Sereno ousted as Chief Justice

May 12, 2018

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of the Philippines ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno from her position. Voting 8-6, the majority justices granted the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against Sereno on her failure to submit copies of her past Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). Those who voted to grant the petition were Associate Justices Noel Tijam, who was also the ponente, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo. Dissenting were Senior Associate Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Mariano del Castillo, Estela Bernabe, Marvic Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.

The quo warranto petition has generated controversy and debate as under the 1987 Constitution, a justice of the Supreme Court can only be removed through impeachment. Moreover, under the rules on quo warranto, such a petition can only be filed within one year from the time the cause of action or ouster arose.

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Swiss court fines man for libel due to Facebook likes

May 31, 2017

Be careful next time you start pressing that Like button on Facebook.

A court in Switzerland has fined a man for “liking” comments deemed to be defamatory that were posted on Facebook. The landmark case involved comments made about Erwin Kessler, the head of an animal protection group.

He was accused of being anti-Semitic and racist, media reports say. The Zurich district court said the defendant “clearly endorsed the unseemly content and made it his own” by liking comments.

Read more from BBC News:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40097792

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Pnoy appoints Caguioa as new SC Associate Justice

January 22, 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed erstwhile Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Alfredo Benjamin Caguiao as new Supreme Court Associate Justice replacing former SC Associate Justice Martin Villarama, who took an early optional retirement. According to his profile posted on the DOJ website, Caguioa is “a seasoned, well-respected and highly regarded litigation practitioner with 25 years experience in commercial, civil and criminal litigation before courts of all levels. Has had extensive exposure to the criminal justice system, and actively practiced before the different levels of the prosecutorial system, and acted as private prosecutor or defense counsel before the regular courts and the Sandiganbayan. Teacher and resource lecturer, builder of teams, and seeks to be an inspiration to young lawyers.”

Caguioa was also a classmate of President Aquino at the Ateneo de Manila University and served as Chief Presidential legal counsel.

Below is the interview of Secretary Caguioa before the Judicial Bar Council (from the Supreme Court Public Information Office Youtube page):

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Supreme Court decides on the Cybercrime Prevention Act

February 20, 2014

The Supreme Court has come out with its decision on the validity of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act. In its decision penned by Associate Justice Roberto Abad, the High Court found most of the law to be consistent with the Constitution and only found the following provisions to be unconstitutional:

  • Section 4 (c)(3) (unsolicited commercial communications);
  • Section 12 ( real-time collection of traffic data);
  • Section 19 (restricting or blocking access to computer data); also known as the take-down clause as it authorized the Department of Justice to restrict computer data on the basis of prima facie or initially observed evidence.

Section 5, which is aiding or abetting in the commission of a cybercrime and to the attempt to commit a cybercrime, was declared unconstitutional only in the following cases: child pornography, unsolicited commercial communications, and online libel and will apply to all other cybercrimes outlined in the law. Moreover, Section 7 which provides that apart from prosecution under the law, a cyber criminal can also be prosecuted for same offenses under the Revised Penal Code is unconstitutional only in relation to sections 4(c)(4) (online libel) and 4(c)(2) (child pornography).

As to the provisions on online libel, the SC said that this is constitutional but only the original author of the material shall be held liable. Those who share, like, retweet or reply to the libelous material will not be prosecuted.

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