mooter argues his case during the final round of the 2012
National Moot Court Competition, the only moot court competition
being held at the Supreme Court's en banc session hall. (ICRC /
University of St.
La Salle regains moot court cup in 2012 finals
September 7, 2012
It was worth the wait for University of St. La Salle to regain the
championship cup in the 2012 National Moot Court Competition on
International Humanitarian Law.
USLS-Bacolod faced Ateneo de
Manila Law School in the finals held today at the Supreme Court en
banc session hall but they were hailed the winner of the annual
competition that aims to promote knowledge and appreciation of
international humanitarian law (IHL) among Philippine law students.
USLS and Ateneo argued over the fictional case of Colonel Jones who
was facing charges in the International Criminal Court for alleged
violations of IHL, also known as the law of armed conflict.
"All the efforts that we put
into the preparation became worth it when we finally got here, because
the last time our school team won was five years ago. In the
succeeding years, we worked hard but we didn't make it. Finally, this
year we reached the (finals at the) Supreme Court and won the cup,"
said Nadine Abenoja of USLS, who won best mooter for the final round.
As the winning team, the
USLS students will represent the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific
regional finals in Hong Kong in 2013.
Competition was extremely
fierce during the final round, which was judged by an esteemed panel
composed of Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad, Dr. Mario
Aguja of Mindanao State University-General Santos City, Philippine
Judicial Academy Chancellor Adolfo Azcuna, Brigadier General Domingo
Tutaan Jr., chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Human Rights
Office, ICRC Regional Legal Advisor for Southeast Asia Christopher
Harland, and De La Salle University School of Law Vice Dean Jocelyn
"It's been a very positive
competition. I think it's pretty clear that mooting, in general, suits
universities in the Philippines very well," said Harland, a veteran
judge of moot court competitions. “The presence of IHL in curricula,
the discussion of this law in the media, and the commemoration of IHL
month annually in August itself, show that this competition finds a
very good home in the Philippines.”
The runner-up team from
Ateneo Law School did not go emptyhanded, winning both awards for best
memorials, which contain prepared written arguments from the
perspective of the prosecution and of the defense.
Pauline Gairanod from the
University of the Philippines College of Law school team won the
Justice Ines Luciano Best Mooter Award as the highest-ranking oralist
in the elimination rounds. This award, given for the first time, pays
tribute to the Court of Appeals associate justice and chairperson of
the IHL Committee of the Philippine Red Cross who passed away last
year. The UP team also won the role-play challenge, during which teams
acted in roles in a simulation aimed at showcasing practical
applications of the body of law that seeks to limit, for humanitarian
reasons, the effects of war.
Students from 10 law schools
took part in this year's event organized by the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), and
the Supreme Court of the Philippines. This year's competition was
hosted by De La Salle University Manila.
Other participants came from
Far Eastern University-Manila, San Beda College of Law-Manila,
Southwestern University, Saint Louis University, University of
Batangas, University of the Cordilleras, and Cor Jesu College Law
The moot court contest began
in 2005 with only six participating schools but it is now considered a
prestigious event for law students, being the only moot court
competition that holds its finals in the en banc session hall of the
Supreme Court. This year’s competition was hosted by De La Salle
University in Manila.
The Tulawie case:
Activist's wife talks about how his arrest changed her and her
Asian Human Rights Commission
September 6, 2012
HONG KONG – Mussah Sherian, the wife of the falsely accused human rights activist Temogen "Cocoy" Tulawie, thought she would just be "behind the scenes
taking care of (their) children," but it all changed after his arrest.
Mussah now looks after their
five children, namely Iman, 19; Imir, 15; Carrey, 12; Jihad, 8 and
Tasmin, 6; by herself since her husband's arrest on January 26, 2012.
In a 30-minute interview by the AHRC, she tells how her husband's
arrest and detention affected her and her children, and why she must
now be "in the frontline".
"I don't want them (the
oppressors) to feel that they are successful. So I continue with the
human rights work. That is why I am still continuing," Mussah told
Rasika Sanjeewa Weerawickrama, a staff member of the AHRC. She refers
to the impact of Temogen's arrest and detention which resulted to a
"chilling effect" to "all the human rights defenders" in the province
Mr. Weerawickrama, a human
rights lawyer from Sri Lanka, appeared in court to observe Temogen's
arraignment for murder charges in Davao City on August 3.
Mussah thought the fear
amongst activists after Temogen's arrest was so deep that "human
rights workers just stopped their work". Her resolve to come out,
taking on her husband's work, was to remind the importance of the work
that her husband started: "Who will document the human rights
Temogen, as mentioned in our
previous appeals and statements, was instrumental in cultivating
complaints and documentation in Sulu. His and his colleagues work had
helped to draw attention to the human rights situation in a place
where social control by power and political influence is deeply
However, the cost of
Temogen's arrest and detention has been heavy, not only on his
children and his family, but now as to how the people close to them
are treating them. "They put a wall between you, they don't want to
talk to you, (they) don't want (you) to be friends," Mussah said.
On Temogen's relationship
with his children now, Mussah said "the hardest time, he said, is when
we say goodbye and go home and he sees us turn our backs and he (Temogen)
is left there alone (in jail)".
When Temogen was arraigned
on August 3, his daughter Tasmin was seen with other siblings "very
teary eyed," which adds on to her earlier shock when "she saw her
father wearing handcuffs" for the first time. Mussah said the
'handcuffing' of her husband did not only shock her children, but
created a barrier between him and his children.
Mussah said her daughter
would only come to her father only when "police removed one of the
After the first court
hearing, Mussah said of the murder charges: "everything they read to
him is the exact opposite of what Cocoy really is". For her, she knows
of her husband as "peace loving (person) and I know that he is a
person who values life".
The next court hearing on
Temogen's case in Davao City is scheduled on September 19, 20 and 21,
company embarks on key initiatives to accelerate operations in Eastern
Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 27, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – As the local
economy continues to grow, one telecommunications company operating in
Eastern Visayas has embarked on several initiatives to further
accelerate its dynamic operations in the Region.
Among the key initiatives
are the opening of new point-of-presence at Barangay Bagacay, creation
of a Senior Citizens Lane and the establishment of a Day Care Center.
Bayan Chief Operating
Officer (COO) Rafael T. Aguado said these initiatives are being rolled
out in line with the company’s thrust to provide its customers in
Eastern Visayas with efficient, reliable and value-for-money telecom
services and connectivity services, qualities that customers nowadays,
look for when choosing their service provider.
The Bayan COO, who was
recently in Tacloban City, accompanied by members of his executive
management team from the Quezon City head office, for the local
operations annual business review, led in the groundbreaking rites for
the expansion of its service coverage in a new location in Tacloban
particularly in Peerless Subdivision located in Barangay Bagacay, some
12 kilometers away from the downtown area.
For this expansion phase,
Bayan is looking at opening up an initial 500 new lines for the
residents of the private and exclusive Peerless subdivision, who will
now be given the opportunity to get to try the telco provider’s
various DSL internet packages and landline telephone service based on
what is best suited for their particular usage requirements and
Alongside the expansion of
its service availability in the city, Bayan EV is also relentless in
its efforts to continuously improve the level of customer service it
provides to its subscribers.
Along this line, Bayan
Tacloban office is blazing the trail in the telco business by being
the first to create a senior citizens lane at its customer center that
would exclusively service senior citizens when they pay their bills or
if they have service inquiries and/or requests to process.
Thelma G. De Leon, Bayan
Vice-President and Head of Customer Service, said this may be
considered a relatively simple endeavor but she is proud of the fact
that Bayan is the first one in the business to initiate such an
The City Government of
Tacloban thru the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) headed
by Ms. Crisanta Co, commended Bayan for this initiative of providing a
special lane for senior citizens customers, which she said should be
widely adopted as a standard practice by other businesses.
Meanwhile, in support for
its employees’ welfare, Bayan’s Tacloban office has set another
trail-blazer by being the first Bayan office to put up a day care
center to serve the needs of its parent employees.
Established in partnership
with the employees union, the day care center, housed within the
premises of the office building, now provides Bayan EV employees in
Tacloban with a safe and nurturing place to temporarily house their
young children as they go about with their daily work. Volunteer
employees will be manning the day to day operations of the center that
will be opened during office hours of the weekday work week.
Mr. Aguado said all these
initiatives that Bayan is rolling out in EV is a testament to the
company’s steady commitment to grow and sustain its leadership
position in the market by constantly being in touch with the pulse of
their customers and employees, and continuously offering them products
and services that are relevant to their needs.
Triumph of East
Visayas’ e-loading machine at national invention contest, a boost to
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
August 20, 2012
GOVERNMENT CENTER, Palo, Leyte – The triumph of Eastern Visayas’
entry, the Smart e-loading machine, at the National Invention Contest
and Exhibits (NICE) held recently at SMX Convention Center, Seashell
Lane, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, is a big boost to the region's
inventors, Department of Science and Technology Region 8 Director
Edgardo Esperancilla informed.
Director Esperancilla said the NICE which was conducted in line with
the Department of Science and Technology’s celebration of the 2012
National Science and Technology Week, was a contest where all first
place winners from the Regional Inventions Contest and Exhibits in the
different regions of the country were gathered together to vie for
awards in various categories.
The main feature of the celebration was the National Invention Contest
wherein talented Filipinos compete for awards and prizes in the six
categories – the Outstanding Invention (Tuklas Award), Outstanding
Utility Model, Outstanding Industrial Design, Outstanding Creative
Research (Likha Award); and Outstanding Student Creative Research (Sibol
Award) for High School and College Levels.
NICE, Director Esperancilla said, provides support to Filipino
Inventors by bringing their inventions / innovations for public and
potential investors’ appreciation and possible commercialization
prospects. It serves as venue to stimulate and encourage inventiveness
and ingenuity of the Filipino youth and other interested sectors of
This year’s NICE was participated in by a total of 63 entries from
different regions of the country, in the different categories.
The Smart E-Loading Machine was invented by then Samar State
University students Remnan R. Piczon and Jason G. Arroyo, now BSECE
graduates, was the official entry of the Region in the Sibol Award -
College Level Category.
The researchers from SSU in Catbalogan City, Samar, bagged three (3)
awards for the Sibol Award - College Category from three award giving
Smart E-Loading Machine won Second Place and a cash prize of P3,000
from Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
It bagged First Prize with a cash award in the amount of P50,000.00
from the Philippine Development Alternatives Foundation (PhilDAF).
Finally, it won Second Prize as Outstanding Student Research (SIBOL-College
Level) with a cash prize of P25,000.00 from no less than the
Undersecretary for S&T Services, USEC. Fortunato T. Dela Peña.
Aside from the cash awards, the winners also received plaque of
The winning of the entry will surely encourage students and inventors
in Eastern Visayas to enter their research in the coming Regional
Inventions Contest and Exhibits, Director Esperancilla said.
The Smart Loading Machine was first conceptualized in 2009 and become
a thesis project of Piczon and Arroyo. Together with its project
adviser Engr. Mirador Labrador, the two students received SSU funding
support to enhance the project.
The enhancement included expansion of its capabilities such as
accommodating other networks, a database system, a printer for
transactions/receipt, a bill acceptor and other features.
The university is now in the process of coming-up with a business plan
to fully exploit the project. An Intellectual Property protection has
been submitted to IPO-Phil (Intellectual Property Office of the
Philippines) in 2011. Certificate from IPO-Phil is expected to be
City Housing Project: Lost battle vs. corruption?
By FLORENCE F. HIBIONADA /
August 10, 2012
ILOILO CITY – Nine years in
the Office of the Ombudsman. 10 years in the Commission on Audit (COA).
P87.3M in wasted taxpayers’ money. Three different city mayors and
three City Councils. A visible sorry sight along a main highway to and
from the Iloilo Airport. A daily reminder of what an unfinished and
abandoned government project is.
What has since happened to
Iloilo City Government’s housing project? Where are the key figures
involved? Has anybody been made to pay for the validated reports of
massive irregularities that led to the project’s demise? Will justice
ever be served to the Ilonggo taxpaying public? Will justice be served
to numerous COA reports calling to salvage whatever is left of the
project? Is there justice to years pored in by Ombudsman investigators
who found probable cause to indict top Iloilo City officials?
COA, the Philippines’
supreme audit institution has since dubbed the project “an investment
failure.” Conceptualized in November of 1999, vigorously pursued in
2000, implemented in 2001 and abandoned in 2002, total government
money spent was P87,364,819.21. The amount, COA validated, was used as
payment for the project’s contract cost of P62,599.557.69 and loan
interests of P24,765,261.52.
Incidentally, the botched
housing project was initially funded out of the city’s bond flotation
scheme as pushed by a group of financial advisors hired by the Iloilo
City Government. That was the time and administration of former Mayor
Mansueto Malabor with housing project cost pegged at P125,304,356.65.
When his successor, former
Mayor now Lone District Congressman Jerry Treñas took over, project
cost was revised to P137,787,499.56. The bond flotation was also
scrapped and funds sourced through a 5-year loan with the Philippine
Veterans Bank (PVB).
Original loan with PVB was
P130 Million yet by end of December 2002, only P80,399,000.00 was
actually released to the City Government, fully paid in 2007 with
interests of a little over P24.7 Million.
Of the said P80.3 Million,
P50.3 Million was directly paid to Philippine National Bank (PNB)
Trust Banking Group to partially redeem the bonds issued by the City.
Yet what really happened at
the start, during and after the project? Documents secured through the
years reconstructed an ugly picture of local government and governance
at its worst. In fact, the Office of the Ombudsman in resolving the
cases as filed had this to say: “The amount involved in the ICHP which
is a whooping...(P125,000,000) surely could not escape the attention
of a well-meaning citizen, whether or not he or she is a beneficiary
thereof,” excerpts of the 110-page Consolidated Resolution stated.
“Today, as the records of the case will show, the project site is a
virtual ghost town. And there is no semblance of interest among the
officials concerned of Iloilo City to salvage what is left of the
project nor is there any effort to compel the contractor to perform
its part in the contract.”
The project was called
“Iloilo City Employees Housing Project” (ICEHP) that would have been
home to 413 City Hall worker-recipients. Total land area for
development was 56,669 square meters with the area for socialized
housing covering 9,890 square meters.
The city lots are covered by
Lot No. 293-A and Lot No. 293-B-TCT No. T-36832 at Barangay Ungca I in
Signs of trouble happened at
the earliest months of the project’s conception as it surrounded the
City’s hiring of financial advisors, the bright minds of Preferred
Ventures Corporation (PVC). Irregularities too in the earliest housing
project activities of the Pre-Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC).
For instance, the “Design
and Construct” scheme pushed for the project. It divided the PBAC with
objections posed on the scheme as being disadvantageous proving now to
be prophetic. The City Council of 2003 through its Committee on Good
Government heard testimonies and gathered documents that virtually
proved how “Design and Construct” was pushed – at all costs. Never
mind that it was also beyond PBAC’s mandate to come up with such
Decisive state action key
to end torture and ill-treatment
By Asian Human Rights
July 25, 2012
HONG KONG –
Parliamentarians from eight Asian states and civil society
representatives, who met at Hong Kong for the first Asian
parliamentarians' meeting organised by the Asian Alliance against
Torture and Ill-treatment (AAATI), demanded firm actions from Asian
states to end torture and ill-treatment in the region.
Along with civil society
representatives, dignitaries that attended the historic meeting
include, Honourable: Mr. Eran Wickramaratne (Sri Lanka), Mr. V. T.
Balram (India), Mr. Mohammad Fazlul Azim (Bangladesh), Ms. Pushpa
Bhusal (Nepal), Ms. Abbasi Nusrat Bano and Mr. Saeed Ghani (Pakistan),
Mr. Sayed Muhammad Muliady (Indonesia), and Mr. Raymond Palatino
(Philippines). Also in attendance were human rights activists from
Burma, Thailand and Denmark.
The four-day meeting
concluded on July 24. Parliamentarians and civil society
representatives called for similar initiatives and consultations in
every country in the region to tackle the prevailing widespread
practice of torture.
The human right against torture and ill-treatment is absolute and non-derogable,
affirmed the participants. In states where laws criminalising torture
exist, these laws must be effectively put to use, and in states where
such laws are yet to be legislated, or remain under consideration,
initiatives must be fast-tracked, demanded participants.
The parliamentarians affirmed that they would take-up this issue with
their respective governments as a priority concern. Participants urged
Asian governments to ensure the creation of effective criminal justice
framework in all jurisdictions, realised through adequate
institutional reforms, without which combating entrenched torture and
ill-treatment would be impossible in the region.
The participants unequivocally affirmed that key to this is the
allocation of adequate monetary, infrastructural, and human resources
to local policing. This is essential so that policing can evolve into
a service-oriented and modern agency, able to meet the needs of the
time, rather than an institution forced to be just a uniformed organ
of the state that enforces legitimate and illegitimate state writs.
Essential, radical, reforms in policing would contribute substantially
to end the culture of corruption and impunity opined the participants.
The participants visited Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against
Corruption (ICAC) and also spent time speaking with senior members of
the Hong Kong Bar Association. Out of the numerous insights gained
from these visits, the necessity of an independent and corruption free
judiciary, as it exists in Hong Kong, was iterated by participants.
Threats to state security are real in the region, just as they are in
the rest of the world. However, dehumanising and demonising political
opponents, and reducing spaces for public discourse on concerns of
personal liberties, augmented by arbitrary and state-sponsored
violence, is not the way ahead affirmed the participants. This
tendency – to disregard the absolute nature of human rights in the
ruse of national security – is not only dangerous but could reduce the
notion of democracy, stated participants in the course of the four-day
discussion. The rule of law, and uncompromising adherence to
democratic practices and norms, is the best instrument to fight
security threats, was the all-round affirmation.
Fundamental to open public consultations is the guarantee of freedom
of expression and opinion. Parliamentarians and civil society
representatives urged governments in the region to promote media
freedoms and end circumscribing the same by law and practice.
The legislators in Asia, together with the civil society, can generate
enough momentum to give rise to requisite popular debate against
torture, was another consensus from the historic meeting. Participants
agreed that similar gatherings should be organised again and that they
would hold such sessions in their constituencies and countries to end
torture and ill-treatment.
In the mean-time, similar discussion forums in the countries and
constituencies, in consultation with the AHRC, the RCT, and most
importantly local human rights organisations, would be organised,
stated the participants.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Hong Kong, and the
Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT), Denmark
constituted the AAATI in July 2011. This four-day historic meeting of
Parliamentarians, marking the one-year anniversary of the AAATI
initiative, is another step towards the final goal of ending torture
and ill-treatment in Asia.