Wake Up, Philippines!

Lump sum only for living WWII vets

Posted in Veterans Affairs by Erineus on February 17, 2009

Veronica Uy

MANILA, Philippines — Only living Filipino World War II veterans will receive the lump sum payments from the United States, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs section of the American embassy said Tuesday.

“The bill has not yet been signed into law. All we know is that only live Filipino veterans who served in World War II or who have military service are entitled to [the payments], not their surviving spouse. That is our instruction from the central office,” veterans’ representative Kristine Parayno said in a phone interview with INQUIRER.net.

Parayno said their office has not yet received the list of those who can avail of the payments of the procedures for filing claims.

The US Congress passed on Friday President Barack Obama’s $787-billion stimulus package, which included a $198-million allocation for the Filipino veterans.

The bill, which is scheduled to be signed Tuesday in Denver, would grant $9,000 to Filipino veterans living outside the US and $15,000 to those living there.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, from the 250,000 Filipino veterans who were originally listed as qualified to receive benefits from the US government, the number has gone down to between 18,000 and 20,000; some 13,000 are estimated to be living in the Philippines.

Parayno said their office has temporarily suspended the appointment system, which was installed January this year to schedule appointments at the US embassy’s veteran’s office, and now allows walk-in inquiries..

“We have been receiving a lot of inquiries since we resumed office today,” she said, noting that it was President’s Day yesterday and a holiday.


Arroyo signs cooperative law

Posted in CDA, Cooperatives by Erineus on February 17, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law on Tuesday Republic Act 9520 or the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008 which will strengthen the cooperative system in the country.

The new law amends Republic Act 6938 or the Cooperative Code of 1990.

Among those present during the signing at Malacañang’s Rizal Hall were the sponsors of the measure, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and Congressman Ernesto Pablo, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Speaker Prospero Nograles, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes.

“The new cooperative legislation gives cooperatives greater opportunities to serve their members, not only in terms of financial assistance, but also in undertaking more productive activities geared towards the upliftment of their members,” the Palace said in a statement.

“The new cooperative code outlines in greater detail the requirements in professionalizing the management and operation of cooperatives, while providing a monitoring and evaluation tool for the cooperatives to conduct self-assessments in terms of its managerial, financial, and social objectives,” it said.

Amendments to the cooperative code were sponsored by the late COOP-NATCCO Representative Guillermo Cua.

Among the most significant changes in the new code is the section allowing the conversion of Credit Cooperatives into Financial Service Cooperatives.

“When members of a credit cooperative deposit their money and their pool gets bigger, they will naturally want more sophisticated services. With this amendment, credit cooperatives can evolve into a Financial Service Cooperative,” Congressman Jose Ping-ay, newly appointed COOP-NATCCO representative who replaced Cua, said in a statement.

A Credit Cooperative is a financial organization owned and operated by its members that creates a pool of savings from which loans for productive and provident purposes are drawn – all for the benefit of members.

A Financial Service Cooperative is an outgrowth of credit cooperatives, and is defined in the Code as a “financial organization owned and operated by its members and authorized to provide the same services as credit cooperatives plus other financial services subject to regulation by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).”

This means that Financial Service Cooperatives will be providing more than just savings and loans services, which cooperatives have been known to offer.

The Code does not list down the particular services Financial Services Cooperatives can provide although the minimum capital requirements prescribed in the General Banking Act will determine what services a Financial Services Cooperative can offer.

Depending on the capitalization, a Financial Services Cooperative can provide services like opening current or checking accounts, act as depositary of municipal, city or provincial funds where the cooperative is located, act as collection agent for government entities like the Social Security System (SSS) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), or even buying or selling foreign exchange.

The Code also stipulates that if a credit cooperative decides to “exercise enhanced functions,” it must first notify the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and the BSP and “satisfy the requirements for conversion to Financial Service Cooperative.” The CDA and BSP will soon be issuing rules governing the conversion.

Cua, along with Representatives Rozzano Biazon, Nicanor Briones, Ma. Isabelle Climaco, Eufrocino Codilla, Mauricio Domogan, Eduardo Gullas, Ernesto Pablo, Candido Pancrudo, Rufus Rodriguez, Judy Syjuco, Edgar Valdez, and Eduardo Zialcita, introduced the bill in the Lower House, which passed the measure on Oct. 8, 2008.

The Senate version of the bill was approved on Aug. 12, 2008, with Zubiri, chairman of the Senate committee on cooperatives, presenting the legislation to the plenary. Originally posted at 10:30 am

Source: Inquirer
February 17, 2009 2:27 PM

No cuffs for suspects

Posted in Criminal System by Erineus on February 17, 2009

(Editor’s note: In RP stealing P30,000 can land the thief in jail for many years but diverting P728M to P10B plus is still okay as noted by the author.)

LAW enforcers in RP, according to my cousins in New York and Chicago, are too “friendly”, even kind to suspects, too patient waiting at hospital lobbies, or perhaps too quick to accept favors like dining and eating first before completing and executing the process called warrant of arrest.

Governor in cuffs

My sister in Chicago saw federal agents on TV towing a meek Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois to jail, in cuffs. Rod was booted out of office by the state Senate (37 Democrats and 22 Republicans) voting 59 – 0. He was also stripped of all political rights, like running for any public office or accepting public appointment in all of the US.


And Rod’s fault: Trying his best to sell Obama’s senatorial chair to the highest bidder after it was vacated “noon” of January 20, 2009. The “auction sale” was recorded on CD by the FBI who played the whole proceedings to the Senate of Illinois.

Sooner or later long vacation in jail

The governor’s problem is far from over. He faces a litany of criminal charges that can fetch prison terms of more than 15 years, soon. He was Mr. Illinois who may want to run for president one day after Obama and Abe Lincoln.

Shy Martha

Martha Stewart, the nation’s popular TV anchor, fashion and fine-living guru in the US, owner of a string of business firms, was arrested for a minor offense of insider trading. She was handcuffed by federal agents (like our NBI) but peacefully accepted national humiliation in jail to await trial. She was convicted in a matter of days and sentenced to serve a few months in prison. She did not fight back. After the jail term she resumed doing business and gained respectability all over again.

It’s different here

It’s different in our culture of big/petty graft in offices high and low, of common-place bribery, of vote-buyers bragging about basement bargains per voter reporting minutes before closing of polls, of politicians training and telling wives, parents, in-laws, children, grandchildren, etc. to embrace politics as sacred but highly profitable.

Giving all 91.8M of us nothing to be proud of and many things to be ashamed of.

Shower first

Like escorting Bolante, deported from the US, from the NAIA to St. Luke’s to take a bath first before ordering his army of doctors, good and shy, to take his BP (slightly up), pin ECG terminals to his body, and give him a bouquet of stethoscope and all “tools to hear his heartbeat, lungs, stomach, etc.

Long wait

Or waiting at the gate of Paule and asking his legion of doctors if it’s okay for them to move in and lift Paule’s stretcher all the way to Pasay’s city jail, called “mabaho, marumi at mainit” by his lawyers.

And listening to Delos Angeles lecturing to senators, BSP, SEC and all RP’s high officials in all offices that “regulate and protect” depositors’ investment in water and air who meekly spread deposits not to exceed R250,000 each as ordered so that insurance can give a 100 percent refund – a computation long studied by con men and swindlers who don’t dress or look like thieves in the strictest sense of the word.

Thanks for everything

But thanks to the PNP for showing Lozada all the sceneries in Laguna and Cavite, both fearful and fancy, before asking him to sign “voluntarily” a piece of paper that everything was well and good when he was met at NAIA after his Hong Kong “religious and business retreat.”

Poor forger

Lastly, it turns out that falsifying GSIS checks of less than R30,000 can give the employee/forger a stay of 15 years plus in jail.

But stealing R728 M tax money and more than R10 B of investors’ hard-earned savings may or may not result in a month’s bed/board in jail. Amen! (Comments are welcome at roming@pefianco.com)

By Atty. Romeo V. Pefianco
Opinion and Editorial
Manila Bulletin

More farmers go for Bt corn

Posted in Agriculture, BT Crops, DA by Erineus on February 17, 2009

DON’T look now, but more and more farmers are planting Bt corn, the GMO or genetically modified corn variety that many anti-biotech people had been condemning. Last year, at least 200,000 small corn farmers planted and made money from Bt corn, planting some 350,000 hectares.

The fast increasing popularity of Bt corn with local farmers could be easily gauged by the fact that in 2005, only 10,000 hectares were planted to this transgenic crop. Last year, the figure increased 35 times.

One avid grower of Bt corn is a widow, 54-year-old Lydia Lapastora of Brgy. Yeban Norte, Benito Soliven, Isabela. She has been planting Bt corn since 2005 when the same was first allowed to be commercially grown in the country. Despite the admonition of the priest in her hometown, she planted Bt corn and is really glad she did.

Last year, Lydia planted Bt corn on 10 hectares and harvested an average of 6.4 tons per hectare. That’s almost double the average of 3.57 tons per hectare harvested by corn farmers nationwide. On the average, she realized an additional net profit of P11,000 per hectare as a result of planting Bt corn. Since she planted two times on the same area last year, she really made a significant income from this GMO

The Bt corn, by the way, is more profitable to grow because it does not require any chemical spraying against the very destructive corn earworm that damages a lot of corn crops. This resists corn attack because the gene of Bacillus thuringensis, a natural enemy of corn earworm has been incorporated in the transgenic corn. Chemical pesticides are not only expensive, they also poison the environment. That is why Bt corn is actually considered environmentally friendly.

Corn is the only genetically modified crop that is being commercially grown in the Philippines. In other countries like the United States, Brazil, China and India, millions of hectares are now planted to transgenic soybean, cotton, corn and a few other crops. Work is under way, however, on the development of transgenic papaya and eggplant. The potentials of transgenic crops are really great but adequate research and development funds are badly needed. So are the right policies of the government.

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FREE-RANGE CHICKEN SEMINAR IN DAVAO. There will be a seminar on raising Sunshine free-range chicken on Feb. 19, at 3 p.m. at the Grand Regal Hotel in Davao City. It will be conducted by Dr. Rey Itchon of Solraya Enterprises. Sunshine chicken is a fast-growing breed from France which grows fast and tastes like the native chicken. Email: info@solraya.com

Zac B. Sarian
Manila Bulletin

Gomburza Martyrdom Anniversary February 17, 1872

Posted in Heroism/Martyrdom, History by Erineus on February 17, 2009

“WITHOUT 1872,” Dr. Jose P. Rizal wrote his friend Don Mariano Ponce, “there would not be now a Sanciangco, Plaridel, Lopez Jaena… Without 1872, Rizal would now be a Jesuit and, instead of writing the Noli Me Tangere, would have written the opposite.”

To highlight further the impact of the Cavite Mutiny and the execution of Fathers Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora, Dr. Rizal dedicated his novel El Filibusterismo to the memory of the three priests, thus: “The Church, in refusing to degrade you, has placed in doubt the crime imputed to you; the Government, in shrouding your cause with mystery and obscurities, creates belief in some error committed in critical moments; and the whole Philippines, in venerating your memory and calling you martyrs, in no way acknowledges your guilt… May your blood be upon the hands of those who, without sufficient proof, assail your memory.”

Many vital details about the martyrdom of Fathers Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora remain hidden to most Filipinos. Foremost of these details is the extraordinary courage of the three martyrs in combatting theocracy in colonial Philippines. When the friars put up in 1868 the newspaper La Verdad and printed article after article vilifying the natives of the Philippines, Father Burgos put up the newspaper El Eco Filipino. Father Gomez kept the funds for the newspaper, while Father Zamora solicited contributions for its support. El Eco Filipino fought for the rights and honor of the Filipino people.

When Don Carlos Maria de la Torre became the governor-general of the Philippines in 1869, Father Burgos and several liberal Spaniards and Filipinos honored De la Torre with a serenade and dinner at the latter’s official residence in Intramuros. In turn, De la Torre publicly praised Father Burgos, declaring: “Hail! Father Burgos, Pride and Honor of the Philippines.” The friars seethed with anger against all these happenings.

Implicated in the January 19-20, 1872, Cavite Mutiny and condemned to die by the garrote, the three priests were confined at Fort Santiago. There were attempts to save them. On the eve of the execution, Srta. Clarita Rubio de Celis recruited 60 men to carry out a suicidal mission – attack all colonial posts in Intramuros and spirit away the three priests. They were blocked by several native priests who feared a general backlash against the native population.

Asked to whom they would like to make a confession, Father Gomez replied: “To any of our most vociferous enemy so that they should know the purity of our conscience.” Going up the scaffold, Father Gomez saw Major Boscasa, the prosecutor who condemned them to death, and said: “May God forgive you the way we have forgiven you.” A friar replied: “Forgive them, Father Gomez, for they do not know what they did.” Father Gomez turned to the friar and said: “Why should we forgive them if they did nothing wrong against us?”

Even colonial historians concluded that the execution of Fathers Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora was a blunder on the part of colonial government. The Cavite Mutiny of 1872 nourished Filipino nationalism.1872 produced 1896 which, in turn, produced June 12, 1898.

Our observance of the anniversary of Fathers Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora’s martyrdom will make our youth aware that the freedom they enjoy today was nourished by the blood and sacrifices of their forefathers.

Opinion and Editorial
Manila Bulletin

No probative value

Posted in Laws, Supreme Court Decisions by Erineus on February 17, 2009

The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. This is the rule applied in this case of Zeny.

Sometime in 1987, Zeny signed a marketing agreement with a company engaged in the manufacture and export of furniture and such other related products (MII). The agreement stipulates: (1) that MII grants Zeny the non-exclusive right to identify, solicit, find or introduce for negotiation prospective local and foreign buyers, customers or dealers for the products of MII; and (2) that for her services MII agrees to pay her 10% of the face value of the invoice price, covering letter of credit, or such similar instrument representing the actual purchase price for the product sold or shipped by MII.

During the effectivity of the marketing agreement, Zeny was able to solicit the interior construction projects for the renovation/improvements of the various rooms, pavilions, lobby and restaurants of three 5-star hotels in Metro Manila. When Zeny requested full payment of her commissions for those projects, MII did not heed her demands. MII claimed that the said projects were construction contracts while their marketing agreement spoke only of the sale of its wood products.

Thus Zeny was forced to file a complaint in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for the collection of her commission in the amount of P254,089. 52. Zeny insisted that the said interior construction projects of the three hotels fell within the scope of their marketing agreement as said projects afforded MII the opportunity to sell and supply its products to the project owners to implement the overall interior design.

After trial, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of Zeny. It interpreted the marketing agreement as to include construction contracts and allowed Zeny to claim her 10% commission on said projects. The RTC said that MII’s contemporaneous and subsequent acts of making partial payments of the commission as evidenced by various vouchers (Exh. K-2 to K-7) shows the intention of the parties to include said projects as part of the agreement. Exhibits K-2 to K-7 were marked as exhibits during the testimony of a defense witness but were never offered in evidence by any of the parties. Was the RTC correct?

No. The plain import and the text of the marketing agreement show that the construction projects solicited by Zeny were outside its coverage. As mandated by Article 1370 of the Civil Code, if the terms of the contract are clear and leave no doubt on the parties’ intention, the literal meaning of its stipulations shall control. Moreover, the parole evidence rule under Section 9, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court forbids any addition to or contradiction of the terms of a written instrument by testimony or other evidence purporting to show that, at or before the execution of the written agreement, different terms were agreed upon by the parties varying the meaning of the written contract.

Thus the RTC committed an error in still interpreting the marketing agreement as to include the construction projects; much more so when it based its interpretation solely on Exhibits K-2 to K-7 which were allegedly contemporaneous acts of MII of paying in part Zeny’s commission. These exhibits were only marked as such during the testimony of a defense witness but not offered in evidence. Under Section 34 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, said exhibits have no evidentiary value because they were not formally offered in evidence. Evidence must be offered because the court rests its findings of fact and its judgment only and strictly on the evidence offered by the parties. Unless and until admitted by the court in evidence for the purpose or purposes they are offered, the same are merely scraps of paper barren of probative weight. Mere identification of the documents and the markings thereof as exhibits do not confer any evidentiary weight on the documents unless formally offered (Heirs of Zamora vs. Multiwood International Inc. G.R. 146428, January 19, 2009).

Note: Books containing compilation of my articles on Labor Law and Criminal Law (Vols. I and II) are now available. Call tel. 7249445.

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E-mail at: jcson@pldtdsl.net
View previous articles of this column.

A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away)
By Jose C. Sison

Updated February 17, 2009 12:00 AM

Zero Tolerance

Posted in Governance, Government, Graft and Corruption, Social Issues/Concerns by Erineus on February 17, 2009

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The right noises are being made. Now if only there could be leadership by example. The administration that has been hounded by the worst corruption scandals since the Marcos regime has just launched a moral renewal program, advocating “zero tolerance” for corruption.

In Administrative Order 255 dated Jan. 30, President Arroyo ordered all Cabinet officials and agency heads to implement the moral renewal program with the participation of religious and civic groups. Moral renewal, the order explained, “refers to values formation and ethical behavior for government officers and employees.” The President also referred to Filipino values embodied in the Constitution that must be strengthened, among them respect for the law, justice, truth, freedom, equality, peace and faith in God.

Against the backdrop of events in the past eight years, anyone reading the administrative order will wince. The Cabinet members and agency heads with the longest staying power in this administration are those who have been implicated in corruption scandals, those who signed anomalous deals or who know how to invoke executive privilege to suppress information about official wrongdoing.

The administrative order might have some use in slapping sanctions on the small fry who are foolish enough to think that, like the big fish, they can get away with graft. The government needs to trot out statistics in its efforts to fight corruption, and who cares if only the anchovy gets caught while the whale gets away?

AO 255 can have some use in the bottom rungs of the bureaucracy where fixers and penny-ante extortionists operate. This administrative order will be added to the list of measures undertaken by the government to address corruption. Who knows, it might help persuade Washington that Manila is sincere in its efforts to fight corruption and the Philippines therefore qualifies for bigger aid from the Millennium Challenge Corp.

The Department of Finance received the World Bank report on bidding anomalies in a WB-funded road project. What was the government’s response? It sat on the report for a year. Where is the zero tolerance for corruption? Considering the fate of people like Rodolfo Lozada Jr., this administration has zero tolerance only for those who blow the whistle on corrupt acts.

Philippine Star
Updated February 17, 2009 12:00 AM