Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Curious Case of Atty. Solomon Lumba

By Perfecto Raymundo

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio insisted a violation has been committed by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in the appointment of her staff and remains to be void despite the resignation of Atty. Solomon Lumba from the University of the Philippines.

This was the response of Carpio to Sereno on Lumba's resignation from UP which could have cured the defect and irregularity in his appointment as Chief Justice Staff Head 2.

Carpio sent his second letter to Sereno saying despite Lumba's resignation from UP, his assumption in the Office of the Chief Justice on Nov. 5, 2012 remains "void and ineffective."

In a one-page letter issued by Carpio to Sereno dated Feb. 1, 2013, he said he reiterates the withdrawal of his signature to the Sept. 24, 2012 appointment papers of Lumba because it is still considered illegal.

Carpio said while he is pleased with the move of Sereno to correct herself, the resignation of Lumba does not affect the irregularity committed on his appointment.

"I am pleased to learn that, to clear the constitutional impediment, Atty. Solomon Lumba will now give up his position in the UP Law Faculty to join the Supreme Court as your Chief Justice Staff Head 2. However, I have to reiterate the withdrawal of my signature to the 24 September 2012 appointment paper of Atty. Lumba because that appointment remains void and ineffective," he said.

Carpio said it is legally impossible for Lumba to assume on Nov. 5, 2012 as Sereno's staff because he discovered Lumba is still active at UP Law Faculty up to Jan. 31, 2013.

"Under that appointment, Atty. Lumba was supposed to have assumed office as Chief Justice Staff Head 2 effective 5 November 2012. This is a legal impossibility because at that time, and even up to ....31, January 2013, Atty. Lumba was still holding another public office in the UP Law Faculty," he said.

Carpio insisted "no one can be appointed to two government positions at the same time, unless authorized by law or required by the primary functions of his office."

With this, he said Lumba must have a new appointment and cannot claim the Nov. 5, 2012 assumption with the SC because it is void.

"Thus, Atty. Lumba must be issued a new appointment as Chief Justice Staff Head 2 effective upon his resignation from the UP Law Faculty," he said.

Carpio issued a two-page letter to Sereno on Jan. 31, 2013 where he alleged in his letter the appointment of Lumba as Chief Justice Staff Head 2 as illegal and unconstitutional.

He informed Sereno he is withdrawing his signature after he discovered the violations committed by Sereno in the appointment of Lumba who is currently employed in the UP and now doing a "moonlighting" at the Office of the Chief Justice.

Carpio said he has no intention of violating the law and does not want to be a part of any irregularity.

Vilma Santos Wants You to Vote Team Pnoy

By Jelly Musico

Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos and husband Sen. Ralph Recto appealed Wednesday to voters of Batangas to support the 12 senatorial candidates in the forthcoming May 13 mid-term elections.

The couple made this appeal in front of the yellow-clad 2,000 crowd who attended the Batangas campaign sortie of the Team PNoy at the Batangas provincial capitol compound here.

"Let's support our senatorial candidates under the Team PNoy," the actress-turned politician told the crowd.

The Batangas campaign sortie was attended by Bam Aquino, Jun Magsaysay, Riza Hontiveros, Jamby Madrigal, Grace Poe, Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar and Loren Legarda.

Re-electionist senators Francis 'Chiz' Escudero attended a press conference but did not attend the campaign rally along with fellow re-electionist senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV and Koko Pimentel.

During the press conference, Team PNoy campaign manager Sen. Franklin Drilon expressed optimism that the slight reduction the President Benigno Aquino III's rating will have no effect on the Team PNoy's senatorial candidates.

"I don't think it will affect our candidates' chances because the rating of the President remains high. We're not concerned," Drilon said.

The Team PNoy candidates assured the Batangas electorate to push for legislation that would create more jobs.

Aside from the investment of her family-run real estate properties, Villar promised to provide more livelihood projects for the province of Batangas.

"Like what I did in Las Pinas, I would like also to pursue projects that would create more jobs specially in the agriculture sector," Villar said.

Angara, son of outgoing Sen. Edgardo Angara, said he would focus on giving more scholarships in the province while Poe promised to create measures to raise standard of education in the country.

Legarda urged the local leaders to implement laws she sponsored in the Senate including measure on the creation of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Philippine Stock Market Posts All-time High Investment Record

By Leslie D. Venzon

Philippine stocks snapped the two-day slump, surging to a new all-time high past the 6,500 level on Wednesday, as investors cheered good economic prospects and the Philippines getting closer to achieving investment grade status.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) advanced 68.06 points to 6,527.99 from Tuesday's 6,459.93.

The broader All Shares index rose 28.64 points to 4,094.18.

Government economic managers on Wednesday expressed optimism that the country has a good chance of attaining investment grade status owing to an impressive economic growth backed by the administration's firm commitment to good governance.

An economic growth target of 6 to 7 percent this year is also "very doable", according to the country's planning agency.

"The (economic) prospects coming from the government helped push the market higher. (These are) signalling the growth momentum is still on the upbeat," said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at Banco de Oro.

PSE president and chief executive officer Hans B. Sicat said that the local stock market closed today on a high note along with other Asian markets.

"Expectations of stronger economic growth have continued to spur investor interest in the equities market. We are optimistic that such growth will continue to rebound to corporate earnings and sustain the market's hike to new levels," he said.

All counters were in positive territory, led mainly by property rising 2.36 percent to 2,649.68; and financials increasing 1.46 percent to 1,718.36.

The sub-indices of services, industrial, holding firms and mining and oil advanced moderately 0.74 percent to 0.31 percent.

Total volume of trade reached 2.2 billion shares worth P8.28 billion.

The market was healthy with advancing issues dominating the declining ones, 112 to 52, while 50 stocks were unchanged.

Source Code of Comelec PCOS Machine Election

By Janice Cave

Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. announced Wednesday the poll body may use the automated election system for the May 13 polls despite the absence of a source code or human readable instructions.

This, after the Technical Evaluation Committee has given its go signal for Comelec to use the AES.

"TEC certified that the AES can operate properly, securely and accurately be used in the coming May 2013 elections," Brillantes said.

"The TEC recommendation came after SLI certified that the AES is operationally suitable for use and affirmed its conformance with RA9369 [Automated Election Law]," Brillantes added.

SLI Global Solutions, an international certification entity, holds the source code which might not be released to the poll body without the consent of Dominion which has a legal battle with technology provider Smartmatic.

Smartmatic is the supplier of the Precinct Optical Count Scan for the 2013 polls.

With the TEC report, Brillantes said there is no need to worry about the source code.

Meanwhile, Brillantes also lauded the Commission on Audit for issuing new rules that will penalize government officials who will use government projects for propaganda purposes.

In a resolution, COA said officials can no longer put pictures of themselves and their names on government projects.