Saturday, July 23, 2005

Strengthen the Sovereignty of the People

'Sovereignty of the People' constitutional mandate is in several Articles of 1987 Constitution of the Philippines:
1. Preamble, Article ll, Sec 1 - The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.
2. Bill of Rights, Article lll, Sec 1 - No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
Sec 16 - All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies will be true in all branches of the government.
3. Accountability of Public Officers, Article XI, Sec 1 - Public officers and employees must be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, efficiency and justice.

For 'Sovereignty of the People' to be strong, Filipino voices in the three branches of government - Executive, Legislative and Judiciary- must be equal. Filipinos must have equal representation in the three branches of the government. Filipinos have no direct representation, that's protected by the Constitution, to the Judiciary Department. Only indirect representation through Article V (Suffrage). Filipinos vote for the President, who appoints the Judiciary. Filipinos vote for people in Congress, who have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the judiciary. Judiciaries are appointments of the Executive branch, mandated by Article Vlll, Section 9 - Judges of the Supreme Court and lower courts appointed by the President.
Article XI, Accountability of Public Officers, has no Articles, Sections or Acts to connect law abiding Filipinos to the business of public trust, accountability, responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency of Public officials.

Filipinos direct connection to the Judiciary branch are only as defendants or plaintiffs in a court case.

The Constitution provides check and balance through Article XVII - Amendments or Revisions. To strengthen the 'Sovereignty of Filipino People' we must include 'Jury Trial for all Crimes except Impeachment' in the Constitution of the Philippines.

'Jury Trial for all Crimes except Impeachment' will strengthen Sovereignty of the People if implemented by constitutionally.
Jury Trial for all Crimes except Impeachment will strengthen Sovereignty of the People through law and justice education participating in the Jury System.

In a Jury System, 12 Jurors in Civil and Criminal courts or 23 Jurors in a Grand Jury can observe, listens and follow the judge's instructions, observe, listens to prosecutors and defense attorneys argue the case instead of one defendant and one plaintiff in one court case. How many defendants or plaintiffs are there in a court case? Only a few. Filipinos in barangays, poblacions, cities and provinces directly interacts with Judges, Prosecutors and Defense attorneys as law abiding citizens in the conduct of law and justice. These raises the level of awareness of jurors' civic responsibility. Outcome of the prosecution and defense of a case not only depend on the judge, prosecuting and defense attorney but also on the jury - the twelve people on the jury - that's people power in a micro level. Determination whether there's enough evidence to prosecute a case depends on the 23 people on the Grand Jury, the judge and the attorneys - that's people power at a micro level.

Learning through experience is the best teacher of the law. Learning law and justice, as a law abiding juror removes the bias anger or satisfaction of a defendant or a plaintiff.

'Jury Trial for all Crimes except Impeachment' can be constitutionally Initiated by:
1. Article XVII, Section 1 - Any amendment or revision Constitution may be proposed by three-fourths of all Members of Congress or constitutional convention.
2. Article XVII, Section 2 - Amendments may be proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least 12 % of the total number of registered voters, every legislative district represented by at least 3 % of the registered voters . Amendment allowed once every five years since ratification in 1987.
3. Article VIII, Section 5 - Supreme Court have the powers to Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.
4. Article X, Section 14 - The President shall provide for purposes of administrative decentralization to strengthen the autonomy, to accelerate the economic, social growth and development of local governments.

Constitutional initiation of 'Jury Trial for all Crimes except Impeachment' is a lengthy and creative process.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

'Sovereignty of the People’

The principle of ‘Sovereignty of the People’ has been sowed and planted in the Philippines.
To sprout and grow the 'Sovereignty of the People', cultivate the residents in towns and barangay by Enacting, Adding or Amending the Judicial Department of the Constitution of the Philippines.
Add a Section, Article or Provision for Trial by Jury for all Crimes – Criminal or Civil except Impeachment.
Even China use jury trial system to reform its judiciary, make trials fair and accountable according to a recent news item.

Article II - Declaration of Principles and State Policies Principles Section 5 states:
The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.
Article VIII - Judicial Department Section 2 states:
The Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts but may not deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 hereof.
No law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its Members.
For more information on 1983 Constitution of the Philippines link to:

Constitution of the United States, Article lll, Section 2, paragraph 3 says:
‘The Trial of all Crimes except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.’
There are three juries in the US - grand jury, criminal petit jury and civil petit jury. Twelve people, chosen at random, given the power to decide for the people, whether a person or enterprise is guilty or not. That’s people power at micro level.
This simple but complicated system if adopted will strengthen the Sovereignty of People. We already have a Judiciary Department in the Constitution but no Trial by Jury.

It has advantages and disadvantages.
(Excerpt of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, on 'The Jury in the United States Considered as a Political Institution' is in another post)
1. It is much harder to instill fear, corrupt or bribe twelve people than one judge on the bench. Cost of set up and administration is cheaper than one corrupt judge in one town. Drug cartel and organized crime tried a few times with low level of success in a Jury system. Just too many people to threaten, to bribe or to get acquainted with in order to threaten or to bribe.
2. It is easier to find a driven, overzealous and upright prosecutor or defense attorney because their performance and reward depend on the outcome of the case. Examples: Guiliani vs organized crimes years ago and today’s conviction of the CEO of Worldcom. Guiliani became Mayor Rudy and will see who will run for governor of New York next election.
3. Trial by Jury influences all judicial cases, even those that don’t go to trial. Since the Trial by Jury will be held in the town the crime is committed, the jury pool or the chosen jury has imaginary or real connection to the trial. Ask a US politician who have been indicted (before conviction) for any crime, criminal or civil, if his/her chances to win in the next election are good? If convicted, his/her chances are gone? Example: Sen. Torricelli.
However, Trial by Jury must be added to the Constitution of the Philippines first.
But it is still better to give the power to change the people’s constitution to men who, however imperfectly, represent the people’s will, than to others who represent nobody but themselves.
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, (1833)

Trial by Jury add to the Constitution of the Philippines

Trial by Jury must be added to the Constitution of the Philippines
Trial by Jury, is one form of sovereignty of the people.
Jury is part of the nation responsible for the execution of the laws.
Juries instill the habits of judicial mind into every citizen, and those habits prepare people to be free.
Juries spreads respect for the courts’ decisions and for the idea of right to all.
Juries teach people equity in practice. Each person, when judging a neighbor, thinks that he/she may be judged, especially in civil suits; only a few will ever face criminal trial, but anybody can be sued or have a lawsuit.
Juries teach each individual not to shirk responsibility for his own acts, and without that manly characteristics no political virtue is possible.
Juries invest each citizen with a sort of magisterial office; they make all men feel that they have duties toward society and that they take a share in its government. By making men pay attention to things other than their own affairs, they combat that individual selfishness which is like rust in society.
Juries are effective in shaping a nation’s judgment and increasing its natural rights, its greatest advantage. It is free school, always open and each juror learns his rights, comes into contact with the best educated, most enlightened members of the upper classes, given practical lessons in the law, the advocate’s efforts, the judge’s advice, and the passions of the litigants within his mental grasp. The main reason for the practical intelligence and political good sense of Americans is their long experience with juries in civil cases.
Jury may not be useful to litigants, but it is good for those who have to decide the case. It is the most effective means of popular education at society’s disposal.
In democracies, lawyers and judges are the only aristocratic body that can check the people’s movements. This aristocracy has no physical power but exercises its influence over men’s minds. It follows that civil juries are the main source of its power. In criminal trials, when society is fighting a single man, the jury is apt to look on the judge as the passive instrument of social authority and to mistrust his advice. Criminal cases turn entirely on simple facts easily within the range of common sense. On such ground judge and jury are equals.
In civil suits, the judge appears as a disinterested arbitrator between the litigants’ passions. The jurors feel confidence in him and listen to him with respect, for here his intelligence completely dominates theirs. It is he who unravels the various arguments they find hard to remember and takes them by the hand to guide them through procedural intricacies; it is he who limits their task to the question of fact and tells them what answer to give on questions of law.
Jury in civil cases enables the American bench to make the legal spirit penetrate right down into the lowest ranks of society.
Jury is the most effective way of establishing the people’s rule and most efficient way of teaching them how to rule.
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, (1833), 1969 ed., Ch 8 – WHAT TEMPERS THE TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY IN THE UNITED STATES, pg 273-276

Law & Order here we come, Judge Judy go away!!!