Criminal charges versus Philippine Coast Guards in Taiwan fisherman killing

It’s always amusing, albeit in a twisted sense, to read angry comments of Filipinos who, after the Philippine Coast Guard opened fire on a Taiwanese fishing vessel, killing one, were so quick to defend the Coast Guard and vilify the Taiwanese government for its quick condemnation.

It’s always amusing to watch fools display their shallow sense of nationalism, with all the self-righteousness of the “api”, for all the world to see — taking the side of their countrymen on the basis alone of nationality and without even bothering to wait until an investigation could be conducted and concluded, and the facts separated from the “palusot” of the incompetent. Curious, really, how these fellow Filipinos could be so darn sure that the Coast Guard couldn’t have been in the wrong when they themselves weren’t there to witness the incident.

I wonder how they will react to this:

MANILA – The National Bureau of Investigation has recommended the filing of criminal and administrative cases against members of the Philippine Coast Guard involved in the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman off Batanes island last May, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima told reporters in a text message Monday. [Interaksyon]

I wouldn’t be surprised if they start claiming that the Philippine government has sold the Filipinos out.

A fashionista in Congress. Not a she.

[Rep. Jose Benjamin] Benaldo has no problems telling people about how much his wardrobe and accessories cost. For instance, former councilor Teodulfo Lao said he was once told by congressional staff members about how Benaldo showed off and told them that he was wearing a P40-thousand suit…

Various sources said Benaldo cherishes the thought of being romantically linked with sexy actresses…

Another journalist said people in Benaldo’s circle laughed when this paper published a photo showing Benaldo with a 35-year old Russian blonde. The congressman actually told people that he was “happy” and “thankful” about the photo because “now, Cagayanons know” that he, allegedly, is a ladies’ man.

The article also has stories about expensive cars and expensive “beauty treatments.” Hard to say to each his own because the SALN of this member of Congress does not support the lifestyle he seems to flaunt.

Full story at Gold Star Daily News.

News stories here, here and here about Brazilian model Daiana Menezes, Benaldo’s fiancee, might be relevant.

Rigoberto Tiglao’s wrong role model and priorities

Rigoberto Tiglao disagrees with the decision of the U.P. Board of Regents to name the College of Business Administration after Cesar Virata, Finance Secretary (and Minister during the short-lived Parliament) in the Marcos Cabinet. Mr. Tiglao asserts that the practice of naming business schools is anchored on hefty donations made by the person it is named after, and cites American practice and the cases of local business tycoons Gokongwei (Ateneo’s John Go­kongwei School of Management) and Del Rosario (De La Salle’s Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business). Meanwhile, Mr. Virata has donated nothing to the U.P. College of Business Administration.

There is the very practical reason why naming UP’s business school after Virata is a big mistake, for which future generations of its faculty and students will suffer for. It means that it cannot hope that a Filipino magnate or group of magnates would in the future donate huge sums to it in exchange for the honor of the school to be named after him or them. [Manila Times]

Much as I disagree with the choice of Virata, I don’t see anything inherently wrong in naming an institution in honor of a deserving person EVEN IF such person did not donate anything.

In fact, it is more stupid to name anything — whether a Reading Room, a library, a college or a building — simply because of money. There is simply no honor in that.

What is an ambulance chaser?

It’s not exactly a legal term but ambulance chasing is peculiar to the legal practice. “Ambulance chaser” is a pejorative term used to describe lawyers who gain clients by approaching accident victims and prodding them to file personal injury claims against whoever purportedly caused the injury. A reverse procedure as it were because, normally, it is the lawyer who gets approached. But there are lawyers who do go around seeking clients instead of waiting for prospective clients to come to them. Accident and disaster scenes are fertile grounds for finding clients. Hence, the term “ambulance chaser.”

Illegal in some jurisdictions

Note that ambulance chasers do not advise victims to file criminal charges but, rather, civil action for damages. Why? Because there is no money in representing an injured person if the only objective is to send to prison the person who caused the injury. The money is in the civil action where the judge (or jury) makes a pronouncement as to an amount to compensate the injured party. For his professional fee, the lawyer gets a percentage of the amount.

In other words, for the ambulance chaser, the law suit is not so much about justice but the amount of professional fee he will get if he wins the case for his client. It is, therefore, quite usual for an ambulance chasing lawyer to ask for an exorbitant amount of money in the complaint. It is also quite usual to exaggerate the injury by claiming that the victim suffered mental anguish, shock, anxiety and other analogous state in order to recover moral damages over and above the compensatory damages.

Ambulance chasing is, therefore, illegal in some jurisdictions. [Read more...]

Once upon a time, I wanted to be an astronomer

First grade, I think. We were learning about planets, solar systems, galaxies, stars, asteroids… So many worlds to learn about and I wanted to explore them all. So, I dreamed that, one day, I would be an astronomer.

I was six. Everyone had slum books, we wrote in each other’s slum books and, in that part where you’re asked what you want to be, I consistently wrote: “To be an astronomer.”

In the second and third grades, we moved to other areas of science. But the stars and the solar systems were calling out to me. I borrowed library books. Everything there was on astronomy. And I read them on my own time. We had a set of encyclopedia at home and those volumes became a supplement when I ran out of library books to borrow.

Then, I can’t remember when, I found out that to be an astronomer meant one had to learn physics too. And that meant learning math — not the kind of math that made sense but the kind where you added, subtracted, multiplied and divided with letters instead of numerals.

The next time I signed someone’s slum book, in that part where you’re asked what you want to be, I wrote: “To be a lawyer.” [Read more...]