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Comment is free, but facts are sacred. - C.P. Scott



Updated: 2017-12-14T15:39:44.095+08:00

 



On nothing

2010-06-26T16:17:42.964+08:00

Its not easy going back to writing a piece, specially after a life changing event. This will be my first one to do so after quite a while. For three months, I remained almost an oblivion to many. I avoided social events, even meeting with friends and just remained in my quiet world. Writing even a short email for work seemed to be struggle.

Lately though there has been a personal urge on my part to begin writing again my thoughts.

But what do I write about? Not another piece on the law. Done that. Heck, i did a full thesis on the law and was eventually conferred honors for that a few months ago.

So what do I write about ? Lately, I have been preoccupied writing short poetry for my treasures in life. Poetry that is not meant to be shared, lest I be subjected to unknown critics' unsavory remarks. Its meant only for my treasures' eyes only.

I have no pretensions of having the facility or the lyrical adepth to writing. I write only because I want to. But still that doesn't answer the question I posed earlier.

This question festered me a week ago while I was on my way to the mountains of the north.

A week ago, I was back in my mountain after four years of just dreaming of her. There, I admired once more the beauty of my mountain, surrounded in bliss by the simplicity of life. In my mountain, a gentle breeze envelops your total being. There you can feel our God in all His wonder and might. There you can be one with our God and commune in silence with Him, where only the noise of total silence will bother you.

In my mountain, people live without the trimmings and so-called necessities in the concrete jungle. They live in sublime peace and blessedness, something we urban beasts will never fully know and understand.

I tried my best to breathe in every air I spent in my mountain. I filled my lungs to the brim, savoring every moment of it. But no voice came to me while I was there. There was only silence. Only the gentle hush of a mild wind breezing through will flowers and trees shatters the piece.

Now that I am back in the concrete jungle. Still the question fester me... what do I write about?

I know. Nothing.

Why not a piece on nothing. What is nothing. A total absence, uneventfull, insignificant.It is said to be the contrast of something and everything. So what is something and everything.

Does something and everything mean having something and having everything. Or, does it mean having nothing?

Something and everything? How do you measure something and everything. Does something mean having enough food, money or luxuries to lull your life? Does everything therefore mean having the means and power to get beyond something?

Paradoxically speaking, do you want to have nothing or have something or everything?
Easilly, anyone will either answer with the latter. But what does this bring us? Will it bring us peace? happiness? solitude? riches?

Answering it totally depends on our values and how we intend to use it. Having nothing may mean having no means, but being on the other hand in state of self-peace and happiness.



The morning after christmas

2009-01-05T13:33:45.939+08:00

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The Presidential Commission on Good Government: A critical review

2008-10-21T08:10:47.086+08:00

I.IntroductionThe Philippines’ criminal justice system has five pillars namely, law enforcement; prosecution, courts, correctional system, and the community. The High Court in the case of People vs. Briones noted that, “Our commitment to the criminal justice system is not only to convict and punish violators of our laws. We are equally committed to the ideal that the process of detection, apprehension, conviction and incarceration of criminals should be accomplished with fairness, and without impinging on the dignity of the individual.”The PCGG is a component of two pillars of the criminal justice system in our jurisdiction. It belongs to both the investigation and prosecution pillar. Twenty years has passed since this agency was created and arguments on its relevance and continuing existence have hounded it ever since.II.Statement of the ProblemThe principal issues that this paper will attempt to resolve is whether or not the agency should really be allowed to continue its existence. Does this agency really serve its purpose in the ambit of our criminal justice system.III.ObjectivesIn resolving the issue presented, this term paper aims to achieve the following objectives:1. To present the relevant laws and jurisprudence of the PCGG;2. To discuss its achievements and accomplishments for the past twenty years; and3. To determine the value of its continuing existence within the Philippines’ criminal justice system.III.Discussion of the subject(A.) Relevant LawsThe PCGG is an offspring of a bloodless revolution. Created in 1986 by President Corazon Aquino through Executive Order no.1 s. 1986, its powers and authority include the following:(a.) To conduct investigation as may be necessary in order to accomplish and carry out the purposes of this order. (b) To sequester or place or cause to be placed under its control or possession any building or office wherein any ill-gotten wealth or properties may be found, and any records pertaining thereto, in order to prevent their destruction, concealment or disappearance which would frustrate or hamper the investigation or otherwise prevent the Commission from accomplishing its task.(c) To provisionally take over in the public interest or to prevent its disposal or dissipation, business enterprises and properties taken over by the government of the Marcos Administration or by entities or persons close to former President Marcos, until the transactions leading to such acquisition by the latter can be disposed of by the appropriate authorities. (d) To enjoin or restrain any actual or threatened commission of acts by any person or entity that may render moot and academic, or frustrate, or otherwise make ineffectual the efforts of the Commission to carry out its tasks under this order. (e) To administer oaths, and issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and/or the production of such books, papers, contracts, records, statement of accounts and other documents as may be material to the investigation conducted by the Commission.(f) To hold any person in direct or indirect contempt and impose the appropriate penalties, following the same procedures and penalties provided in the Rules of Court. (g) To seek and secure the assistance of any office, agency or instrumentality of the government. (h) To promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. Its powers were further expanded by Executive Order no. 2 s. 1986 with the authority to request and appeal to foreign governments to freeze and prevent the transfer, conveyance, encumbrance, concealment or liquidation of ill- gotten wealth or properties found within their respective jurisdictions pending the outcome or the appropriate proceedings in the Philippines, to wit:(1.) Freeze all assets and properties in the Philippines in which former President Marcos and/or his wife, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, their close relatives, subordinates, business associates, dummies, agents, or nominees have any inter[...]



Conscience and the Law

2008-07-31T13:30:18.178+08:00

CONSCIENCE AND THE LAW: CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION IN PERSPECTIVE -Guiller B. Asido-“Conscience doth make cowards of us all” William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene I IntroductionThis essay attempts to examine the interplay between the conscience and the law by focusing on conscientious objection. This will be a short discourse given the limitations of research materials available to this writer at this time. However, despite these limitations the writer shall endeavor not to sacrifice the substance of the discourse by presenting only concepts. This essay is divided into three parts. The first part shall discuss the relationship between the law and conscience, with a segment devoted to defining the terms of conscience and morality. The second part of this essay shall focus on conscientious objection – its concept, development, and comparative analysis in other jurisdictions. The third part shall discuss the recognition and application of this legal doctrine in Philippines’ jurisprudence and in other jurisdictions.I. Law and Conscience: A DiscussionThe Conscience and MoralityWhile there is no generally accepted definition of conscience, there are different approaches on how conscience should be defined to wit, religious, secular and the philosophical.In the religious view of the “conscience,” reference must be made to the Divine Command Theory and the works of St. Thomas Aquinas . Under the Divine Command Theory, what is in accordance with God’s command is moral, and what is contrary to that command is immoral. This seemingly straightforward answer in turn raises a famous question in the history of Western theology and moral philosophy. It was first asked by the ancient-Greek philosopher Plato. In his tale Euthyphro the character Socrates (who had also been a real-life philosopher and former tutor of Plato) asks: Is something moral because the gods command it, or do the gods command it because it is moral? This is referred to as the ‘Euthyphro dilemma’, because either interpretation apparently raises serious theological problems. The secular view of conscience, on the other hand refers to the psychological, humanitarian and authoritarian aspect. Law and Conscience In law, conscience is defined as the “moral sense; the faculty of judging the moral qualities of actions, or of discriminating between right and wrong; particularly applied to one’s perception and judgment of the moral qualities of his own conduct, but in a wider sense denoting a similar application of the standards of morality to the acts of others. The sense of right and wrong inherent in every person by virtue of his existence as a social entity; good conscience being a synonym of equity. In law, especially the moral rule which requires probity, justice, and honest dealing between man and man, as when we say that a bargain is “against conscience” or “unconscionable,” or that the price paid for property at a forced sale was so inadequate as to “shock the conscience.” The right to conscience is a recognized human right under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , which reads as:Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes the freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. This was reiterated in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which reads as:Article 18 1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching. 2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a rel[...]



Images of Saturday

2008-07-08T10:35:34.811+08:00

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Its been more than a year I believe that I spent time in a beach. Last saturday, after a week of stress in work I decided to leave everything behind and go with my family to Bataan.

There were no crowds in the beach where we went. No frills, just sand and waves.

Dinner at the beach al fresco was one of the best. It made me lose track of the time and made me think of a lot of options on how best to move forward with work and family.



sunday morning in taal lake

2008-06-29T18:46:12.177+08:00

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Philosopher-King

2008-06-27T09:17:00.339+08:00

Political Philosophy proper began with the Greeks. It may be true that that all succeeding political philosophy is a footnote to and commentary on Plato. [1]This view could perhaps to due to the fact that, as observed by Professor Paul Carteledge of the University of Cambridge:Much of our political terminology is Greek in etymology: aristocracy, democracy, monarchy, oligarchy, plutocracy, tyranny, to take just the obvious examples, besides politics itself and its derivatives…It is the ancient Greeks, though, who more typically function as our “ancestors in the political sphere, ideologically, mythologically and symbolically.”[2]No political writer or scholar can ignore the Republic. It is a book not only on politics but also on psychology, morality, and education.In his History of Western Philosophy (1945), Bertrand Russell sees three parts in Plato's Republic: [3]1. Book I-V: the Utopia part, portraying the ideal community, starting from an attempt to define justice;2. Book VI-VII: since philosophers are seen as the ideal rulers of such community, this part of the text concentrates on defining what a philosopher is;3. Book VIII-X: discusses several practical forms of government, their pros and cons.The Republic is also a critique of the accepted Athenian idea of all citizens participating and ruling in politics. To Plato, ruling was a distinct craft, to be exercised by trained rulers. The Republic was an ideal regime where there are distinctions drawn between the citizens of the state, not on the basis of their possession of material wealthy, but on what part of the soul was dominant in their character.Professor Michael Curtis wrote:“The three elements of the soul- apetitite, courage and reason- were related to class and to function in the state. If appetite or the satisfaction of physical desires dominated, the individual would be in the laboring class, if it was spirit or courage, he would be a warrior, if it was reason, or the faculty of possessing true knowledge, he would be a ruler. Constitutions were thus related to the character of a citizen body. The good state, like the good man, possessed the characteristics of temperance, courage, wisdom and justice.”[4]The Philosopher as king in Plato’s RepublicThe introduction of the idea of philosopher rulers is the greatest of all the revolutionary moments Plato has prepared for readers of the Republic[5], wrote University of Cambridge Professor Malcolm Schofield.Plato wrote:Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils, --nor the human race, as I believe, --and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day. Such was the thought, my dear Glaucon, which I would fain have uttered if it had not seemed too extravagant; for to be convinced that in no other State can there be happiness private or public is indeed a hard thing.[6]And who are the philosophers, Plato defined them as:Very true, he said. Whereas he who has a taste for every sort of knowledge and who is curious to learn and is never satisfied, may be justly termed a philosopher? Am I not right? Glaucon said: If curiosity makes a philosopher, you will find many a strange being will have a title to the name. All the lovers of sights have a delight in learning, and must therefore be included. Musical amateurs, too, are a folk strangely out of place among philosophers, for they are the last persons in the world who would come to anything like a philosophical discussion, if they could help, while they run about at the Dionysiac festivals as if they had let out their ears to hear every chorus; whether the performance is in town or country --that makes no [...]



Independence Day 2008

2008-06-13T10:27:15.440+08:00

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Independence Day 2008 in Manila was marked with austere measures. The official reason given - the economic crisis demands that we observe the holiday with austere measures. I strongly disagree with this position.

It is a mockery of the sacrifices that our patriots have made in defense of freedom and independence. This action is consistent though with a "history absent minded" culture that we Filipinos have.

Pity our heroes....



For Joan

2008-05-02T15:39:06.302+08:00

On 4 May, Joan and I will be celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. It has been quite a journey. And I have never regretted any single day that I have spent with her.

Joan and I were classmates in law school. We started out as friends and had respective other relationships as well before we found each other. It was not a fairytale romance though and I have no pretensions that it was to be that way.

My only regret is that, how I wished I met her earlier in my life. We have been thru the best and worst of times. There were times before that we found ourselves without any cash on hand and wondered how will we cope with the bills. We have argued as well on almost every issue that confronted us and yet we remained steadfast in our love for each other.

Throughout the 14 years, we have learned to support and respect each other. There were times that I have become unreasonable and cranky, due to the stress of work. And yet she will always find a way to bring me back to reality and try to make me see that there is more to life than the four corners of my office.

Joan and I are quite opposites. She is more out going than me. And definitely she has more friends than me. She understands math and I don't. She can blend into any crowd, while I tend to be an introvert sometimes.

Our kids simply adore her and I think they believe her more than me (?) as I tend to be tough on them as well at any hint of noise or childishness.

I look forward to celebrating not only fourteen (14) more years with Joan but more than a lifetime, as I always say to her. She holds forever the keys to my heart.

I was looking at some old letters I wrote to Joan and I saw a letter that I wrote to her in 1999. In that letter, I quoted Bob Garon. Mr. Garon wrote : " The most dangerous attitute, lovers can have is to believe that, we have made it to the top of the mountain, now the rest will be easy. The truth is that there are many more mountains to climb. many of them far more difficult than anything the couple has experienced up to now."

Jo, I look forward to our continuing journey. With you at my side, I shall not waiver nor fall. You are my strength, my life and soul. Happy anniversary !!



Auden's Poem

2008-05-02T14:23:49.301+08:00

As I Walked Out One Evening

by W. H. Auden

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.
And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
'Love has no ending.
'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,
'I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.
'The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'
But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.
'In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.
'In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.
'Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.
'O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.
'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.
'Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.
'O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.
'O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.'
It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.



Contextual Determination of the State of Democracy in the Philippines

2008-01-14T10:04:29.537+08:00

“Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”- Winston S. Churchill-I.INTRODUCTIONYale University Scholar Robert Dahl identified six (6) major institutional ingredients that would give rise to what he calls “full democracy[1],” to wit:· Elected officials – Control over government decisions about policy is constitutionally vested in officials elected by citizens.· Thus, modern large scale- democratic governments are representative.· Free, fair and frequent elections – Elected officials are chosen in frequent and fairly conducted elections in which coercion is comparatively uncommon.· Freedom of expression – Citizens have a right to express themselves without danger of severe punishment on political matters broadly defined, including criticism of officials, the government, the regime, the socioeconomic order, and the prevailing idealogy.· Access to alternative sources of information – Citizens have a right to seek out alternative and independent sources of information from other citizens, experts, newspapers, magazines, books, telecommunications, and the like. Moreover, alternative sources of information actually exist that are not under the control of the government or any other single political group attempting to influence public political beliefs and attitudes, and these alternative sources are effectively protected by law.· Associate autonomy – To achieve their various rights, including those required for the effective operation of democratic political institutions, citizens also have a right to form relatively independent associations or organizations, including independent political parties and interest groups.· Inclusive citizenship – These include the right to vote in the election of officials in free and fairer elections; to run for elective office; to free expression; to form and participate in independent political organizations; to have access to independent sources of information; and the rights to other liberties and opportunities that may be necessary to the effective operation of the political institutions of large scale democracy.These are what Dahl also calls, the “minimum requirements for a democratic country.Aside from these minimum requirement, Wood also identifies other essential conditions favorable to the development of democracy. These essential conditions, Wood writes are those without which democracy cannot survive. These essential conditions include the following:· Civilian control of the military and police· Democratic political culture· Absence of intervention by foreign powersII.THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ON DEMOCRACYAre constitutions important to a country’s democracy?Dahl believes that constitutions matter to a country’s democracy in many ways. A constitution he says can provide the following:· Stability to political institutions· Protect fundamental rights· Maintain neutrality among citizens· Hold political leaders accountable for their decisions· Fair representation· Informed consensus on laws and policies· Effective Government· Competent decisions· Transparency and accountability· Resiliency· LegitimacyDoes the Philippine constitution provide these? Are the six (6) so-called institutional ingredients of and three (3) essential conditions of democracy present in the Philippine constitution?a.) A historical framework of the Philippine Constitution.The Philippine Constitution has been rewritten seven times starting from the Biak-na-Bato Constitution to the 1987 Constitution. The political evolution and every significant event in the Phil[...]



Regional Integration and Sovereignty

2007-12-09T06:50:00.813+08:00

“We gather here today with high hopes and aspirations. There is much work to be done, and the road ahead will not be easy."- Chairman of 13th Asean Summit and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong-I. International Integration.There is no clear cut standard on how to define the concept of international intergration – does it refer to a process or an end product. Finn Laursen in his paper “Comparing Regional Integration Schemes: International Regimes or Would- be Politics,”[1] wrote:Karl Deutsch, for instance, defined integration as “the attainment, within a territory, of a ‘sense of community’ and of institutions and practices strong enough and widespread enough to assure, for a ‘long’ time, dependable expectations of ‘peaceful change’ among its population.” When a group of people or states have been integrated this way they constitute a “security community.” Amalgamation, on the other hand, was used by Deutsch and his collaborators to refer to “the formal merger of two or more previously independent units into a single larger unit, with some type of common government.” Early efforts to study regional integration mainly concentrated on the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) from 1951 and the European Economic Community (EEC) from 1957. In Ernst Haas's classical study of the ECSC, The Uniting of Europe, integration was defined as:… the process whereby political actors in several distinct national settings are persuaded to shift their loyalties, expectation and political activities to a new center whose institutions possess or demand jurisdiction over the pre-existing national states.In Leon Lindberg's study of the early EEC, The Political Dynamics of European Economic Integration, integration was defined without reference to an end point:... political integration is (1) the process whereby nations forgo the desire and ability to conduct foreign and key domestic policies independently of each other, seeking instead to make joint decisions or to delegate the decision-making process to new central organs; and (2) the process whereby political actors in several distinct settings are persuaded to shift their expectations and political activities to a new center.Either as a process or as an end product, Laursen further writes that, integration would require the establishment of a regime that would provide for the establishment of an international regime.[2] The most often used model for integration is that of the European Union. This political and economic integration however happened through a period of 60 years.Dr. Axel Berkofsky, Senior Policy Analyst of the European Policy Centre in his paper “Comparing EU and Asian Integration Processes: The EU as a role model for Asia”[3] wrote :Political integration and reconciliation in Europe began with European economic integration after centuries of war and conflict. Co-ordination of inner-European economic activity in key sectors such as coal and steel was the basis of Jean Monnet’s vision for a united and peaceful Europe and lead to the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The Treaty of Rome triggered the EU’s process of integration over the years and the free movement of goods has been extended from steel and coal to manufactured goods. Later on then, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was established as the EU’s market for agricultural products. The EU dealt with monetary affairs in the 1970s which lead to the establishment of the European Monetary System (EMS) in 1979. The EMS supported the stability of European currencies and was the forerunner of the euro, established in 1999. The literature suggests that one of the main factors that fostered European integration was the response of [...]



Ithaca

2007-11-17T23:22:16.815+08:00

by Konstantinos Kavafis (1911)
As you set out for Ithacahope your road is a long one,full of adventure, full of discovery.Laistrygonians, Cyclops,angry Poseidon - don't be afraid of them:you' ll never find things like that on your wayas long as you keep your thoughts raised high,as long as a rare excitementstirs your spirit and your body.Laistrygonians, Cyclops,wild Poseidon - you won't encounter themunless you bring them along inside your soul,unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.May there be many summer mornings when,with what pleasure, what joy,you enter harbours you're seeing for the first time;may you stop at Phoenician trading stationsto buy fine things,mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,sensual perfume of every kind -as many sensual perfumes as you can;and may you visit many Egyptian citiesto learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaca always in your mind.Arriving there is what you're destined for.But don't hurry the journey at all.Better if it lasts for years,so you're old by the time you reach the island,wealthy with all you've gained on the way,not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.

Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.Without her you wouldn't have set out.She has nothing left to give you now.And if you find her poor, Ithaca won't have fooled you.Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean



THE SLICK BEHIND RISING OIL PRICES

2007-11-08T12:43:54.318+08:00

To understand global oil prices, it is not enough to simply look at factors that affect supply and demand. It is more important to closely scrutinize the structure of the global petroleum industry to grasp the dynamics of the forces that influence prices.Historically, the global oil market has never enjoyed free competition. Since its birth in the late 1800s, the industry has been dominated by a few giant American and European corporations. In fact, US-based Exxon (now Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest oil company), once boasted that it was already a transnational corporation (TNC) 50 years before the term was invented.Aside from Exxon Mobil, the world’s top oil firms also include Royal Dutch Shell (Britain-Netherlands), British Petroleum (Britain), Total (France), Chevron Texaco (US), and Conoco Phillips (US). Based on Fortune magazine’s 2003 list of the biggest 500 corporations in the world, these oil giants have combined revenues of US$788 billion, profits of US$34 billion, assets of US$619 billion, and employ more than half a million workers.Just how powerful are they? Author Anthony Sampson, in his book the Seven Sisters, has offered the most graphic description: “Their supranational expertise is way beyond the ability of any government. Their incomes are greater than most countries where they operate. Their fleet of tankers has more tonnage than any navy. They own and administer whole cities in the desert. In dealing with oil, they are self-sufficient, invulnerable to the law of supply and demand and to the vagaries of the stock markets.”Such unimaginable wealth and power stem from the control that these TNCs have on all the aspects of their business. The six largest oil companies can produce more than 80 million barrels per day of crude and refine more than 112 million barrels per day of various petroleum products.Based on the estimates of the Washington-based nongovernment organization (NGO) Public Citizen, the major oil firms in the world (with the exception of Total) account for more than 14 percent of global crude oil production (pegged at 79.1 million barrels a day in 2003), which is nearly as much as the production of all Middle East members of the OPEC.Thus, while oil and energy ministers decide production adjustments during the meetings of the OPEC Conference these officials still act closely with the oil majors for the mutual benefit of OPEC member-countries and the oil companies.Oil companies’ strategic control of OPEC crude oil production is further strengthened by their domination in the downstream level of the global oil industry. The six oil majors own 186 of the 744 refineries in the world. As of 2003, they also account for 19 percent of global refining capacity of 112.4 million barrels a day and 16 percent of global sales of petroleum products of 79 million barrels a day.The intense domination and control of the oil majors in the upstream to the downstrearn levels of the oil industry make them invulnerable to the effects of supply and demand. Such position allows them to dictate the price with which they want to sell their products independent of OPEC’s decision to increase or reduce crude oil production.The competitive forces of supply and demand have never determined eversince the pricing of oil in world trade. According to Dr. Ibrahim Oweiss, writing in the 1970s, world oil prices have been actually “administered, controlled and manipulated” by international oil companies.Oweiss wrote: “In my view, those companies having owned most of the oil in the world through oil concessions pursued an oligopolistic policy to maximize their profits. By keeping the price of oil low, they paid less royalties as they were usually a percentage o[...]



THREE PERCENT

2007-10-25T09:25:34.400+08:00

Somebody in Hong Kong sent me an email inviting me to join an on-line group that would enable you to track down your travel around the globe. You would be basically asked to identify which countries in the different continents have you traveled to so far.

For the past year or so has seen me doing some traveling around the world. But when I answered the questionnaire, the on-line forum said that, I have only visited “three percent” of the world. A paltry amount don’t you think?

Three percent! That’s how I stand in today’s global economy. Does that matter?

To me who relishes the thought of doing business and attending meetings in various part of the world, that matters. So far, all my travels have been on business. There is only visit which I considered personal and that was in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong where I treated my family to a vacation.

In other countries I have visited, it was all for either work or for advancement of knowledge. My visit to the United States in 1994, a month after my marriage was to attend a workshop in Johns Hopkins University and to visit major sights such as the United Nations office in New York, the halls of Congress and the White House in Washington, D.C. My visit to Europe- London, Amsterdam, and Munich on the other hand were all for work.

My visit to Vietnam in September 2007 was in compliance on the other hand for my requirement in the Masters of Law degree program of the University, where I am currently enrolled in. While in Vietnam, I saw firsthand a socialist country that was proud of its history of struggle and war.

Doing work in a globalized setting is not an easy task. I have journeyed to Hong Kong just to attend an hour’s meeting, and come back to Manila a few hours therafter.

I have also traveled to Europe for a span of 5 days, 2 days of which were spent almost in the air.

If there is one secret I have learned to kick off the jet lag after a long haul flight and with a meeting to attend to in the next hours or so of your arrival is this – a really good hot shower after a flight.

This will ease the tension and freshen you as if nothing happened at all.

The next three percent ?

By next year, I shall be celebrating my 40th birthday. It’s a birthday that I have been anticipating for, as I intend to travel on that date with my family to a land I have long been yearning to visit – China.

China has always fascinated me. Its history is older than Europe, and its mystery has yet to be fully explored. On that day, I hope to be scaling the Great Walls and see for myself this wonder of the world.

Of course, that visit to China will not be the end of it. I also want to visit St.Petersburg in Russia, Switzerland, France, Italy and Greece.

Perhaps when I do get to retire from my work, I look forward to traveling with my family and explore Egypt, Turkey, Norway, Canada, Spain, Portugal and all other countries.


Munich, Germany
22-X-2007



Random Thoughts from Munich

2007-10-22T15:38:51.742+08:00

Its Sunday and this is my second day in Munich, capital of the ancient land of Bavaria and said to be Germany’s most loveable city. I have not been able to see most of the sights though, as snow fell today. It is negative 2 degrees.

Munich is said to offer such a rich combination of Germany’s fascinating history, culture and hospitality.

It is in Munich that one will find the Residence Museum, the residence seat of government of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings. It is one of the most important palace complex in Europe with over 130 rooms. It also houses the Treasury of the Wittelsbachs, founded in 1565 by Duke Albrecht V. The Treasury has collections of priceless enamel, rock crystal and ivory work, crowns and royal insignia and unique goldsmith.

In Munich, we can also find the Nypmphenburg Palace and the well-known Marstallmuseum. The history of the palace dates back to 1664.

Munich however also has secrets of its so-called dark past. It is the birthplace and headquarters of the Third Reich of Hitler. It is here where Hitler began his destiny with the so-called “beer-hall putsch.” It also served as the headquarters of the notorious Gestapo of the Fuehrer.

Munich like Berlin and Frankfurt also holds significance in Philippine history, as it was one of the places Jose Rizal visited and stayed in.

Jose Rizal was in Germany from 1886 to 1887. It was in Germany that he published his novel – Noli Me Tangere. In Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, Rizal wrote of German traditions, the thick forests, the romantic Rhine river and the numerous castles he had seen in the course of his trip. Rizal spoke and wrote in German fluently. During the course of his stay, he took shelter for one month with the family of a German Pastor.

While the snow has prevented me so far from visiting the rich history and site of Munich, this has not prevented me though from doing other things which I have long wanted to do, e.g., writing for my blog through this entry, listening to classical music and opera on radio, enjoying breakfast and a hot cup of coffee without the fancy trimmings of starbucks, and just reflecting on what life has offered me so far.

Finally, it gave me the opportunity to partake of a luxury which I have long neglected – sleep and just to let the hours move by without the noise of work bothering me.

How I wish my family were here with me though. With them here, it would have been perfect. They would surely enjoy the coldness of the air and most likely yearn for a visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle in the foothills of the Alps. The castle which was built by King Ludwig II is the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

I am certain though that soon they will be able to go with me in visiting this beautiful city. And when that time comes, I will make sure that they see what I have failed to see and not just the view from a window pane.

Till the next entry… its now 11.16 pm and 5.16 am in Manila. Time to catch up on the luxury……


Munich, Germany.
21. X. 2007



The Verdict on Joma

2007-09-14T08:16:19.125+08:00

Hereunder is a forwarded english translation of the Dutch Judge's decision in the case of Professor Jose Maria Sison:official english version of decision of release of Jose Ma. Sison LJN: BB3484, Rechtbank 's-Gravenhage, 09.750006-06 (english translation) Print uitspraak Datum uitspraak: 13-09-2007 Datum publicatie: 13-09-2007 Rechtsgebied: StrafSoort procedure: Eerste aanleg - meervoudigInhoudsindicatie: Termination of the accused's remand in custody. Theaccused was remanded in custody on the charges of participation of ,alternatively incitement to the intentional and premeditated murdersof R.K., A.G.T. and/or S.A.O. as well as the attempts to do so to R.M.and/or E.R. y M. The files do not provide a sufficient basis for thesuspicion that the accused, while staying in the Netherlands,committed the offences he is charged with in deliberate and closeco-operation with the perpetrators in the Philippines. Neither canindications be found for the presence of grave presumptions withregard to incitement to these offences.UitspraakDISTRICT COURT OF THE HAGUE CRIMINAL LAW SECTIONPublic Prosecutor's Office number: 09.750006-06On 7 September 2007, the Public Prosecutor submitted a demand aimingat an order to be issued for detention of:the accused] born in [place of birth] on [date of birth]currently held in the remand prison in The Hague (Unit 1).The Court has examined the documents in this case.On 7 September 2007, the accused and his counsel, as well as thePublic Prosecutor were heard in camera.The accused was remanded in custody on the charges of participationof, alternatively incitement to the intentional and premeditatedmurders of [R.K.] on 23 January 2003 (count 1), [A.G.T.] and/or[S.A.O.] on 26 September 2004 (count 3) as well as the attempts to doso of [R.M.] and/or [E.R. y M.] on 23 January 2003 (count 2).The Public Prosecution Service takes the point of view that prior to,and at the time of, the commission of these serious offences, theaccused was the chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines(CPP) and the Central Committee (CC), being a party body within theCPP, as well as that within the party structure, the CC takes thedecisions and that the accused, being the chairman of both the CPP andthe CC, for that reason may be held criminally responsible for theoffences.With regard to the question to be answered primarily, to wit if thereare grave presumptions as provided for in article 67, third paragraphof the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Court considers the following.It is certain that the acts concerned were committed in thePhilippines. In the opinion of the Court, it is clear from theinvestigation that the said acts related to disagreements within theCPP and that the decision to commit these offences was made within theparty structure of the CPP, in which other persons and bodies werealso involved. The question that will have to be answered is if, andif so, in what way, the accused was involved and may be considered asa co-perpetrator of these acts.In order to assume participation in the commission of acts within themeaning of article 47 of the Penal Code, there should be deliberateand close co-operation and a joint commission of the offence.The police files submitted to the court include many indications forthe point of view that the accused has been involved in the CC of theCPP and her military branch, the New People's Army (NPA). There arealso indications that the accused is still playing a leading role inthe (underground) activities of the CC, the CPP and the NPA.Without prejudice to the justified suspicion that the accused duringthe period described in the charges played a l[...]



A perspective on Freedom of Expression in the Philippines-Development and Challenges

2007-09-03T10:30:18.293+08:00

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.- Voltaire-A. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, ITS DEFINITION AND IMPORTANCEFreedom of expression occupies a preferred position in the hierarchy of rights. This right has largely been associated with the right to dissent and freedom of thought.In the dissenting opinion of Justice Cruz in the case of National Press Club vs. COMELEC[1], a definition of “freedom of expression” is offered, to wit:Milton defined freedom of speech as "the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties." In this context, the definition is understood to embrace all the other cognate rights involved in the communication of ideas falling under the more comprehensive concept of freedom of expression. These rights include the equally important freedom of the press, the right of assembly and petition, the right to information on matter of public concern, the freedom of religion insofar as it affects the right to proselytize and profess one's faith or lack of it, and the right to form associations as an instrument for the ventilation of views bearing on the public welfare.Wendell Philips offered his own reverence for freedom of expression when he called it "at once the instrument and the guaranty and the bright consummate flower of all liberty." Like Milton, he was according it an honored place in the hierarchy of fundamental liberties recognized in the Bill of Rights. And well they might, for this is truly the most cherished and vital of all individual liberties in the democratic milieu. It is no happenstance that it is this freedom that is first curtailed when the free society falls under a repressive regime, as demonstrated by the government take-over of the press, radio and television when martial law was declared in this country on that tragic day of September 21, 1972. The reason for this precaution is that freedom of expression is the sharpest and handiest weapon to blunt the edge of oppression. No less significantly, it may be wielded by every citizen in the land, be he peasant or poet — and, regrettably, including the demagogue and the dolt — who has the will and the heart to use it.As an individual particle of sovereignty, to use Justice Laurel's words, every citizen has a right to offer his opinion and suggestions in the discussion of the problems confronting the community or the nation. This is not only a right but a duty. From the mass of various and disparate ideas proposed, the people can, in their collective wisdom and after full deliberation, choose what they may consider the best remedies to the difficulties they face. These may not turn out to be the best solutions, as we have learned often enough from past bitter experience. But the scope alone of the options, let alone the latitude with which they are considered, can insure a far better choice than that made by the heedless dictator in the narrow confines of his mind and the loneliness of his pinnacle of power.The citizen can articulate his views, for whatever they may be worth, through the many methods by which ideas are communicated from mind to mind. Thus, he may speak or write or sing or dance, for all these are forms of expression protected by the Constitution. So is silence, which "persuades when speaking fails." Symbolisms can also signify meanings without words, like the open hand of friendship or the clenched fist of defiance or the red flag of belligerence. The individual can convey his message in a poem or a novel or a tract or in a public speech or through a moving picture or a stage play. [...]



The Commission on Appointments - What it should be

2007-07-26T12:42:25.464+08:00

The current debate in the Philippines' Senate on who is in the majority and minority will create complications on how the seats allocated for the Commission on Appointments and the Senate Electoral Tribunal should be apportioned. Should it be apportioned based on what the constitution requires or should it be on political compromises?Article VI, section 18, of the 1987 Constitution provides as follows:There shall be a Commission on Appointments consisting of the President of the Senate, as ex-officio Chairman, twelve senators and twelve members of the House of Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and parties or reorganizations registered under the party list system represented therein. The Chairman of the Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie. The Commission shall act on all appointments submitted to it within thirty session days of the Congress from their submission. The Commission shall rule by a majority vote of all the Members.This is a substantial reproduction of the corresponding section in the Commonwealth Constitution and reiterates the system of proportional representation of the parties sitting in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The additional rule is the requirement that, all appointments submitted to the Commission must be acted upon within thirty session days from their submission. Ad interim appointments not acted upon at the time of the adjournment of the Congress, even if the thirty days period has not yet expired are deemed bypassed under Article VII, Section 16. The function of the Commission on Appointments is to consent to or confirm nominations or appointments submitted to it by the President. The Commission is thus intended to serve as an administrative check on the appointing authority of the President. Like the composition of the Senate Electoral Tribunals, the structure of the Commission on Appointments departs from that of its counter part in the 1935 Constitution which gave preferential representation only to the two largest political parties represented in each House. The 1987 Constitution calls for proportional representation of all political parties and parties or organizations registered under the party list system. Although the Commission on Appointments is formed through the instrumentality of the two houses of Congress, the Commission itself, once formed is independent of Congress. The Supreme Court in the case of Cunanan vs. Tan ruled that:The Commission on Appointments is a creature of the Constitution. Although its membership is confined to members of Congress, the said commission is independent of Congress. The powers of the Commission do not come from Congress, but emanate directly from the Constitution. Hence, it is not an agent of Congress. In fact, the functions of the Commission are purely executive in nature.Since the composition of the Commission on Appointments is proportional to the size of the political parties and organizations in Congress, periodic reorganization may be necessary in order to reflect changes in the proportion within Congress. However, to justify reorganization, the changes in the political complexion of the House must be permanent and not temporary in nature. Citing further Cunanan vs. Tan, , the Supreme Court ruled that:In other words, a shifting of votes at a given time, even if due to arrangements of more or less temporary in nature….. does not suffice to authorize a reorganization of the membership of the Commission for said House. Otherwise, the Commission on A[...]



A perspective on liberty in the age of terror

2007-07-12T12:34:15.450+08:00

I.Liberty in the words of Justice StevensIn October 1991, then United States Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens delivered his keynote address in the University of Chicago Law School to celebrate the bicentennial of the Bill of Rights and the centennial of the University. Justice Stevens entitled his remarks “The Bill of Rights: A Century of Progress.”In his remarks, Justice Stevens not only gave us an intellectual discourse on the progressive development of the bill of rights in the United States, more importantly he discussed as well the continuing judicial interpretation of the idea of “liberty” in constitutional law. The Bill of Rights of the United States has had more than two centuries of development. A feat that would surely surprise the founding fathers of the American constitution, since their original intent was to have no bill of rights at all. It was not that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 were opposed to freedom of press, freedom of religion, and the rest. As George Washington later said in defending their monumental non-action, probably every one of them supported the principles later embodied in the first ten amendments to the Constitution. They did not vote against a bill of rights in order to subvert liberty, but from simpler and less sinister motives: (a.) They thought the bill of rights was unnecessary; (b.) They thought a bill of rights would be more or less useless; (c.) They thought a bill of rights might prove to be dangerous; and (d.) They were tired and ready to go home. Realizing though the value of incorporating a bill of rights in the constitution, James Madison presented on May 25, 1789 before the United States Congress his proposed amendments on the Bill of Rights. It was subsequently adopted by Congress and ratified by several states. In its first two centuries of existence, Justice Stevens in his aforementioned remarks described the nature of their development, as follows:In the first century of existence, the Bill of Rights was, in some respects, comparable to the Magna Carta- a relatively static symbol of the general idea that the federal government has an obligation to obey the law of the land.In the second century of its life, however the Bill of Rights became a dynamic force in the development of American law. The United States Supreme Court played a major role in that development. XxxxxIn this century, most of the significant cases raising Bill of Rights issues have, in the final analysis, actually interpreted the word “liberty” in the Fourteenth amendment. Indeed, the impact of that amendment on the Bill of Rights has also led to an expansion of the meaning of the word “liberty” as it is used in the Fifth amendment……. Thus, through the process of judicial construction, the Bill of Rights has become a shield against invidious discrimination by the Federal Government as well as a shield against the misuse of state power.” Having remarked on the progress of the judicial interpretation of “liberty” in the bill of rights in the two centuries of its existence, Justice Stevens further pointed how such development has been manifested throughout the years. He made mention of the following:· The general requirement that there must “due process” which appears in both the fifth and the fourteenth amendments-arguably should not encompass such specific guarantees as the right to speedy trial, the right to counsel, or the right to compulsory process because the Sixth amendment would be redundant if those rights w[...]



Ifugao Law

2007-06-21T12:07:35.273+08:00

This is not a synopsis of what is acknowledged to be a classic piece in Philippine ethnology and the law of primitive people. This is rather an attempt to present the fundamental principles and rules, social norms of conduct and the allocation of authority among the Ifugaos and its relevance to the development of Philippine Modern Law. Although principally based on R.F. Barton’s “Ifugao Law” which was first published in 1919, other materials were also consulted and used as secondary sources.The contributions of the Ifugaos to the development of law in the Philippines cannot and should not be underestimated. E.A. Hobel, in his “Introduction” to Barton’s study of Kalinga, characterizes the contribution as follows:“Ifugaos are the star examples of how far a system of private law can go. They demonstrate that anarchy is not necessarily synonymous with disorder. Their system also shows up nicely the limitations in a legal order that depends primarily upon the kinship group of persons.”For purposes of this report, the following materials were also used as sources:1. Bruce L. Benson, “Enforcement of Private Property Rights in Primitive Societies: Law without Government,” published in the Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1989.2. Bruce L. Benson, “Customary Law with private means of resolving disputes and dispensing justice: A description of a modern system of law and order without State Coercion,” published in the Journal of Libertarian Studies in 1990.Sources, Concepts and Principles of Ifugao LawA. SourcesBruce Benson citing Lon Fuller maintained the view that customary law is:A branch of constitutional law, largely and properly developed outside the framework of our written constitutions. It is constitutional law in that it involves the allocation among various institutions . . . of legal power, that is, the authority to enact rules and to reach decisions that will be regarded as properly binding on those affected by them.[1]This view is apt in describing the sources of Ifugao Law. R. F. Burton wrote that, “the Ifugaos have no form of writing: there is, consequently, no written law. They have no form of political government: there is therefore, no constitutional or statutory law. Inasmuch as they have no courts or judges, there is no law based on judicial decisions.”There are two sources of origin of Ifugao Law, to wit:1. Taboo - The Ifugao word for taboo is paniyu. The root which appears in varying forms are : iyu, iho, iyao and ihao. Such terms in general mean “evil” or “bad.” The prefix “pan” denotes instrumentality or manner. The word paniyu means both by derivation and use as “bad way of doing” or “evil way.” The greatest number of paniyu in Ifugao have their origin in magic.Examples of paniyu are:a.) Pregnant women may not wear a string of beads since the beads form a closed circle and have a magic tendency to close her body and cause difficult childbirth.b.) It is taboo for persons of other districts to pass through a rice field when it is being harvested. It is also taboo for foreigners to enter a village when the village is observing its ceremonial idleness, tungul at the close of harvest time. Any one who breaks this taboo are subject to a fine, or if there is reasonable belief that, it could not be collected, he may be subjected to the death penalty.Burton believes that, a small part of Ifugao taboo are arbitrary and unreasonable. But a large part of it has gone beyond this stage and is on a firm and reasonable basis of justice, e.g[...]



Random Thoughts on Con Ass

2006-12-04T18:31:13.623+08:00

1. On the power of the House of Representatives to amend its own rules for constituent assembly. While under Article VI, section 16 (3), each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, the said power is not absolute and is always subject to the limitations found in the Constitution itself. Further, as Fr. J. Bernas said in his commentary to the 1987 Constitution quoting Justice Story, “When, however, the legislative rule affects private rights, the courts cannot altogether be excluded. When the construction to be given to a rule affects persons other than the members of the legislature, the question presented is of necessity a judicial one.”[1]2. Proposal of amendments· Section 1 of Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution provides that amendments or revisions may be proposed either by Congress or by a Constitutional Convention.· If proposal is to be made by Congress, the required vote is “three-fourths of all its members.” It should be understood that the two houses of congress vote separately.[2]· When congress proposes amendments to the constitution, it is said that Senators and Members of the House of Representatives act, not as members of Congress, but as component elements of a constituent assembly. When acting as such, the members of Congress derive their authority from the Constitution.[3] Based on this Supreme Court decision therefore, members of Congress can be questioned for abusing the authority provided by the Constitution.· This is not the first time that, the Supreme Court has ruled on the question on the powers of Congress to propose amendments to the constitution. In the case of Imbong vs. COMELEC,[4] the High Court laid down several doctrines, one of which provides as follows:Congress, when acting as a Constituent Assembly pursuant to Article XV of the 1987 Constitution, has full and plenary authority to propose Constitutional amendments or to call a convention for the purpose, by a three-fourths vote of each House in joint session assembled, but voting separately.3. What the House of Representatives is proposing is action not pursuant to any provision of the constitution. “A written constitution is susceptible of change in two ways: by revolution, which implies action not pursuant to any provision of the constitution itself; and by revision, which implies action pursuant to some procedural provision in the constitution.”[5]Are we now therefore in a state of revolution, with the action being initiated by the House of Representatives?4. The amendatory provisions are called a “constitution of sovereignty” because they define the constitutional meaning of “sovereignty of the people.” [1] 1 Story Commentaries 840, quoted further with approval in Field vs. Clark, 143 U.S. 649, 670 (1892)[2] I Record of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, 375[3] Gonzales vs. COMELEC, 21 SCRA 774, 837[4] 35 SCRA 28 (1970)[5] 50 SCRA 373-76 citing an article by Melville Fuller Weston entitled “Political Questions” published in 38 Harvard Law Review (1924-1925)[...]



Knowing History

2006-10-25T15:35:20.576+08:00

What is history but a fable agreed upon? – Napoleon

For the past months or so, my reading material has consistently been on Philippine history. I have just finished reading Epifanio Delos Santos’ manuscripts on Emilio Aguinaldo, Emilio Jacinto and Andres Bonifacio. I have also finished reading Carlos Quirino’s “the Great Malayan” on Jose Rizal; and Benjamin Pimentel’s story on first quarter storm student activist Ed Jopson.

My interest now is to look for and get hold of a copy of Manuel L. Quezon’s own autobiography – “The Good Fight,” and a biography on Sergio Osmena.

What motivated me to brush up on history is the fact that, I hardly know something about it. And I admit that with all candor.

I believe however that, I am not alone on this issue. How many of us have truly read the writings of Bonifacio and admired how a self-educated man could have written them. Do we know the circumstances why Aguinaldo allegedly ordered the execution of Bonifacio?

Knowing history is knowing ourselves.

American author David McCullough wrote: The Greeks said that character is destiny, and the more I read and understand of history, the more convinced I am that they were right.”

This is our problem as a people. We do not have identity and character because we do not value our history and neither do we learn from them.



A republic of beggars

2006-08-05T14:58:14.536+08:00

In a televised mass, I heard the sermon delivered by progressive Bishop Antonio Tobias from the Diocese of Novaliches on the true state of the nation. In his sermon, the good bishop disputed the so-called economic platitudes of the Arroyo regime.

Indeed, the economic program of the regime based on creating "super-regions" and bridges to nowhere are perverted and flawed. Who needs bridges when everyone in this God-forsaken republic knows that, the bridges and other infrastructure programs are totally worthless to a family who barely can fend for themselves for a day. The height of this "enchanted kingdom-super-region" brand of economics is further perverted by the fact that, the republic will again have to borrow to raise the funds to support these projects.

When will this beggary stop?

I am reminded of what the great Claro M. Recto said in an address he delivered before the Baguio Press Association in 1951, to wit "Only when we rise from the knees we have bent in beggary, and stand beside the other nations of the world, not on crutches but on our own feet, thinking and speaking and acting as free men and as free citizens of a true Republic, in name and in fact, with undivided loyalties to our own sovereign nation and people, and under a legitimate regime dispensing justices and promoting the general welfare, then and only then can we rightly claim to have achieved and deserved our independence, and have cause to indulge in a national celebration of the glorious resurrection of our freedom after the long and mournful season of its betrayal, passion and crucifixion."

Rhetoric as it may seem, Don Claro's words are still relevant and rings true more than 55 years after they were said. We are still a republic of beggars. And we are still a republic in a season of betrayal, passion and crucifixion.

Many have asked me, is there still hope? How long must we nurture this dream of living in a republic free from its ill and irks. To those of us who have chosen to stay, we must continue dreaming. If we stop dreaming, we have become worthless and irrelevant.



The State of the Philippines’ Environment

2006-07-20T11:35:32.456+08:00

Prefatory StatementAll civilizations have depended on an adequate supply of food, water, and energy. The ancient Greeks considered that the basic elements for life were land that produced food, water that purified and gave health, and fire that provided power for human activities. In their view without food, water and an energy source, there was no viability, either personal or collective in their polis.[1]Tragically, in the Philippines today, as official reports have showed, the country’s natural resources which sustains and gives life is in serious danger. The clarion calls have to be resounded again and again, no matter what the political costs are.Since Gloria Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001, and after five (5) State of the Nation addresses before Congress, there has been no environmental program or policy of national significance included in her state of the nation addresses.The cause of protecting and conserving the country’s natural resources and the environment for the greater interest of the Filipinos has been sacrificed for a policy of “extraction and exploitation” for short term economic gains which are not sustainable and potentially damaging in the long term.The constitutional right to a balanced ecologyThe immediate response to the demands of the “necessities of protecting vital public interests” gives vitality to the statement on ecology embodied in the Declaration of Principles and State Policies of the 1987 Constitution, Article II, section 16 which provides, “The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.” As a constitutionally guaranteed right of every person, it carries with it the correlative duty of non- impairment. This is but in consonance with the declared policy of the State to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them. It is to be borne in mind that that the Philippines is a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Alma Ata Conference Declaration of 1978 which recognizes health as a fundamental human right.[2]In the case of Minors of the Philippines vs, DENR, et.al.,[3] the High Court ruled that, “while the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be founded under the Declaration of Principles and State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is less important than any of the civil and political rights enumerated in the latter. Such right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation, aptly and fittingly stressed by the petitioners-the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and constitutions.”The economic costs and damagesThe Philippines is losing P111 billion annually from environment destruction, lost income/opportunity in the fisheries sector and health expenses related to air pollution, according to a World Bank Report.[4]The World Bank’s Philippine Environment Monitor Report for 2004 stated that,The costs of environmental degradation are high, where they are quantifiable. For example, mismanagement of fisheries resources is estimated to cost PhP 23 billion (US$ 420 million) annually in lost revenues. The annual economic losses caused by water pollution are estimated at PhP 67 billion (US$ 1.3 billion) and the[...]