Grand Jury Introduction
The Philippine Grand Jury, composed of 23 members, is patterned after the U.S. Federal Grand Jury System. It is the Sovereign People's independent TOP SECRET investigating group over criminal offenses punishable with imprisonment in jail by one year or more.
The initial formation of the Grand Jury is supervised by a judge. Once formed, the judge that helped to organize the Grand Jury has nothing else to do with the functions of this Secret Group. The term of its members is limited to six (6) months and thereafter succeeded regularly with new members and sworn in by a judge. It is empowered to file criminal accusations directly in court without prior permission with any government department, branch or instrumentality.
The Grand Jury recognizes no power or authority of any person, private or public, who commits a serious crime. His rank, position or title, or being a compadre or comadre, in the government, royalty or title of nobility, profession, occupation, or calling in the community, is irrelevant without exception in the "eyes" of the Grand Jury after its finding of probable cause or prima facie evidence against the crime suspect. Its indictment is not subject to review or preliminary investigation by any fiscal or prosecutor or municipal judge, Ombudsman, or President. The accused has no choice but stand trial before a trial jury or plead guilty to his crime. The main potent "weapon" of the grand jury is its power to indict for obstruction of justice over any person who breaks the rule of law.
How is the function of the Grand Jury related to the function of the Trial Jury? Please check the diagram link below:
Grand Jury Forms
- Click the links below:
What is a GRAND JURY, or “GJ”? It is a highly confidential group of pre-qualified private citizens organized by law, randomly chosen and empowered to directly exercise the sovereign power and authority of the people under the constitution, Article II, Section 1, to secretly investigate serious crimes and to file indictment in court against the crime suspect upon its finding of probable cause. It is traditionally composed of 23 members. Once organized, it acts without prior approval from any government authority.
If you, the reader, may be interested to help in the installation of the Philippine Grand Jury (and Trial Jury) System to stop all forms of government corruption and lawlessness of any kind in the Philippines, you are welcome by contacting its current leaders and sponsors by clicking this LINK. If you have a website and wish to be linked to this article, kindly let Atty. Marlowe Camello, know by sending your message to his email at email@example.com .
Depending on the number of population of a province or city, it will be divided into two or more grand jury districts that will serve as secret group ombudsman and civil guardian of its people against government corruption and other forms of criminality.
A GJ does not need to find evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the crime suspect in order to present its indictment in court. What is important is that it acts as an independent body of the people to decide without fear or favor whether or not to indict a crime suspect, rich or poor, and regardless of the power of the person or public official who is suspected of committing a crime. Its members serve anonymously whose identity is secretly kept from publicity.
The Members of a GJ is required to take the following oath before they start to act on their mission:
"I will diligently inquire into, and true presentment make, of all public offenses against the people of the Philippines, committed or triable within this municipality or city as well as within this province, or judicial district, or within any judicial district of the Philippines, of which the Grand Jury shall have or can obtain legal evidence.
"I will keep my own counsel, and that of my fellow grand jurors and of the government, and will not, except when required in the due course of judicial proceedings or authorized by statute, disclose the testimony of any witness examined before the Grand Jury, nor anything which I or any other grand juror may have said, nor the manner in which I or any other grand juror may have voted on any matter before the Grand Jury.
"I will present no person through malice, hatred or ill will, nor leave any unpresented through fear, favor, or affection, or for any reward, or the promise or hope thereof;
"But in all my presentments I will present the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of my skill and understanding, so help me God."
GJ members shall be chosen by lottery from among pre-qualified private citizens. Among others, some of their qualifications as required by the proposed jury law are: that they must be college graduates with a diploma but not necessarily with a law degree; and no public official or government employee or his close relative shall qualify for membership in the GJ. While they may not know the techniques of legal interrogation, they will be guided with a "GJ-WITNESS Interrogation Plan" that will be promulgated by the Supreme Court, in effect, to authorize them to practice law in a limited way.
The formation of a GJ shall be accomplished under the supervision of an executive trial judge. The supervising judge, however, has no participatory deciding power in the functions of the GJ. His role is limited only in the formation or organization of this body of citizens and issuing to them the Standard Grand Jury Instruction for their empowerment to act. After they are sworn in, the induction judge is required within 24 hours to deposit the personal records in the vault of a bank of each and all grand jury members. It would be a serious offense of the judge to keep said records in any other place.
The Basic and Source of the
Power of the Grand Jury
The basis and direct source of power of the grand jury is the people's sovereign authority and power in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution which states that "Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them."
GJ power to investigate and indict transcends all over the three great branches of the government, namely, the Legislature, the Presidency, and Judiciary, whose powers are derived in the subordinate Articles VI, VII, and VIII of the Philippine Constitution. Question: If the President has been meant to be the sovereign "guy" of the Philippines, why is his authority in Article VII written below the People's sovereign power in Article II?
Under the proposed jury law, the GJ is given the power to indict for Obstruction of Justice against any person or public official no matter how high his position is who shall violate obligatory rules, or court orders, such as, among others, disobedience to a GJ subpoena or subpoena duces tecum, or disobedience to court ordered writ of amparo, writ of habeas corpus, writ of mandamus, or writ of habeas data, even if the violator is the President of the Philippines. The penalty for Obstruction of Justice shall be from 3 to 5 years and 5 to 7 years in some specified cases.
By the creation of the Grand Jury System, justices, judges, and prosecutors as "agents" of justice shall no longer be treated as errand "boys" and "girls" of the the President. The Judiciary shall truly become a "living" co-equal branch in our present so-called equal government branches.
The Ultimate Objective of
Creating the Grand Jury System
The ultimate objective of the GJ is to investigate serious crimes. A serious crime is an offense punishable by imprisonment in jail by one year or more. This body of citizens shall decide by secret ballot so that none of its members shall know each others vote in reaching a decision to indict a suspected crime offender.
The purpose of secret balloting is to prevent coercion by any member upon any of its fellow members in voting so that its decision to indict, or not to indict, the subject of its investigation shall be secured upon the free will (and not on the ill-will) of its members. A member who votes “No” can not be reviled or antagonized by his fellow jurors because he cannot be identified with his "No" vote.
The GJ is never intended as an adversarial forum because it is not a court of law. Making a GJ an adversarial body will merely be duplicating the function of the courts to find whether the subject is guilty beyond reasonable doubt and will add up delays in deciding to file the needed accusation in court against a crime suspect.
All that is required of the Grand Jury is to find probable cause whether a crime has been committed and that the crime suspect is PROBABLY (or by prima facie evidence) guilty of said crime.
Why Corrupt Investigators
Oppose to the Creation of
The Grand Jury System?
Corrupt lawyers, prosecutors, and investigators love the present adversarial system of investigation for some reasons, such as:
Utmost Secrecy is Required
in Grand Jury Investigations
The official business of the GJ shall be conducted in a strictly confidential manner and should be accomplished only in a secret investigating room. Absolutely no one is allowed to enter its premises except one witness at a time when setting a witness for questioning. A witness shall not be allowed to have a lawyer to accompany him in the grand jury room.
To find the subject in a GJ investigation, it shall require the clerk of court to publish in newspapers or in television the
invitation of tipsters of Crimes, or whistle blowers, to secretly report suspected serious crime offenders and witnesses with their names and addresses without requiring the tipsters and whistle blowers to disclose their identity.
The report forms will be published in newspapers for convenient use by tipsters. Please read the sample form of the "Invitation for Anonymous Tipsters" near the bottom of this page.
Tipsters and Whistle Blowers
Who are the possible tipsters of crimes? Many. He or she could be a disgruntled or jilted lover of the crime suspect; a partner in crime who has not been paid, or or has been underpaid, of his share in the loot; a government employee or official who has been bypassed for promotion; an honest government employee or official who is already fed up with this business of corruption in his office; a person who is bothered by his conscience on a crime he knows about; an innocent person who is blamed for the crime of another; a close family member who is badly maltreated by the crime offender. Perhaps many more types of offenders you can imagine.
Members of the GJ are never required to go out to the field to make their investigation. All their investigation activities are performed in their secret investigation room. In filing a GJ indictment none of its members is required to go to the clerk of court to file its indictment. Instead, it shall summon the Clerk of Court to come to the secret GJ investigation room to accept and stamp the filing of its indictment.
Due to the secret manner by which GJs are made to operate, there is no chance that one can see it while at work . This is the reason that you may have not heard about it before. And perhaps today is the first time you have come to know that there is such thing as a Grand Jury. Most Americans, in fact, don’t know about it.
How Do Witnesses Find the
Grand Jury Investigation Room?
A witness who is subpoenaed by the GJ is required to report to the Clerk of Court who shall, in turn, usher, or bring in, to the GJ investigating room the witness for questioning. If there are several witnesses, only one witness at a time shall be allowed and guided by the clerk of court to enter the GJ investigation room.
The main reason for the utmost secrecy of GJ investigation is to counter-act the secret ways crimes are committed by offenders. GJ members are assigned with security ID numbers (SIDN) for their official name instead of their true names. The only person who will know the true names of GJ members is the judge who swore them into office and he is required by law to keep the list of the names of the GJ members in a bank vault. A witness is also given an SIDN and his true name is never mentioned when he testifies during investigation or questionings.
Even a crime suspect under investigation is likewise assigned with an SIDN so that nobody whomsoever will know who the object of its investigation is. The only time the subject of investigation will know that he has been indicted is at the moment of the execution of an arrest warrant to take him into custody.
The GJ law will require that court personnel, the court presiding judge, the sheriff or arresting warrant officer to keep the investigation and indictment strictly confidential until the indictee is already taken actually into custody.
Other Purposes for the Secrecy
of Grand Jury Investigations
The other purposes of the secrecy of GJ investigation are:
Side Bar Issues
There are two constitutional issues that may be raised over the secrecy of grand jury investigation under the Philippine Constitution, namely:
Article III, Section 12(1) is a protection for a person who IS IN CUSTODY such as when he is arrested while committing, or has committed, a criminal act. The rights there of the person is to be informed of two things: 1. His right to be reminded TO REMAIN SILENT; and 2. His right to be reminded TO RETAIN A LAWYER of his choice and if he cannot afford the government shall provide one for him.
If the person is a fugitive from justice, like when he is on flight in an executive jet in going to Singapore or Hong Kong to avoid arrest for committing an electoral dagdag/bawas offense, it would be impossible for an arresting officer, much less a grand jury, to advise him of his Article III, Section 12(1) rights.
Shall the authorities then have to call him by cell phone and say: "Hello, Garci, Hello, honey! Please remain silent, okay? You also have the right to hire your own attorney!".
What if he does not even answer the phone so that his whereabouts cannot be determined? Does this mean that the Supreme Court will issue an order to disallow the NBI, or the Grand Jury, to gather evidence against this fugitive "Garci", if he is not around?
In GJ investigation, this Body is not dealing with a person in custody. It does not even know in the beginning who that person is. Besides that, none of its member is required to go out of the field to arrest any one. What will the members of the GJ do? Just play mahjong?
Article III, Section 14(2) is applicable in a court proceeding and not in a GJ proceeding because it is not a court. Besides that, there is no ACCUSED to speak of in a GJ proceeding. The only time there can be an accused is when he is already indicted in court by the GJ. But once the suspected offender is already indicted, the GJ is already done with him and it has nothing to do with him any further.
A Grand Jury is Not a Court. Has
No Power To Compel Crime Suspect
To Testify In Its Proceedngs
The GJ is not a court. It has no power to compel a crime suspect to appear before it to testify in his own behalf. It has no judicial power to detain or arrest a crime suspect. Because it is not a court, no one is allowed to cross-examine during the questioning of a witness inside the GJ investigation room. A person under GJ investigation cannot claim double jeopardy because it has no judicial powers whatsoever. Investigation and indictment is not a judicial power.
If a person claims that he is wrongly investigated and indicted by a GJ, he should examine himself about some acts he has performed that has placed him under suspicion of having committed a crime. If he suspects another person has reported him to the GJ for the alleged crime he has committed, he should report that person to the GJ likewise for counter-secret criminal investigation for obstruction of justice.
If at least 14 of the 23 members of the GJ finds probable cause that the crime suspect has committed a serious crime the GJ shall then have the authority to indict (or accuse) in court the serious crime suspect. The indictee (or accused suspected crime offender) shall then be required to stand trial before the other “twin” jury known as the Trial Jury in a court of law.
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Click Here and read
The "Trial Jury Introduction" Page.