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.

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