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Friday, October 16, 2009

2009 Philippine Bar Exam: Political Law Part II

TRUE or FALSE. Answer TRUE if the statement is true, or FALSE if the statement is false. Explain your answer in not more than two (2) sentences. (5%)
[a] Aliens are absolutely prohibited from owning private lands in the Philippines.
[b] A de facto public officer is, by right, entitled to receive the salaries and emoluments attached to the public office he holds.
[c] The President exercises the power of control over all executive departments and agencies, including government-owned or controlled corporations.
[d] Decisions of the Ombudsman imposing penalties in administrative disciplinary cases are merely recommendatory. [e] Dual citizenship is not the same as dual allegiance.
William, a private American citizen, a university graduate and frequent visitor to the Philippines, was inside the U.S. embassy when he got into a heated argument with a private Filipino citizen. Then, in front of many shocked witnesses, he killed the person he was arguing with. The police came, and brought him to the nearest police station. Upon reaching the station, the police investigator, in halting English, informed William of his Miranda rights, and assigned him an independent local counsel. William refused the services of the lawyer, and insisted that he be assisted by a Filipino lawyer currently based in the U.S. The request was denied, and the counsel assigned by the police stayed for the duration of the investigation. William protested his arrest.
[a] He argued that since the incident took place inside the U.S. embassy, Philippine courts have no jurisdiction because the U.S. embassy grounds are not part of Philippine territory; thus, technically, no crime under Philippine law was committed. Is William correct? Explain your answer. (3%)
[b] He also claimed that his Miranda rights were violated because he was not given the lawyer of his choice; that being an American, he should have been informed of his rights in proper English; and that he should have been informed of his rights as soon as he was taken into custody, not when he was already at the police station. Was William denied his Miranda rights? Why or why not? (3%)
[c] If William applies for bail, claiming that he is entitled thereto under the “international standard of justice” and that he comes from a U.S. State that has outlawed capital punishment, should William be granted bail as a matter of right? Reasons. (3%)
A terrorist group called the Emerald Brigade is based in the State of Asyaland. The government of Asyaland does not support the terrorist group, but being a poor country, is powerless to stop it. The Emerald Brigade launched an attack on the Philippines, firing two missiles that killed thousands of Filipinos. It then warned that more attacks were forthcoming. Through diplomatic channels, the Philippines demanded that Asyaland stop the Emerald Brigade; otherwise, it will do whatever is necessary to defend itself. Receiving reliable intelligence reports of another imminent attack by the Emerald Brigade, and it appearing that Asyaland was incapable of preventing the assault, the Philippines sent a crack commando team to Asyaland. The team stayed only for a few hours in Asyaland, succeeded in killing the leaders and most of the members of the Emerald Brigade, then immediately returned to the Philippines.
[a] Was the Philippine action justified under the international law principle of “self-defense”? Explain your answer. (3%)
[b] As a consequence of the foregoing incident, Asyaland charges the Philippines with violation of Article 2.4 of the United Nations Charter that prohibits “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.” The Philippines counters that its commando team neither took any territory nor interfered in the political processes of Asyaland. Which contention is correct? Reasons. (3%)
[c] Assume that the commando team captured a member of the Emerald Brigade and brought him back to the Philippines. The Philippine Government insists that a special international tribunal should try the terrorist. On the other hand, the terrorist argues that terrorism is not an international crime and, therefore, the municipal laws of the Philippines, which recognize access of the accused to constitutional rights, should apply. Decide with reasons. (3%)
The Philippine Government is negotiating a new security treaty with the United States which could involve engagement in joint military operations of the two countries’ armed forces. A loose organization of Filipinos, the Kabataan at Matatandang Makabansa (KMM) wrote the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of National Defense (DND) demanding disclosure of the details of the negotiations, as well as copies of the minutes of the meetings. The DFA and the DND refused, contending that premature disclosure of the offers and counter offers between the parties could jeopardize on-going negotiations with another country. KMM filed suit to compel disclosure of the negotiation details, and be granted access to the records of the meetings, invoking the constitutional right of the people to information on matters of public concern.
[a] Decide with reasons. (3%)
[b] Will your answer be the same if the information sought by KMM pertains to contracts entered into by the Government in its proprietary or commercial capacity? Why or why not? (3%)
The KKK Television Network (KKK-TV) aired the documentary, “Case Law: How the Supreme Court Decides,” without obtaining the necessary permit required by P.D. 1986. Consequently, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) suspended the airing of KKK-TV programs. MTRCB declared that under P.D. 1986, it has the power of prior review over all television programs, except “newsreels” and programs “by the Government”, and the subject documentary does not fall under either of these two classes. The suspension order was ostensibly based on Memorandum Circular No. 98-17 which grants MTRCB the authority to issue such an order. KKK-TV filed a certiorari petition in court, raising the following issues:
[a] The act of MTRCB constitutes “prior restraint” and violates the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression; (3%) and
[b] While Memorandum Circular No. 98-17 was issued and published in a newspaper of general circulation, a copy thereof was never filed with the Office of the National Register of the University of the Philippines Law Center. (2%) Resolve the foregoing issues, with reasons.
[a] Angelina, a married woman, is a Division Chief in the Department of Science and Technology. She had been living with a married man, not her husband, for the last fifteen (15) years. Administratively charged with immorality and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, she admits her live-in arrangement, but maintains that this conjugal understanding is in conformity with their religious beliefs. As members of the religious sect, Yahweh’s Observers, they had executed a Declaration of Pledging Faithfulness which has been confirmed and blessed by their Council of Elders. At the formal investigation of the administrative case, the Grand Elder of the sect affirmed Angelina’s testimony and attested to the sincerity of Angelina and her partner in the profession of their faith. If you were to judge this case, will you exonerate Angelina? Reasons. (3%) [b] Meanwhile, Jenny, also a member of Yahweh’s Observers, was severely disappointed at the manner the Grand Elder validated what she considered was an obviously immoral conjugal arrangement between Angelina and her partner. Jenny filed suit in court, seeking the removal of the Grand Elder from the religious sect on the ground that his act in supporting Angelina not only ruined the reputation of their religion, but also violated the constitutional policy upholding the sanctity of marriage and the solidarity of the family. Will Jenny’s case prosper? Explain your answer. (2%) XVII Filipinas Computer Corporation (FCC), a local manufacturer of computers and computer parts, owns a sprawling plant in a 5,000-square meter lot in Pasig City. To remedy the city’s acute housing shortage, compounded by a burgeoning population, the Sangguniang Panglungsod authorized the City Mayor to negotiate for the purchase of the lot. The Sanggunian intends to subdivide the property into small residential lots to be distributed at cost to qualified city residents. But FCC refused to sell the lot. HardPOLITICAL AND PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW Page 13 of 13 pressed to find a suitable property to house its homeless residents, the City filed a complaint for eminent domain against FCC. [a] If FCC hires you as lawyer, what defense or defenses would you set up in order to resist the expropriation of the property? Explain. (5%) [b] If the Court grants the City’s prayer for expropriation, but the City delays payment of the amount determined by the court as just compensation, can FCC recover the property from Pasig City? Explain. (2%) [c] Suppose the expropriation succeeds, but the City decides to abandon its plan to subdivide the property for residential purposes having found a much bigger lot, can FCC legally demand that it be allowed to repurchase the property from the City of Pasig? Why or why not? (2%) XVIII What are the essential elements of a valid petition for a people’s initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution? Discuss. (2%) *** END OF PART II ***

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