Friday, March 20, 2009

Jitters in first court appearance after almost two years

I do not litigate.  I haven't appeared in court in almost two years.  Today that streak ended as I went to the Regional Trial Court here in Laoag to appear as collaborating counsel in a Petition for Certiorari against us Board Members.

Note, collaborating counsel.  Meaning, Atty. Lazo (My co-Board Member and a seasoned litigator) was supposed to be the lead counsel--the one to do all the lawyering, and I'll just be decoration.

Last night, Atty. Lazo had to rush to Manila to attend to his son who got into a car accident.  I learned about it just before I walked in the judge's sala.

Oh, crap.

Now, Im the leading counsel?!  Are you kidding me?!  Where's the Vice-Governor (who's also a lawyer)?  Where's the Provincial Legal Officer?  Where are his assistants?

What the hell?!


I haven't opened my Rules of Court since 2007!

What do I do?! What do I say?!

You know, I feel so at home in the SP Session Hall, I never get nervous when I speak.  Perhaps because I feel so confident with my knowledge in parliamentary procedure and legislation that it's so easy for me.

Pero sa court?  Pag litigation?  Ewan ko bakit kinakabahan ako.  And kinabahan nga ako kanina.  It's a Petition for Certiorari with Motion to Issue a Preliminary Injunction.  Ano daw?

I called Atty. Lazo to ask if I should argue the case or what.  He told me to just ask for a postponement since he also wanted to appear.

Okay, I can do that.

I talked to the opposing counsel, who didn't object to the proposal.

So when the case was called that's what I said.  "Move to postpone, your Honor, as lead counsel had to rush to Manila to attend to his injured son." 

And the judge reset the hearing to this coming Monday.


Yes, na-survive ko din.  Akala ko wala ng Wow, Mali.

But before I left I said, "Thank you, Mr. Chairman.... uhhh... I mean, Your Honor!

Oh, brother... That just HAD to happen.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's all about the kids

My previous entries were all gloomy so let's brighten it up a bit.

Early today I handed over an airplane teeter-totter (see-saw) to the children of the Brgy. San Miguel (Laoag City) Day Care Center.  

The teachers requested last August for an outdoor recreational toy for the kids to complement their swing set.  Due to budget constraints (and very makulit barangay captains asking for cement and steelbars) I couldn't give them what they want.

Until today. 

I bought this airplane teeter-totter at S&R in Manila at a cost of P12,000.00.  I originally wanted to have a slide fabricated here in Laoag but I was afraid of child-safety issues.  Baka mamaya hindi pulido yung pag-weld sa slide at may maaksidenteng bata.

So I went with this Big Stuff Ace Flyer Teeter Totter Airplane from S&R.  Atleast child-tested na siya.  And I googled the product sa internet at maganda naman ang mga reviews. 

When I turned over the play set to the children, hala, dinagsa yung eroplano.  The box says it can accommodate 7 kids at one time pero more than 15 ata yung dumumog sa laruan!

And then the parents from the neighboring barangays who saw the contraption requested if I could also give the same thing to their day care centers. 

Hehehe, ang mga obligasyon ng isang pulitiko, never ending. 

I should be depressed with all these requests, but it was just so nice and heartwarming to see the smiles on the children's faces playing the thing.  Ang saya saya nila.

This is why I'm in government service. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Public Bidding is a joke

I knew this all along, of course.  With the World Bank report and other DPWH exposes, who would think otherwise?  Public Bidding in this country is a sham.  It's a joke.  It's all pretend.

Pero iba pa rin ang feeling if it hits close to home.  Mas nakakalungkot.  Mas nakakadepress.

Public Bidding is supposed to be the process to get the best deal at the lowest price.  If there was no bidding, then it's possible for the Governor, Mayor, Congressman or Agency Head to get a not-so-good kind of deal, worse, baka sobrang mahal naman.  And since we're talking about hard earned money of the people, dapat sulit.

At para maging sulit, a.k.a., "The Best Deal,"  our policymakers came out with this Public Bidding nga.

Paglabanin mo mga suppliers at contractors.  Let them bid for the projects.  Kung sino ang makabigay ng lowest bid, siya ang mananalo.  Bale, matira ang matibay.

That way, we get to SAVE money.  The money saved can now be used for another project.  Ganun dapat, di ba?

But we all know that doesn't happen.  We don't get the best deals.  More often than not, we get the worst deals.

You know why?  Because public bidding is a sham.  It's a role playing game.  You think they really place their bids?  No, they don't.  Nag-usap na mga yan.  One contractor will cut a deal with the implementing agency and the other contractors na sa kanya na yung isang project.  Then they will just simulate that a bidding was done.  The other contractors will submit a 'higher' bid so they'll lose.

And then sa ibang project naman, yung other contractor naman ang magiging winning bidder.  Ganyan.  Nagbibigayan sila.  Hati-hati sila sa mga project.

But you know, contractors are human.  They are susceptible to greed.  Pagnakatikim na yan, gusto na niya lahat ng projects sa kanya.  Dun nagkaka-poblema.  When one contractor eases out the other contractors by getting closer to the Implementing Agency or the Mayor or the Governor or the Congressman or the Dept. Head.  Palakasan na.  Tapos awayan na.

And what about the price?  Wala na.  Imbes na 1.5 Million, magiging 2 Million na.

So do we save money with this public bidding?  No.  In fact, we lose more money.

And It's just so sad dahil naglolokohan lang tayo.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I don't care where you're from, having sex with a kid, videotaping the act and circulating the video via cellphone is wrong

Yesterday, the Provincial Board of Ilocos Norte came out with a decision suspending an SK Federated President of a town here for having sex with a 14 year old girl, videotaping their act and circulating the video around the community.

Before the release of the decision, a couple of people had approached me (as a member of the Committee on Laws) to lower the penalty or to not punish the guy at all (apparently, word leaked out that we were going to suspend him).

According to these concerned people, kawawa naman daw si SK President.  Siya lang daw ang breadwinner ng family and if he gets suspended mawawalan ng income yung family niya.  Also, there's a criminal case filed against him for the same offense and he had to borrow 200k to post bail.

Another argument they raised was that the sex was consensual and it was the girl who initiated the act and who videotaped the whole thing.  They even said that the girl is a 'whore' and is a nymphomaniac and pineperahan lang daw si SK President.

I don't care what you say, having sex with a kid, even if she consented, videotaping the act and circulating the video around the town is WRONG. 

Kung ako lang masusunod, I'd rather not involve myself with this case.  Let the courts decide this matter.  Let the SK Provincial Federation deal with this.  Kasi kung anong mapagdesisyonan mo meron at meron talagang magagalit sa yo.

But the complaint was filed in our office.  We have to do our duty.  We cannot be politicians and dilly-dally.  We have to hear both parties, study the law and make a decision.

And we did.  SUSPENSION.  Bahala na ang election.  I'm pretty sure nawalan kami ng boto sa lugar na yon.

Sabi ko, mabuti na mawalan ng boto pero maparusahan ang nagkamali kesa naman wala kaming ginawa at maulit muli yung nangyari sa ibang babae.

I don't care what you say or where you're from, having sex with a kid, even if she consented, videotaping the act and circulating the video around the town is WRONG. 

Let this be a lesson to all.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Congratulations, MC Entrep Batch 2009!

Yesterday I submitted the final grades of my taxation class in Miriam College.  All 25 students passed naman.  And if its any indication, I think all of them will graduate this coming March 28 (except you, Diane )

The picture on the left was taken on the last class day of their senior year (February 21), which also happened to be my last class in Miriam (I will be transferring all of my teaching load to Ilocos next sem).

I started teaching in Miriam in 2006.  My law classmate, Joey Tapia, had to leave for the States and was looking for someone to substitute for her in September.  She actually offered it to Kai Jiz, but I think the latter was busy.  I was getting bored in the firm I worked for so I grabbed the opportunity.  I remember after my holding my first class I felt so accomplished.  Like what I did actually meant something.  You see, I got depressed working in a law firm.  There, it's like things take forever to finish.  Everyday na lang it's the same old case.  And if ever that ends, there's another case.  It was a vicious cycle of never-ending cases that I felt useless.  Teaching made me share my knowledge to other people.  And when I saw the faces of my students, especially their eyes, conveying that they understood what I was saying and that they were learning, I felt good.  Honest to God, I felt good.

Joey didn't return to Miriam the next semester so I took her place permanently.  I taught for 3 school years.  I enjoyed my stay in MC.  My dept. chairperson, Mona Serrano, has always been very nice to me.  Our dean, Dr. Lupisan, always greets me by my first name even if we barely know each other.  The staff at CBEA, Lessie, Airene and Mel, don't forget to remind me of all the meetings and activities.  And of course, my students.  I was lucky enough to always have a good set of students every semester.  Bright, well-behaved, inquisitive and cheerful.  Maswerte ako at never ako nagkaroon na bulakbol na student sa MC.  I don't know if all MC students are like that o sa mga naging class ko lang.  This last batch was no exception.

Jen was a quiet one who sat at the back of the room.  I didn't know she was a good dancer until nakasama ko siya sa Teacher's Day program dancing the macarena.  Game pala tong batang to. 

Alou was the class beadle/president/utusan.  She was always dependable.  I would communicate to her all of my needs (Projector, air-con room, i'll be late, etc.) and you'd think she's in class na.  Pagdating ko, wala pa pala siya, so all that time she was coordinating those things to her other classmates.  Very responsible.

Mary Grace was the foreign student of the class.  Foreign meaning she belongs to another year and course.  I didn't get to establish a rapport with this girl just because she was very quiet, was absent a few times, and sat at the back.

Geols, who also sat at the back, was another quiet student.  In front of her, Cla, on the other hand, was the opposite.  I believe she was the source of all the tsismisan at the back.  I think their attention span there at the back was around 15 minutes (the worldwide average) 'coz after 15 minutes, Jackie and Danica would turn their heads to Cla and they would start their own showbiz talkshow at the back.

Kaye, the daughter of a party-list colleague of my dad, was the reluctant 'guest host' of the 4.  I notice she would try to pay attention in class, pero sometimes, siguro juicy yung tsismis sa likod, she'd also turn her head toward Cla and join the conversation.

Across Kaye was Em-em.  She was quiet and attentive.  Next to her was Epie.  This girl also belonged to another tsismis group.  Epie was with Madam, Jamie, Anik, Jaja and Jia.  Madam was called madam because allegedly her family owns 1/3 of Antipolo.  Jamie's family apparently owns D'Mall in Boracay.  Anik is an ilocana townmate who is also a part-time dance instructor.  Jaja is also from Ilocos and Jia I don't know where she's from but I do know that her boyfriend is a basketball player.  This group I call the laptop bag group because they sold laptop bags.

Then there's Des.  She's the rocker of the class.  She plays guitar (Kaye plays the drums naman).  She's quiet, but she's smart.  Rina M., I guess, owns the other 2/3 of Antipolo because her family owns 3 (?) resorts there.  Beside her is the dynamic duo of Genine and Bea.  These two are very smart.  They always get high in my quizzes and exams.  I have no problems with these two.

Now the front row.  Rina L. is my returning student.  She was in my business law class last school year.  She is deaf and she has an interpreter during class, but she speaks very well for a deaf person.  Very audible.  And I don't think she needs the interpreter because I think she understands what I say.  Either that or I talk really loud.  

Alexa is the loud one.  She's very noisy.  She's the most absent.  And if she comes, she's always late.  But I love her because she reminds me of my niece Rosanne.

Tere is another smart student.  She aces all of my exams.  Of all my students she's the most participative.  When I ask the class a question, 99% of the time, it's Tere who'll answer.  But sometimes I feel she's bordering on sipsip na.  But other than that, she's a model student.

Diane is another good student.  She asks a lot of questions.  Karen, for a student who sits in the front row, is very quiet.  Last is Muymuy, who like Karen is very quiet and demure.  She looks 15, small and frail.  But my God, when i saw pictures of her in a multiply site of one my students, press release lang pala niya yun kasi nagsusuot pala yan ng baby-t na nakikita na yung puson.  My gosh.  scandal.

Well, those were my students this sem.  My last one in Miriam.  Congratulations to all of you!  I hope and pray that all of you become successful in all your endeavors.  Disappointment will come your way, but do not falter.  Hold on!  Opportunity will come knocking.

Thank you, Miriam College, for taking me in to teach business and taxation law.  It might have just been 3 hours a week.  But it made a lot of difference to me as a person.

Til we meet again.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Development Fund Projects Breakdown (July-December 2008)

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