Friday, August 31, 2001

Court Issues Restraining Order against Mobile phone Companies

The Regional Trial Court of Quezon City issued today a temporary restraining order barring mobile phone operators Smart Communications, Globe Telecoms and Pilipino Telephone Corporation from cutting free text message allocations to their subscribers. The court issued the order in connection with the petition filed by consumer group Philippine League of Democratic Telecommunications (PLDTi) which claims that the decision of the mobile phone operators constitutes a breach of contract with their millions of mobile phone subscribers.

The mobile phone companies anchored their opposition on the technical ground that the Court did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter. According to them, the government agency tasked to regulate telephone companies is the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). To rebut the opposition, PLDTI presented a letter by a Globe Executive to a congressman which letter stated that text messaging is a "deregulated" service, and is therefore not under the jurisdiction of the National Telecommunications Commission.

The temporary restraining order is effective only for twenty (20) days during which the mobile phone operators will be given the chance to present new arguments on why the restraining order should not be extended.

Thursday, August 30, 2001

Supreme Court Issues New Rules On Extra-Judicial Foreclosure Of Mortgage

The Philippine Supreme Court recently issued the Rules of Procedure on Extra-Judicial Foreclosure of Mortgage (A.M. 99-10-05-0 dated August 7, 2001) amending and modifying Adm. Order No. 3 (19 October 1984) and Adm. Circular No. 3-98 (5 February 1998).

The new rules clarified that the period for corporations to redeem their foreclosed properties shall lapse upon the registration of the certificate of foreclosure sale or after three (3) months after the foreclosure whichever occurs earlier. This provision has serious implications on various Philippine corporations that have defaulted on their loans and whose assets have been foreclosed. The limited period will very likely prevent corporations from redeeming their foreclosed assets from bank-creditors, especially considering the poor economic climate. Note, however, that for individuals, the period of redemption is still one year after the registration of the foreclosure sale.
Fil Telco Watchdog Files Class Action Against Cellcos, NTC to Stop SMS Text Reduction

The Philippine League for Democratic Telecommunications, Inc. (PLDTI), a local telecommunications consumer watchdog organization, along with some individual complainants yesterday filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court a class action suit against cellular service companies Globe Telecoms GMCR (Globe), Smart Communications (Smart), Pilipino Telephone Company (Piltel), and Islacom as well as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), asking for a temporary restraining order (TRO), and preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent the implementation of the above-mentioned cellular companies' plans to reduce their allocation of bundled SMS text messages per month to subscribers.

In its complaint, PLDTI alleges that the cellcos committed a breach of contract in unilaterally reducing their allocated number of text messages to subscribers per month after advertising a specific and certain amount of text message allocation much higher than they now intend to impose. Citing a number of legal provisions, the League showed how and why the cellcos involved have reneged on their own contracts to the detriment of millions of cellphone subscribers and users. It also argued that contrary to the term used by cellcos, such allocated text messages are not "free" at all, but bundled with the cost of monthly subscription or with each prepaid card.

Under Philippine law, the Court may grant a temporary restraining order for three days after a summary hearing on the controversy. The period may be extended for twenty days upon reception of evidence of the complainants and the respondents. Thereafter, after a continuous hearing and upon the posting of bond by the complainants in the amount that the Court may require, the Court may grant a preliminary injunction to last until the case is decided on the merits.

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

WEB ADMIN provides int'l law news to MBAceron

We have signed up for's syndicated news from other content providers on the web recently. This service will help local readers looking for international law news obtain a regular source of legal information aside from what we provide here. This is consistent with our objective to help non-lawyers understand the law and the lawyers. In exchange, we have also signed up with isyndicate for the provision of Philippine legal news to its subscribers.

Monday, August 27, 2001

Landmark E-Libel Suit dismissed

The Pasig City Prosecutor’s office dismissed recently the landmark libel case filed by Emmanuel Disini, Chief Executive Officer of Dotph, Inc., against Joel Contreras, a fellow IT executive.

The case stemmed from alleged libelous statements made by Mr. Contreras in a Powerpoint presentation, email, and online newspaper that allegedly portrayed Mr. Disini as an unethical businessman who was also engaged in extortion by demanding unreasonable consideration for services. The Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the complaint on the ground that malice is not present in any of Mr. Contreras's statements, and that the statements "do not indicate anything that would portray the complainant as an unethical businessman or extortionist."

Many observers consider the case a landmark case because it was supposed to test the admissibility of email and internet publications as evidence to support a criminal charge for libel. In addition, the case involved the Philippines's leading internet personalities. The Pasig City Prosecutor said, however, that it would not pretend to have extensive knowledge of matters concerning the internet because it does not, take special knowledge, skill or know-how to assess the import of the subject statements. It added further that Mr. Contreras’s statements do not portray Disini as an "unethical businessman or extortionist."

Dotph, Inc., a company headed by Mr. Disini, is the ph domain name administrator. Mr. Contreras is the head of Phildac a multi-sectoral organization which is seeking the re-delegation of the ph domain administration from Dotph to Phildac. The alleged libelous statements were made in the course of Phildac’s media campaign to generate support for its cause to gain control of the ph registry. According to Mr. Contreras’s presentation, Mr. Disini would only agree to the re-delegation of the ph domain registry if he would be paid PHp 50,000 and other perks like a free leased line service and access to ph bandwidth. Mr. Disini felt that the statements made him look like he was unethical or an extortionist.

Under Philippine law, the order of dismissal may be appealed to the Department of Justice within fifteen days from notice to the parties of the decision. Thereafter, any party may appeal further to the Office of the President or to the Court of Appeals through a special remedy called petition for certiorari. The final say can be obtained from the Supreme Court should the parties still fail to obtain what they want from the Court of Appeals.


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Our hearts are tickled pink by the comments of approval from the people behind the Web Blog Review. We are happy to find out that we are working towards the right direction. We took note of the useful comments and we will endeavor to improve our site as we go on.

Friday, August 24, 2001

On the Adequacy of the New Philippine Rules on Electronic Evidence

Jim Ayson, a noted web developer in the field of Philippine music, reported that in a forum regarding the New Rules on Electronic Evidence, the lawyers criticized the Rules for being incomplete. He writes,

"For example-- among the criticisms on the promulgation of the Rules on Electronic Evidence (REE) are on its substance, how it affects the Best Evidence Rule and the rules on Admissibility under the Rules of Evidence.. The REE practically does away
with the concept of "best evidence." With the REE almost any electronic document/data message can become admissible...but what about traditional transactions where no internet or any electronic transaction were ever involved?"

There is indeed an "anomaly" under the Best Evidence Rule if read together with the REE. We believe, however, that lawyers have to live with this "anomaly" as the legal world takes a paradigm shift with the onset of electronic evidence. The crux of the issue is how the word "original" is defined. With paper transactions, the original is the document actually signed by the parties. But with electronic evidence, the original can be the file on the hard disk or the email or the diskette file or the print-out or the faxed copy. The lawyers (and most especially the judges) should accept the need to broaden the meaning of the term "original " in the light of new technology.

Yet, we can hardly understand why this provision can be considered a defect in the Rules. For years, we agonized over how to present a faxed message where the only original we have is the faxed copy itself. Every time we presented the faxed copy, we got objections left and right and the poor judge was only too happy to tow the hard-line because the law says the original cannot be the faxed copy. Sometime in 1999, we received a referral on the filing of a criminal case against a group of people who hacked the important files of a company. The evidence consisted of print-outs which clearly indicated who and where the hacker was. We declined the case because the Rules of Evidence in 1999 showed that evidence in the form of print-outs is out of the question. Now. with the new REE, we are more confident that our faxed messages and electronic print-outs can withstand vigorous objections from the best lawyers.

We imagine the first Filipino e-commerce case to be tough. Our lawyers and judges will have to look to the US (which by the way is also struggling with this new field) for various questions on electronic evidence. But adequate or not, the new Rules will surely help the lawyers and the judges get started. That should be good enough. Besides, if the rules were complete and clear, what are lawyers for?

Tuesday, August 21, 2001

The Lawyers Thank the PC

This month the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of the personal computer (PC). Many stories have been spun about how the PC has changed the world, but the impact of the PC to the legal profession cannot be ignored. Even lawyers owe a lot to the PC and have a lot to thank for.

When the PC arrived, contracts that once took hours to type and hours to re-type could suddenly be revised in a moment. They could even be recycled for other clients. Our lawyer Uncle Edgardo Aceron who has been practising law in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro Philippines since the late 1960's told us that he used to have six secretaries who typed his pleadings that he wrote on yellow pad page by page. Each one of them had her own Olympia typewriter to tinker with.Twenty-five years hence, he bought an IBM compatible PC/XT that run Wordstar 4.0 and cut down his secretarial work pool to just one.

Nowadays, the PC is even more useful not just as a word processor but also as a box full of legal information. We can now access the entire 100 years of Philippine jurisprudence in CD ROM through the popular Lex Libris Series. Leather bound law books that used to adorn and eat half the space of law offices have become absolete. We can also read the latest Philippine Supreme Court decision and circulars through the internet at There is no need to wait for the release of the third party Supreme Court reporters that are often bulky and expensive. Likewise, laws are published by law firm libraries online like This made research as quick and simple as clicking a mouse.

The PC has also introduced us to the lawyer softwares. We have programs that can help draft simple deeds of sale, wills and quitclaims. We just type in the details at the prompt of the cursor, and we have exactly the contract that we need. No more bothering a lawyer for the ordinary contracts that non-lawyers throught were esoteric.

The PC has also evolved its own set of laws and rules ranging the expanse of intellectual property, privacy, and crime -- thus, creating a field of law in itself. Some lawyers have fashioned themselves as e-lawyers and have made the field of comptuer technology law as an expertise. With present technology, we can see that in the near future, litigation will be conducted through the internet with the aid of the PC and lawyers need not come to court. People will also negotiate big contracts, not just the consumer goods purchases, on the net through the aid of the PC. Lawyers will occupy a window on people's PC, accessed and paid only when clicked.

Indeed, the PC has brought efficiency in many aspects of the legal profession. The PC is now the lawyers best friend. It is the lawyer's means to process, source and send legal information. As the world celebrates the PC's birth, the lawyers heave a sigh. Thank God for the PC lawyering in the new millenium is easy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Board Meetings by Video Conference Now Allowed

Teleconferencing and video-conferencing can now be used for board meetings according to the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week. Thus, company directors are no longer required to be physically present in board meetings. With teleconferencing and video-conferencing, the SEC said it will now be easier for companies to have a quorum for meetings since directors' physical presence is no longer be required.

The SEC, however, emphasized that the participation of directors in meeting through teleconferencing and video-conferencing may be deemed acceptable only when adequate safeguards have been accordingly set in place. SEC said that meetings should be recorded, and the appropriate videotapes and video discs properly stored for safekeeping.

The SEC ruling reversed an earlier one requiring physical presence of members of the board of directors for a valid meeting.The old ruling was maintained even as former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos once demonstrated the reliability of video conferenceing by holding a cabinet meeting while on a foreign trip abroad. With the new ruling, expats and their principals need not come to the Philippines to attend board meetings of their companies.

Sunday, August 12, 2001

On Regulating the Internet

For internet junkies, freedom in the internet is the "in" thing to say. The internet is the haven for freedom-loving individuals. That's why internet regulation is out of the question. We used to subscribe to this position until something happened to us recently.

We installed a new set of speakers from Polkaudio courtesy of our doctor cousin. She managed to survive the dotcom crash in New York. Now, she's so liquid that she can afford to send each one of her cousins their dream gadgets. For this reason, we were privileged to install one of Polkaudio's famous AMR Series. We tested it immediately by pointing our browsers to We clicked on one of the big band links and voila -- just a few bars of digital music streaming to our speakers and we know our music experience will never be the same. We have a full component in our hands, crisp sound, full bass, power enough to rock the house. You can hear every snap, every syllable. every note. In addition, our cable connection has opened us to the vast resource of music available for downloading. We can now listen to a world of music.

We decided to find out what other mp3 sites are offering by going to google. We typed mp3 and hit the search button. The first link is of course But we know that so we went further. We found mp3 portals linking us to other mp3 sites. We checked the links whenever they said they offered free downloads. A window popped-out once in a while with a flashing banner. We closed the unnecessary window and continued searching. No problem. Then, the windows started popping more often than we can close them. Three. Four. Five. Six. SEVEN. All at the same time. Then a message popped out asking if we want to install this gadget to our hard disk. 'Goodness, if we didn't have presence of mind, we would have clicked the default button which said yes. We clicked cancel. Then the thing popped out again asking the same question. We hit cancel. Then we noticed that instead of mp3 sites we were now navigating porn sites. The windows came popping again with more porn sites. Three. Four. Five. Sic. Sevem. Eight. NINE. Naked girls in all sorts of positions. What's happening? Then, the explorer crashed. We took a deep breathe, shook our heads and attempted to reboot. After rebooting, we decided to continue the search and voila -- our homepage is now a porn site! It's like a death sentence -- what if our wife saw this? We quickly changed the default and asked how the sites managed to do this to our browser.

The experience is like getting into no man's land and finding oneself being shot by snipers left and right. We manage to ignore and parry the volleys but sooner or later a dead shot hit us. There are many other unfair practices being done in the net but this one really irked us. Popping windows are tolerable but altering browser settings is where we draw the line. We are all for freedom on the internet but we cannot accept this intrusion into our privacy. The browser is like our eyes. It's alright if sites did everything to grab our attention. They can pop all they want but they should not touch our settings. It's like a worm. It's icky. Now we understand why people want to regulate the internet. We have shifted allegiance. We believe that there ought to be a law...

Friday, August 10, 2001

Law degree now recognized as equivalent to a Master’s degree

Recently, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) informed the Honorable Chief Justice that the CHED has accredited the degree of Bachelor of Laws with corresponding Bar eligibility as equivalent to a relevant Master's Degree per its en banc Resolution No. 038-2001. The said Resolution includes the degree of Doctor of Medicine with corresponding board eligibility as equivalent to a relevant Master's degree.

According to the CHED, the rationale behind this is that Bachelor of Laws is a higher degree requiring completion of a first bachelor's degree before proceeding to the professional degree program. The ruling apparently cleared the confusion concerning government positions where a master’s degree is a requirement. An applicant who had a Bachelor’s degree in law could not apply because the degree appears to be insufficient. In the Philippines, however, before an individual can enter law school, she has to complete a bachelor of arts or science degree. Thus, acquiring a law degree is clearly equivalent to master’s degree and should have long been treated as such.

Wednesday, August 08, 2001

This Made Me Laugh

A lawyer and his wife were watching an Alfred Hitchcock film. There
were at least a dozen suspects as to who killed the victim.

Suddenly, the husband blurted, "I've got it all figured it out. I believe Paul Newman is the killer."

The wife was surprised, "But Paul Newman is not even in the film" she said.

"I know", the lawyer replied, "Isn't that a perfect alibi?"

From Ferdinand S. Topacio's Jokes by Legal Fiction
On Buying Software Online

We recently bought the software Photojam from Yahoo Sales at the considerable price of US29.95. That's equivalent to three-fourths of our maid's monthly salary (considering that we are in a third world country). After the download, we checked the terms and conditions of the license and we saw the provision that we are allowed only one back up copy to be stored somewhere. In view of the fact that our PC is due for an upgrade, we stored ours at mydocsonline. where we can put this pricey software away from the vulnerability of a computer crash. It's hard earned dollars so we cannot take a chance.

We realized, however, that before we did the prudent thing, several things popped in our heads being the scheming lawyer that we are. To begin with, enforcement of intellectual property laws in the Philippines will probably take time (probably in the next century) before it catches us with an extra unlicensed copy of Photojam. So what's the fuss? In addition to that, the fragility of the product that we bought (it did not come in a CD and is available only for download) made us think of the hundred ways that this thing could be bugged, lost, erased, and burned along with the dollars that we bought them with. Surely one back up copy is not enough. Furthermore, the wonders of this product (it allows us to make pro looking MTV's out of the pictures in our hard disk)have surely attracted more than a million photojunkies like us. Thus, the Macromedia Group have made more than enough money on this one and will probably not feel the pinch of a single unlicensed back up copy of Photojam. It is likewise downright oppression for third world lawyers to be charged first world prices for software.

Yet, we prevailed upon the Mephistopheles within us. We realized that the legal recognition of intellectual property rights was a tough battle that artists and artisans had fought for centuries. It is only in this century that intellectual property rights have finally been recognized and rewarded with economic value. Imagine if Mozart only had Bill Gates's shrewdness. Mozart would have been richer than any king in his time! As for us, we have to follow the contract with Macromedia and have kept only a single back up copy. Then, we tested the product. It was really worth it. Look it up, our son Hans is on MTV. Click here.

Monday, August 06, 2001

Noted Supreme Court Decision on Bouncing Checks

If you are contemplating on suing someone for issuing you a bad check, take a tip. Notify the issuer in writing that her check bounced and that she has five (5) banking days to replace the same with cash. This is the lesson that the Supreme Court teaches in the recent case (Danao v. Court of Appeals G.R. No, 122353 June 6, 2001). In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the failure of a party to give a notice of dishonor to an issuer of a bounced check relieves the issuer from liability under the Bouncing Checks Law or Batas Pambansa Blg. 22.

This is common misconception among non-lawyers. Liability under the Bouncing Checks Law does not arise simply upon the return of the check for lack of funds. It is equally important that the issuer is notified of the return of the check and is given five (5) banking days from receipt of notice to pay the amount of the check.

For this purpose, there must be a clear evidence of receipt of the notice. If sent by personal service, the evidence may be in the form of a written acknowledgement. If sent by registered mail, the evidence is the return card that should state when the notice was received. Without the foregoing evidence of receipt, the issuer of a bounced check may be able to escape liability as held in the case of Danao.

Thus, before you ask your lawyer to file the case for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law, be sure to comply with the foregoing requirement. If your lawyer misses out on it too, you may end up not only with a bouncing check but also with an order for the dismissal of your case.

Sunday, August 05, 2001

The Chat Room Is Now Open

We are now fully interactive with the addition and opening of the Chat Room courtesy of We will announce topics to be discussed and time slots on the Chat Room one of these days. The first topic is "Corruption in the Philippine Judiciary". We will schedule it with chatters who have the inside knowledge on the topic and announce it on the Homepage. Please stay tuned. In the meantime, you may chance upon MBAceron on the chatroom every night at around 10:00 pm to 10:30 pm Manila time.
Message Board Goes Live Today

We know things can get controversial one of these days and you may want to react immediately to what we write here. Thus, we have put up our Reactions to MBAceron Message Board courtesy of Just click the link on the link box at the top right corner, type your message and post. We will, however, not entertain any request for legal advice on the message board.

Saturday, August 04, 2001

Work in Progress


Continuation of Chapter One


In the previous installments (see previous posts or Archives), we discussed the Seven Traits you need to find in looking for lawyer who will defend you in your case. Thereafter, we discussed the issue of the size of the law firm you are getting. We reiterated that the Seven Traits are still the primary consideration. Law firm sizes, however, have their own inherent advantages that may be considered in finding the right lawyer. We are now ready to discuss one of the two other special considerations in choosing a lawyer: the professional fees.

No Standard Fee Structure
Did you ever wonder why lawyers do not have common fee structures? Some charge by the hour, some request for acceptance fees and bill per court appearance, others bill by contingency in terms of percentage of the award. The worst kind bills all. The reason is there is no such thing as a standard fee structure. Everything is relative to the lawyer. So a lawyer can charge you a million bucks for the same work for which another will charge you only Php 10,000. This is so because the lawyer's primary inventory (if you, for example, treat his business as a store) is her time.

Time: The lawyer's most valuable resource
Time is the most valuable resource that a lawyer needs for your case. If she has a lot of it, then the cost for you to acquire her services may be cheaper than another who has less. In addition, how a lawyer values her time is relative to her own personal values and economic targets. If you are coming to her with a work that will require her to leave her family for a month, she might turn you down even if you offer her millions. If you have a single lawyer, however, then you might be able to get her to do the job at half the price. This is also the reason why we said earlier that small law firms do not necessarily charge low rates. Small law firms may have chosen to stay small because the big clients have already bought all of their time. So if you come to them for work, they might charge you a lot higher as they have to make time for you and bump off another high paying client. In Manila, big law firms have priced their services based on the man-hours spent on the job. Yet, the man-hours rates are not the same. Some law firms charge rates of partners equivalent to the rates of associates in other law firms (how these law firms do it is a wonder of law firm management). Moreover, standard man-hour rates, do not prevent the big law firms from discounting or putting a premium on their fees. If, for instance, you come to them during the off peak season (which is usually December to February), you might be able to request for a discount on the fees as the demand for the lawyer's time are not strong. In the same manner, however, if you come to them during peak season (sometime in July and August), it will be difficult to get that discount.

Haggling strategy
Given the understanding that lawyers charge on how much they value their time, you can be assured that a strategy to acquire an optimum price for the services of your lawyer should be built around your assessment on the availability of your lawyer's time and the amount of time your case will consume. Difficult cases cost a lot because they take a lot of time to solve. Simple cases cost less as they don't eat too much time. Yet, bear in mind, that that's just one side of the equation. If there is a high demand for your lawyer's time, then you can be assured there will be a premium on the fees that she will charge you. Then, again if your lawyer's time is not in demand, should you be considering her in the first place?

Other considerations: More Business
There are other factors that affect the costs of legal services. The cost of overhead of your lawyer's office, for example, is one of these factors. The impact of this factor, however, is not as great as compared to the impact of time. Yet, one other factor that can have a potential impact in the lawyer's fees is the potential of the case to open more business for the lawyers. If the lawyers can see that your suit will, for instance, project her in the public eye as an expert in a field of law and trigger a bee line to her office, then you can expect that she can be more forgiving in her fees. In the same manner, if your lawyer knows that you will have more legal problems and will need her services regularly, you can surely request for a discount. In the office, I have often remarked that the ideal client can best be described in two P's: Paying and Perpetually in trouble. Paying -- because, of course, this is a profession. Perpetually in trouble -- because that means the business will not end in one case. (Ah! My kids' education is assured who needs pre-need plans?)

To be continued
Next Edition: Cases that You Should Offer Only to the Experts
Copyright 2001 All rights reserved.

Friday, August 03, 2001

The Search Button is Now On

For our new visitors, you may check out what we have been discussing lately by typing a query on the search button at the bottom of this page. The search is powered by The scope of our site is Philippine law and lawyers. Looking at the future, we see posts on Philippine labor, telecommunications, commercial and family law as frequent topics. Come back once in a while to see if we have something on your field of interest.
Noted Bulletin Board Post

We were wandering around the National Power Corporation (NPC) Building in Roxas Blvd., Manila waiting for our case to be called (the NPC Bldg. houses some branches of the Manila Regional Trial Court), when we chanced upon this management maxim from the Secretary of Energy (now Secretary of Finance) Lito Camacho posted on the bulletin board.

Five S's of Management from the Secretary

The needed from the not needed
A place for everything and everything in its place
Always ready for inspection
Common methods for common tasks
Constant improvement and maintenance

It's so amusing to find that the five S's are perfectly in sync with the management tasks of a lawyer. When we started practicing law in 1996, everything appeared to be simple: not that much paper to manage, tasks are always novel, and our legal knowledge was state of the art. Yet, after five years of practice, a lot of administrative issues have come up --i.e., what do we do with the tons of files? Is there a faster way to draft a deed of sale?To help us deal with them, we studied the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. The book gave us some insights -- i.e., first things first, deal with the important and not urgent so they won't become urgent and important. Our problem of paper management, however, remains unsolved. But Sec. Camacho's Five S's appear to offer us some help. I know I've read that stuff somewhere in bits and pieces. But bundled together they make a good battle cry for the weary lawyers and their weary staff.
Noted Rules on Evidence for Electronic Transactions

The Supreme Court released recently the Rules on Evidence for Electronic Transactions. We took time to study the subject, not that we already have our first internet transaction case, but for academic purposes since we don't expect the cases to come in until after the next wave of internet commerce.

We find the most helpful provision in this rule is the one that says that print outs have the same weight and admissibility as soft copies. Prior to the promulgation of the rules, there was no definite rule regarding the admissibility of print outs. There was even one Supreme Court labor case that held that the print out of an email is not admissible as evidence. Considering that soft copies appeared to us, the non-techies, as the primary evidence and the print outs, or so we thought, appeared not much different from the photocopy, lawyers really needed some guidance from the techies in coming up with the guidelines on these matters. Now, the Supreme Court says the print outs and the soft copies are the same, so long as they have the same contents, etc.

We noted, however, that the Rules also provided for notarization online. This looks queer to us because in the offline world when a document is notarized, the notary public is really saying the person appeared before him and acknowledged that the instrument was signed by him in front of the notary etc. If the notarization is online, then the person did not appear before the notary but simply logged on the web. Sometimes, I think we may be taking the internet too far.

But never mind that. The Rules in its entirety is a happy development for Philippine law.

Thursday, August 02, 2001

Legal Dictonary Online Debuts Today

Consistent with our purpose to help non-lawyers understand the law (and the lawyers), we have placed an online legal dictionary from Just click the icon and a window will pop up. Type your query, click the button and you have the answer in seconds. Bear in mind, however, that this is a an American Law dictionary. (Sadly, there is no Filipino equivalent for the moment.) Nevertheless, Philppine legalese is not far out from the its American roots. Thus, the dictionary may come in handy every time your lawyer gives you that legal gobbledygook. Try it. Find out the meaning of "res judicata".