Steps to Enact the Jury Initiative Law



This is an outline of the Steps in the Enactment of the "People Empowerment Initiative" to create the Philippine Jury Systems Law suggested by Marlowe Camello, Author of the Initiative.

IMPORTANT: Before embarking on the recommended steps below, please read the provisions of Republic Act 6735.

Then read this entire website. Thereafter, without doing any thing else yet, confer with COMELEC officials for approval of the usage of the suggested initiative forms below. If COMELEC has its prescribed forms, then use the COMELEC forms:

  • Form of the Petition to the COMELEC;

  • Form for the Gathering of Signatures of Registered Voters;

  • Form Letter to Request Local Election Registrar to Verify Authenticity of Signatures in the Signature Sheets; and

  • Certification Form of the Local Election Registrar of the Authenticated Signatures in the Signature Sheets.
  • Section 3(f) of Republic Act 6735 requires the use of COMELEC prescribed initiative forms.

    Also ask for the latest total number of congressional districts in the entire Philippines. The law requires that a certain percentage of registered voters in every and all congressional districts must sign the petition by means of the signature gathering sheets.

    Step 1. Start by forming a small group of around 5 members with your good friends in the neighborhood. Familiarize yourselves on how a Grand Jury and a Trial Jury are empowered by law and why they are effective to enforce a rule of law upon any person or public official regardless of his rank, power, title, position, or nobility, including the President. You may refer to the navigation bar on the left margin of this page and click on the topic you want to know about.

    Visit the website link HERE to study the "People Empowerment Initiative."

    Step 2. Approach your local Catholic Pastor or the Bishop of your Diocese (even if you are not a Catholic). "Educate" and convince him of the merits about Grand Jury and Trial Jury systems. Request him to co-sponsor with you the "People Empowerment Initiative" for the above jury systems. Ask the Pastor or the Bishop to lead your group to see the CBCP President. To read the entire provisions of the this proposed law, you may click on this LINK.

    Request the Archbishop for his referral and endorsement of the proposed Jury Initiative to well known civic leaders or a group of leading civic leaders in the private sector (or he himself) to act as the principal and leading sponsor of the Initiative. Request for his support in gathering the needed "initiative" signatures of the people around the country.

    The Catholic Church has a parish in every congressional district and so it would be easy to secure the needed signatures in every congressional district all over the country which can be done in just one Sunday.

    Step 3. Organize one National Signature Gathering Committee (National Committee) to coordinate gathering of signatures all around the country. Signatures of citizens will have to be secured from each and every congressional district in the entire Philippines. A prescribed signature gathering sheet must be used. Total signature required should be at least 10% of the national registered voters in the preceding elections and at least 3% of each congressional district shall be represented. NOTE: It would be safer to comply with this requirement if the signature gatherers shall aim at obtaining signatures of at least 10% of the registered voters per congressional district to automatically comply with the 3% requirement of Republic Act 6735.

    The National Committee should set its rules and supervise the signature gatherers. This committee shall designate the Head Signatures Gatherer (HSG) in each congressional district who will take charge in obtaining the citizens' signatures in their respective areas. A black pen should be used in signing. After obtaining the required number of signatures in his district, the HSG shall make a photocopy of all Forms 1 for his file. He will take charge in dealing with the Local Election Registrar who has jurisdiction of his area.

    Step 4. The HSG shall present the accomplished signature forms to the Local Election Registrar (LER) for the verification of the authenticity of the signatures. The prescribed form letter for this purpose should be used. Reminder: Before submitting said forms to the LER, the HSG as required in Step 3, must photocopy each accomplished signature form sheets for safekeeping in his custody.

    Step 5. Obtain a certification from the LER to authenticate the gathered signatures and the total number of names gathered. The originals of the signature gathering sheets, along with the original of the LER Certification, shall be handed back to the HSG. Ask the LER to make 4 photocopies of his certificate for distribution as follows:

  • One (1) copy for the Local Election Registrar's file;

  • One (1) copy to be sent by the Registrar to COMELEC, Manila.

  • One (1) copy to be retained by the HSG'

  • One (1) copy - the original - should be submitted by the HSG to the Chairperson of the National Committee.
  • After the Chairperson has accounted for all the signature sheets and LER Verification Certificates, he shall, in turn, submit PERSONALLY entirely ALL in one shipment the signature sheets and LER Certificates to the Attorney of the lead sponsors of the initiative. The attorney shall use the signature sheets and LER Certificates as supporting documents to be attached to, or accompany with, his Petition to the COMELEC to request for the setting of the election date of the initiative.

    The HSG should retain a photocopy of every document he submits to the Petitioner's Attorney.

    REMINDER: Make sure that the COMELEC prescribed forms will be used for:

  • (1) Gathering Signature Sheets,

  • (2) The letter request for verification by the Local Election Registrar, and

  • (3) Verification certificate form, if COMELEC prescribed forms are available.
  • If COMELEC cannot come up with its prescribed form, seek permission from the COMELEC to use the form devised by Atty. Marlowe Camello for the above forms.

    Step 6. The attorney for the Principal Sponsor and co-sponsors should shall then prepare the Petition to the COMELEC, Manila. The Petition must be signed by the lead sponsors of the initiative. Note: It is not enough that the lead sponsors alone shall sign the petition. It is equally very important that ALL originals of the accomplished signature sheets must be attached to the petition. The petition itself shall be signed by their attorney. The draft of the petition can be browsed at THIS LINK <-(CLICK HERE). Remember that the prescribed form of the petition by the COMELEC should be used.

    REMINDER: All the accomplished Signature Sheets and Certificates of Signature Authenticity by the LER must be submitted to the Attorney for his serial numbering at the bottom of the forms for accounting of the signatures. The numbering shall be written only AFTER ALL signature sheets and LER signature Verification Certificates are obtained from all congressional districts and sequentially arranged by congressional districts. No one else shall write the page numbering except the attorney or someone under his direct control. A numbering machine should be used for this purpose.

    Step 7. Prepare the proposed law which is the "People Empowerment Initiative". This proposed initiative can be browsed and copied from this Link "PETITION" <-(CLICK HERE).

    Step 8. Prepare a translation of the "People Empowerment Initiative" into Tagalog or the national language. It is IMPORTANT that the proposed law is also translated into Tagalog or the national language as required by RA 6735.

    Both the English text and Tagalog text of the proposed law must be attached to the Petition mentioned in Step 6.

    Step 9. After ALL signatures of registered voters are gathered file with the COMELEC, Manila, the following:

  • (a)(_)- The Petition before COMELEC in Manila

  • (b)(_) The English text of the proposed law; and

  • (c)(_) The Tagalog text of the proposed law.

  • (d)(_) The Certificate of Signature Authenticity

  • (e)(_) The original Signature Sheets;
  • Items (d) and (e) must be collated to relate each other by congressional district.

    NOTE: After every document beginning with the petition is properly arranged, it is strongly advised, and a good idea, to magnetically record in a CD the Petition and all supporting documents mentioned above, although not required by law. If the originals, if any, will be lost or damaged, it would be easy to reconstruct the entire set of documents. If it can be accommodated in only one CD, so much the better.

    The purposes of the petition are as follows:

    (a) To seek approval of the setting of the election date for the voters to vote for the enactment of the proposed law.

    (b) To seek the Order of the COMELEC requiring the publication in a newspaper with general local and national circulation of the signed Petition by the sponsors of the proposed law. It is important that the English draft and Tagalog translation of the proposed law must also be published together with the Petition. There is no requirement for the publication of the signature sheets. (c) To obtain funding from the government to underwrite the election expenses to enact the proposed law (Funding by the government is mandated in Section 21 of RA 6735, the People’s Initiative Law).

    Due to the bankruptcy of the Government, it would be necessary for the proponents (sponsors) to secure funding from private sources to underwrite the election expenses for the measure. Ask financial support from Filipino billionaires and millionaires. Point out to them that once this proposed law is adopted, givers in bribery will be exempt from prosecution if they testify against bribe takers in the government.

    If a bribe giver receives a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum and he refuses to testify, he shall be charged for obstruction of justice. The charge for obstruction of justice will be easier to prove than a charge for bribery.

    Ask for contribution from the supporters of the Initiative among business entrepreneurs and large corporate organization in the Philippines. Hold a nationally televised debate on the Initiative or have each debate or a televised jury drama with real judges and real attorneys be sponsored by large business establishments to advertise their products on TV and other medias whenever a debate is TV jury drama is shown on TV.

    Make sure that your funds are properly accounted for and entrusted with a prestigious firm and ready for audit in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and shall be subject to an unannounced audit any time by a CPA firm.

    Step 10. Hearing on the Petition (?): RA 6735 does not provide any rule requiring the hearing of the petition. It is a good idea to inquire from the COMELEC what its policy on enacting of a law by public initiative.

    However, if COMELEC sets it for hearing, The Head Signature Gatherers (HSG) with their copies of the Signature Sheets should attend the hearing and the Petitioners/Sponsors through their counsel should be prepared to prove and argue (Feel free to make improvements in the proposed Petition Draft before signing or filing with the COMELEC. During the hearing, if required, show that the petitioners have complied with the following:

    (a) That they have complied with the formal and the substantive requirements of RA 6735, i.e., the “3% of the registered voters in each congressional district and 10% of the registered voters nationally;

    (b) That the proposed measure is an essential implementing legislation for Article II, Section 1, of the Philippine Constitution;

    (c) That the Jury System (JS) is an indispensable device in a democratic society to make the government truly responsive to the people. It will compel every public official to follow the rule of law including the President or any high government official otherwise such government officials shall be subject to secret investigation and indictment by the grand jury for serious crimes committed in office . Point out further that the absence of the jury system in the Philippines is the basic cause of the inability of the current justice system to indict and convict high powered grafters. Without juries, the state of corruption will continue to escalate and compound as born by the modern history of the Philippines;

    (d) That the JS is the surest means to abate or stop government corruption and to curtail or prevent human rights abuses by government armed and police authorities.

    (e) That the JS is the ultimate means to unite the Filipino people regardless of their religion, gender, financial status or color; The JS is likewise the basic solution to the secession movement of the poor Filipino Muslims in Mindanao whose ordinary constituencies are in fact in bondage to, or misled by, their own autocratic leaders rather than by their local governments. The JS will emancipate the ordinary Muslims in Mindanao from slavery from their datus and sultans.

    (f) That the Grand Jury System (GJS) is the basic device to prevent abuses by powerful despotic or autocratic leaders around the country;

    g) That secret Grand Jury investigations are the best means to protect the constitutional innocence of suspected crime offenders from trial by publicity'

    (h) That secret Grand Jury investigations will insure the finding of the truth about cover-ups of conspiracies among grafters both in and out of the government.

    (i) That the JS Law will force the government TO SERVE the people and NOT TO RULE over the people in our democratic society.

    (j) That the JS is the surest means to protect the individual freedoms and liberties of every person, rich or poor, in the Philippines;

    (k) That the JS will force the government to respect the principles of its constitution.

    Step 11.Obtain the COMELEC ORDER granting the setting of the election or referendum date for the initiative. Republic Act (RA) 6735, Sec. 8, states that: "The Commission shall call and supervise the conduct of initiative or referendum.

    Within a period of thirty (30) days from receipt of the petition, the Commission (COMELEC) shall, upon determining the sufficiency of the petition, publish the same in Filipino and English at least twice in newspapers of general and local circulation and set the date of the initiative or referendum which shall not be earlier than forty-five (45) days but not later than ninety (90) days from the determination by the Commission of the sufficiency of the petition."

    The principal or leading sponsor of the initiative must assist the COMELEC officials in performing this task ministerially.

    Step 12. Note, the law says: "the Commission shall, upon determining the sufficiency of the petition, publish the same". It is important that the proposed law itself, "People Empowerment Act", must also be published because it is a part of the petition by way of reference. Publishing the petition without also publishing the proposed law (both English and Tagalog) will not satisfy the publication requirements of RA 6735.

    Take note of the election or referendum date. Once the publication of petition starts, the proponents or sponsors should likewise start campaigning to the people for the adoption of the Jury System initiative.

    The proposed law is a non-partisan (or non-political) measure and therefore, the proponents can even speak in the pulpits of their churches or synagogues in recommending to the people for their "Yes" votes on the proposed law. It is not intended to favor or disfavor any public official or political party. It is purely a neutral issue of justice and it does not per se violate the doctrine of separation of church and state. The quest for justice is universal and it is the foundation of every society.

    With codified laws which are increasingly popular in the U.S. (Or California and in many states of the US), Jury Systems have even become easier to teach the people to serve in juries. Codified laws are simply rephrased into ordinary words and sentences.

    Once the jury system is adopted in the Philippine, Pertinent provisions of codified laws (like the Philippine Revised Penal Code; Civil Code; Anti-Graft Law) will be issued in simplified statements by way of Jury Instructions to the Jury.

    Ironically in the U.S. (or in California), a juror who tries to show off his legal skills (such a lawyer or a “veteran juror”) during jury empaneling end up disqualified outright (without any ceremony) by expert trial attorneys. Why? Because lawyers and veteran jurors have the subconscious tendency of applying legal concepts, perhaps their own “common laws” or “common sense idea) (not “common law” wife of course, ha ha ha) that are completely irrelevant to the jury instruction over the specific law on a case that they are hearing. This often results to a mistrial.

    Before a trial begins, the judge, the prosecutor and defense attorney need to agree on the law of the case, prepared by way of their respective trial briefs, on the prosecution side and on the defense side, for their respective legal theories. Thereafter, those legal theories are then issued for instruction by the presiding judge to the jury. When a lawyer juror or veteran juror gets into the picture, such lawyer or juror may influence other non-lawyer jurors with a legal theory that may be irrelevant to the case, a recipe for a mistrial or hung jury, and

    Under U.S. (or California) jury systems, a juror must start to sit with a fertile mind (or legally unpolluted mind). He will be instructed to forget all or any laws he has learned in school or anywhere in his lifetime. Jurors must follow exactly the law stated to them by the judge - nothing more, nothing less.

    In the proposed jury systems law in Article VIII, Section 2, the following are disqualified to serve as jurors: Lawyers; government officials or employee including police and army officers and personnel and their close relatives.

    Lack of any legal education or knowledge of law shall not excuse any citizen for disobedience to a summons for jury duty and shall be subject to contempt of court for refusing to serve for jury duty, File A04, Article VIII, Section 1.

    The jury draft law I prepared follows the concept of the U.S./California jury system because I think the greatest majority of Filipinos have more fertile minds for jury service. It is a waste of time for them learning a law or reading a legal dictionary on legal concepts that are irrelevant to the case that they may hear at the trial. After all, we copied most of our Philippine rules of court and procedures from the U.S. federal system as well as our Philippine bill of rights.

    On the issue that Filipino jurors are corrupt and can easily bribed and therefore the jury system in the Philippines may not work. I TOTALL DISAGREE because it is a baseless assumption:

    1. I believe at least 95% of Filipinos are honest people.

    2. Philippine jurors are exclusively chosen from private citizens who are not closely related by blood or affinity with a public official or employee within the first and second degree of relationship under the proposed jury system rules.

    There is no apprehension that corrupt employees or public officials in the government can serve as jurors because they, including their close relatives, have been disqualified to serve as jurors in the proposed jury law. Besides they can be peremptorily declined by either lawyers for a party in the case for trial.

    3. In most cases, it would be the first time that jurors have ever stepped in court, or at the most 12 months before being summoned for jury duty, and I do not believe he will be bold enough to start horsing around to solicit for bribes while he may be in fear of being held in contempt of court while he is required to listen to jury instructions. He does not even know what to do inside the court room. If he is a veteran juror (or an honest attorney) he may even be rejected for jury duty by a trial attorney, if the trial attorney knows what he is doing.

    Step 13.If the people’s initiative on the proposed jury system rules will be approved by the people, the next step to do is as follows: RA 6735, Section 9(a) says: "If, as certified to by the Commission, the proposition is approved by a majority of the votes cast, the national law proposed for enactment, approval, or amendment shall become effective fifteen (15) days following completion of its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines."

    NOTE: Once approved by the people, the proposed law itself should be published both in the English and Tagalog texts in the Government Official Gazette. The Sponsors themselves must see to it that the publication is ordered and carried out by the proper authority (Please inquire with the COMELEC).

    Here is an excellent reading materials in preparing for the campaign for the Initiative. Please click the linked below:

    How the American People Won
    their Freedom of the Press

    The Jury System in the United States was established even before the adoption of its constitution. In a democratic society, jury systems can be set up without expressly mandating it in its constitution. It is an inherent right of the people to participate in their democratic government for the self-protection of their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness against abuses of their government.

    Marlowe Camello Proponent of the Jury System Email: mcamello@verizon.net

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