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Legal Counseling

Submitted to: Atty. Edna Batacan Submitted by: Lopez, Stephanie Flor R.

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law. Section 1, Article III, 1987 Constitution of The Philippines.

It is recognized that that due process is one of the foundations of a free country. A society without due process is one where arbitrariness prevails. Due process is the very essence of justice and its denial is the denial of justice itself. In our country, due process itself is the basis of the many mechanisms in the enforcement of rights and obligations in our laws and Constitution and the settlement of disputes. There are civil, criminal and even quasi-judicial processes all of which ensure that the law is not taken into the hands of a person and that due process is afforded every person.

JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Branch 17, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, MANILA

Last October 7, 2013, my classmates and I went to the sala of Judge Felicitas O. LaronCacanindin and observed the trial of a number of criminal cases. We arrived at 1pm in the afternoon on which time the hearing started. The room was well lit and clean despite the stacks of paper piled up which made the room quite suffocating. Aside from that, the court room was crammed even more as the branch clerk, stenographer, translator and sheriff went inside. There were also a number of accused, who were present for either arraignment or hearing, lawyers and policemen. At the start of the hearing everyone rose to pray the Ecumenical prayer led by the judge.

CALLING OF THE CASE

When a case was called, both lawyers would stand and say that they were appearing for such party. There was however a lawyer who did not enter the court room because he was not wearing proper attire.

ARRAIGNMENT

There were several arraignment proceedings which were held. During these proceedings, the accused would be asked if he or she has a lawyer or if he or she was fine with the Public Attorney. None of the accused had their own lawyers and agreed to be represented by Atty. Rommelo C. Camarillo, the public Attorney.

Atty. Camarillo would then ask his new client if the latter did the crime and if the accused said that he did not then Atty. Camarillo would tell him that that would be his answer if asked.

When the accused is being asked for his plea, I noticed that both the trial prosecutor and public attorney, the clerk and sometimes even the judge would make sure that the accused understood the crime being imputed against him.

PRESENTATION OF WITNESS

There were two witnesses presented on different cases. The first witness was presented for cross examination while the second witness was presented for his testimony.

During the first presentation of witness, the witness had a copy of his statement and the defense counsel, Atty. Lutero was asking questions based on the sworn statement. During this trial, the prosecutor was very active and was always objecting to the questions which were most of the time dismissed by the judge but some of his objections were taken noted.

On the second presentation of witness, it was the victim, himself, who was presented for cross examination. The witness was a police officer who was wounded and could not walk and as such he had to be carried in and out of the courtroom. During his cross examination, there was a translator who asked the questions of the defense to the witness in tagalog. When the witness or victim would answer in tagalog the translator would then translate it to english. Sometimes, the prosecutor himself would ask the witness in tagalog.

PROVISIONAL DISMISSAL

There was a case which was provisionally dismissed because the witness for the prosecution was absent. The trial prosecutor moved for the rescheduling of the case but the lawyer of the accused invoked the right of his client to speedy trial. So as not to violate the right of the accused, the case was provisionally dismissed. The judge herself explained to the accused that the case may be revived because it was only a provisional dismissal and the accused assented to such.

DISMISSAL

Another case for indecent exposure was dismissed. This was because the crime was not proven because the accused was not actually naked but was still wearing his briefs. The public attorney asked the accused regarding his tattoos. I learned that there were really gangs in prison and tattoos were indicative of which gang a cosa was a member of.

During the court proceedings, I observed that the prosecution and defense lawyers were friendly with each other showing camaraderie of lawyers. Sometimes, even the trial prosecutor asked the accused if they understood the crime or if they did the offense or what they did and even explained the offense which I think was to safeguard the right of the accused to be informed. At the end of the each trial, the lawyer, if he or she was leaving, would ask to permission from the judge. The lawyers would also sign a sheet which shows their attendance in the hearing of a particular case on a specific date.

QUASI-JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

As a result of the growing complexity of modern society, it is necessary to create more bodies to help with the regulation of disputes in specialized assigned to them with expertise that regular courts can not be expected to have.

On October 10, 2013, we went to the National Labor Relations Commission along Banawe and attended several hearings at the sala of Labor Arbiter Marita V. Padolina. The corridors of the building were crowded as there were a lot of complainants, respondents and a few lawyers, along them. There were no separate courtrooms for the trial and the proceedings started at around 10:30am in the office of the Labor Arbiter herself. When a case was to be tried, the secretary would call on the case at the corridor and if a party was present, he would enter the office and the hearing would commence.

The first case was a claim for unpaid wages of a man who worked for an agency deploying workers to other countries. The agency changed its management and as such the man was unpaid for about six months. The new management however was willing to settle and the requirement by the labor arbiter was proof of the salary in the other country because the salary decalered in POEA was only around 1000 rial while the man was claiming that he was receiving 6700 per month during his first year and was increased to 8700 later. The labor arbiter asked if he had evidence and said that she could not just take his word for it and that in the absence of proof that he was receiving such amount, Labor Arbiter Padolina explained that she will be using the declared salary as basis of her judgement. Luckily, the man had with him a copy of his salary receipt from Saudi. The Labor Arbiter asked if the company was willing to settle and the respondent said that they were in fact willing to settle as they had conducted their own investigation. She also asked for the authority of the person representing the respondent.

During our lull time, the Labor Arbiter Padolina explained that they based they only required position papers to be submitted and base their judgements on such papers. Lawyers were not required during labor proceedings and were sometimes even discouraged.

Sacramento vs PMI Trucking

The second case is a complaint for underpayment of salary and wages but the complainant was absent during this first hearing. The respondent was represented by their lawyer and the wife of the owner was also present. Labor Arbiter Padolina asked if the complainant was still employed and the wife answered that the complainant was just and extrador who was not actually a

regular employee but rather the husband of their maid and that he just comes and goes as he wants. The wife further explained that they were sub-contractors and that their work is dependent on the orders. The drivers of the trucks are regular employees while the extradors were not regular because they just go to the company when they need work or money and that he does not work on a regular basis and only when he feels like it. Labor Arbiter Padolina asked for his salary and the respondents showed their receipts of his salary with his signature.

Primero Fresca Inc. The third case is another one for underpayment. The respondent for this case is not present during the conference. The complainant is a merchandiser of the goods of the respondent company who sells seafood in several stores. He is the one who arranges the goods on their shelves. He was asked for his salary, wages, when he resigned and even the number of employees of the company. The respondent however was said to have changed their address and so Labor Arbiter Padolina ordered for them to be sent another summons in Taguig. Labor Arbiter Padolina noticed that the complainant was just wearing short pants and scolded him for it as that was not the proper attire for the conference.

In the fourth case, the counsel for the complainants, who were security guards, was present but was however unable to submit his position paper. Because this is the second time that he has not submitted the required position paper, Labor Arbiter Padolina gave them a deadline for the submission of the paper and said that she will have to dismiss the case without prejudice if there is no paper submitted the next day. She however advised that they can refile the case after ten days. She also said that it will still go to her if they decide to refile.

Dela Cruz Arnaldo vs Legal and Collection Agency The last case is another case for illegal dismissal. The respondent is a collection agency which sometimes employs the services of lawyers for their collection. It was said that the agency received that summons but did not send for a representative for the case. The complainant was a regular employee who started to work for the respondent on October 2009 but was terminated in August 2013 when the agency received an invitation from DOLE because the complainant filed a complaint at the said department for underpayment of wages and other salaries.

TRIAL

COURT

VISIT

DOCUMENTATION

The Ecumenical Prayer before the hearing

The court calendar

the minutes of the hearing

With Atty. Jane Yao, Barch Clerk of Court

The Honnorable Judge Felicitas Laron- Cacanindi

With Branch 17 Presiding Judge Cacanindin

With Judge Cacanindin, Trial Prosecutor Hon. Joselito Obejas and Public Attorney Atty Rommelo Camarillo

NLRC VISIT DOCUMENTATION

The NLRC Logo

With Labor Arbiter Marita V. Padolina