court officials; judges; numerous personnel from the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, and First-and Second-Level Courts; and volunteer lawyers in the government and private practice—are fully committed to ensuring the integrity and orderly process of this year’s Examinations,” Hernando said. Six core subjects are covered in the examinations—Political and Public International Law, 15 percent; Commercial and Taxation Laws, 20 percent; Labor Law and Social Legislation, 10 percent; Criminal Law, 10 percent; and Remedial Law, Legal and Judicial Ethics with Practical Exercises, 25 percent. The subjects yesterday were Political and Public International Law in the morning, and Commercial and Taxation Laws in the afternoon, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. On 20 September 2023, the subjects covered are Civil Law in the morning and Labor Law and Social Legislation in the afternoon. On 24 September 2023, Criminal Law and Remedial Law will be in the morning, and Legal and Judicial Ethics with Practical Exercises in the afternoon. In the National Capital Region, the LTCs are at the San Beda University, Manila; University of Santo Tomas, Manila; SBCA; University of the Philippines, Quezon City; Manila Adventist College, Pasay City; and University of the Philippines, Bonifacio Global City. In Luzon, the LTCs are at Saint Louis University in Baguio City; Cagayan State University, Tuguegarao City; and University of Nueva Caceres, Naga City. In the Visayas, the LTCs are at the University of San Jose-Recoletos in Cebu City, University of San Carlos also in Cebu City, and Dr. V. Orestes Romualdez Educational Foundation in Tacloban City. There are two LTCs in Mindanao—one at the Ateneo de Davao University in Davao City and the other at the Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City. Courts within the areas of the 14 LTCs will be closed on 20 September. Several local governments in the 14 LTCs have announced traffic rerouting in areas where the examinations will be held. During the three-day examinations, most of them have also banned the sale of liquor at certain times of the day. The post SC to release results of 2023 Bar exams before Christmas  appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2023

AI will not render lawyers obsolete — Justice Mario Lopez

“It is our humanity that renders us indispensable in the practice of law. We are humans guided by conscience and societal responsibility in the dispensation of ultimate justice.” This was according to Supreme Court Associate Justice Mario V. Lopez during the Commencement Exercises of the Arellano University School of Law on 20 July 2023 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. In addressing law graduates, Lopez emphasized that artificial intelligence (AI) is a mere tool for human utilization and not intended to replace humans, especially in the legal profession. “AI has no deep understanding of abstract concepts like justice, equity, compassion, and good conscience. Unlike judges, a robot cannot decide cases through the lens of judicial temperament, open-mindedness, integrity, and independence. Unlike lawyers, AI cannot think outside the box or be creative in its approach or cry out for fairness or detest injustice with courage and perseverance,” said Justice Lopez. Though Lopez acknowledged that AI can process information with accuracy and speed which humans cannot keep up with, he, however, stressed that it will not render lawyers obsolete. “The legal profession is more than simply applying the law to the facts, but rather, it is about filling these crevices of the law with our human reasoning,” he said, adding that “AI can never replace the human heart, moral values, critical thinking skills, and respect for the rule of law.” Calling them “digital natives,” Justice Lopez reminded future lawyers to use social media responsibly and to be guided by the new Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability, one of the key initiatives under the Court’s blueprint of action for reforms—the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027. Lopez in closing, expressed optimism that as future lawyers, they will become proactive partners of the Court in reforming the Judiciary with the use of technology. The post AI will not render lawyers obsolete — Justice Mario Lopez appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 21st, 2023

US Justice Department taking abortion pill fight to Supreme Court

The US Justice Department said Thursday that it will go to the Supreme Court to appeal restrictions imposed on a widely-used abortion pill in the latest round of a fierce battle over reproductive rights. The decision by President Joe Biden's administration came just hours after an appeals court rejected moves to ban mifepristone outright, but imposed a series of measures restricting access to the pill. As the Justice Department prepared an emergency filing with the nation's highest court, the White House slammed a Florida bill that would ban abortion in the third most populous state after six weeks, before many women even know they are pregnant. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the bill passed on Thursday by the Republican-controlled legislature in Florida was "extreme and dangerous" and "flies in the face of fundamental freedoms." More than a dozen US states have passed laws severely restricting abortion since the conservative-dominated Supreme Court last year overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that had enshrined the constitutional right to abortion for half a century. Mifepristone, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 and accounts for more than half the abortions in the United States, has become the centerpiece of the country's latest clash over women's reproductive freedom. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department will seek "emergency relief from the Supreme Court to defend the FDA's scientific judgment and protect Americans' access to safe and effective reproductive care." Speaking to reporters during Biden's visit to Dublin, Ireland, Jean-Pierre said "we believe that the law is on our side, and we will prevail." Late Wednesday, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said mifepristone, also known as RU 486, should remain available pending a full hearing of the case, but limited access to the first seven weeks of pregnancy, down from 10. The appeals court also said in-person visits would be necessary to obtain the pill -- a requirement lifted in recent years -- and blocked the medication from being sent by mail. The 2-1 ruling by the conservative-majority appeals court in New Orleans, Louisiana, came after a US District Court judge in Texas overturned the FDA's two-decades-old approval of the drug last Friday. 'Furious'  The appeals court said anti-abortion opponents had waited too long to challenge the drug's approval by the FDA but gave them a victory of sorts by imposing restrictions on its use, a move denounced by groups seeking to maintain access to abortion. "We are furious that yet another court would choose to jeopardize the health and futures of the millions of people who rely on mifepristone for abortion care," said Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson. Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said "unless the Supreme Court steps in, this decision will prevent many people from getting abortion care and force them to remain pregnant against their will." The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony described the appeals court ruling by two judges appointed by former Republican president Donald Trump as a "win." "The court recognized that the abortion pill is dangerous and rolled back Biden's reckless mail-order abortion scheme," said Susan B. Anthony state policy director Katie Daniel. Mifepristone is one component of a two-drug regimen that can be used in the United States through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. It has a long safety record, and the FDA estimates 5.6 million Americans have used it to terminate pregnancies since it was approved. 'Unborn human' Last week's ruling by Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, also a Trump appointee, seeking to impose a nationwide ban on mifepristone came in response to a suit by a coalition of anti-abortion groups. The judge, in his decision, adopted language used by abortion opponents, saying the drug was used to "kill the unborn human." Kacsmaryk said the two-drug regimen that includes mifepristone had resulted in "thousands of adverse events suffered by women and girls," including intense bleeding and psychological trauma. But the FDA, researchers, and the drugmaker say decades of experience have proven the medication to be safe and effective when used as indicated. The Biden administration and leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies also argued that Kacsmaryk's ruling risked undermining the entire drug approval authority of the FDA. "If this decision stands, no medication -- from chemotherapy drugs to asthma medicine, to blood pressure pills, to insulin -- would be safe from attacks," said Vice President Kamala Harris. Polls repeatedly show a clear majority of Americans support continued access to safe abortion, even as conservative groups push to limit access to the procedure -- or ban it outright. The post US Justice Department taking abortion pill fight to Supreme Court appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsApr 14th, 2023

Lawyers urge Supreme Court to hold Badoy accountable

“We call on the Supreme Court to not let this pass and to take immediate, concrete and firm action to protect justice actors and rule of law. The Court must hold accountable those who threaten and malign our judges and lawyers." The post Lawyers urge Supreme Court to hold Badoy accountable appeared first on Bulatlat......»»

Category: newsSource:  bulatlatRelated NewsOct 1st, 2022

Groups urge SC to act on attacks against rights lawyers and clients

“An urgent and decisive action from the Supreme Court is a matter of life and death for activists and human rights defenders especially now when we are being increasingly targeted in the government’s counterinsurgency and counterterror campaign for our work and causes." The post Groups urge SC to act on attacks against rights lawyers and clients appeared first on Bulatlat......»»

Category: newsSource:  bulatlatRelated NewsMay 19th, 2021

Famed environmental warrior graces RC Manila assembly

The Rotary Club of Manila had a brilliant, unique guest speaker at its last weekly members’ meeting at the Manila Polo Club — the famed, internationally acclaimed author, lawyer, environmental activist, and recipient, in 2009, of what is regarded as the Nobel Prize of Asia, the Ramon Magsaysay Award (non-category), Antonio Oposa Jr. For about an hour and a half last Thursday, 21 September 2023, RC Manila members, officers and guests at the MPC’s Turf Room  alternately stood up to sing along and listen to Oposa’s telling of “good stories,” his way, he said, of promoting and creating awareness for his advocacies and his passion for the environment. Oposa earned a law degree from the University of the Philippines College of Law. For a short time, he worked in a law firm, until he realized that his heart was not in the practice of law but rather with nature and the environment. He traveled to Norway and enrolled in a course on energy and the environment at the University of Oslo’s summer program and afterwards, to Boston, where he  pursued and later obtained his LLM at the Harvard Law School  in 1997. [caption id="attachment_188497" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Valiant environmental warrior Antonio Oposa: ‘My biggest achievement is that I have turned some of my adversaries into co-advocates. And what could be more inspiring now than to see their own children out there, protecting the sea?’[/caption] In 1993, Oposa made global headlines for the landmark case, Minors Oposa v Factoran where the Supreme Court ruled that the 43 children counseled by Oposa, who filed legal action against the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, seeking cancellation by the agency of existing timber license agreements and stopping the issuance of new ones, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. “The case was brought to court amid the government’s then granting over 90 logging companies permits to cut down nearly four million hectares of old-growth forest when only 850,000 hectares remained. And forests were being logged at a rate of some 200,000 hectares per year! I told the Court how my son, only three at that time, would no longer see these forests by the time he was 10. I couldn’t help thinking, that if this wasn’t stopped not a single old-growth  forest would remain for him and future generations to enjoy,” Oposa said. The case had initially been dismissed in trial court on the ground that there was no legal personality to sue. Oposa elevated the case to the Supreme Court, and in a much-hailed case of intergenerational responsibility, the Supreme Court upheld the legal standing and right of the children to initiate action on their behalf and on behalf of generations yet unborn. What was so remarkable about the case is that Oposa sued on behalf of generations yet unborn and today that milestone case is known in Philippine and global jurisprudence as the “Oposa Doctrine.” For its part, the Philippine Supreme Court, too, carved a permanent niche for itself in environmental law with its promulgation of Oposa v Factoran. It secured its place in history, earning praises from the international environmental community and a reputation as a champion of the right to a healthy environment. Oposa also recounted at this talk at the RC Manila meeting last Thursday another epic landmark case involving the legal tussle he waged against 11 government agencies for the cleaning up of severely polluted Manila Bay. In December 2008, a decade after he filed that case, the Supreme Court issued a decision in his favor. In a continuing mandamus ruling, the Supreme Court ordered all defendant agencies to implement a time-bound action plan that would clean up Manila Bay and to give the Court a progress report on the matter every three months. Oposa talked about the Island Sea Camp he organized in 2001 in Bantayan Island where he gave children lessons on coral reefs, snorkeling and sustainable practices. In 2003, 2004, while holding weekend training camps for children in the Sea Camp “we noticed the rampant illegal fishing going on. Dynamite fishing and commercial fishing intrusions into prohibited coastal zones went unchecked. Something had to be done,” related Oposa. Thus, was born the Visayan Sea Squadron. “I organized a strike team with crack enforcers from the National Bureau of Investigation, Navy, fishermen, sea watch volunteers, lawyers, law students and even a few foreigners. The target was not small fishermen but crime syndicates and operators behind the sale of blasting caps and dynamite powder. Seizures and raids followed,” he said. Operations were so effective that word went out that his friend Jojo de la Victoria, the fearless Cebu City Bantay Dagat (Sea Watch) chief, and Oposa were targets of assassination. A local newspaper interviewed De la Victoria, revealing an intelligence report about illegal fishing operators putting up a P1-million bounty for him and Oposa. In 12 April 2006, 48 hours after he was interviewed, De la Victoria was felled by a hired gunman outside his house in Cebu City. “Jojo’s life was not in vain. After his funeral, a core team met for dinner to regroup. The tide of illegal fishing started to turn. Exploits of the Visayan Sea Squadron — and the courage and synergy of the men and women who made it happen — became known far and wide,” Oposa said. He continued, “Four years after Jojo died, Visayan Sea Squadron co-founder Alfredo Marañon was elected governor of Negros Occidental province. He gathered the other governors in the region to begin a restorative plan for the Visayan Sea which encompasses an area of over a million hectares. The governors passed a landmark joint resolution declaring the entire Visayan Sea a marine reserve.” For his valiant work as an environmental warrior, Oposa has been the recipient of many award in recognition of his valiant work as an environmental warrior. Aside from receiving the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2009, he was given the equally prestigious Center for International Environmental Law Award in 2008. Earlier, in 1997, he was conferred the United Nations Environment Programme Global 500 Roll of Honor, the highest UN honor in the field of the environment. Asked if there was anything about his attainments that gives him the most satisfaction, Oposa said, “My biggest achievement is not that I caught this violator and that violator when we were busy with our Visayan Sea Squadron operations; it is that I have turned my adversaries into co-advocates. Some of those who had opposed me are now supporting me in my advocacies. And what could be more inspiring than to see their own children helping us out there, protecting the sea?” The post Famed environmental warrior graces RC Manila assembly appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 24th, 2023

Lawyer disbarred after refusing child support

The Supreme Court has disbarred a lawyer after refusing to provide child support. The high bench said the protection of women and children extends to the cleansing of the ranks of lawyers with the audacity to evade the duty to support one’s family and who violate court directives, including those who unlawfully conceal properties beyond the reach of their families and the courts. Sitting en banc, the Supreme Court in a Per Curiam Decision, imposed the supreme penalty of disbarment on then Atty. Wilfredo A. Ruiz for economic and emotional abuse; gross immorality; committing falsehood and exploiting court processes; unduly delaying a case; impeding the execution of a judgment; and misusing court processes. In 2008, AAA sued her husband, then Atty. Ruiz, for violation of Republic Act 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act (AntiVAWC Law). AAA accused Ruiz of inflicting on her physical violence, emotional stress, and economic abuse by depriving her and her children of support. She also applied for a Permanent Protection Order granted by the Pasig City Regional Trial Court granted the PPO, which included a directive to Ruiz to provide AAA and their children, BBB and CCC, support equivalent to 50 percent of his income. His employers were thus directed to withhold and automatically remit directly such amount to AAA. Despite the said directive in the PPO, however, Ruiz still failed to provide for his family. This prompted AAA to enforce the PPO, resulting in the issuance by the RTC of a writ of execution in 2013. But Ruiz continued to refuse to provide support even with the writ of execution from the RTC. The RTC also had difficulty enforcing the writ of execution as Ruiz could not be found on the five different addresses he provided the Court. Ruiz also attempted to hide his earnings and properties by executing an agreement with Radelia C. Sy, a woman he was living in with as his common-law spouse. The post Lawyer disbarred after refusing child support appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 21st, 2023

Over 10K Bar examinees on 2nd day

The Supreme Court said the number of examinees in the 2023 online and regionalized Bar examinations continued to dwindle on its second day yesterday. The SC Public Information Office said that as of 12 noon, only 10,392 of the 10,400 who completed the first day of the examinations last 17 September were taking the exams. Subjects covered in the 20 September examinations were Civil Law from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, and Labor Law and Social Legislation from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Sunday, 24 September, the last day of the exams, Criminal Law and Remedial Law will be in the morning and Legal and Judicial Ethics with Practical Exercises in the afternoon. As in previous examinations it is expected that the number of examinees would further decrease on 24 September. The high bench had earlier announced that the results of the 2023 Bar exams would be release early December and the oath-taking and signing of the Rolls of Attorneys for the successful examinees to become full-fledged lawyers would be done before Christmas. In this year, Bar examinations SC Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando is the chairperson of the Bar examinations committee. The post Over 10K Bar examinees on 2nd day appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 20th, 2023

IBP condemns killing of Abra lawyer

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines strongly condemned the killing last 14 September of its commissioner on bar discipline, Atty. Maria Saniata Liwliwa V. Gonzales Alzate, in Bangued, Abra. The lawyers' group urgently called on the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine National Police and all relevant investigative agencies to launch comprehensive investigations into the crime, along with all other unsolved cases targeting lawyers. “We ask that they ensure the expedient resolution of these investigations, thereby holding the perpetrators truly accountable,” the IBP said The group said Alzate "upheld the highest standards of the legal profession, leaving behind an enduring legacy for us all.” It added: "We unite in solidarity with the legal community and the family of Atty. Alzate. We honor her memory as an esteemed public interest lawyer and a dedicated Commissioner of the Integrated Bar." The IBP said the killing of Alzate "serves as a stark reminder of the pervasive threats faced by lawyers, judges, and officers of the Court across the Philippines.” “In a society built upon the foundations of justice and equity, there is no place, nor can there be any tolerance, for those who would assail those dedicated to upholding the legal profession and cause of justice,” it stressed. For its part, the Department of Justice through DOJ Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano said, "We hope the manhunt operation will result in the murderer’s capture so he or she can feel the full force of the rule of law." The post IBP condemns killing of Abra lawyer appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 15th, 2023

COA calls out SC on P101 million unused fund

The Commission on Audit has called out the Supreme Court over P101.255 million in unutilized funds intended for the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education of lawyers......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 7th, 2023

Leadership row resurges over Maguindanao Norte

The conundrum continues. As one sage claims: put five lawyers in a room to interpret a legal riddle and you will have five differing answers. Legal hermeneutics is cerebral calisthenics lawyers are trained for. We see this in the on-and-off legal and political maneuverings for the governorship of the newly created Maguindanao del Norte province. Some wise observers compare it to the Game of Thrones, especially the first major story, “The Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros,” which describes the “web of political conflicts among the noble families... to claim the throne.” We thought the exercise by the President of his inherent power of appointment, as this column suggested in previous articles, to fill the lacuna of leadership had written finis to the controversy. We thought wrong. The province is plunged again into a political crisis. As a caveat, the following is an off-the-cuff commentary substantially based on reports published in tri- and social media. We haven’t read the text of the decision. We had to observe caution because the case is still pending and therefore covered by the sub judice rule which prohibits public discussion of the merits of a pending case under pain of contempt of court. The recent imbroglio springs from a report of an alleged decision by a Division of the Supreme Court litigating an issue (a Mandamus not a Quo Warranto petition) regarding the appointment by then Acting Vice Governor Aimee Sinsuat of the Provincial Treasurer of the newly created province of Maguindanao del Norte. The decision includes a statement that the appointment made by Sinsuat was “valid.” Then-elected Vice Governor Aimee Sinsuat of the mother province of Maguindanao assumed the office of Acting Governor by virtue of the transitory provision of the law which called for a plebiscite for the splitting of Maguindanao into del Sur and Norte.  The assumption by Sinsuat was questioned, inter alia, for the alleged inapplicability of the law because the plebiscite was conducted after the 2023 national and local elections (the law was premised on the plebiscite being conducted before the elections). The BARMM Ministry of Local Government debunked the claim of Vice Governor Sinsuat to the office. The BARMMN leadership then recommended Senior Minister Abdul Raof “Sammy Gambar” Macacua for Acting Governor to prevent paralysis of the government service. This was approved by the President who issued an appointment designating Macacua as Acting Governor and Bai Sinsuat as Acting Vice Governor, with the latter accepting it without a whimper of protest. This calmed the stormy political waters, grumbling, and maneuvering for the province’s Governorship until a Division of the Supreme Court came out with a decision upholding the appointment made by then Acting Governor Sinsuat.  This has resurrected hope in the camp of Sinsuat that their interpretation of the law was correct, ergo, she should be the Acting Governor and not Macacua. This has ruffled political feathers and created confusion among Maguindanaons. Who is the legal Acting Governor of the province? Speculations on the effect of the decision flew thick and fast prompting Interim Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim Murad to appeal to the public not to spread rumors that tend to create political instability. There are valid questions that beg answers. Was the Supreme Court aware of the appointment by the President of Macacua as Acting Governor and Sinsuat as Vice Governor? If yes, will this not lead to a constitutional crisis with the judiciary questioning the exercise of a presidential prerogative absent abuse or irregularity in the process? Was the acceptance by Sinsuat of her appointment by the President as Vice Governor without reservation made her estopped from questioning the legitimacy of the appointment of Macacua?  Does the dispositive part of the decision about the legality of the appointment made by then Acting Governor Sinsuat constitute the fallo of the case or was it a mere obiter dictum? Meantime, the decision has not yet acquired finality. The BARMM will definitely file a Motion for Reconsideration. There’s still a long way to go. This column echoes the appeal of the Interim Chief Minister for the public to refrain from making any unnecessary comments that will add fuel to the controversy. *** The post Leadership row resurges over Maguindanao Norte appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2023

Respect for all individuals

In a Per Curiam decision (a decision unanimously and easily reached) that was dated 11 April 2023 but was made available to the public on 17 August 2023, the Supreme Court penalized five lawyers for posting what it found to be inappropriate and disrespectful comments on their Facebook accounts. Four of the lawyers, whose names we will not mention so as not to add to their public humiliation, were reprimanded with stern warnings, but their fifth colleague was dealt the heavier punishment of a P25,000 fine and a stern warning. The Supreme Court found all of them in violation of Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. What is Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility? It states: Rule 7.03 — A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. The Supreme Court cited a case where it stated: “Lawyers, as keepers of the public faith, are burdened with a high degree of social responsibility and, hence, must handle their personal affairs with great caution.” In this instance, the Supreme Court found that insulting and degrading comments were posted against a member of the Judiciary with undertones aimed at members of the LGBTQIA+ community. It is worth noting that this cast a bad light on all lawyers, regardless of their field of practice. The posted comments appearing on the thread where the five conversed included: “The joke among lawyers is that sa Taguig sa 2nd floor puro may sira ulo mga judge, sa baba bakla at mga corrupt.” In English, this translates to: “In Taguig, on the 2nd floor, the judges are all insane, and down below they are gay and corrupt.” I wish to emphasize that neither I personally, nor my family, friends, and schoolmates who practice law, make jokes about judges in Taguig or any member of the Judiciary for that matter. Nor will I call them insane and corrupt without proof, even if their views are very different from mine. More importantly, I do not think I will ever make any derogatory statements toward any member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Those who are in this group have the right to express themselves under their constitutionally protected freedom of expression. The Supreme Court cited several other jurisdictions in proving the point of respecting all individuals regardless of belief or sexual orientation. It also reiterated the principle of non-discrimination and equality. I wholeheartedly agree with all the sources and legal provisions cited by the Supreme Court.  But I do wish to stress that, while these pieces of information are all great materials and are worth reading, respect in our everyday life does not have to be based on any opinion, writing, or legal provision. It is just the most basic building block of any relationship regardless of who is involved. Whether you are dealing with a superior at work or simply showing appreciation for a waitress at your favorite restaurant, respect is fundamental and an absolute must. In today’s jargon among teenagers, “Matic yan!” (that is, it is automatic and needs no explanation). While I also strongly believe in the freedom to criticize others when appropriate, such expression must always be based on proven circumstances, ventilated in the proper forum, and accomplished with respectful language. Making statements that are unfounded, unsubstantiated, or unfair, more so those which tend to demean through innuendo a whole group of individuals or typecast them as evil just because they are different, should be strictly avoided. Specifically regarding the LGBTQIA+ community, we’ve come a long way from the time when they were not accepted or treated properly by society and I am happy for this progress. There is still much work to be done but I am thankful for the continued improvements in society towards understanding the differences between heterosexuals and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We are certain that there will still be areas where many of us will find ourselves in a discussion or debate involving matters which we do not fully understand.  When that happens — and it will happen — the proper thing to do is always to go back to the basics or fundamentals — RESPECT not just for others, but for all! The post Respect for all individuals appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 18th, 2023

Settled doctrines on sexual harassment (3)

Sexual harassment engenders three-fold liability: Criminal, to address the wrong committed against society; civil, to address the private wrong against the offended party; and administrative, to protect the public service. Criminal liability for sexual harassment notwithstanding, the offended party may pursue a separate civil action. Aside from the actual perpetrator, the employer or the head of office or institution may also be impleaded in an independent action for damages. They would be solidarily liable for damages if they did not take immediate action on a sexual harassment complaint. Unlike in a criminal action where the penalty is a fine, imprisonment, or both, the penalty in an administrative action is, at most, dismissal from the service. This is because an administrative action seeks to protect the public service by imposing administrative sanctions on the erring public officer. In prosecuting an offender for sexual harassment, the intent is immaterial. The mere commission is sufficient to warrant a conviction. The threshold is whether an act violates and/or threatens the personal space and physical safety of another person, regardless of the motive for committing the act. Guided by the foregoing, let’s take a quick look at actual cases of sexual harassment decided by the Supreme Court. In the case of Escandor v. People (G.R. No. 211962, 6 July 2020), the complainant testified to several acts of sexual harassment, including the respondent’s acts of grabbing her hand, kissing her, engaging in improper conversations, touching her thigh, giving her gifts, telling her that “she was the kind of girl he really wants,” asking her out on dates, and sending her text messages telling her that he missed her, that she looked beautiful, and that he loved her. The complainant stated that these acts made her feel disrespected, humiliated, cheap, uneasy, and frightened. She also could not concentrate on her work, could not sleep, and found herself “staring into empty space.” Without any doubt, the Supreme Court held that the respondent’s acts resulted in an intimidating, hostile, and offensive environment for the complainant, thereby making him guilty of sexual harassment. In another case (A.C. No. 5900, 10 April 2019), a professor was charged for allegedly unwanted sexual advances or innuendos against his students. One of his students recounted that in one of her class recitations, she sought clarification of a question propounded to her, saying, “Sir, come again?” The professor retorted, “What? You want me to come again? I have not come the first time and don’t you know that it took me five minutes to come, and you want me to come again?” In his defense, the professor said the joke was intended for himself and that in fact, the students had laughed at the joke. In ruling against the professor, the Supreme Court stated that the professor’s remarks could not be categorized as an innocent joke meant only to lighten the mood of the class. It was readily apparent that the remark was tasteless, vulgar, and crude and had no place in an academic setting. It was not clever wordplay or a mere statement with a sexual innuendo as its intended meaning was obviously discernible. The professor’s attempt at humor failed miserably as his words clearly referred to himself needing five minutes to ejaculate again. The professor’s statements made the student uncomfortable and embarrassed her in front of her classmates as it went beyond an innocent joke and was instead a gross graphic and insensitive remark. Thus, the Supreme Court ruled that the professor abused the power and authority he possessed over the students. His sexually laced conduct had created a hostile and offensive environment that deeply prejudiced his students. In what was supposed to be a safe place for them to learn and develop, they were instead subjected to unwarranted sexual advances. In another case, however, the Supreme Court clarified that casual gestures of friendship and camaraderie, done during festive or special occasions, and with other people present do not constitute sexual harassment. In Aquino v. Acosta [429 Phil. 498 (2002)], the Supreme Court ruled that the act of greeting a person with a kiss on the cheek, in “beso-beso” fashion, was not shown to have been carried out with lustful and lascivious desire or was motivated by malice or ill motive. The Court explained that pecks on the cheeks should be understood in the context of having been done on the occasion of some festivities, as busses on cheeks were simply friendly and innocent, bereft of malice and lewd design. Ultimately, therefore, it is a matter of respecting each other’s boundaries and creating safe spaces for everyone. For more of Dean Nilo Divina’s legal tidbits, please visit For comments and questions, please send an email to The post Settled doctrines on sexual harassment (3) appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 17th, 2023

SC junks celebrity doctor’s appeal

The Supreme Court on Tuesday disclosed that it has dismissed the appeal of celebrity doctor Joel Mendez to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the seven-year jail term slapped against him by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for violating the provisions of Republic Act 8282 or the Social Security Act of 1997. In a six-page resolution dated 31 July 2023, the High Court’s First Division did not give merit to Mendez’s claim that the CA’s Former Special Eight Division — through Associate Justices Edwin Sorongon, Sesinando E. Villon and Marie Christine Azcarraga-Jacob — committed grave abuse of discretion when they outright dismissed his petition. This stemmed from the petition of Mendez before the SC invoking anew “extrinsic fraud” on the part of his lawyer in seeking reconsideration of the CA’s ruling. The doctor claimed that the failure of his former counsel to attend scheduled hearings for his presentation of evidence and his counsel’s failure to inform him of the hearings and that his presence was required during the proceedings were tantamount to “extrinsic fraud.” Extrinsic fraud refers to “fraudulent act of the prevailing party in litigation committed outside of the trial of the case, whereby the defeated party is prevented from fully exhibiting his side of the case by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent, such as by keeping him away from court; by giving him a false promise of a compromise; or  where the defendant never had the knowledge of the suit, being kept in ignorance by the acts of plaintiff; or where an attorney fraudulently or without authority connives at his defeat.” The SC, though, held that Mendez’s contention that the failure to present his side due to his former counsel’s negligence constitutes extrinsic fraud, “is untenable.” “As a ground for the annulment of a judgment, extrinsic fraud must emanate from an act of the adverse party, and the fraud must be of such nature as to have deprived petitioner of their day in court,” said the SC. “The fraud is not extrinsic if the act was committed by petitioner’s own counsel.  In this light, we have ruled in several cases that a lawyer’s mistake or gross negligence does not amount to the extrinsic fraud that would grant a petition for annulment of judgment,” it added. Also, the SC stressed that Mendez failed to comply with the 60-day period under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court within which to file the present petition questioning the CA decision, adding that Atty. Marc Anthony B. Antonio, one of Mendez’s former counsels, received a copy of the CA resolution dated 16 April 2019 on 2 May 2019. Mendez alleged that Antonio informed him about the resolution only on 19 June 2019. The court added that Mendez — instead of filing the present petition for certiorari within 60 days from 2 May 2019 — secured the services of a new lawyer and filed the petition only on 8 August 2019, or 98 days after Antonio received the CA Resolution dated 16 April 2019. “As keenly observed by the OSG (Office of the Solicitor General, Mendez blames yet again one of his former lawyers who allegedly belatedly informed him of the receipt of the CA Resolution dated 16 April 2019,” the SC said. “This is a self-serving allegation not supported by any evidence and, thus, deserves scant consideration. A party alleging a critical fact must support their allegation with substantial evidence, for any decision based on unsubstantiated allegation cannot stand without offending due process,” it added. To recall, the CA — in its August 2018 decision — denied the petition filed by Mendez seeking to annul the 18 July 2016 decision of QC RTC Branch 88 Presiding Judge Rossana Fe Romero which found her guilty of violating Republic Act 8282. It did not give weight to Mendez’s contentions, stressing that the SC has previously ruled that a lawyer’s neglect in keeping track of the case and his failure to apprise his client of the development of the case do not constitute extrinsic fraud. Mendez, who owns a chain of dermatology clinics in the country, was sentenced to a jail term ranging from six years and one day as minimum to seven years as maximum by the QC RTC. He was also ordered to pay SSS a total of P1,865,657.50 representing unpaid contributions from October 2011 to January 2013 with an interest of three percent per month from July 2015 until full payment.   The post SC junks celebrity doctor’s appeal appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2023

Teves,12 others tagged terrorists

The Anti-Terrorism Council or ATC has designated Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. as a terrorist for allegedly masterminding the assassination of Gov. Roel Degamo last 4 March, which also resulted in the deaths of nine others. The ATC named the congressman, who had gone into hiding, as the leader of the Teves Terrorist Group, which allegedly included as members his younger brother, Pryde Henry Teves, and purported bagman Marvin Miranda. Pryde was unseated by the Commission on Elections after a recount of the votes cast in the 2022 Negros Oriental gubernatorial election showed that Degamo had won. Degamo was killed in a commando-style attack at his residential compound in Pamplona town. The slain governor’s wife, Janice, is the mayor of Pamplona. The assault happened just weeks after the Supreme Court upheld the Comelec’s proclamation of Degamo as governor. Also tagged as terrorists were Nigel Electona, Tomasino Aledro, Rogelio Antipolo, Hannah Mae Oray, Rommel Pattaguan, Winrich Isturis, John Louie Gonyon, Dahniel Lora, Eulogio Gonyon Jr. and Jomarie Catubay. In a three-page resolution dated 26 July and signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin that was released yesterday, the ATC said Pryde and Electona “provided material support” to Teves in furtherance of his alleged terrorist activities. “Investigation also revealed that Hannah Mae Sumero Oray handled the operational funds for the killings while Marvin H. Miranda acted as organizer and recruiter of personnel for specific terrorist attacks,” the ATC said. In April, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla revealed the government’s intention to designate Teves as a terrorist, saying that his group’s alleged “activities that led to the killings are all covered by the Anti-Terror Law, [including] the recruitment, financing, purchase of firearms, and their distribution.”   In hiding Teves has refused to come home after being located last in Timor-Leste, claiming his life was in danger. There was talk he was already in the Philippines under the protection of a former high government official. The House of Representatives had twice suspended Teves for refusing to heed Speaker Martin Romualdez’s plea to come home to face the charges against him. The Philippine National Police had filed a separate complaint against Teves before the Department of Justice last March over the alleged political killing of three other persons in Negros Oriental in 2019. A Degamo lawyer said the Teveses could be linked to as many as 60 killings in Negros Oriental. In reaction, Pryde said in a radio interview that his lawyers would appeal the ATC resolution. He expressed dismay that his right to travel and earn a livelihood would be affected by the order. Saying he would not leave Negros Oriental despite the tagging, the younger Teves said he would be the last to resort to terrorism because he had been a victim of violence. Meanwhile, Ferdinand Topacio, a lawyer of Congressman Teves, lambasted the ATC whose order, he said, demonstrated the government’s prejudgment of the case and “desperation” to take his client into custody. “Since day one of the Degamo killing, the government has mobilized all the resources at its disposal, starting with immediately tagging Teves as the mastermind thereof without investigation, conducting illegal searches on his properties, laying siege to his powers and prerogatives as a member of the House, embarking on a massive media campaign to discredit him and prejudice the minds of the public against him, among other things, all in an obsessive attempt to blame him for a crime at the expense of his constitutional rights,” Topacio said. Topacio questioned why the government had to use the ATC against Teves, in a case for which the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 was not “designed.” “The agencies of government, having eggs on their faces due to the recantation of all the key witnesses, the lack of evidence against Representative Teves, the public backlash against his obvious persecution, and the embarrassing failure of the authorities to bully him into returning to the country in spite of grave and serious threats to his life has expectedly weaponized the Anti-Terror Act by using it for the purpose for which it was not designed,” he said. When it was first floated that Teves would be tagged as a terrorist, he posted a video of himself wearing Muslim garb and laughing. The post Teves,12 others tagged terrorists appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 1st, 2023

PBBM: ‘We’re done with ICC’

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday said that the Philippines is done with the International Criminal Court and that, to protect the sovereignty of the country, it will not be taking any further actions in relation to the international tribunal. In a media interview in Zamboanga Sibugay, Marcos reiterated his government's refusal to cooperate with the ICC in its investigation into the alleged human rights abuses committed during former President Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs." "They (ICC prosecutors) are talking about Filipinos. Their alleged crimes are here in the Philippines; the victims are Filipino, so why should (they) be taken to The Hague? It should be handled here," Marcos said. "Our discussions with the ICC are already concluded. As we have stated from the beginning, we will not cooperate with them in any way, shape or form," Marcos added. Marcos added the government would also continue to question the ICC's authority to conduct investigations in the Philippines. Marcos emphasized that the ICC no longer has jurisdiction over the Philippines since it already cut its ties with the tribunal on 17 March 2019, a year after Duterte ordered the Philippines' termination of the Rome Statute that created the ICC as former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda continued with the preliminary examination. However, the Chief Executive acknowledged that the ICC rejected the appeal of the Philippine government questioning the jurisdiction of the investigation. "That's it. We have no appeals pending. We have no more actions being taken. So, I suppose that puts an end to our dealings with the ICC," Marcos said. "As far as the Philippines is concerned, we are done with the ICC," Marcos added. Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said earlier this week that the Philippines' involvement with the ICC is over as a result of the international tribunal's Appeals Chambers' verdict. He claimed that the Philippines would concentrate on its own examination and punishment of offenses connected to the anti-drug campaign instead. Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla echoed Guevarra's remarks, saying, "That is simply an issue of complementarity and comity. We are expressing that because we are decent in our approach." Remulla added: "We are appealing [to them] not to interfere in our affairs. However, it doesn't mean that we are agreeing to be under their jurisdiction." Last Tuesday, judges in the ICC Appeals Chamber dismissed the administration's appeal against the investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed during the drug war on Tuesday, effectively approving the investigation's reopening. After the ICC opened a preliminary investigation into his administration's drug war in 2019 and later that year announced the opening of a full inquiry, former president Rodrigo Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the court. Marcos Jr. said the Philippines will not rejoin the ICC under his administration. In spite of the Philippines' departure from the Rome Statute, the agreement that founded the international court, the Supreme Court stated in 2021 that the country must cooperate with the ICC. The post PBBM: ‘We’re done with ICC’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 21st, 2023

Great Brown Hope

The entire nation erupted in celebration when Kai Sotto finally made his debut in the National Basketball Association Summer League. It was such a memorable performance. The 7-foot-3 Filipino posted six points, four rebounds, three blocks, and an assist in the Orlando Magic’s 88-71 defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers. Aside from washing away the bitterness from being benched in their first three matches against the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, and New York Knicks, Sotto’s breakout performance could pave the way for him to land a two-way contract in the NBA. We, however, have to manage our expectations. The Filipinos’ road to the NBA is littered with tears, frustrations, and a lot of heartbreaks. Unlike the Chinese, Japanese, Iranians, and Koreans, no full-blooded Filipino has ever penetrated the NBA since its founding in 1946. Johnny Abarrientos came very close when he caught the attention of the Charlotte Hornets following Alaska’s grand slam season in 1996. In fact, the Hornets sent its international scout, Joe Bettancourt, to the country to watch the 5-foot-7 Abarrientos live and in action. Bettancourt was on the sidelines when Alaska battled Purefoods, hoping to give Abarrientos a 10-day contract that would have him replacing the injured Muggsy Bogues, the 5-foot-3 court general who ran the offense for Hornets coach Dave Cowens. Abarrientos, Bettancourt, and Alaska coach Tim Cone even had a “secret meeting” at the Manila Peninsula in 1997 to discuss the terms of Abarrientos’ contract and the possibility of him becoming the first Asian to play in the NBA. But it never happened. Cowens eventually pulled the plug on Bogues and sent him to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for BJ Armstrong, a 6-foot-2 playmaker who was part of the great Chicago Bulls squad that won three straight NBA titles. With Bogues gone, Abarrientos’s chance of making it to the NBA also vanished. Japeth Aguilar tried to revive the Filipinos’ NBA dream a decade later. After seeing action for Ateneo de Manila University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines league, Aguilar moved to the United States to enroll at Western Kentucky University, a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I program that produced NBA players like Courtney Lee, Mitchell Robinson, and Jeremy Evans. But the 6-foot-9 Aguilar failed to adjust to the speed and physicality of American basketball that had him struggling in his two years with the Hilltoppers. Aguilar was invited to a two-day workout with the New Orleans Hornets but their scout, Don Sellers, said that he remained a “work in progress” and was not yet ready for the NBA. Then, he was drafted in the seventh round by the Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA D-League but his run also didn’t last long as he was eventually relegated to being a practice player until he was waived. Aguilar’s Gilas Pilipinas teammates — Ray Parks and Kiefer Ravena — also tried their luck with the NBA but their journeys only brought them as far as the NBA D-League. Veteran international campaigner Jojo Lastimosa was spot on with his observation: In this time and age, making it to the NBA is harder than it used to be. It’s no longer height that matters, but the mentality, work ethic, international exposure, and overall skill set that are the most important. For Sotto to make it to the NBA, he has to develop a reliable outside shot and quicker feet that will make him deadly in pick-and-roll attacks and enable him to switch to smaller, faster players at the defensive end. He also has to spend a lot of time getting exposed to American basketball, where giants like Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nikola Jokic are shooting, running, attacking, and dribbling like skilled playmakers. Sotto is a generational talent. He is our only hope to break the solid walls of the NBA, where only 450 roster spots are available. If he doesn’t make it, maybe — just maybe — it’s time for us to abandon our NBA dream. The post Great Brown Hope appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 15th, 2023

Lawyers told: Observe ethical public service

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Gaerlan urged lawyers to prioritize public service over profit and lead morally upright lives. This was his message to the officers and members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines–La Union Chapter during their recent induction of board of officers and welcome rites for new members of the bench and bar at Hotel Ariana in Bauang, La Union. Gaerlan stressed that the legal profession should not be viewed merely as a means of livelihood, urging them to strive to become a new generation of legal professionals who place importance on ethical conduct and moral integrity, with public service taking precedence over financial considerations. The significance of lawyering is a lifelong calling that defines their core as human beings, said Gaerlan, who reminded lawyers about the importance of the Code of Responsibility for Responsibility and Accountability, which has replaced the 34-year-old Code of Professional Responsibility. The CPRA serves as a more comprehensive and responsive guide for lawyers in their interactions with clients, colleagues, courts, agencies and society at large. It aligns with the Court’s initiative to promote ethical responsibility as an essential element in achieving efficiency, as outlined in the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022 to 2027. Gaerlan, as the Vice Chairperson of the SC Sub-Committee for the Revision of the Code of Professional Responsibility, reiterated the court’s commitment to promoting ethical responsibility. He called on the cooperation of the IBP in upholding the integrity of the legal profession. Gaerlan also reminded newly appointed judges that they are held to higher standards of conduct both in their professional duties and personal lives. Regardless of the roles they assume, Gaerlan emphasized that they are first and foremost lawyers, entrusted with safeguarding the law and serving the people. The post Lawyers told: Observe ethical public service appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 10th, 2023

SC launches new e-library features

Legal research is now made simpler and easier by making the Philippine Reports accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere as the Supreme Court officially launched two new features on the Supreme Court E-Library. The SC has kicked off the Philippine Reports E-Books and individual case citation sections on the Philippine Reports which is the official publication of decisions and final resolutions of the SC. As the authorized reference for legal citations, the  Philippine Reports serves as  an essential resource for judges, lawyers, legal researchers, law schools and students. Now spanning hundreds of volumes, the Philippine  Reports is prepared by the SC Office of the Reporter and printed by the SC Printing Services. Copies are available at the Supreme Court, for a fee of P600 for each volume to cover printing costs. With this, the Philippine Reports may now be  accessed by  simply  going online and visiting the  SC E-Library, ahead of the printed copy. No new account is needed and no payment nor subscription is required. The SC said in addition, individual case citation is also now available on the SC E-library, enabling  researchers  to  use  the  correct  Philippine  Reports citation while browsing Supreme Court decisions. The Philippine Reports E-Books project is consistent with the target outcomes  of  the  Supreme  Court’s  Strategic  Plan  for  Judicial  Innovations 2022-2027 of Efficiency,  Innovation, and Access as it streamlines efficiency since the user can now scan through entire books in seconds and  instantly find case citations with  ease; it  adopts innovation     it utilizes a variety of digital formats tailored to a legal researcher’s preference; and  it enhances access for all as the public can now use the Philippine Reports E-Books for free. The post SC launches new e-library features appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2023

Manning agents seek dialogue with Tulfo

The Association of Licensed Manning Agencies Maritime Group is seeking a dialogue with Senator Raffy Tulfo to explain to him that the escrow provision in the Senate version of the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers not only benefits agents and shipowners but also seamen. “It is not true that the escrow provision is anti-seafarers,” Cristina Garcia, president of ALMA, said in an interview with the Daily Tribune’s digital show “Usapang OFW.” Garcia said that “once we protect our shipowners, at the end of the day, our seafarers will benefit from it because they are the ones that are providing jobs to our seafarers.” The proposed escrow account provision, present in the passed House version of the MCFS bill, holds a seafarer’s compensation for work-related injury or death until all litigation processes and appeals by employers have been completed. Its intention is to prevent so-called ambulance chasers from abusing manning agencies by demanding unreasonable amount of compensation, as well as from charging seafarers very high legal fees and abandoning them when a court orders claimants to return overpayments.   The exploitation of the seafarer compensation system has been identified as a major obstacle to the employment of Filipino seafarers.   In his “Wanted sa Radyo” program, Tulfo, chair of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers and author of Senate Bill No. 2221 or MCFS, threatened to hit in a privilege speech agencies and personalities that have been lobbying to include the escrow provision in the said bill. Atty. Carmela Magpantay, legal counsel of ALMA member CF Sharp Crew Management Inc., said lawmakers should protect the whole industry and not just the seafarers. Most of the seamen that filed disability claims cases against their foreign principals in connivance with ambulance chasers were abandoned by their lawyers when the restitution of the fee was ordered by the Court of Appeals, according to Magpantay. “Most cases were reversed by the Supreme Court and seafarers face the problem of returning the money already awarded to them by the NCMB (National Conciliation and Mediation Board) or NLRC (National Labor Relations Commission),” Magpantay said. She added that only 25 percent of disability claims were enjoyed by seafarers, while 75 percent went to their lawyers, as told by their crew victimized by ambulance chasers. Magpantay said the whole manning industry supports the MCFS and the Seafarers Protection Act being pushed by Tulfo because they want full protection for their crew. “We have no problem if there are no lawyers overcharging seafarers. Even shipowners won’t oppose claims if the money awarded goes to seafarers. However, that doesn’t happen and instead more than half of it goes to the lawyers or ambulance chasers. And when it’s restitution time, the seafarers are pitiable,” she added. Last week, the Joint Maritime Committee of the Dutch, German, Nordic and Norwegian Chambers of Commerce said the removal of the escrow provision in SB 2221 would only make ambulance chasing victimizing foreign shipowners unresolved. “The exploitation of the seafarer compensation system has been identified as a major obstacle to the employment of Filipino seafarers. This is primarily attributed to the flawed system requiring shipowners to pay in full before cases are finally settled in the judicial system,” Tore Henriksen, chairperson of the European Joint Maritime Committee, said. An estimated P2.5-billion judgment awards by the NLRC and NCMB have been reversed or modified on appeal but were not returned to shipowners, the chamber said. The post Manning agents seek dialogue with Tulfo appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2023