The Trial Jury



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ARTICLE IV
THE TRIAL JURY

Section 1. Jury Duty -

(a) A trial jury shall be composed of 12 members chosen randomly from among the registered voters in their respective congressional district, each of whom shall be possessed with average intelligence whose level of education or lifetime practical experience and understanding in his native language of fundamental rightfulness or wrongfulness shall approximately be equivalent to a high school graduate.

(b) Trial jurors shall serve anonymously. Their real names shall not be disclosed which shall be exclusively kept confidentially by the jury trial presiding judge. In place of their real names, the said judge shall identify each juror with his 5-digit identity code number given to the juror by the Jury Commissioner which shall be displayed on the breast and pinned on the shirt of each juror. Except the 5-digit identity code number of the juror, no judge shall disclose the real name of a juror to the contending parties or their attorneys right from the start the jurors are called in to his courtroom for empaneling. In calling the attention of a juror, he shall be addressed with his 5-digit identity code number.

(c) Any person who shall, in any manner, prevent or discourage a citizen who has receive a summons for jury duty from serving as a juror in a jury trial or any person who shall confiscate the summons for jury duty to prevent a citizen from fulfilling his duty to serve as a trial juror shall be liable for the crime of obstruction of justice upon secret investigation and indictment by a grand jury.

(d) Any party to a case for trial shall be entitled to exercise his peremptory challenge to no more than seven challenges with or without cause and without argument to unseat and to replace an empaneled juror before the empaneled jurors are sworn in to serve. Absolutely no further challenge shall be allowed.

Section 2. The presiding judge of the trial jury shall have the power to enforce court discipline, to rule in the admission of evidence, and to issue jury instructions for the trial. He shall have neither power to participate with the jurors in their deliberation and in deciding the matter at hand as heard by the jury nor the power to over rule, change, modify or invalidate the verdict of the jury.

Section 3. Except for the presiding judge along with the prosecutor or attorney for the plaintiff and the defense attorney, no other person or public official shall have the power to interfere or participate in the impaneling of the jurors or in the conduct of the jury trial.

(a) Violation of the above rule shall subject the violator for direct contempt of court or indictment by the grand jury for obstruction of justice.

(b) In the event the interference or participation referred to in the foregoing shall have taken place, the presiding judge shall have the mandatory duty to report in writing within thirty (30) days from the date of such interference or participation regarding said event to the grand jury for its investigation. Failure by such presiding judge to comply with his herein reporting duty shall be liable for obstruction of justice and indictment by a grand jury.

Section 4. Any person or public official who shall contact an employer, job supervisor or a co-employee of a trial juror with the view of influencing the decision of such juror on a matter being tried before a jury trial shall subject such person or public official liable for obstruction of justice and indictment by a grand jury.

Section 5. Any employer, job supervisor or co-employee who shall co-operate with, actively or passively, upon the instigation of, any person or public official to influence the decision of a juror on a matter being tried in a jury trial shall render such employer, job supervisor or co-employee liable for obstruction of justice and indictment by a grand jury.

Section 6. Any juror in a jury trial who shall have received any direct solicitation from any person, public official, job supervisor, or co-employee, with the view of influencing his decision, regardless of whether he was swayed in making his decision or not in a jury trial shall have the mandatory obligation to secretly report within thirty (30) days from the date he received such solicitation to a grand jury for investigation. Failure of such juror to comply with his duty in this Section shall subject such juror liable for obstruction of justice and indictment by a grand jury.

Section 7. Any employer, job supervisor, or co-employee who has received from a public official or government employee any solicitation with the view of influencing a juror of his decision in a jury trial who is an employee of such employer, or subordinate of such supervisor, or friend of such co-employee shall have a mandatory obligation to report within 30 days of receiving such solicitation to a grand jury for investigation and indictment for obstruction of justice of such public official or government employee. Failure of such employer, job supervisor, co-employee to comply with his duty in this Section shall render such employer, job supervisor or co-employee liable for obstruction of justice and indictment by a grand jury.

Section 8. Any juror who shall decide in a jury trial on the basis of the solicitation of any person, public official, employer, job supervisor or co-employee regardless of whether he has been offered or has received a bribe or not shall be liable for obstruction of justice and indictment by a grand jury.

Section 9. Any presiding judge in a jury trial, who shall receive any solicitation from any person or public official with the view of influencing the decision of a case in his court or of the jury over whom he is presiding, shall have the mandatory duty to report within thirty (30) days from the date of receiving such solicitation to the grand jury for investigation and indictment for obstruction of justice. Failure of such presiding judge to comply with his obligation in this section shall be liable for obstruction of justice and indictment by a grand jury.

Section 10. Any lawyer who participates in a judicial proceedings or a jury trial shall have the mandatory obligation to refrain from contacting a public official with the view of securing the influence of such public official in obtaining a decision or judgment in favour of his case from a judge, presiding judge, or trial jury regardless of whether such public official is a party or not to his case. Such lawyer in violation of this provision shall be liable for obstruction of justice and indictment by a grand jury. If found guilty of such crime, such lawyer shall be subject for disbarment in addition to the penalty for the crime of obstruction of justice.

Section 11. Any person found guilty of the act of obstruction of justice as defined in the preceding Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 in this Article of this law shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or a fine ranging from P10,000.00 to P100,000.00 pesos, or both. If the person found guilty holds a government position in any capacity of the Republic of the Philippines or in any government owned or controlled corporation or a quasi-public entity, such person shall forfeit his office and shall further suffer perpetual disqualification from holding any public position in the government or government owned or controlled corporation or quasi-public entity.

Section 12. If the accused is found guilty of a crime associated with the crime of obstruction of justice that carries with a higher penalty, such penalty shall be imposed.

Section 13. An act or omission over a mandatory duty defined as a crime of obstruction of justice in this law shall prescribe no earlier than ten (10) years from the date of such act or omission.

Section 14. Any subordinate officer or employee in the government service shall have the power and mandatory duty to secretly report any act or omission defined in this law as a crime of obstruction of justice or any other criminal act including act of corruption or violation of human right defined by any law committed by his superior officer or co-employee to a grand jury for investigation and indictment. Failure of such subordinate officer or employee to perform his duty within thirty (30) days from his knowledge of such act or omission or any other criminal act including act of corruption or violation of human right of his superior officer or co-employee shall likewise be liable for obstruction of justice and indictment by a grand jury.

Section 15. A trial jury shall have concurrent jurisdiction to try and decide over crimes triable before a Sandiganbayan.

Section 16. Any justice of a Sandiganbayan may act as a presiding judge over a trial jury.

Section 17. Civil jury trials -

(a) All pleadings and practices under current rules of court shall remain the same including appeals on an issue, or issues, of law, except that the findings of fact by the jury shall be final and shall not be subject of review on appeal.

(b) The attorneys representing the respective parties in a civil case shall privately meet jointly in-chamber for pretrial conference with the presiding judge wherein they shall submit a simplified format in summary form of their pleadings for approval by the presiding judge for use as instruction to the jury.

(c) All pleadings and their summaries at the top of each page shall be clearly marked as “THIS DOCUMENT IS NOT AN EVIDENCE”.

(d) All pleadings and their summaries shall be translated into the local dialect of the jurors.

(e) The same jury instruction in Article VI, Section 3, of this law shall be used for civil jury trials, except as to those instructions that are exclusively applicable in criminal jury trials.

(f) The parties may use such principles or forms applicable in the United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provided that they are not in conflict with any Philippine law, rule, or Civil Procedure.

(g) Civil trial jury shall be composed of ten (10) jurors and their selection shall be conducted in the same procedure as in the impaneling of a criminal trial jury. The party obtaining six (6) votes in its favor shall be the prevailing party. In case of a tie vote, the defendant shall prevail.

(h) In civil jury trial involving tort cases, the jury shall have the discretion to grant an award for punitive damages in favor of the prevailing plaintiff in such amount as it may deem reasonable taking into consideration the aggravating circumstance or circumstances that added to the hardship of the plaintiff.

(i) The civil trial jury shall reach its verdict by the secret votes of the jurors. No juror is permitted to force his fellow juror to vote either way. No opinion of the juror during deliberation shall count as vote until written secretly in his ballot.

(j) Either party may appeal from the verdict in a civil jury trial on the issue of law. No appeal shall be granted on the issue of fact.

Section 18. No person, judge, justice, or any public official, shall order, instruct, dictate, or indicate in any manner to any juror or to the jury, in or out of court, in whose favor or disfavor he, or it, shall decide a criminal or civil jury trial at hand and at any moment from the time the jurors are being chosen and up to the time the case has been submitted to the jury for deliberation and issuance of its verdict.

Section 19. Any person, judge, justice, or any public official who shall have wittingly or negligently violated the foregoing section 18 of this article shall be liable for the crime of obstruction of justice upon complaint by any person to a grand jury for investigation and indictment.

Section 20. No prosecution or defense counsel shall order, instruct, dictate, or indicate in any manner to any juror or to the jury, outside of court or jury trial, in whose favor or disfavor he, or it, shall decide a criminal or civil jury trial at hand. Violation by a prosecution or defense counsel of this rule shall suffer the same criminal liability imposed against violators described in the foregoing Section 19 of this Article.

Section 21. Other than the jurors chosen to hear, try and decide by jury a case at hand, no judge, justice, or any member of his staff in court shall participate in the deliberation of the jury in arriving at its verdict. Violation by a judge, justice, or any member of his staff in court of this rule shall suffer the same criminal liability imposed against violators described in the foregoing Section 19 of this Article.

Section 22. Filing Fee - No civil litigant shall be required to pay a filing fee for his pleading in court if it shows that he is indigent considering his income from, and security of, his job, and the size of his family or dependents as shown in his statement of assets and liability which must be filed together with his pleadings and his request for waiver of filing fees. In the event of an award in his favor after trial or appeal, and the award is one hundred thousand pesos or more, he shall be required to pay the required court filing fees upon filing a request for execution of his favorable award.

“Section 23. Pauper Litigants and Contingent Attorney’s Fee - Any party to a civil case may retain the services of a lawyer whose fees shall be contingent upon the successful outcome on the matter under litigation. The contingency fee for attorney’s services shall be no more than 30% of the gross award plus reimbursement of all expenses paid in advance in behalf of his client litigant.

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