Make the Right Choice

Tomorrow 31 October 2006 is the last day for Overseas Filipinos to register as Absentee Voter. Comelec estimated that half a million Overseas Filipinos are set to vote in the coming May 2007 election. If we exercise our right to vote sincerely and wisely, then these figures are substantial enough to change the course of the history of Philippine politics.


Political issues, old or new may still be just around the corner, it maybe gone forever or not but for now we should focus ourselves into whom among these leaders worthy for our votes.    


David L. is right, let’s move on and set aside partisan politics for a moment and concentrate more on identifying whose the best one, after all it is our heart that dictates our right of choice.



Yes! Filipino people are divided on what we believe in for the good of our country but to sum it all, we have only one thing in common and that is “for the better Philippines”.

5th Quran Reading Contest

Press Release No. NNP-53-2006 28 October 2006


28 Oct 2006 – The Philippine Embassy announced the successful conduct of the 5th Qur’an Reading Contest, a much anticipated annual event held during the Holy Month of Ramadhan.

Held on 20 Ramadhan 1427 (12 October 2006), the 5th Qur’an Reading Contest was participated in by 11 Filipino Muslim brothers from the Maguindanao, Maranaw and Tausug tribes and the Balik Islam group.

Phil. Embassy Charge de Affaires Nestor Padalhin

Phil. Embassy Charge de Affaires Nestor Padalhin

In his message to the guests and participants of the event, Charge d’Affaires, a. i. Nestor N. Padalhin said that the contest is an important, fitting and meaningful celebration of Ramadhan. He thanked the members of the Filipino Muslim community in the Kingdom for their support and more importantly, he extended his gratitude for the support given by a significant number of Saudi businessmen who generously provided prizes to all the winners and participants.

The Firm

I read interesting news item today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer titled “The Firm“. It is all about how Justice Antonio Carpio voted for a NO in the Charter Change issue.


Contrary to the famous novel by John Grisham  “The Firm”  in which the book shows that deception is everywhere, including the legal system, Justice Carpio on the other hand expresses his action that legal system in our country still works.  Being a Presidential appointee and having professional attachment with the Arroyo’s with his previous Law Firm does not hinder his belief in search for justice.  



Speaking of Law Firms, there are many Law Firms in our country that can produce good Judges and Justices in the future, to name a few like: a) Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura, Sayoc & De Los Angeles, b) Tanjuatco, Oreta, Factoran and Berenguer; and Oreta, Suarez and Narvasa c) Chan, Robles   d) Jaromay, Laurente, Pamaos  e) Mamangun & Juco f) Sycip, Salazar, Hernandez, Gatmaitan Law Firm and many more in the provinces.


Though abovementioned law firms are prominent and long time practicing lawyers in the Philippines, I added in the list new law offices of young energetic lawyers. 

Justice Prevails

“The Constitution being the fundamental law of the land deserves the utmost respect and obedience of all the citizens of this nation. No one can trivialize the Constitution by cavalierly amending or revising it in blatant violation of the clearly specified modes of amendment and revision laid down in the Constitution itself”.


“If this Court allows today a cavalier change in the Constitution outside the constitutionally prescribed modes, tomorrow the new dominant political group that comes will demand its own set of changes in the same cavalier and unconstitutional fashion. A revolving-door Constitution does not augur well for the rule of law in this country”. – The High Tribunal

500,000 Pinoys abroad expected to vote in next year’s polls

By: Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star: 10/16/2006

Half a million Filipinos abroad, including undocumented workers, are set to vote in the 2007 senatorial and party-list elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

An estimated 150,000 Filipinos are expected to register for the overseas absentee voting which is ongoing until Oct. 31, Comelec Commissioner Florentino Tuason said.

In an interview, Tuason said, “500,000 is already substantial, it can make the difference on who will sit as the new senators.”

The poll official said a portion of those who registered for the coming elections are undocumented workers. “I don’t know the exact figure but we were able to encourage a number of undocumented Filipino workers to register,” he said.

Tuason noted that by registering for the coming elections, undocumented workers would not only be able to vote, but also legalize their stay abroad.

In the 2004 presidential elections, only 350,000 Filipinos abroad registered and participated in the polls.

Earlier, Tuason reported that about 5,000 Filipino migrants in the United States will be voting by mail in next year’s elections. He said the Comelec has decided to allow voting by mail in the US because it would be faster and cheaper.

Happy Eid L Fitr

Yesterday was the start of EID L FITR, the end of Ramadhan, the holy month of Islamic world. Usually, companies in Saudi Arabia are closed for a week in observance of the feast.

"Eid Mubarak"

"Eid Mubarak"

However, due to the urgency of work and company commitments with our clients, we have only one day, the 23rd of October declared a non-working day. We can’t refuse to come to work because it will be paid, normal working day, plus a day overtime and a day paid bonus – Not so bad at all.

I spent my half day (23 October) in the hospital morgue where my late co-employee laid to rest (died due to stroke) temporarily waiting completion of his documents going back home.

But my one day vacation was not really a good one. I regret visited the city proper just to experience a horrible scene like in the movie, a disturb lady jump into the hood of my friend car pretending like Lito Lapid in his action stunt flick movies. Though the car was idle she was not hurt, I trembled because the law in Saudi Arabia in this kind of situation is in contrast at home. Our friend at the back seat of the car giggled and said “Pare nakarating si Darna sa Saudi ang layo ng lipad“.

Oh What a Day! Anyway, “HAPPY EID L FITR” to everyone!

Rule by Law and Rule of Law

What is the difference between Rule “by” Law and Rule “of” Law?

The difference between “rule by law” and “rule of law” is important. Under the rule “by” law, law is an instrument of the government, and the government is above the law. In contrast, under the rule “of” law, no one is above the law, not even the government. The core of “rule of law” is an autonomous legal order. Under rule of law, the authority of law does not depend so much on law’s instrumental capabilities, but on its degree of autonomy, that is, the degree to which law is distinct and separate from other normative structures such as politics and religion. As an autonomous legal order, rule of law has at least three meanings. First, rule of law is a regulator of government power. Second, rule of law means equality before law. Third, rule of law means procedural and formal justice. By: Bo Li, What is Rule Of Law.

But the rule of law is not strengthened when it is wielded like a weapon against our enemies. It is reinforced by universally and consistently applying it. Indeed, in societies like ours, we add to the law’s majesty by letting its axe fall in the first instance on those to whom we are closest. Nothing erodes the rule of law more than when it is invoked by the very ones who brazenly and routinely manipulate it. By: Randy David

OFW Empowerment Forum

To: Fellow Overseas Filipino Workers/Filipino Migrant Workers,


VERY SOON “OFW Empowerment Forum” will be available where we can discuss OFWs issues and concerns and “Empowering Overseas Filipinos through Economic and Political means”. 



To many migrant NGO activists, “migrant empowerment means consciousness raising”. It means enabling the migrant workers “to appreciate the causes and effects of migration on macro and microlevels; to enable them to understand the problems that migrants face in the work place and at home; and to enable them to respond to those problems by mobilizing personal and collective resources that are available to them”


Page 18 of ILO, Empowering Filipino Migrant Workers, Policy Issues and Challenges, The Challenge of Empowering Filipino Migrant Workers.

No Objection Certificate

No objection Certificate is a legal binding document to be issued by the Philippine Embassy as a requirement for the shipment of the remains of a deceased OFW.

Likewise a “Letter of Acceptance” from the family of the deceased is also required and this document must come from DFA office. The deceased complete  address must be correctly  written in the document para sa tamang pagdadalhan ng mga labi nito at pagpapatunay na ito ay kanilang natanggap (acceptance of the family).

Remains to be shipped to country of origin

Remains to be shipped to country of origin

Upon issuance of the said LA, it will be forwarded by fax from the provincial DFA office to Manila.  The DFA Manila will forward the mentioned document to Philippine post where the body of the remains came from.

Sa lahat ng mga OFWs na may mga katanungan tungkol sa pagpauwi ng mga labi ng isang OFW, please click link: Mga Tanong at Sagot Tungkol sa Pagpauwi ng Namatay na OFW.

To those who want a copy of the PATNUBAY, a guide for OFWs rights as well as our obligations as workers in the Kingdom, kindly click link: “Patnubay sa mga Manggagawang Pilipino sa Saudi Arabia“.


Allow us to thank Attache Jonalyn De Leon of the Philippine Embassy-Riyadh, Repatriation Office, so with Consul Romulo “Jun” Israel, Jr. for their time in the processing and issuance of No Objection Certificate re: Deceased OFW Alex Aurelio. Philippine Embassy is closed from October 16 to 27 but they were there yesterday to serve OFWs needs.

Justice on Wheels

In Saudi Arabia we have “Embassy on Wheels” or “Consular on Wheels” to serve OFWs needs in the Kingdom.


I found interesting news similar to the above, if I am not mistaken, the first of its kind in the Philippines, the Supreme Court’s Justice on Wheels (JOW) Projectthe court bus“.



A brand new custom-built air-conditioned bus was turned over last Friday at the Hall of Justice at the New Capitol Site in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. The same court bus will be delivered to Agusan del Sur next month.


According to a news item taken from Bohol Times, the court bus has a courthouse and a mediation room. Trial of lesser cases can be held in the mobile court. Provided the families are willing, minor family or neighbor disputes can be settled amicably in the mediation room. Little crimes especially those involving youth may also be given immediate attention.


The bus can bring the judge, the prosecutor, defense lawyer, interpreter, stenographer and others to the rural and even remote areas and near to the litigants. The mobile court is patterned after the Guatemala experience. 

SPMII’s Recruitment of Members

SPMII’s Recruitment of Members in Kingdom Is Illegal, Manila Warns
Arab News

JEDDAH, 16 October 2006 – Filipinos in the Kingdom who are in possession of identification cards or documents bearing the logos or names of Philippine government agencies and issued by the Sangguniang Masang Pilipino International, Inc. (SMPII) should surrender these to the Philippine Embassy urgently, the embassy’s chargé d’ affaires said yesterday.

Consul General Nestor N. Padalhin said he has also ordered SMPII leaders to take back the ID cards it had issued to its members and to turn these over to the embassy.
Padalhin said he was only following instructions from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila to confiscate such IDs or documents from the group because their use is “illegal.”

In a telephone interview with Arab News, Padalhin quoted the DFA directive as saying that while the SMPII as an organization is accredited by the Philippine National Police (PNP), “it is not authorized to recruit members anywhere outside the Philippines.”

“It is not allowed to recruit members abroad, much less conduct military trainings,” he said.

Padalhin said he summoned the group’s leader, who uses the name Maj. Elpidio R. Tanaliga Jr. and the title “commander in chief,” to the embassy to inform him of the DFA directive, but Tanaliga sent a representative instead.

More Than 800 Members
Efforts to get the side of Tanaliga proved futile. His cell phone number provided by the embassy could not be reached.

But in a report published by another paper on Saturday, Tanaliga denied allegations that his group was engaged in a scam.

Tanaliga was quoted as saying the SMPII has more than 800 members from Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah, Hafer Al-Batin and Hofuf, who believe in what his group is doing for the community. He said the group is “helping and promoting camaraderie among us Filipinos and helping those who are in need of assistance.”

Among the group’s humanitarian activities, he said, were donations of relief goods to victims of the deadly landslides in Quezon province in December of 2004 and in Southern Leyte last February, funding of the surgery that restored young Rosete Catibayan’s hearing, airline tickets for distressed Filipino workers who were repatriated to the Philippines, and goodies for wards of the embassy’s Bahay Kalinga shelter in Riyadh.

Tanaliga was further quoted as saying the group has 20 taxicabs in the Philippines being operated by members under franchise, a 15.3-hectare housing project in Rosario, Batangas, a textbook program for members’ children, and a revolving credit fund for its members.

Clear Directive
Padalhin, nonetheless, said the DFA directive was clear that the SMPII’s recruitment of members in the Kingdom was a violation of its accreditation with the PNP as a non-government organization.

The directive was signed in behalf of DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo by Ambassador Oscar Valenzuela, head of the DFA’s Office of Middle East Affairs, he said. “I will issue an advisory in due time,” Padalhin said when asked for a copy of the directive.

In a press statement earlier, he reminded Filipinos in the Kingdom to be wary of organizations whose activities may also violate laws of Saudi Arabia.
In a meeting with Padalhin last month after news of SMPII’s activities first came out, Tanaliga and his cohorts reportedly denied that they were conducting military or police trainings.

Arab News learned, however, that during the group’s graduation ceremonies last May, it’s members even had a “pass-in-review” in the outskirts of Riyadh.

Padalhin said the SMPII leaders also showed proof that they were not using the PNP’s name or logo. But he noted that the letterhead of SMPII communications to the embassy showed otherwise.

Padalhin said Tanaliga and his cohorts did admit to him that the group do process papers for its members so that they could easily get guns with license when they are in the Philippines.

A police officer in the Philippines who talked with Arab News by phone said it is in this particular offer of SMPII that a gullible member could lose money. “Kung magbabayad ka diyan (sa Saudi Arabia) para sa baril at lisensya tapos tinanggihan ng PNP ang aplikasyon mo, yari ka (If you pay for a gun and license there (in Saudi Arabia) and your application is rejected by the PNP, you may lose your money,” said the officer, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak in behalf of the PNP. The officer said applicants for a gun license are required, among others, to undergo drug and neuro-psychiatric tests.

” Kapag ‘di ka makapasa sa isa dito, wala kang makukuhang lisensya (if you fail any one of these, you won’t be given a gun license),” he said.

Philippine Absentee Voting Registration to Go On During Eid Holidays

Philippine Absentee Voting Registration to Go On During Eid Holidays
Arab News

RIYADH, 11 October 2006 – Filipinos in the Central and Eastern regions of the Kingdom are being invited to take advantage of the Eid holidays to sign up in the overseas absentee voting (OAV) registration campaign.

The registration schedule at the embassy today, on Saturday and on Sunday is from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The embassy will be closed from Oct. 16 to 27 in observance of the Eid holidays, but a moble team will go to the field to continue the registration activity.

On Oct. 20, registration will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Al Rashed Abetong Company Ltd. in Riyadh’s Second Industrial City.

An embassy statement yesterday said the activity is being organized by Mike Mones of the Al Rashed Abetong Co. in coordination with Manuel Amora of the Kalipunang Kaakabay ng Manggagawang Pilipino sa Saudi Arabia (Kakampi-KSA) and Mario Ben of the Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS).

The OAV team will also be ready to go to places to conduct mobile registration where there are substantial number of Filipinos who wish to sign up.

Requests for a mobile team and inquiries on the Absentee Voter’s Registration may be directed to Attaché Delza Deriada at telephone number (01) 488-0835 extension 2002 or at direct line (01)482-3559.

When the normal office schedule resumes at the embassy and the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah on Oct. 28, registration will also continue until the last day, Oct. 31.

The Commission on Election (Comelec) in Manila has extended the registration deadline to Oct. 31 from Aug. 31 upon the request of various overseas Filipino groups to give those who have yet to register a chance to sign up so that they can vote in the 2007 election.

Overseas absentee voters can vote for candidates for the 12 Senate seats up for grabs next year, plus the party-list seat in the House of Representatives.

The OAV Secretariat in Manila has noted that the response of Filipinos in the Kingdom in the ongoing registration campaign had been dismal.

As of Sept. 30, only about 7,940 have registered since the new list-up opened in Sept. 1, last year, even though the embassy’s OAV team had been traveling to remote places to make it easier for OFWs to register.

In the latest outreach registration conducted by the mobile OAV team together with the Embassy-on-Wheels consular outreach program in Alkhobar on Sept. 21 and at Al-Khafji (approximately 345 km north of Alkhobar and about 100 km to the border of Kuwait), only 149 applications for registration were filed.

The activity at the Al Sahil Hotel in Al-Khafji was organized by the Saudi Arabian Hiligaynon Inc. (SAHI) led by Florante Catanus in cooperation with the Afscom Eastern Region led by Roilo Alojado and the Al-Khafji Filipino Association of Fernando Crisostomo.

Response to the current registration was a far cry from the more than 96,000 Filipinos in the Kingdom registered in 2003, the highest worldwide at that time.

SLL Art. 143, Medical and Social Services

I received an email (e-group) awareness on how to identify signs of stroke and I am so thankful to share this to everyone, especially to OFWs in the Kingdom where our routine life is work, eat and sleep without exercise and in the absence of medical examination, we don’t know how in good physical shape we are.


My Co-worker last week stumbled and fall in his flat. But prior to that we didn’t notice any signs that he was suffering from an abnormal high blood pressure or worst even him.


Due to the distance of travel from our flat which is 35 kilometers away from the city proper, immediate medical attention were not given to him at the time when he needed it most. He is in coma right now with a tube attached in his throat and according to the doctors he have slim chance to live and only miracle could save his life. He is 45 years old, single and from Bacolod.


Medical Report from Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Mishari Hospital dated 14 Oct. 2006 says that the patient is deeply comatose, decerebrating movement in the limbs GSC: 4/15, pupils constricted not reactive to light, no signs of injury on the body with a BP: 170/100 mmHg, RR: 88, Temp: 39 deg.C, the patient did not present any clinical improvement in the cerebral conditions. 


Update: At exactly 1:16 PM today 15 Oct. 2006, OFW Alex Aurelio, my co-employee, a friend and an OAV advocate, passed away. May the Lord God Almighthy blessed his soul.


Companies in Saudi Arabia that employs considerable numbers of employees are required to have a resident or visiting doctors and a nurse. However, most of the companies here have only designated clinics or hospitals where the employees could visit if they need medical attention at the expense of the employer.


Part VIII Protection against occupational hazards, protection against major industrial accidents, job injuries and health and social services, Chapter IV, Medical and Social Services, Article 143 of the New Saudi Labor Law states:


The employer shall assign one or more physicians to provide at least once a year a comprehensive medical examination for his workmen who are exposed to any of the occupational diseases listed in the schedules of occupational diseases provided for in the Social Insurance Regulation. The findings of the investigations shall be documented in the employer’s records as well in the workmen’s files.



“A patient’s blood pressure is checked through the use of a sphygmomanometer. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the primary risk factors for stroke. However, many patients can control their blood pressure through diet or medication and reduce their risk of suffering a stroke.


If you’re an OFW in Saudi Arabia, please don’t wait for a year, YOU must see a doctor once a month and have a comprehensive medical check-up. 



To everyone: a tip to identify STROKE:


If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously, please read: STROKE IDENTIFICATION:


A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke, totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. Remember the “3” steps, STR. Read and Learn! 


Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.


Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: 


S – Ask the individual to SMILE

T – Ask the person to TALK to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE

R – Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

NOTE:    Another “sign” of a stroke is this: Ask the person to “stick” out their tong
ue. If the tongue is “crooked”, if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.