Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Computation of seats allocated for Partylist System

(Veterans Federation Party vs. Comelec)

First parameter in determining the winners: 20% allocation.

Under the law, partylist representation composes 20% of the total number of representatives including the partylist reps. 20% is only a ceiling and not mandatory. It does not have to be filled up, according to the Supreme Court.

The formula therefore is:

(No. of district reps/.80) X .20 = Maximum number of Partylist reps

For example, with 240 district reps (80% of House)
(240/.80) X .20 = 60

Another example, with 243 district reps (80% of House)
(243/.80) X .20 = 60.75; only 60.

Disregard the fraction, do not round it off, according to the Supreme Court. Fractional representation is not allowed.

Second parameter in determining winners: 2% threshold

Third parameter: 3-seat limit

Fourth parameter: Proportional representation

Tags: Political Law

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Burning out?!

You have set yourself up for long days of study. If you’re a full-time bar reviewee, you have at leat six months of preparation time ahead of you. You’re prepped up, excited and willing to burn more calories for intense brain activity. 9-12 hours of studying each day. More studying. Then another bar review lecture. More practice tests. Imagine doing this for six months! It would not be normal if you don’t burn out.

One of the biggest challenges of bar exam preparation is how to maintain the motivation? If motivation was difficult in law school, it could be more difficult in the bar review phase. After the first reading you may already be tempted to take the test now, as in now, not later. You’ve already had too much of the studying part. Take heed. Be patient. Perhaps your impatience is a sign that your body and mind need a break. If there is one thing that you should not forget in life, it is to relax. So give yourself a break. Do not feel the slightest guilt that time spent relaxing may be time wasted that should have been spent learning more laws. The last thing you can afford to lose is your sanity.

To help you relax, here are some suggestions of those who were once bar reviewees:

Exercise. It does not only perk up the body, it perks up the mind.
Pace yourself. Take breaks. Be sure to have a good night’s sleep.
Get comfortable with "practice test days."

According to one successful bar candidate, one way of coping with the actual exam is to walk in with a "been there, done that" --attitude. When taking the bar, tell yourself, "This is just another practice exam."

Tags: Bar tips

Bar Study and Exam Tips

Following are tips I culled from the Internet which apply to our preparation for the Philipinne bar:

1. Repetition is key

The more you read the bar review outlines, the better the material becomes ingrained in your memory. Visual abilities are intensified and recall becomes photographic. Upon every reading new matter is gleaned and understanding is heightened.

The greater number of practice tests you take the more prepared you will be for the bar. There is no substitute for taking practice exams under test-like circumstances. This means committing yourself to four hours of uninterrupted time during which you practice essays and performance exams under pseudo-exam-stress-producing conditions. Thereafter, you should critically and introspectively assess your performance.

2. Read the call of the hypothetical

Before reading an exam hypothetical, begin by reading the call of the question and any instructions. Points are easily lost due to a failure to follow instructions. Do not go off on a tangent and waste time answering questions not asked. The purpose of reading the call of the question is to direct your focus when you read the facts of the hypothetical. This fosters active reading. If you read the hypothetical first you will waste time reading when you have no idea which facts are determinative for the issues and which are red-herrings. After reading the call of the question, actively read and re-read the question. Before you begin to write always re-read the call of the question to make sure that you are responding to the correct issue.

3. Create an outline for your answer

Outlining your answer before you begin to write compels you to organize. An outline may be as skeletal as the issues (broken down into elements), law and facts you will discuss. To comprise your outline, use IRAC. Think longer and spend less time writing. The process of reading and re-reading the question, as well as outlining, should take about one-third to one-half of the allotted time. Once a good outline is prepared you will not need to spend so much time writing. Your focus will be clear. It is also important to review your outline while you are writing and after you finish writing. The purpose of an outline is defeated if you do not use it. Under the stress of writing the answer you may forget to make important points that were originally in your outline. Lastly, if you are unable to finish your answer, the outline may serve as an answer for grading purposes.

4. Write a visually appealing answer

Write legibly. Organize you answer in logical sequence. Cover an issue thoroughly and then move on to the next issue.

5. Use the facts

This point cannot be stressed enough. Most exam answers that fail are a result of the lack of the use of given facts. However, do not assume facts not given. Most facts provided are not red-herrings. They are in the hypothetical for a reason and you need to ascertain why they are there. Then you need to use the facts to buttress your analysis of the issues. Do not be conclusory.

6. Consider all sides

Every point has a flip side. When a writer draws a conclusion without considering counter-analysis, he demonstrates to the grader his lack of a complete thought process. In raising counter-points, support them factually and then refute them factually.

7. Maintain perspective

Each of you has the ability to succeed on the bar exam. Do not get caught up in how or what your peers are studying. That will only serve to distract you and bridle positive performance. You know what you need to do to succeed. Do it and enjoy learning.

8. Be disciplined

Preparing for the bar demands discipline in your studies. The bar exam must be the primary focus of your attention for at least two months. Avoid distractions. Do not procrastinate. While breaks are important to maintain mental attention and clarity, they should be limited in duration. Do not try to cram the night before the bar exam. Rather, it is best to take time off, away from studying, and relax since you will need stamina during the exam. It is alright to briefly review some notes or flash cards at breakfast the morning of the exam. It is possible that what you review will be tested on the exam that morning and this will boost your confidence.

9. Do not panic

Part of exam preparation involves mental control. The more prepared you feel through study and practice, the less likely it is that you will panic. However, it is possible that something on the exam will cause you to panic. For example, you may see an issue that you think you are unprepared to address. In truth you are probably prepared to address the issue, but may only be prepared to a certain extent. Resist panic because it will inhibit your ability to recall what you know about that issue. Panic stifles. You cannot afford to allow panic to overcome you and result in failure to answer a question.

Tags: Bar Tips

Friday, May 18, 2007

Studying Election Laws

I recently attended a three-day lecture of a prominent reviewer in Political Law. In the following days, I will share some of the most important points he raised in the lecture. Since I am quite busy right now with work, I am posting herein a teaser for the meantime. Since we just had our senatorial and local elections, I will take up election law first. What a two-unit subject could achieve in one semester in law school, the lecturer effectively covered in just four hours.

You may approach your study of election laws, he said, by dividing it into three areas:

1. Pre-election (e.g. registration, campaign, qualifications, filing of COCs)
2. Election (e.g. voting, election bans)
3. Post Election (e.g. canvassing, protests, proclamation)

Tags: Political Law

CAUSE OF ACTION vs. RIGHT OF ACTION

This was once asked in the bar pertaining to Civil Procedure: Distinguish a cause of action from a right of action.

First the definition of both: A right of action is the right of the plaintiff to bring an action and to prosecute that action to final judgment. (Marquez vs. Varela, 92 Phil. 373) A cause of action is an act or omission by which a party violates a right of another.

Now the distinction: (If you are asked the same question in the exam or in the slim chance it will be asked in the bar again, skip the definition and go directly to the points of distinction.)

1) Cause of action is the delict or wrong committed by the defendant, whereas Right of action refers to the right of the plaintiff to institute the action;

2) Cause of action is created by substantive law, whereas Right of action is regulated by procedural law;

3) Right of action may be taken away by the running of statute of limitations, by estoppel or other circumstances which do not affect at all the cause of action.

For more info check DE GUZMAN, JR. vs. COURT OF APPEALS (192 SCRA 507)

Tags: Remedial Law

Basic Maxims: Pro Reo Doctrine

Whenever a penal law is to be construed or applied and the law admits of two interpretations – one lenient to the offender and one strict to the offender – that interpretation which is lenient or favorable to the offender will be adopted.

This is in consonance with the fundamental rule that all doubts shall be construed in favor of the accused and consistent with presumption of innocence of the accused. This is peculiar only to criminal law.

Tags: Criminal Law

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