Only jury justice can save Philippines

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Only jury justice

can save Philippines



By TOTO CAUSING

By the nature of the culture and traditions politics have become in the Philippines, there is no more hope to this country to become better, contributing reasons for the brains to drain further to other countries.

Every election, those elected in office have become less and less intelligent yet more and more immoral.

Actually, even those intelligent ones become victims of retrogression of morality. Of course, how can you say that there is an honest politician when we know he or she spent millions of pesos in order to win?

Many political clans no longer bother to have their children educated because their children’s future as successors is assured by the political foundations laid down by force, intimidation and money.

Fewer and fewer lawyers and doctors get elected. And if we found some, chances are they are already consumed by greed or apathy or even boldness to do even the most heinous crimes if only to achieve their purpose. This is the reason killings have become ordinary among candidates or political enemies. This is the reason that a few brave hearts among the journalists are killed in the provinces.

The lack of quality of our leaders has spelled the decadence, the collapse of decency, and the breakdown of morality.

For how can we have conscience-stricken leaders when no one can win an election without investing tens or hundreds of millions of pesos in order to win?

This alone is a very clear proof that we have started from a wrong footing for a very fundamental process of our political body. No political structure can stand on a weak foundation.

This problem has been here for over a hundred of years yet nothing or so little has been done about it.

We love to copy from Americans but we never copied their laws prohibiting candidates from spending more than the limit for their own respective campaigns: that even if you are a millionaire you are prohibited from using your money beyond the limit, say $2,500, for a president of the US. We also never copied the limit to how much one person can contribute. Anyway, no matter the laws we have now, the system has totally broken down that they cannot be implemented by the Commission on Elections.

These limitations on how much one can spend for his own campaign have compelled the candidates in the US to come to the voters and ask for money; instead of our system where voters line up to ask for “help” from candidates.

Actually, the breakdown of the systems has erased the distinctions between professionals and college dropouts among elective and appointive officials. Pardon me, all of them are corrupt.

Almost all appointments have become for sale or for the highest bidders in terms of quota of money that can be given to the appointing authority every month. And it is the Office of the President that profits the most from the hidden perks that go with appointments: such as in the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Immigration Bureau, the Department of Public Works and Highways.

We have this procurement laws but the loopholes are plenty to offer opportunity for machinations in the bidding.

You apply your son for a position of PO1 in the police force and he cannot be taken in unless you give P50,000 to P150,000. So that when he starts serving, he will recoup the expenses.

You serve a boss in any department and he will require you to do dirty jobs for him to earn and if you refuse you would be placed in a floating status. The boss must earn because he, too, has a quota to be given to the one who caused his appointment.

Gambling does not stop because police officers earn from protection rackets. Proof for this is the admission of Chavit Singson that he collected gambling protection monies from jueteng lords to be given to Estrada. Other proofs are the testimonies of Sandra Cam and others who detailed how jueteng monies come to the hands of the First Gentleman, his brother Iggy and son Mikee. It was around this time that Mikee bought that luxurious house worth 63.7 million pesos in Foster City, San Mateo County, California, USA.

Of course, all of us are to blame. How can you say that there is an honest politician when we know he or she spent millions of pesos in order to win?

We all know this is wrong but we have not done anything to stop them.

To the contrary, we keep on voting for these kinds of leaders all because they give dole outs during campaigns, give money for the funeral expenses of our relatives, give something for the tuition of our children, recommended our kids to work, and what else.

So that we can see here that while our leaders are consumed by greed for power and money, our people are stuck in apathy and cynicism in the firm belief that nothing can be done to cure them. General Danilo Lim calls this as: “Dissent without action is consent.”

All of us, including the conscientious and the churches that receive funds from corrupt officials have resigned to fate.

With these circumstances we are in, do we still have a chance?

Yes, we still have our chance, actually the last chance!

During the reign of King John in the late 1100s and early 1200s, the Englishmen suffered much more tyranny, oppression and discrimination by the royalty against the commoners, barons and even vassals of the king.

Because of his extreme despotism, he has been labeled in history as “Bad King John,” portrayed as a villain in the legendary Robinhood stories, and was a character in Shakespeare’s play, the Life and Death of King John.

The nobles, the barons and the vassals combined their forces with Prince Louis of France to rebel against King John, promising to the French the throne once they win.

On June 15, 1215, King John was compelled by the rebels to sign the Magna Carta. This was the first and in fact the only significant objective of rebellion. As if, the people of England was interested only in establishing a system where the king shall be stripped of the right to decide who shall be imprisoned or who shall be punished.

So what is the Magna Carta?

It is actually a very important statement which became a law in England when signed by King John.

When it was signed, the jury system was born in England along with all other fundamental rights, which system was adapted from Norman invaders who introduced the idea to the Britons.

The Magna Carta's jury clause was written in Latin but its exact English equivalent is this: “No freeman shall be arrested, or imprisoned or deprived of his freehold, or his liberties, or free customs, or outlawed or exiled, or in any manner destroyed, nor will he (the king) pass upon him, nor condemn him unless by the judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

Since then, the kings who succeeded became benevolent for they were stripped of the power to judge upon their subjects. For at least four centuries, peace and justice reigned again in England.

But in the 1600s, the story became different. Because of the benevolence of the kings who reigned after the Magna Carta, the people gave less importance to the jury system.

This paved the way for the kings during this 17th century to circumvent the Magna Carta to gain control over the judicial powers exercised by the people. They established the Star Chamber through the parliament by deceiving the members of congress that it would only serve as the appellate courts for cases decided by the juries, particularly those cases where the accused were nobles who cannot be punished by the lower courts.

But the true intention was that the kings wanted their honor and throne protected.

So that it turned out later that it became a tool of repression to hit hard on the enemies of the kings. These enemies are usually the nobles and the barons. The cases then tried by the Star Chamber included only political crimes such as libel against the throne and those writings and speeches that instigated rebellion.

So that this libel law now punishing reporters in the Philippines has no reason to exist here. It is very clear this crime was designed to protect the kings. In our case, the theory is that the king is the people. If it is so, the people can be served only be informing them of what shenanigans are doing.

In 1641, the clamor to abolish the Star Chamber bore fruit because of the severe treatment suffered by the dissenters against the archbishop and the king.

Since then, the jury system has become strong that it still exists until now in England.

This jury devise became embedded in the society. For this, the people have been feeling they are already assured of no despotism from the kings. In fact, they have not changed the king or queen anymore.

Later, the strong existence of the jury system resulted in the stripping of the king and queen of the executive power. Today, the head of the monarch, in the person of Queen Elizabeth, becomes only the symbol of power of England.

Since then, England has seen the rise of populist ideas such as that of John Stuart Mill, who espoused the continuing clash of ideas as necessary for the never-ending search for truth. The former punishment of stripping the ear of a person convicted of libel has been considered as a heinous act. Mill cited that during the time of Jesus Christ, nobody believed in him. But now, more than a billion people believe in his words as the truth. Mill espoused the idea that in governments based on the popular will of the people, libel has no reason to exist.

This jury principle spread to almost all of Europe, modifying only in form but the substance is the same. And the substance is: to preclude abuse by the powers that be, whoever would rein at any given time.

This jury system was then adopted 221 years ago by George Washington when they founded the United States of America in Philadelphia.

What is in the substance that makes it compelling for these governments?

It is the fact that the members of the jury who would adjudge an accused, usually 12 persons, are too difficult to be influenced by the powerful and influential men as against one man as a judge.

The jurors composing the jury are sometimes empanelled, or kept in a secret place, depending on the dangers posed by the accused.

Then, the US followed the grand jury scheme to have the power to determine who should be hailed to trial in court.

This grand jury also composed by people secretly raffled from the voters’ list has been made so powerful that it can indict even the President of the US. It can secretly initiate a criminal investigation. It can subpoena witnesses who are afraid or bought and call in law enforcers to find evidence and witnesses. All those who refuse its order can be jailed in contempt until the witness agrees to speak and the law enforcer agrees to work.

Thus, all those involved in the Watergate scandal, particularly the attorney general of President Nixon, were tried. Nixon was lucky for he was pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford, even before trial can begin.

Thus, we can clearly see that with this kind of people’s justice system the powerful politicians and wealthy violators of law cannot anymore continue their corrupt, abusive and discriminatory ways.

We can say that with the jury system, we can now curb corruption and killings of journalists and political enemies. Those who now believe they can always get away with killing enemies and stealing public funds will have fear of doing it again if the justice system in the Philippines is under the jury system.

We can also say that we can slowly resolve rebellions because the jury can now implement laws on discriminations that serve as the root of these revolts. For example, it can punish Christian Filipinos for racial slurs or deeds, or vice versa.

In my last column, I discussed how 300 years of discrimination by the Christian Filipinos against the Muslim Filipinos made the latter decide to separate from the Philippines for they feel that they have not been treated as brothers anyway.

If England succeeded in removing despotism by the kings and queens, the US has succeeded in uniting the Blacks and the Whites after installing Jury Systems 221 years ago.

This success is proven by the fact that black entertainers and singers have actually established records no Whites have reached.

Michael Jackson became the greatest American musician of all time, besting even Elvis Presley and the Beatles by far margins.

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most popular television hosts. Many emerged as stars in basketball and other sports arenas. Of course, no one can forget Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player of all time.

Lately, this success of overcoming racial discrimination is evidenced further by the election of Black President Barack Hussein Obama in a country where the Black voters constitute only 15%.

If the USA succeeded in uniting its people where it is harder to unite two colors, Black and White, because of the continuous functioning of the jury systems and if England united their Catholic Ireland and Protestant Englishmen, how much more success would come to the Philippines where the color of our skin is only one: Brown?

With this, I strongly believe that the only way to save the Philippines is to establish jury systems, whereby each man has the right to be adjudged only by his fellows whether he should be accused, arrested or jailed.

So, please join us in the Jury Movement to give this nation a chance to be great again. Please register your names at http://philjury.ning.com.

You may also send text messages to 09299220024 or email me at totocausing@yahoo.com, totocausing2004@yahoo.com, totocausing2006@yahoo.com, or berteni.causing@gmail.com.


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