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Good Morning Judge: The Puno Report

LATEST reports from print, radio and TV media that the consultative committee headed by former Chief Justice Renato Puno has made a recommendation to Congress for a Federal-Presidential form of government is indeed heartening, It reportedly further recommended that the President and Vice-President shall run under the same banner, while the senators shall be elected by regions and members of the lower house by congressional districts. The report of the constitutional consultative committee is merely recommendatory which Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives) may either approve or reject voting separately. If approved, the constitutional amendment shall still be subject to a plebiscite which may coincide with the local elections this coming May 14. Parenthetically, when I was with the bench and national vice-president of the Regional Trial Courts Association of the Philippines, I had been privileged to be part of the delegation headed by then Supreme Court Chief Justice Puno to Sydney, Australia, together with then Court of Appeals Associate Justice Villarama and two other judges representing the City and Municipal Courts, to observe the Australian Judicial System. Aside from Sydney, we made a five-hour plane trip to Adelaide, the industrial city of Australia. The constant fear of most of our countrymen that President Rodrigo Duterte may perpetuate himself in power by cancelling the barangay and youth elections on May 14 has somehow been assuaged by Acting DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano when he reportedly said that the DILG and the Philippine National Police are now “in the thick of the preparation for the May 14 village and youth council elections belying reports that the exercise would be postponed for the third time.” Reports further said that the DILG issued the statement after Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon warned of a “plot to postpone the elections again to pave the way for Charter Change (Cha-Cha) to extend the terms of members of the House of Representatives and other officials loyal to President Duterte.” Indeed, it is worthwhile to have a vigilant opposition in the Senate which could hardly be said of the House of Representatives. TRIVIA: Congratulations to the new Officers and Board of Directors for 2018-2020 of the USI Alumni Association who will be having their formal Oath-Taking this coming Saturday, March 3, at 3:00 pm at the Avenue Plaza Convention Center. In my own behalf and that of my spouse Minda, may I extend our most sincere and deep condolence to the bereaved family Atty. Ismael “Aike” Albao who recently passed away after a lingering illness. His remains lie at the IBP Building and the interment is scheduled on March 3. Atty Albao had been an active private law practitioner before his demise. Congratulations also to our daughter Tetsie who will be celebrating her Nth birthday anniversary this coming March 3. She now resides at Los Angeles, California. QUOTATION OF THE WEEK: “ THE GREATER PART OF OUR HAPPINESS OR MISERY DEPENDS UPON OUR DISPOSITIONS, AND NOT UPON OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.” MARTHA WASHINGTON FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE: “LOOK AT THE BIRDS IN THE SKY. THEY DO NOT SOW OR REAP OR GATHER INTO BARNS; YET YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER FEEDS THEM. ARE YOU NOT WORTH MUCH MORE THAN THEY ARE.” MATHEW 6:26

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