The National Jury Law Initiative
THE NATIONAL JURY LAW INITIATIVE
By Atty. Marlowe Camello
Up-dated as of July 24, 2012
This proposed law was originally titled "PEOPLE EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVE". Now retitled as "NATIONAL JURY LAW INITIATIVE". Its acronym "PIE" is also changed to "NJL".
FREQUENTLY ASK QUESTIONS
Q#1. What is the “National Jury Law Initiative?”
A.The “National Jury Law Initiative” (known hereafter as the “NJL”) is a proposition seeking to enable the common Filipino People in the private sector to exercise their sovereign power and authority over their public servants, the government officials and employees. Its enactment and approval by the people is being pursued by means of the initiative process under Republic Act 6735.
This FAQ relates to the topics listed in the navigation bar on the left margin of this page which is intended to level the playing field of justice between the common people in the private sector including the poor and the rich and powerful public officials of Philippine society.
Q#2. Where do we find this sovereign power and authority of the People over their public servants?
A. It is found in the Constitution. Article II, Section 1, which states that:
“Sovereignty resides in the People and all government authority emanates from them.”
Q#3. The People have already been exercising their sovereign power and authority by electing their public officials periodically. What more can they do?
A. They can do more than just electing public officials, because the people are sovereign. It is within their supreme power to participate in the affairs of justice with their judicial officials. By judicial officials, I mean the officials that administer the affairs of justice such as the judges, justices, prosecutors and the Ombudsman. The best example to apply this principle is in the power to decide cases in court. Presently, the set up of the justice system is such that only a solo judge, who may be controlled by his powerful political god-father (or god-mother) who tried a case can decide such case. Since the authority of the judge, or judges, emanates (comes) from the sovereign people, the people can modify the deciding authority of such judge.
The People, under their other constitutional authority in Article VI, Section 32 of the constitution as implemented by Republic Act 6735, can pass a jury law in which they can reserve unto themselves to have an exclusive power to decide the case of the accused under trial. The People then, through their jury, can freely decide a criminal case, for example, according to the facts and evidence they have seen and observed at the trial, whether an accused corrupt high official has violated a provision of the Anti-Graft Law regardless if he or she is a president or ex-president, a governor or ex-governor, etc. We must provide in our proposed jury law that the decision of the jury must bind, and be respected by, the presiding judge, or else if he deviates or disregards the jury verdict, he shall be subject to a secret investigation and indictment for obstruction of justice by a grand jury in our proposed jury law.
This is the beauty of our present constitution and this is why, by all means, we should resist and disapprove any move by politicians to amend or revise the constitution to their own likings. We have an almost 99% perfect constitution as far as we, the common sovereign people are concerned but considered by corrupt officials as 99% incorrect. We must safeguard that provision in Article II, Section 1, of the constitution which states: "Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them." By vesting unto ourselves, we, the common and ordinary citizens, to have a deciding power and vote in justice, through our juries, we shall be able to enforce our sovereign will and authority over our public servants in the government. It will give us control over our prosecutors, judges, and justices, or the justice system itself that will ultimately allow us to send powerful government grafters to jail on our own decision.
By enacting the proposed NJL, we will no longer need to massively demonstrate in the dusty boulevard ("of broken dreams")at EDSA or in any public place to tell government grafters to stop stealing our taxes and in using our money for their fat pork barrels and excessive allowances.
Besides that, our government is also a "Republic" and under a republic we, the people, are likewise entitled to cast our unalienable right to 3 votes to cast. What is a "Republic?" Read it in this link: REPUBLIC
Q#4. We have no law today that will allow us to do that. How can the participation of the people in the function of justice be achieved?
A. We, the People, can make that law, via the people's initiative process. This can be done by the approval of the “National Jury Law Initiative” or “NJL”. You are invited to read all the topics, specially Articles I to XIII, in the navigation bar on the left side of this page on how that law will look like.
Q#5. What is there in the NJL that will enable the People to partake in justice affairs?
A. The NJL is the proposition, once approved by the People, will create the Philippine Jury Systems Law.
Q#6-A. What is a Jury System?
A. The Jury System is a judicial device with a special social purpose to secure the SUPREME WILL OF THE PEOPLE to decide without arbitrariness a judicial issue such as whether a person should be accused or indicted in court or should be convicted by the people for his criminal act. It prevents abusive arbitrary and unbridled whimsical decision of a solo prosecutor or solo judicial authority or of a dictator. To easily understand how the jury system works, please browse the jury diagram in the link below:
Q#6-B. Why is it necessary that we have to adopt a Jury System in the Philippines?
A. We need the Jury System because we have chosen to have a democratic form of government by way of our constitution. It is the means to enforce obedience to the rule of law upon the instance and social will of the people.
The absence of the jury system is the reason why anti-corruption laws cannot be enforced against powerful officials and the rich characters of Philippine society who prostitute justice for their selfish and personal enrichment and empowerment. Unless and until we shall have set up our own jury systems, no president or government administrator will ever succeed to put an end to the ever worsening government corruption in the Philippines. If President Aquino will not help in the installation of the jury system, the government that he will leave behind after his term will be a no better corrupt free government, FOR SURE, than the type of government he inherited from Gloria Macapagal Arroyo - GURANTEED.
In a democratic government without a jury system, justice becomes a monopoly by powerful government officials. We may call it also as the "Personalized Justice" System, specially by the President who appoints all judges, justices, and prosecutors and by high officials who recommended them to the president such as senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, army and police generals or directors. In other words, these justice officials are nothing but TUTA of powerful political officials who are in control of the police or army or private armed body guards. Why? Because political officials are supported by the votes of the people. To equalize the power of Justice Officials, they must also be supported by the votes of the sovereign people through their ballots in the Jury System. The solution is just as simple as that but political officials will never favor the adoption of the jury system because that will dilute their power to abuse their office for their self-enrichment and self-empowerment.
A government monopolized justice system is basically a "selective" justice system, AKA discriminatory justice system, so that only the personal holders of that monopoly can choose whom, or not, to prosecute or to convict.
Currently in the Philippines, in order for you to gain justice, you must be subservient (a sup-sup) with that controller of justice. Unfortunately, it is a recipe for failure of administration by any incumbent in a public office.
When public officials abuse the power of their office such as acts of corruption, money laundering, ordering extra-judicial killings, or forming death squads to "keep the peace" in their community, they control justice in such a way that they cannot be prosecuted for their abuses.
With the Jury System in place, the common people can accomplish the following:
1. Administration of justice becomes a partnership between the common people and the government. In effect, the jury will create a check and balance between the people's sovereign power and the governmental power of public officials so that neither of them can fool or deceive each other.
2. If powerful government officials can accuse in court a crime suspect for wrong doings who happens to be a common or ordinary citizen, the common people on their own accord on the other hand can likewise charge or indict in court any high government official who commits a wrong or crime such as acts of government corruption, stealing of public funds, ordering extra judicial killings of suspected crime offenders, or money laundering, among others. Without the jury system, justice is a "one-way traffic" in favor of public officials and their favorite relatives and friends.
Q#6-C. Which of the Government Branches shall approve the decision of the juries?
A. The decision of the juries shall not require approval from any branch of the government. Juries will be supervised by judges on how the juries shall perform their functions but the juries shall decide independently and their power to decide to investigate, to indict, to convict or acquit a crime suspect can not be controlled by judges or any other branch of the government.
Q#6-D. Do you mean that the juries are more powerful than the government prosecutors or judges?
A. Yes. Absolutely. The deciding power of Juries under the direct authority of the people is more supreme than the power of prosecutors and judges to decide in justice.
Q#6-E. Why and how can that be?
A. Because the people through the juries are the masters of Philippine society while prosecutors and judges are mere servants of the people.
Q#6-F. There is no provision in the Philippine Constitution that expressly authorize the adoption of the jury system. Also, matters of understanding the law and justice has been reserved only to lawyers by the Constitution in Article VIII which creates the Judicial Branch of Government. Common citizens composed of non-lawyers are legal ignoramus do not know the law. Filipinos are not yet prepared to partake in the Jury Justice System. Prior legal education of the people is imperative before they can competently serve for jury duty. There is a need to amend the constitution for this purpose.
A. This is a compounded or complex question. Please allow me to answer each issue as they are stated or implied in the questions asked as follows:
1. Constitutional amendment issue: In my opinion, there is no need to amend the question because the proposed law is already based in Article II, Section 1, of the constitution which says: ”Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.” This provision speaks of “sovereignty” which means that the people are supreme or more powerful than any government official. All powers of the different officials of the government including, but not limited to, judges, justices, and prosecutors, members of congress and the president, governors or mayors, come from the people. Government functions that can be performed that requires average intelligence of the people can be determined by the sovereign people by themselves such as basically knowing between right and wrong can be entrusted to them. (Example: Your beautiful daughter is raped by the mayor, you don’t need to have a degree in law to know whether the act of the mayor is right or wrong.) It is also like asking them if what you have shown them (by evidence) is black or white; or of knowing from them their impression whether the accused is "guilty" or "not guilty" without requiring them to explain "why". It would be improper to demand an explanation from the jury because the jury represent the sovereignty of the people deciding as a master. A judge who is a public servant have no moral power or authority to make such demand upon the people through the jury, his master, under our democratic form of government.
2. Power of justice is exclusively vested in judges, justices, prosecutors or lawyers: There is no such provision in the constitution stating that justice is none of the people's business to interfere in it and it is exclusively reserved to such government officials for administration.
3. Common people are legal ignoramus; Filipinos are not yet prepared to perform jury duty: This is the beauty of the Philippine constitution. Although you may be a legal ignoramus, nonetheless, it states that all authority to govern comes (emanates) from you. Elective officials cannot hold a position in the government unless you vote to elect them. If you decide to keep the power to decide in justice to yourself you can do that by adopting the jury system. With your power in justice reserve within yourself you can control and force a public official to respect you through the jury system. If you want that you reserve for yourselves the power to decide justice relating to serious offenses you, the sovereign people, can do so with the creation of the Grand Jury and Trial Jury systems.
If it is contended that the average Filipino citizen is below par in education compared to the people of advance democracies, whose fault is it? It is the fault of government officials, specially the lawmakers, who did not provide enough budget to educate the people and who instead robbed the Filipino people by fattening their wallets and bank accounts through their bloated PORK BARRELS. And so, if the Filipino people on their own shall create the jury system, Philippine public officials and judges have to take the people as jurors according to their level of education the people have to serve in juries. What they sow is what they reap. If these so-called legal ignoramus will send those thieves in the government to jail, then, SO BE IT!!! AMEN. Then next time, they better have to increase the budget for the education of the people.
But actually, as far as preparedness of Filipinos to serve in jury service is concerned, we are more prepared now than the American people when the jury system was introduced to them for the first time in the early days of the U.S. Republic. We, Filipinos, are much better informed than the people in England when the jury system was created for them more than 800 years ago. In the olden days, the Britons and the American people had no radios, tv, or internet to learn from. Many or most Filipinos today are more up-to-date of learning new ideas through radios and television than the early generations in Britain and in the U.S. Filipinos today are increasingly in number of having Internet access.
NOTE CAREFULLY: This is very important. The constitution does not state that you, the sovereign people, HAVE NO BUSINESS interfering in the administration of justice. If there is such a law, or rules of court, stating that you, the sovereign people, are forbidden to participate in the administration of justice, such a law, or rules of court, is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. If there is such a law, or rules of court, the same must have been adopted without first explaining to you that it is in derogation and created with deception to your authority which the constitution said that: “All government authority emanates from you”.
NOTE FURTHER CAREFULLY: Your vested sovereign power and authority is ranked highest in Article II of the Constitution above the ranks of all or any public official. The ranks of the authority of all and any governing public official are placed subordinate and below to your rank in the following order: For the members of congress it is placed in Article VI. For the president, it is in Article VII, and for the judicial officials (judges, justices, or prosecutors” it is in Article VIII. If it has been intended in the present constitution that your sovereign power and authority is lower in rank than that of your public officials, your sovereign rank would have been placed below Article VIII.
4. The Jury Systems Law will teach you how to serve for jury duty: In creating the Jury Systems Law, every citizen who serve for jury duty will be given a Jury Instruction on how to do his jury job. The Jury Instruction is a simplified restatement or definition of laws, rules, and regulations to make it easy for you to understand the law or rules. In the proposed Grand Jury and Trial Jury systems, jury instructions have been formulated. In the same proposed law, it is required that all jury proceedings shall be translated into the local dialect of the jurors so that even a 16-year-old student will understand how a jury proceeding will be conducted.
5. I think every juror who reports for jury duty must learn first about laws: Absolutely NOT. The juror must NOT learn any law or facts of case in advance. To allow otherwise, it will diminish the neutrality of a juror. If he will do that, under the Anglo-American (or English-U.S.) Justice systems of which the proposed Philippine Jury System is patterned after, he will be disqualified out-right by one of the trial lawyers. Even if the jurors will learn about the law and fact of the case in advance, the presiding judge will order the jurors to disregard and take away from their minds about the law and facts they have learned “outside of this court room.” The only law and facts the jury should learn or know are those that are given in the Jury Instruction. It is for this reason that in the English-U.S. Jury systems, lawyers are disqualified to set as jurors in a jury. A trial attorney who will allow a fellow lawyer to sit as a juror in his case is a FOOL. Why? Because if that lawyer-juror will have a different theory about his case, he will lose control of his case and lose his case.
6. The Jury System is merely Procedural Device: The Jury System is fundamentally a PROCEDURAL LAW, not a substantive law. It is only a device for use of legal ignoramus citizens to understand how to perform their jury duty. It is like a “bridge” to aid the jurors in arriving at their jury verdict.
7. Check and Balance of Power: The jury system will serve as a device in the hands of the sovereign people to check, control, prevent, and punish public officials over their abuses in office against the people. This is the reason that public officials, among others, in England, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, cannot easily fool all their peoples some of the time, or fool some of their peoples all the time. Said countries are progressive, their governments are stable, their public officials are scared to abuse their powers, and more respectful to the rights and freedom of their constituents.
8. Philippine Judges and Lawyers, have no training in the American jury systems trial procedures": This is a myth. The Philippine Rules, Trial and Procedures in court have been substantially patterned after the U.S. Federal Rules of Court. Philippine judges and lawyers, therefor, can easily get acquainted in practicing the proposed Philippine Jury System because this proposed jury law is also patterned after the U.S. Federal Jury System.
9. Certain dignitaries say the Jury System is unconstitutional:
Honorable former Senator Nene Pimentel Jr. and Honorable former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban have, at one time or another, expressed their views that the proposed adoption of the jury system is unconstitutional. However, we have yet to see any strong argument from them that specifically attack and nullify the sovereign power of the people and people’s supreme authority to empower public officials under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution.
With due respect, I believe that the power of the judges and justices under Article VIII is subordinate to the plenary power of the people and, therefore, the people with their discretion can put a reign on judicial powers by reserving some deciding power in justice to the people themselves by creating the jury system to prevent the “squandering” of the deciding power of justice. As stated earlier, the jury system is no more than a procedural law that can be constructed by the people like a bridge to facilitate their efforts to prevent the abuses of public officials as the people’s agent in running the affairs of the government. There is no clear or specific provisions in Articles VI, VII, and VIII of the constitution stating that the power of public officials in Congress, the President, and the Judiciary given to them by the People are “untouchable” from the people’s sovereign power.
For purposes of enacting the “National Jury Law Initiative” to create the Grand Jury and Trial Jury systems, the amendment process is but optional. Jury creation has already a strong footing under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution.
However, if the jury system is to be adopted with constitutional fiat, an amendment to the present constitution may be introduced, like the way the American People in the United States did, by simply amending the constitution, without revising it. It will gain more advantage to the efforts of the Jury adoption advocates because it will firmly implant the jury system to strongly protect the Filipino people of their rights, freedom and pursuit of happiness. If such amendment is proposed, I respectfully recommend that such amendment be added after Section 22 to the Bill of Rights of the Filipino people in the current constitution to read as follows:
"Section 23. No person shall be held to answer a serious offense defined by law, unless upon a Grand Jury Indictment. In all criminal prosecution, the accused shall enjoy the right to speedy public trial by an impartial jury. In suits for civil damage or money, exceeding ten thousand pesos, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved. No finding of fact by a jury shall be reexamined in any Court.”
Note: The the job of the Grand Jury has two (2) folds:
(1) To prevent filing in court of frivolous criminal accusations like what Mr. Mike Arroyo did in filing massive number of libel cases against many members of the press, to protect his alleged honor and integrity, during the government administration of his wife, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; and
(2) To ensure a thorough unhampered secret investigation and the filing of criminal indictment in court against guilty serious crime offenders. The purpose of secret investigation is to ensure the preservation of the constitutional right of innocence of the crime suspect before he is finally found guilty at a proper public trial. Parading a captured crime suspect before the public with photo-op alongside with a president is absolutely an illegal act, a crime of obstruction of justice, and this crime is likewise highly indictable by a Grand Jury.
Q#6-G. Do you mean to say that the juries have more deciding powers in justice than the President or Senators or Congressmen?
A. Essentially, YES, under the present constitution but we need to set up the jury system as an orderly means by which the people can properly exercise their sovereign power and authority.
(1) The authority of the people through the juries are still superior than that of the president or the lawmakers in making judicial decisions. In fact, the the president and the lawmakers have no judicial powers at all. Also, in fact, they commit the crime of obstruction of justice whenever they dictate which way a prosecutor or judge shall decide in justice.
(2) The people's power is located in the higher level of authority in Article II of the Constitution while the presidential and congressional powers are located lower in Article VII and Article VI, respectively, in the constitution.
Q#6-H. What will happen if we will not adopt the jury system?
A. Many more bad things can happen to the detriment and disadvantage of the common and ordinary Filipino people:
(1) Government corruption will escalate and get out of control in the long run that will cause anarchy in this country. As we all know, smuggling and sale of drugs into this country is getting worse and each day many people are hooked on drugs. This is also aggravated by the rampant participation of no less than high officials in the Philippine National Police services in the illegal jueteng gambling enterprise.
(2) With drug abundance, more people will gain access to drugs both among public servants and the people in the private sector. Time will come when more public servants will be addicted and they will become more assertive in acquiring to satisfy their lusts for drugs, money and power. As between public servants who have more power to gain control of the peoples money and the people in the private sector who have less or no access to government funds, the powerful public officials naturally will prevail by hook or by crook in stealing government funds.
(3) Many will engage in the million dollar drug cartel business and you can be sure, a great number of powerful public officials both national and in the LGUs will enter into this very profitable business. The next thing that will happen, you can be sure, is that there will be rivalry among them and they will be employing their respective goons, guns and smuggling gun boats to gain supremacy in this business.
(4) Without the jury system now in place, time will come when justice will be dictated by the barrel of a gun. Many people will be killed on the orders by powerful filthy rich corrupt public officials or by whoever will prevail in possessing more arms and ammunition like what is happening now in the border of Mexico and the U.S. This is a place today where almost every month, there are incidents of massacre of many people between rival gangs to control the drug cartels in northern Mexico.
(5) Currently and like the Philippines, Mexico is operating its justice justice by the solo prosecutor and solo judge processes. Because the Mexican government on its own government man power is no longer capable of stopping the ever worsening tide of lawlessness in Mexico, its government is now embarking to revive its use of the Jury System both the grand jury and trial jury system similar to the U.S. Federal jury systems.
Q#6-I. What will happen if we delay until after President Aquino shall finish his term? He is a good and honest president and I think he can control justice for the people.
A. With due respect:
(1) The President can control justice but with great NATURAL limitations. He cannot possibly and physically see, watch and catch PERSONALLY every crook in this country even if he declares martial law to enforce justice by his personal brand of the rule of law. It is ONLY BY ALL THE PEOPLE ACTING IN CONCERT THROUGH THE JURIES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY and by each adult Filipino in the private sector likewise acting as a warm bodied sentinel, can justice be enforced by the true rule of law - not by dictators wittingly or unwittingly.
(2) If conflict of personal interest will arise between his own favorite cabinet secretaries in the name of his so-called rule of law and the interest of the people with other politicians around the country, naturally he would want to dictate to prosecutors and judges to decide in favor of his own wishes. This is even getting magnified now in not allowing to investigate the disclosure of Archbishop Oscar Cruz that two of his cabinet secretaries are connected with the illegal jueteng gambling business.
(3) If we wait to install the jury system at a later time, it would be too late and more difficult to stop the consequence mentioned in response Numbers (1), (2), (3) and (4) in the preceding question Q#6-H above.
(4) What most of us Filipinos do not realize is that our solo prosecutor or solo judge system of administering justice is in fact the BASIC CAUSE OF GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION. This is the main reason that we must adopt the Jury System of Justice by all means as soon as possible, preferably in this year 2011 - not next year when everyone will again be involved in politics for the 2013 elections.
Q#7-A. I don't think the common Filipino people can ever control justice. How can they control justice if at the same time they will be supervised by judges,and if the judges will dictate on them which way they will decide a case?
A. Supervision by judges does not mean that they can force the people which way to decide a case in justice. Judges can only guide the people how to perform their duties as jurors but they cannot be told by judges which way the people shall decide a case. By supervision, Judges do not dictate the people's decision in justice. The people remains free and independent in making their judicial decision through the jury systems.
In the proposed jury law, it provides a "Statutory Standard Jury Instruction" in which judges are required to issue to the jury WITHOUT modification. If a judge shall deviate from the said statutory instruction to favor or disfavor a party or witness, he can be charged for obstruction of justice upon investigation and indictment by a grand jury.
The proposed jury systems law expressly prohibits judges or any public official from dictating a juror or jury which way shall decide a case otherwise a violation of this rule shall subject a judge or public official criminally liable for obstruction of justice that calls for a penalty by imprisonment from 3 to 5 years in jail.
Q#7-B. Will the adoption of the jury system guaranty total prevention of government graft and corruption?
A. The jury system can guaranty and ensure secret investigation and indictment in court on every government grafter or crime offender once his name is known or identified. It cannot guaranty to stop the "birth" of grafters who are "born" every day.
With the Grand Jury and Trial Jury put in place under the independent deciding power of the people, anyone who will be discovered in committing graft and corruption, regardless of his rank and power in the government, he can be assured to receive within a short period of time a "ticket to jail" from the high speed decisions of the Grand Jury and Trial Jury. Such decisions can come out within two years or less from the date the criminal act of the offender is discovered or known.
Members of grand juries cannot easily be identified because they are chosen by lottery. Once chosen, each member is given a security ID code for his official use and his true name shall be kept by the inducting judge in a bank vault. Their names are never published and they conduct their investigation in a secret room with no one else is allowed to observe except with just one witness at a time for interrogation.
Each witness will likewise be given a security ID Code and the crime suspect will be designated also with a security ID Code in the records of the grand jury. Grand jury members secretly write their respective jury ballots so that none of them will know each others vote. An affirmative vote of 14 members out of the 23 membership will be sufficient to decide an indictment.
Jurors who will serve for jury duty are strictly reserved for private citizens. Their employment with their private employers cannot be sabotaged by public officials. For this reason, jurors will not be inhibited or afraid in making a decision to indict or convict any powerful corrupt government official for consignment to jail because no public official can fire or terminate a private citizen from his job with his private employer.
With the jury systems in place, every corrupt official discovered for corruption also every day will be welcome by the Grand Jury for secret investigation and indictment in court. Every day, from Batanes Islands to Tawi-Tawi Islands, it will become common to read in the newspapers, or heard over the radio, or watched on television, that a certain "powerful grafter" has been indicted by a grand jury or convicted by a trial jury for corruption.
Without jury systems like our present government monopolized justice system, powerful corrupt officials and their spouses or close relatives and friends are NEVER EVER INDICTED much less convicted for corruption because many judges and prosecutors are nothing but errand boys and girls of such powerful officials. Even the Ombudsman is inutile to do his or her job because he or she is just another errand boy or girl of a powerful politician like the President, Senator, Congressman, Governor, Mayor or even by a Bgy Captain.
If you are a poor victim of a crime committed by a high powered character in the government, you will need to kneel before those untouchables (and kiss their asses) to ask that the offender shall be prosecuted for his transgression of your right but in most cases you end up nonetheless signing that so called "Affidavit of Desistance" in the name of "peace."
Q#7-C. Scenario: I am only a subordinate employee or officer. My immediate supervisor is "A" and he is a corrupt official. He is also under a more superior official "B". Question: Can I report to the Grand Jury my immediate supervisor "A" without first informing Supervisor "B"? Will I be demoted or fired for by-passing "B" on my report to the Grand Jury?
A. Under the proposed jury systems law, you can act as a tipster and by-pass supervisor "B", or any higher rank official or officer in your office or organization for your report to the Grand Jury for secret investigation and indictment of your immediate corrupt supervisor or any other superior officer for that matter. You cannot be demoted, or fired, or transferred, or suffer reduction of pay or rank.
Please refer to Article I, Section 3, Sub-Section (b) of the "National Jury Law Initiative". Find Article I in the Navigation Bar on the upper left margin of this web-page.
Q#7-D. What makes the Jury Systems more effective in preventing graft and corruption compared to the Anti-Graft Commissions including the "Truth Commission", even if its legality will be finally upheld by the Supreme Court, that have been created by the prior and present Presidents?
A. The ability of the President and his anti-graft commissions is essentially and naturally limited in terms of PHYSICALLY watching and observing the number of grafters around the country. It would be impossible for them to "see, watch and catch" every corrupt officials and employees who are "born" every day all around the government offices in the country and Philippine consulates in foreign countries.
With the adoption of the jury systems, practically every adult private citizen can become a warm bodied sentinel upon the conduct of every public servants in their respective communities.
Every adult private citizen can act as a whistle blower who may report anonymously without disclosing his identity any grafter to the Grand Juries which will be created in the proposed jury systems law. To know how the grand jury is organized and its function, please read Article III of the proposed jury systems law which you will find in the navigation bar of this page on the upper left hand margin.
The proposed Grand Jury system has been patterned after the U.S. Grand Jury system. Its investigation is conducted ultra secretly so that in most cases, the object of its investigation will learn only of the accusation against him is when he is already about to be arrested by a group of warrant officers or sheriffs to take him into custody.
Q#7-E. Who can you expect to serve as whistle blowers for the Grand Jury against suspected crime or graft offenders?
A. There are a lot of them. Disgruntled litigants against judges and justices who had decided cases against them; Dejected Queridas or queridos of a grafter; A disgusted subordinate officer who is interested to apply for the public position of his corrupt superior officer; An equally corrupt official who failed to receive his share in the bribe given to his partner in the crime; Anyone out of good conscience who may want a crime or crime offender be disclosed to the people; Bribe givers under the proposed jury law who are immunized from prosecution if they testify against a bribe recipient. Tipsters can be all around.
Usually, the types of whistle blowers described above are the common source of information about crime offenders for grand juries in the U.S., besides via the "Leakipedia" now-a-days.
In the proposed Grand Jury systems law, bribe givers shall be given immunity from prosecution if they promise to testify against their bribe recipients. If the bribe giver refuses to testify, he will instead by charged with the crime of obstruction of justice which is easier to prove than the crime of bribery. Chances are is that he would rather testify than have himself convicted with obstruction of justice and serve time in jail.
Q#7-F. Is there any instance in which a grafter or corrupt official may be forgiven for abusing the power of his public position?
A. Yes, there is. Please read Article III, Sections 29, the "Forgiving Clause" and Section 30, the "Purgatory Clause" of the "National Jury Law Initiative."
Q#7-G. Shall the Jury System minimize police brutality or abuses of government armed services?
A. The Jury System will greatly reduce police brutality or abuses of government armed service including extra-judicial killings or use of death squads knowing that the ordinary or common people will then become the deciding authorities over the criminal cases filed against those tyrants in the government armed services.
Through the grand juries, the people in the private sector can then secretly investigate and decide to indict in court and get convicted by trial juries any abusers of society including powerful public officials who may attempt to cover-up or whitewash the abuses and misdeeds of their subordinates.
Q#7-H. The common people who shall man the juries have no enough knowledge on how to use the law in accomplishing their mission. How can you expect that they will be able to achieve the aims and purposes of the jury system?
A. With respect to the members of the Grand Jury, not only are they given their standard jury instruction, the Grand Jury is empowered to call on professionals such as lawyers, certified public accountants, doctors, engineers, etc. - depending on what type of issue it is confronted with to help its members formulate the task of the grand jury.
Grand Jury instruction likewise include prescribe forms which its members can easily fill up such as a subpoena,or an advertising form to invite tipsters in reporting crimes to the grand jury. All the tipster shall do is fill in the name and address of the crime suspect and witnesses to the crime and brief information on how he gained knowledge about the crime without requiring him to disclose his identity.
The qualification of the members of the grand jury requires, at least, that they must be possessed with a bachelor's degree with a college diploma. A grand jury shall be composed of 23 members. With their higher degree of education, and large membership, they are expected to intelligently discuss and easily understand how to execute their tasks.
In regard to the Trial Jury, its members shall be closely supervised and guided by a presiding judge with the aid of standard jury instruction on how to perform their duties.
Q#8. What important advantages shall the Filipino people gain by the adoption of the Jury System?
A. There are many. Among others, they are the following:
1. It will greatly reduce the degree of government corruption all around the country;
2. It will unify the Filipino people, specially between Christians and Muslims. It may even render academic the current protracted GRP-MILF peace negotiation process.
3. Juries will reduce the danger to presiding trial judges as being the usual center target of vindictiveness of disgruntled criminal defendants knowing that they will not be the deciding judges, but the juries, specially in high profiled cases.
4. Trial Juries will greatly remove the burden of the judges in writing their decisions.
5. Trial Juries will greatly reduce the backlog of cases around the country.
6. No more rich or powerful Christian or don, donia, senior or seniora, prex, FG, or FL, guv, mayor, or barngay cap, police, or mayaman, or a rich or powerful Muslim, or datu, or sultan, or a bai, can claim that he or she is more favored with more privilege under the law because he or she is such and such a powerful character. No more. "DI NA MAPAKAY. Hindi na pwuede yan." Kailangan, pantay-pantay segund sa batas.
7. Through the Jury Instruction issued by presiding judges, it will greatly serve as an authentic source of legal education for the Filipino people of their rights and citizenship obligation to the country and in their localities.
Those who have served as jurors will, in turn, become teachers to the members of their own families, their neighbors, and friends. Read in the link below what instruction judges give to jurors who serve for jury duty:
Article VI, Section 3
The Statutory Basic Trial Jury Instruction.
Starting with: "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury"
Justice begets peace, and when there is peace, there is prosperity and unity of the people.
Q#9. Without the Jury System, is there any source of information or teachers that will educate the people of their citizenship rights and obligations?
A. There are, but they are the wrong sources of information. In fact there are many of them and listed below:
1. Their own tyrannic parents who teach their children how to massacre journalists, lawyers and other people. You know what I'm talking about, I think.
2. From corrupt officials who show bad example to the people and to their subordinates in office. They show to their subordinates how to steal government funds. When their subordinates are promoted, they also follow the steps of their superior mentors. Correct?;
3. Some public officials lead and aid entrepreneurs to open prostitution houses for young people; encourage people to play huweteng; teach soldiers to sell arms of the AFP to their enemies to make money;
4. Some powerful public officials conspire with warlords to buy their loyalty with government money and even arms and ammunition for self-empowerment;
5. From tyrannic leaders of dissident organizations, like the NPA, the NDF, the MILF and street gangs. They teach people how to kidnap and kill people. They teach people how to rob other people.
6. The masterminds of death squads. They teach people how to kill people also to keep "peace" in their cities.
7. The tyrannic powerful political officials. They teach election officials and employees how to steal electoral ballots in order to "win" in elections. They also teach people how to kill their political opponents.
Is it any wonder why the Philippines today is suffering from social chaos, utter mass poverty and starvation among the people in the private sector?
It is only through the jury system that the people can fight back peacefully, without use of arms and grenades in the battle fields. Instead they peacefully use their jury votes in the halls of justice, to enforce their rights, freedom and liberty in the pursuit of their well-being and happiness.
Q#10. Each country has its own jury system rules. From which country shall we pattern the Philippine Jury Systems?
A. It is patterned after the U.S. Federal Jury Systems with many modifications that takes into account our Filipino culture and temperament.
Like the U.S. Federal Jury Systems, there will be two (2) types of jury that will be established through the "National Jury Law Initiative". These juries are known as (a) the GRAND JURY and (b) the TRIAL JURY.
Q#11. What is the difference between a Grand Jury and a Trial Jury?
A. The function of the Grand Jury, composed of 23 members, is equivalent to the combined functions of the National Bureau of Investigation, the function of an investigating fiscal, or of the function of the Ombudsman. It has the power to decide and file an accusation in court, called the indictment, upon its finding of a probable cause that the crime suspect has committed a serious offense. By serious offense, I mean a crime that is punishable by law for one (1) year or more.
The Trial Jury is like a “group judge” composed of 12 members and it is presided over by a judge. The presiding judge acts as its supervisor to keep court discipline, determines admissibility of evidence and in the issuance of jury instruction as to the applicable law on a case and on how to understand the evidence of a case.
The trial jury shall hear, and try the case. After completion of the presentation of evidence and hearing the law of the case, the presiding judge shall, thereafter, submit the matter to the trial jury for discussion and decision. The presiding judge will have no participation in the discussion and in making the decision or verdict of the trial jury.
Q#12. What is the main purpose of setting up of the Grand Jury and Trial Jury”.
A. To enable the People to decide in justice free and independent from the control of government prosecutors, judges and justices. These juries will prevent powerful public officials in interfering with the job of prosecutors, judges, and justices. One of its objectives is to create a check and balance between the power of the people and the power of their public servants who happen to be known as “public officials”.
"Public Officials" do not mean that they are superior than the people. They are the servants of the people in a democratic form of government.
Another way of describing a Jury is that it is a group of citizens which hears the testimony in legal disputes and determines (decides) what it believes is the truth. One other advantage of securing a jury decision, is that it is free from the arbitrary and whimsical decision by a solo judge or an investigator who hears a case.
Q#13. How can these juries prevent powerful public officials in interfering with the job of prosecutors, judges, and justices.
A. Juries decide independently. While their functions are supervised by judges or prosecutors, the judges and prosecutors have no control over the deciding power of the people through the juries. Even if a judge, justice, or prosecutor is commanded by a powerful official to elicit a judgment on a case according to the wishes of such official, it is the decision of the jury that will control - not the decision of such judge, justice, or prosecutor.
If the act of interference by a public official is so flagrant amounting to a crime in pressuring a judge, justice, or prosecutor, to act in a certain way, the Grand Jury can step in and file an indictment for obstruction of justice against such public official.
The supreme power of the juries is derived from the sovereign authority of the people under Article II, Section 1, of the constitution and their power is not derived from judges and prosecutors. The people through the juries are the master whereas the judges and prosecutors are mere servants of the people.
Q#14. Why is there a need of juries when we have already a check and balance system among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of our government?
A. These so-called check and balance scheme is a joke. When the officials in these so-called great branches of government connive or conspire to steal government funds they don’t care about such check and balance as long as they can get the money of the people from public treasuries.
Q#15. Give us an example where this check and balance system does not work at all?
A. One good(?) example is in the setting up of pork barrels of lawmakers and the allowances of the president. Whenever the lawmakers allot large amount of pork barrels for themselves, they just also allot the president with humongous allowances so that they can mutually become rich at the expense of the people.
Q16. Who will appoint the members or jurors of the Grand Jury or Trial Jury?
A. Jurors are never appointed by any public officials. They are chosen only by lottery or randomly. Once a juror qualifies, his name is simply placed in the tambulo or raffle bin and picked randomly regardless of whether the juror is poor, unemployed, employed, rich or poor. It does not require the approval of any public official in order for a citizen to be seated as a juror.
Wala siyang utang na lu-ob sa kanyang pag-upo bilang husgador sa hustisya. Hindi kailangan ang ninong or ninang upang ikaw ay mapili na juror. Basta na bunot ang pangalan mo sa ripa, ma-aring ikaw ang maka-upo na juror or husgador.
Q#17. How can an ordinary citizen be so powerful so as to make a decision in justice when he is not even appointed by a public official?
A. As a citizen of the Philippines, you are a part of the composition of what is known as the “People.” As we have stated earlier, the constitution says: “Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”
In a democratic form of government, and you as its private citizen, sovereign majority rule is vested in you because you are a part of that sovereign majority and you are the master in our democratic form of government. The people are the master while public officials are our servants. Public officials are required to administer the government for us, common people and they are not supposed to steal the taxes that we pay them to administer the government.
Q#18. I think ordinary citizens will be afraid to decide in justice. What influence do they have to enforce their decision since they are just plain, simple, and ordinary citizens?
A. To the contrary, common citizens in the private sector will have no fear of deciding in justice because:
No. 1, they will be guided by a lawful authority, the judges, who will confer on them their authority for jury duty to decide in justice;
No. 2, they will be given protection by police authorities just as much as the presiding judge is during the proceedings;
No. 3, they will be instructed by the Presiding Judge that they have the sovereign authority in serving for jury duty under Article II, Section 1, of the constitution; and
No. 4, they cannot be laid off from their private employment or livelihood for the reason that public officials have no control in their private employment and promotion.
Unlike prosecutors, justices, and judges, they are either recommended by politicians and appointed by the President to their respective positions. When the recommending politician or the President tells the prosecutor or judge or justice how to decide a case, they are scared to go against the wishes of the political boss or the President.
Q#19. What will happen if a powerful public official, or a datu, or a sultan, will assert his power and influence in a matter that is being handled by a grand jury or a trial jury and tells the prosecutor or judge that the decision he wants should be the decision of the jury?.
A. This is a very interesting question. Then the Grand Jury shall secretly investigate, and if probable cause exist about the illegal interference of the politician or political boss, such grand jury shall file an accusation or indictment for obstruction of justice in court against him which is punishable by imprisonment from 3 to 5 years.
After the illegal intervener is indicted in court, an arrest warrant shall be serve on him and he will be taken into custody. Thereafter, he will be required to stand trial before a trial jury of the common people who will decide his case.
Q#20. If the President is interested in a case and interferes on a criminal proceeding either before the Grand Jury or over a Jury Trial, how will the matter be handled by the juries?
A. There is a specific provision in the proposed Grand Jury Law which is Article III, Section 28, of the “National Jury Law Initiative” in dealing with this situation. In the printed version of this proposed initiative, it can be read on page 8 of Article III of said initiative.
Q#21. How about in a situation wherein the sheriff or arresting officer refuses to execute the arrest warrant against an indicted "big wig". What can the Grand Jury do with him?
A. This is another very interesting question. All that the Grand Jury will do is secretly investigate him and indict said disobedient arresting officer for obstruction of justice that carries the penalty, if convicted, of 3 to 5 years in prison.
Q#22. As we all know, it takes from 5 to 15 years before a criminal case is finally concluded in the Philippines because of the dilatory tactics by lawyers in asking postponements after postponements. How can this proposed jury system speed up the process?
A. Upon passage of the National Jury Law Initiative into law, the longest time that a case is finally disposed of will be no more than 2 years from the date the indictment is filed in court against the crime suspect. After a jury trial is held and submitted to the Trial Jury for deliberation and decision, it may take usually no more than two weeks for a jury to render its verdict on a case. In most cases, jury verdicts usually comes up no more than 5 days after it is submitted to the jury for deliberation and decision.
Please read Article X (click on the navigation bar on the upper left margin of this page), Section 4, of the “National Jury Law Initiative, on how to proceed to trial once the accused or criminal defendant is arraigned. It tells the penalty consequence if any of the participants in the trial who will try to manipulate or abuse the postponement of jury trials which includes disbarment for a lawyer or the presiding judge in delaying a jury trial.
(Important Questions About Grand Jury)
Q#23-A. What makes a Grand Jury so powerful that it can even indict a President for obstruction of justice?
A. (a) The power of the Grand Jury to indict the president for committing a criminal act or acts of corruption is derived from the supreme power of the people over all public servants which includes the president. The Grand Jury is the direct agent of the sovereign people and the constitution says in Article II, Section 1, that "Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them."
(b) The basic tool of the Grand Jury is its power to indict for obstruction of justice of any person, regardless of his power and rank in the government or influence in society. In addition, the nature of the grand jury functions are carried out ultra secretly so that anyone it investigates will never know that he is being investigated by this entity. The only time the suspected crime offender knows of the court criminal action against him is when an arrest warrant is served on him and when he is about to be taken into police or government custody.
(c) Also, please browse Article III, Section 28, (page 8 in the printed version) of the proposed “National Jury Law Initiative, re: “How to Indict a President for Abuses in Office” and the orderly transition of presidential power to the Vice President to serve as Acting President upon execution of the arrest warrant against the indicted President.
Q#23-B. Assuming that an arrest warrant has already been issued for execution to take the indicted President into custody. If the President shall resist arrest how can the arresting officer succeed in his mission to take him into custody?
A. The President is expected to show his civility. If he will not submit to physical arrest, he will not be forced to do so. The following provisions under the proposed Jury Systems Law, Article III, Section 28, has been adopted for the peaceful transfer of power of the accused president into the acting president to avoid violence:
"(g) Execution of the warrant of arrest against the President-
(1) Upon the execution of the warrant of arrest against the indicted president, all his presidential powers shall be automatically suspended to prevent him from using the powers of the presidency for his advantage, and to give him full opportunity to depend himself of all accusations against him.
(2) Upon the execution of the warrant of arrest against the indicted president, the arresting officer shall at the same time confidentially inform the vice-president and anyone within the immediate reach or contact of the vice-president of any of the justices of the Supreme Court or of the Court of Appeals or of any judge of the regional, metropolitan, or municipal court or Shari’a Court.
(3) Thereupon the vice-president shall take an oath of office as acting president before any of such justice of the Supreme Court or of the Court of Appeals or of any judge of the regional, metropolitan, or municipal court or Shari’a Court and he shall act as such until and up to the completion of the criminal trial of the indicted president.
(h) Transfer of presidential powers to the vice president as Acting President -
(1) Immediately following the oath taking of the vice president as acting president, the power of the presidency shall automatically devolve upon him,
(2) The vice president as acting president shall promptly inform the people through the media including radio and television facilities of his assumption of office as acting president and that the president has been arrested for certain serious crimes and naming the crimes he has been charged with.
(3) The Acting President shall order the arrested president to physically vacate the office of the President;
(4) Thereupon, the allegiance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the presidential staff and cabinet secretaries shall automatically thereby be channeled to the acting president and to the people.
(i) The execution of the warrant of arrest upon the indicted president or any other indicted public official of the government from national down to all regional autonomous governments, provincial, city, municipal and barangay governments as well as all public officials, senators and congressperson, justices, judges or any of member of their office staffs in the other branches of the government and officials and employees of quasi-government entities and of the government owned or controlled corporations of the Republic of the Philippines shall be deemed complete upon the announcement of the arresting officer to the person of the subject indictee that such indictee is being placed under arrest by the arresting officer regardless of whether the person subject of arrest has been restrained or not.
(j) The rule suspending the president from exercising the powers of his office upon execution of the warrant of arrest against him shall likewise apply to all public officials, except public officials and employees covered by the Civil Service Law.
(k) Should the arrested president, or any arrested public official referred to in the preceding sub-paragraph (i) refuses to be placed into government custody, said subject shall be deemed a fugitive of justice and further made criminally liable of the crime of obstruction of justice. Said public official shall automatically be barred from exercising the official functions of his office and his attempt or attempts to act or do so shall automatically be deemed null and void or without validity.
(l) Authorization of the payment for public expenditure -
(1) Any payment of any public expenditure including payment of salaries of government officials and employees requiring approval by the arrested official shall not be approved for payment unless and until the corresponding voucher or payroll of such expenditure shall have been approved by the acting official who has taken over the authority, powers and function of the arrested officer.
(2) Any government treasurer or paymaster who shall pay any public expenditure including payment of salaries and other benefits of officials and employees relating to the exercise of the claimed official act or acts of the arrested and indicted president, or an indicted public official, shall be personally liable and accountable for the public funds so disbursed for such purpose for lack of authority to make such payment or payments unless their corresponding vouchers or payrolls shall have been approved by the lawful acting public official in place of the arrested public official.
Q#24. How many grand juries shall be organized in the entire country?
A. There will be one grand jury to be organized for each congressional district all over the country in the proposed jury law. It is provided that an investigation in one jury district over a crime committed in another district shall not necessarily overlap or be voided. Please refer to Article III, Section 2(b)) on the upper left margin of this page, and read about the "Grand Jury Unity Clause" wherein a grand jury in one district may investigate crimes in another grand jury district.
Recruitment for grand jury membership shall be made on a voluntary basis. The clerk of court shall be required to post an advertisement inviting interested applicants to the position. Grand Jury members shall be paid a per diem based on the minimum wage. They will collectively serve for 6 months only - from January to June and another batch from July to December each year. In the advertisement, it will state the required qualification for grand jury membership.
Q#25-A. What is the qualification for grand jury membership?
A. Grand Jury membership requires the following:
Grand Jury members shall be chosen randomly from among private citizens possessed with any bachelor’s diploma from a reputable college or university and who has not been a member of a fraternity, sorority, or mista, in any college, university, or military academy, and at least 21 years old of either gender.
(b) No person who is an official or employee of the government or any branch or instrumentality of the national government or local government unit including government owned or controlled or quasi-government corporation or members of the armed forces and police services of the government or any lawyer or any datu, bai, or a sultan or a member of a royal clan or ruling family, or any person who claims to be a datu, bai, or sultan or member of such royal clan or ruling family, or a priest, bishop, archbishop, cardinal, or pastoral leader of any religious organization, shall qualify for membership in the grand jury.
Q#25-B. Why is the membership in the Grand Jury not open equally to all citizens of the country?
A. Because, in the ultimate analysis of Philippine society, there two unequal classes of people, namely: the RICH on one hand and the POOR on the other hand.
The RICH can buy justice, the wealth, and political power of the country, but the POOR cannot have no means to acquire any of those comforts. The poor in reality are nothing but second class citizens and justice does not belong to them in the eyes and ears of the rich.
In order for the poor to gain the same opportunities of the rich, the poor must be afforded more in law. "Those who have less in life, must have more in law.".. President Ramon Magsaysay said. That law must not be none other than the Grand Jury and Trial Jury systems law that will make the poor the guardian of justice to prevent the rich from magically buying justice and wealth for free.
"There is no better guardian of the freedom and justice for the people than the people themselves." ..President Thomas Jefferson. In essence, he further said that: "To allow otherwise such guardianship in the government, the people would become like gentle lambs under the protection of hungry wolves."
Q#26. To whom shall a grand jury membership applicant submit his application?
A. He must report to the clerk of court and bring with him his genuine diploma with a police clearance from the PNP to fill up an application form. He must not be a recommendee of a government official. If he qualifies, his application shall be entered in a lottery bin. In the application, it will show the date, time, and place of the drawing names of the grand jury applicants. The random drawing of their names will be held in the court room of the inducting trial judge.
There are strict secrecy rules in the process of picking the name by lottery of the applicant. Please read Article III, Section 3, of the “National Jury Law Initiative”, page 3 in the printed version.
Q#27. Shall the inducting judge of the grand jury serve as its permanent presiding judge?
A. No. The inducting judge will preside the grand jury only once upon its formation and inauguration to swear in the new incoming batch of the members of the grand jury. He will issue each member his own security ID Number (or SIDN) which he shall use as his official name for the duration of his jury duty. In addition, the inducting judge will issue and confer upon the grand jury its powers via the Standard Grand Jury Instruction or "SGJI". The SGJI contains all the instruction on what and how the Grand Jury shall carry out its function.
The inducting judge shall also instruct on how the Grand Jury shall organize its officers.
After the Grand Jury is organized and empowered with its functions, the job of the inducting judge is done. He will have nothing to do with the future sessions of the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury shall become a self-autonomous and independent Body and make decisions on its on. All future sessions of the Grand Jury shall be conducted by its own officers in accordance with the SGJI Manual. No government official shall have the authority to dictate what the grand jury shall do in its investigation.
Q#28. How can the members of the Grand Jury know how to undertake an investigation when they know nothing about laws?
A. Upon their inauguration or swearing in to enter grand jury service, they will be given their SGJI as stated earlier. The specific details on how they will perform their job will be written in the IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Supreme Court to be known as
"GJ-WITNESS Interrogation Plan" and in book form) that will guide them how to do their job. As college graduates, they are expected to learn their job easily.)
Q#29. What are those Secret Rules for Grand Jury Investigation?
A. Among others, the are the following:
Besides the secret manner in which their identities and names of its members are kept secret, the Grand Jury is required to:
1. Keep their investigation in a secret and unmarked Grand Jury Room;
2. Absolutely no one except the members of the grand jury and one witnessed to be interrogated is allowed to enter the grand jury room for any reason;
3. Government prosecutors are not allowed to accompany a complaining witness for interrogation by the grand jury members, unlike the U.S. Federal Grand Jury system;
4. No members of the public or media is allowed to observe any grand jury proceeding;
5. No public official is ever allowed to observe a grand jury proceeding;
6. If any person shall violate the grand jury secrecy rules, the grand jury has the power to indict for obstruction of justice (punishable from 3 to 5 years imprisonment for violation) by such person; and
7. No court or judge or attorney shall have the power to ask or issue for an order to disclose the records of the grand jury.
8. To reach a grand jury decision to indict, or not to indict, its members shall vote secretly to prevent a dominant member in forcing members to vote against their will.
Q#30. What is the purpose of the strict secrecy rules of the Grand Jury membership and proceedings?
A. To counter the secret means by which crimes are usually committed in secrecy by offenders.
There are other nine (9) important reasons for the strict secrecy of the grand jury proceedings. They are:
No. 1, To protect the members of the grand jury from harm or harassment by powerful vindictive crime offenders and their cohorts or relatives such as a tyrannic President, Governors, Mayors, Senators and Congressmen, Police and Army officers; and
No. 2, To protect all possible witnesses to the crime from harm and harassment by interested parties or persons to a case;
No. 3, To prevent the crime suspect from becoming fugitive of justice or from escaping arrest;
No. 4, To prevent trial by publicity by grandstanding government investigators like the presidential wannabee senators, and police or army officials who want to gain “good points” (or “pugi” points) for promotion with their so called crime prevention efforts; and
No. 5, To keep the constitutional innocence of the crime suspect from prejudicial judgment by potential jurors in the case.
No. 6, To prevent the suspect or victim or their respective sympathizers from tampering any evidence or of threatening, harassing or harming potential witnesses;
No. 7, To protect both the victim and crime suspect from further counter-attacks or from harming each other or by their followers.
No. 8. To protect judges and government prosecutors and private investigators for doing their jobs honestly from illegal or unethical interference, threats, harassments, or physical harm from highly armed or powerful or wealthy elements of society both in and outside of government; and
No. 9. To encourage potential crime informers and whistle blowers to secretly report to the grand jury any criminal wrong doings in their workplace, neighborhood, organizations, and among circle of friends.
Q#31. For whose protection is the grand jury basically created?
A. Primarily for the protection of the people in the private sector and for individual citizens and witnesses against harassments by government agents or prosecutors or personal (bata-bata) attorneys of powerful government officials.
Q#32. If a Grand Jury files an indictment in court, will such indictment be subject to review and approval by a government prosecutor or a judge?
A. No. A Philippine prosecutor or a judge shall have no power to review or set for a pretrial proceedings over a grand jury indictment that originated from the grand jury.
On the contrary, if the government or government prosecutor originally files a criminal complaint over a crime that is punishable by imprisonment with at least one year in jail, the government prosecutor must first obtain grand jury approval in the form of a grand jury indictment. Without grand jury indictment, the case against the accused must be dismissed.
The philosophy behind this requirement under U.S. criminal law is that before a government can deprive a person of his civil liberties and freedom as a member of the community, the government must seek first the approval of the people through their grand jury. “We, the people,” are supreme over our government. "The pecking order of power is this: God created men (and women), therefore, God is more powerful than men (and women). Men/women created their constitution and their constitution created the government. Therefore, men and women (including you), the people are more powerful than the government they created.
Q#33. Why is the Grand Jury more powerful than any constitutional investigation or indictment agency of the government?
A. Because the Grand Jury derives its power directly from express sovereign power and authority of the people under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution. Other persons who serve the people, like the President, Senators, Ombudsman and other commissions, etc., derive their powers from the subordinate constitutional provisions such as Articles VI, VII, VIII (all articles below Article II) and therefore the People, through their Grand Juries, can investigate and indict any of their public servants for committing crimes who work under those constitutional provisions.
The people, through the Grand Jury, are not bound by the so-called interdepartmental courtesies among the officials of the three branches of the government, the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary, including in all other government officials who derive their authority in the lower rank articles of the constitution below Article II.
Q#34. Is the Grand Jury required to inform the crime suspect of the investigation against him?
A. No. Because the Grand Jury is not a court and its proceeding is not governed by the rules of court. The hearsay rule is not applicable in a grand jury investigation. Its job is a purely evidence gathering activity to determine probable cause and not necessarily finding evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the crime suspect.
Q#35. This Grand Jury secrecy rules may be in violation of the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the accusation against him, is it not?
A. No. Not at all. What is implied in the question are the following rights of a person:
(1) His bill of rights in Article III, Section 12(1), which says: “ Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice.“
This right applies only if the crime suspect is in police custody or when he is apprehended by the police in the act of committing a crime. In this situation, the crime suspect must be informed of two rights: (a) His right to remain silent; and (b) His right to retain a counsel of his choice while being placed under interrogation.
In a grand jury investigation, the crime suspect is not present and he cannot be interrogated. He cannot be compelled to be present to testify because that would mean compelling him to testify against himself which is a violation of his constitutional right to remain silent.
For example: A COMELEC Commissioner had helped in the dagdag/bawas counting of presidential votes. His voice was clearly identified talking to the re-electionist president whom he helped to win in the election with his electoral antiques. He now becomes a crime suspect for violation of the electoral law.
To escape from the police authorities, the Commissioner boards on an executive jet in going to Hong Kong to escape prosecution. While he was on flight and plight, the Grand Jury started investigating his activities. Shall the grand jury foreman call him by his cell phone and say: “Hello Garcie, Hello honey. You have the right to remain silent, hello!!! You also have the right to hire a lawyer of your choice, hello!!!
Assuming that Commissioner Garcie is listening with his cell phone but does not answer because he does not want his whereabouts known. Does that mean that the Grand Jury cannot interrogate a certain NBI agent, named Mr. Double who had recorded the conversation between Commissioner Garcie and the re-electionist President?
Susmaryosep! If the Supreme Court will disallow the investigation, what shall the members of the grand jury do? Will they just play mahjong?
What we are trying to say here is that the above constitutional requirement to inform the crime suspect is applicable only when he is held in the custody of the authorities. It is a requirement upon police authorities who are either holding the suspect or in the process of arresting him to inform him of his right not to speak and the right to call his lawyer to assist him speaking with the police.
In a grand jury investigation, the crime suspect is nowhere near in the investigating room.
Also the grand jury has no power to order the taking of the suspected crime offender into police or government custody.
Basically, the most important job of the grand jury is to decide whether a crime suspect should be indicted in court for his suspiciously criminal acts. Once the grand jury has filed an indictment on a matter, its job is done.
Q#36. But Article III, Section 14, it says, among others, that:
“(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall ...enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, ... to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf.”
A. The above provision does not apply in grand jury investigation because:
No. 1, the said rule applies only in a court trial. The grand jury has nothing to do with court trials. Grand jury proceedings is not a part of court proceedings either.
No. 2, the grand jury is not empowered to try an accuse.
No. 3, in a grand jury investigation, there is only a crime suspect to speak of and he is not yet an accused.
No. 4, like the investigation conducted by the authorities of the National Bureau of Investigation, grand jury investigation must of necessity be conducted secretly to ensure full gathering of evidence against the crime suspect.
No. 5, grand jury investigation is nothing more than gathering evidence against the crime suspect.
No. 6, the only time a crime suspect is called an “accused” is after he is already indicted in court by the grand jury, but by then, the grand jury has already nothing more to do with the accused.
No. 7, the above constitutional rule is applicable only in the trial of the accused crime suspect before a court of law.
Q#37. In Article XI, Section 13(6) of the Constitution states that: “The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions, and duties: (6) Publicize matters covered by its investigation when circumstances so warrant and with due prudence.” meaning its investigation must be published. Is the secrecy rule in grand jury investigation not in violation of this constitutional requirement?
A. The said constitutional directive does not apply to grand jury investigation because:
(1) It is addressed only to the Ombudsman in its crime investigation of public officials and only when circumstances so warrant and with due prudence. Publicity is not even mandatory upon the Ombudsman. It is required only when the Ombudsman can not find any lead in the commission of the crime to prove its case, and prudence will tell him that it is not necessary if he has already the evidence necessary to indict the crime suspect.
(2) It would be imprudent for a grand jury to publicize its investigation, because that would be tantamount to letting the crime suspect escape from its investigation and make its job more onerous.
Q#38. Shall the members of the grand jury go out to the field in conducting its investigation?
A. No. There is no moment in which any member of the grand jury shall have to go out to conduct an investigation. All investigation business of the grand jury shall be conducted secretly inside their investigation room.
Q#39. How can they find their suspects and witnesses to the crime?
A. Easy. Very Easy. All the grand jury shall do is require the clerk of court to post an advertisement in newspapers with general circulation to invite tipsters or whistle blowers without identifying themselves to secretly send crime information to the grand jury through the office of the clerk of court for delivery to the grand jury.
The advertisement includes a form requiring to identify the name of the crime suspect and witnesses with information of their addresses and place of work. Once the tipster’s information is received by the grand jury, all that its members shall do is to send a subpoena to a witness named by the tipster. The subpoena shall contain a warning to the witness that if he refuses or ignores the subpoena or fails to come forward, he will be charged for obstruction of justice which is punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison.
Based on the information gathered from witnesses who testify before the grand jury, the members of the grand jury shall then decide by secret ballot, if they find probable cause that the crime suspect has committed the crime. If so they will then write and file an indictment in court against such suspect.
In the proposed “National Jury Law Initiative” to create the Grand Jury system, if 14 out of the 23 members shall decide affirmatively, then they simply file the indictment in court.
Please read the “Grand Jury Introduction” and take a look of the Invitation Form and Report Form for tipsters in the link below:
Click Here to go to
The "Grand Jury Introduction"
and find the topic: “Sample of Invitation Notice To Tipsters and Whistle Blowers”
Q#40. Inasmuch as the members of the Grand Jury are mere private citizens, who will officially approve their indictment?
A. No government approval is required in filing the grand jury indictment in court because it carries the sovereign authority of the people which is more superior than the authority of public officials under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution. The People are the masters while public officials are mere servants of the people under our democratic form of government. “All government authority emanates from the people” according to the said provision of the constitution. Remember?
Regardless of whether the President, the Ombudsman, the Fiscal, the Governor, or the Mayor, et al in the government, would like it or not, the decision of the grand jury to indict shall prevail.
Q#41. If the Ombudsman or Fiscal shall preempt to file directly its own criminal information in court like the way they are doing now, what will happen to the preempted indictment filed by the Ombudsman or Fiscal?
A. By the passage of the creation of the Jury Systems, the Jury Systems Law shall require that no person shall be forced to stand trial before the court unless an indictment has been filed by the grand jury against him.
If I were the lawyer for the accused, I will file for dismissal of the case against my client for lack of proper grand jury indictment against him.
Example: If the President, Governor, Mayor, et al in the government, through his favorite fiscal shall file a libel case against a media practitioner for criticizing him, that libel case must first be investigated by the Grand Jury for approval of his accusation before a trial can proceed against him.
One of the purposes of the "National Jury Law Initiative" is to require that before a citizen can be accused in court by the government, the government must first secure the approval of the people through their grand jury. This is the beauty of the Grand Jury System. The People is the Boss, not the public servant.
Q#42. The members of the grand jury are mere lay people. They know nothing about laws, and they may not even know the form or language of their accusation. Can the grand jury simply send a letter signed by its members accusing a person for committing a crime?
A. No. They have to write it in a legal form.
Q#43. How will the grand jury accomplish that?
A. The grand jury has the power to subpoena a lawyer to report to the grand jury to help in the formulation of its indictment. In this case, the lawyer shall be entitled to bill for his services in helping the grand jury and his services shall be paid from the Jury Fund.
Similarly, if they need some help on technical issues, they can likewise subpoena a certified public accountant, an architect, a doctor and others.
In the proposed jury law, all those who will have any hand in the in the grand jury investigation process shall be bound by the secrecy rules of the grand jury system.
Q#44. If the crime suspect is the client of the lawyer who was called by the grand jury to help in the formulation of its indictment, what shall be done to prevent conflict of interest by the lawyer?
A. The lawyer shall have the ethical obligation to decline and he should clearly state and inform the grand jury of his predicament.
Q#45. Why is there still the need of a grand jury when what the grand jury will be doing can already by done by NBI, the Prosecutors, the Ombudsman, the Human Rights Commissioners, and Commission on Audits?
A. The problem is that all these agencies of the government are controlled by politicians from the President down through the powerful executives in the Local Government Units. In the end, they can hardly decide on their own because of you know what? Because of “utos ni Pres, utos ni Guv, utoss ni Mayor, na hindi puede ito, hindi puede yan, dahil bata yan ni.. asawa ni ... querida ni... querido ni .. you know who.
The members of the Grand Jury can easily decide because none of them owe any gratitude to any big wig in the government. Since they are mere ordinary citizens, no powerful politicians would care to invite them as compadres or comadres. And so the grand jury members spend no time or care less thinking about any body of consequence once they find that such somebody has committed a crime.
What is important here is to secure a prompt DECISION to indict, or not to indict, a big wig. Presently with government monopolized justice system, that cannot be done. In actual practice, even an Ombudsman cannot make an independent decision to decide to prosecute a husband of a president.
This is the usual current pattern in making judicial or prosecutorial decision in the Philippines. A "higher-up", like the president, the senator, the congressman, the governor, the mayor, or even a barangay captain, has to be consulted first before a notorious grafter or criminal offender has to be prosecuted or convicted. In other words, we have an inutile government monopolized justice system.
It is only the people, through a Grand Jury, that can make a prompt DECISION without hesitation.
Q#46. What about the members and officers of the Armed Forces or the Philippine National Police, do the Grand Juries have the power to investigate them for their abuses and anomalies in performing their duties?
A. Absolutely, yes. They are all part of the public servants of the people. Without grand juries, currently, it is even very difficult, and almost impossible, to indict a lowest ranked police extortionist who happens to be the bata-bata ni Guv, ni Mayor, ni Barrangay Cap, ni Datu, or ni Sultan, etc.
By the enactment of the Jury Systems Law, all of that will change. If a Police Director General will not be doing his job properly and is acting as protector of a huweteng lord, then the Grand Jury can easily and directly take care of him with either disciplinary to remove him from office or with criminal action to send him to jail.
Q#47. How about if a powerful corrupt public official will retaliate against a member of the grand jury such as filing a case for libel or of any serious offense. How can such member function to perform his grand jury duties?
A. I think a vindictive crime suspect will find a hard time pinpointing the target of his indignation.
First of all, when an applicant for grand jury membership is chosen, he is given a security ID Number (SIDN). All the members, once they are chosen, are instructed not to disclose their true names even with each other. They will be instructed by the inducting Presiding Judge to use only their SIDN in dealing with each other. In exchange for their SIDN, the judge is required to keep their true names in a bank vault.
Even if the vindictive crime suspect personally knows one of the grand jury members, how can such member know which way his fellow jurors voted to indict or not to indict crime suspect because their collective decision is arrived at by secret balloting?
Q#47-A. Inasmuch as the the Grand Jury is composed purely of civilians, how will it be able to deal with political warlords and their highly armed private armies?
A. Grand Juries will not be engaged in warfare with warlords. All that they can do is, first of all, find out from crime tipsters what crimes each warlord has committed and in determining who the witness or witnesses to his crime are such as masterminding the killing or kidnapping of persons. Thereafter, grand juries shall issue subpoenas to the named witnesses from tipsters' report.
After finding in the testimony of witnesses in its secret investigation the probability that such a warlord has committed a crime, then the grand jury shall file an accusation or indictment in court. Upon issuance of the warrant for his arrest by a judge, the arresting officer may seek assistance from the PNP Director General of sufficient number of police officers and men or from the Chief of Staff of the AFP of sufficient number of army officer and men in executing the arrest warrant to take custody of the accused warlord.
Once the warlord is arrested, the presiding judge of a criminal court shall then require him to face an arraignment. If he pleads not guilty, he shall then be required to face trial before a trial jury of the people. If convicted by the jury, he will serve time in jail. If he is not satisfied with guilty verdict (which usually convicted felons are not), then he may appeal his case to an appellate court only on a question of law but not on the finding of fact by the trial jury.
Q#47-B. If the presiding judge of the court where the indictment is filed does not issue a warrant of arrest because the warlord is his compadre. What are the choices of such presiding judge?
A. He better resign his position as a judge and if not he will face a criminal indictment for obstruction of justice by the Grand Jury and have himself stand trial before a trial jury for "OJ" (Obstruction of Justice). Kung mali-it ang kanyang bayag, lagot si judge either way. May be his better alternative is to resign.
Q#47-C. Another problem: If the Grand Jury in Davao City refuses to investigate a death squad mastermind (DSM) for fear of the lives of its members. Can it ask that another Grand Jury in another Judicial (Congressional) District investigate and indict the DSM?
A. Yes, if the activity of DSM will adversely affect the flow of commerce between the two judicial districts. The investigating and indicting Grand Jury may file its indictment in another court away from Davao City, example in Agusan or Surigao, or in Misamis Oriental.
For this situation, please refer to Article III, Section 2(b), 2(c), and 2(d) of the "National Jury Law Initiative" - The Grand Jury People Unity Clause.
(Important Questions about the Trial Jury)
Q#48. What is the qualification for the jurors in a Trial Jury?
A. The following are the required qualification:
(1) Citizen of the Philippines; at least 18 years old, male or female, a high school graduate or with equivalent informal education or training and must possess an average intelligence.
(2) No person shall be rejected to serve as a juror on the basis of his ethnicity, creed, color, gender, marital, financial status in the community or for lack of legal education.
(3) A member of any fraternal or sorority organization in any college or university may qualify as a juror in a trial jury subject to preemption by any of the attorneys without argument on a case for trial.
(4) A person who is obviously suffering from insanity, imbecility or mental incapacity shall not be permitted to serve as a juror.
(5) Unless specifically disqualified in this law to serve as a juror, 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.
(6) No public official or any person serving in any government entity or branch of government service, office, or commission, police or armed services, or government owned corporation or quasi-government entity or a relative by blood or affinity within the first and second degree or household servant of such public official or person shall qualify as a juror in a or trial jury. No lawyer or a person with comparable knowledge of law shall be seated in a trial jury and no such lawyer shall be allowed to claim ignorance of this rule.
(7) No person who has been separated or retired from public service in the government shall be seated as a juror in either juries until the lapse of twenty four (24) months from the date of his separation or retirement from public service.
(8) No person who has been convicted in court for a crime involving moral turpitude including any other crime punishable by imprisonment of one (1) year or more shall be seated as a juror.
(9) No person who is a datu, bai, or a sultan or a member of a royal clan or ruling family, or any person who claims to be a datu, bai, or sultan or member of such royal clan or ruling family shall qualify to serve as a juror in the trial jury.
Q#48-A. How can you call on the people to serve as jurors in a trial jury? I think this is a very difficult thing to accomplish?
A. Calling jurors to serve for jury duty is as easy as calling on a witness to testify on a case in court. It is even easier to serve for jury duty than to serve as a witness in a case. The witness has to sweat it out answering questions from lawyers but jurors do not have to talk and to absolutely shut up.
All that is required is to send to citizens their summonses for jury duty wherein their qualification is stated. The summons will be based on the registered voter's name, and address, and will be mailed to them free of charge (by way of giving courts the Franking Privilege). This privilege is provided in the proposed jury system law.
Q#48-B. If a citizen receives a summons for trial jury duty but he refuses to report for jury service. What will happen to him
A. Such citizen shall be criminally liable for contempt of court. If found guilty, he shall suffer penalty by imprisonment.
Q#48-C. Shall a juror be entitled to a fee or compensation for serving his jury duty? If so, how much rate of fee?
A. A juror serving for jury duty in a jury trial shall be entitled to a juror's fee equal to the rate of the minimum wage per day of a government employee in the locality where the juror has served for jury duty. A juror is further entitled to indemnity for injury, or his next of kin, if dies in the course of jury service.
Q#48-D. Is there a limit as to how many times a juror can be called for jury duty each year?
A. Yes, there is. No citizen can be served with summons for jury duty more than once each year.
Q#48-E. If a citizen reports for jury duty in response to a summons for jury duty but for some reason or reasons, he was not seated to serve in a jury trial. Will such citizen be entitled to a juror's fee?
A. Yes, such citizen reporting for jury duty shall be entitled to a one full day of service.
Q#48-F. How often can a citizen be required to serve for jury duty in a trial jury?
A. A citizen can not be required to serve for jury duty more than once every 12 months even if he wants to serve very often within 12 months.
Q#49. What are the most difficult job for jurors to do when serving for jury duty?
A. The jurors will be required to do the following:
First: They will be instructed to SIT, SHUT UP, AND LISTEN. They will not be required to make speeches. They will not be asked how much do they know about laws. They will also be instructed to forget any law they have learned in school or from anywhere. Then they will be instructed on the proper or correct law that applies to the case at hand and on how to do properly their job as jurors.
The most difficult instruction for a juror to follow is the instruction absolutely not to talk with any body in or outside of court - not even among themselves - while the jury trial is still in progress. Jurors can talk among themselves only (not with anybody else) at the time the case is submitted to the jury for deliberation. They cannot make phone calls. Their cellphones shall be deposited with the clerk of court when they are on deliberation of the case.
Second: After they have seated, shut up and had listened to the evidence, they will be instructed to: (a) Go to a private deliberation room; (b) To choose their leader, called the Jury Foreman (c)) To discuss among themselves alone of who is telling the truth or not at the trial; and (d) To decide the case. The presiding judge will not be allowed to participate in their discussion and in making their decision. They can speak any language or dialect they are familiar with. No need to speak in English except “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” or its equivalent local dialect.
In the proposed jury systems law, if they reach a decision of 7 or more guilty votes out of the 12 votes, then they have reached a “Guilty” verdict. If they have reached a tie vote, 6 guilty and 6 not guilty, then they have reached a “Not Guilty” verdict. If they have reached 7 or more not guilty votes, then naturally, they have a “Not Guilty” verdict.
There is no hung jury in the proposed Philippine Jury systems law.
Q#50. In the U.S., trial juries are required to vote unanimously to reach a verdict otherwise they will have a hung or hang jury. Why in your proposed jury law, only 7 or more guilty votes can already produce a guilty verdict?
A. Not all states in the U.S. adopt the unanimous verdict vote. Some adhere to the “majority verdict rule”.
I have chosen to recommend the "majority verdict rule" in order to protect witnesses. In a unanimous verdict rule, in case of a hung jury, the case will have to be retried anew and this will require for the witnesses to testify again.
If we will use this unanimous verdict rule, chances are that the witnesses will either get lost or get kidnapped or get murdered before the new trial begins. In the majority verdict rule, there will be no more retrial required. The witnesses have no more burden of getting exposed for a new trial.
In drafting the Philippine Jury Systems law, I took into account the temperament of Filipinos. Vindictive convicts tends to take revenge if they get an unfavorable decision. The purpose of choosing the majority verdict rule is to protect witnesses.
Q#51. Perhaps 90%, or even more, of the Filipino people lack education in law. How can they ever know how to serve as jurors in a trial jury?
A. Lack of education in law, either in the U.S. or in the Philippines, of jurors is NOT A PROBLEM to qualify for jury membership. The more ignorant they are of laws, the better, as long as they are possessed with average intelligence.
Q#52. You must be joking. How can that be possible?
A. For the Trial Jury, there is such thing called “JURY INSTRUCTION”. No jury system, or trial jury, can function without Jury Instruction. In this jury instruction, the definition of the law is rewritten in simple words and phrases that governs a case that is being tried is issued and read to the jury for the easy understanding of the jurors. The jurors are then told that they MUST FORGET ANY LAW they have learned outside “this court room”. They must not mention to each other during their deliberation any other law they learned prior to their jury duty.
The jurors are specifically instructed to use and consider the only law that was issued and read to them in the jury instruction by the presiding judge.
Jurors are not allowed to change the jury instruction on the law because it serves like an agreement among the Presiding Judge, the Prosecutor and the Defense Attorney that will govern the trial. Any deviation from this "agreed" definition of the law will cause a mistrial.
This is the reason why in almost every criminal courts in the U.S. and in its sister states, expert trial attorneys almost invariably decline fellow attorneys to sit as jurors in their cases. Juror attorneys tend to infuse their various knowledge of the law that ultimately change the agreed jury instruction on the law, as if acting like a prosecutor or defense attorney before his fellow jurors, that will cause a mistrial, or a ground for appeal on the question of law.
To make the jury trial understandable to the jury, all jury instruction will be extemporaneously interpreted by an expert trial jury interpreter from English into the local vernacular of the jurors.
Q#53. The reason there is so much corruption in the government is because our public officials are the product of a corrupt Filipino population. When you pick out a basket of rotten eggs, you will naturally pick a rotten egg. The same thing with public officials that we elect in our public offices. Furthermore, this will likewise happen when we pick up our jurors for jury duty. How can we possibly chose an honest bunch of jurors?
A. I think you are trying to tell me that if in your family, you have 5 brothers or sisters along with your father and mother, at least 6 of your family members are dishonest or not trust worthy and only 1 of you is honest and trust worthy. Would you accept that as a conclusion of your hypothesis? I don’t think so. I think you will say: “Nope. We are all honest.”
I would rather agree that a great majority of your family members are honest and trust worthy. I think this is a more acceptable evaluation of the honesty of the Filipino people.
Q#54. How do you explain the reason why it looks like that a great majority of government officials and employees are corrupt?
A. I don’t believe either, that majority of government officials and employees is corrupt. Those who are corrupt consist of high rank officials who have greater and wider discretionary powers in their public positions. They are not afraid to steal government funds because they think their subordinates would be afraid to report anomalies that they commit.
Q#55. How can you ensure that those who will be chosen to serve for jury duty would not be accepting bribes?
A. Those who will be served with summons for jury duty will be chosen from the registered voters of their congressional district. Most of those who will be chosen would experience the first time in setting foot in a court room. They will not know how to move around in a court room because they will be pre-occupied listening to the jury instruction by the presiding judge. They will naturally feel fearful that they will commit mistakes in their movements and being scared that they might be held in contempt of court. I don’t think such jurors would be bold enough to go around the court room like a corrupt traffic police to solicit bribes.
More over, people who are given a delicate task that they are not familiar with, they are more inclined to do their best to accomplish their work as perfectly as they could, most specially in a situation where they are strangers to each other. The more they will avoid accepting bribes.
JURY SYSTEMS SHALL ENHANCE UNITY BETWEEN
Q#56. With respect to the Muslims, it is doubtful if they will ever embrace the use of the jury system. Do you think they will?
CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS AND OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS
A. Like the Christians, the Muslims are also thirsty for justice. Like the majority of the Christians, the majority of Muslims do not know what is the basic cause of the chaotic condition in their community. Both groups do not know that the Philippine justice system is the root cause of the poverty of the common Christian Filipino citizens and the common Muslim Filipino citizens.
The enactment of the jury systems law in which the poor common Muslims and poor common Christians in making decision in justice will encourage every one to participate both Muslims and Christians.
Q#57. How will we accomplish that?
A. By making the Basic Statutory Jury Instruction uniform all throughout the Philippines. This will pave the way into uniting the Filipino People such as the Christians and Muslims and other ethnic groups of the country.
Q#58. We have so many different dialects and languages while the Jury Systems Law is written in English which only the lawyers can understand. How will the jurors understand the jury trial proceedings?
The proposed jury law requires that all jury proceedings shall be extemporaneously interpreted from English into the local dialect of the jurors by a professionally trained jury trial interpreter.
Please browse Article XI on navigation bar on the upper left margin of this page.
Q#59. Do you have any proof that the Jury System can unify a country?
A. Yes, indeed. We see that among the American People in the 50 states of the U.S. which is composed of so many nationalities, colors, religion, languages, Christians and Muslims, etc. We also see that same unity among the Peoples in Canada, Australia, Britain, and New Zealand whose common thread of justice is by means of the Jury Systems.
In the United States, regardless of whether a U.S. citizen is a Christian or a Muslim, all citizens of qualified age are allowed to sit in juries to render justice for their community. It is for this reason that the unity of the American people and their 50 states have been kept in tact for over 226 years now and still going strong.
Let us recall about the U.S.S.R, or the Soviet Union. The union of that nation lasted only for 70 years because it’s justice system then was a government monopoly under the exclusive control of their elite officials and judges like we have here in the Philippines. It had justice for the rich and another justice for the poor. And look what happened? Its unity crumbled in just a few days. Without the jury system in the United States, the unity of its 50 states could also have disintegrated long before the Soviet Union collapsed.
The Philippines today, because of an unacceptable justice system, a justice system for the rich and another justice system for the poor, it is not surprising that our Muslim brothers and sisters in the south are now trying to secede because they feel that they are socially neglected from the main stream of Philippine society.
Q#60. The Jury System has, all along, been presented as a “cure all” of the social ills of the Philippines such as graft and corruption, human rights abuses, money laundering by the rich, kidnaping, poverty. Are we being told that there is only one solution for each and all of these different problems?
A. Definitely, “Yes” because all their basic cause is lack of enforceable justice system which is tantamount to no justice at all.
The act of graft and corruption by no less than the highest officials of the land is an act of injustice. Human rights abuse is an act of injustice. Stealing of votes during election time is an act of injustice. Money laundering by the rich is an act of injustice. Kidnapping is an act of injustice. Starvation among many common and ordinary citizens is caused by the acts of injustice by the rich and powerful public officials who steal government funds needed to fund public works projects that could have opened local employment opportunity for the common and ordinary people. All of these are caused by one BASIC cause - LACK OF JUSTICE - and that basic cause also requires a BASIC solution with the installation of an ENFORCEABLE JUSTICE.
Q#61. Why is the Jury System so important to the people in the private sector?
The Jury System is the key mover at the instance of the sovereign people that shall force everyone, rich and poor, powerful and the lowly alike, to obey the laws of the land. What good is the law if it is not enforceable against the rich and powerful?
The basic solution to all of the above problem is JUSTICE REFORM. The needed justice reform is the adoption of the JURY SYSTEMS LAW that will enforce obedience on every one to abide by the laws and the constitution of the Filipino people - not only for the common people but also for the rich and powerful - to prevent stealing of public funds, among other things. The jury system will level the playing field of justice between the rich and powerful with the poor and the lowly.
As U.S. President Thomas Jefferson said it: “The jury is the only anchor ever imagined by man that can hold a government to the principle of its constitution.”
My definition of jury is that: The "JURY IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BRIDE OF GOVERNMENT." This is important because every time a public official asks funds for expenditures, "Jury" will ask: "Oh, bakit kulang ang barya sa pitaka mo!!"
The American people experimented on it and look, they made their nation the number one country in the world in terms of guaranteeing the freedom and liberty for its people and still going strong until today.
Q#62. Will the Judicial Branch of the government gain any advantage in the adoption of the Jury System?
A. Definitely, Yes.
First: The Judiciary will gain direct support for its acts from the “Jury Votes” of the people. This will elevate the prestige of the Judiciary as a true co-equal branch at par with the Legislature and Presidency. Judicial officials, judges and justices can no longer be treated like errand boys and girls by the high officials of the legislature and the presidency.
Second: The people, through the juries, shall serve as a shield against political interference of powerful politicians including interference by the President over the jobs of judges, justices, and prosecutors. Why? Because with the jury systems, decisions in dealing with serious criminal matters shall be made by the people and not by the judges, justices, and prosecutors who are all appointees of the President.
Third: Jurors are not appointees of the President or of any powerful politicians and therefore, jurors can care less in making their decision in justice about the power of the President or any other politicians. This will make judicial officials untouchable from political influence because the juries will shield them from such influence.
Q#63. Can the decision or verdict of a jury be appealed? If so, on what grounds?
A. Yes. A jury verdict can be appealed on an error of law. Example, if the criminal defendant is convicted under a wrong law where the facts proved does not support the conviction.
Finding of facts by the jury stands and cannot be ground for appeal. Appellate justices cannot substitute the first hand observation of the Jury. The jurors have a better observation of the witness whether such witness is lying or has told the truth. The jury has a direct observation of the demeanor of the witness such as, among others, his eye movement or the rolling of his eyeballs or other acts that makes him uncomfortable in stating about his observation of the events of the crime. These are circumstances that cannot be recorded by the stenographer or court reporter and, of course, cannot be read by appellate justices.
Q#64. Adoption of the Jury System will add another financial burden of the government. Where shall we get the money to maintain this other elephant jury?
A. The cost of setting up the Jury Systems is an investment in time and money. When it is put in place, it will pay for itself perhaps not only a 100 times but a 1000 times.
A. The Jury System is a HIGH SPEED JUSTICE SYSTEM and the FAIREST WAY TO ADMINISTER JUSTICE. This will deter powerful grafters to steal government funds. Instead of waiting for 5 to 15 years before seeing a corrupt official go to jail, we will now be looking forward for him in 2 years to go to jail with this high speed justice system.
More probable than not, many powerful government grafters will be sent to prison when the grand juries and trial juries start functioning all over the country. Once this powerful grafters are incarcerated, graft and corruption will surely abate. More revenue will be earned by the government and government expenditure of funds will be spent wisely.
Once graft and corruption in the government is substantially eliminated, more foreign investors will be encouraged to set up their business and industrial enterprises in the Philippines. This will mean both opening of local employment opportunities and more revenue for the government. This is highly possible because of the relatively cheaper cost of labor in the Philippines.
The Philippines can become a highly competitive nation in terms of inviting foreign investors. With more local employment created, more Filipino workers will prefer working at home than finding dangerous jobs overseas.
Progress in the Philippines will be tremendous once the degree of government corruption is reduced. We can become a stable democratic society comparable to that with Australia or Japan.
As to how to maintain the funding of the Jury System, please read the answer by browsing Article IX by clicking the link in the navigation bar on the left upper margin of this page.
Q#66. Considering the vindictiveness of Filipinos, there is a great danger to the lives of Filipino Jurors. It is doubtful if they will ever come to court to serve for jury duty. How can this jury system guarantee the lives of Filipino jurors?
A. Safety guarantee equal to 100% cannot be guaranteed in the operation of the jury system, just as much as it cannot guarantee 100% safety to the lives of judges who are killed by the nature of their job.
I think there is much less danger in serving for jury duty than in serving in the army or in the police organization of the country. Jury service is also less dangerous than in serving as a CAFGU.
At any rate, there are protective provisions for jurors in the proposed Jury Systems Law. Please browse and read them in the following web site which is found in Article X, Section 12 - beginning with “Security for the Jury Trial” by clicking on the navigation bar on the upper left margin of this page.
Q#67. How about less serious crimes punishable less than 12 months of imprisonment. Will such criminal matters be covered by the Jury Systems?
A. Yes and No. If the criminal defendant prefers to have a jury trial instead of a solo judge trial, the proposed jury law will grant him his wish. Or else, he can go by the solo judge trial. Please refer to the web site, Article VII, Section 2, of the proposed jury law (click on the navigation bar)
Q#68. Will the Shari’a Courts be required to use the jury systems?
A. Yes, when it will try a criminal case in connection with a serious offense punishable by one year or more.
Q#69. The constitution requires that the judgment or opinion of a judge or justice on a case must be made in writing wherein he must state the basis for his judgment or opinion.
Shall the jury be required to issue its verdict also in writing and wherein it will likewise state the reason for the decision of its jurors or members?
A. No. The jury through its foreman is only required to file a one-page verdict sheet wherein it will state whether the accused is "Guilty" or "Not Guilty" without stating the basis of their decision or verdict.
Q#70. Why not?
A. Because the jury personifies the BIG BOSS, the people or the Master. When the SUPREME BOSS decides, his servants, the public servants such as the judges, justices, or even the President cannot force him to explain his decision in writing.
The same principle applies in the Jury System.
The judges and justices are required to write the reason or basis for their decision or opinion is because they are mere servants of the people. They, as public servants, have to explain their decision to their master, the people.
Q#71. If the Jury System of justice is really that good in protecting the people’s life and liberty, why only now that it is being vigorously pursued for adoption?
A. Well, I believe that our “distinguished” lawmakers and past presidents were just so very busy protecting their own interest for self-enrichment and self-empowerment so much so that they have forgotten to improve the justice system. Besides this, they have found that they can easily use the present justice system to protect them from prosecution over their abuses in office. The don't want to enable the people to have a system that will allow them get investigated for their anomalies and self-enrichment in office.
Politicians in public office don’t care about you in fact and in truth.
Q#72. What do you think are the chances for approval of the proposed Jury Systems Law if sponsored before the floor of Congress?
A. I think, it is very slim. Most of the lawmakers have been used to their fat pork barrels as a source of “good income” and I am sure they would never want to part with it. If they pass it, they will be scared with the prospect that the Grand Juries might investigate them on where and how they have spent the millions of pork barrels that they have awarded to themselves in office.
If Congress by any chance shall pass a jury systems law, most of its members would naturally enact one that will exempt them from being investigated on how they spent their pork barrels, among others. They will not only water down the provisions of the “National Jury Law Initiative”, they may even “batter it down” for good.
Q#73. How good are the chances of enacting the “National Jury Law Initiative” to legislate the Jury Systems Law?
A. I think it has a better chance of passing by the initiative process with direct approval by the people via the Initiative and Referendum Law by following the procedures of Republic Act 6735. I believe the common people in the private sector will have more interest for its enactment than most of those lawmakers in Congress.
For the information of everyone, the provisions of Republic Act 6735, the Initiative and Referendum Law, can be read in the following link:
Initiative & Referendum Law
Q#74. Is there a group of citizens who are sponsoring the “National Jury Law Initiative" to create the Jury Systems Law?
A. Yes, there is. The names of the leading proponents of this group and its supporters can be read by browsing the link "leaders" below:
Q#75. If the initiative to create the jury system will be rejected by the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional because the creation of the jury system is not expressly authorized in the constitution, what shall we do?
I propose that we amend the constitution via an amendment initiative at the same time with launching or sponsorship of the "National Jury Law Initiative" by adding the following provision as Section 23 in Article III, the Bill of Rights, of the Constitution:
"Section 23. No person shall be held to answer a serious offense defined by law, unless upon a Grand Jury Indictment. In all criminal prosecution, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy public trial by an impartial jury. In suits for civil damage or money, exceeding ten thousand pesos, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved. No finding of fact by a jury shall be reexamined in any Court.”
The amendment initiative shall be launched and sponsored at the same time with launching and sponsoring of the "National Jury Law Initiative" during the same election date.
Q#76. With the enactment of the "National Jury Law Initiative" to create the Grand Jury, what effect if any on the desire of the media members to have the "Freedom of Information Act" approved soon?
A. If a certain criminal case is filed in court, example a violation of the Anti-Graft Law, and certain accounting or auditing records will be sought, all the grand jury shall do is issue a subpoena duces tecum to the custodian of the records to produce them before the grand jury investigating room. If the custodian shall refuse, or ignore, the subpoena, the grand jury can simply file a grand jury indictment for obstruction of justice against the custodian.
Considering the prospect of being incarcerated for 3 to 5 years, if convicted, I think the custodian will be forced to come forward with the subpoenaed records. If the records are so sensitive for disclosure, he might be forced to commit a suicide but that is his own decision and responsibility if he is trying to "protect" somebody.
Q#77. I doubt if the lawmakers in Congress will support the proposed jury adoption in the "National Jury Law Initiative" for fear that they may be investigated by Grand Juries on how and where they spent their fat pork barrels. Can the President, instead, sponsor this initiative for direct approval of the People under process of the Initiative Law or RA 6735?
A. Yes, definitely. The constitution or RA 6735 does not prohibit any public official to sponsor an initiative for direct approval by the people.
Q#78. How will the sponsorship of the "National Jury Law Initiative by the President affect his popularity?
A. It will greatly boost and skyrocket his popularity with the common people.
As a matter of fact, the only way a President can redeem himself in his sinking popularity is to help in the adoption, or support the operation, of the Jury System by the initiative process - not through Congress. I emphasize "initiative process" because it will involve massively with the people as if he is running for an election nationwide. His support for jury adoption will identify him as PRO PEOPLE - not pro corrupt associates and pro graft friends or relatives.
His support for the "National Jury Law Initiative" to create the jury systems is his KEY to maintain his popularity and cooperation from the people of his quest to transform the government from a corrupt institution into a decent, effective, and efficient government.
Q#79. Is, or are, there any country in the world that is blessed with their jury system/s?
A. Yes, there are indeed. Some of them are the following:
The United States, United Kingdom (Britain), Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Russia, Spain, Japan, and recently South Korea have already adopted the Jury System. Even Hong Kong, now a communist enclave, is still using the Jury System, a system it carried from Britain when it was still under the British commonwealth. In these countries (including communist Hong Kong), there common thread in justice is the Trial Jury Systems. It is almost impossible for any guilty crime offender-in-fact in these countries can escape punishment when tried by a jury.
Q#80. How long has the United States been using the Jury System?
A. For over 226 years now and it is still going strong.
Q#81. Does the U.S. have both the Grand Jury and Trial Jury Systems?
A. Yes, it does.
Q#82. How would you compare the U.S. Grand Jury compared to the proposed Philippine Grand Jury?
A. The proposed Philippine Grand Jury is much better than the existing U.S. Grand Jury System.
Q#83. What is the difference between these two?
A. The proposed Philippine Grand Jury cannot be controlled by the government. It has more freedom to decide in indicting a suspected crime offender. Government prosecutors are not allowed to accompany any prosecution witness for questioning before the Grand Jury. Only the witness can enter a Philippine grand jury room for questioning and only the members can ask questions to the witness. There is more secrecy in the Philippine grand jury than the U.S. Grand Jury system.
The disadvantage of allowing government prosecutors to accompany a witness before the grand jury is that they can merely feed the witness with leading questions and all the witness can say is "Yes", "Yes", "Yes", to all those leading question, so much so that in the U.S. a government prosecutor can even secure an accusation or indictment of a turkey or ham sandwich from a grand jury. They can indict including any innocent person of a trump complaint. This cannot happen with the Philippine grand jury.
MUTUAL HELP BETWEEN
TEACHERS AND JURY ADVOCATES
Q#84. Will the Jury System help the plight of TEACHERS?
A. Definitely. Once the Jury System is adopted The regular pay and benefits of school teachers can no longer be compromised by lack of funds to pay them on time. Those who are playing hostage of their salaries in order to force teachers to borrow funds in advance from the "5-6" percenters will be forced to stop their "5-6" percenter business.
Q#85. What is the "5-6" percenters?
A. They are corrupt paymasters who are in cahoots with corrupt money lenders that make money out of the delayed payment of teachers' salaries. They not only victimize teachers, all other lowly government employees are victims of these schemes.
Q#86. In what particular ways the Jury System can help teachers?
A. All that any teacher who is a victim of this "5-6" percenters is act as a tipster for the grand jury so that the grand jury can secretly investigate and indict in court the "5-6" percenters and their cohorts.
Q#87. Can the teachers help in speeding up the Jury Adoption?
A. Definitely, YES. By helping in the gathering of signatures of voters. They can call the parents of their pupils and students to come around to sign the signature sheets for the "National Jury Law Initiative" to create the Grand Jury and Trial Jury systems.
If we want to amend the constitution to enshrine the jury system in Article III, the bill of rights, then they can also ask the parents of their pupils and students to sign the signature sheets for the Constitutional Amendment Initiative. That amendment shall be as follows:
"Section 23. No person shall be held to answer a serious offense defined by law, unless upon a Grand Jury Indictment. In all criminal prosecution, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy public trial by an impartial jury. In suits for civil damage or money, exceeding ten thousand pesos, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved. No finding of fact by a jury shall be reexamined in any Court.”
School teachers are the best and intelligent signature gatherers for passing laws for initiative process.
School teachers are found in every congressional district around the country.
Being among those who are socially victimized "workers" in Philippine society by corrupt school supervisors and other Dept Education officials, school teachers would be the most interested signature gatherers for the Jury adoption via the "National Jury Law Initiative".
Q#88. Why are there so many government officials and ex government officials scared of the passage of the Jury Systems?
A. The answer is quite obvious. They are fearful that they can be investigated by the grand juries for their current or past anomalies in office and go to jail once tried by trial juries who are composed of common and ordinary jurors that comprise the great majority of the people in the Philippines.
Some anti-jury elements would want to re-invent the jury system so that they will be exempt from prosecution and conviction by the traditional ordinary jury systems in its simplified form such as the ones that are to be created under the "National Jury Law Initiative".
Q#89. Is there any particular form of organization that can substitute, or take the place of, the overall anti-graft objective of the Grand Jury and Trial Jury systems?
A. Absolutely, No. There is none. Why? Because each separate organization has its self-serving objective for its members to the exclusion of non-members.
Example: A National Association of judges will not necessarily protect the interest of the National Exporters Industry.
A National Association of Muslim Students will become discriminatory to non-Muslim students. A Student Catholic Action Group will not take Muslim students for its membership.
A Rice Farmers Association will have no interest in protecting the interest of a Rubber Farmers Association. They may even have conflicting interest against each other.
No one can beat the union of the rich and poor, Christians and Muslims or other ethnic group when they are seated together in a jury regardless of their creed, color, or looks, or between men and women (and those in-between) who will all be bound together by the same law and justice to agree on the fairness of their decision as one body, the Jury Body.
The jury system is the only conglomeration of people that will unite the Filipino people because the Jury Instruction in its operation shall be uniform in all courts of the Philippines and applies to each and all the Filipino people alike.
Even though there are different dialects and languages in the Philippines, the Jury Instruction will require that it shall be interpreted from English into the local vernacular of the jurors through a professionally trained interpreter so that language can not be used as a barrier in justice.
The jury systems shall become the "bridge of understanding" between different ethnic Filipinos that will unite the Filipino people and our country regardless of creed, race or color, education, financial status, marital status, or men and women.
Creation of the Jury System shall have a much more superior achievement to improve the welfare of both common and poor Muslims or Christians than the never ending volatile GRP-MILF peace process negotiation.
It will prevent or resolve peacefully the conflict of interest between rich and powerful Muslims among themselves as well as between Christians and Muslims. Justice is what will create peace between this two conflicting powerful elements of Philippine society.
Politicians will be forced to follow the rule of law and not the self-serving rule of enriching and empowering themselves at the expense of the poor and common Filipinos.
Time will come in the "eyes" of the law and justice when there will be no Christian Filipino, Muslim Filipino, Tiruray Filipino, Ifugao Filipino, Ilongo Filipino, Ilocano Filipino, Visaya Filipino, BUT SIMPLY FILIPINO.
No one can say: "Muslim ka pala?" "Ti man, Tagalog ka di-ay?" but simply say: "Okay ngarud, Filipino tayo lahat."
The Gen. Garcia Corruption
Plea Bargaining Fiasco
Q#90. Is there a remedial procedure under the jury system in which the people or the prosecution will not be outsmarted in the plea bargaining process?
A. Yes, there is. It is provided in the proposed jury systems law in Article VII of the "National Jury Law Initiative" that before a guilty plea for lesser penalty is accepted, the criminal defendant should pay first in full his civil liability in the criminal case to the government before the presiding judge accepts his guilty plea.
In the event that the guilty plea is not accepted, the criminal jury trial shall of course proceed. If the criminal defendant is found guilty, he still can be required to pay his civil liability for his crime. To ensure that his civil liability shall be paid to the government, the proposed jury law expressly provides that his filing of an action for insolvency or bankruptcy shall not extinguish his judgment debt.
Q#91. Most powerful government officials, specially the lawmakers in Congress and the President, may not be in favor of creating the jury system because it may control their discretion in exercising their official functions. How can you expect that Congress and the President will ever cooperate to enact the proposed jury systems into law?
A. The proponents of the jury system adoption is not necessarily relying on the cooperation of Congress or the President in enacting it into law. Instead they are relying on the common people, through their votes in an election for that purpose, to pass the proposed jury systems law by the Initiative (or referendum) process under the procedure set by Republic Act 6735. They believe that even if all government officials and employees will vote 100% AGAINST it, the jury proponents believe that the votes of the common people can overwhelmingly outnumber all votes of government officials and employees.
The common people now realize and understand that they can never obtain justice under the present government monopolized system of justice. Their justice system is simply inutile to go after government grafters in sending them to jail. The people see that their justice system is being used to protect government crooks instead of sending those crooks to jail.
The people have observed that their government can no longer create employment opportunities for them such as building of roads, bridges, school buildings and government facilities because their public funds are simply stolen by their government officials. The people are forced to go overseas to find job to put food on the table for their families back home.
MOST GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES ARE SIMPLY CORRUPT FOR THEIR OWN SELF-ENRICHMENT AND SELF-EMPOWERMENT.
Q#92. I have read the Statutory Standard Jury Instruction. It is so very long that it may even take one day in reading it by the judge to the Jury. Is this not a waste of precious court time and the idle time for jurors doing nothing but just listening the instruction the whole day?
A. It is true that it takes a long time to issue all the jury instruction. However, after issuance of all jury instruction is done, it is worth the waiting time for every one, the judge, the lawyers, the jurors. the parties and the public. The whole period in giving jury instruction is an investment in time wisely spent.
In a jury trial, no matter how long shall it take to complete the presentation of the evidence - even perhaps as long as 3 to 5 months in high profiled cases - it usually takes only 3 to 5 days for a jury to decide a case. Assuming that it will take 5 months to complete the presentation of the evidence and 5 days for the jury to deliberate, a high profiled case can be completely concluded no more than one year.
In a bench trial, or solo judge trial, no minute of time can be spent for jury instruction. However, history has told us so many times, that high profiled cases will take the earliest time of 5 years to finish and this happens very seldom - may be once in 50 years like the Joseph Estrada "speediest" criminal trial that lasted almost 6 years.
In most cases, bench trial are finished anywhere from 7 to 15 years. Many times, it happen that a case cannot be finished because the trial judge has already "kicked the bucket" or has compulsorily retired from service.
Besides being a high speed device in obtaining justice, the jury system is the fairest means of achieving justice.
Q#93. How can the adoption of the Jury Systems speed up the flow of Philippine Justice System?
A. As planned, there are two types of Juries that to be created: One is the Grand Jury, and the other is the Trial Jury.
The Grand Jury is the investigating and indicting arm of the people. This Body is governed by a Grand Jury Standard Instruction and it is not inhibited to act with the slow investigation rules by the current government investigators and the Ombudsman System. The jury law requires that it should finish its secret investigation within 90 days from the day it takes cognizance of a criminal matter by either filing its indictment in court upon a finding of a probable cause, or by dismissing further investigating a case if it does not find probable cause against the suspected crime offender. Indictments of the Grand Jury is not subject to review or repeat preliminary investigation by a government prosecutor or judge. Once a case is filed by a Grand Jury, the only way to proceed is either the criminal defendant pleads guilty or by a jury trial.
The Trial Jury is the Body that hears, try and decide a case. The proposed law strictly prohibits postponement of a trial once a jury trial begins. Any lawyer in a jury trial, including the presiding judge, can be indicted for obstruction by a Grand Jury who shall violate rules on jury trial continuances. Besides indictment for obstruction of justice, a party who moves for a postpone for lack of preparation for trial can lose his license to practice law.
Q#94. How can the adoption of the Jury Systems prevent or remove corrupt officials in the government?
A. With the Grand Jury system put in place, it will be easy to spot government grafters by the people in their respective communities. Inasmuch as grand jury investigation is conducted secretly, this Body cannot be disturbed by interested parties. Any witness who is subpoenaed or summoned to appear before this Body is strictly ordered to keep the matter in secret or else he can be subject for indictment of obstruction of justice. His name will never be disclosed by the grand jury and no grand jury investigation can be published or be subject to a motion before a court for publication as provided in the proposed jury adoption law. Anyone who will try to intrude or interfere with its proceedings will be subject to indictment for obstruction of justice by the Grand Jury.
If a crime suspect is investigated by the Grand Jury and complains that he has nothing to do with a criminal matter, he must examine his own self if he truly has not committed a crime. If he is a participant in a questionable transaction or criminal act, he should not have placed himself within the ambit of such transaction or criminal act. A person who does not want to get burned should never get close to a fire in the first place. If he did, he should blame himself, not the Grand Jury.
Q#95. How can the adoption of the Jury Systems prevent or stop the secession movement of the poor and common Filipino Muslims?
A. The true and real victims of justice among the Filipino Muslim are the ordinary and common poor Muslims. Ordinary and common Muslims could not reach their own potential for productivity because they are in bondage to their royal bloodied leaders. Most of the time, they are conscripted by their leaders to fight wars with other powerful clans and so, they have no time to learn how to earn for their livelihood. This is the reason why Muslim provinces and regions are unproductive and the cause of poverty of their people.
The common and ordinary Muslims are not the source of trouble in their region. The source of trouble are their leaders who are always fighting for supremacy in their rivalries in politics, commerce, and courtship.
Once the Grand Jury system is adopted, common and ordinary Muslims can be among those who may be chosen to become members of their own district Grand Juries. With their Grand Juries, they, the common and ordinary Muslims as grand jurors, shall then be empowered to secretly investigate and indict in court their warmongering leaders who mislead common and ordinary Muslims into fighting wars that they are not responsible for.
If a Muslim leader is investigated and indicted by a Grand Jury composed of common and ordinary Muslims for misleading them into committing acts of rebellion, sedition, or tumult, the indicted crime suspect who is a warmonger cannot complain against "Imperial Manila" for his indictment. Such a so-called leader will lose standing to lead his people into seceding from the Philippine government because what he is doing is a crime against his own people.
As to whether which of those who are representing the Muslims to secede from the Philippine Government are guilty of crimes of rebellion, sedition, or tumult, NO BODY KNOWS EXACTLY.
As to whether which of those who are representing the Muslims to secede from the Philippine Government are guilty of enslaving the common and ordinary Muslims which, indeed, is a criminal act, NO BODY KNOWS EITHER EXACTLY until properly investigated by the right party. That right party are the common and ordinary Muslims themselves through their grand juries.
One thing for sure, if the Grand Jury is installed in the Muslim districts, under the supervision of judges who preside their grand juries, the common and ordinary Muslims will be able to know who are the ones that are truly fooling them in conscripting them to fight the deadly petty wars among their leaders. Will their Grand Juries say, the wars among their datus and sultans are caused by "Imperial Manila"?
If on the other hand, if a Muslim Grand Jury investigates an Army Battalion Commander assigned in their region for corruption of selling army assets to Muslim decedents, will such an act of the Grand Jury not contribute to the weeding out of bad army elements of the government that can contribute loyalty of the Muslims to the Philippine Government?
If the Grand Jury and Trial Jury systems is adopted and the Muslims through their own efforts they are able to contribute justice, peace and prosperity peace in their region, and minimize (if not totally eliminate wars among their leaders) there will be no reason for them to secede from the Philippine Government.
Q#96. How can the adoption of the Jury Systems prevent or stop the bondage of the common and lowly Filipino People by the rich and powerful persons and public officials of Philippine Society?
A. With the Jury Systems in place (Grand Jury and Trial Jury), the rich and powerful characters of Philippine Society can not anymore simply ignore the rightful cries for justice by the common and ordinary poor people.
Since the common and ordinary citizens through the Jury Systems will be empowered to have a deciding voice in the investigation, indictment and conviction of guilty elements of Philippine Society, i.e., corrupt officials, corrupt datus and sultans, their corrupt relatives and friends, all the common people will do is send them to jail via the Jury Justice System.
Once the public officials and community leaders have realized that they cannot simply ignore the judgment of the people judicially over their conduct in and out of office, such leaders will be forced to do their jobs responsibly.
Q#97. How can the adoption of the Jury Systems educate and promote adherence to the constitution and laws by the people?
A. The jury law provides statutory instructions which will be issued by presiding judges to the juries, both to the Grand Jury and Trial Jury, to guide the people in fulfilling their jury duties. The jury systems will promote loyalty of the people to the country because they will be getting their education properly from judges, and not from outlaws such death squad masterminds, warmongering leaders, and corrupt government officials. Judges are the best teachers of the law to the people. Instead of following the orders of outlaws, the people will be following the instructions of judges.
Q#98. How can the adoption of the Jury Systems finally unite the Filipino people regardless of gender, ethnicity or tribe, status of wealth or poverty or political or religious affiliations?
A. Membership either in the Grand Juries or in Trial Juries shall be chosen randomly or by lottery from the names of the people in the voters' registry list in the case of trial jury and also randomly or by lottery from among the names who have voluntarily applied for membership in the grand jury. No permission from any public official or private community leader will be required for any qualified citizen to become member in either juries once his name is picked randomly by lottery.
Membership in the Trial Jury shall be subject to a challenge called "voir dire" but the power to challenge to replace a juror is vested in both the prosecutor or the defense attorney. No public official or community leader has the right or privilege to interfere in that process.
Declining a juror to sit does not require argumentation by either opposing counsels or parties. A counsel will simply move and inform the presiding judge and the judge will simply thank and excuse a prospective juror. That declined juror will be replaced by drawing another name of another juror from the jury lottery box.
Choosing the membership in the Grand Jury is a little bit different. Higher qualification is required for grand jury membership because its members will have to analyze some applicable laws that will govern their investigation. Members of the Grand Jury should be college graduates with a diploma, male or female.
A grand juror must not be a public official or person of nobility or a close relative by blood or affinity of a public official or person of nobility. He must not have been a member of a college or university fraternity or sorority.
Both members of the the Trial Jury and Grand Jury will be provided compensation in the proposed jury law. In case of serious injury or death in the line of duty, the injured juror or next of kin of a deceased juror will be entitled to some insurance benefit.
Q#99. There are suggestions among members of the Jury Adoption Movement that we adopt the Taiwan Quasi-Jury System, or the South Korean Jury System, or the Japanese Jury System. How do each of these systems operate?
A. Briefly, they operate respectively as follows:
FIRST: The Taiwan Quasi-Jury System - It is composed of 8 members of the jury. Three (3) of them are regular government appointed judges and 5 jurors are randomly chosen from ordinary non-lawyer common citizens of at least 23 years of age and a high school graduate, among others, as required to qualify for jury service.
During a trial, example in a criminal case, the 3 judges will ask questions to the witnesses and gather evidence. Any of the other 5 jurors may ask questions but only if they are permitted to do so by the 3 judges.
After the trial, the 5 jurors will be asked to make their collective decision whether the criminal defendant is guilty or not.
If the jurors find the criminal defendant guilty and the 3 judges AGREE, the decision becomes final. The offender will have to suffer the penalty.
If the jurors find the criminal defendant guilty and the 3 judges DISAGREE, the decision by the 5 ordinary jurors will be rejected by the 3 judges even if the 5 jurors based their decision on a strong evidence of the guilt of the offender. The offender will NOT SUFFER a penalty. This can happen when the crime offender is a favorite friend of the judge, or of a corrupt president, governor, or mayor who will call the judge (by cellphone) to acquit the accused. All the judge will do is disregard the jury verdict of the 5 jurors.
What the above explanation mean is that the 3 judges ARE NOT BOUND by the decision of the 5 jurors.
SECOND: The South Korean Jury System (SKJS) - The numbers of the jurors in the SKJS varies depending on the criminal case at hand. Only 5 jurors if the accused has already admitted some facts of a case; There are 7 jurors if the crime is serious but not punishable by death; 9 Jurors are required if the crime charged is punishable by death.
The SKJS is required to reach a unanimous verdict. If not, they must consult and get guidance from the presiding judge. What the judge orders is what the jury must obey.
Like the Taiwan Quasi-Jury System, the SKJS verdict is not legally binding on the Presiding Judge. The verdict is nothing but advisory and the judge can change if he does not like it.
THIRD: The Japan Jury System (JJS) - Its Jury composition normally consist of 6 lay (ordinary or non-lawyer) citizen-jurors and 3 professional judges. To reach a verdict, there must be a majority rule of 5 to 4. A conviction verdict requires that 5 of them should vote for guilty and 4 not guilty with the condition that the majority is composed at 1 lay-citizen juror and 1 professional judge.
Although I have not found in my research on the Japan Jury System an information that does not fulfill the above composition of verdict, I believe that Japanese authorities will consider the matter as a “hung jury”. In this case, the accused will stand tried anew or trial de novo.
Q#100. Why are professional judges always required to compose a jury in creating a Taiwanese Quasi-Jury, South Korean Jury, and Japanese Jury systems?
A. When it comes to justice administration in those countries, their peoples have been influenced by the European justice system which is basically either paternalistic or feudalistic in character. Most of them would prefer to remain as followers in administering their justice system and rely heavily on their elders or more educated persons to lead in arriving at the fairness of their judicial decisions.
Because of the increasing tendency of embracing the democratic form of government led by the United Kingdom and the United States, their peoples are likewise inclined to get interested in the workings of their justice system and they can only achieve that by adopting the jury systems.
However, because of their paternalistic upbringing, they always want that their jury systems will be led by judicial professionals like judges and lawyers. Consequently, their judges have but little faith in the ability of lay citizens to reach their verdict.
Q#101. Is there any adverse effect in the administration of justice with juries being always led by professional judges?
A. Yes, there is. It impedes in developing their democratic form of government. The peoples of those countries that embrace juries with professional judge participation in deciding the jury trials do not really understand fully their democratic rights, freedom, pursuit of happiness and obligation in maintaining their democratic society.
Almost invariably, these new democracies always state in their constitution that “sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them” (or words to that effect), their peoples - like the Filipino People - do not realize or understand that they really are the collective masters of their society while their public officials are their servants. They do not know their supremacy (or sovereignty) over the government and government officials. The people in these countries instead become the servants (or slaves) and their public officials as their masters. Such officials are likewise the controllers of their justice system.
As a consequence, when their public officials abuse their powers and authority such as government corruption, administering justice by death squads, money laundering, lying to the people, they, the people, could hardly punish their abusive public officials because their justice system are under the exclusive control of the same abusive officials.
One way of controlling justice in the above countries we have mentioned is by making their judges participants in the deliberation of their juries, or by giving their judges the right to reject the verdicts of their juries. The way they do this is by providing in their jury laws that “The verdict of the jury shall be advisory and the presiding judge or participating judge shall not be bound by such verdict.”
With those type of juries, their peoples can not create a check and balance of power of their “People’s Power” over the abuses of power by their public officials. Philippine democracy will continue to be ruled with a corrupt government from generation to generation.
I urge, therefore, that every Filipino citizen when presented for approval of a proposed law similar to the Taiwan Quasity Jury System, South Korean Jury System, or Japan Jury System SHOULD REJECT OR DISAPPROVE such a jury system. It is a degraded powerless jury system as far as the common citizens are concerned.
ADOPTION OF THE ANGLO-AMERICAN JURY SYSTEM
I would strongly recommend that we, instead, adopt the Anglo-American Jury systems law. You will understand how this systems work by browsing its jury diagram in the link below:
(The Jury Diagram).