Essay: Logical Fallacies in SC Decisions

The following are examples of logical fallacy as used in SC decisions:

1. Legal and Judicial Ethics – Nonsequitur

As Rosa’s prayer for relief suggests, what she wants is for this Court to annul her marriage on the bases of its findings in A.C. No. 5333. Obviously, she is of the impression that since her charges in A.C. No. 5333 were found to be true, justifying the suspension of Justo from the practice of law, the same charges are also sufficient to prove his psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations.
Her premise is of course non-sequitur.
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Accordingly, one’s unfitness as a lawyer does not automatically mean one’s unfitness as a husband or vice versa. The yardsticks for such roles are simply different. This is why the disposition in a disbarment case cannot be conclusive on an action for declaration of nullity of marriage. While Rosa’s charges sufficiently proved Justo’s unfitness as a lawyer, however, they may not establish that he is psychologically incapacitated to perform his duties as a husband. (Paras v Paras, GR No. 147824, August 2, 2007).

2. Labor Law – Hasty Generalization

We find appellant, despite her denial, to have been engaged in the practice of illegal recruitment in large scale and thus violated the provisions of Article 38 (a) and (b) in relation to Article 39 (a) and Article 13 (b) and (c) of the Labor Code.]
Appellant’s argument is less than convincing. In the face of direct and positive evidence presented by four complainants against her, the appellant could interpose only the defense of denial. She would want the trial court to make her denial prevail over the testimonies and documents presented by the prosecution. However, nothing on record would show any ill-motive or bias whatsoever that would taint the prosecution’s evidence. It thus becomes impossible for an objective judge to overturn, without legal basis, precedents which maintain that denial is a self-serving negative evidence that cannot be given greater weight than the declaration of credible witnesses who testified on affirmative matters. Between categorical statements of prosecution witnesses, on the one hand, and bare denials of the accused, on the other hand, the former must perforce prevail. All of the witnesses testified to having personally met the accused; they averred that she asked from them a sum of money in exchange for the promised employment overseas. Moreover, exhibits were presented in the form of receipts issued by and copies of the documentary requirements submitted to appellant. For appellant to say that she was merely chosen as a scapegoat for appellees’ misfortune, having failed to bring the alleged real recruiter to justice, does not appear well founded. It is but a hasty generalization of no probative significance. Without credible evidence proferred by the defense, bad faith or ulterior motive could not be imputed on the part of the appellees in pointing to the accused as the illegal recruiter who victimized them. When there is no showing that the principal witnesses for the prosecution were actuated by improper motive, the presumption is that the witnesses were not so actuated and their testimonies are thus entitled to full faith and credit. (Alert Security and Investigation Agency Inc v. Pasawilan, GR No. 182397, September 14, 2011).

3. Civil Law – Circular Argument

Appellees argue that what Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines pointed out as the national law is the internal law of California. But as above explained the laws of California have prescribed two sets of laws for its citizens, one for residents therein and another for those domiciled in other jurisdictions. Reason demands that We should enforce the California internal law prescribed for its citizens residing therein, and enforce the conflict of laws rules for the citizens domiciled abroad. If we must enforce the law of California as in comity we are bound to go, as so declared in Article 16 of our Civil Code, then we must enforce the law of California in accordance with the express mandate thereof and as above explained, i.e., apply the internal law for residents therein, and its conflict-of-laws rule for those domiciled abroad.
It is argued on appellees’ behalf that the clause “if there is no law to the contrary in the place where the property is situated” in Sec. 946 of the California Civil Code refers to Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines and that the law to the contrary in the Philippines is the provision in said Article 16 that the national law of the deceased should govern. This contention can not be sustained. As explained in the various authorities cited above the national law mentioned in Article 16 of our Civil Code is the law on conflict of laws in the California Civil Code, i.e., Article 946, which authorizes the reference or return of the question to the law of the testator’s domicile. The conflict of laws rule in California, Article 946, Civil Code, precisely refers back the case, when a decedent is not domiciled in California, to the law of his domicile, the Philippines in the case at bar. The court of the domicile can not and should not refer the case back to California; such action would leave the issue incapable of determination because the case will then be like a football, tossed back and forth between the two states, between the country of which the decedent was a citizen and the country of his domicile. The Philippine court must apply its own law as directed in the conflict of laws rule of the state of the decedent, if the question has to be decided, especially as the application of the internal law of California provides no legitime for children while the Philippine law, Arts. 887(4) and 894, Civil Code of the Philippines, makes natural children legally acknowledged forced heirs of the parent recognizing them. (In the Matter of the Testate Estate of Edward Christensen v. Helen Christensen Garcia, GR No. 16749, January 31, 1963).

4. Remedial Law – Fallacy of Composition

The petitioners further theorize that Section 1 (3) of PD 1866 is invalid because it gives the public prosecutor an option not to file a case for rebellion and instead file as many crimes for murder, frustrated murder, etc. as might have been perpetrated in furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection with rebellion, insurrection or subversion. The argument is not tenable. The fact is that the Revised Penal Code treats rebellion or insurrection as a crime distinct from murder, homicide, arson, or other felonies that might conceivably be committed in the course of a rebellion. It is the Code, therefore, in relation to the evidence in the hands of the public prosecutor, and not the latter’s whim or caprice, which gives the choice. The Code allows, for example, separate prosecutions for eithermurder or rebellion, although not for both where the indictment alleges that the former has been committed in furtherance of or in connection with the latter. Surely, whether people are killed or injured in connection with a rebellion, or not, the deaths or injuries of the victims are no less real, and the grief of the victims’ families no less poignant.
Moreover, it certainly is within the power of the legislature to determine what acts or omissions other than those set out in the Revised Penal Code or other existing statutes are to be condemned as separate, individual crimes and what penalties should be attached thereto. The power is not diluted or improperly wielded simply because at some prior time the act or omission was but an element or ingredient of another offense, or might usually have been connected with another crime. (Baylosis v. Chavez, GR No. 95136, October 3, 1991)

5. Criminal Law – Overzealous Application of General Rule

It may be argued that one who enters the dwelling house of another is not liable unless he has been forbidden — i.e., the phrase “against the will of the owner” means that there must have been an express prohibition to enter. In other words, if one enters the dwelling house of another without the knowledge of the owner he has not entered against his will. This construction is certainly not tenable, because entrance is forbidden generally under the spirit of the law unless permission to enter is expressly given. To allow this construction would destroy the very spirit of the law. Under the law no one has the right to enter the home of another without the other’s express consent. Therefore, to say that one’s home is open for the entrance of all who are not expressly forbidden. This is not the rule. The statute must not be given that construction. No one can enter the dwelling house of another, in there Islands, without rendering himself liable under the law, unless he has the express consent of the owner and unless the one seeking entrance comes within some of the exceptions dictated by the law or by a sound public policy. (US v. Arceo, GR No. 1491, March 5, 1904).

6. Political Law – Ad Hominem

Applying these precepts to this case, Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal protection clause. The clear mandate of the envisioned truth commission is to investigate and find out the truth “concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration” only. The intent to single out the previous administration is plain, patent and manifest.
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The reports of widespread corruption in the Arroyo administration cannot be taken as basis for distinguishing said administration from earlier administrations which were also blemished by similar widespread reports of impropriety. They are not inherent in, and do not inure solely to, the Arroyo administration. As Justice Isagani Cruz put it, “Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification.”
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The insinuations that the members of the majority are impelled by improper motives, being countermajoritarian and allowing graft and corruption to proliferate with impunity are utterly baseless. Not only are these sort of ad hominem attacks and populist appeals to emotion fallacious, they are essentially non-legal arguments that have no place in a debate regarding constitutionality. At the end of the day, Justices of this Court must vote according to their conscience and their honest belief of what the law is in a particular case. That is what gives us courage to stand by our actions even in the face of the harshest criticism. Those who read our opinions, if they are truly discerning, will be able to determine if we voted on points of law and if any one of us was merely pandering to the appointing power. (Biraogo v. The Philippine Truth Commission of 2010, GR No. 192935, December 7, 2010).

8. Taxation Law – Ambiguity and Ignorance

The appellant’s brief says:
The lower court held that the plaintiff was not subject to the tax on consignments abroad, because it was not a merchant according to the definition of same given in section 1459 of the Revised Administrative Code. It is true that the plaintiff is not and never has been engaged in the sale, barter, or exchange of personal property of any character in the Philippine Islands (paragraph IV of Agreed Statement of Facts). It should be taken into consideration, however, that the plaintiff is a manufacturing corporation, licensed to transact business in this country and is engaged in the manufacture and sale of coconut and other oils in the United States (paragraph I of Agreed Statements of Facts). Inasmuch as plaintiff manufactures and sells oil, it comes within the definition of a merchant given in section 1459 above mentioned, which includes manufacturers who sell articles of their own production.”
The last statement is not tenable. The record shows that the plaintiff never did manufacture or sell oil in the Philippine Islands. That it only manufactures and sells oil in the United States. It is further contended that the plaintiff is the consignor of the copra and, as such, is liable of the payment of the tax. The contention is in direct conflict with clause two of the “Agreed Statement of Facts,” above quoted. (El Dorado Oil Works v. The Collector of Internal Revenue, GR No. 20101, July 12, 1923).

9. Commercial Law – Hasty Generalization

It is argued, however, that as the check had been made payable to “cash” and had not been endorsed by Ang Tek Lian, the defendant is not guilty of the offense charged. Based on the proposition that “by uniform practice of all banks in the Philippines a check so drawn is invariably dishonored,” the following line of reasoning is advanced in support of the argument:
. . . When, therefore, he (the offended party ) accepted the check (Exhibit A) from the appellant, he did so with full knowledge that it would be dishonored upon presentment. In that sense, the appellant could not be said to have acted fraudulently because the complainant, in so accepting the check as it was drawn, must be considered, by every rational consideration, to have done so fully aware of the risk he was running thereby.” (Brief for the appellant, p. 11.)
We are not aware of the uniformity of such practice. Instances have undoubtedly occurred wherein the Bank required the indorsement of the drawer before honoring a check payable to “cash.” But cases there are too, where no such requirement had been made . It depends upon the circumstances of each transaction.
Of course, if the bank is not sure of the bearer’s identity or financial solvency, it has the right to demand identification and /or assurance against possible complications, — for instance, (a) forgery of drawer’s signature, (b) loss of the check by the rightful owner, (c) raising of the amount payable, etc. The bank may therefore require, for its protection, that the indorsement of the drawer — or of some other person known to it — be obtained. But where the Bank is satisfied of the identity and /or the economic standing of the bearer who tenders the check for collection, it will pay the instrument without further question; and it would incur no liability to the drawer in thus acting. (Lian v. Court of Appeals, GR No. 2516, September 25, 1950).

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Essay: Why should the State implement mandatory and free education for everyone?

Answer: Education is one way of future-proofing yourself against unwanted events. When done right, it equips the person with good tools to survive outside school. It then redounds to the benefit of the family and then ultimately to the State. Therefore, implementing strict measures such as making it mandatory or imposing higher taxation rates to fund a totally-free education can be reasonable and effective.

If you rode a PUV which goes through the Makati Ave-LRT Buendia (Gil Puyat) route, chances are, you will come across several children jumping from one vehicle to another, asking for spare changes. They do sing and/or dance while doing so. If you have been through University Belt or several portions of Taft Avenue, you will see kids cleaning the front side of your vehicle in exchange of your spare coins. Some sidewalk vendors, such as those selling fishballs or street foods, employ the underage as well.

It is a very depressing sight. By doing so, you do not only expose these children to danger; you also steal a considerable amount of time from their youthful age – time which would have been better spent on learning new things to mold their growing minds.

“Ang kabataan ay ang pag-asa ng Bayan.” As a parent, if you want to future-proof your family, make sure to provide good education for your children. As the head of the State, if you want to future-proof the nation, make education MANDATORY and COMPLETELY FREE for everyone.

My proposals:

  1. Make elementary, secondary, and college education mandatory for everyone. And when I say mandatory, I mean force it and enforce sanctions to parents/guardians who will not allow their child to avail such right.
  2. Make such education completely free. And by that, I mean COMPLETELY FREE. This will prevent parents from giving excuses such as “I cannot pay for my child’s education even if the school does not cost any tuition at all.” I have been through public schools in my youth, and even though I did not pay tuition fee at all, I still have to pay money for my food, notebooks, and all other basic necessities. Those are expensive, and my opinion is that the State should provide that.
    • People might rebut and refer me to state universities and whatnot. If that is the case then explain why there are still people who are not able to finish their studies even in the presence of these universities. I stand my ground on the fact that while these institutions do not ask for fees, necessities will still have provided by the student himself. That defeats the concept of free education, really.
  3. Create more public schools and state universities, and distribute them among different regions in the Philippines. Eradicate excuses such as “Walang pamasahe papuntang x” or “Wala akong pera pangluwas ng Maynila para makapagaral doon sa free university.”.
  4. For these free educational institutions created by State:
    • Elementary: Make the curriculum more advanced. If some public schools are already teaching what-would-be–highschool-subjects to elementary students, then everyone should do it as well. This allows the student to build a strong foundation of knowledge and develop critical-thinking at such an early age.
    • Secondary: We already have K-12; all the more reason to teach students with topics as advanced as college disciplines. Focus more on stuff which they will need in real life: e.g. taxation, financial independence, investments. But do not leave the other necessities behind: e.g. algebra-geometry-trigonometry-calculus/biology-chemistry-physics. The common notion is that those might not be of use in real world, and indeed, it may be true. However, those subjects allow the child to develop/acquire critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities along the way.
    • College. By this time, people should have the critical-thinking abilities needed to study more advanced fields. For all intents and purposes, he can choose any fields that he wants to study. However, it is my belief that technical courses are the way to go if people want a good standard of living, and the State can enforce it by opening more slots for courses related to these disciplines (e.g. engineering, science, computer and technology, economics, finance, etc).

People might ask where can the State get the funds to finance these projects. It goes without saying that the government’s main source of revenue is taxation, and such funds are allocated by the Congress through the annual General Appropriations Act. Such act also requires that the highest proceeds should go to education as well. But realistically speaking, it does not work out to education’s benefit. Lack of strategic planning coupled with corruptions here and there tend to get in the way of the intended goal.

And so my proposal:

  1. Retain what we have right now: that the highest proceeds should still go to Education. However, employ a more strategical way to distribute these funds. And of course, remove the traditional/archaic way of doing things (which is unfortunately present in most of the government operations) and get more innovative in the implementation. I know this is vague, but my point is, just because it is there does not mean it is useful. Change what needs to be changed to progress.
  2. If #1 is not enough, increase the budget required for General Appropriations Act. Once done, it will increase the budget for education as well.
  3. If both of the above are not effective, increase taxation rate. People might lash out at me for this, and with a good reason. However, it is my belief that an increase in taxation is proper if it meets the ends desired. In some European countries, they have a very high taxation rate, but that is coupled with free education and healthcare; so much so that people do not complain about it. We can implement it here as well if need be.
    • I have to stress the fact that as a parent, you won’t mind paying higher taxes if you are confident that the State can provide your children with good education all the way. It is as if you are indirectly paying an educational plan for your child.

Of course, everything above is without prejudice to the school’s authority to filter out students. I think it is just and befitting for the school to handpick individuals and retain only those which pass their standards. For as long as such standards are reasonable, it is fine in my book. It may be harsh, but it forces the student to study well if he wants to have access to such free education.

With everything implemented above, anyone will not have an excuse as to why he is not able to obtain the educational requirements needed to land a decent-paying job. It will now depend on the student to exert an effort on his part to comply with the standards set forth by school. It will be difficult, especially if you are to enter a technical course; but this way, e can focus more on studying since he does not have to worry about anything else (e.g. where to get the fees). The State does it for him.

My point in this post is: right now, our education system is either: a) a ripoff, money-wise; or b) not as effective as it may seem. People have a lot of excuses to why they are not able to finish their studies. And even for graduates, some are not able to get a good-paying job. Please do not get me wrong. It is good to study something you are passionate about, but let us be realistic: that educational field that you are in right now might not be capable of giving you that much-needed dough to survive after school. Personally, I have experienced working in both administration/management and IT, and believe me when I say that generally, IT-related jobs give exponentially-higher salaries than the others. An entry-level position in normal administrative work can be about Php15,000 a month, while the positions of same level in IT/Engineering can go as high as Php25,000 a month. Also, add the fact that technology is being developed at a very fast rate that it creates a lot of demand for everyone. The steady increase in such field is unbelievable, and getting into it is one good way of future-proofing yourself against any economical disasters and job competitions.

My own sentiments, coupled with those bad feelings when I see out-of-school youth, prompted me to create this post. And so I stand my ground in saying that with proper regulations and implementations by the State, it safeguards the people a good future and forces them on the right track. It may run contrary to the liberal thinking that I normally advocate for; but a good authoritative-like measure to impose mandatory and free education might be what the people need to give them a headstart once they reach the age of majority and become the breadwinner of their family. Increased literacy rate can solve a lot of things.  If it is not working out quite fine, something needs to be changed.  And the State should pave way for such change to happen.

A.M. No. 01-2-04-SC: Proposed Interim Rules of Procedure Governing Intra-Corporate Controversies Under R.A. No. 8799

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

A.M. No. 01-2-04-SC             March 13, 2001

Re: PROPOSED INTERIM RULES OF PROCEDURE GOVERNING INTRA-CORPORATE CONTROVERSIES UNDER R. A. NO. 8799

RESOLUTION

INTERIM RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR INTRA-CORPORATE CONTROVERSIES

RULE 1
GENERAL PROVISIONS

SECTION 1. (a) Cases covered. – These Rules shall govern the procedure to be observed in civil cases involving the following:

    1. Devices or schemes employed by, or any act of, the board of directors, business associates, officers or partners, amounting to fraud or misrepresentation which may be detrimental to the interest of the public and/or of the stockholders, partners, or members of any corporation, partnership, or association;
    2. Controversies arising out of intra-corporate, partnership, or association relations, between and among stockholders, members, or associates; and between, any or all of them and the corporation, partnership, or association of which they are stockholders, members, or associates, respectively;
    3. Controversies in the election or appointment of directors, trustees, officers, or managers of corporations, partnerships, or associations;
    4. Derivative suits; and
    5. Inspection of corporate books.

(b) prohibition against nuisance and harassment suits. – Nuisance and harassment suits are prohibited. In determining whether a suit is a nuisance or harassment suit, the court shall consider, among others, the following:

    1. The extent of the shareholding or interest of the initiating stockholder or member;
    2. Subject matter of the suit;
    3. Legal and factual basis of the complaint;
    4. Availability of appraisal rights for the act or acts complained of; and
    5. Prejudice or damage to the corporation, partnership, or association in relation to the relief sought.

In case of nuisance or harassment suits, the court may, moto proprio or upon motion, forthwith dismiss the case.

SEC. 2. Suppletory application of the Rules of Court. – The Rules of Court, in so far as they may be applicable and are not inconsistent with these Rules, are hereby adopted to form an integral part of these Rules.

SEC. 3. Construction. – These Rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their objective of securing a just, summary, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding.

SEC. 4. Executory nature of decisions and orders. – All decisions and orders issued under these Rules shall immediately be executory. No appeal or petition taken therefrom shall stay the enforcement or implementation of the decision or order, unless restrained by an appellate court. Interlocutory orders shall not be subject to appeal.

SEC. 5. Venue. – All actions covered by these Rules shall be commenced and tried in the Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the principal office of the corporation, partnership, or association concerned. Where the principal office of the corporation, partnership or association is registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission as Metro Manila, the action must be filed in the city or municipality where the head office is located.

SEC. 6. Service of pleadings. – When so authorized by the court, any pleading and/or document required by these Rules may be filed with the court and/or served upon the other parties by facsimile transmission (tax) or electronic mail (e-mail. In such cases, the date of transmission shall be deemed to be prima facie the date of service.

SEC. 7. Signing of pleadings, motions and other papers. – Every pleading, motion, and other paper of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney’s individual name, whose address shall be stated. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign the pleading, motion, or other paper and state his address.

The signature of an attorney or party constitutes a certification by the signer that he has read the pleading, motion, or other paper; that to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief formed after reasonable inquiry, it is well grounded in fact and is warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing jurisprudence; and that it is not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.

If a pleading, motion, or other paper is not signed, it shall be stricken off the record unless it is promptly signed by the pleader or movant, after he is notified of the omission.

SEC. 8. Prohibited pleadings. – The following pleadings are prohibited:

    1. Motion to dismiss;
    2. Motion for a bill of particulars;
    3. Motion for new trial, or for reconsideration of judgment or order, or for re-opening of trial;
    4. Motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other paper, except those filed due to clearly compelling reasons. Such motion must be verified and under oath; and
    5. Motion for postponement and other motions of similar intent, except those filed due to clearly compelling reasons. Such motion must be verified and under oath.

SEC. 9. Assignment of cases. – All cases filed under these Rules shall be tried by judges designated by the Supreme Court to hear and decide cases transferred from the Securities and Exchange Commission to the Regional Trial Courts and filed directly with said courts pursuant to Republic Act No. 8799, otherwise known as the Securities and Regulation Cod

RULE 2
COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION AND PLEADINGS

SECTION 1. Commencement of action. – An action under these Rules is commenced by the filing of a verified complaint with the proper Regional Trial Court.

SEC. 2. Pleadings allowed. – The only pleadings allowed to be filed under these Rules are the complaint, answer, compulsory counterclaims or cross-claims pleaded in the answer, and the answer to the counterclaims or cross-claims.

SEC. 3. Verification. The complaint and the answer shall be verified by an affidavit stating that the affiant has read the pleading and the allegations therein are true and correct based on his own personal knowledge or on authentic records.

SEC. 4. Complaint. – The complaint shall state or contain:

    1. the names, addresses, and other relevant personal or juridical circumstances of the parties;
    2. all facts material and relevant to the plaintiff’s cause or causes of action, which shall be supported by affidavits of the plaintiff or his witnesses and copies of documentary and other evidence supportive of such cause or causes of action;
    3. the law, rule, or regulation relied upon, violated, or sought to be enforced;
    4. a certification that (a) the plaintiff has not theretofore commenced any action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency, and, to the best of his knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such other action or claim, a complete statement of the present status thereof; and (c) if he should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court; and
    5. the relief sought.

SEC. 5. Summons. – The summons and the complaint shall be served together not later than five (5) days from the date of filing of the complaint.

    1. Service upon domestic private juridical entities. – If the defendant is a domestic corporation, service shall be deemed adequate if made upon any of the statutory or corporate officers as fixed by the by-laws or their respective secretaries. If the defendant is a partnership, service shall be deemed adequate if made upon any of the managing or general partners or upon their respective secretaries. If the defendant is an association, service shall be deemed adequate if made upon any of its officers or their respective secretaries.
    2. Service upon foreign private juridical entity. When the defendant is a foreign private juridical entity which is transacting or has transacted business in the Philippines, service may be made on its resident agent designated in accordance with law for that purpose, or, if there be no such agent, on the government official designated by law to that effect, or on any of its officers or agents within the Philippines.

SEC. 6. Answer. – The defendant shall file his answer to the complaint, serving a copy thereof on the plaintiff, within fifteen (15) days from service of summons.

In the answer, the defendant shall:

    1. Specify each material allegation of fact the truth of which he admits;
    2. Specify each material allegation of fact the truth of which he does not admit. Where the defendant desires to deny only a part of an averment, he shall specify so much of it as true and material and shall deny only the remainder;
    3. Specify each material allegation of fact as to which truth he has no knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief, and this shall have the effect of a denial;
    4. State the defenses, including grounds for a motion to dismiss under the Rules of Court;
    5. State the law, rule, or regulation relied upon;
    6. Address each of the causes of action stated in the complaint;
    7. State the facts upon which he relies for his defense, including affidavits of witnesses and copies of documentary and other evidence supportive of such cause or causes of action;
    8. State any compulsory counterclaim/s and cross-claim/s; and
    9. State the relief sought.

The answer to counterclaims or cross-claims shall be filed within ten (10) days from service of the answer in which they are pleaded.

SEC. 7. Effect of failure to answer. – If the defendant fails to answer within the period above provided, he shall be considered in default. Upon motion or motu proprio, the court shall render judgment either dismissing the complaint or granting the relief prayed for as the records may warrant. In no case shall the court award a relief beyond or different from that prayed for.

SEC. 8. Affidavits, documentary and other evidence. – Affidavits shall be based on personal knowledge, shall set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify on the matters stated therein. The affidavits shall be in question and answer form, and shall comply with the rules on admissibility of evidence.

Affidavits of witnesses as well as documentary and other evidence shall be attached to the appropriate pleading; Provided, however, that affidavits, documentary and other evidence not so submitted may be attached to the pre-trial brief required under these Rules. Affidavits and other evidence not so submitted shall not be admitted in evidence, except in the following cases:

    1. Testimony of unwilling, hostile, or adverse party witnesses. A witness is presumed prima facie hostile if he fails or refuses to execute an affidavit after a written request therefor;
    2. If the failure to submit the evidence is for meritorious and compelling reasons; and
    3. Newly discovered evidence.

In case of (2) and (3) above, the affidavit and evidence must be submitted not later than five (5) days prior to its introduction in evidence.

RULE 3
MODES OF DISCOVERY

SECTION 1. In general.A party can only avail of any of the modes of discovery not later than fifteen (15) days from the joinder of issues.

SEC. 2. Objections. – Any mode of discovery such as interrogatories, request for admission, production or inspection of documents or things, may be objected to within ten (10) days from receipt of the discovery device and only on the ground that the matter requested is patently incompetent, immaterial, irrelevant or privileged in nature.

The court shall rule on the objections not later than fifteen (15) days from the filing thereof.

SEC. 3. Compliance. – Compliance with any mode of discovery shall be made within ten (10) days from receipt of the discovery device, or if there are objections, from receipt of the ruling of the court.

SEC. 4. Sanctions. – The sanctions prescribed in the Rules of Court for failure to avail of, or refusal to comply with, the modes of discovery shall apply. In addition, the court may, upon motion, declare a party non-suited or as in default, as the case may be, if the refusal to comply with a mode of discovery is patently unjustified.

RULE 4
PRE-TRIAL

SECTION 1. Pre-trial conference; mandatory nature. – Within five (5) days after the period for availment of, and compliance with, the modes of discovery prescribed in Rule 3 hereof, whichever comes later, the court shall issue and serve an order immediately setting the case for pre-trial conference and directing the parties to submit their respective pre-trial briefs. The parties shall file with the court and furnish each other copies of their respective pre-trial brief in such manner as to ensure its receipt by the court and the other party at least five (5) days before the date set for the pre-trial.

The parties shall set forth in their pre-trial briefs, among other matters, the following:

    1. Brief statement of the nature of the case, which shall summarize the theory or theories of the party in clear and concise language;
    2. Allegations expressly admitted by either or both parties;
    3. Allegations deemed admitted by either or both parties;
    4. Documents not specifically denied under oath by either or both parties;
    5. Amendments to the pleadings;
    6. Statement of the issues, which shall separately summarize the factual and legal issues involved in the case;
    7. Names of witnesses to be presented and the summary of their testimony as contained in their affidavits supporting their positions on each of the issues;
    8. All other pieces of evidence, whether documentary or otherwise and their respective purposes;
    9. Specific proposals for an amicable settlement;
    10. Possibility of referral to mediation or other alternative modes of dispute resolution;
    11. Proposed schedule of hearings; and
    12. Such other matters as may aid in the just and speedy disposition of the case.

SEC. 2. Nature and purpose of pre-trial conference. – During the pre-trial conference, the court shall, with its active participation, ensure that the parties consider in detail all of the following:

    1. The possibility of an amicable settlement;
    2. Referral of the dispute to mediation or other forms of dispute resolution;
    3. Facts that need not be proven, either because they are matters of judicial notice or expressly or deemed admitted;
    4. Amendments to the pleadings;
    5. The possibility of obtaining stipulations and admissions of facts and documents;
    6. Objections to the admissibility of testimonial, documentary and other evidence;
    7. Objections to the form or substance of any affidavit, or part thereof;
    8. Simplification of the issues;
    9. The possibility of submitting the case for decision on the basis of position papers, affidavits, documentary and real evidence;
    10. A complete schedule of hearing dates; and
    11. Such other matters as may aid in the speedy and summary disposition of the case.

SEC. 3. Termination. – The preliminary conference shall be terminated not later than ten (10) days after its commencement, whether or not the parties have agreed to settle amicably.

SEC. 4. Judgment before pre-trial. – If, after submission of the pre-trial briefs, the court determines that, upon consideration of the pleadings, the affidavits and other evidence submitted by the parties, a judgment may be rendered, the court may order the parties to file simultaneously their respective memoranda within a non-extendible period of twenty (20) days from receipt of the order. Thereafter, the court shall render judgment, either full or otherwise, not later than ninety (90) days from the expiration of the period to file the memoranda.

SEC. 5. Pre-trial order; judgment after pre-trial. – The proceedings in the pre-trial shall be recorded. Within ten (10) days after the termination of the pre-trial, the court shall issue an order which shall recite in detail the matters taken up in the conference, the actions taken thereon, the amendments allowed in the pleadings, and the agreements or admissions made by the parties as to any of the matters considered. The court shall rule on all objections to or comments on the admissibility of any documentary or other evidence, including any affidavit or any part thereof. Should the action proceed to trial, the order shall explicitly define and limit the issues to be tried and shall strictly follow the form set forth in Annex “A” of these Rules.

The contents of the order shall control the subsequent course of the action, unless modified before trial to prevent manifest injustice.

After the pre-trial, the court may render judgment, either full or partial, as the evidence presented during the pre-trial may warrant.

RULE 5
TRIAL

SECTION 1. Witnesses. – If the court deems necessary to hold hearings to determine specific factual matters before rendering judgment, it shall, in the pre-trial order, set the case for trial on the dates agreed upon by the parties.

Only persons whose affidavits were submitted may be presented as witnesses, except in cases specified in section 8, Rule 2 of these Rules. The affidavits of the witnesses shall serve as their direct testimonies, subject to cross-examination in accordance with existing rules on evidence.

SEC. 2. Trial schedule. – Unless judgment is rendered pursuant to Rule 4 of these Rules, the initial hearing shall be held not later than thirty (30) days from the date of the pre-trial order. The hearings shall be completed not later than sixty (60) days from the date of the initial hearing, thirty (30) days of which shall be allotted to the plaintiffs and thirty (30) days to the defendants in the manner prescribed in the rep-trial order. The failure of a party to present a witness on a scheduled hearing date shall be deemed a waiver of such hearing date. However, a party may present such witness or witnesses within his remaining allotted hearing dates.

SEC. 3. Written offer of evidence. – Evidence not otherwise admitted by the parties or ruled upon by the court during the pre-trial conference shall be offered in writing not later than five (5) days from the completion of the presentation of evidence of the party concerned. The opposing party shall have five (5) days from receipt of the offer to file his comments or objections. The court shall make its ruling on the offer within five (5) days from the expiration of the period to file comments or objections.

SEC. 4. Memoranda. – Immediately after ruling on the last offer of evidence, the court shall order the parties to simultaneously file, within thirty (30) days from receipt of the order, their respective memoranda. The memoranda shall contain the following:

    1. A “Statement of the Case,” which is a clear and concise statement of the nature of the action and a summary of the proceedings;
    2. A “Statement of the Facts,” which is a clear and concise statement in narrative form of the established facts, with reference to the testimonial, documentary or other evidence in support thereof;
    3. A “Statement of the issues,” which is a clear and concise statement of the issues presented to the court for resolution;
    4. The “Arguments,” which is a clear and concise presentation of the argument in support of each issue; and
    5. The “Relief,” which is a specification of the order or judgment which the party seeks to obtain.

No reply memorandum shall be allowed.

SEC. 5. Decision after trial. – The court shall render a decision not later than (90) days from the lapse of the period to file the memoranda, with or without said pleading having been filed.

RULE 6

ELECTION CONTESTS

SECTION 1. Cases covered. – The provisions of this rule shall apply to election contests in stock and non-stock corporations.

SEC. 2. Definition. – An election contest refers to any controversy or dispute involving title or claim to any elective office in a stock or non-stock corporation, the validation of proxies, the manner and validity of elections, and the qualifications of candidates, including the proclamation of winners, to the office of director, trustee or other officer directly elected by the stockholders in a close corporation or by members of a non-stock corporation where the articles of incorporation or by-laws so provide.

SEC. 3. Complaint. – In addition to the requirements in section 4, Rule 2 of these Rules, the complaint in an election contest must state the following:

    1. The case was filed within fifteen (15) days from the date of the election if the by-laws of the corporation do not provide for a procedure for resolution of the controversy, or within fifteen (15) days from the resolution of the controversy by the corporation as provided in its by-laws; and
    2. The plaintiff has exhausted all intra-corporate remedies in election cases as provided for in the by-laws of the corporation.

SEC. 4. Duty of the court upon the filing of the complaint. – Within two (2) days from the filing of the complaint, the court, upon a consideration of the allegations thereof, may dismiss the complaint outright if it is not sufficient in form and substance, or, if it is sufficient, order the issuance of summons which shall be served, together with a copy of the complaint, on the defendant within two (2) days from its issuance.

SEC. 5. Answer. – The defendant shall file his answer to the complaint, serving a copy thereof on the plaintiff, within ten (10) days from service of summons and the complaint. The answer shall contain the matters required in section 6, Rule 2 of these Rules.

SEC. 6. Affidavits, documentary and other evidence. – The parties shall attach to the complaint and answer the affidavits of witnesses, documentary and other evidence in support thereof, if any.

 

Acting on the Memorandum of the Committee on SEC Cases submitting for this Court’s consideration and approval the Proposed Interim Rules of Procedure for Intra-Corporate Controversies, the Court Resolved to APPROVE the same.

The Interim Rules shall take effect on April 1, 2001 following its publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

March 13, 2001, Manila.

Essay: My take on the constitutionality of Bangsamoro Basic Bill

Bangsamoro Basic Bill is unconstitutional. While the 1987 Constitution provides for the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao, such region should still be considered as a territorial and political subdivision of the Philippines and that the President of the Philippines should still exercise general supervision over it. Several provisions of Bangsamoro Basic Bill clearly violates it in such a way that framers of the bill are aiming to give the Bangsamoro Government powers which are not normally given to a mere autonomous region, particularly sovereignty.

Sec. 1, Art. X of the Constitution states that “the territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided.” This is highly reflective of the idea that the Philippines should consider these autonomous regions as included among its territory. Sec. 16, Art. X of the Constitution states “The President shall exercise general supervision over autonomous regions to ensure that laws are faithfully executed.” Sec. 18, Art. X of the Constitution also provides “The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region. xxx The organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units.”

House Bill No. 4994, also known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law, in its full title “An Act Providing for the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro and Abolishing the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao”, which also repeals RA 9054 and RA 6735, which were organic acts for the creation of such autonomous region, is currently being deliberated in the Congress. For the purposes of discussion, the author selected the following provisions from the bill:

Sec. 1, Art IV of the bill states, “In its exercise of its right to self-governance and self-determination, the Bangsamoro is free to pursue its economic, social and cultural development.” Sec. 2., Art IV of the bill provides “The Bangsamoro Government shall be parliamentary. Its political system is democratic, allowing its people to freely participate in the political processes within its territory.”

The bill title and the two provisions above are clearly indicative that the framers of the bill intend to give Bangsamoro Government great authority, deviating and different from that which is given to a mere autonomous region. In the past, these autonomous regions, while given independence, are still generally governed by the Central Government, and are still subject to its limitations. However, these two provisions in the bill can be construed that the Bangsamoro is aiming to become a small state, having the essential elements of a normal State, including a sovereignty which cannot be touched or encroached upon by the central government. There has never been any indication in the Constitution, especially in Article X, regarding the creation of smaller states.

Furthermore, Sec. 1, Art. VI of the bill provides “The relationship between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government shall be asymmetric. xxx This makes it distinct from other regions and other local governments.” Sec. 4, Art. VI of the bill states “The Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government shall be guided by the principles of parity of esteem and accepted norms of good governance. The Central Government shall respect the exercise of competencies and exclusive powers of the Bangsamoro Government. The Bangsamoro Government shall respect the exercise of the competencies and reserve powers of the Central Government.”

While vague, it can be interpreted as violative of the constitutional mandate that autonomous regions should still be under the Central Government, and as such, must still comply with its laws. While the Central Government respects autonomy, it is the locality which must adjust and conform to the existing laws of the higher government and not the other way around.

Sovereignty, being one of the elements of a State, gives it the right and power to govern itself without any interference from outside bodies. The Bangsamoro Basic Bill clearly gives such sovereignty to the Bangsamoro Government. Nowhere in the provisions of Constitution states that this is allowed. It is through here that the author takes his stand in alleging that the Bangsamoro Basic Bill is unconstitutional.

Issues of Road Congestions and Bottlenecks

I am sure everyone will agree with me that one of the biggest problems we encounter everyday is road traffic.  Whether an individual is on his way to school, to work, or anywhere else, expect that there will be issues in terms of road congestions and bottlenecks.

And how do the majority of the citizens counter this?  By adjusting their time, e.g., they will wake up 2 hours before the start of their school instead of what-would-have-been-a-one-hour preparation routine.  In a good way, it actually measures a person’s sense of responsibility.  However in my opinion, it is painful and is very uncalled for.

The government should be the one making the adjustments for the people, not the people themselves.  And sad to say, they are not doing a very good job.

My proposals?

1.  Impose a stricter coding system so more people who own cars will be forced to take public transportation vehicles frequently (e.g. plates ending in 1, 2, and 3 are not allowed to operate during Mondays instead of only 1 and 2, and so on and so forth).

It is not supposed to be on the top of my list, and I know it is wrong to actually impugn their hard-earned privileges but let’s face it:  more benefits can arise from it: financial savings and/or environmental preservation, etc.

I know the first one is horrible, but let me try to offset that with #2.

2.  Strategic route planning and stricter road rules.
One of the reasons why people want to avoid public transportation vehicles, especially when they have their own car to speak of, is because they will be inconvenienced.  Ironic, right?

The situation we are in right now is pretty much chaotic; bumpy as a matter of fact!  Passengers can almost board a vehicle and alight anywhere, causing unnecessary stoppage of the queue behind them.  Vehicles can do turns even in roads where turning is not allowed.  Stoplights are not being followed.  Both vehicles and pedestrians can cross the street even when the red light is turned on.

We should have very strategic route maps to prevent bottlenecking.  The plan should be something that would anticipate where most of the vehicles are coming from and where will they go; foresee any fortuitous events and accidents that might arise and have an efficient action plan in hand in case this happens.  It should tackle the specific sites where turnings are allowed/not allowed, one-way routes, roads where only specific type of vehicles are allowed, etc.  Too bad I am not much of a logical thinker and a good commuter myself, or I would have listed more.

And of course, good strategic route will always be useless unless there is an existence of the strict implementation of rules.  Putting a good number of implementing officers and personnel in strategic points will introduce big improvements.  Impose reasonable penalties and it should always remind the people that road rules are set and should be followed.  Loading sites will be strictly for loading; and it should be the same for alighting passengers in alighting points.

Obligatory addition:  More underpasses for pedestrians.  This way, vehicles can ride smoothly.

3.  Trains!  I love trains.  They are very efficient in such a way that they can carry a lot of passengers in a short amount of time.  The LRT/MRT issues that we are having right now mostly centres on the fact that LRT/MRT cannot accommodate the number of commuters, and then it is coupled with idiotic action plans.  The easiest-yet-expensive solution?  Add more trains, and plenty of it.  A more long-term solution?  Add railways which would serve as alternatives for the commuters themselves.
In my idea of an utopian state, trains are pretty much everywhere, covering large areas of land.  Think NRC-to-Cavite routes.  Think LRT-15 or MRT-21.  Think of a 15-minute ride from one province to another.  The best part about this is with proper engineering methods, you can establish those railways underground, making them even more efficient.

And this is not a very good ending statement, but I might as well say this: What irks me the most is that people who are in power do not dare to ride public transportation vehicles on a regular basis.  For someone who “cares about the majority” and “seeks improvement in all aspects”, it is very ironic, isn’t it?  I mean, what better way to see the problems that the masses are having and make a good solution for it other than stepping on the masses’ shoes and seeing the world from their eyes?

Of Taxes and Allocation of Government Funds

Right now, majority* of the citizens in the Philippines are unconsciously* taxed via the following:

1.  Income Tax, the percentage of which is dependent on your, among others, status; and,

2.  Value-Added Tax, wherein an additional 12% is added on the normal purchase price of a commodity.

*Majority because most of the citizens are part of the labor force.

**Unconsciously because more often than not, individuals either do not know about it, or they know but do not care much about it.

There are a few others but allow me to only cite those two as examples.

Taxes are made to raise funds for governmental operations.  It is a very powerful power of a State in such as way that the citizens, under normal circumstances, cannot exempt themselves from it.  But this inherent power is backed by the idea that the collected amount should bounce back to the citizens. After all, being a citizen of a State does not only equate to being imposed with responsibilities; it is also tantamount to the enjoyment of benefits for being a citizen.

Sad to say, as verbose and innocent the purpose of taxation is, it does not act that way.  In reality, we give so much yet receive little in return.  Philippines is one of the countries with higher tax rates as compared to the other ASEAN countries out there and yet majority of the people do not feel benefits coming out of it.  My observation that it is mainly caused by two things:

1.  Corruption of governmental authorities; and

2.  Bad and inefficient strategical planning as to the distribution and utilization of funds.

With those two, one can really tell how dysfunctional or ineffective the current government is.

On the plus side, things have improved as compared to the previous years when Estrada and Arroyo were the leaders.  Still, even with Aquino in power, I feel that there is still much to do as to the allocation of taxes obtained from the people.  I am no financial or economics expert, and there are more factual references out there detailing where the public funds go (Google for governmental reports, they should come in handy).  But from my observation, I can give you three things which we definitely need to improve on, budget-wise:

1.  Education.  I cannot stress enough how important this is.  Ever heard of the motto “Give a man a fish and he will be satiated for a day; teach him how to fish and he will be satiated for a lifetime.”  This holds true in more ways than one.

Fact is, many young Filipinos today cannot study because they do not have the financial capability to do so; it can be a valid excuse, yes.  Compare that to the other countries out there, particularly those in Europe.  Some of them have high tax rates (even higher than us), but students can go to school up until college, free-of-charge.  Most, if not all, of those graduates are then able to enter into stable and good-paying jobs.  Graduates can finance their needs and at the same time, take part in the payment of taxes for the studies of the next generation.  They can pave way for the gradual-yet-fast improvement of the system.  Plus, most educated people can give good decisions, probably on who deserves to be voted upon during elections.  It is a domino effect in such as way that free (and quality) education, as expensive and burdensome as it is, can actually lead to more benefits than allocating the funds somewhere else.

2.  Health care, especially for the elderly.  This time, public welfare is the core.  Elders should be able to enjoy the “golden years” of their lives as a pure act of State’s gratitude of the elders’ contributions when they were in their prime years.  If citizens can think of their future peacefully without the worry of what is going to happen if they reached the stage where they are unable to work, then that would give them enough motivation to become productive during their primes.

And it does not stop there.  If the citizens can expect help from the government during the dire times (in sickness), trust and confidence is developed.  It boosts their morale.

3.  Agriculture, including agrarian-reform programs.  The Philippines is strategically located at a place where crops and other agricultural products can be bountiful without the need of special effort and measures (unlike those in colder states).  We are good at it, and what better way to utilize our resources other than improving what we are already good at?  Include that with the application of innovative scientific research for the improvement of process and it could redound to higher GDP in general (which then leads to better economy).  Also, food will be cheaper for citizens, and hunger rates will go down.

Corruption is another topic, but that is a harder problem to solve and dwelling on that is not advisable.  Instead, focusing on the three above can actually lead to a more efficient allocation of public funds, and it can be an easier and short-term alternative solution to the people’s question of where our taxes go.

Surely we are burdened with high taxes right now.  It is definitely fine if majority of the citizens can feel the benefit arising therefrom; unfortunately, that is not the case at the moment.  Some folks might even suggest the imposition of higher tax rates, but my apologies:  I am not a fan of that concept, thanks to my biased concern for my high-paying salary.  Why would I pay for something that I, or the people, will not benefit from?

In fact, one can say that with the amount that the government deducts from us, they are getting more than enough to fund plentiful projects notwithstanding the fact that most of it are pocketed by those in power.  Going after those stolen funds is not the only solution: we also need to formulate a more intelligence action plan.

Disclaimer:  This is an essay of my personal opinions and as such, not backed up by credible evidences.  It is very vague, yes, but in so far as my ideas go, I am merely putting things that I can think of.  

Hierarchy of Rights: Basic Concepts and Principles

The following is an excerpt from the case of Philippine Blooming Mills Employment Organization v Philippine Blooming Mills Co Inc, stating the basic concepts and principles of the Bill of Rights. 

(1) In a democracy, the preservation and enhancement of the dignity and worth of the human personality is the central core as well as the cardinal article of faith of our civilization. The inviolable character of man as an individual must be “protected to the largest possible extent in his thoughts and in his beliefs as the citadel of his person.” 

(2) The Bill of Rights is designed to preserve the ideals of liberty, equality and security “against the assaults of opportunism, the expediency of the passing hour, the erosion of small encroachments, and the scorn and derision of those who have no patience with general principles.” 

In the pithy language of Mr. Justice Robert Jackson, the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to withdraw “certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s rights to life, liberty and property, to free speech, or free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” Laski proclaimed that “the happiness of the individual, not the well-being of the State, was the criterion by which its behaviour was to be judged. His interests, not its power, set the limits to the authority it was entitled to exercise.” 

(3) The freedoms of expression and of assembly as well as the right to petition are included among the immunities reserved by the sovereign people, in the rhetorical aphorism of Justice Holmes, to protect the ideas that we abhor or hate more than the ideas we cherish; or as Socrates insinuated, not only to protect the minority who want to talk, but also to benefit the majority who refuse to listen. And as Justice Douglas cogently stresses it, the liberties of one are the liberties of all; and the liberties of one are not safe unless the liberties of all are protected. 

(4) The rights of free expression, free assembly and petition, are not only civil rights but also political rights essential to man’s enjoyment of his life, to his happiness and to his full and complete fulfillment. Thru these freedoms the citizens can participate not merely in the periodic establishment of the government through their suffrage but also in the administration of public affairs as well as in the discipline of abusive public officers. The citizen is accorded these rights so that he can appeal to the appropriate governmental officers or agencies for redress and protection as well as for the imposition of the lawful sanctions on erring public officers and employees.

(5) While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human rights over property rights is recognized. Because these freedoms are “delicate and vulnerable, as well as supremely precious in our society” and the “threat of sanctions may deter their exercise almost as potently as the actual application of sanctions,” they “need breathing space to survive,” permitting government regulation only “with narrow specificity.” 

Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are imprescriptible. If human rights are extinguished by the passage of time, then the Bill of Rights is a useless attempt to limit the power of government and ceases to be an efficacious shield against the tyranny of officials, of majorities, of the influential and powerful, and of oligarchs — political, economic or otherwise.

In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free expression and of assembly occupy a preferred position as they are essential to the preservation and vitality of our civil and political institutions;  and such priority “gives these liberties the sanctity and the sanction not permitting dubious intrusions.”

The superiority of these freedoms over property rights is underscored by the fact that a mere reasonable or rational relation between the means employed by the law and its object or purpose — that the law is neither arbitrary nor discriminatory nor oppressive — would suffice to validate a law which restricts or impairs property rights.  On the other hand, a constitutional or valid infringement of human rights requires a more stringent criterion, namely existence of a grave and immediate danger of a substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent. So it has been stressed in the main opinion of Mr. Justice Fernando in Gonzales vs. Comelec and reiterated by the writer of the opinion in Imbong vs. Ferrer It should be added that Mr. Justice Barredo inGonzales vs. Comelecsupra, like Justices Douglas, Black and Goldberg in N.Y. Times Co. vs. Sullivan,  believes that the freedoms of speech and of the press as well as of peaceful assembly and of petition for redress of grievances are absolute when directed against public officials or “when exercised in relation to our right to choose the men and women by whom we shall be governed,” even as Mr. Justice Castro relies on the balancing-of-interests test. Chief Justice Vinson is partial to the improbable danger rule formulated by Chief Judge Learned Hand, viz. — whether the gravity of the evil, discounted by its improbability, justifies such invasion of free expression as is necessary to avoid the danger.