PAL Leaves Mediation Offer In Labor Row To New Management

The flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL) refused to comment whether they will accept the offer that the Court of Appeals (CA) offered, to mediate in the labor argument caused by the early retirement of some 2, 300 workers last year.

In its place, the decision will be left to the new management led by San Miguel Corporation, President Ramon Ant, whose group will reportedly fill some $500 million to fund the struggling airline’s re-fleeting and modernization program.

“We are in the transition phase, so it’s best for the new leaders to decide regarding legal issues,” Vice president for corporate communications of PAL, Joey de Guzman said.

The Court of Appeals (CA) tenth division asked PAL and the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) in a resolution dated March 27, if they are prepare to bring the issue before the Philippine Mediation Center-Court of Appeals for “a final opportunity to explore the possibility of coming up with an amicable settlement of their dispute.”

It almost took 8 months for the appellate court to came up with the suggestion to end the labor row after Malacañang found it admissible for PAL to outsource its catering, ground handling and call center reservation units among losses in the past years.

Compensation packages, which floated between P120, 000 and P2.4 million, were dispersed weeks following the takeover of new service providers in October 1 last year.

But the union endured the firm in its bid to fight the spinoff program as it considered the Court of Appeals’ mediation offer as an opening to end the dispute despite attacks on its campout and spending the Christmas holidays at the picket lines.

Last Friday, PALEA submitted its reply of affirmation to the Court of Appeals.

Military produces ‘Morong 43’ in court

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) After initially refusing to surface the 43 health workers under their detention, the military on Monday presented them to the Court of Appeals for the hearing on a habeas corpus petition.

At the same time, 27-year-old Jane Balleta, one of the female detainees, recanted her earlier statement that she was sexually molested by some members of the military.

Each health worker was handcuffed to a military escort.

Over the weekend, Ofelia Beltran-Balleta, Jane’s mother, who visited her at the military camp, said her daughter told her she was molested.

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Miriam: Visiting Forces Agreement up for review

MANILA, Philippines – The Legislative Oversight Committee on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) will review the pact to set clearer guidelines on how US soldiers accused of crimes should be treated.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Legislative Oversight Committee chair, said they must take a “good tough look” at the VFA.

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CA under fire over ‘leak’

An anti-crime crusader and a member of the Bar want the Court of Appeals (CA) to run after the source of its allegedly “leaked draft decision” published by The Manila Times reversing the conviction by a lower court of a US Marine for raping a Filipino woman.

The concerned citizen, Teresita Ang-See, and the lawyer, Evalyn Ursua, on Thursday told The Times over the phone that they had asked Presiding Justice Conrado Vasquez of the appellate court to ferret out that source.

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‘Nicole’ statement won’t hold water, DOJ chief, experts say

MANILA, Philippines – It won’t hold water. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez and legal experts are one in saying that the statement of “Nicole” won’t necessarily work in favor of Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith who was convicted for raping a 23-year-old Filipina in 2005.

According to Gonzalez, it is unlikely that the Court of Appeals – where Smith lodged his appeal – will be influenced by Nicole’s statement and get the US serviceman off the hook. Lawyers agree. They say that while the statement could have weakened Nicole’s accusations against Smith, it remains a mere scrap of paper without any value as evidence.

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Annulment of Kristine-Diet marriage affirmed

THE Court of Appeals (CA) has sustained the annulment of marriage of actress Kristine Hermosa to actor Diether Ocampo solemnized in 2004 in Jaen, Nueva Ecija.

The CA Second Division denied the appeal made by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) questioning the March 31, 2006 ruling of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 136 that granted the annulment petition of Hermosa (Kristine Orille in real life) against her spouse, Ocampo (Diether Pascual in real life).

According to the CA, Hermosa was able to present sufficient evidence to prove that her supposed marriage to Ocampo on September 21, 2004 in Jaen, Nueva Ecija, as stated in their Certificate of Marriage, did not actually take place, based on documentary and testimonial evidence.

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Court of Appeals upholds continued detention of drug buy-bust suspects

Court of Appeals upholds continued detention of drug buy-bust suspects

In an 11-page decision penned by Associate Justice Monina Arevalo-Zeñarosa, the special 13th division of the court said “if they could be released from detention pending the review of the dismissal of their cases, the automatic review upon which the government asserts itself in ascertaining its action, altogether loses its primordial determination and intent.”

The case against Richard Santos Brodett, Joseph Ramirez Tecson and Jorge Jordan Joseph, known as the Alabang Boys, was dismissed by state prosecutors on Dec. 2 for lack of probable cause.

The resolution also stated that they be released from their detention as soon as possible.

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CA grants Isnajis petition

THE Court of Appeals (CA) has granted the harbeas corpus petition of Mayor Alvrez Isnaji of Indanan, Sulu and his son, Haider, who are implicated in the kidnap-for-ransom of broadcast journalist Ces Drilon and her crew last year.

The CA’s Sixth Division, in a resolution, ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to produce the accused and justify their continued detention at a scheduled hearing on January 27

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Courts may review Northrail contract

MANILA, Philippines–The Court of Appeals has again upheld the right of Philippine courts to review the contract of a Chinese contractor in the controversial $500-million Northrail project.

The appeals court last week denied China National Machinery and Equipment Corp.’s motion for reconsideration of an earlier court decision allowing a Makati court to proceed with a case that seeks to stop the Manila-to-Central Luzon railway project for being disadvantageous to the government.

The Chinese firm asserted that the local court had no jurisdiction over the case because CNMEC was an agent of the Chinese government and the project was the result of an executive agreement between the Philippine and Chinese governments. [Continue Reading...]