The Grand Jury
Section 1. (a) Article III of this Jury Systems Law shall be referred to as the "Grand Jury Law". The basic power of the grand jury is hereby derived in Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution.
(b) Except by judicial supervision for its initial formation, the Grand Jury is hereby vested directly with the sovereign power of the people in the conduct of its official functions with absolute independence from any public or judicial official or government control or interference over all crimes punishable with one year or more of imprisonment in jail which are referred to in this law as "Serious Crimes". It shall be composed of twenty-three (23) members chosen randomly from among the citizens in the private sector and they shall act and serve anonymously. Each member shall be possessed with any bachelor degree with a diploma from a reputable college or university or military academy and who has not been a member of a fraternity, sorority, or mista and at least 23 years of age of either gender. Its inherent power to investigate crime offenders shall include the following:
(1) The power to indict or accuse in court any crime suspect upon its finding of a probable cause that such person may have committed a serious crime;
(2) The power to issue subpoena or summons upon any person to compel the attendance of a witness in its secret investigation room;
(3) The power to issue subpoena duces tecum upon any person to compel production of document, object, or thing in or at any location or institution in gathering evidence in its investigation;
(4) To file an indictment in court for obstruction of justice against any person who shall disobey, ignore or disregard its subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, or summons.
(5) Exception: The Grand Jury shall have no power to compel the appearance or attendance in its investigation of a suspected criminal offender to directly obtain his testimony.
6) All the proceedings of the Grand Jury shall be conducted with strict confidentiality. Its members shall be bound by their oath of secrecy and none of them shall disclose to, or make contact with, any person or any public official, pertaining to the investigation activities of the Grand Jury.
7) No person, lawyer, or any public official or government employee of any rank, title, position, or power who is disqualified for membership with the Grand Jury shall have the right to contact or interfere in any manner, directly or indirectly, with the functions of, the Grand Jury or with any of its members except, the Clerk of Court who shall serve exclusively as a liaison officer for the grand jury for purposes of serving subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, summons, and proof of service thereof, filing of indictments, submission of criminal complaints, crime reports or information for grand jury investigation, and ushering of a witness to the grand jury for questioning. Any violator of this proscription shall be subject to a criminal indictment for obstruction of justice by the grand jury.
(8) No person or any witness, regardless of his power, rank, title, or position in the government, shall be permitted to carry or bring into the grand jury investigating room any cellphone, camera, or firearm of any type. Violator of this rule shall be subject to an automatic indictment for obstruction of justice upon discovery at any time during or after such person or witness is testifying or has testified in the grand jury room.
(c) 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 pastor of any religious organization, shall qualify for membership in the grand jury.
(d) Except as provided in the foregoing subsections (b) and (d) in this section, membership in the grand jury shall be chosen from among plain and ordinary citizens in the private sector of Philippine society.
Upon qualifying for membership in the Grand Jury, its members shall promptly take their oath of office. The following form shall comprise the oath of office and shall be administered to them by the Executive Regional Trial Judge as follows:
"I will support the Constitution of the Philippines and all laws made in pursuance thereof and in conformity therewith,
"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."
End of the Grand Juror's Oath
(e) The Grand Jury shall act and function in accordance with the Grand Jury Standard Instruction provided below and briefly referred to as the GJSI. A Grand Jury Table of Forms, also referred to as “GJ Forms Table” and appended immediately after the last Section of this Grand Jury Law is hereby created and the prescribed and designed forms listed therein shall be deemed part of the herein GJSI and this law. The mandates and provisions contained in the GJSI shall be deemed an essential integral part of this Grand Jury Law regardless of whether written or not in the sections of the Grand Jury Law. In the event of a conflict of meaning between a provision of the Grand Jury Law and the provisions and mandates in the GJSI, the GJSI shall prevail.
The following form shall comprise the entire Grand Jury Standard Instruction:
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
Office of the Executive Judge
_______ Regional Judicial District
Street and City Addresss
GRAND JURY STANDARD INSTRUCTIONS
List below only the SIDN of each juror)
Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______
Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______
Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______
Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______
Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______
Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______
Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______
Juror SIDN ______ Juror SIDN ______ (No more than 23)
"Honorable Ladies & Gentlemen of the Grand Jury:
I welcome you for coming to this court session today. You are about to embark on an interesting and a very honorable mission. I am pleased to announce that this court has accepted your oath to fulfill your obligation to act collectively as a Grand Jury during the next six calendar months beginning today (mark "X" for the proper period) from (_)-January to June (_)-July to December, year ______ in the _________ Jury (Legislative) District of __________________, _____________.
Your act as a grand jury is sovereign which is intrusted to you by the people of your community, the master of our democratic society, under their sovereign power and authority in Article 2, Section 1, of the Constitution and which has been conferred to you upon taking your oath of office. Every person serving in the government is your public servant regardless of his public position, title or rank, or title of nobility or royalty. Your role is to secretly investigate serious crimes of each and every public servant or any person of society who may have committed a crime and to file the appropriate indictment or accusation in court against the offender of the crime upon your finding of a probable cause. You need not seek or ask the permission of any public official, judge, justice, or prosecutor to commence your action.
My first and most important instruction is to tell you that you are on a top secret mission and sacrificially dangerous or sometimes life threatening. Keep this secret by all means and you must not let anybody know who you are. Your safety and success and the protection of your family depends on your discipline in keeping this secrecy. You must remember that you are bound by your oath of secrecy.
My second important instruction is that you must not tell or disclose your true name to your fellow members in this grand jury and no one from among you shall have the right to demand to know each others real name. If it happens that some of you may already have known each others name, I still require you to call or address each other with your SIDN or Security Identification number which you already have when you were chosen earlier today.
As a juror, you may be investigating your own fellow juror for some reason, just as much as you will be investigating the conduct of any person or government official or crime offender regardless of his rank, power, title or position or nobility in the community. If you learn or know that any of your fellow members in this grand jury has committed a crime of any kind or of any act of corruption, I hereby instruct you to act as a tipster or as a witness to report such fellow member to the next succeeding grand jury for investigation and or indictment after your current term of service expires.
The only name you shall use and sign in all your official transactions as jurors is your SIDN.
I have been authorized by law to confer on you as a grand jury to directly exercise the sovereign power of the Filipino People in this legislative district under Article 2, Section 1, of the Constitution. You are, therefore, hereby vested with the power and authority to secretly investigate and indict in court any person upon your finding of a probable cause who may have committed a serious crime punishable by imprisonment in jail for one year or more through your collective decision. You may use English, Tagalog, or any dialect or a combination of said languages or dialects that you or any person or witness you deal with fully understand in the conduct of your official business.
Your power to investigate crimes is superior in all respects than any investigation by other persons or officials, group, or entity in the government and you must bear it with dignity befitting of the sovereign power of the people which has been entrusted to you and for you to exercise and practice. You must keep a superior attitude, without arrogance, in a tactful or reasonable manner and never show any subservience when conducting your official business with any person or public official you shall be dealing with regardless of his rank, title, or position in the government or title of nobility or royalty in the community.
You may bear arms secretly for self-defense purposes only and you shall under no circumstance display the same in your investigating room when propounding question to a witness. By the Rules of the Jury System Law, I have been commissioned to inform, and to confer, as I am now informing and conferring, upon you of your powers, duties and privileges, as follows:
(1) (a) You must know each other only by your SIDN and I hereby forbid you from revealing your SIDN to any person who is not a member of this grand jury. Conversely, you are prohibited from impersonating yourself with the use of another’s SIDN. You must not exhibit your SIDN to the public except for your pass of entering the grand jury room and in signing your official acts on certain documents.
Whenever you enter the grand jury room, you must not converge in group at its door to prevent inviting attention and curiosity by outsiders or the media. If asked what you are doing, simply say politely: “I am not in position to comment on, or to answer, your question”. Speak no further and walk away promptly. You must casually stay far from each other when you enter your room.
(b) Instruction to organize the grand jury. Your first order of business shall be the designation of your officers who shall be chosen by and from among your members and who shall likewise swear before this court in the coming few minutes their oath of office. Your officers shall have a great responsibility to perform and all of you are required to cooperate to assist in the discharge of that responsibility.
(c) Your officers shall consist of a Foreman who shall act as your presiding officer, your Assistant Foreman who shall act in the absence of the foreman, the Secretary and the Recording Secretary. You shall address each other as the case may be as "Mr. Foreman, Mr. or Ms. Secretary, or Mr. GJ #______" and others as "Mr. or Ms. Witness Mr. or Ms. Stenographer, Mr. or Ms. Interpreter." In this service, you must learn and make yourself accustom to know and call each other by your SIDNs, your security identity names.
(d) If, in the course of your term of office, you find the need to reorganize your leadership upon your mutual agreement and approved by a majority of your members or upon motion by a member or officer, duly seconded by another member or officer, and approved by a majority of your members, you may do so, and proceed to elect your new officers. In such event you shall inform the executive judge through the clerk of this court for its record and information on Form GJ-43 and attach therewith a blank form of Form GJ-34 for completion by the executive judge.
(NOTE: To speed up the designation process of choosing the grand jury officers, the Executive Judge shall solicit volunteers to act as candidates for foreman, vice foreman, secretary and recording secretary. The Executive Judge may profound questions on any matter to determine the capabilities of the volunteering leaders and thereafter he shall ask other members to vote by raising their hands who among the volunteers will they elect as their grand jury officers. A vote of 12 or more in favor of the nomination shall be elected. Before proceeding, the Executive Judge shall take note of the chosen grand jury officers by their designated SIDN. Thereafter, the judge will administer the oath of the officers of the grand jury as shown below.)
"Do you solemnly swear individually and collectively that you will accept your obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of your office in this Grand Jury in which you are about to enter. So God help you" and your response shall be: "I, and we, do."
(2) Nature and source of power of the members of the grand jury:
(a) Your membership in the grand jury is derived from your citizenship in our democratic society. It has been made evident by our constitution in Article 2, Section 1, which states that: "The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them."
(b) This court will take notice that you are now duly organized as a Grand Jury. Regardless of your position, each of you as a member of the Grand Jury shall have one vote for the purpose of determining your collective decision or resolution over a given matter. You must cast your vote by secret ballot. Your foreman or secretary shall have no individual power to decide for, or in behalf of, your group as a Grand Jury and any attempt by either grand jury officers to do so shall be invalid and inoperative. Each of you must memorize your powers and obligations as grand jury members.
(c) The function of the grand jury consists of two alternative parts to ensure that no person shall be indicted of an alleged crime by arbitrary decision of the accuser:
First, it has the power to prevent criminal indictment against any person in court if it is based on improper, illegal or capricious motive of the accuser.
Second, it has the power to ensure that a criminal indictment is filed in court against a crime offender where there is probable cause or reasonable ground to believe that the suspect is guilty of the crime. A finding that no probable cause exist, or a finding of probable cause, by the grand jury shall not be subject to review with preliminary investigation of a judge or a prosecutor. Your collective decision to indict, or not to indict, in court is final.
You will find the prescribed forms as referenced in this GJSI in the GJ Forms Table which is appended after the last page and last section of this Grand Jury Law.
(3). Grand Jury business hours and Security Matters -
(a) Your business hours shall be from 9:00 o'clock in the morning until 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon and your noon time break shall be from 12:00 noon up to 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon. It is mandatory that you wear a barong tagalog whenever you report to the grand jury investigating room as a symbol of your authority. Without it, your foreman is hereby authorized to refuse recognition of your presence in the investigating room and your compensation in such occasion will not be paid.
(b) For your protection and security of the vicinity of your place of operation, your foreman shall contact and request the National Police Director of the Philippine National Police for deployment of the needed police personnel nearby. Use the prescribed form for this purpose. The form is known as Form GJ-27 which you shall find in the GJ Forms Table.
(4) Powers and duties of the foreman of the grand jury. Your foreman shall lead and shall be responsible in the management, discipline and operation of the grand jury. He shall preside all grand jury sessions. He must keep a Permanent Grand Jury Membership Record on prescribed Form GJ-3, Section 17, of Rule 17 of this Rule. He shall have the power to demand prompt attendance of all grand jury members.
Exactly at 9:00 o'clock in the morning of each business day, he shall promptly convene the grand jury session. Each member attending a grand jury session shall personally sign in the attendance sheet, the prescribed Form GJ-4, in the presence of the foreman with his SIDN and the foreman must write in the exact time such member reported at the grand jury room.
In the afternoon at the end of the session, the foreman shall further write in the exact time such member leaves the grand jury session room. He shall keep a record of juror's absence on Form GJ-5. He shall have the power to approve and recommend payment of the per diem of each grand juror. (5) The foreman shall have the power to assign cases using Form GJ-6 to each grand juror or a group of 2 or more grand jurors for personal attention and investigation of a case.
(5) The foreman shall have the power to assign cases using Form GJ-6 of Section 17 of this Rule to each grand juror or a group of 2 or more grand jurors for personal attention and investigation of a case.
He shall keep a log record on Form GJ-30 of each and all cases this Grand Jury is pursuing. No another case number shall be assigned to a prior numbered case. He shall set up the plans to investigate government entities on Form GJ-7 or public officials on Form GJ-8. In the absence of the foreman, the vice-foreman shall perform the duties of the foreman.
(6) The foreman shall have the power to recommend on Form GJ-22 to the Executive Judge the termination of service by a grand juror for inexcusable failures to attend two or more grand jury sessions or for insubordination or gross violation of grand jury confidential rules or instruction.
Conversely, any six (6) members of this grand jury shall have the power to recommend on Form GJ-23 to the Executive Judge of this court for the expulsion of its foreman for inexcusable failures to attend two or more grand jury sessions, frequent or habitual tardiness in reporting to the Grand Jury Investigation Room, drunkenness or substance abuse, or for bribery or close association with public officials suspected of corruption or potential subject of grand jury investigation for corrupt or graft practices or for the commission of a crime.
(7) The role of the Secretary and other Members of the Grand Jury:
(a) The Secretary - The Secretary shall: Prepare your daily agenda on Form GJ-32 in consultation with the foreman; Assist the foreman in preparing the needed daily attendance record of the grand jury members on Form GJ-4 which he or she shall keep secure in a receptacle and shall not be appended to the next day's daily attendance sheet and no further entry shall be made on daily attendance sheet once it is placed in the secured receptacle.
The secretary shall help, or coordinate with, the Clerk of Court to prepare the per diem vouchers each pay day for all the grand jurors for submission to the Executive Judge of this Regional Trial Court. The secretary shall be the principal custodian of the records and the required forms for use of the grand jury.
(b) The Members - The Members of the Grand Jury shall take an active role in recommending to the foreman the investigation and indictment of crime offenders that come to their knowledge. When a member is assigned by the foreman to take charge of a particular case, such member shall have the duty to find the names and addresses of witnesses.
(a) The Secretary - The Secretary shall: Prepare your daily agenda on Form GJ-32 in consultation with the foreman; Assist the foreman in preparing the needed daily attendance record of the grand jury members on Form GJ-4 which he or she shall keep secure in a receptacle and shall not be appended to the next day's daily attendance sheet and no further entry shall be made on daily attendance sheet once it is placed in the secured receptacle.
(c) Any six (6) members of this grand jury shall have the power to recommend on Form GJ-33 to the Executive Judge of this court for the expulsion of its secretary for inexcusable failures to attend two or more grand jury sessions, frequent or habitual tardiness, among others, in reporting to the Grand Jury Investigation Room, drunkenness or substance abuse, or for bribery or close association with public officials suspected of corruption or potential subject of grand jury investigation for corrupt or graft practices or for the commission of a crime.
(8) Powers and duties of the recording secretary of the grand jury. Your recording secretary shall be responsible in recording the interrogation sessions with witnesses before the grand jury. He must prepare the electronic recording devices for the session. No interrogation session of the grand jury shall proceed unless its tape recorder is actually functioning.
The recording secretary shall have the power to recommend for the hiring of a stenographer. The foreman shall provide a security ID number to the stenographer which he shall record on Form GJ-31.
The stenographer may either record the grand jury proceedings actually during the session or the stenographer may transcribe the tape record of the proceedings whichever will be convenient for the grand jury.
The stenographer shall be bound by the confidential requirements of the grand jury.
(9) This is your greatest opportunity to serve your community. Take advantage of it with pride -
(a) You have been randomly chosen to serve as an organized group, known as the GRAND JURY.
(b) Your grand jury membership is your opportunity to enforce the rule of law in our justice system. By this Instruction, you are empowered to secretly investigate and indict in court any person regardless of his fame, nobility, royalty, wealth, rank position or title, if any, in our government or society in this jury district who has committed a serious crime as defined in Section 4(b), Rule 1 of the the JSR, such as, but not limited to, government corruption, murder, kidnaping, robbery, thief, rape or chastity crime, extortion, election fraud, terrorism, human rights abuse, money laundering, obstruction of justice, or falsification of documents.
(c) You will have the opportunity to secretly investigate crimes and to file criminal charges in court against crime offenders by means of an indictment without seeking approval of any government prosecutor.
(10) Dissolution of the Grand Jury - I must caution you at this stage that your term of office is not absolute. You may be easily dissolved before the end of your term for jury duty just as easily as you were chosen today and appointed as members of the grand jury.
(a) If, in the course of your service, it appears that this Grand Jury is unable to faithfully perform its powers and duties by reason of disloyalty, apparent corruption or lack of interest in discharging the duties imposed on it by these Grand Jury Standard Instruction, this grand jury may be dissolved by a declaration to do so by your own members;
(b) Any 10 members of your group regardless of official position shall have the power to jointly present to the executive judge of this court a "Declaration For Dissolution" of this Grand Jury using Form GJ-28 stating therein the reason for their declaration. They must attach a blank form, Form GJ-29, to their Declaration for ready use by the Executive Judge.
(c) Thereupon, the executive judge shall order you to show cause within 2 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays, from date of filing the declaration why the grand jury should not be dissolved. By the same date of the filing of the Declaration for Dissolution, the declarant members shall likewise lay a copy thereof on the desk of their foreman.
(d) Excluding the members who presented the Declaration of Dissolution, there shall be at least 13 of your members and officers present in court who must show up to resist the declaration of dissolution, and they must all jointly rebut the allegation in the declaration. Their rebuttal must be supported by the records of the grand jury to show the forms they have accomplished, the number of witnesses they have interrogated so far, the indictments or memorandum of non-indictments they had decided on.
(e) This court shall order dissolution of the grand jury automatically by either failure to appear with the desired attendance of 13 members or lack of accomplishments of the grand jury as born by its records in spite of your quorum and, in which case, this court will issue its appropriate order on Form GJ-29.
You will be paid of your per diems up to the day the court ordered your dissolution if shown in your Form GJ-4 that you have actually attended sessions of the grand jury. You will likewise be placed under investigation and indictment by the successor Grand Jury if it appears that you have falsified or forged your records in collecting your per diems.
(11) The executive judge shall thereupon order the Clerk of this Court to padlock the Grand Jury Investigation Room and forthwith he shall further issue an order to the Clerk of Court to make an announcement for a drawing at a certain date of names of Grand Jury applicants remaining in the "Grand Jury Membership Application Raffle Bin" following the date of the notification of your dissolution.
(12) The executive judge shall follow the same procedure in Instruction No. (1) of this Grand Jury Standard Instruction to install the new set of grand jury members.
(13) (a) No person or public official of any rank, position, or power, or title of nobility has the right to remove you as a member of your group, except upon an accusation for falsification of a public document in a written complaint, if you commit such an act in connection with your investigation, or for the commission of a felony.
(b) When you are performing your jury duty, you must feel superior in authority, but politely, to any person who appears before your group regardless of his rank or position in the government.
(c) When performing your duties officially as a grand jury, you are representing the sovereign power of the people within your jurisdiction and you are entitled to a higher dignity by virtue of your authority than any high government official whom you may permit or subpoena to appear before this grand jury.
(14) (a) Primarily, you will investigate crimes that are punishable by a minimum imprisonment of at least 12 months or more in jail or by death. You will serve in our judicial district as a direct crime indicting entity and agent in behalf of, and your power to act officially comes directly from, the Sovereign People of your district, pursuant to Article II, Section 1, of the Philippine Constitution which states that "Sovereignty resides in the People and all government authority emanates from them. Your territorial jurisdiction is coextensive with the legislative district in which this court is located.
(b) Under certain circumstances you may also investigate crimes outside your regular district and file your indictment in any other court of the Philippines.
(15) (a) The Rules of the Jury System has been promulgated to enable the people, through you as a Grand Jury, to exercise their sovereignty and authority over our government and government officials. By this Rule, you are instructed to function secretly and confidentially as the people's secret counter-device against crimes committed in secret. You must use the official confidential grand jury telephone equipment provided to you by the Clerk of this Court.
(b) You must not use your personal telephone or cellphone in making calls relating to your grand jury investigation to prevent your identities from being traced to your telephone.
(c) You must conduct your interrogation only within the confines of your secret hearing room and you shall interrogate one witness at a time only. You shall not interrogate witnesses by group.
(16) (a) Your power to investigate pursuant to Article II, Section 1, of the Philippine Constitution is sovereign. Your power to act will not be restrained by the inter-departmental boundaries among the legislative, executive and judicial departments of the government as well as in such other public or quasi-public instrumentality, national, regional autonomous, provincial, city, municipal and barrio governments.
(b) You have the power to investigate and indict in court any public official regardless of rank or position in the government who may have committed a serious crime of any nature.
(17) You have the exclusive power, right and duty to secretly investigate and decide to file in court all criminal indictments as your findings may warrant in all forms of government anomalies, serious crimes or offenses of any kind including but not limited to murder, robbery, grand theft, tax evasion, money laundering, human rights abuses, acts of fraud or violence in the conduct of electing public officials.
(18) (a) You will act as direct collective agent of the master of society, the sovereign people in your district on matters that are within your authority to investigate. You are not agents of the government and you are not agents of any government official.
(b) Except by this Grand Jury Instruction that I am conferring upon you, no public official by any definition, civil or military, has the power to command or give orders to you to do or not to do your job in the Grand Jury.
(19) You must, therefore, independently carry out your official responsibilities with extreme care peacefully and with dignity befitting of your sovereign position that you have derived from the sovereign people in your district. You must address each of your fellow members as an honorable official in performing your duties.
(20) At the end of your 6-month term of service, you shall desist from handling new cases which shall then be taken over by the new set of grand jury members for reprocessing or deliberation and decision.
(21) Through your foreman and your secretary, you shall turn over all pending and unfinished cases, or matters you have not filed with actual indictment in court, to the new set of members of the grand jury.
(22) Your investigative and indictment powers to act are limited. You have no power to perform any act beyond the powers stated in this Grand Jury Instruction.
(23) Forms Required for Use During Grand Jury Questioning of a Witness -
Each time you report for jury duty, you must have with you your Form GJ-37, your SIDN# validation document, issued to you by the Executive Judge. You will not be allowed by your police protectors to enter your Grand Jury Investigation Room without it. If any of you fails to report for jury duty for two or more consecutive business days without legal justification, you will be subject to dismissal by this court from your grand jury membership upon the recommendation of your foreman on prescribed Form GJ-22.
(24) Quorum -
(a) To officially act as a Grand Jury, a quorum of at least 14 of your members must be present and you must have registered in your attendance record on prescribed Form GJ-4 as soon as you get inside your investigating room. If you fail to register, your attendance will not be recognized and there will be no basis to pay your per diems.
(b) If you have a quorum of 14 members present, you must be unanimous with your 14 votes to indict in court a crime suspect of your investigation.
(c) For this purpose, your foreman with the assistance by your secretary must take a roll call of all your members present and you should personally write down your SIDN in the Grand Jury Daily Attendance Form and certified to under penalty of perjury jointly by your foreman and your secretary with their respective SIDNs.
(25) If your foreman or acting vice foreman fails to report for jury duty for two or more consecutive business days without legal justification, any 3 of your regular members may recommend to this court for his termination on prescribed Form GJ-23.
(26) Certification of Medical Illness -
(a) If you claim serious injury or illness as the cause of your absence, you must provide this court a medical certification on prescribed Form GJ-19 from your treating physician stating truthfully under penalty of perjury the exact nature of your illness or injury that requires you a rest from grand jury duty.
(b) Without said certification, or if the certificate is a forgery, your request for an excuse for your absence from jury duty will be denied and this court shall forthwith remove you from your membership with the Grand Jury. You will be replaced by picking another grand jury membership application from the remaining applications in the grand jury membership application raffle bin. If your foreman or acting vice foreman is terminated from jury service, a selection of such officers will be conducted with supervision by the executive judge of this court.
(27) (a) Each of you will have one vote to cast regardless of your position as a foreman or secretary to be counted in determining your collective decision and your decision must be arrived at after your deliberation or discussion. Your vote must be written on a piece of paper in a ballot form as prescribed on Form GJ-13 and signed with your SIDN and date of signing. In voting for an indictment, at least 14 affirmative votes shall support your indictment.
(b) You are prohibited to make a decision by flipping a coin. You must keep your deliberation privately and you must absolutely disallow any person who is not your fellow member to be present in your discussion or deliberation.
(28) (a) If a high government official wish to see you, you must politely decline too meet such person by stating that you have no obligation or power to meet or receive any advice or instruction regardless of the rank and power in the government of such person unless on your summons or subpoena in connection with your investigation of a crime.
(b) On the alternative, you may ask such official to send you his written information under oath for your consideration on any matter which may be the subject of your investigation. You should not be intimidated by the fact that he is a high official. If he is such a high official of any rank, title, or position, or nobility, he is indeed your public servant, nonetheless.
(c) If in the communication of such official he is asking for information about your investigation on any matter, you must politely decline to provide the requested information stating that you have no power or obligation under the grand jury law to disclose any information on any subject of your investigation. For this purpose, you shall write your response letter as prescribed in Grand Jury Form GJ-49.
(29) Your first task upon receiving an information about a crime:
(a) Upon receipt for the first time of a report of a crime or complaint from a victim, or from a prosecutor or an anonymous informant, you must promptly inform your foreman about the case. Your foreman shall thereupon record and assigned a "Grand Jury Case Number" for the case on the prescribed log record known as "Foreman's Case Intake Record And Assigned Cases to Jurors" on Form GJ-30.
(b) You are required to act in presenting a criminal accusation in court, called an Indictment on appropriate prescribed Form GJ-14, GJ-15, or GJ-16 (as the case may be) upon complaint by, and in behalf of, crime victims, witnesses, police or prosecutors against crime offenders based on your independent decision.
(c) You need not seek the approval by any other government authority whatsoever to make your decision and you shall not be bound by the recommendation of such, or any, other government official or authority.
(30) Your decision to indict or approval of your indictment, or return of an indictment, must be based on your finding of a probable cause that the suspected offender is guilty of a crime. Probable cause is a situation where a crime is committed and you have a reasonable belief that the suspected offender has committed, and is guilty of, the crime. It is not necessary that you gather a set of evidence that will prove beyond reasonable doubt to support your indictment.
(31) Required Number of Votes to Present Indictment in Court - To approve or return an indictment, there must be at least an affirmative secret vote of 14 members gathered out of all those present at your session to indict. If you are unable to reach 14 votes, you should obtain additional evidence or find and call or recall a witness for clarification of an issue that prevent you of finding a probable cause for your indictment, otherwise, you will simply pass and write a Memorandum of No Indictment on prescribed Form GJ-17. When you are confronted with a difficult decision to make, you must review and adhere to your oath of office, Form GJ-24 to arrive at your good faith decision one way or the other.
(32) You have the power to hire the services of a stenographer who will record your proceedings and/or you may order for the purchase of an electronic recording device to record your proceedings all at government expense. You must submit your request for a stenographer or to purchase a recording device with the clerk of this court;
(33) You are immune from civil liability for your collective acts as a grand jury but you may still be charged individually for committing any criminal act as defined by law. Your grand jury membership is a mere privilege and it is not a matter of right. You can be summarily removed upon recommendation on prescribed Form GJ-22 by your foreman to the executive judge of this court.
(34) You are not a lawmaking body. It is not within your powers to make laws, rules or regulation except only as to such matters for the internal and orderly conduct by and among yourselves.
(35) (a) For matters you wish to investigate, you may take leads from newspapers or any media including online or Internet publications about serious crimes committed within your jurisdiction.
(b) Your jurisdiction is coextensive with the legislative district, designated by the Jury Rules as your jury district, in which this regional trial court is located;
(c) You may use the prescribed form known as "Extract Record from Anonymous Report, referred to as Form GJ-10 in recording the various information you have gathered about the crime. It is part of your job to determine the address or residence or job location of the subject of your investigation and the names of possible witnesses.
(36) (a) You may publish your invitation for anonymous reporters or tipsters of crimes using the form "Invitation for Anonymous Crime Informants" prescribed as Form GJ-9 to submit their confidential crime information in the "Citizen's Secret Crime Reports Drop Box" located in the lobby of this court house about the name and address of the suspect, his job, if known, the crime he committed, and names and addresses of witnesses to the crime.
(b) You shall avoid mentioning the name of the suspected offender in your published invitation. You need not ask for the reports to be signed. Any time of the business day, your secretary shall pull out all contents of the "Drop Box" and write or stamp on each of them the date you received a report of any type.
(37) You may work as a team of 2 or more members on a case with the approval for coordination or instruction with your foreman. You may go out to the field occasionally for visual observation only with the consent of your foreman to verify or confirm, as a matter of preliminary information provided by a secret reporter or tipster such as names, address, of persons, offices, and others in a casual manner but you shall not conduct any questioning with anyone outside your grand jury investigation room.
(38) Once you have recorded a case in your Form GJ-30, you must finish its investigation within ninety (90) days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, from the date you have recorded the matter on Form GJ-30 or from the date of your receipt of a complaint. Your job on a case is deemed completed by filing your Indictment in court in accordance with the procedure in Section 5(o) in Rule 1, of the Rules of the Jury System or by issuance of your "Memorandum of No Indictment" with the use of the appropriate prescribed Form GJ-14, GJ-15, GJ-16, or Form GJ-17 , as the case may be.
(39) (a) You shall file your indictment in court confidentially. You have the choice to file your indictment with the clerk of this court or in any other clerk of court with another trial court within this judicial district or in any other district. You may inquire from the clerk of this court the location of other trial courts of this judicial district.
(b) You need not go out in person from your investigation room for the filing of your court indictment. You simply summon the clerk of this court, or clerk of another court, where you wish to file your indictment. For this purpose, you shall use and fill in the prescribed “Summons Form”, Form GJ-49, by the Jury System Rules and present the same to the Clerk of Court in this Courthouse.
(40) You shall not issue or publicize any information regarding your investigation of any matter. You must absolutely keep your proceedings strictly confidential or secretly at all times.
(41) You have the sovereign power to approve or disapprove felony accusations filed by government prosecutors. Should you approve any of such accusations, you must file a return of your indictment on the appropriate prescribed Form GJ-14, GJ-15, or GJ-16, as the case may be with the clerk of this court.
(42) (a) Before you approve complaints or accusations filed by government prosecutors, you must require the appearance before you of the government witnesses or seek other evidence by subpoena or by subpoena duces tecum by using prescribed Form GJ-11 in Section 17 of this Rule in addition to the evidence presented to you by government prosecutors to support your approval.
(b) You shall submit to the clerk of this court your subpoena, forthwith, will assign the server of your subpoena to the witnesses in accordance with Section 19(a) of this Rule.
(c) In the event that you find any inconsistency or conflict between the information provided to you by government prosecutors or investigators and testimony of a victim or witness to a crime, you may consider the testimony of the victim or direct witness more believable than the information of the prosecutor or investigator.
(43) You have the additional power to designate any competent citizen, or any public official, police, or military officer, to serve your subpoena or subpoena duces tecum other than through the Clerk of Court. Nonetheless, you must always ask the Clerk of Court of this Courthouse to serve your subpoena or subpoena duces tecum for your convenience.
(44) Your power to issue subpoena or subpoena duces tecum is sovereign to compel attendance of any witness or production of documents regardless of his rank, title, or position in the government or any private citizen or person of nobility in the community in connection with your investigation. If such witness refuses to obey or ignores your subpoena, you may indict such witness for obstruction of justice using prescribed Form GJ-16 upon proof or evidence that you have validly served such witness with your subpoena.
(45) (a) Should you find that a witness has testified falsely before you as a grand jury, you may indict such witness for perjury, or for obstruction of justice using prescribed Form GJ-15 or Form GJ-16, as the case may be, if his testimony has been intended to delay, frustrate, prevent, or confuse the grand jury in its investigation of a case or to cover-up the criminal act of a crime suspect. At the start of his testimony, you must admonish the witness of his liability and penalty for obstruction of justice.
(b) You must present at least two (2) witnesses to prove your indictment for perjury or obstruction of justice against the subject witness; or
(c) You must present at least three (3) of your members to serve as witness who will testify to prove that such witness had given you untruthful or evasive information, In such event any of your members who will testify to support your indictment shall be provided with another SIDN as a witness by registering such member in your Form GJ-31;
(46) You must allow no lawyer, member of the media, or anyone to appear with the witness in your investigating room. If such lawyer or anyone else will forcefully get inside or remain inside your grand jury investigation room, or advises a witness to refuse to testify before you, you have the power to file an indictment against such attorney or any such other person for obstruction of justice using prescribed Form GJ-16 for that purpose.
(47) (a) You must discuss and deliberate among yourselves alone secretly or confidentially as a group and only in your exclusive deliberating room. Violation of this rule will invalidate your decision to charge the object of your indictment.
(b) You must avoid discussing or debating with any person, witness, public official, police, investigator, prosecutor, or any lawyer. Simply inform any of such persons that the grand jury has no authority to discuss investigation matters in the presence of non-grand jury members.
(48) (a) The Clerk of this Court will assist you in finding your investigating room at which place, no one, except yourselves exclusively will be allowed to occupy in performing your official business.
(b) You must see to it, and demand, that your room is not being tapped with illegal surveillance or bugging devices.
(c) Other than a witness you have summoned for questioning, you must absolutely disallow anyone else to enter your room without your prior summons or subpoena.
(49) (a) No public official of any rank or position in the government has the right, and you must not allow anyone, to change or control your decision to indict or not to indict any person.
(b) You must not be intimidated by the fact that the person you are dealing with, or the subject of your investigation, is a lawyer or a law practitioner or any other professional practitioner, or any public official of any rank, title or position in the government or any person of nobility.
(c) Acting as a group in your capacity as a Grand Jury, you carry the sovereign power and authority of the people in your grand jury district which comprises the same legislative district over which you have jurisdiction to act in accordance with Article 2, Section 1, of the Constitution.
(50) (a) You have the power to require a witness who will testify before you to take an oath or affirmation but you have no power to extract a statement from a witness with force or intimidation or with a display of any firearm or weapon anywhere in your investigation environment.
(b) Your foreman will preside over your interrogation session who may assign, or allow, anyone of you to profound questions to the witness. You must record your investigation proceedings electronically or by a stenographer or both.
(51) Conducting your first interrogation of a witness-
(a) Before calling your first actual questioning session with a witness, you must conduct a practice session among yourselves. You must make sure that you have a stenographer and an electronic recording device to record your practice proceeding.
(b) You must show your proficiency to the witness to gain respect for the Grand Jury by any person who appears before you. You must be respectful but firm in dealing with such person or witness. You may use English, Tagalog, or local dialect most easily understood between you and the witness.
(52) Procedure in the interrogation of your witness:
(a) Prepare by filling in your Form GJ-12, interrogation form and witness appearance form.
(b) Consult the prescribed interrogation form, Form GJ-38 and follow the instructions in that form to conduct your interrogation of your witness.
(c) All of you must memorize at heart the instructions in the said form. Familiarize yourselves of all the grand jury forms. Consult the Table of Criminal Jury Instruction, known as “CrimJI”, found in “Appendix A” at the end of the Rules of the Jury System.
(d) A Rule Book containing the entire Jury System Rules including Appendix “A” and “B” by the end of today's session will be furnished by the Clerk of this Court to your foreman.
(e) I instruct you to use the current entire week for holding classes in your grand jury room to learn the Jury Systems with your foreman acting as your lead instructor.
(f) Beginning on Monday, next week, with the help of the clerk of court, I instruct you to advertise, using Form GJ-9, to invite anonymous crime informants to submit secret crime reports of the particular crime you wish to investigate.
(g) When a member starts to speak, he must first address the foreman to ask his turn to speak with the witness and such member must raise to display his SIDN for all your co-members and the witness to see. Your SIDN should be printed in block type on a half-size regular short bond paper, exactly a dimension of 8-1/2 and 5-1/2 inches. The numbers shall be printed 3-1/2 inches in height and must centrally occupy 6 inches across the paper.
(h) Proceed to Form GJ-38 to prepare for your witness today.
(The following topics are NOT TO BE READ to the witness)(These topics are being read to you for your instruction)
(53) (a) You are required that no indictment is filed in court until you are convinced as a group that the case being filed is factually supported by direct, clear and convincing evidence according to your own independent findings and judgment and not on the basis of rumors or political inducements from any source whatsoever.
(b) You must arrive at your independent decision only after a confidential and careful deliberation among yourselves absolutely without the presence of anybody whatsoever who is not a member of this Grand Jury.
(54) A crime suspect may be charged with different crimes or type of crimes. Take note of the “Count Number” in the indictment instructions in the CrimJI of Appendix “A”.
(a) In the event where the crime suspect is criminally liable for different crimes. you must follow the indictment procedure in the next following Instruction No. (55.)
(b) In a crime where the suspected offender may have enriched himself, you must consider further investigation and indictment for tax evasion crimes.
(c) You may refer to taxation laws among which, but not limited to, Republic Acts 7642 and 8424. You may issue a subpoena to a tax accountant to seek professional advice, at government expense, prior to your filing of your criminal indictment for tax evasion.
(d) You must admonish the tax expert to keep your consultation with strict secrecy and avoid disclosing the name of the suspected offender and the names of witnesses.
(55) To arrive at your official decision to indict or to accuse the crime suspect with two or more criminal offenses, you must perform separate voting session for every indictment of each crime. Your decision to indict must be based on a "Probable Cause."
(56) Elements of Probable Cause -
(a) A probable cause of the crime exists when you have found a basis or ground which lead you to reasonably believe that the suspected offender is guilty of the crime.
(b) Your belief shall be derived from the fact that the witness, among others, personally saw the act of the offender in committing the crime, or that the witness personally heard the offender saying that he committed the criminal act.
(d) You may likewise consider how far or near the witness was at the scene of the crime or when the witness heard the crime offender stated of the commission of his crime.
(e) You may also consider how much access or control the witness had with the records, things or object in the possession of, or belonging to, the suspected offender at the time of the commission of the crime.
(57) Before writing your secret vote, you must follow the procedures below and certified under oath by your foreman with no one else present in the grand jury room but exclusively among you that compose your quorum.
(a) Review the transcript or rehear the tape recorded testimony of the witness;
(b) Reexamine all pieces of evidence or documents in your possession relating to the case and how the witness has obtained them;
(c) Carefully examine the elements and definition of the law that you think the suspected offender has violated. You must have a basic understanding of Articles 1 to 113 of Book One of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines. They all generally apply in concept to any type of crimes that you will be dealing with.
(d) When you write your indictment or accusation, the specific words that you basically use to associate with the offender are: "willfully," "unlawfully," "feloniously," "knowingly." You must attempt to "read" the mind of the offender whether his thoughts during the commission of his crime were associated with such words.
(e) Crimes, except for strict liability crimes, have two basic elements, things the prosecutor has to prove to convict the accused: "a guilty mind" and "a guilty act."
(f) IMPORTANT: Consult Form TJ-121, for the Table for Criminal Jury Instruction, beginning with Instruction No. 500, for guidance in determining the correct elements and definitions of the crime you intend to charge the accused with.
(g) The prosecutors and judges are required to show those elements to the trial jury to prove your accusation against the accused crime offender.
(h) After you have done the foregoing routines, your foreman shall randomly create two opposing groups called "Anti-Indictment Group" and "Pro-Indictment Group" with equal number of memberships. Your foreman shall exclude himself from any group and preside your proceedings. He must stay neutral and avoid arguing with any member of either group. He must strictly follow this rule. (1) Firstly, the foreman shall call for volunteers for membership in the "Anti" group. (2) If there are not enough volunteers for that group, he shall appoint any member from the remaining group into the "Anti" group regardless of the personal opinion of such member to favor indictment. Those who serve in the "Anti" group shall, nonetheless, secretly vote as they wish either for or against the indictment.
(i) Your foreman should solicit arguments from the members of each opposing groups by asking specific questions in the following manner:
(j) He should ask the members of the "Anti" group with a questions such as: (1) "Why do you think that the suspected offender may not be guilty in this case? (2) Are you aware of a law that may excuse him from criminal liability? (3) What possible defense or defenses you think the suspected offender has in this case? (4) From the testimony of the witnesses, did any of them said that his knowledge of the crime is based only from the information he heard from some one else and not on his own observation? (5) Testimony on someone else's knowledge is a hearsay evidence and will not be admissible at the trial of this case. (6) Does the documentary evidence in our hands directly show the guilt of the suspect? If not, we need to know? (7) Would you want, before we vote to indict the suspected offender, to do more research? (8) Please speak up and let us all listen to what you say." The foreman should allow the "Anti" speaker to talk without interruption from anyone. He must allow as many "Anti" speakers who wish to talk against the indictment or in defense of the suspected offender.
(k) After addressing the “Anti” group, your foreman should now direct his attention to the "Pro" group. His question to the "Pro" shall be: (1) "Do you find in the evidence or in the testimony of the witness(es) a probable cause or reasonable ground for us to believe that the suspect is guilty of the crime? (2) Did the witness say that he actually saw the commission of the crime by the offender? (3) Does the documentary evidence directly show the guilt of the suspect? If yes, please let us know." (4) Have you searched the laws that may excuse him from criminal liability? (5) Would you want to do more research, before we vote to indict the suspected offender? If, so, call for an informal voting by raising hands. (6) Please speak up and let us all listen to what you say." The foreman should allow everyone who wish to speak for the indictment of the suspected offender to talk without interruption from anyone.
(l) If you doubt about the guilt of the suspected offender, it is your obligation to do more legal research or consult a competent criminal law lawyer before you vote in your decision. You must use hypothetical situations and avoid mentioning real names of persons who are involved in the case you are investigating. Should you intend to retain such attorney to prosecute the matter and he accepts the case as private prosecutor, then you need to let him know the real names of the real people who are involved in your case.(CAUTION: He might be a DECOY or spy for the crime suspect.)
(m) If the issue is to do more research and it is preventing you to decide one way or the other, you shall come to a secret vote in the research issue. If the research issue is in the negative, then you come to a secrete balloting to determine whether to indict or not to indict and write the proper form, either Form GJ-14 or Form GJ-17.
(n) Even if there is no anti-indictment speaker, your foreman must still ask the required questions to the Pro-Indictment Group. It is important that each grand juror understands that he must personally find probable cause or reasonable ground for a belief that the suspect is guilty of the crime for indictment.
(o) It is not necessary that you convince your opposing members to vote in the side of your argument. Think of yourself as a solo judge with the obligation to find the probable cause, or lack of it, and let your total collective votes determine the decision of the grand jury and not the individual opinion of its members. It must be a decision arrived at collectively without force or tyranny from any of your members.
(p) After the speakers have talked, your foreman should announce to proceed, if you are convinced that you had investigated and examined enough the evidence and witness/es to make your final decision by secretly casting the vote of each and all members and officers including the foreman of the grand jury.
(q) You must use prescribed Form GJ-13 to cast your ballot. Upon completing your ballot, fold and submit it to your secretary. The secretary shall not open or count your votes until everyone has submitted his/her ballot and only then shall the secretary shall read the number of the “Yes” votes and of the “No” votes. Thereupon, the foreman shall announce to the Grand Jury members the decision to indict or not to the suspected offender.
(r) It is required that you arrive at with at least 14 "yes" decision votes of your members to return an indictment in court. In such event, you shall write your indictment on Form GJ-14, GJ-15, or GJ-16 (as the case may be;
(s) If, instead, you arrive at with at least 14 "no" votes, then you shall prepare your Grand Jury Memorandum of "No Indictment" on Form GJ-17. In such event, you shall simply archive the matter without further comment as if the matter was not investigated to allow another set of a new grand jury to reopen and further investigate the matter.
(t) If any of your members feels that there is an urgent need to reopen the matter for further investigation, such as calling or finding more witnesses, or gathering more evidence, he shall make an oral motion to do so during any session of the grand jury. If the motion is seconded and approved by a simple majority in which a quorum is present, then the case will remain open for further investigation. Your foreman shall then assign the matter to a member or group of 2 or members to pursue the matter.
(58) The filing of your indictment in court shall be conducted confidentially. You must summon the clerk of court to come to your grand jury room to receive for filing the indictment which the clerk shall stamp to confirm its filing. Consult Section 5(o) and Section 5(p) in Rule 1 of the JSR and use Form GJ-40. The court filing stamp with the proper date must be stamped both on the original copy of the indictment submitted to the court and on a photocopy or carbon copy as file copy of the Grand Jury. You must use the appropriate prescribed indictment Form GJ-14, GJ-15, GJ-16, as the case may be.
(59) After presenting your indictment in court, you must submit any pertinent exhibits on a case to the Clerk of this Court and listed on the exhibit list form prescribed on Form GJ-18, in Section 17 of this Rule who will turn over such exhibits to the proper prosecutor for the case. After you have filed your indictment in court and have submitted your exhibits to a government prosecutor, through the clerk of court, your grand jury job on the case is completed. The stamp date of the filing with the Clerk of Court of your indictment must be within the period of your term of service to make the indictment valid.
(60) Instruction for secrecy of investigation versus exceptional notification to the crime suspect:
It is imperative that your criminal investigations be conducted secretly and strictly confidential.
(a) The purpose of this secrecy rule is (a) To prevent the crime suspect from becoming a fugitive from justice;
(b) To protect the constitutional innocence of the crime suspect from trial by publicity;
(c) To prevent the suspect or victim or their respective sympathizers from tampering any evidence or of threatening, harassing or harming potential witnesses;
(d) To protect both the victim and crime suspect from harming each other or by their followers.
(e) To protect you, the members of the grand jury, from threats or harassments or harm by heavily armed or highly influential or publicly powerful suspects of crimes and by their crime sympathizers and accomplices or their private armies;
(f) To prevent potential trial jurors from prejudging the guilt or innocence of the crime suspect once they are called in to serve as jurors;
(g) To protect judges and government prosecutors and private investigators from illegal or unethical interference, threats, harassment, or physical harm from highly armed or powerful or wealthy elements of society; and
(h) 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 grafters among circle of friends.
(i) Exceptional notification to suspect prior to filing of indictment - If in your opinion, nothing in the above confidential precautionary policy measures will be used or taken advantaged of by the suspect, in any way, to interfere in your investigation of a crime such as wherein the suspect may have been positively known for being a peaceful or pacific person in the community and with no known ties with abusive highly armed elements in the community or he is not associated or friendly with highly suspected corrupt powerful or high official or officials of the government, you may, but not necessarily, notify the crime suspect, or subject of your crime investigation, using Form GJ-35.
(j) You may likewise notify the suspect using Form GJ-35 in Section 17 of this Rule if, after you have interrogated the witness or witnesses presented by the complaining party, in your opinion, it appears that the contemplated accusation is clearly whimsical, capricious, or illegal and merely used to harass or embarrass the suspect by the accuser.
(61) You cannot be compelled individually or as a group to allow a criminal suspect under investigation or his attorney or any person or public official to be present with you in the grand jury investigation room to cross-examine a witness.
(a) Preventing a criminal suspect from being present at your investigation proceedings to cross examine a witness before you does not deprive him of his "day in court" because this grand jury is not a court.
b) If the crime suspect presents a written statement, such statement shall be filed with the Clerk of this court and you must require that the statement be accompanied with a "Certificate of Truthfulness" prescribed in Form GJ-25 and any attachment therewith shall be serially numbered at the bottom right hand margin of the page attached and the clerk of court shall deposit the same in the "Citizen's Secret Crime Reports Drop Box".
(62) You shall not allow under any circumstance any person or public official, magistrate, judge, commissioner, officer, or employee of any government branch, tribunal, court, commission, instrumentality, any police or military organization to interfere with your functions or to inspect any record in your custody.
(a) A grand jury is a direct repository guardian of the sovereign power of the people and its records shall not be retrieved by subpoena duces tecum. You may either dispose of any matter for investigation by the filing of your indictment or by issuing a memorandum of no indictment and no one shall compel you to do either way.
(b) You have the power to file an indictment for obstruction of justice on prescribed Form GJ-16 against any person or public official, regardless of his rank or position, or any of his agents, delegates or deputies, officially or unofficially, who may communicate with any of you, directly or indirectly, to interfere in any manner, intercede for the suspected offender, or to impede or in anyway frustrate the conduct of your official business or investigation.
(c) You have the discretion to ignore the intermeddler or file outright an indictment for obstruction of justice or with any other appropriate indictment against him if the interference is accompanied with violent act, threat of force, threat of physical harm or death against any of your members or member of your families.
(d) You have the power to issue a hold departure order notice with the Bureau of Immigration or with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs or to any of their deputies against any person or public official whom you may contemplate to investigate for the commission of any serious crime to prevent such person from leaving the country until such person shall have been cleared of his criminal liabilities. You shall use the prescribed Form GJ-39, Grand Jury Hold Departure Order Notice, for this purpose. Any person or public official who shall disobey, ignore, or violate your hold departure order shall be liable for the crime of obstruction of justice.
(63) You are entitled to a compensation equal to an amount specified in Section 16 of this Rule. Your compensation will be paid in the form of a voucher prescribed in Form GJ-26 in Section 17 of this Rule which you may cash in with a cashier at any government treasury or cashier or any bank. The voucher will be prepared in the middle and end of each month and delivered to you by the Clerk of this Court and approved by the Executive Judge of this Regional Trial Court. Additionally, if you are seriously injury, or in case of death your next of kin, are further entitled to an indemnity regardless of fault of injury or death.
(64) You are entitled to police protection. You may ask by the use of Form GJ-27 through your foreman for such number of uniformed personnel as you may need for your protection from the Philippine National Police command who has jurisdiction in your Grand Jury District of which your foreman shall have joint supervision over such uniformed personnel.
(65) You are not allowed to accept or receive any form of compensation, money or anything of value or pleasure, from any person, company, corporation, public official, government entity or any other entity whatsoever under any term or condition, except the benefits you are entitled to by this Jury Rule or injury or death indemnity or pension benefits by virtue of your retirement.
(66) You have the obligation and the power to investigate and file an indictment in court for any crime committed by your fellow members in the grand jury including acts of bribery against any member of your group or falsification of his application for grand jury membership, if warranted by evidence. If you are unable to investigate or indict such erring fellow member during your term of office, any one of you must secretly report the matter to the next succeeding Grand Jury upon, or after, the expiration of your term of office.
(67) In crimes of bribery, you must indict or file criminal indictment for bribery against the recipient of the bribe if the giver or offeror is a private citizen. If the giver of a bribe is a private citizen, you may offer in writing using prescribed Form GJ-20 to exempt or immunize such giver or offeror of the bribe from prosecution for bribery under the condition that he shall testify against the recipient of his bribe. Should the giver or offeror of the bribe refuse to testify, you shall file an indictment for obstruction of justice against such giver or offeror using prescribed Form GJ-16 in Section 17 of this Rule even if you may be unable to file an indictment for bribery against the recipient.
(68) If the bribe giver or offeror is a public official and the recipient of the bribe is likewise a public official, you may offer in writing using prescribed Form GJ-21 to exempt the recipient from prosecution for bribery under the condition that such bribe recipient shall testify against the giver or offeror of the bribe. Should such bribe recipient refuse to testify, you shall charge the bribe recipient for the crime of obstruction of justice using Form GJ-16.
(69) Should any of you disagree over the majority decision of your fellow members in an official session wherein a quorum is present, whether you were present or not at said official session, you must not in any manner individually or unilaterally override, suppress, prevent, or in any manner, frustrate by use of force, or threat of force, or by the use of disrespectful language, the implementation of such majority decision. Should you, as a member of such body, violate this instruction, you will be held personally liable for the crime of obstruction of justice using Form GJ-16.
(70) In making your decision, you must disregard the position, nobility, royalty, or rank in the government, or wealth, profession, religious faith, or social standing in the community, of the person under your investigation. You must consider solely his acts in committing an offense or crime on the basis of the evidence and the law that you find as the sole and only factor in arriving at your decision. You must avoid giving special treatment to such person more than you would give to another with the same or equal dignity upon an ordinary person.
(71) Upon motion by any of your members in reference to, or upon complaint by a victim or witness of, a serious crime that has been investigated and dismissed by a prior Grand Jury, you shall have the power to investigate anew the same and to present an indictment in court against the suspected offender if warranted by your finding of probable cause.
(72) In preparing your indictment, you may refer, but not limited, to the following laws:
(a) Presidential Decree Number 1829 as Amended;
(b) Republic Act 386, Article 3, of the Civil Code;
(c) The Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, Act 3815;
(d) The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act 3019;
(e) The Crime of Plunder, Republic Act 7080 as amended.
(f) The Anti-Money Laundering Law, Republic Act 9160; and
(g) Government Procurement reform Act, Republic Act 9184;
(h) Such other laws defining an act as a criminal offense and punishable by imprisonment in jail for one year or more, including but not limited to child abuse laws, illegal gambling laws and other criminal laws.
(i) To write your indictments, go to Appendix “A” at the end of this Jury System Rules, and locate the “Table for Criminal Jury Instructions,” referred to in short as the “CrimJI” which you will find as Appendix “A” to these Jury Systems Rules.
(j) You may visit the e-library of the Supreme Court web site by clicking this link in the Internet: Supreme Court Library.
(73) You may, in preparing your indictment, consult a lawyer, CPA, or other professionals for advice during your en banc session with no other person or witness present but only with your members exclusively. You shall present hypothetical scenarios or questions to such consultants but you shall not disclose any name of the object of your investigation or indictment, or of the name of the witness or witnesses you may call, or may have called. You shall ask the consultant to keep your consultation and the subject of your consultation strictly confidential. Whether advised or not, consultants shall have the ethical duty to keep any grand jury consultation with strict confidentiality under pain of disciplinary action for disbarment or license forfeiture including criminal liability for obstruction of justice.
(74) For the purpose of unifying the people in the country to prevent lawlessness in any form, you may proceed with your action in the following manner:
(a) You may investigate a crime in another jury, or congressional, district of any province or city in any other part of the country upon receiving a complaint from a resident of such district regardless of whether he is a crime victim or not if, in your opinion, the said crime may affect or jeopardize, or has affected or has jeopardized, in any manner the peace, security, economy, commerce, of the people and finances of the government in your own district or the district where such crime has occurred.
(b) If two or more grand juries of different congressional districts are investigating the same crime involving the same offender or offenders, the first grand jury which has taken prior action to investigate said crime shall have the right to pursue the matter until it has filed its indictment in court over the said matter.
(c) You may file your criminal indictment against the offender of a crime committed in a different district in a trial court within your own district or in another district if, in your opinion, no fair trial of the case may be obtained in the district where the alleged crime was committed.
(75) You have the power to issue a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum to any officer of a bank regarding an account to determine any ill-gotten wealth of the subject of your investigation notwithstanding any bank secrecy law, rule or policy, to the contrary regardless of whether said bank is located in another grand jury district.
(76) You shall execute a written note on Form GJ-47addressed to the Executive Judge stating that you have spent time for consultation with a professional consultant and indicate the length of time of your consultation to allow him to obtain compensation for his legal or professional services to the grand jury.
(77) Forgiving and Purgatory Grand Jury Instruction:
(a) Forgiving Instruction: Section 5(b), Rule 1, of the Rules of the Jury System has forgiven grand jury indictment of a public official from offenses of bribery he has committed prior to the enactment of the Jury Systems Law.
(b) Crime offenders of electoral fraud or terrorism, murder, robbery, arson, chastity crimes, and other crimes that violate human rights.
(c) Purgatory Instruction: If such public official continues to commit such offense after the Rules of the Jury System took effect, you have the purgatory power to indict such official for offenses committed both prior and after the Jury Systems Law has taken effect.
(d) Offenders of government graft and corruption crimes who continue to keep the fruits of their crimes such as real or personal property including money bank accounts locally or in foreign countries after the jury systems law has taken effect shall remain liable for grand jury secret investigation and indictment.
CERTIFICATION BY THE INSTRUCTING JUDGE
I certify under my official oath that I have personally read to the Grand Jury the foregoing instructions this ______ day of _____________, 20___ without any deviation to the said instruction. I further certify that each member of said Body has been furnished an authenticated and signed copy by my hand of said instructions and a translation thereof in the local dialect of my district. I finally certify that I have provided each member of said Body in booklet form the entire copy of the Rules of the Jury System.
Printed Name: _____________________________
Official Title: Executive Regional Trial Judge"
End of the Form For the
Grand Jury Standard Instruction
(f) The grand jury is hereby vested with the following powers:
(1) To issue subpoena or subpoena duces tecum and any disobedience thereto by the witness upon whom said subpoena or subpoena duces tecum has been directed and served shall render such witness criminally liable for obstruction of justice and shall be liable for punishment by imprisonment from three to five years in jail. The subpoena issued by a grand jury shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines.
(2) To secretly investigate any and all crimes punishable by law with imprisonment for at least one year, or more, in jail, or by death, and to file an indictment in court upon its finding of probable cause that the alleged crime may have been committed by a person or group of persons or leader or leaders of a juridical entity whether legally created or not and suspected of having committed such crime or crimes.
(3) To file administrative disciplinary complaint with the Supreme Court against any lawyer, judge, justice or prosecutor, or any professional with any Board that has the power to issue the license to practice his profession who has violated the ethics of his profession or against any elected or appointed public official or officer, in any government instrumentality including, but not limited to, any quasi or government owned or controlled corporation who has violated an administrative rule or function whether or not amounting to a criminal act with the board or commission who has control or supervision in, or over, his office or organization. Such disciplinary action shall be pursued by the Ombudsman or his deputy.
(4) To commence its investigation without requiring prior execution of an affidavit of a witness it may call for questioning regarding the subject matter of its investigation. No affidavit shall be given probative value until its signer shall have been cross-examined orally in a grand jury investigation.
(5) To administer the oath of any witness for interrogation before the Grand Jury either en banc or individually by its members;
(e) Absolute confidentiality of the grand jury records and proceedings -
(1) A grand jury secret investigation room shall be provided in each grand jury district. A grand jury district shall be coterminous with a congressional district. Such room shall be located as close as possible where the court of the executive trial judge is located in said district. It shall be large enough to accommodate seats with small desk for 23 members, an executive table and chair for its foreman, a desk with a high speed computer with monitor, printer, and chair for its secretary, a small desk and chair for one witness. It shall further be provided with a large black board, a records vault and a secret complaint drop opening-receptacle enough to receive a one-fourth (1/4) inch-thick envelope 9" X 13" on a wall near the entrance door to the grand jury room. Furthermore, the grand jury investigation building and room shall be provided with air conditioning and shall be closed from public view and secured against eavesdropping gadgets.
(2) The Secretary of Justice shall be principally responsible in organizing the grand jury of each district with the assistance of the clerk of court of the executive regional trial judge and in providing the needs of the grand jury as described above. If no government office building is yet available for the grand jury operation upon the effectivity of this jury systems law, he shall have the authority to promptly enter into a contract of lease, or to purchase, with an owner of a building in the private sector sufficient for the needs of the grand jury. Furthermore, he shall endeavor to build a permanent grand jury office. It shall be his duty to secure funding from Congress and the President for this purpose, and no funds shall be released by the Treasurer of the Philippines for pork barrels of lawmakers and allowance to the president unless funds are actually released for funding the grand jury office facilities in the entire country.
(3) Mandatory Compliance of the setting up of the Grand Jury in each Congressional District -
(a) The compliance of organizing and the setting up of the Grand Jury system in each congressional district shall be the principal responsibility of the Secretary of Justice upon the effectivity of this law. He shall be criminally responsible under Article 207 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines for his intentional neglect in implementing the directives in this law.
(b) Upon completion of the set up of the grand jury facilities as described in (1) and (2) above, the Secretary of Justice shall turn over said facilities to the Clerk of Court of the Executive Trial Judge of the Jury District for operation and upkeep.
(4) All proceedings by and before the grand jury shall be kept strictly confidential exclusively among its members, regardless of the declaration of martial law or state of emergency by the president;
(5) No person or public official or court or any government agency, entity, or instrumentality shall have the power to order by subpoena or subpoena duces tecum, by any other writ, or presidential order, to publish or scrutinize the records of the grand jury or to investigate or arrest any of its members for any alleged wrongful or criminal act before the end of his term of office.
(6) No member of the grand jury shall be compelled to disclose the identity of another grand juror.
(7) Any person or public official by use of forceful or violent means or threats or intimidation who shall violate any of the provision of this Subsection (e) shall be liable for the crime of obstruction of justice and shall be punishable by imprisonment for a period from five (5) to seven (7) years in jail upon the indictment of the grand jury and upon conviction of the trial jury.
(f) Notwithstanding any banking secrecy law, presidential decree, banking rule or policy to the contrary, no bank record of any form or kind shall be immune from a grand jury subpoena, examination or investigation.
(g) The grand jury may invite by subpoena or summons any licensed professional or expert, including but not limited to any lawyer, certified public accountant, medical doctor or engineer who is an expert on the matter that is the subject of its investigation to appear in its secret investigation room to obtain legal or technical assistance in pursuing its investigation or in formulating its indictment, PROVIDED that if such lawyer or professional has any reason to believe that the object of investigation by the grand jury is his client or relative by blood or affinity, he must decline such invitation to appear or provide any professional assistance to the grand jury by stating the reason of his declination. If such lawyer or professional ignore his obligation to decline the invitation, he shall be subject to disbarment or revocation of his license to practice his profession. The bill for the professional fee of such professional or expert shall be paid from the jury systems fund. Said expert shall be bound by the same strict secrecy rules of the grand jury system.
Section 2. At least one grand jury shall be organized in each congressional district whose territorial jurisdiction shall be coterminous with its adjacent congressional district. The term of duty of the members of the grand jury shall be six (6) months starting the first working day of January until the last working day of June and thereafter another set of members of the grand jury shall be seated starting the first working day of July to serve until the last working of December.
(a) A grand jury shall file its indictment in its own district over crimes committed within its district. No overlap of jurisdiction shall necessarily void an investigation or indictment of a grand jury over a crime investigated in another grand jury district.
(b) The Grand Jury People Unity Clause - The grand jury shall serve as a unifying body of the people around the country to prevent lawlessness in any form. A grand jury may investigate a crime in another congressional district of any province or city if, in its opinion, the said crime may affect or jeopardize, or has affected or has jeopardized, in any manner the peace, security, economy, commerce, of the people or the finances of the government in its own district and the district where such crime occurred. If two or more grand juries of different congressional districts are investigating the same crime involving the same offender or offenders, the first grand jury which has taken prior action to investigate said crime shall have the right to pursue the matter until it has filed its indictment in court over the said matter.
(c) Notwithstanding any provisions elsewhere of this law, a grand jury may initiate to investigate a crime in another district and file its criminal indictment in a different district in a trial court within its own district, or in a trial court in another district different from the location of the crime committed, if, in its opinion, no fair trial of the case may be obtained in the district where the alleged crime was committed.
(d) A resident of one grand jury district may send his complaint anonymously relating to a felony regardless of whether he is a victim or not committed in his district to a grand jury in another district in any province or city for secret investigation and indictment if it appears that the grand jury in his district is taking no action to investigate the said crime.
(e) A member of a grand jury who may have committed a crime punishable by one year or more of imprisonment in jail during or after his term of membership can be secretly investigated and indicted by a grand jury of another district in any trial court of the Philippines.
Section 3. Inauguration of the grand jury membership -
(a) The inaugural formation of a grand jury and administration of oath of office of its members shall be held strictly confidential where no person or public official or government employee shall be permitted to attend or observe, except that the inauguration of said Body shall be officiated by an Executive Judge in his court room with the assistance of his clerk of court and at which time he shall issue the grand jury instruction that shall govern the official conduct of its members and power of the grand jury. Such judge shall have no power to approve or disapprove the decision of a grand jury to investigate or to indict a crime suspect.
(b) Any person or public official or government employee who shall surreptitiously intrude in the foregoing proceeding or any clerk of court or presiding executive judge who shall permit such person or public official or government employee to observe or intrude in the said proceeding shall be liable for investigation and indictment for obstruction of justice by a grand jury.
Section 4. Upon taking their oath of office, each member of the grand jury shall be provided with Security Identity Name, also known as SIDN, by their inaugural judge for use in their official acts instead of their real names that shall be strictly kept confidential under the custody of such presiding executive judge and deposited within 24 hours from the time they are sworn in a secured vault with a publicly accredited bank. Said judge shall be liable for disciplinary action in the form of removal from the bench and disbarment, and tort damages in the event of injury or death suffered by a juror as the result of the violation by such judge of this secrecy rule.
Section 5. No grand jury investigation and indictment shall be subject to approval by the government or any public official and no such indictment shall be subject to review or pre-trial hearing by any prosecutor, ombudsman, justice or judge. Any member or officer of the grand jury who shall falsify the collective decision of its members to indict or not to indict a subject of its investigation shall be liable for the crime of obstruction of justice and shall be punishable by imprisonment from five (5) to seven (7) years in jail upon the indictment by any succeeding grand jury.
Section 6. If an accusation against a crime suspect before a criminal trial court of any jurisdiction is initiated or filed by the government or ombudsman or government prosecutor, or by any arm forces and police service of the government notwithstanding any law to the contrary, said crime suspect shall not be compelled to stand trial unless the accusation against him shall have been reviewed, and approved, by a grand jury in the form of a grand jury indictment, if his alleged crime is punishable by at least one year, or more, of imprisonment.
Section 7. Within three (3) days from the date of the filing of such accusation in court referred to in the preceding Section 6 in this Article, the government prosecutor charged of pursuing the case shall have the mandatory duty to commence the act of securing the grand jury indictment by submitting to the grand jury through the clerk of court who has customary official contact with the nearest grand jury to his office, all documentary proof of court filing, names of witnesses, and every piece of evidence of the crime in his custody with the information whether the accused is in custody of the government or not.
Section 8. If the accused is in the custody of the government, the grand jury shall promptly commence the investigation of the case by calling any or all witnesses by subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, or summons, to secure sufficient evidence or probable cause to support a grand jury indictment. The grand jury shall have the obligation to complete its investigation and indictment within ninety (90) days from the date of its receipt of the government accusation from the clerk of court otherwise it must issue an order to dismiss the accusation.
Section 9. If the accused is in custody and the complaining prosecutor fails to comply with the requirement within the period prescribed in the preceding Section 7, the accused shall be entitled to an immediate release from custody and the complaining prosecutor shall be liable for indictment for obstruction of justice upon complaint before the grand jury by the victim of a crime or the next of kin of such victim if the victim dies as the direct result of the crime.
Section 10. No government or private agency, public official, court or judge, or any person, shall have the power to demand the publication of any grand jury proceedings. Any such proceedings shall exclusively be attended in by no other than the members of the grand jury, sitting en banc, and one witness at a time for questioning. Such witness shall have no right to invite the attendance of an attorney for his assistance and no government prosecutor shall have the right to accompany him to procure his statements in the grand jury investigation room. All information elicited from the witness shall come out from the questions of the grand jury or its members.
Section 11. Any person or witness who testifies before a grand jury shall have the mandatory legal obligation to tell the truth in his testimony. Any violation of this rule shall subject such witness to a criminal indictment by the grand jury for obstruction of justice.
Section 12. The grand jury shall have the power to issue a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum on any person or public official it may deem a possible witness to a crime or a custodian of any record or thing for its investigation of a crime. No person shall have the right to appear before a grand jury unless invited by the grand jury on a subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, or summons.
Section 13. Any person or public official, hereinafter referred to in this section and in the next following section as the “invitee”, when required to appear before the grand jury as a witness by means of a subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, or summons shall have the legal obligation and the right to keep the matter strictly confidential from, and against, any other person or public official regardless of whether such other person is a superior or subordinate officer or associate or immediate family member of the invitee. Violation of this rule, directly or indirectly, by the invitee shall subject such invitee liable for indictment of obstruction of justice by the grand jury.
Section 14. Any person, employer, or public official, or member of a board of directors or board of trustees of a corporate entity, quasi-government entity, or government owned or controlled corporation who shall initiate the termination, demotion in rank or position or relocation of employment or position, of the invitee from his employment or public position for having received a subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, or summons, or for appearing or giving his testimony before a grand jury shall be liable for indictment by the grand jury for obstruction of justice.
Section 15. Any person or public official who shall disobey or refuse to testify before the grand jury upon receipt of a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum or summons shall be liable for indictment by the grand jury for obstruction of justice.
Section 16. Any person or public official who shall prevent a witness from testifying before a grand jury who has received a summons, subpoena or subpoena duces tecum from the grand jury by any means including aiding such witness to leave the country or by detaining such witness for any purpose shall be liable for indictment by the grand jury for obstruction of justice.
Section 17. The entities and persons covered by the power of the grand jury to investigate and to indict for commission of a serious crime are as follows:
(a) No law, executive or legislative or judicial order, classified or unclassified confidential record or memorandum, or court rule, shall prevent, bar, or prohibit, a grand jury to exercise the sovereign power and authority of the people vested in it to secretly investigate alleged crimes or anomalies committed for the purpose of finding a crime suspect or offender for indictment over said crimes or anomalies, in the executive, legislative, and judicial government branches, the ombudsman, including but not limited to all levels and instrumentality, office, bureau, or commission of the government from the national down to the regional autonomous, provincial, city, municipal, and barangay governments, as well as in any or all government owned or controlled corporations, quasi-government corporations, and in the arm forces and police services of the government.
(b) No claim of public position, title or rank in the government, profession, royalty, nobility, religious affiliation or creed, custom, tradition, or political party affiliation, shall exempt any person who has committed a serious crime or offense as defined by law of such crime from a grand jury investigation and indictment or disciplinary action.
Section 18. Immunity from prosecution of giver or offerror or recipient in bribery-
(a) The grand jury, through its subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, or summons, shall have the power to offer a grant of immunity from prosecution for bribery to any person or witness who is a giver or an offerror in the crime of bribery pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 749 if such giver is not a public official.
(b) If the bribe giver is a public official with the expectation that he shall gain undue favor directly or indirectly from the recipient of the bribe who is likewise a public official, the grand jury may offer in writing to exempt the recipient from prosecution for bribery under the condition that such bribe recipient shall testify against the giver of the bribe.
(c) If after receiving the subpoena, subpoena duces tecum or summons by such person or witness referred to in the herein immediate preceding Subsections (a) or (b) refuses to testify before the grand jury in spite of grant of immunity from prosecution, the grand jury shall indict such person or witness for the crime of obstruction of justice.
(d) Any agreement shall be void, written or unwritten, made by the grantee of immunity from prosecution who is a private citizen promising to refrain from testifying against the recipient of his bribe who is a public official or officer.
(e) Any agreement shall be void, written or unwritten, made by the grantee of immunity from prosecution who is a public official or officer promising to refrain from testifying against the giver or offerror of a bribe who is likewise a public official or officer.
Section 19. The grand jury shall have the power to indict for obstruction of justice of any person or public official who refuses to testify before any Congressional Body or Committee in an investigation of crime or for any act of corruption or anomaly in the government in aid of its legislation upon submission of a complaint to the grand jury of such Body or Committee.
Section 20. The grand jury shall have the power to indict for obstruction of justice any person or public official who shall disobey a writ of amparo, writ of habeas corpus, or writ of habeas data issued by the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Regional, Metropolitan, City, or Municipal, or Municipal Circuit Courts, Shari’a District or Circuit Courts upon complaint by the victim or by the victim’s relative within the third civil degree of blood or marriage relationship.
Section 21. The grand jury shall have the power to indict for obstruction of justice any person or public official who shall disobey a subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, or summons issued by the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Human Rights, through their deputies, in matters within their respective jurisdictions to investigate upon complaint by any of such entities.
Section 22. No crime suspect shall be compelled to testify before a grand jury nor shall any witness or person be compelled to incriminate or testify against himself. A grand jury shall have no power to order the detention of a crime suspect. A grand jury has no power to act as a trier of fact. It shall have no duty to inform a crime suspect of a grand jury investigation or proceedings against a crime suspect. Conversely, a crime suspect shall neither have the right to send his attorney to appear in his behalf to cross-examine a witness in grand jury investigations.
Section 23. The location for grand jury investigations and proceedings shall be held in a secluded room and assigned exclusively as a meeting place of the members of the grand jury which must be free from public view and eavesdropping. All proceedings by the grand jury shall be held strictly confidential.
Section 24. A matter that has been dropped from investigation by a grand jury shall not necessarily prevent a future grand jury with a new set of members from reopening the same matter for further investigation and eventual indictment of the suspected offender when warranted by the discovery of additional evidence or witness. A new set of the members of the grand jury shall have the power to continue to investigate and to indict the suspected offender on a criminal matter commenced by, and remains pending at the end of the term of, the out-going members of the grand jury.
Section 25. A grand jury shall have concurrent jurisdiction to investigate and indict offenders of crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Human Rights and other investigatory government agencies under the Constitution of the Philippines consonant to the sovereign power of the people in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution as represented by their grand jury.
(a) A grand jury may publish in any newspaper of general circulation in its district to invite anonymous informants of crimes and government corrupt practices including names and addresses of witnesses or crime victims to send secret reports to the grand jury without necessarily disclosing their identities.
(b) Gathering of evidence by the grand jury shall not be limited by the hearsay rule, but it has no liberty to employ deceptive, forceful or intimidatory tactics.
(c) A grand jury may command or summon any clerk of court or any public official or employee, or any citizen, in or outside its district to provide assistance or help in its effort to gather information regarding any crime which is the subject of its investigation and indictment.
(d) The clerk of court, to the exclusion of anyone else, shall have the power and primary duty to receive and guide any witness summoned or subpoenaed by the Grand Jury in entering a grand jury investigation room. He shall, under no circumstance whatsoever, allow more than one witness or person or public official for any purpose to enter a grand jury investigation room regardless of the power or authority or nobility of such public official or person.
(e) The Clerk of Court shall have the power to disarm any witness or any person, or public official, or person of nobility who may appear to enter a grand jury proceeding as a witness. By exercising his power within the scope of his authority in complying with this rule of the jury systems law, his rank shall be paramount and superior to any public official of the Republic of the Philippines or any person of nobility while performing his duties as such. He shall be entitled to an official support of any member or officer of the Philippine National Police or of the Armed Forces of the Philippines upon issuance of his order in procuring the support of any official or officer or member of such organizations.
(f) Any Clerk of Court. or any public official, or any person claiming possession of a title of nobility, or any person, who shall violate the foregoing sub-paragraphs (d) and (e) shall be liable of the crime of obstruction of justice and shall be subject to secret investigation and indictment by the grand jury which shall be punishable from 5 to 7 years of imprisonment in jail.
Section 27. Filing of Grand Jury Indictment -
(a) The indictment of a grand jury shall be sealed and filed in a criminal trial court that has jurisdiction within the legislative district at which the crime was committed. Upon completion of the preparation of the indictment, the grand jury shall thereupon summon in writing, on a form prescribed in the Rules of the Jury System, the clerk of such court to appear before the grand jury to accept and receive the filing of its indictment. Any grand jury indictment filed in court shall be deemed executed and sworn under the oath of office of the Grand Jury Foreman or any other member of the grand jury who signed the indictment with his security identification number or “SIDN” instead, and in place, of the oath of the victim of the crime or complaining party.
(b) Within two working days from the filing date of the indictment, the Presiding Judge of the court where said indictment was filed, shall thereupon personally unseal and examine the indictment for issuance of the warrant of arrest against the accused. No judge shall have the power to refuse issuance of a warrant of arrest on a grand jury indictment unless upon his personal knowledge of a clear and convincing proof that said indictment was fraudulently procured. The said judge shall have no authority to disclose the indictment until the accused has been taken into custody by government authorities.
(b) Within five working days by the receipt of the warrant of arrest of the officer in charge of executing the arrest of the accused from the court of the presiding judge who issued the warrant, such executing officer shall thereupon take the accused into custody. Said executing officer shall neither have the authority to disclose to any person or member of the media his possession of the warrant of arrest nor to seek permission or approval from any public official or any person in taking of the accused into custody notwithstanding any law, decree, or executive order to the contrary.
(c) Any court employee, clerk of court, the presiding judge of the court, or the officer in charge of the execution of the arrest warrant or his deputy to take the accused into custody who shall violate the policy of secrecy in the filing of a grand jury indictment, the issuance of the arrest warrant and the taking of the accused into custody shall be liable for the crime of obstruction of justice upon investigation and indictment by the grand jury on the complaint of the accused.
(d) Any court employee, clerk of court, the presiding judge of the court, or the officer in charge of the execution of the arrest warrant to take the accused into custody who shall unduly delay or refuse the timely issuance of the warrant of arrest or the execution of the warrant of arrest to take the accused into custody shall be liable for the crime of obstruction of justice upon indictment by the grand jury on the complaint of the victim of the crime.
(e) Should the presiding judge of the court before whom the grand jury indictment was filed shall refuse to issue a warrant of arrest on the indictment, he must return the said indictment to the grand jury in writing stating thereon the legal reason or reasons behind his refusal in issuing the arrest warrant for further consideration or investigation of the matter by the grand jury. He shall not, under any condition, disclose the indictment in any manner or the reason to any third party of his refusal to issue the warrant of arrest on the indictment against the accused.
(f) Any person or public official who shall interfere, or attempt to interfere, in any manner or for any purpose, in the issuance or execution of a warrant of arrest shall be criminally liable of the crime of obstruction of justice upon investigation and indictment by a grand jury.
(g) Upon completion of the execution of the warrant of arrest by the warrant officer upon the crime suspect, said warrant officer shall promptly write in his log book or record of arrest the following information: (1) Full name and physical description of the person taken into custody physically or constructively provided that no remark as to the ethnicity or religion of the arrested person shall be recorded; (2) The date, time, and location of arrest; (3) The leader and name of the members of the group in executing the warrant of arrest; and (4) Other miscellaneous information relating to the event in taking the crime suspect into custody.
(h)) After the filing of the grand jury indictment in court, the government prosecutor in charge to pursue the matter to trial, or his successor, shall have the further duty to discover and investigate for the purpose of gathering more evidence against the accused, and provided that he must keep the matter strictly confidential and shall not publish or disclose in any manner to any person, or member of the media, his newly discovered evidence including names of witnesses relating to the same grand jury indictment.
Section 28. Indictment of the President and other public officials by the Grand Jury-
(a) (1) Indictment of the President - Any Grand Jury may, for obstruction of justice, bribery, plunder, money laundering, human right abuse or for ordering extra-judicial killing of a person or persons, or for electoral fraud or terrorism, or for violation of the Anti-Graft and Practices Act in Republic Act 3019, Government Procurement reform Act in Republic Act 9184, or for violation of Republic Act No. 1379, the “Act Declaring Forfeiture of Ill-Gotten Wealth of Public Officers and Employees”, including disobedience to, or prevention of the implementation of, Writ of Habeas Corpus, Writ of Amparo, or Writ of Habeas Data, issued by any criminal trial court, may indict the president regardless of any law, presidential decree, declaration of martial law, executive order or rule, or high court decision to the contrary or of existing prior impeachment.
(2) Indictment of other public officials- This subsection of the jury law shall apply likewise to any public official who is removable from office by impeachment including any public official, not subject to impeachment, in all levels and any instrumentality of the government from national down to all regional autonomous government, provincial, city, municipal and barrangay governments. It also applies to all public officials, senators and congresspersons, justices, judges of the other branches of the government as well as officials and employees of quasi-governments entities and of the government owned or controlled corporations of the Republic of the Philippines.
(b) If, without justification the accused, after arraigned in person before a court, fails or refuses to attend the trial in spite of due notice served on him or on his counsel, the trial shall proceed in his absence in accordance with Article III, Section 14(2) of the Constitution. Said trial shall take precedence over any other judicial, executive, legislative or social matter requiring personal or official attention of the president or such any other indicted public official. Should his lawyer or lawyers fail to attend, or boycott, the scheduled trial for any reason, his lead attorney or counsel shall be liable for obstruction of justice upon indictment by the grand jury on complaint by any citizen or any member of the media.
(c) If the accused found guilty or convicted by a trial jury is the president, he may continue to serve his term of office and shall begin to serve time in jail immediately following the expiration of his term of office unless in the mean time, he shall voluntarily resign from office within 30 days, Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays included, from the finality date of his conviction provided that he shall divest himself in favor of the national government all assets and money bank deposits in the Philippines and in all other countries that he must declare in a sworn written declaration which he has acquired and accumulated during his term of office beyond the value of the total amount of his regular salary. Upon full compliance of the foregoing conditions, the convicted president shall be excused from serving his jail term.
(d) Should the convicted president attempt to conceal any of his assets and money bank deposits by omitting the same from his sworn written declaration, he shall be held liable for the crime and punishment of obstruction of justice upon indictment by the grand jury and forthwith tried before a trial jury.
(e) The said 30-day period to resign and divestment process shall not be extended for any reason. Any transfer of ownership of assets and money bank deposits referred to in the said 30-day period and thereafter, if any, shall be void. He shall neither be allowed to obtain a discharge of his insolvency or bankruptcy nor shall he be permitted to occupy any public office.
(f) The president indicted with any of the crimes referred to in the preceding Subsection (a)(1) of this Section shall lose his power to declare martial law for the obvious purpose of protecting himself from prosecution upon the filing in court of the grand jury indictment of any of said crimes. If for any reason said president succeeds in declaring martial law, he shall be held personally accountable and criminally liable for every person who became missing, or have been subjected to physical or psychological harm, tortured or have been killed, during the state of martial law resulting from the hardships inflicted by the members of the Armed Forces and National Police upon the people, or upon any person, on the basis of command responsibility.
(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 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 a 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.
(m) If the president is convicted and shall resign from office in accordance with the terms and conditions of the preceding Subsection (c) of this Section, the vice-president shall become president to serve the remainder of the term of the convicted president.
(n) Any person who shall maliciously file a preemptive impeachment complaint in Congress against the convicted president, or any public official who is removable from public office by impeachment, with the view of protecting such president, or public official, from being impeached as a result of his conviction in accordance with the Jury Systems Law shall be held liable for obstruction of justice upon investigation and indictment by the grand jury.
Section 29. Forgiving Clause -
(a) No public official or employee shall be held guilty for bribery offense or offenses as defined by law committed prior to the enactment of this law provided that such public official has not committed such offense or offenses after this law shall have taken effect,and provided further that such official or employee shall have refunded the money he has deposited in the bank in his name or in the name of another account for his benefit, or shall have returned all properties he shall have illegally taken, stolen, or absconded with, during his term of office, otherwise he shall be indicted by the grand jury for the said crime or crimes committed both prior to and after the effectivity of this law.
(b) If a public official is indicted for his alleged commission of such bribery offense or offenses after the approval of this law, his acquittal therefrom shall not necessarily prejudice further prosecution against him for any act of bribery he has committed prior to the effectivity of this law which he had been indicted for together with the case he has been acquitted from.
Section 30. Pending Cases and Purgatory Clause -
(a) Cases of bribery that are now pending or undergoing investigation before the Ombudsman or government investigator, or trial before any division of the Sandiganbayan, shall not be prejudiced by the forgiving provision in the preceding Section.
(b) The above forgiving clause shall not apply to cases of obstruction of justice, electoral terrorism or fraud, brigandage, extortion, murder, chastity crimes and crimes in any form that violates human rights, property rights, and voting rights.
(c) A public official who has committed the crime of bribery whether indicted or not prior to the enactment of this law and has continued to commit the same crime regardless of whether the giver prior to the enactment of this law is the same person or entity or not after the passage of this law shall be denied of the forgiving benefit offered in the preceding Section 29 of this law.
(d) The continued possession and concealment of an ill-gotten wealth which a public official or former public official had derived while in office shall be deemed a continuance of his crime of government corruption after the enactment of this jury systems law and such public official, or former public official, shall be denied of the benefit offered in the preceding Section 29 of this law. If he claims that his increase in assets is derived from his private enterprise, he must prove that said private enterprise has been properly organized under the rules of the Security Exchange Commission and free from conflict of interest with his position in the government. He shall further show that the money value representing increase of his assets has been reported in his income tax returns in the year it was earned.
(e) An accused who has already been arraigned on an accusation of a serious crime before the effective date of this law, the Jury Systems Law, but whose bench trial has not yet commenced with the presentation of a witness, shall be required to stand trial before a trial jury.
Section 31. If a grand jury is investigating a staff member of the court or a judge of the court over a serious crime where its members were sworn in at their inaugural formation, such grand jury shall file its indictment in a different court that has jurisdiction of the crime. If such grand jury is unable to investigate the criminal matter in issue, a grand jury of another district may undertake to investigate and file the corresponding indictment in another court upon finding of probable cause.
Section 32. Grand Jury Investigation of Fraudulently Elected or Proclaimed Public Officials - Any provisions of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines contrary to the following provision of the Jury System Law is hereby superseded, amended, or repealed, as the case may be, as follows:
(a) Notwithstanding the proclamation and swearing into office of an alleged elected public official in any elective public office and suspected of having won his position by any fraudulent means, as defined by law, in the national government, autonomous regional, provincial, city, municipal, barangay governments and/or any local government units, no court or commission shall have the power to order the grand jury to abstain, forbid, prevent or stop from investigating the result in the election of said official and in the indictment of such proclaimed elected official including any person or public official who conspired in the fraudulent manipulation in the registration of voters and all other electoral processes and procedures established by law leading to the proclamation of the alleged elected public official.
(b) Any public official authorized to administer oath of office or any justice, judge, or notary public, knowing the invalidity, or who entertains any doubt of the validity, of the election of a candidate to a public office, and who shall administer the oath of office or proclaims the election of such candidate to a public office shall be subject to secret investigation and indictment upon the finding of a probable cause for obstruction of justice by the grand jury.
(c) Any person, public official, justice, judge, or notary public referred to in the preceding sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) including members and officials of the Commission on Elections, government prosecutors and members of the National Bureau of Investigation and staff officials of the Ombudsman involved in the violation of the electoral process as described in the said foregoing sub-paragraphs in this section upon indictment by the grand jury shall stand and face trial before a trial jury. If found guilty, the convicted party shall suffer the maximum penalty of seven years for obstruction of justice with no possibility of parole or clemency within a period of four years counted from the date the guilty jury verdict is read in open court.
Section 33. Community Complaints Gatherer for the Grand Jury - A group of private citizens named as “Community Complaints Gatherer for the Grand Jury” briefly known as the “CCGG” is hereby created in every municipality or city in the entire country. The formation of this group shall be initiated and supervised by the clerk of the city or municipal court of each municipality or city by advertising its services in a newspaper of general circulation in such localities. Thereupon, its members shall designate their chairman, vice chairman, and secretary and other officers they may see fit to designate after which the clerk of court shall have no further role in the functioning of the CCGG.
(a) Role and Purpose of the CCGG - The CCGG shall serve as an assisting entity for complaining victims of crimes in preparing and gathering their complaints for presentation to the Grand Jury in their respective grand jury (legislative) district. For this purpose, the form for use by anonymous informants in Article III, Section 26, of the Jury System Law may likewise be used to record the information of complaints presented by victims before the CCGG. Nonetheless, this group shall have no power to stop, refrain, forbid, or interfere, any person, victim, or witness who prefers to personally transmit or submit his complaint to the grand jury. Any member of the CCGG shall have the obligation, if requested by a complaining party or witness, to provide guidance or information on how the requesting party shall present, transmit or submit, his complaint to the grand jury.
(b) Membership - The CCGG members shall be chosen randomly by lottery from among volunteer applicants and shall serve anonymously for one year starting the first working day of the third week of January of each year and ending at the last working day of the second week of January in the following year. Each member shall be provided by the clerk of court with a security identity code number for use as his official name during his term of service and their true names shall be held confidentially in the records of such clerk of court.
(c) Composition - The CCGG shall be composed of twenty-five volunteer members which shall operate independently by divisions consisting of five members each. At the time of their selection and induction with the supervision of the clerk of court they shall determine their areas of operation and to designate the respective chair and members of each division.
(d) Meeting and per diem - Each division may hold meetings of its members no more than once a month at a time and place it may designate and it must keep a record of the minutes of the meeting of its members. The form of the record shall be prescribed by the clerk of court that supervised the formation of the CCGG. Each member shall be entitled to collect a per diem equal to no more than the minimum wage for a day in the locality of the CCGG division on a prepared Unconditional Redeemable Voucher with the assistance of the said clerk of court provided that the event of the meeting of its members is evidenced by the records of the minutes of their meeting and further referenced in said voucher.
(e) Qualification of Members - The CCGG membership shall be limited to Filipino citizens in the private sector, at least 18 years old or above, none of whom shall be an immediate family member of a public official or employee regardless of the manner such public official or employee has acquired his government position by election, appointment or otherwise.
(f) Submission of Complaints by CCGG to the Grand Jury-
(1) Should the CCGG receives a sealed envelope that may contain a complaint from an anonymous tipster, the CCGG or any member thereof shall have no authority to open or unseal the same and its role is limited only in depositing said sealed envelope in, along with complaints gathered by the CCGG for deposit at, the "Citizen's Secret Crime Reports Drop Box" for the grand jury of its district or to the Clerk of Court with office close to the secret grand jury investigation room.
(2)The anonymous tipster nonetheless may personally drop his report in said Crime Report Drop if he chooses to without seeking permission from the CCGG.
(g) No member of the CCGG shall have authority to make any contact, or shall interfere, directly or indirectly, with any member, or during a proceeding, of the Grand Jury at any time whatsoever.
Section 34. (a) A witness to a crime punishable by one year or more by imprisonment who has been summoned by subpoena by the grand jury in the investigation of such crime shall enjoy absolute anonymity until such time that he has been actually sworn and required to testify in a criminal court trial.
(b) No such witness shall be called to testify in a civil trial until a verdict is handed down in the criminal trial.
(c) Any member of a grand jury, or any government prosecutor, or a juror in a trial jury, or any person, public official or not, who shall disclose privately or publicly the identity of a witness who has testified before a grand jury shall be liable for the crime of obstruction of justice and shall suffer the penalty of five years to seven years of imprisonment in jail.
(d) Any person indicted for Obstruction of Justice initiated by a grand jury shall be tried by jury trial after the term of service of the members of the indicting grand jury shall have already ended and any of such grand jury members shall serve as a prosecution witness against the accused for such alleged crime. If the witness so requests, he shall be placed under the witness protective program.
Section 35. The Supreme Court shall promulgate rules for the Grand Jury Instructions including disciplinary rules for the members of the grand jury which shall further include ministerial instruction by the grand jury to the witness whom the grand jury may send summons for inquisition in its proceedings for the protection against self-incrimination of a witness.
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