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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Why shall I never read SCRA the same again?

Every law student is not a happy reader of the Supreme Court Reports Annotated or simply called SCRA. Deep inside the law student's psyche, the SCRA is already associated with the voluminous pages to read and recite in class. 

As a law student I read SCRA because I should prepare for a quiz or long examination. There is no pleasure in reading the cases decided by the Supreme Court because they are either lengthy or because they are part of an examination. I only get to be hooked with SCRA every time I chanced to pass upon the annotation which discusses some fine points of the decision vis-a-vis established principles in law.

I often heard my professors sigh over the fact that most of the SCRA cases are of rape, murder and other heinous crime. This is of course the case because these heinous crimes bear the heaviest penalty and given the nature of the penalty, there is of course a need to closely review the findings of the lower courts.

 I heard former justices sigh over their "own work of art." They say that the highest courts's final disposition is not final because they can be overturned once more by another set of division. I also heard them criticize their own work because it's absurd, but then as the joke goes, if the supreme court errs, it becomes part of the law of the land.

Then why am I giving this essay a title which is 360 degrees away from these thoughts?

After years in trial practice, I came to understand that judges take the remedy of  "certiorari for grave abuse of discretion" personally. I thought that is not something personal because that is a written remedy under the rules despite the fact that they are grounded on "grave abuse of discretion." Now, I admire bull-headed practitioners who try to come all the way to the supreme court to test the waters for their legal theory because aside the hardwork they invested, they also go through the tiger eye of the judges.    

Did I mention hardwork? Yes, it is a hardwork to come all the way to the supreme court. Aside from the mental resources, the practitioner has to pass through the mtc-rtc-ca-sc pathway. Each way, one has to photocopy pleadings and exhibits/annexes from 12 to many more copies and they must be certified true photocopies. That's hardwork if we are talking about 200-page pleading plus annexes times let's say, at least 12 copies. Yes, the copies now are diminished because of the adoption of filing an accompanying softcopy.

But then, what we are reading in SCRA right now must have been a result of the old-school photocopies or worse, carbon copies days.

It is waiting like forever. While it sounds great to be so enthusiastic that once a practitioner is upheld by the highest court of the land, he is enriching the jurisprudence, this must be weighed as to the benefit a client gets in relation to the years to be spent waiting to be upheld. Yes, the route to the supreme court is not only heavy with papers but also lengthen with years of waiting. I admire the practitioners who persist. Sometimes, practicality on the part of client overtakes the need to be adjudged favorably by the supreme court.

Now, substance is not everything there is when trying to reach the supreme court. It is not named as it is -- supreme -- if it is that easy to access, I guess. Aside from the substance and brilliant untested legal theory, one has to make sure that the remedy is correct and that all of the formal requirement is observed too. I admire the practitioners who persist.

SCRA cases are not merely automatic reviews but they are also results of practitioner's hardwork, persistence and brilliance. Now I can read SCRA cases without pressures of recitation, quiz, or examination. Hence, I shall never read SCRA the same again. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

I read this book in 1992 when I was in college trying to break-free from home, seeking independence and understand the love-hate relationship with my parents. I know this book had taught me something important that changed the way I look at things although I could not define it now.

But what I can recall right now is that, after reading this book, I was a changed person. I learned to be responsible over my circumstances and was determined to influence other people around me with good values rather that be affected of the negativity in other people.

The book I read was a mere photocopy and just borrowed from a housemate, and now it is so amazing that there is a version for teens that came out as well as the 8th habit as sequel to this book.

I remember the book, and though I don't remember the exact contents, I dearly hold the memory of its influence. I know I was empowered by this book or by the realizations I had while reading this book. Whichever way, i know it led the way for me to forgive and take responsibility over becoming the person i want to be. Maybe I can't remember anymore because it became my habit to be a positive and "influential" person.

*** *** ***
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey. It has sold over 15 million copies in 38 languages since first publication, which was marked by the release of a 15th anniversary edition in 2004. Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls "true north" principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.

The Seven Habits

Each chapter is dedicated to one of the habits, which are represented by the following imperatives: The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e. self mastery)

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Synopsis: Taking initiative in life by realizing your decisions (and how they align with life's principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Taking responsibility for your choices and the subsequent consequences that follow.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Synopsis: Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

Habit 3: Put First Things First
Synopsis: Planning, prioritizing, and executing your week's tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluating if your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you towards goals, and enrich the roles and relationships elaborated in Habit 2.

The next three have to do with Interdependence (i.e. working with others)
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Synopsis: Genuinely striving for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Valuing and respecting people by understanding a "win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be understood
Synopsis: Using empathetic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.

Habit 6: Synergize
Synopsis: Combining the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. How to yield the most prolific performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.
The Last habit relates to self-rejuvenation;

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Synopsis: The balancing and renewal of your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable long-term effective lifestyle.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People
copyright to photo reverts to owner

Monday, February 10, 2014

From the desk of a poor-man's lawyer (Season 9)

Behind me is Bacolod City's New Government Center.


On my ninth year as a poor-man's lawyer, I fancy a scenario that the senate will call on me to testify in aid of legislation. Well, they often do that, don't they? So to prepare for the ocassion, I listed some important points that I believe I should throw at our senators when the time comes. If ever it won't come, I can gladly forward it at once to them.

1. Allotment for support from OFWs should be compulsory. Contracts with foreign employers should contain provision on sending the required allotment to the legal family and/or illegitimate children who have court order of support or even just a notarized agreement on support. POEA and OWWA should be given the enforcement roles on this aspect.

2. An accused in jail for more than 5 years should be given compensation regardless of the exceptions in the speedy trial law. This will alert the prosecution as to their roles in securing their witnesses and the supreme court in providing judges to courts needing them.

3. Resolving prosecutors should be different from trial prosecutors. The filing of the case with the prosecutor's office should not stop the running of the prescriptive period of the crime or offense so that the resolving prosecutors will have the duty to resolve them within a month rather than years. Imagine that a respondent in a case has to wait for two to four years for him to know whether a case against him is filed or not.

4. Legal processes in far flung areas should be managed by a legal process server attached with the nearest court of the area or a nearest post office inorder to ensure receipt by party litigants of their notices.

5. Each police precinct should have a lawyer. A lawyer can guide police officers in law enforcement and in proper procedural compliance in enforcing search warrants, warrant of arrest and even warrantless arrests as well as in taking judicial affidavits.

6. Mediation proceedings should not be limited to light offenses. It is high time to adopt some court-approved restorative justice system from light offenses to heinous ones. Sometimes, forgiveness and reconciliation are more powerful in restoring peace than a judgment based on available evidence.

7. Divorce law is needed. No need to file administration of property, judicial decration of presumptive deaths of spouses, legal separation, declation of nullity based on article 36 of the Family Code and narrate therein all of the unfair statements that can be attributed to another spouse. The world has divorce laws and Filipinos need to go through expensive local court procedure to be able to be freed from the marriage contract already nullified by the country of his/her foreign or foreign-naturalized spouse.

8. Alcoholic drinks should be taxed more. I bet that if a survey is done, 85% of criminal cases consisting of Rape, Murder, homicide, physical injuries, malicious mischief, alarms and scandals in our courts are results of after-having-too-much alcohol. Come to think of this: less alcohol consumption will result to less crimes which will lessen criminal lawyers, less alcohol will lessen alcohol-related diseases and a healthy workforce means healthy economy.

9. Judicial affidavits should be mandatory for all prosecution witnesses regardless of gravity of crime or offense. This is consistent with the right of the accused to be informed of the accusation and evidence against him. It can remain optional for the accused.

10. Our jail system should be geared towards education, skills and productivity and restorative justice.

*After reading it now, I realized that there are suggestions that should go to the Supreme Court rather that our legislators! LOL  my apologies. 2/11/15

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Legend of Isla Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo*

The Legend of Isla Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo*

In a place called Punta Bulakawe in the town of Carles,
there was a childless couple who endlessly asked for a child.
They were blessed with a son who grew up too fast.
Too fast he grew that he can no longer enter thier house when he was one
and all men were only as tall as his knees.
The giant child grew up and spent his adolescence in a mountain
known as the Beheya Hill.
Everytime this giant walked, the surroundings shook.
Each of his step meant earthquake for everyone.
This made everyone fear him.
Because of his steps, he was called Higante Tay-og --
literally means Giant Quake.

Higante Tay-og decided to remain in Beheya Hill
which he could access by two or three steps only.
To entertain himself, he learned to smoke cigars.
Each time he exhale smoke from his cigar, the surroundings dim.
When he accidentally inhaled the smoke, he coughed;
the folks feared it like thunder that shook the surroundings.
This caused everyone to fear for upcoming calamities.
Higante Tay-og got no human friends and made friends with wild animals.

One day, a boat docked at the foot of his home.
He spied and saw that inside the boat were an old woman and a beautiful lady.
The lady has a long hair and a slender body.
And judging from her dress, she came from an unknown foreign land.
From what he heard, she was named Prinsesa Maganda
which literally means Princess Beautiful,
and the old woman was her grandmother.
They stayed in a shanty left by a folk when Higante Tay-og lived in the hill.

When the giant first saw the lady, he felt something beautifully strange towards her.
The next day, he caught fishes and left them in front of the shanty.
He did this everyday and sometimes, he left raised animals too.
He did this until the grandmother and Prinsesa Maganda learned of his kindness.
The townfolks were at awe when they learned that Higante Tay-og
and Prinsesa Maganda became sweethearts.
They were set to be married on full moon.

Higante Tay-og was very busy preparing for his wedding.
He gathered Burot, a plant found in the forest.
He also gathered kalabasa or squash, gabi, kabugaw or pomelo, suha or calamansi, canya and tubo or sugarcane.
He prepared the Tulunan-an, a giant claypot, of his mother.
He also gathered cogon and anahaw to be used to build their house
and kept them in a nigo, a native round and flat container.
He also prepared a Binangon or a bolo and looked for a pair of giant shoes
and a little pair for the princess.
He gathered these all on top of the Beheya Hill.

On the day before their wedding, a sailboat carrying pirates came.
At this time, Higante Tay-og was still busy preparing for his wedding,
When the pirates docked, they went to the shanty and grabbed the princess away.
The townfolks stopped the pirates with their bamboo poles and bows
as well as sharp branches and rocks inorder to rescue the princess but to no success.
In this chaos, Higante Tay-og came.
When one pirate sensed that they were in danger,
he planted an arrow in the heart of the lady.
The heavens grieved because of the death of the princess.
The giant overturned the sailboat and looked for the princess but it was too late.
The giant grieved and cried and cried.
His cry was like thunder and his tears were like falling rains.
He slowly brought the body of the princess to his home.

With his brewing anger, he picked up the wedding gifts and threw them one by one to the seas.
He grabbed the small shoe first and threw it on the left
and this became the island of Sapatos Diutay, literally means small shoe.
Next, he grabbed the giant shoe and threw it beside the small shoe
and this became the island of Sapatos Daku, literally means big shoe.
He grabbed the bunch of cogon and he forcefully threw it away
so that it landed so far and this was later known as the island of Sicogon.

He grabbed the giant claypot filled with burot, kabugaw, kalabasa and gabi,
and farway, he threw them away so that the contents later became the island of Naburot,
Island of Kabugaw, Isla de Kalabasa and the claypot as Island of Tulunan-an.
The giant looked for the nigo filled with the leaves of anahaw and canya
which he threw upwards when he saw them so that they emerged
as Island of Manigo-nigo just near Punta Bulakawe and the leaves became Island of Island of Cana.
When he had nothing more to grab, the giant kissed the lady and let her float to the skies.
Because he could not accept what happened, the giant drew the binangon on his waist
and he hacked himself into two and when he lost grip of the binangon,
it bacame the Island of Balbagon.
The giant's halved body fell down just near each other
and they were later known as Higante Norte and Higante Sur.
After a long time, the body of the princess floating in the skies fell down
and landed on the head of Higante Norte and became the Island of Higantuna.
And then, the sailboat of the pirates was brought to Higante Sur and became the live rocks.
Because the live rocks take the shape of a ship, it was called by the folks as "Bapor-bapor"
or literally "ship-like." And they say that in these live rocks, there can be found a mysterious cave filled with haunting stories.

*Told in verse by Gerlie M. Uy
Based on a history of the island of Carles
courtesy of HRMO and Christie Ann Gelvezon
of LGU, Carles, Iloilo

*Photo by Roderick Espinosa of PALI

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Appalling, amusing, interesting "World's Greatest Trial"

Not that I really expected to take this small book seriously from first read up to last, I was just so amused as well as too embarrassed to know more about how lawyers behaved or displayed their strategy in court hearings in the past and to feel ridiculous to discover that in the history of lawyering, someone has to defend a sow and a mouse among others! This and more serious stories from this little big book of trials!