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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Should there be a Divorce Law in the Philippines?

Divorce or the dissolution of marriage is the final termination of a marital union, wherein the couple cancels their legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties. It is different from annulment, which declares the marriage null and void.

Divorce laws vary considerably around the world but in most countries, it requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process. The legal process for divorce may also involve issues of spousal support, child custody, child support, distribution of property, and division of debt. Divorce allows each former partner to marry another.

Nowadays, only the Philippines and the Vatican City do not have a civil procedure for divorce.

Divorce is a controversial topic. In 2005, party-list representative Liza Maza of Gabriela filed a divorce bill. In 2001, there have been similar bills that were filed in the Senate (Bill No. 782), which was introduced by Senator Rodolfo G. Biazon, and House of Representatives (Bill No. 878), which was introduced by Honorable Bellaflor J. Angara-Castillo. In 1999, Representative Manuel C. Ortega filed House Bill No. 6993, seeking for the legalization of divorce. In this current 14th Congress, Gabriela again filed a bill to introduce divorce in the Philippines.

The reasons underpinning this proposal is primarily the commitment to the policy of the State to protect and strengthen marriage and the family as basic social institutions, to value the dignity of every human person, to guarantee full respect for human rights, and to ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. The provisions of this bill, as what Gabriela claimed, are consistent with and in pursuit of those State policies.

In is also said that in the Filipino culture, marriage is regarded as a sacred union and the family founded on marriage is considered as a fount of love, protection, and care.

Philippine society generally frowns upon and discourages marital break-ups and so provides cultural and legal safeguards to preserve marital relations. Cultural prescriptions and religious norms keep many couples together despite the breakdown of the marriage. But the cultural prescriptions for women and men differ. Women are traditionally regarded as primarily responsible for making the marriage work and are expected to sacrifice everything to preserve the marriage and the solidarity of the family. While absolute fidelity is demanded of wives, men are granted sexual license to have affairs outside marriage. Yet when marriage fails, the woman is blamed for its failure.

Reality shows that there are many failed, unhappy marriages across all Filipino classes. Many couples especially from the marginalized sectors, who have no access to the courts, simply end up separating without the benefit of legal processes. The sheer number of petitions that have been filed since 1988 for the declaration of the nullity of the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, which is commonly called as "annulment", shows that there are just too many couples who are desperate to get out of failed marriages.

Even when couples do start out well in their marriage, political, economic, and social realities take their toll on their relationship. Some are not prepared to handle the intricacies of married life. For a large number of women, the inequalities and violence in marriage negate its ideals as the embodiment of love, care, and safety and erode the bases upon which a marriage is founded. The marital relations facilitate the commission of violence and perpetuate their oppression. Official figures support this. The 2003 report of the Philippine National Police shows that wife battering accounted for 53.6 percent of the total 8,011 cases of violence against women. About three of ten perpetrators were husbands of the victims. Husbands accounted for 28 percent of the violence against women crimes. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that in 2003, of the 15,314 women in especially difficult circumstances that the agency serviced, 25.1 percent or 5,353 were cases of physical abuse, maltreatment and battering.

Given these realities, couples must have the option to avail of remedies that will pave the way for the attainment of their full development and self-fulfillment and the protection of their human rights. Existing laws are not enough to address this need.

According to the Women's Legal Bureau, Inc., a legal resource NGO for women:
"The present laws relating to separation of couples and termination of marriage are inadequate to respond to the myriad causes of failed marriages. Particularly, the remedies of declaration of nullity and annulment do not cover the problems that occur during the existence of marriage. Legal separation, on the other hand, while covering problems during marriage, does not put an end to marriage."

"Though both divorce and a declaration of nullity of a marriage allow the spouses to remarry, the two remedies differ in concept and basis. A declaration of nullity presupposes that the marriage is void from the beginning and the court declares its non-existence... Beyond the grounds specified in the law, declaration of nullity is not possible."

"In annulment, the marriage of the parties is declared defective from the beginning, albeit it is considered valid until annulled. The defect can be used to nullify the marriage within a specified period but the same may be ignored and the marriage becomes perfectly valid after the lapse of that period, or the defect may be cured through some act. The defect relates to the time of the celebration of the marriage and has nothing to do with circumstances occurring after the marriage is celebrated. In annulment, the marriage is legally cancelled, and the man and woman are restored to their single status."

"Since August 3, 1988, couples have been given a way out of failed marriages through Article 36 of the Family Code... The remedy provided under Article 36 is declaration of nullity of the marriage. The article voids a marriage where one party is 'psychologically incapacitated' to comply with the essence of marital obligations. Consistent with the concept of void marriages, where the remedy is declaration of nullity, the law requires that the incapacity must have existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage in practice, Article 36 has become a form of divorce, as valid marriages are declared void every day in the guise of 'psychological incapacity.' The innumerable Article 36 cases brought to trial courts is an indication of the elasticity of Article 36 to accommodate the needs of many couples desiring to terminate their marriages. It is proof that divorce is needed in the Philippines. Article 36 provides a remedy only for spouses who can prove 'psychological incapacity'. The concept certainly cannot accommodate all cases where divorce would have necessary. What we need is a divorce law that defines clearly and unequivocally the grounds and terms for terminating a marriage. That law will put an end to the creative efforts played daily in courtrooms across the country to accommodate a wide range of cases in order to prove 'psychological incapacity.'"

~Women's Legal Bureau, Inc., The Relevance of Divorce in the Philippines, 1998
And thus, this bill seeks to introduce divorce as another option for couples in failed and irreparable marriages.

This bill was crafted in consultation with women lawyers and inspired by the studies and inputs of various women's groups and the experiences of spouses gathered by GABRIELA from its various

The bill seeks to introduce divorce in Philippine law with a strong sense of confidence that it will be used responsibly by Filipino couples. This confidence stems from the experiences of Filipino families that show that separation is usually the last resort of many Filipino couples whose marriages has failed. Cases of battered women also support this. Battered women invariably seek separation only after many years of trying to make the marriage work; separation only becomes imperative for them when they realize that it is necessary for their and their children's survival. Divorce could actually provide protection to battered women and their children from further violence and abuse. With the predominance of the Catholic faith in the Philippines, the fear that divorce will erode personal values on marriage appears unfounded. The experience of Italy, where the Vatican is located, and Spain, two predominantly Catholic countries which practice divorce, supports this. Those countries have a low rate of divorce. Italy registers a 7% rate while Spain registers 15%. The figures reflect the strong influence of religious beliefs and culture on individuals in deciding to terminate marital relations.

Historically, divorce had been part of our legal system. In the beginning of the 16th century, before the Spanish colonial rule, absolute divorce was widely practiced among ancestral tribes such as the Tagbanwas of Palawan, the Gadangs of Nueva Viscaya, the Sagadans and Igorots of the Cordilleras, and the Manobos, Bila-ans and Moslems of the Visayas and Mindanao islands. Divorce was also available during the American period, starting from 1917 (under Act No. 2710 enacted by the Philippine Legislature), and during the Japanese occupation (under Executive Order No. 141) and after, until 1950. It was only on August 30, 1950, when the New Civil Code took effect, that divorce was disallowed under Philippine law. Only legal separation was available. The same rule was adopted by the Family Code of 1988, which replaced the provisions of the New Civil Code on marriage and the family, although the Family Code introduced the concept of "psychological incapacity" as a basis for declaring the marriage void.

In recognition of the history of divorce in the Philippines, the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution left the wisdom of legalizing divorce to the Congress. Thus, the 1987 Constitution does not prohibit the legalization of divorce.

It is also noted that this bill is respectful of and sensitive to differing religious beliefs in the Philippines. It recognizes that the plurality of religious beliefs and cultural sensibilities in the Philippines demand that different remedies for failed marriages should be made available. For this reason, the bill retains the existing remedies of legal separation, declaration of nullity of the marriage and annulment and only adds divorce as one more remedy. Couples may choose from these remedies depending on their situation, religious beliefs, cultural sensibilities, needs and emotional state. While divorce under this proposed measure severs the bonds of marriage, divorce as a remedy need not be for the purpose of re-marriage; it may be resorted to by individuals to achieve peace of mind and facilitate their pursuit of full human development. This bill also seeks to make Philippine law consistent in the way it treats religious beliefs with respect to termination of marriage. Philippine law through the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (Presidential Decree No. 1083 of 1977) allows divorce among Filipino Muslims, in deference to the Islamic faith which recognizes divorce. Non-Muslim Filipinos should have the same option under the Philippine law, in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The bill proposes five grounds for divorce. All the five grounds are premised on the irreparable breakdown of the marriage and the total non-performance of marital obligations. Thus, the bill provides that a petition for divorce may be filed when the petitioner has been separated de facto (in fact) from his or her spouse for at least five years at the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbably, or when the petitioner has been legally separated from his or her spouse for at least two years at the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable.

Not all circumstances and situations that cause the total breakdown of a marriage could be defined in this proposed measure. Thus, the bill also provides that divorce may be granted when the spouses suffer from irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage. Spouses living in a state of irreparable marital conflict or discord should be given the opportunity to present their marital contrarieties in court and have those differences adjudged as constituting a substantial ground to put an end to the marriage.

Another ground for divorce included in the bill is when one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. This provision will consequently repeal Article 36 of the Family Code. The bill seeks to include "psychological incapacity" in the grounds for divorce in the belief that the concept is consistent with the termination of marital ties rather than with a void marriage.

The bill seeks to eliminate "condonation of the act" and "consent to the act" as grounds for denying a petition for legal separation and, by extension, a petition for divorce. Many spouses especially women ignore the offense because of the social and economic conditions they are in. Many women in the marginalized sectors tend to condone the offense because they are economically dependent on their spouses or because of the stigma attached to failed marriages. Some women who are perceived to be condoning the acts of their husbands actually suffer from the cycle of spousal abuse such that they have become so disempowered to address their situation.

Under this proposed measure, a decree of divorce dissolves the absolute community or conjugal partnership of gains. The assets shall be equally divided between the spouses. However, this bill also proposes that in addition to his or her equal share in the assets, the spouse who is not gainfully employed shall be entitled to support until he or she finds adequate employment but the right shall only be effective for not more than one year. This provision is meant to address the economic deprivation or poverty that many women experience as a result of a marital break-up.

The bill also proposes that the custody of any minor child shall be decided by the court in accordance with the best interests of the child and their support provided in accordance with the Family Court provisions on support. Actual, moral and exemplary damages shall be awarded to the aggrieved spouse when proper in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code on damages. The proposed measure also provides that parties shall be disqualified from inheriting from each other by intestate succession. Moreover, provisions in favor of one spouse made in the will of the other spouse shall be revoked by operation of law.

The bill is being introduced based on indications that the Philippine society is ready for the legalization of divorce.

Finally, it has been added that the sanctity of marriage is not based on the number of marriages existing but on the quality of marital relationships. When a marriage is no longer viable, divorce should be an option.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mob Wars La Cosa Nostra: List of Hidden Blueprints

Mob Wars La Cosa Nostra is one of Kano Apps syndicate/mob wars game, and is a sequel to the original Kano Apps Mob Wars game. This game can be played on different Social Networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Hi5.

One of the interesting features of this game is that it has a "Workshop", where you can combine certain items to form new powerful items. To do this, you need to drag a recipe into the work bench and craft it. Most of the craftable items can already be found on the list except for the elusive hidden blueprints, which may took you some time to figure out the right recipe. But, never fear... with this guide, you will have all these hidden blueprints in no time.

List of Hidden Blueprints (in order of Level)

Razorblade Tophat
Required Location: London
Level Unlock: 55
Crafting Cost: $50,000
Required Items:
x2 Incriminating Photos
x1 Assault Rifle
x1 Titanium Switchblade

Cellular Gun

Required Location: Las Vegas
Level Unlock: 90
Crafting Cost: $150,000
Required Items:
x1 Gold Brick
x1 Diamond Knuckles
x2 Lead Pipe

Required Location: Moscow
Level Unlock: 120
Crafting Cost: $500,000
Required Items:
x1 Yacht
x1 S.W.A.T. Bearcat
x1 Turret-Armed Humvee

Flamethrower Lamp
Required Location: Dubai
Level Unlock: 170
Crafting Cost: $1,000,000
Required Items:
x1 Sheik's Scimitar
x1 Explosive Zippos

Transformed Car Robot
Required Location: Tokyo
Level Unlock: 270
Crafting Cost: $15,000,000
Required Items:
x1 Supersonic Train
x1 Helicopter
x1 RAH-66 Commanche

Tequila Flamethrower
Required Location: Tijuana
Level Unlock: 360
Crafting Cost: $30,000,000
Required Items:
x1 Magnum El Diablo
x1 Beretta Cheetah
x1 Carcano Carbine

Magnetic Charges
Required Location: Medellin
Level Unlock: 420
Crafting Cost: $60,000,000
Required Items:
x1 RPG-7
x1 Information Kit

RG41 Rolling Thunder
Required Location: Johannesburg
Level Unlock: 700
Crafting Cost: $200,000,000
Required Items:
x1 Safari Jeep
x1 Harley Davidson
x1 Ford Torino

Steel Harpoon Gun
Required Location: Bangkok
Level Unlock: 850
Crafting Cost: $750,000,000
Required Items:
x1 Diamond Cleaver
x1 Attack Chimp
x1 Zastava CZ99

Rolex Garrote
Required Location: Rio de Janeiro
Level Unlock: 1000
Crafting Cost: $2,000,000,000
Required Items:
x1 Incendiary AK-47
x1 Milkor M32 MGL
x1 Porsche 911

Attack Gyrocopter
Required Location: San Francisco
Level Unlock: 1240
Crafting Cost: $6,000,000,000
Required Items:
x1 Combat Yacht
x1 Hot Rod
x1 Gold Jet

So there you have it! However, note that KannoApps may modify these recipes at their sole discretion, thus, the list here is subject to change.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

African man burned alive

African man burned alive.
The world is crazy, and if that little girl ran over by vehicles in China wasn't enough, you get another scene of brutality somewhere in Africa.

This video had been uploaded probably somewhat in the first week of October. No major details about the video was found except of the fact that this is totally graphic in content, and is not for the faint of heart.

It is rumored that the man was gay, and some say that it occurred in Uganda, while some others say Africa, but most probably South Africa as their language was identified by one of the online users, who knew African language. The mob were accusing the victim of thievery, and was beaten to a bloody pulp. You could also see the helpless victim making a sign language telling others that he only wanted to eat. Later, he was sentenced to Necklacing. Necklacing in South Africa is the practice of summary execution and torture carried out by forcing a rubber tire, filled with petrol, around a victim's chest and arms, and setting it on fire. The victim, of course, dies from severe burns. Anyway, just see the video below.

Video of an African man that was executed by Necklacing.

Of course, there are so many factors as to why people behave violently, but such behavior can be referred to as Deindividuation, a concept in social psychology regarding the loosening of social norms in groups.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yue Yue - under 2 year old toddler run over by two vehicles

Wang Yue before she was run hit by an approaching van.
Yue Yue or Wang Yue was the Chinese little girl under 2 years old who was left bleeding in a road after being ran over by two different vehicles and then ignored by 18 passersby.

The horrific video footage of the two-year-old Wang Yue, being knock down and ran over by a van in Foshan city, in the southern province of Guangdong emerged earlier last week. As she bleeds on the narrow street, about more than a dozen apathetic people walk or cycle past her for the next seven minutes before a second truck runs over her. This became the most talked about topic on China's version of Twitter, and even all over the world.

Video of the accident.

Little Wang Yue in a coma.
Little Yue Yue was eventually drag into the sidewalk by Chen Xianmei, shortly thereafter, Yue's mother arrived and called for help.

The toddler was taken to a hospital and survived for more than a week before eventually dying of multiple organ failure. Both drivers who ran over the little girl had been arrested. One of these drivers earlier offered to pay the parents on the condition that he would not go to jail. However, the parents declined and demanded justice instead.

This was what the driver of the first vehicle claimed:
"You saw that girl on the CCTV footage, she didn't see where she was going. I was on the phone when it happened, I didn't mean it."

"When I realized I had knocked her down, I thought I'd go down to see how she was. Then when I saw she was already bleeding, I just decided to just step on the gas pedal and escape seeing that nobody was around."

Authorities in Foshan presented Chen Xianmei, a rubbish collector who went to Yue Yue's aid with money as reward. Another company in the city has also offered to donate to her family and rescuer. Chen Xianmei, however, instead of being praised as a heroine, was even criticized by some Chinese. They say she did it only for popularity and money.

China's economic boom and the growing disparity between the rich and poor have made changing social values a contentious topic, with some lamenting what they see as materialism replacing morals.

Yueyue's father told Chinese television:
"Yueyue is so lovely. If I quarreled with her mother and her mother cried, she would tell us not to cry, she always try to amuse us. I just hope my child will wake up and call me dad again."
After a week in coma, little Yueyue finally gave up her struggle for life. Earlier, it was reported that she took deep breaths with the aid of a respirator, and was responding to a pain in her arm. However, her injuries were so severe that despite advance medical treatment, she was unable to make it.

Her death eventually prompted lawmakers to meet and discuss introduction of "Good Samaritan" legislation.

Additional Pictures

Little Yueyue with her mother and elder brother.
Yueyue's parents.
Yueyue and his brother.
Yueyue before and after the accident.

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