Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370


•      On the whole, both the majority and dissenting opinions uphold Philippine sovereignty and jurisdiction over criminally errant American soldiers in the Philippines, and fortifies the feminist movement in the country.

•      Both the majority and dissenting opinions sustain the position that pending Smith’s appeal before the Court of Appeals from his conviction by the RTC of Makati, he should be confined in a facility under Philippine authorities. The difference is that the majority decision holds in abeyance the transfer of Smith from the US Embassy to a Philippine penitentiary or detention center pending renegotiation of the Romulo-Kenney agreement placing Smith under American authorities in the US Embassy. The order for renegotiation gives recognition to the VFA provision that the choice of the detention facility under Philippine authorities should be agreed upon by appropriate Philippine and American representatives. On the other hand, the minority decision orders the immediate transfer of Smith to the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

•     The majority decision does not impose a deadline on when the renegotiation should be started and completed, although it orders that the renegotiation be done “forthwith”. In reality, the eventual transfer of Smith can be expeditious or sluggish depending on the contingencies and exigencies of diplomacy.

•      Another major difference is that the majority decision upholds the constitutionality of the VFA as an implementation of the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty. The minority decision strikes down the VFA as unconstitutional because while the Philippines, through the Senate, ratified it as a treaty, the United States does not accord it the status of a treaty. I agree with Chief Justice Reynato Puno that it is lamentable that it is the Philippines itself which derogates its parity as a sovereign state with the United States.

06 February 2009

Rep. Roilo Golez in his vain attempt to demonize the RH bill has been presenting to his colleagues misleading, deceptive, unreliable, underreported and unofficial data.        

In order to portray that family planning and contraceptive use have no correlation to maternal mortality and infant deaths and that the country’s current maternal and infant mortality ratios are not alarming, Golez is guilty of the following flawed methodologies:

1.      He “cherry-picks” his statistics from the Department of Reproductive Health and Research of the WHO on contraceptive prevalence rates (CPR) of different countries in relation to their respective population growth rates (PGR) without disclosing the vast variances in base years of the two indicators, so much so that no sound and logical statistical conclusion can be established.

The persistent negative reports that 11 Filipino women die daily of causes related to pregnancy and childbirth underscore the critical immediacy of enacting the Reproductive Health bill on family planning, responsible parenthood and population development which is pending both in the House of Representatives and the Senate.


Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, principal author of House Bill 5043 on RH, made this urgent call as he said that these data which make the Philippines among the worst performing countries in improving maternal health “are not cold statistics but disturbing and distressing figures which demand immediate remedial action from policymakers.”


The lifetime risk of maternal death in the Philippines is 1 in 140, compared to 1 in 8,000 for women in developed countries.

04 January 2009
0918-912-0137, 415-5455

“A farce cannot be elevated and sanctified as a law.”

Thus, Rep. Edcel C. Lagman summed up President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s decision not to approve Senate Joint Resolution No. 19 which sought to extend the land acquisition and distribution component of CARP without including the compulsory acquisition of the remaining 1.3 million hectares of private agricultural lands.

The President was “perfectly correct” in temporarily allowing LAD to expire rather than giving her imprimatur to a joint resolution which “desecrated the heart and soul of CARP by excluding compulsory acquisition which is the essence of the social justice program.”
The President should be commended for dissociating herself from a travesty which is constitutionally offensive.

The legislative agenda should now concentrate on the revival of the LAD by enacting the original HB 4077 principally authored by Lagman and previously certified as an urgent measure by the President.




0918-9120137 / 9315497 / 927-9487

03 January 2009



The reported decision of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to allow Senate Joint Resolution No. 19 to “lapse into law” is effectively a veto of the projected six-month extension of the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which excluded compulsory acquisition of private agricultural lands.


I have earlier urged the President to veto the joint resolution for limiting the LAD extension to voluntary offer to sell (VOS) and voluntary land transfer (VLT), which makes agrarian coverage at the sole option of landowners and consequently unconstitutional.


The LAD expired after midnight of December 31, 2008 without President Macapagal-Arroyo seasonably approving the joint resolution.


Even if the President allows the joint resolution to “lapse into law” by January 22, 2009 or 30 days after the enrolled copy of the joint resolution was officially received by the Office of the President on December 23, 2008 , there is no more LAD to extend because it has already earlier expired.


Once the deadline sought to be extended has expired, no belated extension could be effected.


The joint resolution could only be allowed to “lapse into law” without the President’s explicit approval if there is sufficient intervening time before the expiration of the deadline and the lapsing into effectivity of the joint resolution.


The requisite intervening period is absent because the LAD expired immediately after December 31, 2008 and the anticipated “lapsing into law” of the joint resolution will still occur on January 22, 2009 or twenty two days after the actual expiration of the LAD.


The joint resolution now belongs to the archives of failed measures and the legislative process is ripe for the enactment of House Bill No. 4077, the original Lagman extension bill, which should now be converted into a LAD revival measure including compulsory acquisition.


After the LAD had expired, the appropriate step is to revive it, which must be done in fealty to the constitutional mandate for the “just distribution of all agricultural lands”, of which 1.3 million hectares are still subject to coverage.