On Ballet, Life and 8 Counts (Commencement Speech of Lisa Macuja Elizalde)

[Graduation season brings a fresh wave of nice speeches. On 28 March 2015, Lisa Macuja Elizalde gave a commencement speech at the graduation of the School of Humanities and the John Gokongwei School of Management, Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Schools. This fine speech deserves to be read by everyone, especially the young ones. Here is the full text of the speech.] Continue reading

Period to Reply in HR Disciplinary Actions

Practitioners in the field of labor or Human Resources (HR), as well as managers and executive officers of companies, are aware that an employee may only be dismissed for cause. Disciplinary actions, including dismissal from work, must comply with both substantive and procedural due process. Substantive due process requires a valid cause for the dismissal. For procedural due process, outlined below, an interesting question is this: is there a minimum period that must be given to the employee to answer the show-cause notice? Continue reading

Philippine Mining: The Grandfather Rule for Foreign Investments

If you are a foreign investor thinking of putting in capital for mining businesses in the Philippines, you must have asked if there is a limit on foreign ownership for Philippine mining companies. The Supreme Court again discussed this issue in a recent ruling denying a motion for reconsideration filed by certain mining companies in the Philippines. The controversy is anchored on the requirement that mining, among other activities, is reserved by the Constitution — the highest law of the land — for Filipinos. Sec. 2, Art. XII of the Constitution, which provides that the exploration, development, and utilization of of natural resources is reserved to Filipinos, whether natural persons or juridical persons. Filipino juridical persons refer to “corporations or associations at least sixty per centrum of whose capital is owned by such citizens.” Continue reading

“Relaxed” Rules on Psychological Incapacity to Annul Marriages

A recent newspaper article got my attention. “SC relaxes rules on psychological incapacity as ground to annul marriages,” says the news title in a popular newspaper. I traced the case, Valerio E. Kalaw vs. Ma. Elena Fernandez (G.R. No. 166357, 14 January 2015), and proceeded to check if the Supreme Court really “relaxed” the rules in that case. Continue reading

Principal Office Address: Amending the Articles of Incorporation

Corporate compliance, just like tax and other reportorial requirements, is easier if handled by an army of staff, whether organic or outsourced. For small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs), however, employees cannot be considered as mere items of expense in the corporate books, for the simple reason that SMEs are naturally saddled with a lower spending cap. The enterepeneur ends up doing the marketing and selling, while performing the administrative backend, including corporate compliance.  Continue reading

More from Your Bonus: A Welcome Valentines Gift

Government has a bit of Valentines gift to people who rely on salaries to support themselves and their families — an increase in the tax exemption for 13th month pay and other bonuses/benefits. On 12 February 2015, two days before Valentines, President Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10653 (full text), increasing the tax exemption of bonuses from P30,000 to P82,000. Continue reading

Statement of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno on the recent Maguindanao Encounter

In the wake of the recent deaths in Mamasapano, Maguindanao involving officers and members of the Philippine National Police – Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, I and my colleagues on the Supreme Court express our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of our injured and fallen policemen. We deeply mourn for those killed, and weep with their families as we would weep for our own kin. No words are enough to console the families for their loss, perhaps even the promise of earthly justice will sound hollow at this time. But I ask them now to cling to the hope that there is always the eternal realm. Continue reading

Salute to the Fallen44

Salute to the Fallen 44

The military band kept on playing. The tune sounds painfully sad. The band kept playing for hours because the honor guards walked slower than slow-motion, perhaps fearful of disturbing the fallen comrade-in-arms inside the coffin. It took hours because there were 42 coffins that came home to Camp Bagong Diwa [Update: Why family of slain SAF from Bicol didn’t wait for Aquino]. The 2 other fallen police officers were buried earlier in accordance with Islamic rites. 44 dead. A lot of officers and gentlemen died performing their sworn duty to protect the country. Continue reading

The First 5 Minutes of the First Sunday of Bar Exams

There are four full Sundays reserved every year for the Philippine bar examinations, arguably the most difficult bar exam in the whole world. Until the first Sunday of the bar exam, law students can only surmise, as part of their arduous bar exam preparation, what to expect inside the examination room. Each bar examinee has a different experience when it comes to the precious few minutes after opening the bar exam questionnaire — a brief moment that is forever etched in the minds of all lawyers or would-have-been lawyers (incidentally, the OBC noted that of the total 6,344 examinees admitted to take the 2014 bar examinations, only 5,996 showed up during the first Sunday and 5,994 remained at the end of the first Sunday). As a helpful reference for those taking the bar exams, and as a catharsis for those who have survived the bar exam, we’ll feature the realizations of bar exam hopefuls during the first 5 minutes (after opening the questionnaire) of the first (of four) Sunday of the bar exam. Continue reading