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)

No comments: