Saturday, February 28, 2015

Love yourself

My favorite myth is the story of how Hades (Pluto) took Persephone (Proserpine) to be his wife. Hades was the lord of the underworld and made the flower narcissus to lure Persephone, the Maiden of the Spring, away from her friends. She came upon the flower and was enchanted. Then Hades emerged from the ground and took her away in his chariot to the underworld. She stayed with him, while her mother Demeter, the Goddess of the Harvest, mourned her passing.

Demeter let the earth wither away and many people died. Eventually, Zeus, Persephone's father, persuaded Hades to let Persephone return to her mother. He let her go but he first gave her a pomegranate (granada) to eat. Persephone was reunited with her mother, but she must return to the underworld to her husband. This is the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth according to Greek mythology.

This will be a very graphic post from now. If you are younger than 13 or are easily offended by sex, please leave and go to another page. You have been warned.

When I was younger, I felt like Pluto. He was alone like me. But I never felt lonely. In fact, I prefer being alone. I always imagined that I was Pluto looking at Persephone, taking her away, and making her my wife. Like a man, I was on top. So I always slept on my stomach because I felt like a man on top of a woman. I would imagine kissing Persephone's body and putting my imaginary penis inside her.

Then I learned about masturbation. I learned to touch myself. I put my finger in my vagina. I massaged my clitoris. I pleasured myself until I felt hot and my body moved with waves of ecstacy. I learned to muffle my moans with blankets and pillows. I slowly felt like Persephone.

When I gave up masturbation for Lent, I had to look at another story for inspiration. I remember Jesus Christ on the cross and Mother Mary under him. Whenever I have the urge to pleasure myself, i pray the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary. I am reduced to tears at the great love that God has shown for me. I offer all my sacrifices to the Lord and to our Lady.

How can you be an ethical client?

Lawyers follow a code of professional responsibility. Judges and justices follow that code and have their own code of judicial conduct. Public officers also follow ethical guidelines. Even professionals must follow the rules in their own fields.

What about the people who hire lawyers? They must also act ethically. Before taking on a case, lawyers give their potential clients a contract telling what they should do and not do. If the client agrees on the conditions and the fee, he can now sign this contract, also known as a retainer agreement.

1. Be truthful and candid to your lawyer. You must tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If you are afraid that the lawyer will tell your secrets to other people, he or she is bound not to repeat anything you say to another without your consent. This is part of the lawyer-client confidentiality. Even evidence obtained in violation of this confidentiality can be objected and rendered inadmissible in court. So tell your counsel the truth so he can see the whole picture and give you the best advice or defense.

2. Follow what the lawyer tells you. The lawyer is in charge of all matters relating to procedure or remedies. You tell your lawyer what is your problem and what you want to happen. In turn, your lawyer will give you the legal remedies you can do. But it is still up to you to decide. Once you have decided, you must follow the lawyer's advice, especially in matters of procedure. But if your problem is lack of money, tell it to your lawyer. He might stop the delaying tactics and give you cost-effective advice, or he may tell you to get another lawyer. So either follow your lawyer or get another one.

3. Respect your lawyer, the court, and the other party. Give to others what is their due. Pay your lawyer what you have agreed. If you cannot pay, do not hire that lawyer. Get someone with a more reasonable fee or seek help from legal aid clinics or the Public Assistance Office. But if you can afford to pay, hire a lawyer because you would be depriving the opportunity from someone who is truly needy.

Give respect to the court and the other party. Even if you want to kill the other party, do not physically fight them or shout at them. Be cool. Pray or meditate. Remember what Jesus Christ did to the people who accused him: he looked at them and just calmly asked them questions. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

When do you need a lawyer?

Last week, I talked about how to win a case without a lawyer. This time, I'm going to write a short list about the situations when you need a lawyer.

1. You are being arraigned in a criminal case. Arraignment is the time when the criminal charge against you is read in court. You need a lawyer here because your right to counsel is provided in the Constitution. If you cannot afford a lawyer, the state will provide you with one, usually from the Public Assistance Office (PAO).

2. You are going to file or answer a civil case in court. Except for small claims cases, you need a lawyer to file in court a civil case, which seeks to protect or enforce a right or prevent or redress a wrong. Civil cases usually deal with family, property, obligations, and contracts. If you have the means to retain a counsel, acceptance fees for civil cases range from Php 40,000 to Php 100,000.

If you are indigent, you may seek legal assistance from PAO, alternative law organizations, law schools, and legal aid clinics. Of course, one of the best legal aid office is the University of the Philippines (UP) Office of Legal Aid (OLA). Local government units sometimes offer legal aid to residents.

3. You are required to have a document notarized. A notary public is a lawyer, so if you are seeking the notarization of a document, you are using the services of a lawyer. Documents that are notarized include affidavits of loss, deeds of sale, articles of incorporation, articles of partnership, applications to the government, extrajudicial settlement of estate, etc.

4. You are appealing a decision to a court. Sometimes you have made a claim to an executive agency, but you disagree with their decision. Depending on the issue and agency involved, you may appeal further to the head of the agency, the Office of the President, the Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court. If you are going to appeal to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, you would need to hire a lawyer to represent you in your appeal.

Here are some instances when it would benefit you to have a lawyer because they have the knowledge and expertise in handling these cases. However, hiring a lawyer is not required as long as you can read the relevant codes, follow the forms provided in government websites, and your issue is not complex. If you have the money, hire a lawyer in the following cases:

1. You are making a corporation. Sure, you can copy the provisions for the articles of incorporation in the Corporation Code and follow the relevant laws in your industry or field (if you know them). But do you know if there are updates in these laws? Maybe there were recent cases that could have changed these laws. It's the job of corporate lawyers to be updated and knowledgeable in these laws.

2. You have a pending tax case. Come on, you are paying taxes, so you must have some money. Get a lawyer to help protect your money, especially if you think the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is taking too much of your money. Hire the lawyer if his or her acceptance fee (Php 50,000) is less than the savings (Php 100,000) in tax that you will make.

3. Your properties or businesses are complicated. You might own several properties that you want to sell, donate, or dispose before you die. You may be the owner of several companies where the workers are striking, the managers are stealing your ideas, and the consumers are getting poisoned by your products. Hire some lawyers to sort through the civil cases, tax issues, labor disputes, and other administrative problems you may have.

Friday, February 27, 2015

How can we reduce criminal cases?

Decriminalize victimless crimes. Remove prostitution from the Revised Penal Code. Decriminalize drug use and drug possession from the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. Provide better rehabilitation for victims of human trafficking and users of dangerous drugs. But go after the pimps and pushers. Entrap those that sell dangerous drugs or whore out other people. Maybe in the future, all drugs and prostitutes will be licensed and taxed. Because getting high and having sex always sells.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How do I get money to get into business?

This will be a short post because it's near midnight. It's also because I failed the first time I took credit transactions. But I eventually passed so at least I know something.

1. Use your own money. Get money from your own savings and investments. Sell your own property and use the proceeds to finance your business. You might have to start a small business at first, but it will force you to be profitable from day one.

2. Loan from your family and friends. Ask money from your loved ones. While there probably won't be interest and lawsuits, you risk bad relationships if you don't pay.

For everyone's protection, write the terms and conditions of your loan: how much is the loan, for what, from whom, where, when, and how often to pay, if there is interest, if so, how much, etc.

Give and ask for receipts when you pay so you have evidence. Be sure to pay them as soon as possible. Even if you can't make ends meet, pay them regularly even if it's just a small amount. Just because they won't sue doesn't give you the license to abuse their kindness.

3. Ask money from banks. You're asking a loan from a bank, but they won't give it to you without security. Of course, you won't get something for nothing.

First, a bank may ask another person to back up your loan. This could either be a guarantor or surety. A guarantor will only be liable to the loan after you default. A surety will be liable to the loan as if he also made it. If you have a corporation, you might also be asked to be a surety or guarantor to your corporation's loans.

Second, the bank may also ask you to give some property as security for the loan. You will be asked if you have real property first that you can mortgage. A mortgage is a contract where your own property is used as security for a loan. They will annotate on the title that the property is mortgaged. If you pay the loan, the mortgage is extinguished.

If you default on the loan, the bank can foreclose the property. This means the bank sells the property to the highest bidder and uses the proceeds of the sale to pay the loan. Of course, you can probably reclaim the land within a certain period. But why did you have to mortgage your own property if you had money in the first place?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why do we have value added tax?

Our tax professor in bar review said that the value added tax (VAT) keeps us honest. People who pay the VAT only pay the value they have added to a good or service. A person who is VAT-registered can deduct his input costs so he only pays the tax on his added value.

There are three rates of VAT: 12 percent, zero percent, and VAT-exempt. Persons or businesses who sell goods or services generally pay 12 percent VAT on their added value.

Businesses who export goods are generally zero-rated. This means they do not pay VAT, but they can still deduct their input costs.

Persons or businesses who engage in selling goods that are essential or necessary can be part of the list of goods and services that are not subject to VAT. This means that if they are not registered, it's all right because they do not need to pay VAT. However, they are not able to deduct their input costs. If they register for VAT, they can deduct their input costs.

Let's give an example. A wholesaler buys from a farmer two cavans of rice at Php 500 per cavan, he pays Php 1,000 for the two cavans. The farmer does not need to pay VAT because this good is not subject to VAT. Of course, he can always register for VAT so that he can deduct his input costs.

The wholesaler sells the rice at Php 600 per cavan. So his value added for one cavan is only Php 100 so he must pay Php 12 as VAT. If he sells two cavans, his VAT is Php 24. Of course, he must be VAT-registered to get deductions.

A caterer buys the two cavans of rice from the wholesaler, cooks the rice over a week, and sells the cooked rice for a total of Php 1,500. So the value added is Php 300 and the VAT is Php 36. Again, he must be VAT-registered to get deductions.

A hungry consumer buys a cup of rice. He pays P 20 for a cup of rice and gets a receipt saying that his VAT is Php 2.40. While he seems to pay a big amount for VAT, in reality, almost everyone down the line must pay the VAT. Of course, those who are exempted do not need to pay.

So the lesson for everyone is to get your VAT receipt.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Organize your space and day

This weekend, I organized. On Saturday, I organized the left hallway drawers. Yesterday, I organized the right hallway drawers and the bottom drawer. Today, I organized papers and tools.

Yesterday, we heard mass at 3 pm and watched "That Thing Called Tadhana." It was a beautiful movie. Today, we had our car washed, deposited sent money to a friend in the bank, and heard mass at 12:15 pm.

What are my obligations?

An obligation (tungkulin) is a juridical necessity (pangangailangan) to give (magbigay), to do (gumawa), or not to do (hindi gumawa). Obligations arise from law (batas), contract (kasunduan), quasi-contract, delict (kasalanan), or quasi-delict. 

On the other hand, a contract is a meeting of the minds whereby one person binds himself to give something or to render some service. So an obligation is more general than a contract.

In essence, obligations arise only from law and contract because the obligations from quasi-contracts, delicts, or quasi-delicts are derived from law. Don't worry, I will explain what these words mean.

First, we have obligations provided by law. For example, we should follow the law in the country, city, or municipality where we reside. We are also obliged to support our spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings. The most useful obligations provided by law are those found in the Constitution, Local Government Code, Civil Code, Family Code, Labor Code, National Internal Revenue Code (tax), and Revised Penal Code (crime).

Second, contracts are agreements made by persons who have freely entered into them. People may freely stipulate the terms and conditions in their contracts as long as they do not contradict the law, public policy, public order, and good customs. The agreement of the parties becomes the law between them.

There are many kinds of contracts: sale, lease, employment, carriage, insurance, partnership, agency, loan, deposit, guaranty, pledge, mortgage, incorporation, license, etc. The Civil Code governs many contracts. Other laws on contracts include the Labor Code, Insurance Code, Corporation Code, Intellectual Property Code, etc.

Third, a quasi-contract is where a person does a unilateral, voluntary, and licit act. The Civil Code gives two main kinds of quasi-contract: negotiorum gestio and solutio indebiti. The first situation is when a person manages a property or business in an emergency without the prior consent of the owner. The second situation is when a person finds something that does not belong to him.

Fourth, delicts are acts or offenses punished by law. In other words, they are crimes. We often hear the saying, "Crime does not pay." That's true because when you commit a crime, you must pay. You pay fines, damages, and other penalties. If you're unlucky, you're imprisoned.

Fifth, quasi-delicts are acts or omissions that cause damage to another, whether by fault or negligence. So these are less than crimes. For example, if you drive a car recklessly and bump into another car, you have to pay for the damage you made.

Of course, these are just the sources of obligations. There are more rules on how to meet your obligations and how contracts are understood. But the  basic rule is to fulfill your obligations.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Are you an employee or an independent contractor?

Just because you are paid for your work does not mean that you are employed by the person paying you. On the other hand, just because a person has designated you as an independent contractor does not mean that you are not an employee and thus entitled to the protection of labor law. 

In labor law, there are four badges or elements of employment. First is the power to select and hire workers. Second is the power to pay wages and salaries. Third is the power to terminate and dismiss the worker. Fourth is the power to control the means and methods of production. The most important is the last element, controlling the means and methods.

How does an employer control the means and methods of production? Setting standards for the required results is not enough because both employees and independent contractors must abide by the agreed standards for results. For example, a writer who submits a 500-page article everyday may either be an employee or an independent contractor.

To comply with the last element, the employer must be able to have a great deal of control over how the employee works. For example, an engineer in a factory or a teacher in a school would be considered an employee if they must follow company standards in their work. They have dress codes, standard operating procedures, work plans, and supervising officers.

How about the talents in television networks? It would depend on the contract. Usually both employees and independent contractors are selected, paid, and terminated by the television networks. 

So the only test is the element of control. Do the networks control the work of the talents and not merely the result? If the talents are judged solely on their work output, then they are probably independent contractors.

But if the talents are subject to dress codes, work hours, supervising officers, and similar factors in addition to their work output, the talents are most likely employees. Especially if these talents are working for the networks for many years, they are most likely to be employees, but sad to say, not all of them are paid and recognized as such.

What are your rights as an employee who is deemed as independent contractor? You can seek the regularization of your employment. If you are not paid the minimum wage, you can seek the minimum wage or the proportionate wage to your position.

You should seek the benefits given to all employees under the law: social security, health insurance, service incentive leave, paternity or maternity leave, overtime pay, etc. You work hard so you deserve to get the fruits of your labor.

Mama Mary, help me

Last night, I masturbated. I did not have colds so I had no health reasons to do it. It was just Friday, two days after Ash Wednesday. I felt asleep fast. Now I feel sorry today.

Today I searched for "Catholic masturbate shy virgin" and came across this post by mortifiedgirl: "I think I'm using masturbation as a form of expressing my sexuality and avoid real relationships."

Yes, I believe we're in the same boat. I'm shy, female, and virgin too. I have sexual desire but no sexual attraction to anyone. Masturbation is a way for me to feel like I'm a normal human being.

So I avoided Fictionpress but went to Cracked. I also did not stand up from the bed when the urge to masturbate arose. I should pray the rosary when I feel the urge and ask Mama Mary to help me.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Set specific goals for reading

I just realized that I do better with my tasks when I have specific goals. So I will make goals for reading the Bible, studying the law, and writing in this blog.

New Testament
February 21, Saturday - Timothy, Titus, Philemon
February 22, Sunday - Hebrews
February 23, Monday - James, Peter
February 24, Tuesday - John, Jude, Revelations
February 25, Wednesday - Revelations

Prophetic Books
Jeremiah - 4 days
Ezekiel - 4 days
Daniel - 1 day
Hosea - 1 day
Lamentations, Joel, Amos - 1 day
Obadiah, Jonas, Micah, Nahum - 1 day
Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Malachi - 1 day

Old Testament
Ezra - 1 day
Nehemiah - 1 day
Tobit - 1 day
Judith - 1 day
Esther - 1 day
Job - 3 days
Proverbs - 2 days
Ecclesiastes - 1 day
Song of Songs - 1 day
Wisdom - 1 day
Sirach - 4 days
Baruch - 1 day
Maccabees - 2 days

- Read 10 laws starting from the most current from Monday to Saturday.
- Write about the bar subjects everyday from Monday to Saturday.
- Make list of relevant cases to study, and read one case per day.

Review Lent and the Lunar New Year

This will be a long post to review February 15 to 20 because I will be including my time logs for February 15 to 18. I told myself to keep track of time for a week, but I did not do it yesterday and today.

February 15
7:00 alarm
7:30 exercise
8:30 newspaper
9:30 breakfast
10:00 ipad
11:45 lunch
12:30 dishes
1:15 bath
2:30 ipad
3:00 mass
6:00 walk

February 16
5:00 wake
5:20 bath
5:50 breakfast
6:30 jeep
7:00 bus
7:30 train, jeep
8:45 review
11:00 wait
11:30 lunch
12:00 walk
1:00 train
1:30 walk
2:00 HMO
3:30 train
4:00 bus
4:30 jeep
5:00 ipad
6:30 pray
7:00 dinner
8:00 ipad
9:00 bath
9:30 ipad

February 17
5:00 wake
5:30 prepare
6:00 breakfast
6:30 wait
7:00 car
7:15 bus
7:30 mrt
8:15 lrt
8:30 jeep
9:00 exam
12:00 lunch
1:00 exam
2:00 walk
2:30 lrt
3:30 mrt
4:00 bus
4:30 grocery
5:00 jeep
5:30 snack
6:00 ipad
6:30 pray
7:00 dinner
7:30 ipad
9:00 exercise
9:30 Fred
10:30 write
12:30 read
1:00 sleep

February 18
6:00 wake
6:30 exercise
7:30 Bible
8:30 ipad
8:45 breakfast
9:30 fabric
10:00 law
11:30 shower
12:00 lunch
12:45 Fred
1:30 nap
2:15 prepare
2:30 church
3:00 mass
4:00 ipad
5:30 mass
7:30 go home
8:00 dinner
8:30 ipad
12:00 wash
12:30 track time

Here's a recap of my days:
February 15, Sunday - exercise, hear mass, and write blog post.

February 16, Monday - apply for job, eat at Slice and Dice, buy books, eat at Karate Kid, get free checkup coupon, and write on criminal law. Bookstores visited are Fully Booked Katipunan and Bonifacio High Street, National Book Store Katipunan and Cubao, Rex Book Store, PCBS, and Powerbooks

February 17, Tuesday - take exam, eat at Slice and Dice again, buy book, drink buko juice, buy tikoy, exercise, and write on legal ethics. Bookstores visited are Fully Booked Katipunan, National Book Store Katipunan, Cubao, and Market Market, Book Sale, and Powerbooks.

February 18, Ash Wednesday - exercise, read Bible, fast, abstain, listen to Beatles and Carpenter songs, fold fabric, hear mass, get ash on our forehead, and write blog post.

February 19, Thursday, Lunar New Year - exercise, read Bible, eat tikoy, and organize books and clothes.

February 20, Friday - go to Ford for tune-up, read Bible, make Excel file for mother, watch movies, get gas, print file, exercise, read Bible, write on political law, and make blog post.

Mamasapano, here we go again

I started talking about the Mamasapano massacre/misencounter two weeks ago, but I did not write my solutions completely. Here are the three steps I gave that time to give justice to the fallen police officers and citizens:

1. Find the truth.
2. Correct the wrongs.
3. Work towards peace.

First, find the truth. The boards of inquiry at the Senate and the House of Representatives have done much to inform the public and show the biases of our leaders. Maybe we should focus on asking questions instead of lecturing people, though they may deserve it.

However, we still need to know who are responsible for creating and authorizing the mission and hold them accountable.  We need to find and arrest the people who killed the police officers and other Filipino citizens at Mamasapano. We also have to know how the United States is involved and stop their interference in our affairs.

Second, correct the wrongs. We can never return to life the fallen 44 Special Action Force (SAF) police officers, but we can help their families and friends. The president has awarded posthumously Medals of Valor to the fallen 44, and the mayor of Makati City has given Php 100,000 and scholarships for each family.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has returned some of the firearms used by the SAF, but many still remain at large and some parts were changed. We still need to find these firearms and arrest the killers. 

Third, work towards peace. The government and the MILF have lost trust in each other. It would be wise to suspend the peace process until both parties can fully trust one another.  Then, we can move towards peace again.

We may also need to amend the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to include more terms and conditions about peace and security. How would arrests be made? How can we catch terrorists in the area? Who can carry firearms? What laws will apply in encounters? And so on and so forth.

In line with peace and security is the development of Muslim Mindanao. We saw that the land in Mamasapano is rich and fertile, but its bridges are meager and its institutions are weak. We have to build bridges, roads, schools, clinics, and centers in Mamasapano and other municipalities in Muslim Mindanao. We ought to give them better opportunities. Peace and development go hand in hand.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Be ethical

To be ethical means to do what is morally right. Do what is truthful and fair. Respect the law, the authorities, the clients, and other people.

1. Give people their due. If you owe people money, pay them back. If you work for an employer, work hard and give them their money's worth. If you have clients, give them the best service possible. Give justice to people and you give them what is their due.

2. Tell the truth. Say the facts and give your opinion honestly and candidly. If you cannot tell the truth, simpy say, "I cannot tell you." If people ask you something that you are uncomfortable discussing, ask them why they're asking. They might just be curious, and if so, you don't have to give them details.

3. Be loyal. Do not speak ill of others if you can help it. Yes, you should tell the truth, but try to stick to the facts. If you are asked an opinion, give your honest opinion. Speak well of good people.

4. Do no harm. This means we do not do evil and illegal acts, and we do not tolerate people who d. If we know something bad, we stop it and speak up against it. We can and should protest injustice, but we must first investigate the facts and think of the consequences before we speak our mind.

Review the ordinary time

Ash Wednesday starts today. I hope to fast and abstain, give alms, read the Bible, live chastely, and follow Jesus more dearly.

Here are my resolutions for January:
1. Wake up early.
2. Exercise.
3. Use social media.
4. Organize.

Here are my resolutions for February:

1. Read the Bible. Aim for ten chapters every day. Start with the New Testament, and continue with the Prophets and Deuterocanonicals.

2. Read the law and write about it. Everyday, aim to read five new laws and a new essential case. Review an essential case and review the codes. Continue writing per bar subject. Write case digests.

3. Draw. Everyday, sketch with colored pencil for ten minutes. Paint with acrylic or watercolor for fifteen to twenty minutes.

4. Play. Try to master the national anthem, a school hymn, or a folk song every week.

5. Teach. Apply as a tutor or teacher. Endure the exams.

Here are my resolutions for Lent:

1. Be chaste. Avoid masturbation even if your colds get better. Get up from the bed when you feel the urge to masturbate. Avoid Fictionpress.

2. Be more generous. Give more at mass. Bring food to give to people on the street. Smile and say hello to people. Do not be afraid.

3. Pray more often. I already pray for what I need often. Maybe I should pray more for other people. Name the persons in my prayers.

4. Be kinder to other people. Do not judge. Simply say the facts, but do not condemn other people. Seek to understand them first.

6. Sacrifice the little things. Stop scratching. Try to contain your urge to scratch. If you can sacrifice, do the sacrifice. Stop yourself, sit up straight, smile.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How can I win a case without a lawyer?

It might sound too good to be true, but yes, you can win a case without a lawyer. 

1. File a small claims case. If you have a claim of up to Php 100,000 against another person, you can file a small claims case without a lawyer. Just fill out a form at the Municipal Trial Court and include all documents, affidavits, and other evidence. The claim is up to Php 100,000. If the actual claim is higher, you have to waive the rest.

2. Undergo katarungang pambarangay. If you have a dispute against other people who live in the same barangay as you do, you may be eligible to undergo katarungang pambarangay. Just file a complaint in your barangay hall. The barangay officials will summon you and the other party to solve the problem. There is conciliation and mediation. Lawyers are not allowed, unless they are the parties themselves or parents to the disputing parties.

3. Make an extrajudicial agreement. If all the parties agree to a certain decision, you do not need a lawyer to draft an agreement if the issue involved is not too complicated. For example, the heirs may decide among themselves how to settle the estate of a deceased person. This extrajudicial settlement of an estate can apply only if there are no debts, the heirs are all of legal age or all minors are legally represented, and they all agree on such settlement.

Monday, February 16, 2015

How to get away with murder

I used to watch "How to Get Away with Murder" in Alabama, but I don't watch it any more here in the Philippines. The professor said that the defense should do three things to get away with murder:

1. Destroy the evidence.
2. Discredit the witnesses.
3. Create a new suspect.

In the Philippines, it also includes how to get away with plunder. The same three things apply, but we add another element:

4. Shift the news.

Filipinos tend to have short memories. We forgive and forget. I understand that we should forgive, but I don't think we should forget. In the Bible, even God does not forget. Instead, he will not hold the sin against us. I think not holding the sin against another person is different from forgetting.

So to get away with any crime, we simply make people forget. If we want nobody to get away with crime or to live with impunity, the solution is equally simple: We never forget. We always remember. We tell our children, grandchildren, and descendants. We make it part of our history.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Keep track of love

Monday 9: Exercise, watch Senate hearings and Grammy Awards, and write on political law.

Tuesday 10: Fail to exercise, drive mother to Market, and drive food to brother.

Wednesday 11: Exercise, give resumes, visit tutorial center, hear mass, and write on labor law.

Thursday 12: Exercise, give resume, update passbooks, go to Pasig, visit cemetery, eat at Jollibee, and write on civil law.

Friday 13: Exercise, buy gas, interview at tutorial center, buy cake, order pizza, lose blood, and write on taxation law.

Saturday 14: Read iPad, welcome soldiers, lose blood, and write on mercantile law.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

How can I make a business in the Philippines?

I'm reluctant to write about commercial law because my grades in this subject are just passing (2.75 to 3.0) except for intellectual property law (2.25) and commercial law review (2.0). The commercial law subject that I am most confident about is intellectual property law. So if I cannot get work at the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) or in the many law firms in Taguig and Makati, I am going to apply at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which is in Mckinley Hill near my home.

No matter how low my grades are, I still passed commercial law and probably know more about it than the regular layperson. So based on my little knowledge of commercial law, here's my advice on how to make money in business in the Philippines:

1. Know what people need and what you can offer. Every business starts because a person offers to sell goods or services for another person who needs it. Identify the needs and problems of people and figure out how you can solve them.

If people are willing to pay you, then you have a business idea. For example, if you like making websites and know people who need websites and are willing to pay for it, you have a possible business. Do your homework and conduct market research, but be willing to take risks and start your business soon.

2. Know how your business should be organized. A business can be organized under a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. Most small and medium-sized enterprises are sole proprietorships and partnerships. Think of your neighborhood sari-sari store.

Some businesses must be organized as a corporation. This includes banks, insurance companies, mining companies, private schools,  etc. Take note that some industries have minimum capital requirements and minimum Filipino representation.

3. Choose and hire only people that you trust. No matter how great your contracts are and how many penalties you have against fraud, give yourself peace of mind and work only with people you trust. If you trust them, you can trust their judgment and the people they will hire. If you do not trust them and you have sufficient justification, you can let them go from the business.

4. Keep your business capital separate. If you have a sole proprietorship or partnership, create a separate bank account and credit card for the business. If you form a corporation, it is required by law to maintain books of its shares of stock and accounts of its finances.

5. Make profits and keep cash flowing. Ideally, your business should be profitable from day one. If your overall revenue is less than the total cost, find ways to increase revenue (marketing and sales) and reduce costs.

But don't worry too much because it usually takes five years to break even in a business. Focus on adding value for your clients and being flexible in managing the business.

6. Embrace change. If your initial business plan did not work out well, find out why and how you can improve your business. Be willing to learn about your business and to change little things to make your enterprise profitable.

For example, you have a small store, but you're losing money to buyers who cannot pay. Maybe it's time to sell to other businesses online or to other buyers who can pay cash. 

6. Protect your business. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and good businesses. But when these things occur, you should be prepared for them.

Understand the law and the protection that it could give your business. Create a corporation if your business is required or even ready for it. Read the contracts in your credit transactions. Write checks and promissory notes only when you're sure that you can pay them. Ask help from banks and financial institutions.

Insure your business and property. Transport your goods and passengers safely. Protect your business with trademarks, your inventions with patents, and your works by copyright. Know your rights and obligations as a business owner, and be prepared to stand by them.

7. Pay the right wages and taxes. While you want to keep costs down, you must still pay your employees the wages they deserve under the law. Know the minimum wage in your region and the benefits required by law. If you are contracting out labor, make sure that the subcontractor is complying with labor laws.

Pay the state the taxes that are due. Register for the proper taxes (corporate tax, value added tax, excise tax, etc.) If you have a corporation, make sure to pay income tax every quarter. Research or hire someone to figure out how to reduce your taxes legally. For example, you might want to export your goods or to include education to minimize taxes. Remember that income tax is different from the value added tax (VAT), local business tax, excise taxes, etc.

8. Seek advice and retain a lawyer. When your business grows, your problems will become more complex and this simple guide will no longer suffice. If this happens and you cannot make a sound decision by yourself, seek advice from mentors and lawyers. Focus on what you do best: growing your business.

Friday, February 13, 2015

How can I save on my taxes?

Today is February 13 and tomorrow is Valentine's day. But two months from now would be April 15, also known as the deadline for paying income tax for individuals.

1. Earn income that is tax-free or taxed less. Pensions and lotto winnings are generally tax-free. Passive income usually comes from interest, dividends, royalties, etc. and is generally taxed at a lower rate than compensation income. Shift your money to income opportunities that is taxed less and get more returns for the same amount of work.

2. List all your business expenses because these may become tax deductions. It's good business sense to keep your business and personal finances separate and to list all your expenses. If you are a sole proprietor, you can deduct expenses for your business, even if you derived some kind of personal use from it, as long as the primary purpose is for the business. 

3. Schedule when you will receive your income. If you earn by commission or per transaction and a certain transaction will increase your taxable income into a higher tax rate, you might want to schedule the transaction or the receipt of the income for the next year if you can. If this is not possible, just save this income instead.

4. Settle estates and pay estate tax within a reasonable time. If a parent, child, or spouse dies, the children, parents, and spouse become compulsory heirs and settle the estate of the deceased. The estate of the deceased has its own Tax Identification Number (TIN) and provides for many exceptions. Settle the estate promptly to reduce interest and surcharge.

5. Sell property to another person instead of giving it away. One tax avoidance strategy is to sell property instead of giving it away by will or donating it to a person. But the price of the property must reasonable. If the price is too low, the tax man will know that the sale is actually a donation and impose donor's tax.

6. Donate to the government or for education. If you want to donate and get tax credits, give your property to the government or for education and other charitable purposes. You may stipulate as much as you want in the donation. If you have a large company which makes a lot of money, consider creating a non-profit foundation so that the money you give away to the needy will help you get tax credits.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What can you do if your spouse has an affair?

1. Stay married and live together.

2. Stay married and live separately.

3. File a criminal case against your spouse. This could be adultery, concubinage, violence against women and their children (VAWC), etc.

4. File a civil case against your spouse. This could be legal separation, annulment, petition for declaration of nullity, damages, etc.

5. File an administrative case against your spouse. This would apply if your spouse is a government official or a professional under the supervision of the Supreme Court or the Philippine Regulatory Commission.

What should I do as a job applicant?

1. Know what you want to do. Ask yourself, "What am I good at?" "What do I enjoy doing?" "What can I do and get paid for it?" Work that meets all three questions is something that you should find. If you can't find something that meets all three, find work that you are good at and pays the bills while you do the things that you enjoy in your free time.

2. Know what you have to offer. Document your education, experience, and skills related to the line of work that you want. Get your transcript of records from your school and letters of recommendation from your previous supervisors or employers. Get your skills certified at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

3. Know what you are worth. Find the minimum wage in your area at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Research the salaries of similar positions in your industry and field. Websites like PayScale, GlassDoor, and Monster can help. Call friends in the same position, and ask about their salaries if they are comfortable talking about it.

4. Know where you want to work. Ask yourself if you want to work in a big company or a small organization, for profit or not for profit, for the government or in the private sector. Research the conpany culture by looking at its website, visiting the office, and talking the friends who work there. Read the news about your field and industry. Find jobs near your home to shorten your commute.

5. Apply for the job. If an organization has a job opening, tailor your cover letter and resume to fit the requirements for the position. Regardless if there's an actual opening, talk to people there and give a resume. There may be a vacancy soon, so apply for the job.

6. Interview and be hired. Prepare answers to common interview questions. Focus on your skills for the job, your fit in the organization, and your attitude towards work. Tell stories about how you solved  problems and relate it to the job you want. Ask questions about the work, and show that you are interested in doing the job.

7. Negotiate your salary. When you have a job offer in a private company, ask for the biggest salary that is proportionate to your education, experience, and skills. Always ask for more because if you don't ask, you won't get more. If they can't increase your salary, maybe they can improve your perks and benefits. Have all these terms and conditions written down in a contract, and read it before you sign.

8. Be grateful. Thank everyone who interviewed you and helped you in your job search. Help others who are searching for jobs, especially in these difficult times. You are blessed to have work. Now be a blessing to others.

Monday, February 09, 2015

How do you solve a problem like Mamasapano?

I set a goal to write an article about law everyday from Monday to Saturday. My topics will be the eight bar subjects. My goal is to write at least 100 words per article and ramp it up to 300 to 500 words per article.

The first article is on political law, namely about the Mamasapano killings. I am writing with no internet and just from my memory so that I can post this by midnight.

How do you solve a problem like Mamasapano?

The Filipino people experienced a crisis when 44 Special Action Force (SAF) police officers were killed at Mamasapano, Maguindanao. The police went there to serve warrants of arrest against international terrorists Marwan and Usman.

Instead of arresting these terrorists, the police were caught in a firefight with members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Federation Front (BIFF), a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). No immediate help came from higher command of the Philippine National Police (PNP) or from the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP). Both sides fell back with 44 police officers slain and many injured.

At first, there was great anger and uproar over the fact that the President was not present at the arrival honors for the fallen 44 SAF police officers. He eventually visited the dead and their families. The President also gave two televised speeches over the encounter and finally claimed responsibility for the police 

The MILF is undergoing a peace process with the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). There is a ceasefire in the area. The Congress is also deliberating the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which would give greater autonomy and freedom to the Muslim people in Mindanao.

My solutions are basic. First, find the truth. Second, correct the wrongs. Third, work towards peace.

I will continue this article tomorrow with the solutions.

Life gets better

This post is in response to the alleged suicide of Luis Madamba, an 18-year-old high school senior in the British School Manila in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. News articles report that his teacher allegedly humiliated him in front of the whole class for allegedly plagiarizing the first draft of his paper. He allegedly jumped from the controversial Makati carpark building.

"Hi all! I agree with all your comments. I hope for better mental health support for students, especially in highly competitive schools such as Pisay.

I was never humiliated in high school and college but I was still depressed in Pisay, UP, and Georgetown. So my situation is different from Luis Madamba. I hope schools can stop being institutions of terror.

I never sought medical help because my mother has always said that having depression is a weakness and can be simply overcome by one's will. Now I realize that's inaccurate. Depression, like addiction and other mental illnesses, can require medical help.

My depression was so bad that I even researched suicide methods that could appear as accidents. The only thing that prevented me from killing myself is the thought that a suicide would bring shame to my family.

What helped me recover from my depression is the idea that every life has a purpose. My family members  accept and love me, and they have said that I don't need to graduate. I can fail in school, but it's all right as long as I learn. I eventually finished college and law school. 

I just have to live my life as truthfully, honorably, and excellently as I can. I do have to face the consequences of my actions, but that's just right. 

We have been taught in Pisay that with great power comes great responsibility. With great responsibility also comes a greater likelihood of depression. I hope my long story can help other students and alumni who may be depressed or who know people who suffer from it. Life gets better. :)"

Review and reconsider

The first week of February has passed, but I barely did my resolutions.

1. I read the Bible only twice during the week and haven't finished the book of Jeremiah. I should probably finish the New Testament first because it is more interesting. Reading the prophetic books puts me to sleep.

2. I haven't done a law article at all. I should probably aim for just one law article per day.

3. I drew only a few times this week. I looked at my previous sketches and found that I did most of them using colored pencils. I should probably use colored pencils for now.

4. I just started playing Hosea after my mother went to Coron, Palawan on Thursday. I was able to master the hymn within the day although I still make mistakes. If only it was this easy to play the national anthem, my school hymns, and some folk songs, I would play them soon.

5. a. I just emailed my resume to Ahead Global City but haven't received a reply. I saw their ad in the newspaper so I'll email them later.

5. b. I got an email from Leaders International Christian School so I'll send back their form later. While I can walk going there, I'm not expecting them to hire me. They asked me to give my testimony as a Christian and my expected salary. I wrote "Php 20,000 to Php 30,000" but I might have to lower it to Php 18,000 to Php 25,000.

As for my previous resolutions, I just try to wake up early, exercise, use social media, and organize daily as best as I can.

These are what I did this past week:

Sunday 1: Organize things. Former household helper befriends me on Facebook.
Monday 2: Exercise. Shop and eat at commissary. Hear mass.
Tuesday 3: Hear mass. Priest blesses throat. Eat at Jollibee. Drive brother. Give photocopies.   Exercise.
Wednesday 4: Pray rosary in church. Hear mass. 
Thursday 5: Mother goes to Coron. Exercise. Email and ask for paper. 
Friday 6: Exercise. Ask for paper. File papers vertically.
Saturday 7: Hear mass. Park car. Eat with cousins and niece at Jollibee.
Sunday 8: Exercise. File papers. Tidy up bedroom. Mother comes home.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Make a mistake about love

I was looking at Facebook profiles when I saw that one classmate was working at a high-end Makati law firm. I looked at her pictures and saw that she always has a male companion with her. So I congratulated her on her work and love life.

Imagine my horror when she replied that she has no boyfriend. Then she asked me if I know any rumors about her. So I told her the truth: I don't know any rumors. Then I asked her if she has any news to tell me. I also avoided Facebook Messenger for a while.

Then I looked at my classmate and her male friend. He doesn't seem gay. I looked at his profile and saw more pictures of them together. So I asked my cousin if she thinks that the male friend is gay. She said he isn't.

We looked up photos of my friends who are gay and some who aren't. She guessed correctly about all of them. There really is a difference between heterosexual and homosexual men.

So our hypothesis is this: My classmate's male friend is not gay. He might be her best friend. But I think that he likes her but hasn't made a move on her yet. Maybe he is biding his time. Maybe he was Friendzoned. Falling in love is hard to do.


I have a friend who was my classmate in review class for the foreign service exam. She asked me if I had a blog. I said yes, even though this blog does not have names or links. I just made this blog for me to remember events. So I told her about this blog and gave her the link. Ms. Noemi, I hope you enjoy your stay here reading what little I have written. Welcome to my blog!

Monitor sleep

I have been keeping a sleep diary from January 23 to February 2. Here's what I learned:

1. I grade myself highly on being awake, refreshed, and not irritable.
2. I never take alcohol but I drink chocolate and green tea.
3. I always eat rice with various viands in the evening.
4. I usually exercise in the evening and only once in the morning.
5. I lie down in bed from 10:40 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Median is 11:45 p.m.
6. I fall asleep fast, seldom wake up during sleep, and do not hit snooze.
7. I wake up from 6:20 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and sleep from 6 to 8 hours.

Of course, I was not able to log in my insomnia the other night up to yesterday morning when I stayed up until 3 a.m. I also had an early day today at 5 a.m. and was able to exercise this morning. I have learned everything from my sleep journal so I do not need to log in again.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Profile government officials

I will suggest to the law office where I will work to profile each justice, judge, commissioner, hearing officer, and public officer who makes a judicial or administrative decision.

Each profile will contain personal information and decisions of the officer. The Myers Brigg personality types of the justices, judges, and officials would be included because it will be useful in how they decide cases.

Information about their staff would be part of the profiles because they also prepare and even draft decisions. Any cases and rumors about these officers should also be included. 

The profiles should be gathered in a database and kept confidentially in the law office. Maybe the same database could be done for other law firms and opposing counsel.