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NUPL takes ‘Oust Duterte’ matrix to SC

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) has taken the issue of the alleged “oust-Duterte” matrix to the Supreme Court to justify its plea for protection from alleged harassment by government forces.

In a manifestation filed by mail late Wednesday, the group cited its inclusion in the Association between Bikoy and Ellen Tordesillas which shows the names of organizations, journalists and lawyers said to be involved in the black propaganda against President Rodrigo Duterte by publishing and distributing online videos which contain the alleged involvement of the Duterte family in the narcotics trade.

The petition was filed following the release of the matrix last Monday tagging the group in the alleged destabilization plot against the Duterte government.

The group told the Supreme Court in its pleading that the “baseless and reckless” claim against their group and others named in the matrix is proof of intimidation and harassment.

“These malicious statements and dangerous claims, as well as the contrived matrix above, baseless and reckless as they are, compel the petitioners to again seek this time for the Honorable Court’s protection and reiterate their prayer for a temporary protection order,” the group said.

“Petitioners simply chose to practice the ideals of the legal profession by rendering services to the underprivileged as mandated by our oath and by legal, constitutional and international principles,” it added.

The matrix shows the supposed links between NUPL, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Vera Files, Rappler and other media groups and personalities. The groups were also accused of distributing the “Totoong Narco list” videos.

The lawyers’ group earlier sought protection from the High Tribunal through the issuance of a writ of amparo and writ of habeas data.

The group claims that the military harassed their members after they were accused of being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (NPA).

In its SC manifestation, the NUPL named as respondents Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade, President Rodrigo Duterte, National Security Adviser and National Security Council Director Hermogenes Esperon, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, deputy commander for intelligence Brig. Gen. Fernando Trinidad, Intelligence service chief Maj. Gen. Erwin Bernard Neri and Philippine Army commanding General Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mai Bermudez)

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$211-M Kaliwa Dam project questioned before SC

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019

Kaliwa River

MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna appealed to the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday (May 9) questioning the $211 million Kaliwa Dam Project signed between the Philippines and China.

The group said the contract clearly gives up the country’s sovereignty through the waiver of immunity clause once the country fails to pay on time or comply with contract terms and conditions.

Bayan Muna also questioned the confidentiality clause which states that the terms and conditions of the contract must be confidential, which the group claims violates the constitution.

“May confidentiality clause siya na hanggang ngayon wala kaming certified true copy ng Kaliwa dam. At iyong sinasabi nila na nasa website hindi iyan iyong sinasabi ng Korte Suprema na certified true copy kapag kami ay mag-file,” former Bayan Muna Party list Rep. Neri Colmenares. 

(There is a confidentiality clause in the Kaliwa dam deal which until now we have no certified true copy of. And what they claim on the website as the certified true copy is not what the Supreme Court says so.)

Bayan Muna also wants respondents to release documents in relation to the project’s procurement and Chinese contractor.

“Marami namang qualified siguro na contractor at laborer dito sa Pilipinas bakit naman China lang ang pwedeng magkuha ng proyekto?” the former solon said.

(There may be a lot of qualified contractors and laborers in the Philippines. Why is it that only China can acquire the project?)

“Hindi lang doon sa isyu na nire-raise natin kundi sa interes ng mamamayang Pilipino na nakasalalay dito: ang ating mga katutubo, ang mga komunidad na direktang matatamaan nitong Kaliwa dam at ang susunod na henerasyon,” added Rep. Carlos Zarate.

(It’s not only the issue that we are raising. The interest of the Filipino people is also at stake, our ethnic groups, the community and the next generation that will be directly affected by the Kaliwa dam project .)

The construction of Kaliwa dam aims to provide a new water source amid the increase in the demand of water supply — Mai Bermudez

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DOJ to look into Malacañang’s new oust Duterte matrix

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo presenting the ouster matrix

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has vowed to look into the new matrix presented by Malacañang which showed that opposition members have been conspiring with other organizations to discredit the government of President Rodrigo Duterte and boost the candidacy of opposition bets in the May 13 elections.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters on Wednesday they will study the diagram and check if there is enough factual basis in Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s story on individuals supposedly involved in a plot to oust Duterte.

“I have not seen this new ouster matrix,” he said.

“In any event, the DOJ will study this further to determine if there is enough factual basis to refer this new matrix to the NBI for investigation,” he added.

Panelo on Wednesday presented a new matrix which tagged the Liberal Party, the “yellows,” Magdalo group, some media outfits and several other individuals to destabilize the government.

READ: Palace shows new diagram on Magdalo, Liberal party ‘conspiracy’ to oust Duterte

“The President himself has received information, intelligence information that has been validated and appears to show that there is a deliberate attempt to discredit this administration, as well as to boost the candidacies of the opposition’s senatorial candidates,” he said.

The presidential spokesman did not say where the intelligence information came from but only assured media it has been vetted.

Panelo also said at Wednesday’s briefing that it was up to the DOJ to decide on whether or not to press charges against those accused of plotting Duterte’s ouster.

Guevarra said they will determine the matter before referring this to a concerned agency for further investigation.

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2018 Bar passers to take oath on June 13 at PICC

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

The 2016 Bar Exams passers taking oath

MANILA, Philippines – The successful 2018 Bar takers are set to take their oaths as new lawyers of the Philippines on June 13, the Supreme Court (SC) announced on Tuesday (May 7).

In its website, the SC said the oath-taking will take place at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). Signing in the Roll of Attorneys will start on June 14.

The SC last Friday released the list of law graduates who successfully passed the 2018 Bar exams.

READ: SC releases list of 2018 Bar exam passers

Sean James Borja of the Ateneo de Manila University topped the Bar, along with the graduates from the University of San Carlos, University of the Philippines and De La Salle University-Manila.

The SC said 22.07 percent or 1,800 of the 8,155 examinees passed the 2018 Bar exams. This is slightly lower compared with the 25.55 percent who passed the Bar exams in 2017.

In line with the upcoming oathtaking ceremony, the High Court reminded the Bar passers to secure their clearances from the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC).

“The Supreme Court today reminded all successful 2018 Bar examinees to promptly secure their clearances from the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) in time for their June 13, 2019 oathtaking at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC),” it said.

The SC said the Bar passers only have until June 10 to secure their clearances, the process of which started on Tuesday (May 7).  

“The High Court, through the OBC, said that the successful Bar examinees have only until June 10, 2019, Monday, as the new deadline to secure their clearances from the OBC,” the SC said.

“They are directed to prepare P6,050 (P3,850 for oath fees and P2,200 for Integrated Bar of the Philippines [IBP] dues, including building fund). For clearance, each is advised to bring three (3) valid identification cards (IDs): one for security and the two for presentation to the OBC,” it added.

The 2018 Bar exams, which was the 117th held in the country, was conducted at the University of Santo Tomas last November.

A total of 8,155 law graduates took the 2018 Bar exams, the highest so far in the history of the Bar exams.

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