Author Archives: Atty. Fred

Tinkering with internet tools comes with the bonus of better understanding how existing laws apply to the third wave - that of technology, particularly the internet. This is also a great medium to disseminate and discuss ideas across borders, time, color or creed. Read more.

Electronic Clearing of Checks in the Philippines Starts January 2017

[The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved the implementation of the electronic clearing of checks, starting January 2017. This will speed up the clearing of checks from 3 to 5 banking days, down to 1 day. Issuers must consider the faster clearing of checks to avoid bouncing checks. To assist in the dissemination of this information, we are reproducing the media release of the BSP.] Continue reading

Proposed Amnesty for Unpaid Estate Taxes

We’ve been consulted on a number of real estate transactions that had to be shelved because of unsettled estate taxes. It’s not because the owners — who inherited the properties — have the intention of evading taxes; it’s just that a lot of people do not know about, or do not give much importance to, the settlement of estate taxes immediately after the death of the original owner. The rule is: if a real estate owner dies, the heirs (spouse, children, etc.) must file the appropriate tax return with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and pay the corresponding estate taxes. Unless the estate tax is paid and the BIR issues a Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR), the Register of Deeds will not allow the transfer of the title to the real estate. The difficiculty of complying with this requirement discourages transactions involving the property, like partition among the heirs and sale of the property itself. There are estate taxes that remain unpaid after decades, with the basic tax, plus interest, penalties and surcharges, potentially exceeding the value of the property. Continue reading

Death Penalty in the Philippines

The incumbent President of the Philippines favors the reimposition of death penalty, also called capital punishment, for certain criminal cases. The lower house of Congress — the House of Representatives — has started the legislative process to enact a law reimposing the death penalty (see House Bill No. 1, proposaing a Death Penalty Law). The debate between those who support the death penalty (“reimpositionists”) and those who oppose it (“abolitionists”) is gaining momentum. With this development, it might be helpful to revisit the history and nature of death penalty in the Philippines. [Feel free to join the discussion, present the pros and cons of the pending bill, through the comment section below.] Continue reading

Discuss: Death Penalty Law (House Bill No. 1; Full Text)

[House Bill No. 1 seeks to reimpose the death penalty in the Philippines. As noted in the bill’s explanatory note, the “imposition of the death penalty for heinous crimes and the ode of its implementation, both subjects of repealed laws, are crucial components of an effective dispensation of both reformative and retributive justice.” To aid in the productive discussion of the subject matter, the complete text is reproduced in this post. Discuss using the comment section below.] Continue reading

Discuss: Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Act (House Bill No. 2; Full Text)

[House Bill No. 2 seeks to amend Republic Act No. 9344, as amended by Republic Act No. 10630, and reverting the minimum age of criminal responsibility from fifteen (15) years old to nine (9) years old. It was filed at the House of Representatives (First Regular Session, 17th Congress); introduced by Cadiz Representative Fredenil H. Castro and co-sponsored by Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon D. Alvarez. To aid in the productive discussion of the subject matter, the complete text is reproduced in this post. Discuss using the comment section below.] Continue reading

Balikbayan Boxes: What OFWs Must Know About Random or Arbitrary Physical Inspection

The sending of balikbayan boxes, especially during the Christmas season, by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) is a normal phenomenon. Balikbayan Boxes, according to the Bureau of Customs, “are packages of personal effects and/or pasalubongs sent by Filipinos residing or working abroad to their families or relatives in the Philippines to enhance Philippine tradition and culture for the promotion and preservation of strong family ties through love and caring expressed in gift-giving.” Continue reading

Leakage in Commercial Law and Criminal Law, 2016 Bar Exams: No Truth per Bar Exam Chairperson

There are rumors of leakage in Commercial Law and Criminal Law exams last 20 November 2016. On 24 November 2016, the Supreme Court PIO released the undated statement of the 2016 Bar Examinations Chairperson, Justice Presbiterio J. Velasco, Jr., that there’s no truth to these rumors. Here’s the full text of the statement: Continue reading