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SC allows non-PhilSAT passers to enter law school this year

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

The Supreme Court (SC) released a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhiLSAT) allowing aspiring law students to conditionally enroll this year.

According to the TRO issued by the Supreme Court on Monday, PhilSAT is temporarily not required for enrollment in law school.

“Those who have not taken the PhiLSAT prior to the beginning of the Academic Year 2018 to 2019, or who have taken the PhiLSAT but did not pass, or are honor graduates in college with no PhilSAT (sic) Exemption Certificate, or honor graduates with expired PhiLSAT Exemption Certificates may now be allowed to conditionally enroll as incoming freshmen law students under the same terms as LEB Memorandum No. 11, series of 2017,” the order said.

The order adds that these students may enroll but they will have to take the next scheduled PhiLSAT once the TRO is lifted.

PhiLSAT is a qualifying examination for aspiring law students and is administered by the Legal Educational Board (LEB).

Two groups had filed separate petitions in the SC questioning the constitutionality of R.A. 7662 or the Legal Education Reform Act of 1993—Aileen Cerrudo

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SC orders half-day work in all PH courts on April 17

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) and all courts nationwide will only have a half-day work on Wednesday (April 17), Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin ordered on Monday.

Under the approved SC calendar, the half-day work would give court officials and employees enough time to travel to the provinces to observe the Lenten season.

But for courts inside local government buildings, Bersamin said that a whole day work suspension will only be observed should it be declared by the local government.

“Courts located inside local government-owned or controlled buildings shall observe a whole day work suspension on April 17 should the same be declared by their local government, otherwise the said courts shall observe a half-day work schedule per SC calendar,” he said. – Robie de Guzman

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Gov’t to respond to petition vs China-funded Chico river project

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Chico River

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Wednesday assured it is ready to comment on a petition seeking to nullify the Chico River Pump Irrigation deal between the Philippines and China.

In a report on UNTV News and Rescue’s Ito Ang Balita by Mai Bermudez, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace respects the order of the Supreme Court (SC) and that “it will respond properly.”

Panelo also stressed during a Palace press briefing that the P62-million loan agreement is constitutional.

“The loan agreement has passed through many channels. There has been many reviews, evaluations. We feel that it is not in violation of the Constitution as alleged by the petitioner,” he said.

On Wednesday, the SC, through the Office of the Solicitor General, urged the government to comment on the petition seeking to temporarily stop the implementation and nullify the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project.

“The Supreme Court ordered the respondents to file their comment to the petition within a period of 10 days,” SC Spokesman Brian Hosaka announced in a press briefing in Baguio City on Wednesday.

Ordered to comment on the petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, National Economic Development Authority Chief Ernesto Pernia, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and National Irrigation Administrator Ricardo Visaya.

The House Makabayan bloc filed the petition on April 4, asking the high court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the project due to “onerous” contract provisions.

The petitioners, led by Senatorial aspirant Neri Colmenares, said the loan agreement for the China-funded project has onerous provisions including a confidentiality clause that violates the public’s constitutional right to information on foreign loans taken out by the government; after-the-fact approval by the Monetary Board, and Requirement that the contactor be a Chinese company.

The said deal was also criticized for its supposed disadvantageous terms, including possibly giving up gas resources in the Reed bank as collateral for the loan.

Meanwhile, the petitioners welcomed the SC’s order.

“We thank the High Court for giving due course to our petition. By ordering Pres. Duterte and other respondents to comment, the Court recognizes the gravity of the issues we raised,” Colmenares said in a statement.

He also hopes that the high court will eventually issue a TRO against the loan agreement.

“We still hope that the Court issues a temporary restraining order or an injunction to prevent the government and China from enforcing the loan agreement,” he said. – Robie de Guzman

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Malacañang respects SC order to release ‘Oplan Tokhang’ police records

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

A member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) investigation unit shows confiscated methamphetamine, known locally as Shabu, along with Philippines pesos seized from suspected drug pushers during an operation by the police in Quiapo city, metro Manila, Philippines July 3,… REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Tuesday assured the government will heed the Supreme Court’s order to release the copies of police reports on the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government will respect the high court’s order for the Solicitor General to submit copies of drug war records to two petitioners who were seeking to declare the anti-narcotics drive as unconstitutional.

“We always follow the rule of law,” Panelo said in a text message sent to reporters on Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court has spoken. Unless it reverses itself upon a motion for reconsideration by the Solicitor General, obedience to its ruling should come as a matter of course,” he added.

The Supreme Court en banc on Tuesday ordered the Solicitor General to furnish copies of the records of the relentless drug war, or locally known as “Oplan Tokhang, to human rights groups and relatives of those who were killed for allegedly resisting arrest during police operations.

Petitioners who will be given copies are the Center for International Law (CenterLaw) representing residents of 26 villages in San Andres Bukid in Manila and the Free Legal Assistance Group (Flag).

“Tokhang” is a combination of two Cebuano words – “toktok” (to knock) and “hangyo” (to plead). It refers to the operation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in which cops knock at homes and appeal to residents to stop using or stay away from illegal drugs.

Former PNP chief and now senatorial aspirant Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa headed Duterte’s anti-drug campaign from July 2016 to April 2018.

Dela Rosa said he has nothing to fear from the SC order but warned that the release of drug war documents could subject police to “harassment.”

“Prone ang kapulisan natin sa harassment. Kapag na-harass ‘yung mga pulis d’yan wala nang magtrabaho d’yan. Kapag ikaw nagka-kaso, suspindido ka, wala ka ng suweldo, saan ka kukuha ng pagkain sa pamilya mo?” he told reporters at the sidelines of PDP-Laban’s campaign sortie in Malabon on Tuesday night. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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