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NEWS NOTES

1. STATE WITNESS. NAPOLES CASE


WHO:
a) The discharge must be WITH THE CONSENT OF THE ACCUSED sought to be a state
witness
b) There is ABSOLUTE NECESSITY for the testimony of the accused whose discharge is
requested;
c) There is NO OTHER DIRECT EVIDENCE AVAILABLE for the proper prosecution of the
offense committed, except the testimony of said accused;
d) 4. The testimony of said accused can be SUBSTANTIALLY CORROBORATED in its
material points;
e) Said accused DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE THE MOST GUILTY; and
f) Said accused has not at any time been convicted of any offense involving MORAL
TURPITUDE.
WHEN:

As a general rule, the court should resolve any motion to


discharge only AFTER the prosecution has presented all of its evidence since it is at this time when
the court shall determine the presence of the requisites above

In some cases, HOWEVER, the SC held that the prosecution is not required to present all of its other
evidence before an accused is discharged. The accused may be discharged at any time before
the defendants have entered upon their defense.

So long as the motion is able to receive evidence for and against the discharge of an accused to
become a state witness, its subsequent order granting or denying the motion for discharge is in order
notwithstanding the lack of actual hearing on the motion
CAN A CO-CONSPIRATOR BE DISCHARGED AS A STATE WITNESS?
RULEa co-conspirator cannot be discharged as a state witness against a co-conspirator
EXCEPTIONif the crime was committed clandestinely and there is no way to prove the crime
IF THE STATE WITNESS REFUSES TO TESTIFY, WILL HIS SWORN STATEMENT BE
ADMISSIBLE AGAINST HIM?
No, his sworn statement will not be admissible against him
Otherwise, it violates his right against self-incrimination

2. PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENT- GINA LOPEZ


Under Section 16, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, classes of appointees

First, the heads of the executive departments; ambassadors; other public ministers and consuls;
officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, from the rank of colonel or naval captain; and other
officers whose appointments are vested in the President in this Constitution;

Second, all other officers of the government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by
law;

Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint; and
Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the President
alone.

3 STRIKE RULE

Under the CA rules, an appointee is deemed bypassed if the commission has not acted on an
appointment before Congress adjourns session. When this happens, the President would have to
reappoint the official to continue serving the government post.

But under the three-strike rule, Pimentel said the CA would have to vote on whether to confirm or
reject the concerned appointee. If rejected, the President should no longer reappoint the affected
official.

3. APPOINTMENT OF OICS- appointment of brgy officials

This contravenes the Constitution on so many fronts.

First, under the 1987 Constitution, local government positions, including those in the barangays, are
by design to be filled by election. While there is no such express declaration in the Constitution, such
intention is indisputably apparent in many of its provisions, such as these:

Article IX (C) Section 2.2:

"Exercise exclusive original jurisdictionand appellate jurisdiction over all


contests...involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction."

Article X, Section 8:

The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by
law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.
Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in
the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

Second, this mode of filling in barangay positions cannot be changed from elective to appointive by
mere legislative enactment. It needs a constitutional amendment.

Third, it is clear in Article X (Section 8) of the Constitution that the only discretion of Congress as
regards the term of office of barangay officials is the determination of its length. This means that
in the case of elective barangay officials, Congress can either lengthen or shorten the default 3-year
term, but certainly this power does not include the greater discretion to scrap these term limits
altogether.

Fourth, the proposed legislation is a threat to the 1987 Constitution's policy of decentralization. Article
II (Section 25) obliges the state to ensure the autonomy of local governments. In relation to this,
Article X (Section 4) states that [t]he President of the Philippines shall exercise general
supervision over local governments. The Supreme Court defined the Presidents power of
supervision only to mean the power of a superior officer to see to it that lower officers perform their
functions in accordance with law.

The 5th and the most important objection to House Bill 5359 is that it is not only a threat to, but a
direct assault on, democracy. It is undisputed that the power to choose barangay officials exclusively
belongs to the people.

Article II (Section 1) of the Constitution reiterates that [s]overeignty resides in the people and all
government authority emanates from them. While, in theory, the people, in approving the Constitution,
delegate the exercise of most of its sovereignty in favor of the government, the power to elect public
officials is a portion of that sovereignty it reserved to itself and withheld from the government.

4. National ID System

-If passed into law, the Filipino Identification System Act would make the following offenses
punishable:

Falsifying information in applying for the issuance of a Filipino ID card or procures through
fraud

Utilizing the card in an unlawful manner

Any person or establishment refusing to recognize the Filipino ID card of a member

Any public official or employee conniving in the application or issuance of an unauthorized


Filipino ID card

-Unconstitutional. SC decision: Indeed, if we extend our judicial gaze we will find that the right of
privacy is recognized and enshrined in several provisions of our Constitution. 33 It is expressly
recognized in section 3 (1) of the Bill of Rights:

Section 3. The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful
order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.

Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any
purpose in any proceeding.

It is plain and we hold that A.O. No. 308 falls short of assuring that personal information which will be
gathered about our people will only be processed for unequivocally specified purposes. 60 The lack of
proper safeguards in this regard of A.O. No. 308 may interfere with the individual's liberty of abode
and travel by enabling authorities to track down his movement; it may also enable unscrupulous
persons to access confidential information and circumvent the right against self-incrimination; it may
pave the way for "fishing expeditions" by government authorities and evade the right against
unreasonable searches and seizures. 61 The possibilities of abuse and misuse of the PRN, biometrics
and computer technology are accentuated when we consider that the individual lacks control over
what can be read or placed on his ID, much less verify the correctness of the data encoded. 62 They
threaten the very abuses that the Bill of Rights seeks to prevent.
The right to privacy is one of the most threatened rights of man living in a mass society. The threats
emanate from various sources governments, journalists, employers, social scientists, etc. 88 In th
case at bar, the threat comes from the executive branch of government which by issuing A.O. No. 308
pressures the people to surrender their privacy by giving information about themselves on the pretext
that it will facilitate delivery of basic services. Given the record-keeping power of the computer, only
the indifferent fail to perceive the danger that A.O. No. 308 gives the government the power to compile
a devastating dossier against unsuspecting citizens. It is timely to take note of the well-worded
warning of Kalvin, Jr., "the disturbing result could be that everyone will live burdened by an unerasable
record of his past and his limitations. In a way, the threat is that because of its record-keeping, the
society will have lost its benign capacity to forget." 89 Oblivious to this counsel, the dissents still say we
should not be too quick in labelling the right to privacy as a fundamental right. We close with the
statement that the right to privacy was not engraved in our Constitution for flattery.

5. VFA- China
In its February 2009 decision penned by now retired Associate Justice Adolfo Azcuna, the Court
upheld the constitutionality of the VFA as it was duly concurred in by the Philippine Senate and has
been recognized as a treaty by the United States.

It pointed out that Section 25, Article XVIII, 1987 Constitution provides that foreign military bases,
troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by
the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people
in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting
State.
The VFA, which is the instrument agreed upon to provide for the joint RP-US military exercises, is
simply an implementing agreement to the main RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty, the SC said.

6.