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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SC lifts five-strike rule for bar examinees

September 4, 2013

The Supreme Court en banc lifted last Tuesday the so-called “five-strike rule” for bar examinees, which states that an unsuccessful bar examinee cannot take the bar exams for more than five times. The five-strike rule was first implemented in 2005 through Bar Matter No. 1161, a resolution which disqualifies bar examinees who fail the bar five times from taking the exams again. The resolution which was promulgated last June 2004, allows a failing bar examinee three tries initially, and a fourth and fifth attempt after a one-year refresher course each time, provided, further, that upon the effectivity of the said resolution, those who have already failed in five (5) or more bar examinations shall be allowed to take only one (1) more bar examination after completing a (1) year refresher course.

The lifting of the rule cannot be applied to this year’s examination, however, as the list of probable bar candidates has already been published. The 2013 Bar Examinations will be held this October.

Related Link: Official 2013 Sample Bar Exam – https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/baradmission/2013/2013-sample-bar-exam.pdf

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Results of 2012 Bar Examinations

March 23, 2013

Only 949 out of a total of 5,343 bar examinees passed the 2012 Bar Examinations held last October. The passing average constitutes merely 17.76% of the total examinees and is the second lowest in Philippine history. According to Associate Justice Martin Villarama, Chairman of the 2012 Bar Exams, the high court followed its yearly tradition and lowered the passing grade from 75% to 70%. Were it not for this liberality of the Supreme Court, only 361 bar examinees would have passed constituting 6.76%.

This year’s bar topnotcher is Ignatius Michael D. Ingles of the Ateneo de Manila University with a score of 85.64%. The rest of the top ten are:

2. KING KAY, Catherine Beatrice O. – Ateneo de Manila University – 84.72%

3. LACSON, April Carmela B. – University of the Philippines- 84.48%

4. ROMUALDO, Xavier Jesus D. – Ateneo de Manila University – 84.10%

5. BASE, Maria Graciela D. – University of the Philippines and MACHUCA, Jose Maria Angel P. – Ateneo de Manila University – 83.99%

6. SALAZAR, Patrick Henry D. – University of the Philippines – 83.71%

7. BARCELONA, Ralph Karlo B. – Aquinas University – 83.43%

8. LLAMAS, Marvyn S. – Ateneo de Manila University – 83.29%

9. LI, Carlo Martin C. – Ateneo de Manila University – 83.27%

10. TIOPIANCO, Francis Paolo P. – University of the Philippines – 83.25%

Click here to view the complete list of successful examinees.

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