Monday, August 29, 2016

Duterte and Dela Rosa Must Rid the Police of their Rogue Elements if their War on Drugs was to Succeed

“Si Melvin nakita pa namin na nakatayo, dumaan pa pero hindi namin makausap. Nakita namin dumaan naka-posas pinasok sa sasakyan. Tapos dinala ng hospital. Pumunta kami sa Kalibo pero ‘yon pala dinala sa Malay hospital. So noong bumalik kami sa Malay, patay na silang dalawa. Tinanong namin ‘yong doctor, dead on arrival na raw,” he said.

If the above account of the Odictas' lawyer is true, then we have a serious reason to be concerned. All this time, the police have always debunked claims that they have authorized the summary killing of suspected pushers, users, and drug lords on the surfeited and overused excuse of resisting arrest and shooting out with police officers endangering their lives. We have always given the police the benefit of the doubt. After all, they enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty.

President Duterte, whose sincerity you can almost tangibly feel and smell when he speaks, has always vowed to uphold due process despite his penchant for the I will kill you! line, and that suspects will be killed only if they resist arrest, and fight it out with the arresting police officers. PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa has consistently echoed Duterte’s pronouncement.

This incident, though, impugns the president’s claim of respect for law. This gives the drug users more reasons to doubt the prudence of turning themselves in to the police. If Melvin Odicta, a powerful regional drug lord and viewed as a high-value target, after being seen in handcuffs while being led into a patrol car, could inexplicably turned up dead, what more the small players in this elaborate drug trade scheme? What could these foot soldiers reasonably hope for when they surrender to the police?

I don't doubt the president, but this unbridled killings of arrestees despite the obvious improbability of resistance knowing they would be killed suggest that rogue members of the police force--yes they still exist even among those who actively take part in this war on drugs, or at least make it look like it; even the president has expressed this view--are putting one over Duterte and Dela Rosa by silencing their erstwhile cohorts to keep them from snitching on them and their bosses, or standing witness against them in court using the very program (double barrel and tokhang) that the president has designed to net them.

It is in this aspect that the narco capitalists are outsmarting and outplaying Duterte and Dela Rosa. They are intelligently exploiting this presumption of regularity in the performance of their duty. Who’s pulling the strings on these rogue policemen is anybody’s guess.

The president must neither tire out, nor take these extra-judicial killings for granted. He has to put Dela Rosa to task in investigating these dubious custodial killings. We know there are legitimate kills, but a thousand or so deaths from a template “nanlaban” must merit a deep and resolute investigation into their circumstances. The same goes to the now ubiquitous riding-in-tandem shootings of suspected drug offenders. It does not help that Dela Rosa, in the early goings, expressed his favour for these summary or extra-judicial killings treating them as a boon to their campaign, although he has since repeatedly clarified that he, like the president, hated and would not tolerate extra-judicial killings. His actions, however, continue to play catch-up with his declarations.

 If these rampant extra-judicial killings continue unchecked they may backfire on the president's anti-illegal drugs campaign. When the poor, who have been cheering the initial inroads made on this war on drugs, realize that most of the deaths come from their ranks, they may become disillusioned and turn against the president. When the president alienates the support of his main constituency base, he will lose his political capital and his command may shed off and lose the carte blanche character that it presently enjoys. He may find his order and policies, all of a sudden, susceptible to questions and challenges, and that could derail his efforts. And let’s not forget that the narco capitalists out there are all eyes and ears on any opening that could leave the president vulnerable, and would definitely seize on it.

This unprecedented war on drugs has opened a Pandora’s box that could set us back many years and leave this country a lot worse than Duterte found it if he fails to finish it. Duterte has unleashed the monster we have not seen in these narco capitalists, and they are now more than ever at a heightened alert for a shot at Duterte, and ever ready to mobilize all of their resources to eliminate him by any means.

A Duterte death or removal by any means will leave a leadership vacuum that the narco capitalists would undoubtedly swiftly exploit. It is easy to think that these narco capitalists must be kicking themselves for not going all out in planting themselves in the government when they had the chance. But they have learned their lessons, and they would not make the same mistake.

They lurk around ready to pounce at the slightest opportunity. They believe that, with the exception of Duterte, they could easily snap up a political scoundrel willing to take money, bankroll their bid to power and control them. Before Duterte came into power we had not known how close we came to becoming a narco-state. Until Duterte, we vaguely had a grasp of the enormity of the drug problem. Until Duterte came we had only speculated on how many people in positions of power were on the narco capitalists’ payroll.

Now we know more, and are appaled.  

For the nation’s sake Mr. President, stay safe and alive. We know you are a working president, and it is in your nature to go where your presence matters like attending to a funeral of a fallen policeman or soldier, but you have to take extra precaution. The entire force of the enemy is mobilized round the clock for that one mistake or chance to take you out, and take the country captive, again.

The Odicta killing incident, like the many similar incidents of killing while in police or imminent police custody, reveals that the president has enemies in the midst of his key organizations. He must unmask and bring them to justice.

The police are a good place to start poring over.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Verdict: By inference, there were substantial deposits made to Duterte's accounts.

Anything less than an absolute waiver to Duterte’s secrecy of bank deposit authorizing BPI to disclose the complete history of all of Duterte’s accounts for the year 2014, to establish the P193M deposits made on March 28, 2014, Duterte’s birthday, and the rest of P211M, and for the 9-year period before 2014, to establish the P2.4B accumulated deposits, is tantamount to admitting the accusation.

According to Trillanes, Duterte's lawyer, Sal Panelo, had only a SPA authorizing Panelo to look into, and a waiver authorizing BPI to disclose, the OUTSTANDING BALANCE of ONE of Duterte’s accounts, despite the fact that Trillanes has always claimed that Duterte has seven (7) accounts with BPI Julia Vargas branch. The authority goes further to state that BPI is authorized to disclose the balance ONLY to Panelo, not even to Trillanes, much less the public. The balance allegedly showed P17k plus.

Let us break it down. A Duterte bank account information disclosed to a Duterte surrogate? It is like Duterte showing the account to himself, and calling it transparency and disclosure. Regardless, Duterte’s legions erupt in ecstasy and call it victory. How pathetic!

It is clear that the Duterte camp is playing on the general collective credulity of Duterte’s supporters.

Again, an outstanding balance does not tell the whole story. In fact, it tells no valuable story at all that could help shed light on the controversy. If Duterte’s accounts indeed received deposits on March 28, 2014, or any date, Duterte could withdraw them just as soon as they came in. He could request a transfer of any amount, or he could do it himself if his account is enrolled online, to another person’s or persons’ account or accounts. They could also do a transfer to layers of accounts to throw any investigation off their tracks.

As if the gambit did not look stupid enough, and to top it all, Panelo claims Duterte has made a  deciding move to prove that he did not have these deposits in his account: Panelo challenges BPI to release a certification saying that Duterte NEVER HAD P211M in that ONE account.

The problem with this is it leaves BPI no choice but to certify to what the Duterte camp has always wanted the public to hear—and hopefully believe. That Duterte did not have at any one time P211M in this ONE account, period.

To demonstrate here’s what BPI is being limited do: if Duterte had P210,999,000.00 in that ONE account, BPI would issue a certification saying Duterte never had P211M in that account—it is less. If Duterte had P500M in that account BPI would also issue a certification saying Duterte never had P211M in that account—it is more. If Duterte had a consolidated balance of P1.7B in all his accounts with BPI Julia Vargas, but only P200M in that ONE account, BPI would still be forced to certify that Duterte never had P211M in that account.

In other words, the Duterte camp is hemming BPI in a situation where its answer could only be what the Duterte camp has always wanted the public to hear and believe, that is, Duterte never had P211M in that one account, as if it makes Duterte less dishonourable if he only had P200M in questionable deposits in his ONE account, or innocent, and Trillanes untruthful, if he had P500M.

Neither does it help that Duterte keeps on harping on the legality of Trillanes baring his bank records to the public, crying over his right to secrecy of bank deposit. The laws are designed to protect the innocent, not to allow one to perpetrate, or hide a crime; to promote justice, not to frustrate or defeat it. For crying out loud Duterte is running for the country’s highest office, and he complains when one controverts his claims, or when one calls his bluffs. Remember, it was he and Cayetano who paraded and flaunted to media their manifesto for transparency calling on all candidates to execute waiver to allow scrutiny of their bank accounts, and all other assets.

Duterte knows very well that the rule in public office is disclosure; secrecy the exception. As a mayor, he was already entitled to less privacy. As a presidential candidate he completely sheds off his privacy protection, although he keeps his rights, that is why he can sue. His claim to his right to privacy cannot override the right of the public, which he proposes to lead, to know everything that touches on his overall fitness to assume the highest office, especially on issues of hidden wealth, since he has always portrayed himself to be of modest means, and live a simple lifestyle.

Another thing that hurts Duterte is his legal contingents. Alvarez and Panelo blabber to the media about how Trillanes violated the law, hearsay, double hearsay, inadmissible evidence, so forth and so on. Haven’t they noticed? Neither Duterte, Alvarez, nor Panelo is in court.

Trillanes came in possession of a material information that the public has an inherent interest to know, considering that Duterte is running for president. Trillanes asserts it is his duty as a senator to take the information to the public, and he willingly took the risk and courted lawsuit. He even vowed to quit the race for the vice-presidency, and resign from senate if he is proven wrong. That shows the substance of his claims.

Why do they need to ask Trillanes to incriminate himself by signing an affidavit on who gave him the information, and how it was obtained? Trillanes may not be a lawyer, but he is not stupid, but then Trillanes did it anyway: he signed an affidavit stating who his source was and the circumstances on how the information was obtained. That puts him another base past Duterte.

Duterte should stop nitpicking and quibbling over his right to secrecy. He may sue Trillanes if he wants, but he must give the public a straight answer to dispel their doubts. Duterte might argue that the public does not believe the allegations. He must be reminded that the public is not only all of his followers who worship him regardless. There are other members of the public who clamour to get to the bottom of the controversy.

Instead of whining over privacy issues, he should bare all and finally put these issues to rest with only days to elections.

Unfortunately for the Duterte camp, the more they make the story circuitous to hide the truth, the more the people see it.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vicarious Liability of Employers and Other Persons Responsible for Acts of the Author of Negligence for Damage, Injury, or Death Caused by the Negligent Person

THE HEIRS OF THE LATE RUBEN REINOSO, SR vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al. G.R. No. 116121 July 18, 2011
Vicarious liability of an employer under Art. 2180, in relation to Art. 2176 of the New Civil Code.
If you are an owner of a commercial vehicle or even private vehicle driven by an employee or a helper acting within the scope of his or her assigned tasks, you may be held liable for damages caused by negligence of said employee.
The bigger problem is, in the event of an accident where the negligence of your employee has been determined, there arises a presumption of negligence on your part, as employer, in the selection and supervision of your employees. To overthrow the presumption, you have to convince the court that you exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of your employees.
In the case below, the Court provided a curt, but insightful  illustration of what constitutes diligence of a good father of a family in denying the defendant’s claim that he exercised the required diligence.
“The Court likewise sustains the finding of the RTC that the truck owner, Guballa, failed to rebut the presumption of negligence in the hiring and supervision of his employee. Article 2176, in relation to Article 2180 of the Civil Code, provides:
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Art. 2176 is demandable not only for one’s own acts or omissions but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
Employers shall be liable for the damage caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
Whenever an employee’s negligence causes damage or injury to another, there instantly arises a presumption juris tantum that the employer failed to exercise diligentissimi patris families in the selection or supervision of his employee.23 Thus, in the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them as to their qualification, experience and service record. With respect to the supervision of employees, employers must formulate standard operating procedures, monitor their implementation, and impose disciplinary measures for breaches thereof. These facts must be shown by concrete proof, including documentary evidence.24 Thus, the RTC committed no error in finding that the evidence presented by respondent Guballa was wanting. It ruled:
x x x. As expected, defendant Jose Guballa, attempted to overthrow this presumption of negligence by showing that he had exercised the due diligence required of him by seeing to it that the driver must check the vital parts of the vehicle he is assigned to before he leaves the compound like the oil, water, brakes, gasoline, horn (9 tsn, July 17, 1986); and that Geronimo had been driving for him sometime in 1976 until the collision in litigation came about (5-6 tsn, ibid); that whenever his trucks gets out of the compound to make deliveries, it is always accompanied with two (2) helpers (16-17 tsn, ibid). This was all which he considered as selection and supervision in compliance with the law to free himself from any responsibility. This Court then cannot consider the foregoing as equivalent to an exercise of all the care of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his driver Mariano Geronimo."25
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The May 20, 1994 Decision and June 30, 1994 Resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the March 22, 1988 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 8, Manila, is REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED." (emphasis added)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Iplead: ditch legalese!

When I first enrolled in law school, I struggled putting up with professors, classmates, and books that spoke a strange Jurassic-sounding language—legalese. I had been with the private sector all my life, ten years of which in the banking industry, and a short stint in the insurance industry as a self-employed, and I have not been a fan of this language, which I occasionally bumped into in my readings. I thought why the heck would you speak and write differently from how you would otherwise casually talk?
The point in both is clarity. Unless you purposely want to muddle your statement, you would use plain English. Since Freshman I have been resisting this pervasive persistence in using a language that not only had lost its currency, but has been a source of confusion and more controversy than resolution.
Sadly, while the Court has acknowledged the advantage in using plain English, its decisions promulgated contemporaneous to extolling plain English, prove it’s not that ready to abandon legalese, and is merely paying the audience some lip service.
But I was unfazed, I continued to refuse to talk and write like I had dinosaurs around me. I knew it was a gambit. Many still blindly believe that legalese identifies its users with the law, and those who believe otherwise fall out of favor with legal authorities, say the Bar Examiners in bar examinations. To them if you do legalese, you evince show admirable esprit de corps.
I always thought not. I think legalese are from a long bygone era, and has no place in modern legal society. Those who think they can impress their clients with legalese, translating to fatter billing, underestimate their own clients. Average-educated clients don’t care about and don’t look for legalese, but are comfortable with lawyers who speak and write plain English because they understand what the lawyers are saying to the court, in their behalf.
Think about it, would you be comfortable and happy or would you instead be concerned if your lawyer talked in court in your behalf, and finished without you understanding what he said? What more you if you caught a glimpse of the judge looking just as confused? Can you imagine the torment of tirelessly wondering how you fared in court simply because your lawyer didn’t speak . . . plain English?
I dare to think more. I think sophisticated clients know a lousy lawyer when they see one. And clients see them often in legalese-tongued acts. If I were a client, I would take legalese as a lawyer’s ploy to hide his unpreparedness and incompetence. Why not come clean and plain? You certainly don’t want to get into costly litigation over a confused word or term simply because your lawyer could not resist his worn-out belief that legalese impresses.
One client said to an ipleader (what I call a lawyer who plain-english-advocate) “I appreciate it that you talk in a way that I understand, and I am sure the judge understood, as well.”
Another recounted “I felt insulted that my lawyer talked in court in hifalutin garbage, not because I didn’t understand, but because I knew he was talking nonsense. I fired him before he could explain.”
Despite the fact that law books, the internet legal vastness, and the practice overflow with legalese I strived to find like-minded individuals, and I did find them. Below, I share some of what they had to say about plain English.
To many of them, Bryan A. Garner is a common hero, but I have yet to get my hands on his book.
One of my favorites is a comment to a post:
Re: silly antiquated English pleading —I gained incredible respect for a (female) probate commissioner I met last summer, who said flatly, “no one is going to come or pray on any of my paperwork.”
Here is more, and with links to their websites:
"Legal Writing:Ditch“Here-and-There Words”" by Andy Mergendahl as carried in an article “Doclients expect legalese, and how should you handle it?” by Matthew Salzwedel.
“Legalese” by
More useful sites, and your own:
"Rule on Writing Numbers" by Jane Stauss+.
Enjoy Reading!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Is Plunder Bailable or Non-bailable?

You must have read and heard this from the media countless of times: plunder is a non-bailable offense. And no one cared. But I guess it’s important to put the subject in proper perspective. Given media’s broad reach, clout, and influence, I won’t be surprised if the “public” has come to believe so by now.
“But isn’t it, in fact, non-bailable?” you might ask.
The answer is no. It is not non-bailable. It is bailable.
Nowhere in R.A. 7080, the law on plunder, does it say that plunder is a non-bailable offense. The reason is R.A. 7080, cannot go against the fundamental law of the land, the Constitution.
The right to bail is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, specifically under the Bill of Rights, viz:
Section 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.
On the other hand, the Revised Rules of Court couched the provision on bail, viz:
RULE 114 Bail
Section 4. Bail, a matter of right; exception. — All persons in custody shall be admitted to bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or released on recognize as prescribed by law or this Rule (a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court, and (b) before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment. (4a)
Section 5. Bail, when discretionary. — Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail is discretionary. The application for bail may be filed and acted upon by the trial court despite the filing of a notice of appeal, provided it has not transmitted the original record to the appellate court. However, if the decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed the nature of the offense from non-bailable to bailable, the application for bail can only be filed with and resolved by the appellate court.
If you notice the constitutional provision grants all, before conviction, the right to bail, and excepting only “those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong.” One need not only be charged with an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua, but that the circumstances of its commission must be such that the strength of guilt may be appreciated against the accused. Meaning, while plunder is an offense punished by life imprisonment, which is the maximum penalty for violations of special laws—what reclusion perpetua is to violations of the Revised Penal Code—the evidence of guilt has to be strong for it to be taken out of the guarantee on bail.
On the other hand, the provision of the Rules of Court on bail takes its guarantee a notch further, by adding “before or after conviction” in cases commenced and heard in, or filed before a “Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court,” or offenses punished by no more than six months, as one of two conditions under which the right to bail may be availed of as a matter of right. While in cases filed before the Regional Trial Court, “before conviction of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment. (4a),” in keeping with the letter of the Constitutional.
The rule on bail continues, in its section 5, to spotlight its bias for availability of the remedy of bail to the accused, by making it accessible even upon or after conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment. This time, however, it is by discretion of the court, and in cases where the penalty imposed by the court is more than six months, there are certain requirements and conditions that must be met in order to keep the accused’s provisional liberty while awaiting the outcome of the appeal, in cases where appeal is duly perfected.
Interestingly, while the Constitution speaks only of offenses punished by reclusion perpetua as offenses for which bail is conditional, the Rules stretches it to include offenses punished by life imprisonment. Life imprisonment is the maximum imprisonment penalty for crimes violating a special law, while reclusion perpetua is the maximum imprisonment penalty for crimes violating the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, also called felonies. Death penalty was outlawed by R.A. 9346.
The implication would have been, for crimes violating special laws, like plunder, bail would be available regardless of the extent of penalty. But thanks to the Court, by its rule-making power, it wisely preempted the anomalous scenario where a crime as reprehensible as one punished in the Revised Penal Code would be treated differently (lightly) simply because it is not included in its codification.

So you see, the rule is all offenses, including plunder, are bailable. The popular media mouthpiece is the exception.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Informal work arrangements ("on call employment") may mean regular employment.

“Benevolence, it is said, does not operate as a license to circumvent labor laws.”
This is all too familiar. You may not know it, but you, too, may be in this situation now or in the past. If not yet, then good for you, you can still prepare for it.
The scenario: You are kind, so when someone comes to you, or has been introduced to you, and earnestly seeks your favour to allow him or her to stay where he could have roof over his or her head, and in return he or she would help in the chores around the house or your little business, you tend to say yes not so much because you need a hand, or he or she possesses the skills you need, if you happen to need one, but out of magnanimity. This, despite your apprehensions given the many horrible and outrageous stories of homeowners or business owners being victimized by the very persons they fed, clothed, and sheltered. Life, indeed, can be cruel.
Fast forward to not-so-distant future. You may have had a little disagreement with your foster friend, or the latter may have violated your relationship, or have done something that would make you rethink keeping him or her, then you decide to kick him or her out of the house or your little business. Days later, you get a summons from the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) directing you to answer a complaint for illegal dismissal filed by your erstwhile foster friend. Surprised, you squeak “He was never my employee!” But, was he or was he not?
The case below, although it does not exactly fit the above scenario, discusses how, even given the scenario above, similar relationships are interpreted under the labor laws.
The central question is: would such an arrangement ripen into an employer-employee relationship that would bind a benevolent host to the consequences under the labor code and other labor laws and rules?
Article 280. Regular and casual employment. The provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season.
An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall continue while such activity exists. (PD 442, The Labor Code of the Philippines)
The Brief Facts
Esita, the complainant, claims he was an employee of Opulencia, the respondent. Esita explains that he worked as compressor operator in the ice plant owned by opulencia for many years. Opulencia, in denying Esita’s claim, alleges that the latter was merely allowed to work as peon of contractors they had engaged to do major repairs on his Tanauan ice plant. He continues that “while he refused the insistent pleas of Esita for employment in the ice plants due to lack of vacancy, he nonetheless allowed him to stay in the premises of the ice plant for free and to collect fees for crushing or loading ice of the customers and dealers of the ice plant. Opulencia claims that in addition, Esita enjoyed free electricity and water, and was allowed to cultivate crops within the premises of the ice plant to augment his income.”
The Labor arbiter ruled that there existed an employer-employee relationship and ordered Opulencia to pay Esita separation pay, underpayment of wages, 13th month pay, allowances, etc. Opulencia appealed the labor arbiter’s decision to NLRC, which the latter affirmed with modification on the monetary award.
Hence, this Petition.
Raised in this Petition are the following issues:
“that public respondents have no jurisdiction over the instant case;
that Esita's work in the repair and construction of Dr. Opulencia's residence could not have ripened into a regular employment;
that petitioners' benevolence in allowing Esita to stay inside the company's premises free of charge for humanitarian reason deserves commendation rather than imposition of undue penalty;
that Esita's name does not appear in the payrolls of the company which necessarily means that he was not an employee; and, that Esita's statements are inconsistent and deserving of disbelief.”
The Court’s ruling.
“The instant petition lacks merit, hence, must be dismissed.
xxx While the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC may subsequently be found without jurisdiction over a case when it would later appear that no employer-employee relationship existed between the contending parties, such is not the situation in this case where the employer-employee relationship between the petitioners and Esita was clearly established. If the argument of petitioners were to be allowed, then unscrupulous employers could readily avoid the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters and NLRC, and may even elude compliance with labor laws only on the bare assertion that an employer-employee relationship does not exist.
Petitioners further argue that "complainant miserably failed to present any documentary evidence to prove his employment. There was no time sheet, pay slip and/or payroll/cash voucher to speak of. Absence of these material documents are necessary fatal to complainant's cause."
We do not agree. No particular form of evidence is required to prove the existence of an employer-employee relationship. Any competent and relevant evidence to prove the relationship may be admitted. For, if only documentary evidence would be required to show that relationship, no scheming employer would ever be brought before the bar of justice, as no employer would wish to come out with any trace of the illegality he has authored considering that it should take much weightier proof to invalidate a written instrument. 2 Thus, as in this case where the employer-employee relationship between petitioners and Esita was sufficiently proved by testimonial evidence, the absence of time sheet, time record or payroll has become inconsequential.
xxx The petitioners point out that even granting arguendo that Esita was indeed a mechanic, he could never be a regular employee because his presence would be required only when there was a need for repair. We cannot sustain this argument. This circumstance cannot affect the regular status of employment of Esita. An employee who is required to remain on call in the employer's premises or so close thereto that he cannot use the time effectively and gainfully for his own purpose shall be considered as working while on call. 8 In sum, the determination of regular and casual employment 9 is not affected by the fact that the employee's regular presence in the place of work is not required, the more significant consideration being that the work of the employee is usually necessary or desirable in the business of the employer. More importantly, Esita worked for 9 years and, under the Labor Code, "any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular employee with respect to that activity in which he is employed . . . ." 10
In allowing Esita to stay in the premises of the ice plant and permitting him to cultivate crops to augment his income, there is no doubt that petitioners should be commended; however, in view of the existence of an employer-employee relationship as found by public respondents, we cannot treat humanitarian reasons as justification for emasculating or taking away the rights and privileges of employees granted by law. Benevolence, it is said, does not operate as a license to circumvent labor laws. If petitioners were genuinely altruistic in extending to their employees privileges that are not even required by law, then there is no reason why they should not be required to give their employees what they are entitled to receive. Moreover, as found by public respondents, Esita was enjoying the same privileges granted to the other employees of petitioners, so that in thus treating Esita, he cannot be considered any less than a legitimate employee of petitioners.
WHEREFORE, there being no grave abuse of discretion on the part of public respondents, the instant petition is DISMISSED. Accordingly, the restraining order we issued on 13 May 1991 is LIFTED.
Read the full text of the case here.

Republic Act No. 8177, An Act Designating Death by Lethal Injection...

Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines

Metro Manila
Tenth Congress
Republic Act No. 8177 March 20, 1996
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled::
Section 1. Article 81 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 24 of Republic Act No. 7659 is hereby further amended to read as follows:
"Art. 81. When and how the death penalty is to be executed. – The death sentence shall be executed with preference to any other penalty and shall consist in putting the person under the sentence to death by lethal injection. The death sentence shall be executed under the authority of the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, endeavoring so far as possible to mitigate the sufferings of the person under the sentence during the lethal injection as well as during the proceedings prior to the execution.
"The Director of the Bureau of Corrections shall take steps to ensure that the lethal injection to be administered is sufficient to cause the instantaneous death of the convict.
"Pursuant to this, all personnel involved in the administration of lethal injection shall be trained prior to the performance of such task.
"The authorized physician of the Bureau of Corrections, after thorough examination, shall officially make a pronouncement of the convict's death and shall certify thereto in the records of the Bureau of Corrections.
The death sentence shall be carried out not earlier than one (1) year nor later than eighteen (18) months after the judgment has become final and executory without prejudice to the exercise by the President of his executive clemency powers at all times."
Section 2. Persons already sentenced by judgment, which has become final and executory, who are waiting to undergo the death penalty by electrocution or gas poisoning shall be under the coverage of the provisions of this Act upon its effectivity. Their sentences shall be automatically modified for this purpose.
Section 3. Implementing Rules. – The Secretary of Justice in coordination with the Secretary of Health and the Bureau of Corrections shall, within thirty (30) days from the effectivity of this Act, promulgate the rules to implement its provisions.
Section 4. Repealing Clause. – All laws, presidential decrees and issuances, executive orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Section 5. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation, whichever comes earlier. Publication shall not be later than ten (10) days after the approval thereof.
Approved: March 20, 1996

Source: The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation