Saturday, October 6, 2012

2012 Bar Exams in UST Manila in Philippines

By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.

A total of 5,686 law graduates are set to take the 2012 Bar examinations to be held on four Sundays of this month (Oct. 7, 14, 21, and 28) at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) along Espana Blvd., Sampaloc, Manila.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama Jr. is the chairperson of the 2012 Bar examinations committee.

Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar Confidant Atty. Ma. Cristina B. Layusa said that of the total 5,710 petitions to take the Bar exams, five were denied and 19 withdrawn, reducing the number of Bar examinees to 5,686.

Layusa said this year's Bar examinations is back to the original schedule where there will be two exams of the eight Bar examination subjects per Sunday, unlike last year where the coverage of the Bar examinations was drawn up by topics and sub-topics rather than by simply stating the covered subject.

She said each exam would consist of a multiple choice question (MCQ) portion and an essay exam portion.

The MCQ portion would have a weight of 60 percent, while the essay exam part will have a weight of 40 percent.

There will also be a performance test (trial memorandum) in the afternoon of the last Sunday.

Layusa added that Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim issued Executive Order No. 32 prohibiting the sale and distribution of beer and other intoxicating liquor on the four Sundays of October around the perimeter walls of UST.

The said EO provides that "no store, restaurant, eatery, café or any eating places or ambulant vendors shall be allowed to sell, peddle or offer for drink to any person intoxicating beverages, such as: beer, liquors, wines, and the like between the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 p.m. within 200 meters from the perimeter walls of UST along España Blvd., Lacson Ave. (formerly Gov. Forbes), Dapitan St. and P. Noval St."

It also provides that any violation of its provisions shall have the penalty of a "fine not to exceed P200 or by imprisonment for not more than six months or both in the discretion of the court."

The 2012 Bar examinations will be conducted as follows: first day (Oct. 7): Political Law (morning) and Labor and Social Legislation (afternoon); second day (Oct. 14): CivilLaw (morning) and Taxation (afternoon); third day (Oct. 21): Mercantile Law (morning) and Criminal Law (afternoon); fourth day (Oct. 28): Remedial Law (morning) and Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises (afternoon).

The Rules of Court provide that "a candidate may be deemed to have passed his examination successfully if he hasobtained a general average of 75%."

The rule disqualifying applicants having grades in any subject falling below 50 percent has been abolished since 2010, Layusa said.

In determining the average, subjects in the examinations are given the following relative weights: Political and International Law, 15%; Labor and Social Legislation, 10%; Civil Law, 15%; Taxation, 10%; Mercantile Law, 15%; CriminalLaw, 10%; Remedial Law, 20%; and Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises, 5%, for a total of 100%.

Philippine Fleet of Philippine Navy

Rear Adm. Orwen J. Cortez formally assumed command of the 100-ship strong Philippine Fleet last Oct. 4.

The change of command of ceremony transpired at the Philippine Fleet multi-purpose hall at Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City.

The event was presided by Philippine Navy chief Vice Adm. Alexander P. Pama.

Cortez replaces Rear Adm. Jose Luis M. Alano who is promoted to head the Central Command based in Cebu effective Sept. 14.

He served as the Commander of the Naval Forces West in Palawan, and Naval Forces Western Mindanao Command from Nov. 10, 2010 to April 5, 2011.

He was later on promoted to Philippine Fleet vice commander.

Cortez has also served as former deputy commander of the Naval Forces West in 2007 before moving to the Philippine Fleet in Sangley Point, Cavite in 2008.

His concept is "fleet marine operations" or operations where marine and naval units combined to carry out specified task.

While still serving as a captain, Cortez was the commander of the Philippine-US Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Exercise Task Force in 2006.

He was promoted to Commodore on and took his oath as Rear Admiral on April 4, 2011.

Also on the same month, Cortez received the Military Merit Award for meritorious and valuable services rendered in the position of major responsibility as Commander Naval Forces Western Mindanao from Nov. 10, 2010 to April 5, 2011.

South Korea and Armed Forces of the Philippines Relationship

By Priam Nepomuceno

South Korea and the Armed Forces of the Philippines marked the 62nd anniversary of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea which aided the former in parrying the invasion attempt by North Korea and its allies during 1950 to 1953.

Col. Arnulfo M. Burgos, Jr., AFP spokesperson, said the anniversary celebration was conducted at The War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan, South Korea.

It was was graced by guests from the host country, the Philippine Embassy, United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission, Filipino community leaders, and several veterans and war allies associations, according to Philippine sources.

PEFTOK is the Philippine Army contingent of the United Nations forces that fought in the Korean War.

The unit arrived in Korea in August 1950. It was composed of 7,500 troops, and was the fourth largest force under the United Nations Command.

It took part in the Battle of Yultong Bridge and the Battle of Hill Eerie, the sources said.

The unit operated with the United States 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, 25th Infantry Division, and 45th Infantry Division.

One of the attendees, Col. Eddie Maningding, the Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to ROK, said "the gallantry and heroism of our PEFTOK warriors which to me has cemented that bond of friendship we are now enjoying with South Korea."

The activity's highlight was the wreath laying ceremony of the attendees led by Ambassador Luis T. Cruz, followed by a message he delivered which focused on the heroism of the Filipino soldiers during the Korean War from 1950-1953.

Burgos said notable PEFTOK veterans are the fathers of the AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa, and PA commanding general, Lt.Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista.

As a manifestation of their gratitude, various programs of the South Korean government are being offered and implemented to benefit PEFTOK veterans and their dependents here in the Philippines.

These include the "Korea Revisit Program" where PEFTOK veterans and some of their dependents are invited to revisit Korea for a week with free air fare & hotel accommodation.

The Korean Government also supports PEFTOK scholars studying in the Philippines.

PEFTOK monuments were also erected in South Korea to remember the heroism of the Filipino warriors.

The PEFTOK monument in Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province, which is the biggest PEFTOK monument erected was recently visited by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Binay offered wreath to the dead Filipino soldiers and inaugurated the flag poles of the Philippines, South Korea and the United Nations in the monument.

"We pushed for the erection of the flagpoles in our PEFTOK monument for the Koreans to be more aware of our participation in the Korean War," Maningding said.

South Korea is a major supplier of the Philippines' military equipment especially on troop carrier, vehicle, and ammunition.

In connection with the AFP modernization and capability upgrade program, Maningding said Manila has pending projects with Seoul.

"Currently, we are considering other forms of cooperation with South Korea in the field of Defense. We are planning to tie up with the Korea Institute of Defense Analyses, the security think tank of South Korea's defense establishment with similar institutions in our country," Manigding said.

Dellosa said: "The AFP extends its appreciation to the South Korean Government in remembering the hard-fought battles of our Filipino soldiers.

Fighting graft and corruption in the Philippines

Malacanang said it remains committed to fighting graft and corruption in the country in the midst of reports that the Philippine government lost more than P101 billion to graft last year.

"We have never become complacent when it comes to pursuing anti-graft and anti-corruption measures," Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview Saturday over state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

Media reports, citing data from the Commission on Audit (COA), said a huge amount of public money was lost to several forms of graft by which public funds were stolen, misused, or mishandled.

But Valte clarified that the media made a wrong conclusion in making the report after obviously citing just one report when in fact there were other data made available by the COA.

"It seems that nagkaroon ng conclusion doon sa isang parte nung report nila na automatically just because there were some audit findings biglang ang conclusion it was lost to graft," Valte said.

Citing COA chair Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan, Valte said that the financial loss mentioned in media reports did not necessarily result from graft, as it was only the courts which could make such a judgment.

Tboli Tribal Scandal

The 1002nd Infantry Brigade is now determining the motive of lawless group for attacking the T'boli tribal force in Sitio Kadapukan, Barangay Tuanadatu, Maitum, Sarangani Saturday morning.

Capt. William Alfred Rodriquez, the unit's spokesperson, said the attack, which wounded one T'boli tribal policeman, was carried out by a group lead by one Datu Ingig and Udtug Talumpa around 6: 20 a.m.

He also said the brigands were also the one behind the Aug. 16 ambush that killed four people.

"We don't know why they attacked Tuanadatu again. We have deployed units in the area to prevent a recurrence of this," Rodriquez said.

PNP Best Operational Unit

The Cagayan Valley regional police office has topped all other Philippine National Police commands as the best operational and administrative unit of the PNP and will be awarded the prestigious Presidential Streamer on Monday as highlight of the 111th police service anniversary ceremonies in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Police Regional Office-2 (PRO-2) director Chief Supt. Rodrigo de Gracia will formally receive the Presidential Streamer Award from Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II, who will represent President Benigno S. Aquino III.

In a statement, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. said that PRO-2 bested 16 other PNP regional offices in the nationwide search for outstanding administrative and operational accomplishments by PNP units in 2011.

Cerbo said that PRO-2 was cited for the highly satisfactory results of its latest Annual General Inspection-Operational Readiness Security Inspection Test and Evaluation (AGI-ORSITE) conducted by the NationalPolice Commission, and review of its accomplishments consistent with the 10-point action priorities of the PNP.

PRO-2 has jurisdiction over the provinces of Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino in Northern Luzon.

On the other hand, the PNP's Information Technology Management Service, under Sr. Supt. Rogelio Damazo, was adjudged Best National Administrative Support Unit of the Year and will receive the Napolcom Streamer Award from Secretary Roxas.

The PNP's elite Special Action Force was adjudged Best National Operational Support Unit of the Year and will receive the Chief PNP Streamer Award from PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome.

Other PNP unit awardees are Laguna Police Provincial Office, PRO4A-Best Police Provincial Office of the Year; General Santos City Police Office, PRO12-Best City Police Office of the Year; 1st Regional Public Safety Battalion, PRO1-Best Regional Public Safety Battalion of the Year.

South Cotabato Provincial Public Safety Company, PRO12 was adjudged as Best Provincial Public Safety Company of the Year; Zamboanga City Public Safety Company, PRO9-Best City Public Safety Company of the Year; Sta. Rosa City Police Station, PRO4A-Best City Police Station of the Year; San Pedro Municipal Police Station, PRO4A-Best Municipal Police Station of the Year: Quezon City Police District, NCRPO-Best NCR Police District of the Year; and Baguio City Police Office-Best Women & Children Protection Desk of the Year.

In recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the service, Cerbo said that the PNP will also give due recognition to PNP officers and personnel for individual achievements.

Topping the list of personal award are Sr. Supt. Noel Constantino - Best Senior Police Commissioned Officer for Administration, and Sr. Supt. Teodoro Basa - Best Senior Police Commissioned Officer for Operations; Chief Insp. Julius Balano - Best Junior Police Commissioned Officer of the Year, and SPO1 Wilfredo C Guillema Jr. - Best Senior Police Non-Commissioned Officer.

Police Officer 3 Danny Gaces was named as Best Junior Police Non-Commissioned Officer; civilian employee Teresa Vicente was adjudged as Best Non-Uniformed Personnel (Supervisory Level); and NUP Ranelo Christian P Tiongco - Best Non-Uniformed Personnel (Non-Supervisory Level).

Cerbo also said that special awards will be presented to PNP units and personnel for notable achievements and outstanding performance.

Rules on Educational Tours

Malacanang has said schools must follow the recommendations of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) asking for clear rules before schools allow students to go on educational tours.

The NDRRMC issued a statement following the recent tragedy in Boracay Island where a student drowned during an educational field trip.

"Magandang bagay ang hinihingi ng NDRRMC para maisama naman ang disaster preparedness. Dapat matagal na panahong pinaghahandaan," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

"Maganda na masimulan sa mga estudyante natin, sa mga mag-aaral na bata pa lang na alam na po nila at maidikdik natin sa kanilang pag-iisip kung ano ang kailangan for disaster preparedness," she said.

The NDRRMC said schools must have rules in place to prevent a repeat of the Boracay incident, noting that students joining field trips must be briefed on the risks when going swimming or hiking.

Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM)

The Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) has disclosed the capture of a ranking New People's Army (NPA) leader and three of his companions during operations in Quezon City Saturday morning.

Col. Generoso Bolina, SOLCOM spokesperson, identified those arrested as Benjamin Mendoza, 61, secretary of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC); Josephine Mendoza, a member of the NPA Central Committee, and two still unidentified companions.

Bolina said the arrest was made during operations on Aurora Blvd., Quezon City conducted by elements of the 2nd Infantry Division and the Philippine National Police and other security units at around 12:15 a.m. Saturday.

Bolina said Mendoza was apprehended by virtue of two warrants of arrest, one of which was in Criminal Case No. 206-551 filed at the Regional Trial Court 4th Branch 59 in Lucena City for rebellion, with P5.6 million reward.

He added that the captured NPA leader started his involvement with the rebel group during his student days and became full-time member in the Southern Tagalog region, focusing on ideological and political organizational works with function to expand student organizations inside the academe.

Mendoza, who was then called "Ka Evan" in 1975, led the "Samahan Demokratiko Kabataan" in the National Capital Region.

In 1980, he was designated as the commanding officer of Crispin Tagamolila Command, in charge of the security of the "Sentral Komite."

After graduating from the commando operation, heavy weapon operation, bomb making and sniping course in Libya from 1981 to 1982, Mendoza became the commanding officer of the NPA in Oriental Mindoro in 1984, with the aliases "Ka Miguel/Ka Dave."

Two years later, he was formally designated as a staff of the STRPC.

Further reports revealed that Mendoza was meted with "lifetime disciplinary action" due to his extensive involvement in Operation Missing Link, an anti-deep penetration agent drive from members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, activities in the boundaries of Laguna and Quezon.

Likewise, Mendoza was found to have led the most number of successful NPA operations with the least numbers of NPA casualties in 1991.

Reports also disclosed that Mendoza was the brain of most successful raid activities, including those at the Pola Municipal Hall; at Mendez Mining in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro; at the Philippine Air Force's detachment in the National Power Corp. in Calaca, Batangas; at the Batangas Provincial Jail where at least nine detained NPAs were released; at an Army detachment in Mulanay, Quezon; ambuscade in Gen. Nakar and Lopez, Quezon; and bombing of a bridge in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur.

Meanwhile, SOLCOM commander Maj. Gen. Allan R. Luga commended the extensive and collaborated operation of the AFP and the PNP.

Fair Election Act: Appointed and Elected Must Resign

By Lilybeth G. Ison

Malacanang clarified Saturday that officers-in-charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, although appointed to their posts by President Benigno Aquino III, were not deemed resigned even after they filed their certificates of candidacy for next year's elections, as the nature of their positions is still elective.

"Sa Fair Election Act, dalawa ang distinction -- may 'appointed' official na pag-file ng CoC at automatically resigned. Ang 'elective' hindi nag-a-apply sa kanila. 'Yan kasi may mandate sila at kailangan ituloy," said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a radio interview.

Acting ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman Friday filed his CoC as ARMM governor under the Liberal Party.

He said he reached the decision after consultations with his family, supporters and political benefactors.

"I don't decide on my own on political matters involving myself. I consulted first many people, including my superiors in the Liberal Party and President Aquino," he said in an interview with media.

Hataman said his decision was also in response to mounting clamor for him to seek a mandate as a duly elected ARMM governor to enable him to continue the reforms he has introduced in the region.

Valte explained that in the case of Hataman and the other OICs, "they were appointed but are holding an elective position. The supervening event does not change the character of the position they are holding."

"Ang posisyon, hindi ang tao. The position remains an elective post," she added.

Under the Commission on Elections Resolution 9518 providing guidelines on the filing of CoCs, Section 4 states that any person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and other officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations, shall be considered "ipso facto" -- meaning by the fact itself -- resigned from office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of CoC.

However, it also stated that any person "holding an elective office or position shall not be considered resigned upon the filing of his Certificate of Candidacy whether for the same or any other elective office or position."

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang, in a statement, said they support the candidacy of Hataman as ARMM governor.

OFW Standard Employment Contract

After reaching a new Standard Employment Contract (SEC) for domestic workers with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the Philippines is looking to come up with a similar agreement with other Middle East countries, according to Vice President Jejomar C. Binay.

He said bilateral negotiation is also under way with the Jordanian government for the crafting of an employment agreement similar to that reached with KSA.

"We hope to reach a similar agreement with Jordanian government," said Binay, who did not discount the possibility of reaching similar bilateral deals with other Middle East countries.

The Vice President has, in fact, directed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to start negotiating with its foreign counterpart in Jordan.

Binay, the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers' Concerns, said the SEC has become a model for future employee-employer contracts in other destination countries for Filipino household service workers (HSWs), particularly Middle East.

The Vice President also lauded the Saudi government, saying it "has extended to the Philippine government all the needed assistance to protect our workers."

"With the new agreement, both governments can work together in enforcing a stronger regulatory regime for the deployment of HSWs and ensure that abuse and exploitation of our HSWs are stopped," he added.

One of the provisions in the contract is the increase of the minimum wage of HSWs from $ 200 to $ 400 per month.

Binay said with the SEC in place, employers are now required to pay HSWS via the banking system to ensure that wages are paid fully and on time.

HSWs are also required to be given at least eight hours of rest daily and one day off work per week.

Moreover, a worker is entitled to return to the Philippines for a paid vacation leave of 30 days for every two years of service with a round-trip economy class ticket.

In case the HSW decides to renew his/her contract with the employer, he/she is entitled to receive an additional one month salary.

In case of death, the employer is responsible for the repatriation of the HSW remains and personal belongings to the Philippines as soon as legally possible and without undue delay.

If the repatriation of remains is not possible, the same may be disposed of after obtaining the approval of one of the HSW's next of kin or by the Philippine embassy.

Furthermore, the Vice President emphasized that employers can no longer keep the passports of their HSWs.

Qualified Filipino Bus Drivers

Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz sees bus passengers all over Zamboanga del Norte benefiting much from safe bus travel as the DOLE, through its attached agency, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), has already certified 89 bus drivers in the region as competent.

"This move will also benefit the region's bus drivers and conductors, as their being certified competent will boost professionalism in the bus transport sector, eventually benefiting other sectors of the economy, such as the tourism sector," said Baldoz in a media statement.

The labor and employment chief made the statement during her brief visit last week to the famous Shrine City of Dapitan, the national hero Jose Rizal's place of exile in Zamboanga del Norte.

During the visit, Baldoz handed out the Certificates of Competency or NC III of the 89 bus drivers assessed and certified as such by the TESDA. She also inducted the officials of the province's Industry Tripartite Council-Bus Transport sector.

The induction formally established and set into action the ITC as a DOLE partner in fostering labor-management cooperation on addressing concerns and challenges confronting the province's bus transport sector.

It also paves the way for the smooth implementation in Zamboanga del Norte of D.O. 118-12, Series of 2012, the Rules and Regulations Governing the Employment and Working Conditions of Drivers and Conductors in the Public Utility Bus Transport Industry, which will redound to the benefit of bus drivers and conductors and ensure their safety as well as the safety of bus passengers.

"I welcome the establishment of the ITC in the Bus Transport sector in the Zamboanga Peninsula. I hope you will truly live up to your pledge to use the ITC as a mechanism to resolve the problems in your industry which you alone can address because you are familiar with these problems, promote labor-management cooperation and self-governance, and raise productivity and competitiveness," Baldoz said.

"On the other hand, the training, assessment, and certification of the region's bus drivers will lead to a professional corps of drivers in the bus transport sector that could be a boon to health and safety which in turn will attract more passengers, including tourists," she added.

TESDA Regional Director Lorenzo Macapili informed the Secretary that the TESDA had assessed 187 bus drivers in compliance with D.O. 118-12, but only 89 had passed and been certified.

"We will soon train those bus drivers who did not pass the assessment," he assured Baldoz.

The distribution of the NC III certificates and the induction of the ITC-Bus Transport officers were the culmination of the DOLE Regional Office No. 9's conduct of a two-day learning session on the DOLE's occupational safety and health program held for stakeholders of the Zamboanga Peninsula bus transport industry.