Poverty of Spirit

Kingdom Life in a Fallen World   - By: Sinclair FergusonIn preparation for tomorrow’s talk on the Beautitudes which I will be giving to a group of policemen I read Sinclair Ferguson’s book on the Sermon on the Mount and here are some quotes which touched me:

We are poor men and women in ourselves, with no righteousness of our own to plead before God. We are bankrupt, debtors in his court. Our plea must be for mercy.”

“There is much teaching on how to be filled with the Spirit, but where can we learn what it means to be spiritually emptied – emptied of self-confidence, self-importance, and self-righteousness?”

And here’s the quote which convicted me most:

“In fact, there is no sadder commentary on our lack of this spiritual poverty than the readiness so many of us have to let others know what we think. But the man who is poor in spirit is the man who has been silenced by God, and seeks only to speak what he has learned in humility from him.”

That is a very interesting thought – the blessing of being silenced by God. This blessing comes only through much pain; but that’s the way God’s greatest blessings come. It means being broken, being humbled, maybe even being despised and forsaken, so that you can be alone with God and learn to depend completely and solely on him. But it’s only through being silenced that we can learn to truly speak according to his will. Somewhere Shakespeare speaks of words that are nothing more than sound and fury, signifying nothing. Maybe because they are words that have not been forged in the deep silences of the soul that has been alone with God.

It’s Over?

Haven’t seen the news on tv but the headlines on my feed reader kept pouring in, informing me that Proclamation No. 1017 has just been lifted. PTL! Now we can resume living normal lives until the next explosive issue comes along. BTW, what happens now to the cases filed in the SC questioning  the proclamation? Mooted, obviously. But cannot the SC still hear the cases in line with the “symbolic” or “teaching” function of judicial review (Salonga vs. Cruz-Pano, 134 SCRA 438 at 463)? I think even if it could it would be the height of imprudence for the SC to do so. As the saying goes, “Let bygones be bygones!” But seriously now I don’t think this issue will go away that easily. I’m expecting a torrent of post-mortem analysis. So fasten your seatbelts; this is a nation that loves to talk about everything under the sun and the tongue-wagging has just begun!

Atty-at-Work on PP 1017

I was planning to write something more on PP 1017 but when I read Fred’s recent take on the matter over at atty-at-work I decided the better and easier thing to do is to refer anyone interested to his post. I enjoyed the reference to Spiderman’s wisdom as something the president can learn from (imagine that! If I were writing the post I would have invoked Alexander Hamilton’s The Federalist), and the distinction between presidential “wise”dom and “wa-is”dom in relation to the whole PP 1017 issue just struck me as a fun but insightful way of putting it – in other words, very wise and wa-is at the same time. Iba ang pinoy!

Valley of Vision

A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions- Gift Edition, black bonded leather  - By: Arthur Bennett“Sin is my greatest evil,

but thou art my greatest good;

I have cause to loathe myself,

and not to seek self-honour,

for no one desires to commend his own dunghill.”

My reading this morning from The Valley of Vision (a collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions) on “Self Knowledge’ reminds me of that verse in Jeremiah about not seeking great things for one’s self. To seek one’s honor is no honor at all, especially when one knows how undeserving he is of honor since there are a lot of things that still need changing in his life. From a different angle, here’s what Matthew Henry has to say about this verse:

” The frowns of the world would not disquiet us as they do if we did not foolishly flatter ourselves with the hopes of its smiles and court and covet them too much. It is our over-fondness for the good things of this present time that makes us impatient under its evil things….”

“It is absurd for thee to be now painting thy own cabin. Canst thou expect to be high when all are brought low, to be full when all about thee are empty?” To seek ourselves more than the public welfare, especially to seek great things to ourselves when the public is in danger, is very unbecoming Israelites. We may apply it to this world, and our state in it; God in his providence is breaking down and pulling up; every thing is uncertain and perishing; we cannot expect any continuing city here. What folly is it then to seek great things for ourselves here, where every thing is little and nothing certain!”

Marking of Exhibits (2)

I now have the link to the source for the rule that exhibits must be marked during the pre-trial, otherwise they can’t be used during the trial. A.M. No. 03-1-09-SC provides thatNo evidence shall be allowed to be presented and offered during the trial in support of a party’s evidence-in-chief other than those that had been earlier identified and pre-marked during the pre-trial, except if allowed by the court for good cause shown.” Thanks so much to elegalforum for e-mailing to me the link!

Marking of Exhibits

I was in court this morning and I learned from the judge that you have to mark all the exhibits you want to present in the case during the pre-trial, otherwise the court won’t allow them to be marked anymore. I understand that to mean that you can’t present any exhibits during the trial proper unless these were previously marked in the pre-trial. I don’t know where she got this; it might be from an SC circular. Anyway, I’ll check the source and post it here as soon as I find it.

Proclamation No. 1017

I appeared on local TV and drew some flak via text phone from a lawyer friend regarding my take on Proclamation No. 1017. Basically my position (i.e., IMHO) is that there is no substantial difference between the words of Proclamation 1017 (including General Order No. 5) (BTW – thanks to PCIJ for the link) and Art. 7, Sec. 18 of the Phil. Constitution. On its face the document appears sound and probably will survive a constitutional challenge. Any criticism levelled against it should be deemed applicable to the constitution itself, if the critic is to be consistent, because, as I’ve said, the wordings used in both documents are essentially similar. The proclamation talks about preventing and suppressing lawless violence, insurrection and rebellion. The Constitution talks about preventing or suppressing lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. Looks more or less the same to me. In fact, I think the proclamation is (to use a word I heard on the Dong Puno show – thanks to Rizalist for the MP3) a legal superfluity. It doesn’t invest the president with new powers. With or without the proclamation the president under the constitution has the power, whenever it becomes necessary, to call out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. As to who determines whether such a necessity exists the Supreme Court held in IBP vs. Zamora that the President “necessarily exercises a discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom. This is clear from the intent of the framers and from the text of the Constitution itself. The Court, thus, cannot be called upon to overrule the President’s wisdom or substitute its own.” Moreover, “In view of the constitutional intent to give the President full discretionary power to determine the necessity of calling out the armed forces, it is incumbent upon the petitioner to show that the President’s decision is totally bereft of factual basis.”

It seems to me the proclamation only serves to complicate matters; under the constitution PGMA can already do the things she wants to do in her proclamation even without the proclamation! My lawyer friend thinks she wants to exercise martial law without calling it martial law so that she can evade the oversight power of Congress in Sec. 18 of Art. 7 of the Constitution. On my part I don’t read the constitution as requiring the president to proclaim martial law in cases of rebellion and invasion before she can call out the armed forces. The way I see it it’s optional on the part of the President to proclaim martial law in cases of rebellion and invasion. The Constitution simply says that if she thinks it necessary she can call out the armed forces in cases of lawless violence, rebellion and invasion, with or without proclaiming martial law. That’s her choice and she has a constitutional right to it. However, if she chooses to proclaim martial law, then Congress’ oversight powers come into play. The same applies if she suspends the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. But if she merely wants to call out the armed forces and do nothing else – that’s her constitutional option. And Congress can’t complain that it can’t use its oversight power.

Besides, I have a problem with reading between the lines of the document, no matter how well-founded such reading may be. If people think the document is intended to intimidate and is evil they are probably right, and they have the right to express their opinion vehemently and to peacably assemble against what they perceive as evil. If the document is eeriely similar to Marcos’ Proclamation 1081 then people have a right to be afraid (be very afraid!). They can condemn it all they want (I might even march beside them doing precisely that). But they have to do better than that when it comes to challenging the constitutionality of the document before the Supreme Court.

My parting shot was: “No matter how politically and morally valid our sentiments against the President and her proclamation may be, they remain mere sentiments and have no legally compelling force unless converted into formal legal justifications.” That, as I see it, is how our system works under the Rule of Law.

Compulsory Overtime

Can a school require the personnel of its school clinic to work overtime in view of circumstances which the school thinks necessitate the presence of these personnel? There seems to be no clear answer to this. The relevant rules on the matter can be found in The Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code of the Philippines, specifically Book III, Rule 1, Section 10 and Rule I-A, as follows:

SECTION 10. Compulsory overtime work. — In any of the following cases, an employer may require any of his employees to work beyond eight (8) hours a day, provided that the employee required to render overtime work is paid the additional compensation required by these regulations:

(a) When the country is at war or when any other national or local emergency has been declared by Congress or the Chief Executive;

(b) When overtime work is necessary to prevent loss of life or property, or in case of imminent danger to public safety due to actual or impending emergency in the locality caused by serious accident, fire, floods, typhoons, earthquake, epidemic or other disaster or calamities;

(c) When there is urgent work to be performed on machines, installations, or equipment, in order to avoid serious loss or damage to the employer or some other causes of similar nature;

(d) When the work is necessary to prevent loss or damage to perishable goods;

(e) When the completion or continuation of work started before the 8th hour is necessary to prevent serious obstruction or prejudice to the business or operations of the employer; or

(f) When overtime work is necessary to avail of favorable weather or environmental conditions where performance or quality of work is dependent thereon.

In cases not falling within any of these enumerated in this Section, no employee may be made to work beyond eight hours a day against his will.

Hours of Work of Hospital and Clinic Personnel

SECTION 1. General statement on coverage. — This Rule shall apply to:

(a) All hospitals and clinics, including those with a bed capacity of less than one hundred (100) which are situated in cities or municipalities with a population of one million or more; and

(b) All hospitals and clinics with a bed capacity of at least one hundred (100), irrespective of the size of the population of the city or municipality where they may be situated.

SECTION 2. Hospitals or clinics within the meaning of this Rule. — The terms “hospitals” and “clinics” as used in this Rule shall mean a place devoted primarily to the maintenance and operation of facilities for the diagnosis, treatment and care of individuals suffering from illness, disease, injury, or deformity, or in need of obstetrical or other medical and nursing care. Either term shall also be construed as any institution, building, or place where there are installed beds, or cribs, or bassinets for twenty-four (24) hours use or longer by patients in the treatment of disease, injuries, deformities, or abnormal physical and mental states, maternity cases or sanitorial care; or infirmaries, nurseries, dispensaries, and such other similar names by which they may be designated.

SECTION 3. Determination of bed capacity and population. — (a) For purposes of determining the applicability of this Rule, the actual bed capacity of the hospital or clinic at the time of such determination shall be considered, regardless of the actual or bed occupancy. The bed capacity of hospital or clinic as determined by the Bureau of Medical Services pursuant to Republic Act No. 4226, otherwise known as the Hospital Licensure Act, shall prima facie be considered as the actual bed capacity of such hospital or clinic.

(b) The size of the population of the city or municipality shall be determined from the latest official census issued by the Bureau of the Census and Statistics.

SECTION 4. Personnel covered by this Rule. — This Rule applies to all persons employed by any private or public hospital or clinic mentioned in Section 1 hereof, and shall include, but not limited to, resident physicians, nurses, nutritionists, dieticians, pharmacists, social workers, laboratory technicians paramedical technicians, psychologists, midwives, and attendants.

SECTION 5. Regular working hours. — The regular working hours of any person covered by this Rule shall not be more than eight (8) hours in any one day nor more than forty (40) hours in any one week.

For purposes of this Rule a “day” shall mean a work day of twenty-four (24) consecutive hours beginning at the same time each calendar year. A “week” shall mean the work of 168 consecutive hours, or seven consecutive 24-hour work days, beginning at the same hour and on the same calendar day each calendar week.

SECTION 6. Regular working days. — The regular working days of covered employees shall not be more than five days in a work week. The work week may begin at any hour and on any day, including Saturday or Sunday, designated by the employer.

Employers are not precluded from changing the time at which the work day or work week begins, provided that the change is not intended to evade the requirements of this Rule.

SECTION 7. Overtime work. — Where the exigencies of the service so require as determined by the employer, any employee covered by this Rule may be scheduled to work for more than five (5) days or forty (40) hours a week, provided that the employee is paid for the overtime work an additional compensation equivalent to his regular wage plus at least thirty percent (30%) thereof, subject to the provisions of this Book on the payment of additional compensation for work performed on special and regular holidays and on rest days.

SECTION 8. Hours worked. — In determining the compensable hours of work of hospital and clinic personnel covered by this Rule, the pertinent provisions of Rule 1 of this Book shall apply.

SECTION 9. Additional compensation. — Hospital and clinic personnel covered by this Rule, with the exception of those employed by the Government, shall be entitled to an additional compensation for work performed on regular and special holidays and rest days as provided in this Book. Such employees shall also be entitled to overtime pay for services rendered in excess of forty hours a week, or in excess of eight hours a day, whichever will yield the higher additional compensation to the employee in the work week.

SECTION 10. Relation to Rule I. — All provisions of Rule I of this Book which are not inconsistent with this Rule shall be deemed applicable to hospital and clinic personnel.

So the general rule is you can’t compel an employee to render overtime work except under the circumstances mentioned in Sec. 10 of Rule 1 of Book III of the Omnibus Rules. The rule is different with respect to hospital or clinic personnel. Under Sec. 7 of the above-mentioned Rule I-A these personnel may be scheduled to work overtime when the exigencies of the service so require. What these exigencies are is left to the determination of the employer. What is debatable is whether Rule I-A covers school clinics. I am not so sure it does.