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Archive for February, 2010

Quinto v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 189698 (The Motion for Reconsideration Ruling)

Posted by lexforiphilippines on February 25, 2010

On December 1, 2009, the Supreme Court voting 8-6 declared as unconstitutional the second provision in the third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act No. 9369, Section 66 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 8678, for being violative of the equal protection clause and for being overbroad. The ponente of the decision was Justice Antonio B. Nachura.

On February 22, 2010, voting 10-5, the Supreme Court reversed its earlier ruling, granted the motions for reconsideration of its December 1, 2009 decision and upheld the constitutionality of the three provisions in election laws that deemed appointive officials automatically resigned once they filed their certificates of candidacy (CoCs). The ruling was penned by Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno with a dissent from Justice Nachura.

Speaking for the Court, Chief Justice Puno rationalized that the issue as to equal protection has been addressed in the earlier case of case of Farinas v. Executive Secretary, (G.R. No. 147387, December 10, 2003) where the Court stated that  “the equal protection of the law clause in the Constitution is not absolute, but is subject to reasonable classification. If the groupings are characterized by substantial distinctions that make real differences, one class may be treated and regulated differently from the other.  x x  Substantial distinctions clearly exist between elective officials and appointive officials. The former occupy their office by virtue of the mandate of the electorate. They are elected to an office for a definite term and may be removed therefrom only upon stringent conditions. On the other hand, appointive officials hold their office by virtue of their designation thereto by an appointing authority. Some appointive officials hold their office in a permanent capacity and are entitled to security of tenure while others serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.   x x Another substantial distinction between the two sets of officials is that under Section 55, Chapter 8, Title I, Subsection A. Civil Service Commission, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292), appointive officials, as officers and employees in the civil service, are strictly prohibited from engaging in any partisan political activity or take (sic) part in any election except to vote. Under the same provision, elective officials, or officers or employees holding political offices, are obviously expressly allowed to take part in political and electoral activities.”

The Court goes on to state that “By repealing Section 67 but retaining Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code, the legislators deemed it proper to treat these two classes of officials differently with respect to the effect on their tenure in the office of the filing of the certificates of candidacy for any position other than those occupied by them. Again, it is not within the power of the Court to pass upon or look into the wisdom of this classification. x x x Since the classification justifying Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006, i.e., elected officials vis-à-vis appointive officials, is anchored upon material and significant distinctions and all the persons belonging under the same classification are similarly treated, the equal protection clause of the Constitution is, thus, not infringed.”

In view of these pronouncements, Justice Puno states that the case at bar is “a crass attempt to resurrect a dead issue.” And that “the miracle is that the (our) assailed Decision gave it new life.  We ought to be guided by the doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta movere. This doctrine, which is really “adherence to precedents,” mandates that once a case has been decided one way, then another case involving exactly the same point at issue should be decided in the same manner.”

“The Farinas ruling on the equal protection implications of the deemed-resigned provisions cannot be minimalized as mere obiter dictum. It is trite to state that an adjudication on any point within the issues presented by the case cannot be considered as obiter dictum. This rule applies to all pertinent questions that are presented and resolved in the regular course of the consideration of the case and lead up to the final conclusion, and to any statement as to the matter on which the decision is predicated.”

The concern, voiced by Justice Nachura, in his dissent, that elected officials (vis-à-vis appointive officials) have greater political clout over the electorate, is indeed a matter worth exploring – but not by the Court. The remedy lies with the Legislature. “It is the Legislature that is given the authority, under our constitutional system, to balance competing interests and thereafter make policy choices responsive to the exigencies of the times. It is certainly within the Legislature’s power to make the deemed-resigned provisions applicable to elected officials, should it later decide that the evils sought to be prevented are of such frequency and magnitude as to tilt the balance in favor of expanding the class. The Court cannot and should not arrogate unto itself the power to ascertain and impose on the people the best state of affairs from a public policy standpoint.”

Posted in Election Law, Law School, Political Law | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Republic Act No. 9646 – Real Estate Service Act

Posted by lexforiphilippines on February 24, 2010

To protect the public against incompetent, irresponsible and unscrupulous real estate practitioners, Republic Act No. 9646, otherwise known as the “Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines” was enacted by Congress and signed into law on 29 June 2009.  The law created the Professional Regulatory Board for Real Estate Service (“the Board”) which, under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), will regulate the practice of real estate service in the Philippines.  Under the new law, real estate consultants, real estate appraisers and real estate brokers must take and pass a Licensure Examination (with some exceptions) and obtain a Certificate of Registration from the Board.  The Licensure Examination will be given by the Board at least once every year on such dates as the PRC may designate.  The law also requires that real estate salespersons must be accredited by the Board.

(For the salient features of Republic Act No. 9646, please click on Laws under Tools.)

Posted in Corporate Law, Law School, Laws and Implementing Rules, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Exemption of Cooperatives from Taxes

Posted by lexforiphilippines on February 18, 2010

The Supreme Court declared that members of cooperatives are exempt from the 20% withholding tax on the interest of their savings and time deposits maintained with the cooperative. See the digest at Tools + Digested Cases Tab.

Posted in Cases, Political Law, Taxation | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Psychological Incapacity-Article 36 of the Family Code

Posted by lexforiphilippines on February 16, 2010

Can you love someone who is totally dependent on his mother for support, financial or otherwise?

The Philippines has no law that allows divorce between married couple. The closest thing that couples could have is a declaration by the court that their marriage is void due to the “psychological incapacity” of one of the spouses to fulfill the essential obligations of marriage.

In the case of Azcueta v. Republic, decided by the Philippine Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, the parties’ marriage was voided since it was shown that the husband was suffering from Dependent Personality Disorder.

What is Dependent Personality Disorder? Is anyone suffering from it considered as automatically psychologically incapacitated to marry?

See the Supreme Court’s answer at our Digested Cases Tab.

Posted in Civil Law, Law School | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Republic Act No. 9653 – Rent Control Act

Posted by lexforiphilippines on February 11, 2010

For lessors, a new law was signed stating that you could not demand more than one month advance rental and not more than two months deposit. Lessees, on the other hand, will be secured that no increase will be effected one year from its effectivity.

On 14 July 2009, the President signed into law Republic Act 9653, otherwise known as the “Rent Control Act of 2009.”  The law seeks to protect housing tenants in the lower income brackets from unreasonable rent increases.

(To see the salient features of the Rent Control Act, you may click on Laws under Tools.)

Posted in Civil Law, Law School, Laws and Implementing Rules | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Republic Act 9729 – The Climate Change Act

Posted by lexforiphilippines on February 10, 2010

On 23 October 2009, the President signed into law, Republic Act No. 9729, otherwise known as the Climate Change Act.  Touted as the first of its kind in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), RA 9729 aims to systematically integrate the concept of climate change in the policy formulation and development plans of all government agencies and units, to the end that the government will be prepared for the impact of climate change.

The law created the Climate Change Commission, composed of the President, as Chairperson, and three (3) commissioners to be appointed by the President, which is tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate the programs and action plans of the government relating to climate change.  The law requires the Climate Change Commission to formulate a Framework Strategy on Climate Change within six (6) months from its effectivity and a National Climate Change Action Plan within one (1) year from the formulation of said Framework.  The Local Government Units (LGUs) have also been tasked to formulate and implement their respective Local Climate Change Action Plans consistent with said Framework and RA 9729.

Government agencies have likewise been assigned their respective roles under RA 9729.  For instance, the Department of Education is tasked to integrate climate change into the primary and secondary education curricula, including textbooks and other education materials.  So also, Government Financial Institutions are allowed to provide preferential financial packages for climate change-related projects.

On 22 January 2010, the President signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Climate Change Act.

(For an outline of the significant provisions of the Climate Change Act, please click on Laws under Tools.)

Posted in Energy and Environment, Law School, Laws and Implementing Rules | Leave a Comment »

Dual Citizenship or Dual Allegiance?

Posted by lexforiphilippines on February 5, 2010

Since it is election time, we are hearing a lot of cases being filed to seek the disqualification of certain candidates from seeking elective posts.  Most notable is the case for disqualification of Vivien Tan, daughter of Lucio Tan, from seeking the congressional seat for a Quezon City district.

But what is really the basis for disqualification? Is it dual citizenship or dual allegiance?

In Cordora vs. COMELEC, et al. (G.R. No. 176947, 19 February 2009) , the Supreme Court explained –

Dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance.

Dual citizenship is involuntary and arises when, as a result of the concurrent application of the different laws of two or more states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the said states.  For instance, such a situation may arise when a person whose parents are citizens of a state which adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis* is born in a state which follows the doctrine of jus soli.**  Such a person, automatically and without any voluntary act on his part, is concurrently considered a citizen of both states.

Given the provisions on citizenship under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, it is possible for the following classes of citizens of the Philippines to possess dual citizenship:

(1) Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow the principle of jus soli;

(2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by the laws of their fathers’ country such children are citizens of that country;

(3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latter’s country the former are considered citizens, unless by their act or omission they are deemed to have renounced Philippine citizenship.

There may be other situations in which a citizen of the Philippines may, without performing any act, be also a citizen of another state.

Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by some positive act, loyalty to two or more states.  While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an individual’s volition – his active participation in the naturalization process.

Under Republic Act No. 9225,*** a Filipino who becomes a naturalized citizen of another country is allowed to retain his Filipino citizenship by swearing to the supreme authority of the Republic of the Philippines. The act of taking an oath of allegiance is an implicit renunciation of a naturalized citizen’s foreign citizenship.

Dual citizenship is not a ground for disqualification from running for elective position.  Like any other natural-born Filipino, it is enough for a person with dual citizenship who seeks public office to file his certificate of candidacy and swear to the Oath of Allegiance contained therein.  On the other hand, a person with dual allegiance who seeks public office must (apart from meeting the qualifications under Philippine law) swear to an Oath of Allegiance and execute a Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship pursuant to R.A. 9225.

* A child’s citizenship is determined by its parents’ citizenship, as in the Philippines.

** A child’s citizenship is determined by its place of birth, as in the United States of America.

*** The Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003.

Posted in Cases, Election Law, Political Law | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »