PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

MERCADO's 'DUMMY' CO. CAUSE OF DELAY IN CALAUAN RESETTLEMENT PROJECT -- SEC DOCUMENTS


Tuesday, 21 April 2015 - Documents obtained by the city government from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have confirmed that former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado.
The city government began probing the ownership of the firm in 2011 after it abandoned construction works and did not complete its projects with the city, including the site development of the city’s resettlement project in Calauan, Laguna.
Aside from the first phase of Makati Homeville in Calauan with total contract price of P505 million, Twin Leaf also cornered the site development contract for the resettlement site in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan amounting to P322 million in 2008 to 2009. According to its GIS (general info sheet) filed with SEC, Twin Leaf Group Inc. began operations in March 2005, engaging in general construction such as building of houses, condominiums, roads, land bridges, airfields, piers, railroads, among others. In 2013, Mercado and two other relatives, his children Jerome Mercado and Karla Marijane Mercado, were suddenly listed as incorporators of the company, along with Cesario Reyes, president of Twin Leaf since 2009, and one Myraflor Gonzalez. They replaced three others who were dropped from the list, namely, Francisco Almeida, Felicisimo Austria and Ariel Olivar. READ MORE.....

ALSO: Ex-jurist chides Sereno for berating counsel based on condonation doctrine


APRIL 25 ---SERENO 
An eminent former Supreme Court Justice yesterday cautioned his former colleagues in the high court, as well as the Chief Justice, Lourdes Sereno, against harsh treatment of lawyers appearing before the tribunal. Sereno has been getting a lot of flak over her treatment of the lawyers of Makati City mayor Junjun Binay over her arguments based on the condonation doctrine, a legal defense.Former SC Justice Vicente V. Mendoza said harshness may lay open the justices to appear partial and biased. The observation was made in reaction to Chief Justice Sereno’s dressing down of Sandra Marie Coronel, lawyer of Binay during the oral arguments on a petition brought to the high court by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. Morales had challenged the two orders of the Court of Appeals (CA) that stopped indefinitely the six-month preventive suspension of Mayor Binay she ordered last March 10, 2015. Sereno raised her voice several times during the oral arguments in Baguio City as she criticized the condonation doctrine the SC laid down 56 years ago. The doctrine has never been modified, reversed, or abandoned since then. First introduced in Philippine jurisprudence in a ruling for a 1959 case, the condonation doctrine states that an elected official can be cleared from past administrative liability so long as he gets re-elected. Criminal acts are excluded. The condonation doctrine is also known as the “Aguinaldo doctrine,” taking its name from a 1992 case (Aguinaldo v Santos), in which condonation was first reinforced after the creation of the 1986 Philippine Constitution.READ MORE...

ALSO ORAL ARGUMENTS: SC justices gang up on Binay lawyers over 'condonation rule'
[Chief Justice Sereno insisted on her opinion that condonation sends the wrong message to the 430, 000 public officials nationwide, allowing them to commit administrative offenses ranging from simple misconduct to serious misconduct and dishonesty since the offenses could be rid of once they are reelected in office].


APRIL 22 ---OMBUDSMAN MORALES, JUNJUN BINAY 
The condonation doctrine which states that the reelection of a public official absolves him of previous administrative charges became the focus of Supreme Court (SC) justices during the 2nd round of oral arguments on the Makati City standoff as a result of a Court of Appeals (CA) injunction order on an Ombudsman’s suspension of Makati Mayor Erwin Jejomar “Junjun” Binay. The doctrine has been used by Binay’s lawyers to allege “abuse of discretion” against the Ombudsman and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for issuing the suspension order against Binay. SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Marvic Leonen ganged up on the lawyers of Binay, primarily Sandra Coronel, who was once a student of Sereno in law school. Sereno asked Coronel regarding the 56-year-old doctrine, “Is that the message we wish to impart if we continue with the condonation doctrine?”  Leonen, for his part, asked Binay’s lawyers why Mayor Binay failed to vacate his post when served with the suspension orderm to which the camp of Binay replied that they sought remedy from the Court of Appeals (CA). Two Binay counsels Claro Certeza and Coronel argued that the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering the suspension of their client, making the CA orders valid.
READ MORE...

ALSO by Fr. R. C. Aquino:  Not An Unreasonable Doctrine


Although refusing to apply it to the case before the Court at that time, the present Ombudsman who was then an associate justice of the Supreme Court, with characteristic incisiveness and erudition, explained the rationale for the doctrine of condonation in Salumbides v. Ombudsman (2010). Citing what she characterized as a “landmark ruling”, she reasoned: “The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When the people elect a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his faults or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such faults or misconduct, practically overrule the will of the people.”  That is certainly not bad reasoning, is it? In fact, it is consistent with our democratic belief that the powers of the State are ultimately derived from the sovereign consent of the people. It is the sovereignty that resides in the people by which a Constitution becomes the Republic’s fundamental law. It is by the same sovereignty that laws are passed and crime defined and penalized, albeit in republican fashion, through legislators the sovereign people elect. When the Court invoked the same doctrine in Aguinaldo v. Santos (1992) it did so under the aegis of the 1987 Constitution, recognizing that it was not crafting new doctrine, but going back in fact to established American jurisprudence. Whatever the doctrine’s status in American jurisprudence might be now, the fact is that it was sound juridical doctrine! In fact, that is hardly pertinent. What we should be asking is whether or not the premises of the doctrine remain true and are consistent with our conceptions of democracy. READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay voter base continues to back VP despite ratings plunge — Osmeña


BINAY 
Despite the reported declining popularity of Vice President Jejomar Binay as the top choice of voters for the presidency in 2016, a senator who ran under the Liberal Party ticket in 2010 has expressed belief that second highest official in the country has already formed solid base support among the voting populace. Sen. Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III yesterday said the situation remains volatile as the standings in mock polls of potential presidential and vice presidential candidates are far from being stable as their respective popularity ratings are still subject to change as election day draws near. As to Binay’s reported continuing dip in ratings in the presidential race, Osmeña said his former party mate and leader in the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), there remains a good number of supporters for the Vice President, given the figures in the various surveys. “He still has the backing of at least 20 percent. Like (former) President (and now Manila Mayor Joseph) Erap (Estrada), who has established base of support,” he stressed. Osmeña, in an interview with dzBB radio, was asked on his take on the recent surveys showing neophyte Sen. Grace Poe being “statistically” tied already with Binay and the senator also turning up to be the top choice for the vice presidency for the May 2016 elections. READ MORE...

ALSO: 3 SC justices explain inhibition from Mayor Binay case


BAGUIO CITY -- Three of the four Supreme Court (SC) justices who inhibited from the case involving Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. explained Wednesday their decision not to take part.
According to the SC Public Information Office, Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. said his continued participation in the case has been questioned in a news item due to his previous inhibition in a graft case involving Binay's mother, Dr. Elenita Binay. Velasco also said he inhibited to avoid "misimpression of bias" even as he claimed that he does not know nor has he even met the Makati mayor. His previous recusation in Binay mother's case was not due to his relation to Dr. Binay but that he knew one of the parties in the case. READ MORE...

ALSO: Why Makati seniors want Junjun Binay in city hall


BREAK. Senior citizen supporters of Mayor Binay take their snacks during the camp out at the Makati City Hall quadrangle on March 16. All photos by Mark Saludes/Rappler
—Senior citizens were noticeably jubilant when the Court of Appeals handed down a a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) halting the changing of the guard at Makati City Hall on Monday, March 16. In the middle of the crowd at the Makati City Hall’s quadrangle were the city’s senior citizens from different barangays, organizations and affiliations, cheering and dancing as they rejoiced the TRO on the suspension order against Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr. They have many reasons to celebrate, they said. “Eh kasi inaalagaan kami dito sa Makati. Ang gamot namin walang bayad, hospitalization namin importante para sa mga Binay. Bakit pa kami maghahanap ng ibang mayor?” said Norma Balleser, a 66-year old resident of Barangay San Antonio who camped at the city hall's lobby for 5 days to support their mayor. (We are well looked after here in Makati. Medicine is free, our hospitalization is important for the Binays. Why should we look for another mayor?) READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Mercado’s ‘dummy’ company cause of delay in Calauan resettlement project — SEC docus

MANILA, APRIL 27, 2015 (TRIBUNE) by Pat C. Santos Tuesday, 21 April 2015 - Documents obtained by the city government from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have confirmed that former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado.

The city government began probing the ownership of the firm in 2011 after it abandoned construction works and did not complete its projects with the city, including the site development of the city’s resettlement project in Calauan, Laguna.

Aside from the first phase of Makati Homeville in Calauan with total contract price of P505 million, Twin Leaf also cornered the site development contract for the resettlement site in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan amounting to P322 million in 2008 to 2009.

According to its GIS (general info sheet) filed with SEC, Twin Leaf Group Inc. began operations in March 2005, engaging in general construction such as building of houses, condominiums, roads, land bridges, airfields, piers, railroads, among others.

In 2013, Mercado and two other relatives, his children Jerome Mercado and Karla Marijane Mercado, were suddenly listed as incorporators of the company, along with Cesario Reyes, president of Twin Leaf since 2009, and one Myraflor Gonzalez.

They replaced three others who were dropped from the list, namely, Francisco Almeida, Felicisimo Austria and Ariel Olivar.

READ MORE...
Olivar is the cousin of Mercado listed as the owner of the unit in Peak Tower Condominium where Raquel Ambrosio, live-in partner of Mercado, allegedly committed suicide in 2002.

The SEC documents also show Mercado as general manager of Twin Leaf, daughter Karla as vice president, son Jerome as corporate secretary, and Gonzalez as treasurer.

Mercado has been making conflicting statements about his involvement in the firm during Senate hearings and interviews with the media. He denied any connection with Twin Leaf at a recent hearing, yet in an earlier hearing held Aug. 26, 2014, he clearly stated that he was managing a construction company named Twin Leaf Group Inc. when asked by Sen. Tito Sotto about his current business activities.

In the Oct. 19, 2014 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mercado again admitted ownership of Twin Leaf. In the said article, Mercado named Twin Leaf as the contractor for the construction of a hotel for the Boy Scouts of the Philippines in 2009. At that time, Mercado did not make public his ownership of the said company.

Twin Leaf undertook the first phase of the site development of Makati Homeville in 2008 to 2009, but it neglected its duty to ensure power and water supply in the area as it failed to comply with basic requirements, such as obtaining building permits from the municipal government of Calauan.

Meralco and the Laguna Water District both have stringent requirements, including valid building permits, for them to proceed with installations in an area.

According to the city engineering department, it was only in 2014 that the requirements were finally satisfied as it fast tracked the process upon the directive of Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay.

To date, the first phase of electrification has been completed, with 76 concrete Meralco posts with wiring installation and 17 transformers in place. Primary structures including the health center and multi-purpose hall, two two-story school buildings and a covered basketball court have been energized after building and occupancy permits were granted by the municipal government.

Also underway is the electrification of the first 395 housing units built that have been issued the said permits.


TRIBUNE

Ex-jurist chides Sereno for berating counsel Written by Benjamin B. Pulta Saturday, 25 April 2015 00:00


SERENO

An eminent former Supreme Court Justice yesterday cautioned his former colleagues in the high court, as well as the Chief Justice, Lourdes Sereno, against harsh treatment of lawyers appearing before the tribunal.

Sereno has been getting a lot of flak over her treatment of the lawyers of Makati City mayor Junjun Binay over her arguments based on the condonation doctrine, a legal defense.

Former SC Justice Vicente V. Mendoza said harshness may lay open the justices to appear partial and biased.


Justice Vicente V. Mendoza

The observation was made in reaction to Chief Justice Sereno’s dressing down of Sandra Marie Coronel, lawyer of Binay during the oral arguments on a petition brought to the high court by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

Morales had challenged the two orders of the Court of Appeals (CA) that stopped indefinitely the six-month preventive suspension of Mayor Binay she ordered last March 10, 2015.

Sereno raised her voice several times during the oral arguments in Baguio City as she criticized the condonation doctrine the SC laid down 56 years ago. The doctrine has never been modified, reversed, or abandoned since then.

First introduced in Philippine jurisprudence in a ruling for a 1959 case, the condonation doctrine states that an elected official can be cleared from past administrative liability so long as he gets re-elected. Criminal acts are excluded.

The condonation doctrine is also known as the “Aguinaldo doctrine,” taking its name from a 1992 case (Aguinaldo v Santos), in which condonation was first reinforced after the creation of the 1986 Philippine Constitution.

READ MORE...
The latest case on the condonation doctrine was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2010.
Mendoza, a noted constitutionalist who served in the the SC for nine years until 2003, said Sereno should not have vented her ire and frustration on a lawyer over the condonation doctrine, even if the Chief Justice considered it as an “unfortunate doctrine” and example of a “bad case law.”

“Don’t scold lawyers for invoking the doctrine. After all, that doctrine was laid down by the Court itself,” the 82-year-old Mendoza said.

“And under the doctrine of stare decisis, that is the law until by force of better reasoning the Court erred in adopting the doctrine and decides to overrule the doctrine,” he explained.

At the same time, Mendoza said that SC is not confined to the choice of abandoning the condonation doctrine in ruling on the preventive suspension case of Mayor Binay.

He said that contrary to the position of Sereno that the SC should abandon the said doctrine to promote honesty and integrity among elected officials, the High Court may opt to simply “modify” or even “retain” the 56-year-old doctrine.

Earlier, San Beda Graduate School Law Dean Fr. Ranhillo Aquino said Sereno may have prejudged the case involving Mayor Binay when she spiritedly articulated her stand against the condonation doctrine.

“Appearances of siding with a theory or a party should be avoided,” Fr. Aquino said an interview with justice and court reporters.

Aquino said the manner of interpellation by Sereno would appear to be a prejudgment of the case for ordinary people, but also stressed that justices “are like that many times” during oral arguments.

He added that chief justices are usually quiet in oral arguments as he cited his observations for the past many years.

“Usually, chief justices just listen when oral arguments are held, but maybe Chief Justice Sereno wanted to seize the opportunity to express herself against the condonation doctrine,” he said.
Aquino said that the doctrine on condonation “remains applicable until revoked.”

Thus, he said, the position of the lawyers of Mayor Binay is correct.

“What the Supreme Court can do is abandon it. But until abandoned, it is the doctrine that binds all of the government,” he pointed out.


TRIBUNE

ORAL ARGUMENTS: SC justices gang up on Binay lawyers over condonation doctrine Written by Benjamin B. Pulta Wednesday, 22 April 2015 00:00


OMBUDSMAN MORALES, JUNJUN BINAY

The condonation doctrine which states that the reelection of a public official absolves him of previous administrative charges became the focus of Supreme Court (SC) justices during the 2nd round of oral arguments on the Makati City standoff as a result of a Court of Appeals (CA) injunction order on an Ombudsman’s suspension of Makati Mayor Erwin Jejomar “Junjun” Binay.

The doctrine has been used by Binay’s lawyers to allege “abuse of discretion” against the Ombudsman and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for issuing the suspension order against Binay.

SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Marvic Leonen ganged up on the lawyers of Binay, primarily Sandra Coronel, who was once a student of Sereno in law school.

Sereno asked Coronel regarding the 56-year-old doctrine, “Is that the message we wish to impart if we continue with the condonation doctrine?”

Leonen, for his part, asked Binay’s lawyers why Mayor Binay failed to vacate his post when served with the suspension orderm to which the camp of Binay replied that they sought remedy from the Court of Appeals (CA).

Two Binay counsels Claro Certeza and Coronel argued that the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering the suspension of their client, making the CA orders valid.

READ MORE...
Certeza reiterated that there was no sufficient evidence in the charges against Binay – as required by law – for the Ombudsman to order the preventive suspension.

Coronel, for her part, explained that the Ombudsman should have applied the doctrine of condonation on charges against Mayor Binay pertaining to acts allegedly committed during his previous term.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio agreed that it was the high court that set such doctrine in previous rulings, but stressed that it should be revisited.

Chief Justice Sereno insisted on her opinion that condonation sends the wrong message to the 430, 000 public officials nationwide, allowing them to commit administrative offenses ranging from simple misconduct to serious misconduct and dishonesty since the offenses could be rid of once they are reelected in office.

SC gives parties 30 days

The Ombudsman, DILG and Mayor Binay were then given 30 days to issue their comments on the controversy.

Four SC magistrates did not take part in the arguments.


GMA NEWS FILE PHOTO

Court spokesman Theodore Te said the Justices who voluntarily inhibited from further participation in the case were Associate Justice Presbiterio Velasco Jr., Associate Justice Arturo Brion, Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, and Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta.

Peralta previously recused himself and did not sit during the first session of the oral arguments in the case.

The high court formally informed the parties in the cases that it would resolve the issue of whether or not the CA’s sixth division abused its discretion in issuing the temporary restraining order last March 16 which stopped the suspension of Binay on graft charges “considering the constitutionally guaranteed independence of the office of the Ombudsman.”

They focused the oral arguments on the powers and limits of the CA to restrain acts of the Ombudsman as provided under Section 14 of Republic Act 6770 (Ombudsman Act).

To be taken up is “whether or not Section 14 prohibits the determination by the SC and/or CA, in the exercise of its original jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari and prohibition, of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the office of the Ombudsman relating to its issuance of a preventive suspension order, including its appreciation of the strength of the evidence, the length or period of suspension, and applicability of certain defenses.”

The CA held oral arguments on these issues last week and decided to issue a writ of preliminary injunction in favor of Mayor Binay. The appellate court rejected the contentions of the Ombudsman office that it had no power to issue the TRO.

The high court will also consider whether Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, an impeachable official, can be subject of contempt proceeding in the CA.

The appellate court has yet to rule on the contempt petition filed by Binay against Morales and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas over alleged defiance of the TRO.

Morales filed last March 25 a 31-page petition seeking to stop the implementation of the CA’s TRO that she earlier claimed to have no legal effect.

But she failed to secure immediate relief after the high court held a special session last March 26 and deferred action for her prayer for issuance of a TRO against the CA order.

Some 271 officers and members of the Makati Homeville Home Owners Association (MHVHOA) representing different households in the resettlement site in Calauan, Laguna, meanwhile, signed a manifesto in support of the Binay administration in Makati City.


April 17, 2015 10:14pm Despite the issues surrounding Makati Homeville, Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Friday that the city's relocation site in Calauan, Laguna is a model in the housing sector. "Magtanong ho kayo sa housing sector — modelo ho kami ng naglilikas at naglilipat ng taga-Makati," he said in an exclusive report on "24 Oras."

In a three-page manifesto, the relocatees, led by association president Arlyn Zata, belied allegations that they were being neglected by the city government, as claimed by two fellow residents presented as “witnesses” at a recent Senate hearing.

“What Domingo Arcilla and Edison Rivera say are lies. The truth is their wives continue to accept and benefit fom the help of the Makati City Government,” they stated.

The residents also refuted the claim that the Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD) forbade them from forming their organization, saying these are lies.

They said MHVHOA, formerly named Block Leaders Association, is a legitimate organization formed to improve the system of administration and promote adequate preparation of its officers to lead in community-building.

The residents disputed the alleged “neglect” by citing several proofs that show how much they have been supported by the city government since they were relocated in Calauan. Among these are a two-story elementary school attended by some 500 students, another two-story high school building soon to open, a covered court freely used for recreational activities, and a viable livelihood program for residents.

Through the MSWD, the city government has been regularly providing families in the resettlement area various means of livelihood, including Cash-for-Work, Food-for-Work, Rice-for-Work, organic farming and community gardening.

The MSWD has also conducted capability building and other types of training and activities aimed to promote leadership and values formation among residents, strengthen relationships through family life encounters, protect children through the child and risk intervention program, and sports fests to develop skills, sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Aside from the programs undertaken by MSWD, Makati Homeville residents have also continued to benefit from the Yellow Card health program, Blu Card and cash gifts for senior citizens, medical and dental missions, burial assistance, annual Pamaskong Handog with Christmas food bags, and free wheelchairs, among others.

The residents also hailed MSWD for having established collaboration with a number of non-government organizations and institutions, which has helped improve their lives. Its partnership with Caritas has involved livelihood, educational assistance, capability building and free medicines.

Rotary Club of Makati Poblacion has supported their day care program and elementary school, and donated pedicabs for the use of residents. Several homes are now installed with solar lights courtesy of Malayan College, which also helped residents in farming and access to water. They have also benefited from the feeding program of Don Bosco and training program of UP Los Baños.

Aside from the school buildings and covered court, Makati Homeville also has a health center and multi-purpose hall, a chapel and an MSWD extension office.

The city engineering department has reported that to date, the said facilities have electricity following the installation of 76 concrete Meralco posts and 17 transformers in the area. The energization of the first 395 housing units is already underway.

Meanwhile, potable water supply is being sourced from communal faucets with a sub-meter installed by Laguna Water District (LWD), aside from water pumps installed by the city engineering department.

Eventually, the water district will be supplying bulk water through a mother meter and supply water to all households through the site’s water pipe system. A memorandum of agreement between the city government and the LWD is currently being drawn up. Pat C. Santos


MANILA STANDARD

Not An Unreasonable Doctrine By Fr. Ranhilio Aquino | Apr. 24, 2015 at 12:01am

Although refusing to apply it to the case before the Court at that time, the present Ombudsman who was then an associate justice of the Supreme Court, with characteristic incisiveness and erudition, explained the rationale for the doctrine of condonation in Salumbides v. Ombudsman (2010).

Citing what she characterized as a “landmark ruling”, she reasoned: “The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When the people elect a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his faults or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such faults or misconduct, practically overrule the will of the people.”

That is certainly not bad reasoning, is it? In fact, it is consistent with our democratic belief that the powers of the State are ultimately derived from the sovereign consent of the people. It is the sovereignty that resides in the people by which a Constitution becomes the Republic’s fundamental law. It is by the same sovereignty that laws are passed and crime defined and penalized, albeit in republican fashion, through legislators the sovereign people elect.

When the Court invoked the same doctrine in Aguinaldo v. Santos (1992) it did so under the aegis of the 1987 Constitution, recognizing that it was not crafting new doctrine, but going back in fact to established American jurisprudence. Whatever the doctrine’s status in American jurisprudence might be now, the fact is that it was sound juridical doctrine! In fact, that is hardly pertinent. What we should be asking is whether or not the premises of the doctrine remain true and are consistent with our conceptions of democracy.

The rule is best summed up in the Aguinaldo case: “A public official cannot be removed for administrative misconduct committed during a prior term, since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the officer’s previous misconduct to the extent of curring off the right to remove him therefor.”

There is an important qualification: Criminal offenses are not thereby condoned.

It is obvious then that it all depends on how much one is willing to attribute to popular sovereignty—and under the 1987 Constitution, it seems to be very much. We have provisions that allow laws to be enacted and repealed through people’s initiative.

The Constitution even contemplates amendment of the Constitution through the same procedure of directly appealing to the people. There are legislative proposals to de-criminalize libel, adultery and concubinage.

Were candidates who support these propositions to stand for elections on a platform of espousal in respect to these measures and, and were they to win and constitute a majority of Congress, it would be clear that the sovereign people had chosen to condone acts of libel, adultery and concubinage! You can of course take that power away from the people -- as is the case in one-party States, but you would then have to re-define democracy or, more candidly, admit that you had opted for some other form of political organization!

The condonation theory takes popular sovereignty to include the right to condone the offenses of an elective official that are administratively actionable on the assumption, no matter how counterfactual, that voters know the life, the character and the peccadillos and pecados of their candidates.

But the people, I submit, are entitled to such a presumption in their favor, unless we are ready to characterize elections as hardly anything more than displays of popular whim...only this, and nothing more! And when you reach that point, you have all but given up on democracy as we understand it.

In fact, Justice Carpio-Morales believed the doctrine to have a vaster reach than originally conceived: “Salalima did not distinguish as to the date of filing of the administrative complaint, as long as the alleged misconduct was committed during the prior term, the precise timing or period of which [the Court] did not further distinguish, as long as the wrongdoing that gave rise to the public official’s culpability was committed prior to the date of reelection.” And this too was a sterling piece of judicial reasoning!

Are the accountability provisions of the 1987 Constitution irreconcilable with the theory of condonation?

If they were, one wonders why the Supreme Court applied the theory to Aguinaldo, Salalima and a catena of other cases decided after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution.

And truth to tell, while impeachment, prosecution for crime and administrative investigations and sanctions are some forms the accountability take, elections are also a form of accountability. It all depends though on whether you trust the people to hold their officials to account for their actions.

But when we have little confidence in popular sovereignty, shall we then opt for a society superintendent by Platonic guardians who tell us how life ought to be lived because of their superior knowledge?

No, the condonation theory is not an unreasonable doctrine.

But like any judicially enunciated doctrine, it can be abandoned. Stare decisis, insofar as the Supreme Court is concerned, is a canon of consistency, but does not preclude the abandonment of doctrine that has outlived its usefulness.

Should the Court choose to revisit the doctrine, it will interest me immensely to study how it reasons its way through to an abandonment of this reading of the ambit of popular sovereignty.


TRIBUNE

Binay voter base continues to back VP despite ratings plunge — Osmeña Written by Angie M. Rosales Monday, 27 April 2015 00:00


BINAY

Despite the reported declining popularity of Vice President Jejomar Binay as the top choice of voters for the presidency in 2016, a senator who ran under the Liberal Party ticket in 2010 has expressed belief that second highest official in the country has already formed solid base support among the voting populace.
Sen. Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III yesterday said the situation remains volatile as the standings in mock polls of potential presidential and vice presidential candidates are far from being stable as their respective popularity ratings are still subject to change as election day draws near.
As to Binay’s reported continuing dip in ratings in the presidential race, Osmeña said his former party mate and leader in the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), there remains a good number of supporters for the Vice President, given the figures in the various surveys.
“He still has the backing of at least 20 percent. Like (former) President (and now Manila Mayor Joseph) Erap (Estrada), who has established base of support,” he stressed.
Osmeña, in an interview with dzBB radio, was asked on his take on the recent surveys showing neophyte Sen. Grace Poe being “statistically” tied already with Binay and the senator also turning up to be the top choice for the vice presidency for the May 2016 elections.
READ MORE...
Osmeña helped in the senatorial campaign of Poe during the 2013 elections alongside with the re-election bid of Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero who came in fourth in the most recent vice presidential preference survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS).
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II came in second to Poe with 12 percent, the latter garnering 26 percent, Binay seven percent and Escudero with six percent. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago placed fifth with five percent and at sixth place is Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
As for chance of Roxas toppling Poe in her standing in the vice presidential and presidential surveys, Osmeña said anyone planning to seek higher position has a chance to improve his or her ratings.
“As of today, it doesn’t look like Secretary Mar is doing well in the surveys, but in may change tomorrow or next month. Or perhaps next year,” he said.
“It’s still to early to say (who’s leading),” Osmeña stressed.


SUNSTAR ONLINE

3 SC justices explain inhibition from Mayor Binay case Wednesday, April 22, 2015 By Virgil B. Lopez

BAGUIO CITY -- Three of the four Supreme Court (SC) justices who inhibited from the case involving Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. explained Wednesday their decision not to take part.

According to the SC Public Information Office, Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. said his continued participation in the case has been questioned in a news item due to his previous inhibition in a graft case involving Binay's mother, Dr. Elenita Binay.

Velasco also said he inhibited to avoid "misimpression of bias" even as he claimed that he does not know nor has he even met the Makati mayor.

His previous recusation in Binay mother's case was not due to his relation to Dr. Binay but that he knew one of the parties in the case.

READ MORE...
Associate Justice Brion recused himself since his wife is working as confidential attorney of Court of Appeals Justice Jose Reyes, chairman of the CA Sixth Division that issued a stay order against the suspension of Binay by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2.

That stay order is now being challenged by the Ombudsman before the SC.

A former solicitor general, Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza said he filed a pleading while he was the government's main lawyer that may affect his participation in the current case.

Jardeleza is the original decision writer of the Binay case, thus the SC would have to look for another member to do the job.

The first magistrate to inhibit is Diosdado Peralta, whose sister, Visha Peralta-Aldon, is a department head at the Makati City Hall. (Sunnex)


RAPPLER.COM

Why Makati seniors want Junjun Binay in city hall Mark Z. Saludes Published 4:05 PM, Mar 19, 2015 Updated 4:15 PM, Mar 19, 2015

Senior citizens of Makati don't want a change in their city leadership, citing the many benefits they currently enjoy such as cash gifts and birthday cakes


BREAK. Senior citizen supporters of Mayor Binay take their snacks during the camp out at the Makati City Hall quadrangle on March 16. All photos by Mark Saludes/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines —Senior citizens were noticeably jubilant when the Court of Appeals handed down a a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) halting the changing of the guard at Makati City Hall on Monday, March 16.

In the middle of the crowd at the Makati City Hall’s quadrangle were the city’s senior citizens from different barangays, organizations and affiliations, cheering and dancing as they rejoiced the TRO on the suspension order against Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr.

They have many reasons to celebrate, they said.

“Eh kasi inaalagaan kami dito sa Makati. Ang gamot namin walang bayad, hospitalization namin importante para sa mga Binay. Bakit pa kami maghahanap ng ibang mayor?” said Norma Balleser, a 66-year old resident of Barangay San Antonio who camped at the city hall's lobby for 5 days to support their mayor.

(We are well looked after here in Makati. Medicine is free, our hospitalization is important for the Binays. Why should we look for another mayor?)

HUMAN BARRICADE. Barangay Bangkal Elderly Council members gather in front of the closed main entrance of the Makati City Hall to show their support to Mayor Junjun Binay.

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With Balleser was 68-year-old Ligaya Noag, who told Rappler that her group brought extra clothing, blankets, and pocket books in anticipation of their long stay inside city hall.

“Handa kaming pumunta dito. Ngayong may TRO na, okay na kami. Puwede na umuwi. Pero kapag pinilit nilang tanggalin dyan si Junjun, babalik kami dito,” Lola Ligaya said.

(We came here prepared. Now that the TRO is in, we are okay. We can go home. But if they will insist on removing Junjun, we will come back.)

Makati City has more than 65,000 senior citizens registered at the city’s Social Welfare Department. All of them are members of the BLU card program, launched in 2002 during the time of Jejomar “Jojo” Binay as mayor, which entitles them to a list of benefits and privileges.

VICTORIOUS. A group of elderly women from barangay San Antonio rejoice upon hearing that the Court of Appeals stops the suspension order of Mayor Binay.

VICTORIOUS. A group of elderly women from barangay San Antonio rejoice upon hearing that the Court of Appeals stops the suspension order of Mayor Binay.

“Dito sa Makati, nakakatanggap ng cash gift ang mga matatanda. May benepisyo kami kapag birthday namin, may cake pa. Exempted kami sa number coding," said Arsenio Baylon Jr, a 77-year old resident of Bangkal, Makati.

(Here in Makati, the elderly receives cash gifts. We have birthday benefits, we even get cakes. We are exempted from number coding.)

Whistleblowers in the Senate hearing on alleged corrupt activities of the Vice President had accused the Binay family of benefitting from the "overpriced" birthday cakes given to the senior citizens. (READ: Ex-Binay aide: VP, Nancy earned from building, cakes)

THE OTHER BINAY. Senator Nancy Binay talks to the senior citizen supporters of her brother thanking them for their vigilance.

THE OTHER BINAY. Senator Nancy Binay talks to the senior citizen supporters of her brother thanking them for their vigilance.

“Simula ng maupo ang mga Binay dito sa city hall noong 1986, mga nakakatanda na agad ang inuna niyang bigyan ng pansin. Hanggang ngayon…sinusundan ni Junjun ang yapak ng tatay niya. Hindi kami makakampante kung mawawala si Mayor Junjun Binay dito. Kung si Vice Mayor ang uupo baka mawala o mabawasan ang benipisyo namin,” Baylon added.

(Since the Binays took over city hall in 1986, they prioritized the elderly. Until today… Junjun is following his father’s footsteps. We will feel uneasy if Mayor Junjun Binay steps down. If the Vice Mayor takes over as mayor, our benefits might be reduced or removed.)

The Binay camp assured the public that everything in city hall is back to normal. All employees and offices can resume their work, said United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general JV Bautista.

WAITING. The elderly waits for the gates of the city hall to open. Services had cease to operate normally after the issuance of the suspension order by the Omdudsman.

WAITING. The elderly waits for the gates of the city hall to open. Services had cease to operate normally after the issuance of the suspension order by the Omdudsman. – Rappler.com


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