Friday, August 15, 2008

My first paycheck as a legal assistant

It's been a while since I posted an article in this blog. I've been busy with a number of projects lately, but was quite pleasantly surprised that the stats of the blog has increased even in my absence. This is probably due to the approaching September Bar exam. I'll try as much as I can to update this blog especially for the "baristas" to whom this blog was made in the first place.

Last week I received my first paycheck from the law office where I am working as legal assistant. I do mainly legal research there and draft motions and pleadings in the cases that my busy lawyer boss is handling. The terms are very good. I get paid for every page of document I draft, and by industry standards I was told, my per page fee is considered relatively handsome. In fact, modesty aside, I didn't quite believe that I really would be paid that much until I received my first paycheck. I put in many hours drafting a single motion but never really felt burdened. And every case I'm assigned to research and draft motions on is a learning experience.

We were taught in law school that money should not be the main driver of the legal profession. Lawyering is a vocation, not a trade. But it does really feel great to get handsomely paid to do a job you love to do.

Friday, July 25, 2008

How to combat procrastination

After months of preparation for the Bar exam, you may find yourself feeling anxious about the level of your preparation and even get tempted to postpone your taking the exam at this late stage. While I myself have decided to postpone my taking the exam this year, I did it two months ago after my first reading of all Bar subjects, after an honest assessment of what I still need to do to have a decent shot at passing the exam. Only after that did I decide to work first in a law firm and self-review for another year to further prepare me for 2009.

For those who have come this far, a month before the Bar exam, I guess there's no turning back. Here's an advice I got from the BlogWorld on fighting those anxiety attacks and keep you from dropping out at this stage. Find yourself a bar exam buddy, some sort of a workout buddy, but for the bar. And promise each other that neither one of you will let the other back out.

Lots of luck! And God bless!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jurisdiction of HLURB vis-a-vis that of the trial court

Political Law, Administrative Law

Arranza vs. BF Homes [G.R. No. 131683. June 19, 2000]

The boom in the real estate business all over the country resulted in more litigation between subdivision owners/developers and lot buyers with the issue of the jurisdiction of the NHA or the HLURB over such controversies as against that of regular courts. In the cases that reached this Court, the ruling has consistently been that the NHA or the HLURB has jurisdiction over complaints arising from contracts between the subdivision developer and the lot buyer or those aimed at compelling the subdivision developer to comply with its contractual and statutory obligations to make the subdivision a better place to live in.

Notably, in Antipolo Really Corporation v. National Housing Authority one of the issues raised by the homeowners was the failure of Antipolo Realty to develop the subdivision in accordance with its undertakings under the contract to sell. Such undertakings include providing the subdivision with concrete curbs and gutters, underground drainage system, asphalt paved roads, independent water system, electrical installation with concrete posts, landscaping and concrete sidewalks, developed park or amphitheater and 24-hour security guard service. The Court held that the complaint filed by the homeowners was within the jurisdiction of the NHA.

Similarly, in Alcasid v. Court of Appeals, the Court ruled that the HLURB, not the RTC, has jurisdiction over the complaint of lot buyers for specific performance of alleged contractual and statutory obligations of the defendants, to wit, the execution of contracts of sale in favor of the plaintiffs and the introduction in the disputed property of the necessary facilities such as asphalting and street lights.

In the case at bar, petitioners' complaint is for specific performance to enforce their rights as purchasers of subdivision lots as regards rights of way, water, open spaces, road and perimeter wall repairs, and security. Indisputably then, the HLURB has jurisdiction over the complaint.

The fact that respondent is under receivership does not divest the HLURB of that jurisdiction…The appointment of a receiver does not dissolve a corporation, nor does it interfere with the exercise of its corporate rights.

Osea vs. Ambrosio [G.R. No. 162774. April 7, 2006]

This Court has thus consistently held that complaints for breach of contract or specific performance with damages filed by a subdivision lot or condominium unit buyer against the owner or developer fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the HLURB.

Moreover, under the doctrine of primary administrative jurisdiction, courts cannot or will not determine a controversy where the issues for resolution demand the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience, and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact.

Under the circumstances attendant to the case, the HLURB has the expertise to determine the basic technical issue of whether the alleged deviations from the building plans and the technical specifications affect the soundness and structural strength of the house.

Ridgewood vs. Belaos [G.R. No. 166751. June 8, 2006]

Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1344 provides for the jurisdiction of HLURB (then National Housing Authority).

The Court held in Roxas v. Court of Appeals that the mere relationship between the parties, i.e., that of being subdivision owner/developer and subdivision lot buyer, does not automatically vest jurisdiction in the HLURB. For an action to fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the HLURB, the decisive element is the nature of the action as enumerated in Section 1 of P.D. No. 1344. The HLURB has jurisdiction over complaints aimed at compelling the subdivision developer to comply with its contractual and statutory obligations.

The complaint filed by respondent against petitioner was one for damages. It prayed for the payment of moral, actual and exemplary damages by reason of petitioner's malicious encashment of the checks even after the rescission of the contract to sell between them. Respondent claimed that because of petitioner's malicious and fraudulent acts, he suffered humiliation and embarrassment in several banks, causing him to lose his credibility and good standing among his colleagues. Such action falls within the jurisdiction of regular courts, not the HLURB.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How to Deal with the Approaching Bar Exam

Following are pieces of advice from the BlogWorld on dealing with the approaching Bar exam.

Dukelawref says above all else, remember this: You know more than you think you do. says that in the final stretch, you must memorize legal rules. You must know each element of each important rule as if it were your most frequently used password. "This last home stretch, these next weeks, is the time to memorize. Too much earlier and you may have forgotten things."

"Read and re-read rule statements aloud. Look at them, listen to them, write them out, test yourself, have others test you. Engage fully in the memorization process."

For others well supported by friends and family, tell them that if they ever give you something to get by, you need:

- a time machine that provides extra study time during the day
- a time machine if in case you need to return to last month and then do the last six weeks over, this time without procrastinating
- kidding aside, a cushion to sit on (library chairs can be very uncomfortable after long periods of time)
- prepared meals
- a collection of pens and pencils for the Bar Exam (exam takers seem to feel the need to bring in a wide collection of writing instruments, preparing for the full days of non-stop writing)
- magic herbs that increase memory

These were the suggestions by Invadingnyc.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Working in a law office

I now work in a law office. Last month, after the first reading of all Bar subjects, I have decided to hold out my taking the exam until 2009. As I have intended, now I work in a law office to hone my skills in becoming a lawyer I want to be. I didn't take up law just to get a law degree and a title of "Attorney." So now I have put myself in the grill of some sort of an apprenticeship.

In some countries, or was it the practice in Europe in the past, students before becoming lawyers have to be under the tutelage of a senior member of the Bar for at least a year, a sort of an apprenticeship. There were no Bar exams to be taken.

In our case, since we're following the American model, law graduates have to pass the Bar exam before getting a license to practice law. So far this is the best way to ensure professional standards in the practice of law. However, most often than not, law practice is very different from what law students learn in law school (because students have to be taught everything in law school in just four years).

This is what I learned in the short time that I have been working now in a law office. Assigned to draft pleadings and other legal documents, I have to reexamine carefully what I was supposed to have already learned in law school. It's not just my and my school's reputation before my lawyer-boss that are at stake. Most importantly, it is the client's cause that is in line, a cause that might suffer by any mistake on my part in drafting his pleading. The basic lessons I learned in law school always come in handy but still nothing beats really practicing the real thing.

One more year of reviewing the books, and at most eight months of law office work, then I can say I'll be much closer to my goal.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Contents of a Pre-trial Brief

Pursuant to Rule 18 Sec. 6 of The Rules of Civil Procedure and A.M. No. 03-1-09-SC on "Guidelines to be Observed by Trial Court Judges and Clerks of Court in the Conduct of Pre-Trial and Use of Deposition-Discovery Measures," Pre-Trial Brief must be submitted at least three (3) days before the pre-trial and must contain the following:

1) A statement of their willingness to enter into an amicable settlement indicating the desired terms thereof or to submit the case to any of the alternative modes of dispute resolution;

2) A summary of admitted facts and proposed stipulation of facts;

3) The issues to be tried or resolved;

4) The documents or exhibits to be presented, stating the purpose thereof. (No evidence shall be allowed to be presented and offered during the trial in support of a party's evidence-in-chief other than those that had been earlier identified and pre-marked during the pre-trial, except if allowed by the court for good cause shown);

5) A manifestation of their having availed or their intention to avail themselves of discovery procedures or referral to commissioners; and

6) The number and names of the witnesses, the substance of their testimonies, and the approximate number of hours that will be required by the parties for the presentation of their respective witnesses.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Importance of Filing a Pre-trial Brief

Soriano vs. Reyes
A.C. 4676, May 4, 2006

As to Civil Case No. 20-465-90, records show that it was dismissed for failure of respondent to file the pre-trial brief.

Respondent’s failure to file the pre-trial brief constitutes inexcusable negligence. The importance of filing a pre-trial brief cannot be gainsaid. For one, the lawyers are compelled to prepare their cases in advance. They eliminate haphazard preparation. Since pre-trial is a serious business of the court, preparation of the lawyers and parties for the pre-trial in both questions of fact and of law cannot be overemphasized as an essential requirement for a pre-trial conference. They enable both parties to view the documentary evidence of the other even before they are presented in court. They enable the parties to know the testimonies of each other’s witnesses. Pre-trial briefs also apprise the courts of the additional points the parties are willing to stipulate upon, or the additional points which could be inquired into for the purpose of additional stipulations. They also apprise the court of the respective demands of the parties, thus, enabling the court to discuss more intelligently an amicable settlement between or among the parties. The failure to submit a pre-trial brief could very well, then, be fatal to the case of the client as in fact it is a ground for dismissal of the case. For this reason, respondent’s failure to submit the pre-trial brief to the court within the given period constitutes negligence which entails disciplinary action. Not only is it a dereliction of duty to his client but to the court as well. Hence, this Court, in Spouses Galen v. Atty. Paguirigan, explained:

An attorney is bound to protect his client’s interest to the best of his ability and with utmost diligence. A failure to file brief for his client certainly constitutes inexcusable negligence on his part. The respondent has indeed committed a serious lapse in the duty owed by him to his client as well as to the Court not to delay litigation and to aid in the speedy administration of justice.

The Original Concept of Forum Shopping: From Legitimate Practice to Malpractice

First Philippine International Bank vs. CA
GR 115849, 24 January 1996
Panganiban (J)

Forum-shopping originated as a concept in private international law, where non-resident litigants are given the option to choose the forum or place wherein to bring their suit for various reasons or excuses, including to secure procedural advantages, to annoy and harass the defendant, to avoid overcrowded dockets, or to select a more friendly venue. To combat these less than honorable excuses, the principle of forum non conveniens was developed whereby a court, in conflicts of law cases, may refuse impositions on its jurisdiction where it is not the most “convenient” or available forum and the parties are not precluded from seeking remedies elsewhere.

In this light, Black’s Law Dictionary 13 says that forum shopping “occurs when a party attempts to have his action tried in a particular court or jurisdiction where he feels he will receive the most favorable judgment or verdict.” Hence, according to Words and Phrases, “a litigant is open to the charge of ‘forum shopping’ whenever he chooses a forum with slight connection to factual circumstances surrounding his suit, and litigants should be encouraged to attempt to settle their differences without imposing undue expense and vexatious situations on the courts”.

In the Philippines, forum shopping has acquired a connotation encompassing not only a choice of venues, as it was originally understood in conflicts of laws, but also to a choice of remedies. As to the first (choice of venues), the Rules of Court, for example, allow a plaintiff to commence personal actions “where the defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be found, or where the plaintiff or any of the plaintiffs resides, at the election of the plaintiff” (Rule 4, Sec. 2 [b]). As to remedies, aggrieved parties, for example, are given a choice of pursuing civil liabilities independently of the criminal, arising from the same set of facts. A passenger of a public utility vehicle involved in a vehicular accident may sue on culpa contractual, culpa aquiliana or culpa criminal — each remedy being available independently of the others — although he cannot recover more than once.

“In either of these situations (choice of venue or choice of remedy), the litigant actually shops for a forum of his action. This was the original concept of the term forum shopping.

“Eventually, however, instead of actually making a choice of the forum of their actions, litigants, through the encouragement of their lawyers, file their actions in all available courts, or invoke all relevant remedies simultaneously. This practice had not only resulted to (sic) conflicting, adjudications among different courts and consequent confusion enimical (sic) to an orderly administration of justice. It had created extreme inconvenience to some of the parties to the action.

“Thus, ‘forum shopping’ had acquired a different concept - which is unethical professional legal practice. And this necessitated or had given rise to the formulation of rules and canons discouraging or altogether prohibiting the practice.”

What therefore originally started both in conflicts of laws and in our domestic law as a legitimate device for solving problems has been abused and misused to assure scheming litigants of dubious reliefs.

To avoid or minimize this unethical practice of subverting justice, the Supreme Court, as already mentioned, promulgated Circular 28-91. And even before that, the Court had proscribed it in the Interim Rules and Guidelines issued on January 11, 1983 and had struck down in several cases the inveterate use of this insidious malpractice. Forum shopping as “the filing of repetitious suits in different courts” has been condemned by Justice Andres R. Narvasa (now Chief Justice) in Minister of Natural Resources, et al., vs. Heirs of Orval Hughes, et al., “as a reprehensible manipulation of court processes and proceedings . . .” When does forum shopping take place?

“There is forum shopping whenever, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another. The principle applies not only with respect to suits filed in the courts but also in connection with litigations commenced in the courts while an administrative proceeding is pending, as in this case, in order to defeat administrative processes and in anticipation of an unfavorable administrative ruling and a favorable court ruling. This is specially so, as in this case, where the court in which the second suit was brought, has no jurisdiction.”

The test for determining whether a party violated the rule against forum shopping has been laid down in the 1986 case of Buan vs. Lopez, also by Chief Justice Narvasa, and that is, forum shopping exists where the elements of litis pendentia are present or where a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in the other, as follows:

“There thus exists between the action before this Court and in the RTC identity of parties, or at least such parties as represent the same interests in both actions, as well as identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts, and the identity on the two preceding particulars is such that any judgment rendered in the other action, will, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res adjudicata in the action under consideration: all the requisites, in fine, of auter action pendant.”

xxx xxx xxx

“As already observed, there is between the action at bar and RTC case, an identity as regards parties, or interests represented, rights asserted and relief sought, as well as basis thereof, to a degree sufficient to give rise to the ground for dismissal known as auter action pendant or lis pendens. That same identity puts into operation the sanction of twin dismissals just mentioned. The application of this sanction will prevent any further delay in the settlement of the controversy which might ensue from attempts to seek reconsideration of or to appeal from the Order of the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. 86-36563 promulgated on July 15, 1986, which dismissed the petition upon grounds which appear persuasive.”

Consequently, where a litigant (or one representing the same interest or person) sues the same party against whom another action or actions for the alleged violation of the same right and the enforcement of the same relief is/are still pending, the defense of litis pendencia in one case is a bar to the others; and, a final judgment in one would constitute res judicata and thus would cause the dismissal of the rest. In either case, forum shopping could be cited by the other party as a ground to ask for summary dismissal of the two 20 (or more) complaints or petitions, and for the imposition of the other sanctions, which are direct contempt of court, criminal prosecution, and disciplinary action against the erring lawyer.

Applying the foregoing principles in the case before us and comparing it with the Second Case, it is obvious that there exist identity of parties or interests represented, identity of rights or causes and identity of reliefs sought.

Very simply stated, the original complaint in the court a quo which gave rise to the instant petition was filed by the buyer (herein private respondent and his predecessors-in-interest) against the seller (herein petitioners) to enforce the alleged perfected sale of real estate. On the other hand, the complaint in the Second Case seeks to declare such purported sale involving the same real property “as unenforceable as against the Bank”, which is the petitioner herein. In other words, in the Second Case, the majority stockholders, in representation of the Bank, are seeking to accomplish what the Bank itself failed to do in the original case in the trial court. In brief, the objective or the relief being sought, though worded differently, is the same, namely, to enable the petitioner Bank to escape from the obligation to sell the property to respondent. In Danville Maritime, Inc. vs. Commission on Audit, this Court ruled that the filing by a party of two apparently different actions, but with the same objective, constituted forum shopping:

“In the attempt to make the two actions appear to be different, petitioner impleaded different respondents therein — PNOC in the case before the lower court and the COA in the case before this Court and sought what seems to be different reliefs. Petitioner asks this Court to set aside the questioned letter-directive of the COA dated October 10, 1988 and to direct said body to approve the Memorandum of Agreement entered into by and between the PNOC and petitioner, while in the complaint before the lower court petitioner seeks to enjoin the PNOC from conducting a rebidding and from selling to other parties the vessel “T/T Andres Bonifacio”, and for an extension of time for it to comply with the paragraph 1 of the memorandum of agreement and damages. One can see that although the relief prayed for in the two (2) actions are ostensibly different, the ultimate objective in both actions is the same, that is, the approval of the sale of vessel in favor of Petitioner, and to overturn the letter-directive of the COA of October 10, 1988 disapproving the sale.”

In an earlier case, but with the same logic and vigor, we held:

“In other words, the filing by the petitioners of the instant special civil action for certiorari and prohibition in this Court despite the pendency of their action in the Makati Regional Trial Court, is a species of forum-shopping. Both actions unquestionably involve the same transactions, the same essential facts and circumstances. The petitioners’ claim of absence of identity simply because the PCGG had not been impleaded in the RTC suit, and the suit did not involve certain acts which transpired after its commencement, is specious. In the RTC action, as in the action before this Court, the validity of the contract to purchase and sell of September 1, 1986, i.e., whether or not it had been efficaciously rescinded, and the propriety of implementing the same (by paying the pledgee banks the amount of their loans, obtaining the release of the pledged shares, etc.) were the basic issues. So, too, the relief was the same: the prevention of such implementation and/or the restoration of the status quo ante. When the acts sought to be restrained took place anyway despite the issuance by the Trial Court of a temporary restraining order, the RTC suit did not become functus oficio. It remained an effective vehicle for obtention of relief; and petitioners’ remedy in the premises was plain and patent: the filing of an amended and supplemental pleading in the RTC suit, so as to include the PCGG as defendant and seek nullification of the acts sought to be enjoined but nonetheless done. The remedy was certainly not the institution of another action in another forum based on essentially the same facts. The adoption of this latter recourse renders the petitioners amenable to disciplinary action and both their actions, in this Court as well as in the Court a quo, dismissible.”

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Spend less time studying

Our Bar reviewer has said that he's willing to bet his university salary that bar examinees will start to panic when August comes. In one bar review institute, the last two days of lecture in July is alloted for "How to deal with stress."

There indeed is so much stress in preparing for and taking the bar, but much of it, according to many lawyer-friends, are unnecessary. Study hard, take it seriously, but not too seriously that you will panic over the details you have not gone through or have forgotten, says a lawyer-friend of mine.

One important advice that may take some of that stress load is to remember that all you really have to do is pass. Meaning, you don't need to maximize your score. Every point you score above the passing score of 75 may indicate that you've spent more than the required time studying that subject. That's good in pulling up your average, but not when it is at the expense of other subjects. Follow this advice, and as one blogger pointed out, you'll save a lot of time and stress in case you have not effectively covered all subjects. In other words, do not spend so much time on one or some selected subjects at the expense of the other subjects. For what good will a 90 in Remedial Law do if you got a DQ in Taxation.

Two more months to go! Good luck!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lessons in Kung Fu Panda for aspiring lawyers

Following is Wikipedia's posting on Kung Fu Panda, today's top grosser in the box office. I saw the movie last Sunday and I really liked it, one of my top favorites because of the great lessons it imparts. I'll buy a DVD copy of this film for my future kids to watch.

I'll leave it to the readers on what lessons they could learn from the following story that they could use in their quest to become a lawyer.
"Po (Jack Black) is a chubby panda who works in a noodle restaurant owned by his adoptive goose father Mr. Ping (James Hong). He is a kung fu fanatic with secret dreams of becoming a great master in the discipline, however his weight and clumsiness seem to make his goal unattainable; Mr. Ping hopes instead that Po will one day take over the restaurant.

The tortoise Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) has a premonition that the evil snow leopard warrior Tai Lung (Ian McShane), the former student of his own protégé, the red panda Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), will escape from prison and return to threaten the Valley of Peace. While Shifu sends Zeng (Dan Fogler), a messenger goose, to Chorh-Gom Prison to have the security increased, Oogway orders a formal ceremony to choose the mighty Dragon Warrior who can defeat Tai Lung. Everyone assumes that one of the Furious Five — Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross) — a quintet of supremely skilled martial artists trained by Shifu, will be chosen for this honor.

While the Five demonstrate their skills at the ceremony, Po finds himself locked outside the walled palace square. As a last-ditch attempt to get in, he makes a chair out of fireworks, which sends him flying into the center of the arena. Inspired by this sudden appearance, the old master tortoise designates Po the Dragon Warrior to everyone's shock. Despite Po's protests and Shifu's pleas to reconsider, Oogway stands by his decision.

Revolted at having Po under his tutelage, Shifu attempts to make him quit by berating and humiliating him. The Five similarly dismiss Po as a worthless interloper. Although he becomes aware of Shifu's true intentions and is deeply hurt by his heroes' disdain for him, Po endures their abuse willingly for the dream to become something more than the failure he thinks he is. Master Oogway, still certain that Po is the right choice, gives him sage advice to believe in himself. Eventually, Po endears himself to the Five (except for the disdainful Tigress) with his tenacity, good cooking, and sense of humor.

Meanwhile, Zeng's errand backfires when a tour of the prison given to him by the overly confident head of security, Commander Vachir (Michael Clarke Duncan), inadvertently enables Tai Lung to escape. Tai Lung orders Zeng to send word of his arrival. In the Valley of Peace, Oogway passes away, his final wish that Shifu train Po. However, upon learning of Tai Lung's return, and realizing that he has to face the evil warrior, Po attempts to flee. Shifu stops the panda and promises to train him if he is truly destined to be the Dragon Warrior. When Po confesses his deep self-loathing due to his obesity and his belief that he may never be a match for Tai Lung, Shifu is at a loss for a solution. Overhearing the argument between Po and Shifu, the Five take it upon themselves to intercept Tai Lung. After a long night of pondering, Shifu discovers the following morning that Po is capable of impressive physical feats when motivated by food. Realizing that he has found the right focus for the panda, Shifu leads Po to the countryside for an intensive training regime in which Po is offered food as a reward for learning his lessons properly. As Shifu hopes, Po excels with such motivation and swiftly becomes a skilled combatant.

The Five battle Tai Lung but are eventually paralyzed with a specialized nerve-striking technique. When they return defeated, Shifu decides Po is ready to face the villian and gives him the sacred Dragon Scroll, which promises great power to the possessor. When Po opens it, he finds nothing but a blank reflective surface. Stricken with despair at the scroll's apparent worthlessness, Shifu orders his students to lead the villagers to safety while he stays to delay Tai Lung from pursuing them for as long as he can.

As Po participates in the evacuation, he meets his father, who tries to cheer him up by telling him the secret ingredient of the family's noodle soup: nothing. Things become special, he explains, because people believe them to be special. Realizing that this truth is the very point of the Dragon Scroll, Po rushes off to help Shifu. At this time, Tai Lung attacks Shifu and berates him for not granting him the title of Dragon Warrior just because Master Oogway did not choose him. To remedy that, the leopard wants the Dragon Scroll for himself to complete his training. While fighting, he expresses that he gave in to his aggression and anger so he could make Shifu proud of him. For his part, Shifu is crippled by his profound feelings of guilt and responsibility for his former protégé, whom he loved like a son, turning to darkness.

Tai Lung angrily discovers the Scroll is gone, but he before can kill his former mentor, Po arrives to challenge him. Although Tai Lung scoffs at Po's abilities, the ensuing fight proves Po to be a formidable opponent. Despite Po's skill, Tai Lung temporarily stuns him and gains the Dragon Scroll, but is unable to understand its symbolism. Po tries to explain the wisdom of the scroll to Tai Lung, but the frustrated Tai Lung tries to subdue Po with his nerve strikes. The attack proves useless on the panda, as his nerves are difficult to find due to his body fat. Emboldened, Po counter-attacks with an improvised combat style that takes advantage of his girth to absorb and deflect the force from Tai Lung's attacks back at him. In the end, Po uses the Wuxi Finger Hold on Tai Lung (which he claims to have "figured out" on his own), and destroys him with a devastating explosion that ripples through the valley.

The Five return to the valley to investigate the cause of the explosion and find a slightly dazed but triumphant Po. Deeply impressed at Po's victory, Tigress leads the Five to acknowledge the panda as a Kung Fu master. The villagers, including Po's father, follow suit and hail Po as a hero. Po remembers that his teacher is wounded, and rushes back to Shifu, who is now finally at peace. At first, he appears to be dead, but it turns out that he is only resting after such a trying battle. Both Po and Shifu rest on the floor, but a few seconds later Po suggests to eat now, and Shifu agrees.

A post-credits scene shows that the peach seed that Shifu planted before Oogway's passing has sprouted into a new plant."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Solon seeks cancellation of ship firm's franchise

Speaker Prospero Nograles urged the government to cancel the franchise of Sulpicio Lines, according to the Philippine Star.

Nograles proposed that Sulpicio Lines should be banned from operating in Philippine seas.

“It’s really unthinkable that after all these years we have not learned a lesson from the Doña Paz tragedy. Strike three, even in baseball or softball, means you are out. Three or more sea disasters of the same shipping company is no longer a coincidence,” he said.

He said the Princess of the Stars tragedy off Sibuyan Island in Romblon is the fourth maritime disaster involving Sulpicio-owned vessels.

Government shipping regulators like the Philippine Coast Guard, the MARINA and the DOTC are duty bound to oversee the safety of our shipping industry, Nograles said.

Parañaque Rep. Eduardo Zialcita called yesterday for the resignation of Philippine Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral Tamayo over the sinking of the Princess of the Stars at the height of typhoon Frank.

“Vice Admiral Tamayo should be held responsible for the unimaginable loss of lives for allowing the ferry to depart from the port of Manila despite the onslaught of the typhoon,” he said.

Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez sought yesterday an independent investigation into the sinking of Princess of the Stars.

“The Coast Guard should constitute a board of marine inquiry, per standard operating procedure, consisting of independent merchant marine experts,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said the Coast Guard should implement stricter rules on passenger vessels when there is a typhoon.

Pimentel had filed a bill seeking to give the Coast Guard the primary responsibility of overseeing the safety of life and property at sea.

Sen. Chiz Escudero also filed a bill to reorganize the Coast Guard and clarify the agency’s policies and responsibilities.

Even this early, lawmakers are riding on the bandwagon of condemning the shipping company Sulpicio Lines for the sinking of it ship Mv Princess of the Star off the coast of Sibuyan Island. When everyone should be focused on search and rescue, our lawmakers could not wait for an official investigation before pinpointing on human culprits.

In an archipelago like the Philippines, the domestic shipping industry plays a very important role in the economy, facilitating the movement of goods from island to island. The shipping industry’s invaluable contribution to the economy has led the government to spearhead reforms to establish a more market-oriented, competitive and responsive shipping industry. It is in this light that I find Speaker Nograles' suggestion to cancel the firm's franchise as hastily thought of. Aside from laying blame prematurely, the lawmaker seems to have undermined the years of service of shipping firms like Sulpicio Lines to our economy just because of this tragic incident.


On a related legal point, our rule states that unless otherwise exempt, no public service shall operate without having been issued a certificate of public convenience (no franchise) or certificate of public convenience and necessity (a prior franchise is required). "Public Service" includes every person who may own, operate, manage, or control in the Philippines for hire or compensation, with general or limited clientele, whether permanent, occasional or accidental, and done for general business purposes, any common carrier (e.i. shipping firm), railroad, street railway, traction railway, subway motor vehicle, steamboat, or steamship line, ferries, and water craft, shipyard, ice-plant, electric light, heat and power or any other public utility. (Commonwealth Act 146, as amended)

The Public Service Commission (now the Maritime Industry Authority for shipping lines) has the power to discipline public service operators. It may suspend or revoke the certificate of public convenience issued, for cause and with proper hearing. But in case of serious or irreparable damage or inconvenience to the public or private interests, the certificate may be suspended even without prior notice. (Soriano vs. Medina, 35 SCRA 335)

Tags: Commercial Law, Current events

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Philippine ferry sinks, 700 aboard missing

Sulpicio Lines vessel Princess of the Stars sank in raging Typhoon Frank on Saturday, with hundreds of passengers, including as many as 45 children, feared dead, according to an Associated Press report.

The ferry had been carrying more than 700 passengers and crew members when it went down on Saturday. Government rescuers had reached the spot near the island Sibuyan, where the passenger ferry had capsized.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is in the United States for a state visit, scolded coast guard officials during a teleconference on Sunday for allowing the ferry to sail despite typhoon warnings. She ordered government agencies to coordinate rescue and relief efforts.

The coast guard said the Princess of the Stars was allowed to leave Manila on Friday evening for Cebu, a city in the central Philippines, because the storm had not yet made landfall.

Coast guard officials said that the ferry should have been big enough to sail, and that a warning issued earlier on Saturday barred only small boats from traveling.

Philippine media have now focused their attention on who are to blame in the tragedy. Despite the urgency of rescuing the survivors and locating the dead, here we are again focusing our attention on who are to blame. Later when the issue subsides, nothing concrete will come out of it as usual. Why don't we just leave it to the proper authorities to look into the causes of the tragedy? Then contribute in later discussions on how to improve our disaster preparedness and warning system.

I understand the ship was allowed to sail because under the rules, a ship that big can sail even under a Signal Number 3 storm. It was only Signal Number 1 when it left the port of Manila for Cebu. The ship's engine however conked out near the Visayas area so it was left at the mercy of the storm. The ship's seaworthiness must be looked into. But this early, let's leave the investigation to the investigators.


In a related legal issue, there is as we know a presumption of fault or negligence on the part of a common carrier in case of injury or death of a passenger. However, this is not to say that common carriers are absolutely responsible for all the injuries or damages even of the same were caused by a fortuitous event. (Japan Airlines vs. CA, 294 SCRA 19) Among others, this presumption of fault or negligence can be rebutted by proof that the loss or damage was occasioned by a flood, storm, earthquake, lightning, or other natural disaster or calamity.

Tags: Commercial Law, Current events

Guidelines for the 2008 Philippine Bar Examinations





7 September 2008

8:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon - Political and Public International Law

2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. - Labor and Social Legislation

14 September 2008

8:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon - Civil Law

2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. - Taxation

21 September 2008

8:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon - Mercantile Law

2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. - Criminal Law

28.September 2008

8:00 A.M. to 12 Noon - Remedial Law

2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. - Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises

II. Venue



Associate Justice & Chairman Committee on the 2008 Bar Examination


Bar Examinations

To be held in September 2008

At the De La Salle University Compound

Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila

I. 1st Sunday, September 7, 2008


8:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon - Political and Public International Law 15%

2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. - Labor and Social Legislation 10%

II. 2nd Sunday, September 14, 2008

8:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon - Civil Law 15%

2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. - Taxation 10%

III. 3rd Sunday, September 21, 2008

8:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon - Mercantile Law 15%

2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. - Criminal Law 10%

IV. 4lh Sunday, September 28, 2008

8:00 A.M. to 12 Noon - Remedial Law 20%

2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. - Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises 5%




(First Sunday,Morning)

This examination covers decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2007, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2006.

1. Constitutional Law

2. Political Law

3. Administrative Law and Law on Public Officers

EXCLUDE Implementing rules and regulations of different agencies

4. Laws on Suffrage

(a) Party-List Law (R.A. 7941)

(b) Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (B.P. Big. 881)

(c) Electoral Reforms Law of 1987 (R.A. No. 6646)

(d) R.A. 7166 - An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and For Electoral Reforms

(e) R.A. 9006 - Fair Election Practice Act

5. Local Government Code (R. A. No.7160) (Basics)
EXCLUDE: Provisions Relating to Local Taxation

6. Public Corporations

7. Public International Law




September 7, 2008

(First Sunday, Afternoon)

This examination covers decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2007, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2006.

I. Labor Laws (Labor Standards Law and Labor Relation Law)

(a) Labor Code of the Philippines (P.D. No. 442, as amended).
Books I, II, III, V, VI and VII


(b) Thirteenth (13th) Month Pay Law (P.D. No. 851, as amended)

(c) The Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code of the Philippines. (Limited to cases decided by the Supreme Court)

(d) Guidelines for the Exercise of the Right to Organize of Government Employees, etc. (Executive Order No. 180, June 1, 1987).

II. Social Legislation

(a) Social Security Act of 1997 (R.A. No. 8282)

(b) Government Service Insurance Act of 1997 (R.A. No. 8291)

(c) Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 (R.A. No. 7877)

Employees Compensation and State Insurance Fund.


September 14,2008

(Second Sunday, Morning)

This examination covers decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2007, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2006.

1. Civil Code of the Philippines

INCLUDE The Law on Sale of Subdivision Lots and Condominium

(P.O. No. 957) and the Condominium Act (R.A. 4726)

EXCLUDE the following:

(a) Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines

(b) Water Code (P.D. 1067)

(c) The Rental Law (B.P. Blg. 25 and amendments)

(d) Intellectual Property Law

2. The Family Code of the Philippines

EXCLUDE Child and Youth Welfare Code (P.D. 603)

3. Domestic Adoption Act of 1998 (R.A. No. 8552)

4. Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995 (R.A. No. 8043)

5. Property Registration Decree (P.D. No. 1529)

INCLUDE Public Land Law (C.A. No. 141, as amended)

6. Conflict of Laws (Private International Law)


September 14,2008

(Second Sunday, Afternoon)

This examination covers decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2007, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2006.

1. General Principles of Taxation

2. National Internal Revenue Code

INCLUDE (a) Comprehensive Tax Reform Act of 1997(R.A. No. 8424)- Provisions in effect

(b) All Value Added Tax (VAT) laws in effect

EXCLUDE Percentage Taxes, Excise Taxes and Documentary Stamp Taxes

3. Tariff and Customs Code

EXCLUDE Arrastre and Classification of Commodities

4. Republic Act No. 1125, Creating the Court of Tax Appeals, as amended

5. The Local Government Code on Taxation


September 21, 2008

(Third Sunday, Morning)

This examination covers decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2007, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2006.

1. Code of Commerce

(a) Merchants and Commercial Transactions, Articles 1-63

(b) Letters of Credit under the Code of Commerce (Articles 567-572)
INCLUDE the following:

(i). Bulk Sales Law (Act No. 3952)

(ii). The Warehouse Receipts Law (Act No. 2137 in relation to the General Bonded Warehouse Act [Act No. 3893])

(iii). Presidential Decree 115 on Trust Receipts

2. Negotiable Instruments Law (Act No. 2031)

3. Insurance Code (P.O. No. 1460)

INCLUDE Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation Act (R.A. 3591)

4. Transportation Laws

(a) Common Carriers (Civil Code, Arts. 1732 to 1766).

(b) Commercial Contracts for Transportation Overland
(Code of Commerce, Arts. 349 to 379)

(c) Maritime Commerce (Code of Commerce, Arts. 673 to 736; also Arts.
580-584 of Code of Commerce, as superseded by R.A. No. 6106; Arts.
806 to 845 of Code of Commerce; Paragraph 6 of Section 3 of Carriage of
Goods by Sea Act [Com. Act 65])

(d) Public Service Act (Com. Act No. 146), as amended.

(e) The Warsaw Convention of 1929(Limited to the Carrier's Liability).

5. Corporation Law

(a) The Corporation Code (B.P. Blg.68)

(b) Securities Regulation Code (R.A. 8799)

(c) Banking Laws: (General terms and provisions)

i) The New Central Bank Act (R.A. No. 7653) (Basics)

ii) Law on Secrecy of Bank Deposits (R.A. No. 1405, as amended)

6. Intellectual Property Code (R.A. No. 8293)(Basics)

EXCLUDE: Implementing Rules and Regulations

7. Special Laws

(a) The Chattel Mortgage Law (Act 1508 in Relation to Arts. 1484, 1485,
2140, and 2141 of the Civil Code)

(b) Real Estate Mortgage Law (Act No. 3135, as amended by R.A. No. 4118)

(c) The Insolvency Law (Act No. 1956) including Rules on Corporate
Rehabilitation (P.D. 902-A)

(d) Truth in Lending Act (R.A. No. 3765)
EXCLUDE the following:

(1) Omnibus Investment Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 226)

(2) Foreign Investment Act of 1991 (R.A. No. 7042)


September 21,2008

(Third Sunday, Afternoon)

This examination covers decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2007, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2006.

1. The Revised Penal Code (Books I and II), as amended.
EXCLUDE: Penalties for specific felonies

2. Indeterminate Sentence Law

3. Probation Law

4. Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019, as amended)

5. Anti-Fencing Law (P.O. No. 1612)

6. Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Big. 22)

7. Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972(R.A. No. 6425, as amended)

8. Heinous Crimes Act (R.A. No. 7659, as amended)

9. Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (R.A No. 9160)
EXCLUDE: Civil Forfeiture Rules

10. Obstruction of Justice (P.O. 1829)


September 28, 2008

Fourth Sunday, Morning

This examination covers decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2007, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2006.

1. The Rules of Court, as amended

(a) 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure

(b) Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (effective December 1, 2000)

(c) Rules on Evidence

(d) Rules on Special Proceedings

2. The 1991 Revised Rules on Summary Procedure

3. Local Government Code on Conciliation Procedures
(Book III, Title I, Chapter 7)

4. The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P. Big. 129), as amended by
R.A. No. 7691 and rules issued thereunder (emphasis on jurisdiction
excluding purely administrative provisions)

5. Judiciary Act of 1948
EXCLUDE the following:

(a) P.D. No. 946 (Reorganizing the CAR)

(b) Military Justice

6. Jurisdiction of Sandiganbayan

(a) R.A. No. 7975

(b) R.A. No. 8249


September 28, 2008

(Fourth Sunday, Afternoon)

This examination covers decisions of the Supreme Court, promulgated up to 30 June 2007, and Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders, promulgated up to 31 December 2006.

1. Code of Judicial Conduct

2. Code of Professional Responsibility

3. Grievance Procedures (Rule 139-b, Rules of Court)

4. Legal Forms


The articles in this blog are the writer's own opinion, views or report of facts, AND SHOULD NOT SUBSTITUTE for official documents or issuances, or the advice of an independent and competent legal counsel. We do not warrant the accuracy and suitability of these articles for whatever purpose you may have in copying them. Thank you.

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