Handling Legal Matters

I was not able to update my blogspot blog for a while and upon checking my dashboard, there were lots of comments awaiting moderation. One of my posts was flooded with questions and testimonials about SEA-MARJ. Last August 2010, my BHO blog became controversial as someone from the said training center introduced him/herself as the company’s legal counsel. Talk about filing a libel case against me – Hot Issue: Libel Against Me

Order in the Court

Order in the court!

They also threatened me through email. Just when I was blogging for truth, the guilty parties were attacking me. After sending them my professional reply, I never heard anything from them, but their business continued to operate. I would like to thank Jobstreet for taking time to consider my feedback about SEAMARJ and updating their job listings. The misleading information on their job posting has been corrected, I believe. Still, there are job hunters who fall for it, who gets text messages for interview only to be disappointed about the training fee. These people are looking for real job to earn a living, not a training center who promises a prestigious job but requires them to shell out money. I’m not talking about these things to put their business down. I just hope that they’ll be more professional next time. And to all the job seekers out there, be responsible enough to check the company background before appearing for interview. Asking questions won’t hurt. Googling for answers will do.

Now, let’s go to the blogger’s side.

How do we handle things that require legal actions?

The first thing I did was analyze the situation. I asked myself some questions: Did I pissed them off? Am I ruining their business? Did I do something wrong? Am I a threat to their company? Why are they so bothered with my little post? Is it because the blog content is highly searchable and it’s appearing in the first page of Google search?

My voice was heard all over the web, I supposed. People find my blog, post comments and spread the word. I was not even a fan of Facebook by then which could make things better or worse through viral technology.

After reading their comments and email, I sent a prompt response. Yes, I’m good in handling things professionally. (Their exact opposite.)

Once their comment goes live on my site, I made a research about libel and suddenly I wanted to be a lawyer. Not like those Brooklyn Accident Attorney’s but the one who specializes in constitutional laws.

Libel has several basic elements: there must be an imputation of a crime or a defect against a person, living or dead, who must be identifiable; it must be published and, most important of all, it must be malicious, meaning there must be an ill motive behind the publication. Absent any one of these elements, there is no libel.

But here is the catch: The law recognizes two types of malice—malice in fact and malice in law, also called presumed malice. Malice in fact has to be proven by the complainant; he must prove that the accused bore ill will against him. Malice in law, however, does not have to be proven. The law presumes any defamatory publication as malicious, the logic being that when it was written and published, the authors meant it to hurt the victim.

-opinion.inquirer.net

Then I consulted this matter with my close friends and my boyfriend even recommended his Uncle to be my lawyer if worse comes to worst.

Even without supporting articles, I know, and honestly believe that I am not guilty. But just for enlightenment, here’s why.

When a complaint for libel is filed, present of course is the defamatory story, identification of the person defamed, and publication. The only thing to be proven is malice in fact, or actual malice. But because of “malice in law,” there already is a presumption of malice which the accused must overcome with his defenses, such as privilege (it is based on public records), the complainant is a public official or figure and therefore his life is an open book, or the motive for publication is the public good.

I also read some related blog posts about my situation. And find it overwhelming to get an undying support from the bloggers community. There were also lot of law practitioners who are willing to lend a helping hand if necessary.

If one day, you find yourself in the same situation, don’t be threatened. Fight for what is right and hold your head up high. I blog to spread the word and you share for a better world.

Image source: e-rockford.com

DFA Hassles: Things to Know About Passport Renewal

Please be guided accordingly…

I am excited about my trip to Malaysia and Singapore but I was disappointed with all the inconvenience and hassles I went through during my passport application.

I came to Department of Foreign Affairs at exactly 9:30 AM, as specified on the schedule confirmation, that’s thirty minutes before the appointed time. I was with my boyfriend and we managed to avoid every fixer that came our way. The DFA staff on duty ushered us to go inside and even shoved the fixers away but to my dismay, he informed us that we have to head to DFA Consular Office at the Macapagal Boulevard since we have our schedule already. Fine.

But wait, there’s more! He asked if I have completed all the requirements including passport photos so I said YES, except for photos because I was informed that it will be taken during the application. He insisted that the machines are not yet available on-site so he had me seated in front of the camera and PC then there goes the 1-2-3 click equals to one hundred fifty pesos. With his ID (too bad, I did not catch his name) and uniform, why would I have doubts? Of course I had, but I did not entertain it because I was in a hurry to meet my 10 AM schedule at the consular office.

Multicabs were still waiting for passengers so we’re forced to take the tricycle for a fare of P100 for us two. That’s because we didn’t want to wait for 3 more passengers. Fine. We should have hailed a cab. Tsk.

DFA Consular Office

DFA Consular Office located at ASEANA Business Park, Bradco Avenue corner Macapagal Boulevard, Paranaque City

When we arrived at the DFA Consular Office, there were lots of people waiting outside. Escorts are not allowed. The guard on duty wouldn’t allow me to go inside because I did not have my application form printed. But I have my appointment number written down so he finally let me in. When I asked another guard where I should fall in line, he pointed me to the 10AM queue. Yipee, I made it! Only to be back at the bottom of the queue because my application form was not VERIFIED aka signed with STABILO BOSS or whatever marker/highlighter they have. Oh my! I can’t find the right lines of people and I have to start all over again. Fine. Patience… patience…

I checked my name on the bulletin board of daily schedule and it was there. I informed the front desk about it and they signed my application form. Because of that, I was included in the bulk of late comers falling in line for the 10:30AM appointment. There’s good and bad thing about it. Lucky are those who are entertained despite their tardiness and how unfortunate for those who came on time only to be delayed by these people hence the domino effect.

DFA Queue

Sea of People (Sorry, this photo was taken using my C50)

I was applicant number 4831 and I noted the time stamp on that piece of paper – 10:32AM. Guess what time my number was called… Almost 2PM. Despite the long wait, I still consider myself lucky for being seated within 4 hours after few minutes of standing. After paying the passport fees, I endured another hour of waiting for the data capturing. By 3PM I was out of hell.

My boyfriend was waiting for me at the nearby McDo all through out the day, that’s my only consolation. So after literally devouring the food he ordered for me, we took a cab on the way home. And the story of mandarambong-gatari started. The taxi driver chatted with us and we talked about corruption even in the smallest unit of society, from the cops to the fixers and on how we can let the President know about it. The weather synchronized with our sentiments thus resulted to heavy downpours.

My thoughts drifted even at home…
I was really disappointed about this new system. I know where DFA is WAS located at, their SOP and the annoying fixers. I’ve been there before with my college classmate. So when I went there on the appointed date and time, I was really surprised to know that their good office has been relocated. I did not get it on the confirmation email. For sure it’s somewhere on their website but it does not concern me that much anymore. What enraged me are the illegal operations going on at the old DFA office. Is there something that can be done with those photo booths and greedy fixers? Why are they still operating their dirty business in broad daylight? Why? Should those establishments be demolished?

I’m really worried about other people that might be lured in this trap. That place is now full of sh!t. I’ve seen several others who were totally clueless about it and still making transactions with fixers and unauthorized officers.

If you wish to renew your passport or to apply for new one, read the Passport Application Appointment System carefully. If you don’t have a schedule yet, start the Individual Appointment Process rather than paying P300 or more for merely scheduling your appearance.

SEA-MARJ: Feedback, Very Much Needed

Since my post about SEA-MARJ keeps getting Anonymous comments and more people are coming into view to relate their nasty experiences about this training center, I’d like to gather more information about it. I don’t want to be one-sided so I’d like to hear from those who had positive experiences with SEA-MARJ.

Here’s my post about it by the way: SEA-MARJ – Think Twice Before You Apply

Scam Jobs

Please find time to read all the comments under that post. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment, too. Should you wish to send me an email, kindly check the disclosure policy.