mental healthAkbayan Party lauded the passage of the historic Mental Health Act today, saying it "strengthens the people's right to health with a national mental health system in place." 

"The passage of the Mental Health Act modernizes our country's health system. We say goodbye to taboo, superstition, and myths about mental health issues now that services are made accessible for all citizens," Akbayan spokesperson Gio Tingson said. 

The principal authors of the measure is Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros and Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin. 

"The Mental Health Act will save lives. It could reverse alarming trends of suicide for people living in the dark with their mental health problems. We're sending a message telling them that they are not helpless and alone," Tingson added. 

"The passage of this important and long overdue measure is a collective effort and victory of advocates, health workers, and lawmakers. It's a testament that we can proactively strengthen our right to health when we come together in order to shape government policy on public health services." 

"We should ensure the immediate implementation of the Act. No time should be wasted, especially in giving access to the poor and upgrading barangay health infrastructures for mental health services. Help is here," Tingson ended. ###

ettaThis ruling, where the SC affirms the Sandigan's position that evidence used was not from original sources - xeroxed copies - uses sheer technicality to rule in favor of the Marcos family against the Filipino people. 

Xeroxed copies may not be the best and primary evidence but they are not a stand alone evidence.  Hidden in vaults and even stolen with the right price under our currently flawed criminal justice system,  there are so many ways of losing primary evidence.

But, there are witnesses to xeroxed copies from the original documents.  Who xeroxed them?  They can be summoned.  Xeroxed copies do not just drop from the sky.  Nonetheless, these procedures must be seen in the larger historical and substantive context.

One. The SC has had previous rulings that Marcos plundered the coffers of government as early as 1968 and continued until they were ousted from office. These rulings led to the passage of RA10368 where P10 billion are now distributed to 11,500 recorded victims who were able to present evidence.

gio tingsonThe Supreme Court missed a chance to correct a historical wrong by upholding the removal of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in its failure to grant her motion for reconsideration.

“The majority of the Justices inflicted damage to the Supreme Court as a democratic institution when it wrongfully removed the Chief Justice favoring the petition of the Executive,” Tingson said. “Sereno’s ouster left a festering wound on the high court’s credibility and they missed a chance to remedy this when her appeal was dismissed.”

Tingson said that the grave implications of the decision to grant the questionable quo warranto petition could not be ignored.

“We now have a Supreme Court that can easily bend to the whims of Malacañang. This is dangerous as the poor are being rounded up in numbers in what could be the largest case of mass illegal detention. With the Supreme Court beheaded, Duterte could legalize all his oppresive policies," Tingson added.

"This endangers our battles for democracy in the Supreme Court: the constitutionality of Tokhang, challenging the withdrawal from ICC, and, as an electoral tribunal, the vote recount for the Vice Presidency. With the high court held by the neck, President Rodrigo Duterte, along with the Marcoses and China, could have the final say in all of these. We lose our democracy. We lose our sovereignty. We lose our country. We cannot allow this to happen," Tingson said.###

Fisherfolk-protest-China-harassmentFisherfolk and members of Akbayan trooped to the Chinese Consulate Office on the eve of Independence Day to protest China's "robbery and harassment against Filipinos in the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal."

The fisherfolk left a handful of fish at the steps of the Chinese Consulate Office to protest against China's coast guard who took away their catch. They also carried nets and fish-shaped protest signs outside the embassy with calls to fight for independence and for China to leave Philippine territory.

uphold

Akbayan urged the Supreme Court to hasten the decision on Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s motion for reconsideration as the en banc session postponed the decision on the her appeal. The high court, in its session today, sought the comment of the Office of the Solicitor General on the motion. 

Akbayan said the Justices' decision on Sereno’s MR will be a “make-or-break” moment for the Supreme Court to correct a historical wrong of ousting the high magistrate through a quo warranto petition, Akbayan spokesperson Gio Tingson said.

Tingson added that “the postponement of the decision is a small victory, but it is still a victory nonetheless.” 

“This probably means that some of the Justices are fearful of the public outcry should they once again take the wrong side in this issue. Their fears are not unfounded because the power of the Constitution that they are duty-bound to protect emanate from those outside Padre Faura-- protesting against their initial decision.”