Friday, July 25, 2014

S. A. N. A. - State Atrocities Nonoy’s Abusos

Augusto Boboy Syjuco, Ph.D.
           1ST Protestant against DAP, Protestant against PDAF,
Author and Sponsor of Accountability of Public Officers,
Sandiganbayan, Ombudsman, and Dual Citizenship Law.


S.   A.   N.   A.

State Atrocities Nonoy’s Abusos

Sa ating mga kapatid, 

at katulad ko rin, na ginogoyo na “Bossing” kuno, ni noynoy:
          A few days from now, on Monday, 28 July 2014, at 4pm, noynoy will deliver his required 4th Report on the SONA (State of the Nation Address), to Congress assembled, and to our entire nation.

          Noy’s SONA will have certain similarities with his previous 3 sonas, as well as certain differences.

          Each of the following four (4) COUNTS are proposed discussion points:

FIRST COUNT – PDAF, DAP, BRIBERY and others…

Previous administrations have also used savings from Departments and Agencies within the same Executive Department, but unlike noynoy, with NO illegal “cross-border” uses of savings transferred to the Legislative Department or to the Judiciary.

          Almost every other administration has had to start with little diminished funds left over from previous administrations. Yet they have not looted the Treasury in such open, gigantic and unabashed violations of the Constitution and the Separation of Powers. 

Noynoy will claim good faith for all his atrocities, that are countless culpable violations of the constitution, treason, briberies, graft and corruption, murder, other high crimes, and betrayals of public trust. I say, countless because he is unable to count. His own public accounting of DAP atrocities have different totals, each time he speaks. Someday, he may learn how to count, or more likely not.

The truth is that DAP was a creation only in 2014, after Senator Estrada exposed the bribe given to 19 Senator-Judges to impeach Chief Justice Corona,  so as to give a sanitized name to the now-so-called DAP of these under-the-table fund releases. Previous to this, Senator Osmena said “I never thought there was such an animal.” None of us did.

Sinamantala na rin nila ang pag-peke ng mga irregular din na ibang mga dokumento na tinago nilang gastos since 2011. The secret truth  why Aquino could not accept the scripted “resignation” of Abad ay bagong manufacture lang ni Abad ang mga dokumentos sa DBM, na ngayon lamang na sa-sanitize, at na i-charge sa sistemang DAP kuno, na si Abad lang ang nakakaalam.

Ang lahat ng nakaraan na administration ay pinagkakasya kung ano man ang budget. Pirmi lang maikli ang kumot na napapagkasya pa man din.

PDAF Pork Barrels are alive and well. Previously, Senators were by law openly budgeted for Pesos 200 million /year and Congresspersons at Pesos 70 million /year. Today even after PDAF was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, it is still d same rotten system, only worse because these are now covered with secrecy. The Congresspersons and Senators still submit to the President a list of the projects they want, and they still choose the same Contractors who will provide the largest kickbacks.  It is now a secret conspiracy.

But now, the shit has hit the ceiling fan.

Tumama na po ang dumi sa bentilador ng kisame. Ang lahat ng Pilipino ay alam na po at sukang-suka na sa mga issue na PDAF at DAP.

          Let us, even for just that historic moment, that one shameful hour during his SONA on Monday, try to enjoy ourselves as we watch noynoy continue to lie and make a fool of himself.  It will be good comedy,  altho it will hurt to laugh.  Puporma po siya muli  sa kanyang pagsisinungaling at pagpostura diyan sa darating na SONA.

Hindsight is foresight.

Mabuti po na matignan natin ang background ng mga pangyayari sa buhay ni noynoy, para lubos na maintindihan po natin ang kanyang pagkatao at mental condition.

To understand the present and to foretell the future, we must look at his past formative years to be his person of today. What does the mirror on the wall show and tell about the fairest of us all, the kawawang cowboy?

SECOND COUNT - Mental Condition…

          “Silkenhut’s World.”  is an article by Michael Gurrea that included an alleged 3-page psychological autopsy of Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III, suffering from “Silkenhut’s Decease” dated February 10, 1996.

Among others, it lists Noynoy’s then “Current Symptoms” as “Psychomotor retardation”, Lack of Initiative”, Melancholia”, “Fatigue” Lack of self-confidence”, “Lack of sexual interest”. As well, it describes his “Mental Status Examination” to be: “Posture-Stooped”, “Mood-Depressed”, “Affect-Sad/Confused”, “Thought Content-Grandiose”, among others. For those who are interested in the full details, pls access the document yourself at- http://silkenhut.com/noynoy-aquino-alleged-medical-psychological-records/  and  http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/sites/default/files/various/documents/bogus_eval.pdf

          This previous Monday, July 21, former Senator Francisco S. Tatad referred to noynoy as having been called various names as:

Arrogant, ignorant, abnormal, inept, incompetent, obstinate, vindictive, demagogic, delusional, narcissistic, full of himself, megalomaniac, power-mad, mad.”

From the foregoing, and noynoy’s apparently strange behaviors, we must face the sad truth that yellow propaganda has deceived us to elect a crazy man.

THIRD COUNT-

Noynoy as Murderer, Criminal and Bully...

Let the events speak for themselves. We can find these in the Hacienda Luisita address at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gevTmyWtHVo uploaded on Oct. 21, 2011

November 2004, Martial Law in Hacienda Luisita, Soldiers open fire on farmers picket line 32 Injured from gunfire, 7 dead.

December 8, 2004, Marcelino Beltran - Witness to testify on Hacienda Luisita massacre on Bullet Trajectories, killed.

March 3, 2005, Councilor Abelardo Ladera accused documents about Luisita SDO supposed to bring it to senate, killed.

March 13, 2005, Bodyguard of Congressman Noynoy Aquino, shot and killed Father William Tadera, a sympathizer of Hacienda Luisita Workers. It was witnessed by fellow priest Father Jun Flores who has now gone into hiding for fear of his own life.

March 17, 2005, Victor “ Tataben” Concepcion 66 years old, an active supporter of Hacienda Luisita worker strikes, killed. October 15, 2005, Florante Collante a critic against Noynoy and his family, killed.

October 3, 2006, Bishop Alberto Ramento a supporter of Luisita farmers and vocal critic about the brutal killing of his fellow priest “Stabbed 7 times”, killed.

March 17, 2006, Tirso Cruz, leader of United Luisita a worker’s union led the protest against the construction of Noynoy superhighway on Hacienda Lands claimed by farmers, killed, shot to death in front of his father and brother.

January 5, 2005,  2 months after Luisita Massacre at the west gate of Las Hacienda subdivision. Again the bodyguard of Congressman Noynoy Aquino opened fire on a picket line of the farmers.  George Loveland and Ernesto Ramos were hit “both men survived and testified in senate 7 days later but no charges were filed against anyone.

In 2005, The Noynoy superhighway known as SCTEX-TARLAC became operational. The government paid Pesos 83 million to the Cojuangcos for an overpriced right-of-way.

The Government spent Pesos 170 million. For private Exit of Hacienda Luisita the President’s family charges the motorists P20 for use of this Government-built access road. This Access road also leads to Luisita Golf and country club and Las haciendas Subdivision.”

These tragic events of abuses, beatings, killings and murder must certainly be placed at the footsteps of Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III who was, and is, the dispenser of  life or death in his own private turf of Hacienda Luisita. 


FOURTH COUNT –


Daang Matuwid, Walang Mahirap kung Walang Corrupt…

Let me leave this matter to your judgement. What has happened to Noynoy’s programs of “Daang Matuwid” and Kung Walang Corrupt- Walang Mahirap?

Look around you, have the poor, the unemployed, the under-employed diminished? Is life today any better (or worse) than what it was 4 years ago?

How would you rate him for his 2 Banner Programs, with an A, B, C, D, or an F?

Throughout the last many years the SWS Survey, and the Pulse Asia, have manipulated their surveys to fool us that noynoy enjoys high popularity ratings. We should not have been so easily fooled since it is public knowledge that these 2 survey companies are owned by noynoy’s relatives and friends of relatives.

But understandably we believed them, because we wanted to hold on to a new hope that finally we have turned the corner for a credible and trust-worthy government, believing that we could already concentrate on each of our own individual lives and aspirations, while we have a government  that we can leave alone, to be just, fair, law-abiding, and truthful. 

Did noynoy hold true faith, or did he let us down?

Just 3 weeks ago, at the start of this July, the independent IBON FOUNDATION, who is not known to be beholden to anyone, came out with its national survey that showed: 


AGAINST NOYNOY=47%,
FOR NOYNOY=38%, and
DO NOT KNOW=15%.

                UNITE FOR MEANINGFUL CHANGES
THAN WE CAN ALL CHAMPION TOGETHER.

Please consider our Open Invitation for free men and women:
 TO UNITE WITHIN THE FREEDOM OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR OPEN DIALOGUES, ON YOUR OWN ADVOCACIES and FREE EXCHANGES OF BELIEFS AND PERSPECTIVES. 

NOW NA,

panahon na para makialam po tayo to save our country, ourselves and our children, so HELP US GOD.


Please enter our website – http://pagbabagonawalanggulo.com/




                                           Sincerely always,

                                            Augusto Boboy Syjuco, Ph.D.

                                                









Thursday, July 24, 2014

Debunking Immunity of President Aquino

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila, Philippines


AUGUSTO L. SYJUCO JR., Ph.D.            SC-GR NO. 213238
                             Petitioner,

-versus-                                               FOR:
                                                                   CERTIORARI AND
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES,                    MANDAMUS
In his capacity as Ombudsman
Of the Republic of the Philippines,
BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III,
In his capacity as President
Of the Republic of the Philippines 
                                       Respondents.
x-------------------------------------------------x


PETITION

COMES NOW, the Petitioner in the above captioned case and to this Honorable Supreme Court, most respectfully state:

I.             PREFATORY STATEMENT

This is a petition for Certiorari and Mandamus under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to raise into issue and for proper resolution the unfounded principle of immunity from suits of the President as head of the executive body for want of any constitutional basis under the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. Having no other legal remedy to avail, herein petitioner deems it wise and necessary to submit this case before the Honorable Supreme Court for appropriate resolution

The rule is that unlawful acts of public officials are not acts of the State and the officer who acts illegally is not acting as such but stands in the same footing as any trespasser. Petitioner most respectfully begs the indulgence of the Honorable Supreme Court that this petition be resolved in accordance with the aforementioned rule.
    

II.           PARTIES TO THE PETITION

Petitioner is of legal age, Filipino, married and a resident of No. 4 Rodriguez St., Sta. Barbara, Iloilo, Philippines where he may be served with notices and other processes of the Honorable Court. He is a law abiding citizen who faithfully pays his taxes as required by law.

Petitioner was Vice President of, and Delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, at 28 years old.  Petitioner himself wrote the entire Article XIII.  All its 324 words on Accountability of Public Officers wherein Petitioner sponsored the Creation of the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan.  These provisions were essentially adopted by Cory’s 1987 Constitution that also enshrined our creations in Article XI of her Cory 1987 Constitution.

Respondent Conchita Carpio Morales is herein impleaded in her capacity as Ombudsman of the Republic of the Philippines, who is of legal age, Filipino and holding office at Ombudsman Building, Agham Road, North Triangle, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, where she may be served with notices and other processes of the Honorable Court.

Respondent Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III is herein impleaded in his capacity as President of the Republic of the Philippines, who is of legal age, Filipino and holding office at 3/F New Executive Building (NEB), Malacañang Compound, Manila where he may be served with notices and other processes of the Honorable Court.


III.          JUSTICIABLE QUESTION

The present case primarily questions the constitutionality, existence and validity of presidential immunity from suits.
As pronounced by a litany of our jurisprudence, the power of judicial review is limited to actual cases or controversies. Courts decline to issue advisory opinions or to resolve hypothetical or feigned problems, or mere academic questions. The limitation of the power of judicial review to actual cases and controversies defines the role assigned to the judiciary in a tripartite allocation of power, to assure that the courts will not intrude into areas committed to the other branches of government.
An actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims, susceptible to judicial resolution, as distinguished from a hypothetical or abstract difference or dispute. There must be a contrariety of legal rights that can be interpreted and enforced on the basis of existing law and jurisprudence. The Court can decide the constitutionality of an act or treaty only when a proper case between opposing parties is submitted for judicial determination.[1]
The case at bar presents a justiciable question. The petitioner herein questions the absolute immunity from suit of the President. The petitioner seeks to limit this immunity based on pressing and valid considerations as will be stated and discussed herein.

Respondent Aquino, who is the sitting President, has committed the felony of Libel against herein petitioner such that petitioner has only one (1) year to prosecute the same, otherwise the case will prescribe. Impeaching the president surely takes time and to condition the prosecution of the crime of libel upon impeachment results to an amendment of the penal laws to which every citizen of this country is subject to it. Moreover, it will place the president as an exception to the crime of libel which is not recognized by our penal laws. Otherwise stated, it may appear that the president is above the law. It is for this matter that I question the constitutionality of the said immunity and submit its proper resolution to the Honorable Supreme Court.

IV.         LOCUS STANDI OF THE PETITIONER

The petitioner is filing the present case based on the injury that he continues to sustain due to the unlawful and unconstitutional dismissal by the Office of the Ombudsman over his complaint against the President for Libel. The petitioner herein who filed a criminal complaint against respondent Aquino for libel before the office of respondent Carpio Morales has an interest and is directly affected by the dismissal inaction of the Office of the Ombudsman. Ergo, the petitioner has a direct interest over the resolution of this petition.

In general, petitioner has the right to file the present petition since the public interest so requires. Respondent Aquino is now taking the form of a dictator, even challenging the Honorable Supreme Court by questioning the latter’s decision regarding the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and continuously and resistantly defending this unconstitutional program. Hence, the issue herein is a matter of transcendental importance, overreaching significance to society and of paramount public interest.

V.          SUBJECT OF THE PETITION

The subject of this petition puts into question the constitutionality of the so-called presidential immunity from suits including its scope and limitations which is devoid of any constitutional provision for support under the 1987 Constitution.

VI.         STATEMENT OF FACTS

          On 22 July 2013, Mr Benigno S Aquino III, President of the Philippines, delivered the State of the Nation Address (SONA) before the House of Representatives pursuant to the Philippine Constitution.  In attendance were the members of both houses of Congress, their spouses, other government officials, foreign dignitaries, and various other guests.

As traditionally done and considering that the SONA was a major national event, the speech of the President was covered by the different media outfits in the country.  It was aired live on radio and on television both in the Philippines and abroad.

The speech was likewise published in the different newspapers in the country, either in toto or in part.

Additionally, the speech was made available online by the Office of the Press Secretary.  It can be accessed at present from http://www.gov.ph/2013/07/22/benigno-s-aquino-iii-fourth-state-of-the-nation-address-july-22-2013/. A copy of the SONA as uploaded by the Government of the Philippines on its website is attached as Annex “A”.

Part of the speech of the President, which was delivered in Filipino, attacked the petitioner personally.  The pertinent portion of the presidential speech translated in English reads:

The transformation of our society is not just evident in the economy or in statistics. Now, Filipinos know: Rich or poor, with or without political connections, when you do wrong, you will pay the consequences. Now, justice is truly blind. We will not undermine the orders of our Bosses to hold the corrupt accountable, and to right the wrongs of a system that has long beggared our country.”
In fact, we are already holding the former leadership of TESDA accountable for his part in the outrageous overpricing of purchases by the agency. For example: one incubator jar is priced at 149 pesos. But Mr. Syjuco priced the same jar at 15,375 pesos. The normal price of a dough cutter, 120 pesos. The price according to Mr. Syjuco: 48,507 pesos. Let’s be clear: This is a dough cutter, not a Hamilton Class Cutter. Perhaps when he finally has his day in court to face the cases filed by the Ombudsman, Mr. Syjuco will finally learn to count.”

In the above-quoted part of the presidential speech, the petitioner was named as the “former leadership of TESDA” and Mr. Syjuco.  Thrice, the President referred to the petitioner as Mr. Syjuco.

Indeed, the petitioner  served as a member of the Cabinet of the Republic of the Philippines as Director-General of the Technological Education and Skills Development Petitionerity (TESDA) from 2004-2010 under the government of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Under the law that created it, TESDA is an attached agency of the Philippine government under the Department of Labor and Employment responsible for managing and supervising technical education and skills development.

In the said speech, the President accused the petitioner of having a part in “the outrageous overpricing of purchases by the (TESDA).”  He accused the latter of the following:

a.      Pricing an incubator jar with a value of P149 at P15,375.

b.      Pricing a dough cutter with a value of P120 at P48,507.

Furthermore, the President ridiculed the petitioner by saying  he would finally learn to count when the time arrives that he would have his  day in court to answer charges filed against him.

The above statements not only tended to vilify the petitioner’s reputation or character but actually vilified it.  The statements held him out publicly as a thief.

The President acted with ill-will and bad faith.  For one thing, he did not conduct research.  Had he and his Government done their research as good faith required, the President would have learned and come to know of the following:

The petitioner did not approve the projects.  No one person can approve the projects.  The projects were approved by the TESDA Board, as mandated by law (Republic Act No. 9184 entitled An Act Providing For The Modernization, Standardization  and Regulation of the Procurement Activities of the Government and for Other Purposes), a copy of which is attached as Annex “B”.  Yet, out of the more than ten board members present who unanimously approved the projects, President Aquino singled the petitioner out in his SONA.

In approving the projects, the TESDA Board relied on the unanimous recommendations of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).

The BAC, in turn, before recommending approval of the subject projects to the TESDA Board, sought the assistance of a Technical Evaluation Group in evaluating the financial and technical specifications of the bids because of the highly technical nature of the requirements.

When the reports of overprice reached the petitioner’s attention, petitioner stopped the release of the remaining P39.7 million of payables to the supplier and applied this substantial amount against:

Delivered Items with Deficiencies       P14.6 million
Undelivered Items                                P19.6 million
Liquidated Damages                            P  5.5 million   
                   Total                                  P39.7 million

The petitioner created a committee (“Investigating Committee”) to investigate the allegations of overpricing.  He appointed Rogelio C. Peyuan, the then TESDA Deputy Director General for Field Operations, to head the Investigating Committee, which was composed of five (5) members.  The four (4) other members were: Carlos C. Flores (Director III), Nenuca E. Tangonan (Director III), Teodoro M. Gatchalian (Director III), and Florante P. Inoturan (President, TESDA-ACE, Central Office).  The Investigating Committee was assisted by two (2) able legal consultants, namely, Mr. Roldan B. Dalman and Mr. Noremiel Roldan.

The Investigating Committee found that irregularities attended the bidding process of the LEPTES-02 and LEPTES-03 projects and the delivery of the products under the contracts.  The Investigating Committee recommended, among others, that the TESDA enlist the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation, the Government’s premiere investigating agency, “for a more thorough and in-depth investigation.”

Shortly after the Investigating Committee came out with an official report, the petitioner wrote to the Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting for their assistance in investigating the matter. Under Philippine law, it is the DOJ that has the competence to prosecute criminal cases.

A copy of the petitioner’s letter to the DOJ dated 19 October 2009 [received by the DOJ on 21 October 2009] is attached as Annex “C”; and copy of the Investigating Committee’s Memorandum dated 19 October 2009, attached as Annex “D”.

To this very day, the DOJ and the NBI are sleeping on the serious concerns raised by the petitioner. Five years after the petitioner complained to the DOJ and strongly urged an investigation on the overpricing, no investigation was ever conducted by the Government, and nothing ever came out of the petitioner’s complaint. It is very clear that the Government is far more interested in persecuting   the petitioner than in finding out the whole truth and prosecuting the guilty parties who are still out there scot-free while the President continues to harass the petitioner  with public references to him as a thief.

Moreover, even before the Commission on Audit  Team issued their Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) No. 2009-011 (Fund 102) dated 12 March 2009 (stamped received by TESDA on 15 May 2009) finding irregularities,  the petitioner had already taken action against the supplier.

As early as 25 November 2008, the petitioner  had already written a letter to the supplier explaining to him that TESDA could not as yet pay him the full payment under the contracts because “there (were) still numerous undelivered items and not yet corrected/rectified items.”

A copy of the petitioner’s letter to the supplier dated 25 November 2008 [received on 3 December 2008] is attached as Annex “E”.

On 19 December 2008, the petitioner again wrote to the supplier regarding his request to cancel certain items under the LEPTES-03 project.  He  told the latter that it was the  company’s obligation to deliver the items as provided under the contract and reminded him of the penalties that may be imposed on his company should they fail to make delivery.

A copy of the petitioner’s letter to the supplier dated 19 December 2008 [received on 6 January 2009] is attached as Annex “F”.

On 29 January 2009, the petitioner  again wrote to the supplier reiterating TESDA’s position that he must comply with his obligations under the contract and informing him that, in the meantime, TESDA would withhold full payment until submission by his company of the complete supporting documents.

A copy of the petitioner’s letter to the supplier dated 29 January 2009 [received on 5 February 2009] is attached as Annex “G”.

On 10 April 2009, the petitioner again wrote to the supplier contesting the latter’s computation of the value of the undelivered items and pointing out the discrepancy of P25,053,532.59 between his computation and TESDA’s computation.  The petitioner also brought to the supplier’s  attention the fact that the remaining payments could not be processed because their request for payment was not supported by the proper documents.

A copy of the petitioner’s letter to the supplier Mr. Roxas dated 10 April 2009 [received on 5 May 2009] is attached as Annex “H”.

On 21 April 2009, the petitioner again wrote to the supplier with respect to the items and goods undelivered and with discrepancies under NDFTES-03.  In the petitioner’s letter, he pointed out that “there are still undelivered items and not yet corrected/rectified items.  This means that your obligations under the terms and conditions of the contract are not yet complied with.”

A copy of the petitioner’s letter to the supplier dated 21 April 2009 is attached as Annex “I”.

On 7 October 2009, the petitioner again wrote to the supplier with respect to the items and goods undelivered and with deficiencies for LEPTES-02 and LEPTES-03, with a computation of the value of the undelivered and deficient items/goods, plus liquidated damages.”

A copy of the petitioner’s letter to the supplier dated 7 October 2009 is attached as Annex “J”.

Then, finally, on 3 February 2010, the petitioner wrote to the supplier informing him that TESDA had offset his collectibles amounting to P39,804,280.00 against the amount of deficiencies and penalties due from his company.

A copy of the petitioner’s letter to the supplier dated 3 February 2010 is attached as Annex “K”.

The President, in attacking the petitioner’s person before the Filipino people, omitted to mention the foregoing facts.   

For the record, while indeed the questionable orders were made during the petitioner’s tenure as TESDA head, the petitioner did not have any personal hand in placing the orders or making the purchases, as the foregoing facts will bear.

The President’s personal attacks against the petitioner done in two SONAs reeked with malice.  He specifically singled out the latter labelled the petitioner a thief in nationally broadcast speeches.  Coming from the President of the Philippines and delivered in an event which is a major constitutional moment, the accusation – which is a lie – smeared the petitioner’s family’s good name in a way which no other person could.  It was a serious imputation made in the most national way possible with the widest audience reach.

The act of the President of casually leveling a serious charge against the petitioner in a major constitutional speech destroyed the latter’s  good name which he inherited clean from his forebears.  The malicious muck hurled at him  will continue to cling to his  name and to the names of those who claim that name through him  - his children and grandchildren and their descendants. 

This gratuitous presidential accusation  has lowered the esteem with which the petitioner’s friends used to  regard the petitioner.

The petitioner’s very own children have, sadly, started distancing themselves from the family name not because they believe the accusation unjustly hurled at their father but because the presidential attack put them in a position where they have to answer questions coming from friends and acquaintances alike. 

Because of the serious allegations made publicly which hurt the petitioner’s reputation in the worst possible way, he filed a case for libel against the President of the Philippines before the Office of the Ombudsman on 29 May 2014. Attached as Annex “L” is the copy of the petitioner’s complaint.

However, four days after the petitioner filed his complaint or on 2 June 2014, the Ombudsman dismissed it outright. A copy of the dismissal resolution is attached as Annex “M”.

In the dismissal resolution, the Ombudsman said that the President of the Philippines is immune from suit.


ISSUES

With the above states set of facts we present the following issues for resolution, to wit:

1.    Whether or not the presidential immunity from suits should be declared unconstitutional for want of constitutional basis and support under the 1987 Constitution.

2.    There is a need for proper definition and/or limitation of the principle on presidential immunity from suits based on existing jurisprudence and provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

3.    Whether or not administrative and criminal actions filed by petitioner against the president before the office of the Ombudsman should not be dismissed under the principle of presidential immunity from suits. 


DISCUSSION

Libel, as defined under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, a copy of which is attached as Annex “Q” has three elements: the imputation must be defamatory, it must have been given publicity, and it must be malicious. A fourth element may also be considered implicit in the provision, namely, that the victim of the libel must be identifiable, as decided in the landmark case of People vs. Monton,  a copy of which is attached as Annex “R.”

All the elements of Libel are present in the act of the President based on the facts above stated, to wit:

[a] The President accused the petitioner  of committing graft, which is obviously defamatory. 

[b] The accusation was made publicly.  It was broadcast by all the television and radio networks and reported in all newspapers of general circulation. 

[c] The accusation was patently malicious.  First, it was made at the SONA, which was telecast and broadcast nationwide.  Clearly, the intent was to humiliate the petitioner  before the entire nation, before the widest audience possible.  Second, the accusations were made recklessly, without regard to the full facts.  The Filipino people cannot possibly arrive at an informed judgment or opinion if the President insidiously fed to them only part of the facts or half lies, and his own manipulated and malicious conclusions.  The President wanted the Filipino people to conclude that the petitioner is  a thief when, in fact, the records will show that he had  not committed any wrongdoing and that in fact he had done more than his share to protect the public  interest in the projects.

Using  the presidential platform and his constitutional power to deliver a SONA, the President unlawfully attacked the petitioner’s honor  and reputation. He acted beyond the parameters of fairness and justice since his act is considered criminal under the domestic law.

Had any other person committed such libel against the petitioner, such person can be held criminally liable.  That the President committed the libel does not exempt him from criminal liability.  On the contrary, as the highest government official constitutionally mandated to faithfully execute the laws, he should be made to account for his actions.

However, the Office of the Ombudsman allowed him to  make a libellous statement in the SONA and  to seek refuge behind the ostensibly official act.

The Presidential Immunity from suit which the Philippine government used to ground its dismissal of the petitioner’s libel complaint and which the Supreme Court of the Philippines upheld as a doctrine violates the Current Constitution.  It positions the President above the law and guarantees him impunity for criminal actions. In a functioning democracy, no one is above the law.  No one is above the law, not even the President, especially not the President who, under a presidential system like that of the Philippine Government, must ensure the faithful implementation of the laws.

Moreover, there is no presidential immunity from suits under the present Constitution. Presidential immunity from suit in the Philippines was a legal creation of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos.  When his regime repudiated the 1935 Constitution in place of a new Constitution, he ensured that there would be a provision granting himself immunity from suit.  Thus, under Art. VII, Section 7, it was provided that   “(t)he President shall be immune from suit during his tenure. Thereafter, no suit or whatsoever shall lie for official acts done by him or by others pursuant to his specific orders during his tenure."
 
Marcos’ immunity from suit became his regime’s claim to impunity in acting above the law.

The Marcos regime, to this very day, is internationally known for having been a government of men and women and not of laws. Rule of law was repudiated in the name of a dictatorship. There is no need to be apocryphal about the consequences of presidential immunity from suit. People were either murdered or made to disappear and their tragedies were attributed to a regime whose leader could not be dragged to court because he wore the shield of immunity which in effect catapulted him to a position of impunity reserved only for tyrants.

Verily, various cases were filed against Marcos in the United States of America for human rights violations committed with impunity during his rule as he used his immunity from suit as a shield from prosecution. Such cases enriched American jurisprudence on the Alien Torts Statute (ATS) or Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA). Among such cases was  Trajano v. Marcos.

In 1986, Marcos was ousted during the People Power Revolution. Having learned its lessons, the Filipino people, emergent from the cocoon of dictatorship, sought to dismantle legal structures that desecrated the rule of law and put a few self-proclaimed leviathans above it. One way of realizing this was presidential immunity from suit. 

Thus, under the 1987 Constitution, there is already that very conspicuous absence of any provision to the effect that the President is immune from suit. The non-inclusion of a constitutional provision granting presidential immunity from suit  was not a case of oversight. It was deliberate. There is nothing vague or ambivalent about it.

It was the intent of the Filipino people to make the President of the Philippines accountable before the law. Accountability is a constitutional watchword under Section 1 of Article XI and is inherent in a functioning democracy. After all, the President  is the chief implementor of laws. This becomes meaningless when, while he hoists the trident to enforce laws, he is not held liable  when he violates them.

Philippine jurisprudence, in not abandoning presidential immunity from suit which has no textual expression in the Constitution, cloisters the President from the accountability clause of the Constitution which provides that public office is a public trust.  Under the Constitution, a President is removable by impeachment but only for the gravest offenses or high crimes, and not for other crimes which he may then commit with impunity.

It is worth noting that decisions of the Philippine Supreme Court recognizing presidential immunity from suit  are friable.

In David v Arroyo,  supra, the Supreme  Court of the Philippines held that “(t)hough the Constitution does not expressly postulate for presidential immunity from suit, the Supreme Court believes that it is already implied, emanating from the duty of the President, which is exclusive and political.”

Categorically, the Supreme Court relied on the judgment of the US Supreme Court in Mississippi v. Johnson.   This case was decided in 1866 when the United States of America was engaged in a civil war which required that the President should not be distracted. To invoke this decision as a precedent is absurd considering that the exigencies obtaining in the United States at the time Mississippi was promulgated are not obtaining, even remotely, in the Philippines at present.

It is also worth noting that the United States, on whose Constitution was based the Constitution of the Philippines which was once its colony, abandoned absolute presidential immunity from suit as a doctrine. In US v Nixon, the President rejected Richard Nixon’s claim to immunity from judicial processes.

In Nixon v. Fitzgerald, a divided Supreme Court ruled that an absolute presidential immunity for official acts was existing for reasons of public policy. The absence of such immunity "could distract a President from his public duties, to the detriment not only of the President and his office but also the Nation that the Presidency was designed to serve."   But by implication, such immunity did not cover unofficial acts.

Subsequently, in Clinton v. Jones, the US Supreme Court ruled that ‘the President was not immune from  suit for private acts committed before he [Clinton] became President.’ It then allowed the filing of a case for damages against a sitting President for his unofficial acts. In the United States whose Constitution became the basis of our fundamental law, President George Bush was hailed to court to respond to various cases even while he was a sitting President. Among these cases are:  Boumediene v. Bush,  and  Rasul v. Bush,  both of which involved presidential acts, not private acts.

These are already a staunch proof that the US Supreme Court departed departing from the undemocratic notion that the President is immune from suits, parallel to legal developments in other democracies in the world which have since rejected claims of   presidential immunity from suit or immunity for heads of governments including presidents and prime ministers.

In the international community, what is currently recognized is immunity of heads of government for purely sovereign acts abandoning an antiquated legal relic. In the past, people believed that sovereigns could not be fallible but grave and serious cases like the illegal disbursement by the President of the Philippines of some P150B under the DAP as shown in the recent decision of the Philippine Supreme Court in Araullo v Aquino make the President liable for suits.

Closer to the Philippines is Thailand. Very recently, its  Constitutional Court purged Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office for abuse of power committed when she illegally transferred a civil service servant to another office more than three years ago. Along with the Prime Minister, other members of the cabinet who were in office at the time the transfer was effected were likewise ordered to step down. These governments that have discarded presidential immunity are merely affirming a basic tenet of democracy: that in democracies, there are no leviathans other than the sovereign people. Democracy underpins the Convention.

To say that a different rule applies to Government of the Philippines  is to entrench a regime similar to the dreaded Marcos regime where presidential bullying was the norm and immunity became the mantle of protection for impunity. If  certain people are elevated on a dais above the application of the rule of law, then the provision of the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines that provides that the Philippines is a democratic State (Article II, Sec. 1) is violated.

In the case of the petitioner, he will have no recourse for redress forever because of the  statute of limitations. Under Philippine law, particularly Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code,  libel prescribes in one year from the time of commission.

The President libelled the petitioner on 23 July 2013. The crime prescribes on 23 July 2014. Since the petitioner was actually barred by the Government from seeking redress because of the premise that the President is immune from suit, he will never be able to seek vindication of his human rights that were violated. By the time the President’s term of office expires and he is divested of the shield of immunity from suit, the crime will already have prescribed.

Since the petitioner’s case was dismissed, it is as if it was never filed. This means even if the petitioner  filed a complaint on 29 May 2014, such filing did not operate to suspend the running of the period of prescription.

In Soliven, the Supreme Court said that the “rationale for the grant to the President of the privilege of immunity from suit is to assure the exercise of Presidential duties and functions free from any hindrance or distraction, considering that being the Chief Executive of the Government is a job that, aside from requiring all of the office holder's time, also demands undivided attention.”

To reiterate, such jurisprudence does not find textual expression in the present Constitution. At the risk of belaboring the point, the textual or literal expression of presidential immunity present in the 1973 Constitution was deliberately dropped by the 1987 Constitution, a categorical expression of abandonment of a provision that would entrench tyranny.

Moreover, the petitioner fervently  believes the  principle of rule of law and the basic tenet that democracy is a government of laws and not of mess pervade our Constitution in spirit and must be considered written therein. The Republic of the Philippines, by not revisiting this doctrine, continuously violates the Convention.

Likewise, under the present system of laws in the Philippines, the President may sue as shown in Soliven.  In this case, the respondent’s mother, President Corazon Aquino, while occupying the presidential swivel chair, sued the late Mr. Louie Beltran for libel occasioned by Mr Beltran’s report that she hid under the bed at the height of a coup d’ etat against her administration.  This suggestion of being a lameduck President so enraged Ms Aquino that she dragged her accuser to court even while she was the sitting President. She was not denied access to the courts.  And why should she not? She was also a citizen subject to the same rights and obligations as the next citizen. At any rate, the point here is that under the doctrine of necessary implications, if the President can institute complaints under the spirit of the Constitution, he may also be made to respond to complaints.

Yet, it is very well-entrenched that the President cannot be sued even for bribery, treason, murder and other high crimes and the only remedy is to file an impeachment complaint. Should anyone be a victim of the President’s criminal or civil acts and would decide to institute a criminal a case against the President, he/she must wait until the  latter permanently vacates his/her office. But as pointed out, in the present case, by the time he leaves office, the offense of libel will have prescribed. Libel, additionally, is not an impeachable crime.

Dismissing the petitioner’s suit and foreclosing all avenues for redress of his grievances operate as a grave and irreparable injustice within the Philippine justice system and contravenes the 1987 Constitution

Thus, petitioner prays to the Honorable Court to declare the principle of presidential immunity from suits as unconstitutional and to order the Ombudsman to reinstate the case filed by petitioner against the president for Libel.


RELIEFS SOUGHT


          After due consideration of the discussions as above stated, the following are the reliefs most respectfully prayed, to wit:

1.    Declare the principle of presidential immunity from suits as unconstitutional; and

2.    Order the Office of the Ombudsman through Respondent Conchita Carpio Morales to reinstate the complaint for Libel filed by petitioner against respondent Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and to proceed with its preliminary investigation and the subsequent filing of the necessary criminal information.




PRAYER

          WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed of the Honorable Supreme Court that after due consideration of this Petition an order be issuedto:

1. Declare the principle of presidential immunity from suits as unconstitutional; and

2. Order the Office of the Ombudsman through Respondent Conchita Carpio Morales to reinstate the complaint for Libel filed by petitioner against respondent Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and to proceed with its preliminary investigation and the subsequent filing of the necessary criminal information.

Other reliefs and remedies which are just and equitable under the premises are likewise prayed.


Respectfully submitted this 23rd day of July 2014 in the City of Makati for the City of Manila, Philippines.



AUGUSTO L. SYJUCO JR., Ph.D.
Petitioner/Tax Payer
No. 4 Rodriguez St., Sta. Barbara, Iloilo City


Copy furnished:

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Office of the Ombudsman
Ombudsman Building, Agham Road,
North Triangle, Diliman, Quezon City 1101
By:____________________
Date:_________________

BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III
President of the Republic of the Philippines
3/F New Executive Building (NEB),
Malacañang Compound, Manila
By:____________________
Date:_________________

Hon. FRANCIS H. JARDELEZA
Office of the Solicitor General
134 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village,
Makati City, 1229
 
By:____________________
Date:_________________



EXPLANATION
          Copies of this petition were served to the above stated parties through registered mail due to distance involved and impracticality of personal service



AUGUSTO L. SYJUCO JR., Ph.D.



[1]G.R. No. 183591             October 14, 2008
THE PROVINCE OF NORTH COTABATO, duly represented by GOVERNOR JESUS SACDALAN and/or VICE-GOVERNOR EMMANUEL PIÑOL, for and in his own behalf, petitioners, 
vs.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE PANEL ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN (GRP), represented by SEC. RODOLFO GARCIA, ATTY. LEAH ARMAMENTO, ATTY. SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK RYAN SULLIVAN and/or GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, JR., the latter in his capacity as the present and duly-appointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) or the so-called Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, respondents.