Friday, February 26, 2010

Netscape Terror: Are There Real Cyberterrorists?

Copyright © 2010 by Chester B. Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

Everyday I spend hours on the net to check my emails, update facebook and twitter, roam in online chat rooms, and google interesting websites in a free-flowing Information Superhighway. No wonder I consider myself a net surfer. Eventhough, my fingers are already numbed clicking the mouse or typing words and my eyes are somnolent reading gazillion texts on the Internet. As I come into contact with the realm of cyberzone, likewise I suppose my world decongests and shrinks, into a smaller global village. I feel empowered because I can conquer a wide-reaching, universal boardroom that nobody knows my real identity. As a New Yorker caricature by Peter Steiner spreads its message, “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”.

A few months back, I received a forwarded email alerting all concerned cyber users not to open any message with an attached file called “invitation”, regardless of who sent it. The email attack is a politically motivated missive perceived to be the ‘most destructive virus’ ever announced by CNN after it was discovered by McAfee and classified by Microsoft. The letter contains subversive contents with uploaded pictures of Osama bin Laden hanged, but once opened, it can abruptly destroy and disrupt one’s computer that you’ll not be able to fix it!

What does it all mean? So powerful message that implies precaution as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) continue to invade and pervade human life; the risks for cyberterrorism, without doubt, will continue to grow. Certainly the use of technology in cyberterrorists attacks is plausible. Our very global way of life relies on the secure and safe operations of critical systems that depend on cyberspace. In other words, as a net surfer, who frequently crosses the threshold of ‘virtual global reality’ as part of his daily routine, should also be vigilant by becoming a target of cyberterrorists.

In fact, I only came to know about the larger impact of terrorism when terrorists assaulted the World Trade Center in New York in September 2001 which tells me that nobody is safe now from the time when the lone superpower in the world suffered vulnerability with such impulsive yet devious attacks.

That fateful day, cyberterrorists have proven to be adroit of mining data by learning about the schedules and locations of targets through the Internet such as transportation facilities and airports and also public buildings. The infamy reminded me of the Internet’s susceptibility underneath the spell of the devil advocates; shriveled in a ‘virtual global community’ I use to chat with, consult with, and make friends with. Until now, it is stabbing me with immense paranoia because nowadays cyberterrorists wouldn’t cease and mind attacking civilians via the confines of cyberzones for direct mischievous instruments of bloodshed.

My ignorance condemns my sanity that I often assume terrorism is treated as a recent concept. But truly it’s not. The conception of “terrere” or terrorism was first used during the French Revolution of the 1790s according to few literatures. In the Philippines, there are some historical accounts as early as 1865 that the Sultan of Sulu gathered his supporters and Muslims in once a glorious sultanate adhered to juramentado, tantamount to Muslim jihad which in Western understanding they would call the same practice as formalized military suicide based from my readings.
But what makes it divergent before than now is that perhaps today, technology has improved a terrorist ability to infuse fear and shock a society. Yet it couldn’t be denied that the new threat bears a little resemblance to familiar disruptions by hackers for viruses and worms. For as long as there are adequate resources to launch a cyber attack that are easy to access; at the end of the day, an ignorant cyber user may not even know that the attack has taken place until only sometime after it was launched.

Nonetheless, my perceptive understanding of terrorism grounds from my morsel expertise yet voracious reading on cyberterrorism. That if not watchful, may truthfully endanger and threaten my existence in the cyberspace; since terrorist organizations and their supporters have now conquered dominion of the Internet I almost enter everyday. These sophisticated electronic communications become the cyberterrorists theatrical stage to engage in a calculated crusade and at the same time use it for indoctrination, recruitment, fund raising, and launching a worldwide campaign of fear.

By all means, cyberterrorism is the unlawful attacks against computers, networks, and the information stored therein when done to intimidate or coerce a government or its people in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Believe me, I for one have been addicted and enslaved by these cutting-edged technologies and the Internet. It is a fact that today, we are all functioning in a world fundamentally characterized by objects in motion. There is a tremendous mobility brought about by globalization where immense flood of capital, ideas, labor, profits and technology are rapidly moving across the four bounds of the earth. The explosive growth of cyber cafés in the so-called new economy and wisdom market affirm the net’s comfy uses and trendy functions that permit dissemination of any kind of data through images, music, speech, text and video. It surmounts distance and pays scant regard to territorial boundaries. But sad to say, with cheap accessibility for all, cyberterrorists can gauge the opportunities to wave and secure publicity. Their superior aptitude for technologies offers them advanced prospects to shape and control the content of their websites and manipulate the images and texts of their foes.

The appalling side of the Internet is the quiet emergence of hundreds of uncensored websites that cling to radicalism, plain old untruths, and rampant disinformation that entice cyber users to join cyberterrorists in their war. Recruiters exploit the medium of interactive Internet technology to wander in online chat rooms, searching for fellow brethren to sympathize with their cause and ideologies. Knowing the strengths of any terrorist groups, especially in their grand mission to instill fright to sundry citizens and cyber users. It could also cause economic mess for countries that turn against them. As seen by some analysts, since the Information Superhighway trespasses a country’s sovereignty, given that there is little regulation on the Internet; cyber attackers can mete out wide-scale reparations, malicious and damaging softwares that ultimately would create havoc without fear of prosecution.

Beyond all these perks for cyber attackers in the countenance of Internet’s viability to merge together comrades in brotherhood - be it ethnic, political and religious in nature; it has also created a new forum for worldwide information warfare and a novel force in transforming today’s geopolitics in a globalizing transborder universe. Without much ado, cyberterrorists will grab every opportunities and issues to foster their ideals in the net’s increasing bastion of freedom of expression that will resonate effectively with their own fellows and supporters.

The consequence of ‘virtual global community’ influx bridged by the supreme netscape paves a way for every cyber users to empathize with their own roots and cultures. For instance, the Internet would help coagulate the revival of Muslim identity and solidarity with Muslims in one country much able to see and commiserate with the struggles of their brethren in another country. With the Internet’s free flowing information, it would certainly indoctrinate a curious brethren who has access to a jihadi website. At the end, it would be graceful gain for a terrorist as he espouses the objectives of the group; especially if the group he wants to belong to suffers extreme profiling and marginalization against the ‘Others’. Indeed, this ‘virtual global community’ has an appeal to younger generations who may have entrée and exposure to seditious information through the Internet, cable or satellite TV where images and texts are potent sources for propaganda and wiles to spread out terror. This gives them various options to post and spread prisms of terrorism.

Precisely, in this age where ideology or ideas have a very powerful way of shaping a person’s cognition, facilitating the person to adopt pseudo-personality. The terrorist groups exert authoritative persuasion over their members. The sense of belonging and exclusivity diminishes the individual’s personal and moral judgment. This is the power that can make violence against the perceived enemy not just acceptable but necessary. As the new ambassadors of political and religious fundamentalism, they can stimulate or carry out attacks by summoning and undermining loose policies of the “Others” that don’t subscribe to their cause at the expense of their own beliefs and welfare. Their apparent angst are either posted in jihadi websites or disseminated through CD-ROMs.

The fluidity of cyberspace absorbed by the ‘virtual global community’ could succumb further tension and deepen international debate due to escalating schism and difference among conflicting groups. For instance in Southeast Asia alone, the mainstreaming of print, audio-visual, and especially the Internet have now emerged as the prime medium to circulate jihadi ideologies and as tools to recruit new sympathizers from Songkla in Thailand to Sulu in the Philippines and from Sabah in Malaysia to Sulawesi in Indonesia.

The fact that terrorists may employ IT as a valuable tool does not robotically mean that the entire information infrastructure will be the next target. Their initial approach is to comprehensively use and familiarize the technology as an essential stride before deciding to turn against such targets. In effect, once they fully learned and acquired the technology, they will exploit it as a weapon of mass destruction in its pursuit to ebb fear to anyone.

It wouldn’t be surprising, if by all means government official websites usually hosted by sometimes sloppy private industry Internet Service Providers (ISP) could increase espionage from cyberterrorists and cause massive electronic attacks due to lack of security mechanisms on computer systems. Besides violations can occur when an unauthorized user illegally accesses network computers that are forbidden to access. There’s a leeway that cyberterrorists could scythe critical and vital military, commercial or monetary institutions from remote locations to disrupt the free world’s defense and communications systems. Possibly, attackers could hack into computer systems for information gathering or data altering, sabotage, and installing malicious codes. These malicious codes may be distorted in the form of Trojans, worms, and viruses. There are also Deadly Distributed Denial of Service (DdoS) attacks which employ “zombie” machines that are controlled by a master server. It has the ability for taking down entire networks. Meanwhile, cyberterrorists could also apply information hiding by means of stegonography where one can simply take one piece of information and hides it with another picture or document. This well-planned strategy could cripple infrastructures and bug down key government sites and services. Cyberterrorists have the clout to destroy and disrupt critical infrastructures in split seconds. With just the hit of a keystroke, one can send a fatal blow by simply sitting in his armchair, from thousand of miles away. That could wreak greater threats to a wider gamut of annihilation from a mere nuisance to larger national security problem.

Therefore, in reality there exist scores of cyberterrorists that I would like to call them as cyber bugs because they keep on distracting the stream of Information Superhighway. There are also fears escalating among experts that countries may be progressively vulnerable to major attack by hackers and cyber bugs. They consider that both civil and military institutions, as well as key companies, are in danger of a cyber attack – possibly as a ground for terrorist attack on the country or simply as a challenge for expert young computer users. They need to be halted; albeit their mushrooming websites couldn’t be prohibited because with all due respect, they are accorded with all the rights and privileges to engage in the cyberspace; in whatever means there is. So, the initial course to silently crash these cyber bugs is to write laws on terrorism and give teeth to decrees that would cover cyberterrorism.

I exactly remember the case of a Filipino cyber geek who created the famed “I Love You” bug that rapidly troubled the fall of London stock market when it was accidentally launched and drove controversies worldwide. At that time, there was no available Philippine criminal cyber law to prosecute the accused. But that circumstance ignited the brilliant minds of our lawmakers to consider writing laws on cyber crimes.

The problem with jurisdictional and lack of laws in some countries may impede investigations. But once a government, and also a regional bloc, e.g. the ASEAN, enacts agreements in countering terrorism; the task of enforcing rules would legitimize the prosecution and extradition of criminals vis a vis terrorists in a current deterritorialized community. Cyberterrorism is now being fought at the international level and recently the UN formed Counter Terrorism Committee responsible for coordinating cyberterrorism-related response and information exchange. Meanwhile, our prosecutors and lawyers need not only learn cyberterrorism laws but they must also be trained conscientiously to ride with the use of fast-changing fads of technology and the many surprises of the Internet.

In a flat world as described by Thomas Friedman; in his metaphor to imply the “playing field is flat” in a competitive sense; blazes up the dissertation that local connects with global vis a vis global affects local will certainly influence the internationalization and mainstreaming of terrorism blended with political and religious zeal based from robust networking empowered by the revolution of the ICT.

In due time, there would be vacancies for professional cyber cops and cyber computer forensic experts to examine crimes of cyberterrorists. I would readily imagine that one day I would meet real cyber cops. To ease the tension and maybe in trying hard to be droll; what I figure in my mind's eye are policemen in full Robocop gears crashing terrorists with their high-caliber gadgets and cyber apparatus. But that would be farcical.

Comes the computer forensics, i.e., the acquisition, preservation, analysis and presentation of computer-related evidence. In other words, using an established and accepted process to identify, preserve and recover digital information critical to an investigator. Furthermore, computer forensics is also considered to be the use of computer technology to resolve an allegation or issue.

Law enforcers and investigators should be equipped with novel gadgets and forensic cyber equipment. Although, my idea does not only suggests that they should be supplied with sophisticated ala James Bond gizmos, e.g., are signing pens and Swiss knives with hidden USB that can store terabytes files or watches with hidden Internet cords. More importantly, forensic cyber experts should exude intelligence and must be methodological. They must posses patience for smaller details that distinguishes it from mere investigation because cyber bugs will always do their best to outpace them. After all, cyberterrorists deem they are smarter and technologically savvy.

In the phase of a trend-setting world encircled by issues of globalization and terrorism, countries and regional groupings must engage on tight cyber security agreements aimed at ensuring cooperation. Firstly, to undertake serious collection and analysis of cyberterrorism related information. Secondly, to minimize duplication of efforts since cyberterrorism is multi-jurisdictional and very few treatise or conventions address computer crimes across borders.

I believe that proper handling of terrorism related information through the use of various cyber investigative techniques is very significant to help eliminate or reduce such threats. Sustained training programs for law enforcers and investigators on cyberterrorism will be helpful in confronting such threats in our country and the world where the Information Superhighway transcends territorial boundaries.

By all means, all ordinary cyber users must be aware of this; not only as a precaution but a responsibility that we must carry on. To ease our fears when cyberterrorists launch a sudden and deadly cyber attack. After all, the essence of all this transgression and crimes by cyberterrorists is the use of violence encrusted with political hypocrisy aimed to ebb fear among millions of cyber users and civilians.

People vs Sendaydiego, et. al.

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full text of the case cited. Xie xie!

People vs Sendaydiego, et. al.
G.R. No. L-33254 and 33253
January 20, 1978


In these three cases of malversation through falsification, the prosecution's theory is that in 1969 Licerio P. Sendaydiego, the provincial treasurer of Pangasinan, in conspiracy with Juan Samson y Galvan, an employee of a lumber and hardware store in Dagupan City, and with Anastacio Quirimit, the provincial auditor, as an accomplice, used six (6) forged provincial vouchers in order to embezzle from the road and bridge fund the total sum of P57,048.23.

The provincial voucher in these cases has several parts. In the upper part with the legend "ARTICLE OR SERVICE" the nature of the obligation incurred is indicated. That part is supposed to be signed by two officials of the provincial engineer's office and by the governor's representative.

The middle part of the voucher contains five numbered printed paragraphs.

Paragraph 1 is a certificate to be signed by the creditor. It is stated therein that the creditor vouches that the expenses "were actually and necessarily incurred". In the instant cases paragraph 1 was not signed presumably because it is not relevant to the purchase of materials for public works projects. Paragraph 2 is a certification that the expenses are correct and have been lawfully incurred. It is signed by the provincial engineer. Paragraph 3 contains these words: "Approved for pre-audit and payment, appropriations and funds being available therefore." This is signed by the provincial treasurer. Paragraph 4 is a certification which, as filed up in Exhibit K, Voucher No. 10724 dated February 28, 1969, certifying that the voucher has been pre-audited and signed by the auditor. Paragraph 5 is a certification signed by the provincial treasurer that the account mentioned in the provincial engineer's certification "was paid in the amount and on the date shown below and is chargeable as shown in the summary hereof. " It may be noted that the provincial treasurer signs two part of the voucher.


Whether or not appellants are liable for the crimes of falsicification of public documents and six crimes of malversation?


Samson is convicted of six crimes of falsification of a public document and six crimes of malversation. In lieu of the penalties imposed by the trial court, he is sentenced to the following penalties: For each of the six falsification of the vouchers (Exh. K, O, P, Q, R and S), Samson is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of two (2) years of prison correccional minimum, as minimum, to four (4) years of prision correccional medium, as maximum, and to pay a fine of three thousand pesos. For the malversation of the sum of P16,727.52 covered by voucher No. 10724 (Exh. K), Samson is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years of prision mayor maximum, as minimum, to seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum; to pay a fine in the amount of P16,727.52, and to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case NO. 23349, L-33252). For the malversation of the sum of P14,571.81 covered by voucher No. 11995 (Exh. O), Samson is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years of prision mayor maximum, as minimum, to seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum; to pay a fine in the sum of P14,571.81, and to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23351, L-33254). For the malversation of the sum of P6,290.60 covered by voucher No. 11870 (Exh. Q), Samson is sentenced to an indertiminate penalty of nine (9) years of prision mayor medium, as minimum, to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal minimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P6,290.60, and to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253). For the malversation of the sum of P9,769.64 covered by voucher No. 11871 (Exh. R), Samson is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of nine (9) years of prision mayor medium, as minimum, to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal minimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P9,769.64, and to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253). For the malversation of the sum of P5,187.28, covered by voucher No. 11869 (Exh. P), Samson is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of five (5) years of prision correccional maximum, as minimum, to eight (8) of prision mayor minimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P5,187.28, and to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253).

For the malversation of the sum of P4,501.38 covered by voucher no. 11872 (Exh. S), Samson is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of five (5) years of prision correccional maximum, as minimum, to eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P4,501.38, and to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253). In the service of the twelve penalties meted to Samson, the threefold limit provided for in article 70 of the Revised Penal Code should be observed (People vs. Escares, 102 Phil. 677), meaning that the maximum penalty that he should serve is three times the indeterminate sentence of twelve (12) years to seventeen (17) years, the severest penalty imposed on him, or thirty-six (36) years to fifty-one (51) years (see People vs. Peñas, 68 Phil. 533). The maximum duration of his sentences should not exceed forty (40) years (Penultimate par. of art. 70; People vs. Alisub, 69 Phil. 362; People vs. Concepcion, 59 Phil. 518, 68 Phil. 530 and 69 Phil. 58).

The estate of the late Licerio P. Sendaydiego is ordered to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the sum of P57,048.23. Samson and the said estate are solitarily liable for the said indemnity (Art. 110, Revised Penal Code). Samson should pay one-half of the costs. SO ORDERED.

People vs Vacani, et. al.

People vs Vacani, et. al.
G.R. No. L-43250
August 22, 1935


Said three appellants, namely, Manuel V. Vacani, Pastor F. Buenaventura, and Eleuterio Suayan were prosecuted for and convicted by the Court of First Instance of Manila of the crime of robbery with serious physical injuries, and were sentenced by said court to an indeterminate penalty of from six years and one day to twelve years; to indemnify the complainant corporation "Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co., Inc." in the sum of P35,311.90, and each to pay the proportionate part of the costs of the suit.

It was alleged that the appellant Manuel Vacani, in order to dispossess Antonio J. Balunsat and Dionisio Ochoa, cashier and special policeman, respectively, of "Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co., Inc.", of the money which they carried for deposit in the bank, on October 22, 1934, conspired with his co-accused and, for a price, reward or promise, induced them to seize as they in fact seized from the hands of said Antonio J. Balunsat, after throwing in the latter's face and in that of Dionisio Ochoa who accompanied him, ammonium hydroxide to blind and disable them temporarily, the two portfolios which he carried, containing the sum of P35,311.90 consisting in bills, checks and money orders belonging to said corporation "Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co., Inc."

However, the evidence presented by the prosecution is mostly circumstantial in character. On October 22, 1934, when the alleged robbery took place on Ronquillo Street of the City of Manila, appellants Pastor Buenaventura and Eleuterio Suayan were seen in a Chinese store near the offices of Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co., Inc.


Whether the circumstantial evidence provided by the prosecution against defendants-appellants is valid for their appeal?


The expert witnesses for the prosecution testified that in order that ammonium hydroxide may produce injuries of the same nature as those inflicted on Balunsat and Ochoa, the concentration thereof must be more than 10 per cent; and the evidence shows that the solution of ammonia which appellant Manuel Valdes Vacani once had in his possession, even granting that the bottle as really found in his house — which he categorically denied — was very weak, being only 10 percent.

The alleged extrajudicial confession of the appellant Pastor Buenaventura proves nothing against him, much less against the other appellants because it also has all the indicia of not having been freely and voluntarily made by him.

However, in order that circumstantial evidence may serve as a basis for conviction, it is necessary, as this court has held on more than one occasion (U.S. vs. Villos, 6 Phil., 510; and U.S. vs Douglass, 2 Phil., 461), that the same be complete and that the knowledge produced thereby be such that it leaves no room for a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused, following the natural and ordinary course of things.

The three appellants are acquitted of the crime with which they were charged, with costs de oficio, and it is ordered that those who are in detention be immediately released unless they are detained for other cause. So ordered.

People vs Valencia, et. al

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full text of the case cited. Xie xie!

People vs Valencia, et. al
G.R.No. L- 39864
December 8, 1933


Appellants Marcelino Valencia and Socorro Quijano, together with Melchor Quijano, were prosecuted in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga. Upon arraignment, Marcelino Valencia pleaded guilty, while his two codefendants pleaded not guilty. After due trial, Melchor Quijano was acquitted. Marcelino Valencia was found guilty of a violation of article 166, of the Revised Penal Code, and sentenced to suffer ten years, eight months and one day of prision mayor, with the accessories of the law, to pay a fine of P100, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay one-third of the costs. Socorro Quijano was found guilty of a violation of article 168 of the Revised Penal Code, and sentenced to four years, two months and one day of prision correccional, with the accessories of the law, and to pay one-third of the costs.

On March 21, 1933, appellants stopped their car in front of a store belonging to Maria Morales and bought some cigarettes and corn beef, and gave the seller a ten-peso bill. After receiving the change in the sum of P9.55, they hurriedly left the store. This aroused the suspicion of the store owner who, upon examining the bill, found it to be a counterfeit. Whereupon her brother Pedro Morales went in pursuit of appellants. Meanwhile, appellants went to another store belonging to Eustaquia Suñga and bought cigars and some cans of salmon, giving, in payment, another ten-peso counterfeit bill. Upon receiving the change, they again hurriedly departed. They were, however, overtaken by Pedro Morales and, at his instance, were detained by the authorities.


Whether or not accused-appellants committed the crime under Art. 166 or 168?


The crime committed by Marcelino Valencia falls within the purview of article 166, case 2, of the Revised Penal Code. The penalty prescribed is prision mayor in its maximum degree and a fine not to exceed P5,000. There being present the mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty, without any aggravating circumstance to offset it, the penalty should be imposed in its minimum period. Under the provisions of Act No. 4103 of the Philippine Legislature, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he should be sentenced to a term of imprisonment the minimum of which shall not be less than the minimum of the penalty next lower in degree to that prescribed by the Revised Penal Code, and the maximum shall be that which may be properly imposed, in view of the attending circumstances. Consequently, the appellant Marcelino Valencia is hereby sentenced to suffer a term of imprisonment of from eight years and one day to ten years and eight months. The fine imposed by the lower court should be without any subsidiary imprisonment pursuant to article 39, rule 3, of the Revised Penal Code.

The crime committed by Socorro Quijano falls under article 168 of the Revised Penal Code, and the penalty prescribed is prision mayor in its medium degree, which should be applied in its medium period, in the absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance in the commission of the crime. Pursuant to the provisions of said Act No. 4103, she is hereby sentenced to suffer a term of imprisonment of from six years and one day to nine years and four months. She is also sentenced to pay a fine of P100, without any subsidiary imprisonment. (Article 168, in relation with article 166, case 2, and article 39, rule 3, of the Revised Penal Code.)

Modified as above indicated, the judgment is affirmed with costs against the appellants. So ordered.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Callao Caves

Copyright © 2010 by Chester B Cabalza

Everyday I think of a white mountain in the valley
Like painting in my mind
Massive formations of limestone
But since the dawn cleanses the mighty,
Great length of the Pinacanauan River ¬-
A candid imagination:
Of riding in a flat boat and rowing
Together with my uncle,
An Itawes fisherman

The zest of these natural wonders,
Wholly fill my troubles
Watching red-billed kalaw birds,
And winds go by, looking at rock cliffs,
Climbing eerie chamber as simple glories.
Praying in one of the chambers
Where a little sacred chapel is built.
The grandeur of stalactites
And stalagmites…

I wonder the scenery of Callao Caves
Possesses me the spirits
Of great Itawes ancestors
In the depth of my soul, while
Looking at the magnificent caves of Peñablanca,

The natural wonder illuminate by dashing sunlight,
Echoes of voices bang my ears,
The yells that disturbs the tranquility
With my fears,
Of losing the silence!
Of losing my temper!

The scorch of the sun in the afternoon,
Hinders not Anthropologists to come.
And watch a row of small huts,
Study a group of fisherfolks who turn
To be tourist guides.

Another strangers – a team of Archaeologists
To excavate the mysteries of the past,
They claim the caves as their site.
So rich! So rich!
The artifacts (pottery and stone flakes)
The remains of the beasts
(Elephas and stagedons)
From Pliocene to Pleistocene epoch

And when the sun closes to its culprit
All of them get tired –
Of looking this enormous wonder,
Of documenting the lives of the natives,
Of exploiting and exploring –
The people and the caves

This is when I grow tired
Of seeing different people,
By doing peculiar purposes.
From this moment…bats at dusk
Chase darkness
Leaving those foisted caverns
They are gone!
The strangers!

August 1999
From:cbcabalza collection of poems

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leveling off the Playing Field

Copyright © 2010 by Chester B. Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

The Philippines’ Emerging Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
Market and the Information Technology (IT) Parks


Having the rise of globalization on the economic sphere, the business process outsourcing (BPO) has been one of its salient features. The BPO around the world began as early as 1990s. According to Filipino economists like Magtibay-Ramos, et. al., they confirm that it was only in the early part of the new millennium that outsourcing opportunities gained ground in the Philippines. From Php2 billion in 2000, investment in the BPO industry, it rose to Php11 billion in 2001, then settled to about Php5-7 billion annually in the next four years. The Philippine BPO sector is projected to provide 7-11 percent of the new jobs for the labor force entrants between 2007 and 2010. Meanwhile, it is also estimated that its total workforce size will reach 500,000 to 600,000 in 2010, which is considerable for a single economic activity.

With the influx of outsourcing and offshoring business investments in the Philippines, IT parks have been mushrooming. It is said that technology hubs situated around the globe has various tags attached to it. Some call it Techno Parks, Cyber Parks, or less Science Parks. However, by description, IT Parks foster new business development and technological innovation by leveraging synergies within the cluster environment. Its legal definition, penned by Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), is that IT Parks are areas developed into a complex that is capable of providing infrastructures and support facilities that are needed by the different IT-based industries.

Legal Bases

• R.A. No. 8749 “amending the Special Economic Zone Act by directly allocating to the municipality or city 2% (out of the 5%) gross tax to be collected from the establishments operating in the ecozone and providing for disturbance compensation for persons to be displaced or evicted by publicly-owned ecozone”
• R.A. No. 8756 “incentivizing the establishment of regional headquarters to encourage investment and operation of multinational companies in the country and to generate more jobs”
• PEZA Resolution No. 99-264 ‘guidelines for the establishing and operation of Information Technology (IT) Parks”

Key Terms

Special Economic Zone

Sec. 4(a), R.A. No. 7916 refers Special Economic Zone (SEZ) as the ECOZONES, which are selected areas with highly developed or which have the potential to be developed into agro-industrial, Industrial tourist/recreational. Commercial, banking, investment and financial centers. An ECOZONE may contain any or all of the following: Industrial Estates (IEs), Export Processing Zones (EPZs), Free Trade Zones, and Tourist/Recreational Centers.

Free Trade Zone

Sec. 4(d), R.A. No. 7916 defines Free Trade Zone as an isolated policed area adjacent to a port of entry (as a seaport) and/or airport where imported goods may be unloaded for immediate transshipment or stored, repacked, sorted, mixed or otherwise manipulated without being subject to import duties. However, movement of these imported goods from the free-trade area to a non-free-trade area in the country shall be subject to import duties.

Enterprises within the zone are granted preferential tax treatment and immigration laws are more lenient.

Business Process Outsourcing

There are seven types of BPO services identified by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), these are the following: Contact Center, Back Office, Data Transcription, Animation, Software Development, Engineering Development, and Digital Content. According to DTI (2006), Locsin (2006), and The Computer Language Company Inc. (2006), Contact Center consists of in-bound and outbound voice operation services for the purposes of sales, customer service, technical support, and others.

IT Parks

The IT Parks may be located in any suitable place. But those that are located inside the National Capital Region (NCR) will be restricted to serving only service type projects and no manufacturing operations.

Incentives to the IT Parks in the Country

According to the research paper by Batolata, Min Jeong Lao, et. al., they argue that IT Parks are capable of creating international economic relationships with other countries through foreign investments and outsourcing processes. It provides infrastructure and services for business, particularly in the Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) sectors. It also enables knowledge-transfer not only in the aspect of IT and management but also in cultural diversity.

The Philippines is a newly industrialized emerging economy, however, it is still considered a ‘developing’ country. Hence, cyberzones here, previously under the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA), are solely dependent on service sectors, rather than manufacturing and actual technological developments, which has been the turf of mature IT powerhouses in the world.

IT Parks experience sweet successes in the Philippines primarily because investors in cyberparks enjoy substantial benefits offered by the government such as income tax holidays, tax incentives to for certain BPO buildings, granting of permanent resident status for foreign investors, and for those who holds ITH option could actually wave them to accept the immediate availment of 5% gross tax income tax incentive. In gist, the Philippines boosts its cost effectiveness or low labor.


• Whether the Philippines can sustain its momentum in BPO markets, thus, encouraging colleges and universities to impose English as a medium of instructions in schools.
• The Philippines should not only produce agents for the market but also position itself to manufacturing and production of IT-related softwares in which the country remains to be a laggard compared with India and other leading technological countries.
• The new playing field is hot and opens leverage for our country. We have a young and dynamic population, educated and technologically savvy for the knowledge economy. Hence, the current growth in BPO sector in the Philippines, that is largely driven by the contact or call center subsector has a large share in total BPO employment and revenue, thus is drawing positive economic climate in the country.
•India cannot be divorced from the topic when it comes to the BPO industry. The emerging economy of India is the role model in this kind of transborder industry. The surge in the BPO sector in India resulted to• the well-educated English-speaking students and a group of enterprising local citizens who capitalized on the global shortage of programmers and the high demand for business solutions occurring in the 1990s. Hence, Indian expatriate in the US, especially IT professionals in Silicon Valley, is providing a crucial role in the rapid development of the Indian BPO sector through their investment sectors, partnership with large US software firms which they later on convinced to set up operations in India.
• Apparently, BPO is highly concentrated in mostly urban cities around Makati, Libis Quezon City, Ortigas Center, Alabang, Baguio City, Subic and Clark, and Cebu City. Lately BPO investors realized expansion and plan to tap possible and prospective places from Tuguegarao City and Cabanatuan City in the north to Cagayan de Oro City and Davao City in the south to supply unbeatable talents for the growing worldwide demands.
• In terms of compensation among BPO industries in Asia, the Philippines pays in the middle with an entry level call center earning US$5,547 yearly only while an employee with higher expertise level such as team lead earns an average of $9,153 yearly only - offering the US a labor cost savings of over 80 percent. But salary levels in the Philippines is slightly higher than other Asian countries like India and China. On the other hand, Singapore as a high-end BPO destination, pays the highest in the region with an entry level four times higher than what call center agent working in the Philippines is receiving.
• Tax incentives are made available by the Philippine Board of Investments for certain building and special zones in Makati, Manila, Ortigas, and Fort Bonicacio. The government should help identify these tax incentives for certain buildings and even office units that reside in Special Economic Zones (PEZA) where businesses are allowed to avail special tax breaks in these various parts of the Philippines.
• For other benefits, cyberparks provide IT insfrastructure and manpower which is attractive (in terms of cost) to multinational companies. It generates employment and offer high level training to locals. It catalyzes the commercial and retails business in the surrounding areas. And it creates linkage opportunities in areas such as construction constracts, supplies, materials and food packaging supplies.
• The government allows 100 percent (100%) foreign ownership of firms in the Philippines, with regards to the IT industry, that makes the local investors underdogs, unless the company belongs to the “Big Four” , since it is not easy to penetrate or invest in IT Parks. Hence, it needs heavy investments, and building up of infrastructures and systems.
• More so, the true essence of IT Parks in the Philippines, serves as economic zones. The enterprises that are located inside these zones are required to 100% of its production, but PEZA approves only 30% of the production to be sold in the local market.
• Lastly, The BPO market and IT parks in the Philippines are generating dollar inflows through foreign investments and outsourcing made by the foreigners. This in favorable to the country's service sector industry and integral to economic security in the Philippine economy.


Bartolata, Christine Kim, Min Jeong Lao, et. al., Analysis of Information technology (IT) Parks in the Philippines (Specifically, Exposition of Philippine IT Parks and their Economic Effects on the Philippines , httt://

Cabalza, Chester, The Boon of the Business Process Outsourcing in the (BPO) in the Philippines,

Magtibay-Ramos Nedelyn, Estrada Gemma, Felipe Jesus. (March 2005), An Analysis of the Philippine Business Process Outsourcing Industry, ERD Working Paper, Series No. 93, Asian Development Bank: Mandaluyong City, Philippines.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Best Information Technology Parks in the Philippines

Copyright © 2010 by Chester B. Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

The Philippines is now a hot player and emerging powerhouse in terms of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) around the globe. The country is currently ranked as the "number one BPO destination in the world," and considered as the “texting” or SMS capital worldwide. It is also the "social networking" capital around the globe. One of the most preferred locators for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Before the facebook revolution in Arab and African countries, the Philippinies revolutionized "people power" by using the opportunities of technology using the SMS, blogs and internet during the EDSA II Revolution. The Philippines was cited by Global New Economy Index of the Meta Group in 2002 for its “excellent availability” of skilled IT workers with compliment for the Filipinos’ technical and business skills, such as in mainframes, minicomputers, and microcomputers, and for their technical and business skills in ICT projects. To many nationalities around the world, Pinoys are considered one of the best English speakers in Asia. And now “land lords” to all firms and foreign investments related to IT-businesses in the country.

It is said that technology hubs situated around the globe has various tags attached to it. Some call it Techno Parks, Cyber Parks, or less Science Parks. However, by description, IT Parks, which I fondly call Cyberparks, foster new business development and technological innovation by leveraging synergies within the cluster environment. Its legal definition, penned by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), is that IT Parks are areas developed into a complex that is capable of providing infrastructures and support facilities that are needed by the different IT-based industries.

According to the research paper by Batolata, Min Jeong Lao, et. al., they argue that IT Parks are capable of creating international economic relationships with other countries through foreign investments and outsourcing processes. It provides infrastructure and services for business, particularly in the ICT sectors. It also enables knowledge-transfer not only in the aspect of IT and management but also in cultural diversity.

The Philippines is a newly industrialized emerging economy, however, it’s still considered a ‘developing’ country. Hence, cyberzones here, previously under the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA), are solely dependent on service sectors, rather than manufacturing and actual technological developments, which has been the turf of mature IT powerhouses in the world.

Cyberparks experience sweet successes in the Philippines primarily because investors in technohubs enjoy substantial benefits offered by the government such as income tax holidays, tax incentives for certain BPO buildings, granting of permanent resident status for foreign investors, and for those who hold ITH option could actually wave them to accept the immediate availment of 5% gross tax income tax incentive. In gist, the Philippines boosts its cost effectiveness or low labor costs, with skilled English speakers who are akin to western cultures. These serve as best reasons why foreigners invest in our IT-related market, as articulated by some researchers.

However, exceptions on cyberparks where ICT are booming vast IT Parks would be PEZA buildings in urban cities such as Makati, Ortigas, Manila, and Fort Bonifacio. Here, tax incentives are made available by the Philippine Board of Investments for certain skyscrapers standing within prime Business Central Districts (BCDs).

Without much ado, below is the list of the Top Techno Parks in the Philippines, ranked by the author in the following order:

1. McKinley Hills Cyberpark (Taguig City) – this 14-hectare posh property and emerging ultra-modern technohub built by Megaworld Corporation inside the extensive 50-hectare mixed-use area of McKinley Hill firmly stands at the lucrative Global City in Fort Bonifacio. The newly-inaugurated ICT Park is fast-attracting top BPO offices and multinational companies (MNCs) because office edifices here are designed conscientiously to fit locators’ specific needs. In a Philstar article, it has reported that investors are pleased at the big floor spaces and convenient dorm residence provided for employees. Likewise, those from older business districts have transferred to McKinley Hill Cyberpark to include BPO firms such as Thomson Reuters, Accenture, CAISTA, et. al. Companies like Lawson and Erricson has also moved in to the new block, including consumer goods companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, Del Monte Fresh, and other multinationals, including Transcosmos, Ingram Micro, Factset, and more.

2. Eastwood City Cyberpark (Quezon City) – the pioneer IT Park in the Philippines is still not threatened by mushrooming cyberparks in the metropolis. It still enjoys a continued growth propelled by outsourcing and offshoring (O&O) sectors. In the study wrote by Batolata, Min Jeong Lao, et. al., they deem that Eastwood City Cyberpark has become a success because of several components: its strength on infrastructures, telecommunication, power, water and sewage system. In my observation, Eastwood has become a trendsetter in live-work-play community within a greater community. Its rhythm is alive and kicking, hosting MNC and BPO offices, while burgeoning skyscrapers flunk within its compound, offering world class entertainment, restaurants, shops, malls, world class cinemas, celebrated Walk of Fame for Philippine celebrities, and luxurious commercial and residential properties.

3. UP-Ayalaland TechnoHub (Quezon City) – the University of the Philippines’ answer to Stanford University’s Silicon Valley or Cambridge University’s MIT’s Route 28. It’s a fact that world-class universities should foster their own Science & technology (S&T) parks, that’s adjacent to their campuses, to provide a venue for industry-academe collaboration in Research and Development (R&D) and to encourage students as well as professors for significant technological innovations. This laboratory techno hub should be instrumental for the country’s national university to be at par with leading research universities around the world and pursue R&D and other technology-oriented programs to produce IT programmers and not the usual service-oriented call center agents.

4. Asiatown Information Technology Park (Cebu City) – the queen city of the south is now ready to take off and be part of the playing field in ICT revolution. This is paralleled to the fulfillment of the current administration’s cyber corridor projects in the Visayas. The ICT milestone in Cebu sits within a 24-hectare mixed use business park, envisioned to attract locators in the information technology services. Asiatown IT Park began in 2001 and opened its doors in 2002 where lucrative BPO offices and other conglomerates were established. According to the report of Palaubsanon, this hugely successful IT Park in Cebu was formerly the Lahug airport but was transformed into the flagship project of Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corporation as the first IT Park accredited by the PEZA in the Visayas and Mindanao. It hosts a total of 44 IT, IT-enabled and BPOs with direct employment of 13,500 employees and an estimated 5,000 workforce for its support services.

5. South Forbes Cyberpark (Santa Rosa City) – the rapid development in the suburbs is coupled with the creation of cyberparks to match with Santa Rosa City’s new status symbol. It’s now hailed as one of the richest cities in Southern Tagalog. The hubs of multinational manufacturing giants like Coca-Cola and Toyota. It’s the home and new Eden for the assembly of world-renowned automakers such as the Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Isuzu, taking the shoes of Thailand and Detroit, USA. Based from Philstar’s report, the flourishing exclusive village has its very own Cyberpark that will feature world-class BTS buildings suited for BPOs and contact centers that will enable residents and their adult children to build careers within the city confines.

6. Northgate Cyberzone (Muntinlupa City) – Alabang’s answer to the burgeoning BPO opportunities. In its website, this high-end property covers 18.7-hectares with Cyberzone area located within Filinvest Corporate City. It’s a PEZA registered IT zone which is designed, mastered-planned, and built around the needs of technology-based companies engaged in software design and multimedia, call centers, e-commerce, banking and financial services, as well as other IT support businesses. It provides office buildings and spaces for lease and built-to-suit (BTS) packages. Under the BTS arrangement, companies can custom-build according to their specifications and operational requirements in an expedient and cost-effective manner.

7. Robinsons Cybergate Center (Mandaluyong City)
– a mixed-use cyberhub which is placed at the heart of the sprawling metropolis in the tiger city of Mandaluyong and developed by Robinsons Land. It houses three cybergate towers and other new condominiums. The burgeoning complex is found in corner Pioneer Road, at the mid-artery of the longest road in EDSA. It’s now home to several BPO offices such as the well-known Accenture contact services.

8. Bigfoot Information Technology Park (Lapu-Lapu City) – Filipino animators are known worldwide, some of whom has collaborated with prominent animation studios in Hollywood. Hence, the Philippines is fast gaining recognition as a cost-efficient location for backroom operations and other I.T.-enabled services such as animation, transcription and software development. It’s indeed proper that an offshore studio is placed at the first class and highly-urbanized city of Lapu-Lapu in Mactan Island to host Bigfoot Entertainment, a parent company of Bigfoot Productions, Bigfoot Production Services, the International Academy of Film and Television (IAFT), and Bigfoot Partners that provides facilities, services and training to international filmmakers. This studio is important since the country today has a growing number of young and award-winning independent film-makers who achieve great accolades in international and prestigious film festivals around the world.

9. Subic Science Park (SMBA) – the Presidential Commission for the Central Luzon Growth Corridor (PCCLGC) deems that this special ecozone situated at the former US Naval base, now called the SBMA, is an excellent site for biotech and science parks since there are available skilled and easily trained workers in the area. Many Taiwanese and Korean investors are bullish enough of the opportunities available at the reserved 16 hectares of beautiful investment land. More so, current study shows that SBMA’s exports had averaged a billion dollars since 1997. Cognizant to the grand opening of its Science Park, PLDT has teamed up with SBMA, to put Subic at the frontlines of the country's ICT sector which includes new investments worth more than P40-million, consisting of fiber optics cable that connects Subic Bay to Manila and the entire Luzon grid, and the P20-million Innovation Laboratory (Innolab) of Subictel. Lastly, Subic Bay's ICT infrastructures will cater to BPO operations, retail and manufacturing businesses, and even the hotel industry, that will give add-on to the ballooning investments in this prime ecozone.

10. Ayala, Damosa, Robinsons IT Parks (Davao City) – the largest city and “crown jewel” in Mindanao opens its investment horizons to ICT opportunities, playing hardly its card as the third most significant urban center in the country. While maintaining its competitiveness, three top investors are developing its ICT Parks in Davao to build BPO offices and venture into the new challenges of techno-entrepreneurship. The Ayala Land and Anflocor made a venture to build Abreeza, a P5 billion three-storey ultra-modern designed mall, two BPO offices, a hotel, and residential and commercial buildings. While Damosa Land Incorporated, has 23 hectares of prime lots located along J.P. Laurel Avenue which would accommodate two IT buildings, data building, commercial and a utility building, inspired after Cagayan de Oro City built its first ICT Park in Mindanao. Lastly, Robinsons Davao’s cutting-edge ICT investments is leveling off the playing field by putting up a two level shopping mall and building IT or BPO facilities.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You're the Song

Copyright © 2010 by Chester B Cabalza

Upon seeing you at first
I know you have the best
Song to my heart, the zest
An inspiration to my quest

Yes, I stampede so subtle
As I hear the songbird settle
In a made of rock castle
A queen admires kings in battle

Tarry, do I have to reveal?
My heart needs to deal
So I have yet to seal
And hope in you with zeal

February 08 1997

Shine (Original Composition of Chester Cabalza)

Copyright © 2010 by Chester Cabalza

G Em C D
Shine waiting for the brand new day to start
G Em C D
And leaving the dusty road
G Em C D
Shine sharing the happy moment
G Em C D
Yet carrying the heavy cross
G Em C D G
Now is the time to let all things happen in its way

Am A D
Life is full of mystery
Am A D
Shining bright that’s you amidst the dark
Am A D
Take me out of the dark and

Monday, February 8, 2010

People vs Continente

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full text of the case cited. Xie xie!

People vs Continente
G.R. Nos. 100801-02
August 25, 2000


The Decision dated February 27, 1991 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 88, in Criminal Cases Nos. 89-4843 and 89-4844 finding herein appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of murder and frustrated murder, respectively for the killing of U.S. Col. James N. Rowe and for seriously wounding Joaquin Vinuya.

It appears that appellant Donato Continente and several others were initially charged with the crimes of murder and frustrated murder in two (2) separate Informations dated June 20, 1989 in connection with the shooting incident on April 21, 1989 at the corner of Tomas Morato Street and Timog Avenue in Quezon City which caused the death of U.S. Col. James N. Rowe while seriously wounding his driver, Joaquin Vinuya. After the arrest of another suspect, Juanito Itaas, on August 27, 1989 in Davao City, the prosecution, with prior leave of court, filed two (2) separate amended Informations for murder and frustrated murder to include Juanito T. Itaas, among the other accused.


Whether accused-appellants are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the two amended separate informations for murder and frustrated murder?


Yes. With respect to the extra-judicial confession executed by accused Itaas, the Court finds that such was made pursuant to the Constitution. Although it may be argued that accused resides in Davao, the fact that he could understand Tagalog as admitted by him in his testimony and proven by the proceedings in court where he was answering questions addressed to him in Tagalog militates against his inability to comprehend his right and its subsequent waiver. Counsel for accused contests the independence and competence of Atty. Filemon Corpuz on the ground that said lawyer was a military lawyer. Although the military background of Atty. Corpuz is admitted, this does not automatically disqualify him to act as lawyer for the accused. Proof of the fact that he failed to render his duty to safeguard the rights of the accused must be shown before this court nullifies the weight of Itaas' extra-judicial confession. The allegation of torture similarly rings hollow. No medical certificate had been shown by the accused that he had indeed suffered brutal treatment from his jailers specially since he had alleged to have been treated by a doctor for his injuries."

The following are the appealed Decision of the Regional Trial Court. In Criminal Case No. Q-89-4843, appellants Juanito Itaas and Donato Continente are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder, as principal and as accomplice, respectively. Appellant Itaas, as principal, is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of reclusion perpetua. Appellant Continente as accomplice, is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment for twelve (12) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum. Both appellants Itaas and Continente are ORDERED to pay jointly and severally the amount of P50,000.00 to the heirs of the victim, Col. James Rowe, by way of civil indemnity.In Criminal Case No. Q-89-4844, appellants Juanito Itaas and Donato Continente are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of attempted murder, as principal and as accomplice, respectively. Appellant Itaas, as principal, is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment for six (6) years of prision correccional, as minimum, to nine (9) years and six (6) months of prision mayor, as maximum. Appellant Continente, as accomplice, is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to two (2) years and four (4) months of prision correccional, as maximum.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2010

People vs Dasig

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full text of the case cited. Xie xie!

People vs Dasig
G.R. No. 100231
April 28, 1993


Appellants Rodrigo Dasig, Edwin Nuñez and 6 others were charged together of shooting Redempto Manatad, a police officer, as he died while performing duties. Upon arraignment, appellant and Edwin Nuñes entered a plea of "not guilty." However, after the prosecution had presented its first witness, accused Nuñes changed his plea of "not guilty" to "guilty." Hence, the lower court held in abeyance the promulgation of a judgment against said accused until the prosecution had finished presenting its evidence. While trial was still ongoing, Nuñez died on March 10, 1989, thereby extinguishing his criminal liability.

At about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, Pfc. Catamora noticed eight (8) persons, one of whom he identified as Edwin Nuñez, acting suspiciously. He noticed one of them giving instructions to two of the men to approach Pfc. Manatad. On August 16, 1987, two teams of police officers were tasked to conduct surveillance on a suspected safehouse of members of the sparrow unit located in Peace Valley, Cebu City. Upon reaching the place, the group saw Rodrigo Dasig and Edwin Nuñes trying to escape. The team of Capt. Antonio Gorre captured Nuñes and confiscated a .45 caliber revolver with 3 magazines and ammunitions, while the group of Sgt. Ronald Arnejo pursued Dasig, who threw a grenade at his pursuers, but was shot on his left upper arm and subsequently apprehended while a .38 caliber revolver with 17 live ammunitions were confiscated from him. Thereafter, Dasig was brought to the hospital for treatment, while Nuñes was turned over to the Metrodiscom for investigation. Dasig confessed that he and the group of Edwin Nuñes killed Pfc. Manatad. He likewise admitted that he and Nuñes were members of the sparrow unit and the their aliases were "Armand" and "Mabi," respectively.

The extra-judicial confession of appellant was signed by him on every page thereof with the first page containing a certification likewise signed by him. However, Dasig contends that the procedure by which his extra-judicial confession was taken was legally defective, and contrary to his Constitutional rights. He further contends that assuming he conspired in the killing of Pfc. Manatad, he should be convicted at most of simple rebellion and not murder with direct assault. Appellant also claims that the custodial interrogation was done while he was still very sick and consequently, he could not have fully appreciated the wisdom of admitting such a serious offense.


Whether or not the accused-appellant is liable for extra-judicial killing of the deceased and participated in the act of rebellion?


Yes. Accused Rogelio Dasig is found guilty of participating in an act of rebellion beyond reasonable doubt and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of eight (8) years of prision mayor, and to pay the heirs of Pfc. Redempto Manatad, P50,000.00 as civil indemnity.

As to the proper imposable penalty, the Indeterminate Sentence Law is not applicable to persons convicted of rebellion (Sec. 2, R.A. 4203), contrary to the insinuation of the Solicitor General. Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code imposes the penalty of prision mayor and a fine not exceeding P20,000.00 to any person who promotes, maintains, or heads a rebellion. However, in the case at bar, there is no evidence to prove that appellant Dasig headed the crime committed. As a matter of fact he was not specifically pinpointed by Pfc. Catamora as the person giving instructions to the group which attacked Pfc. Manatad.

Appellant merely participated in committing the act, or just executed the command of an unknown leader. Hence, he should be made to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of eight (8) years of prision mayor. For the resulting death, appellant is likewise ordered to pay the heirs of Pfc. Manatad FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2010

Espuelas vs People

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full text of the case cited. Xie xie!

Espuelas vs People
G.R. No. L-2990
December 17, 1951


On June 9 and June 24, 1947, both dates inclusive, in the town of Tagbilaran, Bohol, Oscar Espuelas y Mendoza had his picture taken, making it to appear as if he were hanging lifeless at the end of a piece of rope suspended form the limb of the tree, when in truth and in fact, he was merely standing on a barrel. After securing copies of his photograph, Espuelas sent copies of same to Free Press, the Evening News, the Bisayas, Lamdang of general circulation and other local periodicals in the Province of Bohol but also throughout the Philippines and abroad, for their publication with a suicide note or letter, wherein he made to appear that it was written by a fictitious suicide, Alberto Reveniera and addressed to the latter's supposed wife translation of which letter or note, stating his dismay and administration of President Roxas, pointing out the situation in Central Luzon and Leyte, and directing his wife his dear wife to write to President Truman and Churchill of US and tell them that in the Philippines the government is infested with many Hitlers and Mussolinis.


Whether the accused is liable of seditious libel under Art. 142 of the RPC against the Government of the Philippines?


Yes. The accused must therefore be found guilty as charged. And there being no question as to the legality of the penalty imposed on him, the decision will be affirmed with costs.

Analyzed for meaning and weighed in its consequences, the article written bybthe accused, cannot fail to impress thinking persons that it seeks to sow the seeds of sedition and strife. The infuriating language is not a sincere effort to persuade, what with the writer's simulated suicide and false claim to martyrdom and what with is failure to particularize. When the use irritating language centers not on persuading the readers but on creating disturbances, the rationable of free speech cannot apply and the speaker or writer is removed from the protection of the constitutional guaranty.

If it be argued that the article does not discredit the entire governmental structure but only President Roxas and his men, the reply is that article 142 punishes not only all libels against the Government but also "libels against any of the duly constituted authorities thereof." The "Roxas people" in the Government obviously refer of least to the President, his Cabinet and the majority of legislators to whom the adjectives dirty, Hitlers and Mussolinis were naturally directed. On this score alone the conviction could be upheld.

Regarding the publication, it suggests or incites rebellious conspiracies or riots and tends to stir up people against the constituted authorities, or to provoke violence from opposition who may seek to silence the writer. Which is the sum and substance of the offense under consideration.

The essence of seditious libel may be said to its immediate tendency to stir up general discontent to the pitch of illegal courses; that is to say to induce people to resort to illegal methods other than those provided by the Constitution, in order to repress the evils which press upon their minds.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2010

People vs Tahil and Tarson

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full text of the case cited. Xie xie!

People vs Tahil and Tarson
G.R. No. L-5803
November 29, 1954


The appellants, Datu Tahil and Datu Tarson, were convicted in the Court of First Instance of Sulu of the crime of rebellion, Datu Tahil being sentenced to ten years' imprisonment and to pay a fine of $10,000, and Datu Tarso to five years' imprisonment and to pay a fine of $5,000, with sudsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency in regard to Datu Tarson.

Having encountered certain difficulties in the collection of the land and the personal cedula taxes among the resident of Patikul, due to their refusal to make this payment, the provincial governor of Sulu, Carl Moore, turned the matter over to Lieutenant Angeles of the Constabulary for the purpose of employing such means as he might consider convenient to overcome these difficulties. Datu Tahil, then the third member of the provincial board of Sulu, being amongst those who refused to make this payment, Lieutenant Angeles tried and succeeded in having a conference with him, in which Datu Tahil suggested that he return the following day because he would call meeting of his people at his house in Liang in order to discuss the matter with them. Lieutenant Angeles went to Datu Tahil's house the day following this meeting and found about 70 persons present. After Lieutenant Angeles has explained to all the importance of the Government's collecting the land tax, Datu Tahil took several of those present into a room for a secret conference, after which he informed Lieutenant Angeles that he, personally, had no objection to paying the tax, but the others asked time to do so.

On January, 1927, the provincial fiscal filed a complaint against Datu Tahil and his followers charging them with sedition, and the proper warrant of arrest was issued on the 15th. Governor Moore, however, did not wish to proceed on this warrant of arrest and tried to persuade Datu Tahil and his followers to desist from their intention, using the influence of other prominent Moros to this end. Governor Moore even tried to have a conference with Datu Tahil for the same purpose, but was unsuccessful because he was informed that they intended to attack him. On January 30, the governor delivered the search warrant.


Whether or not the appellants committed sedition or rebellion?


The facts proven, however, constitute the crime of sedition, defined in section 5 of Act No. 292, and not of rebellion according to section 3 of the same law, the acts committed being limited to preventing the Government officials, throught force, from complying with their duties in connection with the judicial order, the enforcement of which was entrusted to them.

Thus, the crime committed is that of sedition, and the fine imposed upon Datu Tahil is therefore reduced to $5,000 and that imposed upon Datu Tarson to $2,500, the judgment appealed from being affirmed in all other respects, with the costs against the appellants. So ordered.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2010

People vs Umali

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full text of the case cited. Xie xie!

People vs Umali
G.R. No. L-5803
November 29, 1954


The complex crime of which appellants Narciso Umali, et. al were found guilty was said to have been committed during the raid staged in the town of Tiaong, Quezon, between 8:00 and 9:00 in the evening of November 14, 1951, by armed men. The raid took place resulting in the burning down and complete destruction of the house of Mayor Marcial Punzalan including its content valued at P24,023; the house of Valentin Robles valued at P10,000, and the house of one Mortega, the death of Patrolman Domingo Pisigan and civilians Vicente Soriano and Leocadio Untalan, and the wounding of Patrolman Pedro Lacorte and five civilians.

During and after the burning of the houses, some of the raiders engaged in looting, robbing one house and two Chinese stores; and that the raiders were finally dispersed and driven from the town by the Philippine Army soldiers stationed in the town led by Captain Alzate.


Whether or not the accused-appellants are liable of the charges against them of complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, frustrated murder, arson and robbery?


Yes. The appellants were guilty of sedition, multiple murder, arson, frustrated murder and physical injuries. For the crime of sedition each of the appellants is sentenced to 5 years of prision correctional and to pay a fine of P4,000; for each of the three murders, each of the appellants is sentenced to life imprisonment and to indemnify the heirs of each victim in the sum of P6,000; and for the arson, for which we impose the maximum penalty provided in Article 321, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code, for the reason that the raiders in setting fire to the buildings, particularly the house of Punzalan they knew that it was then occupied by one or more persons, because they even and actually saw an old lady, the mother of Punzalan, at the window, and in view of the aggravating circumstances of nighttime, each of the appellants is sentenced to reclusion perpetua and to pay the indemnities mentioned in the decision of the lower court. It shall be understood, however, the pursuant to the provisions of Article 70 of the Revised Penal Code the duration of all penalties shall not exceed 40 years. In view of the heavy penalties already imposed and their long duration, the court finds it unnecessary to fix and impose the prison sentences corresponding to frustrated murder and physical injuries; however, the sums awarded the victims (Lacorte, Ortega, Anselo, Rivano, Garcia and Lector), by the court below will stand. With these modifications, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2010

People vs Lovedioro

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People vs Lovedioro
G.R. No. 112235
November 29, 1995


Off-duty policeman SPO3 Jesus Lucilo was walking along Burgos St., away from the Daraga, Albay Public Market when a man suddenly walked beside him, pulled a .45 caliber gun from his waist, aimed the gun at the policeman's right ear and fired. The man who shot Lucilo had three other companions with him, one of whom shot the fallen policeman four times as he lay on the ground. After taking the latter's gun, the man and his companions boarded a tricycle and fled.

The incident was witnessed from a distance of about nine meters by Nestor Armenta, a 25 year old welder from Pilar, Sorsogon, who claimed that he knew both the victim and the man who fired the fatal shot. Armenta identified the man who fired at the deceased as Elias Lovedioro y Castro, his nephew (appellant's father was his first cousin) and alleged that he knew the victim from the fact that the latter was a resident of Bagumbayan.

Lucilo died on the same day of massive blood loss from multiple gunshot wounds on the face, the chest, and other parts of the body. On autopsy, the municipal health officer established the cause of death as hypovolemic shock.


Whether or not accused-appellant committed Rebellion under Art. 134 and 135 or Murder under Article 248 of the RPC?


The court finds the accused ELIAS LOVEDIORO guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal, acting in conspiracy with his co-accused who are still at large, of the crime of murder, defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua with all the accessories provided by law; to pay the heirs of the deceased SPO3 Jesus Lucilo through the widow, Mrs. Remeline Lucilo, the amount of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos representing the civil indemnity for death; to pay the said widow the sum of Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) Pesos representing reasonable moral damages; and to pay the said widow the sum of Eighteen Thousand Five Hundred Eighty-Eight (P18,588.00) Pesos, representing actual damages, without subsidiary imprisonment however, in case of insolvency on the part of the said accused.

In his appeal, appellant cites the testimony of the prosecution's principal witness, Nestor Armenta, as supporting his claim that he should have been charged with the crime of rebellion, not murder. In his Brief, he asseverates that Armenta, a police informer, identified him as a member of the New People's Army.

However, the appellant's claim regarding the political color attending the commission of the crime being a matter of defense, its viability depends on his sole and unsupported testimony. Finally, treachery was adequately proved in the court below. The attack delivered by appellant was sudden, and without warning of any kind. 41 The killing having been qualified by treachery, the crime committed is murder under Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code. In the absence of any mitigating and aggravating circumstances, the trial court was correct in imposing the penalty of reclusion perpetua together with all the accessories provided by law. The trial court's decision dated September 14, 1993, sentencing the accused of Murder is hereby AFFIRMED.

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People vs Mangllalan

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People vs Mangllalan
G.R. No. L-38538
April 15, 1988


On September 3, 1972 in Barrio Punti East, Sta. Ana, Cagayan, Ka Daniel who appears to be the leader of the New People's Army (NPA) in the area directed Andres Manglallan, Cesar Alvarez, Domingo Ramos, and Virgilio Ballesteros, members of the NPA to go to Barrio Punti and kill one Apolonio Ragual who was suspected by Ka Daniel to be a Philippine Constabulary (PC) informer. Said four went to the barrio of Ragual. Manglallan carrying a Browning shotgun, Ramos a Thompson, Alvarez a carbine, and Ballesteros a homemade gun called Bulldog. They arrived at Punti at 9:00 A.M. and they saw Ragual at the river bank giving his carabao a bath. Ramos went to him and after a while shot him with his gun. Manglallan also shot him with his Browning followed with another shot by Alvarez, as a result of which Ragual fell down and died. Manglallan then placed on the dead body of Ragual a writing and drawing made by their association warning the people and the PC of their activities. Thereafter, the group returned and reported to Ka Daniel that Ragual was already dead. Dr. Leonides Flores, the Municipal Health Officer of Sta. Ana, Cagayan conducted a post-mortem examination on the remains of Apolonio Ragual at about 4:00 P.M. of the same day, after which he issued an autopsy report showing multiple gunshot wounds suffered by the deceased and finding the cause of death to be severe hemorrhage, shock secondary to multiple gunshot wounds.


Whether the accused is liable for the crime of murder under Art. 248 and subversive act such as rebellion or insurrection under Arts. 134 and 135 of the RPC?


Yes. The Court finds the accused Andres Manglallan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder, defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, without any aggravating or mitigating circumstance offsetting each other, and sentences him to suffer reclusion perpetua to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of TWELVE THOUSAND PESOS (P12,000.00) without, however, serving subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; and to pay the costs.

The judgment appealed from is modified by convicting the accused-appellant of the crime of rebellion punishable under Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code and not of murder. Considering that the commission of the offense was attended by the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrendered, and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, appellant is hereby imposed an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of Two (2) Years and Four (4) Months of prision correccional as minimum to Six (6) Years and One (1) Day of prision mayor as maximum to pay a fine of P10,000.00 and to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Apolonio Ragual in the amount of P30,000.00. As the accused-appellant is a detention prisoner in the New Bilibid Prisons and he appears to have been under detention for a period beyond the period of the penalty herein-above imposed on him, he is hereby ordered Released immediately from detention unless he is being held for some other charges. This Decision is immediately executory.

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People vs Hernandez

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People vs Hernandez
G.R. No. L-6025
May 30, 1964


This is the appeal prosecuted by the defendants from the judgment rendered by the Court of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Agustin P. Montesa, presiding, in its Criminal Case No. 15841, People vs. Amado V. Hernandez, et al., and Criminal Case No. 15479, People vs. Bayani Espiritu, et al. In Criminal Case No. 15841 (G.R. No. L-6026) the charge is for Rebellion with Multiple Murder, Arsons and Robberies. The appellants are Amado V. Hernandez, Juan J. Cruz, Genaro de la Cruz, Amado Racanday, Fermin Rodillas and Julian Lumanog; Aquilino Bunsol, Adriano Samson and Andres Baisa, Jr. were among those sentenced in the judgment appealed from, but they have withdrawn their appeal. In Criminal Case No. 15479 (G.R. No. L-6026) the charge is for rebellion with murders, arsons and kidnappings. The accused are Bayani Espiritu Teopista Valerio and Andres Balsa, Jr.; they all appealed but Andres Balsa, Jr. withdrew his appeal.

A joint trial of both cases was held, after which the court rendered the decision subject of the present appeals.


Whether or not the defendants-appelants are liable for the crime of conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion or insurrection under Art. 136 of the RPC?


The court found defendants-appellants Hernandez, member of the Communist Party of the Philippines, President of the Congress of Labor Organizations (CLO), had close connections with the Secretariat of the Communist Party and held continuous communications with its leaders and its members, and others, guilty as principal of the crime charged against him and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua with the accessories provided by law, and to pay the proportionate amount of the costs.

In the testimonies shown in court, it further appears that Taruc and other CPP leaders used to send notes to appellant Hernandez, who in turn issued press releases for which he found space in the local papers. His acts in this respect belong to the category of propaganda, to which he appears to have limited his actions as a Communist.

However, in their appeal, defendants-appellants Amado V. Hernandez, Juan J. Cruz, Amado Racanday and Genaro de la Cruz are absolved from the charges contained in the information, with their proportionate share of the costs de oficio.
But other defendants-appellants, namely, Julian Lumanog and Fermin Rodillas, Bayani Espiritu and Teopista Valerio were found guilty of the crime of conspiracy to commit rebellion, as defined and punished in Article 136 of the Revised Penal Code, and each and everyone of them is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment for five years, four months and twenty-one days of prision correccional, and to pay a fine of P5,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay their proportional share of the costs.

Advocacy of Communism put into Action

The advocacy of Communism or Communistic theory and principle is not to be considered as a criminal act of conspiracy unless transformed or converted into an advocacy of action. In the very nature of things, mere advocacy of a theory or principle is insufficient unless the communist advocates action, immediate and positive, the actual agreement to start an uprising or rebellion or an agreement forged to use force and violence in an uprising of the working class to overthrow constituted authority and seize the reins of Government itself. Unless action is actually advocated or intended or contemplated, the Communist is a mere theorist, merely holding belief in the supremacy of the proletariat a Communist does not yet advocate the seizing of the reins of Government by it. As a theorist the Communist is not yet actually considered as engaging in the criminal field subject to punishment. Only when the Communist advocates action and actual uprising, war or otherwise, does he become guilty of conspiracy to commit rebellion.

Legal considerations on the Appeal of the defendant-appellants

All the other defendants were found guilty as accomplices in the crime of rebellion as charged in the information and were each sentenced to suffer the penalty of 10 years and one day of prision mayor, with the accessories provided by law, and to pay their proportionate share of the costs.

Legal Considerations — Before proceeding to consider the appeals of the other defendants, it is believed useful if not necessary to lay dawn the circumstances or facts that may be determinative of their criminal responsibility or the existence or nature thereof. To begin with, as We have exhaustively discussed in relation to the appeal of Hernandez, we do not believe that mere membership in the Communist Party or in the CLO renders the member liable, either of rebellion or of conspiracy to commit rebellion, because mere membership and nothing more merely implies advocacy of abstract theory or principle without any action being induced thereby; and that such advocacy becomes criminal only if it is coupled with action or advocacy of action, namely, actual rebellion or conspiracy to commit rebellion, or acts conducive thereto or evincing the same. On the other hand, membership in the HMB (Hukbalahap) implies participation in an actual uprising or rebellion to secure, as the Huks pretend, the liberation of the peasants and laboring class from thraldom. By membership in the HMB, one already advocates uprising and the use of force, and by such membership he agrees or conspires that force be used to secure the ends of the party. Such membership, therefore, even if there is nothing more, renders the member guilty of conspiracy to commit rebellion punishable by law.

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People vs Cruz

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People vs Cruz
G.R. No. L-11870
October 16, 1961


Appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal convicting appellants Paterno Cruz and Benito Cruz of "rebellion with robbery with homicide," and appellant Fermin Tolentino of "rebellion with arson, with murder and robbery." The penalty imposed upon appellants is being life imprisonment.

The appelants being then ranking officers and/or members of, or otherwise affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the "Hukbong Mapagpalaya Ng Bayan (HMB)" otherwise known as the Hukbalahap (HUK). Thus, they are armed force of said Communist Party, having come to an agreement and having decided to commit the crime of rebellion in different events and instances.


Whether or not the appellants committed the crime of rebellion?


Yes. As stated in the brief for the Government, appellants herein are guilty of simple rebellion, inasmuch as the information alleges, and the records show that the acts imputed to them were performed as a means to commit the crime of rebellion and in furtherance thereof, although as Huk Commanders, appellants Benito Cruz and Fermin Tolentino fall under the first paragraph of Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code, which prescribes the penalty of prision mayor and a fine not exceeding P20,000, whereas appellant Paterno Cruz comes under the second paragraph of said article, which prescribes the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period. Accordingly, the penalty meted out to appellants Benito Cruz and Fermin Tolentino should be reduced to ten (10) years of prision mayor, with the accessory penalties prescribed by law, and to pay each a fine of P10,000, and appellant Paterno Cruz should be sentenced to six (6) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor, with the accessory penalties prescribed by law.

The decision appealed from is hereby affirmed in all other respects, with the proportionate part of the costs against said appellants.

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La Bugal-B’Laan v. Ramos

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La Bugal-B’Laan v. Ramos
G.R. No. 127882.
December 1, 2004


The Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus before the Court challenges the constitutionality of (1) Republic Act 7942 (The Philippine Mining Act of 1995); (2) its Implementing Rules and Regulations (DENR Administrative Order [DAO] 96-40); and (3) the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) dated 30 March 1995, executed by the government with Western Mining Corporation (Philippines), Inc. (WMCP).

On 27 January 2004, the Court en banc promulgated its Decision, granting the Petition and declaring the unconstitutionality of certain provisions of RA 7942, DAO 96-40, as well as of the entire FTAA executed between the government and WMCP, mainly on the finding that FTAAs are service contracts prohibited by the 1987 Constitution. The Decision struck down the subject FTAA for being similar to service contracts,[9] which, though permitted under the 1973 Constitution, were subsequently denounced for being antithetical to the principle of sovereignty over our natural resources, because they allowed foreign control over the exploitation of our natural resources, to the prejudice of the Filipino nation.

The Decision quoted several legal scholars and authors who had criticized service contracts for, inter alia, vesting in the foreign contractor exclusive management and control of the enterprise, including operation of the field in the event petroleum was discovered; control of production, expansion and development; nearly unfettered control over the disposition and sale of the products discovered/extracted; effective ownership of the natural resource at the point of extraction; and beneficial ownership of our economic resources. According to the Decision, the 1987 Constitution (Section 2 of Article XII) effectively banned such service contracts. Subsequently, Victor O. Ramos (Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources [DENR]), Horacio Ramos (Director, Mines and Geosciences Bureau [MGB-DENR]), Ruben Torres (Executive Secretary), and the WMC (Philippines) Inc. filed separate Motions for Reconsideration.


Whether or not the Court has a role in the exercise of the power of control over the EDU of our natural resources?


The Chief Executive is the official constitutionally mandated to “enter into agreements with foreign owned corporations.” On the other hand, Congress may review the action of the President once it is notified of “every contract entered into in accordance with this [constitutional] provision within thirty days from its execution.” In contrast to this express mandate of the President and Congress in the exploration, development and utilization (EDU) of natural resources, Article XII of the Constitution is silent on the role of the judiciary. However, should the President and/or Congress gravely abuse their discretion in this regard, the courts may -- in a proper case -- exercise their residual duty under Article VIII. Clearly then, the judiciary should not inordinately interfere in the exercise of this presidential power of control over the EDU of our natural resources.

Under the doctrine of separation of powers and due respect for co-equal and coordinate branches of government, the Court must restrain itself from intruding into policy matters and must allow the President and Congress maximum discretion in using the resources of our country and in securing the assistance of foreign groups to eradicate the grinding poverty of our people and answer their cry for viable employment opportunities in the country. “The judiciary is loath to interfere with the due exercise by coequal branches of government of their official functions.” As aptly spelled out seven decades ago by Justice George Malcolm, “Just as the Supreme Court, as the guardian of constitutional rights, should not sanction usurpations by any other department of government, so should it as strictly confine its own sphere of influence to the powers expressly or by implication conferred on it by the Organic Act.” Let the development of the mining industry be the responsibility of the political branches of government. And let not the Court interfere inordinately and unnecessarily. The Constitution of the Philippines is the supreme law of the land. It is the repository of all the aspirations and hopes of all the people.

The Constitution should be read in broad, life-giving strokes. It should not be used to strangulate economic growth or to serve narrow, parochial interests. Rather, it should be construed to grant the President and Congress sufficient discretion and reasonable leeway to enable them to attract foreign investments and expertise, as well as to secure for our people and our posterity the blessings of prosperity and peace. The Court fully sympathize with the plight of La Bugal B’laan and other tribal groups, and commend their efforts to uplift their communities. However, the Court cannot justify the invalidation of an otherwise constitutional statute along with its implementing rules, or the nullification of an otherwise legal and binding FTAA contract. The Court believes that it is not unconstitutional to allow a wide degree of discretion to the Chief Executive, given the nature and complexity of such agreements, the humongous amounts of capital and financing required for large-scale mining operations, the complicated technology needed, and the intricacies of international trade, coupled with the State’s need to maintain flexibility in its dealings, in order to preserve and enhance our country’s competitiveness in world markets. On the basis of this control standard, the Court upholds the constitutionality of the Philippine Mining Law, its Implementing Rules and Regulations - insofar as they relate to financial and technical agreements - as well as the subject Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).