Vagrancy no longer a penal offense

Republic Act No. 10158 decriminalized vagrancy. Prior to its enactment, the Revised Penal Code stated:

ARTICLE 202.    Vagrants and prostitutes — Penalty. — The following are vagrants:

1.             Any person having no apparent means of subsistence, who has the physical ability to work and who neglects to apply himself or herself to some lawful calling;

2.             Any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support;

3.             Any idle or dissolute person who lodges in houses of ill fame; ruffians or pimps and those who habitually associate with prostitutes;

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Principles in deciding rape cases

A rape case usually involves the word of one person against another. How should a court decide rape cases?

In several cases, the Supreme Court has stated that the following principles should be applied in deciding rape cases:

(1) an accusation of rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove;

(2) due to the nature of the crime of rape in which only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and

(3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits
and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence
for the defense.

Due to the nature of this crime, conviction for rape may be solely based on the complainant’s testimony provided it is credible, natural, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. (People of the Philippines vs. Baraoil, G.R. No. 194608, July 9, 2012).

Notable Regulations Issued July 2012

Here are notable regulations issued July 2012:

1. Executive Order No. 78 (July 4, 2012) – Mandating the Inclusion of Provisions on the Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in All Contracts Involving Public-Private Partnership Projects, Build-Operate and Transfer Projects, Joint Venture Agreements Between the Government and Private Entities and Those Entered into by Local Government Units;

2. Executive Order No. 79 (July 6, 2012) – Institutionalizing and Implementing Reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector, Providing Policies and Guidelines to Ensure Environmental Protection and Responsible Mining in the Utilization of Mineral Resources;

3. Executive Order No. 80 (July 20, 2012) – Directing the Adoption of a Performance-Based Incentive System for Government Employees;

4. SEC Memorandum Circular No. 05 (July 13, 2012) – Participation of Independent Directors in Employees’ Stock Option Plan;

5. ERC Resolution No. 10 (July 27, 2012) – Resolution Apprving the Feed-in Tariff Rates.

Water Code of the Philippines: An Overview

Did you know that there is a law governing the use and ownership of water? This is Presidential Decree No. 1067, otherwise know as the Water Code of the Philippines. The Code covers  underground water, water above the ground, water in the atmosphere and the waters of the sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines.

The Water Code has the following objectives:

(a) To establish the basic principles and framework relating to the appropriation, control and conservation of water resources to achieve the optimum development and rational utilization of these resources;

(b) To define the extent of the rights and obligations of water users and owners including the protection and regulation of such rights;

(c) To adopt a basic law governing the ownership, appropriation, utilization, exploitation, development, conservation and protection of water resources and rights to land related thereto; and

(d) To identify the administrative agencies which will enforce the law.

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Early release of retirement benefits

Republic Act No. 10154 mandates the release of the  retirement, pensions,  gratuities, and  other  benefits  of a  retiring  government  employee  within a period  of  thirty  (30)  days   from  the   date   of  the   actual retirement  of said employee.  This assumes that all  requirements  are  submitted  to  the   concerned  government  agency  at least 90 days prior to the effective date of retirement.

In the case of retiring government employees with pending cases and whose retirement benefits are being lawfully withheld due to possible pecuniary liability, the head of the agency where such case is pending must ensure that the said case shall be terminated and/or resolved within a period of three (3) months from the date of the retirement of the concerned employee.  In case the concerned agency fails to terminate and/or resolve the case within the said period without any justifiable reason(s), the retirement benefits due to the employee must be immediately released to him without prejudice to the ultimate resolution of the case; except, when the delay is deliberately caused by the retiring employee.

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Warrantless arrest

When can police officers legally make an arrest without a warrant?

Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court provides:

Sec 5.  Arrest without warrant, when lawful – A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing or is attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it;  and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.

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Notable Regulations Issued August 2011

Here are some notable regulations issued August 2011:

1.  SEC Memorandum Circular No. 5-2011 dated August 4, 2011 – Amending SEC Memorandum Circular No. 5, series of 2008 (Guidelines and Procedures on the Use of Corporate and Partnership Names);

2.   SEC Memorandum Circular No. 6-2011 dated August 15,  2011 – 2012 Schedule of Filing of Annual Financial Statements;

3.  BIR Revenue Regulations No. 15-2011 dated August 26, 2011 – Amendment to Section 5 of Revenue Regulations No. 12-2011;

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Revised Penal Code: An Overview

Act No. 3815, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code, is the basic law that defines criminal offenses and provides the penalties for the commission of those offenses. The Revised Penal Code took effect on January 1, 1932, or more than a year after its approval on December 8, 1930.

The Revised Penal Code is divided in two books. The first book contains general provisions regarding criminal offenses, the persons liable and the imposition of penalties. On the other hand, the second book describes the acts that constitute criminal offenses and the penalties for the commission thereof. Crimes are grouped under the following categories:

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Synchronization of ARMM elections

Republic Act No. 10153 provided for the synchronization of the ARMM elections with the national and local elections.  Thus, the next regular elections of the ARMM Governor, the ARMM Vice-Governor, and the members of the ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly will be held on the on the second Monday of May 2013, which coincides with our national and local elections.

Pending the elections in May 2013, the President is authorized to appoint officers-in-charge for the office of the Governor, the Vice-Governor and the members of the Regional Legislative Assembly.  RA 10153 creates a screening committee, whose members will be appointed by the President, which shall screen and recommend, in consultation with the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, the persons who will be appointed officers-in-charge.

Stamp tax on loans

Is documentary stamp tax (DST) payable on a loan even if no formal loan agreement was signed?

The Supreme Court answered this question in the affirmative in Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Filinvest Development Corporation, G.R. No. 163653, July 19, 2011. The Court based its finding on Revenue Regulations No. 9-94.  It states:

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