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I. The basic purpose of fiscal autonomy is to grant independence to the Judiciary.


Fiscal autonomy ensures that the judicial branch of the government will be able to
perform its functions efficiently, by providing wide discretion as to how it can
allocate its funds. Without the proper amount of funds, or authority as to how to
make use of these funds, the judicial decision-making process is hampered. The
three co-equal branches of the government are created in order to distribute power
evenly among the State. The judicial branch is best equipped to handle judicial
processes, thus, it knows best how to maximize the funds allocated to it. The
legislative cannot control the fiscal autonomy of the Judiciary, for doing so would
result to interfering with a co-equal branch of the government. To illustrate,
lowering the Judiciarys budget will not only lead to less efficiency in handling
cases; it will also affect some of the Judiciarys vital projects aimed toward the
efficient administration of justice in the country. The Judiciary should thus be free
to specify the allocation of its funds, given that it remains within the general
purpose for which this government branch is created, and within the constraints of
the law.

II.

1. The majority adopted the recommendation of the investigating justice that


Justice Ong be dismissed from the service. However, contrary to the findings of
Justice Sandoval-Gutierrez, the majority held that the evidence obtained was
insufficient to establish that Justice Ong acted as liaison and fixer for Napoles
in the Kevlar cases. For the majority, the evidence on record only establishes
that Justice Ong associated with Napoles two years after the Kevlar cases were
decided. However, the majority identified such association as grossly improper,
as is equivalent to gross misconduct. They also found Justice Ong to be guilty
of dishonesty before the Court.

Justice Brions separate concurring opinion drew attention to the administrative


offense of gross misconduct where the underlying act involved is bribery, particularly
the needed quantum of evidence to support a finding of administrative liability, in
contrast with the quantum of evidence needed to find a public officer guilty of bribery
in a criminal proceeding. He believes that the Court is in a public denial mode about
bribery by maintaining the rule that disallows hearsay evidence in disciplinary

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proceedings, even if the hearsay testimony is already confirmed by the totality of the
evidence on record. Judges, based on their knowledge, training and experience, are
already adept at recognizing and proving the administrative offense of bribery. The
better approach according to him is to allow the investigating judges and justices
sufficient discretion to admit hearsay evidence, subject to guidelines in determining
its probative value.

Justice Jardelezas separate concurring opinion emphasized that the commission


of acts of Indirect Bribery under Article 211 of the Revised Penal Code and
Acceptance of Gift under Presidential Decree No. 46 are also punishable
administratively. If proven on the facts by substantial evidence, they give rise to the
sanctions of dismissal from the service and forfeiture of benefits as provided under
Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court.

Justice Bersamin, in his concurring and dissenting opinion, believes that Justice
Ong is administratively liable only for simple misconduct, because that was the
offense competently and properly established against him, and the offense for which
he is to be justly punished. It would be unjust to punish Justice Ong with the extreme
penalty of dismissal from the service if the serious charges of gross misconduct,
dishonesty, and impropriety were not clearly and convincingly proven by competent
evidence.

Justice Perez, in his concurring and dissenting opinion, disagrees with the
majority in characterizing such association with Napoles as gross misconduct. Such
association merely constitutes simple misconduct which, under Rule 140 of the Rules
of Court, is a less serious charge. He also disagrees with the finding that Justice Ong
was guilty of dishonesty before the Court. The basis of this finding was the result of
taking statements of Justice Ong out of context. Thus, he further disagrees with the
ruling of the majority to dismiss Justice Ong from the service. According to him,
Justice Ong should only be suspended from office for three months without salary and
other benefits.

Justice Reyes, in his concurring and dissenting opinion, disagrees that Justice
Ong's association with Napoles constitutes gross misconduct notwithstanding the
absence of direct evidence of corruption or bribery. Although Justice Ong's dealing
with Napoles gives the appearance of impropriety, there is a lack of evidence to

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conclude that he has a "corrupt inclination" which would merit a finding of gross
misconduct on his part and be meted the penalty of dismissal from the service. Also,
he does not agree that Justice Ong is guilty of dishonesty when he failed to disclose in
his letter to the Chief Justice that he visited Napoles in her office after the
promulgation of the decision in the Kevlar case.

Lastly, Justice Leonen in his concurring opinion believes that Justice Ongs
actions show a disposition to deceive. Before the investigation on these issues went
full-scale, Justice Ong deliberately wanted to create an impression that he was not
associated with Napoles. This could be concluded from Aries Rufos narration of the
interview that preceded the Rappler article. Napoles already had a notorious
reputation at that time, and an ordinary citizen would impulsively dissociate himself
in order to avoid being implicated by Napoles notoriety. However, Justice Ong is not
an ordinary citizen. He is required by the Rules of Court and the Code of Judicial
Conduct to be honest in all his dealings. If he has stayed true to this Code, he would
not have had anything to conceal from the public.

2. Laws and rules regulating gift-giving to public officers were tackled in the case.
This is a relevant factor because the giving of gifts is not always equivalent to
bribery. Again, this should be a case-to-case basis because there are instances
wherein the act is merely gratuitous, with no demands of anything in return.

Probative value of hearsay evidence should also be considered. The justices


argue that hearsay evidence should be admitted in special circumstances, depending
on their significance and value. This should be dealt with on a case-to-case basis,
giving the judge discretion in what to take or not depending on the circumstances of
the case.

Furthermore, Justice Ong is a justice of the Sandiganbayan, thus, he is clothed


with judicial authority. As a judge, his actions are vested with public interest. His
actions should reflect those of an impartial judge and an honest person of the
community. Judges must, at all times, be beyond reproach and should avoid even the
mere suggestion of partiality and impropriety.

III.

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1. The dissenting opinions of Justice Carpio and Sereno emphasized the importance of
hearing first the Government in oral argument before deciding on the temporary
restraining order, since if this is issued, it could frustrate the Governments right to
prosecute. The Government must be heard on how the charges against petitioners
could proceed while petitioners are abroad.

The dissenting opinion of Justice Reyes emphasized that any injunctive relief
will not be issued if it will result to a premature disposition or a prejudgment of the
case on its merits. Also, any application for the restraint on the performance of an act
will not be given due course if it will presume the validity of petitioners claims,
relieving them of the burden of proving the same. These points must be given weight
because indeed, issuing a temporary restraining order at that moment could lead to a
mistrial or even a violation of the petitioners constitutional rights (such as the right to
due process).

2. The petitioners in this case are vested with public interest since one of them is a
former president of the Republic of the Philippines and the other is her husband who
happens to be the first gentleman of the Republic and who was involved in several
public transactions during their term. The charges against the petitioners are also
vested with public interest. They involve public funds and public concerns. These
factors are relevant because those vested with public authority are particularly tasked
not only to enforce the laws but also to uphold it. If a public figure commits a crime,
the punishment is usually more severe than that imposed on a private individual.

Its also important to note that despite the rights a person is entitled to under
the laws, even the most fundamental rights (those enshrined in the Bill of Rights) are
not absolute and may be restrained upon the presence of a compelling government
interest, or a clear and present danger which the State has a duty to prevent.

IV.

1. The first clear assumption is that rape is committed by having carnal knowledge.
Carnal knowledge is defined by Blacks Law Dictionary as the act of a man having
sexual bodily connections with a woman; sexual intercourse. In other words, there
must be sexual intercourse before an act or a series of acts can be classified as rape. I
do not agree with this because rape can be committed through other acts such as the
penis or any other instrument forcibly entering the victims mouth or anal artifice.

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This gap in the law, however, has already been remedied by the Anti-Rape Law of
1997. Rape now also includes acts other than penile penetration of the vaginal orifice,
such that an act of sexual assault can be effected by inserting a penis into another
persons mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal
orifice, of another person.

Second, rape can only be committed against a woman. However, this gap in
the lap has also already been cured by the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, which states that a
woman may now be charged of raping another person and that rape may now be
committed against men in the form of sexual assault. The lawmakers took a practical
approach in addressing the reality that sexual crimes such as rape can also be
perpetrated by a woman towards a man, despite the disparity in strength which is
usually inherent in most cases. The law must account for everyone, not just the
majority.

Third, rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman by using


force or intimidation. This presupposes that when force or intimidation is used to
obtain carnal knowledge of a woman, the act is done without her consent. However, I
think the primary factor here should be whether the victim consented to the carnal
knowledge itself. As long as she did not, the act should be classified as rape.
Employing force or intimidation should not per se lead to a charge of rape. Given the
liberal approach to sexual acts nowadays, it can be argued that there are cases wherein
force or intimidation is used but the victim consents to it. If anything, its presence
without the victims consent should merely an aggravating circumstance to the crime
of rape.

2. The offenses of seduction, abduction, rape or acts of lasciviousness shall not be


prosecuted except upon a complaint filed by the offended party or her parents,
grandparents or guardian. This contains an underlying assumption that the victim or
her relatives are the only ones affected by the crime. However, crimes are committed
against the State. Thus, the government should be given a right to file the case. By
reclassifying the crime as one against persons, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 allowed
that prosecution be commenced in court by the filing of an information by the public
prosecutor, and no longer by a mere complaint filed by the offended party, parents,
godparents or guardian.

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Marriage to the offended party entails an underlying assumption that the


victim already pardoned the offended party. However, this isnt always the case. In the
first place, the marriage could merely be a sham in order to allow the offender to
escape criminal and civil liability. Thus, the victims consent could easily have been
vitiated. I think the only way to pardon the crime should be through the express act of
the victim.

V.

The first clear bias is the complainants statement describing the respondent as
having a very very tiny penis which appeared to be uncircumcised because of the
excess loose skin on its tip. It was irrelevant to the case, and it showed complainants
clear distaste for the respondent. Even if she reasoned out that she was afraid to
pursue the case at the time, five years seem to be too long a time to wait. She could
have just decided to pursue the case after such a long period of time because of her
extreme distaste towards the defendant.

Complainant delayed filing the case due to her underlying assumptions that
nothing would come of it because of respondents celebrity status, and that her status
as stunt woman/double is lower than that of respondent, who was already a
celebrity on television and in movies. Assumptions like these hamper the
administration of justice, due to victims fear that coming forward would lead to
embarrassment, or worse, nothing, simply on account of the offenders high status. If
the complainant came forward earlier, theres a greater probability that the case would
have pushed through. Moreover, a persons social status in the media world does not
necessarily qualify him as possessing authority or ascendancy.

Another assumption is the respondents statement that she could have easily
pushed him away or struggled during the ordeal. Even though the complainant was
physically fit, agile and strong, the fact remains that shes a woman. Granted, there
was no evidence of abuse of superior strength. Still, it does not mean that she has the
ability to stop a mans advances during a sexual encounter. Furthermore, she was
shocked. Rape or even acts of lasciviousness goes against the human dignity of every
person. One of her most intimate rights were violated. Her fear/shock could have
paralyzed her and prevented her from taking active action. The fact that she did not
retaliate or stop her attacker should not have been taken against her, for it does not

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establish that she consented to the acts. Her act of coming forward shows that she
clearly did not consent. With rape cases, the victim puts her reputation at risk by
coming forward. I dont think she would be willing to do so unless she clearly felt that
there was a violation of her rights and a need to address it. Furthermore, the
amendment of the Revised Penal Code through the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 states that
any physical overt act manifesting resistance against the rape in any degree from the
victim is admissible as evidence of lack of consent. Tenacious resistance is no longer
required, nor is a determined and persistent physical struggle on the part of the victim
necessary. In drafting the new law, the legislators agreed that the amendment is
intended to soften the jurisprudence of the 1970s when resistance to rape was required
to be tenacious. The lawmakers took note of the fact that rape victims cannot mount a
physical struggle in cases where they were gripped by overpowering fear or
subjugated by moral authority. The law now provides that resistance may be proved
by any physical overt act in any degree from the offended party. In the Resolution, the
complainant pushed the offender away and even threatened to bite his penis if he
continues to push her mouth into it.

Bonus Question

Pope Francis tells the people to resist the economy of exclusion. He is


speaking about inequality in the economic sector, which is prevalent due to the gap
between the private sector and civil society. In legal thought, this culture of exclusion
manifests itself through inequalities such as mistrials, burying of evidence, etc.
Human rights are violated on a daily basis. In the Philippine legal system, corruption
is evident. For example, some judges are willing to accept bribes in order to arrive at a
favorable judgment for one party. Another example is pro bono cases. If the
complainant is an indigent or lacks the necessary finance to obtain legal counsel, one
will be appointed to him by the State, or a private lawyer can take his case pro bono
or free of charge. However, private practitioners usually accept pro bono cases merely
as a requirement in their law firm. Few lawyers actually chooses to defend the poor.
The end-goal of the legal profession should be to find justice for everyone. Your
counsel and his performance for your cause should not be dependent on your income.

Equality before the law is very much feasible. Laws are continuously being
enacted keeping in mind the equal protection of the people. To promote a culture of

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inclusion, its important for lawmakers and other public authority figures to uphold
the saying that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law.

As lawyers-in-training, we can fight for equality and inclusion in the law by


studying to become efficient lawyers who seek justice and fight for the rights of the
people. We can also encourage people to realize the true potential of the law, if only
we avoid unlawful and immoral actions.