Thursday, January 31, 2002

Florida town casts out Satan

The mayor of this small fishing village in Florida has declared the Prince of Darkness persona non grata -- in essence, telling him to go to the devil.

"Satan, ruler of darkness, giver of evil, destroyer of what is good and just, is not now, nor ever again will be, a part of this town of Inglis," Mayor Carolyn Risher says in a proclamation, which was issued on official town stationery. Full text here.

May I please ask how they can acquire jurisdiction over Satan?

It happened over coffee at McDonald's. I told Bitoy Buenaventura, President of Corporate Oasis (the web group behind, that I needed a software that will help me manage my cases. I wanted one that will give a view of all my cases and their status. I wanted to be able to tell which one is not moving to ensure that it moves somehow and not displease the client. Then, while he is at it, I told him throw in a calendar and contacts management, an expense and billing tracker and a directory of all the courts in the Philippines. A few more discussions and phone calls, and the Lawyer's Folio Version 1.0 was launched. It's cheap at PHp 2,500 (US$50) a pop. It's now available at all Rex Bookstore outlets.

Wednesday, January 30, 2002


The Pope Urges Lawyers to Avoid Divorce Cases.

Roman Catholic lawyers should refuse to handle divorce cases, Pope John Paul has said. He said divorce was "spreading like a plague" through society, and lawyers should refuse to be part of the "evil". His comments came during an annual meeting with Vatican magistrates. "Lawyers, who work freely, should always decline to use their professions for an end that is contrary to justice, like divorce," the Pope said. The full BBC news text is found here.

I wonder, however, how the Pope finds the unique Philippine situation regarding this issue. Being a predominantly Catholic country, Philippine law does not allow divorce. Instead, it allows the declaration of nullity of a marriage due to the "psychological incapacity" of one or both of the spouses to fulfill the obligations of marriage. The ground is based on canon law. However, the application in Philippine courts has been often corrupted where the ground doesn't really exist but lawyers, judges and psychiatrists connive with each other and the spouses to make it appear that it does exist and thus warrant the declaration of nullity of the marriage.

Supreme ourt Issues Rules on Search and Seizure for Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights

The Philippine Supreme Court recently issued the Rules for Search and Seizure for Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights in civil actions. This strikes us as quite odd as normally the writ of search and seizure is only applicable in criminal cases. But the rule says it is applicable... "(w)here any delay is likely to cause irreparable harm to the intellectual property right holder or where there is demonstrable risk of evidence being destroyed, in a pending civil action for infringement" or in a civil action about to be commenced. The full text of the Rules is found here.

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Supreme Court Affirms Plunder Law

Is the Plunder Law vague? The Supreme Court said,

"As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-defined parameters which would enable the accused to determine the nature of his violation. Section 2 is sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts, conduct and conditions required or forbidden, and prescribes the elements of the crime with reasonable certainty and particularity. Thus -

1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons;

2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of the following overt or criminal acts: (a) through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury; (b) by receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickback or any other form of pecuniary benefits from any person and/or entity in connection with any government contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer; (c) by the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities of Government owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries; (d) by obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including the promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking; (e) by establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or (f) by taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines; and,

3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth amassed, accumulated or acquired is at least P50,000,000.00."

As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those who are subject to it what conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the counsel, in defending one charged with its violation; and more importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little difficulty that what the assailed statute punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing or accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at least P50,000,000.00 through a series or combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the Plunder Law.
More here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002


To make up for our failure to update this blog for months, here are some cool jokes from a book called Disorder in the Court. These are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters - who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place. Some of these are excellent - don't miss the last one.

Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July fifteenth.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.


Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.


Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A: Yes.
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget. Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?


Q: How old is your son, the one living with you?
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.


Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up
that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.


Q: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo or
the occult?
A: We both do.
Q: Voodoo?
A: We do.
Q: You do?
A: Yes, voodoo.


Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep,
he doesn't know about it until the next morning?


Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year old, how old is he?


Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?


Q: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
A : Yes
Q: And what were you doing at that time?


Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?


Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?


Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q: Was this a male, or a female?


Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition
which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.


Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.


Q: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
A: Oral


Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A : The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.

Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?


Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a
A: No
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began
the autopsy?
A: No
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive, never the less?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practising
law somewhere.